Author's note. I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the beginning of October and it is so good. Had the tickets for over a year and finally got to see it. If you've read the script and didn't think it was very good, that's because you're not getting the full experience.
I've started a Forum to answer questions so I don't fill up the author's note. As I put questions up, I can clean up my author's note from previous chapters. Take a look at my profile and then copy/paste the link if you wanna check this out.
A lot happens in this chapter which I think everyone will appreciate. I know I can be slow getting through the story, hopefully, I can do better. Got some good idea for what's going to happen but I'm always happy to hear ideas. I can't guarantee I'll use them but I have received very good ones in the past.
Enjoy and please review.
"Clear away your things," Snape directed before waving his wand so that parchment flew to every student. "Here is the homework, you have one week to complete it, you will find instructions on what I'm looking for. Exams are not far away so I had better be seeing excellent essays."
He gave the whole class a glare, making everyone, especially Neville shuffle nervously. All the teachers were getting rather stringent about homework. Seamus had already complained loudly about how much work they'd been given during the Easter holidays. Of course, that was nothing compared to what the Owl and Newt students were going through, studying for their upcoming exams. Percy had been steadily getting more stressed and was very insistent that the Common room be peaceful after class to allow everyone to study.
Obviously, some students like Fred and George couldn't resist livening things up occasionally but even they could be caught studying for a certain class. In order to practise spells, a lot more students started using the study room and the air constantly seemed to be filled with crackles and bright sparks. Hermione's hair became even frizzier and Ron struggled to hide how amused he was by the sight of it. Harry just stayed quiet on the subject.
At least all three of them were confident about their exams, which made a nice change. For some however….
"This looks hard," groaned Neville, gazing miserably at his piece of parchment.
"It's not so bad Neville," Hermione said encouragingly. "It's really quite interesting, we're learning which toadstools are useful in creating poisons. You should enjoy that."
"We have to write about toadstools as well?" he moaned in despair. "I didn't know that."
"You didn't?" Hermione said with a frown. "Let me look at that."
She took his parchment and her frown deepened as she quickly read through it.
"What's wrong?" Harry questioned, shoving his potions book back into his bag.
She didn't answer, instead moved over to where Dean and Seamus were.
"Why does she do that?" grumbled Ron, grimacing as his pulled some leftover ingredients off a sticky spot on the workbench. "I hate that."
Harry just shrugged as Neville said. "Why does he give us such hard stuff?"
"It's Snape," Ron stated, flicking some dried flecks off his workbench. "He's an old bat who doesn't have anything better to do."
Neville gaped at him before nervously giggling, looking quickly to make sure that Snape wasn't within earshot. Thankfully, he appeared to be focused with papers and didn't react but Neville was still on edge. Snape was the worst teacher to catch you saying something uncomplimentary.
"Do you know anything about boils?" Neville now asked them, looking hopeful.
"Boils?" Ron repeated. "What about them?"
"He wants us to write an essay on them and Hermione says there's another on toadstools," the round faced boy explained apprehensively. "But I didn't get that last part."
"We've only been given an essay for toadstools," Ron stated as Harry looked over at where Hermione was. "How's that?"
"I think that's what Hermione's finding out," Harry surmised, looking over at Snape.
Seeing that Neville still looked nervous, he quickly said. "Don't worry Neville, we'll sort it out. You can leave if you want, we'll catch up with you later."
Looking relieved despite his continued confusion, Neville quickly gathered up all of his things, dropping several before somehow scrambling out of the door with the others. Before running back in because he's forgotten his essay prompt, face flushed with embarrassment. Grinning, Ron handed him the parchment and the younger boy fled, face redder than ever.
They saw Hermione heading for the front of the class and decided they'd better follow her.
"Please Professor, you've given us different essays to everyone else," Hermione stated without preamble.
"I am aware of that Miss Granger," Snape as he pointed his wand at the blackboard where the instructions were wiped with a slight puff of chalk. Turning with a swish of black cloak, he raised an eyebrow and said. "Is there a problem?"
"I don't understand why you've given us something different," she said, very much wanting an answer to this change of routine.
"You do not feel up to the task of completing your essay?" he asked in mock amazement. "Well, if that is the case….."
