Chances Chapter 5

Hermione was happy to see young Christopher carrying a 'Simple Satchel' on his first day. The advertisement claimed it had the holding capability of two normal book bags and was guaranteed to reduce its weight by 65.

'See who he took after, indeed,' Hermione thought a bit imperiously.

Then she watched him sour a house mate's milk when the other boy's back was turned. She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes at the ceiling. She was glad he was Flitwick's charge.

Snape uncharacteristically took a seat near her.

"Before you over react," Snape began under his breath. He had already begun to annoy her and she hadn't even had a bite yet. The day was off to a wonderful start. "The other boy is a Sixth Year. He used little discretion when divulging information about his summer romance concerning a Hufflepuff Fourth Year to his house mates. She was quite distressed."

Hermione looked at Snape out of the corner of her eye for a moment. Then she nodded firmly. Once.

This was going to be a lot harder than she expected.

&&

Snape swooped into his classroom, frightening the flock of First Years as usual.

He did notice as he turned to face the paled faces that his own son was tucking something into his bag. The boy had heard him, but had not even noted his foreboding presence.

Snape frowned.

"Who here can tell me the uses of Adder venom?" Snape barked out. This was addling. He didn't even say his usual intimidating speech.

To his horror, the boy's hand shot up. He stretched towards the ceiling, his face attentive.

It was going to be a long eight years.

&&

"Can anyone site the significance and event associated with the Underage Wizarding Act?" Professor Granger asked her class.

She sat on the edge of her desk, smiling at the First Years. She crossed her legs under her robes and tried to appear relaxed.

They shifted nervously under her gaze. Quite a few of them were muggle born and had never been exposed to wizard history. What she was trying to determine was who had opened their books yet.

A few hands rose. Christopher's was among them.

Hermione all but smirked. This was going to be an interesting term.

&&

Lunch during the first week of term was always a bustling affair. The students buzzed excitedly amongst themselves about new classes and teachers, who they liked and didn't, and most of all, what to expect.

The teachers table was no exception to the excitement. Thankfully, it gave Hermione and Snape the chance to talk freely without being overheard or noticed.

"Overly bright," Snape sniffed.

Hermione snorted. He fixed her with a piercing gaze that might have frightened her, had she been a first year again. She rolled her eyes at Snape and his expression turned to annoyance before he fixed his attention on the bowl of potato soup in front of him.

"Really, Severus. The next thing you know, you'll be calling him a know-it ľall."

Snape grumbled something indiscernible into his soup. Hermione ignored him.

"Did you find out anything about his family?" Hermione asked, reaching for an apple.

"Not as much," Snape said as he gazed out over the eating students. "He seems to be thoughtful. If he is related to the Malfoys you are familiar with, it's probably distant."

"You can't judge someone's upbringing by their manners," Hermione argued. "He seems to be bright. Perhaps he's a black sheep?"

"Perhaps you're being paranoid," Snape snapped.

Hermione threw him a dirty look, but remained silent.

&&

Christopher lay on his bed in Ravenclaw tower, going over his potions notes and tentatively nibbling on candy from a colorful box of Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans. He made a face as a nearly acidic taste touched his tongue.

"Don't know why you bother," Caleb Johnson sulked from over at his desk. The stocky blonde boy was nearly a head taller than Christopher. A book on Wizarding history lay open in front of him.

"I like surprises," Christopher shrugged, without looking up.

"Not the beans," Caleb sighed. Sometimes if he didn't know any better he would think Christopher was being deliberately thick. "The books."

"I like books," Christopher said.

"Doesn't mean you have to live with your nose in them," Caleb said, annoyed.

"Well, curfew is in effect, I have an essay due next week, and there's nothing else to do," Christopher said sarcastically as he turned a page. "I suppose in a few years I can transfigure us a hang-glider and we can make a break, but I need to hone my skills a bit to get there."

Caleb stared at Christopher for a moment. Just because their mothers were second cousins didn't mean he had to put up with cryptic muggle references.

Thank god, his other roommates seemed to be obsessed with Quidditch and gob stones. There were seven of them in their dormitory room. Flitwick had suggested splitting them into two rooms, but finally decided to expand the size of their dorm room to twice the size as normal to accommodate the boys and their pets.

Christopher looked up at the sound of crumpling paper and dodged a ball of crumpled parchment hurling at his head. He threw a bean at Caleb in response and snickered as it bounced off the other boy's cheek.

"Ants!" a high-pitched voice cried out.

"We can't get ants up here," Christopher sighed as Duncan McGregor scrabbled for the piece of candy. "The house elves would find it when they clean tomorrow. Even if they didn't, the castles probably enchanted from ant attacks,"

"What's a house elf?" Duncan asked, confused.

Caleb and Christopher looked at each other. They knew Duncan was from a muggle family, but how clueless was he?

Christopher quickly explained house elves, their place in society, and their purpose.

Duncan nodded thoughtfully.

"So the freed ones have their own town?" Duncan asked. He reached for an atlas on his shelf. "Where is it?"

Caleb frowned as Duncan opened the atlas.

"Oi!" Caleb protested. "Half the places are missing."

"It's probably a muggle atlas," Christopher said, reaching for his satchel. He pulled out a thin red book and opened it. It seemed to be a lot larger when it was opened. With hundreds of more pages.

"Incredible," Duncan breathed.

Caleb rolled his eyes as the other two rattled on about places Duncan had never heard of. Two brains in one room. Maybe he'd talk to Flitwick about that separate room, after all.