The letter became the boy's new obsession now, his thoughts now fixated on the will that seemingly belonged to Theodore's mother, hidden away by Snape. Theodore frequently lost himself in lesson time, pondering on what could possibly be tucked inside the crinkled envelope that had been sullied for more than a decade, earning elbows to the ribs by his friends. Nobody had forgotten about the Boggart from the week before, and it wasn't just his best friends who attempted to console him about it. Convincing everybody else that he was fine was taxing to his throat, most of his energy being directed to Hermione. But he guessed she had every right to do so. After last year's ordeal, Theodore could only expect her to be a little more overbearing than usual. It's not like he minded it that much anyways. Yes, Theodore couldn't drag himself away from thinking about it. It could be done, sneaking into the dungeons undetected without Snape or anybody else turning their heads towards his direction. But he had to think through this extensively, calculating every possible impediment that could be faced when the time would come. This could be done, if Astronomy wasn't so demanding of his time.
"So, I was thinking that I should be around you at all times, like a guard. You know, to keep you safe from the Grim if it tries to attack you again."
"Really appreciate the gesture, Viripin, but I don't think that the Grim has any chance of breaking into the castle, just to try and rip my head off," asserted the Parselmouth casually as he unrolled his star charts across his bed for his Astronomy homework.
"Okay, but what about Sirius Black? He surely must be after you, as well as Harry." Viripin was hanging off the bottom-left post of the bed as her head was poised against the boy's ear, eagerly watching him as he scribbled away at his homework.
"You don't need to worry about him either. He can't just stroll through the front door without having an army of Dementors chasing him down. I'll be fine, you'll see."
"Well, you must be careful about the Grim, Theodore. When we were fighting on the day it attacked us, I sensed a lot of aggression coming from it." Theodore scoffed as he lifted the star chart above his head, rotating it in the air as Viripin dropped her whole body from above.
"Really? I couldn't tell."
"This is no joking matter," hissed the Adder. "That thing really wanted to kill you. Like it REALLY wanted to kill you, and I don't think it's going to stop until you're dead." Theodore dropped the star chart and turned his head to the snake, face balanced between being solemn and very slight light-heartedness.
"I'll be okay, Viripin, seriously. The Grim isn't going to burst inside the castle looking for me because I'll be ready when it comes. And unless the Dementors suddenly decide to give up on the lookout for Black around the castle, he's nothing to worry about as well." Viripin shook her head as she dropped her straightened self to coil next to the boy's lap, still watching Theodore flicking back and forth between his book and charts. He didn't dare show that he was still unnerved by the dog, as well as the Boggart on top of that. Not to Viripin, at least. He couldn't afford to be stuck in meaningless disturbance, when something that was so vital required his absolute attention. Having finished almost all of the charts, Theodore set them aside as he reached for his schoolbag to pluck out a thick makeshift book made out of fresh parchments, all held together by a small, but effective, paper clip. The Maibian Adder couldn't help inhibiting her curiosity with the boy's sudden change of interest as she raised her head next to his ear again.
"What's this about?" Theodore drew his wand from underneath his pillow to use as a pointer as he read along the scribbled notes, while talking with Viripin at the same time.
"Snape is making me brew something called the Wolfsbane Potion and he gave me the notes for it, a few days ago. I thought that I only had to give in the homework, not make a potion which takes nearly a month to brew! And I don't even think I have the time to make a plan as well…" The Parselmouth grumbled as he turned the page for the ingredients list.
"A plan for what?"
"Viripin, you know what plan I'm talking about."
"I think I don't," remarked the Adder in a snarky manner. "Come on, tell me this plan of yours. It's not about sneaking around the castle again, is it?"
"Theodore, I just said-"
"I'm going to get the letter from Snape's classroom," said the boy quickly as he cut her off. "Look, I'm going to get the letter from his classroom, but the only way to get it is to… go under the radar. Some rules could be broken, but I have to know if it really is from her, Viripin. I have to."
"But how will you do it? You couldn't possibly roam around the castle freely with Dementors flying everywhere on the outside. I also have a very bad feeling about the Grim as well. You have to think this through, Theodore. It's gotten a lot more dangerous for you here." Theodore laid his body back against the soft bed and looked up at the scarlet tapestry above his head. She was right. The Dementors weren't allowed in the castle, but it didn't mean that the security inside would be any less of a deterrent. Dumbledore would surely have multiple prefects in every corridor, as well as teachers overseeing them with watchful eyes. The plan was rough, but sure to work. It was just the timing, the perfect time when nobody would be inside of the castle to catch him out. But when?
"If only I finished making that Polyjuice Potion from last year. It's still inside the bathroom, but there's no way in hell that I'm going back in there again." Theodore said out loud. He tapped his wand against his skull repeatedly, his brain stitching parts of his crude plan into something worthwhile, something to be infallible until a storm of rage emanating from the door snatched his, and Viripin's, attention.
"...FUCKING CAT AWAY FROM SCABBERS!" Theodore brought himself to his feet as he quickly paced to the door, while Viripin managed to wrap herself around him in the nick of time to morph into a green frog on his shoulder. Upon arriving to the main part of the Tower, Theodore was struck as confused on what had exactly happened. He instantly recognised the shouting being of Ron's voice, and underneath heard violent hisses along with the cluttering of fallen objects. But with the crowd of at least ten people blocking his view from where the situation stemmed from, the Parselmouth had absolutely no clue as to-
Ron came storming away from the fireplace with his star charts being half-crumpled in his hands, and a thin Scabbers wriggling in his shirt pocket. The boy's face looked ridiculously red as his eyes expressed pure fury, now explaining the reason for the shouting. The red head was about to furiously stomp his way up to the dorm room, when Theodore halted him in his tracks to ask him of the problem.
"Theo, can I ask you a massive favour, please? Can you tell Viripin to eat that cat before it kills Scabbers?" Ron asked with his arms crossed, completely neglecting the charts in his hands.
"It tried to attack Scabbers again? It really has it out for him, huh? But it's a cat, Ron. It's what cats do." Ron flung his arms up, tearing one of his charts in half as he walked up the steps, mumbling under his breath.
"You're both the same, the pair of you. Can't think of a better match…"
The crowd dispersed as Theodore silently walked over to Harry and Hermione, the Muggle-born stroking the orange cat preciously, with the scar-bearing boy scratching his head while looking at his homework. Crookshanks purred as his leg shook vigorously, while the two noticed Theodore as he sat in Ron's previous spot.
"You really ought to control that cat, Hermione. It's seriously going to kill Scabbers one of these days," said Theodore as he held Viripin in his hands.
"Yeah, and if not from eating him, then of pure fright. He looks like a half-eaten chicken bone." Harry added as he opened his Astronomy book with his quill blotting some of his parchments. Hermione didn't take to this lightly, and scowled at the two cousins as she collected her homework underneath one armpit, and Crookshanks under the other.
