A Helpful Suggestion
I do not own the "Harry Potter" books.
A Helpful Suggestion
Professor Snape recognized the handwriting - he'd been grading the boy's papers for years, after all.
Meet me under the South Q stands tonight after dinner.
Draco Malfoy hadn't even tried to hide his glee when he handed the note to his Head of House. The possibility that he'd get to catch Potter with a girl, hopefully doing something that he could use to humiliate the other boy, was enough to completely override his usual mask. "I found it on the floor near the potions closet."
The professor was at least as delighted at the prospect as young Malfoy. "We'll have to get there early," He said with a smirk.
Malfoy left the Great Hall just as dessert was served. Potter was still working on his roast beef. Snape hadn't bothered to go to supper at all. The two Slytherins met next to the Equipment shed. Snape found a comfortable seat and then disillusioned them both. The Gryffindor boy showed up a few minutes later.
His unseen audience watched as Potter cast lumos, then some warming charms. Then he took off his jacket and sat down on the ground. Snape was startled when Potter set his wand on the ground in front of him. The wand was close at hand, but it would take several precious seconds to grab and aim it if he were attacked. Why make a point of disarming himself if he simply hoped to exercise his hormones?
The girl showed up soon after. Snape felt Malfoy's entire body jerk as he recognized her. Potter was involved with Parkinson? Draco was too surprised even to be angry. Then the girl spoke.
"All right, Potter, what the hell is this about?"
"It shows – what happened to you," He answered.
Her flinch was barely noticeable. "What are you talking about?"
Harry sighed. "A few years ago, the summer before our first year here, something happened to one of the girls in my neighborhood. I was ... distracted, and no one was going to tell a little boy about *that,* anyway. The adults only discussed it in whispers, and always sent the kids out of the room. I never really thought about it 'til now.
"I was watching when Snape came up behind you in Potions and grabbed your shoulder. You were startled, and jerked away. Anyone would do that. But the look in your eyes wasn’t the same look as Hermione or Millicent. A lot of things came clear all at once. I just ... knew, right then, what happened to Sophie. And to you. If Snape had been looking at you, instead of your cauldron, he would have realized, too.”
"Why should he be able to tell?"
"He’s taught hundreds of students. I’m sure he’s seen every possible expression on someone's face. And he’s highly intelligent: he doesn’t miss much. I have a suggestion. You don’t feel safe anymore, right?"
Pansy just looked at him.
"What if you had a Familiar? One that would be with you all the time, and would help prevent you ever being taken by surprise again? Something small enough to keep with you indoors. It can sleep on your bed and guard you. Then you could relax a bit. You aren’t sleeping, right? I saw you fall asleep in the Library."
"We aren’t allowed to have pets with us during the day."
"I looked it up. A Familiar isn’t a pet. You can see through its eyes, and communicate simple emotions. So if it notices a threat, you can be ready. “Find Familiar” is in the Charms textbook – but it’s at the very end. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t taught, just to prevent having a menagerie running loose all over the school. Besides, a lot of people don't approve of soul magic. But if you actually have a Familiar, it can’t be taken from you. If you keep it under control, and don’t let it be a pest, I expect that the teachers wouldn’t make a fuss. "
"I’m good at Charms, but I don’t know if I’m that good."
"I’m good, too. I’ve read the spell a few times, and it doesn’t look very difficult. It’s basically an offer of friendship, not a compulsion, and your intentions are completely benign. You’d need to make a couple of potions: one to drink, and some stuff to paint on your hands and face. I don’t recommend casting it in the Castle, you’ll end up with a rat. But if you went to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, away from the lake, then you could get a snake or a raven or maybe a cat. Any of them would be a good Familiar for your purpose. The best part of the spell is that nothing bad can happen. If the spell fails, then no animal comes to you. And you don’t have to accept the summoned creature if you don’t like it. You simply refuse it, and it will go back to its life. If you do agree to the bond, then you say the final incantation and the bond is permanent as long as you both live."
"Are you going to do it, too?"
"No, I already have too many hostages to fortune. But I’ll help you as much as I can. It’s technically a soul-binding spell, so you should minimize anyone else’s involvement. You really don’t want any contamination. Gather all the components you can find in the wild, and then we can get the rest of the ingredients on the next Hogsmeade weekend. It won’t be cheap – you’ll want the best quality available. The biggest problem will be for you to arrange to be outdoors for a full day and night. The spell is listed in the Index. Think about it.
"It’s getting late. I'll see you in class."
Pansy nodded, just once, and turned to the castle. Then she glanced back over her shoulder. "Potter? Thank you." She walked away.
Potter picked up his wand and coat, and waited a few minutes before he headed in, as well.
Severus Snape could feel Draco shaking beside him. The boy was nearly in shock, but the professor could spare no attention for him. He was too appalled at his own lapse of vigilance. He had prided himself on being an excellent Head of House. Snape *knew* his Slytherins. How could he have missed *this*? He controlled his reaction with the intelligence and iron will that had seen him through innumerable horrors.
First, swear young Malfoy to secrecy. Then get Parkinson's medical records from Pomphrey, and find the date and results of the girl's last medical scan. Find a reason for the girl to stay outside unsupervised for twenty-four hours.
Then have a drink.