"You know," Harry said as he paused in his writing. "Most teachers didn't give us homework this week. With the other schools arriving and all."
Snape huffed at these words. "Nonsensical. The other students will be attending classes while they are here. Their arrival is absolutely no reason to put a halt to your studies."
"It's just exciting," Harry replied now completely abandoning his homework. "I can't wait to see who is picked to be in the Tournament. Ron thinks that that seventh year Rupert Golden is going to put his name in because he is brilliant and be picked and Seamus thinks -"
"Any student who would willingly enter themselves in this tournament is far from brilliant," Snape mused. He resisted the urge to remind Harry how serious it was to restrain from attempting to enter the tournament. School had been in session for over a month and Harry had somehow managed to keep himself out of trouble completely. He hoped that he was not being naive in believing that perhaps his child was finally starting to understand the importance of following the rules. "Is your essay nearly finished?" He finally asked choosing to change the subject completely.
Harry looked down at his work before scrunching up his nose. He was just about halfway done the essay about Dragon's Blood. "Eh, almost," he conceded.
Snape raised a knowing eyebrow.
"It isn't even due for another two days," Harry pointed out. "I have plenty of time."
"The assembly to welcome the other schools is tonight at supper and then you will be far too distracted watching which students deem themselves shrewd enough to enter their name into the goblet. You will finish the essay now while you can give it your undivided attention."
"I will be able to give it my undivided attention tomorrow," Harry tried.
"Doing so will not be necessary as you will do so now. If you are unable to do so you can certainly work on it in your room away from any distractions that are here in the parlor."
Harry knew the tone that his guardian had used. His words were not up for debate. Harry was quite comfortable on the parlor floor in front of the roaring fire. He didn't want to give it up for being secluded to his room.
"I'll finish it now," Harry replied in a defeated voice. "Out here."
Snape resisted the urge to smirk. "Very well then. Concentrate on your work."
Harry didn't reply but instead set back to writing his essay. He had only managed to get one more sentence on his parchment when he softly cleared his throat unable to help himself. "They only pick one student from each school right?"
"Harry," Snape cautioned.
"It's just a question," Harry countered.
Snape remained silent for a long moment as he debated whether to answer the question or send the child to his room for his pure defiance. In the end he decided that although he found it completely ridiculous, he could see how the Tournament was exciting to Harry. He looked down at the child who was peering up at him, a guilty look plastered on his face at his actions.
"You are correct, one student from each school is selected."
"And then they have to do three tasks?" Harry inquired.
"Yes," Snape responded. "We have been over this several times."
"Do you know what the tasks will be?" Harry asked. He knew that he was pushing his luck but he didn't care. He also knew Snape well enough to know that he wasn't in danger of getting into any real trouble. Worse case scenario the man would scold him and send him to his room though Harry was pretty sure that that wouldn't even happen.
"I do not. However, even if I did that would fall under information that I am not permitted to share with you."
"When will the names actually be picked?"
"A week from today," Snape replied. "You have another question, two at the most, and then you are returning to your school work."
Harry grinned softly at the words. He knew that Snape wouldn't really punish him.
"Don't gloat," the man scolded lightly.
"What happens if someone puts someone else's name in the goblet and it gets picked?" Harry asked.
"As I have explained to you already, if a name is pulled from the goblet the student does not have a choice but to compete. If someone puts a name in there that is not their own the consequences will be severe."
"I wouldn't do that," Harry clarified. He didn't like the sternness in his guardians voice.
"I don't recall stating that you would," Snape replied. "Now I believe that your allotted time for a conversation has ended. You will return to your school work please."
"Just one more question?" Harry asked.
Snape gave a soft sigh but nodded in agreement. "If you must."
"Could someone really die in the tournament?"
"They have and they absolutely could again."
"Viktor Krum is here! Can you actually believe it? Here at Hogwarts!"
The excited whisper caused Harry to nearly choke on his pumpkin juice.
"You sound like you have a crush," Ginny commented with a chuckle from her spot across the table.
"Shut it," Ron replied.
"She's right," Hermione agreed with a small giggle. "You sound like your in love. He's only another student."
"He is amazing," Ron corrected her in a tone that sounded as though he couldn't believe his ears. "You saw him at the Quidditch World Cup. He was the best player there."
Hermione shrugged in reply. "So he can fly around on a broom. So what? That doesn't make him all that special to me."
"He will definitely put his name in the goblet," Ron decided. "Not that he needs anymore attention or popularity but he will and he will most definitely win."