"If you can't see that it's basic animal nature, then I don't know for you," snapped the girl as she stepped over Harry's leg for the girls' dorms. "But Crookshanks is a lovely creature who wouldn't harm a fly. I'm sure if Viripin tried to attack Scabbers or Crookshanks, you'd defend her by saying she had a reason for it."
"For Scabbers, yes. For Crookshanks, however…" Theodore sniggered as he told the frog to hush, with Harry cracking a smile as well. The two boys couldn't help themselves as they covered their mouths to contain their laughter, ignoring the Muggle-born's question on what was so funny, as well as her annoyed march to the girls' dorms. The two calmed down after another minute of laughing, and opted to go bed after working on their homework.
"Oh, crap! I haven't even finished my last chart! Oh well. Quidditch practice took a lot out of me, so I don't think I can do any more," yawned Harry as he walked alongside Theodore up the spiral stairway.
"Well, McGonagall said that if we get a detention for not doing our homework, then she'd pull us out for the first trip to Hogsmeade, so you might want to rethink your choices."
"Wouldn't affect me either way. The unlucky one, remember?" Harry said glumly as he pressed his thumb to the middle of his chest. They pushed in through the third-year boys' dorm door to greet Ron, who was carefully tending to the sickly rat. Theodore had his eyes and ears focused on the red head's badmouthing of Crookshanks, but his thoughts went back to where they were before the commotion started.
'It's a long way away, but it could work. Can't believe I choosing to give up the first trip to Hogsmeade. And if I don't find the bloody letter, then…'
"…so, Theo? Is Viripin going to eat Crookshanks or not?"
"Sure, if you want Hermione to hate me and you forever." Ron scoffed as he turned back to Scabbers, who was being fed with chopped seeds and apple peelings.
"Don't know what the hell is going on between you two…"
It didn't stop there in the common room, with the cat and rat situation. Ron was doing a superb job at ignoring the Muggle-born for the following week, only speaking more words than expected on her birthday and nothing more. Hermione glossed over her birthday as if it wasn't such a big deal, but did look rather affected from the red head's actions. Obviously, Ron had taken Crookshanks's attempt on Scabbers to heart, but Hermione was trying to make an effort on her end to understand him. Didn't mean it was working for her though. And like always, Theodore and Harry were the middle men in the petty squabbles that would literally spring from nowhere, always having to support and oppose each party every time. Theodore didn't take any sides however, and was adamant on remaining out of any further arguments, but of course, he'd always manage to find himself roped back in. Like, for instance, now when he was going to the dungeons with the riled-up Muggle-born tagging alongside him.
"…and I really try! I really do! But he always has to make things difficult! All over something that happens normally in nature! I can't believe him!" Hermione said angrily as she gripped her backpack straps tightly. "How dare he say that I don't care for other people's pets!"
"Theodore, you haven't said a single thing since we left Transfigurations."
"You won't like what I'll say, though." Theodore said back as they began to descend the Entrance Hall's marble staircase, casually waving hello at Flitwick before reaching the bottom steps.
"What is it? Tell me."
"You're both being extremely childish," replied the boy bluntly, cautiously watching the bushy-haired girl sucking in a large amount of air through her nostrils, before she released. Her eyebrows were deeply furrowed but she didn't reply, nor did she look at the boy as they walked over to the dungeons.
"I don't think I'm being childish." Her head was still facing forwards, until she turned around to face the taller boy when they reached Snape's classroom door.
"If you say so. Anyways, this is me. I probably won't be in the common room till like seven, so don't wait up."
"Wasn't going to." Theodore rolled his eyes as he pressed his palm against the dungeon classroom door, until Hermione tapped his shoulder with something eager on the mind to tell. "Do you think we should get Harry something from Hogsmeade? He always looks so down whenever we mention it."
"Actually, I don't think I'll even go for the first trip." The Parselmouth responded as he scratched his head. Hermione widened her eyes at the boy. Well, this was completely unexpected.
"But it's Hogsmeade! What could you possibly do at school that you can't do at Hogsmeade?"
"Something came up. Something that I have to do."
"You aren't going to sneak around with Harry, are you," muttered Hermione with a glance of disapproval.
"You know us so well, don't you?" He returned sarcastically while opening the door with a gentle push.
"You're joking, right? Tell me you're joking."
"See you later, Hermione!" And with that, the Muggle-born was cut off from the boy as he slipped inside the doorway so swiftly, that the draft from the door barely brushed against the curls that were hanging off her forehead. She could burst inside the room and tell him off for what he was implying, but it wasn't worth the trouble of having Snape chastising her for simply showing her face where it wasn't wanted. Besides, he was just being Theodore. He wouldn't actually roam the castle indiscriminately when his life was in danger. Theodore wasn't stupid. She turned on her heels and made her way to the library, somehow unable to take her mind off her conversation with the Parselmouth. Odd, wasn't it?
"You're three minutes late," uttered the Potions Master lazily from across the classroom, which was unpleasantly chilly. Snape had his back turned to the boy, his interest lying somewhere else instead. Theodore slowly walked over to the front desk where Snape usually worked, inhaling the odious smell that was lingering around the professor's proximity. Speculation and rumours circulated around Snape, mostly revelling in the fact that he didn't follow basic hygienic routines. In retrospect, Theodore dismissed them all, possibly because he became immune to the supposed 'scent' around him.
"Sorry. I was walking here with a friend." Snape scoffed as he reached across the desk to grab a handful of vials, uncovering the large cauldron that was hidden in front of him.
"Excuses will not save you when it'll be your final exams, will they? Or if you have a low-paying job at the Ministry."
"I guess not…" Theodore hid his petulance as he kept a neutral expression, walking over to his desk near the back where he usually worked in lesson. Snape had been surprisingly more irritable during the recent weeks, a given example would be barraging Neville with questions that even Theodore couldn't answer, and snatching more points from Gryffindor than expected. Although he never gave it some true thought, Theodore now often wondered why Snape would act in such a way to students. Did he hate all types of children? He supposedly tolerated Theodore's presence, so that wasn't certain. Did somebody hurt him so much that he released his frustration on his pupils? Now that could be possible…
The boy sat on his desk table with the Wolfsbane notes brought out in front of him, flicking boorishly through as the subtle splashes, and the not-so subtle bangs, filled his mind with jaundice that he wasn't doing anything. It was usually like this, with Theodore either writing down notes for an essay, or him arranging and cleaning the cupboard for the next lesson. But now, all of that felt meaningless, a thing of the past. He was more than prepared to make Wolfsbane, and Snape knew that. He couldn't stick him on the sidelines forever.
Theodore abandoned his desk when Snape turned to the cupboard after muttering something dismal and incomprehensible. As he delved around for his search, Theodore was pacing himself towards the bubbling cauldron, too eager and internally rapt to stay away from what Snape could possibly be brewing. Upon reaching the desk, he pulled his head back briefly before closing in once again.
