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Brown eyes found their way to the book that plopped before her and she near gagged at the thick perfumey smell that wafted up from it and hit her senses. But what offended her even more though being a bookworm as she was happened to be the title and the table of contents. There was NOTHING at all related to the class and what it stood for. It was just about the Ministry and its history which the fifteen year old girl found really insulting.
She was just tuning back in when Umbridge was telling Harry he was wrong and her tone was telling her best friend to back off. Hermione couldn't help her glare at the woman and her hand gently gripping Harry's beneath the desk and squeezing it. She was trying to tell him that the woman was being a "daft bimbo". It had not been even fifteen minutes and already she was wanting to scream and not at all impressed with their newest professor.
[b "So we're not going to be learning anything then? We will just be reading and hearing what it is the Ministry wants us knowing? This class is called Defense Against the Dark Arts.. not History of the Ministry and its greatness. This is an outrage."] The girl was fuming and couldn't help it. The words spoken by Umbridge were becoming too much and calling too many people she cared for liars.
But her words were a little louder than she had meant and the wretched woman in pink stopped and looked at the desk where Harry, Ron and Hermione sat. [i "Since you don't seem to agree with what I am teaching I will see you tonight in my office for a detention. Perhaps it will change your mind."] And with that, the woman gave a smile and returned to the front of the room, droning on more about the rubbish the Ministry wanted shoved down their throats.
A bright pink was in the girl's cheeks. Honestly she had not meant for the Umbridge woman to hear her but she couldn't keep her tongue either. [b "Sorry..."] She whispered to both Harry and Ron, giving a sheepish look.
Harry looked to Hermione as a book landed on the desk in front of him. It was brand new, but didn't have that nice book smell like when they studied in the library. The faint smell of Umbridge's overpowering flowery perfume clung to the leather. As much of a bookworm as his best friend was, even Harry doubted this would capture her attention.
[i "Look at the table of contents. There's nothing about Dark Arts in here,"] Ron muttered to them, flashing the page.
Harry looked for himself. Sure enough, not one of the chapters remotely referenced how to defend oneself from a Dark Arts attack. [b "'The History of Ministry's Power',"] he read quietly from the first chapter headline.
[i "Now I understand that your previous curriculum has encouraged you to learn all sorts of spells and nonsense to prepare you for battle, but I assure you students, there is no need for such lessons in your education,"] Umbridge smiled at the front row of teens. [i "There has never been a safer time to attend Hogwarts. So, instead of wasting our time on such dark and dismal lessons, we're going to introduce the Ministry approved curriculum. No practicing counter curses, or defense spells. We will be looking at the success of the Ministry of Magic, and how it came to be the governing power, along with their ongoing protection of us all."]
The students sat quietly. The pink lady's smile barely wavered. [i "Why should you learn how to defend yourselves from dark magic, when the Ministry is doing all of that for you?"] she was reaching for someone to show enthusiasm.
Harry raised his hand. [b "Professor, excuse me, but we would argue that now is the most important time to learn to defend ourselves against dark magic."]
An eye twitched. [i "Mr. Potter, is that correct? I understand that you all have been taught about an impending doom, and false information regarding the previous Dark Lord, but I assure you all that the Ministry has made our world quite safe. There will be no fearmongering in my classroom."] Her tone was suggesting that he back off.
Having already disappointed Hermione once today, Harry did as was suggested and dropped the subject. [i "Has her head been buried in the sand, or is she not aware of what's been going on?"] Ron whispered.
[b "Not much of a choice we have,"] Harry answered.
Umbridge rattled on about their first lesson, introducing the history of the Ministry of Magic. [i "As I see it, Defense Against the Dark Arts should teach you the rise of the Ministry, and how it defended us all from dark wizards. Sort of combines history with the subject. It will be far more educational than your previous lessons."]
She hadn't meant to dampen the mood of her two best friends anymore than they had been but she figured they needed to know. And hearing Ron and Harry's input on the woman only made the girl feel all the more sour. It wasn't that she hadn't thought about what it could mean herself, but just hearing it come from others made it even worse. Made it all the more real and honestly had her frightened. Already there were so many that were hard to convince and now IF this Umbridge woman was a Ministry sensor as Ron had called her it would be even harder. So many would suffer when they did find out the truth.
