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Chapter 13 : Chapter Thirteen: The New Professor
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Harry stared down at the parchment, wracking his brain for the answer to the question written in front of him. Looking across from him, he could see Ron was having the same problem. Why did Hermione and Mrs. Weasley choose the day that he and Ron finally started on their summer homework to go to Diagon Alley? They still had about a week or so until they needed to return to Hogwarts, couldn't the supplies wait? Ron looked up from his own homework, meeting his eyes, and Harry knew they were thinking the same. Sighing, Harry returned his eyes to his homework, and made a wild guess at the answer. His mind thought over the last few days as he stared blankly at the next question, and felt his lips curve into a smile. After two days of waiting, the Daily Prophet finally came out with the truth about Voldemort yesterday, claiming that evidence had come up to prove it. Harry couldn't help but laugh at the irony of it being printed on the 17th.
Harry remembered Remus pulling him aside as everyone else in the room celebrated, telling him the only reason why the story had been delayed was because an employee close to Fudge, Umbridge, who Harry vaguely remembered, protested against the story being published. After a shouting match that most people in the Atrium heard, Umbridge managed to get herself fired from the Ministry of Magic. Hardly realizing what she was shouting, she had accidentally let it slip that she was the one who sent the Dementors to Little Whinging, right in front of Fudge. Harry could hear the relish in Remus' voice as he told them this and briefly wondered why, before the twins had pulled him away and started telling him more of their ideas for the joke shop.
Leaning back in his chair, Harry threw his quill onto the table and stretched his arms over his head, wincing slightly as the tender skin on his back stretched painfully. His back was still healing the Muggle way, while the rest of his wounds were just about gone, just sore to the touch. His stomach felt uncomfortably heavy from the breakfast that Mrs. Weasley had forced him to eat earlier, still concerned about his bony body. Sirius told him his father had been skinny and small for his age too, but still agreed with Mrs. Weasley and said that not even James was that skinny. Harry had rolled his eyes but said nothing, knowing they were both right. His shirts and trousers hung more loosely than they usually did, and his ribs were sickeningly visible through the skin on his chest. Sirius walked into the dining room, an empty cup of tea in his hands, and chuckled as he looked at Ron and Harry.
"Trouble with homework?" He asked with a smirk, pulling out a chair and sitting next to Ron.
Harry glanced over at Ron, and they both rolled their eyes. Sirius saw and laughed, grabbing Ron's paper and reading over it quickly, then setting it back.
"C'mon, it can't be that hard! Hermione had her paper done before she even showed up here!" Sirius exclaimed sarcastically.
"Well she's a bloody genius, isn't she?" Ron muttered, scribbling down an answer.
"Tsk, tsk, Ron, wrong answer." Sirius said, watching Ron write out his answer, "The Aparecium Spell makes invisible ink become visible, not the other way 'round.' Honestly." He said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Harry snickered as Ron muttered irritably under his breath, crossing out his answer and writing what Sirius just told him.
So, is there any reason you came down here other than to annoy us?" Harry asked.
"As a matter of fact yes," Sirius said, " I need to talk to you, Harry. In private." He added, glancing at Ron.
Harry nodded and got off his chair, forgetting about his homework as he gave Ron a quick wave, and walked into the other room with Sirius. Harry sat down on the counter as Sirius put his cup in the sink, and watched as the sponge in the sink started to clean the cup for him.
"What's up?" Harry asked as Sirius sat on the counter opposite him.
"Well, er, I'm just concerned about you going back to Hogwarts." Sirius started.
Harry could see where he was going with this, and shook his head with disbelief.
"You're joking! I'm not staying here while everyone else goes back to Hogwarts, no way!" Harry exclaimed.
"The wound on your back isn't even fully healed yet, and you're still weak-"
"I'm not letting Voldemort have the satisfaction of knowing how much he hurt me," Harry cut in, "I'll be fine to go back. Hogwarts is one of the safest places right now, everyone knows Voldemort's back, so the castle will have more protection than ever!"
Sirius sighed, and ran his fingers though his shaggy, black hair, "I know, but that doesn't stop me from worrying about you." He muttered.
