The Sugar Quill
Author: Jazi (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Sugar-Coated Truth  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Assume all usual disclaimers.

A/N: Thanks so much to my friend Laura for beta-reading this for me. Thanks to Zsenya for re-assuring me that I could send it in. Thanks to R J Anderson for giving me the idea that formed this story, and please remember this is my first ever fanfic, so when reviewing please be nice, and I hope you enjoy it!

The dank, sunless corridor leading to Snape's dungeon was a sight Harry had been hoping not to see for a while, but here he was, running down the dreaded path. He wrenched the door open, and burst into the classroom, out of breath.

The sour, sneering face of Professor Snape turned towards Harry, cold black eyes meeting emerald green.

"You're late Potter." He said coldly.

"I had quidditch practice, and it went later than I thought, and by the time I got to the common room, I only just saw the sign for our compulsory evening potions tutorials..."

" I am not interested in your pathetic excuses." Snape interrupted Harry's babbling. "Take your seat immediately, and ten points from Gryffindor."

Harry was too out of breath to be bothered arguing. Sprinting from the Gryffindor tower to the dungeons wasn't something he'd recommend to anyone who was already tired after a draining quidditch practice. He'd hoped that with Oliver Wood gone, practices would be less gruelling. He was wrong - Angelina seemed to have taken up Wood's obsession, and pounded them relentlessly.

He wearily took his seat next to Ron, Hermione and Neville who all gave him apologetic smiles. The instant Snape turned his back to write up some notes on the blackboard, Ron and Hermione started gabbling away.

"So sorry Harry! He just magicked the notice into the common room, saying we all had to be here immediately..." Hermione whispered.

"I tried to come out to the quidditch pitch to tell you..." Ron added.

"But then Snape saw him, and made us both come here right away..."

"Slimy, big nosed..."

"Ron!"

"It's okay... what's ten points?" Harry shrugged. It had been a bad week, and he wasn't in the mood for this.

"It's good though really, we need these tutorials, and they'll benefit us in the long run with O.W.L.s in two weeks..." Hermione trailed off when she saw the look on Ron's face.

Harry ignored them, busy pulling parchment out of his bag. Then, with a furtive look at Snape's back, he reached deep into his bag, and pulled out a long, thin, box. It had contained a dozen sugar quills, a Christmas present from Ron. He'd used them gradually throughout the past two terms when Snape had been particularly nasty, or he'd been even more bored than usual during History of Magic. Now was a perfect sugar quill moment.

Opening the box, he removed the final sugar quill. It was a soft powder blue, long, shapely and delicious.

As Snape droned on about the memory potion they were supposed to be making, Harry poised the quill. It was his last quill, and he was going to enjoy it. He'd try and see if he could make it last the whole lesson.

He was so involved, he didn't notice that Neville was having trouble as usual. He'd added far too many daisy roots, and his mixture was looking dangerously volatile.

Sticking out his tongue, Harry raised the delicate sugary strands to his mouth, oblivious to the accident waiting to happen next to him. He was about to take the first lick, when a furious voice burst into his moment of ecstasy

"LONGBOTTOM!"

Harry leapt in astonishment, as Snape apparently burst out of the floor, and appeared right in between Harry and Neville. Harry's elbow hit a jar of porcupine fish quills, knocking them into Neville's bubbling cauldron.

The potion writhed and whirled in the cauldron for a few seconds, and every eye in the dungeon focused onto it's bubbling purple, gloopy liquid. With a sudden, terrific boom, a pillar of green flame burst out of the cauldron, withering anything within a few inches into dust - including Snape's eyebrows.

Harry shut his eyes, wondering just how much trouble he was in. It wasn't like it was his fault, he'd gotten a fright. Really it was Snape's fault...

"Entirely your fault Potter!" Snape snapped. "You can stay after the rest of the class have left and clean up this mess, and fifty points from Gryffindor." With a wave of his wand, Snape restored his own eyebrows, and glared at the class as if daring them to laugh.