"No sir, of course we can do it," she said hastily, the very idea she could not complete an assigned essay was scandalous. "I just wanted to know why, I've never heard of you giving out different essays."
"Haven't you?" he said mildly as though he did it all the time. "Well, in this particular case, I thought this might be more suitably….challenging for you three."
They stared at him, it was unheard of for Snape to deviate at all when it came to homework. He gave everyone in class the exact same work and generally found fault with it all, even with certain students who did well. This new turn of events was both shocking and unsettling.
"Does that mean we're not dunderheads?" Ron couldn't help asking, trying to lighten things up.
Snape paused, regarding him with unamused dark eyes.
"That remains to be seen," he said silkily. "Well, if that is all."
"Is this a one off essay, professor?" Hermione asked earnestly.
"We shall see," he said in his soft voice. "Get going now."
With this dismissal, they had no choice but to do as he directed.
"Well that was weird," Ron muttered as they left.
"You're telling me," Harry said quietly. "Is this the moment when we panic?"
"Is it too much to hope he's just challenging us?" Hermione grimaced, looking worried.
"Pah, he never tried challenging you, just moaned that you were a know it all," Ron scoffed. "He's up to something."
"At least we can count on that," Harry reminded them.
"What, Snape being up to something? Yeah, that's true," the taller boy agreed. "Maybe he's trying to stop us from winning the House Cup."
"Really?" Hermione said in exasperation. "How could this stop us winning the House Cup?"
"I dunno," he shrugged. "But there's also the Quidditch Cup, Harry's gotta win that."
"This is not the time," Hermione started to say but Harry decided to intervene.
"Look, I think Snape's testing us. So the best thing to do is act like he isn't. We do the essays like we would any other and just carry on. He's probably trying to see how we're going to react so we shouldn't give him any reaction," he said, wanting to calm Hermione down as she looked very frazzled.
"Just beat Ravenclaw at the next match, that'll distract him," Ron advised confidently. "Harry's right, we'll just ignore him."
"That's not going to be the end of it," Hermione had to point out.
"Probably not but we can still delay whatever might come," Harry said quietly, stopping as the Bloody Baron floated across their path. He paid them no attention, just glared at the wall he was approaching to pass through.
"Do you want to visit Hagrid after lunch?" Harry asked the other two.
"Actually, there's something I need your help with," Hermione said, watching as the Bloody Baron passed from view.
"What's the password?" Ron mumbled as they headed for Dumbledore's office.
"A sweet," Harry replied. "In second year it was sherbet lemon. I think fourth year it was cockroach cluster."
"Uck, why would he chose those?" Ron asked in disgust.
"Probably because he was running out of sweets," Harry offered with a grin. "Be funny if this year's password was Freddie."
"Why would it be that?" his friend asked in confusion as Sir Nick floated by, offering them a "Good morning" as he did so.
"Hey Nick," Ron and Harry said while Hermione offered him her own friendly good morning.
"Where are you going on this fine day?" he asked, slowly turning so that he faced them while still heading along the corridors, not even noticing as he passed through a vase.
"We're going to visit Professor Dumbledore," the bushy haired girl told him pleasantly.
"Really?" he said in surprise. "Whatever for?"
"There's something I want to ask him," was all Hermione would say.
"Oh, well," he said, still rather taken aback. "Do you need assistance locating his office?"
"Thank you Nick, we know the way," Hermione assured him as the boys nodded.
"Very well, have a good day," he replied formally before floating through a wall.
"He's gonna blab to the whole school about this," Ron stated matter-of-factly.
"Of course," Harry said with a wry smile. "I still can't believe everyone knew what happened with the Philosopher's Stone. Glad we don't have to go through that again."
"Bet I could get all three of us through that chess board," Ron said with a grin which Harry returned.
"But only one of us could have taken the potion to get to the mirror," Hermione reminded them.
"That's not the point," Ron said with a wave of his hand. "I could still beat it."
"Challenge McGonagall to a match then," Harry suggested. "It was quite cool playing as chess pieces, except for the bit where you get smacked out."
"You're telling me," Ron sighed.
Not long after, they arrived at the entrance to Dumbledore's office. After a few guesses, they finally hit upon Bertie Botts every flavour beans and the gargoyle moved aside so they could take the moving staircase up to the headmaster's office.
