Chapter 21: Good Choices
Harry Potter Ch. 21
During supper that evening, Sirius notices Harry seems preoccupied.
"What's bothering you son? Are you upset at having to go with me tonight? It's not going to be that horrible to be with me, you know."
"Huh? Oh, umm no, I'm not mad anymore. I'm just thinking about something else, Dad."
"Well let's hear it, Kiddo. What's causing you to frown so and just stir your soup without eating. Out with it!" Sirius instructs firmly.
"Promise you won't get mad and I'll tell you." Harry answers, deciding to confide in his Dad even if it earns him more punishment. He's been busy trying to figure out a way to do the essay without missing a class tomorrow and hasn't come up with anything.
"You'll tell me whether I promise or not and no, I'm not making that kind of promise. I will promise to listen to everything you tell me before I say anything. That's my only promise. Now what is it? Have you done something else dangerous that I don't know about?"
"No, Dad. I have a problem with my Potions homework assignment. I am missing the notes I need to finish it. I've looked all in the text and can't find any information on which parts of insects are used for which potions! I have to pick two potions for the two different beetles and tell about how to use the parts in potions and I don't have that information so I can't finish my essay and Uncle Sev will murder me tomorrow!" Harry exclaims all in one long rush to get it out.
"Why don't you have the notes you need? Did you misplace them?"
"No Sir. I just missed that part of the class, I guess."
"Were you out of the room at the time?" Sirius asks, giving Harry a stern stare.
"I don't think so, sir. I just missed out."
"Could it be that you were not listening and that's why you "missed out" as you said? You were busy whispering with Ron or Draco, right?"
"We know better than to whisper in Potions. He might use us for potions ingredients if we did. I was talking to Ron by writing it down."
Receiving a stern stare causes Harry to quickly add "I'm sorry, Dad. I know better now and I won't do it again."
"I'm sorry also, Harry James. You just earned another day added to your grounding. I've told you several times, no playing around during classes. That's what caused your low grade on one of your essays, remember the cat tails fiasco?"
"Yes I remember, but please Dad, not more time being grounded! Anything but that!"
"Anything, son? What if I decide you need a spanking? Would that be something you'd rather have?"
"Anything but longer grounding. I can't do one more day after the three and a half weeks I still have! Please Dad! Yes, I'll take a spanking, even." Harry answers, his eyes tearing up at the thought. The last one is so fresh in his mind that the memory makes his bum tingle.
"I'm not going to spank you for this Harry. You did not lie to me or put yourself in danger. When we finish eating we are going to go talk to Severus. I'll let him decide the punishment you should have." Taking his wand, Sirius casts a warming charm on Harry's soup. "Finish your supper. We need to be leaving in fifteen minutes. After you eat, I need you to find a book to take with you tonight. I'll cast a spell for you to have light in a corner so you can sit and read during the lab."
"So you see, Severus, Harry has himself in a bit of a bind tonight. He doesn't have the necessary notes he needs to finish his essay and he must come with me to do a lab. I told him he would have to accept what punishment you give him. Harry will complete his essay for you, I promise you this." Sirius finishes with a stern look at the boy standing beside him.
"Well Harry, it's a good thing I don't allow you to sit with Weasley any longer. This is what I suspected might happen with the two of you together. Sirius, this lecture was several weeks ago but we are reviewing some of the same principles per the reason for the assignment."
"Harry, I'll let you borrow Draco's notes for tonight. You make a copy of them and then return his notebook to him in class tomorrow. I will give you one extra day on this assignment. If you bring it to me Wednesday by four o'clock, I'll award full credit after that it's half credit. Don't think I'll do this again young man! You will turn in assignments at the time they are due or face the penalty. As for your punishment for not paying attention, normally I would assign detention. Because you are grounded, I realize you are unable to do detentions. Instead, you can do another essay. This one on the uses of caterpillars in potions making. Describe the parts that are used, what types of potions they are used for and provide a step by step description of one potion. This punishment essay will be at least three feet and handed in to me by Friday. All of the information you will need is in your Potions book."
"Yes sir. I'm very sorry, Uncle Sev." Harry whispers.
"I'm sure you are. To show me you are sincere, don't let this happen again. You turn in assigned work when it is due! I won't be lenient with you if it happens again. I don't believe your Dad will be either."
