A/N: Long over due, here it is: the next chapter! This one is a bit short and it skips a few years, mainly because I thought those years would be pretty normal and I really wanted to get into what goes on in the books partially cuz it will make my life easier, and partially because that's when the AD/MM stuff is going to come in. But here's the year before Hogwarts.

If you read, PLEASE review. I haven't been getting many (re: almost no) reviews as of late, at best on all the stories I've posted recently I've gotten maybe two per chapter, I'm feeling very unloved. So I beg you, love me enough to review…even criticism is welcome, provided it's CONSTRUCTIVE and not just insulting

Chapter 4: The Year before Hogwarts

Harry and Ron grinned wickedly as they snuck into the potions classroom. Fred and George had slipped them some muggle firecrackers, heavens knew where they got them, and dared the younger boys to put them under the potions master's chair, then light them in the middle of a lesson. Harry and Ron knew they shouldn't of course, and they knew if they were caught they'd get in big trouble, but it didn't matter at the moment.

There was a side entrance to classroom that few knew about and Snape never watched. That was how they entered. Of course, sneaking though the room would have been easier when they were four and barely noticeable, but they didn't worry about it. Well, Ron did, until Harry assured him that he had a plan. Harry removed a wand from his pocket, whose wand, Ron didn't know and gave it a quick swish and flick. "Wingardium Leviosa." He whispered. The firecrackers didn't lift, but they did move a bit. So little by little Harry repeated the charm, moving the red cylinders a little bit further each time. Finally, just as they got to the chair, he managed to make them hover a bit, making getting them directly under the seat a little easier.

"Now we just have to light them." He whispered.

Ron grabbed the wand out of his hand and grinned. "Leave that to me." He shut one eye and aimed. "Incendio." He whispered.

A bit of flame caught and crackled on the end of the line. Moments later, loud sharp bangs startled the class and the potions master right out of his seat. The boys laughed softly as Snape cursed and they ran. Of course he knew immediately who it was. The Weasley twins had been a bad influence, and no one else knew how to get to the side door, that was slightly ajar. "POTTER! WEASLEY!" He roared.

His voice shook the dungeon, and the two boys were unlucky enough that Professor McGonagall just happened to be near enough to hear him. She turned quickly and marched over to the stairs just as her ward and his best friend appeared. They stopped, worry and guilt crossing their faces. "What did you do?"

The boys shifted under her hard gaze. "Just noise makers." Harry muttered.

"Fred and George gave them to us." Ron added. "They dared us to put them under Professor Snape's chair."

"They just scared him Mama." Harry insisted. "They couldn't hurt anyone."

"Be that as it may," She started as she took their hands and began to guide them down the stair case, "You both know better than that." She lectured them all the way down the stair case and dragged them right back into the classroom. "Professor Snape."

Severus swept briskly over to her and the two contrite boys in her grasp. He glared down at Harry and Ron. "So good to see you boys. I trust I don't need to explain why you'll both be helping me clean the cauldrons tonight?"

"No sir." They chorused.

McGonagall nodded and swept her gaze over the classroom. "Mssrs. Weasley?" The twins looked up nervously. "Twenty points from Gryffindor and detention tonight with Mr. Filch."

"Yes Professor." Fred and George sighed before turning back to their potions.

            That afternoon after their last class, Harry and Ron headed down to the dungeons where Snape was waiting to oversee their detentions. He was grading papers at his desk and when they entered he didn't even look up, simply pointed to the sink, where a large pile of cauldrons was sitting. The two boys went over and immediately set to work in silence. Their silence only lasted a few minutes, however. Not long after setting to work a quiet conversation started between the boys. "How come you call Professor Dumbledore Papa when he and Professor McGonagall aren't married?"

            Harry shrugged. "He helped raise me too, didn't he? He's always been like a Papa."

            Ron thought about that for a moment. "Well, how come they don't get married?"

            "Mama says they don't love each other that way."

            "Oh, hey, Harry do you want to come to the Cannons game next weekend?"

            The conversation moved on to other topics, but at his desk Severus couldn't help but smile. The topic of conversation remained at Quidditch for the rest of their detention. An hour later the cauldrons were sparkling, drying on a towel. Snape swept over and inspected. "Very well done Gentlemen." He praised them silkily. "You are both free to go, unless you'd like to stay and help Harry?"

            Harry nodded eagerly and waved goodbye to Ron. Then he ran over to the cauldron on the desk and looked at the ingredients sitting out. Snape smiled and laid a hand on the boy's shoulder. Severus could still see a lot of James and Lily in their son as well as a lot of the headmaster and deputy headmistress, but living in close quarters with the boy for ten years he'd learned to see and enjoy the things that were uniquely Harry, most especially the boy's love and talent in potions, a gift rather comparable to his own. "What are we making today Harry?" He asked softly.

            Harry studied the ingredients on the table, some of them were unlabeled so he picked them up and studied their texture, color and scent. He'd been helping in the potions lab since he'd been two and thanks to the tutelage his potions knowledge was already above most fifth years. "Polyjuice." He finally decided.

            "Excellent. And what do we do first?" Snape asked moving to stand next to him.