'Well, at least the smell isn't coming from you, Professor. What even is this, anyways? I can smell… Ammoniacum? I think… And there's… there's… Aah! Can't put a finger on it! It seems so familiar! I think it's Moondew with-'
It could've been so easy to take it right now, then and there. All he had to do was to pluck it, tuck into his robes and Snape wouldn't suspect a thing. He could do it. It was easy. In the amidst of the helplessly cluttered desk on its furthest end, was the letter. Her letter. The Last Will and Testament of Valerie Potter. That's what it said. It was like excess fuel was being pumped into his already obsessive drive, his drive which was now unrestricted at the confirmation of his goal. His eyes became immersed in the letter's presence, filtering almost everything else as he instinctively reached for it. His hand, closer and closer to unveil his mother's final wishes, so much that could be revealed at that moment… if he kept on going.
'What are you thinking, Theo? It'll be way too obvious, as well as reckless. You have a plan, so stick to it. No backing out now.'
A moment that was so easy to take advantage of prior to his change of judgement, became strenuously difficult as he forced his resisting hand inside of his pocket. He could've done it, yes. But to take it right now meant he had no faith in himself, having to resort to something as basic as luck to retrieve a will from his mother. No, his plan will work. It had to. He turned his head slightly at the clank emanating from behind him, hearing Snape grunt a little as the potion cupboard's doors was closed and locked firmly.
"Professor," asked Theodore as Snape glided back to the cauldron, oddly not scolding the boy for being rather close to his desk. "What are you making?" The Potions Master side-eyed him for four seconds exactly, then sighed drearily as he brought out multiple jars and containers on his working place.
"I'd rather not divulge this information to you right now, but you'll know soon enough." The Parselmouth's eye caught onto a cylindrical glass container housing a plant with violet leaves that looked too broad to belong to lavender. His knowledge from two years ago flashed in his brain as he recognised it as monkshood, a very toxic plant which was also known as-
"Um, sir? I've finished my notes on the ingredients and steps for Wolfsbane, and they're over there. Should I bring them over, or…?" Snape gave a simple swish above the cauldron, and summoned a lid from across the classroom to fit it on top. It whistled weakly as steam was being ejected from the rim of the cauldron, but it didn't gain the teacher, nor the student's, attention as Snape walked back around to his chair. He said nothing as his hand was outstretched with an eyebrow raised. Theodore turned back to his desk to grab his parchment notes and handed them over to Snape, who still didn't say anything. His black eyes trailed from the top of each page to the bottom, flicking through each one as if he was reading a brochure that didn't interest him in the slightest. The boy felt compelled to break the silence, but stopped when he saw the slightest, the almost imperceivable curl of the lip on the Potions Master's face. This wasn't when he'd pour a heinous amount of detentions onto Ron or Harry or anyone other than Slytherin. This… this was genuine. Theodore remained still in his place, waiting for Snape to flick to the final page until he spoke out.
"So, is it alright? It's a bit messy but-"
"Hmm? Oh! It's uhh… it's adequate, yes," said Snape quickly as he returned from his untypical daydreaming, handing the notes back to a puzzled, and disappointed Theodore.
"Just adequate? I spent like a good five days on this, though! Shouldn't it be-"
"Be grateful that I gave you the benefit of a doubt that your work was satisfactory." Snape snapped back, hushing the boy from speaking any further. "Now, I forgot to tell you that you won't be staying for long today. Something has been brought up, so you can leave now."
The Parselmouth stuffed his notes back into his bag, and slung it over his shoulder quite carelessly as he grumbled incoherently while walking out the door. After closing it firmly behind him, he rubbed his eyes roughly, still envisioning the letter, the obvious potion and Snape's dismissive evaluation of his work.
"Theodore?" The boy's hands were released from his eyes as he looked up to see Lupin in his shoddy robes, hands in his pockets as he smiled nervously at the boy. Theodore returned the awkward smile as he straightened himself with his bag properly fixed on his back.
"Hello there. Might I ask what you are doing here?"
"Me? Oh, I'm doing some sort of apprenticeship with Professor Snape. I was in there for only ten minutes, which is much shorter than usual." Lupin nodded his head as he briefly stared at the classroom door before back to Theodore.
"I hope that Severus isn't too rough on you. I've… heard about the way he is during his classes." Theodore shook his head, rocking on his heels as he nervously tapped his thighs. The two hadn't properly spoken to each other ever since the Boggart situation, with Theodore apologising more than once about his little temperament after that specific lesson.
"Sir, can I ask why you are here as well?"
"Well… if you must know, Severus and I have some business that cannot be disclosed with stud-" The door behind Theodore swung open with enough force to throw back a small child by the powerful gust created from it. Theodore spun around quickly and saw Snape standing in the doorway with his usual demeanour that slightly soured upon setting his eyes on Lupin.
"Severus," returned the shabby wizard in a similar tone. "I trust that things are almost in order."
"As a matter of fact, they almost are." Theodore could sense the snarl hanging off Snape's teeth as he held himself back quite poorly. Lupin didn't seem to mind this, and kept his small smile against the Potions Master's glower. "Away with you, Riddle. Get going."
"Goodbye, Theodore," said Lupin modestly as the boy gave a little nod to him before setting off for the common room. As he reached the marble steps of the Entrance Hall, everything that happened during the past twenty minutes or so, came flooding down in his mind as questions arose from the depths of his confusion.
'Why wouldn't he just tell me that he was making Wolfsbane Potion instead? If you're going to make me… make it, then you could at least tell me! Don't know why he can never be straightforward. And exactly what type of 'business' do they have together? Whatever. I have to focus on getting that letter. Hogsmeade is out of the picture for now, so I guess it's just Hermione and Ron. Huh. Wonder how that'll turn out."
"Why are you staying behind again?" Ron asked the uncomfortably whimsical Theodore as the Gryffindor third-years and above clambered out of the portrait hole for breakfast, then Hogsmeade.
"He's going to study with Harry. Aren't you, Theo?" Hermione asked with distaste, still remembering his arcane motives from their conversation before. She gave him a subtle glance from his side as they planted their feet on the next moving staircase.
"Something like that."
"You're a complete madman to skip out on Hogsmeade, Theo," chimed in Dean in front of him. "You really want to miss out on Honeydukes, where they have Pumpkin Pasties bigger than the ones on the Hogwarts Express?" Theodore's stomach gave out a dangerous rumble as its lament was heard by everyone, earning a few snickers here and there.
