Harry Potter and the Heir of Gryffindor

Disclaimer: See Chapter One

Chapter Two

"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go in! Only, stay on the path; you'll get lost if you don't, and I sure as hell am not going in after you." Sirius said seriously.

Hermione and Harry nodded, having figured this out already. Ron however, in a near state of panic, burst out: "ARE YOU INSANE! THIS FOREST IS ALIVE! IT'S GOING TO EAT US! IF WE STEP OFF THE PATH, WE DIE! THERE'S A DRAGON IN THERE, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!"

Sirius smirked, while Harry discreetly smacked his hand over Ron's mouth. "You're absolutely correct, Ron, there is no point in going into this magical forest, which hides millions of secrets just waiting to be discovered. I mean, it's not as if you're not going to have to run through this forest every day. You might as well get used to it now." Sirius remarked.

"WHAT" the three shrieked, their fright forgotten.

Sirius smiled angelically. "Oh, did I forget to mention that? Dumbledore asked me to train you three up a bit. Should be useful now that He's back."

Ron gulped. "What kind of training?"

Sirius smirked again, and rubbed his hands together in relish. "Oh, all kinds. Magic, combat, martial arts. you name it! I'm just going to give you the basics this summer, because you'll get better instruction once you get to Hogwarts."

"What kind of magic exactly, Mr. Black, because I've been studying quite a bit on the history of magic, and I've discovered that there are over three hundred different-" Hermione began.

"-types of magic? Yes, but we'll be focusing on . . . what were they again? Dark Arts, Defense, Dueling . . . that sort of thing. And it's Sirius, not Mr. Black. I'm the farthest thing from a 'Mister' you'll get." Sirius said.

"Really?" Harry added impishly, "And here I was thinking that 'Miss' would work better for you, right mom?"

Sirius's face dropped, and tears started to fill his eyes. He gazed at Harry with the biggest blue eyes imaginable, causing Harry to stammer, "I'm sorry Sirius, you're not a girl! I didn't mean to make you sad!" Harry was frightened he had caused his one and only godfather to hate him. He kept stammering his apologies, until he noticed that Ron and Hermione were barely concealing their laughter.

"Sirius, mate, you'd better stop it. Harry's too nice to doubt you." Ron remarked, coughing in an attempt to hide his chuckle.

The tears immediately vanished from Sirius's eyes, and the mischievous look was back. "I can't believe you fell for that! It's the oldest one in the book!" he crowed. Harry fumed. "Well, how am I supposed to know that?" Sirius just grinned.

"You know," Sirius said thoughtfully, "your father fell for the exact same thing when we first met each other. We were four years old, you know, and I, having already discovered how to bend people to my will- what are you laughing at? Anyways, James came up with his psychotic hair-do, and scarred me for life. So I started to 'cry', and James begged for forgiveness. Eventually he caught on, and punched me. Knocked me right out. We were best friends from then on."

Harry gaped. "He punches you out, and then you're inseparable? That's ridiculous!"

Sirius grinned slyly. "How did you make friends with Hermione?"

Harry thought. "We knocked out a mountain troll . . . oh. I suppose that kind of is similar."

"In a messed up, twisted way." Ron added. Then he asked, "Why do we have to train anyways? Do we have a choice?"

Sirius grinned evilly. "You have to train because Dumbledore said so. And you don't have a choice. From now on, we do things my way or, um, not at all. Ha! I can feel the power!" He was silenced by a smack to the head, courtesy of:

"MOONY!" the four screamed.

Indeed, their DADA professor, werewolf extraordinaire, Remus Lupin had decided to visit. "Good day! My my, Harry, you are looking much better than last time I saw you! Now Padfoot, what's this I hear about training?" Remus turned to look pointedly at Sirius.

"Help us, Professor! He's going to make us run laps, and duel, and-" Ron screamed.

However, Remus merely smiled. "Really? You forgot to mention Transfiguration, Charms, and Potions." All three looked horrified. "Potions are an integral part of our society, you know. Besides, who did you think was going to train you physically? Sirius? He can barely run 10 meters." Remus said. Sirius huffed.

"Great," Ron muttered, "Werewolves have superhuman strength, you know. We're all gonna die. No question." Hermione scoffed, and Harry could vaguely hear her telling Ron off for being an ungrateful brat, who had people trying to help him and all he was doing was arguing. Remus, meanwhile, looked thoughtful.

