So at long last we get to the new chapters, thanks for being so patient with me…sort of anyway ;)

I would like to remind people that I said once I caught up with the original I was going to hold off on updating until my Beta had caught up.

Also I am glad so many people caught onto the flaw of Harry's Grimoire compared to using a wand, that being speed. With enough practice he would be able to use it without opening the book but he is not that advanced yet.

He will be getting a wand eventually, just not right away. I am thinking at the end of first year. I have an idea for a chapter when Harry does get his own Wand that I want to do. However it might change my mind and have him get one over the Christmas break. We will see.

Enjoy :)

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Disclaimer: I own nothing :(

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Beta: alexis. metoyer. 1

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Chapter 8- Bad Dog!

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By the end of the week Harry had finished catching up his practical knowledge with his theoretical, in no small part to Hermione forcing him to actually focus on his work instead of skimming something else when he got bored.

The bushy haired witch had been more than a little frustrated with him when she and Neville had found his room for a visit. They had walked in on Harry making notes on one of the twin's Potions. After that, Hermione had basically been looking over his shoulder constantly, so if he started to drift, she would keep bugging him until he finished. Harry's usual methods of ignoring and swearing seemed to have completely failed, much to his annoyance, and he had finally given in.

Neville and the twins had been less than helpful, mostly because they had spent the whole time laughing.

After joining the third year classes, Harry had taken two days to settle in before shooting to the top of all of them, including Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. Everyone but the twins currently hated his guts, much to his amusement. He had been surprised to find Fred in Ancient Runes and George in Arithmancy, and when he asked, they explained that they decided to 'split the workload', as they put it.

Harry was already bored by the end of the week and was slowly pulling ahead of the year again, though it was a lot slower than before since he still had to do the work for classes. He still outright refused to step foot in either History of Magic or Defence, so that gave him time to look into other things.

For one, Harry now understood enough about Runes and Arithmancy to start looking at some of the more simple magical objects he had bought at Diagon Ally, such as the 'Sneak-o-Scope' he was currently looking over. It was a simple, round metal ball about the size of a peach with holes all over it and a metal band around the outside.

According to both the person he had bought it from and the instructions it came with, a Sneak-a-Scope would start whistling and spinning if anyone that meant him harm came within a hundred feet of the owner.

After seeing Ollivander using a magic monical, Harry had also taken the time to buy several different kinds of glasses that had been altered to detect and examine magic. None were anywhere near as advanced as the one he had seen Ollivander using, but Harry had a feeling the old wand maker had more than enough skill to craft his own.

The glasses he was using at the moment- his own were on the desk next to him- had a green tint to them. As he held the Sneak-o-Scope in his hands, the glasses made the invisible runes carved into the casing and outer band eye light up a pale blue. While he looked the item over, Harry was making notes inside a notebook with his other hand.

He didn't even look up when the door to his room opened and Hermione and Neville walked in.

"I heard you skipped DADA again, Harry- and History," Hermione started as she, moved to stand next to him while Neville sat on his trunk.

Harry gave a shrug but didn't look up, "It would be pointless to go. One is taught by a ghost in a loop that can't tell you the current year, and the other is taught by a man that can barely get two words out and parrots the books. My time is better spent on other things, and I thought it less rude to simply not show up then go and ignore them to their faces."

Hermione gave an annoyed huff before looking over his shoulder at the notes, already knowing it was a losing battle. "What are you doing this time?" she asked eventually after failing to understand his notes.

Harry stopped his inspection and switched to his normal glasses, holding the ball up to Hermione for her to see.

"I am trying to understand how this works so I can possibly improve the holes in the design. It's called a Sneak-o-Scope and is supposed to spin and whistle if someone with ill intent approaches the owner. However, they are notoriously unreliable. For such a simple and mass produced device, they have surprisingly advanced runes. The Negative Intent array alone is very interesting, and I am close to finding out why they are so buggy…" explained Harry before trailing off. His attention turned back to the device while his glasses were replaced again.

Before Hermione could comment, however, there was a loud BANG and Neville jumped off of Harry's trunk with a yelp.

A moment later, the lid was thrown open and the twins ran out with a trail of orange smoke following behind them. Unfortunately, the trail soon become a mushroom cloud, and Harry's room was quickly filled with smoke.

