As soon as they found a small area to themselves Hermione burst with information. She had somehow managed to read most of the paper while the boys only finished their breakfast, and seemed overly pleased.
"There are other, smaller articles in the paper too."
"Yeah, it's questioning who should get the blame for you entering, and mentions all three school's, and complains about how crazy Mad-Eye is, but how he might have a point. I think Rita may swing the blame around to the headmaster too Harry, are you sure this is sensible?" Hermione was biting her bottom lip in worry, but Harry couldn't help but notice she hadn't jumped straight to the defence of the authority.
"You sound like you might agree with them?"
"Well… it's just, it's not right!"
"I'm sure Dumbledore had nothing to do with your name being entered, but there should have been better precautions. At first I just brushed it off, but I've been looking up some laws to help you out with Sir- Snuffles, and I don't like what I'm finding."
Harry was surprised, he thought she'd mainly been looking up stuff for H.E.W.
"You have? Thanks 'Mione."
She blushed a bit. "Of course. Besides, I still had a few books I bought for defending Buckbeak last year. But back to the point, while I don't think any of the teachers put your name in, some of them, and especially Dumbledore, should have stood up for you. Even when they believed you put your own name in."
"What's this got to do with Snuffles?" Neville interrupted. Harry smiled, Neville was sounding more and more confident by the day, and was really keen to help out Harry with Sirius' freedom.
"Dumbledore is head of the ICW. He should have got Sirius a trial, and I'm pretty sure he should have had better protections around the cup. I mean, if they had hidden the beards or taken a better dose, Fred and George could have got past the line too, and once their name was in, there would have been nothing they could do."
Harry frowned. He would like to know who entered him in the tournament, but despite any other ideas, he was fairly certain in the end it would come back to Voldemort, it always did. Not only would better security have stopped his name from being called, but it also brought up other security failures.
"Hermione… in first year…"
Hermione sighed, and she nodded. "I didn't think about it at the time, but those defences were pretty easy to get past. Not for us, but for an adult…"
Harry sighed. "I still don't think it was Dumbledore."
"No." Neville agreed, "But it worries me that we are so unprotected. We need to find out who entered you in the tournament."
"And we need to watch our backs. Whoever this is, probably isn't going to like the journalism." Hermione sighed.
"I have been slacking off on research for Sirius a bit too." Harry sighed. "Do I even want to know what sort of things I am likely to be up against?"
Neither Hermione nor Neville answered, Hermione simply standing and rushing off to collect a book on previous tournaments while Neville made notes from some warding books Harry had got from Madam Prince.
Hermione (after complaining for nearly ten minutes on how many fan girls were following Viktor Krum around the Library) had made a list of spells for Harry to learn before the first task, but Harry was still focused on freeing Sirius. He couldn't help but feel that it was more important for his future. Neville pointed out that surviving the task was quite important for any future he wished to have too, but Harry pointed out that he didn't even know what to expect, and the spells might not even help.
They worked individually throughout the whole first free period, but then had history of magic, so had to pack up and head off. Hermione abandoned them to take notes, but had actually given in and admitted that Harry had other things to be focusing on, when Harry had brought out a large law tome to study during class. Neville hadn't said anything, but by the end of the lesson handed Harry a three foot list of dot points for things to consider talking to Rita about. The three of them hurried through lunch, getting a disgusted look from Ron, who Harry blatantly ignored, and Hermione only made two attempts at polite conversation with between stuffing her mouth.
"You should at least try talking with him about this!" She argued, as they headed back to the library again.
"It's not me who has a problem." Harry growled, and Neville nudged Hermione in the ribs, distracting her.
"Did you get a chance to look at that list I wrote up?" He tried.
"Yes. And you should have been paying attention."
"Sorry Hermione." Neville backed down from her rage straight away, which obviously took Hermione off guard, as she was used to Harry and Ron, who always fought back. By the time they were settled at a table in the Library she had apologised and they were working on the list. Harry ignored them both, wandering over to ask Madam prince about a book he'd seen referenced in another he was reading.
"Marvolo Slytherin? Why on earth would you like to read his autobiography?" Madam Prince looked alarmed, which made Harry wonder exactly what the Slytherin line had been getting into. Maybe Voldemort wasn't such a big shock.