She was quiet the rest of the way to class and felt herself wanting to be sick when she looked around the room when they entered. All the decor from previous years was gone as was all the books. Instead the room was covered in bright pink and Ministry Law volumes lined the shelves. It gave the feeling of a horribly decorated courtroom and made her cringe inwardly as the girl took her seat beside Harry and Ron, brown eyes upon the woman who was smiling and welcoming them in.
[b "I think she does know. She just wants to seem warm and inviting. If you look there it looks like she has our books squared away. And they look hideous and like nothing we have had before."] Hermione whispered as she flicked her head over to the desk where stacks of books rested in piles, clearly enough for all of them.
[i "Welcome to another year of Defense Against Dark Arts everyone! I have been going over your previous instruction in this class and can say I waa very disturbed. It has not been balanced at all and now I will be balancing it out with a new and improved Ministry program."] The woman in pink, one Dolores Umbridge said with a flick of her wand as books began to pass themselves out and she continued on in her words.
The boys groaned. [b "The last thing we need is another Fudge hanging around here trying to cover up what happened last year,"] Harry sighed. [b "She's probably here to make sure Dumbledore isn't warning students about Voldemort being back."]
[i "If she's a department head at the Ministry, she's probably got more power than any of the teachers here. Dumbledore included. Snape will be the least of our worries if Umbridge is here to act as a Ministry sensor,"] Ron frowned as he sidestepped a first year.
Harry grew quiet. They had enough families refusing to believe that Voldemort had returned, calling him a liar. If the Ministry was going to openly blacklist professors and students warning of the Dark Lord's return, then they were going to be severely unprepared in the event of an attack.
[b "We're about to find out what kind of Defense teacher she's going to be,"] he told them, taking a deep breath as they approached her classroom.
He paused in the doorway, momentarily confused. Every portrait and artifact had been removed from the class. Pink doilies covered tables and drapery hung from the walls. [b "Bloody hell..."] Harry looked to his friends with a raised eyebrow.
[i "Yes yes yes, come in! Welcome,"] Dolores Umbridge stood at the front of the class with her sugary sweet smile and impossibly pink pantsuit.
Ron nudged Harry to move forward. They walked halfway up the room before Harry couldn't take sitting any closer. He slumped down onto a chair and gestured for them to join him quickly. [b "Has she replaced the books?"] he squinted towards the wall of shelves that once held volumes of dark arts history, now containing brand new leather-bound books of Ministry of Magic laws.
[i "I don't think she knows what she's teaching,"] Ron uttered with a smirk.
[b "Snape is always out to get anyone of us, Harry.. And he's right I do need to learn not to say it just because I think it... But I couldn't help it because well...indirectly he attacked my parents...and also with how he treated you before Seamus' potion exploded... It was totally unfair."] The girl whispered as she did feel like she owed her best friend an explanation for what had happened in class. She hoped that it would make him understand what had happened and hopefully help him to shimmer down some.
It was when his hand went to give her arm a gentle squeeze did the brunette freeze when she heard Draco and his words. They stung her because she knew what he meant, but she was trying not to show it because she didn't want Harry to jump to her defense again. But before she could tell Harry not to do anything and that Malfoy was just being an arrogant prat as he always was the boy who lived was nose to nose with the blonde boy. Her cheeks heated up at the words passed between them and she almost seemed rooted to the spot.
Ron had been the one to intervene and nearly drag Harry back to where the girl stood. She gave them both weak smiles as they began to walk. [b "It...yes he does seem even more on edge than usual. Do you think he is taking the summer out on us? Or maybe even that new professor?"] She whispered, not wanting anyone but Harry and Ron hearing. [b "I was looking into her a bit and she doesn't seem pleasant. She is a strong supporter of Fudge and his ways. She is even one of the head of departments within the Ministry."] The girl whispered, but it was all she could tell them as it was all she had found out and they had come to being in a crowd of students as all were trying to get to their next classes without being late.
Harry looked up at the sound of students filling the halls. Once Hermione came in to view, he stood up. [b "I can take Snape being cruel to me, but he had no right to be like that with you. You didn't deserve that,"] he answered her.
Right as his hand reached to squeeze her arm in comfort, Malfoy made his presence known. The boy who lived turned around and stood as tall as he could. [b "I think you need to watch you mouth."]
The blonde sneered a laugh. [i "I thought you would have had better taste, Potter."]
Harry stood nose to nose with Draco. [b "I think I'd be pretty damn lucky if the rumors were true. But it's also none of your business so I suggest you walk away right now."]
