Also available as: Epub
A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the Jay Ward Productions Characters mentioned herein. But you knew that.
Neville at her side, Hermione exited the common room at eleven o’clock and made her way to the entrance. Together, they found the caretaker, Mr. Filch the caretaker waiting for them. Sadly, that vile cretin, Draco Malfoy was also there, on time for once.
As far as Hermione was concerned, the only justice in the whole situation was that Malfoy had gotten a detention as well.
"Follow me," said Filch, lighting a lamp and leading them outside.
"I bet you’ll think twice about breaking a school rule again, won’t you, eh?" the caretaker said, leering at them. His wide smile assured Hermione that he had never partaken of the services of any of her parents' colleagues. "Oh yes… hard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me… It’s just a pity they let the old punishments die out… hang you from the ceiling by your wrists for a few days, I’ve still got the chains we used to use in my office, keep ‘em well-oiled in case they’re ever needed… Right, off we go, and don’t think of running off, now, it’ll be worse for you if you do."
"What kind of oil?" Neville asked.
Filch stopped in his tracks. Wheeling about he stuck his lamp in Neville's face and hissed, "What do you mean by that?"
"You said you kept the chains oiled," Neville responded shyly. "I was just wondering what kind of oil you used… As a professional, I mean."
"What?" Filch asked.
"I mean, my Gran swears by Grillsby's Penetrating oil for her metal chains," the boy continued. "But I've always found Grillsby's causes horrible stains on the leather attachments… and of course on the oak frames."
Neville then seemed to realize the looks he was receiving from the old man and his two classmates. "What? Gran's an enthusiast."
Filch just blinked then turned to continue to march them across the dark grounds. Hermione could not keep herself from alternating between wondering what the punishment was going to entail and wondering if Neville was really someone she wanted to hang out with.
There was no moon, but clouds scudding across the sky were clearly visible against the stars. Ahead, Hermione could see the lighted windows of Hagrid’s hut. Then they heard a distant shout.
"Is that you, Filch? Hurry up, I want ter get started."
Hermione’s heart rose; if they were going to be working with Hagrid it wouldn’t be so bad. Probably. Her relief must have shown on her face, because Filch said, "I suppose you think you’ll be enjoying yourself with that oaf? Well, think again, missy… it’s into the forest you’re going and I’m much mistaken if you’ll all come out in one piece."
At this, Neville let out a little moan, and Malfoy stopped dead in his tracks.
"The forest?" he repeated, and he did not sound quite as arrogant as usual. "We can’t go in there at night… there’s all sorts of things in there… werewolves, I heard."
Neville clutched the sleeve of Hermione’s robe and made a choking noise.
"That’s your problem, isn’t it?" said Filch, his voice cracking with glee. "Should’ve thought of them werewolves before you got in trouble, shouldn’t you?"
Hagrid came striding toward them out of the dark, his wolfhound, Fang at his heel. He was carrying his large crossbow, and a quiver of bolts hung over his shoulder.
"Abou’ time," he said. "I bin waitin’ fer half an hour already. All right, Neville, Hermione?"
"I shouldn’t be too friendly to them, Hagrid," said Filch coldly, "they’re here to be punished, after all."
"That’s why yer late, is it?" said Hagrid, frowning at Filch. "Bin lecturin’ them, eh? ‘Snot your place ter do that. Yeh’ve done yer bit, I’ll take over from here."
"I’ll be back at dawn," said Filch, "for what’s left of them," he added nastily, and he turned and started back toward the castle, his lamp bobbing away in the darkness.
Malfoy now turned to Hagrid.
"I’m not going in that forest," he said, and Hermione was almost pleased to hear the panic in his voice.
"Yeh are if yeh want ter stay at Hogwarts," said Hagrid fiercely. "Yeh’ve done wrong an’ now yeh’ve got ter pay fer it."
"But this is servant stuff, it’s not for students to do. I thought we’d be copying lines or something, if my father knew I was doing this, he’d…"
"Lucius Malfoy would be the first ter tell yer that’s how it is at Hogwarts," Hagrid growled. "Copyin’ lines! What good’s that ter anyone? Yeh’ll do summat useful or yeh’ll get out. If yeh think yer father’d rather you were expelled, then get back off ter the castle an’ pack. Go on."
Malfoy did not move. He glared at Hagrid furiously, but then dropped his gaze.
