Progeny of Slytherin: The Beginning of the Riddle

Chapter 30

…odd was it that it felt like nothing happened between the two in the few days that they spent with each other helping Hagrid with Buckbeak's case. Theodore had felt the strain of his guilt from the previous week when Hermione wouldn't speak to him or Ron, but now whenever the Muggle-born would happily talk away about anything, all was forgotten and set aside. Even though Hermione was still stuck in the same predicament as before when she only had Theodore, Elvira and Hagrid to speak to, her demeanour seemed to be much more exuberant than the week before. Theodore had guessed that the reason for it was that she had at least one best friend back, although he was certain that there was more to it.

The moment that was shared between them, however, was not overlooked by Theodore, and he was certain that it was the same with Hermione. Having your skin flare up in heat every time you'd recall something that became vivid in your memory was now an oddity for him. Intense wasn't the word to describe it… was it? Theodore had gotten what he wanted; he had gotten more from the last time something like that happened between them, but… Theodore disliked anything that he wasn't familiar with; if it'd be a feeling, concept or even the material: it made Theodore feel uncomfortable. He kept this part of himself hidden from others as he knew that he would be perceived as almost heartless. But that's how he always been. He'd never wear his heart on his sleeve so casually, even in some of his weaker moments. To act on what he was feeling at that specific time would be unlike him. Although…

The week had finally come to a close, and Theodore and Hermione's efforts had been bled into helping Hagrid and Buckbeak. Theodore daresay that he had never given so much devotion to something which didn't involve deceit and trickery. In all honesty, it felt relieving to him. Although it meant less time with Harry and Ron, as well as neglecting his apprenticeship duties with Snape, he didn't really mind. Especially with Snape. From how they left their recent confrontation with the air being tense within Potions, Theodore couldn't see any form of reconciliation being revived between them. Didn't even matter if he was his godfather.

After the final bell went off for everyone to return to the usual, Theodore and Hermione made their way from the Defence classroom to the Entrance Hall to meet up with a nerve-wracked Hagrid and a chained Buckbeak hanging by the oak doors with the half-giant wearing a tweed-looking suit, which resembled more of his common attire upon approaching him. The two gave him reassuring smiles as they greeted him before they left the castle to head for Hogsmeade.

The walk over to the wizarding village was much more faster now that they weren't inhibited by a foot of snow. Finally arriving to the golden archway that seemed a little rusted in the afternoon sunlight, Hagrid settled onto a single spot as he reached into his pockets to fling a dead ferret to the Hippogriff as he snatched it viciously in the air.

"Ah, well. Today's the day. Never though' tha' it would come," Hagrid said tediously as he fixed his mottled green tie. "Bin a quick week, yeh know…! Gosh, I'm gettin' shivers in me bones!"

Hermione patted Hagrid's hand affectionately as she did her best to mask her anxiety as well, while Theodore laid his interest in Buckbeak as he listened to the other two.

"Just breathe, Hagrid, all right? Breathe. Everything is going to be fine; you have everything that we worked on in perfect order right there. It'll be right in front of you the entire time," Hermione assured.

Hagrid gave a mighty sniff before straightening his tie again. "Yeah, yeh righ'. Look at me. Already gettin' emotional, an' I haven' even star'ed me way there yet! Don' wan' ter cry in fron' o' ev'rbody when I get there now, do I?"

"How exactly are you going to get there with Buckbeak," asked Theodore as he slowly approached a cautious Buckbeak. "You're not going to… you know, ride him there, are you?"

"Course not! Wan' ter get 'im over there in one piece. Nah, we'll be takin' the Knigh' Bus instead."

"Oh, I've heard about that! It's supposed to be able to take you anywhere except underwater, right?" Hermione asked with curiosity.

"Yep, fastes' way ter anywhere, an' no other way faster," Hagrid replied as he threw another ferret to Buckbeak, which unfortunately smacked the back of Theodore's skull. "Sorry, Theo. Hey, I think tha' he likes yeh!"

In the time that Hermione and Hagrid were speaking to each other, Theodore had been absent-mindedly observing the Hippogriff as it followed the boy's movements left and right. Luck had been on his side as with absolutely no knowledge on how Hippogriffs acted towards humans, the Parselmouth was happily stroking Buckbeak's skull until he felt the pain on the back of his head.

Theodore grabbed the carcass from the ground and hung it mid-air for Buckbeak to clamp between his beak as he said, "Maybe I should've taken Magical Creatures instead of Divination, although that wouldn't have been possible anyway." He ignored Hermione's stifled coughs as he reached out to Buckbeak again.

"Maybe yeh should've. 'Arry also tamed the beast quickly as well, 'though I'm guessin' it's a family thing with the two of yeh being cousins an' all."

Theodore oddly thought back to his first Hogsmeade trip when he heard Hagrid talking with Fudge and the others. Another person who must've known about his mother… But that was to be held off at the moment. Getting Hagrid and Buckbeak to London was all that mattered now.

"Theo, could yeh do the thing fer me, please?" asked Hagrid as he held a firm grip on Buckbeak's chain. "Don' wan' ter give away abou' me wand."

Theodore nodded and brought out his wand to lift in the air when a massive crack, followed by a purple blur, came whirling into sight and hearing. Hermione hopped back a little as she had never seen the Bus before, but ridded herself of her fright as she looked at it with awe.

"So, it really is based off Muggle buses… And it has three decks! I wonder if-"

Her words were cut off as she was grabbed in a bear-hug with Theodore unfortunately being the first of the two to be trapped in the bone-crushing embrace of a tearful Hagrid.

"Great kids! Jus' great kids! S-so thankful fer the both o' yeh! R-really puttin' a flame inter an old man's heart! Bless yeh!" Hagrid cried as his sobs drowned Theodore and Hermione's winces and grimaces. Hagrid finally released them as he brought out his tablecloth-sized handkerchief to blow his nose in as he pulled Buckbeak into the Bus. Theodore and Hermione carried on waving (Theodore was forced to give a small smile to Stan through the windows) until the Bus boomed off out of sight.

"I hope we did enough," said Hermione worryingly on her tiptoes as she fiddled her fingers together. "I think I messed up on the Provocation section on his second piece of parchment…"

"Hermione, I was the one who did the Provocation section," Theodore reminded the anxious Muggle-born as he combed his hair with his fingers for stray ferret fur. "I'm definitely sure that we won't lose; we put so much into it that-"

"Wait, what are we still doing here?!" Hermione grabbed Theodore's wrist and hauled him away as they ran back up to the castle. She continually ignored the Parselmouth's barrage of questions as the Entrance gates luckily opened for the two just in time while they slipped past. Hermione was quick to stop the oak doors from closing completely as she conjured something spherical in between.

As the pair breathlessly stumbled into the Entrance Hall with Filch not noticing them as he vanished into the dungeons, Theodore held his chest tightly as he asked Hermione, "Mind explaining why you decided to nearly pull my arm off? The gates wouldn't shut us out, and the front doors certainly would've opened if we just pushed in."