Harry had enough time to switch glasses again before following the others out of the room and slamming the door behind him. Fred pointed his wand at the closed door a moment later and cast a spell to stop the smoke from escaping.

Turning to look at the two red heads with a frown, Harry waited for a moment after they looked away before speaking in a flat tone, "What did you do this time, and how long until I can go back into my room?"

"We may have miscalculated slightly, and added a few extra grams of crushed pixie wings. The smoke should be cleared in an hour…or eight…" said Fred as he slowly started to back away.

"Anyway, we should really be off- homework to finish, pranks to set up, and all that...later!" shouted George before both turned and ran.

Starring at the spot the two had just fled, Harry blinked before taking out a galleon and turning to Neville.

"Neville, is it morally wrong to tamper with people's brooms, so that when they get to a certain height they stop working?"

Said boy gave a sigh, having gotten used to questions such as this since Harry had 'hired' him as his conscience. "Yes, Harry that is wrong," Neville said before catching the galleon tossed at him.

"What about bribing a house elf to shrink all of the twin's underwear and put hot sauce on their food?" Harry asked without missing a beat.

"Less wrong…"

Harry gave a nod before tossing him a second galleon and walking off, "Good enough."

Hermione and Neville shared a look before following him.

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"Harry, where exactly are we going? We've been walking around randomly for an hour already. We should be studying, or something," Hermione said as she and Neville followed Harry up one of the many moving staircases. Harry had been moving in the same general direction the whole time, but they had been turned around more than once when the moving staircases moved with them still on.

Harry was idly flipping through his Grimoire without actually looking where he was going, relying on Poe on his shoulder to direct him. After his little fight with the troll, Harry had realised a disadvantage to using a grimoire over a wand that Ollivander had neglected to tell him, though Harry supposed it was something he was better learning for himself.

Compared to a wand, grimoires were very slow and not much good in a fight until you were experienced enough at using them, to do so without needing to find the spell. While they did give better control, the time it took to find a spell was impractical in battle, not to mention if he needed to cast different spells.

While knowing it was unlikely that he would be getting into a lot of life or death situations at school, Harry couldn't deny it could be a problem.

Moving the thoughts to the back of his mind for now, Harry gave a shrug and closed his Grimoire with a snap to finally see where they were going. He did this just in time to see the very dark and dusty corridor they had entered.

"Seeing as the twins have turned my room into a possible bio-hazard for the next few hours, and all my notes and books are in it, there isn't much I can do in the way of studying. So, I decided to go exploring," Harry absently said as he carried on down the hallway without hesitation. "I honestly forgot you two were here." He also ignored the annoyed huff from Hermione and the long-suffering sigh from Neville as he walked.

All of the doors they passed were open and showed nothing but very dusty and unused classrooms; some had chairs and desks stacked to the sides, but most were empty.

It was because of this that when he came to a door that was actually closed, it got his attention. Hermione's voice reached him, "Harry, I think this is the 3rd floor! It's forbidden!" she exclaimed in a loud whisper.

"Actually, it's only forbidden to those that don't want to die painfully," Harry said, and he once again started flipping through his grimoire when he found the door locked.

Hermione paused for a moment to look carefully at Harry with a mix of shock and sadness. "You want to die?" she asked quietly.

Blinking slowly, Harry looked up from his grimoire and turned to stare at Hermione as if she was an idiot. "Of course I don't want to bloody die. What kind of a stupid question is that?" further confusing her.

"B-but you just said-" Hermione started before Harry interrupted her.

"I only meant that if anyone asks, we can use the warning the Old Bearded One gave as a reason," Harry explained as he turned back to his Grimoire. "They can't prove anything against the claim without using either truth serums or Legilimency- both of which are illegal to use on minors outside of court."

Before Hermione had time to comment on this or ask what Legilimency was, Harry found the spell he wanted and held his hand out to the door. "Alohomora," He said calmly, the lock clicking loudly in the silence of the empty corridor.

He didn't even look up from his Grimoire as he pulled the door open and walked through the room; therefore not noticing that both Neville and Hermione had frozen where they stood when they saw what was on the other side.

"H-h-harry…" muttered Neville as Harry continued to walk into the room.