"Draco, come out here and bring your Potion's notebook please." Severus calls, amplifying his voice to reach Draco's room.
"Here is the notebook, Dad. Hi, Harry and Uncle Sirius." Draco says coming from his room. Noticing Harry's expression and the stern looks on the men's faces, he asks "Is something wrong?"
"Good evening, Draco." Sirius answers as Harry says glumly "Hi."
"Not with you, no. Have you finished your essay for Potions tomorrow?" Severus responds to his slightly anxious child.
"Yes sir, you looked over it before we had supper, remember?" Draco asks, perplexed at the question.
"Harry needs to borrow your notes for his essay. He's going to bring your notebook to class tomorrow. Before we hand it over, show me the section where you wrote about the uses of beetles or other insects in potions. I need to be sure all the information he will need is there. " Severus explains.
"It's here where I have the bookmark. I marked the section with it. I take good notes, Dad. Everything you said is there." Draco explains pointing to the bookmark with a puppy running in circles to chase it's tail.
"Cool bookmark, Drake. Where'd it come from?" Harry asks as Severus reads Draco's notes.
"Dad bought it at the stationary store in Diagon Alley. It's a fabulous store with colored ink quills, bookmarks, colored parchment and lots more. " Draco answers before whispering "Why do you need my notes?" in Harry's ear.
After Harry briefly explains, Draco asks "Did you get punished for this?" whispering again.
"Not from my Dad. Your Dad assigned a separate essay due by Friday." Harry whispers back, frowning.
"Alright young man, these notes are sufficient for you to finish the essay I assigned for tomorrow. Let us have no more fooling around during class!" Severus says sternly as he hands the notebook to Harry.
"Yes Professor Snape, sir. Thank you, sir." Harry answers. His automatic response causing Draco to grin broadly at him.
"Thank you Severus and you too, Draco for helping my errant son, here. This won't happen again, will it Harry? From now on you will pay attention and take notes as you are required to do. Correct?" Sirius asks, with enough sternness to let Harry know he means what he says.
"Yes sir, I'll pay attention."
"Let's go to the Astronomy Tower, I probably have students wondering where I am, about now. Good night Severus. I'll see you in class tomorrow, Draco."
"I'm looking forward to it, Uncle Sirius. Astronomy is one of my favorite classes." Draco answers causing Harry to roll his eyes.
"Bye Hermione!" Harry teases as he and his Dad walk out of Severus' quarters.
Walking up the stairs to the Astronomy Tower, Sirius suddenly asks, "Why Hermione?"
"Sir?" Harry asks, not following his Dad's thoughts.
"Why did you call Draco, Hermione when we were leaving? I can't figure it out."
"Oh, because he was being a bit of a suck up and going on about how Astronomy is one of his favorite classes. All that gushing made me think of Hermione when she's on a tear about schoolwork."
"Ahh, I see the connection now. Good one, Pup! Draco does enjoy Astronomy though."
"I know, it's just the way he said it, ticked me off a little. I don't like suck ups! He sounded like the old Malfoy back there. All prim and perfect."
"I wouldn't tell him that, if I were you. It might start something you don't want to get into if you know what I mean."
"We wouldn't fight, Dad. We're cousins and friends now, not enemies."
"That's good to hear. I hope you continue to feel that way. Now, let's talk about this lab, tonight. I'm going to be busy with the students and won't be able to talk to you often. What you need to do is sit quietly in your nook and enjoy your book." Sirius says with an attempt to keep a straight face.
"Dad! You are being a nutter! Why must you rhyme like that? You're not Dr. Seuss, you know."
"Dr. Seuss. He's a muggle children's book author who rhymes all throughout his books. Mummy read them to me when I was really little. We'll have to find Green Eggs and Ham so you can read it. It's really cute and funny too."
Walking out on to the Astronomy tower, Harry looks to see if the wall he and his friends repaired is still in place.
Sirius is immediately surrounded by excited children.
"Professor Black! You brought your son! What're we looking at tonight? Is this going to be a long lab? I have an essay due for Charms I need to get done. I'm ready to start now Professor." Sirius and Harry hear from all sides.
