Disclaimer: This story is based on the Goblet of Fire, which is not mine. This story is also a continuation of Midnight Guardian. Reading that story first would probably help understand this story.
A Summer at Hogwarts
The warm summer day would be a welcome to anyone if you weren't Harry Potter. The perfect weather would mean outdoor sports, lazing in the sun or even simply hanging out with friends for any normal teenager but Harry wasn't normal, even by the standards of the wizarding world which was saying a lot. Most students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry went home during the summer holidays but Harry remained. Last summer at his former residence, Number 4, Privet Drive, everything took a turn for the worse. His Uncle, Vernon Dursley, had decided to take his anger out on Harry and if it hadn't been for the interference of Sirius Black, Harry doubted he would even be alive today.
Sirius Black had escaped a wizard prison called Azkaban (the first to ever accomplish it) to protect Harry, his godson, although everyone believed something entirely different. For twelve years, the entire wizarding world thought Sirius had betrayed Harry's parents to a dark wizard known as Voldemort then killed thirteen muggles (non-magic folk) and a wizard named Peter Pettigrew with a single curse. In reality, Peter had been the betrayer, framing Sirius for the crimes by faking his own death. He then remained in his Animagus form (an ability to transform into an animal at will) for twelve years with the Weasley family. Once the truth had been revealed, Sirius had finally been given a trial, found innocent and was granted legal guardianship of Harry to protect his godson from being sent back to the Dursleys since Harry's temporary guardian, Remus Lupin, was unable to apply for the position.
Remus Lupin had been there for Harry through thick and thin providing a family that Harry so desperately needed. Both Remus and Harry had bonded immediately with their similarities that were almost uncanny. They both felt alone and misunderstood in the world, suffering more than anyone but them could even begin to understand. They were both judged for something they had no control over. Harry was the-boy-who-lived and Remus was a werewolf. It was that judgment that prevented Remus from adopting Harry, his cub, legally as his own.
This resulted in a rather unique arrangement. Sirius Black was Harry's legal guardian but had a tendency to act like more of a child than an adult which left Remus Lupin to be the parent for both Harry and Sirius. Remus was the voice of reason and was usually backed up by Harry. When that happened, Sirius knew better than to disagree with the two since all three wizards had a stubborn streak to them. Harry would eventually give in when Sirius transformed into his Animagus form Padfoot (or Midnight as Harry still called him) but Remus couldn't be swayed.
Normally students weren't allowed to stay at Hogwarts over the summer but Professor Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, had requested it because he needed the help of Harry's guardians. For what Harry didn't know but could tell Sirius was certainly excited about it. Both Sirius and Remus had promised Harry they would fill him in when they could but it was still annoying to be kept out of the loop. Who was Harry going to tell anyways? Only Harry's friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger along with Ron's family knew Harry was actually staying at Hogwarts. As far as everyone else was concerned, Harry was spending the summer at The Noble House of Black, a place he had never seen and, according to Sirius, never wanted to see.
Spending his summer at Hogwarts had been both a blessing and a curse for Harry. Unlike every other witch and wizard under the age of seventeen, Harry was allowed to use magic during the summer as long as he was on school grounds. The bad side of being at Hogwarts was the endless training Sirius put him through, especially when it was nice outside. Sirius loved having duels outdoors to train Harry in using everything around him.
It's not that Harry wasn't grateful for what Sirius was doing or didn't learn something new in every session. It was the fact that Sirius was so good at what he was teaching that Harry never had a chance in beating the man. Everyday Harry left feeling disappointed in himself no matter how much Sirius tried to assure him he was making progress.
Today wasn't any different. Sirius had sent Harry out onto the grounds with a ten minute head start to hide and learn then layout of the land before Sirius came looking for him. The forest was off limits as was anywhere else beyond the front gates. Harry didn't want to cause any damage so hiding anywhere near the castle was out of the question. He wasn't a good swimmer so the lake wasn't a favorable option either. That left Hagrid's Hut or the Whomping Willow. Not really a lot of choices.
The Whomping Willow is out of the question and Hagrid's Hut is too obvious.
Looking out at the lake, Harry figured he should be unpredictable for once. He ran as quickly as possible towards the lake. He only had a few minutes before Sirius was to come out so there wasn't much time to think of a strategy. He couldn't take off any of his clothes since it would be a giveaway to where he was. Hurrying over to where there was a patch of weeds coming out of the water, Harry stepped into the cool water quietly until the water was up to his nose, so that his glasses remained dry and he could see properly. With a flick of his right hand, Harry had his wand in hand and ready to use. He knew he would have to be patient because Sirius would only give him one shot.
It was nearly another ten minutes before Sirius came down to the lake with his wand ready. Harry remained still as he watched his godfather stroll the shoreline almost casually but alert nonetheless. Sirius had a way of noticing even the smallest of details which annoyed Harry to no end. It only took one mistake and the 'lesson' would be over.
Time seemed to go by at an excruciatingly slow rate. Harry needed Sirius to turn around. He couldn't risk Sirius noticing his movement. It was a cheep shot but right now it was the only one Harry could take.
