McGonagall marched into the teachers' lounge, a scroll firmly grasped in her hand.
“Severus, may I have a word?” she demanded as she ignored the other professors in the room.
Severus closed the potion book he had been reading. “Of course, Minerva,” he replied as he looked up at the older teacher from where he was sitting. “How can I be of assistance?”
“I want you to explain this!” McGonagall said as she thrust the scroll in his direction.
Snape glanced briefly at the scroll in McGonagall hand. “It appears to be a scroll,” he answered dryly.
“You failed Ms. Granger,” McGonagall stated.
“You failed Ms. Granger?” Flitwick said in surprise.
“I did,” Snape replied simply.
“I read over her work, Severus and there is no reason for you to have failed her,” McGonagall announced in a firm tone of voice.
“Ms. Granger failed to follow my instruction therefore I had no opinions but to fail her,” Snape replied calmly.
“And how did she do that?” McGonagall growled. “Did she or did she not write the paper you assigned?”
“I assigned my classes to write a paper on Mugworts, how to prepare it and list_10 potions it’s used in. The report was to be no shorter than 3 feet and no longer than 4 and half feet. In addition the hand writing can be no bigger than 11/32 inches and no smaller than 9/32 inches.”
“You tell them what size they’re allowed to write in?” Flitwick said in surprise.
“Of course. If the students were allowed they would write in either a gigantic text size in order to reach the require length or they would write so small I would need a spell to enlarge the text so I could read it,” Snape explained.
Snape turned his attention back to McGonagall. “And how long is Ms. Granger’s homework.”
McGonagall sighed. “Almost 9 feet.”
“Doesn’t the child at least gets partial credit for the work within the required limit?” Professor Sprout asked.
Snape shook his head. “When I saw her parchment, I measured it to the maximum length and graded everything before that point,” he explained. “Unfortunately Ms. Granger insistence on giving a history lesson on herbal lore, which while was interesting, was not what I asked for. She didn’t start to write on the assignment until nearly the minimum required length and with what was there wasn’t enough to give her passing grade,” he explained
“I see,” McGonagall said thoughtfully as she stared at the parchment in her hand. “Severus, do you think you could make an exception this one time? Ms. Granger is an extremely bright student. She was very upset by this score.”
“Why should I play favorites for your one Gryffindor, Minerva while refusing to do the same for any other student?” Snape answered. “Every year I warn my second year students that I will no longer tolerate homework that did not fulfill my requirements and that they would be graded accordingly.
“That explains why my second year Ravenclaws learned to write the required length,” Flitwick commented to himself.
“Most of them learn that by the end of their first year,” Snape said having heard Flitwick’s comment. “The last of them realize that it will no longer be tolerated with this paper.”
“Considering that Ms. Granger and a few of my Ravenclaws turned in scrolls almost equal to that one today, I believe I will be following your example,” Flitwick comment.
McGonagall sighed wearily. “While I don’t disagree with you, Ms. Granger will not be happy with this. Undoubtedly, she will take the matter up with the Headmaster or even higher.”
“The child will simply have to learn to follow instructions, even Potter has learned to do that when it comes to his homework,” Snape replied. “I’m sure that the Headmaster and the Board of Governors will agree with me on that matter.”
McGonagall nodded her head. “Thank you for your time, Severus. I’ll explain to Ms. Granger why she failed.”
“Minerva,” Snape called out as McGonagall started to leave the room. “A headache potion.” He held out a small vial towards the older teacher.
“Thank you, Severus,” McGonagall said accepting the potions.
“So do you think Ms. Granger will learn her lesson from this?” Professor Sprout asked.
Snape shook his head. “Unfortunately, no, I do not,” he replied. “Last year I spoke with the child multiple times about the length of her work, left comments about it on her parchment… all of which she ignored.”
Flitwick nodded. “She’s very much like some of my Ravenclaws that I’ve had over the years. You have to take a beater’s bat to their heads before they will change their minds. I believe it will take more than a failing grade to do the same with Ms. Granger.”
“But the question is, what will it take?”
Everyone in the Gryffindor common room knew that Hermione Granger was not happy when she entered the room. She held her body stiffly as she walked across the room. She presented an aura of a woman on a mission to destroy someone in righteous anger.
Everyone let out a sigh of relief when Hermione disappeared into the girls’ dorm.
“I don’t think her meeting well McGonagall went well,” Ron stated loudly from where he was playing chess with Neville
“I think that is an understatement,” Harry mumbled to himself as he glanced towards the stairs that lead to the girls’ dorm.
“What was Granger so upset about?” Dean Thomas asked as he sat down on the couch next to Neville.
“You know the homework that Snape handed back to us?” Ron said as he made his move.
“Yeah, what about it?” Dean replied.
“Snape scored her poorly,” Harry said.
“Snape failed her,” Ron said. “Gave her a Troll.”
Those within hearing distance of Ron stared at him in shock.
“Snape failed Know It All Granger!” someone gasped. “How! Why!”
“Hermione said that he only graded part of her homework, not the whole thing,” Ron said as he made a move to countered Neville’s move. “She went to McGonagall about it right after class. Hermione said that McGonagall was going to have words with Snape about it. Guess it didn’t work.”
“Something doesn’t make sense,” Dean commented. “Why would Snape only grade part of her homework instead of the whole thing? I mean he would know that Granger would fight him over the grade. It’s one thing to give the whole paper a poor grade versus only grading part of it.”
“We’ve seen him do that most of us because we’re Gryffindor,” Lavender Brown comment.
“Harry gets it all the time, “Ron chimed in.
“Exactly!” Dean exclaimed. “And that’s why it doesn’t make any sense. Why would he only grade part of the paper? And why would McGonagall back down?