Hearing the fear in the boy's voice, Harry finally looked up. He blinked slowly when he came face to face…to face, to face… with a giant, three headed Rottweiler. It stood at least 20 feet tall, with coarse black fur and teeth the length of Harry's arms. All six of its red eyes were glaring down at Harry, and a trail of drool was falling from the left head's mouth.

For a full ten seconds nothing happened as the two- or was it four?- simply stared at each other. The giant dog started to growl deeper and deeper, and both Neville and Hermione were still frozen on the other side of the door. Despite the situation, Harry couldn't help but wonder how the dog had gotten into the room in the first place because the door was too small for even one of its heads to fit through, let alone the whole body.

At some unseen signal, the three heads came at him, all snarling and slobbering. Harry was too far into the room to try running back to the door for safety, so he did the only thing that came to his mind.

Waiting for the middle head to get within arm's reach of him, Harry took his grimoire and- much to the shock of everyone, including the dog- hit the middle head on the end of his nose before saying loudly and in a firm voice, "Bad dog! Sit!" The dog pulled back from the hit and gave a little whimper before snarling again. Harry didn't wait for it to try attacking again, "No! I. SAID. SIT. DOWN!" Harry shouted.

And to the shock of Hermione and Neville, it seemed to be working.

The giant three headed Rottweiler backed up slightly and all three heads gave a pitiful whine. It lowered slightly, but it still didn't sit. Harry actually walked closer to the Cerberus until he was stood right in front of it and pointed at the ground, "Now!"

And with a loud thud, it sat.

Harry then stepped even closer and started actually rubbing his hands on its chest. "Good…," he paused for a quick check under the dog before looking back, "-boy. Who's a good boy?" Harry said in the usual baby voice people used when talking to dogs. The Cerberus's tail started wagging at the attention and praise, slamming into the ground hard enough to shake the room slightly.

Harry then looked up and saw that there was an actual collar around the middle head's neck with the name 'Fluffy' on it. That got a slightly raised eyebrow before the giant dog flopped forward- very nearly crushing Harry as it did- and nuzzling Harry's body. Understanding what it wanted, Harry reached up and started ruffing the middle and right heads behind the ears before moving slightly to do the same with the left once it started whining.

For his trouble, Harry got his whole body covered in dog slime when all three heads licked him.

This carried on for a few minutes before Harry gave the heads one last rub each before walking back to the door. After promising to return and play later, Harry closed and locked the door behind him without even acknowledging his still stunned friends.

"Well, I guess reading all those dog training and behaviour books wasn't a waste of time after all," Harry said as he walked past.

XXX

It took seven hours for the smoke to clear from Harry's room…SEVEN HOURS!

Needless to say, Harry had already talked to a house elf about his plans for the twins, who had been more than happy to help him. Such odd little creatures, but they were nice enough and very handy to have around. He did have to bribe it by letting the little creature clean his potions lab.

It took an hour to clean up the mess the twins had made, and he would need to order replacements for a few things that were destroyed beyond repair. He didn't want to risk contaminating a potion by trying to fix anything with a spell; they were very sensitive to things like that.

On the other hand, they seemed to have succeeded in creating an orange flavoured Bubble Burp, as Harry called them for short. He took the time to pour the potion into the moulds and adding to the stockpile the twins had been building before getting rid of the ruined cauldron it had been in.

After a few tests, the three had discovered that the treats didn't expire as long as they were kept somewhere cool, which meant they could keep making them without worry of them going bad. Harry had a feeling that they would need a lot once the twins started selling them, so he was trying to think of a way to modernise the manufacturing process.

The only real problem Harry had found so far was that magic didn't agree with electricity. The best he could assume without specialised equipment was that whenever a witch or wizard used a spell- or even magic in general- it gave off a sort of weak EMP. Harry was looking for a replacement energy source that would be compatible in his spare time, but wasn't putting a lot of time into it. He needed more experience and knowledge about magic before actually going beyond theories.

Once that was done, Harry took the time to retrieve a basketball from his storage compartment to take to Fluffy later before returning to the Sneak-o-Scope that was still sitting on his desk.