"You okay?" Harry asked Hermione, she was twisting the front of her robes slightly.
"Just a little nervous," she admitted. "Even if Dumbledore supports us, we know what the Ministry's like. And I'm just a first year suggesting something radical."
"No more radical than SPEW," Ron said helpfully, eyeing the door they were approaching. "I bet this will go over way better."
"Thanks," she said wryly as they stepped over to the door and she firmly knocked on it.
"Come in," Dumbledore's cheerful voice called and they duly did so.
He was sitting at his desk bathed in the warm sunlight coming through his high windows. Setting down his quill in its holder, he smiled warmly at them. The past headmaster and headmistress portraits had previously been chatting but stopped briefly to regard who had entered. A moment later, the conversation resumed except with an element of curiosity within it.
"Good afternoon, Miss Granger, Mr Potter and Mr Weasley," the headmaster said with a smile. "I wasn't expecting you but you're very welcome."
Thus encouraged, they approached his desk, Harry smiling at the sight of Fawkes sitting at his perch. He couldn't resist veering off slightly to see his old friend, there mere sight of the fire coloured bird always lifted his spirits no matter what.
"Fawkes seems to like you," Dumbledore said in delight as Harry stroked the fiery red bird's head.
"He's beautiful," Hermione said admiringly.
"He is indeed a very fine specimen," Dumbledore acknowledged. "Phoenixes are remarkably creatures, their tears can heal and they are capable of carrying immensely heavy loads."
"And they die and are reborn from ashes," Hermione couldn't resist saying, unknowingly echoing what Dumbledore had once told Harry.
"Exactly so," Dumbledore agreed. "Fawkes is probably due a burning day in the next year or two, then he'll be even more magnificent. You might not be able to tell, but his colour is a little diminished."
They all looked at the beautiful bird but could not detect a significant difference. He simply looked magnificent and currently had his eyes closed as his head was scratched.
"Please, take a seat and do tell me the nature of your visit," Dumbledore entreated, adding with a slight twinkle. "I don't often get visits from students who aren't in trouble."
"Oh, we haven't been sent to you," Hermione said quickly.
"I can believe that, I have been hearing exemplary things about your school performance," he stated causing her to beam with pleasure. And it didn't do Harry and Ron any harm hearing that. "You have even inspired Professor Snape."
Those were words Harry would never had believed would be spoken within his hearing and it was weird to say the least. Although he wasn't sure inspired was the right word to use when it came to how Snape was interacting with them.
"Did he say why he's giving us different essays?" Ron asked, his eyes exploring the desk in front of them. There were several curious knick knacks on there but the two that had his attention the most were an ordinary looking silver cigarette lighter and a golden bowl filled with small black shapes.
"Professor Snape expects an extremely high standard of his students," Dumbledore explained. "He won't accept anything other than O level into his Newt class. His recommendation can go a long way to opening doors for aspiring potions masters. The same with your other professors incidentally, both Professor McGonagall and Flikwick are giants in their field to name two."
"We'll remember that professor," Hermione said, looking more at ease now.
"You're welcome to have a liquorice snap," Dumbledore said, seeing Ron's interest in his bowl to one side of a pile of parchments. "Although I should warn you they are a wee bit sharp."
Harry grimaced, he remembered the jet black sweets which resembled leeches sitting their surprisingly sharp liquorice teeth into his hand. He got the novelty of chocolate frogs but why would you want sweets that bit back? Sometimes, he wondered if certain wizarding spells were just for the hell of it rather than serving a practical purpose.
"Thanks sir," Ron said, taking one and instantly throwing it into his mouth before chewing, apparently with no issue at all.
"Miss Granger?" Dumbledore asked politely but she shook his head and Harry copied the motion when the piercing blue eyes switched to him.
"Well now, what can I do for you three?" Dumbledore asked interestedly, fingers lightly pressed together.
"I wanted to ask your advice on something Professor," Hermione began, gesturing at Ron and Harry. "My friends are here as….support."
"Oh?" he said curiously.
She took a deep breath before launching into a detailed explanation of her proposal. Dumbledore listened without interruption, simply focusing his attention on Hermione as she talked. Harry and Ron just sat silently, wondering how Dumbledore was going to react to all of this.
