Sorry for taking ages to update this! I promise that I will try and update more often. Also I get a lot of reviews, private messages, emails, etc. asking me when Harry will start calling Snape "dad" and the answer to that is pretty much never. I just wanted to address that so that we are all on the same page. Thank you for taking the time to read my story :)
"It isn't going to work," Hermione informed the pair of them.
Harry eyed her before his gaze drifted to Ron. His best mate's face looked annoyed to say the least.
"How do you know?" He asked in a heated voice.
"The Age Line was set by Dumbledore himself," Hermione replied. "Do you honestly think that he won't have thought of an Aging Potion? Your brothers aren't going to get near the Goblet but they are going to succeed in getting themselves into trouble."
"They worked on the potion all night," Ron clarified. "It will work."
Harry wasn't sure which one of his friends had the better argument. Hermione was likely right in the fact that Dumbledore would have thought of everything but if anyone could come up with a potion to get around the rules it would be the twins. They were practically geniuses when it came to finding a way to break the rules and coming up with original potions and spells.
"Let's say that it does work," Hermione replied. "What happens if one of their names is pulled? Everyone will know then that they broke the rules to do it."
"They will have to compete," Harry interjected. "Snape said that about a dozen times, if your name gets pulled you don't have a choice."
"So yeah they would get in trouble but they would still get to do it," Ron said in a mesmerized voice. "Imagine how wicked that would be? It would be worth getting in trouble."
Harry was silent as Hermione argued that they would likely get expelled for putting their name in the goblet. He didn't want to sound negative but he couldn't find anything good about the idea of competing in the tournament.
Harry walked into Snape's quarters to find his living space empty and deafeningly silent.
"Snape?" He called out.
He stood still for a moment waiting to hear his guardian answer him. However the only sound that responded to him was the loud ticking of the clock on the mantel.
Slowly Harry crept down the hallway, stopping in front of Snape's laboratory door. He knocked on the door and waited a moment before pushing it open to find the room empty. Harry took a step into the room in order to reach the doorknob once more and then quickly stepped backwards closing the door behind him.
Harry stopped for a moment as he made sure that he had his guardian's schedule correct but even after rethinking he was sure that Snape was not teaching a class at the moment. Harry had purposely completed all his homework, studied for an hour for the History of Magic exam, and made sure that Snape's schedule was clear as well so that he could spend some time with his guardian. He couldn't help but miss the quiet moments that the two of them had spent over the summer.
Harry's eyes swept the room spotting a piece of parchment sitting on the end table.
He crossed the room and picked it up his plans going to hell as he read Snape's handwriting. The man had gone to Ireland for the day to find an ingredient that he was out of. Harry frowned as he set the note back down. Instantly he felt annoyance sweep over his body. It wasn't as if his guardian had known that he had wanted to spend time together but it still wasn't like Snape to not tell him that he was going somewhere - not anymore. A small part of Harry tried to reason that the man had left a note but a larger part of him couldn't help but feel that that wasn't the same. If Harry hadn't worked so hard to clear his schedule he would have likely never even came down to Snape's quarters and then he wouldn't have ever known that his guardian left.
Harry flopped down onto the couch as the annoyance continued. Hermione was in the library studying and Ron was still working on his homework.
Harry's trainer kicked the corner of Snape's armchair as he tried to think of something to occupy his time. He could hardly help that his annoyance with Snape was growing as his ability to come up with something else to do was faltering.
For a moment he debated using the floo to go home and see Bane. He would have loved to spend the afternoon in the backyard running around with his dog. Right before he had left for Hogwarts Bane had been so close to learning how to shake hands. Harry was sure if he could have a a few hours with the canine he could perfect the trick. He quickly scrapped the idea though. It was too easy to get caught. Minka was there and although Harry really liked her and he knew that she really liked him, he was still pretty sure that she wouldn't think twice about telling Snape if he was there.
He also entertained the idea of taking a secret passage into Hogsmeade and visiting Honeydukes. The adventure sounded brilliant but going on his own didn't sound nearly as fun as if he had someone to share in the mischief. Harry knew that if he asked Ron the red head would likely jump at the chance to join him however, Harry was tired of talking about the tournament and it was all Ron wanted to discuss these days.
When the final idea entered his mind it was so brilliant that he was shocked that he hadn't thought of it first.
Harry jumped to his feet and without giving it a second thought he grabbed a handful of floo powder and stepped into the fireplace.
Snape's note had said that he wouldn't be back until late afternoon. Harry was sure that the man would never even notice if he disappeared for an hour. He would be back long before his guardian would.
Harry dropped the floo powder at his feet and a second later stepped out of the fireplace and into a somewhat familiar parlor.
The house was unusually quiet. For a split second Harry found himself worrying that Remus may be there as well. He knew that his godfather wouldn't tell on him to Snape but he was sure that Remus would. Harry silently cursed himself for not checking the Professor's schedule before leaving Hogwarts.
Harry quickly nixed the idea of calling out for Sirius and instead decided to explore the house and find his godfather on his own. At least then if Remus was present he could quietly make his way back to the fireplace hopefully undetected.