"Don't make me change my mind now…"
After wolfing down their breakfast, the Gryffindors left for the Entrance Hall, as well as all of the other Houses, where a huge crude attempt of a single line of students were gathered near the castle's main doors, with Filch having a hassle with the twins. Theodore's patience was growing thin as the line kept halting infrequently, due to the caretaker's insistent questioning of each student. Weren't there other doors in the castle that led to Hogsmeade? Five minutes of this had passed and Theodore had enough. If he waited there any longer, the opening for grabbing the will from Snape's classroom would be shut permanently. He tapped both Hermione and Ron on their shoulders as they were nearing Filch.
"We're leaving. Going to do some of that 'studying'." Theodore said as he backed away with an arm around his confused cousin's shoulder.
"You better not sneak around," hissed the Muggle-born as her forehead wrinkled into a frown. "The pair of you are like loose cannons."
"Loose cannons. As if. Come on, Harry. Let's get a move on." The depressed scar-bearing boy sighed, then proceeded to walk alongside Theodore as he slightly pulled him along the Entrance Hall.
"We'll get loads of sweets and stuff for you guys," shouted Hermione as she watched the two cousins slowly walking up the marble staircase.
"And maybe some stuff from Zonko's as well!" Ron added. The two boys gave a simple wave to their two friends and beckoned towards their common room which would've lost most of the liveliness that it was known for. Harry was quite sluggish with Theodore having to stop midway each staircase so that he'd catch up, something that quickly got on the Heir's nerves.
"Harry, if you make me wait for you on another staircase, I'll seriously leave you behind." The scar-bearing boy released an exasperated sigh as he leaned his head backwards, finally reaching Theodore's side as they walked up the final staircase to Gryffindor Tower. Theodore spoke the password to the Fat Lady and climbed inside the portrait hole with Harry following suit. The energy inside the common room was certainly diminished, but not gone. Some first-years were huddled around the sofa near the fireplace, some second-years around the back tables and others who sat in the plush armchairs that were scattered all over the place. Theodore was about to drag Harry to the dorm rooms for privacy when a squeaky voice that called for Harry's name struck his ear.
"Colin! Hi…" said Harry unenthusiastically as the excitable second-year practically skipped over to him.
"Hiya, Harry! How are you?"
"I'm good, Colin. How… are you," said Harry in between a sigh as he stared at Theodore, who had his lip curled in a mocking manner.
"I'm great! Splendid! Just doing some Potions work for Snape with my friends. Bit of a nasty character, isn't he?"
"Do you want to sit with us?" Colin asked wide-eyed and joyfully. Harry opened up his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by Theodore who zipped onto the scene to stop Harry from saying anything stupid.
"Harry and I have to do something, Colin. We can't afford to be distracted." Theodore said as the smaller boy's smile melted slightly, but perked up again at the last second. Colin graciously said goodbye to the two as Theodore and Harry made their way up the spiral staircase and into their dormitory. As he shut the door behind him, Theodore heard the silent hisses coming from his bed, indicating that Viripin was already awake, or that he just startled her. He walked over to his bed while Harry walked over to his, bellyflopping on top of his sheets as he sighed once again.
"You need to stop moping around, Harry. There's lots of stuff that you can do when everybody's gone." Harry lifted his head and stared at his fellow Parselmouth with an eyebrow raised.
"Did you really just say that? We're missing possibly the funnest part of this year, yet you're acting as if this is any better. Why is that, 'cousin Theo'?"
"You'll see," replied Theodore as he ripped open a bag of skinned mice for Viripin under his bed. "Nothing to worry about, 'cousin Harry'. Morning, Viripin. I see that you slept in a little bit." The Maibian Adder's gulps could be heard from underneath, and stopped shortly before she slithered onto his bed and around his neck.
"I would've slept even more if you didn't interrupt me."
"Sorry," he apologised as he stroked her skull with his fingers. "Anyways, today's the day. You know, about the 'thing' I was talking about?" Viripin caught on quickly as she remembered.
"Ahh, makes perfect sense! Barely anybody here to see you blatantly disregard the school rules. I love it." Theodore didn't know whether to feel praised or insulted by the snake's comment, but decided that the best choice was to ignore it. It's what he usually did anyways.
"You're coming with me as well. If I'm cornered by Filch, Snape or anyone roaming the castle, I'll need for you to create a distraction so that I can make a clean getaway." Theodore whispered as he grabbed his pocket watch from his bedside desk. Viripin spat in disagreement as she held onto the boy a bit tighter than he was used to.
"Why should I be the distraction? Why not bring Harry along with you instead? He's clearly bored over there." The snake pointed out.
"Unless Harry can turn into a massive lizard… wolf-thing and almost anything else, you're my best hope. Come on, Viripin."
"I don't know…"
"Oh, alright! There's no point in trying to stop you anyways…"
"You're the best. Now, here's what we're going to do. I'll take-"
"So, you just forgot that I could understand Parseltongue." Theodore and Viripin whipped their heads over to the other side of the room as Harry had his arms crossed, peering suspiciously at the both of them. For someone as intelligent as Theodore, he had to admit that he often failed when looking over small details like DISCUSSING A SECRET PLAN IN PARSELTONGUE WHEN HARRY WAS WITHIN AN EARSHOT. Theodore cursed under his breath as the scar-bearing boy walked over to his bed, arms still crossed.
"What are you up to, Theo? Are you really going to sneak around the castle, when Hermione told you not to?"
"Can I come with," asked Harry, sending his cousin spiralling into confusion.
"Uh, what? You want to actively take part in my rule bre- my risky plan?" Harry sat down on the edge of Theodore's bed with his glumness suddenly being eradicated from his being.
"Well, it's not like we haven't done anything like this before. Plus, I'm seriously bored." Theodore had to think this through first. Granted that Harry could be an asset to him taking his mother's will from Snape, he couldn't just switch the entire plan like that. He had to be cautious of the possible outcomes that could backfire on him. His plan wasn't inherently difficult, but it wasn't one that could be executed so lightly. Harry watched Theodore's face being trapped within contemplation, waiting for an answer.
"Alright. You can come with. Viripin, you can stay behind."
"Don't be so excited."
"Theo, what exactly are you going to do?" Harry asked curiously as he watched Viripin slink away out of sight. Theodore didn't say anything at first, but replied soon afterwards.
"I'm going to break into Snape's classroom to get something."
"What is it?"
"My mother's will."
"Your mother's will?" Harry said in a soft whisper. "But… wait, why does Snape have your mother's will? In his classroom, of all places!" Theodore shrugged as he stood up and tucked his watch into his pocket.
"Don't know. But I have to get it. Surely, something about me must be inside. There's no reason why Snape should keep ahold of it anyways."
"What d'you reckon is inside?" Theodore blew a sharp burst of air through his mouth as he scratched his head in thought.
