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Harry

Potter Jedi
by zajinn
The somewhat realistic and humorous story of Harry Potter, if he grew up watching a
little too much Star Wars. - This takes place in the real world, where Harry is inspired
by Star Wars to learn magic and discover the wizarding world in new and interesting
ways. Canon secrets are revealed and hints are hidden throughout the story to
discover what is really happening at Hogwarts.
Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Harry P., Hermione G. - Chapters:
27 - Words: 236,805 - Reviews: 587 - Favs: 1,276 - Follows: 1,641 - Updated:
12/25/2014 - Published: 11/5/2013 - id: 9824728
URL: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9824728

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
1. Chapter 1 - Wizard
2. Chapter 2 - Shopping
3. Chapter 3 - Sorting
4. Chapter 4 - Classes
5. Chapter 5 - Explanation
6. Chapter 6 - Overture
7. Chapter 7 - Rumors
8. Chapter 8 - Memories
9. Chapter 9 - Adventure
10. Chapter 10 - Trolls
11. Chapter 11 - Gambling
12. Chapter 12 - Apologies
13. Chapter 13 - Friends
14. Chapter 14 - Celebrations
15. Chapter 15 - Revelations
16. Chapter 16 - Surprises
17. Chapter 17 - Preparations
18. Chapter 18 - Christmas
19. Chapter 19 - Afters
20. Chapter 20 - Secrets
21. Chapter 21 - Danger

22. Chapter 22 - Plans


23. Chapter 23 - Alumni
24. Chapter 24 - Forgotten
25. Chapter 25 - Valentines
26. Chapter 26 - Eggs
27. Chapter 27 - Caught

Chapter 1 - Wizard
Author's Note: As usual, I don't own Harry Potter and whatever legal disclaimer
needs to be said here, consider it said from now on.
A small warning. This is not a crossover, despite the title.
This story tries to be a little more realistic in it's portrayal of the Harry Potter world,
and deals with the consequences of young children having access to powerful
magic. It is also a slower paced story that explores the magical world in depth with a
new perspective which changes canon events.
Most of the first book is already written and I will be continuing on to the second as
well. Reviews are more than welcome.
Chapter 1
Wizard
"What?"
The massive giant stood still while shaking the boy's world apart, and repeated
himself, "I said, yer a wizard Harry!"
Harry James Potter blinked a few more times and adjusted his glasses, gazing
skyward at gleaming dark eyes, hidden in a wavy mass of hair, "Is this some kind of
joke? Because I don't really get it."
"No joke, but I know a few if yeh like."
Shaking his head, Harry looked back down at the letter addressed to him and read
aloud, "Dear Mr Potter, We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all
necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl
by no later than 31 July. - Are you sure this isn't a joke?"
"Sure as Dumbledore's the greatest wizard I ever met. - Er, there ain't anyone else
inside is there? Need ter tell yer folks as well. Maybe have a word or two about
birthrights an' such."
Harry was standing in the doorway, looking over the list of required items, "They're
out celebrating Dudley getting into Smeltings academy and won't be back until late. I

don't think they would want to hear this though. - Just for the sake of argument, how
am I supposed to find a wand or any of these books? And I'm pretty sure no one
sells dragon hide gloves around here."
"That's why they sent me, I'm ter take yeh shoppin'. Get all yer stuff fer school. An'
why'd the Dursleys leave yeh home by yerself, don' they know better than that?" He
bent down his large hairy head to look inside and gave a gruff laugh at the decor.
Glancing up again, Harry spoke hesitantly, "Yeah... well they weren't exactly
expecting a giant ...wizard to come knocking. Since our neighbor is getting her cast
off today, I convinced them to let me stay home without a babysitter. - But now you,
want to take me shopping, for a school I've never heard of, after you tell me I'm a
wizard, on the first day we meet."
"Yup, that about sums it up. How's Mrs Figg doing, still havin' trouble with her cats?"
"Uh, Mr Hagrid is it? Obviously you're familiar with the people around here, but, I'm
going to need a little more convincing. Can you do anything... magical? Maybe move
something with your mind?"
"Strictly speaking, I'm - er - not supposed ter do magic. Never really finished school
at Hogwarts." Harry's face fell, "But if yeh need ter see somethin', how about we go
inside so the whole neighborhood don' gawk."
With skepticism written across his face, he let the giant into the house, yet didn't feel
afraid of this monstrous man. Harry didn't view himself as defenseless by any
means, but that didn't concern him, for over the years Harry prided himself on being
able to judge people's intentions, and while Hagrid might have escaped from an
over-sized mental institution, there was no sign of deception on his face, the parts he
could see at least. This large man truly believed what he was saying, and wanted to
help. Crouching low to enter the house, Hagrid made his way into the living room,
settling down on the couch with a resounding crunch. Harry squinted in anguish,
knowing that would cost him later.
"Alright, now if yeh don' mind keepin' quiet about this at Hogwarts, I'll - er - show yeh
some magic." Harry sat down opposite him and nodded in acceptance, if only to get
this charade over with. "Wanted to see something move eh? How's about float?"
Reaching deep within his massive jacket, Hagrid pulled out... a ratty pink umbrella. A
bit anticlimactic Harry thought, but almost fitting. Hagrid pointed up at the ceiling with
one finger as a distraction, while his umbrella made a small movement under the
table.
"What?" Harry asked, as he saw nothing on the ceiling. He looked down

disappointed, only to see the coffee table floating a few feet off the ground. With the
umbrella back on his lap, Hagrid chuckled at the intense expression Harry had on.
He waved his hand over the table, under it, and around all sides trying to make sure
it wasn't a trick. "You can do it too!" He yelled.
"Can do more than that, jus' keep an eye on the fireplace." Harry looked over his
shoulder and saw a thin stream of flames shoot towards it, erupting into a blazing
fire, already warming the cool room. He twisted around, eyes wide to catch sight of
what he thought was the umbrella being settled back in place.
"An' how about an enlargement charm on those flowers outside?" Harry was about
to turn again, but caught himself, watching Hagrid make a quick circular motion with
his wand and enlarge the biscuit tin on top of the table. Glancing up to see Harry
staring at him, Hagrid quickly hid the umbrella away again.
"Convincin' enough for yeh?" He opened the now enormous tin to grab a biscuit and
take an equally large bite.
Nodding with an eager and jubilant smile on his face, Harry almost laughed out loud,
"YES! - When can we go?"
"...After I tell yeh a story."
oOoOo
Leaving an overly simple note on the hallway table in case he didn't get back in time,
Harry felt it was for the best. 'Gone shopping' was all it said. He pocketed the little bit
of money he had and threw on a thin hoodie in case it rained wherever they were
going. He knew the whole situation was simply barmy, feeling like he was falling
down a rabbit hole with Alice, yet it was what he'd been waiting for. Something to
take him away from being the odd one out, and everything else. While it wasn't
exactly what he wished for, especially the bit about the evil wizard who killed his
parents, and tried to kill him, it would have to do. He pinched his arm just to make
sure this wasn't an incredibly vivid dream.
Taking the stairs from his room two at a time, he locked the house behind them, and
caught up to Hagrid at the curb. "Are we headed to wonderland, because I'll need to
get some money out of the bank first. How much does a wand cost anyway, or do
you have to make one yourself?"
"Seven Galleons. Ready?" Mumbled Hagrid as he slipped out the umbrella, gave it a
quick wave and hid it once again.

"I hope you don't mean seven war ships, because that's a little out of my price range.
By the way, how did you even get here Hagrid?"
A resounding BANG woke the dreary street as Harry nearly fell over from the shock.
Right in front of him a wall of intense purple rolled to a halt. It turned out to be a
triple-decker bus, straight out of a road tunnel's nightmare. Hagrid stepped on, with a
grin hidden behind his scraggly beard.
"This, is the Knigh' Bus. One o' the ways wizards get around. Hop on." He waved
Harry aboard while pulling out a handful of shiny coins from his pocket, then handed
them to the driver who nodded in thanks.
Peering around the street for anyone who might see him, Harry shook his head
again and hopped aboard like he was told to. He sat down next to Hagrid's extra
large seat near the front and was thrown backwards as another cacophonous BANG
brought them up to speed.
"Where ya headed now?" Inquired the driver, who spun around in a worn recliner to
face them.
"The Leaky Cauldron, thank yeh." The driver nodded and casually picked his teeth
while something else kept steering.
The bus was nearly empty for the size of it, yet the seats were a comfortable beige
fabric and didn't smell, so Harry liked it. He peppered Hagrid and the driver with
questions the whole way there, trying to ignore the streets, buildings, and people
whizzing by in a nauseating fashion around the bus. He learned that they had to go
through a pub to get to where they wanted to go, and that his money would be no
good there. A few more loud BANGS and there they were, in London by the look of
things. Hagrid ushered Harry off the bus to stand outside a shabby old pub, as
another middle aged woman in a yellow cloak got off as well and hurried inside.
"Didn' get ter explain much earlier," Hagrid said while he brushed the biscuit crumbs
out of his beard, "But Dumbledore wanted me to warn yeh, people migh' notice that
scar o' yers a lot more in the wizarding world. Means somethin' precious ter them,
somethin' good, jus' warnin' yeh."
"How would anyone even know about my scar if I was with the Dursleys since the
day after it happened?"
Looking uncomfortable, Hagrid mumbled again, "Oh - er - yeh know how stories
start. One thing gets said, 'an next yeh know, someone's a hero."

Pulling up his hoodie, Harry looked away from the disappointed face, "I'd rather not
be a hero. I'd rather just be me."
They passed through the dimly lit pub to be greeted by loud cheers all around, and
all for Hagrid. He waved and said hello, but told them he couldn't stay, urgent
Hogwarts business to attend to or something like that. Light smoke filled the air
along with the scent of varying spirits. Harry was barely noticed in the background
with his hood pulled down, some people even bumped into him as they weaved
through the crowded tables. Strange people in strange outfits was all he noticed,
none of them stood out in any way. Tom the landlord, was the only name he caught,
mostly because Hagrid said it in his booming voice right towards him.
Outside the back door Harry looked around to barren brick walls and floor, with a
dustbin to liven up the place. Hagrid waved him over to one section of the wall,
counting out bricks, doing another crazy impression. That was until he pulled out his
umbrella once again and tapped three times, making Harry's references to
wonderland seem quite at home as a portal to another world unfurled right in front of
him. Twisting open into a wide archway, a cobblestone street could be seen
meandering off into the distance, every inch lined with wondrous looking shops
begging to be explored.
"Welcome, to Diagon Alley." Hagrid smiled anew, noticing the delight on Harry's face.
oOoOo
With hungry eyes Harry surveyed the magnificent selection of, things, much more
than he could imagine uses for. Every shop had an aged look, worn from service and
time, a lot of time. Strange scents mingled and grew pungent as they started to stroll
down the twisting alley.
"So where to first? And how am I supposed to pay for things if you use a different
type of currency? Will people just give me things like some returning hero if I show
them the scar?" The alluring sight of a tidy bookstore called to him which he resisted
by studying the colourful displays in a real apothecary opposite it.
"It's Gringotts first, that's where yer money is. Only wizardin' bank around, an' where
yer parents kept it all." He pointed at the towering white building far ahead.
Harry was almost as surprised by that, as he was by the sight of flying broomsticks.
"I have an inheritance? Why wasn't I ever told?" He looked up at Hagrid to see a
sneer forming, "Never mind... I can guess, my relatives again."
They passed by manikins in clothing shop windows that twirled and moved to display

their wares. Owls upon hooting owls were kept in cages outside and in a pet shop
that gave a distinctive gamey odor to area. Equipment shops dotted the street for
something called quidditch, to quills, to potions, to general purpose wizard supplies.
An ice cream parlor lured in children and adults alike with strange sounding flavors
and combinations, while people squeezed by the outdoor tables in reckless
abandon. The people wore unique outfits and funny hats, but their attitudes were the
same as every shopping center around, if a little happier. There were old men
complaining about prices and quality degrading, older women talking about the men,
while young children marveled at the latest toys and candy shop windows. Rough
individuals haggled about prices while posh ones acted indifferent. Couples walked
together pointing and chatting, as Harry was led down the busy street, taking it all in.
A black cat meowed in the window of another pet shop, pacing back and forth while
watching people pass by. Harry was stunned to see a decidedly normal looking
couple walking towards them with a girl his age leading them along. She was
wearing a grey knitted cap and carrying an arm full of boxes, with a bright infectious
smile, seeming to be the happiest around. They exchanged glances as Harry
stumbled on the uneven cobble, practically running into a rack of brooms. Nothing
fell over except his pride, so he rushed away after Hagrid, not paying attention to the
minuscule guards in uniform they passed on the polished white steps.
Shiny silver doors with words he didn't catch opened outward as Harry finally noticed
the workers. They wore tailored suits covering pale, almost greyish skin, and some
grew manicured beards with most all at some stage of baldness. Long pointed ears
stuck out nearly as much as their bulbous heads and sharp noses, yet the keen
jagged teeth caught Harry's eyes. He tried not to stare as probably a hundred or
more sat counting coins, weighing gems, and scribbling numbers into oversized
books. The grandiose marble hall definitely shouted 'bank' despite the unusual
clerks, and more surely than any coins or high wooden counters might. Wizards
stood waiting in lines, some being led through doors while others negotiated with the
short clerks.
"Why do they look like that?" Harry whispered.
"Goblins, they run the place. Would be a fool to try stealing from them."
"Right, magical creatures, of course." Harry shook his head in bewilderment,
wondering if he might faint from all the surprises today.
Making for an open counter, Hagrid began to talk, while Harry closed his eyes and
let himself relax. Ignoring the outside world, he calmed his mind and let the day sink
in, feeling at ease with his surroundings, and freeing himself from built up stress to

experience the present. He'd read up on meditation years ago, and while he didn't
know if he was doing it the right way, it worked for him. Opening his eyes to the
hustle and bustle of the active bank was strange, because it was suddenly quiet. All
the goblins were staring - at him.
"Harry, this way." Urged Hagrid, while waving him over towards one of the side
doors. Harry looked around for a second, then hurried off as the noise began again.
The plain stone passageway they entered was in stark contrast to the opulence they
just left. With what looked like a rickety mining cart for transportation, Harry was not
impressed by the layout or practicality of the place. The winding maze of tunnels
seemed to have no purpose except to make people sick, namely Hagrid. They
picked up speed and dropped lower, becoming more of a rollercoaster, passing by
an underground lake and making steep curves and dives.
Eventually they came to a halt in front of a humble curved door, in which their goblin
guide unlocked, revealing stagnant green smoke that Harry covered his nose and
mouth to avoid breathing. Looking up as the air cleared, he saw it, a mountainous
pile of gold, silver, and bronze coins, some neatly stacked while others were strewn
about the place. His eyes danced in glee at the sight, unable to estimate how much
was there.
"All yers, Harry." Hagrid forced the words out while holding his mouth as well, but for
another reason.
Some other artifacts and jewelry were hung up on the walls, with a small shelf to one
side containing scrolls and drawers of other things. Hagrid handed him a bag to
carry some coins, which he stuffed full, noticing the lightness of them and then saw
another few purses already full, which he looked into and pocketed.
Breathing deeply, Hagrid managed to explain a bit, "Gold ones are the Galleons I
was talkin' about, which're worth seventeen silver Sickles, and each o' those turn into
twenty nine bronze Knuts. - That's good enough Harry, we best be off, got lots ter
buy."
Harry gazed up with puppy dog eyes, pleading with the giant, "Can't we stay just a
bit longer, there's so much to look through in here."
"Sorry, already runnin' late. Yeh'll get all the time yeh need another day."
Dropping his head in disappointment, Harry urged the giant the same way he
convinced his relatives, "Please?"

Hagrid jerked his head away as if someone threw something at him, "What the?" He
looked around in confusion, "Where did that..." He looked down at Harry and at his
empty hands, "Did yeh...? Naa, couldn't be. - We better go now."
Wearing a perplexed expression himself, Harry picked up the few extra bags when
Hagrid turned away and stuffed them in his pockets too, then followed after. Before
they took off, he asked the goblin a question, "Are these coins solid gold and silver?"
He shook his head with a smirk, "Hollow, charmed to never age and always contain
the exact amount of metal they're worth around the world. Makes 'em easy to carry
too." They all got into the cart again, "Don't worry, greater minds than yours have
tried to take advantage of goblins, and lost dearly." The diminutive creature raised
his eyebrows suggestively and off they went again.
Another long twisting journey down even steeper curves and turns, growing colder
and colder as they descended, which brought them to a large ornate metal door. It
seemed rather extravagant for Hagrid's tastes, Harry thought, but he didn't even
know why they were coming here. With a reverent motion, the goblin brushed a
finger down the door, causing it to fade away. What surprised Harry more though,
was that all it contained was a tiny crude bag, which Hagrid pocketed, not even
bothering to look inside.
The goblin spoke up again in a superior tone, "If anyone but a Gringotts goblin tried
that, they'd be sucked through the door and trapped in there."
"How do you know when that happens?" Harry inquired.
"We check, every ten years." He nearly snarled in pleasure.
"...So you kill people for attempted theft?"
Narrowing his eyes, he brushed the question off, "We don't kill them, it's their own
fault for trying. But I did say other's lost dearly."
Harry continued on, not noticing the irritation growing on the goblin's face, "Setting a
trap to kill someone and killing them yourself isn't much different. And shouldn't the
punishment fit the crime?"
Stepping between the irate goblin and Harry, Hagrid grunted, "Enough Griphook,
we'll be goin' now."
Lost in thought all the way back, the sudden halt woke him from his revere. Back
inside the bank, Harry stopped by another free clerk, and asked him a few quick

questions, the price of opening another vault, if there was a way to access his gold
without the cart ride, and what the exchange rate for the British Pound was. Some of
it was depressing, but he offered an idea to the clerk.
"Have you ever thought about keeping individual written accounts just for money?
So people can deposit, and receive their money from you without having to spend so
much time riding carts all day? You might save a lot on labor as well." The Older
goblin looked baffled by what was said, but also thoughtful. "Only an idea, but the
British banks have been doing it for ages, and it's a lot quicker. Bye." He bounded
away after an impatient and peaky giant.
oOoOo
Basking in the radiant sunlight of a wonderful day, full of possibilities, Harry stretched
wide and smiled, "Now, to go exploring."
Hagrid shuffled his ample feet down the steps, "Would yeh mind if I rested for a bit
while yeh buy yer uniform? Those cart rides don't agree with the haggis I had this
mornin'." Harry nodded in agreement and sympathy, "Be on that bench if yeh need
anythin'." He pointed to one close by.
Harry took out his list and glanced around at the shops. Clothing sounded boring,
and so did cauldrons and scales. He wanted to save the books for last to spend any
time left he had there, so his wand would be first. Ollivander's wand shop seemed a
good choice, as he saw the people milling about inside. He nodded to Hagrid and
pointed where he was going. Walking up to the door, it opened before him to be
greeted by that exuberant smiling girl again. This time she was carrying a long thin
box, not paying attention to a thing around her. Harry stepped out of her way, yet she
still bumped into him and apologized absentmindedly, already on her way
somewhere else. Her parents followed after, giving him a kindly smile as they
passed.
Chuckling to himself, he entered the meager sized shop to the jingling bell above the
door, noticing the austere atmosphere of a single chair and large wooden counter
beside it. Everywhere else was crammed full of dusty narrow boxes lining every inch
of the walls and few aisles, except in a far corner where a pleasant light was shining.
No one seemed to be around so he made his way over, noticing it came from a
locked display case. Inside was an oddly colored wand, dark with blue and green
highlights, carved with hundreds of delicate swirling patterns up the entire length, as
if someone tried to imagine the wind trapped in wood. Laid upon a purple pillow
similar to the display in the window, it gave off a faint blue glow, growing brighter as
he stepped closer. His hand hit glass before he realized what it was doing.