"I believe you were going to show the kids the forest, Sirius? Why not start the training now? Surely they want to stretch their legs from the long car ride?"

At this point, Harry noticed that Hermione was looking rather excited at the prospect of learning something new, while Ron was decidedly gloomy. Harry himself was eager to start training; he had by now accepted the fact that he was the bloody boy-who-lived, and if he was destined to battle the Dark Lord (which he had done 4 times now), then he'd better get a move on.

Noticing the mixed reactions, Remus smiled. "Alright kids, see this path?" A path suddenly appeared, leading into the forest. The trio looked at it apprehensively. "Just follow it through the forest. When you get to the end of it (the other end of the path appeared, right next to the entrance), then you can go in for dinner. I'll be timing you, so try to run as fast as you can, okay? Based on your scores, I'll know exactly how many laps I'll need to assign you each night so you'll improve. One lap is going from start to finish. Everybody got it? Okay! Begin!"

The three looked at each other and shrugged. Harry slowly approached the ancient forest, followed by Hermione and Ron. Remus smiled. "The clock is ticking."

Ah, what the heck? Remus and Sirius wouldn't try to kill them, would they? Harry sighed, and then sprinted into the forest, taking care to stay on the path. Hermione and Ron followed close behind. As they got deeper into the forest, they noticed that it was still fairly easy to see-apparently, there was some kind of magical light. After about 5 minutes of running, Hermione gasped and slowed down to a jog. The boys shrugged and kept running. About 5 minutes later, Ron also gave up. Harry lasted for about another 10 minutes (his seeker training having helped out a lot), but eventually he began to tire. It took him about half an hour to reach the end, where he spotted a bored werewolf holding a magical stopwatch.

Harry stumbled out of the forest and collapsed onto the freshly cut grass. Remus winced. "Well Harry, that was better than I had expected, considering what you've been through, but you've got a long way to go." Harry sighed and closed his eyes in exhaustion. Remus smiled, "Still, a job well done, for your first attempt, anyways. Go inside, it's been almost an hour. Dinner should be hot on the table." Harry slowly picked himself up and limped up to the castle, wishing it were closer.

About 10 minutes later Harry stumbled into the Dining Hall, where Sirius was sitting at a huge round table, calmly eating a slice of roast. Spread over the rest of the round table was a banquet fit for a King - almost as good as the Hogwarts feasts, complete with mint humbugs. Harry dropped into a chair beside his godfather and began serving himself. He nearly dropped the bowl of mashed potatoes in shock when he noticed Sirius had a pile of mint humbugs on his plate. Sirius noticed Harry's staring.

"Mmmm, mint humbugs, my favorite! What? You seem surprised! I love mint humbugs! Didn't you ever wonder why there are always mint humbugs at the feasts? (Harry nodded) Well, in our fifth year, James and I persuaded the house elves to serve mint humbugs for dinner one night. Turned out they weren't as bad as we had thought; they kind of grow on you. Anyways, Dumbledore thought the prank was brilliant, and from then on made a point to put a bowl of mint humbugs on every table at feasts."

To prove his point, Sirius speared a humbug with his fork, and popped it in his mouth, crunching loudly. Harry rolled his eyes, and did similarly. He immediately started choking, and spat the humbug onto his plate in revulsion.

"Sirius, that was DISGUSTING!" Harry protested loudly. Sirius grinned.

"Well, I did tell you that they grew on you. Try being forced to eat ten bowls of them for detention; you'll either like them or die of disgust. It's all about survival, you know."

Harry examined his godfather closely. Harry eventually concluded that his godfather was extremely eccentric, and left it at that. "Try some potatoes, Sirius; they're nice, normal food." Harry stressed the word "normal", but Sirius either didn't notice, or was pretending not to have.

Dinner progressed wonderfully, interrupted only by the arrival of Ron, and later Hermione, who both collapsed into their chairs with dull groans. Following dinner (after the plates had mysteriously disappeared, thanks to the house-elves of the castle), Sirius escorted the trio to their rooms, while Remus headed down to the library to make an outline for tomorrows "training", which the trio affectionately dubbed, "living death".

The trio's rooms were situated in one of the four towers, with each room on a different floor (rather like Gryffindor tower). The rooms were obviously tailored to their owners; Sirius seemed to have attempted to make the rooms as welcoming as possible. Hermione's room was done up in shades of blue, with three quarters of the circular wall being devoted to a huge bookcase. The bed itself was a four-poster, as were all beds in the tower.