"You've certainly put a lot of thought into this," the headmaster finally said when Hermione had finished.
"I know this is very controversial," she said seriously. "And it might seem like I'm trying to undermine the statute of secrecy but I'm not. Our parents already know that we can do magic, they witness magic when they come to Diagon Alley. So it should not be much of a stretch for them to see us use magic in a place where they already do."
"That is a good point," he acknowledged with a slow nod. "And I must say, you've put a lot of thought into this."
"I want them to understand what I am," she said earnestly. "When Ron talks about his classes, the spells he's learning, the potions he's making, all of it, his parents understand what he means. It's not the same when I talk to my own, there's only so much I can describe. That's why I'm suggesting this."
"I see," he said considering what he'd been told. "I can certainly understand why this is important to you and how you've come up with this."
"Yes professor," Hermione said. "I tried to think about how this could be accomplished since there will be objectors. It will take organising, money would probably be involved when it comes to premises and overseeing but I'm sure it's doable."
"I would agree with that," he stated. "Well Miss Granger, it is a very bold imitative but while I know the Ministry will raise objections, we should not shoot it down without even trying. It will likely take time though."
"I understand sir," Hermione accepted. "That's why I wanted your advice on what to do next."
He smiled at her and said. "I think a detailed plan of your proposal along with a letter of recommendation from me would get the ball rolling. I believe you are right that parents being able to see what their children can do would do a lot of good. Have you spoken to Professor Ashdown? He will be returning to the Ministry once the school year is up."
"No sir but I will," Hermioner stated as Harry asked.
"Professor, what's going to happen next year about Defence Against the Dark Arts?"
"I am hoping I can find a new teacher for you, the search is ongoing," Dumbledore answered easily. "It is getting to be quite the yearly task, discovering a new teacher for the post."
"What about Professor Snape?" Ron couldn't resist asking. "He wants it, doesn't he?"
This made Dumbledore chuckle as he said. "Ah, I see you've heard that particular little rumour. He has expressed an interest but he is too valuable a Potion's teacher to let go. I'm afraid my search continues."
"Up to anything special with your free period?" he asked conversationally.
"We're going to visit Hagrid," Ron told him.
"Splendid idea, I believe I might do that later," the headmaster mused to himself as they started to leave.
"I got my dad's invisibility cloak for Christmas," Harry said, unable to help himself. "Sirius mentioned that you borrowed it before my parents died so you must have sent it to me."
"I did," Dumbledore agreed with a small twinkle. "I thought Christmas the appropriate time to send it to you since it might have been too overwhelming on your birthday."
"Thank you professor," Harry said with a nod, reaching the door just after the others.
"Good luck on the match Harry," the headmaster called. "Play a good game."
"I will professor," Harry promised just before the door swung closed.
"Another year come and gone," Dumbledore stated fondly stroking Fawkes's warm feathers. "It's hard to believe the summer holiday are almost upon us. Are you looking forward to the final Quidditch match, Severus?"
"Minerva has been talking about nothing else," the younger man said with a slight roll of the eyes. Shaking his head as Dumbledore gestured to his teaspot where steam was currently pouring out of, he added. "She has been waxing lyrical about Potter's amazing abilities and how he'll sweep them to victory in both the Quidditch and House Cup. As though he and his two sidekicks are single handed responsible for Gryffindor's slight lead."
"Funny you should mention them, Severus," Dumbledore said evenly, pouring some tea for himself before sitting himself down. "They visited this afternoon."
Snape turned with a swirl of black robes to face his headmaster, dark eyes narrowed.
"For what purpose?" he asked slowly.
"Essentially, Miss Granger thinks that parents should be more involved with their children's education," Dumbledore stated, idly stirring the hot liquid in his china cup.
"In what way?" Snape wanted to know, already looking decidedly unimpressed.
"During the summer, under controlled condition, parents can witness their children performing magic, with the aim that non magical parents especially can better understand their children's abilities," the older man said with a small smile.
Snape stared at him before letting out a sound that sounded like a very harsh laugh.
"I have never heard anything so preposterous in my life," he said considerable contempt. "Our world is separate from the muggle one and that is how it should remain."