"Right then," said Hagrid, "now, listen carefully, ‘cause it’s dangerous what we’re gonna do tonight, an’ I don’ want no one takin’ risks. Follow me over here a moment."
He led them to the very edge of the forest. Holding his lamp up high, he pointed down a narrow, winding earth track that disappeared into the thick black trees. A light breeze lifted their hair as they looked into the forest.
"Look there," Hagrid said, holding his lamp high, "see that stuff shinin’ on the ground? Silvery stuff? That’s unicorn blood. There’s a unicorn in there bin hurt badly by summat. This is the second time in a week. I found one dead last Wednesday. We’re gonna try an’ find the poor thing. We might have ter put it out of its misery."
"And what if whatever hurt the unicorn finds us first?" Malfoy asked.
As much as she disliked the Slytherin, Hermione could not help but wonder the same thing.
"There’s nothin’ that lives in the forest that’ll hurt yeh if yer with me or Fang," said Hagrid. "An’ keep ter the path. Right, we're goin' ter follow the trail. There’s blood all over the place, it must’ve bin staggerin’ around since last night at least."
"All right then? I'd best warn yeh about Fang, he’s a coward, if he starts runnin' it's probably for a good reason." Hagrid explained. "So we're all goin' ter stick together. Now, if any of yez sees anythin', just let me know… so, be careful an' let’s go."
The forest was black and silent. A little way into it they reached a fork in the earth path, so Hermione, Malfoy, Neville, and Fang huddled together and followed Hagrid when he took the right fork.
They walked in silence, their eyes on the ground. Every now and then, the light of Hagrid's swinging lamp lit a spot of shimmering silver blood on the fallen leaves.
Hermione could see that Hagrid appeared to be quite worried.
" Could a werewolf be killing the unicorns?" Hermione whispered.
"Where wolf?" a new voice asked.
Hagrid wheeled in place and had his crossbow cocked and aimed at the voice faster than Hermione ever imagined he could move.
"Hi ya Hagrid Fella," Little Guy said happily as he dropped out of the forest canopy and landed on Hagrid's massive shoulder. "There no wolves in the forest, Little Guy looked."
"We're not lookin' fer wolves, Little Guy," said Hagrid said gently as if having a boy land on him out of the dark was an everyday occurrence. "Werewolves. Cursed men and women who lose themselves to their curse under full moons. But no, Hermione, werewolves aren't fast enough. It’s not easy ter catch a unicorn, they’re powerful magic creatures. I never knew one ter be hurt before."
"What are you doing here, Potter?" Malfoy asked regaining some of his bravado in the presence of the boy he imagined to be his rival.
"Little Guy hunt food," the jungle boy said with a shrug. "Elf fellas fix food good, but sometimes Little Guy needs to honor food fellas with blood and sweat."
Little Guy jumped to the forest floor, and sniffed curiously as the shimmering silver blood the group had been following. "This scent everywhere in forest. Smell like blood, but color wrong. What this, Hagrid Fella?"
"Unicorn blood," Hagrid explained. "Summat's been huntin' an' killin' unicorns.
"Rino-Horsie fellas?" Little Guy asked.
Hagrid nodded at the odd name offered. Hermione opened her mouth to correct the Jungle Boy, but suddenly realized that to someone raised without the Grecian myths, seeing a horn and associating it with an animal he was familiar with was a reasonable thing to do.
"You heading wrong way," Little Guy said. "Rino-Horsie fellas plenty smart. This fella, hurtin', he doubling back on tracks to throw hunter off," he pointed to an indistinct marking in the forest loam. "See how front of hoof mark deeper than back? Rino-Horsie fella walking backwards in own tracks."
"Well, I'll be," Hagrid whispered in amazement. "Yer right. Don’ worry, it can’t’ve gone far if it’s this badly hurt, an’ then we’ll be able ter… GET BEHIND THAT TREE!"
Hagrid seized Hermione and pulled her off the path behind a towering oak, while Neville and Malfoy scrambled to follow. The half giant pulled out an arrow and fitted it into his crossbow, raising it, ready to fire. They listened to the odd sound coming from the darkness, the sound of something being dragged over the dry leaves nearby.
"That sound like wizard robes dragging on ground," Little Guy noted. "Long stride, probably grown fella."
It was only then that Hagrid noticed that the mostly naked Hufflepuff had not moved from where he had been crouching to examine the unicorn tracks and blood. The only sign of alarm caused by the noises in the dark was the long knife that was now in his hand.