Ginny rolled her eyes in reply. "You don't know that."
Harry was about to open his mouth to add his opinion to the conversation when he felt a hand clamp down on his right shoulder.
Harry's head instantly turned and looked up. Snape was peering down at him. Although he was sure that to everyone else in the room the man appeared to be his normal self, Harry couldn't help but feel as though his guardian looked angry.
Snape had been missing at the Welcoming Ceremony. Harry hadn't thought too much of it. He knew that his guardian wasn't pleased with the idea of the Tournament. Harry had figured that the man was just avoiding the festivities.
"I need to speak with you alone," Snape said in a tone that left no room for argument.
Harry was on his feet a second later, his dinner long forgotten. He didn't miss the sympathetic look that Hermione threw him as he followed Snape out of the Great Hall. He also didn't miss the smirk on Malfoy's face. He would have liked to make a rude gesture in the boy's direction but he knew that doing so without being caught was impossible.
"Are you mad?" Harry couldn't help but ask the moment that the large door to the Great Hall closed behind him.
Snape was silent as he walked down a long hallway.
Harry nearly had to jog to keep up with the man as he racked his brain trying to figure out what it was that he had done wrong.
A moment later Snape turned into an empty classroom. Harry was a step behind the man and nearly fell backwards when Snape quickly turned around.
"I am going to ask you a question and so help me if you do not answer truthfully I will-"
"I will," Harry quickly responded. "I swear I will." He didn't even care that he had interrupted Snape. He could feel the anger radiating off of the man's body. He hadn't seen his guardian as angry as he was in a long time. He was still racking his brain trying to think of what he could have possibly done wrong but nothing was coming to his mind. He had actually been better behaved recently than he could ever remember being.
"I happened to do inventory of my supply closet this evening and found several ingredients used to make Polyjuice Potion have gone missing." Snape's nostrils flared. The vein in his forehead was visible. Harry could feel the hotness of the man's breath on his face. "I will ask you this only once and I expect complete honesty. Have you or your friends taken anything from my inventory?"
"No Sir," Harry replied instantaneously. He silently prayed that Hermione or Ron weren't brewing Polyjuice behind his back.
"Harry," Snape warned in a threatening tone.
He absolutely hated when Snape said his name like that.
"Snape I swear. I promise that we didn't. I don't know where your supplies went, really." Harry was desperate for his guardian to believe him.
Silence reigned as the man's eyes bored into Harry's.
"Ask Minka!" Harry suddenly blurted out. "Or any house elf. I haven't been anywhere near your supply closet and neither have my friends."
"That won't be necessary," Snape finally replied after another long moment of silence. "I trust your words to be truthful."
"Thanks," Harry said softly. His heart rate slowly regaining normalcy. He couldn't help but feel that his relationship with Snape had just taken a giant step forward. The man had never just taken his word over something so serious in the past.
"I apologize for accusing you," Snape said in a sincere voice.
"It's okay," Harry replied. Twice in just a moment he felt something shift between the two of them.
"I swear I didn't," Hermione said in a serious hushed tone. "I told you that I think it is a bad idea. I wouldn't do that without telling you."
The three of them were sitting in a corner of the common room. Although most of their classmates were down in the Great Hall watching to see who would put their name in the goblet they still felt compelled to keep their voices down.
"And I didn't," Ron added. "Not a chance in hell."
"I didn't mean to accuse either of you," Harry said. "It just doesn't make sense. I mean if it's not us then who is it?"
"It could be anyone," Hermione answered. "Think about it. The names for the Tournament are about to be chosen. Someone could be brewing Polyjuice Potion in an attempt to make themselves an older student in order to enter their name."
"That's bloody brilliant!" Ron declared. "Why didn't I think of that?"
"Because you aren't an idiot," Hermione replied. "It won't work. Do you really think that Dumbledore, one of the greatest wizards of our time, won't have thought of that?"
"Maybe not," Ron said meekly.
"Why would you want your name in there anyway?" Harry couldn't help but ask. "Snape said that people have literally died during the Tournament."
"Yeah but imagine if you don't die. Imagine all the attention and fame you would get from it!"
"I've had enough of that to last me a lifetime thanks," Harry replied.
"I want to speak to you about something important."
Harry looked up from his breakfast his eyes locking with his guardians. It was Saturday and Harry had asked Snape if they could have breakfast together. It was one of his favorite things to do doing the school year. It almost made him feel as though they were back home in their own kitchen.
"Your godfather requested to visit with you this afternoon and I informed him that as long as you wished to see him he could do so."
