A Harry Potter Fanfiction
The Best Snowball Fights
“‘ARRY POTTER!” A loud voice rang across the school grounds, and Harry James Potter flinched in surprise—Ronald Weasley, upon hearing the sudden voice, had dropped a large ball of snow upon his head. Hermione Granger, who had an open book in her hand and had been reciting, very loudly, the twelve uses of dragon blood, tried not to giggle at the sight of them.
Harry and Ron glared at her as the large, blustering figure of Hagrid came into view as the half-giant ascended the hill leading up to the Hogwarts castle. Hermione quickly hid her pale face behind the large book again as Hagrid grinned down at the boys.
“‘Ey there, ‘Arry!” He stopped to greet Ron and Hermione as well, and they all responded with a cheery “Hello, Hagrid!”.
Apparently pleased with this reply, Hagrid grumbled something about trouble with the Blast-Ended Skrewts (Harry, Ron, and Hermione exchanged unsurprised glances at this) and then turned his attention to Harry, smiling down at his favourite student. “Now, ‘Arry, what’re ye doin’ there?”
“Making snowballs,” replied the dark-haired boy, scooping a mound of wet, white snow from the ground and rolling it over in his hands carefully. “We’re going to have a snowball fight. Would you care to join us?”
The ball that he was trying to form was crude and poorly-shaped, and Harry muttered something about “stupid snowballs”.
“Er…” Hagrid seemed momentarily distracted by this snowball-making, and then he came back to earth. “Oh yeah, nearly forgot what I was comin’ to tell ye, ‘Arry. Ye got a package from yer godfather, Siri—er,
I’m sure ye know who I’m talkin’ about. Right.”
“Package?” The fifth-years looked up eagerly, their eyes now on the parcel in Hagrid’s hand. Anything that came from Sirius Black either was labeled dangerous or risky--Hermione often explained to the boys that Sirius would be in imminent danger of being caught if Harry Potter were to be found holding a package of his, but neither of them would listen to her. Indeed, Harry was the one who seemed most jubilant when he said: “Thanks, Hagrid!”
“I knew ye’d be glad to see somethin’ from Sirius,” said Hagrid, his black beetle-like eyes sparkling with warmth; but now he lowered his voice to speak to the three children, who were now casting suspicious glances about the school grounds, checking for signs of any students there to listen in.
The last thing they needed to see what Umbridge’s toad-like face, her eyes wild with the excitement that would stem from the fact that she had connected Harry, whom she considered to be a juvenile delinquent, with his murderous godfather Sirius. Hermione seemed to have made sure that she was particularly aware of her surroundings before she nodded slightly and leaned in to join the others in the conversation.
“Ye see, can’t have anythin’ flyin’ in by owl now that that Umbridge’s got a hold on the school. I offered Sirius ter give this to ye meself,” whispered Hagrid, shoving the mail into Harry’s hands.
“Thanks, Hagrid,” Harry repeated, now fondly tucking the small and lumpy package that Hagrid had given him under his arm. “I’ll make sure that toad, Umbridge, doesn’t get her hands on this,” he added reassuringly as Hagrid gave him a grave look.
“Good boy there, ‘Arry!” The large man gave him a thump on the back that nearly caused Harry to fall facedown into the snow. “I’ll see yer all later today for class today then, yeah? All right, ‘Arry, Ron, ‘Ermione. Y’all have fun!”
And with that, Hagrid had set off to the castle, looking over his shoulder once or twice as Harry, Ron, and Hermione shouted their thanks after his receding form. Ron had turned a sickly green as Hagrid had mentioned class. “What’s he got planned for us this time?” demanded the red-haired boy, looking intensely apprehensive.
“I’m sure it can’t be all that bad,” said Harry, blinking, bewildered, at the package.
“Blimey,” said Ron in a similar state of amazement, “Wonder what Sirius’s gotten you. It’s got to be nice… or, erm, dangerous… enough for him to send it to you at this time. Two weeks before Christmas! Either that, or he must’ve worried that it wouldn’t get to you on time.”
“Well, of course that’s what he was thinking,” remarked Hermione smoothly, observing the parcel with an amused expression on her face. “Now that Umbridge is having all the owls searched through and through, it could only take a while to get the gifts to the students. Even if Sirius—I mean Snuffles,” she said hastily as Harry raised an eyebrow—“had sent it in with Hagrid, the Order…” She dropped her voice down so that only the other could hear her: “He must’ve wanted Hagrid to hand this over to you in case Hagrid would have to leave to go on another mission and miss the opportunity to give it to you, Harry.”