Harry's current theory for why they were so unreliable was that the devise needed to have some kind of connection to the owner; that's why it would only go off when said owner was in danger. The runes he had found so far didn't take this into account, so the little wizard machine got confused. Honestly, it was a wonder the things worked at all, or that people ever bought them. He wasn't sure if the original creator was stupid, or just lazy, to start selling an unfinished product.

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"So, you really don't care at all why a Cerberus is being kept in the school, locked in a room, and standing on a trapdoor?" Hermione asked for what must have been the 10th time in the last two days. Ever since they had found Fluffy, she had been bugging him about it.

They were currently sitting in the library, Hermione had a book on magical creatures in front of her opened to a page on Cerberus, while Harry was trying to concentrate on his Arithmancy homework. Professor Vector had been giving him extra and more advanced work to go through once he started to drift off in her class.

"Why would I care about something that has nothing to do with me? I barely care about things that do as it is. And his name is Fluffy; it said so on his tag," Harry said flatly without looking up from his work. She still didn't believe him about the name, convinced that no one would call a giant, three headed dog, 'Fluffy'.

Hermione sent him a glare before pointing to something in the book, "It says here that Cerberus are almost always used to guard something, usually an entrance. But the question is, what is on the other side of the entrance that requires a Cerberus to guard it in the first place?"

Hermione was clearly frustrated; for his part, Neville was trying to keep her calm, though without much success, "Hermione, you need to calm down. I am sure the Headmaster has his reasons." This was said with a weak smile from Neville; there had definitely been an improvement in his confidence recently, even if it was only slight.

Hermione just gave a huff, folded her arms over her chest in anger, and leaned back into her seat. With an annoyed sigh, Harry finally looked up from his work and stared at Hermione with a slight glare. "If it bothers you so much, why not just talk to Hagrid? The man has a reputation around the school for his love of the more dangerous creatures of the wizarding world, and who else would have the gall to call a Cerberus, Fluffy? He is likely Hagrid's in the first place."

His words got a surprised look from Neville and a raised brow from Hermione.

"Yes, I was able to figure out more than you in five seconds of thought than you did in the last two days of obsessing over it. Get over it," Harry added when he saw the look on Hermione's face as she turned slightly red.

It took her another few minutes of constant badgering before Harry gave up on his work altogether and joined Hermione and Neville for their visit to Hagrid. Though Harry did have a standing invitation to come for tea since the start of the year, he never got around to using it. From the little information in the letter the man had sent him, Hagrid had been friends with his birth parents.

This was also the first time Harry had actually seen Hagrid's hut, which- while large, in general- still looked way too small for a man of Hagrid's stature. He just assumed it was larger on the inside like most wizard buildings seemed to be. There was also a section of the grounds next to the hut that had different vegetables growing on it, though the many crows that swarmed it seemed to care little for the scarecrow in the middle of the vegetables.

Poe gave a look of distain to the smaller birds from Harry's shoulder.

Hagrid himself was actually sitting outside the hut on a stool that looked way too small to support his weight. He appeared to be whittling something like a flute. Clearly, the man was struggling to work with the small knife since he had to use his thumb and forefinger to hold it, even though the flute he was making was sized to fit Hagrid himself.

Hearing them approach, Hagrid looked up from his work and gave them all a large grin, his eyes settling on Harry as he put the knife and half-finished flute on the ground.

"Well, hello you three! Good to see you, Harry! I hear you've been making a few waves since we last spoke," Hagrid greeted before pointing a joking finger at Harry.

"It's not my fault if the wizarding world is used to mediocre students. They should have been more prepared for someone like myself," answered Harry without care.

Hagrid just gave a hearty laugh, his smile getting larger. Despite his clearly limited intellect, Harry liked Hagrid; he was a very cheerful man who was more than happy with his lot in life despite it being considered so low by most people. There was also the fact that he was clearly not completely human, which Harry found very interesting.

Opening his grimoire, Harry quickly flipped through pages before stopping on the one he wanted, pointing his hand at the knife on the ground, "Engorge." The chain glowed softly, the knife slowly getting larger until it was a size more appropriate for Hagrid's hands. The effects would only last for a few hours, but it would be enough.

Hagrid reached down and picked up the knife and unfinished flute, looking the knife over before chipping at the flute a few times. Unlike before, it was done with a practiced ease and speed that was completely different with the smaller knife.

