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Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

-Chapter Two:

"Follow the light Mister Potter." Harry sighed and followed the glowing tip of Madame Pomfrey's wand.

"I'm fine Madame Pomfrey," he insisted.

"Since when have you ever been fine?" the school healer demanded. "It was bad enough when it was just the three of you, but now you're dragging along poor Miss Lovegood."

"Dragging her along," Ron repeated dryly. "Right."

"A second basilisk," Albus Dumbledore murmured. "Extraordinary. Is there any reason that you didn't come to me first, Harry?"

"We didn't want to waste your time," Harry stated. "We didn't think there'd be a basilisk down there, but we wanted to make sure."

"I see," Dumbledore replied as he stroked his beard. "You are aware that the safety of my students is my primary job, correct Mister Potter? In the case of a possible second basilisk, you would not have wasted my time."

"Sorry Professor." Dumbledore climbed to his feet.

"Well, this time I will insist the Ministry conduct a full investigation into the Chamber," Dumbledore stated. "I will also alert the ministry that they owe you four the bounty."

"Bounty?" Ron asked.

"Why yes," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling merrily. "Mister Malfoy's father announced that he would double the Ministry's standing two hundred thousand galleon bounty on basilisks after the Daily Prophet wrote about some completely unsubstantiated rumors that he was involved with the last one."

"Malfoy's dad is going to have to pay us two hundred thousand galleons?" Ron asked.

"On top of the Ministry's standing two hundred thousand galleon bounty," Dumbledore added helpfully. The head master raised his arm and Fawkes hopped over to his shoulder. "I also believe that another award for services rendered to the school is in order."

"Did I get a bounty for last time?" Harry asked.

"You were quite exhausted after your ordeal, so I simply had the ministry deposit the money in your account without any pomp and circumstance," Dumbledore stated. "I did tell you, but I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't remember."

What about the sword?" Harry asked.

"I think you should hold on to it," Dumbledore replied with a twinkle in his eyes. "You seem to have a better use for it than decoration." With that, he nodded and exited the hospital wing.

"Just because you get an award for doing stupid things doesn't mean you should keep doing them," Poppy stated sharply. Harry glanced at Ron and Hermione and they both nodded. Luna just continued watching something only she could see fly around the ceiling.

"Madame Pomfrey?"

"Yes?" the older woman asked.

"You brew your own potions, right?"

"Of course," she replied. One eyebrow rose.

"So you buy potions ingredients, right?"

"Where are you going with this Mister Potter?"

"We've come across one thousand and eighty seven fluid drams of basilisk venom," Harry stated in a rush. "If you can sell it for us we'll give you ten percent."

"You were supposed to start low and eventually work up to ten percent," Hermione stated. Harry shrugged helplessly. He had never negotiated before.

"One thousand and eighty seven fluid drams," Poppy repeated. Her eye fluttered for a moment. "Three point seven milliliters to a fluid dram. That's more than four thousand milliliters of basilisk venom."

"You use metric?" Hermione asked in shock.

"Most non traditionalists do," Poppy replied. "It makes scaling recipes much easier." She studied all four of them. "Eight percent and one milliliter of venom for my own use."

"Deal," Harry stated. Behind the nurse, Hermione rested her face in her hands. "Uh, what would you use basilisk venom for?"

"The best medicines contain the worst poisons," the healer stated simply. She took four bottles from a cabinet and set them down. "Pepper up potions. These will help you get through the day, but you will need to sleep tonight. Side effects may include anxiety, paranoia, priapism and upset stomach. These effects may last up to two days. Now, you have just enough time to make it to your next classes."

(:ii:)

Harry strolled towards Hagrid's shack with a song in his heart and a bounce in his step. "Harry!" the massive man boomed as he saw the threesome.

"Hello Hagrid," Harry returned happily.

"Where the hell did the three of you disappear to?" Hagrid demanded as he strode away from the group of third year students.

"We found another basilisk," Harry stated.

"Another?" Hagrid asked in shock. "You didn't kill it, did you?"

"Sorry Hagrid," Harry replied.

"S'fine I suppose," Hagrid commented sadly. "Basilisks are dangerous after all."