"It can never be truly separate," Dumbledore gently reminded him. "More wizards interact with the muggle world than vice versa but we cannot pretend there are not muggles involved in our community."
"That is irrelevant," muttered the younger man. "It is still ridiculous."
"Nevertheless, Miss Granger put a lot of thought into this," Dumbledore said as he took a sip of tea.
"And you agreed with her?" Snape said incredulously.
"I thought it was exceedingly interesting with potential," the older man said musingly. "As Miss Granger pointed out, muggles witness magic when they visit Diagon Alley, why not allow students to demonstrate their magic there?"
"For starters, it could lead to unforeseen consequences," Snape stated coolly. "Such as parents who wish to take advantage of this little loophole."
"That could be a problem but that is why there is meant to be an adult witch or wizard in attendance," Dumbledore told him. "Students would still be forbidden to perform magic, excluding exceptional circumstances, while they are outside school. There are always those who will try to exploit the system but in this case, it would likely be in the minority."
"Hmm," the potion's master muttered before saying. "And Miss Granger came up with all of this? A mere First year."
"I'm sure many students like her have wished they could share more of their new life with their parents. It is not so extraordinary that a first year would think such a thing, they probably wish very keenly that they could demonstrate the amazing power they possess," Dumbledore pointed out. "But admittedly, most do not try to act on this desire."
"No normal first year would," Snape said pointedly and the other man dipped his head.
And then he suddenly smiled.
"Well apart from anything else," he said, raising the cup to his lips. "I'm looking forward to how Cornelius reacts to this.
"Come on Oliver!"
"In a minute," the triumphant Quidditch captain called to his friends before pulling Harry's compartment door open and sticking his head in.
"Harry, will you have any chance to practise this summer?" he asked eagerly.
"I should do, I'll be staying with my godfather for part of the summer," Harry started to say but was overrode.
"Make sure you do practise," the older boy said, pointing a finger at him. "We'll on a roll, we're going to win that cup next year and the year after that. We've got momentum now and we cannot lose it."
"We won't, we can do it," Harry assured him quickly as the serious look on Oliver's face changed to a more relaxed one.
"You're right, we've got the best team and we're only going to get better. You know Harry, if you kept up this dedication, you'll make captain by fifth year," he declared making Harry laugh.
"Okay Oliver, thanks."
"Just keep that goal in mind, hold onto it," Oliver called as he was finally dragged off.
"Unbelievable," Ron grinned. "Watch out Harry, at this rate, he'll see you captain in fourth year."
"We'll see," Harry said with a roll of the eyes. "That was a good match."
Even better, he'd never played that final first year match so it had not only been enjoyable but novel. It could never top the match again Slytherin in third year but it was a good one. Ravenclaw had put a good team together, they'd scored several times and the match had lasted over half an hour before finally coming to a halt when Harry caught the Snitch. And with the boost of rubies to the final score, Gryffindor easily won the House Cup. Exams were behind them and the trio had learned they'd achieved high scores in all subjects, something Percy had been exceedingly proud about.
He repeatedly told Ron how happy he was that he'd done so well and set such a great precedent for Ginny. Fred and George just grinned and told him that Percy was trying to set him up to become Prefect. Thankfully, they were too buoyed by their Quidditch victory to tease further than that.
It was strange to end on such a peaceful, positive note. None of them had ended up in the hospital wing, there had been no monsters to fight, no Death Eaters and no Voldemort. Harry kept half thinking something would turn up but nothing did. Even Snape randomly giving them different assignments did not become something more, they did the work and he marked it. Maybe this would become more important next term but for now, there was little point in worrying about it.
The train had left Hogsmedge station only a few minutes previously and the three of them had just become settled. Hedwig had her head tucked under a wing while Crookshanks happily purred on his very own seat. All they needed was for the trolley lady to come past and they'd be all set for the rest of the journey.
"Yeah, it was good," Ron agreed. "See the look on Malfoy's face, he was so gutted. Want to play exploding snap?"
The rest of the journey passed pleasantly, people occasionally poked a head in for a quick chat. The sun shone brightly for most of the journey as they passed through stunning landscapes, passing through mountainous terrain to forests and then rural farm land. They played games, ate pumpkin pasties, chatted, relaxed and generally wiled away the hours until they were finally approaching King's Cross station.
