It was Friday, and the afternoon brought two consecutive potions classes—a favored subject among Slytherin students. Professor Snape’s partiality towards Slytherin was evident, and the misadventures of Potter, Weasley, and Longbottom provided ample entertainment for the little snakes.

Skyler walked hand in hand with Daphne, engaging in a hushed conversation as they approached the door of the Potions classroom in the dungeon. Draco, Goyle, Crabbe, and Pansy were already gathered at the entrance, sharing a moment of laughter while looking at something.

Although aware of the situation, Skyler feigned ignorance and inquired, “What are you all looking at? Are we throwing a party?”

Having grown closer to Skyler after their collaboration against Draco, Pansy approached with a smile, holding a magazine in her hand. “Oh, Skyler, take a look at this—it’s the latest ‘Witches Weekly.'”

In the wizarding world of Great Britain, with a limited population, each magazine category had only one option. Consequently, “Witches Weekly” stood as the sole women’s magazine in the region.

Skyler typically didn’t indulge in such magazines, but out of politeness, he accepted the magazine from Pansy and gave it a cursory glance. The cover displayed an event photo of a young witch with curly hair, joyfully pointing her wand at a large sponge cake, revealing a row of perfectly aligned, snow-white teeth.

Flipping through the pages, Skyler encountered advertisements on the initial pages for the latest beauty potions and cosmetics in the wizarding world.

As he delved deeper, he found a brief overview of the Hogwarts Yule Ball on the central spread. The accolade for the best costume and demeanor of the day in the men’s category had been bestowed upon Skyler, adding another inconspicuous accolade to his personal list of honors and achievements.

In the women’s category, the award rightfully went to Catalina Moreau. Given her ethereal dress on that memorable day, the recognition was well-deserved. Even Daphne, who had competed in the female category, couldn’t raise any objections and was genuinely impressed.

Continuing to peruse the magazine, Skyler discovered the announcement of the “Most Charming Smile Award.” Surprisingly, he had secured this accolade seven times in a row, surpassing the previous record-holder, Lockhart, who had won the award five times consecutively.

Shaking his head at this trivial revelation, Skyler proceeded to flip through the pages until he stumbled upon an article that had caught Draco and the others’ attention earlier. The prominent title read, “Harry Potter’s Secret Love Story.”

Perplexed, Skyler couldn’t help but wonder, “Shouldn’t it be ‘Harry Potter’s Secret Heartbreak’?”

He quickly grasped the crux of the matter. Due to his presence in this world, Hermione hadn’t attended the Yule Ball with Krum. Rita Skeeter couldn’t sensationalize a story about Hermione being romantically involved with two different individuals.

With this realization, Skyler’s interest in the article was piqued. Without Hermione’s entanglements, what could this piece possibly contain?

As he delved into the article, Skyler was taken aback. The narrative vividly detailed Potter’s supposed secret love history—a tale of Harry, who, having lost his parents at a tender age, possessed a sensitive and fragile heart.

Hogwarts, it seemed, had provided him with the solace he sought, culminating in the discovery of a profound connection.

Emotional comfort was sought by none other than Hermione Granger, hailing from a Muggle family.

Unexpectedly, Miss Granger and Harry eventually parted ways due to differences in their personalities. The proof cited was Harry’s subsequent invitation to Parvati of the Patil family for the Yule Ball.

The subsequent section of the article meticulously outlined every nuance of Harry and Parvati’s relationship—their usual date spots and intimate activities, and even included a photograph capturing their dance at the ball.

Skyler found himself involuntarily twitching his mouth at the sight of Harry being tightly embraced by Parvati.

Just as Skyler thought he had grasped Rita’s questionable taste, the subsequent content flipped his understanding once again. The narrative took an unexpected turn.

Rita Skeeter changed her tone and transitioned into criticizing Harry for disliking the elderly and allegedly heartlessly dumping Parvati.

The article depicted Harry as a callous scoundrel. As it turned out, from the outset to the present, both Hermione and Parvati were merely smoke screens employed by Harry to conceal his true sexual orientation!

Harry Potter’s true love was unveiled during the second event of the Triwizard Tournament – his most cherished companion, Ron Weasley, a fellow inhabitant of their shared dormitory for the past four years.

