As all the students and visitors left the hall, as well as the other professors, the Heads of House and Headmaster cornered Severus as he tried to escape.
"You're not going anywhere Severus. We need to have a talk about your behaviour in the classroom," Minerva said icily, her tone much more like one that the Potions Master favoured.
"I feel like my teaching style and behaviour are fine, thank you," Severus replied stiffly.
"Well, we don't. You aren't getting out of this," Pomona said, crossing her arms. Severus turned to look at Dumbledore, hoping that the aged Headmaster would let him escape before Filius, Pomona, or Minerva were able to lay into him.
"I agree Severus. I trusted that your teaching style, while harsh, was effective, but this first book has clearly shown that it is not effective, and what I thought was you being harsh to prevent injuries, is actually you being a bitter man who doesn't care about the emotions of his students," Dumbledore said calmly, even as he looked at Severus in disappointment. Severus scowled, but didn't say anything, which the others took as him agreeing to them yelling at him.
"It is pure luck that, so far, there haven't been any fatal injuries in your class. You don't teach them safety or how to stay safe in the most dangerous subject at this school. It is luck, which is something I don't like to rely on, that has kept all of out students from being killed due to your negligence when it comes to safety in a potion's lab. Luck doesn't last forever, and I don't want to hear about any of our students being permanently injured or killed because of everything you've neglected to do to ensure their safety," Filius exclaimed, glaring at the Potions Master.
"I don't care that you are the youngest Potions Master in history, or how much you've improved potions in the past. What I care about is the fact that you've ruined the noble art of potions for a whole generation. There is a whole generation of students who had their love of potions squandered and crushed because of your attitude in the classroom and the fact that you are constantly belittling them and putting them down."
"I have seen dozens of students dreading to go to Potions class because of how you act in the classroom. I have seen dozens of students who love Herbology dread Potions and hate the subject, despite their love for Herbology and despite the fact that those two subjects go hand in hand. I have seen dozens of students who excel in Herbology or looked forward to Potions, now dread the subject solely because of how you act in the classroom and how you treat them," Pomona snapped.
"That is their fault for not trying or paying attention then," Severus sneered.
"No. It isn't the student's fault. It. Is. Your. Fault. These students hate Potions because of you."
"I have seen a countless number of my senior students spend hours slaving over an essay or assignment for you. have seen them work late into the night on work you assigned, trying to desperately get it to a level that will satisfy you. They spend hours on something that would only take them an hour, two at max, if it was for any other subject. Because they do try and you don't appreciate their work. So they try harder and harder, trying to at least get some acknowledgement and you ignore all of their efforts and criticize them," Filius snarled, a sound that none of them had expected to hear from the small professor.
"And many of my students have come to me in tears, with an essay or assignment that you've given back with a failing mark. I always check over my students' failed work and do you know what I've found with all of the assignments you've failed my badgers on? They are all work an A at least, many of them an E or even an O, and yet you failed them because you only accept work at Master level and you don't teach them how to understand what they struggle with. You just expect them to already understand and know everything, which isn't how it works," Pomona exclaimed.
"Your disgraceful behaviour blatantly spits on the noble title of Professor and I understand why none of my lions show you the respect that the title of Professor normally deserves and earns. Because you don't deserve the respect," Minerva hissed. She was not going to let him get away with how he had treated her lions any longer.
"You use your status as a spy as an excuse for your disgusting behaviour. You may get a bit of leeway, because of the behaviour the Death Eaters expect. But that doesn't give you any right to ignore obvious bullying that occurs in your classroom. It doesn't give you any right to blatantly bully the students. It doesn't give you any right to constantly belittle the students or to criticise and terrorise them every lesson. It doesn't give you any reason or excuse for the name calling, the unprofessional behaviour, the bias, the constant picking and targeting of one student. None of that can be hidden behind the excuse of being a spy. Nothing gives you an excuse or reason or right to treat our students, who are as young as eleven, how you have been.