"Of course, I knew that! I've read Hogwarts: A History multiple times, you know," she panted as she leaned against the wall.

"Still doesn't explain anything."

"Sirius Black, remember? Azkaban escapee, still at large, almost sliced your face off? Ring any bells? It was just in case he was lurking around somewhere; you shouldn't want to take any chances with him, Theo. Not even the smallest ones."

Theodore regained some of his breath as he straightened himself, realising that she did the smart thing (as usual). "Oh yeah. Thanks… Almost forgot about that…"

"You almost forgot that somebody nearly killed you? Look, you know what this means, right? That you can't go back into Hogsmeade until he's caught? I don't know why Professor McGonagall hasn't said anything to-"

Hermione once again had her words cut off as Theodore pulled her around to behind the hourglasses that belonged to Slytherin, twisting himself so that he could be obscured by the stone serpent as much as possible.

"Theodore, why-"

Snape came gliding across the Entrance Hall from the dungeons with a wheezing Filch tagging behind him as he looked especially malign at that moment. The pair was heading towards the direction of the hidden children as Hermione gave a squeak before Theodore clasped a palm to her mouth.

"What was that," Snape muttered to himself as he eyed the Slytherin hourglass. "Hmm… And back to pressing matters. What needed to be so important that I had to be removed from my classroom, Filch?"

Filch hobbled over to the oak doors and pointed at it saying, "Well, Professor, it was only fifteen minutes ago that the front doors of the castle had been opened! The Headmaster gave no notice of visitors, and I'm certain that the Hogsmeade trip isn't until tomorrow. I'm sure that a student has let theirselves out, Professor."

Snape looked at the door, then at Filch boorishly. "The only person who would have access to the keys of the front doors would be the Gamekeeper, and from where I'm standing, he doesn't seem to be here."

"But Professor! I've just checked to see Hagrid, and he's not in his home! Surely somebody might've seized his keys and left for-"

"If you're so adamant on finding the culprit for this mundane crime, then we can both find Hagrid together so that he can solve it," Snape gritted through his teeth. "After you?"

Theodore and Hermione looked at the two as Filch and Snape hurried away up the stairs and out of sight until their murmurings faded into nothing. Theodore kept his eyes peering around the corners in case they would decide to come back when he felt his hand being moved off from Hermione's face.

"Sorry. I-"

"Are you skipping your time with Snape again," Hermione whispered sternly as she frowned at the boy.

"No. Well, yes, but there's… I have a good reason for it."

"I doubt it, but try me."

Theodore carried on looking around as he replied, "I shouldn't tell you here. Snape could come back at any time now and from this angle, he'll spot us for sure."

"It's about that thing that you were after, isn't it?" Hermione whispered again as she slid down the interior wall of the hourglass crevasse to bring her knees to her chest. Theodore turned his gaze towards her and nodded as he too lowered himself a little. "Is it bad?"

"I don't know. It's…"

Hermione tugged on his sleeve a little as she said, "You can tell me, you know. I'll listen."

"It was my mother's will. That was what I wanted. Her will," he finally muttered before he sighed, feeling an odd shift in his behaviour towards Hermione as he revealed it to her so freely. "Snape had my mother's will, so I took it from him. That's why I… didn't want you to come. Because you'd probably try and stop me."

Hermione kept silent for a while before she spoke up again. "So that's why you're hiding from Snape? Because you took the will from him and he might retaliate?"

"No, nothing like that. Snape knows that I took the will, but he hasn't done anything about it, or hasn't done anything about it so far…"

"So, what is it?" Hermione asked softly as she was reminded of the times she had to beg for him to talk to her from the previous year. He didn't look like he wanted to say anything, to reveal what was disturbing him greatly, but to her surprise, he did.

"I found something inside of the will that… sort of makes sense, but… I can't believe this…"

"Theo…"

"Snape… is my godfather."

It always felt even more infelicitous on the tongue than in his head. Every time he'd mutter those words, it only filled him up with more contempt towards Snape. Why was that lack of belief still vacant within himself? Coming to terms with something like this should've been easy for him, given what had happened to him in the past.

"Have you told Harry and Ron about it?"

"I haven't told anyone else except for Viripin. I wanted to say something with the four of us together, but look how that turned out."

"But you have to tell them," emphasised the Muggle-born with a compromising whisper. "It doesn't matter if I'm not there; they should know about this just as much as I should."

"But won't they think-" Theodore started when Hermione interjected quickly.

"Theo, we already know things about you that… you yourself don't like, and I can really understand that you don't want to speak all the time, but keeping secrets again and again is just not healthy-"

"Hello there," said a familiar voice from around the hourglass, which forced a shrill squeak from Hermione as she bolted up to her feet. Lupin's scarred face appeared in full view as he smiled at the two children with an eyebrow slightly raised. "Everything okay?"

Hermione was the first to stumble out to the floors of the Entrance Hall as she straightened herself with her cheeks gaining a slight rosy tint. "P-Professor Lupin! W-we…! It's not what it looks like; we were about to go back to our common room-"

"So, the two of you weren't…?" Lupin asked as he wagged a finger to the both of them with his other hand hidden in his pocket. Theodore caught the slightest smirk from the teacher and quickly understood what he meant.

"No! Nothing like that, sir! We were just talking, that's all!" Theodore exclaimed as he too scrambled out from behind the hourglass. He desperately hoped against it, but he could feel his cheeks burning once again. "We were just seeing Hagrid off and we decided to wait here until there were no teachers. That's all we did, I swear!"

Lupin eyed them with suspicion that looked more comical than anything until he relaxed his face as he planted both hands in his pockets. "Then forgive me for thinking otherwise. I've learnt that Professor Snape has unfortunately taken the liberty of catching students sneaking around doing things that they're not supposed to do. Here seems to be a frequent spot, for some odd reason…"

"But we-"

"It's okay, Theodore, I believe you," Lupin said assuringly with an open palm. "It would be hard to believe that two of the brightest students in the third-year would act so recklessly against the school rules."

Theodore wanted to scoff as he thought of the numerous instances of rule-breaking that he had accomplished during his short time at Hogwarts, but held it within himself.

"But I cannot guarantee that I'll be so lenient the next time that I see you around here at these hours, am I clear?" The pair nodded their heads quickly so that they could escape their mortification. "Good. Now I believe that you both have a common room to be getting to, but before I let you go, I would like to thank you heavily for what you did for me, Theodore."

"Pardon? Oh, right! The… No, you're welcome, Professor."

"I'm assuming that Professor Snape has told you about my… predicament? If he has then I'm very grateful that you do not see me in-"

"Forgot that you're a teacher in a school, Lupin?" Snape's voice came from behind Theodore and Hermione as he stood at the top of the staircase with his arms folded, keeping his gaze on the scarred professor as he seemingly didn't acknowledge Theodore or Hermione's presence.

