“And where did you get such an exorbitant item, Potter? Surely not from your Head of House. Such deliberate acts of favoritism are strongly discouraged and will be penalized accordingly.”
“No, sir! It was a gift! From –“
“Yes?” Snape prompted silkily.
“From my parents!” Hermione blurted out. “My mum, I mean. She’s a big sports fan anyway, loves football, and she’s been wanting to thank Harry in some way since he saved my life in first year from that troll, and last year with the basilisk and Chamber of Secrets. It was supposed to be a surprise for his birthday, but – “
“That is more than enough of your incessant prattling, Miss Granger!” Snape snapped exasperatedly. “Unfortunately for you, Potter, lunch is over. You and your Housemates will return to your dormitories and resume cleaning, until you are released by Professor McGonagall directly.”
“But sir!” Dean protested tentatively. “We’re mostly done! Just Ron’s stuff that needs to be packed.”
There were very few people whom Snape despised more than Harry, but Ron (and Neville) were definitely tied for second place on the list.
“Very well.” He murmured. “If you are telling the truth, then you will have no problem with my doing the inspection instead of Minerva.”
He watched in satisfaction as most of the Gryffindors paled slightly – except the Boy Who Lived, who merely stared back impassively with those green eyes.
“None whatsoever, Professor.” The brat replied coolly. “Excepting, of course, chapter 743, Section 523, Part M. Subsection II in Hogwarts, A History, which clearly states that a Hogwarts Head of House may not enter another House unless in cases of extreme emergency and extenuating circumstances.” He raised his brows faintly. “Surely, Professor, even you could not possibly classify end of the year inspections as an extreme emergency?”
“Why you insolent little – “
Everyone turned from the confrontation to see Professor Lupin ambling towards them. “Ah, young Gryffindors! I was just coming to find you all. Minerva has been called away, so she asked if I could conduct the rest of the inspections for her House so that you all could be away to other outings and enjoyments. I couldn’t help over hearing the happy coincidence of your…conversation here, Professor, and as Harry so auspiciously pointed out, you are not allowed in Gryffindor Tower.” He gathered the stunned teens with his eyes, and with a nod to Snape, led them calmly away.
“Thanks, unc- Professor.” Harry said with a grin as soon as they were out of sight.
Remus winked at him. “I was looking at a Map, and deciding where I wanted to go,” he said as they walked back to the Tower. Harry’s grin widened. “-and I was overcome by sudden hunger pangs. Seeing that Minerva was in her office, I stopped by to see how she was doing with end of the year paperwork. Some naughty little blighter had set off a duplicator spell, and she was near literally buried under parchment work! Of course I, being the helpful junior professor that I am, offered to help with inspections while she was otherwise occupied.”
“I thought she asked you?” Seamus frowned, as the rest of the students giggled.
“She would have, I’m sure. In her defense, she was rather distracted.” Lupin shrugged, giving the password to the Fat Lady. “In grand tradition, let’s do ladies first.” He gestured. “After you.”