"I thought I'd be seeing you in here soon. Harry Potter." Harry jumped at the quiet
voice beside him, bumping into a wall of boxes. "Terribly sorry, I didn't mean to
startle you." An older man with disheveled white haired came into view, wearing a
slightly tattered suit, a long face and stark silver eyes that studied Harry intently.
"That is a fascinating wand is it not? Oh my, quite fascinating..." He was transfixed
with the glowing case now, giving Harry a reprieve.
"How?" Harry noticed his hood had fallen back, exposing his scar, "I mean, yes, it is
a nice wand. How much is it?"
"I'm terribly sorry again, but this one isn't for sale. Come, come, let us find you a
proper wand like your parents. I remember them coming in for their first wands as if it
was only yesterday." He led Harry back towards the counter and began measuring
his arm and height, leaving the device to continue on it's own as he walked off
picking out a few boxes. "Yes, willow and mahogany were your parent's chosen
wands, good quality woods, both made with unicorn hair, possibly from the same
animal even. Let's see what is in store for you today." The tape measure stopped
after he waved it off, and handed Harry the first one to try.
Handing Harry wand after wand, telling him to give them a good swish but snatching
some of them back mid-swing even, began to get tiring. "Peculiar, but that's what
makes things so much fun. Finding that one elusive wand that connects. It's the
wand that chooses the wizard, I'll have you know."
Harry kept glancing back to the display in the corner, wondering if he should try
convincing anyone else to do what he wanted in this odd world of magic. In the end
he decided against it. "Here now, an unusual combination, holly and phoenix feather,
but just may be..."
Gripping the simple and smooth wand tightly, Harry felt warm tingling along his arm,
like the blood was rushing through to his hand in an attempt to get closer. He
brought it around in a quick flourish to produce tremendous scarlet flames in the air,
burning to gold as they slowly faded away.
Ollivander clapped and smiled, "Bravo, that is quite a unique wand, and how
curious... how curious indeed..."
Harry smiled at the pleasant and satisfying feeling of his own wand, but now that he
knew what it felt like, wanted more. "Would you mind if I looked at that other wand
one more time? It was just so, interesting." He nodded at the far corner, where they
met.
Pursing his lips in contemplation, Ollivander tentatively agreed, "I suppose I could

tell you a small story about it as well, but you mustn't get your hopes up, for even
adult men have longed for that wand since childhood. I was even thinking of putting
it away, since all it does is tempt people with what they cannot have. Yet it does bring
in customers."
The blue glow shined brighter once again as they moved towards it, and Ollivander
began his story. About how the core was so rare it was passed down from his
grandfather, to his father, to him, never finding a suitable wood until forty some years
ago, when he accidentally stumbled upon the perfect piece already carved into
something else, lost in a small forest. It took him a year to carve it down into a wand
and imbue the core within the wood, being extremely careful so as to get everything
perfect. It was one of his favorite creations, an experimental piece and too
unpredictable to sell, he had never before made anything like it, nor know of anyone
else who had either.
Building up his courage Harry asked a few questions, "What is it made from?"
"The wood is twelve inches long, a special kind I rarely ever try, due to the difficulty,
rarity, and cost, it is called Lignum Vitae. And the core... the core, is Nundu whisker."
He said it in awe at the mere name.
"Do - do you ever let anyone hold it?"
He became cagey again, inspecting Harry once more, "...I have, in the past, ...very
rarely. But no one has yet to get a positive reaction from it." Glancing back and forth
from the radiant wand to Harry, he became more uncomfortable.
"If the wand chooses the wizard, why don't you let more people try it?" Harry tried to
sound curious, rather than desperate.
"I did, at first, but one naive boy very nearly brought down the roof on himself, trying
to get it to work for him. Since then I've only let those who seem compatible hold it,
yet no longer wave it about."
Harry's eyebrows rose at that, "If I promise not to wave it, could I perhaps try holding
it for a second?"
The faltering look in his wrinkled, strained eyes said much, as if he wanted to see
what might happen, but feared it just as much. He fiddled with his buttons and
chewed his lip in anxious consideration. Finally he replied, "Alright... but only if you
promise!"
"Of course."

Shaking his head at the madness, Ollivander began opening the locked case, one
spell at a time, and finally using an actual key at the last to open it up completely.
"Go ahead, but be gentle." Harry reached in slowly, noticing the blue light grow
stronger, brighter the closer his hand got, becoming hard to see as he was nearly
touching it. With a single finger he made contact and the light disappeared,
transforming into dazzlingly blue flower buds sprouting from the surface of it. Harry
pulled his hand away in shock, feeling a strange electricity along his skin, a little light
headed and giddy, not knowing if he did something wrong.
"Oh, my..." Ollivander scratched his chin and closed the lid to stare. The buds stood
still, giving off a faint light of their own.
"I... I need to try that again."
Ollivander shook his head, "Even I don't know what this means Mr Potter. Not for this
wand. It could be a sign it is choosing you, or a deadly poison, forming to stop you
from trying. That is the nature of the core, deadly yet fascinating."
"They're just flowers! They don't come from a monster, but the wood. I can feel it
now, calling out to me." Harry was nearly pleading, begging just to touch it one more
time. "Please, you have to let me just hold it."
Taking out his own wand again, he pinched the bridge of his nose and gently
nodded, "Fine, but hold it over the pillow, and drop it immediately if you I tell you to,
or you sense anything awry." He pulled open the case one more time and held his
wand at the ready.
Confidently but smoothly Harry reached for the wand, and gripped it in his hand with
an exhilarating rush of energy flowing through him, feeling as if the world around him
slowed its pace. The flowers began to bloom, and a breeze rushed through the shop,
bringing with it a pleasant floral scent as petals flew off into the air circling around
them. The blue glow was back, centered around the flowers and Harry took a deep
breath lavishing in the tingling sensation in his hand. It demanded to be waved,
feeling an overwhelming urge to do so, Harry resisted, if only not to upset Ollivander
again.
"Marvelous... how long I've been waiting for this day..." He studied the wand for a
while, then looked down at the petals on the floor and around at the breeze still
kicking up dust in the shop. "I must ask you to put it down now. I still cannot sell it to
you."
"What!? You saw how it reacted when I only touched it, and I haven't even waved it
yet. It belongs with me, not sitting inside a locked case for eternity!" Harry could

barely contain his outrage.


Walking over to his counter, he packed up Harry's other wand, wrapped it in red
paper and set it aside, ignoring the incredulous looks thrown his way. "It is too
dangerous, especially for one so young who has not even learned to produce a
single spell yet. Even regular wands can create disasters in untrained hands, let
alone one such as this. No, I could not in good conscious sell it. At least not until you
are much older with complete control of your magic."
"You want me to wait how many years, or decades until I even get to try using it?
You can see it's not dangerous, if you just let me prove it to you." He stopped talking,
trying to resist the urgent need building in his hand to wave it, feeling like it had been
itching for a week straight.
"No, I should never have even made it, being so reckless and arrogant in my youth I
didn't consider the ramifications. More importantly it is incredibly dangerous to tempt
fate and allow one person to carry the destiny of two such powerful wands."
Harry shook his head, "That's what this is about? Some superstition about destiny?"
He threw his arms in exasperation, and realized what he'd done at the last second,
his eyes widening in alarm. The wooden counter-top sprouted, burgeoning forth into
a sapling, growing taller by the second and branching out to fill the entire ceiling of
the shop. Ollivander eventually recovered from the shock, rushing to cast spell after
spell, finally halting it's progress before it broke through the roof.
Mumbling something under his breath, Ollivander stared up in amazement. He stood
there for a minute, taking it all in, and then turned towards Harry, noticing the
apologetic expression he had on. "At least no one is hurt. But I must insist you-"
The tree began growing again, slower this time, but the roof creaked at the strain.
Quickly recasting his spells got it under control. He readjusted his waistcoat and tie,
then began again, "Now, I must ask-"
Again it swelled upwards, and the roots spread towards him before he finished the
spells again. It took him a few more times of being interrupted mid sentence before
he noticed what was causing it, his own words. Giving up in dismay, he put his
hands on his hips and glared at the wand, "Fine! Fine, just don't say I didn't warn
you. One destiny should be enough for anyone, but we'll see what you do with two!"
No more growing occurred, as he waved Harry forward and pulled out a new box
and wrapping.
Harry could barely restrain his overjoyed smile, not wanting to rub in Ollivander's
defeat at the hands of a tree. A weak grin was the least he could manage. He pulled

out a small sack of coins, watching as his two wands were wrapped up and placed
before him in a bag, beside the indoor tree. "So how do most people carry their
wands so they don't ever break? Do they make special pockets, or have.. holsters or
something?"
Ollivander glanced at the sack of coins and responded, "Correct on both counts, but
generally people ignore the safety of their wands, preferring to find what is
comfortable. Most use a special pocket, but some prefer custom made holsters,
designed with concealing and protective enchantments."
Looking up at Harry not in defeat, but in victory, Ollivander spoke evenly. "The
price... comes to fifty seven galleons." Sure that Harry couldn't hold that much in
such a small container, he looked away to avoid any argument, fiddling with the
register. "I'm sorry if you are unable to pay, but only your first wand costs seven
galleons, due to the ministry providing assistance for new students. Regular wands
cost fifty, which I think is an amazing deal, considering the nature and time it took to
create your second wand." He faced forward again with a regretful smile.
Which immediately changed to a frown of distress, as Harry plunked down the whole
amount on the table. He picked up the bag and thanked the eccentric old man,
apologized about the tree, and inquired about a holster shop before he left. It took a
little more convincing to tell him, but Harry was already home free. He exited the
shop feeling triumphant, almost running into Hagrid carrying two large ice cream
cones.
oOoOo
They ate while window shopping, and Harry told Hagrid about his wands, glossing
over the details, and pretty much everything else as well. Still surprised by the idea
that he got two wands, rather than the magic that came out of them, Hagrid
recounted his experience getting his first wand. Admitting that his was broken upon
being expelled from Hogwarts, hinting that he might keep the second one a secret,
just in case. At least that's what Harry took from it.
An owl swooped down from the sky, dropping a letter right into Hagrid's beard, which
somehow caught the edges and held it there. He picked it out and read, "Don't have
much time, not enough for all yer shopping today. - What do you say to coming back
next week, on yer birthday? We can spend the whole day here."
Harry thought it over for a second, "I'd like that, but could we please get my books
before we leave? I might go crazy if I don't have anything to read about magic after
coming here."

"Sure, but we need to make it quick."


Heading for the closest one they entered Flourish and Blotts, to see the normal
couple once again, the father and mother holding multiple bags of supplies and
books while talking with the manager. The young girl was nowhere to be seen,
probably down one of the many isles. Harry walked up to an older lady behind the
counter who wore green leaf shaped reading glasses and a simple sky blue jumper,
"Could I please have the first year books for Hogwarts?"
She glanced up at him from the green oval book she was reading and grinned,
"Certainly." With a wave of her wand, a whole set of books flew to the countertop,
stacking neatly in front of him. "New to Hogwarts are we? It's such a wonderful time,
your first year. Will there be anything else today?"
"Um, would you recommend any books for those new to the magical world?"
Her smile dimmed momentarily but came back stronger than ever, with a tinge of
sympathy, "There's a whole section at the back, behind the aisle on muggle studies.
I recommend Hogwarts, a History and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth
Century, for those interested. Your school books should get you up to speed the rest
of the way, and what they don't, is picked up along the way."
"Muggle studies?"
"Ah, regular non magical people. The section is entitled Muggleborn, for those with
magic born outside of the wizarding world."
Harry thanked her and made his way down the aisle she pointed towards, skimming
through the laughable titles of books he passed, such as When Muggles Attack, and
The Philosophy of the Mundane: Why the Muggles Prefer Not to Know. Around the
corner was the cubbyhole of mentioned books, where the same smiling girl sat cross
legged on the floor. Her eyes were locked onto the pages of an extra large book
laying in her lap, humming pleasantly to some unknown music.
Trying to act casual after his earlier blunders, Harry scanned the shelves above her,
noticing the suggested books, then searching for something else that seemed
interesting. In between curious glances at the cute looking girl, he saw a few that
looked good enough, such as Where There's a Wand, There's a Way, Powers You
Never Knew You Had and What to Do with them Now You've Wised Up, and Don't
Panic, You're a Wizard Now. Most of the others seemed to be history or reference,
with a few how-to books for good measure, which he felt could be saved for later.
Debating about how best to get the books, whether to reach over, or interrupt her

reading, he was startled instead by a rather emphatic stomach growl. Another


gurgling rumble emanated from the small girl a few seconds later while Harry stared.
She ignored it all, not moving except to turn a page, at least until she heard Harry's
subdued giggle. Letting go of the book, her eyes gradually rose to meet his with a
blush suffusing her cheeks.
Just then a noisy ruckus started up, drawing their attention away. What sounded like
three rowdy boys entered the shop, then suddenly quieted after hearing a low grunt,
resembling Hagrid's. They could still be heard shuffling along an aisle, talking quietly.
"You won't believe it, they actually have a muggleborn section here. All they do is
take some books from other areas and double the price, since not a one is smart
enough to catch on." The other two laughed, and the first spoke again, "I bet
Hufflepuff gets all of them this year, since it's all that house is good for, picking up the
trash." Another round of snickering concluded upon rounding the corner and seeing
people there.
Harry marked them with a withering glare, and continued browsing the books,
ignoring them, but the girl had pulled up the large book to hide her face with a white
knuckled grip holding it steady. The three boys coughed and one stammered out a
weak, "Sorry..."
Followed by an elbow to the ribs from the leader, "Shut up Zach."
They started to turn around, but one strayed for a moment, wanting to say
something. "Come on Anthony, we're leaving." Commanded the leader again, and off
they went, giving the first impression of wizard born students.
Closing her book and getting up with a frown on her face, the girl grabbed some
other books sitting on the floor beside her and began to leave. Harry wanted to say
something witty and insightful but settled for, "I liked your smile better." She sped up
at his words, leaving him standing there with his head hanging from the final blunder.
After two seconds of self pity, he shrugged and began loading his arms with books.
Enough to last him a week at least. But before going to pay for them, he walked
around the other sections, noting topics of interest and fields of study that weren't
included in Hogwarts curriculum. As well as satisfying his skepticism about the rude
boy's words. The staff did gather books from different areas of the shop for
muggleborns, but none of them were priced differently. Harry headed for the front
when he was taken aback upon seeing the Necronomicon on a shelf, but laughed
when it turned out to be a boring list of famous dead people. He grabbed one last
book labeled Common Magical Devices and headed back.

Hagrid was glancing at a beat up old pocket watch while holding a newspaper on his
lap, he looked up at Harry's arrival and his arm full of books with a smile, "Get
enough did yeh?" Harry nodded happily and brought them to the counter.
"My, what a good selection you have here." Noted the kind older lady, she waved the
manager away as he came to help, and cast a spell for a quill to write down the book
prices and add them up for her. With another wave of her wand they all packed
themselves in one sizeable bag, made from some strange brown and orange cloth.
She threw in a few magical bookmarks and smiled, "I can tell that you'll be coming
back often. Do remember to bring this canvas bag with you, it makes caring things
much easier. - And if you need anything sent by owl, let me know." She handed
Harry her card, Grace Flora Flourish, Owner, "Everyone just calls me Flora." Then
told him the price with another smile.
While he counted out the right amount of coins, not even caring about the cost, the
door chimed again as someone else entered. "My, Hagrid, what a pleasant surprise.
Come to find that book on Thestrals I was telling you about?"
Hagrid stood up swiftly, "Hullo Amos, no time for that today. Bin escorting a new
student around for school supplies." Harry thanked the owner one more time and
picked up his incredibly light bag of books to walk over near Hagrid. "This is Amos
Diggory, Harry, he works in the department o' magical creatures. - And this, is Harry
Pot - er - Just Harry."
He shook the tall man's hand, noticing his genial smile, florid complexion, and
scrubby brown beard, that evoked thoughts of what Hagrid might have looked like
when he was younger. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you, young man. It seems
word has already gotten around that you're finally attending Hogwarts this year. My
son Cedric is going on his third year now, and I'm sure he would be more than glad
to help if you ever need anything there."
"Thanks..." Harry made sure his hood was pulled up still and nodded to Hagrid, "I'm
sorry, we're running a little late, but it was nice meeting you Mr Diggory, maybe we'll
meet again sometime."
"Of course, it's a wonder I've gotten to meet you in the first place. But you know the
old saying, 'lightning strikes twice when you least expect it'."
On the verge of saying something back, Harry stopped and gave a slight nod of
acknowledgment. Exiting out the shop with Hagrid trailing behind, he had a new
perspective on the people here and the wondrous world he was now apart of.

What kind of rabbit hole did I just fall into?