Lupin kept his head high as he walked over to the others whilst saying, "Just a little small talk, Severus. Nothing wrong with that."

"Yes, well I'd advise against it. You would find that these two in particular are prone to speaking whenever they want, especially when it is not needed."

"Well, then I would have to wait for such thing to happen since our talks are always delightful, hmm?" Lupin ignored the Potions Master's masked growl as he nodded at the two silent children before leaving up the stairs and out of sight.

Theodore couldn't even look at him. He heard Lupin's footsteps dying as he looked away to the House Hourglasses. Whatever malicious act that he had been waiting to inflict on the boy was coming; Theodore could feel it. What was he waiting for? He was there, wasn't he? Why the hesitation?

A swift breeze of air brushed against the Parselmouth's neck as he saw Snape from the corner of his eye gliding down the stairs, and through the entrance of the dungeons without so much as turning back to glare at him.

As the trails of his robes disappeared, Theodore wasted no time in remaining on the stairs. He rushed up the steps expecting to hear feet pattering behind him, but he heard no such thing. He swivelled around on the final step to face the Muggle-born who, unlike him, was watching the dungeon entrance intently as if she was expecting Snape to reappear.

"You heard Lupin. Common room, remember," Theodore called out from above. The faintest noise that resembled a sigh was heard by him as he looked at Hermione who still had her head turned. "Hermione? Come on, let's go."

It was as if she couldn't hear the boy the first time as she became slightly startled before joining Theodore alongside him. The two didn't speak a word to each other on their way to the common room; the embarrassment that was present within them was long forgotten, and overridden by the thought of Snape and Theodore.

As they reached the Fat Lady's portrait, Hermione opened her mouth to ask to know more, but held herself back. She knew that there would be a time when he'd tell her, not out of her exhortation, but when he wanted to. It could be soon, it could be later; all she knew was that he wouldn't keep anymore secrets from her. Right?


Theodore had arisen from a rather peaceful night as the previous day had been filtered in his dreams to thinking only about Hagrid and Buckbeak's case. Although it was vague, quite alarming yet amusing at the same time, Theodore had dreamt that an exhausted Buckbeak was flying away from a band of Aurors with Hagrid on top, as they were escaping the Ministry after losing the case. Of course, he thought that to take the dream seriously would be a blatant act of lunacy. Perhaps it was just his way of handling the nerves. That, or he was going mad.

Scrambling in his trunk to retrieve the will from its newest hiding place, Theodore lazily used his wand to poke through his clothes and uniform until he pulled it out, and kept it in his pyjama pockets. Although she didn't ask to see it directly, Theodore knew that Hermione would eventually break and demand to see it. And knowing her even more, he was willing to bet that she'd also want him to tell Harry and Ron which would be easy, considering that the next trip for Hogsmeade was on that day. Yet, something irked the Parselmouth into thinking that whatever he'd do would be sure to go awry.

"Morning," Viripin hissed gently as she slithered around the trunk and over to around Theodore's neck.

Theodore craned his head to check if the other boys were sleeping and carried Viripin over to his bed as he closed the tapestry slightly. "Had a goodnight's sleep? I thought that it was Harry hissing through the night until I realised that it was you."

"Sorry. I always had to control myself from being too loud before, when I would sleep. But it feels much better to let loose when everybody knows that I'm in here."

"Well, it's not only that. You've been a bit quiet recently. I didn't do anything wrong, did I?" Theodore asked with a bit of worry in his voice.

"Theodore, you would know if I were angry or sad at you. I've just been thinking, that's all," Viripin admitted as Theodore stuck his hand through the tapestries to retrieve a bag of bats for the Adder.

"What's been on your mind then? Surely, it has to be something important since you've barely spoke during the past week. Is it about the attack?"

She nodded her head and said, "It's about Black and the Grim. I've noticed something that I think to myself how stupid I am for not seeing it earlier."

"What is it?"

"Well, when you casted that charm to try and blind the 'Grim', I too was unfortunately unable to see, but I could still hear it when it was screaming and shouting. However, when Ron started to shout as well, it became harder to listen. I couldn't concentrate, especially when I heard you screaming as something must've attacked you."

"Yeah, it was Black who did it," Theodore interjected. "I mean… Ron saw him, and I saw the Grim, but-"

"But how was it possible that the both of them were in the same place at the same time? How was it that when the 'Grim' seemingly vanished, Black emerged with a knife ready to kill you?"

"Are you suggesting that Black is the Grim?" Theodore asked sceptically. It was a rather odd phenomenon that definitely required deeper insight, but since when could wizards transform theirselves into omens of death? But Theodore didn't once think to ignore what Viripin had to say for his interest was now rather piqued.

"I cannot be too sure about that. I have lived for more than fifty years yet I've never heard of an omen being an actual human being."

"I was just thinking that too. Black can't be that powerful, right? Then again, I don't doubt that Voldemort taught him a few tricks, being his right-hand man and all. I'm sure that I've seen something like this happening before; I can't put my finger on it…"

"That's not the only thing that I've noticed. Whenever I'd listen to the Grim, it's always different from other animals. The more simplistic an animal is, the easier it is for me to understand them. Usually, when I don't understand, it's when they're not exactly 'one' animal."

"You mean like hybrids?"

"Hybrids, failed Transfiguration attempts and cats. They're vermin anyways," Viripin added harshly before she continued.

"But even if it's hard to understand them, I can still recognise that they aren't actual animals. And when I listened to the Grim 'speaking' in the summer and last week, I couldn't help but feel that it was almost identical to Scabbers."

Theodore reeled his head forwards in confusion. "Scabbers? What does Scabbers have to do with anything?"

"It was vague at first because Scabbers would never 'speak' to me, possibly out of fear that the vermin would try to attack him when he was out of Ron's reach. I could always catch snippets of what he was saying, but they sounded 'garbled' and 'meshed', like it was a mixture of something."

"Scabbers didn't appear properly on the Marauder's Map on the night Harry gave it to me," muttered Theodore as if he were the only occupant awake in the dormant room. "His name was hidden underneath Ron's, but it was definitely longer than Scabbers. I think… I think you're onto something."

Dean's squeals that were conjoined with his yawns indicated to Theodore that the others were bound to wake up as well very soon. He whisked the tapestry aside and laid Viripin to the floor for her to return to her basket. As he raised himself from the ground again, Viripin's hisses were too loud to ignore as he lowered his head below the bed.

"Do you have any ideas? Are you going to look into it," she asked quickly as the other boys were steadily leaving their beds.

"It just came to me, although that'll mean that I'll have to stay behind or-"

"Theo, McGonagall wants to see you downstairs." Ron kneed him lightly in the ribs as he staggered over to his trunk.

"Why?"