"Money? A house? I don't care, as long as it's from her…"
Theodore's watch rung loudly inside of his pocket, breaking the silence between the two. He stopped the ringing and motioned Harry to follow him out of the dorm room, and out of the Tower. As they stumbled through the portrait hole, Theodore was explaining the basis of his plan to Harry, telling him about Snape's routine and how he leaves his classroom at specific times during the day. He told him how he fixed his watch to alert him, with different ringing sequences, of Snape's location in the castle five minutes before he reached there, so that they'd have time to hide if necessary. Harry was marked impressed by this and followed his cousin down the steps of the castle, the Heir's plan now fully in motion.
The two boys were now standing on the platform leading to the second-floor corridor, cautiously looking out for adults, or cat, on the lookout. Theodore's watch buzzed in his pocket in its first pattern, telling the boy that the greasy-haired professor had just left his classroom. The two boys hurriedly ran across the corridor, Theodore shivering so slightly as they passed the abandoned bathroom, and ran down a flight of stairs behind a pillar in the first-floor corridor to see Snape walking around the corner and out of sight.
"Nice! I guess we could get into his classroom at anytime now, huh?" Harry whispered as they scoured across the first floor.
They first tiptoed from their hiding spot behind the pillar, then started to walk more briskly as they covered the corridor quickly, finally reaching the marble staircase until history decided to repeat itself again. A sickening meow echoed from the top of the staircase as Mrs Norris glared at the two boys with her blood-red eyes, sitting comfortably as her owner was sure to come jumping out anytime now.
"Not this shit again," moaned Harry as they backed away from the scrawny cat. "Why is she everywhere?"
"Before what? Before I report you to the Headmaster," croaked Filch as he blocked the boys from escaping.
"Sorry, Mr Filch. We were just leaving."
"Leaving? Leaving where? To sneak off with-" His face turned pale as he suddenly realised who he had caught in the act. The same two boys from last year, before he became petrified. The one with the scar was nothing to be worried about, but the other one…
"Umm, Mr Filch," asked Harry nervously as he turned his head to Theodore. "Are… you okay?" Theodore's watch was vibrating in his pocket with a different sequence. This one was telling him that Snape was returning to his classroom again, and Theodore wasn't about to squander those precious five minutes for an old man who stopped them. Theodore tugged on Harry's arm and bolted down the marble steps, oddly unable to hear Filch's screams (if there were any) as they dashed across the Entrance Hall and down into the dungeons.
"Why… d'you do that for," panted the Boy Who Lived as they reached Snape's classroom door.
"Snape… is coming right now… and we only have like…" He glanced at his pocket watch. "Three minutes to find the letter. Let's get in before- oh no…"
"Oh no? Why oh no?" Theodore had his hand placed on the door, but it wouldn't budge when he tried to push it. He used both hands and pushed much harder, but nothing happened.
"The door… it's supposed to open when I put my hand on it but…" Theodore said quietly as he backed away from the door. "Why isn't it… did he change something…?" Footsteps were heard from the other end of the dungeons as Theodore looked straight at his watch, realising that their three minutes was spent. Harry luckily dived into the crevasse at the very last second, but Theodore wasn't quick enough to evade Snape's field of vision. Just great. Another plan gone to shit.
"Riddle! What are you doing, snooping around here?" Snape snapped as he loomed over the boy. "I heard you speaking to someone. Who else is here with you?"
"N-no one, sir…"
"An unlikely excuse. It's not unlike you to be sneaking around the hallways with your friends as if the word 'rules' didn't exist. I'll ask you again. Why are you here?" Theodore didn't even try to think this through. He'd just spew out the first thing that came to mind.
"It's about the Wolfsbane Potion, sir. I just wanted to ask when I'd get started but I couldn't get inside."
"My classroom is always locked during the holidays, you should know this by now, Riddle." Theodore looked away from Snape and glanced over to the crevasse, only just making eye contact with Harry hidden inside before Snape grabbed his attention again. "But, as a matter of fact, there is something that you can do for me." Snape pressed his palm against the door as it swung open, and swooped inside as Theodore waved his arms frantically at Harry to leave immediately, to which he didn't hesitate to do. As Harry's footsteps waned until nothing could be heard, Theodore closed the door behind him and walked over to Snape, who was scooping up the Wolfsbane Potion from the cauldron into a normal goblet. The description of the potion matched his research on it, having a silver-white colour that was as pale as a full moon with a formation of smoke. Definitely Wolfsbane. But the real question was: who was it for?
"Riddle, are you listening carefully?"
"Yes, sir." Snape set aside his ladle as he slowly rotated his body with the goblet in hand. His hands were perfectly still, unshaken and calm. He handed it over to Theodore who took it with the upmost precaution. Knowing how long it would take to brew such a potion, none of it could go to waste if spilt.
"What you're going to do is to give this to Professor Lupin, who should be inside of his office. Do you know where it is?" Theodore nodded his head, stopping suddenly when the potion nearly tipped over the brim of the goblet. Snape somehow didn't notice this as his eyes didn't explode with anger. "Do not stop for anything, or anyone. If anybody asks you why you are in the hallways, tell them that you're doing a task for me. And do not forget to tell him that there is a cauldronful. Got it?"
"Yes, sir," repeated the boy. Snape dismissed him as he turned his back once again. Theodore opened the door with one hand, and made his way to the DADA Professor's office, gazing at the swirling potion as his thoughts ran amuck in his head.
'Scars on his face? Wolfsbane Potion? Tell me he didn't do it… Tell me that Dumbledore hadn't gone and done it. Did Professor Dumbledore seriously hire… a werewolf?'
It was damn near plausible. All the evidence was right in front of him. Well, almost all of the evidence. But it was enough. Leave it to Dumbledore to hire a man infected with lycanthropy to teach vulnerable students, all cooped up inside of a castle guarded by Dementors. And it wasn't only the old man who must've known about this. Snape. Why would he brew Wolfsbane for someone he didn't know about? It made perfect sense.
Theodore reached Lupin's office door after strenuous amounts of concentration to balance the goblet up several steps, and knocked on the door. He heard Lupin invite him in, and pushed the door open inside. The office was nothing special at all. A desk, a wardrobe, a dusty bookshelf, a water tank with a Grindylow inside and a- wait, what?
"Theodore! How nice to see you again!" Lupin called from across the room. The Parselmouth closed the door behind him with his leg and walked over slowly, careful not to spill a single drop.
"Hello, Professor. Professor Snape told me to give this to you. I mean, I have no idea what it is so… Harry?" His cousin was sitting in the chair in front of the shabby wizard, giving Theodore a slight smile as he handed Lupin the goblet steadily.
"Harry and I were just discussing Grindylows and Boggarts. Fascinating creatures, Grindylows." Lupin said as he set the goblet aside.
"That's nice… I think that you're supposed to drink that straight away. And Professor Snape said that there's a cauldronful, if that means anything." Theodore added, eyes twitching at the prospect of Lupin being a werewolf.
"Of course, of course."