Ron's room was (to everyone else's horror) bright orange, with Chudley Cannon's posters (brand new) tacked to the wall. Harry momentarily wondered how Sirius had managed to get his hands on all this stuff, but Sirius, sensing this question, informed him that Remus had made the purchases using Sirius's account. Also in the room was a beautiful marble chess set (Ron whooped in joy), as well as a fireplace. Sirius warned Ron not to light it, as it would attract Gondo the poltergeist.

"Speaking of Gondo," Hermione began, "I was unaware that Black Castle had a poltergeist. Prior to coming here I of course researched all the magical castles in Britain and their denizens, but Gondo wasn't-"

"That's because," Sirius cut in, "No one has been in Black Castle in fourteen years. Gondo apparently moved in about ten years ago; he was banished from his former haunt somewhere in France." Hermione, apparently appeased, went back to examining the room.

Harry's room was, however, was a slash between the Gryffindor dormitories and common room. On the far wall was the huge four-poster, and around the sides beautiful tapestries and bookcases alternated. In the center of the room, however, was a miniature 3D model of a Quidditch Pitch (rather like the one Wood had been poking at before the final in Harry's third year). Harry and Ron were ecstatic, and dashed over to it, immediately poking at the miniature players.

"Well," Sirius began, diverting attention to himself, "since you two boys seem so, um, absorbed in that model, I'll just leave you to it, shall I? By the way, Moony left me some rules that you guys (and girls) are supposed to follow."

Harry pouted. "But Sirius . . ."

Sirius attempted to look serious, but failed miserably. He cracked a grin. "Try and follow the rules, but if you break them, make sure I'm 'looking the other way' at the time, alright?" Ron grinned.

"Wicked. Well, good night then, Sirius. Say, before you leave, you wouldn't happen to know of any secret passages, would you?"

Sirius smirked. "Well, I actually know about quite a number, both at Black Castle and at Hogwarts. (The trio turned their complete attention to Sirius) But I'm afraid you'll have to wait for your History class-Remus is teaching that-to find out. Think of it as a good incentive to show up for your lessons, eh?"

Sirius hugged Harry goodnight, and exited his room (which was situated at the top of the tower). Hermione immediately resumed reading her book, entitled Why Flowering Shrubs Are Vital to Our Ecosystem (which she claimed was fascinating), while Harry and Ron engaged in a game of chess. About twenty minutes later, and three wins later, Ron announced he was exhausted, and was going to bed. The instant he left the room, Harry turned to Hermione.

"So," he began, gaining her attention, "what's this I hear about Bulgaria and Viktor Krum?"

Hermione blushed. "Oh, that. Well, on August 1st I went to visit Viktor in Bulgaria like he asked me."

"And?" Harry pressed.

Hermione sighed dreamily. "Well, it started off rather awkwardly, since I've never been in a relationship before, you know, and Viktor obviously has. But over my two week stay we really got to know each other." Harry motioned for her to continue. "Well, we did some romantic stuff. You know, kissing, hugging; things like that. (Harry grinned)" Then Hermione turned serious.

"But I'm worried about Ron. He doesn't seem to like Viktor too much (Harry rolled his eyes), so the concept that I kissed him might make Ron a tad annoyed. Of course, not knowing what happened annoys him just as much, and he assumes the worst, but-" Hermione said, clearly agitated at her best friend's response to her new boyfriend.

"Hey, listen Hermione. Ron is a great person, but he can be an obnoxious git at times. Don't let him bug you, okay? Didn't you tell him to knock it off?" Harry asked.

Hermione smiled. "Yeah, and pretty forcefully too. I don't think he'll bring it up again, although he will refer to it darkly ever chance he gets. Anyways, I'd better get to bed as well. Thanks for listening Harry. You're a great friend."

"Night Hermione." Harry replied, as he watched Hermione sweep out the door, a pile of books in her arms. As he changed into his pajamas, he couldn't help but wonder what exactly had happened when Hermione had told Ron to leave her and Viktor a closed subject. He attempted to imagine it, but then realized that it was probably a good thing he hadn't been there; he'd have been forced to take sides, and he probably would have taken Hermione's, and then Ron would hate him again.

Harry sighed, and fell back onto his pillow. The bed was marvelously soft, he reflected. Harry slowly fell asleep, with pleasant images of flying on his firebolt filling his mind.