He slowly crept across the parlor and down the long hallway that led to the kitchen. The silence was deafening and Harry was beginning to wonder if his godfather was even home at all.
He slowly pushed open the large wooden door to the kitchen.
Harry expected to find the room empty given the stillness of the house. He jumped, his heart skipping a beat when he found his godfather sitting at the kitchen table, his hands wrapped around a cup of tea.
"Harry," Sirius said in a shocked voice. The man blinked several times and Harry couldn't help but wonder if he was trying to figure out if he was imagining things.
"Hi," Harry offered in a soft voice instantly feeling like a complete dolt.
Seconds later Sirius was on his feet, his tea long forgotten as he rushed to his godson and embraced him in a tight hug. "Is everything alright?"
"Yeah," Harry nodded. "Everything is great. I just wanted to visit you."
"Severus knows that you are here?" Sirius asked as he released the child.
Harry nodded without hesitation. He had planned on telling the truth but for some reason in that moment he just couldn't. He knew that lying was wrong. He knew that his godfather wouldn't care that he had snuck off. In fact, the man would probably be proud of him for it. But it had occurred to him in that moment that if he told Sirius the truth, Sirius would be essentially lying to Snape. The relationship between his guardian and his godfather was strained at best. The last thing that Harry wanted to do was add to that by making his godfather lie for him.
"He allowed you to visit on your own?" Sirius asked in an astonished tone.
"Uh yeah," Harry replied as Sirius took his spot at the kitchen table once more. Harry sat down across from the man as he quickly continued speaking, hoping that his godfather believed him. "Yeah he said it was okay."
Sirius' eyebrows rose. "Did he now? Well that was kind of him. I'm surprised that he didn't have Remus accompany you."
"I think he has a class," Harry replied instantly noting that it was the first honest thing he had said.
Sirius was silent for a moment before he nodded once. "You are correct. First years I believe." He wrinkled up his nose before chuckling softly. "A nervous bunch I'm sure."
"He's a really good teacher," Harry replied. "I bet even the first years aren't that nervous with him."
Sirius grinned at his godson's words. "You know he thinks just as highly of you."
Harry returned the grin as silence enveloped the two of them.
A moment later Sirius clapped his hands together loudly causing Harry to jump slightly. "We should get out! It isn't everyday that I get you all to myself after all. Let's go to Diagon Alley or better yet Hogsmeade! We can stop in Honeydukes and Dervish and Banges. What do you say?"
Harry smiled widely. This was exactly what he had been hoping for. He wanted - he needed - an adventure with his godfather. "Sure."
Snape placed the large glass jar of frog's brains on the top shelf of his supply closet. He was quite pleased that he had been able to find the ingredient and return back to Hogwarts hours before he had expected to.
He was tempted to set off to find Harry and see if the child wanted to spend some time together. He was sure that he could come up with a defensive spell that the boy would be eager to learn. Snape quickly pushed the thought from his mind. He was sure that Harry was off with his friends, thrilled to have some time alone with them. Snape was not about to become the sort of parent that forced their child to spend all their free time with them. Regardless of how much he missed moments with his son.
He had felt guilt throughout the day at the idea that he had left the castle without so much as telling Harry. However, he knew his child well and he knew that had Harry been aware that he was going out he would have wanted to join him. As far as Snape was concerned, traveling around Ireland for the day was no place for a child. He had had no idea that he would find the ingredient that he was looking for so easily.
His guilt multiplied when he thought of how Harry had responded to Ms. Armstead. Although Harry often expressed his feelings toward Snape, it still shocked the man when the child did it so easily and so freely.
Once again the idea of going to find Harry entered Snape's mind. He was sure that Harry was down by the lake or on the Quidditch pitch. Perhaps even the library with Ms. Granger or in his common room with Mr. Weasley. Snape could easily send Minka to find him, offer to teach the boy a spell or even ask him if he would like to help with a potion.
Snape smirked at himself at the mere thought of such behavior. He had never summoned Harry in the past unless the child was in some sort of trouble and he was not about to make a habit of it now.
He would invite Harry to have dinner alone with him. A much more common occurrence.
Snape walked into his parlor. He plucked his cloak from the hook behind the door and fastened it around his neck.
Harry's behavior with Ms. Armstead deserved some sort of reward and Snape instantly decided that he would be sure that one was waiting for him after supper.
"What does it do exactly?" Harry asked as he held the small device in his hand. "It looks like a toy muggle top."
"That is exactly what it looks like," Sirius agreed. "It's far from it though it does spin like a top. It also lights up and whistles if someone nearby is doing something untrustworthy. They come in handy."
"Wicked," Harry said in an impressed voice. He silently wondered if any of them had been placed by the cup for the tournament. He assumed that what the twins were planning would technically be considered untrustworthy.
Harry's eyes drifted to a display of Remembralls.
"Surely you know what those are."
Harry nodded. "Yeah, Neville had one our first year. It never really helped him remember anything though. I actually haven't seen his in awhile."
