Author's Note: I am SO incredibly sorry that it has taken me so long to update this. Hurricane Irma delayed me as I had to evacuate and a few days after I was home my husband and I left to travel. Things are settled down now though so expect updates much more often. Thank you for all of your reviews and emails :) Enjoy this chapter!
"Christmas will be here before we know it," Harry promised. He noted that his voice sounded confident despite the fact that he didn't believe his words at all. "And in the meantime I will convince him to let you come be with us."
"Hogwarts is absolutely no place for a canine," Snape spoke from his spot in his armchair across the room.
"He could stay down with you," Harry suggested. "He wouldn't have to stay in my dorm."
Snape huffed at these words. "A dog would not be allowed in your dorm room."
"I know," Harry replied as he scratched Bane behind his right ear. "That's why I just said that he could stay with you."
An annoyed humph escaped Snape's lips. "This is not a topic that is up for debate. As I told you when you first asked for a dog, Bane will stay here with Kermy while we are at Hogwarts."
"Filch has his cat there," Harry pointed out as Bane rolled onto his back so that Harry could scratch his stomach. Harry was on the floor behind Snape's chair with Bane. He could not see the man's face yet he could practically see the displeasure on the man's face.
"Mr. Filch," Snape reminded in a voice that was just stern enough to cause Harry to squirm slightly. "Furthermore I do not care what he has at Hogwarts, Bane will be staying here and that is the end of this discussion."
"But what if he just came on the weekends?" Harry asked. He knew that Snape was miffed but he really couldn't help but push for just a small bend of the rules.
"You are leaving for the Leaky Cauldron in less than a quarter of an hour Harry," Snape said sternly. "It will be three days before we see each other again at Hogwarts. Do you really wish for me to be cross with you before we part ways?"
"No Sir," Harry replied in a contrite voice. He paused for a moment as Bane affectionately licked his left knee. "I'm just going to miss him is all."
Silence swept over the room for several long moments.
"Keep yourself out of trouble and receive good marks in all of your subjects and we will discuss allowing Bane to visit Hogwarts for a few hours on a Saturday next month."
Harry couldn't keep the large grin from spreading across his face.
"Do not gloat," Snape scolded. "If you get so much as one bad grade or find yourself unable to follow the rules you will not see that animal until the Christmas holiday and no amount of whining about it or trying to negotiate with me will change my mind."
"I know," Harry quickly replied. He couldn't help but being completely baffled by the fact that Snape had known he was smiling without being able to see his face. Did Snape really know him that well these days? "You are going to bring my trunk to Hogwarts right? And Hedwig?"
"I am," Snape replied as he stood and turned to look down at Harry. "If you are done saying your goodbyes to your pet find your satchel and we will go."
Harry gave Bane one last long pet before nuzzling his face into the thick fur around the dog's neck. A moment later Harry pulled himself to his feet.
"I'll miss you too you know," Harry said as he walked towards the front hall to grab his satchel from where he had left it on the bottom step.
"And I you," Snape replied.
"After the start of term feast can I come down and see you?" Harry called back to Snape as he picked up his satchel and flung it over his shoulder.
"You may," Snape replied as Harry walked back into the parlor. A feeling of warmth rushed through him at the idea that Harry wanted to spend part of his first night back at Hogwarts down in his quarters.
"Cool," Harry decided as he followed his guardian to the fireplace. "When are you leaving for Hogwarts?"
"Likely this evening," Snape replied as he picked up a handful of floo powder. "You will behave for the Weasleys, correct?"
"Of course," Harry answered without hesitation.
"If you do not I promise you Harry you will -"
"I will," Harry quickly cut his guardian off. He knew that Snape hated when Harry interrupted him but he really did not want to hear Snape's threat. He didn't plan on disobeying and he knew the man well enough to know exactly what would happen if he did.
Snape resisted the urge to give the child a verbal lashing and instead choose to ignore his rudeness. "You have your wand?"
"And my cloak," Harry promised a bit shocked that his guardian had changed the subject so quickly. Ever since the World Cup Snape was insistent that if Harry was going to be without him for more than a day that he had cloak with him. "I do listen to you, you know."
Snape placed his hand on Harry's right shoulder and gently guided him into the fireplace. "I will miss your cheekiness you brat."
"I'm not cheeky," Harry insisted.
"Just a brat then," Snape smirked as he dropped the floo powder at their feet.
"We managed to purchase the leeches as well as the knotgrass and fluxweed," Hermione informed him in a hushed tone. "Still need the shredded boomslang though." She grew silent as a displeased look took over her face.
"What?" Harry asked instantly realizing that she obviously had more to say. It was a part of their friendship that he both loved and hated. It could come in handy but at the same time it could be annoying when he had to prompt her to continue.
"Well there is a store that sells it but it is down Knockturn Alley."
Although Harry was sure that Hermione expected a different reaction, he could not help the exaggerated laugh that escaped his mouth.
