Harry drug his trunk out of the Floo and carried it to his room in Snape’s quarters. Then, he wandered back to where Sirius was stepping out of the fireplace.
“So what do you do when you get here a day early?” Sirius asked Harry while pulling his own trunks out and setting them roughly on the floor.
Harry shrugged. “Wander around. Cause trouble. Get attacked by dementors. You know, the usual.”
Sirius raised an eyebrow comically, seeming to wonder whether or not he was joking. “Do you want to help me set up my office? Not much trouble there, I’m afraid...”
“Sure,” Harry said. “It beats reading another book.”
Severus arrived once Sirius had vacated the spot.
“I’m going with Sirius to the Defense office, okay?” Harry asked.
“Do try to avoid needing rescued along the way,” Severus replied dryly. “A first for you.”
“Right,” Harry replied, picking up one of Sirius’s boxes. He grunted under the weight.
“Harry,” Sirius admonished. “You can use magic now.”
“What, and stay as scrawny forever?” Harry asked. He gestured with his head towards the door. “I’m fine, let’s go.”
Sirius led the way, hovering the rest. He paused in front of the staircase.
“Hang on, where’s the defense office? Still on the fourth floor?”
“Second floor, right corridor,” Harry managed, the heavy box beginning to take its toll on him.
“Great,” Sirius breathed, starting to walk again.
When at last they arrived, Harry felt as if his arms were about to fall off. He put the box down gratefully and shook out his tingling arms. He glanced around the room. It was bare but Harry could still remember the layout of Lupin’s office.
Sirius took in the room then clapped his hands. “Alright. Furniture first, you think?”
Sirius pointed to the box that Harry had just set down. “Go ahead, it’s in there. You know an enlargement charm, right?”
Harry blinked and stared at the box for a moment. That explained why it was so heavy. “Of course,” he managed. Opening it, he pulled out a small but very heavy bookshelf. It was rather cute miniaturized. “Engorgio.”
The heavy oaken piece grew until it almost touched the ceiling and Harry let off the spell.
“Right size?” he asked.
“Perfect,” Sirius replied, digging through another box. He pulled out a dark colored desk that fit in the palm of his hand. Enlarged, it was a beautiful cherry desk that sported elegant carvings around the edges.
“Nice,” Harry commented.
Sirius toughed the tip of his wand to the center of the desk and muttered a stream of complicated words.
When he had finished, Harry asked, “What was that?”
“I linked it to Hogwarts’ messaging system,” Sirius explained. “So now things can be delivered to my desk.”
Right on cue, two papers folded into tiny flapping birds came through the open door to rest on Sirius’s empty desk. They unfolded themselves and smoothed into two thin sheets of parchment.
Sirius sighed. “And so it begins.”
Harry grinned as he enlarged a wooden backed, leather padded chair. Sirius read over one of the papers. With it still in his hand, he stepped to the stone wall and tapped the block in the exact center twice, then one up from it and one down. It shimmered and became a door which Harry assumed led to his chambers.
“Did you see that?” he asked Harry.
Harry hesitated, wondering if he was supposed to or not, then nodded.
“Good, if you need me,” Sirius said, laying the paper back on his desk.
Harry moved to another box and started pulling out books and trinkets and loading the bookshelves, figuring Sirius could rearrange them later.
“Got anything fun planned for your first lessons?” Harry asked his godfather conversationally.
Sirius groaned. “Besides figuring out how to teach?”
Harry gave a short laugh. “It’s not too difficult, really. Just go up in the front and do a couple of spells.”
“Fourth year... that’s counter-curses, curses, shields and stuff, right?” Sirius asked, scratching his head.
“I think,” Harry replied. “You’re the teacher.”
“Ugh,” Sirius moaned. “Maybe it would’ve helped if I had payed attention in class all those years ago.”
“Probably,” Harry agreed. He held up an odd glass orb with something moving inside before setting it down quickly. “Do they teach you how to teach?” Harry asked curiously, a genuine question.
“Actually, kinda,” Sirius responded. “Dumbledore mentioned something about having biweekly check-ins with more experienced professors. He said he would offer it to the senior staff, see who wants me.”
“What would they do?” Harry asked curiously. “Like a mentor?”
“Something like that,” Sirius said. “I guess they’d teach me the grading scale, give advice, answer questions.” He shrugged. “Help me figure out how to deal with troublemakers.”