Harry muttered his agreement and, without further hesitance, proceeded to tear the rough brown paper on the parcel, but Hermione stopped him with an incredulous look on her face. “You’ve got to mad! You can’t open that here!” she cried. “Someone could be lurking around to see who it’s from!”
“She’s right, mate,” said Ron to Harry, who was looking crestfallen at these words. “Better open it once you’re back in the castle. For now, you can keep it tucked under your robes, though.”
“Yeah…” Harry nodded, pushing the small package into his robes. He was somewhat heartened from the look on Ron’s face, which told him that he had wanted to see what was in the package just as much as Harry did. “I suppose there’s a lot of time tonight to look at it once we’re in our dormitories again.”
“I wonder what is it…” Ron repeated curiously before Hermione gave him a shove that could’ve sent him tumbling into the snow.
“Whatever, Ron!” said Hermione impatiently. “Come on now, there’s no point in worrying over it—let’s keep making snowballs.”
Whatever Sirius’s early Christmas present was would have to wait—Harry bent down and scooped up more snow, now furiously struggling to form a ball. “What do you suppose Sirius would’ve sent it early for?” he asked the other two, who shrugged and glanced at each other. “You know, he could’ve given it to me on Christmas day… maybe given it to McGonagall to give to me?”
“Well,” said Hermione, now closing her book and carefully tucking it under her arm, “He must’ve sent it to you thinking that you wouldn’t be able to spend the winter break at the headquarters. The Order—” She glanced around once more before continuing, “The Order must be very busy, after all. And Professor McGonagall might not have approved of handing parcels from murderous godfathers to you, Harry.”
She gave Harry an expression that told him clearly that she didn’t expect McGonagall to send things from Sirius to Harry with the risk that it might be intercepted somehow by Umbridge.
“Maybe… maybe.” Harry sighed and set the first snowball down, now making another. “So, snowball fight it is?”
“Yeah!” Ron pumped his fist into the air. “Snowball fight! It’s going to be the best one ever fought at Hogwarts, right, Hermione?”
“Mm,” replied Hermione, not answering as she kneeled into the snow to make a snowball for herself. “But it is quite useless to be out here in the cold, snowball fighting when we could be in the library, studying for our Transfiguration so we can write our essays—”
But at Ron’s horrified look, she stopped speaking and continued to mold her snowballs furiously in silence.
“She studies when it’s almost Christmas break?” mumbled Ron to Harry, positively alarmed at Hermione’s ability to study at all times of the year, whether they were on break or not.
“O-Oh, shut up!” said Hermione, flushing darkly. “Y-You could’ve been studying so you can score a good O on our owls, but no, you’d rather—”
“But, Hermione, “ protested Ron, “The O.W.L.s aren’t until the end of the school year!”
“W-Well, we have to start studying now, then! What do you expect—the O.W.L.s are going to wait for us to start?! Harry, tell me that you agree, I—”
Far from participating in their conversation, however, Harry had caught sight of an interesting opportunity. He couldn’t stop his lips from twitching up into a smile, and he nudged Ron in the side.
“Shh,” he murmured to Ron and Hermione, who had silenced themselves immediately. “Look over there.” He pointed, with a gloved hand, towards three lone figures in the distance, making their way up to the castle. “If we hurry, we should be able to catch them. C’mon under here… take your snowballs with you…”
Ron started with excitement and ducked into the safety of Harry’s cloak immediately. Even Hermione did not disapprove of this as she slipped under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak.
“I’ve always wanted to whack Malfoy on the side of the head when a teacher isn’t looking!” exclaimed Hermione as they headed over to Malfoy’s side of the hill, snowballs in hand and wands at the ready. “I don’t care about rules when it comes to him, we can do whatever to Malfoy! And he won’t even know it’s us!”
As the figures of Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle became distinct and very clear upon their approach, Harry could hear Malfoy boasting to his goons about how his father had sent him a fabulous gift; Ron had to stifle a chuckle as he raised his wand, looking at Harry for the heads-up. Harry nodded, grinning widely as Ron lifted a snowball and threw it hard, pelting the blonde’s back of his head.
“What the—!” Malfoy turned, gazing wildly about, and Crabbe and Goyle stared stupidly at him. “Did you see that?! Something hit me!”
Harry smiled to himself as he whispered, with his wand point aimed at Crabbe: “Densaugeo!”
The next thing Crabbe knew, his teeth were quickly enlarging, swelling to a very plump, large size—Goyle stared at him in bewilderment, but with Hermione’s clever mumble of “Rictusempra!” the large boy had suddenly bent, doubled over with laughter.