Harry did not have a doubt in his mind about what Snape's response to a trip down Knockturn Alley would entail. He also did not doubt that they would likely get caught. They had the cloak of course but retrieving the ingredient meant that at least one of them would have to be seen. Unless Hermione planned to steal it. The idea of being caught stealing on top of that made Harry want to dissolve into laughter and vomit all at the same time.
"I know," Hermione replied in a soft voice. "It's risky."
"Risky?" Harry questioned in an exasperated tone. "There is no way that we won't get caught."
"Well we have your cloak," she attempted to rationalize.
"Even with the cloak someone has to be seen to pay," Harry replied. "We can't steal."
"No," Hermione quickly shook her head. "No of course we can't."
"We can't what?" Ron asked as he walked into the small bedroom. He shut the door tightly behind him before crossing the room and perching himself on the end of the four post bed. He looked over at Harry and Hermione who were sitting in the window seat for clarification.
"Steal," Hermione replied. "We can't steal the boomslang."
"Course not," Ron nodded in agreement. "We could take it and just leave money in its spot though. Not really stealing then."
Harry felt a pang of annoyance at Ron's logic. He didn't want a solution, at least not one that still involved breaking rules.
"Snape will murder me if I go down Knockturn Alley," Harry replied without hesitation. The days of being embarrassed to admit that he got in trouble seemed long behind him. These days addressing it seemed like a lot less trouble than avoiding it.
"Well yeah I know," Ron replied.
Harry raised an eyebrow in Ron's direction. Somehow he didn't imagine the two were on quite the same page.
"Mum will kill me too. I just got off restriction for the car," Ron continued referring to the enchanted car issue from earlier in the summer. "I'll be in for it for sure. Worth it though."
Harry remained silent. He wasn't surprised that Ron had been grounded for as long as he had. Harry was suddenly feeling thankful that Snape just got things done and over with. Still, Harry wasn't so sure that it was worth it. Punishment he could handle. Snape's disappointment he could not. He often wondered how Ron managed to care so little about that. Maybe it was because Ron's parents had been there his whole life. Or maybe Ron did care and had perfected hiding it. Harry suspected the latter.
"We could go on our own," Hermione suggested.
"No," Harry instantly shook his head.
"Fitting all three of us under the cloak is getting difficult anyway," she reasoned ignoring Harry's outburst.
"No," Harry repeated with more force this time. He wasn't about to let his friends get in trouble while he played it safe.
"If we got caught Harry would be in trouble anyway. Snape would never believe that we took the cloak without him knowing," Ron pointed out.
Harry nodded in agreement though he couldn't help but wonder when Ron had come to know Snape so well. Harry wasn't sure if it was because of things Harry shared or because Ron had become that observant.
"There has to be another way to get it," Harry said after a moment of silence. "That doesn't involve Knockturn Alley." He paused for a moment before hastily adding, "or stealing from Snape."
A defeated look swept over Hermione's face as she racked her brain for another solution.
"I could ask Fred and George to do it," Ron suggested in a sheepish voice. "I bet they would just for the thrill of it."
"Your mother will be furious if they are caught," Hermione pointed out.
Ron shrugged. "They would still probably do it. Besides they are always in trouble."
"We can't let them get in trouble for us," Harry replied. There was a part of him that would have loved to agree with the idea but he knew that it wasn't the right thing to do. Despite the fact that Ron was likely right and Fred and George would jump at the chance to go on a mission down Knockturn Alley, Harry wasn't okay with the idea of the two of them getting into trouble for trying to help them.
"We will have to search Diagon Alley," Hermione decided. "Maybe it is sold somewhere and we just aren't aware of it."
"And if it's not?" Ron asked as his eyes locked on Harry.
"If it's not we'll figure something out," Harry replied. He paused for a moment before reluctantly adding, "I guess we'll use my cloak."
"Mum you said that we could."
Molly eyed the three children standing in front of her, her gaze lingering on Harry for a moment longer than the other two.
Harry nearly told her that Snape would be okay with them going off on his own but he wasn't entirely sure that it wasn't a lie. He had never really discussed it with his guardian. Diagon Alley was packed with Hogwarts students and their families though. Harry was sure that the three of them would be fine.
"Alright," Molly finally agreed after a long moment of silence. "The three of you will stay together and stay out of trouble. You know where you are and are not allowed Ronald."
Ron casually nodded though Harry noticed the tips of his best mates ears turning the same color as his hair.
Molly once again eyed the three of them though this time her gaze was stern.
"We won't do anything we aren't supposed to do," Ron hastily promised.
"We just want to look around the shops Mrs. Weasley," Hermione added in a sweet voice.
"Check back in one hour," Molly instructed.
"We only have an hour?" Ron questioned in an annoyed voice.
"Check back in an hour and then we will discuss how much more time you can have," Molly replied.