"Gather around everyone and we'll discuss what to do tonight. This one is going to take about an hour, so those of you who have procrastinated on completing homework will have time to do it. Tonight, we are searching for the Andromeda Galaxy. Who remembers something we have discussed about this galaxy?"
"Yes, Miss. Ambrose?"
"The Andromeda Galaxy is the galaxy closest to the Milky Way." A brown haired girl answers with a smile for Sirius.
Harry, standing beside his Dad notices how Miss. Ambrose is batting her eyes at his Dad as she answers. He looks up at his Dad to see if he's noticed but Sirius doesn't seem to.
"That's correct. Who can add to what Miss. Ambrose said? What else do we know about this galaxy?"
Without thinking, Harry speaks up "It's also known as The Great Spiral Galaxy or sometimes M31. It looks like a giant spiraling whirlpool of gray and white smoke in the air."
"OOOH! He's a smart one. A little boy like that knowing fourth year facts!" one of the girls titters.
"I'm not little. I'm not that much younger than you and probably almost as smart. You're about fourteen and I'm nearly eleven." Harry responds, stretching his age by eight months as he's slightly miffed at her tone.
"Harry is one of the Junior Level students and is also taking Astronomy. Tonight, he's along as my son who will sit and read quietly while we work. Isn't that the plan, Harry?" Sirius asks, amused at Harry's advancing of his age.
"There's a good place to sit over by the doorway. I've already cast a luminous spell so you'll have light." Sirius tells him quietly.
"Professor? Isn't it true that your son is THE little Potter boy? The one who banished You Know Who? He's a child prodigy too, isn't he?" Miss. Ambrose asks.
"My name is HARRY POTTER BLACK and I'm standing right here. You don't have to ask my Dad the questions as if I can't understand what you are asking."
"That's enough, Harry. Be respectful when you answer. Go to your nook now. Do not leave this side of the tower." Sirius replies, pointing to the part of the tower he is referring to.
"Yes Sir." Harry answers reluctantly walking to his designated spot.
Addressing his students, Sirius goes from Dad to Professor.
"We are here tonight to find the Andromeda Galaxy. All discussion will be on this topic. Does anyone else remember a fact we have discussed concerning the galaxy?"
"Mr. Madison- Harris?"
"Yes sir. You told us we might be able to see it with just our eyes on clear nights. Also, Harry is correct. It is named The Great Spiral Galaxy."
"Thank you. Yes, both of those statements are true. Alright students, partner up and find a telescope. Although we may be able to see it without, tonight we're using telescopes."
"Once you know where to look, you will be able to find Andromeda with just your eyes. No magical enhancements, no telescopes, just your own two eyes. Now, let's begin. First, let's locate the Great Square of Pegasus. If you remember from class, this is the constellation which I said looks a little like a muggle kite on it's side. I showed you the night sky on our classroom ceiling and we located Pegasus. From there, look for the two kite tails on the left side of the kite. In this area, you'll find Andromeda. Now, everyone take turns and help each other. Let's see how many of you can locate the galaxy without my help. Call out when you think you have it."
"I've got it, Professor!" Harry hears from his reading spot, a short time later.
"I see it! Oh, it's gorgeous!"
"I think we have it, sir!"
"I've located it, Professor. It's quite close isn't it?"
"Good job, everyone. Mr. Madison-Harris, it is one of the larger galaxies. Even though it looks close with the telescope, it is actually about 2.5 light years away."
Sirius feels a tug on the sleeve of his teaching robe. Looking down he finds Harry staring up at him.
"Harry? Is something wrong?"
"No sir. Umm, Dad, can I see the galaxy too?"
"Of course. Find a telescope and take a look." Sirius answers.
"Here Harry, come look with me. I don't have a partner so you can be mine. We'll look together." Mr. Madison- Harris calls.
"Thanks. What's your first name? I don't like calling people their last names." Harry asks when he walks to the boy.
"My name is Sebastian, Harry. My friends call me Bas. Will you call me Bas?"
"Sure! I like your name. Bas is a wickedly cool name to have. What house are you in? I'm Gryffindor." Harry answers.
Listening in with an amplified hearing charm, Sirius shakes his head in amusement at his not so shy child.
"I'm a Ravenclaw, Harry. Does it matter?"