When Sirius finally turned away Harry had to bite back the urge to strike then and there. From the slowness of the turn, Harry figured Sirius didn't completely believe that he was alone in this area. With no attack coming, Sirius started to walk back towards the courtyard. Seeing his opportunity, Harry slowly raised his wand out of the water, pointing it at Sirius.
"Finite Incantatem. Stupefy," Harry whispered. He had learned the hard way Sirius usually placed a defensive shield around himself. Hopefully it was something simple so his spells wouldn't bounce off it and back at him.
Harry could hardly hold back his excitement when the spells hit Sirius directly in the back then fall to the ground. Carefully, Harry crept out of his hiding place, his wand still at the ready. After drying his clothes with a quick drying charm, Harry slowly approached Sirius. The man was lying face down on the ground, his wand still clenched in his hand. He wasn't moving but Harry knew looks could be deceiving. Sirius was the type of person to fake being unconscious to make a point or to have a laugh.
"Accio wand," Harry said softly. Sirius' wand flew into his outstretched hand. Pocketing the wand, Harry kept his own on Sirius as he slowly knelt down and checked for a pulse like he had been trained to from Remus. Remus had always insisted on checking on the opponent's well being. Harry didn't know if it was from personal experience or not. He wasn't brave enough to ask.
Once Harry felt the steady pulse, he let out the breath he didn't know he had been holding. He was about to sit back on his feet when a hand quickly grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him forward. Harry landed on his back and looked up to see Sirius' smiling face causing Harry to groan in annoyance. He had messed up again.
"Very good, Pronglet," Sirius said as he helped Harry sit up. "You nearly had me. What was your first mistake?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders as he looked away. He really couldn't hide his disappointment in failing yet again. He had been closer today than any other day but he still managed to do something wrong. "I'm sorry for wasting your time," Harry said quietly. "I just can't seem to get this."
Sirius moved closer to Harry and pulled him into a one armed embrace. "Hey, you're doing just fine," he said reassuringly. "What we're doing here is not easy but it's something you need to learn. You need to be able to protect yourself. This is something you can't learn from a book but through experience, your own experience. Everyone has their own style. What works for me won't necessarily work for you."
"I know," Harry said in a tired voice as he holstered his wand and handed Sirius back his own. "I'm just so frustrated. I just thought I actually had you this time."
Sirius nodded. "You nearly did," he admitted. "Just remember that even though someone appears to be harmless that doesn't mean they are. You did the right thing in disarming me but we are all born with five weapons: two legs, two hands and one head. Moony taught you well last summer but he's a little too—er—proper. He would have done exactly what you did—checking on the opponent's health—but you can't do that. Your safety has to come first. Remember what I told you about the Death Eaters—"
"—they are supporters of Voldemort who will do anything and everything to take me to their master who is still out there somewhere," Harry recited from memory. "I know, Sirius, I know. All I've heard this summer is Death Eater this and Death Eater that. What's changed from last year?"
"Nothing's changed," Sirius said quickly. "I just want you to be prepared. That night you faced the Dementors for me made me realize that you are not a little boy anymore, regardless of what Dumbledore may think. You need to be ready for what's really out there. I know your teachers and Moony started the process last summer but they were only scratching the surface. I know you hate this but I would rather have you prepared and alive than caught by surprise and dead. I don't want to lose you, Pronglet."
Harry looked up at Sirius and nodded. He knew Sirius meant well and when the man put it that way Harry had to agree with him. He would rather be ready for what was coming too, whatever it was. "I don't want to lose you either," Harry said with a soft smile. "Thanks Sirius. I'll try harder next time."
Sirius grinned. "I really don't think that's possible Harry," he said with a laugh. "You are trying every time we do this. It's not effort that you're lacking. It's just experience. Just be patient oh young student of mine. This is something even fully trained wizards struggle with."
Harry glanced out at the calm lake. He had to admit that he did enjoy his time with Sirius no matter how nerve-wracking it was. Sirius was always honest with him, treating Harry more like an equal than a little kid…at least until he was scolded by Remus for telling Harry too much. Remus had been on an assignment for Professor Dumbledore for the past week and a half which meant Sirius had free reign on Harry's training for the time being, something Remus had been reluctant to allow.
"Have you heard anything from Moony?" Harry asked softly, breaking the silence. He didn't want it to appear like he preferred one guardian over the other but he couldn't help worrying. Remus had never been gone this long without sending either of them an owl before.
"No I haven't," Sirius said casually, noticing the tone Harry had used. "There's nothing to worry about Harry. Moony is fine. In fact, it's a good sign that he's been gone so long. It means people are actually listening to him…although I don't know who in their right mind would do that."
"Anyone but you?" Harry offered knowing that Sirius was only kidding.
Sirius smiled brightly. "Of course," he said, "and it is only a matter of time before I have you fully trained, my young apprentice, in the ways of mischief and rule breaking. Moony won't even know what hit him when we're through."
