Chapter 21 : Appointment at the Ministry
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I spun my wand in-between my index and middle finger as I sat with Fred and James in the library. They were finishing up their Transfiguration essays that were due in three hours. James seemed to just finish his while Fred was still struggling with the introduction paragraph. I sighed, remembering when this was James, Remus and Peter. James and I would be done first, followed by Remus and then Peter. While James and I were the best at applying and the practical part, Remus was the best at explaining it. Peter was just Peter and I found that even over this time leap – I’ve somehow did – I still had a very rational hatred for the rat.
“I don’t understand how you’re already finished Sirius.” James said as he packed his books into his bag and neatly rolled his essay up.
I shrugged. “I like Transfiguration, and I had about a week of no sleep to do nothing, but make sure I was caught up on homework.”
I glared at Fred because it was all his fault. The Coffee Toffee that he gave me didn’t allow me to start sleeping until the weekend. It didn’t actually make me less tired; instead every time I tried to sleep, my eyes just wouldn’t shut. Fred found all of this fascinating and made me make a journal of the week.
Instead of writing a detailed report – like he wanted – I instead wrote, ‘I’m going to murder Fred Weasley,’ then charmed the journal to snap shut on Fred’s fingers, every time he opened it. On the remaining pages I drew a cartoon of me stabbing Fred in the eyeball with my wand – if you flipped through the pages quickly. Fred didn’t appreciate the thought, but James found it hilarious and showed it off to Dom and Amelia at the Gryffindor table during dinner. Amelia had become more tolerate of James, ever since her dramatic flying experience. That’s not to say she liked him more – she just didn’t snap at him as much.
Just as James shut his bag, Fred groaned.
“Sirius help me!” Fred shoved his essay in my face. I reluctantly scanned over it and suppressed a laugh. It looked like a five year old wrote it – hell, it even had a terrible drawing to top it all off…
I slowly looked up at him; a thought came to my mind. “Only if you promise not to force feed me any more joke candy.”
Fred frowned, but he nodded. “Deal.”
With a smile I tapped his essay with my wand and began correcting and adding everything that would get Fred an Acceptable to Exceeds Expectations. In less than five minutes I handed Fred his essay back and with a final tap of my wand I transformed my writing to his sloppy scrawl.
Fred grinned when he finally looked at it, but then frowned and turned to me. “What about my examples?”
“You mean your crappy doodles?” I asked. “I got rid of them; they were pointless and didn’t even explain the right thing.”
“I think they were rather good.” Fred said somewhat fondly, as he frowned at his doodleless paper.
I groaned and rolled my eyes finally looking at James. Who was staring at the books he gathered for our Animagus essay. He had a thoughtful look on his face and it slowly turned to a mischievous grin.
I quickly dreaded whatever was going on behind that grin.
“James?” I called his attention to me, being on guard while I did.
James didn’t look up at all and just mumbled, “Hmm?”
“Do you need help putting the books back?” I asked.
“No…no, I’ll take them…” James grabbed the books and bag, running off quickly. “Meet you outside for Herbology.”
I glared after him and felt Fred tap on my shoulder. When I turned around to face him I had a rainbow colored candy in my face. My eyes snapped to Fred who had a delightful smile plastered onto his face.
“Cripple Dribble?” Fred asked.
I pushed his hand away and made a grab for his bag, to rip up the essay I just wrote for him. Fred side stepped out of my reach and smiled.
“Now, now Sirius. Play nice.” Fred’s smiled widened. “I was only offering – not ‘force feeding’ you.”
Fred’s hands dropped to his sides after he made air quotes around ‘force feeding.’ I groaned again, mad that I didn’t state my standards clear enough. Fred skipped off between the shelves of books waving.
“See you and Jamie in a few minutes.”
I rolled my eyes and grabbed my bag hauling it behind me. As I passed the Transfiguration section I found James fastening his bag closed.
“James!” I stepped toward him.
He jumped and spun around, then relaxed when he saw it was me.
“I said, I would meet you outside…Where’s Fred?” James asked in an accusing tone.