It had been several months since he'd last seen Sirius and Harry couldn't wait to do so. They'd regularly exchanged letters, thankfully not always with Hedwig or she'd never had gotten a rest.
"There he is!" Ron pointed, able to see over the crowds of people more easily than either Harry or Hermione. "Just there with mum and Ginny."
They started pushing through with their trunks and other baggage until a way finally cleared.
"Sirius!" Harry exclaimed, rushing forward to hug his godfather who returned it with considerable enthusiasm.
"Harry," Sirius laughed, lifting him right up for a hug. "Good to see you."
"It's brilliant to see you," Harry said a little breathlessly, Sirius had a strong hug.
In fact, Harry was amazed to see how good he seemed overall. Sirius was looking considerably less thin, he'd actually put on proper weight, his skin was healthy with colour in it and looked more like the man from the wedding picture than Harry had ever seen him before. So he couldn't help but grin at his godfather.
"And you're looking great."
"So I've been told," Sirius said with his own good-natured grin. "Enjoyed your first year at Hogwarts?"
"Yeah," Harry assured him. "Went pretty well, I'd say."
"Way too quiet," Fred bemoaned with a large sigh. "Winning the Quidditch cup was good but we really need to up our game next term."
"I concur," George declared solemnly. "Can't allow standards to slip."
"Hi," Ginny said slyly as the twins continued to joke.
"Hi Ginny," he said in a friendly way.
"Take those photos I asked for?" Sirius asked, waving his wand to levitate their things onto trunks.
"Yeah, got the camera here," Harry confirmed, pulling out the item in question.
"Great, I can get the pictures developed," his godfather said, taking the camera from Harry.
"That's great," Harry said, he was looking forward to that.
"Good to see you Harry dear," Mrs Weasley greeted, pulling him into a hug and kissing his cheek. "I'm so proud of you and Ron, such a good example."
"Thanks Mrs Weasley," Harry managed to say over Fred and George's dramatic eye rolls in the background.
"Your relatives will be waiting for us, I imagine," Sirius mused. "Do they know about me?"
"Not yet," Harry admitted, causing the older man to break out into a grin.
"I see, well, we'd better not keep them waiting," he said briskly. "I'll take your trolley, you head on through."
"Alright," Harry said as Mrs Weasley let him go.
Stepping through the barrier, he glanced round and spotted the Dursleys some distance away. Dudley looked rather bored while Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had distinctly perturbed looks on their faces. With a suitable friendly smile on his face, he headed in their direction, knowing that Sirius would follow.
"Where's your trunk?" Aunt Petunia instantly demanded.
"It's just coming," Harry assured her.
"We don't have all day boy," Uncle Vernon said grumpily. "You're lucky we came at all."
"I know," Harry said with a casual shrug. His Uncle's complexion turned considerably darker, as Harry knew it would, thanks to his cavalier attitude.
"Now look here," he blustered, pointing a fat finger at Harry. "You best not give us any cheek, because I will not…."
A rattle caught their attention and they looked past Harry to see Sirius coming to a stop with the trolley. A little distance behind him, the Weasleys were all congregating while
"Here you are Harry," he said, coming to a stop and steading Hedwig's cage. The snowy owl ruffled her feathers before sticking her head under a wing.
"Who are you?" barked Uncle Vernon as Sirius casually leaned against the trolley.
"I'm Sirius Black, Harry's godfather?" he introduced smoothly.
The Dursleys all gawked at him and Uncle Vernon managed to splutter out.
"But-but, he doesn't have a godfather!"
"I'm afraid he does and that's me," Sirius said, ruffling Harry's hair fondly. "Ever since he was born."
They stared dumbly for what seemed like minutes before anyone spoke.
"Then where have you been?" Aunt Petunia demanded. "We were told there was no one but us to look after him."
"I've been in prison for the last ten years," Sirius said blandly and Harry thought his relatives might have a heart attack on the spot.
"Don't worry," his godfather was quick to add and assure. "Last year, I was proven innocent of all charges."
"They imprisoned him without a trial," Hermione couldn't help but interject. She had headed over with her parents. "He was never actually convicted of the crimes he was accused of."
"What crimes?" Dudley of all people asked.