"You show blatant favouritism and bias towards Slytherin and Gryffindor. You say that I play favourite, and I might, but I keep that behaviour out of the classroom. In the classroom, you have a duty to be fair towards all of your students and to treat them all equally, and you blatantly ignore that duty in favour of making your own house look good and putting down the house you hate.
"You carried a grudge from your childhood for years. You need to grow up and let it go. Yes, they treated you badly in school, but you never failed to retaliate. You fought back just as much, and now you target and bullying the children under your care who can't fight back. You carried a grudge from your school years, a grudge towards a dead man, over onto Harry, who never even knew his father. You project your hatred of James Potter onto his son in unprofessional and disgusting behaviour, and I am simply appalled by how far you have taken it. You target Harry for no reason other than your own bitterness towards his father and give no reason for your hate towards him.
"My Gryffindors are terrified of you, they hate you, and they all hate Potions and dread going to your classes. Even those who used to aspire to a career that needed potions changed their aspiration because of how you've treated them. I have heard complaints from hundreds of my Lions and have dismissed them as exaggerations. But from what I have learnt from this book today, I have been doing a great disservice to my Lions. I waved them off as exaggerating, and that is something I will address with them, as it is clear to me now that they were not exaggerating. They were downplaying your behaviour towards them.
"You had better hope, Severus, that the behaviour we have seen from you in the books so far are as bad as you get. You won't like the consequences otherwise. I will not let you treat our students, especially my Lions, how you have been," Minerva snarled. Severus gulped slightly and resisted the urge to step back; he hadn't seen Minerva go into protective lioness mode since he was in school and he hated to admit that it did scare him. Instead of showing that fear, though, he simply sneered at her.
"I do not see what the problem is. If they do not have the drive, then they do not go anywhere. I have had the highest average score from NEWT graduates in the past century," Severus said.
"Because you only take those who get an O in their owl and if anyone drops beneath an O you kick them out of your class. You may have the highest average score, but you also have the lowest average number of NEWT graduates in the past three centuries," Minerva said, her voice icy again.
"I am extremely disappointed in you Severus. I had hoped that you would actually teach. But Filius, Pomona, and Minerva are all right. You are acting completely unprofessionally and endangering the lives of all our students because of your negligence. You are going to be on probation for the rest of the year, a separate probation from the ones that Madame Umbridge is conducting. I will be randomly visiting your classes throughout the year to make sure that your behaviour has improved. I will not be telling you when I will be coming, and I will be employing the use of disillusionment charms for some of my visits and not for others.
"You will start actually teaching, more than just putting instructions on the board. You will instruct the students about why and how the different ingredients react together. You will explain to them how the different methods of preparing the ingredients differ and affect how they can be used in the potion. You will go over each step and how it affects the outcome of the potion and explain what a mistake at each step could cause. You will actually teach, or you will find yourself losing your job at the end of the year," Dumbledore said. Severus scowled at Dumbledore for a few minutes before relenting.
"Fine," he snarled before storming away.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione led the way up to the tower, the rest of their group following behind them, Sirius running around playfully as Snuffles as they did so. The trio led them through many passageways, some of which that even the twins and the remaining Marauders didn't know about, which Harry had found during his walks when he was restless or his night wanderings when he couldn't sleep. The results of all these shortcuts was that they barely used one main corridor or hallway and reached the tower in almost half the time it would normally take from the Great Hall.
"How did you do that?" How did you even know about those passageways?" Remus asked as they reached the corridor that had the Fat Lady's portrait. Harry shrugged.
"I go for a lot of walks. I spent one night walking back and forth from here and the Great Hall, just trying to find the fastest way between the two places. I've done the same thing from the Tower to each of our main classroom and between the Great Hall and our main classrooms," Harry replied casually.
"How often do you go on walks?" Mrs Weasley asked.
"During the day? Whenever he's restless," Hermione said.
"And that's at least once a week, usually more, especially if it's the holidays or not Quidditch season," Ron added.
"What about at night?"