"Last time I checked, McGonagall isn't my name. Get yourself clean and go down quickly before she gets pissed," Ron replied drearily before he shrieked as he stretched himself.

Thinking that it was too early to retaliate against Ron's morning sourness, Theodore left it at that and got himself ready before he entered the common room with the others. As they scrambled to the different corners of the room, Theodore met eyes with McGonagall near the portrait hole who was conversing with Oliver before he walked off.

"Riddle," she stated firmly as he joined her promptly. "Just the man that I wanted to see."

"Does Professor Dumbledore want to speak with me?"

"Actually, that is not why I am here. Of course, I am here for you regarding what happened earlier."

'Lupin didn't tell her about yesterday, did he? I knew that he didn't take us seriously!"

"Professor, it wasn't like that! I already explained it to Professor Lupin and-"

McGonagall straightened her glasses as she frowned in confusion. "What on Earth are you babbling about? It wasn't like what, the horrible attack that occurred last Saturday?"

"Oh… That," Theodore answered sheepishly.

"Now back to what I was about to tell you," continued McGonagall as her eyebrow became raised at looking at the boy further, "I've come to tell you that due to your unfortunate incident from the previous week, I'm afraid that I will have to terminate all of your future Hogsmeade trips until Sirius Black is captured, or at least driven away from the surrounding area of the school's grounds. I'm sorry if you are somewhat against this, but I will not tolerate any type of argument that you wish to counter my decision."

"Sure. I'll stay behind, no problem," Theodore spoke casually as he put his hands in his pockets. He expected her to be taken aback by his lack of resistance to something that was treasured by most students, and his expectance became a reality.

"Oh…! Well, I'm glad that you understand, Mr Riddle. Know that this is for your own safety, and not out of spite."

"Of course, Professor McGonagall. I understand completely."

She gave him one last glance of confusion before she said her farewell, and exited through the portrait hole. From the moment the sound of the portrait closing firmly hit the Parselmouth's ears, Theodore turned on his heels and sighed. Whistling felt appropriate at a time like this, but if he appeared too whimsical then…

His suspicions was once again proven to being correct. Theodore pursed his lips and blew out a faint whistle that was reminiscent to a song Viripin hissed previously with Hermione's hair being noticeable from a distance, bobbing up and down until she appeared right in front of him.

"What was that all about?" she questioned Theodore as she looked over to the closed portrait. "Did she talk to you about the Hogsmeade trip today?"

"She said I was banned from going anymore until they catch Black, but I wasn't bothered to be honest." Theodore watched the Muggle-born's expression twisting into one that mirrored McGonagall's.

"You didn't say anything to try and persuade her into letting you go?"

"Nope."

"Are you really going to stay behind, Theo, because it seems to me as if you-"

"Hermione, please," interjected Theodore as he grinned slyly. "You don't think I'm actually going to leave the castle when Black could've easily gotten to me from the inside, let alone out there, do you?"

...

"Well… I'm glad that you're in the right mindset, and that you made the right decision. I know that you're not that reckless. Besides, I'm sure that you'll find something else to do, other than sneaking around again…"

The conversation led on between the both of them for a little while longer until the swooping mass of Gryffindors suddenly aimed towards the portrait hole for their breakfast was awaiting them. Theodore was playing a dangerous game of tiptoeing above the crowd to look for Harry and Ron as he was near the edge of the moving staircase. He settled himself safely next to the bannister after being chastised by Percy and Hermione alike, earning glares from the both of them.

Breakfast went smoothly as Theodore sat next to Ron who acted as if they were a three instead of a four. Hermione didn't disapprove of this as she acted similarly like Ron was just a fellow student. Not to say that Theodore felt uncomfortable with this sudden divide, to which he did, but he knew that if there was any chance of the two somehow being friends once more, it was out of his power. Maybe it was a lack of trying to persuade both sides that Theodore didn't see any progress.

Once breakfast was finished, Theodore was attempting to be a middle ground between Ron and Hermione as they were walking side by side with the Parselmouth to the Entrance Hall. It didn't work out at all as Hermione briskly skipped over to Elvira in the queue while Ron was talking away happily with him and Harry. This was definitely out of his power, all right.

"Well then," Ron announced as he turned to pat Harry and Theodore on the shoulders, "I will see you two chaps later. Don't wait up, okay?"

"You feeling okay, Ron?" Theodore asked as the untroubled expression on the red head's face seemed a little too expressive.

"Never better, Theo. Sucks that you two can't come with. I'll see if I can sneak into Hog's Head to get you a goat horn." Ron gave them one final clap on the shoulders and regrouped with the others in the queue as the two cousins retreated slowly.

Theodore caught the faintest wave from Hermione and waved back before realising that his ears was prickling with heat. Turning back quickly as he rubbed his ears to cover the growing redness, Theodore then followed Harry up the marble steps as he noticed the same amount of gleefulness that was exhibited by Ron on Harry's face.

"So, what do you think we should do now that we're cooped up in here," asked Theodore as they walked up to the second floor. Harry suddenly became startled by Theodore's presence and asked him to repeat the question. "I said, what are we going to do today?"

"Well, I don't know about you, or rather I do, but I know for sure that I'm not staying behind a second time."

"Are you serious? After what happened last week with Black? You're not actually thinking about going to Hogsmeade again, are you, Harry? It's too dangerous."

"Black won't be able to see me if I've got my Invisibility Cloak on," mumbled Harry as he brought out the Map to keep his focus on it. "And if he is there, I'll know about it."

"And you don't think that Black doesn't know about your Invisibility Cloak either? He was friends with your dad, remember? What if he knows when it's being used or something?" Theodore questioned quite fiercely as Harry stopped to ponder on his words.

"Well, I haven't had any trouble with it so far. Black didn't try to attack me last time I went."

"Because Hermione, Ron and I was there with you. He wouldn't try anything if the four of us were together," Theodore returned with the same tone.

"But we're not all together, remember? Hermione and Ron aren't talking with each other, and you're staying behind."

"Which is exactly the reason why you- Are you even listening to yourself?" Theodore wondered if it was the same when the others would try and talk him out of doing anything brash. Harry was just as stubborn as he was.

Harry unfolded the Map and tucked it under his arm as he pocketed his wand before saying, "I'll be fine, Theo. Dementors are all around Hogsmeade and I know how to defend myself if they get too close. Black won't come for me when there's such a large risk in attempting to do so."

"Still is a stupid idea."

Harry grinned as they briefly stopped at the bottom of third-floor staircase with Harry leaving Theodore behind as he said, "You know if I didn't know any better, I'd think that you've been hanging around Hermione a bit too often these days. Your voice even sounds a little higher as well-"

"Shut up, Harry! My voice isn't higher, and I don't hang around her a bit too often!"

"Red ears, Theo. Red ears," chuckled Harry as he disappeared down the third-floor corridor.