"Mass murder among other things," Sirius shrugged. Hermione's parents glanced at each other but didn't interfere. Even if you knew someone's story, it was still odd to hear Sirius talk like that.
"What other things?" again, Dudley was the one who questioned Sirius with morbid curiosity.
"Exposure of magic to muggles, destruction of property, follower of Voldemort," Sirius kindly elaborated causing Harry's whale of a cousin to goggle at him. "But as Hermione kindly explained, I was innocent. An actual Death Eater framed me…those are followers of Voldemort."
The Dursleys barely reacted to Voldemort's name, they continued to stare at Sirius as though he was insane.
"Now that school's finished for the year, I can start being more involved in Harry's life, we've got a lot to catch up on," Sirius concluded, smiling in an open way.
"Are you taking him?" Uncle Vernon asked eagerly.
"Oh, not right now," Sirius said easily. "I know it's important for him to remain with you for part of the year so I was planning on picking him up on his birthday and he'll stay with me for the rest of the summer."
"Oh," Uncle Vernon said with great disappointment.
"In the meantime," Sirius added as though he hadn't noticed. "I'll be swinging by every few days for a visit. Make sure Harry's getting on well, I'm sure you don't mind."
As Aunt Petunia turned white and Uncle Vernon started to splutter incoherently, Sirius clapped the latter on the shoulder and said. "That's settled then, I'll be along in….two or three days, give Harry a chance to settle in. He can always send me an owl if there's a problem."
Harry was having a hard time preventing a full blown grin spreading all over his face at the Dursley's reactions to Sirius's pronouncement. This was even better than the time Mad-Eye had cheerfully and bluntly threatened them. It didn't matter that Sirius looked considerably less…..strange than Mad-Eye had and casually but smartly dressed….they were much more horrified by him.
The very fact that a former resident of a wizard prison was standing before them, smiling and nonchalantly telling them he'd be frequently their street was enough to turn their legs to jelly.
"Don't worry," Sirius carried on with a laugh. "I won't arrive on broomstick, I'm not James."
The Dursleys exchanged petrified looks at the very idea. With a cheerful smile, Sirius turned to Harry and said.
"Have a good time Harry, I'll see you soon."
"You're welcome to visit Hermione," Helen Granger now said. "Just let us know uh…"
"I can phone you," Harry offered and she smiled, looking rather relieved.
"Oh good, I'll give you our number," she said, taking out a pen from her bag along with a scrap of paper.
"Hello, I'm Dr Helen Granger, our daughter is your nephew's friend," she explained and her husband also introduced himself.
Both adult Dursleys stared at them, looking a little unsure. Doctors were highly respectable but their daughter was a witch, it was too much of a clash.
"Vernon Dursley, nice to…..meet you," Uncle Vernon mumbled awkwardly as Harry caught Sirius's eye. It looked like they weren't leaving quite yet.
For the first time ever, the start of the summer holidays were enjoyable for Harry. It didn't matter that Uncle Vernon seemed to be a permanent and peculiar shade of purple or that Aunt Petunia was in a frenzy of anxiety that manifested it's self in manic cleaning and
The brief talk with the Grangers had gone surprisingly well, although it was probably partly because they were in a very public place where the Dursleys did not want to draw any more attention to themselves. Finally, they were able to escape and quickly hurry back to their car, a grinning Harry in tow. When they arrived home, they didn't dare lock up Harry's things or force him to keep Hedwig cooped up in her cage all the time.
He could actually relax and make a small start on his homework peacefully in his bedroom. Three days had passed and he was in his room, lying on his bed and reading a magazine Dudley had left lying around. Even though he didn't have to worry about either his Aunt or Uncle, he still preferred to spend as little time with them as possible.
He hadn't heard from Sirius yet but he wasn't worried.
"You okay Hedwig?" he asked, looking up as she clattered slightly but she was only stretching her wings before tucking herself up again. She'd enjoyed a long night's hunt and now only wished to sleep.
