The Sugar Quill
Author: James Bow (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Future Shock  Chapter: Chapter One: Wesley Adapts at Hogwarts
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Author's Note: To understand what's going on, and who Wesley is, you need to have read the Grandfather Paradox as this story is a direct sequel. Enjoy!

Chapter One: Wesley Adapts at Hogwarts

"Pencil!"

When Harry opened the door to the dormitory where Wesley slept, he found the boy hunched over his small writing desk, tapping something with his staff (now shrunk down to wand size).

Wesley hit the desk again.

"Pencil!"

Nothing happened. Wesley hit the desk again. "Pencil!"

Frustrated, he smacked his desk several times with his wand.

"Pencil! Pencil! Stupid quill! Pencil dammit!"

"Wesley!" Harry exclaimed. "Don't let your mother hear you using that language!"

The boy whirled around. "Oh!" he exclaimed. "Sorry, Harry. I didn't hear you come in."

"Homework problems?"

Wesley motioned to his desk. "Transfiguration. I've made some progress. The quill's got an eraser at least."

"I'm surprised it's not broken in several places."

"Yeah, well," Wesley huffed. "Transfiguration isn't easy. I don't see how they can give it to first years. And the way Professor McGonagall teaches it. She's nice to me in the hallways, or when I talk with her on non class business, but when I can't turn a matchstick into a pin, her eyes bore right through me, and every tisk she gives cuts me like a knife."

"You're exaggerating," said Harry. Then he paused. "Well..."

"Everything else is going fine," said Wesley. "You watch, I'll be caught up to your year in all of my classes next September, except for Transfiguration. I could be in my seventh year, and the best I could hope for from Transfiguration would be in my third, if that. How do you do it?"

Harry shrugged. "The first thing you've got to do is relax. You want the spell to work too much."

"Shouldn't I want the spell to work?"

"Of course you should, but you can't force it. It has to happen naturally. Relax a minute, and try it again."

Wesley turned back to his desk, closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Then he lowered his wand. "Pencil," he breathed. There was a flash. He opened his eyes.

Before him sat a furry pencil. Wesley nodded. "Not bad."

"Not bad at all," said another voice behind them. Harry and Wesley turned, and saw the Weasley twins at the door.

Wesley grinned. "It's uncle Fred and uncle George!"

The Weasley twins scowled.

"I hate it when he does that," said George.

"Just keep up the tally," said Fred. "One more prank to play on Ron in retribution."

Wesley motioned them to one of the beds. "What are you two still doing here? Haven't you graduated? Or is your joke shop running itself?"

"Oh yes," said George.

"All invisible helpers, of course," said Fred.

"We've got cameras set up to catch the expressions of our startled customers," said George.

"Wouldn't be a joke shop without jokes," said Fred.

George's face turned serious. "Mum told us to stay at Hogwarts until the Christmas break, to keep an eye on Ginny."

The levity drained from the room. "How is she?" asked Wesley.

Harry looked away.

"You know as much as the rest of us," said George. "She seems happy enough to me. Hermione's told us that she's had nightmares, though."

"She's not the only one," muttered Harry.

"But that's not why we've come to your dormitory, Wesley," said Fred.

Wesley looked at them, curious.

"Mum wants all the family back at the Burrow for Christmas," said George. "She emphasized all the family."

Wesley swallowed hard. "You mean she knows about me?"

"Wesley," said Harry. "I don't think there are many who don't know about you."

"And do you think we'd pass up the opportunity to tell Mum she's a grandmother?" asked George.

"Especially if we could say that Ron's the father?" Fred put in.

Harry's jaw dropped. Wesley winced. "Poor Ron!"

"We explained things before she sent off the howler," said Fred.

"So, will you come?" asked George.

"You're invited too, Harry," said Fred.

"And Hermione's coming," said George.

Fred frowned at his brother. "I haven't invited her yet. Did you?"

"No, Ron will," said George.

"Ah, yes! This is Ron we're talking about. Ever since Wesley announced that he was their son, the two have become inseparable, insufferable and shameless."

"They're snogging in the common room, right now," George added.

"Really?" said Wesley. He got up from his desk. "Come on, Harry. We've got classes. And I think I can knock one Ron-prank off of George and Fred's tally."