The anger Harry felt swelling inside him vanished, and he smiled over at his godfather.
"You know Dumbledore will be keeping an eye on me, I know he will. And besides, it isn't like any of the teacher's are out to get me this year, right?" Harry said with a small laugh.
"'Course not, Dumbledore hired someone almost as good as Moony for Defense Against the Dark Arts." Sirius told him, a smirk growing on his face.
"Dumbledore never mentioned anything about the new DADA teacher when he was here, who is it?" Harry asked eagerly.
"I don't know if I should tell you, don't you want to be surprised?" Sirius asked, pretending to consider it.
"Oh c'mon, Sirius! Stop messing around and tell me!" Harry said with mock annoyance.
"Fine, Tonks is taking time off from the Ministry to work at Hogwarts." Sirius told him.
"You're joking!" Harry said in shock.
"No, I'm Sirius." He replied with a straight face.
"That joke got old ages ago." Harry said, chuckling as he shook his head.
"Did not! It's been around since I was at Hogwarts."
"Exactly my point." Harry said with a straight face, pushing himself off the counter and leaned against it.
"You scrawny git." Sirius muttered.
Harry chuckled, hearing the comment, and grabbed his half empty bottle of Butterbeer off the counter from earlier.
"Hold on, back to Tonks. I thought the Ministry would be appointing a new teacher for Defense." Harry said, his voice full of curiosity.
"They would only do that if Dumbledore couldn't find a teacher in time, and they were afraid that Dumbledore would hire someone to help him train you all in combat." Sirius said with a shrug.
"Combat? You're telling me the Ministry actually thought Dumbledore wanted to train us up to fight against them?" Harry's eyes bulged out of his head.
"Biggest bunch of bullshit I've ever heard if you ask me." Sirius told Harry.
"Sirius Orion Black!" A voice scolded behind Harry.
Harry whipped around at the sudden voice, his body tense. He let a breath out when he saw it was only Mrs. Weasley, with her arms full of bags. Ron was standing next to her, snickering at the look of surprise of Sirius' face. Hermione and Ginny walked in after Ron, their arms too, loaded with bags. As Mrs. Weasley set her bags on the counter, Hermione and Ginny struggled to keep a hold of everything in their arms. Ron moved over and helped Hermione with her bags since he was closest to her, while Harry hurried over to help Ginny.
"You don't need to help me, Harry. I've got it all, plus you should be resting." Ginny told him with a smile that made his heart flutter.
"I'm not that delicate, I can carry a few bags." He said with a roll of his eyes.
Harry grabbed most of the bags out of her arms, briefly brushing his fingers against her arms as he did. His fingertips felt hot, and he turned away from her before she could see the goosebumps that erupted on his skin. As he set the bags on the counter Hermione caught his eye, a knowing look on her face as she smirked at him, her eyes flickering to Ginny for a moment. Harry felt his eyes widen a bit, and he shook his head at her, pointing with his eyes towards Ron. Hermione gave a quiet snort and rolled her eyes, giving him a look that said 'we'll talk later'.
"Merlin's beard, Molly, what did you buy?" Sirius asked, his eyes roaming over all the bags.
"All their school supplies they needed, more food for here, clothes, and potions for Harry." Mrs. Weasley replied.
"When did we get our Hogwarts letters?" Harry asked, his eyebrows creased together in confusion, "I've been waiting for the past few days for them to come."
"Harry, we got them the day before - before we found you." Ginny said hesitantly.
Harry gave a small flinch at the reminder of his capture, and gave a small nod. Sirius walked over to a drawer in the kitchen and grabbed a piece of parchment, he hurried over and handed it to Harry. Harry looked over the list quickly, and gave a small frown.
"There's only two new ones," He said, "The Standard Book of Spells Grade 5, and Self-Defense Spellwork."
"Who do you reckon is the new Defense teacher?" Ginny asked, peering over Harry's shoulder to look at his list of school books.
"Some lunatic probably." Ron muttered.
"Oi! I take offense to that!" Sirius called from across the room.
"Why? There's no way you can be the new teacher, the Ministry still thinks your a criminal." Hermione said, looking at Sirius as if he had gone mad.