Theodore didn't know whether to feel angry that Harry was blatantly taking him for a fool, or embarrassed that Harry noticed his ears burning up. The Parselmouth grumbled under his breath as he started to make his way to the first floor when he heard the faintest sounds of Harry speaking with Neville from the corridor above.

'For this, you owe me, Harry.'

He bounded up the stairs and turned into the corridor to see Neville happily chatting to Harry who looked like he was seconds away from breaking into a run and abandoning the other boy.

"Hey, Neville!" Theodore called out from the other end of the corridor. "Could you come here for a sec? I want to talk to you."

"All right. See you later, Harry!"

"Bye, Neville," Harry said quickly as his eyes twinkled with triumph and gratefulness towards his cousin. Theodore merely responded with a contemptuous glare and proceeded to walk off with Neville down the corridor. His hands were deep within his pockets as his frustration towards Harry was still dwelling inside of him. Make it Harry the one to look at death without so much as batting a single eye.

"Theodore? Didn't you want to talk to me?"

"Huh? Oh, right. You said you needed help with the vampire essay, right?"

"I… don't remember saying that, but now that you mention it, I can't understand a thing! You'll help me," asked Neville hopefully as they arrived on the ground floor as Filch was checking the last few people through.

"Sure. We just need to make a little stop at McGonagall's office for a little chat, then we'll get onto that essay. Plan?" Neville nodded attentively as he followed Theodore to the Transfiguration classroom.

They quickly arrived at the door as Theodore rapped at it with his knuckles until he heard McGonagall's voice allowing him in. He walked inside with Neville trailing behind him as he saw the Headmistress behind her desk with her hat being placed on the back of her chair.

Upon realising who her visitors, or being specific about Theodore, visitor was, she pushed her glasses up and straightened herself. "Changed your mind so soon? If you came here to try and persuade me into letting you go to Hogsmeade, then you are wasting your time, Mr Riddle."

"Actually, I came to ask you something specifically about what we learnt in lesson," Theodore admitted standing in front of her. Neville was hovering behind him as he gazed around the classroom as if he were a stranger.

"Is that so? Well, ask away as you wish; my time is quite free at the moment."

"I wanted to talk about Animagi. We covered it in class at the beginning of the year. I was wondering if you could explain it to me a little deeper than before."

"Well, I understand that you're curious about the subject and I am, quite frankly, delighted to see that one of my students is taking a further interest in the topic, but may I ask why?" McGonagall said as she leaned in with a similar amount of suspicion compared to her confusion from before.

Theodore didn't even twitch as he said with an infallible smile, "Wouldn't hurt to learn ahead. I figured that since I want to take Transfiguration for my N.E.W.T.s later on, I should at least make an effort to put a little extra work in when I still have the time." Theodore almost couldn't believe it when he saw McGonagall's face softening as she gave him a genuine smile.

"I have no doubts that you'll make it that far with flying colours, provided that you are willing to put the work in. Do not expect me to put you on if your classwork regresses in any type of way, is that clear?"

Theodore nodded and was motioned around her desk as McGonagall summoned a thick book from her bookshelf in the far end of the room. "You know, I was just seventeen when I became an Animagus. Professor Dumbledore was the one who helped me through the process when he was the Transfiguration professor here."

"How long did it take?"

"An ungodly amount of time, that's for sure. Now, An Animagi Guide: Transfiguration. This was the textbook from when I was student that I followed biblically. Quite rare and quite irreplaceable, Riddle, so I would appreciate it if you would refrain from careless handling."

Theodore took the oddly light book in hand and observed the faded print of the front cover. A woman was transforming herself halfway into a shark with a tail and fins protruding from her sides. He thought to himself that that would be the most useless form ever, should they be on land.

"Well, thanks for letting me borrow the book, Professor," said Theodore as he turned to aim for the door with Neville bolting up from his seat to join him. "I'll get it back to you very soon-"

"You will do no such thing!" snapped McGonagall as she frowned instantly.

"But I…"

"Not only are you an intelligent as well as a very gifted student, Riddle, but you are as equally gifted as you are sneaky! You may very well be capable of using the information to turn into an illegal Animagus, may I add, and I simply will not allow it!"

"Professor, I wouldn't even attempt to try and turn myself into an Animagus," Theodore defended truthfully. "It's only for a bit of research, that's all! Nothing more, nothing less."

McGonagall blew a sharp breath from her nose as she tapped her desk impatiently. "Five boys in the past said the exact same thing and got the better of me in my weaker moments. Because I was too lenient with them, the consequences of my mistake was catastrophic! The things I had to do was insulting and well deserved towards me that I can never speak of it again, and I will not put myself in such a position for a second time!"

"Professor-"

"If you want to read through it, then you stay right here where I can see you," McGonagall instructed as her brief fluster of anger (Theodore could detect slight regret) withered away gradually. "Longbottom, unless you too have an interest in Animagi, or want to know about your questionable progress in my class then I suggest you return to the common room."

Theodore lightly brushed past Neville who waddled to the front desk while the Parselmouth slumped into the free desk that was closest to McGonagall. Sensing that it would be useless to take notes with her watching (and impossible as he didn't bring his quill and ink bottle) he turned the pages leisurely for his eyes to finally fall on the risks of the transformation. He drowned the noises of Neville's stammering as he payed closer attention to something quite intriguing.

'Says here that remaining within the transformed state of an Animagus for excessively copious amounts of time consecutively, the wizard/witch can experience detrimental effects from it. Yeah… yeah… Here! One of the most prominent effects of prolonging the transformation is mental deterioration, especially in those of aggressive animals. No shit, a great big black dog isn't aggressive! Azkaban probably made him even worse.

'Another effect which could sometimes prove to be fatal if the transformation back into human occurs with too much stress is physical deterioration. Remaining in an Animagus state for too long can have alarming effects such as permanently changing the wizard/witch's physiology that is akin to the animal counterparts. Well, I don't know if this applies to Scabbers, but he looked really sick before Crookshanks ate him. He's dead anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter that much. But you, Black? Far from it. At least, from now.'


"Wha' are yeh doin' here, T-Theo? Yeh're not allowed ter… ter…" Hagrid's sobs came from his belly as they were so thunderous that Theodore and Hermione had to grab hold of the oversized table to stop theirselves from toppling over. The half-giant's eyes were reddened deeply while the tears splashed onto the ground. Theodore had never seen a man so broken before in his life. Ever.

"Well I couldn't just let you be here by yourself," consoled Theodore as he anxiously glanced over to Hermione on the other side of Hagrid. "After everything that we did to help you, it would be cruel not to come."

"But wha' abou' McGonagall, huh? She'll flip if she sees the both o' yeh here, 'specially yeh, Theodore," Hagrid choked in between tears. "She'll have a go at all o' us fer sure…"

"I was the one who told Theo to come with me, Hagrid, and he's right. We couldn't leave you to deal with this by yourself after what we did for you." Hermione's eyes were just as red, but she was making a great effort not to cry as well.