"I know that it's over six hundred years ago, but History's big names in crime mentioned that he got off from some massive depravity against another wizard because of his title."
"You're not going to follow in your father's footsteps and throw your name around are you?" She frowned down at him, confusing Harry greatly.
"I don't throw my name around. It gets thrown around by everyone else. I hate being the boy-who-lived!" Harry said vehemently, then blushed, realising he'd been yelling at a teacher. Suprisingly, after a moment, Madam Prince just sighed.
"You really don't do you. Very well, but it is in the restricted section, and you will have to get a pass."
"Right." Harry said glumly, his heart sinking. "Thanks anyway." He began walking away before something else registered.
"What do you mean my father was always throwing his name around?"
"The Potter name."
This only served to confuse Harry more. "But I thought it was only famous because of me!" Harry blushed bright red when he realised how selfish that sounded.
"The Potter house is an Ancient and Noble house. I suggest you try Potters: A history and list, it's by Blamewell Greengrass. It's from a few generations back, but is accurate enough. It's in the Potter section."
"Potter section!?" Harry found himself raising his voice in alarm. Madam Prince reverted back to her usual scowl, and gave him a solid glare. Harry was easily disciplined, not wanting to loose the rapore he'd been building with the Librarian. So he backed down and went to check out the section. What he found appauld him. There were nearly twenty books on his life alone, several quoting him. He took every book out of the section, lugging them in a huge pile and dragging them back to the front counter. There were several copies of each.
"These are all false." He said calmly, but quietly. Madam prince simply raised one eyebrow, reminding Harry of Snape for a horrible moment. "They all have quoted me, and I've never talked to them. I want them removed from the Library, I'll buy them if I must."
"I cannot remove Library books." Madam Prince said firmly, but a little startled.
"Then can you at least move them to the fiction section for now?" Harry pleaded, apparently too loudly, as Viktor Krum gave him an odd look as he passed. Harry blushed and tried not to notice all of Krum's fan girls staring at him too.
"I will see what I can do."
Harry decided that would have to do for now, but made a mental note to add his own law suits to his to do list for after he freed Sirius. He returned to find just Neville, as Hermione had to leave for Arithmancy.
"What took you so long?" Neville said, "Me and Hermione narrowed down the list. Want to see?"
Harry blushed and ignored the first question, already mortified that he'd noticed that most of the Harry Potter books were loaned out on a regular basis, and not wanting anyone else to know about it. He reached out and took the list from Neville.
HARRY'S SCHOOL LIFE:
Detention and seeing someone in the forest.
Norbert – How to avoid getting Hagrid in trouble?
The mirror of erased – seeing his parents for the first time.
Troll – and how we should have known
Quirrell – Disscuss V or not?
Dobby, underage magic, the platform blacking and the bludger
Parseltongue – how to spin this so you aren't evil?
Lockheart, and the substandard defence teachers at Hogwarts.
Acromantula – and how Hagrid got blamed.
The Chamber of Secrets – How to avoid Ginny getting blamed/ talk about V or not?
n.b. mention sword of Gryffindor.
Dementors and learning the Patronus spell.
n.b. don't mention Sirius too much here.
THE REAL EVENTS OF HALLOWEEN '81
What you remember of that night (Sorry Harry)
The REAL secret keeper.
Sirius Black going after Peter Pettigrew.
Animagus, and the truth – need to talk to Professor Lupin.
Fudge fighting for justice – how to swing it our way.
Harry looked up from the list.
"I'm not talking about the mirror. That's personal. And seriously? 'Troll fighting' it makes it sound like we do it for larks every weekend. We'll have to be very careful if we talk about teachers, I can only imagine the back-lash. Actually there are a lot of things on here we really need to be careful about. I have been taking in quite a lot of what I've read on law, and we need to be careful treading on toes. I am happy talking about that night… well no, not happy, but I agree, the real story needs to be told. Maybe Rita will be able to dig up why he was even after us. Either way, I think we need a lawyer."
Neville looked uncomfortable. "Hermione and I were thinking it would be good for you to mention the mirror because people will realise you didn't know anything about your world until first year."
"And how long do you think it will take for them to guess my home life?"