Ron intervened and pushed against Harry's chest to make him step back. [i "I think you both need to knock it off before Snape comes out here and throws around more detentions. We have a class to get to so let's move it along."]
He urged Harry along, giving Malfoy one last glare as they rejoined Hermione. [b "I'm sorry guys, I don't know what's going on with me today. Maybe I didn't sleep as well as I thought,"] he hurriedly tried covering up his mood swing.
[i "We've always been on Snape's enemy list. I don't see why this year would be any different. He's just extra bent out of shape,"] Ron brushed it off and slung his bag over his shoulder.
The girl was surprised when Harry had his outburst and could not help the colouring in her cheeks. As his hand squeezed hers, the girl gently squeezed his back. [b "Thank you..."] She whispered as she had to let his hand go and he gathered his things to leave the room.
Most the others had turned their attention to her and to Ron. Some of them, namely Slytherins were snickering and others gave looks which meant they were sorry. Even Ron had turned to give the girl a look, one of question. Hermione's cheeks grew ever pinker and she shook her head. What could she honestly say as it was?
[b "You know he is like our brother, Ron...and he's just protective of me like you are of Ginny."] It had taken her longer than she should have to come up with that answer. And as she spoke them, even she was aware of the stinging affect it had on her. But as far as she knew it was the truth.
The minutes ticked by murderously slow and she wished that class would come to an end. It was only the first day and already attention that was not needed had been drawn to them. When the bell chimed to let them know class was over, Hermione was quick to grab her things and leave the room. The girl instantly went to Harry and gave a weak smile. [b "You really didn't have to do that, you know.. Snape was just being Snape."] She whispered, a weak smile gracing her lips.
[i "Potter so the rumours are true? You and this mudblood are dating then?"] Draco said as he walked out of the class flanked by both Crabbe ane Goyle as was usual.
It took everything in Harry not to jump up and throw a punch at their teacher. [b "I don't know, but he needs to back off,"] he huffed. [b "We're not the ones who turned him down again for the Defense Against the Dark Arts job,"] he added louder so Snape would hear.
The man whirled around, knocking jars off of the table. [i "Out! Get out of my classroom, Potter! I'll see you for detention this evening,"] he bellowed.
Harry clenched his jaw and reached under the desk to give Hermione's hand a quick squeeze. [b "I tried to behave,"] he murmured to her as he got up. [b "I can't when it comes to you."]
Gathering his books, he stormed out of the class and into the empty hallway. He kicked the stone wall and swore, disappointed in himself that he'd had an outburst. [b "Detention on the first day, Harry. That's a new record,"] he scolded himself.
With nowhere to go and still thirty minutes left to the lesson, he parked himself against the wall outside of the class and waited.
The girl nodded slowly to the words spoken. [b "I know what you mean...we've seen him angry but not like this."] She whispered and offered her best friend a small smile. Slowly she nodded to him as she moved the unused ingredients closer to her and began her work on the potion again to keep up. [b "Don't mention it, really."] Hermione whispered and brown eyes went to the book before her.
Not even half through the class and an explosion went off, or rather Seamus' potion had. And when it did, the girl found herself stiffening and her eyes coming up from her potion as Snape's temper also exploded. [b "Sir...it wasn't meant. And we all make mistakes...it has nothing to do with who or what our parents are."] She knew she shouldn't speak up, but the girl couldn't seem to stop herself as their professor and his words seemed even more harsh than was usual. She had made Harry promise to behave and it had been in turn sensing his frustrations that had made her speak out to begin with. That and she found the man to be unfair as well.
[i "It would do you well to know your place Miss Granger! Another twenty points will be taken from Gryffindor for your lack of self control."] The man sneered as his attention fell on her after she had spoken. Snape then turned his attention back on the Finnigan boy, making sure he cleaned every last bit of potion that he had spilled.
Brown eyes filled with tears as she quickly looked down at her book to hide them. [b "It was too much to hope for..."] Hermione said quietly, trying to keep the quiver from her voice.
[i "S'pose is wrong with Snape? He's usually not this bad."] Ron said, purposely not making mention of what had just happened. Though his tone showed his anger torwards their professor.
[b "I've never seem him quite this bitter,"] he agreed with her. [b "He was never this angry with the others."]
Harry was partly through sorting his ingredients when Hermione deftly switched their cauldrons. As if he couldn't adore her any more than he already did. [b "You're my hero,"] he whispered to her with a smile.
