In March, Harry receives a letter from Sirius telling him to come to the outskirts of Hogsmeade with food. The Trio is somewhat aghast that Sirius has apparently decided to come all the way to Hogsmeade, but Harry is privately happy that he's going to get to see Sirius again.

Later that day in Potions, [[AlphaBitch Pansy]] gives Hermione an issue of ''Witch Weekly'', cattily telling her that something in there might interest her. As it turns out, Rita Skeeter has written an article which invents a LoveTriangle between Harry, Hermione, and Krum while painting Hermione as TheVamp. Mysteriously, Rita appears to be aware of some things Krum said to Hermione while they were alone. Snape catches them reading the article and proceeds to read it to the whole class. He then splits the Trio up, moving Harry to the front of the class, where he begins antagonizing him. Snape accuses Harry of stealing boomslang skin and gillyweed from his private stores, threatening him with a TruthSerum called Veritaserum if he doesn't confess. At this point, Karkaroff disrupts class by demanding to talk to Snape. Harry lingers in the classroom as the period ends to overhear their conversation and sees Karkaroff show Snape something on his arm.

The next day, the Trio goes to the edge of Hogsmeade as planned, where they meet Sirius in dog form. He leads them up a mountainside and into a hidden cave in which they find Buckbeak tethered. After turning human, Sirius starts eating the food they brought for him and he explains that he's "pretending to be a lovable stray". The subject of Barty Crouch comes up and Sirius notes how strange it is that a {{Workaholic}} such as him is taking so much time off. Sirius goes on to relate Crouch's BackStory. It turns out Crouch used to be Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. During the First Wizarding War, he became a KnightTemplar, conducting {{Witch Hunt}}s ([[IncrediblyLamePun har, har]]) against supposed Death Eaters. Due to the terror Voldemort created, this made Crouch popular and when the war ended it looked like he was on a clear path to becoming Minister. But then Crouch's own son was caught with a group of Death Eaters. Afraid of how this would reflect on him, Crouch tried his son in a KangarooCourt as an excuse to publicly disown him. Both Crouch's wife and son died shortly thereafter, leaving him [[HowTheMightyHaveFallen disgraced in the public eye]].

The Trio and Sirius then speculate on Snape's loyalties. Sirius says that, as a Hogwarts student, Snape was obsessed with the Dark Arts and hung out with a gang of future Death Eaters. Harry tells Sirius what happened in Potions the previous day and Sirius claims he doesn't know what Karkaroff could have been showing Snape. No one has any idea why Crouch would fake being ill and then sneak into Hogwarts to search Snape's office when he could spy on Snape much more effectively by simply not pretending to be ill. Sirius also says that Bagman's claims in the paper that Bertha Jorkins has bad memory doesn't tally with his memory of her from his school days.

By this point, it's getting late. Sirius tell the Trio that they had better get back to the school and that they should call him "Snuffles" amongst themselves.