"Not to me. Dad says you should be friends with everyone no matter what house they are in. I feel the same way. I think it's awfully dumb to not like someone just 'cause they are not in your house. My best friend used to be in Slytherin but got resorted to Gryffindor. I would like him even if he was still in Slytherin."
Deciding to get the class back to work, Sirius calls,"Raise your arm if you have not found the galaxy." Looking around at his students, he sees only one arm raised.
"Well Mr. Black, get busy looking and find the galaxy. You don't want to be the only one in the class who hasn't. You can put your arm down as soon as you've located it." Sirius tells his son, with a smile.
A few minutes later, Harry calls loudly "I've found it! It really does look like there's a kite up there! Andromeda is beautiful as someone said. It's BIG too!"
"Thank you for the comments Mr. Black. Now kindly hush so I may be heard." Sirius teases the excited child. His remark causing a wave of giggles among the students. Most have been busy listening to Harry chatter away with Bas.
"Alright everyone, now that we have learned one way to locate this galaxy, let's discuss another. The easiest way to find Andromeda is to find the constellation, Cassiopeia. If you remember our discussion in class you may find it in the northeastern sky. This looks like a lopsided letter W. One of the points is hanging longer than the other. This deeper point is what I call the arrow as it points to the Andromeda Galaxy. Take time to find this with your telescopes."
Harry and his new friend find the constellation quickly. They then take turns finding other constellations with the telescope for the rest of the lab time when Sirius gives permission.
Harry is surprised and slightly disappointed when he hears his Dad announce "Everyone, time is up for tonight. For your assignment due for Wednesday, I want you to plot Andromeda, Pegasus, and Cassiopeia on a fresh star chart. Also write one page on the location and make up of Andromeda. You are free to leave and I'll see you Wednesday. Good night."
Walking with Bas to the door of the building, Harry asks "Will you owl me sometime? I liked talking to you tonight."
"Yes, I'll write to you and maybe we can see each other again sometime. Good night, Harry. Good night, Professor. You have a really bright son. I have a kid brother who is ten and he doesn't know any of the constellations at all. Justin will be coming to Hogwarts next Fall."
"Good night Mr. Madison-Harris. There aren't many children who know what Harry knows at his age. I wouldn't be so hard on your brother by judging him against Harry. I'm sure he'll learn in his own time." Sirius replies.
"Yes sir, I hope so. Right now he doesn't want to do any learning. My Father has to punish him to get him to do his studies." Bas answers as he walks through the doorway.
"Let's get home, son. I'm a little chilled and could use a nice hot cup of tea. How about you?"
"Hot chocolate sounds wonderful, Dad."
"I'm sure it does but you won't be having that. No sweets, remember? Tea will be allowed but no chocolate." Sirius replies as they keep walking.
Halfway down the stairs to their quarters, Harry suddenly stops moving.
"What is it?" Sirius asks.
"I have to go back up! I forgot my book!"
"We'll get it tomorrow. I'm sure it's charmed not to be affected by the weather. Come, son."
"Dad, it's not just the book. I left Draco's notebook up there too and I can't do my essay without it."
"Harry James Potter Black! Are you deliberately trying to get out of your essay? Did you leave that notebook on purpose?" Sirius asks, eyeing Harry sternly.
"No sir, honest I didn't. I just forgot it with all the fun of seeing the stars and meeting Bas. I liked being in your lab class Dad. Why don't you ever have outside labs with the Junior Level kids?"
"Let me summon your books and let's get home. I'll answer all your questions then." Sirius answers raising his wand "Accio Harry's book and Draco's Potion's notebook from the Astronomy tower!" Sirius enunciates firmly. In seconds, the two books are in Harry's hands.
"Alright son, please try your best to hold on to them now. We don't want to lose them again."
"I will. Thanks for magicking them for me, Dad."
"You are welcome forgetful one."
The next morning, Draco stops Harry right outside the Potion's classroom. Having a few more minutes before they were required to be inside, he whispers "How did the night lab go? Was it dreadfully boring being up there without me?"
Laughing, Harry answers," Well, yes I missed you but no it wasn't boring at all. Dad let me do the assigned work with the class. We found the Andromeda galaxy and some constellations. I really enjoyed it. The older kids have more fun being able to use the telescopes."