"Like dragons?" Ron ventured.

"Ah, dragon's aren't dangerous, people just don't like reptiles," Hagrid grumbled. "You three okay?"

"Excellent actually," Harry replied.

"Good," Hagrid stated. "We have about fifteen minutes until the next class. You three can wait in my shack if you want. There should be some tea in the kettle and biscuits on the table."

"Thanks Hagrid." Harry led the way into the giant man's house and flopped down on the couch. "Lucky you brought our school robes, Hermione."

"Yeah," Ron agreed as he picked up one of Hagrid's biscuits. He gave it a few whacks on the table before sighing in annoyance and sitting next to Harry. Fang made his appearance and rested his massive head in the redhead's lap. "Wish we could have had time for a bath though."

"I know. Cleaning charms just aren't the same." Hermione waved her wand to heat the kettle. "Tea?"

"Sure," Harry said. The redhead next to him didn't say anything as he absently scratched Fang's head. "Ron?" He followed other boy's line of sight and frowned as he saw that Ron was staring at the map above Hagrid's fireplace. "Ron?"

"What?" the boy asked, jumping slightly.

"Tea?" Hermione repeated.

"Please."

"You okay?" Harry asked.

"Just thought of something," Ron replied. "I need to look into it."

"Okay." Harry sipped his tea and ran his fingers though his hair, only to freeze as he came away with something red and gummy between his fingers. "I'm going to go dump of bucket of water on my head."

"Sounds good to me," Ron said as he stood up. They made their way to the small well outside and quickly drew up two buckets worth of water. "Four hundred thousand galleons. I didn't know heroing paid so much."

"Normally it just pays in nightmares," Harry stated as he stripped to the waist and dumped the bucket over his head, enjoying the cold water and warm fall air. "You know that."

"I do," Ron agreed as he similarly stripped and dumped a second bucket over his own head.

"Of course you do. You were there for most of them."

"Can you envision Malfoy's face when his dad hands over a bag of galleons?"

"Almost makes it all worth it, doesn't it?" Harry asked.

"Yeah."

"Potter!" Harry turned.

"Speak of the devil," Ron commented.

"What's wrong Weasley?" Malfoy demanded as he crashed to a halt, "couldn't afford a shirt this year?" Ron turned red for a moment before his eyes lost focus and he began grinning at the horizon.

"Oh, don't worry Malfoy, thanks to your family, I will always have a new shirt."

"What? What do you mean?" With no answer coming forth, Malfoy turned to Harry. "What does he mean?"

"Oh, don't worry about it," Harry replied dismissively. "You'll find out sooner out later." Malfoy stared at both of them.

"And where is your little. . ."

"Right behind you," Hermione stated. "Coincidentally, that's a very bad place for a person to be if you're about to insult them." She strode around the shocked boy and his two bookends.

"Harry!" Harry looked up and saw the rest of the Gryffindor fourth years making their way over. "Where the hell did you three disappear to last night?" Dean Thomas demanded.

"We had something to take care of," Harry stated.

"You know, that's the same thing you said before Madame Pomfrey swept in and dragged you away from breakfast," Seamus Finnigan stated.

"Still true," Ron said. Seamus turned and regarded Malfoy and his idiots with a look of disdain.

"They bothering you Harry?"

"Ah, save it for the quidditch pitch," Harry stated. He frowned as all present went silent. "What?"

"There's not going to be any quidditch this year," Dean stated. "They announced it last night." Harry stomach dropped.

"No quidditch? Why?"

"We're hosting the TriWizard Tournament!" Dean stated excitedly. Harry turned to Hermione.

"The TriWizard Tournament is a competition between the traditional three largest wizarding schools in Europe: Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons," Hermione stated robotically. "The last trial was in 1792 when a cockatrice escaped the enclosure where the students were supposed to fight it and attacked the gathered headmasters."

"It's dangerous then?" Harry asked.

"Typical casualty rates among students were in the one hundred and twenty-percent range with a fatality rate of about twenty-five percent."

"So this is a competition that pretty regularly killed students and they only stopped it when the headmasters were endangered?" Harry translated.

"Pretty much."

