Sirius looked down at the several books that were stacked on the kitchen table. His godson was nearly bouncing in his seat next to him in excitement but the man wasn't feeling anything but overwhelmed.
"Can we do math?" Harry asked as he leaned up on his chair, his elbows resting on the table. "Or maybe history? Or even science?"
Sirius reached for the history book, slowly pulling it towards him. "What were you learning in history? Do you remember?"
Harry nodded happily. "Muggle history or Wizard history?"
"Either." Sirius looked down at the book noting that it was definitely a Muggle history book. He was sure that he would not know much about anything Harry was learning in Muggle history. His own parents had been against him learning anything about Muggles and although he had learned a great deal once he had moved in with the Potters, their history was still a bit of a mystery to him.
"Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome," Harry replied with a wide smile.
Sirius nearly cringed at the response. He was sure that he had heard that name a time or two but he did not know much about him. "What about in math?" The man's fingers tapped on the math textbook.
"Multiplication," Harry nodded. "And understanding Muggle money which is pretty confusing."
Sirius gave a confident nod as he pulled the multiplication book towards him. He could certainly handle multiplication. He flipped the book open, looking over several pages quietly.
"I need parchment and a quill," Harry pointed out. "Or a pencil. Mum liked me to use a pencil too."
Sirius' nose wrinkled at the words. "I don't have any pencils Bean. We can stop in a muggle store one of these days and pick some up though." The man nodded towards the hall. "There is parchment and quills on the desk in the study."
Harry jumped to his feet and rushed out of the room, returning in record time with a stack of parchment and a quill.
"Did you fly into the study and back?" Sirius chuckled softly.
Harry shook his head as he climbed back up in the chair next to his godfather, placing the parchment in front of him with the quill in his hand. "What assignment am I doing?"
"How does this work?" Sirius flipped through the pages. "Do we just pick a page?"
Harry nodded as he leaned over to look at the book. "There are pages with a bunch of problems and mum would pick a page and then I would do the problems on it." The boy paused for a moment, looking up at the man. "She would help me if I needed it."
Sirius stopped turning the pages of the book, a page that contained various problems of multiplication. "How about this?"
Harry peered over at the page before nodding eagerly. He took hold of the book, carefully pulling it closer to him. "Oh! This is the seven times tables," Harry smiled widely. "That's my favorite. Seven is my favorite number."
"Why is seven your favorite number?" Sirius questioned as he pulled the child's Muggle history book towards him, slowly opening it.
Harry gave a quick shrug as he began writing out the numbers on the piece of parchment to work on the first problem. "I dunno, it just is." The child quickly worked out the first answer and then circled the correct one in his workbook. "I like the way that it looks."
A small chuckle escaped Sirius' lips as his eyes scanned a paragraph about Julius Caesar. "I suppose that is a good enough reason as any."
Harry wrote down the second problem, quickly adding seven together four times to get the correct answer. "Can we do history next?" He glanced over at the book in his godfather's hands before looking back at his own work.
Sirius raised an eyebrow at the question as he quickly looked over the other books in the table. "I was thinking maybe spelling actually." He couldn't help but feel confident in his decision.
"Okay," Harry agreed as he wrote another answer in his workbook. He actually quite liked spelling. It was one of his best subjects.
"Did your mum do every subject with you every day?" Sirius glanced over at the math problem that the boy was working on.
Harry shook his head. "Just two, sometimes three if we had extra time."
Sirius let out a small sigh of relief that he hadn't even realized he had been holding in. He was sure that he would be able to find the time later to read over the chapter on Julius Caesar before he attempted to teach it to his godson.
Harry was silent for several moments as he completed the second row of problems. "And we can go to the park later? Maybe after lunch?"
"We can," Sirius nodded as he glanced over at his godson's work. "I had another idea though that you may like even more than the park."
"Huh?" Harry looked up at the man excitedly.
"Well I spoke to Molly and Arthur last night if you would like to go to the Burrow today to play with Ron for a bit." Sirius gave the boy a grin.
"Really?" Harry bounced in his seat excitedly. "Really, really?" A wide smile took over his face as he looked up at his godfather. "I can really go play there today?"