“Off offering life threatening candy to unsuspecting innocent bystanders…” There was a time long ago that would have been me. I actually miss it.
“Don’t be sour Sirius. Not all of it is harmful.” James’ smile was still mischievous.
“Tell that to my sporadic sleeping schedule.” I grumbled, then turned to him “By the way, what are you planning?”
James gave me a confused and innocent look…too innocent. “I don’t know what you mean…”
“James, just tell me. I’m going to find out when it goes up in flames anyways.” I sighed. “Remember last year?”
“I just remember being the first, first year on the House team since my father.” James’ expression didn’t change.
“James…” I said slightly annoyed.
“I’m not up to anything.” I watched him smirk.
“James…you know I can see that goofy look on your face.” I told him frowning. “Whatever it is, I want in.”
“Nope, not yet.” James winked at me and walked off out of the library.
I followed, grumbling the whole time.
Once we got to Herbology I didn’t have time to focus on Fred’s pestering or James’ evil plan, because almost at once I was ambushed by Neville outside of the Greenhouse.
“James, I need to borrow Sirius for a moment.” Neville said as he gestured toward the other Greenhouse, which also held his outside office.
I started to follow when James grabbed my arm and frowned at the both of us. “Why? What’s going on?”
I was just about to make up something when Neville interrupted me. “McGonagall received an owl this morning from Sirius mother.”
James’ eyes widened and he slowly nodded. As he did, he gave me a look that told me he didn’t completely by it and almost demanded answers later. After he let go of my arm I followed Neville and looked over my shoulder to make sure James didn’t follow.
I recently found out from Fred that James carried his Invisibility Cloak around with him at all times. If he was anything like his dad or grandfather for that matter, I knew all too well that he might be inclined to follow us and listen in. Hopefully, watching him as I entered the Greenhouse next door would prevent him from following. At least until I locked the door and casted a spell to keep him from overhearing.
He just stepped into the Greenhouse as I closed the door to the one beside it. I silently casted the necessary charms over the door and followed Neville into his Greenhouse office. He offered me some tea and I kindly accepted, unsure of what we were about to discuss. Class started in five minutes so I wasn’t too sure what we could be going over now.
“So…is my mother alright?” I joked as I took a sip of my tea.
Neville rolled his eyes and opened the drawer on his desk. “No, she’s actually been dead awhile, Sirius…”
“Good, always hated the bitch.” I smiled into my tea.
Neville chuckled and took something out from behind his desk and sat it on the table between us. I raised my eyebrow at him and sent him a questioning look. He caught it and smiled at me.
“Do you know what this is?” He asked after a minute pointing to the large glass of green mush.
I let out a fake laugh as I stared at the glass, which contained Polyjuice Potion. Of course, I knew what it was…
“Are you seriously asking me that?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yes I am…Sirius Lee…” Neville smirked, obviously trying to hold back a laugh.
I glared. “Ha!” I said dryly. “So do you mind telling me why I’ll need Polyjuice Potion five minutes before class?”
“Well, I have to meet Harry…” Neville started out.
“What? Do you want me to teach your class for you? I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I stared at the Polyjuice Potion. It might not be so bad if it was Neville I was changing into. My only other experience with taking this potion was when I was in the Order. James and I pretended to be Crabbe and Goyle after we knocked them out and tried to get Lucius Malfoy to divulge Voldemort’s plans to us. Sadly, I messed up and even Malfoy wasn’t thick enough to dismiss Crabbe calling “the Dark Lord” by his name, not once, but three times.
Needless to say it didn’t end well, but the worst part of that whole day was drinking the damn potion. Mad-Eye was crazy when he told us to imagine it was Pumpkin Juice.
Neville smiled at the face I was currently making and shook his head. “No offence, but you probably don’t know Herbology well enough to teach it…especially after your last essay.”
I grinned. “I thought that it was one of my better pieces.”
“‘I took this class in the seventies and I use to sneak under the Whomping Willow every full moon, so I see no need in writing another essay over that dumb magical tree,’ is not an acceptable essay.” Neville frowned after reciting my whole essay back to me.
