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Chapter 5 : Beans
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Severus set his letter aside and pulled the package from Dumbledore in front of him. He opened it and sorted through the contents. Inside, as promised, was a collection of books for the three of them. Severus separated his own personal books from the package, along with an envelope of muggle money, set them on the kitchen table, and picked up the box. He entered the living room and discovered that Harry and Sirius had also received a package from the Headmaster.
"Potter, Black, this package is from Dumbledore," said Severus as he set the box on the coffee table. "Dumbledore told me to tell you Potter, that you can keep the books in there."
"Okay," said Harry. "Thank you."
Severus turned around and walked back into the kitchen without acknowledging Harry's gesture. Harry shrugged and continued looking through the box of sweets Dumbledore had sent the two.
"Want an Every Flavor Bean Harry?" asked Sirius. Harry shook his head as he reached for a chocolate frog. "Alright, your loss."
Sirius popped one into his mouth and made a strange face as he chewed it.
"What flavor is it?" asked Harry as he watched his Godfather.
"If it hadn't been for certain circumstances," said Sirius thoughtfully, "I'd be totally grossed out right now."
"Why, what flavor is it?"
Harry looked at his Godfather for a moment before bursting out with uncontrollable laughter. Sirius joined in the hilarity of it as well.
"I can't believe you eat those things," said Harry as he regained his composure.
"What are you talking about? These are my favorite!" said Sirius as he shook the box in Harry's face. "I used to eat them with everything. Lily made cookies with them once for me."
"Hey," Sirius shook the box at Harry again, but this time a few beans flew out at him. This caused Harry to break out into more laughter. "Don't knock it until you try it."
Harry picked up one of the errant beans and threw it at his Godfather. Sirius picked a few out of his box and threw them at Harry. Harry, in turn, picked them back up and tossed them back. Sirius managed to catch one in his mouth.
"Mmmm. . . pumpkin. Come on Harry. Try one."
"Pretty please with sugar on top?"
Sirius jumped over the coffee table and landed on the couch next to Harry.
"I have an idea. Let's play a game me and marauders used to play."
Harry eyed Sirius suspiciously. "What kind of game?"
"Well, you pick a bean and the one you pick you have to eat. Then it's my turn. We keep going until one of us gets sick or gives up."
"Oh, well, that sounds like a fun game," said Harry sarcastically.
"Here, you go first. Close your eyes and pick a bean," Sirius held the box under Harry's nose and shook it. "Come on."
Harry sighed heavily and closed his eyes. He reached into the box and picked a bean. He opened his eyes and examined the light green bean carefully.
"Now you put it in your mouth, move your teeth up and down and let the candy slid down your throat."
Harry rolled his eyes at Sirius. He took a deep breath and put the bean in his mouth. He let a smile spread across his face.
"Okay, you got lucky," said Sirius as he closed his eyes. He pulled out a bean and quickly put it in his mouth.
Harry picked out another bean.
Sirius picked another.
"Dog hair again."
"How do you know what fermented squid taste like?" asked Harry.
"Hey, when your hungry, what it is doesn't really matter what you eat. Besides, as dog, everything tastes good."
Harry really didn't want to know what else Sirius has eaten.
"I think I'm done," said Harry, pushing the proffered box away. "You win."
"You give up?" said Sirius, shocked. "Come on, you only ate five."
"How many do you usually eat before someone wins?" asked Harry with a smile.
"Well," said Sirius as he thought about the question. "I think me and your dad went through three boxes before someone won."
"It was a draw. We both puked at the same time. I can tell you, McGonagall wasn't too happy about the mess we made. It was all green and. . ."
"Okay, you can stop," said Harry as he held his hand up to Sirius' face. "I really, frankly, truthfully don't want to know."
Sirius smiled as he ruffled Harry's hair.
At that moment, Severus re-entered the room. He cleared his throat loudly, getting the two's attention.
"We are in need of food. Potter, would you like to accompany me to the village?"
"Um, sure," said Harry as he looked over at Sirius. Sirius was about to say something when Snape interrupted him."
"No Black, you can't go."
"I'm a grown man, I can do what ever I want to do."
"Keep telling yourself that," said Severus as he pocketed the envelope of Muggle money. "Stay here and watch the house. Make yourself useful for once."
Sirius started to protest but Harry laid a hand on Sirius' arm.
"It's okay Sirius. Professor Snape is right. Someone needs to stay here. You can go some another time."
Sirius agreed with Harry but didn't look too happy about it.
"Let's go Potter," said Snape as he walked to the door. Harry got up from the couch and ran quickly upstairs. He came back down carrying a jacket and walked behind Snape as he exited the cottage. Harry gave a quick wave to Sirius before closing the door behind him.
