Harry groaned an rolled over in his bed. A green light shone through his eyelids and Harry groggily wondered what was causing it. He was still exhausted and stiff from getting beat up in Defense. He had given it a good attempt but being that everyone else had at least three years on him, it was ineffective. Groping on the nightstand for his glasses, Harry tried to bring his mind to awareness in case something important was happening. After donning his glasses, Harry realized that there was no danger. Instead, the jewel on the handle of Sirius's mirror was glowing. Curious, Harry picked it up off of the table and stared into it. As he did so, Severus's face materialized.
"Severus?" Harry whispered, wide awake now.
"Harry," Severus replied with something in his voice akin to relief. "Is this a bad time?"
"Uh, hang on," Harry said. He pulled on his slippers and headed out to the common room. The fire had long since been extinguished, leaving the room with an unpleasant chill to it. It was worth it to talk to his guardian, however. Harry curled up on the couch and looked back into the mirror. "Hi. Are you using Sirius's mirror?"
"He charmed me one," Severus replied. "Were you sleeping?"Harry ran his hand through his disheveled hair. "Yeah, it's midnight and breakfast is early here."
"I apologize for waking you," Severus said earnestly. "It is only nine here; I forgot to take into account the time difference. I believed there would be a better chance of reaching you once you had returned to your dorm."
"I'll carry this with me," Harry said. "We can decide on a time that works for both of us."
Severus nodded in the glass. "How are things going at Durmstrang?" he asked warily.
Harry pursed his lips. "Not horribly. Our Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher isn't very nice. Kinda reminds me of you in my first year."
"I refused to participate during the practical Dark Arts class."
Severus jerked his head sharply. "You are enrolled in a Dark Arts class?"
"There are two periods; one is theory and one is practical. The theory isn't bad really but I wouldn't do the spells," Harry stated.
"Good, I am glad that you heeded my advice," Severus said stiffly. "Rest assured that I will be speaking to Albus about this."
"Making new friends?" Severus asked conversationally.
"One at least," Harry said.
"It is a start," Severus said.
"How's your Deputy Headmaster thing going?" Harry asked, teasing lightly.
Severus rubbed his forehead. "It is a lot of work. I have a newfound respect for McGonagall."
Harry laughed quietly. "Anyone causing trouble yet?"
"Not yet. I am sure it is only a matter of time."
"I'll write to Ron and-" Harry cut himself off and looked away, realizing that they were no longer speaking.
"Harry?" Severus prompted. Harry looked back at him and wondered idly if legilimency worked through the mirror.
"Nothing," Harry said, in a more somber mood than a moment ago.
Severus seemed to accept his reply. "Did you get the package I sent you?"
"No," Harry said, cocking his head. "What was in it?""A heavy cloak," Severus replied. "It occurred to me that yours was not fit for the weather up there."
Harry nodded. "You're right. Maybe the owl got lost; it'll probably come soon. Thanks."
Severus inclined his head. "Should you need anything else..."
"I'll let you know," Harry finished for him.
Severus nodded, seeming satisfied. Harry yawned.
"I am sorry," Severus apologized. "I am keeping you from sleep. I will talk to you tomorrow. I am finished by five; will eight thirty work for you?"
"Sure," Harry said. "I'll call you this time to try it out. Tell Sirius that I'll talk to him after I talk to you."
"I will," Severus promised. He hesitated. "It is good to talk to you, Harry."
Harry smiled. "You too, Severus."
Severus had apparently sat down the mirror for Harry caught a glimpse of the ceiling before it returned to his own silvery reflection. Rubbing his arms, Harry stood up and returned to his warm bed. He fell asleep with a faint smile on his face.