"Tha's sweet o' yeh, 'Ermione. Not righ', but sweet o' yeh."

"Hagrid, what happened?" asked Theodore finally as Hagrid seemed to simmer down into heavy breathing. "I was certain that our counter for the case was strong. There was no way that you could've lost! Hermione and I went over the things that you had to say and everything!"

Hagrid took a deep breath and used a rugged sleeve to wipe away any stranded tears that didn't fall onto the floor or into his beard. "Yeh did, an' it helped me greatly. I though' fer a sec tha' I was gonna stumble all over me words, but everythin' was rollin' out perfect. Couldn' believe it meself tha' I was so confiden'."

"But if you were doing so well, then how did you lose," Hermione quietly.

"When I was finished with me counter, the entire court was in me favour, an' in tha' split sec, I knew tha' Buckbeak was scot-free. Almost bursted inter tears righ' there. But…"

"Come on, Hagrid, you have to tell us."

"Lucius Malfoy was part o' the case on tha' day. Since it was his son who got attacked, and it was his idea fer the whole thing, I guessed he didn' like tha' we were abou' to get away so easy so… He brough' out a sob story abou' how Draco was a target fer the attacks at school; said tha' I was connected on both accounts."

"He didn't," seethed Theodore as he clenched his fist.

"He can't do that," Hermione exclaimed as she frowned at the revelation. "Don't tell me that everyone ate it all up?"

"Lost by one vote," muttered Hagrid sadly as he held up one thick finger. "One vote was all tha' it took fer me ter lose the case. I can'… I jus' can'…"

The wailing returned as Hermione proceeded to pat Hagrid's elbow while she looked over to Theodore who was clearly ready to explode. He always knew that he had a reason to dislike Draco's father in the past, but now it was outright hatred. It was Draco's own fault for aggravating Buckbeak in the first place. It was Theodore's fault that Draco was attacked last year. Or was it really…?

"Gonna lose Buckbeak… Could even lose me job after this… This is wha' I do ter Dumbledore after everythin' he did fer me? Why can' I ever do anythin' righ'…?"

The two couldn't do anything to help elevate the half-giant's mood as they left twenty minutes later to avoid getting into trouble after hours. Theodore had to be especially cautious as he was almost seen by McGonagall who was patrolling the fourth floor. If it weren't for Hermione's keen awareness, who knew what would've become of him?

They soon entered the common room after a narrow miss with Mrs Norris and listened to the happy chatter that was amongst the other Gryffindors; this didn't help lift their spirits one single bit. To see them so joyful only dampened what little happiness they had left, and Harry must've noticed this.

"What's got you down," Harry asked as he walked over to the two. He looked uncharacteristically dismal and angry the closer Theodore looked at him.

"It's about Hagrid and Buckbeak," replied Hermione before she sniffed loudly. "They-"

"Harry, why d'you go off for? I was just saying that we shouldn't-" Ron immediately frowned upon seeing Hermione next to Theodore as she stiffened, readying herself for anything that Ron had to throw at her. "Pity party? What, did Crookshanks finally kick the bucket…?"

"Ron…"

"…or is it something else?"

"There's no time for any of this, okay!" Theodore said frustratingly. "Come on, Ron! This is serious!"

"What is it then?" Ron asked as he crossed his arms.

Hermione broke the silence between the four of them as she spoke in a meek voice. "Hagrid… Hagrid lost. T-they're going to… execute Buckbeak and…"

"And…?" Ron added as he seemingly dropped any resentment for her. "It… it can't get any worse, could it?"

"Hagrid could also lose his job as well."

"WHAT?!" Harry and Ron shouted together. Heads were turned as Theodore motioned the entire group over to the vacant back tables to speak more privately. Harry asked for the entire story and Theodore delivered with every single detail being said. Ron's face became flushed with anger as Draco's father came into Theodore's summary of what Hagrid explained to him.

"I fucking knew he'd pull something like that! For that, I hope that Buckbeak shreds Malfoy into pieces, the both of them!"

"We should've helped," Harry uttered guiltily. "Instead, we were worrying about winning the match and my Firebolt."

"It's all right," Hermione returned with a small smile. "We don't blame you at all."

"But we should've helped!" Ron's face suddenly lit up as he remembered something vital. "Wait? Did Hagrid talk about an appeal or something similar?"

"Um… He didn't mention it now that I think about it…"

Ron clasped his hands together and said, "Then there might be a fighting chance! Appeals can change the decision made in court, if it's good enough!"

Theodore was glad to see that Ron was taking initiative of the situation, but still couldn't muster a smile. Lucius was still a school governor; there's no telling what he was capable of with the Committee behind him. What if the appeal ended up as just a huge amount of wasted effort like the counter? The only way Theodore could see Buckbeak alive and well was if unlawful acts occurred underneath the Ministry's radar, but an idea like that sounded so absurd that it was near laughable.

"And I thought that this Saturday would be better than the last. Things couldn't get any worse…"

Harry coughed.

"What?"

"Funny you should mention that…" Harry said a little more wearily.

"What is it, Harry?"

"Snape took the Marauder's Map when he caught me leaving through one of the secret tunnels to Hogsmeade, and… I left my Cloak in the tunnel as well."

"Oh my god," breathed Theodore as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Harry, I said not to go-"

"I know what you said, okay? I know I should've listened."

"He probably thinks that it's a bit of old parchment, so it'll be fine. I don't know about the tunnel, but if I could get into his office, I-"

"You can't," Harry said quickly.

"And why's that?"

"The Map was blank at first when he took it and I thought that he thought that it was just a blank piece of parchment, but then he made it work somehow like he knew exactly what it was! I would've gotten a weeks worth of detentions had it not been for Lupin, and Snape still kept the Map! If you try to break inside of his office, then he'll know."

Theodore felt the slightest kick to the shin and ignored the subtle glances from Hermione as he told Harry not to worry about it. Ron and Hermione quickly forgave and forgot, and started to build ideas on the appeal while the two cousins were discussing about Hogsmeade and the unfortunate run in with Snape. Theodore mused on the thought that if he were to visit Hagrid or enter the library in the Restricted Section to learn more about Animagi, Snape could be watching him the entire time, probably to catch him out in revenge for the will. As much as he needed to, Theodore couldn't afford to get into any trouble, especially with him. Black would have to be the least of his troubles, and Theodore didn't once feel safe about thinking that.


The days were racing by as Theodore barely acknowledged them, keeping his nose inside the book about Animagi in McGonagall's classroom whenever he wasn't working on the appeal with the others. March was spent mostly in the library with Ron taking charge of the four. Theodore never saw him working so hard for anything before; it was almost unreal.

That didn't mean that he wasn't learning about Animagi in the process as well. In fact, Theodore had delved quite deeply in the topic as he reviewed countless facts and history that became burnt within his brain. It was only until the beginning of April could he perfectly recall that an Animagus would have distinct markings and similarities with their animal form which made them indistinguishable.

