A Squib Without a Clue
A Squib Without a Clue
a Harry Potter fan-fic
This story takes place during ĎGoblet of Fire.í
Everything really belongs to J.K. Rowling
Dedicated to Mr. Roberts III at Sugarquill
(who asked for Filchís view of this particular scene)
and RADKA at FF.Net
(whose mention that Snape had talked about Harryís Invisibility Cloak in front of Filch inspired the idea)
"Dumbledore happens to trust me," Professor Snape said, through clenched teeth. "I refuse to believe that he gave you orders to search my office!"
"ĎCourse Dumbledore trusts you," Professor Moody growled back. "Heís a trusting man, isnít he? Believes in second chances. But me - I say there are spots that donít come off, Snape. Spots that never come off, díyou know what I mean?"
Oh, Peeves had really outdone himself this time... the poltergeist had stolen a Triwizard clue from one of the schoolsí champions. And his mischief had managed to set two of the professors against each other!
Now the Defense Against The Dark Arts Professor and the Potions Master were snarling and growling at each other like a pair of Hagridís monsters. And Mrs. Norris and I had the misfortune of being here on this narrow staircase with them. Caught between two furious wizards is no safe place for a Squib and a cat.
Still clutching the heavy golden egg Iíd found on the stairs, I tried to make myself as unobtrusive as possible. Wisely, Mrs. Norris stayed behind me.
Snape and Moody were years beyond the uncontrolled, unfocused magical incidents that all normal wizard-children are prone to during times of intense emotion. Tight control was second nature to them by now. But they were both extremely powerful. The surge and flow of their restrained magic seemed to press all around me in this confined space. It was heavy, like the pressure in the air before a storm. My head throbbed.
Merlin help me, if the pair of them should decide to start dueling here! They were certainly angry enough.
Professor Snape had been furious even before Professor Moody had joined us. Severus had just discovered that someone had broken into his office. Few people would have dared to anger him further when he was already in such a foul temper. Mad-Eye Moody was one of those few. In fact, the retired Auror seemed to be getting a dark sort of amusement from baiting the much younger wizard.
"Get back to bed, Snape." The old Aurorís laugh was harsh and full of menace.
"You donít have the authority to send me anywhere!" The Potions Master hissed. Snapeís voice was soft and dangerous.
I longed to take my cat, my clue and my leave. But I didnít want to draw their attention towards me or Mrs. Norris.
Making an effort to ignore the pounding in my head, I tried to think only of Peeves. After a half-century of enduring his taunts, his pranks and his mischief, how satisfying it would be to finally be rid of him once and for all!
Yes, once the Headmaster saw this egg, he would have no choice. The wretched poltergeist would have to be exorcised. Stealing from the students was going too far...
"Youíve dropped something, by the way..." Moody was growling at Snape. The old Auror was pointing.
Automatically, my eyes went towards a piece of parchment lying on one of the steps. I frowned. Did that parchment seem a bit familiar? No, it couldnít be... The one I was thinking of had been safely hidden away in one of the drawers in my office for a good many years.
Snape was reaching towards the parchment, looking more furious than ever. I felt a sudden surge of power from the old Auror.
"My mistake..." the scarred wizard said, calmly, as he Summoned the parchment. "Itís mine. Must have dropped it earlier."
If Moody was deliberately trying to push Snape right over the edge, he was succeeding. Now Snapeís eyes were snapping fire as he looked from me to Moody.
"Potter!" the Potions Master hissed, more to himself than to either of us. "That egg is Potterís egg. That piece of parchment belongs to Potter. I have seen it before, I recognize it! Potter is here! Potter in his Invisibility Cloak!"
Oh, Merlin! Moody had done it now. Poor Severus! Heís really quite irrational on the subject of Harry Potter. He canít help it, I suppose. He and James Potter had spent years getting each other into trouble, and Harry is the very image of his father. Harry seemed to turn the clock backward for Severus. The Potions Master became an angry boy once more, pointing an accusing finger and shouting, "Itís all Potterís fault!"
As for Potter having an Invisibility Cloak, Severus had been insistent on the subject ever since the boyís first year. But Iíd gone to the top of the Astronomy Tower on that night three years earlier, when Potter, Granger, Longbottom and Malfoy had all been caught roaming the corridors. Iíd found absolutely nothing there.
Invisibility Cloaks are extremely rare and valuable. Too much so for me to believe that any underage wizard would have one in his possession. I hadnít even bothered to include them on my List of Objects Forbidden Inside the Castle.
I certainly do agree with Snape that Harry Potter is a troublemaker. Wandering about the corridors at night in his first year, flying a car to school in his second, sneaking out to the grounds at night to fight Dementors in his third!
But not even Fred and George Weasley at their worst could have managed to do half of what Snape accused Potter of doing. (For example, why would the boy help Sirius Black, the Dark wizard whoíd betrayed Potterís own parents to their deaths, escape justice? It made no sense to me at all.)
Now, with hands outstretched, Severus was moving slowly up the stairs, looking for all the world as if he was expecting to find Potter lurking there, unseen.
Even through my awful headache I felt embarrassed for him, behaving in such an illogical way in front of Moody.
"Thereís nothing there, Snape!" Moody barked. "But Iíll be happy to tell the Headmaster how quickly your mind jumped to Harry Potter!"
"Meaning what?" Severus asked him, glowering. His hands were still outstretched.
"Meaning that Dumbledoreís very interested to know whoís got it in for that boy. And so am I, Snape. Very interested."