The next day, Severus sat at his desk grading papers when a note squeezed its way between the floor and his office door and flew to his desk. Sighing, he set aside the pile of essays on which he was working and opened it. Scanning it quickly, Severus gathered that it was a note from McGonagall requesting that he bring Sirius to her office. Severus rubbed his neck. It was almost five o'clock and he was to talk to Harry at five thirty. Nevertheless, he was Deputy Headmaster. Mildly irritated, Severus slipped the mirror in his pocket and headed off to grab Sirius.
Arriving at Sirius's office, he entered without knocking.
"Hey, Severus," Sirius said from his desk.
"Professor McGonagall wants to see you," Severus said with no greeting.
Sirius grimaced as he stood. "Am I in trouble?"
"Alright, let's go," Sirius said, moving past Severus and into the hallway. They walked towards the Headmistress's office. "Have you heard from Harry?"
"I spoke with him last night," Severus replied. "We are three hours behind their time. I am supposed to talk to him again in a half an hour, so I hope this does not take long."
"Oh," Sirius said a little dejectedly.
"Jealous, Black?" Severus asked snidely. Sirius shot him a look. "Harry asked me to inform you that as soon as he is finished with our conversation, he will talk to you."
Sirius brightened. "Great, thanks."
They walked in silence for a moment.
"The mirror worked rather nicely," Severus said a bit reluctantly.
Sirius grinned. "That was almost a compliment, wasn't it?"
Severus did not reply other than to utter the password for the gargoyles in front of which they were now standing. From the corner of his eye, Severus said Sirius shake his head good-naturedly and join him on the spiral staircase.
Stepping into McGonagall's office, Severus hovered slightly behind Black, not knowing why McGonagall had called the two of them.
"Severus, Sirius, do have a seat," Minerva said tiredly.
They did so.
She looked between them for a moment before smiling faintly.
"Well, I'll get right to it then. As you can imagine, being a teacher, Headmistress and Head of House is an incredible amount of work. I feel that I am not doing justice to any one of my positions but rather doing a shoddy job at all three," she said, stress showing in her face. "Therefore, I thought to appoint a new Head of House for Gryffindor so that I can focus on my other duties. Severus, I though that as Deputy Headmaster, you should at least be present and, I hope, approve of the appointment."
Severus's brow furrowed for a moment. "To get this clear, you are proposing making Black Head of Gryffindor?"
"Yes," McGonagall replied simply.
"He has been a teacher for what, a week?" Severus pointed out.
"Yes, but I believe he is best equipped to handle the Gryffindors. Plus, there are few teachers who were of Gryffindor house and I believe that helps," Minerva replied.
Sirius cleared his throat, reminding the other two that he was sitting right there. Severus glanced at him.
"As you wish," Severus said, giving Sirius a look of mild disdain.
"Thank you, Severus," Minerva said. She turned to Sirius. "Do you accept? It will be a little more work, especially because the Gryffindors are a little...well, you know. But I'm sure the other Heads will help you out, like Severus, here."
Sirius blinked rapidly. "Yeah, sure, I'll do it! Sounds fun."
"Gryffindor?" Severus asked incredulously. He sneered. "Anything but."
Sirius ignored him.
"Alright then, there is a bit of paperwork to fill out. Also, you are to meet with a veteran teacher next week to discuss how you are adjusting, correct?" Minerva asked, shuffling a few papers.
"Yes," Sirius replied. "Do you know who it will be?"
"I was thinking Severus," Minerva said, light smile playing at her lips.
Severus favored her with a dark glare. "I knew there was a reason why we never quite got along."
"Are you going to refuse?" Minerva asked wryly.
Severus considered for a moment. "No.""Alright then, you two can arrange that on your your own time," Minerva said dismissively. "Now, I've decided to still have Quidditch this year, so you will have to pick a captain. I'll get you the roster from last year-"
"I don't need it," Sirius said, cutting her off.
She inclined her head. "Oh?"
"I, uh, was around last year more than you realize," Sirius said hesitantly.
She considered him. "Alright, well-"
This time, Severus cut her off. "May I go? I have an appointment."