“Wh-Who—what’s doing that?!” cried Malfoy, tripping over his own feet and calling: “Expelliarmus!” in the complete opposite direction that Harry, Ron, and Hermione were in.
But with one last whispered Charm of “Aguamenti!”, Harry had sent a powerful jet of water at Malfoy, and the force of it knocked him over. The blonde struggled to his feet, screaming blindly, and ran for the castle, Crabbe and Goyle not far behind him.
“Oh, bless that old git Flitwick!” exclaimed Ron as he whipped the Invisibility Cloak off of himself. “Never thought that charm would come in handy, but it did!” Roaring with laughter, he pounded Harry on the back, not unlike Hagrid had done. “Harry, you’re a genius!”
Hermione, on the other hand, was distraught, and although Harry and Ron assured her that she had enjoyed it very much, she gasped, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I-If Snape or McGonagall were to find out about this… I-I… we’d be punished! Points from Gryffindor; we could be expelled! Oh, no, what was I thinking?!”
“Now, now, Hermione,” said Ron, sounding very much like Mrs. Weasley as he patted her shoulder with a large grin that was too happy for the purpose of quelling Hermione’s fear. “I’m sure it’ll be all fine and everything. There’s no way Snape could’ve found out that it was us!”
Even so, Harry was sure that Snape’s suspicious, angry look meant that he had known something about it that night at dinner in the Great Hall—however, he was much too busy reliving the moment of triumph with Ron and Hermione to bother about any old look that Snape gave him.
After dinner, they had gone up to the Gryffindor common room and, being the first of the students up there, they had been able to privately unwrap Sirius’s gift.
“A cigarette lighter?” questioned Harry once the gift was unwrapped, and he held it up to the light of the fire, examining the large object as the light washed over it. “Why’d he send me a cigarette lighter?”
“Oh, Harry!” Hermione’s eyes widened, and she reached out to touch it. “That’s not a lighter—it’s a Put-Outer!”
And she spent the next ten minutes explaining what a Put-Outer, or a Deluminator, was. “Apparently, they’re very, very rare,” she said, eyeing the Put-Outer. “Professor Dumbledore made one himself, and that’s the only one in existence! I wonder how Sirius got his hands on it…”
Inside the paper that had wrapped the present, Harry found a note—it was from Sirius, telling him how the Put-Outer had once belonged to James Potter himself.
“‘James, Lupin, and I used it often to go about our mischief-making,’” the letter had read near the end. “ ‘It’s not quite the same as Dumbledore’s, and it took us four of our seven years at Hogwarts to discover how to make one. We had to get our hands on Dumbledore’s Put-Outer itself, of course’—”
“Don’t tell me they broke into his office!” shrieked a terrified Hermione, who was quieted by Ron. However, the next line answered her question.
“—And we did have to break into a few offices, but all turned out fine in the end. See, it’s not nearly as good as Dumbledore’s, and it could use some fixing up, but it’ll take out any lights in a room. Just click the lighter to work it. We had a great time using it to play tricks on Snivellus—or Snape, as you know him’—”
“See!” said Harry indignantly to Hermione, “Snape was a horrible old loon! I don’t know why you keep sticking up for him.”
Ignoring Hermione’s protests of “Harry, he’s our professor!”, Harry read on.
“—‘and combined with the Marauders’ Map, it can be a damn useful thing. You’re your father’s son, Harry. It’s time I passed it on to you, where it can find a more useful purpose. Take care of it, Harry, and for my sake, do put out all the lights in Snape’s office just to upset him. Sincerely, Snuffles.”
“Blimey,” said Ron, “That’s gotta be pretty valuable… considering the only other one was made by Albus Dumbledore himself… it’s pretty crude, the way they made it, mate,” he commented as he observed it, “But it’ll be dead useful, like Snuffles said.”
Feeling light in his heart, Harry pocketed the lesser Put-Outer as if it were a part of him—and he’d make sure he never lost it. Perhaps he could play tricks on Malfoy and Snape in the future… But for now…
“How about another snowball fight?” suggested Harry, and he was met with nods of agreement from Ron and Hermione, who seemed to have decided that the Put-Outer would be worth hundreds and hundreds of Galleons, no matter how crudely made it was.
And until night fell completely, Harry Potter and his friends could be seen from the Gryffindor common room’s window, yelling and screaming and enjoying the best snowball fight at Hogwarts since those of the Marauders’ era.