"You know," Dean began, "when you put it that way, it doesn't really seem like it's worth the ten thousand galleon prize."

"Would you let someone kill you for ten thousand galleons?" Harry demanded.

"No."

"Well, then it's absolutely not worth it," Harry stated. "Look, as one of the few people here to regularly get stuck risking their lives, it isn't fun. Leave this tournament for the idiots." The gathered students all fell silent as they considered Harry's words.

"What are ya'll doing standing around there!" Hagrid boomed. "Class is starting."

(:ii:)

"Do you think I got through to them?" Harry asked.

"Maybe a few," Ron admitted.

"You did all that you could," Hermione stated.

"I hope it's enough." He glanced at Hagrid and felt a nervous flutter in his stomach. The giant man looked a little too happy. "So, what are we doing Hagrid?"

"I have something special planned this year!" Hagrid boomed as he waved towards a pile of crates. "Have a look!" Harry made his way over and stared at the writhing masses inside one of the crates.

"What are those?"

"They're Blast-Ended Screwts!" Hagrid announced. "You're going to raise them and document their behavior." Harry glanced at Hermione, but she just shrugged. Harry glanced back at the screwts. As he watched a burst of sparks came from one of them and it lurched across the crate.

"You don't think these are going to try to kill Harry, do you?" Ron asked.

"Ron. . ." Hermione began warningly.

"Hagrid?" Lavender asked. "What are those pointy things?"

"Oh, those are stings!" Hagrid stated happily. "Only about half have them. I think they're the males. We'll have to figure out how to milk them to test the toxicity. The others have this sucker thing on them. I think they might drink blood, but we're going to try a little of everything until we figure it out."

"Hagrid, how big do these. . .screwts get?" Hermione ventured.

"Don't know!" Hagrid said cheerfully. "We'll all find out together."

"Ok, yeah. These things are probably going to try to kill Harry." Harry's heart sank. And he had been feeling so good about this year.

"God damn it."

"Now gather round!" Hagrid cheered. "Reach right in and grab 'em!"

"So," Ron began. "This isn't going to be easy, huh?"

"Nope," Harry grunted. "This is going to break Hagrid's heart."

(:ii:)

Harry plopped down at the table and stared at the bandages on his hand. Ten attempts to "accidentally" kill their new pet and they hadn't even gotten close. "Hello!"

"Hey Luna." The blond plopped down across the table next to Hermione. "Have you ever heard of a Blast-Ended Screwt?"

"Nope!" she chirped.

"Yeah, neither has anyone else," Ron grumbled as he dug out his book for Care of Magical Creatures. "You don't think Hagrid bred those things, do you?"

"Breeding a new magical creature would violate the Ban on Experimental Breeding," Hermione reported automatically. "However, there is paperwork that must be filed with the Ministry that would allow you to do so for research purposes. Hagrid probably. . .well. . .I don't think. . ."

"Yeah," Harry agreed with a sigh. "He is Hagrid. We're going to have to stop being so covert about this."

"If we go loud, Hagrid will know it was us," Ron pointed out. "I know I'm not close like you are, but I still like the guy and would like to avoid that at all costs."

"Why couldn't he just like something small and nice, like puppies or rattlesnakes?" Harry grumbled. "This is going to. . ." he trailed off as Minerva swept up to the table. "Hello Professor."

"Hello Mister Potter." There was something about her smile that did not sit right with Harry. "Miss Lovegood?"

"Professor, there are not actual school rules stating that. . ."

"She's with us," Harry interrupted Hermione.

"Means she's with us Professor!" George called. Fred nodded. So did Angelina, Alicia and Katie.

"I see and you are quite correct Miss Granger," Minerva stated. "I was merely surprised. Anyway, I have good news."

"This isn't about an award, is it?" Harry asked.

"Actually, it is," Minerva stated. "I've found a way to make sure you three don't try to get another one. You all have detention for the next month, from right after dinner to right before curfew. Isn't that great?"

"Wonderful," Harry replied blankly.

"What about me Professor?" Luna asked hopefully.