"Yes, I wonder why Uncle Sirius doesn't let the Junior Level do it that way. We have to have projections shown on the ceiling or walls of the night sky. I'd rather go up and do the searching with a telescope."
"I asked Dad that very question. He said he wasn't comfortable having so many younger adventurous kids up that high at night. He said one of us might climb the tower wall and fall over or something like that. I told him we would behave but he said he wasn't going to risk our health or his sanity either. You need to ask him to take us, maybe he would for you. I know! Tell him to have a lab for just a few of us at a time. Say only five at a time. He might do it then."
"He could do me, you, Hermione, Neville and Ron at one time. We'd be his first and best behaved group. We could show him the Junior Level kids are old enough to go to real labs for Astronomy."
"Mr. Black, Mr. Snape,' the Junior Level' is waiting for the two of you to come to class. To prove to be old enough for Astronomy labs, you must be able to abide by your schedule. Right now your schedule is POTIONS CLASS! You have two minutes to be in your seats, books, quills and notebooks prepared. Go!" Severus announces standing right behind the boys.
Watching them run to the classroom to take their seats, he mutters "What possessed me to take on this teaching position? I must have been temporarily under a delusional spell! I distinctly remember planning to be a Potions Master and Healer not a professor! I'm now teaching nine to seventeen year olds all day. Well, Severus, destiny awaits. Time to do the daily grind, put up with dunderheaded students." as he walks to his classroom.
The whispering from his students ends as soon as he flings the door open. Not one child is brave enough to make eye contact with the known and dreaded evil Potion's Professor.
"Books ready. Today we will be making the potion for keeping someone awake. There may be times for a person's health, they need to remain awake. This is called the Wildeye or Awakening Potion. Please refer to the chalkboard for the instructions. We have one hour to brew this potion. Partners will be graded together so monitor each other. I will assist if needed but for now, I will be checking your homework assignments. Lay them on your desktops and they will be gathered while you visit the supply cabinets. Only take the minimum you need. There is plenty for all." Severus tells the students.
"I'll gather supplies if you'll start the heating of the cauldron, Draco." Harry tells his partner.
"Alright, be quick about it though, this potion is a tricky one. We want to have as much time as possible. I, for one, don't want to fail."
"I don't either. I'm already being punished enough." Harry whispers back.
Walking over to the supply cabinet, Harry is jostled by Jeremy Pippen as he rushes past.
"No need to push me over, Pippen. You heard Professor Snape, there's plenty of ingredients for all of us." Harry says to the boy now rummaging quickly through the cabinet.
"I'm in a hurry! I've got to get back to my station before they collect homework. I left mine in my bag and I've got to lay it out or be counted as not having it. Perfect Potter-Black." Jeremy snarls.
"Go get it. I'll bring your supplies over to you as soon as I've gathered all of them. I don't want to have Professor angry before we even start today." Harry replies.
"Is this some stunt? Are you trying to pull something?"
"No, I'm trying to be a good mate to you and help you out. Now, hurry because Hermione is collecting the homework."
"Well... Um... Thanks, Pott, I mean Harry." Jeremy replies wide eyed before rushing back to his seat.
"Here's the homework essays, Professor Snape." Hermione says as she piles them on her teacher's desk.
"Thank you, Miss. Granger. Were there any assignments not turned in today?"
"Yes Sir. One student did not have his on his desk so I couldn't collect it."
"Who didn't have one out to collect?"
"Yes, I know about him. That's all Miss. Granger. You may return to your station and begin brewing.
"Yes, Professor." Hermione replies turning to walk back to her table.
Passing by Harry's table, he gives her a brief glance and nod.
"I had to tell him you didn't have your assignment, Harry. I hope you won't be in trouble for it. He didn't seem upset." Hermione whispers as she walks behind Harry to her table.
"It's taken care of, don't worry about me. I talked to him about it last night." Harry whispers back. Then, upon hearing a loud clearing of a throat he looks up to see his Professor standing beside his table.
"Mr. Potter- Black! Less talking and more brewing if you please. You have snake fangs to crush. Begin crushing, young man before I take points!"
"Yes Sir, I'm crushing right now, sir." Harry replies grabbing his bowl and pestle as Draco grins at him.