"Please, I would never be a teacher," Sirius gave a fake shudder, "I just don't like you insulting Tonks sanity, she happens to be my only sane cousin."
"What are you - wait, T-Tonks?" Ron spluttered.
"Yes, Ickle Ronikins, gold star to you for getting something right for once." Fred said, leaning against the doorway with George.
Harry glanced over at them, and could see a small piece of string from an Extendable Ear dangling out of George's pocket. Ron glared over at his brother, picking up a scroll of parchment from the counter and playfully throwing it at Fred, who whipped out his wand and flicked it, freezing the parchment in mid-air.
"Very mature, Ron. It's a wonder you were made Prefect." Ginny said with a smirk on her face.
"Prefect? Ron was made Prefect?!" Harry exclaimed, turning his head towards Ron.
"There's no need to sound so surprised." Ron said with a mock glare at Harry.
"Well no one told me." Harry told him, shock written on his face.
"To be honest I totally forgot, there were, um, more important things going on." Ron muttered, glancing down at his feet.
Harry felt as if he had swallowed an ice cube, closing his eyes for a moment at the second mention of his capture. When he opened his eyes he found sympathetic stares aimed at him, and cleared his throat.
"What else happened?" He asked, eager to change the subject.
"I was made prefect too!" Hermione told him excitedly.
Harry smiled at her, giving both her and Ron his congratulations. He could feel Sirius' eyes on him, but tried his best to ignore him and look away, giving a mental groan inside his head. Sirius would want to talk, Harry knew that. Their conversation from earlier wasn't finished yet. After everyone got their school supplies sorted out, Mrs. Weasley asked them to take them up to their rooms, so that they could start packing before they left for Hogwarts in a week. Harry gathered all his robes, books, potions ingredients, quills, and parchment in his arms. Then he stumbled over to the stairs with Ron, Hermione, and Ginny in front of him, and Fred and George following behind him, their arms full of supplies as well.
Ron, Hermione and Ginny turned the corner as they reached the landing, heading towards their rooms, while Harry and the twins turned the other way, their rooms next to each other. Harry made it to his room and kicked at the door to open it, stumbling into the wall next to him as he lost his balance. He closed his eyes and bit his lip, his body colliding with the wall painfully, rattling his injuries. He heard a few cracks as something fell to the floor, and opened his eyes, giving a frustrated sigh as he looked down at the broken vials of potion ingredients scattered on the floor.
"Need any help?" One of the twins asked, reminding Harry of the train ride in his first year.
Harry looked up and saw George, he had his wand out and was looking down at the mess on the ground.
"Yeah, thanks." Harry replied, leaning against the wall and getting a better grip on everything in his hands.
With a flick of his wand George fixed the vials, the ingredients flying back inside. George bent down to pick them up, and Harry could see Fred hurrying over behind him.
"Everything alright?" He asked, glancing down at George before looking over at Harry.
Harry's back throbbed in irritation and he felt breathless from all the stairs, but he tried to ignore it and nodded to Fred. Fred looked at him wearily, as if he didn't believe him for a moment, but looked away and grabbed the potion ingredients out of George's arms so he could help Harry with the rest of his things. Harry followed the twins into his and Sirius' room, dumping all the things on his bed for him to pack later.
"Is that everything?" George asked, his eyes wandering around the room.
"Yeah, it is. Thanks you guys." Harry said, sorting out his clothes from his school supplies.
"No problem, young Harry." They both winked at him and bowed deeply.
Harry laughed and shook his head, watching the twins leave and shut the door behind them. He sat down on his bed and ran his fingers through his hair, making a mental note to ask Mrs. Weasley if she could try to cut it for him. He'd forgotten to ask her to do it when he got to Grimmauld place, with everything that had gone on recently. The thought brought Sirius back into his mind, and the conversation they had earlier in the kitchen. Harry knew that people would talk about what happened, some awkward questions would be asked, but if they all knew that Voldemort was back, wasn't it worth it?