“You’re right, it’s an Outstanding essay, but I think we are getting a bit off topic here.” I told him. “So let’s get to the point, why am I going to take that blasted potion?”
Neville sighed. “You are going to pretend to be me and meet with Harry. You will give him the report on the werewolves we wrote out and then ask if there is anything else I can do to aid his investigation on the Pureblood case.”
I froze and my mouth dropped open. After a moment pasted I finally spoke. “Why me?”
“Because you know what you saw better and can explain if he has any questions and I have class. This is one of the only times you and Harry can meet.” Neville gave me a strange look. Was it pity?
“I…I have class too!” I forced myself to say, knowing it was a poor excuse.
Neville frowned. “You have double Herbology with me and I already talked to all of your teachers for the rest of the day, just in case you take longer than expected, but you should get back around the time your next class starts. You will take the potion here after I leave, go to the Shrieking Shack and apparate from there to the Ministry.” Neville paused before continuing and pulled out something else from his desk, it was the reports that I wrote for Neville. “Here are all the documents that you wrote and I reviewed. It’s better that you go so you can explain anything if it’s missing…I know this is a tight spot, but it’s just Harry–”
“It’s just Harry?” I almost yelled at him. “No! It’s my godson, and one of your good friends. He’s the Head Auror. He’s going to guess something is up and…and…”
“Sirius, it’ll be fine.” Neville tried to reassure me. “You just have to quickly give him the report and say you have to return for class.”
I glared at him. “He’s going to know it’s not you…It’s a miracle that he hasn’t seen right through me yet! Fortunately, luck has been on our side so far and only you and McGonagall know about me, but if I have to pretend to be you…I’m going to slip…”
“Sirius…It’s going to be fine. You can do this. Just in and out and before you know it you’re back in class with James.” Neville got up now. “Class is starting and I’m required in Greenhouse Two.”
He suddenly pinched a piece of his hair and pulled a few strands out, dropping them into the potion. I watched silently as it turned a light clear gold, reminding me of butterbeer.
As Neville pasted me, he squeezed my shoulder and nodded. “You’ll be fine.”
I listened as his footsteps left the room and he opened the door – leaving me alone in the Greenhouse. I looked at the potion intently, almost like I was having a staring contest. After another minute or so I let out a deep breath and picked up the glass.
Well, here goes nothing.
Overall, I must admit I preferred being Neville to Crabbe. The potion was a lot more appealing and I didn’t smell. I also decided that I preferred being Neville to my current, younger self. Neville was a lot taller than me and I had to adjust to walking once again at such height.
Finding my way to the Shrieking Shack wasn’t hard. Even the way to Harry’s office was particularly easy; it was the actual talking to my godson that was the hard part.
All my previous encounters with Harry had been buffered by James and I’ve never had a full moment alone with Harry in this time period. Even my time with Harry in my previous life had been limited and honestly it scared me to talk to him alone. It’s something I wanted, but at the same time didn’t and these conflicted feelings lead me into running into two wall, one irritable witch and a goblin on my journey through the Ministry.
After almost running into my third wall of the day, I finally reached the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and saw the many scattered desk of the Auror’s who worked in this department.
On the far wall, there was a door that had ‘Harry Potter’ plastered over it and I reluctantly made my way there. Upon reaching it I gave a sluggish three knocks.
“Come in.” Harry’s voice said with an edge to it. When I entered his face lit up and he gave me a smile. “Neville! I wasn’t expecting you until the weekend.”
“Yes, I know.” I said in Neville’s voice and gave him a smile. “I figured I would stop by early during my break so you can actually go home during the weekend.” As I lied I gave a full laugh and winked. “I’m sure Ginny misses you.”
Harry laughed with me, but then grimaced. “I doubt – even with your early appointment – that I’ll be able to stay at home much this weekend.” Harry shook his head. “Not if I want to go home during Christmas…”
“Sorry Harry…Well at least I’m here to make your job a bit easier.” I sent him a warm smile. “I have the werewolf report ready.”