"Well… bye." And with that, Theodore exited the office and left for the common room to wait for Harry and the others till the feast started. The theory of Lupin secretly being a werewolf didn't near compensate for the fact that he failed to retrieve his mother's will, but it still was something. Not a lot that he could do with, though. He half-expected Dumbledore to pluck him from one of his classes to give him his usual start-of-the-year talk to discuss about Lupin, but that hasn't happened since. The old man's presence wasn't as prominent as before. Theodore guessed that when your school was littered with Dementors, you'd naturally be stuck inside your office doing-
His blood flow intensified as he saw it. The sensation from a few months ago returned when he was struck with unwavering fear as he saw… it. It was quick, it was fast. Almost too fast. But not fast enough to completely escape without the boy noticing it. Its shape was blurred but huge and black. Its ungodly snarls, as it bolted past, shocked Theodore's memories as it came back to him. It was just like in Divination with Harry's teacup. It was just like Viripin said. It was here to kill him when it failed before. The Grim was inside of the castle.
It was three in the morning, and Theodore was shuddering in his new setting inside of the Great Hall. The Parselmouth was curled up inside of his sleeping bag, eyes shut tightly to tell his fellow Gryffindors, no, his fellow student body that he didn't want to be disturbed. Like he wasn't thoroughly disturbed already. Theodore was situated in the right corner of the Great Hall, huddled against the Gryffindors, namely his three best friends, as his eyeballs flickered wildly under their lids. He didn't dare tell Harry, Ron and Hermione what he saw the day before. He couldn't chuck the weight of something so concerning onto them, on top of the current situation.
'Not only is the fucking dog in the castle… but Black is here as well? I'm done for, so is Harry. If the Grim isn't going to maul us to death, then Black will. He already tried to break into Gryffindor Tower. What's stopping him from breaking into here…?'
Viripin, who was disguised as a puffy green and black Chinchilla, snuggled against the Parselmouth's chest upon feeling his heart racing faster and faster. She didn't speak, but could feel him grow wearier by the second. Just like the year before when he was controlled by the diary. All she could do was to wait until the morning came around, but other than that… silence.
Theodore had his eyes fixated on the golden and white stars above, entranced by how they swirled and mixed in ways which soothed him almost. He couldn't sleep, and he was sure that the others weren't sleeping as well. He didn't bother to check as Percy was on the lookout to catch anybody talking with one another. The stars realigned and scattered repeatedly along the enchanted ceiling, nearly lulling him to sleep when he felt a slight tap against his skull. He shifted Viripin to the side, rolled over onto his stomach and brought his head up to be face to face with his Muggle-born best friend, whose hair was tied in its usual tight bun. Hermione had a face of anxiety which was mostly obscured by the darkness of the Great Hall, but Theodore still noticed.
"Yeah," said the boy softly.
"You've been extremely quiet about everything. Just wanted to know if you're okay, that's all." Hermione said in a whisper. Theodore nodded. The two turned their heads to Elvira on Hermione's left, who was shivering slightly inside of her sleeping bag. He looked at the Metamorphmagus some more, his hazel shimmering in suppressed fear until he turned back to Hermione.
"Are you alright?" He asked, to which she returned with a smile. She nodded her head, leaning on her elbows as she saw the handsome boy look away at Percy and Flitwick on the far end of the Hall.
"I'm sure that Black won't be able to break in again. Dumbledore would've surely put up new defences by the morning."
The Muggle-born squeezed his arm and said goodnight before slipping herself fully into her own sleeping bag, with Theodore doing the same. He held Viripin a little closer this time, a special type of warmth that came from her and Hermione's reassurance alike easing him into sleep. And he didn't even know how, with everything on his mind.
The next few days served nothing more than annoyance for the Parselmouth as the air was filled with Sirius Black's name being flung from about every corner of the castle, at every single hour. It was especially annoying for Harry as he was being dragged around to each of his classes like a wild dog that would disappear the second you'd release them from their leash. It didn't help when Lavender and Parvati would start to cry every time Harry would cross their paths. He'd always mutter something darkly under his breath, and would simply stay as far away from them as possible. An appropriate response. Theodore also noticed how Hermione would stick around his side a bit too often than usual, accompanying him whenever he'd go to Snape's classroom and waiting for him near the Entrance Hall when he'd finish. Naturally, Theodore wouldn't say anything about it and would carry on as if nothing had changed. Like he said before, he didn't mind.
Theodore was walking alongside Ron and Hermione to their next lesson, which was DADA, angrily discussing about Sir Cadogen, a particular nuisance of a painting that replaced the Fat Lady when Black slashed her portrait. It was today when he was nowhere to be seen during their free period, forcing them back into the Great Hall for nearly two hours until they made their way to DADA.
"Black oughta rip him from portrait instead. Why does the bad things happen to the wrong people," complained Ron out loud, earning murmurs of agreement from his peers, even from Hermione. They all cursed the knight painting as they opened the door for Lupin's classroom, chattering away loudly as usual. "And you know what else? I could've sworn that-"
Every jumped back at the sudden screech from the front of the classroom, soon holding in their groans and faces of confusion at the sudden change of their lesson. Snape was sitting in Lupin's chair, writing on Lupin's desk while he waved his wand to enchant a stick of chalk to write the date on Lupin's blackboard. What? The Gryffindor third-years slowly walked to their seats, glaring at the greasy-haired professor as he narrowed his eyes on all of them. Nobody dared to ask him where Lupin was. Theodore took his seat next to Hermione and remained silent just like everyone else. Snape started the register as he spoke each name with severe bitterness like usual, until he reached Harry's.
"Where's Potter," asked the substitute with a distasteful look on his face.
"He's probably late, sir." Seamus said quietly from the back of the class. Snape's lip curled into a horrid smile as his quill screeched when he drove it across his register in a seemingly cross shape.
"I supposed that Lupin would've let him off? Five points from Gryffindor for Potter's tardiness." Several sharp sniffs of anger came from nearly everyone as Snape continued with the list of names. Once the register was finished, Snape stood up from Lupin's seat and stalked through the classroom as he glanced at each child disapprovingly. "Professor Lupin is currently… unable to teach, and it shall be none of your business as to know why, so no questions will be asked or answered. Understood?"
"Lupin has not given any record on what he has taught you so far, and by the looks of it, hasn't followed the proper curriculum. Typical." Hermione and Theodore both exchanged looks and turned back to Snape as he carried on berating Lupin's teaching methods. "Not even a piece of parchment from the previous lesson…" Hermione raised her hand to most likely inform Snape of what they've covered, but was dragged down by Theodore who knew the consequences of her actions.
"Why did you stop me from asking him a question," hissed Hermione as she glared at him annoyingly.
"I know what you're going to ask, and it's not going to end well for anyone. Especially you." Hermione pulled her hand away from Theodore's grip and huffed as she turned her head to the back of the classroom, where none other than Harry came rushing inside breathless. Harry panted as he balanced his arms against his knees, catching his breath finally as he raised his head to be locked in eye contact with Snape.