The week flew by too quick for Harry, and he huffed out a breath as he shut the top of his Hogwarts trunk and locked the sides with a flick of his finger. He looked around the room, which now looked strangely empty without all his stuff scattered around. Harry heaved the trunk off his bed and set it near the door, so it would be easier to grab in the morning. He walked out of the room and went down the hall to Ron's room, and opened the door. He stood there for a moment, looking around the empty room with confusion. Hadn't Ron walked in his room only moments ago telling Harry to meet him and Hermione there? Shaking his head as he rolled his eyes, Harry walked over to the stairs and started to climb down, faintly hearing voices echoing from downstairs. When he reached the landing he looked around, straining his ears to find out which room everyone was in.
After a moment of standing alone in the hall, Harry figured everyone was gathered in the living room. He set off down the corridor, walking as fast as he could, and turned the corner. Right away Harry could tell something was wrong. Hermione and Ron were backing away from the others who were standing in front of them, obviously trying to leave without anyone noticing. Remus, Sirius, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were all looking towards someone Harry couldn't see, but by the way everyone was talking, he doubted it was Dumbledore. The person gave a response so quiet Harry couldn't hear it, but guessed that they had said the wrong thing as Sirius started yelling at them.
"How dare you say that! Hasn't he been through enough already? Do you think Harry is ready to do anything of that sort yet? You need to leave, before I make you."
Sirius was beyond angry - he was enraged. Harry didn't like this side of Sirius, he was unpredictable and acted before thinking. Again, the person was talking, but it still sounded like mumbles to Harry, who couldn't hear a word of what they were saying. Sirius let out a dog-like growl and started to make his way across the room, but Remus stepped in front of him and put his hands on Sirius' shoulders, holding him back.
"Calm down, Padfoot." He said in a soothing voice, but even he looked like he was seconds away from punching someone.
Harry took the opportunity to glance at the person they all were crowded around, able to see now that Remus had moved out of the way. A jolt of fear shook Harry as he stared into cold black eyes, his heart started to race inside his chest and his body tensed for a moment, a familiar horrible feeling of dread filling him before he could clear his mind.
"You!" He yelled, startling everyone in the room, who turned to look at him with wide eyes.
Harry thrust his hand into his pocket, gripping his wand tightly in his fingers before drawing it out and pointing it directly at Snape.
"Harry!" Mrs. Weasley shouted, looking at him with wide eyes.
Harry started forward furiously, stopping when he was only a few feet away from Snape, the wand in his hand pointed right at his heart. Snape had not drawn his own wand, but looked at Harry with an expression he did not recognize. He didn't care. Remus let go of Sirius, they both now watched Harry warily.
"How could you let him into the house?" Harry started with a yell, "He's a Death Eater for crying out loud!"
"Harry," Remus started, finding his voice, "You've got the wrong idea, Snape is on our side-"
"No he isn't!" Harry roared his interruption, red sparks flying out of his wand and narrowly missing Snape, "He's a death Eater, I saw him! He works for Voldemort - he's in his inner circle!"
"Don't do anything stupid, Potter." Snape said, lacking his usual sneer.
"Or what? Are you going to torture me like you did back at the Riddle House with your Death Eater buddies? Torture me until I can't think straight again?" Harry snapped, his hand starting to tremble.
Harry heard the intake of breath around him, he hadn't mentioned anything that had happened to him at the Riddle House since telling Dumbledore, they all knew Harry was too angry to care about anything he said.
"Potter, I-" Snape started, but Harry cut him off.
"Don't deny it, I saw you standing with all the other Death Eaters! Did you enjoy putting the Cruciatus Curse on me? Did you laugh when I screamed, at how stupid I looked twitching and thrashing on the ground-"
"Stop it!" Hermione yelled, her face stricken.
Harry stopped and turned, glaring at everyone in the room until he came back to his senses. His eyes widened as he realized what they had heard him yell, a look of horror on his face. He dropped his wand to his side, his fingers still clutching it tightly, but he turned fully away from Snape and looked at everyone else in the room.
"I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean for anyone to hear what I-" Harry started, his voice cracking slightly.
"It's okay, lets get you out of here." Mr. Weasley said, walking over to Harry and putting an arm around his shoulders, "You all finish up in here, the kids and I will be in the kitchen." He told the adults in the room, his eyes on Sirius.