“That’s because Hermione…”
“…didn’t follow directions,” the Gred and Feorge said as they appeared behind the couch. Flopping over the back of the couch so their back rested on the couch cushions while their legs were up in the air.
“Of course she followed directions,” Ron replied in her defense. “Hermione always follows the teacher’s directions. I don’t think it’s not possible for her not to do so.”
“If Snape only graded part of her paper…”
“… then she didn’t follow his instructions,” he twins replied.
“How do you figure that?” Harry asked.
The twins tumbled over themselves so that they were now standing in front of the couch. “Because he only graded part of her paper,” they said in unison.
“A long, long time ago…”
“… when we were second years…”
“… there was this brilliant student…”
“… bit of a nerd…”
“…who keeps insisting on writing their paper longer than was required…”
“…this is the paper that never ends. It goes on and on my friend.”
The other twin smacked his brother so he would stop singing that song.
“Anyway, as I was saying this student handed in one of his extra-long homework to Snape and he measure the paper to the maximum length….
“…and then he graded only that section of the paper.”
Ron and Harry shared a look. “On the train, Hermione mentioned how long her paper was for Snape,” Ron admitted. “And it was really long.”
“Then that’s probably why…”
“…Snape failed her.”
“So what happened to that student? Did he ever get his grade changed?” Lavender asked.
“Ah lass, no. He went to the Headmaster…”
“… and the Headmaster agreed with Snape…”
“….Then he turned to the Board of Governors…”
“… and they too sided with Snape.”
“They explained their reasons...”
“…and how the student was wrong…”
“…but he didn’t listen.”
“He continued to handing in more than required…”
“..and he kept failing potions homework.”
“And he kept complaining to anyone who would listen…”
“…until almost everyone learned to avoid him.”
“So what happened?” Dean demanded. “Did he ever learn for follow instructions?”
“Well… kind of…”
“They contacted his parents about him failing potions…”
“… and they were less than pleased.”
“Heard his mother smacked him across of the head…”
“… and called him a dumb-ass…”
“… and that he knows better.”
Ron snorted. “It was Percy, wasn’t it. The git.”
“It would fit him,” one of the twins said as he turns toward the other twin.
The other twin mirrors the first twin’s actions, “Yes, it does fit him.”
Both of the twins turned to Ron. “But it’s not,” they said together.
Lavender snorted. “So Hermione screwed up, didn’t follow Snape’s directions and therefore failed the homework,” she summed up what happen. “And knowing Hermione she turned to McGonagall and she agreed with Snape so Hermione is probably up in the dorms writing a letter to the Headmaster and the school board about the whole mess instead of admitting her screw up.”
“That was rather… catty,” Parvati stated.
“Meow,” Lavender replied before turning to the boys of Gryffindor and saying. “Look I know Hermione is smart and that she practically remembers everything she has ever read but somedays she’s dumber than box of rocks. I know that she looks down upon Parvati and me for caring about things other than schoolwork or books but at least. We know how to balance our schoolwork and our personal. We won’t be a burnt out wreck when we're 30 wonder were our lives went wrong.”
“Plus we know how to follow instructions,” Parvati chimed in.
The older students, who had been gathered around, nodded their heads in agreement.
Harry sighed as he ran his hand through his hair. “I’m not disagreeing with you but what do you expect me to do?”
“Nothing, Harry,” Angelina said as she gave Harry a hug around the shoulders. “You’re not Hermione’s keeper. She has to realize that she needs to learn to follow the rules even if she disagrees with them.”
Ron and Harry shared a quick looked before the twin chimed in, exclaiming, “Oy. That’s blasphemy. Rules were made to be broken.”
“Sometimes,” one twin stated.
“But not all the time.” The other twin clarified.
Angelina rolled on her eyes. “Okay, the two chuckle heads are right. There is a time and place to break the rules . Or to protest them if you disagree with them. But breaking the rules concerning the length of your homework is stupid.”
“You need to remember the real reason why Snape has that rule about homework and it’s not overworking him,” Alicia chimed in for the first time. “It’s about following instructions. If you can’t follow instructions while in Potion class than you’re a danger to not only yourself but to the whole class if not all of Hogwarts.”
“Then why does Draco get away with tossing things in our cauldrons,” Ron grumbled.
“Because Snape is a git,” Alicia answered.
“And because daddy Malfoy is on the school board. He’s rich and has Fudge-puggy’s ear,” one of the twins chimed in.
“Since Fudge always dress in green would that make his pistachio fudge or mint chocolate chip fudge?” The other twin suddenly asked.
Everyone turned and looks at that twin in confusion.
“I know you haven’t hit your head since we haven't started quidditch yet,” other twin said with concern in his voice. “Have you been testing products on yourself again? You know that’s what firsties are for.”
“No. Not recently,” the twin replied.
“Right,” the other twin said drawing out the word. “I think it’s time we visit Pomfrey and have you checked out.”
“He’s pistachio,” Harry said. “He’s nuts.”
“Thanks, Harry,” the twin who asked the question replied as his brother dragged him away.
As the door to the common room closed behind the twins, Alicia turned towards Harry and said, “I don’t know who’s crazier, them,” she nodded her head toward the door, “for asking the question or you for knowing the answer.”
Harry just shrugged his shoulders with a small smirk on his face. “So what do we do about Hermione?”
“I’m leaning towards a betting pool to see who will crack first, Hermione or Snape,” Dean suggested.
Those gathered around were silent for a moment before Harry said, “Ten galleons on Snape to win. He’s too much of a git to let Hermione break him.”
“Right,” Dean drew out the word. “So let’s change it to when will she break and start following the rules? Any takers?”