“Excellent.” Harry said as I handed him the file containing all my reports and anything Neville might have thrown in. Harry began looking through them and without looking up he began talking again. “How are my sons?”
“Good as far as I can tell. Causing trouble no doubt.” I added with a smile.
“Al’s letters seem a little odd…” Harry said as he flipped through the first few pages.
“They do?” I asked. “He...he seemed fine in class…”
I wonder if this was when James was ignoring him…Neville wouldn’t know that though…
“He doesn’t talk about any friends like James did. James’ first letter told me all about his new friend Sirius, although I didn’t get a name until later on.” Harry nodded at the page he was on and looked up at me. “He’s not just sticking to James all the time is he?”
“No, no…kind of the opposite. He’s made plenty of friends.” I said. I remember him hanging around Malfoy and Rose a lot.
“I didn’t think he would…Al’s independent…It’s actually James I’m worried about, but who are his friends?” Harry seemed like he has been dying to ask this question since I came in.
I realized suddenly I have been put on the spot. Albus has been hiding his friendship with Scorpius…
I couldn’t really get out of this. This is an answer that Neville would know.
“Neville! What are you doing here?”
I jumped and turned around to see Ron standing in the doorway, grinning at me.
“Did you solve the problem at the shop?” Harry asked, hopefully forgetting our previous discussion for now due to the new distraction.
“Yeah, George figured it out before I got there. Apparently Fred set up an automatic delivery to himself at Hogwarts. Roxy ratted on him in return George is buying her a owl.” Ron waved his hand in the air and took the chair next to me. “George set everything straight and send a strongly worded letter to his son. Not that it’s going to do any good.”
Harry and I laughed. I was wondering how Fred kept getting new Weasley Wizard Whizz items, so this explained a lot.
I turned to Ron. Over holiday I found out that Ron was George’s new partner for the shop and also worked with Harry in the Auror office. While his main job was here, he had to often visit George in Diagon Alley if something went amiss.
“So what are you up to, Neville? James and Albus blow up Hogwarts, yet?” Ron laughed looking at me.
“I’d give it another week. Wait until Quidditch starts.” I grinned, unsure if Ron knew about the pureblood case and deciding my best bet was to wait for Harry to begin that topic.
Ron laughed and Harry shook his head.
“I heard from James that Sirius and Fred are now Beaters.” Harry grimaced. “For some reason I don’t think that the other houses have much of a chance now…”
“Good! Gryffindor’s the best anyhow.” Ron chuckled. “I can’t wait for Rose and Hugo to be on the team. We’re going to the Gryffindor versus Slytherin game this year, right Harry? James would be upset if you missed his games this year.”
“In my defense, I didn’t even know my son was on the team until summer.” Harry rolled his eyes.
Ron shrugged. “You should have guessed, it’s your son after all. Bet you Al’s on the team this year too.”
“James’ definitely would have told me that.” Harry smiled. “Al isn’t as hard headed as James is and is more patient. He’ll join when the Seeker position opens up. I will make sure I go to the first game Al and James play together.”
Ron and Harry smiled, but I held back and merely nodded. I didn’t have the heart to tell Harry that when they played together it would be against each other. I internally groaned at the thought of that time in the near future, probably next year. James still wasn’t completely on board with Al being put in Slytherin and personally seeing Al on the opponent’s team might make him crack again. James had been a very cheerful person every time we’ve ran into Al, but I could tell he still wasn’t completely happy. At least he was trying his best and putting more effort into it then I or the previous James would have in the past.
Fortunately, we started to steer away from this dangerous topic and turn to some other news that Ron had brought Harry.
“You two will never guess who I ran into on my way here?” Ron gave a sly grin. Harry barely turned his head.
“Who?” I asked only vaguely interested. I was honestly wondering when I should leave. I didn’t like pushing my luck. No matter how much I enjoyed talking to Harry as an adult again. Our roles were now typically reversed when I was at his house and it mainly involved topics such as, “Help James put the brooms away,” and “Make sure James is cleaning his room and not jumping out the window again.”
“Umbridge.” Ron’s grin grew slightly.