Wesley strode into the corridor, with Harry, Fred and George following curiously. He slowed as he approached the stairs to the common room and crept down, not making a sound. Then he pressed himself against the wall and looked out.

Harry, Fred and George stepped behind him and looked. There was the common room, empty save for Ron and Hermione, sitting in a padded seat intended for one person.

"Nice to see them getting on," said Fred.

"Definite potential, here," said George.

"Especially if I do this," said Wesley.

He pushed away from the wall and strode into the common room. There, he stopped and gasped. "Mum! Dad! My impressionable eyes!"

Ron and Hermione broke apart like north-to-north facing magnets.

Fred, George and Harry fell into the common room, doubled over with laughter.

"Wesley!" Hermione grabbed one of the seat cushions and started beating Wesley about the head with it. Fred and George pulled Wesley away and swept him to the portrait and out of the common room.

As they ran away, Harry could hear Hermione huff. "Well! I know which side of the family that trait comes from!"

***

In Potions class, Wesley sat beside Harry next to the aisle in the same row with Ron and Hermione. He watched attentively along with the rest of the students as Snape discussed their assignments.

"In front of you, you all have what you need to make a batch of Selesionarlo Potion, a noted restorative, to be taken for medicinal purposes only." At this, Snape fixed Seamus with such a stare that the boy couldn't help but look guilty, though he hadn't done a thing. "It may be optimistic of me to expect that you have studied the recipe last night as I told you to, but I have no choice but to trust you. So, pair up and get to it. I will be watching."

With that, the class set to work, with Snape keeping a watchful eye over the Gryffindors. The Slytherins worked away without his notice.

Ron and Hermione gathered around their shared cauldron, so Harry turned to Wesley.

Wesley smiled. "How about I handle the ingredients?"

Harry nodded. "Sure." They set to work, and soon the two were gagging on the billowing steam.

Harry worked at the potion with the precision of a surgeon, calling for ingredients, which Wesley handed to him. "Clipped talon of Peruvian Fire Eagle."

Wesley pressed the cup into his hand.

Harry measured out a small spoonful and dropped it into the cauldron.

"Dragon scale shavings."

Wesley handed over a small glass bottle. Harry fished out four shavings and dusted them into the cauldron.

"Axel grease."

Wesley handed the can over. "Careful. It's sticky."

"Thanks," said Harry, adding a drop and handing the canister back. "Shredded Mandrake."

Nothing came over.

"Shredded Mandrake," Harry repeated. Then he looked up. "Wesley?"

Wesley was staring across the aisle at Draco and Crabbe's cauldron, frowning. His eyes widened as he saw Draco ladling the potion into a goblet and bringing it to his lips.

Wesley jumped across the aisle and knocked the goblet from Draco's lips and onto the floor. The contents spilled out and smoked on the stone.

The whole class gasped. Draco looked down at the mess, too shell shocked to say or do anything. For a moment, Wesley stood in the aisle, unsure what to do next. Then he felt a shadow fall over him. He looked up at Snape and swallowed hard.

"Explain yourself," said Snape.

"I couldn't let Malfoy drink that potion," he replied.

"And you're suddenly expert enough in Potions to decide to make a mess all over my floor?" said Snape.

The classroom was completely silent. The Slytherins didn't even snigger.

"Crabbe knocked an entire container of shredded Mandrake into his cauldron," said Wesley. "There was ten times the safe level in the potion Draco was about to drink!"

Harry saw Draco grow even more pale than usual and sit down shakily.

"Do you take me for a complete idiot?" Snape growled. "Do you think that I don't have the potions to cure Mandrake overdose right here in this classroom; right on hand?"

"Not without him undergoing several minutes of pain, first. To counteract overdose levels that high requires several goblets of antidote."

Snape glared. Wesley glared right back. The rest of the class stared in a mixture of horror and awe.

"So," said Snape, finally. "You think you know enough about Potions to take matters in your own hands in my classroom?"

Wesley said nothing.

"We shall see about that." He turned and strode to the back of the classroom and into his office.

Wesley stood staring. He cast a glance at Harry, who shrugged. Behind them, his classmates began to murmur. Now some of the Slytherins chanced a snigger, but nothing came from Draco's row.