"Of course I want to see him," Harry answered instantly. He was sure that Ron and Hermione would want to hang out with them as well. When he and Sirius had first started spending time together the previous year they often had to do so in the Room of Requirement. Things were different now that Sirius was a free man though, he could roam around Hogwarts grounds without an issue.
"I will send word to him that he may arrive after lunch and in return you will spend an hour this morning studying your History of Magic."
"The exam is a week away," Harry retorted.
"You are correct however I expect you to achieve a perfect score therefore you will spend an hour each day in between now and the exam studying," Snape replied calmly before sipping his tea.
"A perfect score?" Harry asked in a disbelieving tone. "What if I can't do that?"
"You are perfectly capable of achieving higher marks on your work. If you spent more time studying and less time playing with your friends you would be a much better student."
Harry wanted to point out that he and his friends did not play but he refrained. "I'm not a bad student," Harry pointed out. "I get okay marks."
"I do not recall saying that you were a bad student but you are correct Harry your marks are just okay when they could be extraordinary. I have seen first hand what you are capable of."
He wanted to be annoyed at the man but he couldn't help the happiness that he was feeling at Snape saying he could be extraordinary.
"As I have told you before this year is extremely important. Next year you will take your O.W.L's which will determine your future. No son of mine is going to squander away their years at Hogwarts and ruin their future in the process."
"I'll study for an hour," Harry agreed. He was sure that he didn't have a choice but to give in and he didn't fancy his lecture going on any longer. Despite the fact that Snape had referred to him as his son which he quite liked.
"Can I study in the library with my friends?"
Snape raised an eyebrow at his young teenager. "I can only imagine the amount of studying that will actually get accomplished with Mr. Weasley by your side."
"Hermione will be there too," Harry pointed out before taking a bite of his sausage.
Snape took a long sip of his tea before placing his cup back on it's saucer and answering his young charge. "You may study with your friends in the library," he agreed. "However when you are done I will quiz you on what you have studied and if you do not know the answers you will be studying down here for the rest of the school term."
Harry wasn't sure that he felt Snape's deal was completely fair but he knew that arguing would do no good. Besides if he was honest with himself, his studying habits really weren't the best.
"Is it okay if Sirius and I hang out by the lake this afternoon? Or if I show him the new trick that I can do on my broom?"
"Both activities are acceptable," Snape decided. "My only request is that you are not late for dinner and as always that you follow the rules which I have set."
"You are absolutely amazing!" Sirius beamed as Harry swooped out of the sky and landed firmly back on the ground.
He had been flying around the Quidditch pitch for the last thirty minutes showing his godfather all of his best tricks.
"I still have to perfect standing on my broom but Snape is sort of against that," Harry replied. He instantly wanted to kick his own arse for bringing up his guardian.
"Well then I would see to it that he isn't aware of it," Sirius said with a cheesy grin. He looked around the grounds before turning his attention back to his godson. "I have to tell you Harry being back on these grounds as a free man brings back a million memories. Have you any idea how often your father and I would sneak out at night and go into the forest?"
"Really?" Harry asked in amazement.
"Oh nearly monthly," Sirius replied as the two of them slowly made their way back to the castle. "It was one of our favorite places to be."
"Weren't you scared?" Harry asked before he could stop himself. He felt like a complete dolt the moment that the words came out of his mouth. The last thing he wanted was for his godfather to ever see him as some scared little kid.
"Absolutely," Sirius answered causing Harry to shoot the man a disbelieving look. "We were usually terrified to be honest but we always saw that as part of the fun."
"Did you ever get caught?"
"Quite a few times. Our third year we actually held the record for the most detentions given out in one month - nineteen."
"I think that's more than Fred and George have ever gotten," Harry replied in an impressed voice.
"I'd be surprised if anyone has beaten that record," Sirius said with a chuckle. The two of them stopped at the top of a hill and gazed out at the lake.
"The Tournament is quite exciting isn't it?" Sirius asked.
Harry nodded. "Yeah it is. It should be interesting to watch."
"It took place when we were in our fourth year. I tried to enter and ended up with Saturday detentions for a month."
Harry snickered at the words. "Ron wants to try and put his name in in the worst way."
"And you don't want to do so?" Sirius questioned.
Harry shook his head. "Nah. I'm actually glad I am too young to put my name in."
"Smart boy," Sirius replied softly. "Much smarter than I was at your age."
"I just figure that I've gotten enough attention to last me a lifetime. Plus everyone says how dangerous it is." Harry shrugged. "I just want a quiet school year."