Harry inwardly groaned, but didn't bother saying anything aloud. This just really wasn't his day. Ah well, at least he still had his sugar quill to enjoy, which miraculously had escaped the flames...

"...and I'll confiscate this too. No eating in class, don't think I can't recognise a sugar quill when I see one." Snape said curtly. "What do you take me for Potter?" he added as he snatched the quill from Harry's grasp.

The desire to answer truthfully was a temptation Harry could barely stand, but he managed to remain silent and avoid further punishment.

The remainder of the tutorial slid by as slowly as pouring treacle, until finally Snape dismissed them. Seeing the relieved but sympathetic faces of his Gryffindor classmates as they gratefully fled the dark prison that was the dungeon made anger flare up in Harry. This wasn't his fault, and totally unjust, but he had no choice. Wetting a rag, he started wiping the floor.

Snape watched for a few minutes, before settling himself down at his desk to mark another classes work.

Harry tried to concentrate his rage into his cleaning, but it wasn't working very well. He scrubbed ferociously at the floor, knocking over his bucket of soapy water.

"Calm down Potter." Snape said in his greasy voice. "Wouldn't want to make even more of a mess now would we?"

Harry stared up at Snape, hoping to convey some of the rage he felt through his gaze. To Harry's complete and utter horror, as he looked up, he saw that Snape was sucking with relish on Harry's sugar quill. Anger boiled inside him, until he wouldn't have been surprised if his ears were smoking as much as the remains of Neville's cauldron. He even started to pull his wand out of his pocket, and preparing to engage in an activity that would lead to several months worth of detentions.

Fortunately, Albus Dumbledore chose that moment to walk into the dungeon. He winked at Harry, who felt his anger melt away. He hurriedly thrust his wand back into his pocket, and tried to look as though he hadn't been about to do anything wrong.

"Good evening Severus, you too Harry." Professor Dumbledore said briskly. "Now Severus, do you know what time of year it is?"

Snape's expression soured even more than usual.

"Already?"

"Yes already, here's the pink perfumed paper, and the envelope. Hopefully this year's poem will be as eloquent as it has been the last few years. Really, I don't know what we'd do without you." Dumbledore spoke with an amused tone. Snape however was looking livid.

"Yes, thank you Headmaster." Snape muttered shortly. "I shall write it on Monday. I have a busy weekend ahead."

"Splendid." Professor Dumbledore said, and swept out of the dungeon.

Professor Snape looked with utter disgust at the sheet of pale pink paper, with delicate gold edging. A stench of rosy perfume wafted from the paper to meet Harry's nostrils. Harry screwed up his nose.

Snape continued to mark the papers, but occasionally he would glance at the pink paper again, and mutter a few things.

"Stupid old Fudge... why I have to write the poem... birthdays should be cancelled..."

From these mutterings, Harry guessed that Snape must have to write a birthday poem for Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. The first fragments of a plan were starting to click into place in Harry's mind.

Harry felt better to watch Snape mumble away to himself, but it wasn't enough. Harry wanted revenge, and he was starting to think that he knew how to get it.

*

"Hermione, I'm sure this isn't really necessary... especially on a Saturday night!" Hermione had dragged Ron and Harry down to the library for extra study.

"Of course it's necessary! It's less than two weeks until O.W.L.s and you still can't turn a toad into a turnip yet." Hermione snapped at Ron, as they thumbed through books. "Last time you turned it into a cabbage!"

"Cabbage, turnip - same thing!" Ron moaned. "And shut up laughing Harry! Your turnip still hopped around the classroom and croaked!"

"At least it was the right vegetable." Harry muttered, his laughter stopping.

"Well, never mind Transfiguration for now..." Hermione said matter-of-factly. "It's Potions we all need to work on."

Ron and Harry groaned even louder than before.

"Don't remind me of Potions!" Harry said, rolling his eyes.