Humming to himself, Hagrid looked back to Harry and nodded, "Thanks for that. My usual knife is blunt and I don't have any wet stones left to sharpen it at the moment. So, what can I do for you three?"

Knowing that Hermione was planning on being subtle, Harry let out a sigh and spoke before she had a chance.

"What do you know about the Cerberus in the castle?" asked Harry flatly, ignoring the shocked and annoyed looks from Neville and Hermione respectively.

"Wh-ouch! Bloody hell," started Hagrid as he also looked up at Harry in shock, only to cut his thumb with the knife. Putting the knife and flute down again Hagrid quickly brought his thumb up to his mouth and sucked on it. Harry could only raise an eyebrow when a moment later Hagrid pulled out his thumb and the cut already showed signs of healing.

Neville and Hermione didn't seem to have noticed it, but Harry's eyes narrowed slightly as the giant man quickly put his hands into his pocket out of sight.

"Who told you about Fluffy?" Hagrid asked a moment later, his smile gone and eyes narrowed.

Harry sent Hermione a knowing look at the name, receiving a glare in return before he turned back to Hagrid, "I got bored and went exploring; found him on the third floor. Why was he locked in the room sitting on a trapdoor? I don't really care much, to be honest, but Hermione wouldn't leave me alone about it." Harry made sure to add in the last part at the end, getting an elbow to the ribs for the effort.

Despite the fact that most of his face was covered by hair, Harry could see what little of it that was visible going a little pale. "You shouldn't be asking questions about that; top secret, it is. Private business between Dumbledore and Nicholas Flammel…" said Hagrid, before pausing and getting a confused look on his face for a moment. "I shouldn't have told you that…no more questions. Don't ask any more questions." He turned his full attention back to his flute and waved them away.

As they moved to leave, Harry's eyes moved to Hagrid's injured thumb, only to see that the cut was completely healed without a mark.

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It took Hermione- and therefore, Neville- two days of searching in the library for Nicholas Flammel before she gave up and came to Harry. He was in his storage compartment looking for something to fiddle with out of boredom when he had gotten a mental nudge from Poe. He had already finished his work with the Sneak-o-Scope and sent a letter to the person that invented them about what he found. Harry didn't actually give any details, but they had a meeting at The Leaky Cauldron over the Christmas holiday so he could work out a deal.

Letting out a sigh and questioning himself again why he bothered to have friends, Harry put the Dream Catcher he had been looking at back on the shelf before moving to the stairs. He came into his room to see Neville sitting on his bed and Hermione tapping her foot on the floor and waiting for him.

Without bothering to wait for her to ask the question, Harry walked over to his desk and turned the chair to face them before speaking, "Nicholas Flammel is a very famous Alchemist, whose most notable achievement is the creation of the Philosopher's Stone. The Stone is a very powerful artefact and can be used to create an elixir that gives the drinker a form of immortality. Flammel is currently over 600 years old." Harry's voice was flat and his face was set in a bored expression throughout the whole explanation.

Hermione let out a sigh before moving to sit next to Neville on Harry's bed, "How did you even find anything on him; we searched almost the entire Library!"

In reply, Harry opened one of the drawers on his desk and took something out before throwing it at Hermione without care. Her face went red in embarrassment a moment later when she realised she was holding a chocolate frog card. Although it didn't have an actual picture at the moment, the information was all there, along with Flammel's name.

"I really hate you sometimes, Harry," Hermione said without any actual venom in her voice, Neville chuckling uneasily next to her.

Harry for his part simply gave a shrug, "I know, it's a gift. So do you need me to also tell you that the thing the dog is guarding is most likely the Stone?"

XXX

Harry leaned against the wall as he threw the basketball high, watching as Fluffy's left head grabbed it. While the room was too small to throw it for the Cerberus to chase, he seemed more than happy to have Harry throwing it for one of the heads to catch.

Harry had made it a habit to come and visit the dog every few days and play, or even just to talk to him. Though he still wouldn't let Harry near the trapdoor, so long as he stayed around the edge of the room, the giant dog was always happy to see him.

Tail thumping loudly on the floor, the head leaned forward and dropped the now drool-covered ball at Harry's feet. The bottom of his jeans and shoes got splashed slightly, not that he cared. Bending down, Harry took the ball before throwing it towards the middle head this time.