"Just let me know if there's a problem," he chuckled, leaning back against his pillow, the magazine to one side. He was feeling distinctly restless, not knowing when exactly Sirius would appear, he hadn't left Privet Drive and he was getting a touch of cabin fever. If his godfather didn't turn up soon…
A roar shook up the quiet, well ordered street and Harry leapt off his bed in excitement. The sound caused him to grin so much, his cheeks actually ached a little as he looked out the window to see a monster of a motorbike coming to a stop right outside Number Four. A leather clad figure wearing a black helmet was astride the enormous bike which was still letting out enough noise to rouse the sleepy suburban road.
The rider shut off his engine and balancing on one foot, lifted his helmet off, revealing a mane of thick black hair. At the sight of Sirius, Harry instantly rushed out of his bedroom and hurtled down the stairs just as Uncle Vernon roared.
"What is that ungodly racket?"
He came stamping out of the sitting room just as Harry rushed for the door.
"Where do you think you're going?" the large man now shouted, even though the motorbike was completely silent now.
"To see my godfather," Harry replied, flinging open the door and not bothering to see if his uncle changed a different colour.
It was strange, even though he'd seen Harry less than a week previous, he felt so incredibly excited to see him. Maybe it was the novelty of his godfather in Privet Drive or the fact he wasn't unhappy as he usually was at this time of year but he truly felt like an almost twelve year old in terms of excitement. It was actually quite nice.
"Hey Harry!" Sirius greeted, swinging himself off his bike as Harry ran towards him.
"Hey Sirius," he said a little breathlessly, grinning foolishly. "Cool bike."
"I know," his godfather said proudly, giving it an affectionate pat. "Bought it when I was seventeen to celebrate my coming of age. I actually was riding it for several weeks before I bothered to enchant it."
"Careful, we don't use the M word around here," Harry cautioned him, still grinning. "Or any words associated with it."
"Oh really?" Sirius said, looking past Harry to wear Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were staring out of the door in horror. Dudley was staring out of a window but his expression seemed to be more admiring, due to Sirius's overlarge motorbike. "So charms, jinxes, hexes, spells, those are all out of the question?"
"And more," Harry stated very seriously.
"Shame, I rather likes those," Sirius said regretfully. "They don't know what they're missing."
Glancing at Aunt Petunia, Harry just said. "Mm."
Turning back to Sirius, he asked. "Are we going for a ride on that?"
"That's the plan," his godfather confirmed, patting the bike fondly.
"I've been waiting eleven years for this," he sighed happily. "I always said I'd take you for a ride on it."
"It's not the first time I've been on it," Harry couldn't resist saying, earning a hair ruffle.
"Hah, we're not counting that," his godfather said, waggling a stern finger. "Now, this is for you."
He handed Harry what seemed to be an enormous dark helmet that he'd taken from a large box attached to the back of the bike. A burst of fire was exploding over the crown of it, shooting stars into the inky blackness of the shiny cover. Sirius's had appeared all black from a distance but on closer inspection, you could make out
"It looks great," Harry exclaimed, looking it over.
"Will this fit with my glasses?" he asked curiously, it looked like it would be a snug fit.
"Of course," Sirius assured him with a grin. "You know your dad tried jamming one on without even thinking of his glasses? Successfully crushed them."
"Ouch," Harry winced, not really faking it as he remembered the times his glasses had been broken.
"Don't worry, you can wear this," Sirius said. He got Harry to remove his glasses and then helped fit the helmet on, carefully buckling the strap under his chin. Lifting up the visor, he gently slid Harry's glasses into place.
"How's that?" he asked with a grin.
Harry moved his head around, it felt strange to wear but it wasn't uncomfortable. He grinned at the sight of neighbours peering out of their windows, the entire street must be watching.
"Weird," he said honestly. "But it's fine, I'll get used to it."
"I'm sure you will," Sirius agreed before raising his voice in the direction of the doorway. "I'll be taking Harry for the rest of the day, I'll bring him back after dinner."
There was no reply but they'd heard. With a small wave, Sirius swung himself back onto the bike and indicated for Harry to get on to. Grabbing his own helmet, he placed it on before starting up the bike again.
"Ready?" Sirius asked as he reeved the bike up.
"Ready," confirmed Harry, feeling the build-up of excitement within him as he gripped onto Sirius. This was ten times better than that sidecar.
With another ear-splitting roar, they pulled away from the curb and raced for the open road.
Author's note. Second year is going to bring new adventures and challenges but in what form? Find out next time, until then.