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------- I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good -------
February arrived with a flurry of late snow. In consequence, most of the younger students spent their lessons staring wistfully out of the classroom windows, while the older students donned heavy winter cloaks and scarves for twenty-four hours a day.
Sirius had forsaken his Gryffindor scarf in favour of a bright red fleece scarf he'd received for Christmas, littered with little pictures panda bears, making both James and Peter laugh in delight, and Remus smile faintly.
Of course, their looks all turned curious when the Potter family owl landed in front of Sirius, a short letter attached to its leg. Sirius frowned, and then feeling eyes on him, turned to see Professor Patterson grin at him from the head table.
Dear Sirius, the letter read.
Ted and I recently received a most curious letter from your Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Patterson. He claimed that he wished to take you on as his apprentice, and, as your guardians, he wished to ask our approval beforehand.
We have both discussed it, and have replied that he may, so long as you will be allowed to negotiate the terms of the contract with him.
I know that this will take up a lot of your free time, but I would not want you to be bound to a contract that you hadn't helped put together, so I hope you won't be angry.
Sirius knew that a grin was creeping over his face, and James, who had been reading over his shoulder, clapped him on the back and said sincerely, 'Congrats, Padfoot.'
The sentiment was echoed by both Peter and Remus as soon as they were told what was in the letter, and Sirius replied, 'Thanks, guys,' before turning and shooting a proud thumbs up towards Patterson, who returned it without hesitation.
'Hermione and Luna – Professors Grant and Cox, that is – have been thinking about your Magecraft abilities,' Harry told Remus as the two of them trudged alongside each other, lagging a little behind Harry's other Mage students. 'They reckon that they might not stick about for much longer.'
'The professors?' Remus asked, slightly alarmed.
Harry smiled faintly, and shook his head. 'Your powers,' he corrected. 'It's only a theory, but your curse is probably eating away at them, and soon enough they'll have gone completely.'
Looking far less disappointed than Harry would have expected, he said, 'Oh. How long do you think it'll take?'
Sadly, Harry answered, 'Until the end of the year at most.' There was a pause, and then he continued, 'The only question now is, do you want to bother learning it practically, since it's going to go away?'
Remus looked up at him with a stubborn glint in his eyes. 'You said it's only a theory, right?'
Harry nodded, knowing where this was going.
'Then I'll stay, just in case. And besides, I might need to use it before the year's up.'
Harry grinned. 'That's the spirit,' he said, and then gave him a push, so he stumbled forward and got in step with Sirius and Peter.