"You sure can," Sirius laughed loudly. "After you finish your schoolwork and after lunch. Molly said you could go visit for a few hours."
Harry's smile didn't fade in the least as he turned his attention back to his work, intent to finish it so he could do his spelling, eat lunch, and go. "Thanks Sirius," he hummed softly.
A grin took over Sirius' lips as he found the page of spelling words that Harry had completed last. A few hours at the Burrow would do the child good.
"What are the two of you going to get into then?"
Harry looked up from his snack at Mrs. Weasley. The twins had just gone upstairs to their room to work on something that they claimed was top secret and Ginny was going into the parlor to play with her dolls.
Harry couldn't help but think how much quieter Ron's house was during the months when his three oldest brothers were at Hogwarts. Despite the fact that at times, Harry really wished he had a sibling, a quick trip to his best friend's house when all six of his siblings were home always made the eight year old leave thankful that he was an only child.
"Can we play outside?" Ron asked. "In the fort?"
Mrs. Weasley nodded in agreement. "That is fine." She leaned down and across the table, picking up the boys' now empty plates and carrying them over to the sink.
"Come on Harry!" Ron jumped up from his seat. "Fred and George made a rope swing. You have to see it."
"Just be careful out there." Mrs. Weasley gave the boys a small smile. "And do not forget that Sirius will be here in two hours to pick Harry up. Put jackets on as well."
"Okay mum," Ron replied as Harry stood, eager to see the rope swing.
The two boys stopped for all of a moment to put on their jackets before they rushed out the back door and towards the fort. The fort had been built years earlier by Ron's oldest brothers, Bill and Charlie. When they outgrew it his other brothers, Percy, Fred, and George took it over but now even Fred and George acted too old for it. With one year left to go before they would be at Hogwarts, they suddenly acted too old for a lot of things. Harry promised himself that he didn't care how old he got, he would always have time for the fort. It was one of the coolest places he had ever seen.
It was half inside of a hollowed out tree and then just outside of the entrance was a rope ladder that led up to a tree house. It often reminded Harry of the fort that Peter Pan had in the Muggle story his mum used to read to him. Bill had promised Ron, that when he turned of age in a few months he would bewitch the inside of the tree to remain light all the time so that even when it was a cloudy day they would still be able to see each other while inside.
"Where does the rope swing go to?" Harry asked as they approached the fort.
"You can swing down from the top of the tree now instead of climbing down the ladder," Ron explained. "You can land on that little hill next to the tree house."
"Wicked," Harry smiled as he followed Ron up the rope ladder.
Ron stood on the platform outside of the tree house, taking the rope swing from the branch that was holding it. He held onto it tightly, wrapping one leg around it before he kicked off of the platform.
Harry watched with a smile as Ron glided through the air and landed on the small hill across from the tree.
"I want to try!" Harry yelled over to his friend.
Ron jumped down from the hill, with the rope in his hand and quickly climbed back up the tree with it, handing it over to Harry as he stepped onto the platform. "Just hold on real tight until you are touching the hill."
Harry nodded in understanding as he took hold of the rope and followed Ron's instructions, laughing loudly as he landed on the hill a moment later.
"Isn't it cool?" Ron exclaimed.
Harry nodded as he ran back towards the tree, the rope still in his hand.
"Did I tell you that Fred and George said that they saw a unicorn in the woods?" Ron took the rope from his friend as Harry stepped onto the platform.
"Not uh," Harry shook his head. "There aren't unicorns here." Despite his words, his eyes moved from his friend to the woods just past the treehouse, scanning it for unicorns.
"I don't think that they would lie." Ron scrunched up his nose. "They got in trouble when they lied and said a troll lived in the barn. Mostly because Ginny cried."
Harry was silent for a long moment as he continued to stare out at the woods. He knew that they weren't allowed in them. Ron's parents had told them about a dozen times and so had his mum and dad.
The woods went on forever behind Ron's house. Harry remembered his dad telling him that it was dangerous because of wolves and werewolves. Plus he said that there could be wild dogs.
Still, if there was a unicorn he really wanted to see it. He had never seen a unicorn before. His mum had always said that they were really cool.
"Think we could find it?" Harry asked, his eyes remaining on the woods.