Harry glared as he looked up. “I don’t know why you’re smiling, but unless the next words are ‘she slipped on her pink shoes and died,’ I don’t want to hear it.”
I gave Harry a surprised look. So far as an adult he has been more mature and poise than I could possibly imagine. This was the first childish comment that I have ever heard him say.
“Harry, I don’t think you should say that…” I scolded. He was the Head of a Department and had an example to set.
“I must not tell lies.” Harry murmured looking back at the file. Ron disregarded our comments entirely and moved on.
“I shot a firecracker at her.” Ron grinned. “She didn’t see me and I grabbed a few after I visited the shop.”
I saw a grin appear on Harry’s face, while he still examined my reports. “Thanks.”
“Are you sure that you should have done that Ron?” I asked. I only remember a little about this Umbridge cow, but at the Ministry they should be a little more professional, just in case.
Harry and Ron both looked at me and raised an eyebrow.
“Neville? Are you alright?” Ron asked, exchanging looks with Harry.
“I’m fine…” I managed to say, wondering how badly I slipped. I told Neville this was a horrid idea! “Just a little tired it all, I’ve been busy like you two – so as you can imagine I’m not the brightest wand right now…”
Hopefully this would cover up my mistake. I watched carefully as Ron and Harry still looked at me with skeptic eyes.
“You do remember Umbridge right?” Ron said slowly.
I personally didn’t know how to respond. If I say yes, that would solve my problems, right?
Harry however, spoke before I could say anything more to ruin my imperfect Neville impersonation I had going on here.
“Umbridge, was our Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor our fifth year, the reason we started Dumbledore’s Army.” Harry explained.
I remembered all of this, but for some reason I felt there might be more to it. They had plenty of horrid Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers. There had to be more to why they hated this one so much. I mean, one had Voldemort on the back of his head, one tried to erase their memories, two were Death Eaters…well, three if you included Snape, whom I did. Personally the best one was the werewolf, but I might be a little bias on that. What made Umbridge this bad in their eyes? Was it because she was the only one that survived to this day without memory loss or dying?
I have been filled in by history books about most of this history, and even Rita Skeeter’s book had been surprisingly helpful in filling in some of the blanks, but I was still confused on the matter.
I looked at Harry, as he still looked like he was waiting for my response. I decided to fake comprehension and lied through my teeth.
“OH! Umbridge! I thought you were saying Unbridge…sorry Ron.” I slapped my head on my forehead like it was an easy mistake. This was lie was feeble, but hopefully not too obvious. “I didn’t know who Unbridge was so I was confused on why you were talking about them like that…”
Ron laughed and Harry looked back down suddenly. It seemed liked he held more of a grudge than Ron and I wondered why. Ron turned to Harry suddenly.
“At least we haven’t really had to deal with her in about nineteen years. Too bad she didn’t go to Azkaban. I don’t know how she got out of that one.” Ron laughed. “She probably doesn’t even remember us.”
“I’ve had to deal with her recently…” Harry almost growled.
“Through Kingsley.” Ron corrected. “Not personally since our time at the Ministry, when we were on the run, remember?”
“No, I’ve dealt with her about eight years ago.” Harry looked up. “She’s the reason Teddy didn’t go to school on time.”
Ron and I turned to Harry.
“What?” We said together.
“Teddy’s nineteen Ron.” Harry told Ron more than me. “He should have finished at Hogwarts a year before he did.”
“Why did he then?” I managed to say, calculating and recalculating in my head. Why didn’t I realize how old Teddy was until now?
“Umbridge managed to get him rejected by the Hogwart’s Board of Directors, because his father had lycanthropy. Umbridge insisted it was passed on to Teddy and he just wasn’t showing signs yet.” Harry explained. “McGonagall and I overturned it, but it was already halfway in the year and we decided to wait until the start of next term.”
“Why haven’t I been told until now?” Ron asked appalled.
“Andromeda and I didn’t want to cause a bigger scene than it already was.” Harry glared back at the file now and smirked. “Andromeda actually punched Umbridge in the end – that’s off the record though, of course.”
I laughed. That sounded like Andromeda alright, good for my cousin.