Chapter 2 - Shopping
Author's Note: As some might notice, I do not have any beta readers. So at times I
come back and fix things, and improve stuff as well. Meaning by the time the first
book is done, a second read through might even be better.
Chapter 2
Shopping
The sun still shined brightly in the sky as Harry was dropped off in front of his house
once more. He waved goodbye to Hagrid while gripping his bag of curiosities tightly
in his hand, not wanting to let go for fear of losing it all in the wind. Unlocking the
door he picked up his note on the table and was a relieved to see his relatives
weren't home yet. Then he saw the broken couch and groaned. He had forgotten to
ask Hagrid to fix it before they left. And was too distracted reading his new books on
the bus ride home to remember. Plausible excuses and lies ran through his head for
a moment before the extra-light books weighed on his mind.
I can do magic too.
There was even a spell in one of the books he skimmed through, specifically to
repair things. He looked at the living room clock, since his digital one stopped
working in Diagon Alley. It was only two pm, and no one would be back until eight at
the earliest. He had six hours to learn one spell, something that he guessed might
take months to perfect based on the light reading he'd done. Whatever the results, it
sounded better than trying to come up with a lame excuse and still be grounded until
he left for school. That was another question rolling around in his mind, will my
relatives even allow me to go? Hagrid said he needed to speak with them about a
few things next week, before they left, but even with his intimidating stature and
magic, could he convince them? Maybe with my help he could...
Shaking his head at the extraneous thoughts he quickly ran upstairs and laid out the
books on his bed. It took a moment to sort through them and find the spell again,
then another to read the relevant chapter which was highly confusing. He skipped
through the Magical Theory book trying to find any advice on practical applications
but came up with little. Quicker than he probably should have, he read through the
beginning of the spell books, trying to glean any hint of secret techniques or
understandable methods to succeed faster. One even warned of trying to perform
any new spell on your own unsupervised. That made him wary, slowing down to read
more thoroughly, but didn't change his mind.

After rereading the basic instructions on the spell and how it was performed, then
ignoring the rest, it finally can time to take out a wand. Staying on the safe side, he
unwrapped the phoenix feather one, while wondering what an actual phoenix looked
like. He practiced the simple wand movement, again and again until he had it down.
Then repeated the incantation, which was even simpler. With great hesitation, he
performed them together, pointing at his wall. When nothing bad happened, he
continued, making sure it all felt natural by the time he was satisfied.
A brilliant notion struck before heading downstairs. He would test it out on one of
Dudley's broken toys. It would be perfect, since most of them were hidden in his old
room, the cupboard under the stairs, which no one ever opened except to throw
another broken item into. Rushing down to pick one out, he grabbed the first thing he
saw, a remote controlled airplane Dudley recently got for his birthday, with one wing
hanging on by only a bit of plastic. Back in his room, he set it in the middle of the
floor, and arranged his computer chair in front of it, sitting down to practice another
few times. His anxiety built, skin prickling, itching, worrying about what might
happen, what could go wrong, and how he might be punished even worse.
He breathed deep, closing his eyes and letting it all float away. He could feel the
wand reacting to his increasingly relaxed state of mind, the tingling sensation on his
hand returned, urging magic to flow. He let it, performing the spell and directing the
feeling through the wand and at the broken toy sitting alone on the ground. It moved,
jumping up into the air and falling back down, breaking the wing completely off this
time.
"Well that's disappointing."
Speaking to the empty room he looked closer at the toy, seeing nothing different, he
laid the pieces together to try again. But after repeating the entire process he only
succeeded in sending it flying higher into the air. He tried a few more times without
success. Checking back over the books again wasn't very helpful, especially once
he got lost reading through the Standard Book of Spells, closing it to find he only had
an hour left until his doom. His stomach growled, reminding him of a missed dinner,
and of the girl in the bookstore.
Plodding down to the kitchen, he picked up a couple pieces of fruit and a half eaten
sandwich leftover from the three Dudley had the day before. He placed a new biscuit
tin on the coffee table and took a few out to match the enlarged one already hidden
in his room. If he managed to get that spell down he figured it would make sneaking
the good food a lot easier. While eating an orange one slice at a time, he headed
back to his books, pulling out one he hadn't tried yet. Don't Panic, You're a Wizard
Now was a lovely title, but it started out simply listing the easier ways wizards did

things than muggles. Starting fires, cleaning dishes, growing food, traveling places,
and his current problem, fixing things. It listed the spells commonly used for each,
and some useful ideas for spells that even wizards commonly forgot about. Yet the
reparo chapter was surprisingly boring, giving loads of useless ideas on what you
could repair.
He kept reading, if only to occupy his mind from his forthcoming punishment and
screaming lecture. Despite his success at stopping his relatives from hitting, nothing
seemed to deter them from screaming. Except his appearance of being completely
innocent, which wasn't likely to happen this time. Coming to the end of the list, he
was nibbling on a piece of inflated biscuit and noticed a footer at the bottom of the
page, referencing how to get liquids back in containers during repair. 'If you are
having an especially hard time doing so, concentrate on and imagine exactly what
you want to happen, in the exact order needed.'
That's what I was doing... wasn't it? He's thought back, remembering how he cast
the spell, his whole process, and what he thought about. But couldn't, because he
was simply expecting it to work, putting no effort or imagination into it. Now that he
understood the point, he realized the other books said to do the same thing, yet in
not so simple terms which he was ignoring, such as 'recreate the process by which
the target is constructed. Allowing for standard deviation of intelligent feedback on
visual and sub-visual levels.' Or at least it sounded like the same concept.
Looking at his now reset watch left him with fifteen minutes, and while he could
never count on the Dursleys being on time, he didn't like his odds. Sitting back down
in his chair he ran through his meditation once more, enjoying the feeling of magic
rushing through him to get at the wand. With careful consideration, he opened his
eyes and stared at the dismal looking toy. Imagining exactly how it should come
together and stay that way. Replaying the thought in his mind as he cast the spell
gave him a shock, as the exact movement was recreated in front of him. No flying, or
falling, or further breaking this time. It was fixed.
Picking it up with a mistrustful laugh, Harry inspected it completely, turning it over
and over in his hands and running his finger over the space where a seam ought to
be, but felt nothing. He gave a triumphant cheer and headed down the stairs
absentmindedly, to look for the remote in the cupboard. The idea of being able to fix
every broken toy and device in the house had him giggling in delight, until what he
did fully set in. He had cast a spell, with a wand. It was real magic.
As he was opening the cupboard door, lights passed by the windows, and the roar of
an engine pulled up and stopped in front of the house. They we early, for once.

Throwing the plane in and closing the door, he bolted toward the couch, taking aim
with his wand. His mind was screaming in panic about being caught, and was about
to cast without thinking or even relaxing again, but forced himself to stop. His heart
kept pounding, shaking his whole chest, racing, thundering past even the escape
from Ripper, being chased up a tree. His hearing was drowned out, his hands
trembling, and just like that time, he breathed deeply and took control. With a slow
and measured motion, he swung his wand at precise angles, imagining the couch
whole, restored fabric sliding back into place, mended wood fitting back together,
and then let loose his magic, "Reparo!"
And there it was. Fixed, hovering two inches in the air.
He jumped on top of it as the front door opened up, letting in the noisy arrival of
cranky relatives. Harry noticed the couch still wasn't flat on the floor, so he mentally
pushed it down, flicking the light switch on across the room with a thought, and
summoning the remote to turn on the TV. Remembering his room, he gently closed
the door and locked it. With one last moment of clarity, he slipped his wand up a
sleeve and changed the channel to something interesting.
"Not that again!" Dudley came charging into the living room, having obviously
pushed past his parents from their annoyed groans, "Mum, Harry's watching Star
Wars on our TV again."
Holding up his hands in surrender, Harry slowly stood, hoping the couch wouldn't
move as he removed his weight. Petunia rounded the corner with a grim look, "Now
what did we say about that insufferable show?"
"Sorry, sorry, I didn't think you'd mind when no one else was home. I'll just go to my
room and read." He handed the controller over while Dudley plopped down on the
couch, making sure it could never move again.
As Harry entered the hallway, Vernon crooked a finger at him once he managed to
wiggle free of his jacket. "You haven't been up to any, funny business, while we were
gone, have you? Because if I even smell-"
"I promise, you probably can't imagine how boring it was, but at least it was better
than watching home movies about cats all day long. I'll get out of your hair now."
Vernon sniffed in agreement, making his way to the couch beside Dudley. Harry
winced at the loud THUMP he heard while walking up the stairs, but there were no
cracks or screams that followed. Unlocking the door to his room from the outside, he
closed it behind him and slumped down in relief, his heart still thudding in his chest.

oOoOo
Nearly the whole week long Harry pretended to be sick, staying in his room, reading
his books, and practicing magic. Making a list of what he wanted to do and buy on
his birthday, while thinking constantly about the wizarding world, and what it all
meant. It was hard for him not to race outside and catch a ride back to Diagon alley
on the knight bus again, after reading a chapter on wizarding transportation that
explained how to get its attention. However during the nights, he would sneak
downstairs to gather broken things and repair them, wondering if savvy wizards
bought up broken antiques to sell them back to muggles, as regular people were
called. But from reading a bit about wizarding laws, there was probably one
designed to stop that.
While some books caught his interest and absorbed his attention until they were
read, others were so boring and made no sense that he saved saved them for later,
most of which were for school subjects. Hogwarts, a History, was rather fascinating
in some parts yet extremely dull in others, making him question the authenticity
sometimes, or be baffled by seemingly outlandish facts included within. Such as how
every founder just happened to have parents who loved alliteration so much they
wanted to torture their children with it. Maybe that pain of related childhood brought
them together, or maybe Stan Lee is really a time traveler. The more likely scenario
he figured might be that it was simply popular to alliterate names in wizarding
culture, since even the author suffered from that curse.
Not until the day before his birthday did Harry pretend to be getting better, asking
Petunia and Vernon if he could talk to them about his school choice tomorrow. He
mentioned it late at night, so they only grumbled instead of starting up a tirade about
how ungrateful he was. That night he had trouble sleeping, if only in eager
anticipation of what would come.
The next morning he woke to a incessant hammering on his door, having overslept
his alarm. He jumped up in frantic search for respectable clothes he could blend in
with, called out in answer that he'd be up in a moment, and threw back on his grey
hoodie which he had altered to hold his wands securely up his sleeves. The
hammering never ceased as he finally answered it in frustration.
"What?" But it was only Dudley and his gang, come for a round of insults, thinking to
corner him in his room so no one would get hurt falling down.
That was Harry's favorable discouragement which worked to persuade Dudley from
early attempts at 'Harry Hunting', yet they still manage to brave their past scrapes
and bruises, in order to taunt him and try getting him in trouble. It took effort trying to

curb their mob mentality, even with his blase approach to their insults.
They stepped back at his vehement question, not sure if this was a good idea or not.
One in the back felt less vulnerable and piped up, "Where's the nutter going today?
Back to the loony bin he grew up in?"
Harry chuckled along with them, "Good thing I grew up here, so that'd be a short
journey, but actually I have other plans. You're welcome to stay if you like, there's
free straight jackets in Dudley's room, and I'm sure you'll fit right in."
Being bigger and stronger, they didn't budge at his attempt to push past them. "Hey
mong, how'd you get a new cine-cam, did ya nick it?"
"Oi! That's mine!" Dudley shouted, pushing Harry away as he barged into the room
and grabbing it off his table.
Rolling his eyes, Harry complained, "Well thanks for ruining the surprise Dennis. I
was fixing it for when he left for Smeltings, but now that's all cocked up. Better go
outside to test how well it works." He ushered them out of his room, following along
behind the confused bullies, down the stairs, and out into the back yard where he
locked the door behind them.
Making his way back to the kitchen, he caught Petunia and Vernon there and sat
down at the table. "About my schooling... I got an offer to go to a prestigious
boarding school far away." He held up his hands to stall their comments, "Don't
worry, it won't cost you anything, completely paid for by a special scholarship. But
the thing is, there's a staff member that wanted to come by and talk to you today.
He'll be here in about ten minutes."
The outrage and indignation started bubbling out of uncle Vernon as petunia
appeared shocked and unprepared by an unexpected guest in her home. She began
cleaning up while Vernon lambasted him with scathing remarks, "Why you
ungrateful, bothersome, useless... smarmy... did you say 'far away'? But still, we
take you into our home, feed you, put clothes on your... did you also say 'paid for'?"
His red faced impression of a puffer fish didn't last long as he considered things and
Petunia took over.
"Why didn't you say something about this yesterday, you unruly, spoilt brat! I could
have been cleaning all morning, but here you wake up after breakfast, throwing this
nonsense at us-" She stopped mid-scrubbing and looked up worried, "What did you
say the name of this school was?" unable to keep her voice from cracking at the
end.

"You don't have to worry about cleaning, he just wanted to talk for a minute or two.
And I think it best to leave describing the school up to him." Harry observed her
strange behavior carefully, noting her jaw trying and failing to form words.
"VERNON!" She finally screamed, "It's that school he's talking about!"
Jolted out of is contemplative sip of tea, Vernon flew unnaturally up from his seat.
His face and body began to twitch in disgust and extreme aversion, as if he was
being shoved head first down a sewer pipe. "You mean... where they learned it all!? NO! I will not have it in my home!"
Harry sat there amused, understanding it all at last. The early revulsion at his curious
questions, the fear and unease any time he would do something strange, and the
complete unreasonable anger at his reading fantasy books or magic tricks. They
knew there really was magic, yet tried to deny it everywhere, even in him. Then the
doorbell rang. "Would you like me to get it?"
Their eyes flared open in dawning horror as Vernon scrambled down the hallway and
Petunia seized a rolling pin. Harry chuckled, and got up to calmly walk towards the
door as well. It was already locked with a large mass of yellow striped blubber
leaning against it in panic. The doorbell rang again, and then a weighty knock
vibrated the door right after. "Go away!" Shouted his uncle, squeezing his eyes
closed in prayer. Harry walked up and then kneeled down to look him in the eyes.
"Uncle Vernon," His eyelids shot open in alarm, "you already know I can do magic,
you've known it for four years. I may not have known what it was called, but we both
have come to accept what I can do, if not out loud." Vernon gritted his teeth and held
on for dear life as the whole wall shook with the next knocks on the door. "You're
only making this harder for yourself, and for your family when you resist the
inevitable." Harry looked back at Petunia, Dudley, and his gang, all staring at them in
worry. Vernon Shook his head vigorously and snarled his defiance at an unjust
reality as more vigorous knocks vibrated the house. Harry shrugged in return and
stood up, "If that's how you want to act, then you're just in the way." The door
unlocked on its own as Vernon looked up in terror. The doorknob began to turn and
his hands latched on, trying to keep it still, but only started turning with it. Finally the
door cracked open, slowly squeezing his mound of flesh to the side, as he struggled
and whimpered in futile arm waving.
"Mornin', bit sluggish today aren't we?" Hagrid's massive head bent low to peek into
the house.
With a smile Harry waved him inside, as scuffling feet could be heard running away

behind him. "Got off on the wrong foot this morning, but everything should be alright
now. Would you like a cup of tea?"
"Don' mind if I do." The door slammed shut behind him with a dumbfounded uncle
Vernon sprawled out in front of it. Hagrid looked back in reproach, "Dursley." He
nodded at Petunia's rolling pin and made his way to the living room, once again
breaking the already weak couch.
It only took twenty minutes to explain how things would work, coming home for
summers, being taken to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies, and leaving on
September the first for Hogwarts. Meeting little resistance from an already defeated
uncle, crouched despondently in his chair, and an aunt who was too flabbergasted
by the giant man sitting on her ruined couch, daintily drinking tea from her best set.
The boys looked in the window once, but ran away again as Hagrid waved hello. He
admonished Harry's relatives for not explaining about his parents, or his heritage,
but couldn't keep going for long at the pitiful looks they were wearing. Finally
informing them he was taking Harry out for his birthday and shopping, which they'd
be back sometime near dark. They didn't even get up, until Harry repaired the couch
one more time in front of them, right after Hagrid exited out the door. Vernon nearly
choked as Petunia screeched in such a high pitch that a window pane cracked.
Quickly grabbing the purses of money and canvas bag hidden in his room and
locking it after, Harry met up with Hagrid on the curb. "Mind if I try this time?" He
asked while taking out his wand. A grin and a nod of approval was all he needed,
within moments of a simple wand wave came a familiar exciting BANG in front of
him. The violently purple triple-decker bus appeared, opening its doors as it came to
a stop, and they were off.
oOoOo
Passing through the dim pub and through the back door, Harry's stomach grumbled
at the pleasant smells of bacon and eggs they just passed. Hagrid put one enormous
hand on his shoulder and turned him back around, directing him to one of the barely
lit booths off to one side of the room. "Can't have yeh playin' all day on an empty
stomach, now can we?" He easily got the attention of a waitress and ordered two
breakfasts with some pumpkin juice for Harry. Drinking and eating with his hood still
up gave him a feeling of being watched; uneasy, he scanned the room but spotted
no one starring. They ate quickly, both enjoying it and hungry enough for the rather
generous portions before them. Hagrid paid and thanked Tom and the waitress on
their way out.
"Want ter try yer hand at this one too?" Hagrid pointed at the brick on the wall.

With a pleased expression, Harry got out his wand again, "Sure." and tapped three
times as the archway opened before him. Back were the smells and sounds of a
bustling wizard center, welcoming them once again. The street was crowded tighter
than last time even for so early in the morning, but following close behind Hagrid
made travel easy.
Entering the cauldron shop first, they browsed around, looking at all the different
types and features. Hagrid suggested the basic pewter model for the price, but Harry
latched onto a collapsible one with spill resistant sides, which happened to be on
sale for not much more. Next was a potions supply shop, where Harry got some
plain glass vials, a silver knife, mortar and pestle, brass scales, and dragonhide
gloves, not seeing the need for anything special there, except a self grinding mortar
and pestle kit; as any other added features were extremely expensive. Outside Harry
examined the gloves carefully, trying to imagine them attached to a real dragon at
some point, while making their way down the busy cobble street.
Stopping in Scribbulus Writing Implements, Harry reluctantly purchased a few quills,
some ink, and parchment, inquiring why they didn't use pens or pencils. Hagrid didn't
know, especially because he'd never heard of either. While some of the inks
sounded useful, others were merely decorative, yet pretty. He bought a small bottle
of self correcting ink, just to try it out, and wandered around the shop, fascinated by
all the expensive quills from different magical and non magical birds with special
enchantments on some.
A strange man in a turban bumped into Hagrid outside, apologizing profusely with a
rather annoying stutter. Hagrid clapped him on the back with a smile, "Why professor
Quirrell, good ter see yeh out an' about. Gettin' more books before yer finally
prepared?"
"Why y-y-yes, just f-f-finishing up. And y-you?" He peered around nervously, like he
was afraid of some monster about to pounce.
Harry hid on the other side of Hagrid, valuing his anonymity while pretending to
examine a shop window. Glancing around quickly, Hagrid caught sight of what he
was doing, "Shoppin' is all," He held up the few packages he was helping to carry
and shook them, "Best get to it though, got lots ter do. Was nice seein' yeh." The
man walked away reluctantly, and then picked up speed soon after, making for The
Leaky Cauldron.
"You're not going to tell me he's the professor of pronunciation at Hogwarts are you?
Because there's a limit to how much irony I can take in a day." Harry asked as they
walked towards an apothecary.