'Long, dirty black hair for Black? Check. Long, dirty black hair for the Grim? Check again. And it just keeps on getting easier.'

Theodore became so immersed in the subject that he almost overlooked his passing birthday, although that was becoming a tradition, given his last one. Harry, Hermione and Ron still decided to give it some celebration, even though he brushed it off like it was nothing. The army of owls returned, however, as they pecked and snapped at various windows to deliver the letters from all of his admirers. Hermione warned him of the potential Love Potions that could've been hidden inside, but Theodore called her paranoid by recalling that he hadn't been spiked before. Didn't stop her from checking through them thoroughly.

Easter was nearing with the date of the execution still remaining untold to both the quartet and Hagrid. The half-giant assured them that he'd send a letter the second the Ministry would give him a heads up, and the wait for the unknown had made them all uneasy. They would have no clue if it was the week after, or the next day, and the appeal was barely halfway done. All they needed was a miracle. Just one miracle…

"Somebody's sulky," whispered Theodore across to Hermione as they sat through Ancient Runes, tracing and rearranging symbols with their wands. "What's the matter?"

Hermione dropped her wand on the desk as her conjured symbols faded in the air while she looked darkly outside the window. "Malfoy…"

"But you've been with me since morning, and we haven't seen him at all today. He's in Care- Right. Nearly forgot. But what did he do?"

Hermione shook her head and restarted her symbol-conjuring that set her back a few minutes after class. Theodore waited for her outside the classroom until she stepped out of the door, looking even more annoyed than before.

"Seriously, what did Draco do to you? You only answered nine questions in class, which is pretty a low number from you," said Theodore as they made their way to Charms.

"It's nothing, Theodore. It's just when Malfoy opens that mouth of his, I… He's sick. Just sick. Him and his father. A pair of complete shhh-"

Theodore held a stoic face that hid his laughter. "Swearing isn't illegal, you know. You're allowed to do it."

"No. I'm not going to let him get to me. I am going to remain completely... calm," Hermione breathed as they reached a junction within an empty corridor. She stopped near a broom cupboard and brought out the tucked Time-Turner as she swung the cupboard door open. "Muggle Studies was moved to this morning, so I can't come with you to Charms."

"You'll be there anyways, so it doesn't really matter," he said casually with a simple shrug.

"See you later to you too, I guess." She entered the cupboard and closed the door firmly behind her.

Theodore waited for ten seconds and opened it to see a pile of rusty buckets, a flapping dirty rag and several rubber ducks, but no Hermione (and a lack of brooms for some reason). He then closed the door and headed off for Charms by himself.

As he met Harry, Ron and Elvira at the entrance of Flitwick's classroom, Theodore couldn't see Hermione coming into the class or inside the classroom either. Perhaps she was just late, he thought to himself. There was no way that she'd miss Charms. Theodore was then paired with Elvira as the two practiced Cheering Charms on each other whilst speaking.

"Have you seen Hermione," asked the Metamorphmagus as she brought out her sleek wand from her pockets. "We were in Magical Creatures together, but she disappeared after she slapped the Malfoy boy in the face."

"She did what?!" Theodore asked in complete shock. "That's what she did?!"

"Yes. He said something rather rude and out of nowhere, she slapped him across the face. Very well deserved, should I say. But I haven't seen her since. I was wondering if you had any idea, even if you weren't in the same lesson together."

"She'll come. Skipping Charms is practically sinful for Hermione. There's nothing to worry about," said Theodore as he was still in awe at the thought of Hermione slapping… well, anybody.

Elvira's face turned brilliant pink as she beamed at the Parselmouth before she casted a single Cheering Charm that kept a smile on Theodore's face for the entire lesson.

"Excellent, Miss Pierre-Sayre! On your first try too!"

Hermione didn't show up at all. Harry and Ron speculated that Draco had a part in her disappearance, but Theodore was willing to bet that it was something different. They searched for her when the lesson ended, but to no avail. Even Theodore was getting glimmers of anxiety as he saw Draco strutting in the Great Hall during lunch with a prominent red mark on his cheek.

Harry, Ron and Theodore finally decided to give up on scouring for the Muggle-born as they made their way to Divination. Theodore suggested checking in the common room, but Elvira stated that that was the first place she looked in. They trekked up the lengthy number of steps and stood around the ladder waiting one by one. Theodore was the last one to go and grabbed hold of the legs firmly before he heard somebody panting coming from behind him. Hermione was balancing her hands on her knees as her face was fully pink. She looked like she ran up the steps instead of climbing like everybody else.

"Time-Turner… was starting to jam up," she panted as she read the boy's confused expression. "I was sent back four hours ago… instead of two and had to hide in the bathroom until now. I almost forgot until the last second..."

"You missed Charms," Theodore said blankly. He turned and climbed up the ladder while the girl rubbed her forehead in self-denial.

"How could you forget to go to Charms…? One of your main subjects…!"

The class were already in their seats as the smell of the heated room washed into Theodore's head. He blinked profusely before joining Harry and Elvira on their usual table. Three crystal balls that were each containing swirls of gaseous matter were separated on each table as Theodore sat down. He groaned. From what he heard from the older students of Divination, crystal balls were described as the worst part of the entire subject. Trelawney even made a boy cry in his class due to a prediction that she corrected.

"Today, we shall be observing the medium of crystal balls," announced Trelawney as she bounded from her fluffy oversized cushion. "This will no doubt be on your final exam of the year, and I have yet to see any brilliance from any of you, except for some." She beamed at Lavender and Parvati before turning back to the rest of the class.

"Now in order for me to help you see the fates that you posses, I must be able to See inside you."

Several people giggled while Hermione scoffed loudly. Trelawney managed to hear her above the laughter as she glowered at her before resuming her normal state of self. "Yes, laugh! Laugh while you can, but know the crystal balls will not hold back, should your fate be disastrous!"

"The only thing that's disastrous is the fact that Dumbledore hired her," whispered Seamus from the table across. "How much do you want to bet that Dumbledore took a few too many Firewhiskeys during her interview?"

"Just a few too many? I bet you that when he found out that he needed a new Divination teacher, he just said 'fuck it' and downed the lot from Hogsmeade," Ron whispered back, inciting multiple howls from each corner of the room that even Hermione cracked a little smile.

Trelawney switched on as she scowled at all of the faces that were drowned in laughter; she was completely unaware of the joke. The only two people who didn't laugh were Lavender and Parvati.

"You ought to show her some respect! Why can't you treat her like you treat Professor McGonagall, hmm?!"

"Because Professor McGonagall is the furthest thing from being a fraud," said Theodore in a lowered voice to Harry.

"Now may I please proceed with my lesson?!" Trelawney shouted in a rare shrill tone. Everybody who laughed wiped their tears away and settled down finally to listen to the eccentric professor. "Thank you. Now, as I was saying, I must be able to See inside you in order for me to draw out those energies, those power and forces that will be required to gaze into the depths of the Crystal.