Ron was silent for a moment before he shrugged. "We aren't allowed in the woods. Mum and dad always say that we could get lost real easy in there."
"We could leave a trail behind us!" The idea suddenly came to Harry. His mum had read him that Muggle book at least a hundred times about the children, Hansel and Gretel who left a trail of bread but then the birds ate it.
"A trail?" Ron gave his friend a curious look.
Harry nodded eagerly. "We could collect some stones from down there." He pointed down to the stones scattered around Mrs. Weasley's garden. "Then just drop one every couple of steps so that we can find our way back."
Ron's face lit up at the words. "Yeah!" He exclaimed. However, a moment later his face fell as he gave Harry a serious look. "We might get in a lot of trouble. Mum and dad will be real mad if they find out."
"You heard your mum, she said we have two hours until Sirius is coming to get me. We won't be that long." Harry had no idea why he was pressing to go into the woods. A few months prior Fred and George had wanted to go out into the woods and Harry had flat out refused. He had no doubt in his mind then that if they got caught his parents would have punished him. For some reason today though, the thought that he could get in trouble didn't even seem real. Besides, he had no intention of getting caught.
"What if mum comes outside looking for us?" Ron looked over at his friend before glancing back out to the woods once more.
Harry was silent for a moment before an idea hit him. "We could say we were down by the lake. We're allowed down there."
Ron thought the idea over for a moment before he nodded. "Okay, let's do it!"
An excited giggle escaped Harry as he took hold of the rope and swung down onto the hill while Ron hurried down the rope ladder.
"Boys!" Molly called loudly as she stepped outside. She looked up at the treehouse, frowning as she realized that it appeared to be empty. "Ron?" She called loudly as she moved closer to the tree. "Harry?"
Molly peered into the tree, frowning as she found it to be empty. "Boys?" She called out loudly once more.
When she was met by silence she started in the direction of the large lake on the edge of their property. The children all loved going down by the lake and she was sure that was where the boys were.
It wasn't until she found the area surrounding the lake to be completely deserted that she felt worry start to creep up.
Quickly, Molly made her way back towards the house, her eyes darting around the property for any sign of the pair of them. "Boys?" She called out loudly once more. "Boys where are you?"
Molly's eyes darted to the back door off of the kitchen. Her only daughter was standing in the doorway, her doll still in her hand, hanging at her side.
"Ginny Love, have you seen Ron or Harry?" Molly rushed over to the back door, trying to convince herself that the pair of eight year olds somehow made it up to Ron's room undetected and were currently up there safe and sound playing.
Ginny shook her head, her long red hair hitting her own face. "Nuh uh."
"You're sure now?" Worry took over Molly's features once more as she pushed open the back door, gently moving her youngest out of her way to walk past her.
"Uh huh." Ginny followed her mother through the kitchen. "What's wrong? Where are they?"
"Boys?" Molly called up the staircase loudly.
Her voice was followed by several noises. Seconds later, two identical faces looked down at her over the railing.
"Yeah mum?" Fred asked.
"Have either of you seen Ron or Harry recently?" The concern in Molly's voice was quickly changing over to panic. "Are they up there with you?"
George shook his head seriously, clearly picking up on his mother's demeanor. "No mum."
"Are they lost?" Ginny asked in a fearful tone.
Molly shook her head, despite the fact that she wasn't sure she believed herself. "Of course not. They are just outside somewhere I'm sure." She looked down to Ginny for a moment, before turning her attention back to the twins. "Can you two help me look outside for them?"
The twins quickly nodded as they rushed down the staircase. "I can go check the garage," Fred offered.
"And I'll check down by the lake," George added.
"They are not allowed in the garage and I already checked by the lake," Molly started towards the back door once more. She paused for a moment, thinking over her words for a moment before she nodded. "Check the garage Fred and George check the field."
"Where can I check?" Ginny asked as she hurried to keep up with the three of them, eager to help.
"You can look in the tree and treehouse," Molly replied despite the fact that she already had. If Ginny wanted to help she hardly wanted to discourage it or waste the time arguing with her stubborn child.
Molly stepped back outside with her children behind her as she once more yelled out for Ron and Harry, hoping that they would answer her and feeling panic take over her body when they did not.