"Nope, Defense Against the Dark Arts. - Not much better, I admit, but he knows his
stuff, otherwise Dumbledore wouldn' have hired him for it."
Inside the shop, Harry marveled at varied parts from all kinds of creatures, magical
or otherwise, while trying to ignore the pungent smells. One side of the room stocked
jars of frog brains, baskets stuffed full of glittering fairy wings, and bundles of dark
werewolf fur. Bowls of assorted animal eyes were stacked on shelves in the center of
the shop, next to tubs of colourful eggs underneath, with bottle after bottle of
assorted fluids on top. Some of those held viscous and bright red bloods, or yellow,
black, and clear venoms, while others contained the dull green mucus of slugs, and
something called a flobberworm. On the other side, he looked through dried herbs
and powdered roots stacked in the window display, beside preserved flowers and
fresh clippings of unique plants. Hagrid ordered the first year set of ingredients from
a shop clerk while watching Harry inspect all the claws, fangs, and feathers hanging
above their heads. The shop was constantly busy with witches and wizards moving
in and out of isles, gathering much needed supplies, with the constant babble of
lively people.
Noticing many of the ingredients he saw in his potions book, it made Harry wonder
how long they lasted for, and what method was used to find new potions. The old
fashion style of the shop also had him questioning if anyone had ever tried
automating the potion making process, at least until the wand waving part. The cash
register rang, bringing him back to the present to receive his change for the
purchase.
Leading them to the next stop on his mental list, Harry found it easily from the
directions Ollivander gave him the other day. It was a large leather shop, which
carried all variety of dragon hide clothes and gear, along with a few other varieties of
unique leather as well. Searching all around, he finally spotted a scant few wand
holsters in a far corner. One attached on the hip, another fit under the arm around
the chest, and the last gripped below the wrist with a simple mechanism to send it
quickly to your hand like a sleeve gun from a James Bond movie. Knowing exactly
which one he wanted, Harry looked for a second to match, but found none. One
would have to be enough for the present.
He had a bad feeling about bringing it to the front counter without a price on it, and
wasn't disappointed when finding out how much they asked. While trying to haggle
the price down a bit, the manager extolled all it's virtues, such as the slim profile, a
notice-me-not charm on it, how the wand was held by a retractable wire, and that it
was enchanted to protect it from any manner of mischievous spells. Although it
wasn't until Hagrid came to tower over the conversation that the man lowered the
price to something reasonable. Harry eventually talked him down a little more and

bought it, putting it on with his wand already locked in place.


They exited out into the late summer morning, birds chirped in the distance, and a
street vendor pushed his cart by, along with the smell of fresh buttery popcorn.
Hagrid waved him down the next moment, purchasing two bags to stave off hunger
until lunch. "Jus' yer clothes left, - an' what would yeh say ter a pet owl fer a birthday
present? Dead useful for carryin' post, an better than a simple toad by any means."
Harry coughed on a piece of popcorn but quickly recovered, "Oh, that's okay... I
wasn't really wanting a pet yet. I'm not much good with animals anyway..."
Looking a little downcast, Hagrid tried again, "No pet... - how about a gobstone set,
those are always popular?"
"A what?"
"Ah, forgot yeh don't know any wizardin' games. I can't jus' get yer clothes, that's not
much of a present, now it's it? Got anything yeh might be wanting lately?"
Adjusting his glasses, he looked up at Hagrid, "Now that you mention it... I have
been needing a new set of glasses, but I don't suppose there's a way to fix people's
eyes magically, is there?"
"Er - not that I'm aware of, healin' spells only gets yeh back ter the way yeh was
before. But there's bound ter be all kinds o' improvements on muggle glasses. Let's
check after gettin' yer uniform." He opened the door they just arrived at, waving
Harry in. Only to be cast back out again by an unknown spell, with the door closing
in their face. A blank sign on the door flooded with angry red letters, 'No Food
Allowed!'
"Huh, that's one way to tell people." Harry gave a mirthless chuckle.
Hagrid guffawed at the sign but shrugged his shoulders after a bit. "No use fightin' it,
I can wait outside with the popcorn." Harry nodded and handed off his bag to enter
the shop alone.
Walking up to the counter, a stocky witch who seemed to be the manager looked at
him levelly, "Can I help you with something?"
"I need a Hogwarts uniform please, and I was wondering what enchantments could
be put on them?"
She perked up at the first part, but shook her head at the last, "I'm sorry, Hogwarts

robes are not allowed to have special enchantments. But come this way, we'll get
you fitted up. And take off that silly hood, this isn't Knockturn Alley." Harry complied
reluctantly, and when the lady finally noticed his scar she stopped suddenly, "Oh..."
But instead of gushing over him like the last man to figure it out, her smile only grew
and she continued working. Measuring here and there, as the bell rang to announce
another customer. "Would you get that Marry, I'm with a customer already." She
called out to the back, and a pretty young woman in a simple red dress stepped out
from behind a curtain with a smile plastered on her face.
It turned to shock seeing the new customers, she gulped and looked towards the
manager and then caught sight of Harry's scar. Her eyes grew bigger than seemed
possible, becoming very nervous and glancing between the new customers and him,
as if wanting to run for her life. She was able to croak out a few strangled words,
"Madam Malkin! It's them!"
Glancing up impatiently, the older woman noticed the worried expression on the girl's
face and nearly fell over when seeing who entered. Harry glanced around as well but
only noticed a stuffy middle aged woman and her son with his back to him. Madam
Malkin jumped up and pulled harry with her towards the girl. "Take him into the
dressing room, and finish up. I'll handle this."
Pulled along into a fancy dressing room with mirrors everywhere, he watched the
nervous girl try to breath. "I take it this doesn't happen very often?"
The girl gave a sudden snort, "No, I should say not. A former... and the boy... never
mind." She shook her head wearily while doing the same measurements over again
with shaky hands. Harry's look of confusion seemed to halt her words but he couldn't
tell why. Obviously she wasn't comfortable discussing it.
He moved on, "I take it pretty much everyone around here went to Hogwarts, any
advice for a new student?"
"Umm..." She bit her nail while stopping to think for a moment, "I guess you should
study more than I did. Joining clubs are fun, and don't get caught up in all the drama
of house rivalries. Even though everyone makes fun of Hufflepuff and talks bad
about Slytherin, they're just normal people. Although you might want to watch out for
a few bad eggs, no matter which house they get in. - Oh, and avoid Peeves, and
Filch and his cat if you can, nothing good ever comes from getting close to them."
"Thanks, I'll remember that. By the way, do you know why enchantments aren't
allowed on the school uniform? I would imagine that would be the best place for
them."

"Hum, I think it's something about keeping things fair, price and what not, maybe so
posh kids don't show off and no one's singled out. But that happens anyway, even by
teachers. That reminds me, don't get on the bad side of Snape. He was a teacher for
most of my time there, and made it quite painful for those who irritated him. And
don't get too close to any defense professor either. Something always goes mental
with them." She was finished with her measurements ages ago but kept close,
peeking at his scar now and then.
Madam Malkin burst in, scanning the room to make sure everything was okay. She
let go of the scowl she was wearing and replaced it with a cheerful smile. "Well now
that that's over with, let's get your uniform. Maybe add in a protective charm or two."
She gave a conspiratorial wink and ushered him into the main room, as Marry wore
her stunned expression again.
oOoOo
Outside and with his canvas bag nearly full of everything but books, Harry found
Hagrid munching on a fresh bag of popcorn in his hand, the other two long gone. He
wore the new school cloak over his plain clothes at the recommendation of Marry to
blend in better, and hide his scar. So Hagrid didn't recognize him until he said hello.
With Harry's refusal of more popcorn, they traveled to a specialty lens shop that
apparently even Dumbledore himself frequented. That got Harry a little excited, but
he felt too cool in his new cloak to show it.
Taking a few minutes of searching down the far end of the street, they finally arrived
at a extremely tidy shop, full of assorted glasses, binoculars, cameras, and
telescopes. That's when Harry remembered he needed one of those as well. The
shopkeeper called out from the back after hearing the bell, "Be right with you." As
things could be heard being put away. Harry strolled around, inspecting the different
items behind glass displays, similar to a fancy jewelry shop. While Hagrid tried to
stick to the center so he wouldn't break anything.
Antique cameras were set up in one area, yet some looked brand new. Old fashion
microscopes in many styles were displayed on shelves, and a wide array of
magnifying glasses sat on a green felt table, waiting to be examined. The number of
frames for glasses were nearly endless, hung up on the walls around the whole
shop, with many unique designs. Hagrid grunted, "Wonder what those are fer. So
tiny." He was carefully bent over a glass display with something on top.
Harry wandered over to see what he was talking about. It was a tray of tiny lenses
on their own, some stood on their side to show how extremely thin they were, and
appeared to come in pairs. They were labeled 'Conspecs' and had a special notice,

'Never before seen, New Item. Please inquire for details.'


The shopkeeper entered wearing a brown waistcoat, multi-lens glasses and spoke
with an unsure tone, "May I help you, kind sirs?"
"We were wondering what these were." When Harry looked up at him, his demeanor
changed to one of supreme confidence in his field, and extreme pride at the work he
did.
"Of course, those are a new product line I invented, made specifically to avoid the
need for frames like yours, have almost zero chance of breaking, correct your entire
field of vision, and have no need for expensive enchantments like glasses do to keep
them in place, or to stop fogging up. It may seem too good to be true, but there is
only a minor inconvenience to achieve all this."
He hesitated to keep going, so Harry interrupted, "So they're contacts?" And the
man's head dropped dejectedly.
"...Yes... I suppose you already know you don't like them. It's almost impossible to
get wizards to try new things these days. Even with so many improvements, and
useful ideas I've had. And muggleborn don't even consider wizard glasses let alone
wizard contacts when they have optometrists everywhere. Not even changing the
name helped, or offering lifetime guarantees. Can you imagine, the only thing
wizards fear more than the dark arts, is something touching their eye?" He lamented
pitifully, swaying in a dispirited manner about the shop. Hagrid squinted away in
distaste at the thought of what he said.
Harry almost laughed at the severe bipolar personality this man had, but held back.
"Actually, I would like to hear more, I've never got to try contacts before, just getting
a new pair of glasses now and then has been enough so far." The man was back
again, smiling and clasping his hands together in abject glee.
"Really? Why that's marvelous, there might be hope for the next generation yet. Let
me explain it all. Every set comes standard with a self cleaning charm, so there is
absolutely no worry about infection. Some have an anti-theft charm so only you can
summon them to take them out, and the very best hover right over the eye so they
never need to be taken off." He picked out one set near the top, "And these are my
masterpiece. They include all the other features, and a special adaptive vision spell,
fitting to any person's eye as they try to focus. From extremely near, to exceedingly
far, and even allow you to see in the dark." Giggling at his own achievement, he set
them down again in front of Harry.
"Er, How much would somethin' like that go fer?" Hagrid inquired, seeing the interest

on Harry's face.
"Oh, for a lifetime fitting like these? I couldn't take less than one hundred galleons!"
Seeing the incredulous reaction on Hagrid's face, the shopkeeper once again
deflated into remorse at his own words, "But, but, the standard modules are only
forty five to start." Hagrid shook his head again, barely able to comprehend why
anyone would spend that much on miniature pieces of glass.
"Harry... I, um, don't -"
"It's okay Hagrid, I understand" He wiped the sweat away from underneath his cloak,
finally feeling the effects of the winter piece he wore. "I can get-" But he was
interrupted by the frantic shopkeeper this time.
"Are you really? I can't believe it, before by very eyes! Harry Potter! The boy who
lived!" He looked around nervously, and taped his fingers together, then picked up a
camera from behind the counter. "Tell you what, forget the price, you can have the
very best, if I can just get a picture of you putting them on. With Harry Potter wearing
my conspecs, they might actually sell! I could put an ad in the Daily Prophet, get
people coming in to see them even. What do you say?"
Harry looked up at Hagrid and they both shrugged, "Alright," said Harry, "but maybe
hold off on the ad in the paper until school starts? I'd like to stay anonymous for as
long as possible.
"By all means, I've waited two years to sell one of these, another month isn't going to
hurt."
This time it was Harry's turn to hesitate, "These are safe though, right? You've tested
them out?"
"Oh my, yes. I've been wearing my own since I first made a pair, but the only other
person I've managed to convince to try them is my wife, and it took a long time for
that."
"Uhh, have you always been so... excitable like this? Or could it be more recent, like
since you started wearing these?"
He gave a hearty laugh at the question, "Oh, no, I've always been a little as you say,
excitable. My wife claims that's the reason she married me, getting two people in
one." Then he began giggling again.
A brief demonstration was all it took for Harry to try them on, and get a couple

pictures taken at the same time. Opening his eyes and blinking a few times to let
things come into focus brought on a whole new world. "WOW! Everything's so crisp
and clear! Is this how everyone sees?"
The shopkeeper squeezed his lips together in contemplation, "It's hard to say, since
it took my eyes months to fully adjust, getting better all the time. While my lovely wife
only took a day or two. The focusing spell used is quite unique, and is very costly to
get put on. But it does work wonders, doesn't it? Eventually you will be seeing better
than all your friends, so do let them know where they can get some of their own,
won't you?"
Still looking around in wonder, Harry nodded absentmindedly, "Of course, these are
amazing!"
oOoOo
It wasn't until they were out the door with a modest brass telescope in hand as well,
that Hagrid spoke up again, "Got anythin' else yeh might want?"
Harry gave a sheepish grin, "Sorry about that, but why don't we get lunch and think it
over? It's..." Harry pulled out his watch, only to see it stopped again, "time to get a
new watch apparently. That's right, I remember reading that electronics don't work
around magic."
"Now that's a birthday present - everyone needs ter be on time fer school." He
clapped Harry on the shoulder happily and they went to lunch, back at the Leaky
Cauldron. Where they were greeted with another brilliant meal, succulent prime rib
sandwiches with loads of chips, and a large slice of bakewell tart to end it with.
Hagrid had a pitcher of specialty mead to wash it down and while Harry liked the
pumpkin juice from earlier, he tried some gillywater instead, to be adventurous.
The next stop on their outing was to Grand Tempi's Clock Shop, drawing them in by
the soaring clock tower atop the roof, like a beacon in the middle of a street. Every
inch of the shop front was covered in one type of clock or another. Hanging wall
clocks with dragons carved into them, elegant grandfather clocks with detailed
cabinetry and the phases of the moon displayed on top, stately glass anniversary
clocks with silver or brass mechanisms whirring inside, and a diverse mix of metal
sun dials, all finely crafted to look very expensive. The inside was much the same,
yet had a lot more variety, including a massive display table, featuring hundreds of
wrist and pocket watches to tantalize the eyes.
Voicing his concerns outside, Harry offered to go somewhere else that might have a
simpler selection. But Hagrid grunted happily, explaining he knew the owner well and

he would give them a fair price. Upon opening the door, they heard a small popping
sound over all the ticking, seeming to alert the shopkeeper to a new guest. A man in
fancy gold wizarding robes and pointed hat wandered over from one corner to burst
into laughter, "Why Hagrid my old friend, what a surprise to see you! Dedalus was in
here a mere hour ago, commenting on how you were helping a very special student
around-" He saw Harry come into view with his hood up and the words caught in his
throat.
All the clocks seemed to tick louder and louder until Hagrid finally spoke up, "Clagan,
as yeh heard, this is Harry Potter. And Harry, this is Clagan Tempi, a good friend.
Who's very discrete." He nodded meaningfully at the man.
"Hmm? Oh. Oh yes, of course. It is a pleasure to meet to young man, a real
pleasure." Bowing regally and grinning awkwardly, he continued, "I guess you didn't
come by to just say hello, so what can I do for you two today?" He regained his
composure and waved his wand at the door which locked with a closed sign flipping
around. "A dignified family clock for instance?" He indicated a giant lion's head wall
clock with a flourish of his hands, "Or perhaps something simple like a bedside
alarm?" Proffering a smaller glass box containing hundreds of spinning gears,
bouncy springs, and swaying counterweights only displaying the time. "Maybe even
a grand exhibition piece for Hogwarts?" He pointed at the huge rotating ceiling clock,
illustrating the movement of the solar system relative to the time of day and shape of
the moon, as well as highlighting planets within view.
Harry smiled at the continued eccentricities of these shop owners, or perhaps it was
all wizards. "Actually, I needed a new wristwatch, preferably something that isn't too
flashy."
"Flashy? We don't carry those type of gaudy things in this kind of shop, do we
Hagrid?" A sarcastic smirk peaked from beneath Clagan's long mustache as Hagrid
gave a good humored chuckle. "We do only have the best of the best though, right
this way." Leading them past a towering shelf full of multiple sized hour glasses, he
picked one up and circled around the large counter of timepieces. Setting down the
hourglass, he twirled his wand and every wristwatch floated into the air, presenting
the simply designed ones up front.
With a wave of his hands towards the items, he gave a sales pitch, "Each one is
enchanted to keep perfect time, the day of the week, and month, which should last
for a century. Most all come with multiple alarms, and unbreakable charms to keep
them running smoothly. Others have stopwatch capabilities, phases of the moon,
compasses, or can perform simple spells when activated, and the most impressive
can become permanent portkeys. Although each one can be improved at a later time

by replacing specific parts, but is costly to do. - So, which one would you like to try
on?"
Gold watches sparkled while silver ones flashed in front of Harry's eyes. Some had
emerald or ruby gems set in the frame while few contained glowing dials and second
hands that seemed to leave colourful trails as they spun around. One seemed to
even be made of bone with small fangs around the edges, and another was crafted
entirely out of glass. There were antique sorts with fancy numbers and gears
showing, creative types with unique plants or animals moving about the insides, and
then Harry saw a simple bronze one with black leather straps off to one side. "What
about that one?" He pointed.
"Ah, a very good choice indeed, although some prefer that style after attending
Hogwarts." Clagan let the rest settle to the table and brought the single watch over to
float in front of them. He kept talking but Harry became distracted after putting it on.
Assuming it was a cheaper model at first, Harry had a hard time believing his newly
crystal clear sight as the center of the watch curved deeper than was possible for the
thin bit of metal. Inside was a dark blue night with a sea of white stars floating in the
background. Stuck in the very center was an eerily realistic earth, with white clouds
dotting the landscape and a dark crescent forming on the edge, appearing to show
the night horizon. The equally detailed moon sat off to the side, with it's own shadow
crescent giving stark contrast to the cold bluish light that reflected off it's surface.
Around the outside a small asteroid circled the entire scene, slowly revealing the
minutes as they passed. The earth had a similar satellite creeping gradually around
it, but this one cast a thin ray of light outwards to denote the hour. Faint lines in the
glass revealed the numbers and lines along the edge, and was the last thing he
noticed before Clagan slipped it away to ring it up. "But!" He looked up in concern.
Hagrid laughed at him, "Yeh were staring fer a good five minutes. 'Bout time we buy
it so Tempi here can get back ter work. Yeh do want it, don't yeh?"
"Yeah... thanks." Said Harry sheepishly. Hoping it wasn't too much, he watched the
chat they had about the price, but instead of money being handed over, it was a
meager wooden box that Hagrid pulled out of a pocket and gave to the grateful
watchmaker. Something appeared to glow through the cracks but that even confused
Harry more.
As they exited the shop another distinct pop was heard after waving to Clagan.
Hagrid handed over the wrapped package outside the door, "Happy birthday! - Go
on, might as well wear it." Unwrapping it eagerly, Harry once again marveled at the
enthralling scene after putting it on, but Hagrid interrupted him again. "Where to

now? Or have yeh had enough shoppin'?"