"I knew it," he murmured. "There’s summat in here that shouldn’ be."
"A werewolf?" Malfoy suggested fearfully.
"That wasn’ no werewolf an’ it wasn’ no unicorn, neither," said Hagrid grimly. "Right, follow me, but careful, now. Little Guy, yeh should head back ter the castle, this is a detention and yeh've earned none."
"No need to worry Hagrid Fella," the jungle boy said happily. "Little Guy hunt since before he could swing on vine."
The boy vanished into the darkness before Hagrid could muster an argument. The half giant shrugged and gestured for the students to follow him. They walked more slowly now, ears straining for the faintest sound. Suddenly, in a clearing ahead, something definitely moved.
"Who’s there?" Hagrid called. "Show yerself… I’m armed!"
Into the clearing walked a centaur. A man with red hair and beard to the waist, but below that was a horse’s gleaming chestnut body with a long, reddish tail. Hermione’s jaw dropped.
"Oh, it’s you, Ronan," said Hagrid in relief. "How are yeh?"
He walked forward and shook the centaur’s hand.
"Good evening to you, Hagrid," said Ronan. He had a deep, sorrowful voice. "Were you going to shoot me?"
"Can’t be too careful, Ronan," said Hagrid, patting his crossbow. "There’s summat bad loose in this forest. This is Draco Malfoy, Neville Longbottom an’ Hermione Granger, by the way. Students up at the school. An’ this is Ronan, you three. He’s a centaur.
"No, really?" Draco snarked.
"Good evening," said Ronan. "Students, are you? And do you learn much, up at the school?"
"A bit," said Hermione timidly.
"A bit. Well, that’s something." Ronan sighed. He flung back his head and stared at the sky. "Mars is bright tonight."
"Of course Mars bright, Horse Fella," Little Guy's voice came from the forest canopy, startling the centaur and inspiring aloud squeak from Hermione. The boy lowered himself on one of his ever-present vines until he hung upside down with his head at the same level as the startled centaur. "Cold clear night with no moon, Venus already set and Jupiter not yet rise, Mars will be bright."
"Yeah," Hagrid said while Hermione wondered if the boy was knew he had just insulted Ronan.
"This is Little Guy, Ronan," Hagrid continued, changing the subject. "Listen, I’m glad we’ve run inter yeh, ‘cause there’s a unicorn bin hurt… you seen anythin’?"
Ronan did not answer immediately. He stared unblinkingly into the eyes of the nearly naked boy, before sighing.
"Always the innocent are the first victims," he said. "So it has been for ages past, so it is now."
"Yeah," said Hagrid, "but have yeh seen anythin’ Ronan? Anythin’ unusual?"
"Mars is bright tonight," Ronan repeated, while Hagrid watched him impatiently. "Unusually bright."
"Yeah, but I was meanin’ anythin’ unusual a bit nearer ter home," said Hagrid. "So yeh haven’t noticed anythin’ strange?"
Yet again, Ronan took a while to answer. At last, he said, "The forest hides many secrets."
A movement in the trees behind Ronan made Hagrid raise his bow again, but it was only a second centaur, black-haired and - bodied and wilder-looking than Ronan.
"Hullo, Bane," said Hagrid. "All right?"
"Good evening, Hagrid, I hope you are well?" The latest centaur asked, his eyes locked with the boy hanging from a vine.
"Well enough. Look, I’ve jus’ bin askin’ Ronan, you seen anythin’ odd in here lately? There’s a unicorn bin injured — would yeh know anythin’ about it?"
Bane walked over to stand next to Ronan. He looked skyward. "Mars is bright tonight," he said simply.
The sound of wings interrupted anything else the centaur Bane might have had to say. All eyes focused on the large blue bird that landed on a nearby branch.
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE !" The Tookie Tookie bird said urgently.
"Thanks Tookie!" Little Guy said before returning his attention to Hagrid. "Tookie say Rino-horsie fella in trouble. Little Guy Hunt!"
"Little Guy wait!" Hagrid called into the darkness that appeared to have swallowed the boy. "Sorry Ronan, Bane, we've got to help the unicorn."
The half giant barreled down the path in the direction the boy had vanished, followed, after the slightest bit of hesitation, by the three remaining students.
Alone in the clearing, the two centaur exchanged a look. "Humans," Bane laughed.
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE ?" Tookie suggested.