Harry let out a sigh. This was a common discussion. Sirius wanted Harry to follow in the footsteps of the Marauders by pulling pranks but Harry felt uncomfortable with it. He had spent years as the person being picked on to find anything of that sort funny. The problem was Sirius didn't know everything about Harry's years with the Dursleys. Harry had been reluctant to tell him or anyone else anything besides what they had already learned.
Returning his attention to the lake, Harry couldn't help but think back to the craziness the past year had brought him and everyone around him. He didn't regret anything that happened but he did wonder if anyone else did. He looked down at the grass that he started nervously pulling at. It had seemed like a dream come true when Sirius and Remus became his guardians but Harry couldn't help wondering if it was what they really wanted.
"Sirius, are you happy?" Harry asked hesitantly.
Sirius looked over at Harry in confusion. "What in the world are you talking about?" he asked.
Harry shrugged his shoulders as he stared at the grass he was still pulling. "It's just that, well, you're free now," he said uncomfortably. "Do you ever want to just get you life back and not be here?"
Sirius pulled Harry into a fierce embrace. "Pronglet, don't you ever think I don't want to be here," he said firmly. "The three of us, you, Moony and I are a family. I wouldn't trade that for anything. I missed twelve years of being with you. I'm certainly not going to miss any more if I can help it. You're stuck with me whether you like it or not."
Harry returned the embrace, burying his face in the chest of his godfather. It was such a change for Harry to have people that actually wanted him around. The Dursleys always made Harry believe he was nothing more that a freak, something Sirius and Remus were still trying to convince Harry was false. Last year Harry's magic had started to mature prematurely coming in powerful bursts every now and then. They were completely unpredictable, painful to whoever was on the receiving end and exhausting on the sender's end.
Although no one around Harry was really concerned about this development, Harry couldn't help worrying. He didn't want to hurt anyone, especially Sirius and Remus. The problem was the two guardians seemed to believe that the only way to control the bursts was to continue practicing, hence the daily duals that rarely ended with Harry being victorious.
With notice of the sun starting to set, Sirius and Harry retreated back to the castle to clean up for dinner. Sirius had taken the liberty of showing Harry 'the essentials' during the first week of the summer which included the kitchens where Harry found an old friend. The house elf, Dobby, was now working for Professor Dumbledore at Hogwarts and appeared to be as happy as he could possibly be. Dobby had started jumping for joy when Harry had arrived since it had been Harry who had freed Dobby from his previous master, Lucius Malfoy.
There had been two extremely amused and confused Marauders forcing Harry to explain how he had managed to pull it off with Dobby putting in his two knuts every now and then. Both Sirius and Remus found Dobby's fanatic devotion to Harry entertaining and instantly befriended the little creature, cornering him in secret to request his help in looking after Harry. The Marauders knew they wouldn't always be at Harry's side and felt better knowing someone or something would be keeping an eye on their charge.
Entering their quarters, Harry stopped in the doorway when saw someone familiar had been waiting for them. "Moony!" he said happily as he hurried to the waiting arms of Remus Lupin. "When did you get back?"
Remus let out laugh as he wrapped his arms around Harry. "About an hour ago," he said. "I just finished discussing everything with Dumbledore." He looked up Sirius with a raised eyebrow. "So what have you two been up to since I've been gone? Causing trouble like the old days, Padfoot, and pulling Harry along with you?"
"Oh ye of little faith," Sirius said as he sat down in a nearby armchair. "I'll have you know that Harry has all of his homework done already and we have been practicing his dueling every day. Honestly Moony, you need to trust me a little more. Do you really think I would ever do anything that would put Harry in harms way?"
"I'm just double checking, Padfoot," Remus said backing off. "Anyone in my shoes would do the same. You would do the same."
Sirius thought for a moment then nodded. "You're right, I would," he admitted. "Harry, go clean up for dinner. We'll leave as soon as you're ready."
Harry wanted to protest but a push in the direction of his room from Remus proved the effort would be wasted. Once in his room, Harry quickly changed his clothes and put on a casual robe. The entire staff was at the school so Harry figured he needed to look somewhat presentable. Since Remus had left on assignment, Sirius had preferred on either eating in their quarters or in the kitchens. Sirius had said the food was better this way but Harry knew it was because Sirius didn't want to eat dinner with Professor Snape. The two of them seemed to hate each other more that what was humanly possible. Sirius was incredibly defensive, always acting whenever Snape said anything out of line about Harry, Remus or Harry's father, James.
That night was like any other during this summer at Hogwarts. After an early dinner, Harry spent two hours in the library while Sirius and Remus met with the Hogwarts staff. Harry's topic of the night to study was personal shields. He finished his work quickly allowing him to write a few letters he would send with Hedwig. His letters rarely said much since he wasn't supposed to say anything about his training but at least he was staying in contact with his friends.
By the time Sirius and Remus were released from their meeting and found Harry, all three of them were extremely exhausted and ready to call it a night. They retreated to their own rooms eager for a peaceful slumber to end the long day. What they didn't know was that none of them were going to get much sleep or peace that night.