The article delved into the clandestine love affair the two allegedly shared throughout their time at Hogwarts, managing to conceal it from the prying eyes of the entire school. A photo capturing the intense gaze exchanged between Harry and Ron during the lake rescue was featured at the end of the article.

After perusing this piece, Skyler’s facial expression underwent a remarkable transformation. He now comprehended why celebrities harbored such animosity towards paparazzi.

While his relationship with Harry couldn’t be characterized as friendly, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sympathy for Harry’s predicament.

Although England’s culture regarding unconventional relationships might not be a significant subject of criticism, this portrayal of Harry as being involved in both sordid and scandalous affairs could undoubtedly cast a shadow over his image with the female populace.

Aside from staunch fans like Ginny, it seemed improbable for Harry to garner favor from other girls throughout his remaining time at school.

Just five minutes before the end of the class, the Harry trio made a tardy entrance. Pansy hurriedly tossed the magazine to Harry, and as the underground classroom door opened, a stoic Professor Snape stood revealed, gesturing for everyone to enter.

While Professor Snape meticulously inscribed the potion ingredients required for the day’s lesson on the blackboard, the three Harrys huddled at the back-row table, engrossed in a low-voiced discussion about the magazine’s contents. Unbeknownst to them, Professor Snape had stealthily glided over.

“Potter, despite your vibrant social life,” Professor Snape’s frigid tone jolted all three, “I must caution you against whispering in my class. Minus ten points to Gryffindor.”

The entire class swiveled their heads to scrutinize the trio.

“Hmm… Still crouching under tables and perusing magazines?” Professor Snape continued, snatching the Witches Weekly from their hands, “Another ten points from Gryffindor… But, naturally…” Professor Snape’s gaze fixated on Rita Skeeter’s article, a trace of astonishment flickering in his eyes, “Potter needs to add newspaper clippings to his collection…”

The underground classroom resonated with Slytherin laughter, and Professor Snape’s thin lips curled into a sinister smile. He proceeded to read the article aloud, relishing each word, “The Secret Love Story of Harry Potter… My God, my God, Potter, what’s amiss with you again? You might be an entirely different lad…”

Harry felt his face flush. Professor Snape deliberately lingered after each sentence, amplifying the amusement among Slytherins. The impact of this article narrated by Professor Snape was tenfold worse.

By now, even the protagonists, Harry and Ron, were blushing, not to mention Hermione, who was a marginal character at best.

However, the most disconcerting reaction was from Parvati, a minor supporting character. The ire etched on her face seemed as though she wished to devour Harry whole.

After completing the reading, Professor Snape nonchalantly rolled up the magazine amidst peals of Slytherin laughter. “Huh, I believe it’s best to segregate the three of you, allowing for a focus on potion formulation rather than dwelling on these chaotic affairs. Weasley, stay put. Miss Granger, join Miss Parkinson up there. Potter – move to the table in front of my lectern. Alright, let’s proceed swiftly.”

The Harry trio obediently followed Professor Snape’s instructions.

Shifting his attention away, Skyler focused on guiding Daphne in refining the potion. This class still revolved around intelligence-enhancing agents, and since Skyler had successfully crafted the perfect intelligence-enhancing agent in the previous session, he was here solely to assist Daphne in this class.

In his view, relationships should be nurtured through mutual efforts. Whatever Daphne had offered him, he felt the need to reciprocate with equal commitment. With Skyler’s meticulous guidance, Daphne swiftly mastered today’s lesson.

At that moment, a knock echoed from the door outside the classroom.

“Come in,” Professor Snape uttered in his usual tone.

The door swung open, and all eyes turned toward the entrance. Professor Karkaroff stepped in, drawing everyone’s attention as he approached Professor Snape’s lectern. Restlessly toying with his goatee, he seemed anxious.

“We need to talk,” Karkaroff blurted abruptly once he reached Professor Snape, speaking in hushed tones as if he were an inept ventriloquist, determined not to let anyone overhear.

“I’ll speak with you after class, Karkaroff,” Professor Snape whispered, but Karkaroff interjected.

“I want to talk before you can slip away again, Severus. You’ve been avoiding me lately.”

“After class,” Professor Snape declared sternly.


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Published On: March 24, 2024

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