"Well, would you look at that, children? It seems that your famous peer lacks any manners to apologise for his lateness. The cost? Ten points from Gryffindor. Sit down."
"Where's Professor Lupin," asked Harry bluntly, refusing to sit down.
"Sit down, Potter."
"Is he not well?"
"I said, sit down, Potter." Snape gritted through his teeth. Harry obliged as he trailed towards his desk next to Ron. The Potions Master then dramatically swished his cloak as he returned to Lupin's desk, flicking his wand to summon a book from the shelves. "Turn to page three hundred and ninety-four."
"Yes, Finnigan. Werewolves. Two points for speaking out of turn." Hermione raised her hand again to say what was on her mind, but was wrestled by Theodore as he kept it down. Hasn't this girl ever heard about self-restraint? Everyone flicked to page 394 as Snape watched them all intently, eager to scold one of them for taking too much time. The page was found as the questions began.
"How can a werewolf be distinguished from a normal one?" Obviously, Hermione's hand was raised straight into the air as everybody else kept theirs down. Theodore knew the answer to the question, and from the subtle glances of the substitute, Snape knew that he knew the answer as well. Theodore was aware of the trickery of Snape from how he'd detract points from given answers, even if they were correct. He never fell victim to this before, unlike Hermione on many occasions, but he wasn't going to try at a time like this.
"Nobody? Not a single one of you?" Snape drawled as he blatantly ignored the Muggle-born's desperate attempt to gain his attention. Snape glided in between the desks slowly and silently, humming in an eerie fashion until he settled on Neville, who was beyond frightened by his presence.
"Longbottom? Care to spill your 'extensive' knowledge to the class? I hear that you're an expert around here." Neville squeaked incoherently, avoiding eye contact at all costs. "No? How disappointing."
"He wouldn't know," said Parvati out bravely. "Werewolves is not until the end of the year and we-"
"Five points!" Hermione couldn't retain her patience anymore, blurting out her answer as Theodore was too slow to stop her.
"The distinguishable factors between a normal wolf and a werewolf is very minimal. For example, the snouts belonging to a werewolf has-"
"Are you so far up your own backside that you feel superior among your peers, just for the sake of being an insufferable, conceited know-it-all, Granger? Hmm?" Snape snapped at the Muggle-born.
"N-no, sir… I-I was only trying to-"
"Fifteen points from Gryffindor. Talk out of turn again and it shall be fifty." Her face burned with embarrassment as she was mortified, hanging her head low as tears formed in her eyes. But she wasn't the only person that was burning. Theodore's cheeks became hot with anger as he watched her weep silently, hidden underneath her bushy hair in undeserving shame. Snape had his moments, but this was crossing the line by a mile, and he had enough. The Parselmouth unknowingly placed his hand on hers as he did the one thing that the absolute brave, or the pitifully stupid, did to Snape. Call him out.
"But she was going to answer your question. If you ask a question, then you should expect an answer," countered Theodore as Hermione's head came up to stare at him.
"I suggest you watch that tongue of yours, Riddle. Be careful. Granger spoke out of turn, so she met the punishment." Theodore scoffed loudly. Big mistake.
"Punishment? Really? For answering a question correctly? That's just pure pettiness!" Gasps came from here and there, including from Hermione, but Theodore didn't care. Someone had to say it. Snape frowned maliciously as he walked over to the boy's desk, arching his back slowly as he brought his face closer to his own.
"Ten points for speaking out of turn," said Snape coldly as he exaggerated each syllable through his imperfect teeth.
"That's not fair!"
"But that isn't fair," Elvira butted in from the front of the class. "He's only defending Hermione after you gave her an unjust punish-"
"Detention for you too, Pierre-Sayre. There will be no privileges for anyone, including new students!"
"But how can you punish someone for something as little as speaking out of turn by taking twenty points? That's ridiculous!"
"TWENTY POINTS AND A DETENTION FOR YOU AS WELL, WEASLEY! I WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS TYPE OF DISRESPECT DURING MY LESSON!" Snape bellowed across the classroom, face sweltering with pure lividity that was rarely shown by him.
The rest of lesson felt like it would never end, with Theodore still feeling ridiculously hot with the internal anger that was barely seeping out every passing second. He kept his head down, avoiding Snape and Hermione's eyes alike until the lesson would finish. The final bell for the day suddenly pulled him out of his seething trance as he grabbed his bag and stood up while everyone else left for the door, presumably cursing Snape under their breaths and giving the three unlucky children sympathetic looks on their way out. The rest of the class soon cleared out as Theodore, Ron and Elvira trudged to the front desk to receive their detentions. Ron went first.
"Weasley, you'll be cleaning the bedpans in the hospital wing this Saturday, from six o'clock to ten thirty. Do not be late." Ron snatched the slip from Snape's fingers and strutted off near the door to wait for the other two. Elvira was given the same sentence as Ron as she took her slip with a reddened face and stood by the red head. But Theodore's detention was rather different.
"You'll be in my room tomorrow at three, cleaning every single crevasse of the room as well as replacing all the ingredients in the storage cupboard till seven thirty."
'So basically, the same thing that I do every fucking time?'
"But I'll miss the match tomorrow," disputed Theodore calmly with undertones of anger.
"Then you should've thought about that before letting your lip loose now, hmm?" Theodore took the slip and stuffed it inside of his robe pockets and scowled dangerously as he joined the other two.
"Just when I thought he was alright, he had to go off and be the prick that he is again," muttered Theodore a little too loudly as they exited Lupin's classroom. Ron put an arm around his shoulders as he smiled darkly at the thought of Sirius Black ripping Snape to shreds like the Fat Lady's portrait.
"We all know that the fucking twat had someone shit in his cereal. Everyday. But we'll get him back. Sorry that you can't come to the game tomorrow." Theodore sighed as he shook his head, scowl still strong across his face. It this meant anything, it was that he wasn't going to hold back on getting his mother's will, even if it meant blowing Snape's doors off its hinges. The three children barely made it out of the corridor when Harry and Hermione came out from around the corner, apparently waiting for them.
"Guys, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for you guys to get detentions! I just didn't know that he'd go off like that. I'm really, really sorry!" Hermione apologised frantically.
"Yeah well, only we can call you an insufferable know-it-all," said Ron as he calmed down. The Muggle-born smiled nervously as she looked down to her feet. The five children started to walk to the common room with Theodore trailing behind. It was hard to believe that even after a full year from being possessed by an evil diary which forced you to attack other students, your control over your anger hadn't improved at all. He took deep breath after deep breath, clearing his mind of Snape as he tried to think of something else, anything else.