Harry shook his head vigorously, "Books."
And so the wonderful day continued, going from bookshop to bookshop, gathering
an ample supply to last the rest of summer holidays. Ending with another stop at
Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour to celebrate with a giant ice cream cake of
many different flavors. It took a while to eat it all, but when done it was finally time to
head home. On the bus ride back Hagrid thankfully remembered to hand Harry a
ticket to the Hogwarts express at the last moment, and waved a fleeting good by as
the last BANG of the night brought an end to the day.
Dusk soon came with the dimming light of the quiet little neighborhood. Harry stood
there with all of his packages on the pavement in front of him, looking around at the
normal world that wasn't quite as mundane anymore.

Chapter 3 - Sorting
Author's Note: Yes, I realize the story name is somewhat strange, and I have
consider changing it. Thank you for the reviews so far, they do help.
Chapter 3
Sorting
All month long seemed a torture and adventure rolled into one, learning about the
magical world and then waiting to see more. Harry spent most of his days locked in
his room, reading books and ignoring his relatives, who kindly returned the favor. It
turned out that Dudley hadn't seen the magic performed on the couch yet got in a
row with his parents after being banned from ever talking to Harry again, especially
to insult him. Which suited Harry just fine. Practicing magic on the other hand didn't
go as well. After succeeding wonderfully with the repairing charm, he moved on to
locomotor which was even easier. Yet that only encouraged him to skip to the
second grade spellbook he purchased ahead of time and try out the engorgement
charm, which he assumed was what Hagrid used on the biscuits.
That's how he came to realize the dangers of magic.
Nicking a single strawberry delight from an extra large tin of chocolates in Dudley's
room, Harry brought it back to experiment on. The rest of the day he tried to forget,
after witnessing a football sized sweet explode in his face, then having to scrape and
clean the sticky icing and chocolate off every surface in the entire room, including
himself. He thought about trying to learn a cleaning charm half way through, but was
afraid his solo practice should wait until he got to school, where there was a capable
nurse who knew how to heal magical injuries.
Near the end of summer, Harry was again tempted to sneak back to Diagon Alley to
pick up a magical trunk he read wondrous things about. But Hagrid had specifically
warned him not to go venturing off on his own, telling him how dark wizards and
hags preferred to prey on the young and unaccompanied. He guessed it was just a
scare tactic to keep children in line, but it still worked. If anything the magical books
had taught him so far, it was to suspend his disbelief about what he thought was
impossible. Magic it turned out was like reality, it didn't always make sense. But at
least it was consistent, that was a start.
Asking uncle Vernon if there was something he could use instead, led him to the
garage, where he found a huge, ratty brown trunk that barely fit together anymore.

Yet one reparo charm later and it was as good as new, except for some bits of wood
and fabric that were missing. He packed nearly everything he could in it the night
before leaving, not even bothering to ask for a ride the next day. The rest he stuffed
in his canvas bag to keep close.
That night lasted an eternity, worrying and wondering about the day to come. Not
even meditating helped him get to sleep at even close to a reasonable hour, which
per usual made him wake up late the next day, tired and groggy. Taking a very quick
shower and slipping on his new robes and cloak to start, he rushed downstairs to
grab two pieces of toast and some bacon from a late Sunday breakfast, Harry said a
quick goodbye to his disinterested relatives and floated his trunk out the door. Only
getting a startled and angry response after Dudley had noticed and fainted on the
kitchen floor. A minute later he was riding an extremely packed Knight Bus to Kings
Cross station, mostly filled with older students towing even larger trunks and animals
in cages.
A friendly older girl in blue trimmed robes sat next to him and helped him store his
truck, then get it down again as everyone rushed to disembark at Kings Cross. Harry
thanked her and followed behind the line of students all gathering trolleys and
heading towards the same place. He was relieved not having to find the magical
platform on his own, until people suddenly started disappearing. Soon he was left
staring at the last of someone's heel, which magically traveled through a brick wall.
The girl who helped him still stood off to the side, checking her luggage to make sure
she didn't forget anything. Not wanting to bother her again, he walked up cautiously
to the wall and tried to see past some illusion that might be there, but only saw
bricks. With a single book from his bag, he surreptitious slid it into the portal,
watching it closely.
"Do you mind?" Harry jumped at the unexpected words, then looked up to a family of
redheads all watching his every move. The youngest girl with freckles for cheeks
was short enough to see under his hood and appeared recognize him, as an eager
and predatory expression formed on her face. The oldest boy repeated himself, "Do
you mind? We need to get through."
"Sorry..." Harry pulled his hood further down, feeling uneasy from the scrutiny and
strange looks. Trying to ignore all that, he pushed his fears away and turned his
trolley around towards the portal. With a casual stride forward it started to melt into
the wall, taking him with it. He watched his hands go through the brick as if it wasn't
even there, and he couldn't help but cringe as his face met the wall, passing right
through it. Shaking off his unease with a shiver, he pushed on ahead, reassured by
the sign that said Hogwarts Express, and aimed his trolley at the back of the of the
long crimson train.

Meandering through the crowd of concerned parents and mingling students, Harry
overheard an array of accents from all over the country and beyond. Animals ran
loose through the throngs of people, making strange noises or causing people to
make even stranger ones. Quite a few younger students were running around with
their hoods up as well, shouting at each other and playing some game. He passed
two Indian girls near his age getting a lecture from their mother.
"I don't want to hear one more word about tricking your teachers or I'll send an owl
telling each of them exactly how to tell you two apart." The twin girls paled at that
and nodded sullenly.
Harry noticed a group of enthralled boys gathered around central figure showing off
his new broom, "Do you really think you'll get on the team this year Cedric? The
competition is fierce this time." One was keen to ask.
"Just have to try harder is all." He replied with a simple grin.
Steam began pumping into the air from the large engine up front, while a gaggle of
older girls all screamed in the distance. It was becoming clearer to Harry that the
only real difference between wizards and regular people was their environment,
which only changed the usual range of how different they could be, physically, and
probably mentally as well. Eventually finding an empty compartment, he floated his
things in and settled down on the bench, taking out one of his books in the process.
He tried to ignore the madness outside until it came in to greet him, in the form of a
small Asian girl carrying a giant toad, which croaked loud enough to shake the
windows. She apologized quietly, and looked on the verge of saying more to him, yet
couldn't bring herself to do so.
A whistle blew far away, and someone else opened the compartment door.
"Do you mind if we sit here? Someone brought a giant tarantula on board and it
escaped near the front."
The girl opposite him smiled at the company but looked to Harry in question. It
turned out to be the same two Indian girls standing at the door with their trunks
trailing behind. "Sure," he mumbled over his book and the train began to move. They
all exchanged polite greetings while the girls hefted their trunks and owls into the
compartment as if they weighed nothing. One carried a beautiful snowy owl that
looked him directly in the eyes and hooted. The other was a brown, crazy-eyed elf
owl that was barely big enough to carry a stamp, let alone a letter. Harry gave only
his first name while learning theirs, the twins were Padma and Parvati Patil, and the
one with the toad was Sue Li. They chatted for a bit about the train and crowds, but

he pretended to become absorbed in his book after conversation didn't go much


further than that. A while later the quiet was cut short by one of the twins getting up,
"Well I'm going to look around and see what they have on the trolley, anyone want
something?" They all refused as she shrugged her shoulders in defeat.
oOoOo
Halfway through the trip Harry fell asleep with a book in his lap, listening to the
gentle clicking of the wheels along the track. Being partially woken by the door
sliding shut, a new girl sat down right beside him and began to talk quietly. Although
he didn't look up from beneath his hood, it was easy to tell she was a girl by the nice
smell and soft voice. She was talking about books and toads of all things, but he
didn't catch much after just waking. Leaning over him, she read the title of his book
out loud.
"Important Modern Magical Discoveries, looks like he's off to a good start, except the
whole sleeping bit. Anyway, I should be going now, but I'm sure we'll see each other
around."
Getting up to leave, she took the familiar scent with her and closed the door silently.
But right before Harry decided to wake up fully, the door banged open once again.
He peeked around the edge of his hood to see a pale blond haired boy and two
others behind him, not who he was hoping for.
"Have you seen Harry Potter? They say he's on the train somewhere but no one can
find him." Harry cringed in discomfort.
The two girls shook their heads after a quick glance at each other.
"Useless..." The boy mumbled and slammed the door shut again.
Their whispered conversation picked up again, mostly to do with how rude some
people could be. Stretching and yawning in his seat, Harry finally got up and smiled.
"Thanks for that. He didn't sound too pleasant to wake up to."
They looked up with confused expressions, but slowly it began to dawn on them.
Then he pulled back his hood, "No way!" Yelled the only twin there, but Harry
couldn't guess which one. "You've been hiding the same way as the rumor this whole
time? Everyone was suspecting you'd be changing disguises left and right after
being spotted wearing a cloak in Diagon Alley. You even started a fad for kids to pull
their school hoods down and pretend to be Harry Potter!"
Harry snorted in laughter, "Really? Well, I can't blame them... I do look pretty cool."

"Pfft! Everyone else has been complaining about how silly it's-" She clapped her
hands over her mouth, realizing who she was talking to.
Sue spoke up softly, "It certainly removed suspicion about him being the real one
though. Did you get spotted on purpose? Was that really your intention all along?"
Wearing a wry grin, he tilted his head in modesty, "Was it that obvious?" The looks of
astonishment were good, but he couldn't keep up the act and began to laugh again,
"Only kidding, sorry, I really had no idea anyone would care that much about seeing
me. Even though I recently read some books talking about me, I didn't spend much
time considering my celebrity status. By the way, where's your sister? Out getting
more snacks?"
"Parvati left an hour ago, probably to gossip about you as well. And why are you
revealing yourself now? Couldn't wait to surprise everyone at the sorting ceremony?"
"I'd rather avoid all that if possible, but I didn't want to get questioned the whole way
there either, so I hid. I suppose I better wander around a little, maybe get a snack
myself before we get there. Anything good I should try?" Padma rolled her eyes, but
Sue suggested the cauldron cakes and peppermint toads, and warned him the
trolley was all the way up front.
On the way there he drew many stares and double takes at his scar, along with
hushed whispers which followed him down the corridor. But no one really bothered
him, until he got to the trolley. There he saw two boys of the same red headed family
he met earlier, who were buying up boxes of something called pepper imps. Harry
became distracted by the variety of curious sweets displayed by the kind older lady,
but only purchased a few pocketfuls so as to not get sick. All the while the red
headed boys, another set of twins, were gawking at him.
"Hello, are those any good?" Harry asked to relieve the awkwardness.
Their eyes widened and one automatically extended an open box to him, "Try one."
"Oh, thanks." He pulled one out and took a bite, feeling the heat right away. Their
eyes widened and looked at each other, then backed away slowly. A group of
younger students came flocking up to the front, some wearing cloaks with their
hoods up still, and caring books for him to sign. He shoved the rest of the sweet in
his mouth and smiled weakly at them, as one blonde haired girl pushed to the front.
Just then he got a sudden, burning urge to burp, he tried to repress it as she got
closer but the blazing fire in his mouth became overwhelming. It burst open to roar
real live flames, right into the girl's eager face.

Everyone screamed and ran the opposite direction, all except the twins howling with
laughter in the corner, the trolley lady shaking her head, and the completely stunned
girl still in front of him. Her hair was frazzled and blown back from the heat, but not
singed to cinders, thankfully. She coughed out a bit of smoke from rosy cheeks and
extended her book out to sign, barely conscious of what was going on. Harry took
the quill and signed it awkwardly, apologizing again and again.
"I'm really sorry... I didn't mean to..."
She put on a brave half-smile and stiffly walked back to her compartment. The twins
were rolling on the floor now, cackling in glee and offering him another imp from the
box.
"Thanks, but no thanks." Harry managed, and slipped on his hood again to make his
way back. Doors were opened at the commotion of people running past and older
students were looking out in question, but no one stopped him in concern. The blond
boy and his trailing groupies passed him by in a rush, not even sparing him a glance.
He sat down across from Sue and Padma again, offered them some chocolate and
ate in peace, until the door opened once again.
"Did you hear what all the commotion was about? Someone said Harry Potter
jumped onto the train and turned into a fire breathing dragon?" It was the same girl
from earlier who read his book title. Harry hid his face and shrugged. "Sounds like a
bunch of rubbish, but..." She shook her head, "Well, no matter, we'll be there shortly.
You all better get changed, and I would suggest you take off that silly hood before
the ceremony as well." Padma chucked and the girl left.
"No, nothing like that happened, I simply tried a pepper imp. And the hood isn't silly."
They all laughed quietly at that.
Sue cleared her throat after a moment, and Harry sat being glared at by Padma
before coming to realize what the girls wanted. He stepped outside and waited for a
while, watching the golden sky leisurely bleed away to darkness, and a sprawling
forest come into view.
An authoritative voice reverberated through the hallway. "The train will arrive in five
minutes. Please leave your luggage as it will be transferred for you." The
compartment door clicked open to let him back in, but the next second Parvati
charged past him and closed the door in his face.
Soon the train came to a complete stop at a small station surrounded by trees and
darkness, both melding into a spooky greeting from their new school. Everyone
scurried outside, some donning their cloaks in the cold, when a lantern came into

view, highlighting a bushy beard high above their heads.


"Firs'-years, this way! Follow me. All right there Harry?" Everyone turned to look in
his direction, but Hagrid soon had them moving along, the youngest following him
down a dim and slippery trail, heading somewhere unknown. He kept talking, holding
the lantern high to keep their attention as Harry tried to get his night vision to work.
Finally managing to focus as they rounded a bend in the path, the shadows faded
away before him, and a score of brilliant lights caught his attention. The stars were
brighter than ever but they paled in comparison to the radiance coming off the high
cliff in the distance. Harry pulled his hood back to get a better look.
Ooohs and awwws could be heard as everyone noticed the towering castle hanging
over the edge of the vast reflective lake, a smooth black mirror of the night sky.
Harry's eyes adjusted gradually from the light, to see the massive stonework of
unique towers and many crenelated turrets all over the expansive grounds.
Impressive, was the only word that caught in his mind.
"All aboard, an' no more'n four in each." Called Hagrid, waving them over to a fleet of
miniature boats.
They all piled in and Harry was finally confronted by the blond haired boy who
elbowed his way into the same boat at the last second. A lanky redhead youth
already in his seat beside them gave a dark look, while the round faced boy next to
him whimpered some more. Both were ignored as he spoke to Harry.
"Name's Malfoy, Draco Malfoy." He said, and Hagrid called out again propelling the
boats forward, barely covering up the snicker and whine from the two other students
beside them.
"Harry Potter, but I'm sure you already guessed that." He shook Draco's clammy
hand, as more strange noises erupted from the others in their boat, and some
whispers started close by.
The red headed boy stuck his hand out as well, "Ron Weasley, pleasure to meet
you. And this is Neville Longbottom." Neville gave a quiet sob in response, "He lost
his toad on the train."
Draco sneered at them, "I should warn you Potter, there are some riffraff you
shouldn't associate with here at Hogwarts. They might drag you down into the
gutters with them."
Before Ron's face burst into scarlet flames, Harry interrupted, "What does that
mean?"