Snape strode back, his arms full of cauldrons and ingredients. He set these on his desk and organized them into two sets of bottles and boxes, with a cauldron on either side. "Step forward, Mr. Grange."

Wesley stepped to Snape's desk and stood opposite him, the two lines of ingredients between them.

"We will now make a potion," said Snape, "and see who completes it first. For this test, we will be making Veritaserum."

Wesley's eyes widened. "But, sir, you don't learn Veritaserum until seventh year!"

Snape stared at him. "Actually, we don't teach it at Hogwarts at all. It's only supposed to be taught at the Auror academy. But since you have some advance knowledge, you should do well. On my mark, begin."

Snape immediately set to work sorting out the ingredients and dashing them into his cauldron. He glared at Wesley, who hadn't moved, and the boy jumped to work. The class stared as the two prepared their serums, Snape with quick but smooth moments, and Wesley at a slower, more methodical pace. Then there was a small flash in Snape's cauldron. Wesley froze. He was several ingredients behind.

"Oh, very good, professor!" said Wesley.

Snape glared at Wesley, ladled some serum into a goblet, and passed it across the desk. Wesley sniffed the cup nervously, then downed it, grimacing at the taste.

"Right," said Snape. "My first question. Did you deliberately delay adding the ingredients into your Veratiserum?"

Wesley's eyes went wide, but he answered immediately. "Yes."

"I knew it! I knew you were holding back!" snarled Snape. "You threw this contest, didn't you?"

"Yes," said Wesley, who immediately winced.

"Ten points from Gryffindor!"

The Gryffindors stared, mouths agape. Wesley stood astounded, and lost his control. "What do you want from me?" he yelled.

Though it was hardly possible, a greater hush descended upon the classroom.

Harry heard Neville mutter, "He's trying to get himself killed!"

Snape just stared at Wesley. "I want you to treat me with the respect I am due as your professor, and that means complete honesty. I will not teach students who deceive me as to the extent of their skills. We will retake this test, and if you hold back again, I will take another ten points from Gryffindor. We will begin when I return."

Wesley sighed, and positioned himself by the desk while Snape retrieved two fresh cauldrons. Then Snape was ready, and said, "Go!"

Wesley leapt at the ingredients, working ambidextrously, without taking any time to measure. Harry couldn't believe it, but he swore that Wesley's hands started to blur.

A flash and a large puff of smoke enveloped Wesley. When it cleared, the boy stood, arm outstretched, offering his goblet to Snape. Snape was twelve ingredients short.

Snape stared. Then he set down his unfinished serum and took the goblet. With a final glare, he downed it in one gulp.

There was a moment's silence.

Then, Wesley asked. "How is it?"

"It's good," said Snape at last. "Very good. As good as any I could make." His glare did not match his words, and Harry could see that the potion was having its effect.

"Why don't you want me here?"

"You don't need to be in this class," the professor replied. "The only thing I dislike more than a someone that holds his talent back is someone who has fame placed on them before he has earned it." At this, his glance shifted momentarily towards Harry.

"Now, what do you think?"

"I think you're no longer holding back."

"And Harry?"

Snape glared. "Mr. Potter is proving his mettle." He turned away. "This class is dismissed. You will all clean up your assignments while I retire to my office." He stepped around Wesley, who stood like a statue, and walked to the door. There, he paused, and added, "Ten points to Gryffindor."

When he left the room, Wesley let out his breath and sagged like a deflated balloon. Harry, Ron, Hermione and the other Gryffindors crowded around him.

"Are you okay?" asked Neville.

"I've never seen anybody show up Snape like that!" said Seamus.

"I thought you'd be expelled for sure!" gasped Lavender.

"Are you okay?" asked Harry in a low voice.

"Yeah," said Wesley. He swallowed.

"What the bloody hell was that about?" gasped Ron.

Wesley waved the crowd back. "Come on, everybody, let's not stand around. Let's get cleaned up. After this, it's Christmas holidays."

The Gryffindor crowd moved away and gathered their cauldrons and ingredients. The Slytherins had already started to leave. As Wesley moved back to his seat, he stopped short when Draco stood up, the last to leave his seat.

The blond-haired boy gave Wesley a perplexed stare before turning away and striding out of the classroom.

//
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