Mr. Weasley beckoned Ron and Hermione towards him, who followed him wordlessly as he steered Harry out of the room, down into the hall and into the kitchen. Harry sat down at the kitchen table, hiding his face in his arms as Ron and Hermione stood by the table, their eyes flickering from Harry to Mr. Weasley, who was at the fridge.
"Butterbeer anyone? We have that, pumpkin juice, firewhiskey, wait, forget I said that, you're too young for it."
No one answered him, but looked at each other nervously. Harry refused to look at any of them, but focused his stare on the table in front of him, feeling humiliated and furious. Ron and Hermione finally sat down next to him, silently debating whether one of them should speak up or not. After a minute Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron but nodded, silently agreeing to speak up.
"Harry-" She started.
"I don't want your pity." Harry snapped, finally looking up at them.
"Don't lie. Just don't. I can see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice, just don't lie to me." Harry said quietly.
Hermione looked lost, and she could feel tears start to form in her eyes as she looked at Harry, who was staring back at her with his own haunted green ones. Harry, who saw the tears forming, gave Ron an alarmed looked before he put a hand on top of hers and patted it clumsily.
"Don't cry, Hermione - I didn't mean to upse-" Harry began.
"Don't apologize, Harry, it's not your fault. You reacted without thinking, seeing him triggered your memory and you defended yourself in the only way you could think of." Hermione cut in with a choked voice.
Harry didn't say anything, he just looked at her with his lips parted and eyebrows pulled together slightly, wondering how the hell she knew what had happened to him. Hermione sniffled and put a hand to her eye to wipe away a tear, and Ron took the opportunity to wrap a comforting arm around her, and Hermione allowed a small smile at the gesture.
"Why was he even here in the first place?" Harry asked hesitantly.
"Honestly, I don't know, mate. Me and Hermione came in about a minute before you did, and could only hear Sirius yelling at him." Ron answered, creases forming on his forehead as he thought about it.
Mr. Weasley came over then, four Butterbeer bottles clutched in his hand as he sat down opposite of Harry and passed out a bottle to each of them. Harry uncorked his and took a swig, looking for anything to do as the silence settled in again.
"Harry," Mr. Weasley started, his mouth open as he thought over his next words, "I need you to listen to me carefully, eventually you'll have to understand. Snape is on our side - don't interrupt me please - I know you don't think he is, because of what you saw at the Riddle house. But he never did anything there to hurt you. He tried slipping you potions to relieve some of your pain a few times, but every time he tried a Death Eater was always present, and he couldn't risk blowing his cover. He kept us all updated on how you were, and what condition you were in. When V-Voldemort and his Death Eaters put you under, under that curse, Snape didn't raise his wand - he couldn't bare the thought of causing you so much pain, he looked ready to faint when he told us what happened. He helped you as much as he could there, did you ever question the Pain Relieve Potion that was left on your food tray after that night? Snape had finally managed to slip you something, right when you needed it the most."
Harry stared at Mr. Weasley, digesting everything that was just told to him. Most of it clicked, like the potion on his food tray, he couldn't think that any other Death Eater would pity him enough to put him out of some of his misery. Harry knew that neither Sirius nor anyone else in the Order would even allow Snape in if they didn't trust him. But still, he had his doubts.
"What about the day I was taken? One minute Snape was there, and the next Voldemort was strutting towards me." Harry asked.
"Dumbledore told us that the wards around the house don't allow anyone in with dark magic surrounding them, except for one person - Snape. V-Voldemort somehow figured this out and used it to his advantage, and managed to possess Snape to enter Headquarters. You know the rest." Mr. Weasley told him.
Harry nodded vaguely, his mind pondering over everything. Snape wasn't a true Death Eater, he was on their side... He couldn't wrap his head around the idea, it just sounded wrong.
Mr. Weasley, Hermione and Ron left him to his thoughts, trying a few times to start up a conversation amongst themselves to fill the silence but never lasted for long. Finally, after what seemed to be a half an hour, Sirius, Remus and Mrs. Weasley walked in, looking tired but wary. Sirius looked over at Harry, who stared right back at him with emotionless green eyes, then over at Remus, lost for words. Remus was about to open his mouth when Harry spoke.