Harry smiled. “That shouldn’t be hard for you to figure out. Just think of how the teachers dealt with you.”
Sirius grinned. “That was the plan.”
Harry and his friends sat, happily full, at the Gryffindor table. They were chatting about nothing in particular, spirits high despite the fact that another year of taxing school work was about to commence. When the buzz and chatter in the Great Hall began to die down, Harry looked up to see why. Dumbledore had taken to the podium for his customary welcome speech. Harry motioned for his friends to be quiet and turned to listen.
“Welcome back, everyone, for another illuminating year at Hogwarts,” the old man said with a smile. A few people clapped. “As is customary, I would like to introduce our new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Sirius Black.”
A loud murmur spread throughout the hall and Harry heard more than one alarmed protest.
“Before you get your Kneazles in a knot, I would like to point out that Professor Black has been cleared of all charges against him and it was found that the rumors circulating last year were completely false. The one truly responsible is currently in Azkaban. Professor Black has my complete faith.”
Accepting this, the hall quieted once more.
“Now that we have established that, I have another announcement to make,” Dumbledore said, excitement gleaming in his eyes. “This year, the Triwizard Tournament will be revived.”
Only a few people seemed to know what that meant. Hermione was one. Everyone leaned in to listen to her explanation.
“There was a reason it was discontinued- somebody died!” she whispered forcefully, seeming outraged that they would bring it back.
“But what is it?” Harry whispered back. She jerked her head towards Dumbledore.
“The Triwizard Tournament is a competition aimed at bringing three of the wizarding schools together. Namely, Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons,” Dumbledore said. “Extra precautions have been taken this year for the particiapants’ safety, not to worry.”
“See,” Ron said, elbowing Hermione. She frowned.
“Now,” Dumbledore said clapping his hands, “the competition will be held at Durmstrang Academy. A group of students will go along as ambassadors to the other schools. One of these ambassadors will be the champion from Hogwarts.”
“It’s gonna be me,” Fred and George chorused together. They looked at each other in mock outrage.
“It’ll be me!” Gred said. Harry was having difficulty telling the two apart at the moment.
“No, I’ll be the champion,” Forge insisted.
Dumbledore’s voice broke through their argument. “I have placed this selection bowl here in order to decide who shall travel to Durmstrang. You are not to enter your name unless you are willing to be the Hogwarts champion, should you be chosen. It has been decided that only those at or above 17 years of age shall be allowed to enter. It is unadvisable to attempt to do so if you do not meet this requirement,” he said, a mild threat seeming to be buried beneath his clam exterior.
Harry frowned. He had not been seriously considering entering but the age thing caught him off guard. In a way, as he thought about it, Harry was actually relieved. Now he wouldn’t have to decide whether or not he actually wanted to enter and now he could resist the pressure to do so. He hoped a Gryffindor was chosen.
Fred and George were loudly expressing their discontent with this rule but Dumbledore ignored them.
“Again, the champion will be chosen out of the lot that goes to Durmstrang. Do understand that before you enter. Even if you are not chosen as champion, you will remain at Durmstrang for the school year. I now declare this open for submissions. Three days from now, a group of students will be chosen to accompany me to Durmstrang,” Dumbledore surveyed the room. “I am sure any number of you would be worthy candidates. Best of luck. Goodnight.”
With that, Dumbledore returned to his seat and clamor broke out in the hall once more as everyone moved to leave.
“Wow,” Draco said. “I wish we could enter.”
“Why?” Hermione demanded. “It is a horribly dangerous thing; they should never have brought it back.
Draco shrugged. “It would at least be neat to see Durmstrang.”
“Yeah,” Ron agreed. “That’s where Viktor Krum goes.”
“You’re like a teenage girl, Ron,” Hermione complained, rolling her eyes. “Next you’ll be wanting his autograph.”
“I do,” Ron muttered.
“What do you think, Harry?” Hermione asked.
“Huh?” Harry replied, snapping out of his daydream of being Hogwarts champion. “Oh, uh, I hope the champion is a Gryffindor.”
“So is that what you wouldn’t tell me?” Harry asked as he sat in Snape’s office later that night. He had no real reason to come down here but Harry had wandered in anyway.
“Yes,” Severus said. “I am less than happy that they picked this year, of all times, to have a pointless competition.”
Harry shrugged. “I wish they were having it here. It’d be cool to watch.”