Infuriated Bane wheeled to face the magical jungle bird. "I have no desire to discuss atmospherics and their effect on the apparent brightness of celestial bodies," he sneered. "Especially not with some witless bird."
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE !" Tookie responded with an avian smirk before taking wing into the dark sky.
"And it is not 'my loss' you arrogant feather head!" Bane bellowed at the sky.
Having finally pulled the unicorn to the ground, Quirrel slit the beast's throat and drank deeply. Voldemort forced his minion to allow him to drink himself.
He was interrupted by an inhuman warbling scream, followed by a small form flying through the air over his head. A small form that impacted face first into an ancient oak.
"Owe!" the boy Voldemort recognized from Quirrel's class said, picking himself up from the forest floor. "Hey Professor Fella, why are you killing rino-horsie fellas?"
"Are you ready to die boy?" Voldemort asked.
"Always," the boy responded. "Death is part of life. Why are you killing rino-horsie fellas?"
Quirrel turned his back on the child, allowing his master to face the boy.
"Harry Potter, the boy who lived," he hissed menacingly. "It is time I showed the lie of that claim."
Both Quirrel and his master were shocked by the way the child dodged each of the spells cast by their common wand. "Professor Fella better give up before Little Guy has to get rough."
Voldemort snarled a Killing Curse, which the boy dodged by vanishing into the forest canopy.
An inhuman call echoed in the darkness, and then nothing.
"Did you hit him, Master?" Quirrel asked the wraith on the back of his skull.
"The killing curse kills, fool," Voldemort spat. He really needed a better class of minion. "It doesn't make you climb a tree and scream."
Staying on their guard, the conjoined duo searched the treetops for any sign of the child. Then they heard something odd.
A distant rumbling, one that seemed to be steadily getting louder.
"Master?" Quirrel asked, his fear mounting.
"Be ready," Voldemort commanded, raising their common wand to the ready, just as the first of the Thestral herd emerged from the forest into the clearing. The combined duo fell beneath the hooves of the herd as they passed through the clearing. Both avoided major injury, but both ended up being kicked in the face several times.
Quirrel staggered to his feet, nursing his bleeding nose as yet another animalistic scream echoed in the forest.
"What is that?" Voldemort asked, looking around warily. "Defend us!"
"My wand!" the DADA Instructor said as he spotted that the wand he had purchase at eleven now hung in two pieces, connected only by a tattered sliver of dragon heartstring.
"What happened?" His Master demanded when the first of the hippogriff herd entered the clearing and the body sharing pair fell beneath the stampeding herd's talons and paws.
The two villains screamed in terror as the claws and talons tore at their shared body.
Hagrid arrived at the clearing in time to see the hippogriff herd disappear into the trees. He held up his lantern to shed light on the area. The presence of the slaughtered unicorn horrified him, but the mangled form of the man who was clearly one of his colleagues caused him to rush forward, with the three students and Fang following closely behind.
Quirrel was struggling to stand despite his obviously shattered left leg. That was when Hagrid discovered the horror that had attached itself to the back of the man's head.
"Stay back, Hagrid Fella," Little Guy's voice pulled Hagrid up short and he looked around for the boy.
Little Guy descended from the canopy directly on top of Quirrel, upon landing he slapped a handful of tree resin directly onto the exposed face of Voldemort.
"Mabaya roho kufuli!" the boy chanted. The resin glowed blue for a moment, before turning a deep amber and solidifying. "That take care of Evil Spirit, Professor Fella," he said to the injured Quirrel, conjuring a knife. "Do you surrender now, or does Little Guy have to get rough?"
Hagrid struggled to cover his responsibilities as a member of Hogwarts staff and those of a citizen of Magical Britain. Wanting to keep the children as far as possible from a professor seemingly possessed by the ghost of a Dark Lord, and the fact that without the aid of Little Guy, there was no way he could have subdued the wizard.
"Fang," he said to his faithful, if cowardly dog, "Yeh need to protect the students. Yeh lot, yeh need to follow me from a good distance, an' if yeh see him get away from me, fer Merlin's sake, run to the castle."
"But Hagrid," Hermione protested, "we couldn't just leave you."
"Yeh can an' yeh will," the half giant said sternly. "Malfoy, yeh an' Neville see tha' she does, carry her if need be."
The Malfoy scion just kept staring at the frozen face of the on the back of Quirrel's head. "Is that… is that the Dark Lord?"