"You'll come to find out some wizarding families are much better than others, their
blood is more pure, and their magic stronger."
Ron jumped up to yell, but was jerked back in confusion, finding he was stuck, and
angrily looked around at his seat. Harry continued, a little confused, "You mean to
say that ancestry determines your skill in magic? How is that possible?"
Slightly stunned by the question, Draco's eye twitched, "It's just obvious, the further
back magic goes in your bloodline, the better you are at it." His lip curled at Nevil,
"Though sometimes even the oldest families get a squib now and then." Ron was
still distracted fighting with his seat to comment.
"Wait, you mean no one has actually tested this idea? Have you heard of genetics?"
"What?" Draco didn't seem to like where this was going. "It's a simple fact, no one
has to test it."
Giving up on attacking Draco physically, Ron tried verbally, with as much scorn and
disdain as he could manage. "Everyone knows that's a load of rubbish, you slimy git!
Your nasty family wouldn't look so pure without your money. And Dumbledore's the
greatest wizard alive but he's only a half blood!"
"Obviously we have different definitions of what 'great' is." Retorted a smug Draco,
but a violent growl from behind startled him before saying more. Everyone looked
around uneasily at Hagrid.
"We're here." He grumbled, looking unhappy while ushering them all out of the boats
and up a lengthy stone passageway to the castle high above. They excited out onto
a hill of fine grass and followed him up one more set of stairs to the front entrance.
He knocked heavily against the grand oak doors.
oOoOo
An austere, dark haired woman in emerald-green robes and a decidedly witchy hat
opened the doors to greet them. She wore a tight expression with pursed lips to give
the impression she wasn't one to be trifled with.
Hagrid gave a polite bow. "Here's the firs'-years professor."
She thanked him, and invited the students in. Leading them through the imposing
entrance hall, lit with burning torches and a distant ceiling, giving off a peculiar
feeling of foreboding. Definitely not the joyful welcome Harry expected. They passed
by two immense double doors, worn from much use, and hiding what sounded like

the rest of the student body. Before they got to the majestic marble staircase directly
ahead, a side door opened, calling them over. After they were all crowded inside,
she began.
"Welcome to Hogwarts! I am Professor Minerva McGonagall and you all will join the
start-of-term feast shortly. But first-" She kept talking, yet everyone else had become
distracted, staring at the silvery translucent person floating behind her. He waved
pleasantly at them to get their complete attention, then grabbed a tuft of his hair and
pulled off his head.
Nearly every child screamed in fright, most scrambling to the back of the room and
one fainting dead on the spot. Harry snorted silently at their reaction and glanced
around as Nevil got stepped on by others in their flight. An equally unimpressed girl
ran over to help him up. It was apparent that only a minority had experience with
ghosts, or read about them in Hogwarts, a History like he did. Although it raised
many, many questions about reality, magic, seemed to be the only answer given.
McGonagall finished berating the now downtrodden ghost to calm the first years,
check on Neville, and finish her speech about house points. Leaving them alone for
a second to check on things, the room immediately broke into murmured speculation
about which house was the best or the topic of spirits. Harry stood back and
observed them all, wondering what the future would hold.
A minute later they were being led inside the Great Hall single file, to be judged by
an ancient singing hat if the books were to be believed. The doors opened before
them, exposing a majestic and dazzling scene. Thousands of white candles writhed
up and down over four impossibly long tables, perfectly lined with golden trimmed
plates and goblets next to sparkling silver utensils. At the front sat a regally
decorated table for all the staff, with an opulent golden throne in the center. Behind
that hung a giant, shimmering stained glass window, yet every first year's eyes were
drawn to the crystal clear night sky for a ceiling, a brilliant half moon and stars
helping to illuminate the assembly. Hundreds and hundreds of students watched
them pass, all with great interest for reasons Harry could only guess at.
Coming to line up in front of them, Harry noticed the nearby open seats, and a few
familiar faces from the trip. He began inspecting his prospective house carefully,
passively listening to the hat's strange song while doing so. More ghosts floated
through the walls as "HUFFLEPUFF!" was shouted into the crowd. It appeared the
sorting had begun. Looking behind at the sound of clapping he saw older faces
peering down from a high table, eagerly watching the main attraction. A central figure
sat a little higher than the others, wearing flaming red robes and a matching pointed
hat. He grew a lengthy diamondish beard around his smiling face, with a twinkle in

his eyes he could only be the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. The single person to
notice Harry was an oily, black haired man with pallid skin and venom in his dark
eyes. Harry turned back around and shivered at the chill in his bones.
"RAVENCLAW!" Brought his attention back to the task at hand, and so he watched
everyone being sorted, slowly and deliberately, trying not to let his mind wander too
far. There were more Hufflepuff called and then Gryffindors and Slytherin started
appearing to great cheers from each individual table. Some were more enthusiastic
than others, but it finally felt like a proper welcome to school, even if they were being
divided in teams, for some unknown reason other than sports.
Ron made a fake gagging sound as a bushy haired girl got into Gryffindor, which
Harry found quite rude. He saw Sue grin at getting into Ravenclaw, Neville falling
clumsily from the stool after gaining entry to Gryffindor, and Malfoy unsurprisingly
went to Slytherin, given what was written about it. Soon it was coming to Harry's turn
as he heard Padma was sent to Ravenclaw while Parvati almost jumped for joy at
being chosen for Gryffindor. That seemed to confuse some in the audience, seeing
twins go to separate houses, but died away quickly after the next girl was ignored.
Then his name was announced.
"Potter, Harry." It was followed by a dull roar of excited whispers, heads craning
around to see, as all eyes latched onto his awkward gait towards the hat. He
viscerally felt the nervousness that had been building all day long, and tried in vain to
push it from his mind as he picked up the millennium old magical artifact.
It felt worn and heavy, but surprisingly spry for its age. The hat fell over his eyes and
shook all by itself to get comfortable. Then whispered quietly in his ear, "Ah... not
interested in any other house but one are you?"
'Is there some reason I should be, that I don't know about?' Harry thought in honest
curiosity, while wondering if the hat could really read his mind, like the books said.
"Yes, I can read your thoughts and there are... many friends you could make in other
houses, yet you think one would understand you best. Although you care little for
power or fame, honor or fairness, and cunning or bravery would be only a means to
an end, yet there is much you could learn from another house. But it seems you
made up your mind long ago, before ever coming here, haven't you?"
'I suppose. The other houses seem fine, but if we have to choose, wisdom is mine. By the way, got any tips or tricks in magic after nearly a thousand years of existence
that you can pass on?'
"Not a one, I'm a sorting hat, that's all I'm for. But I will give you a piece of advice you

already know, be yourself. - Now, let's be on with it."


"RAVENCLAW!" It bellowed, to mixed reactions all around.
oOoOo
Harry breathed deeply and pulled the hat off to see his new housemates clapping
and cheering loudly. Other tables had looks of disappointment or curious smiles, but
most still clapped along. Standing up he felt a headache coming on, but set the hat
down gently and made his way over to sit opposite Padma and Sue. A mature curly
haired girl next to him smiled warmly and held out her hand in greeting.
"Hello again, my name's Penelope Clearwater, or Penny for short. I'm the Ravenclaw
prefect." And she just happened to be the same one who helped him on the night
bus as well. Which Harry thanked her for again while shaking hands. Now that he
thought back, she probably didn't need to check her bags either, but was making
sure he got through to the platform okay. Mentioning that only received a smirk in
return, as she nodded towards the continuing ceremony.
Before turning around, a stunning female ghost at their table caught his eye, gazing
directly at him with a knowing smile. But it was gone in a flash, peering up at the
sorting hat with mild interest instead.
"GRYFFINDOR!" Was shouted out as another boy was cheered to his table. A
"RAVENCLAW," for Turpin, Lisa prompted Harry to clap along with those around
him, as the square faced girl with thin lips and brown hair awkwardly sat down
beside him. Appearing extremely nervous to be so close to a celebrity. Next, Ron
was cheerfully greeted into Gryffindor by his family, and Zabini, Blaise ended the
affair, seeming aloof at getting into Slytherin.
The whole hall of students began to settle down, seeing the headmaster stand. He
wore a radiant smile, and held his hands high to cease all noise. Which made Harry
want to clear his throat just to see if it was magic, or respect.
"Welcome, one and all! I'm overjoyed that you're all here at Hogwarts for yet another
wonderful year! But before we tuck in, I have a few words of wisdom for you all. And
they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! - Thank you."
He sat back down to loud clapping, cheers of celebration, and a couple odd looks.
Harry turned to Penny in worry, "Did he just have a stroke? Did no one else notice he
just had a stroke?"

Chuckling in response she shook her head, "No, I'm sure those are words of wisdom
in some way. What they mean... well, maybe you can guess."
Right then, the feast instantly appeared on the table to distract them, masses of it, all
looking and smelling amazing. Steaks, roasts, hams, and meats of every kind filled
the tables, separated by all sorts of potatoes, salads, and vegetables galore. Heavy
baskets of assorted rolls, fresh breads, and Yorkshire puddings were spaced
throughout, and sprinkled everywhere were sauces or condiments to go with
everything. Harry tried to ignore it all and raised his eyebrows in question at Sue and
Padma across the table, but they only shrugged helplessly and began scooping
things onto their plates. He looked back at Penny, only to see her smirk again and
stab a large slice of roast beef.
Shaking his head, Harry gave up and decided right then and there, he wouldn't let
the madness get to him. And simply had to hope it was possible, as he began
dishing up his plate, trying a little of everything.
That was until he came to a golden bowl of flying saucers behind the potatoes. He
looked at the colourful and out of place sweets in confusion, wondering if he was
already starting to crack. Reaching a hand out to make sure they were really there,
he picked one up to inspect it, wondering if it was some strange wizard variation that
contained a magic spell like pepper imps. No one else seemed to pay them any
mind as he gently broke one open and touched it to his tongue. It was ordinary
sherbet, which almost confused him more. He placed it to the side and added it to
the list of things he would ask about later.
The meal was every bit as good as it appeared, much better than the dishes served
at his relatives, especially the ones he didn't help with. Even the pumpkin juice in his
goblet tasted better than last time, though the atmosphere was more boisterous than
any pub. A few seats away, one first year boy kept glancing up at the candles in
worry, Harry remembered his name was Kevin as he began to speak.
"Does it bother anyone else, there being burning candles over our heads while we
eat? It feels like hot wax is going to drip down any second."
Another older boy beside him grinned, "Muggleborn huh? Just wait until you see the
owl post during breakfast. Imagine what could fall down from that." He snickered at
the disgusted expression of the girl opposite him, and then cursed as he was kicked
in retaliation.
Penny gave them both a withering look, and aggressed Kevin, "There's a special
vanishing enchantment around the tables that removes all unwanted... stuff before it

falls on anything. Although I heard this year they're moving the owl post to right after
breakfast, so you needn't worry."
Someone else added on, "You know why right? Cause in someone's pumpkin juice
they found a piece of sh-"
"Chambers!" Penny nearly yelled.
He shrugged, "Well it's true, no spell works perfectly."
On the opposite side of Harry, someone cleared their throat, "Why don't we introduce
ourselves properly, since we're all going to be spending seven years together, we
might as well get it out of the way. My name's Anthony Goldstein, I'm a pure blood
from Mucking, Essex."
Most nodded hello and began introducing themselves in between bites of food. "I'm
Terry Boot and this is Michael Corner, we're both half bloods from Dent, Cumbria.
Grew up neighbors in the same wizarding community."
Sitting beside them, Mandy Brocklehurst embarrassedly mumbled that she was a
half blood too from a village named Bunny. While a familiar looking boy named
Stephen Cornfoot didn't seem too honest as he claimed to be a pure blood from
Plush, Dorset. Kevin Entwhistle mentioned he was a muggleborn and lived in lower
London, not too far away from Diagon alley. But it piqued the most interest when
Morag MacDougal told them she was from Hogsmeade and had an older sister that
graduated from Hogwarts last year. Nearing the end of the meal, many were full and
playing with their food, so she was badgered with questions about the town and what
her sister did now.
Rescuing Morag from the siege of curious Ravenclaws, Padma chimed in, "My
parents are originally from Agra in India, but now we live in Yorkshire. No one really
kept track of wizarding lineages there... though we have magical heirlooms passed
down from a thousand years or more."
The main courses suddenly disappeared from the table and even from their plates
as well, replaced by a veritable smorgasbord of fantastic desserts. Delicate
chocolate, sponge, and cheese cakes were stacked on tiered stands, next to fruit,
custard, and treacle tarts just the same, all pre-sliced for them. Giant silver platters
filled with stacked pastries were circled by individual bowls of every flavored ice
cream imaginable. Many students reached for those first before even more
appeared. Decadent dishes of trifle and rich puddings arrived, interspersed with
plates of fresh fruit to torment those knowing they should eat better. Harry on the
other hand, wanted to try it all, since it looked like someone opened a fancy dessert

shop, right in front of them.


Everyone was digging in while Sue struggled to talk over the rabble at other tables,
"I'm from Penglai, a Chinese island of witches. My father was a muggle but is no
longer considered one in our culture, since he married my mother. I came to live in
London last year with my uncle to practice english and get ready for Hogwarts."
"That's amazing!" Gushed Lisa, while trying to talk around an eclair, "I read a book
about your island once and it said there was so much magic used there that you
could actually see it in the air! And your English is great for only a year."
"Thanks, but I've been learning english from my father for many years as well, and
there are lots of fanciful legends and myths that have spread over the years about
our island, but most are simply made up. What about you Lisa?"
"Oh, me? I'm just a muggleborn that found out about wizards when I was eight, after
turning everyone's hair blue in my town." She blushed but forged on, "The ministry of
magic had to send a team of Obliviators out twice, but tracked me down after the
third time to try teaching me not to do it. Ever since then I've been learning about the
wizarding world as much as I can. But, I'm not supposed to tell people where I live
for some reason, sorry..." Her eyes widened in shock as a glop of filling fell in her
lap.
That put a damper on introductions for a minute as they all ate quietly and
remembered their own incidents with accidental magic. At least until Harry caught
Padma staring again.
"Well, aren't you going to introduce yourself, or did you want to avoid your own name
as well?" She grinned, seeming to enjoy teasing him already.
Harry finished his last bite of cherry stuffed cheesecake and wiped his mouth,
"Thanks for the polite segue, but I'm sure everyone has heard enough of my name.
And I bet some of you know my family history better than I do. Though I suppose you
might want to know I grew up in Surrey with my muggle relatives, not exposed to any
of the wizarding world until July." There were murmurs at that, which he tried to
ignore while grabbing a scoop of tiramisu and bowl of what looked like mango ice
cream.
Great booming laughs up at the high table interrupted any prying questions aimed
Harry's way, as he looked up to see Hagrid holding a small tankard of ale in one
hand, and a whole pie in the other, still laughing, presumably at a joke told by the
ragged old man smiling along beside him. Harry watched the teachers talking and
eating which seemed to bring his headache back, especially after getting another

glare from the dark haired man again.


Penny nudged him, "Are you feeling alright Harry? Too much ice cream at once
maybe?" He was rubbing his throbbing forehead, and nodded.
"Maybe..."
Without warning a new ghost sprang up out of the Hufflepuff table to great dismay,
throwing pies and pastries at students around the room. Slytherin caught a giant
chocolate cake shot their way, exploding all over their table. A smattering of fruit hit
Gryffindor, with a slice of kiwi smacking Ron in the ear, and trays of other goodies
got flung around the Ravenclaw table. Catching Lisa in the side of the head with a
jam doughnut as Harry dodged. Frenzied cries rang out as a heavy chair screeched
in protest.
"Peeves!" Dumbledore called out in warning.
The milky white ghost with fiendishly dark eyes stopped mid-throw, dropping a cream
pie on his own head. His cheshire smile almost reached wider than his partially
covered face, then he disappeared with a pop. Letting the large pudding he was
holding fall to the table, splattering some young Hufflepuffs. Another evil looking
ghost, disturbingly dressed in bloody robes flew off after him.
"I didn't know ghosts could throw things." Terry wiped some chocolate frosting from
his robes.
"Peeves is termed a poltergeist, and is much more substantial than a regular ghost."
Penny addressed the first years, as she got up to help clean people off. "It's best to
avoid him if you can, that, or try distracting him with a difficult question. He gets
stumped easily if you can keep his attention."
As things finally calmed down much later, and everyone was more than stuffed with
sugar, all the desserts began to fade slowly away, allowing those few who wanted
extra to carry it. Leaving pristine plates and sparkling silverware once more.
Dumbledore stood up and cleared his throat.
"Now that we are all sated and clean again, I have some school notices to
announce."
Harry was rubbing his temples again, trying to relax while they were warned about
forbidden forests, magic in the corridors, quidditch tryouts, and something about
dying on the third floor. He wasn't really paying attention as he closed his eyes now
and then.

"And now, before we retire for the night, let us sing the school song."
Woken to the shuffling of feet and scooting of benches, Harry got an adrenalin rush
of embarrassment as Padma looked at him in concern. They all filed out of the Great
Hall, first years at the end, being led around by prefects. Penny led them past the
Hufflepuffs and Slytherins going downstairs, then away from the Gryffindors, going
around a different way up to the higher levels. It was a long trek through corridors,
past talkative portraits, around shining suits of armor, and up many flights of...
moving stairs, which Harry found quite disconcerting. All of it was dimly lit with
burning torches or hanging braziers along the way.
Finally, after climbing one last twisting staircase they arrived at a refined wooden
door, featuring only a large brass knocker in the shape of a flying eagle. It spoke.
"I run and run, never tire. Down and Down! Never up! - What am I?"
Penny turned around and smiled at them, "We have to answer riddles any time we
want to enter our common room. Normally Robert Hillard, our other prefect this year,
would answer it for the first years, but I want to see what you can do instead. Anyone
have a guess?"
They all looked at each other, as Harry hung on to his waning shred of alertness.
"A river." Answered Sue, and the door swung open.
The whole room clapped cheerfully, officially welcoming them to Ravenclaw. Entering
the expansive and airy room, the first years were greeted by a wonderful fragrance
of fresh air, and masses of parchment. Imparting the vision of a giant open bookstore
on the top of a mountain. The room was filled with students all congregated around
casual, maple wood furniture, long couches, stately desks, and a myriad of reading
chairs, nearly all of it covered in soft cushions and velvety blue fabric. They walked
over midnight blue carpets strewn with bronze stars towards the center of the room,
which was clustered full of ornate tables and comfortable sitting chairs, giving off a
trace of ink in the air. Gazing skywards at the domed ceiling, it reflected the dark
carpets beneath, having elegantly painted stars which twinkled merrily at them,
reminding Harry of a similar scene.
Blue and bronze silk curtains framed the gracefully vaulted windows, granting a
substantial view of the massive grounds and surrounding mountains. A few first
years drifted to the large fireplace which sat to one side, lit with a magical bluish
flame, seeming to warm the whole room evenly. Lastly they all noticed the
surrounding bookshelves, built into the walls around the room and heavily stocked,
looking more like colourful wallpaper with how tight they were squeezed together.

Others wandered off to inspect them more thoroughly.


Harry rolled up his sleeve to see his bronze watch, placing the time at nine o'clock
and finally realizing what Clagan meant, that most would purchase it after attending
Hogwarts. It was the hallmark of Ravenclaw, right down to the same stars in the
night sky.
Penny looked over his shoulder, "That's a nice watch you have."
She gave him another smirk and gathered them all around again, explaining a few
details about the school. How to find your way by asking portraits, not to go exploring
on your own, where to find the libraries, and then handed out timetables for classes.
She finished by showing them to their dormitories, off to the sides of a realistic
marble statue depicting Rowena Ravenclaw.
Trudging up more stairs after the rest of the boys, Harry idly wondering if he would
manage to change before falling asleep in his new bed. They entered to find it
similarly decorated to the rest of the tower, much smaller than the common room, but
spacious enough to feel comfortable. Fourposter beds circled the room, covered with
cerulean silk eiderdowns underneath thicker curtains, and spaced between were
cabinets and chairs for each of them. In the center of the room was a miniature cut
stone fireplace, containing the same blue flames as before and encompassed by
comfy tweed pillows to sit on. Harry found his trunk and bag under one bed right by
the door, with almost all his things neatly stored in the side cabinet. A couple of the
boys began hanging posters or looking out the small windows, while Harry
mechanically replaced his robes with pajamas and crawled under the warm blankets.
Feeling surprisingly content for the first time in ages.