“I wish they were having it here simply because I am uncomfortable with Dumbledore being gone for the entire year,” Severus said, anger as an undertone. “This year, when the Dark Lord is on the cusp of his return...” Severus shook his head.
“Who’s going to be the Headmaster then?” Harry asked.
“Professor McGonagall, being Deputy Headmistress, will step up to the position,” Severus said. “I have no idea who will become her deputy.”
“We’ll manage without Professor Dumbledore, I guess,” Harry said with a shrug.
Severus sighed tiredly. “My one spot of consolation is that you will remain close so that we can protect you.”
“I don’t need protection,” Harry grumbled. Deep down, however, he was comforted by the thought.
“So you say.”
“It is late; you ought to get back to your tower,” Severus suggested.
“Right,” Harry said. He headed for the door, then paused and turned back. “Just out of curiosity, if I were 17, would you have let me enter?”
Severus looked at him for a moment then actually let out a low chuckle.
“That’s what I thought,” Harry muttered, leaving with a furrowed brow.
“Well, thank you all for coming,” Sirius began awkwardly.
“It’s not like we had a choice,” Draco muttered to Harry from his seat in the first row.
Sirius shot a nervous glance at Harry. Harry nodded in encouragement.
“Right, well I’m Professor Black and I am obviously your new Defense teacher,” Sirius said. He opened his mouth to say more when he was cut off by a Slytherin.
“Are you a werewolf too?” Pansy asked snidely in her annoying high pitched voice.
“No,” Sirius replied firmly. He turned his attention back to the class. “Alright, we’ll be learning about shields, curses, counter-curses and the like this year. So, uh, let’s start with some basic shields.”
He looked around the room, surveying his lot of fourth years. “Who knows a defensive shield?”
Harry, Draco, Hermione and a Slytherin whom Harry did not recognize raised their hands.
“That’s all?” Sirius asked in surprise.
“If we all knew them, what would be the point in your teaching?” a Slytherin called derisively. Harry felt embarrassment for Sirius.
“Five points from Slytherin,” Sirius said. Harry stifled a grin. “Now, uh, Harry, why don’t you come up an demonstrate. And...um... you there. What’s your name?”
The Slytherin at which he was pointing straightened in his seat and muttered, “Blaise Zabini.”
“Oh,” Sirius said, not succeeding in masking his dislike of the boy. “Didn’t recognize you. Might as well come up and demonstrate though,” he continued. “You can do a basic leg locker curse, right?”
Blaise rolled his eyes as he walked to join Harry in the front of the room. “Of course.”
He gave Harry a look that made Harry’s insides twist in loathing. This was the boy who had practically tried to kill them the year before. Blaise took up a position across from Harry.
“Alright,” Sirius said. “Go ahead and spell Harry with a normal power leg locker curse. Harry, you will block it, okay?” He turned to the class. “Watch Harry closely, you’ll all be trying this by the end of class.”
Harry got into a defensive stance as Blaise raised his wand. Harry glared narrowly at him and noticed a flicker of something pass beneath his face.
“Locomotor Mortis,” Blaise said, moving his wand in the appropriate way.
Harry specifically chose a shield that he had read about in one of Severus’s defense books. He raised it and the bolt of light from the curse ricocheted off of his block and struck Blaise in the chest. Harry lowered his wand as Blaise tumbled to the floor.
Apparently thinking that Harry had done that on purpose, which was partially true, Blaise shot something back at him from where he lay on the floor. Harry did not have time to raise his wand before he was thrown in the air in a tight spiral and landed with a hard thump on the floor. He winced as he pushed himself up and prepared another spell to send at Blaise when his wand was ripped from his fingers.
Sirius looked appalled and Harry felt a little guilty. “Ten points from Slytherin,” he said. “I asked for a simple demonstration, not a duel. I am sure Harry did not intentionally send that back at you.” With a frown, he released Blaise and handed him his wand back. “Back to your seat,” he commanded.
Sirius offered a hand to Harry who sat on the floor, partially upright. Harry took it and pulled himself up.
“Are you okay?” he asked in concern.
“What block was that?” Sirius asked. “I thought you would go with a simple shield charm.”
“It was a variation of that,” Harry explained. “I guess it is more prone to ricocheting.”
Sirius nodded and handed him his wand. “Go sit down.” Harry did so with relief. “Okay, the incantation is ‘Protego’,” Sirius told the class. “Partner up.”
Harry shot Blaise a glare and stayed far away from his side of the room.