"There's no reason to worry, Blondie Fella," Little Guy said helpfully. "Evil spirit isn't gonna hurt anyone. Secret is amber."
"But, where did you get amber?" Hermione asked, peeking around Hagrid's massive frame.
"Made it," Little Guy explained. "Gathered resin from trees, covered Evil Spirit with it, then aged with spell."
Hagrid opened his mouth to order the students back to the castle when a new call grabbed everyone's attention.
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE !" The Tookie Tookie Bird said in an expert tone.
"So, you're saying," the wandering Centaur upon whose shoulder the bird was perched said, "that the apparent brightness of Mars or any of the other planets is dependent upon the clarity of the air, the observers' elevation above sea level, and the inclination of the observed object above the horizon?"
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE !" Tookie confirmed with a nod.
"But wouldn't that mean…" the Centaur suddenly noticed that he and the bird were not alone in the clearing. "Oh, hello Hagrid."
"Mornin', Firenze," Hagrid greeted his friend.
"Morning?" The Centaur asked, looking about. "Yes, I suppose it is. What brings you to the forest at this hour Hagrid?"
"Tryin' to find out what was huntin' an' killin' the unicorns," Hagrid explained.
"Ah," Firenze nodded. "And you were successful, I see. You brought children on such a task?"
"These three earned detentions," Hagrid nodded toward Little Guy, "and tha' one was hunting."
"I doubt I will ever truly understand you wizards," Firenze sighed. "My own ramblings this night introduced me to this wonderful bird."
"Tookie always makes friends," Little Guy chimed in.
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE ," Tookie explained, returning to his original point.
"Well, that goes without saying," the Jungle Boy agreed. "Everyone knows that the closer object is to the horizon, the more air have to look through, and the more view degrades. Come on Tookie, be serious."
In the dim light, it almost appeared that the bird blushed. " AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE ," it said in a tone that suggested apology.
"Wait, wait, wait," Firenze protested. "Are you trying to tell me that even perfectly clear air will defuse light because of scattering?"
" AH AH EE EE TOOKIE TOOKIE ," The Tookie Tookie bird confirmed.
"Well," Little Guy temporized, "Effect is stronger for blue light than for red, which is why the daytime sky blue and why Mars brighter sometimes. If no scattering, the sky would be black even at noon."
Hagrid quietly hefted Quirrel into his arms and motioned for his detention students to follow him, leaving the Bird, boy and Centaur to discuss the sky.
None of them felt the need to protest.
"He captured Voldemort?" Dumbledore asked for perhaps the twentieth time, staring at his Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor, the aforementioned teacher in a full body bind and physically tied to a chair.
Quirrel was bandaged, but Poppy had refused to heal him.
Amelia Bones glared at the Headmaster as she cleaned her monocle. "And where is Mr. Potter now?"
"He wants to be known as Little Guy," Pomona Sprout explained.
"I can hardly call 'Little Guy' to testify before the Wizengamet," Amelia protested.
"For formal occasions, he goes by Little Guy of the Jungle," Pomona noted.
"Oh, that's so much better," Amelia sniffed. "I still want to know where he is."
"When I last saw him," Hagrid explained. "He was discussin' atmos… atmos… the sky with his Tookie Tookie bird and Firenze the Centaur."
"Of course he is," Amelia sighed. "All right, Hagrid, are you certain you want to claim that an eleven year old did this much damage to a fully qualified Wizard? He appears to have been beaten to within an inch of his life."
"I know it looks like I did it, Madam Bones," Hagrid admitted, "Merlin's Beard! I wish I had done it, but no, it was all Little Guy. He called in herds o' animals an' they trampled poor Quirrel."
Amelia nodded before turning to her Aurors. "Shacklebolt, escort the Professor and his… guest, to our most secure cell, and then plant yourself in front of it. No one gets in to see him without me being with them. And, yes, that includes the Unspeakables."
"Got it boss," Shacklebolt said with a nod, happy to be getting out of close proximity to so many important people.
Amelia waited until her Aurors were out of the Headmaster's office before slumping into the chair Quirrel had so recently vacated.
She started massaging her brow. "He Who Must Not Be Named is back, possesses a Hogwarts Professor, kills at least two Unicorns, and he's trapped and captured by the eleven year old that killed him last time. What have I done to make you people hate me so much?"
"Amelia," Minerva McGonagall said gently, "It's not always about you."
"He captured Voldemort?" Dumbledore asked for the twenty first time.
"I think Albus is broken," Pomona noted.