"Right… I guess not then." Neville backed down immediately, making Harry feel bad. The writing was clearly Hermione's and he knew he'd have a lot more trouble arguing it out with her. He was a bit annoyed though, looking at the list. This was the second time he'd had all his adventures listed on one place, and had been thinking about it since defending himself on Halloween. Why was so much happening to him? It would make for interesting news, but a teenagers life shouldn't. Harry frowned as they quietly packed up their stuff, Harry grabbing Potters: A history and list, on his way out. They were silent all the way down to Care of Magical Creatures, and Harry hardly paid attention during class. Hagrid seemed to notice this, and after a while pulled Harry aside while everyone else was 'walking' their skrewets.
"How've you been handlin' the pressure Harry?" Hagrid asked kindly.
Harry shrugged. "It's been better than it could have been."
"Don't you go worrying, you'll get through this. You always do. An' Dumbledore's looking in to ways to get you out of it." Hagrid didn't sound so sure on the second point, however Harry had focused on the first one. You always do.
Harry smiled lightly, and made polite conversation, only just managing to get out of helping with Hagrid's 'pets' outside of class. He eventually escaped just after the bell rung, promising to have a butterbeer with Hagrid at Hogsmead that weekend.
Hermione surprisingly didn't berate Harry too much, and agreed they needed to seek legal council on some matters. Neville was sent of to mail his grandmother about their family lawyer after dinner, while Harry wrote out notes on wards that could be put up easily, and tried to ignore Hermione's not so subtle hints at needing help knitting some clothes to give to the elves.
"I have enough problems with my own clothes without making some for elves too."
"But you helped free Dobby using a sock."
"And he is most welcome to more of my socks if he wants them, but I cannot afford the time, nor any of my clothes to give away."
"But–" Hermione began.
"You do realise that the elves belong to the school, don't you Hermione." Fred (Harry was getting quite good at recognising them… or at least he was pretty sure he was) sat down next to Harry, pulling his notes on warding over for a look.
"So? What does that have to do with anything?" Hermione said, frowning at the twins crossing something out on Harry's notes, and only now realising Harry hadn't been working on homework like she thought.
"Because even if they take clothes from you, they won't be freed. They have to come from their master."
"Which is Dumbledore?" Hermione demanded, throwing down her knitting and looking cross.
"Or the castle." George shrugged.
"Who even knows." Fred said mysteriously. "Now Harrykins, we were hoping to borrow you for a few moments."
"Oh?" Harry looked up, but seeing the twins looking sideways at Hermione suspiciously, just packed up his things and decided to head to bed for the night. He brushed aside Hermione's insistence on study, saying he'd work on their Runes homework with Neville tomorrow, and that he'd done his potions essay. He hadn't, but he'd looked the right section up in the textbook any way. He ignored Ron glaring at him as he went off with his brothers too.
"So what can I do for you boys?" Harry said, as Fred and George cleared a spot on Lee's bed for Harry to sit.
"We've done some more notes,"
"On the Animagus."
"But we need a potion"
"To find out our forms." They bounced off each other.
"Oh. Cool! I didn't think finding a form would be that easy."
The twins glanced at each other, before one (Fred, Harry thought) cleared his throat.
"Actually it's usually not… the potion is very, very hard to make. Not to mention expensive… only."
Harry stared a little shocked to see the twins blushing.
"You want me to buy the potion?"
"We looked it up, and it only comes in amounts that cover four people anyway."
"We'll pay you back once our joke shop is up and running!"
Harry was about to protest that as long as it wasn't a gigantic cost, he was quite happy to pay, when he was totally derailed.
"Wait, joke shop? Are you guys serious about that?"
"Yes." The twins said, and it spoke great volume for Harry that they didn't bounce around or add anything.
"Cool!" Harry blurted out, before he could help himself. "Ah, I mean… sounds great."
The twins snickered.
"Right, well. How much is the potion. I don't mind getting it… only…" Harry gave them the same calculating look he'd pulled on Rita Skeeter, making the twins squirm just as much. "I'll want something in return."
"Oh?" Fred said, looking wary.
Harry laughed, breaking the mood. "Yeah, I want you to both promise not to pull pranks on me while you're in your Animagus form."