"You don't need to explain, Mr. Weasley filled me in on everything." He said quietly.
"Are you okay?" Sirius asked, coming over and putting a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"I'm fine, honestly. I'm just tired, I need to sleep." Harry replied.
Sirius bit his lip and was silent for a moment, as if deciding whether or not he should trust Harry's words, but ended up nodding his head.
"Remus, will you take Harry upstairs? I need you to explain what'll be the plan for tomorrow, I have to speak with Arthur and Molly about something."
Harry was about to protest, he knew Sirius was making up some excuse to have a babysitter make sure he could get into his bed without falling or hurting himself, but kept his mouth shut at the look Remus shot him.
"Ron, Hermione, it's time for you both to go to bed as well. Fred, George and Ginny are all in their rooms, so make sure to keep your voices down. Goodnight." Mrs. Weasley said, and smiled at them all.
Harry gave her and Mr. Weasley a smile in return then looked over at Sirius struggled not to let his emotions show. In truth, he was going to miss Sirius terribly. This whole summer he had devoted himself to Harry, did anything Harry needed of him, even saved his life. Part of him wished he had taken Sirius' offer of staying at Grimmauld Place for a while, until he was completely healed. But Harry knew that would be selfish, Ron and Hermione needed him and he would eventually have to face everyone in the school who all now knew the truth of what had happened to him. Remus walked over to Harry and put a gentle hand on his back, he started to steer him towards the stairs, slowly walking up with him, Ron and Hermione in front of them. When they reached the landing to their floor, Harry said goodnight to his two best friends and went to his room with Remus following. Harry sat on the bed as Remus shut the door behind him, giving a small sigh as he joined Harry on the bed.
"I know you must be irritated that everyone has been following you around lately, I can see it in your face." Remus said gently.
Harry sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, hesitating, as he thought of what to say.
"It's just - I get why everyone is, I really do, but it is annoying me. Sirius won't leave me alone half the time, and I know he wants to spend time with me - and I want to spend time with him too - I just feel like he's babying me too much." Harry explained quietly.
"Yes, I can see how that would annoy someone but I want you to understand something, Harry. Sirius spent thirteen years in Azkaban, and one of the only happy thought he had in there was you. Now that he's out and has the chance to see you, he wants to get to know you more, he wants to make up for the time that was taken away from both of you, and he wants to take care of you as well and as much as he can." Remus told him as he wrapped an arm around Harry's shoulders.
"I'm just not used to adults wanting me around, or taking care of me." Harry whispered.
Remus' grip on Harry tightened, and he felt the older man stiffen next to him. Harry knew that Remus hated the Dursley's because of everything that they had done to him, all the lies they told, and how they affected Harry in general.
"I think the Dursley's hardly count as real people Harry," Harry chuckled at this, "But we do want you around, we always will. You've been in our lives since the day you were born, and we never want you to leave."
Harry smiled, joy and happiness swelling inside him. Sometimes he didn't know if people actually did like him, or if it all was an illusion his mind made up. It was wonderful to know that what he thought was actually true, that Sirius, Remus and the Weasley's truly did care about him. Remus smiled down at him and squeezed his shoulder, using the other hand to ruffle Harry's hair.
"Now, before I go, I want to let you know something. Sirius will come with you to King's Cross tomorrow, Tonks is really good at concealment charms and will disguise Sirius. Just make sure not call him by his first name, anyone could be listening." Remus added.
Harry's eyes lit up, and he beamed at Remus. Sirius could actually be there to see him off on the Hogwarts Express, just like his parents would have done if they were still alive.
"Thank you, Remus. For everything you've done for me." Harry said, and wrapped his arms around him.
Remus sat in shock for a moment, not expecting Harry to hug him, but after a moment wrapped his arms around Harry, and held him tightly. When they both finally pulled away Harry yawned loudly, and Remus gave a small chuckle.
"Alright pup, time for bed. Sirius will be up here after he's done talking with Molly and Arthur, but I think you'll be asleep by then."
Harry smiled tiredly, and laid his head against the pillow behind him. As Remus walked towards the door Harry could already feel himself falling asleep, and accepted it gratefully.
"Night Moony." Harry whispered.
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