I let this all sink in and understood a bit more why Harry hated this Umbridge cow. I personally didn’t care for her either now.
Harry looked at me. “Do you need to get back soon?”
I nodded and laughed. “Yeah, I might need to teach some today.”
“Just give them a day off, come on Neville. You remember what it was like, right?” Ron nudged me as I got up.
I laughed with him. Oh, more than you know, Ron…
“Thanks for dropping this off, by the way.” Harry lifted up the file slightly.
Ron looked over the table at it. “Oh, the werewolf reports. Well, that will get Umbridge off your back for the moment.”
“I’ll just hire Andromeda to sit in my office if Umbridge comes to visit me.” Harry chuckled. “Right now the case is kind of at a dead end. No attacks recently, which is good, but we still don’t know who did it.”
“Hopefully, no more Purebloods will be attacked and you’ll bite this in the butt.” I told him. Hoping that my work helped.
“Purebloods, huh? I wonder if I should worry, Harry?” Ron said as he leaned farther across the table.
Harry and I both laughed.
“If ever a family was a bunch of blood traitors it’s the Weasleys.” I mused these familiar words. I suddenly realized this was a mistake as Harry’s eyes flashed suddenly to me. “Along with the Longbottoms and Potters.” I quickly added trying to save myself.
Harry smiled and nodded. “I suppose that’s true.” He nodded to himself and looked down at his paperwork.
I head to through the door and turned a little before leaving. “Let me know if there is anything else I can do.”
“Of course, Neville.”
With a final glance at Harry and Ron I walked quickly out of his office.
That could have gone better…but it also could have been a whole lot worst.
“James for the last time, my mother was in St. Mungo’s – McGonagall and Neville allowed me to skip Herbology to go see her.” I explained for the tenth time to James in the past five minutes.
Either I was getting worse at lying, or James was getting smarter. I didn’t like either option, currently.
“I just don’t understand why you don’t visit her more then.” James glared. “Not that I don’t like spending all my free time with you, and you are always welcome at my home, but I just don’t get it…”
“I’m not close to my family. Deathbeds are the exception.” I said. At least that was kind of true. “I’m closer to you than my family at the moment and I don’t really want to talk about them.” I said a little too sharply.
James slumped down a little, taken back by my last comment. “Sorry Sirius…”
“It’s fine James.” I now regretted being so harsh on him. “Let’s just drop it, okay?”
“Okay.” James gave me a half-hearted smile.
“We have Quidditch practice tonight, right?” I confirmed as we now head up the stairs to Defense Against the Dark Arts.
“Yeah, Madison wants us on the field at six.” James told me.
“So that means that practice is starting at seven, right?” I grinned. Everyone typically got on the field on time, but there was typically an hour allotted for Dany and Fred to start being productive. Dany was probably worst than Fred, because she could get away with a lot more than Fred could, around Madison at least.
James grinned too and nodded, pushing open the door to Professor Lowsley’s classroom. Ever sense James’ first day, James has made a notion to arrive on time for Defense Against the Dark Arts, although I feel like James could get away with murder in front of Lowsley, because as much as Slughorn throws fits over how James is a Potter, Lowsley is almost as bad…maybe even worst at times.
We took our spots in the back where Fred was already sitting. When he spotted us he started digging through his bag and pulled out a small box – handing it to James.
“Here’s the adaptor you asked for.” Fred said. “It’s actually ready to be put on the shelves next week, so there shouldn’t be any fires or glitches…”
James took it and looked at Fred. “Are you sure?”
Fred nodded. “Yeah, but just in case there is a disclaimer on the back…”
James groaned and I gave the box a skeptical look.
“What’s that?” I decided to ask James instead of Fred.
“It’s a magical adaptor for Amelia’s Muggle talking device.” James shrugged.
I smiled. “The one you promised her before you got on her bad side.”
“Well after I saved her, I figured she might accept gifts from me now. I should be on her good side, right?” James frowned a little.
I laughed silently to myself, I could already see what was happening before James could.
“Amy’s quite nice.” I ventured.