The twins relaxed, and started joking again. Harry could see that they hadn't really liked asking for something monetary, and was surprised how easily his Slytherin side had put them at ease. He was also surprised how easy it was becoming to slip into his Slytherin side, and as he lay down to go to sleep that night, wondered if he really would have done well in the house of the snakes.
The next morning came bright and early, with a double Runes class first thing, and a mini exam for the first half, and a new group project for the second. Harry was paired with Neville again, and actually managed to enjoy working on abling and disabling runes. He especially found the air runes easy to minuvre, which professor Babbling said probably had to do with his affinity towards lightning. In a moment of pure stupidity that had him still blushing Harry had asked "What affinity to lighting" to which Lisa Turpin had thrown a scrunched up ball of paper at his forehead.
"How about I work on the earth and water runes, while you do the air and fire?" Neville said, as they reached the lunch table. They were having roast chicken today, and everyone seemed pleased with the hot roast vegetables that went with it (even the French girls, who had otherwise been disapproving of the English 'cuisine'). It had been pouring all day however, so everyone was digging in to the hot food.
"There is a lot of similarities between Air and fire, as both are emerging runes, while water and earth are perpetual ones."
Despite himself Harry was scribbling notes down instead of joining in eating. He wouldn't admit it, but even before the tournament he'd probably bitten off more than he could chew, and he was struggling to keep up. He'd re-read the potions essay that morning and realised it would be a lot more work than he thought it would, and Neville said Susan Bones told him Flitwick was going to give them a charms essay and three new spells to learn. Summoning, Banishing and stais charms were on a whole new level from what they had been studying. He hadn't managed to practice the spells on Hermione's list more than twice so far, and his law studies were hitting a dead end without getting access to the book on Marvolo Slytherin.
"It that because the base rune of air is only one stroke off the rune of fire? And what do you mean emerging and perpetual? I don't remember Babbling covering that." Harry sighed, shoving a potato in his mouth before pulling out his runes dictionary.
"No, it's because fire is one stroke of air. You've got the two the wrong way around. Emerging means you have to have a base element to work off, while perpetual means they can spring from nothing. It's how the bubblehead charm works, and how various fire wards are used for protecting things… albeit in a usually nasty sort of way."
"Wait so– the little t/w symbol is air, and the one that looks like a little dancer is fire? Damn it, I had them wrong all lesson. My exam marks are going to suck."
"Language Harry." Hermione said, not looking up.
"Yeah, watch your language Potter, you are turning into a right know-it-all." Malfoy said loudly, standing just behind Harry. "The little mudblood is rubbing off on you and Longbottom?"
"There is nothing wrong with sharing knowledge, jealous that you and your friends have got nothing on someone with supposedly lesser blood?" Harry snarled, barely looking up from his notes.
"Being a know-it-all won't help when you get killed in this task. I've been offering bets around Potter, and so far most people are expecting you to last ten minutes. You'll see your mudblood mother soon Potter."
Harry opened his mouth to angrily retort, however was cut off by a surprising source.
"Two points Mr Malfoy, no arguing in the hall." Snape's voice carried only loud enough for their immediate group to hear, but left both Gryfindors and Slytherins gaping. Malfoy stormed off, quickly followed by his little gang, and the only thing that stopped Neville from having a heart attack were the three points Harry soon lost for gaping.
"That's the second time Snape has acted out of character. I don't think it's really him." Neville hissed as soon as Snape was out of earshot.
"You think he could be in disguise?" Hermione sounded dubious.
"It's not normal." Ron piped in, surprising everyone, and making Harry glare. Ron blushed bright red and returned to his lunch, but Harry had noticed that since everyone was ignoring him Ron had looked more and more sorry. Harry couldn't decide if it was because he finally realised that Harry actually hadn't entered his name, or because everyone was on Harry's side. He wanted to give Ron the benefit of the doubt, but was still very upset.
"Maybe someone is pretending to be Snape to get close enough to put your name in the cup." Neville insisted.
"You can't seriously think someone would dress up as Snape just for that can you." Harry said wrinkling his nose in disgust. "Who would be willing to dress up as Snape?" He joked.
Neville obviously hadn't thought about this side of things and blanched. "Fair point."