He made a mental note to pick her up a thank you gift, like a small box of her favourite sweets. She was always bailing them out and they rarely thanked her enough for it. Harry glanced to Ron beside him but the ginger boy was focusing heavily on the cauldron, determined not to mess the ingredients up.
It was less than fifteen minutes into the class when Seamus' potion exploded, as well as Snape's temper. [i "Are you that much of an imbecile that you can't even manage something simple like a sleeping potion? Tell me Mr Finnegan, do your parents know how inept you are? One is a muggle, correct? No surprise there,"] the man practically spat as he yelled.
The Irish boy grew red in the face. [i "It was just an accident!"]
[i "An accident that has made a mess of my classroom. Twenty points from Gryffindor for your housemate's incompetence,"] Snape declared.
Harry's fist clenched tightly enough that his knuckles went white. He wanted nothing more than to jump to his friend's defense. Whatever chip their professor had on his shoulder was not a good enough reason to verbally harass his students. But, he bit his lip and stayed quiet. He promised Hermione he'd be on his best behaviour.
As if scolding him in front of the class wasn't humiliation enough, Snape handed Seamus a dirty rag to clean the mess with instead of allowing him to use a spell. Harry could already hear the rampage the Finnegan boy would be going on later that night in the privacy of their dorm room.
[b "So much for a quiet first day,"] he murmured to Hermione and Ron, sparing them both a glance with a look of irritation.
Hermione shot both Ron and Harry a look, more of a glare really. She was telling the two boys that even if none of them liked the man they should at least respect him. After all, he was a part of the Order and he was their professor. Though secretly even she found their antics to be amusing, looking down to keep her own faint smirk hidden.
When the notes were put on the board and Snape was drawing on and on, the girl took notes in her quick yet neat scrawl. As usual she was careful to pay attention to detail and wrote everything down. Never knew what was extra and what wasn't. And besides she needed to make sure she had everything incase either Harry or Ron missed something important.
[b "He does seem more angry, doesn't he?"] The girl whispered to Harry as Snape walked to the back of the room to check on some of the Slytherin students. And as the man was in the back of the room, a small smile did trace her lips as she switched her cauldron with his. [b "Start at step five. I'll catch up quickly enough."] She whispered and went back to work on the potion, leaving Ron and the others to struggle with Snape's sleeping potion. The only reason she had helped Harry was because their Professor had purposely spilled the ink and even made him one of the last to start their assignment.
The depressive cloud that was Severus Snape had immediately filled the room with a new tension. As his back was turned, Ron made a crude gesture towards him, prompting Harry to choke back a laugh and turn it into a cough. Snape turned around on his heel. [i "The world doesn't need to hear you, Potter."]
[b "Sorry Professor,"] Harry acted innocent as Ron hid his smirk behind a hand.
He lazily scrawled the Potions lesson on the parchment in front of him, copying the professor word for word. And if he happened to add a few doodles to the lesson on the sheet, it was for his own benefit. He watched the ink blot snitch float around the page until the pot of ink he'd been using was dumped over onto the page.
[i "Quit school and become a starving artist for all I care Potter, but you will not waste time in my class,"] Snape drawled as Harry tried cleaning the mess. [i "Everyone will get their ingredients and silently work on the assignment. It's just a simple sleeping potion. Even the most dimwitted of you can't screw it up."]
Harry scowled as the man walked away and uttered the cleaning charm under his breath. While the others got up to get their things, he quickly re-scrawled the ingredients and instructions down. He gathered the remains of the ingredients and trudged back to his seat.
[b "Just another fun class with good old Snape, huh?"] he murmured to Hermione.
The girl had not expected the boy to come back at her with her own words. [b "I really was a terror to you and Ron during our first year, wasn't I?"] She asked quietly as they entered the hall and her head was bowed. Hermione's eyes and atrention did come up however when Harry was watching and speaking about the first years. And for a moment she was flashed back to their first year again and smiled faintly being brought back to the present when her best friend's hand pat the top of her head. [b "Well it had given be the extra height but both you and Ron caught up and even passed me."] She said, amusement underlying her tone as she spoke.
Yes she had noticed that his hand hand lingered in her hair, but it hadn't bithered her. Actually she caught herself thinking back to the nights back at the Ancient and Noble House of Black and how the they had had those moments alone. She even caught herself wishing that she was more than just Harry's friend, which she knew was silly as the boy had never seen her as anything more than a friend or a sister. And those thoughts when she let them stung and stung deeply so she had to focus her attention back on the ground as the pair made their way into the potions class.