Chapter 4 - Classes
Chapter 4
Classes
What could be worse than waking up in a strange bed, at a strange school, around
unfamiliar and even stranger people? Waking up in bed, unable to move. That was
the start of Harry's first morning at Hogwarts. He lay there looking around the room,
contemplating what it could mean, who would have done it, and ended on it likely
being some kind of hazing ritual. Probably done to the whole class of first years,
except he woke up late, again. It seemed to be some kind of spell keeping him
trapped, but while testing out how far his arms could move, he saw them. Countless
subtle strings, wrapped thinly around the covers, resembling fishing line, but not.
Now he had a dilemma.
During the month long wait to get here, it became obvious through his reading that
wandless magic was uncommon, if not unheard of at his age, and not wanting to be
treated like a freak once again, he was determined to hide his abilities, at least for
now. Having hidden his wands in the binding of a large book, which he left in his
trunk; seeing no need for having them close at night, gave him little to no reasonable
excuse for how he could escape. Although he figured it might be best to play along
with the prank, calling out for help and such, it didn't sound very appealing at that
moment. Instead, he snapped the strings apart with his... wandless magic, and
wound them up in a ball, throwing it into the trash as he got dressed. Coming to find
that all his robes had gained blue trim during the night, and the clothes he left in a
nearby hamper were now cleaned and folded, back in his drawer. Letting him
appreciate the nicer aspects of Hogwarts, while hurriedly brushing his teeth and
combing his unruly hair in the first year bathroom, since his watch revealed it was
almost time for breakfast.
Walking down to the common room, he secured his wands in place, one attached to
the wrist holster on his right arm, and the other in the standard waist pocket for
wands, sewn into his robes. His smile grew, looking forward to the surprised
expressions on his tormentors faces when they saw he didn't need help escaping.
That was the plan at least.
Except for the part where everyone in the whole common room looked around at him
with interest upon arrival. Having almost forgotten that he was the Harry Potter,
savior of wizarding Britain, and they couldn't all be in on it. The majority turned away
again after seeing what the commotion was about, yet others began whispering like

last night, bound to be discussing the most important of topics, like how he took his
morning cereal.
A baroque wall clock in the shape of a large book chimed a five minute warning,
reminding them to be on time. Masses of students poured out of the room, some
carrying books, others with satchels, and a few with cauldrons full of potion
equipment. Harry decided to come back later and get his transfiguration book,
following down a group of older boys through a rout that seemed shorter than last
night. They began chatting about girls, expressing opinions on which ones improved
over the summer and chuckling at the ones that did not. Harry watched the passing
scenery of typical, and not so typical castle architecture while unintentionally
listening in.
They exited out the marble staircase as the main school bells rung a pleasant and
inviting harmony. Entering the great hall, he was sure there were Ravenclaws
already eating that left later than he did. Harry made a mental note to find out a
better way to navigate the school, and sat beside Penny again at the far end of the
table. Breakfast passed by quickly, with a much simpler fare than the night before. A
bit of toast, sausages, and scrambled eggs was enough to satisfy him, before
skipping out on the coming owl post in favor of being on time for class with his book.
Harry trailed behind a senior Ravenclaw, out and up a few stairs to the third floor but
was alarmed to see him open a classroom door and take a seat, leaving Harry lost
and alone with no idea where to go. The nagging sensation of embarrassment came
crawling up the back of his neck, reminding him to relax and focus. He closed his
eyes and let his mind reach out, feeling for familiar people and the direction they
were located. One of his practiced skills that he had mastered back at his relative's,
or so he thought.
He couldn't even sense where the person he just left was, and that was right across
the hall. The whole world felt fuzzy and indistinct compared to the clarity from the
past. Checking his watch, it was still twenty till, but it clued him in on why wizarding
places might be different for his senses. Magic, enough to disable electronics,
watches, and possibly more. Years of practice made useless, by the very thing he
came to learn.
Giving up with an uncomfortable knot in his stomach, Harry walked over to a nearby
portrait, "Um, excuse me?"
"Huh? What? Who's there?" Replied the portrait of a scholarly figure, with his face in
a book. He peered over the top suspiciously, "Who are you, an' what d'ya want?"

"Sorry to bother you, I'm Harry Potter, could you direct me to the Ravenclaw tower?"
"Ha!? Can't even remember where your own common room is? An' here I thought
you lot were supposed to be the ones with brains!" He grumbled under his breath,
and sat up to get a better look.
"Uh, it's only my first day of school, how long is it supposed to take to learn your way
around?" Harry glanced around for another portrait, not expecting to have to coerce
information them.
"How am I supposed to know that? I wasn't painted to pay attention to students, ask
me something I can answer!"
"You don't even know what day it is? Never mind... I need directions to the
Ravenclaw tower. Please." Eventually the portrait got around to explaining how to
get there, but lost Harry at the end. Walking away, Harry thought of another question
to ask, and turned around to try getting a quick answer.
"Excuse me again, just one more question for you."
"Huh? What? Who's there?" He imitated the exact routine as before, "Who are you,
an' what d'ya want?"
"It's Harry Potter, we just talked, you gave me directions?"
"You again? You'll be needing directions to Ravenclaw tower I suppose?"
Harry shook his head and hurried away, while pondering how paintings could be
programmed to become intelligent. The directions he got were helpful enough, until
getting turned around on some moving stairs. The next portrait was difficult to
understand through a heavy Scottish accent, but steered him close enough to notice
familiar sights, making the rest of the way on his own.
The day was disturbing so far, but looking less bleak as the confidence in his
memory gave Harry a renewed spirit. Before it was dashed to the floor by a band of
students waiting in front of the common room door.
There were both boys and girls loitering around, some up to three or four years older
than him, all pondering the riddle and making random guesses. His hopes of even
getting to class on time were dwindling quickly. A tall and stocky boy came up behind
Harry and mumbled out, "A riddle-lock already?" Then shouted louder, "Oi, what's
the riddle?"

One frustrated girl up front slammed the knocker emphatically, gaining quiet while it
spoke, "Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling - In mystic force and magic spelling - Celestial
sprites elucidate - All my own striving can't relate."
"It... it doesn't make any sense!" Complained another.
"It's a circle!"
"It's not a circle! ...We already tried that."
"What if it's a code or anagram? Someone write it down." Commanded another older
boy.
Terry Boot was standing near Harry counting on his fingers, which sparked a
thought, somehow bringing it all together. Making sure by imagining the words in his
mind, Harry began counting as well.
"It's Pi!" He called out.
"What the hell does PIE have to do-" But the door was opening on its own, stopping
any further words of disbelief as the crowd surged past it. Scarcely any looked back
in curiosity at him, rather than running carelessly across the room like the rest.
Harry pulled Terry out of his pointless calculations and they hurried after the rest,
only having ten minutes to get to class. It turned out Kevin was ahead in the group
and was throwing clothes all over his bed, trying to find his Transfiguration book as
well. All three of them met Lisa near the statute of Rowena on their way out, joining
up to realize no one had a clue where to go, except down.
Classroom 1b, a sparsely furnished room in the Transfiguration department was
finally reached with one minute to spare and no breath left. They had been running
from one portrait to another, getting led in different directions as each one thought of
a better way to get there than the last. Lisa and Terry found seats with others,
leaving Harry and Kevin to sit together at an empty table, looking at odd text on
some blackboards and anxiously waiting for their first class to begin.
Professor McGonagall marched into the classroom as the bells rang in the distance,
"Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at
Hogwarts." She began her lecture. "But as this is your first lesson in magic I feel it is
my responsibility to fully instruct you on proper safety procedures, wand care, and
the dangers of magic, along with answering any questions you may have about your
future schooling. - You may put away your books, we will not be using them today."

Groans were heard but quickly cut off at a sharp look of warning from McGonagall.
Harry chuckled silently, having already learnt his first lesson on being prepared, and
accepting that it would be useless at times.
oOoOo
Transfiguration, or rather safety class was just as boring as expected, yet they still
learned enough to make it worthwhile. Covering topics on attempting new spells with
supervision, what not to try without practice, spells never to be used on humans, and
how even the simplest of spells could go wrong. Something Harry had experience
with. Basic wand care such as not smacking it against things or using it after being
broken was also mentioned, along with a strict warning to never experiment with
spell creation until at least seventh year, and preferably later if they wished to keep
all their limbs.
Having seldom used his quills before, Harry had a little trouble writing things down,
as did Kevin, so they struggled together to learn how to use them properly, dripping
ink and smearing it often along the way. Eventually getting the hang of it, while
quietly lamenting the the lack of pens or pencils.
Class approached its end with numerous questions, which devolved into telling
horror stories about relatives and people they knew who had ignored every safety
precaution explained and barely lived to tell the tale, or sometimes didn't.
McGonagall corrected many outlandish and superstitious rumors some students had
heard about over the years, while skirting around a few ambiguous topics with skillful
words. She excused them all with one last warning.
"Next lesson will involve actual transfiguration, so if I catch anyone messing about in
class, ignoring what you learned today, you will not be coming back." With that, they
got up and left.
Being their first break, several already prepared students gravitated towards the
Hogwarts library, exploring, but most headed back to Ravenclaw tower to get their
cauldrons, having Potions next. Gossiping about this and that along the way, and
passing many other students in the hallway, as Kevin fell into step beside Harry.
"Rotten luck we have, isn't it? Even after the prefect warned us last night about
bringing everything we need for classes, we still forget. I'm getting all my books and
stuff this time, what about you?"
"Same, but I hope we get to try some real magic in charms later, or I might have to
ignore that safety lesson we just had and practice on my own."

"Is that right?" Asked Professor McGonagall behind him. Her severe tone shattered
the casual atmosphere around them, halting every student in their tracks to look
back in paralyzed interest.
Harry turned around with a tentative smile, "Just seeing if you were still there
Professor, since I couldn't hear your footsteps anymore." Her glasses flashed in the
flickering torchlight, as her stern gaze seemed to be picking him apart. Harry gulped,
"Sorry about the poor joke, but I wasn't really going to do anything..."
"See that you don't." She began striding through the small crowd of students, "All of
you follow me, and Mr Potter, I do hope you learn better jokes than your father, his
comedy skills were rather lacking as well."
Many classmates gave Harry dirty looks, thinking he got them in trouble, as they
trudged demurely behind her, up new stairs. She tapped passing statutes, ornate
portraits, and dashing suits of armor with her wand, emitting small red sparks as if to
keep their attention focused. They arrived at a finely wrought door with familiar
looking wood. Some hissed a few angry words at Harry, assuming it was a detention
hall, before getting interrupted.
"I hope everyone remembers their way here next time, as I expect you will be
coming here often." She opened the door, not to a drab detention hall, but a
wonderfully bright library, furnished with blue and bronze colors throughout. "The
Ravenclaw tower is right through the opposite doors and up the stairs, but I thought
you might like to see your own house library as well. As Professor Flitwick is busy at
the moment, he asked me to make sure you all knew you can come here at anytime
before curfew, and spend your breaks here as well as in your common room."
The students flowed inside, marveling at all the books and large open windows
looking out onto the vast lawns and dense forest around the school. There were
study tables and more comfy reading chairs like in their common room, but it was
much quieter, as even their footfalls made barely any noise.
McGonagall spoke one last time, "Be sure to make it to potions with Professor
Snape on time, and keep an eye on your fellow classmates who become distracted
here." Then she left, closing the door behind her.
Anthony Goldstein stepped in front of Harry with a grim look, "That was stupid Potter,
you could have lost us points already. Do you want Slytherin to win the house cup
seven years in a row?"
"Seriously? You're worried about a trophy the first day of school?"

His eyebrows knitted together in response, "I'm worried about Ravenclaw's


reputation and how you might damage it. You should be too, unless you don't care
about anyone but yourself."
"Ah, I see where you're coming from now. Not to worry though, everything will make
sense in time." Harry tried to veil his sarcasm as best he could, and walked away,
hoping he could avoid any overbearing accusations for a while.
oOoOo
Luckily enough, Harry evaded all further comments or criticisms as he climbed the
stairs to the tower and caught the door opening for someone else. He picked up his
canvas bag and threw his collapsible cauldron, potion supplies, and other books he
needed for the rest of the day into it. Then snuck downstairs to go reading in the
great hall where he could be closer to potions class.
A few minutes later, he arrived to see it sparsely populated by Hufflepuff, Slytherin,
and a small group of Gryffindors. Yet not a single Ravenclaw sat at their bench as he
chose a spot near the doors. To his surprise a small plate full of fruits, cheeses, and
scones with jam appeared in front of him upon sitting. Next to that was a cup of tea
that smelled delicious and bowl of lemon infused sugar cubes besides. Harry looked
around the room seeing no one else eating except two Hufflepuffs, but his mind filed
those questions away for later as he tried a scone and took out a book to begin the
next chapter.
Part way through, the next bell rang once to give them warning. As he looked up
there were quite a few people staring, at him and his plate and tea, but he didn't
have time for that either. Snatching up his bag he saw the dishes disappear, so he
fled out the doors before anyone came over to pester him with questions.
Asking one portrait on the way down to the dungeons was easy as there was no fuss
of introductions or explanations, instead he got pointed in the right direction and
there was only one dark hallway to walk down. He entered the classroom a few
seconds after Sue and Padma sat down together, noticing no one else was there
yet. Sitting down beside them, others started drifting in a few at a time, giving him a
few minutes to look around. The gloomy room reminded him of the apothecary shop
in Diagon alley, save for the dim lights, chilly air, and creepy jars arranged
everywhere around the room, mostly it was the variety of pungent smells.
The whole of Hufflepuff first year joined them in one long stream of students, all
congregating near the back except for a couple of seats that were already taken,
leaving one hesitant blond girl to sit beside Harry. She smiled nervously at him as he

apologized one more time.


"Sorry again, and don't worry, I haven't had any pepper imps since."
Her smile brightened a little as she spoke, "It's okay, my name's Hannah Abbott by
the way. I uh, only wanted your autograph for my cousin is all..." Padma snickered
while listening in.
The back doors crashed open as Snape swept into the room, trailed by his flowing
black robes, stained with moderate age and heavy use. He kept his sallow face and
hooked nose pointing down, not looking at a single one of them while reading off the
register on his podium, until he reached Harry, of course.
"Harry Potter, ah yes, our hooded - hero of Britain." He intoned, with more hidden
sarcasm and scorn than Harry thought it warranted, or was possible. While his
intense dark eyes scrutinized Harry for a reaction, yet none came.
Moving on, he finished calling out names and began what sounded like a prepared
speech, "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. As
there is little foolish wand-waving..." He rambled on, sounding as if he almost meant
what he said, rather than just repeating the same tired lines over and over to new
students. "I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death " if you
aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
He sounded especially pleased, implying that they all might turn out to be pathetic
idiots, incapable of learning, while Harry found his impossible claims to be more
boastful than educational, giving a poor impression on the kind of teacher he was.
Although stopping death peaked his interest, no matter if Snape stretched the truth
like taffy. Although just when thought provoking ideas were forming in Harry's mind,
his peace was interrupted.
"Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of
wormwood?"
Harry sat staring off into space for a moment, and right as Snape was about to shout
again, he responded, "I don't know, what page is that on?"
Ignoring him, Snape sneered and continued, "Let's see if you can respond faster to
an easier question, where would you look for a bezoar?"
That made Harry chuckle soundlessly at the irony, having a graphic novel help him in
magic school, "I believe they're traditionally found in goats, but horses and cows
produce similar stones."