"Seeing into the Orbs of Determination and Fate is absolutely complex and requires only the sharpest of minds to conquer the limitations that we have set in ourselves as a wizarding whole. So, embrace and enhance the Inner Eye from within; See what fate is held inside the crystal! Off you go, dears."

Theodore heard the 'faintest' mumbling from Hermione's table as he peered into his own crystal ball. Any thoughts or even the motivation to think about his own future was ebbing away rapidly as all that he could think about was Black and Scabbers. If he was right about the two, and Theodore's level of confidence in his suspicions had exponentially jumped since he first read about Animagi, then he couldn't think of himself as anything but brilliant. If he was right, then he would've been able to understand how Black escaped and possibly how to capture him before he'd try to kill him or Harry. And Scabbers. If he really was an Animagus before he died, then that could be worth looking into as well. It would eventually lead to a dead end, but the thrill of the discovery would fill him up immensely.

The Parselmouth carried on musing over his investigation on the two possible Animagi; his eyes were fixated on his crystal ball as the thin rays of sunlight that managed to pierce through the cracks of the stained windows, illuminated the wisps that floated inside.

"Can you see anything," asked Harry apathetically as his words were slurred by resting his cheek on his palm. "I can literally see nothing else but smoke."

"I thought I saw something like a sword or a snake, but it wasn't clear enough," Elvira replied as she rubbed her chin. She stared at the crystal ball disapprovingly as if the task at hand was an insult to her intelligence. "I should've taken Arithmancy instead… What do you see, Theodore?"

"Me? I see fingerprints and grease. When will this lesson be over? I can't stand being in here anymore, especially with all this heat," Theodore complained as he unstuck his white shirt from his sweaty skin. "I shower more times after this lesson than Herbology now…"

The lesson carried on in silence as the strong perfumed aroma that wafted around the room, doused nearly everyone as eyelids drooped and flickered. Theodore didn't know why he couldn't just force himself to drop onto the floor, knowing that nobody would care. His concentration was atrocious.

"Theo, how are we supposed to get the Map back from Snape? I know I said we shouldn't try, but it hasn't been sitting well with me."

Theodore turned his head sluggishly to his left and grumbled, "We don't. If he can work it, then he can see us. There's no way that I'm getting on Snape's bad side."

"I thought you already were. What's up with that anyway? You haven't even gone to him for a whole month, which is perfectly understandable."

"Um… I'll tell you later…"

"Is it about the will?"

"I can't tell you here-"

Trelawney swooped in from the other side of the room and planted her palms firmly on the table, startling a sleeping Elvira. A grin of interest and slight madness was etched onto her face as she stared at the two boys, who were now too disturbed by her expression to remain in their drowsy states.

"I knew it! I always knew it! The communication between the two of you has always struck to me that you know of each other!"

"Well, he is one of my best friends, so…" Theodore said in a near mocking tone. However, Trelawney ignored that and continued.

"But there is something deeper. Much, much deeper! Perhaps you were both born on the same month-"

"Not even fourteen yet…"

"-or maybe… maybe you share a common ancestor or two. Bonded by blood, perhaps? Please, allow me to See your fates within the crystals," she bubbled while pulling Theodore and Harry's crystal balls closer to her.

'This should be fun.'

Trelawney squinted through her glasses as she tapped each ball rhythmically with her fingernails. Everybody turned their heads towards her and watched intently. If it would be like the very first lesson, then this was sure to entertain them all the way to the common rooms.

"Yes… Yes…! I See, I See! Vines that intertwine; a legacy shared between the both of you! Like a mirror, but… another face comes into the picture… a familiar face…"

Theodore and Harry gave each other blank stares before they turned back to her.

"The Mists seem to be changing and… it's here… Intertwined as I said before; it's here, right for the both of you! The omen! The Grim!"

Theodore scoffed simply and was about to rebuke her fraudulent statements when he heard Hermione's voice from the other table.

"The Grim again? Isn't there anything else that you can predict other than the same thing? Is there even any basis in what you just said?"

Theodore could see the ticks in Trelawney's enormous eyes as her lips quivered for a second. He always knew that this day would come, and he was going to enjoy every second of it.

"Divination does not settle itself on 'basis' as the foundation, for there are no limitations in the subject. Surely, being an intelligent girl as yourself, you would understand that," Trelawney shot back with masked anger.

"What I understand, Professor, is that there's no contextual evidence that what you literally just predicted should be taken seriously. You said the Grim would kill them months ago, but they're still alive."

"Theo said that he was attacked by the Grim," countered Lavender angrily, "so what do you have to say about that?"

"First of all, it wasn't the Grim that attacked him. It was Sirius Black. Second of all, he is still alive," Hermione enunciated with crossed arms. "There's no proof that the Grim actually and will in the future, kill Harry and Theodore. It's ridiculous."

While he agreed that the Grim wouldn't try to kill him or Harry again, because it was never there, Theodore did feel a little uneasy knowing that he was still marked. If he told the others on what he found out in his spare time, then maybe they could-

"…so sorry, dear. I'm afraid that being so close-minded will only result in your failure to See beyond the beyond. I would like to help you, but I'm afraid that the close-minded tend to be rather slow in my opinion."

Hermione flared up with anger as her cheeks shifted into a violent shade of red. Everyone braced theirselves; they never seen her anger risen to such levels that they almost flinched back. Theodore felt a sudden urge to walk over to her and tell her to relax, but Hermione did quite the unexpected.

Instead of intensifying her rebuttal against the professor's claims, Hermione simply grabbed her book and chucked it into a pile of junk that was kept in the corner. The stitches in her bag nearly ripped again, but she looked too furious to care; her face said it all. She swung it over her shoulder and stomped to the trapdoor and vanished. The only sound that echoed through the room was the hard slam of the trapdoor and nothing else.

"Well, she shouldn't have been arguing with Professor-"

BANG!

"ARGHHHH!" Lavender and Parvati shrieked as they clutched their chests in complete fear. Everyone darted their heads to where the noise came from and immediately found the culprit. Seamus was grinning meekly as his table became completely singed with a cracked spherical base of crystal releasing blue mist into the air. Luckily, fragments of the crystal ball pierced the ceiling only.

"Oh… um… My bad…"

Trelawney sighed as she conjured a notepad and quill, scribbling down as she muttered, "Finnigan has now burnt my table again… and has destroyed a crystal ball… New school record for property damage… Unlucky, Mr Finnigan. Very unlucky."

Not much happened in this chapter, but this isn't the end of the conjoined chapters. I've thinking a lot about how this year is going to end and what I've got planned could shift the later story entirely. I even have plans for the very final chapter, buuuuuuuuuuut back to here. Theo playing little detective and all could end up really good, or really bad for him. Hope you liked this chapter. Later.