A moment later Ginny shrieked loudly across the room as Fred lifted her over his head. Molly's attention immediately went to her two other children.
"Let's go," Ron said as he walked across the large room.
Harry followed his friend out of the Leaky Cauldron. The bright sunlight caused him to squint for a moment before his eyes adjusted to the change.
"We should check the Apothecary again," Hermione suggested before her left foot was even out of the doorway.
"But you were there, you said that they didn't have it," Harry replied puzzled by her suggestion.
"Yes but we didn't ask if they had it, we just had a quick look around. It isn't used for much other than Polyjuice Potion. I didn't think asking was a good idea. It may make someone suspicious."
"We don't need anyone thinking that we are making Polyjuice Potion," Ron added.
"Okay so we'll go look," Harry agreed.
"Harry is with his friends then at the Leaky Cauldron?"
Snape nodded in reply as he watched the old man lean back in his chair. "He will take the train back with them. I feel that despite our arrangement it is important to allow him that normalcy."
"I am inclined to agree," Albus replied. "I take it that he has not felt any more pain in his scar."
Snape had questioned Harry several times the previous evening as well as that very morning. When Harry continued to deny any pain, Snape had even gone as far as to threaten the child within an inch of his life if it was discovered that he was lying in order to go see his friends. Harry however had assured him that he was not.
"I do not have any answers as to why it was giving him pain," Albus admitted. "I am still doing some research but as you know Harry's scar is not a common occurrence."
"You pulled me away from my work to tell me what I already knew?" Snape questioned.
"No," Albus admitted. He paused for a moment taking a sip from his tumbler of firewhiskey. "Sirius contacted me and asked me if it would be possible to attend the first Quidditch game next Sunday. I gave him permission to do so but I felt that informing you of this was virtuous."
Snape felt his blood boil at the words. "Why on earth wouldn't that mutt ask me if he wanted to see his godson?"
"Now Severus, Sirius was concerned that his presence at Hogwarts would not be welcome due to the events of the last school term. I am sure that he will contact you and make you aware of the situation as well."
"He cannot just come and go as he pleases while Harry is at school. This will be an exceptionally challenging year for him academically and he does not need distractions from his frivolous godfather."
"You agreed to allow Harry to have a relationship with Sirius," Albus reminded gently. "You stated that it was important for Harry."
"I do not renege my words however, I also told you over a year ago when I took Harry in that I would make the decisions for him and I would not be overruled. That was our agreement Albus. Harry may have a relationship with his godfather, however he still needs structure. I will not allow that to change."
"Sirius simply wants to see his godson play a game of Quidditch. Would you like me to contact him and revoke my permission?"
Snape considered this before reluctantly shaking his head. "Allow him to attend the game however in the future I would appreciate if I was asked prior to a decision being made."
"You said that if we checked back we could go back out."
"I said nothing of the sort," Molly replied firmly. "Aside from that, you were nearly ten minutes late."
"We were just looking at the newest brooms. We didn't mean to be late," Harry tried.
The three of them had scoured the shelves of the Apothecary only to come up completely empty handed.
"It is nearly time for supper," Molly said as she gave Harry a sympathetic look. "You lot need to get upstairs and cleaned up. You can go back out tomorrow for a bit."
"But mum -"
"Ron," Arthur said loudly from his spot across the room. "Listen to your mother please."
Ron's shoulders sank a considerable amount as he admitted defeat. "Come on guys, let's go."
"You have twenty minutes until supper," Molly reminded them as Harry and Hermione followed Ron out of the room and up the winding staircase.
"So we'll use your cloak tomorrow then?" Ron asked the moment that they were in the bedroom that Ron and Harry were sharing with the door shut.
Harry sighed softly as he tried to weigh his options. "We could check the junk shop."
"The junk shop isn't going to have it," Hermione said quietly. She could see Harry's uncomfortableness at this situation and she did not like it.
"The street peddlers then," Harry suggested.
"We could check them," Hermione agreed.
"You said yesterday that they wouldn't have something like that," Ron pointed out.
"I did," Hermione admitted. "But I may have been wrong. I wouldn't completely rule out that one of them could."
"You did yesterday," Ron muttered making Harry feel like a complete dolt in the process.
"Listen," Harry said. "I've been…" He paused for a moment as he tried to find the right words. "I've gotten into a lot of trouble recently. I tried to sneak out and the wand thing at the World Cup and Snape-"
"You don't want to use your cloak," Ron supplied in a disgruntled voice.
"With good reason!" Hermione declared.
"It's not that I don't want to," Harry tried to explain. "It's just that we always get caught. I'll be on restriction forever. No - no, if I am caught in Knockturn Alley I'll probably have to go live down in Snape's quarters with him. He'll be furious."
"We don't have to do it," Hermione replied without hesitation. "We will find another way."
"And how are we going to do that?" Ron asked in a defeated tone.
"Well we can't do anything tonight anyway," Hermione replied. "Just let me think."