"Huh?" Hermione fell back from the other three to Theodore as she walked alongside the angered Parselmouth. "Don't mention it." He suddenly felt something cold against his cheek as Hermione pressed her hand on it, sending something almost electrifying through the boy's system.
"You're burning." Theodore softened his face as he gently removed the Muggle-born's hand from his cheek, reddening her own with his smile. "Sorry for the whole thing."
"If you apologise again, then I won't forgive you."
"You're joking, right?"
"Theo? Tell me you're just kidding."
'Where the fuck is it?!'
His ears were pounding by the deafening sound of his blood pumping along with his frustration being risen to new heights. He was looking everywhere for it, every corner, every drawer, crack and shelf, but it wasn't there. It didn't turn up. Snape must've known that he'd try to search his entire classroom for his mother's will, there was no other way. The screams of cheer and jeers from the Quidditch game were somehow heard from the dungeons, inciting the boy with jealously but he couldn't lose focus. Not when it could be around here somewhere.
"Come on… come on! I know it's here somewhere!" Theodore left Snape's drawer as he returned to his shelves, emptying the various potions books as he flicked through to see anything hidden between the pages. Nothing. He cleared the ingredients cabinet and emptied out its contents to search the insides. Nothing. Every single corner had fucking… nothing. He slammed his fists against Snape's desk, angry at himself for failing. Angry at himself for not taking the opening sooner, instead of leaving it for later. Angry at himself for giving up. Giving up on his own mother's will. He didn't care if he got a house, a few Galleons or even a simple book. All that mattered was that it was from her, but now it was gone. He gave up on it, and now he gave up on her. He gripped his hair, ready to tear it all out when he suddenly ripped out Snape's bottom drawer without touching it, sending its contents sprawling all over the floor.
"Shit," hissed the Parselmouth as he bent down to gather the parchments off the ground. "Snape will do my head in if he sees the place like this." He scrunched up the parchments and threw them on the desk, brushing himself off until a few more slipped off the edge. Cursing once more, his hand reached for the soiled papers until he saw something hidden between them. Something smaller and… moving. He brushed away the insignificant parchments and took the image from the ground, bringing it closer to his face as he straightened himself against the desk. In the moving picture was three children, a little older than Theodore himself but still children. The girl he recognised instantly as his mother. Young, beautiful with vicious hazel eyes. That was Valerie Potter alright. The two boys were somewhat harder to distinguish, however the boy on the right of Valerie came to Theodore's mind soon enough. This had to be James, Harry's dad. He looked just like him, from the messy hair to his face shape. Theodore's eyes moved over to the third boy, who had his arm wrapped around James's broad shoulders, smiling behind his dark long hair. He thought that it had to be some old schoolfriend of Valerie and James, but upon closer inspection it started to become clearer to him. His skin wasn't as sallow as it was in his older years, his hair having a much more healthier sheen to it. His eyes seemed alive and so was his face behind his smile. Theodore could've guessed anybody else except him. Anybody else, if it wasn't for his hooked nose that he was well known for.
'Snape… was friends with my mum and Harry's dad? What… the fuck…'
No, this couldn't be right. Harry's dad and Snape hated each other. That's what Ms Padalin and Erveris told him last year. Yet here they were, smirking together in a photo as if they were the best of friends. Theodore knew that drawer to be locked at all times. No wonder. Wait… so if he was supposedly friends with Harry's dad, then why did he hate Harry so much? Did they stop being friends after the photo? Was it because of something else? This was all too much to process. Too, too much. Theodore didn't even know if he should tell Harry about his discovery. Would it do him any good?
Theodore whipped his head at the clock in the corner of the room, showing seven o'clock on the dot. He stuffed the photo back inside of the bottom drawer and waved his wand to lock it. After that, he stashed it away into his robes and grabbed his bag as he left the classroom after four hours of torturous labour. He wondered how Ron and Elvira would fare in the hospital wing. Finally freeing himself from the dungeons, he ran across the corridors and up the stairs, unshaken by the thunderous weather that was outside. The wind kept on crashing against the oddly-arranged windows, but the castle's fortitude was to be admired at. He reached the third floor corridor, and sprinted along. The game was probably over but he didn't want to spend another second in the hallways, just to meet Snape around corner. He'd probably lose control and hex him then and there.
Specks of rainwater sprayed onto his face as he crossed past the corridor next to the Clock Tower Courtyard, ignoring the accumulating water on the right side of his face-
The Grim was there in the rain, fur completely drenched in water, eyes still retaining that same madness from before. Theodore didn't know if it was rain dripping from its mouth or saliva, but it didn't matter. It was staring at him, thinking, planning, ready to dive for the kill. One paw forward, one step back. Another paw forward, another step back. Scared out of his wits, body and brain barely functioning, the Parselmouth couldn't do a single thing. He couldn't even reach for his wand without fearing that the dog would attack in a blink of an eye. The thunder crashed above as streaks of lighting illuminated the Grim's pale eyes as it… retreated? It backed away slowly from the boy, nostrils still flared as it continued to snarl, teeth still bared as eye contact was unfaltering until it was lost, as well as the Grim. It vanished. Theodore couldn't believe it. It had him right there with nobody to help him. Right there, but it left. Left without so much as attacking him. He couldn't believe it.
"Theo! Theo, you're here! I was looking everywhere for you," cried Hermione as she ran down the hallway to see the boy stuck in a single position, staring out into the courtyard. The Muggle-born's hair was completely soaked from the storming weather outside, as well as her clothes, leaving a trail of water behind her as she reached the unresponsive Parselmouth. "Theo! What are you doing here?"
"I… I… what…?" Hermione stood in front of Theodore, hoping to catch a glimpse of what he was looking at before spinning back around to look up at him.
"Theo, why are you still here?" He blinked confusingly, then set his eyes on the girl in front of him. The Grim was there, but now it wasn't. He saw it for real this time, but it didn't do anything. Didn't attack, nothing. It just left. Yeah, that's what happened.
"Just a little out of it, that's all." He replied as he scratched his right temple. Hermione raised her eyebrow, trying to read his eyes. Hazel to brown.
"Well, come along then," declared the girl bossily as she locked her fingers with his own, dragging him along the humid hallway. "Harry fell unconscious during the match because of the Dementors and now he's in the hospital wing! His broomstick is also broken, so go be a good cousin and support him!"
"Careful, Hermione! You're going to tear my fucking arm off!"
"One more time, Theo. One more time…"
Wasssuuuuppp! Sorry for the late upload, had to keep cutting and re-editing this chapter but it's here now. That little retcon that I told you about before starts in this chapter, so don't flame me for inconsistencies in the story please, thank you. I've also decided not to respond to reviews publicly as I feel like I should be more direct if there are questions, speculations, all that jazz. So remember, if you posted a review on here, make sure to keep an eye on your PMs. And I think that's about it. Hope you enjoyed this chapter, and I will see you later.
P.S: 100 FAVOURITES!