"That's right," Sirius smiled warmly. "You told me about that or rather about your rescuing it and how it secured you a spot on the Quidditch team."
"Yeah," Harry nodded. "I actually thought I was done for but McGonagall was cool about it all." Harry couldn't help but think that if something like that had happened now Snape would likely be furious with him for doing something so dangerous. He also nearly corrected himself and added Professor McGonagall but he stopped himself before the words exited his mouth. Sirius didn't care if he addressed adults properly and Harry was sure he would die of embarrassment if the man heard him correct himself.
"Sometimes she'll surprise you," Sirius said with a chuckle. "Did I ever tell you about the time that she caught your dad and I skipping Potions class. We had Slughorn for Potions and he could be a bit wonky at times, overall a wonderful teacher just a bit out there. She let us go with a promise to never do it again."
"Did you keep your promise?" Harry couldn't help but ask as they stepped out of Dervish and Banges and into the bright sunlight.
"Well technically we promised her that she would never see us skipping a class again and in that sense, yes we kept our promise."
Harry chuckled softly at his godfather's response. It amazed him at how easily his godfather and his dad had gotten away with breaking the rules. Harry felt like every time he stepped so much as a toe out of line he got caught. He couldn't figure out if they were really just that good at being bad or if Snape was just that good at staying a step ahead of him.
"Are you hungry?" Sirius asked. "We could pop into Hogs Head for a quick bite."
Harry shook his head. "Not really. But if you are we could-"
"I'm not in the least," Sirius cut him off as they walked down the cobblestone street. "I was only concerned that you were."
Harry grinned softly at his godfather's words. It had been so long that he had Sirius all to himself. He had almost forgotten how thoughtful and parent- like his godfather could be. Though he was sure that if he pointed that out to Sirius the man would hate the idea of it.
"You know," Sirius continued. "Your dad and I always heard that there was a secret passage in Hogs Head that lead to the Room of Requirement but we were never able to find it. We spent countless hours looking on both ends too."
"Are there any secret passages that lead to Hogsmeade?" Harry asked. "I mean I know about the one that leads to the alley next to The Three Broomsticks, but are there any others?"
"Found that one out did you?" Sirius questioned in a proud voice.
"Well when I had the map," Harry explained. "I used it last year to come to Hogsmeade when Snape wouldn't sign my permission slip."
"And why on earth wouldn't he? Trips to Hogsmeade are a right of passage! Every Hogwarts student should experience them."
"Because of you," Harry answered honestly as the two of them turned the corner. "We thought that you were trying to kill me then and he said it was too dangerous."
Sirius mulled over this explanation. "In that case I don't blame the man for not signing it."
Harry's eyes widened at his godfather's response. He would have expected Sirius to spew pure hate at Snape's actions. He wouldn't have been surprised if the man went on a rant about how Harry wasn't a child and could take care of himself. Harry felt a warmth at his godfather's words. He quite liked this version of Sirius and he hoped that it was here to stay.
"And to answer your question there is one more secret passage and it happens to be in the store that we are headed to."
Harry gazed the street trying to guess which shop they were going to. "Honeydukes?" He guessed after a moment of silence.
"Correct," Sirius replied. "In the cellar there is a secret passage that will take you directly to Hogwarts. It actually leads to a small spot under the back staircase by the greenhouse which is quite convenient."
"There is never anyone back that way," Harry noted.
"The convenience of it all," Sirius smiled as he opened the door to Honeydukes allowing Harry to walk into the store first.
"Now you must let me buy you a few treats," Sirius said as he stepped inside, the door closing behind him. "What are your favorites? Chocolate frogs? Fizzing Whizzbees? Pixie Puffs?"
"You don't have to buy me anything," Harry replied as he watched a bewitched display for Chocolate Wands. They were blasting out tiny puffs of smoke at a small army of Liquorice Trolls.
"I don't recall saying that I had to," Sirius clarified. "However I want to. Now what will it be? What is your favorite?"
"Probably Chocolate Frogs," Harry answered.
"Are collecting the cards still popular?" SIrius asked as he led the way to the large display of Chocolate Frogs. "I remember your dad and I had a few hundred between the two of us."
"Yeah," Harry nodded. "I have about thirty of Dumbledore. "Ron and I have been dying to find a Newton Scamander but he was a limited edition and they only made so many. I doubt we'll ever get one."
"Maybe today will be your lucky day," Sirius replied with a wink as he picked up four chocolate frogs. "Take two back to Ron as well."
"Thanks!" Harry beamed.
"Let me pay for these and then we'll head over to Zonko's for a quick look around," Sirius replied as he headed towards the register.
Harry watched his godfather walk up to the counter before a display of Bat's Blood Soup caught his attention. He had never tried the candy but Seamus swore it was brilliant. Somehow the name alone turned Harry off of it.
He was about to go join his godfather at the counter when a hand clamped down on his shoulder.
Harry quickly reached for his wand and pulled it out before turning to see who had his hand on him.
His eyes widened. His heart skipped a beat. His stomach flipped over itself.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Snape hissed.