“Yes, she is now that she isn’t trying to bite my head off.” James looked at the box.
“And pretty…” I continued.
“I suppose she is…” James turned to me as if he was sensing danger.
“Perfect girl to strike your fancy, huh?” I smirked not looking at him, yet.
James was silent for a few seconds so I risked a look. His face was bright red and his mouth formed a hard line. I laughed again. Bullseye…
“I…I…just…” James started to stutter.
“No need to explain James. She’s a pretty girl.” I continued laughing.
James swung his hand trying to hit my shoulder, but I neatly dodged, still laughing the whole time.
Before James could say anything else Lowsley walked into the classroom from his office, adjacent to this room. The chattering ceased the moment he came in through the door and James and I turned forward.
Lowsley began to write on the board upfront and I felt a sharp jab in my side. I glared at James and he pushed a piece of parchment toward me. I looked down at it and grinned at once.
Don’t tell anyone. James’ neat scroll was at the top of the page.
I grabbed his quill he was about to pocket and wrote back. Why? I’m sure you two will make a cute couple.
Couple? Don’t joke Sirius! I’m not wanting to be in a relationship like that. James wrote.
Then what do you want? I asked.
To be friends with her.
I rolled my eyes. Friends, huh? But you like her…
Yes. James admitted.
As in, you fancy her?
But you don’t want to date her. I suppose they were a bit young.
What if someone else dates her? I decided to ask.
Why not? You like and fancy her. Why can’t other guys? I shoved the paper back at James and he frowned.
They just won’t!
I rolled my eyes. Defensive much? Just as I was about to write back my response my attention was called to the front of the room.
James and I both looked up at the sound of our names. Lowsley was staring at the pair of us. James slowly and subtly slipped the paper off the table and replaced it with his notes that he was taking last class. He then slipped the parchment to me. Smiling, I slipped out my wand and silently vanished our writing.
“Yes, Professor?” I said dropping the blank piece of parchment into my bag.
“Are you two paying attention?” Lowsley asked us.
“I was just asking Sirius a question about last times lecture.” James said, deflecting the question perfectly and holding up his notes on lethal poisons and spells that we went over last class.
“Fine, ask after class is over though.” Lowsley turned back to the board and began talking.
I turned to James and winked. He smiled back and then looked forward and began taking notes.
His notes weren’t detailed, but it mostly consisted of things he didn’t know or thought were important. Fred and I didn’t take any notes. Fred, because he didn’t want to and I didn’t ever hear anything I didn’t already know. I doubt I would even study for the O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s. I didn’t really do that the first time around after all and managed to do alright.
The class went by rather fast. It mostly consisted of us being able to use a handy spell that should tell us if something was bewitched. Something we could practice on the suits of armor throughout the castle.
Just as the class was dismissed I was leaving with James and Fred toward our last class when I heard Lowsley from the front of the class.
“Sirius, could you stay a moment?” Lowsley gestured for me to join him up front. I reluctantly nodded.
James grabbed my arm. “I’ll wait outside the classroom.”
I nodded as he left. James and I still didn’t really care for Lowsley, although he was actually a good teacher. We didn’t really care for some of his methods.
As I reached the bottom of the stairs Lowsley smiled at me.
“How are you Sirius?” He smiled.
“Fine.” I said with a straight face, wondering what this was all about.
“I noticed that you got back earlier than McGonagall and Longbottom predicted. How’s your family.” He asked.
“Well enough. They believe my education is more important and sent me back early.” I told him the lied I had been practicing all day. It came out more bitter than I intended.
“Good, good. I want you to know that I’m here if you need me.” Lowsley said.
I paused. Was this really a sympathy meeting? It seemed like this was more an excuse, thought…What did he really want to talk about?
“Thank you Professor, but Professor Longbottom has already told me to go to him if I need someone to talk to, he is the head of my House after all.” I told him carefully.
“Yes, but there is only so much a Herbology teacher can offer. I can offer to talk and teach you more than just plants and there magical properties.” Lowsley waved his hand like I was missing the point.
