Nobody ever asked my birthday

Apprentices!

"What do you mean, Professor Dumbledore handed you apprenticeships as a punishment?!"

Harry thought he'd been fairly clear. He also thought it was obvious that Hermione wanted to vent.

He was wrong.

"I didn't even know you could get an apprenticeship while still at Hogwarts..."

"Just because nobody's done it this century..." Draco drawled.

Harry shot Draco a look that clearly said, shut it.

"There's precedent for this?!" Hermione's eyes shed an unholy light - and her hair was starting to spark.

Ron just sat down, his back to the wall. He knew, as Harry did too, that when Hermione caught a study-bug, there was no shifting her, short of Immediately Due Classwork - and that was a rare instance, as she always worked ahead.

Hermione's eyes looked over her shoulder at Draco Malfoy, the hope in them almost crushing Harry's spirit, "Do ... do you think I could be one too?"

Draco Malfoy folded his arms, "There's precedent for Apprentices. And it's not as if Dumbledore hasn't opened the barn door by gifting Potter and I with more work."

Hermione nodded, turning back to her bag, where she got out some sticky-notes, and immediately started writing down notes for the wall.

I don't believe it. I'm actually grateful for Malfoy's intervention. Hermione was close to exploding with fury... and now that's all focused determination. She's going to get an apprenticeship, or take the whole school down trying.

Hermione sure was a steamroller when she wanted to be.

Ron, meanwhile, asked, "Sure does sound like a lot of work, being an apprentice. What's all involved?"

Harry and Draco exchanged a look that verged on disgruntled, before Draco spoke up, "As it's to be viewed primarily as a punishment, I suspect it involves grading a lot of first years' potions essays. Supervising detentions, and making potions for the hospital wing while under Snape's direct supervision."

"Professor Snape," Hermione said, still paging through Hogwarts a History. "Why can I never find anything when I need it?" She muttered to herself.

"It's Professor in the classroom, and Godfather at the Manor," Malfoy said, more towards Ron and Harry than towards Hermione, who was obviously Not To Be Bothered. "As we're in neither, it's just plain Snape."

"Better not let him hear you calling him that," Ron muttered.

"Or what? I'll have to clean cauldrons?" Malfoy snarked.

"Every damn detention I get I clean cauldrons," Harry groaned, still half pissed at the idea that Other People got better detentions with Snape. You know, actually brewing? Doing something Useful? Harry supposed someone had to clean cauldrons - maybe that was where Snape got his wiry strength from.

"It's because of what you do, you realize?" Malfoy said, "You think I didn't get a dozen or so myself?"

"What do you mean?" Harry responded, dimly aware that Hermione was listening rather than writing.

"You get detentions for impatience and impertinence, and general lack of forward thinking. Half the lip I've heard you give Snape only gets a reprimand because you're shouting it at him in the middle of class." Draco Malfoy drawled, "Mind, I don't think he'd listen either way, but if you'd simply found a private moment..."

"In what, his office hours?" Ron snarked.

"He does have them," Hermione muttered, fiddling with a pen. There were several professors' names up on the wall, and Pros and Cons starting to be assembled.

Ron said, "You'd have to be mental to go to them."

"And you lot wonder why Potter gets so many detentions," Draco Malfoy smirked. "If you won't go to "necessary instruction" of your own free will, he's going to make sure you go."

Harry put his hands on his hips, saying skeptically, "You actually approve of the number of detentions Snape gives me? He gave me one for breathing too loud, for Merlin's sake."

Draco pursed his lips, and said, "I would -except -" the corners of his lips turned down, into a frown that had a strange resemblance to a pout, "Except it doesn't seem to have worked, does it? You shouldn't need half a hundred detentions to learn -"

Harry had stopped listening at that point, as he'd noticed Hermione pulling books out of thin air, completely not thinking about it.

Also, the wall had developed strings, and was rapidly resembling what Crookshanks did to Hermione's knitting.

Draco Malfoy strolled over, looking over Hermione's shoulder to read what she'd been stringing along, "Is this bribery or blackmail?" he asked at last.

"Neither," Hermione responded, "Simply sound argumentation."

Draco Malfoy asked, "Who would you like to apprentice to?"

Hermione said, "Flitwick, preferably, with Sinistra as my backup."

Ron smiled, "Flitwick sounds like he'd be loads more fun than Snape or McGonagall."

Harry couldn't help but agree.

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