Severus lowered his hands. "I merely thought that if Potter was wandering around after hours again... itís an unfortunate habit of his... he should be stopped. For - for his own safety."
Good, I thought, in relief. He was returning to his senses. Very good. I couldnít have said it better myself.
Moody did not seem convinced. "Ah, I see. Got Potterís best interests at heart, have you?"
The two professors locked eyes once more. Again, their magic surged and roiled. Pain throbbed dully behind my eyes. I tried to gather up my courage. It was terribly unfair of Moody to suspect Severus of any wrong-doing. Someone ought to tell the old Auror about how Severus had spent an entire year shielding Potter from an agent of He Who Must Not Be Named...!
I tried to speak but I felt too intimidated and the words wouldnít come.
The silence stretched unbearably. Then my sweet cat shattered it with a loud meow.
"I think I will go back to bed," Severus said, curtly. He was still glaring at Moody.
"Best idea youíve had all night," Moody answered. Then, his mismatched eyes both locked onto me.
"Now, Filch, if youíll just give me that egg - "
"No!" I cried, clutching my prize tightly. Not the egg... I needed it. Oh, why hadnít I run from them when theyíd been ignoring me? "Professor Moody, this is evidence of Peevesí treachery!"
"Itís the property of the champion he stole it from," Moody told me, gruff and very stern. "Hand it over, now."
Desperate, I looked to Professor Snape for help. I had explained matters to him before the old Auror had found us. Surely he understood how important this egg was to me! But the Potions Master swept past me, going down the stairs without saying a word.
Itís my own fault, I thought, bitterly. Iíd been too cowardly to defend Severus against Moodyís accusations, and here was my reward. The Potions Master didnít want to speak up for me.
The expression in Moodyís dark, beady eye was hard. His electric-blue eye was rolling about crazily. The effect would have been frightening, even without the feel of his power which was still making my head throb.
My shoulders sagged. Even for a chance at finally winning my long battle with Peeves, I did not dare to stand up to Mad-Eye Moody on my own. Obediently, I gave the egg to him. Then, making a soft noise to tell Mrs. Norris to follow, I stumbled away from the scarred Auror, down the stairs.
"Never mind, my sweet," I muttered. "Weíll see Dumbledore in the morning... tell him what Peeves was up to..." Even so, I knew my case was hopeless without the Triwizard clue to show as evidence.
Rubbing my temples, I made my way into the nearest empty classroom. I sat despondently at one of the desks, my head in my hands. Mrs. Norris jumped up on my lap, purring softly.
The sound of a door slamming startled me. Professor Snape had just come into the room, shutting the door behind him.
"Listen to me, Filch. Peeves had absolutely nothing to do with that egg! It was POTTER!"
"With all due respect, Professor, you always think itís Potter."
"With no respect whatsoever, Filch, you always think itís Peeves!"
"Professor, after all the years Iíve spent with that poltergeist as a thorn in my side I think I should know Peevesí handiwork by now."
"Yes, you should, but you donít. You are completely misinterpreting the significance of the clue on the stairs!"
"No, Iím not. As Iíve told you before, Professor, Iíve never seen any sign of this Invisibility Cloak of Potterís."
"Of course not, you fool! Thatís the whole point, isnít it? We wonít see him, but that cat of yours will surely pick up his scent! If you and Mrs. Norris will help me find Potter, Iíll convince you that the cloak exists!"
Ordinarily I would have gleefully jumped at the chance to go student-hunting. But the headache, fading now, had left me wrung out and exhausted. And my disappointment over the loss of the Triwizard clue had taken a toll as well.
"I see no point in searching the Castle for Potter when he is probably asleep in his bed," I said, trying not to sound too curt.
Snape regarded me with narrowed eyes.
"Youíre sulking because Mad-Eye took that egg from you," he snarled.
I didnít have the energy to deny the accusation. Especially since I was guilty as charged. "Wouldnít it make more sense for you to try convincing the Headmaster instead of me?" I asked him, wearily.
Snape scowled. "The Headmaster knows about the cloak. He has known about it ever since it belonged to James Potter."
"Now I know that youíre mistaken," I said, vehemently. "Dumbledore would confiscate the cloak if it existed and he knew about it! Whether Invisibility Cloaks are on my List or not, no student should have such a thing! Itís quite inconceivable that the Headmaster would condone it. Heís the Headmaster! Why, i-it just wouldnít be right!"
Snape looked at me for a very long moment. His expression was furious and frustrated.
I waited for him to argue further. But, to my surprise he managed a wry, bitter smile instead. "Thank you, Filch."
"Youíre welcome," I said, confused. "What exactly are you thanking me for?"
He sighed. "Despite your unparalleled talent for cluelessness, perhaps youíll understand fully one day. And when you do, I hope that you will tell the Headmaster exactly what youíve just told me. Give me your word on it."
"Of course, Professor. B-But..."
"Itís late, Filch. Iím going to bed. Good night."
After he left, I sighed and looked down at Mrs. Norris.
"Do you understand what just happened here, my sweet? I certainly donít."
My cat looked up at me, enigmatic as a sphinx. Unable to explain even if she wanted to, she simply purred.
Iím assuming that Dumbldore took Harryís Invisibility Cloak out of the Astronomy Tower back in Harryís first year before Filch ever got a chance to see it. The idea of Filch spending years wondering how Harry gets around the Castle without being seen tickles me.