"At least twice a week. It gets up to five in a really bad week," Harry replied before he turned to the Fat Lady and told her the password. She swung open and Harry led them into the common room, Ron and Hermione close on his heels. They didn't wait for the others to follow them, heading straight to their seats by the fire. Once they had sat down, they turned around to find the others staring at Harry just inside the portrait hole; judging by their expressions, they only entered the common room because the Fat Lady yelled at them that she wasn't going to stay open forever. The only ones who didn't seem shocked by Harry's answer were Neville, Ginny, Fred, and George; three of the four Weasleys still in school and Neville, who had shared a dorm with him for over four years; even Lee was a bit surprised, but Harry didn't know Lee as well as the others in their group. Even Sirius was doing a pretty good impression of stunned for a dog.
"What do you mean by at least twice a week? And five times in a really bad week?" Remus asked.
"Harry's a bit of an insomniac," Ron explained with a shrug.
"Did none of you notice during the summer?" Hermione asked, honestly surprised.
"No," Mr Weasley said, while Snuffles stared at Harry.
"Yeah. I tend to lean towards insomnia a lot of the time. Sometimes I just read a bit, work on an assignment, or read over an essay and wait until I get tired. Sometimes, mainly when I'm in the hospital wing, I get a dreamless sleep, which completely knocks me out. And if I'm not in the hospital wing and too awake to fall back to sleep, I go for a walk. It got worse after first and second year, and by then I had my invisibility cloak, so going for walks wasn't hard," Harry said, leaning back in his chair.
"Come in guys, don't just stand near the portrait hole. The common room hasn't really changed since you were in school," Ron said, leaning back in his chair and closing his eyes as he basked in the warmth of the fire. Their group made their way over to the chairs near the ones that the trio always claimed and sat down, Snuffles lying in front of the fire.
"So, this is the Gryffindor common room," Tonks said, looking around. "It's nice."
"Thank you," many of the students said.
"How did your check up with Madame Pomphrey go?" Ginny asked.
"It was fine. She just did a deep scan," Harry replied.
"Don't those find every injury you've every had?" Fred asked and Harry nodded.
"So she learnt about the…" George said, trailing off.
"Yep. And there's nothing she can do," Harry replied.
"What do you mean?" Lee asked.
"She said it's perfectly legal. She's not breaking any laws having one and there are no laws about who she can't use it on," Ron muttered.
"But she said she'd send stuff to the common rooms, so we didn't have to buy our own," Hermione added.
"She said an elf would just add it to what we already have, and she would send some to the other common rooms after I mentioned the others," Harry said.
"What are you talking about?" Bill asked.
"Nothing important," the twins and Ginny replied together before turning back to the trio.
"Above the fireplace?" Ginny asked.
"That's where we said we kept it," Hermione said.
"So probably there, yeah," Ron added.
"What stuff?" Neville asked.
"The three we have, and a couple other things. She'll have labelled them," Harry replied.
"What's going on?" Charlie asked.
"It's nothing important," the trio replied.
"Why do you ask?" Ron asked. Ginny shrugged.
"I had one last night and couldn't find the stuff," she replied.
"Yeah, that's probably my fault. I forgot to put it back after I took it to our dorm," Harry said. "I dealt with mine the night before and was meant to bring it back down. I think I fell asleep before I could though."
"That's fine. I managed. Wet towel and a few other things worked well enough."
"If you're sure. I can have a look once we head up?" Hermione offered. Ginny shrugged.
"I'm heading up. I didn't sleep last night, and then with the stress from the books and everyone finding out all that stuff exhausted me," Harry said, pushing himself to his feet. Hermione tilted her head slightly and Harry blinked twice at her before looking away and heading up the stairs.
Barely two minutes later, Hermione stood up.
"I just remembered I have a book that I need to return before curfew," she said, heading up to her dorm. She came back down and headed out of the portrait hole, waving away offers to accompany her. She headed towards the library, Harry, under his invisibility cloak and with a bag of supplies over his shoulder, plus the Marauder's Map, going the opposite way, heading towards the Great Hall to set up a prank that he had been thinking up all day.