"A quick test." Hermione said, ignoring the two of them. "Describe a jobberknoll feather, and how it is used in potions."

Harry and Ron exchanged blank looks.

"Honestly! I told you that you needed this. Jobberknoll's are tiny blue, speckled birds. Their feathers are used in truth and memory potions. We used them yesterday in that memory potion."

"Really?" Harry said, with surprising enthusiasm, dragging the book in front of him. He read a few paragraphs, and an evil grin spread across his face.

*

The weekend flew past, and Monday, first period was Potions.

"Harry, what's wrong with you?" Ron asked, as Harry practically skipped down the corridor to the Potions dungeon.

"Nothing's wrong, nothing's wrong at all. Why do you ask?" Harry said breezily.

"Because it's first period on Monday, we have Potions, and you seem actually happy about it!"

"Oh, I'm just happy today." Harry said with a wide grin.

Ron and Hermione looked at each other in confusion, but didn't pursue the matter any further. They took their usual seats in the dungeon, and waited for the lesson to begin, Harry humming contentedly to himself.

"Owing to the disaster of last Friday's memory potion..." Snape glared at Harry and Neville. Harry tried not to smile back. "...today you shall remake the memory potion, and if it's not done correctly by the entire class, you can all return here this evening for a third attempt."

As Snape swept around the room, criticising everybody's potions, Harry reached into his bag, and pulled out what appeared to be another sugar quill. He left it lying conspicuously on his desk, while he went about making his potion.

"Be sure to watch your daisy roots this time Longbottom." Snape snarled at Neville, who turned red. "And you Potter..." Snape's voice trailed off as he noticed the quill on Harry's desk.

"You never learn do you Potter?" he said slowly, picking up the quill. "Ten points from Gryffindor for having a sugar quill in class, another ten points as this is your second offence in the same number of lessons..." Snape's eyes narrowed, as Harry let out a helpless snigger. "... and another ten for laughing as I give you your punishment!"

Harry nodded, trying to force down his laughter, and contorted his face into what he hoped looked like a sad and angry expression. Ron and Hermione once again exchanged puzzled glances.

As the bell rang, and the class surged out of the dungeon in a living wave, Harry lingered behind, and stayed watching Snape for a moment. To Harry's utter delight, he saw Snape pick up the blue sugar quill, and start writing on the unmistakable piece of pink paper. With a huge grin on his face, Harry left the dungeon, and met up with Ron and Hermione who were waiting at the door for him.

"Now Harry, this has gone on long enough, tell us right now what you're up to!" Hermione barked the instant they were out of Snape's hearing.

"I Don't know what you're talking about." Harry said in a very unconvincing tone of innocence.

Hermione frowned deeply, and Harry gave in.

"Well... as you know, Snape confiscated my sugar quill..." he put particular emphasis on the last two words.

"And that made you happy?" Ron asked, giving Hermione a I-think-he's-finally-lost-it look.

"Well, the thing is, it wasn't really a sugar quill." Harry said, fighting down his laughter.

"What was it then?" Ron asked impatiently.

"It was a jobberknoll feather. I put an engorgement charm on it, and coated it with sugar." Harry said, his grin widening.

"And that would mean...?" Ron said, looking confused, while Hermione gasped in horror.

"Ron, weren't you listening to me in the library?" She frowned. "Actually, don't answer that. Jobberknoll feathers are used in memory and truth potions, so if Snape sucks on the quill, he'll only be able to write the truth. Harry, you're going to get into so much trouble for this!" But through her frown a slight smile snuck through.

"No I'm not." Harry said brightly, still forcing back his giggles. "He confiscated the quill, I didn't give it to him on purpose. I haven't broken any rules. He can't do anything about it, and..." Harry gave a mischievous grin. "Right at this moment, he happens to be writing a birthday poem to Cornelius Fudge!"

The three of them fell about laughing.

"Oh my." Harry said, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. "I have a feeling Snape will be receiving a very... interesting owl from Fudge very soon..."

//
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