She looked at him. "Go on."
"Thank you," Severus said, rising and leaving the room. He headed down to his office to talk to Harry in private.
Harry rubbed his arm where a purple bruise was spreading. "I'm glad we don't have to take Defense anymore."
"What do you mean?" Severus asked sharply.
Harry shook his head. "Defense, not Defense Against the Dark Arts."
"The difference being?" Severus asked.
"Defense is physical, combat training. They finally realized how far behind everyone at Hogwarts was so they're having us tutored, which will be better than class," Harry said. "I hope."
"Why would you need physical training when you have a wand?" Severus asked as if that were a foolish notion.
"Good point," Harry said with a grin. His classmates were in the common room so Harry had closed the door to his and Draco's room for privacy. "Anything new at Hogwarts?"
"Not particularly," Severus said. "Perhaps Sirius will have something to tell you."
Harry shrugged. "Okay." He paused for a minute. "Tomorrow's the drawing for the tournament."
"Is it?" Severus said, feigning disinterest.
"Yep. A whole bunch of Durmstrang students have entered already and I think everyone from Hogwarts too," Harry said. He added quickly, "Except for me and Draco, of course. We don't see the Beauxbatons much but I'm guessing they have too."
"Let me know how that goes."
"I will," Harry promised. "Dumbledore told us this morning that everyone from Hogwarts is excused from practical Dark Arts. That means I'll be free from twelve to one thirty, if you ever have time to talk."
"I will keep that in mind," Severus said.
"I should go," Harry said. "I still need to talk to Sirius then do all my work. Bye."
Severus's picture left the mirror and Harry waited a second before saying, "Sirius."
After a few moments of blankness, Sirius's face appeared.
"Sirius, don't call me that," Harry said darkly. Nevertheless, a grin spread across his face. "It's good to see you."
"You too, Harry," Sirius said earnestly. "You called just in time; I just got back from talking with McGonagall."
"Did she have anything important to say?" Harry asked conversationally.
Sirius shrugged nonchalantly. "Eh, nothing much except for appointing me Head of Gryffindor."
"What?" Harry asked excitedly. "Really?"
"Yep," Sirius said with a wide grin. "And apparently I'm supposed to pick a new Quidditch captain so that they can start practicing."
Harry thought for a moment. "My vote is for the Weasley twins; one or both."
"I'll take that into account," Sirius said with a wink.
Harry felt a twinge of sadness. "I wish I were there."
"Me too," Sirius said. "How's Durmstrang?"
Harry shrugged. "Alright I guess."
"Hey, that mirror worked like a charm," Sirius said, changing the subject. Harry was grateful for he really didn't feel like discussing Durmstrang anymore for the time being.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked. It was obviously working.
"The one for Snape," Sirius clarified. "I think he almost likes me now. He's going to be my 'mentor'," Sirius said, making quotation marks in the air with one hand.
Harry smiled. "That's great, Sirius. And you two thought you'd never get along."
"Severus really isn't as bad as I thought," Sirius admitted.
"I found out the same thing," Harry commented. "You getting any better at teaching?"
Sirius's mouth twisted. "Not yet. Once we start doing fun spells I'm sure it will get easier."
"Fun," Harry scoffed. Then, a thought dawned on him. "What was McGonagall thinking picking you as Head of Gryffindor?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Gryffindor, home of some of the best pranksters in Hogwarts, is under your control?" Harry said with raised brows for emphasis.
Sirius laughed. "They'll have to take advantage of it this year."
"I don't doubt that they will," Harry said. "Listen, I have to go, but I'll talk to you later. Like I told Severus, I'm free now every other day starting tomorrow from twelve to one thirty, if you can talk then."
Sirius thought for a moment. "That's what, eight, no nine here. So... hey, that's my planning period. I'll talk to you then."
"Okay, see you, Sirius."
Harry set down the mirror feeling a little better about his new situation.