[b "He wouldn't because he thinks it will tarnish his standing as a Prefect. So nice try, Harry. Bet he will ALMOST be late."] The girl said, eyes going to Neville as he spoke up from behind them. And as always, the girl found her heart bleeding for the poor boy as he looked absolutely terrified to be back in potions. But as she listened, he did have a good point. Severus Snape was not known for his kindness, especially when denied what he wanted.
[b "I have to agree with Harry...because studying the Professors last night...none of them looked particularly happy. At least when Dumbledore has a say someone seems to like the new professor...but no one seemed happy last night."] Hermione said just as Ron came skidding in, took his seat next to Harry and made the other boy bump into her.
[i "Silence, everyone! And quickly take out your books. You are fifth years now and the work will be even harder than it has been."] Came the voice of Professor Snape as the dungeon door slammed shut and the man made his way to the front of the room. His beady black eyes seemed to linger longer on Harry, Ron and Hermione than was necessary and he began to write out the directions for their first potion of the year onto the board.
Harry snorted. [b "I expected him to slouch about with a pout on his face as we got ready for bed, but his only complaint was that he was paired with a Hufflepuff. Apparently he doesn't have much in common with his partner, so he grumbled about it being a boring patrol."]
Finishing off his breakfast and juice, he swung a leg over the bench to stand with her. [b "Ah yes, we wouldn't want to get] [i expelled] [b now would we?"] Harry retorted with a flashback of his own.
The hallways were littered with students, mostly first years, trying to navigate the traffic to their classes. [b "Were we really that little?"] Harry asked, looking at the eleven year olds who stood a foot shorter than he was. [b "I remember you being taller. At least, with a few inches of help from your hair,"] he reached out to tap the top of her head with a grin.
If anyone asked, he would deny dwelling on how soft her hair felt under his fingers, or how his hand probably took too long to drop down back to his side. He cleared his throat and turned to stare straight ahead. He would not allow himself to go there. She was in far too much danger just being his friend, let alone if he entertained those kinds of thoughts of something more.
Inside the Potions class, he took his seat beside her and was careful to leave a space between their arms on the long table they shared. [b "Bets on Ron being late?"] he asked, glancing back to the door.
There was a few minutes to spare, but Harry wouldn't put it past their friend to doddle on his way to his most hated class. [i "I hope not. Snape's mad enough about getting passed over for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position again. We don't need to make it worse,"] Neville chimed in from behind them, looking every bit as frightened to be in the vicinity of Severus Snape as he always was.
[b "I don't think Dumbledore had much say in who was hired anyways,"] Harry turned to answer him.
[i "Even so. He's been passed over since we were first years. What if this is what makes him snap?"] the poor boy shuddered.
Ron chose that moment to rush in, catching his breath and sliding in to the seat beside Harry, causing him to get pushed towards Hermione. [b "I think we have more things to worry about than Snape's class preference,"] Harry ended the conversation, staring straight ahead once more.
Again from Harry's look, Hermione caught that he was beating himself up about the Quidditch tryouts and being captain. Personally she couldn't blame him with all else that he had been through. But could she say the words outloud? It would probably make her best friend uncomfortable since Ron had already brought it all up. Did he truly NEVER think before he spoke? Well she knew the answer and hated it if she were honest. But before she could cut in and scold Ronald, Harry cut in and said he would plan tryouts within the next week.
A sigh slipped the girl's lips and she began to push her breakfast back and forth on the plate. The girl really wasn't all that hungry but seemed more tired than anything for the moment. Besides she could listen to the boys as they spoke, only looking up again when Ron said he had to go for his patrol. Like it had for Harry, Hermione was actually a bit shocked that their red haired friend actually seemed excited. Usually he would be moaning and groaning about it and go grudgingly.
[b "You know.. I thought he would be dreading this more too. But at least with him being excited we don't have to listen to him complain about it."] The girl said thoughtfully as she gave her remaining friend a small smile. [b "Did you expect him to be moaning and complaining a lot last night?"] Hermione found herself asking as she finally did push her plate away and stand, grabbing her bookbag.
[b "Judging by how empty the hall is getting we best be on our way. The last thing we need is to be getting in trouble for being late and on our first day back."] The prefect girl said, a slight smirk on her lips as she gave Harry a pointed look. She was indirectly reminding him of their first day when he and Ron stumbled into Transfiguration late back in their first year late.
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