“I actually believe Professor Longbottom to be quite capable. He has actually fought against Death Eaters when he was just a kid. Have you?” I challenged.
Lowsley’s eyes narrowed. “No, I can’t say I’ve ever been given that specific chance…”
“Consider yourself lucky then, may I go now?” I said almost like a warning. I think he caught a bit of that in my tone, because he slightly flinched at my remark.
“No.” He said simply leaning against his desk, like he didn’t hear the first part of my last comment. “I have an offer for you.”
I raised my eyebrow, waiting for him to continue.
“I don’t know if you heard from Teddy, but I helped train him so he could get Outstandings on his N.E.W.T.s and wrote him an excellent recommendation letter to get him into the Auror training program.” Lowsley told me.
I nodded slowly. Not that Teddy needed your help. I thought in my head.
“I saw promise in him during his first year and I see the same promise in you as well!” He continued. “I wanted to extend the same favor to you and teach you privately.”
I repressed a snide laugh and tried to keep my face even as I responded. “No, thank you.”
Lowsley looked a little surprised at my comment and shook his head. “Sirius, there is so much that I could teach you! I could get you ready to join the Aurors by the time you leave Hogwarts. If we start early you might be even better than Harry Potter.”
I really doubt there is anything you can teach me. I thought to myself, biting my tongue to hold back that comment. I searched for a less insulting response quickly.
“Do you extend this same favor to all your students?” I asked.
Lowsley gave me a disapproving look. Not answering.
“I thought not.” I said. “I don’t think it would be fair, and I think I’ll take my chances on my own. I’m not even sure what I want to do after I leave Hogwarts.”
The last part was true. Without the war and Order of the Phoenix, what was I going to do? Currently, I was helping Harry secretly, but how long can that last? I’ve never given that much thought to this. I didn’t expect to even be here this long. I have always been waiting to wake up from this dream, but so far that hasn’t happened.
I focused on Lowsley, pushing these thoughts out of my head and waited for him to say something.
Instead of saying anything he just stared at me for a moment. I wondered what could be going through his head, obviously I probably wasn’t completely acting like a twelve year old should. That would raise suspicion in anyone’s eyes and to make matters worse this wasn’t the first time.
Very slowly and carefully Lowsley responded. “Are you sure?”
I nodded. Not risking the chance to speak and give myself away. That aside, I didn’t really have anything nice to say to him at the moment.
“Very well.” Lowsley finally said. “You may go, but just know…the offer still stands at anytime…”
I nodded again, taking my leave, before Lowsley could call me back. By the time I reach the door, I was almost in a sprint and completely forgetting about a certain someone who would be waiting for me on the other side. Thus, once I swung open the door I slammed into James and we toppled over in the middle of the empty corridor.
After a few moments of trying to figure out how the hell this happened and sitting up properly, I heard laughter from beside me.
I turned sharply to James, who seemed to be having a hysterical fit.
“What’s so funny?” I said through gritted teeth.
James tried to compose himself but couldn’t for too long. “It’s…j-just like…how we….m-met!”
I stared at James for a moment as he tried to talk and laugh at the same time. Then it occurred to me. Upon meeting James, I did in fact fall on him. I smiled and joined him in laughing.
Eventually we got up and started walking toward our final class for the day, Charms. James and I continued to laugh and joke all the way up the stair and James even started doing his best impersonation of me falling every time he stepped through an entryway. A few times he actually did fall, although most of those were aided by me pushing him.
I smiled. My day had been a whirlwind of emotions. Harry to Lowsley had made my mood completely horrid, but just a few minutes with James and I was perked right up again. Being a kid again was easier than it should be, but that wasn’t exactly good or bad.
(A/N) First off I want to thank everyone who is reading my story and let everyone know that not only have we passed 100 reviews BUT the story now has over 10,000 views! (In fact, over 12,000) This is just too exciting and I have all my readers to thank. :)
Second, I want to say how sorry I am that I couldn’t update sooner. Everything got kind of busy and I had to put writing aside for the moment. It’s still busy, but I wanted to get a chapter or two out so everyone will hopefully be happy. ;)
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