The weather outside was clear and usually cool for the July day. It wasn't raining, which was good, but the breeze was a little chilling. Harry zipped up his jacket as he followed Snape's striding figure. Snape was in muggle clothes as he had been all summer so far. Harry thought this odd. Snape was the most least likely person to own anything remotely muggle but it's amazing what you can find out about a person in a week. Today, Snape was clothed in a black football (soccer) jersey and a pair of black work slacks. To complete the ensemble, a pair of all black chucks. 'That one really knows how to color coordinate,' thought Harry as he took his eyes off his professor and looked around to the countryside he was walking through.
Harry tried to determine where he was in the country. The land around them was empty and they were definitely in farm country. Harry could see the small village ahead of them. It was small and old looking. It reminded him of Hogsmeade.
"Um, Professor?" said Harry as he ran up to Snape's side. "Where are we? I mean, where in the U.K.?"
"Scotland," answered Snape. That was the extent of his answer. They continued walking into town.
"Anything in particular that you want Potter?" asked Severus as he started to browse the aisles of the small grocery store.
"Not really," said Harry as he followed Snape down the aisle.
"Then what are we supposed to get?" asked Snape as he picked up a box and read the back of it. He scrunched up his face and replaced the box.
"I don't know," said Harry.
"Well, what did you eat when you were with those muggles you live with?"
"I ate whatever my aunt made. Or what I made."
"That doesn't help me much Potter. What does Black eat?"
"Anything," said Harry, thinking back to the conversation they had earlier. Severus sighed heavily as he started putting different items into the basket he was carrying. They continued to peruse the aisles. He stopped as they passed the pet food.
"What do you think Potter?" said Severus as he turned to Harry. "Should we get Black a bag of 'Fido's Choice'?"
As much as Harry wanted to defend his Godfather, he couldn't help but laugh at Snape's amusing joke.
"He'd probably eat it if he had to," said Harry with a laugh. He looked up at his professor and could have sworn that he saw the corners of Snape's mouth lift into a slight smile.
After Snape had filled the basket he was carrying, he and Harry walked up to the checkout counter. The clerk gave them their total and Severus pulled out the envelope of muggle money in his pocket. He took Harry aside and showed him the envelope.
"Here is the money. Just pay the man so we can leave."
Harry took the money and paid the cashier. The two exited the store and began walking back toward the cottage, though Harry really wasn't ready to leave quite yet. For some reason, Snape had sensed Harry's longing to remain in the village and turned to him as they headed back up the street.
"Is there anything you want to do while we're here?" asked Snape as he set down the grocery bag he was carrying and replaced the muggle money in his pocket. Harry was caught off guard by the question. Snape looked down at his watch. "There's a small restaurant across the street. I don't feel like making dinner and you probably don't either." Harry shook his head. "We can eat there and bring back a doggy bag for Black." Harry nodded and followed Snape as they crossed the street, though he was really shocked at the civil attitude Snape had towards him today.
Professor and student took a seat at a table in the back of the small café. Snape seemed a bit nervous about lingering in the village and was trying to draw the least amount of attention to himself as possible, which would explain the muggle clothes. After they ordered their food, both slipped into an uncomfortable silence. Harry was content with staring at his hands resting in his lap and Snape was busy watching the front counter and the people entering the restaurant. Harry had a feeling that two people, staring off into space, sitting silently in the back of a village restaurant, would seem to draw unwanted attention so he decided to break up the silence.
"Um, Professor, why did Professor Dumbledore send me those books?"
Snape slowly took his eyes off the front door of the café and looked at Harry.
"I requested them for you," said Snape. "You seemed in need of something to do."
"Oh," said Harry. He returned to staring at his hands but a question at the back of his brain kept itching to be asked. He tried to suppress it but decided it was too urgent and in need of an answer. "Professor, why are you being like this?"
Snape shot his eyes back to Harry. "Being like what?"
"You're acting civilly towards me. Not once have you said a word about my father or how arrogant I am or anything you would say to me at school. You didn't mind staying to eat here even though I know you're nervous about it and you asked Dumbledore to get me something to do. Why? That's all I want to know."
Snape was shocked at Harry's straightforwardness in asking such a daring question, especially to himself.
"Would you rather me go back to treating you as I normally do?" asked Snape with a raised eyebrow.
"Well, no. . . I just want to know why," said Harry, his bravery in asking the previous question gone with this statement.
"There have been certain circumstances that have changed my outlook," said Snape as he took his black eyes away from Harry's gaze. "Dumbledore told me of what happen at the tournament. I realize that your situation now is not much different than mine."
"I'm not going to have that conversation with you here, Potter. Let's just dropped the subject," said Snape as he looked back at Harry, the usual glint of malice returning to his eyes. He looked over at Harry, who looked a little disappointed. "I'll explain more later, Potter. Does that suit your need to know what's going on for now?"
Harry nodded. He looked up at his professor one last time.
"Does that mean your feelings about Sirius are changing too?" asked Harry, doing his best to keep the amusement out of his voice.
"Oh, I would say so," said Snape. "I'm hating him more and more everyday."
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