"Miss Lovegood, I have chosen to believe that you are an impressionable younger student lead astray by. . ." Minerva trailed off as Luna pulled out her wand and pointed it at Snape. The man's shoelaces gracefully untied themselves and knotted together. With one step, he went face first into a large meat pie on the Ravenclaw's table. ". . .detention it is." Snape leapt up and saw them staring at him.

"Potter!"

"That bit of accidental magic was Miss Lovegood actually, Severus," Minerva stated. "Don't worry, I've already given her a month of detention for it." Snape actually looked shocked.

"A whole month?"

"Would you prefer a lighter sentence?"

"No, it's good to see you finally cracking down on the rampant foolishness around here." With that he untied his shoes and swished away with as much dignity as a man covered in meat pie could.

"So, I will see all of you tonight after dinner," Minerva stated before walking away.

"Bye Professor!" Luna called after her. Harry stared at the small blond. "Is there something on my face?"

"Nope," Harry stated as he smiled and patted the girl's hand.

"Bloody brilliant!" Ron finally exploded. That set off Hermione and Harry and they both began laughing hysterically.

(:ii:)

"I like that girl," Harry stated.

"She may be the perfect human," Ron agreed as they climbed to stairs to the divination tower. "Did you hear anything about the new Defense professor?"

"Not yet," Harry stated. "Hopefully we'll get something at dinner."

"Yeah." They strolled into the room and made their way through the smoke. "Think the crazy old bat will tell you that you're going to die again?"

"Well, if she says it every year, she'll eventually be right," Harry said. Ron grunted his agreement and they collapsed into a pair of over-stuffed seats.

"Betcha a knut it's the first thing she says to you."

"I'll take it," Harry replied. "I think she'll wait until we start doing something before she predicts it." A pair of curtains swept aside and Sybill Trelawney dramatically swept into the room. She paused as her eyes swept over Harry through the massive lenses of her glasses.

"Oh you poor boy." Harry sighed and rooted around in his pocket for a knut before placing it on the table. "What?"

"Nothing Professor, please continue."

"As I was saying, the thing you dread will indeed come to pass." Harry's hand dropped on the knut as Ron reached for it.

"Anything else you'd like to say about Harry's future, Professor?" Ron demanded eagerly, eying the bronze coin.

"Uh. . .no. Anyway. . ." Harry tuned her out and pocketed his knut.

"Miserable old bat," Ron grumbled, though he looked somewhat preoccupied. "The thing you dread?"

"The screwts?" Harry ventured.

"Could be. Could be she's still nuts though."

"Could still be nuts or probably is still nuts?"

"Yes."

-End

(:ii:)

-Author's notes. Well, I've managed to keep my schedule for at least one extra chapter. Happy to see so many return readers, kind of sad to not see so many first timers, at least, not in the comments. Hey, if you're a first time reader, represent. Tell me what you think. My old readers already know what to expect, that's pretty much why they're here. They already like me and have accepter my nonsense warts and all. I am hoping to go a little less whacky with this story, well, maybe not. Hard to say this early. I mean, my personal favorite form of comedy is people acting normal in whacky situations, not people acting whacky in normal situation. Probably why I don't much like Will Ferrell movies. Leslie Nielsen being deadpan as the world goes mad, funny. Will Ferrell sitting at a dinner table and suddenly screaming for no reason, not funny. At least, not to me. If that makes you laugh, hey, more power to you.

So, stories. I got one that makes me look like a total ass. So, situation normal. We had a lady of a darker persuasion come in to the hospital with some stroke symptoms. I'm trying to question her as I'm doing the patient interview, but she's not really responding to me. One of the doctors tries something in Spanish, so I go full steam ahead and tell my partner to question her. As he's doing this in Spanish, one of the paramedics that brought the woman in walks in. He takes in what's happening and calmly informs us: "She's not that kind of brown." We all go silent and look at each other for a second, which in emergency medicine is a long fucking time for nobody to be doing anything. Finally one of the doctors just grins. "Anybody know Hindi?" It was at that part that everyone looked down and went back to work, which is the equivalent of everybody laughing hysterically. The emergency room is a different place, but not that different, and yes, we are pretty much all fucked up in there. You don't deal with dead toddlers by taking everything seriously.

Also couldn't help but throw in a little medical humor. See if you can catch it.