"That's what happens when people don't conform to his expectations," Minerva sighed. "You should have seen him the night Fudge was elected."
"I'll need the Potter boy to teach my Aurors that amber trick, just in case," Amelia sighed.
"Good luck with that," Pomona laughed. "From Hagrid's description of what he did, Little Guy didn't use English or Latin to case his spell. It must be one of the languages of his home land."
"And you need to understand the language to cast in it," Amelia sighed. "I remember first year Pomona. Well, now that we know it's possible, we can turn it over to the Unspeakables as a project."
"He captured Voldemort?" Dumbledore repeated.
"What is his problem with He Who Must Not Be Named being captured?" Amelia asked. "Wasn't that the reason he sought out the Potter boy?"
"From what I've been able to figure out from his notes," Minerva sighed, "Albus expected an end of year confrontation, and even then only after Little Guy had learned a few lessons from him. And even then, he expected You Know Who to escape."
"He captured Voldemort?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes, you stupid old man," Minerva hissed. "He captured Vol… Voldemort. And he did it without you."
"And I can't even charge you with anything," Amelia snarled, "because even though your scheming and plotting is certainly immoral, it isn't illegal."
"But he captured Voldemort," Dumbledore said, "what do I do now?"
The assembled first years sat patiently in a classroom none of them had ever seen before.
Hermione had been unaware that there was a classroom at Hogwarts large enough to hold an entire year, but it was.
She stopped looking around the large room when the four Heads of House appeared at the front of the classroom.
Professor Snape, looking a bit worn, stepped in front of his fellows and cleared his throat. Instantly, the room went silent.
"Students, we are fortunate to have among us in this class a potions savant, one with skills in my learned art that even I cannot match. Those of you in Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff have already witnessed his technique."
"After much discussion," Professor McGonagall said, "it was decided that we would offer all of you a chance to witness his process. If for no other reason than to show you aspects of other magical traditions."
"Little Guy," the woman called. "If you will?"
The boy emerged from behind the professors and produced a large camp fire from… somewhere, followed by a huge cauldron and a mask large enough to cover his body, leaving only his arms and legs exposed.
A drum beat started as the boy danced around the cauldron throwing potions ingredients in with no apparent plan or pattern. Occasionally chanting, ringing bells, blowing whistles and doing odd percussion solos.
Hermione found her inner social warrior coming to the surface. "Oh, Dean," she said, "I'm so sorry."
"What?" the Eastender asked, clearly confused. "What are you sorry for?"
"This mockery of your people's traditions," she explained.
"My people?" Dean asked incredulously. "Woman, I'm from London, just like my Mum and Da'. My grandparents, all of them came from Jamaica. Whatever Little Guy's doing, it isn't a tradition of 'my people'."
"Besides," Seamus interjected, "according to Little Guy, the Witch Doctors that trained him are white."
"And Jewish," Anthony Goldstein added. "Mbebwe is a weird place, evidently."
Cleaning up after the presentation had fallen to Severus Snape.
He didn't mind. He had come to the conclusion that this would likely be his life. If the other children could learn to do potions in the way of the Jungle, cleaning up was likely to be the only career left for him.
As he waved his wand to vanish the residue of so many students using an unused auditorium for the first time, he wondered if Argus Filch might need an apprentice.
The Son of James Potter had captured a reborn Dark Lord. Despite being privy to Albus' plans, Severus never really thought it could possibly happen.
Satisfied that the room was ready for the Castle's elves to return to an unused condition, he moved back to the front of the room, and for the first time approached the cauldron, still warm from the fire of the demonstration.
He lifted the lid on the huge vessel and looked inside.
Of course. He shouldn't have expected anything less. The boy had worked on it for almost seven minutes.
Severus levitated the cauldron in front of himself as he exited the room, wondering what he was going to do with five gallons of Liquid Luck.
It was a prime example of the power of irony that while levitating a cauldron of Felix Felicis, Severus Snape tripped and fell, his head smacking hard against the cauldron.
The impact knocked Snape unconscious, it also cause the levitated vessel to flip upside down and dump its contents on his insensate form before the levitation charm ended and the cauldron fell to hit him on the head again, coming to an ultimate rest with his head inside the cauldron, soaking in what little of the Liquid Luck that remained inside.
He lay in this state for 37 and ¼ minutes before, through an accident of sheer luck he was found and taken to the Medical ward for healing before any permanent damage was done.