Harry would admit he was curious about the possibility of the Philosopher's Stone, though he didn't care much to use it. He was more interested in how the stone would have been made, especially as it was the only one of its kind. He couldn't blame Flammel for keeping it a secret; the last thing anyone needed was a bunch of immortals running around turning everything into gold. The world's economy would have crashed and burned a long time ago, not to mention the sort of people that usually searched for ways to become immortal were not very desirable.

No, it was better the stone stay a secret from the world at large, but that didn't mean Harry still didn't want to study it.

Then there was the question of why the stone was in Hogwarts in the first place.

The Flammels were known for several things, and one of them was the fact that they lived on an island that could only be found if you were invited. Harry theorised it to be some kind of variant of the Fidelius Charm. But that was also the problem: Why move the stone from what many considered the most well defended place in the world? So well defended that it couldn't even be found? Why at a school?

There was clearly something going on that Harry was missing.

If it was simply Dumbledore's old friend letting him examine the Stone, it would be on said old wizard's person at all times, or at least somewhere he could get to without issue. There was also the fact that Dumbledore had drawn attention to the corridor the Stone was hidden in by saying it was forbidden to come to said corridor. That would automatically send up a flag for most kids to at least investigate.

So, the question was why hide the Stone somewhere less safe, in an unused part of the castle, only to basically draw a bull's-eye on it for everyone?

Unless…they weren't trying to hide it…

Harry's mind started running a hundred miles a second as he absently threw the ball to the right head.

That was it. They weren't trying to hide the Stone, they were using it as bait! This was a fishing trip; they were trying to catch someone in the act of trying to steal the Stone. Harry remembered something in the paper back at the start of the school year about someone breaking into Gringotts, but the vault they attacked had already been emptied. That had been the start of it.

The Stone had been moved somewhere still highly guarded to see if anyone would start sniffing around, and they had. Then they had clearly marked the area in Hogwarts that the Stone was being hidden, only to have a Cerberus guarding the trapdoor, so it didn't seem too easy. That meant that whoever was trying to steal the Stone was in the castle to begin with, but did Dumbledore actually know who it was? Or did he just need proof?

No, Dumbledore had a lot of political power in the wizarding world. If he wanted someone dosed with Veritaserum under suspicion, they would be. That meant he wasn't sure who was after the stone, just that they were in the castle. It could be a student, but Harry doubted it. Even 7th years would be hard pressed if coming face to face with a Cerberus, so it was more likely to be one of the professors.

That still didn't narrow it down much though. Hogwarts was considered one of the top magical schools in the world- despite having rather limited courses- for a reason. All of the teachers were masters of their craft…well, most anyway.

Harry had been informed on the Divination professor and had been less than impressed by what he had been told; he was unsure why the class was taught at all. Harry had taken the time one afternoon to look into Divination and found that while it was possible for people without the 'Sight' to use it, they needed spells and specialised equipment. None of which was taught, or even used in the lessons.

The woman clearly didn't know how to teach the subject.

Professor Binns had been a very prominent historian when alive, but since his death, he had been caught in a loop and the subject wasn't really considered important enough for anyone to notice.

Then there was Quirrell, a wizard that could barely get two words out of his mouth, who was so nervous he couldn't even hold his wand straight, and was supposed to teach Defence. Though Harry understood the less than ideal professor considering the subject's recent history of …accidents.

It was hard to argue when there had been a new professor for the subject every year for 40 years.

But even then, Quirrell had managed to get the job when he couldn't even speak the spells…how the hell could someone even use a wand if they had a stutter as pronounced as Quirrell's? Even the slighted slip in pronunciation could render a spell useless, or at least change the effects, so how was he able to use magic?

It hit Harry a moment later.

The sneaky bastard was faking it, making himself look too innocent and worthless to be even considered of any wrong doing. Harry was almost impressed, though the fact no one else seemed to figure this out when it was staring them all in the face was a little annoying.

So Quirrell was now Harry's number one suspect. Should he share his thoughts with Dumbledore?

Absently throwing the ball to Fluffy again, Harry shrugged his shoulders.

Maybe later; he was busy with schoolwork anyway.

XXX

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