Halfway between forming a smug grin on his face, Snape's head jerked around at
the unexpected words, but he recovered in a flash, "Too easy, list the twelve uses of
dragon's blood."
Hanna paled at being so close to Snape's scrutinizing glare and began squirming
away from Harry while barely staying in her seat. After a brief moment of recollection
again, Harry began listing them off, "Spot remover, incense, enchanting component,
dye, varnish, healing salve, toothpaste, diarrhea treatment, blood thinner, potion
ingredient, body oil, and oven cleaner." Excited whispers spread through the class
while he was listing them, as well as pages being shuffled to doublecheck.
"Hav... have you been studding with Granger?" Asked a chubby faced Hufflepuff
behind him.
"Enough!" Commanded Snape, silencing the room save his echoes. "You made a
mistake Potter, but that level of knowledge is - tolerable enough for your first day."
He spun around and began bludgeoning the chalkboard behind him with a heavy
piece of chalk, scraping out the right answers and then instructions for the Cure for
Boils potion they would be preparing that day.
Through the rest of the class he stalked between desks, criticizing students left and
right, seeming to cause problems as he got close. Harry had to steady Hannah's
hand when it began to shake, trying to add the bits of horned slug into their cauldron
while Snape hung over her shoulder like a waiting noose. During his seventh sweep
by their desk, Harry got the sudden urge to trip him or at least make him stumble on
his way, but shook his head in refusal, knowing that would only cause more
problems. Some groups made minor mistakes to receive hostile tirades, while other
students yelped in fright as they saw a black cloak glide past them. Those seemed to
come more often from the back of the class, but even at the front, Lisa was startled
by a tap on the shoulder, dropping her silver knife into the tip of her shoe and barely
missing tender flesh. Her thick glasses made the surprised expression she wore
excessively comical, which gave others further trouble in restraining any bleak
laughter.
Their suffering ended in relieved gasps at the end of class, as everyone managed to
get something into a vial and up on the Professor's desk, even if several were dark
brown and still bubbling. Hannah smiled at Harry after she handed in their deep red
sample, pleased with how similar it was to the description in the book. Snape
glowered in response, giving Harry chills and another oncoming headache as he
followed the entire room to lunch.
oOoOo

The atmosphere of the great hall felt routine already, chatter permeated the tables in
between bites of food and curious glances his way, with another tradition being
hammered into place, for Padma to tease him sarcastically about the days events.
"Got a photographic memory to go with the loads of money and hero mania we
already know about?"
"Just mnemonics, and how did you know I have loads of money? Has someone
written my life story already?"
"Pfft, the specialty Kneazle bag from Flourish and Blotts you are showing off is the
only hint we need. They only give those to elite clientele, and what's a nemonic?"
Confused a little, Harry didn't think the owner of the shop had recognized him, but it
did make sense for why she was so nice. "It's a way to remember things, and are
you going to keep this up at every meal?"
Padma narrowed her eyes at him, "Maybe, if you're hating it as much as I think you
might be secretly liking it as a cover for indifference." Sue elbowed her in sympathy
for Harry.
But he just laughed, "I can't imagine what your sister has had to deal with all these
years." Which broke the table into quiet chuckles around them.
All of the first year Ravenclaws were looking forward to charms class and to meet
their new head of house officially. Finding it easy enough, they filed into the empty
classroom strewn with books, taking their seats as a bizarre noise came from the
front. Sounding like a mouse making miniature motorcycle noises, yet couldn't get it
quite right. It drew their attention to the central pile of books on the front desk, which
appeared to be moving slowly up and down. Harry took a seat near the wall to watch
as Mandy and Morag tried to drag Lisa along with them to investigate. Others stood
around watching as well, resembling a crime scene investigation with curious
bystanders edging in closer.
The school bell rang violently, throwing the room into chaos. Stacks of books
crashed to the floor, attacking the scouting party of girls with sharp corners aimed at
their vulnerable legs, causing squeals to echo through the classroom. While those
standing danced away from the commotion, bumping into desks and chairs, scooting
some back and tipping over others. At the same time a tiny man with ruffled white
hair and olive green robes leapt out from under the pile of books, wand at the ready
and scanning the room for signs of danger.
Quickly gauging the situation, he hopped down lightly from the desk and waved his

wand in a complicated pattern, flinging the fallen books back into some semblance of
order. He helped the three girls up and vanished their slight bruises at the same time
as righting the desks behind the other students.
"Welcome!" He squeaked out. "I am Professor Flitwick, your head of house, and I
apologize if that startled everyone. Good to stay on your toes though, isn't it?" He
smiled pleasantly and climbed back on his desk and up the stairs of books, taking a
seat near the top. "Well now, your first lesson in charms, such a magical time. Why
don't we all get comfortable and start out with something fun. The softening charm
shall do nicely, it's one of my favorites." His grin radiated across the room.
They finally got situated as Flitwick floated a wooden block onto each of their desks,
then wrote on one of the large blackboards by deftly controlling a piece of chalk with
his wand. He wordlessly cast the softening charm on a nearby book to demonstrate,
and started playing with it, bending and squashing it into different shapes.
"Before we begin reading how this is achieved, I would like everyone to take out their
wands and simply attempt it on their own. It's perfectly alright if you don't succeed,
this is just to determine if we are all on the same page."
Harry thought he might have a head start, already reading about the charm
previously. He began by practicing the wand movement and then repeating the
incantation he remembered, but noticed many others were doing the same. It was
obvious that Ravenclaws shared a few similarities. Closing his eyes, he ignored
them and focused magic into his wand, and cast, making the wooden block spin
around on his desk with a small whistling sound emanating from it as well. It was still
plain wood, if a little warm to the touch. Although no one else managed the feat
either by the time Flitwick reigned them in.
"Good, good. I see many of you have started early in your reading, but we are all
going to learn together, and help each other along the way. Please turn to the correct
page in your books and, Miss Patil, would you read aloud?"
It turned out to be a much better class than any so far, the diminutive professor
involving them in fun and interesting ways, demonstrating and correcting the wavy
wand movement for each of them, telling them stories about using the spell on
unusual objects at often hilarious times. Even making a joke out of breaking down
the incantation into easy to say parts.
"SPUHN, as in soft spuhn yarn, Jee, as in jee these pants are elastic, and Fye, as in
fee, fye, foe, fum, how squishy it feels under a giant's bum. And all together we get
SPUHN-jee-fye, to make things sponge-like, all rubbery and stretchy to the touch, in

your hands, between your toes, or against the cushion on your seat. - Now, try it out
on your own." Girls giggled while boys snorted in reply, trying to hold back their
laughter at the professor acting out each part.
Sitting beside Harry again, Sue covered her smile with one hand while trying to cast
with the other. Hitting wands repeatedly with Padma in the process, causing a class
discussion about the differences between left and right handed casters. Harry kept
practicing quietly while only vaguely paying attention, recalling Flitwick's instructions
and almost feeling the connection forming in his mind. Padma seemed to be
distracting him on purpose, playing around by wiggling her wand up and down to
make it appear to be made of rubber.
"Spongify!" He cast, and this time could feel it work, just like the repairing charm
before. Reaching his hand out hopefully, he touched it, feeling the wood give under
his fingers as a sense of elation breezed through him. He wondered how it changed
the alignment of atoms or molecules, then squeezed it harder, looking around with a
pleased grin. But everyone else was in an animated debate together, about how big
giants grow and how stinky they could be. The spell long forgotten, and Flitwick lost
somewhere in the middle, hearing his light hearted giggles now and then.
Older students complained about all the essays and reading that charms required,
when they were discussing it during lunch, but none of that was apparent until
Flitwick caught their attention with crackling words of fire written in the air. Giving
them homework on reading the next chapter, and practicing the spell by next
Wednesday.
School bells shook the classroom again, stirring them from the carefree exchange
they slipped back into, and spurring a rush to gather their things to head for the next
class. Chatting all the way there.
As the last to exit, Harry followed along, leaving his squishy block of wood on top of
the others.
oOoOo
Defense Against the Dark Arts was another doubles class, with Gryffindors this time.
But having learnt his lesson from Snape, Harry took the earlier warning in Diagon
Alley and stayed far away from the Defense Professor. As well as avoiding the most
pungent of old garlic smells, which seemed to emanate from Quirrell himself. The
stutter he had in Diagon alley was more pronounced in front of the class, as he gave
off a skittish impression of a deranged squirrel.
Sitting in the far back, Harry was able to observe the differences between Gryffindors

and Ravenclaws first hand, in addition to the grotesque looking creatures stuffed and
hung along the walls.
Ghouls were the topic of choice for the day, as students muttered amongst
themselves about their experiences with them.A few seats away Ron was bragging
about having one that lived in his home and rattled the pipework at night, while
another Gryffindor began answering questions up front, eager to show how much
she knew. Class drifted on, listening to a long lecture on which spells were used to
get rid of them, and how to keep them away, all of which Ron and his friends weren't
paying attention to, but Harry couldn't blame them. Taking notes was about the most
effort he could muster, as the constant stutter was beginning to irritate him.
Near the end of class Harry learned what the Hufflepuff boy in potions meant, as
Quirrell called on Miss Granger for the fourth time in a row to answer his questions.
She was the bushy haired girl from the sorting ceremony that Ron disliked, and
making an impression on students and teachers alike it seemed. Barely able to see
more than her mane of hair and raised hand, Harry was intrigued by her intelligence,
especially because she was in Gryffindor, who were not commonly known for their
brilliant minds.
With class ending and the day finally over, the jabber of restless first years was
overwhelming, having to listen to it all the way to dinner and throughout it as well.
The delicious food made things bearable, as Harry ran the day through his mind,
recalling specific things he wanted to remember and savoring the fun of learning a
new spell while moving on to dessert.
Penny threw a sweet roll on his plate, interrupting his thoughts, "You sure are quiet
tonight, were classes that bad?"
He put on a slight smile, "Not especially, but the reality doesn't exactly live up my
imagination. I guess that happens when you read too much."
"Or if you live in your head all the time. You have to let go and just experience things
once in a while, and don't worry, things liven up after learning a few more spells."
With a wave of her wand she made the roll dance wildly around his plate, bouncing
up and down, and dodging his attempts to stab it. With a lucky jab, he skewered it on
his fork to watch it act out a dramatic death, stumbling around his plate and falling
into his chocolate pudding with a splash. The others around him clapped at the sight,
only to see it get up and bow awkwardly with the fork still in it. Drawing laughs and
calls for an encore.
After dinner, they had time to play before curfew, though were warned not to go

exploring by themselves. Harry declined an invitation from a group of boys to join


them in creeping around the dungeons, instead he visited the colossal school library,
walking through endless aisles, reading peculiar titles, and peeking around the
restricted section. Until the old crone of a librarian caught him, and began lecturing
about age restrictions and proper teacher approval. He made many hurried
apologies and escaped to a far off section on healing spells. Spending his time
browsing through a multitude of topics on the subject, from splinters to strokes, and
beyond every normal occurrence possible.
He was scanning through a book on spontaneous duplication, when a cluster of girls
ran past, giggling about the size of some boys wands and blushing as they noticed
him sitting on the floor between aisles. They hurried down to another section,
whispering while grabbing books off a high shelf, and giggling even more amidst
furtive glances his way. Harry chuckled, having snuck enough mature books past his
relatives over the years to understand. But soon the bells for curfew disturbed things
again, forcing him to put away the books and head off to bed. This time stuffing his
wands under a pillow and pulling the curtains tight.
The next morning back in transfiguration, things finally got interesting, as they were
taught the basic concepts of how transfiguration worked, through a few simple
equations and variables that determined how each spell should be achieved,
seeming no harder than regular physics. They were assured though, that as the
complexity of their transfigurations increased, so too would the difficulty and
equations. Harry was relieved that the math to solve them would also be taught in
class, as some of the seventh year problems looked more complicated than any
calculus he'd heard of. However their first spell was to change a match into a needle,
requiring little math. Unlike charms though, there was no talking or distractions.
While practicing, Harry considered the classes so far. Transfiguration is similar to
engineering, putting special math into practice, while Charms is almost an art, like
writing, painting, or music, requiring an almost intuitive understanding built on basic
principles. That fits the skills taught in each at least, math and writing. Whereas
Potions resembles chemistry, yet not as straightforward, rather like a very strict
cooking class. I suppose Herbology will imitate botany or simple gardening, with
history and astronomy hopefully staying the same. Flying... maybe flying is like
swimming, or riding a bike, only much more dangerous. And as for Defense, it's
almost like an amalgamation of the others with zoology thrown in on the side.
The class clapped for Anthony and Padma, showing off their slightly greyish
matches. And although Harry achieved an adequate point on one end and hoop
though the striking head, he showed no one. Yet McGonagall must have caught on
as she gave him an approving nod while walking past his desk.

oOoOo
Herbology was attended in spacious greenhouses, feeling typically muggy and
smelling of abundant fertilizer having flowers and herbs mixed in. A stumpy older
witch in dirty brown robes and wild grey hair was puttering about the place with a
smile on her face as Harry entered the building. He groaned silently, noticing Malfoy
looked pleased to see him in their first class together. The Slytherins were all
reluctant to be there otherwise, wearing disdainful expressions, appearing not to like
the earthy surroundings and humid air. Though most of the Ravenclaws weren't
much better, except for Sue, who grinned while inspecting the plants.
Harry didn't care for the atmosphere much, but was used to similar situations, having
helped his aunt garden and haul plants around for her in regular greenhouses. The
lesson started with essential planting techniques and common knowledge but shortly
had them packing planters with the right amounts of ingredients to make their own
potting soil. That's when Draco started in.
He snuck over by Harry when a large pile of terracotta pots mysteriously crashed to
the floor, distracting the Professor. "I don't think you quite understood me last time. You won't make it far in the wizarding world without the right people backing you up.
No matter how intelligent you might be, or worshipped you are by the dimwitted
masses. If you aren't connected to the right side, things may go badly for you. But
my family and I can help you there."
Looking up at Draco in his spotless robes and pretentious grin, Harry wanted to
throw some dirt in his face, but restrained himself. Instead, he began asking
questions, "Have you ever wondered why you believe what do?"
"What's that supposed to mean? This is just the way the world works. If you want to
live in it long, you learn how to survive. Something I hear your parents forgot."
Harry cleared his throat and forged on, "There are many methods to survive, but why
do you choose a path without questioning it? How can you know whether your way
to survive is the best, if you don't look at others?
"What are you on about? Is this some sort of trick?" Draco stepped back as his
lackeys grew alert a little way away.
"No trick," Continued Harry, while scooping more peat into a large planter, "Only
wondering why you don't question your beliefs."
"Because they're right of course." He tried restraining his sneer.

"Bloody hell Malfoy, can't you see he's just stalling, not wanting to tell you to piss off
directly?" Theodore Nott hissed at them.
That brought on a sudden change in Draco, his sneer turned to tight lipped
contempt, barely holding back his disgust. While his posture became threatening
and he chewed out his words, "Fine, this is your last chance Potter, are you with us,
or against us?"
"I wasn't blowing you off, but vague threats and ultimatums are not going to
persuade me very well. I prefer evidence and rational discussion."
"Yes or no?" He growled.
"Look, can we just say that I agree with you, and then forget about it for the rest of
the year?"
Malfoy was grinding his teeth, reaching slowly for his wand, until a perky but husky
voice called over his shoulder, "That looks like some nice soil Mr Potter, wherever
did you learn about Herbology so early?" Professor Sprout smiled happily at them
both, "And Mr Malfoy, I hope you are contributing to the mess your friends are
making over at your station." She nodded at Crabbe and Goyle's stricken faces as
they were hurriedly trying to clean up.
The class laughed, as most everyone was already attempting to listen in. Draco
glared at them all, then glanced at the broken pots, stacked and whole again, leaving
no alternative but to return to his station and focus the anger on his so called friends.
Professor Sprout winked at Harry and moved on, helping some nearby Ravenclaws.
The rest of class passed quickly, while Harry ignored the hateful eyes directed his
way. They were given only a bit of reading to do until next time, and headed for
lunch.
Only to be greeted later in their next class by the whole of first year, thankfully for
Harry, Slytherin was on the opposite side of the room. For some reason, someone
decided to combine every house together and cram them all in a huge lecture hall for
History, with a ghostly and uninspired Professor Binns to keep them in line. His
dreary voice was amplified to compensate for those in the back, so everyone could
be bored to death equally. Since all he did was lecture the entire time, many
students began to gossip quietly.
"Did you hear? They finally found that Gryffindor boy's toad, it was sucked dry and
hidden on the train, probably by that giant tarantula everyone was talking about."

"Yeah, Neville is pretty broken up about it."


"At least it didn't have to suffer very long, I heard he's already melted a cauldron,
flushed his last quill, and broken a desk in charms. Imagine being his pet for seven
years, if you survived that long."
"Someone said Lee Jordan, the boy who brought the spider, is going to get him a
new pet though. Hopefully it's better than a toad."
"Maybe it'll be something he can take care of, like a pet rock. Naa... he still might
lose it."
"That's mean! How would you feel if something ate your owl?"
"Relieved, that blasted bird kept hooting at me every night over summer, and threw
up so many disgusting wads of crap on my bed that I got one stuck in my hair!"
Harry couldn't help but chuckle silently at it all, seeing a challenge in taking notes
while paying attention to the conversations around him.
oOoOo
From the most boring subject in school, they headed towards the most exciting,
flying class. At least for some anyway, seeing how much they talked about it. Harry
on the other hand didn't know what to think of flying on a broomstick. A thin bit of
wood with a cushioning charm on it was considered the height of entertainment,
thrilling and scaring students alike. It was hard to imagine it being comfortable for
boys, and he tried to ignore what it might be like for girls. As it turned out, Ravenclaw
was paired with Hufflepuff again, heading outside together on a tepid summer day.
Amid constant chatter and eager smiles, they saw the two rows of broomsticks lying
in the wavy grass, causing most to bolt towards them in order to claim the best ones.
Left with a pitifully twisted broom as he took his time in walking, Harry got in line and
waited for the teacher to arrive.
"I prefer carpets instead," commented Padma, "we used to ride them while visiting
family in India, they're really comfortable."
"Well these are for racing, and quidditch, not having leisurely picnics above a lake."
Said one of the Hufflepuff boys.
"What do they ride in China Sue? Can some people really control clouds like in the
stories?" Lisa inquired with a expectant grin.

Before she could respond, Madam Hooch interrupted the rabble, "Everyone by a
broom? Good, now stick out your wand hand over it and say 'Up', and be serious
about it!" She was a sporty looking witch with short, bleached white hair, and
uncanny yellow eyes that darted from student to student.
Harry commanded the broom, and it jolted into the air, almost smacking him in the
knees and awkwardly flying at Mandy's head before he caught it by the tip and
forced it down beside him like a few others had managed. Beside him Stephen also
had trouble keeping control of his as it held him aloft a few inches from the ground
and didn't want to respond. Madam Hooch yanked it down after casting a spell on it,
and then helped some Hufflepuff that were struggling to even move theirs.
A short lecture later on mounting and safety instructions, then they were off.
Everyone kicked away from the ground, some soaring into the sky, as others barely
hovered over the grass. It took a while for everyone to land again after being called
back, but soon the whole class was flying slowly around in wide circles at the
direction of their instructor. The faster ones passing on the outside while trying to
avoid collisions. Harry had trouble controlling his from the start, barely keeping in line
despite the constant pressure he used to force it steady. Luckily enough class was
cut short as a light shower began to have adverse side effects on some of the
brooms, including his.
Dinner was uneventful as Padma had little material to tease him with, and everyone
else was too excited about their first astronomy class later that night to ask about the
incident with Draco.
It was near nine o'clock at night when Penny led them up to the astronomy tower
with telescopes in hand, to study the starts with Professor Sinistra. Who seemed a
younger version of Professor McGonagall, strict and businesslike, but wore plush
golden robes and a regal hat over her dark skin and hair. She taught them how to
use their telescopes and find various planets on a chart. Answering questions posed
throughout.
"Professor?" Harry asked during a lull in the lesson, "How much do wizards know
about astronomy compared to muggle scientists?"
"I was waiting for that question to be asked," She had a curious expression on her
face. "As some of you know, muggle knowledge has grown immensely in recent
years, sometimes outstripping even wizard knowledge, but usually only in
unimportant subjects. In astronomy particularly, they have come up with much more
theoretical knowledge such as the formation of planets and the life cycle of stars
than wizards have had time to examine. As there are so few wizard astronomers

compared to muggle ones, it is becoming an ever increasing burden to investigate


their claims. But as always, our ability to observe the heavens is still far superior in
ways they may never be able to duplicate."
"So... what's the wizarding view on alien life?" Ventured Harry.
With a delightful laugh she gently shook her head, "Ah, some mysteries we must
leave to the imagination, for even magic can not reveal all."
oOoOo
The rest of the week and the next was much the same for Harry, Potions was replete
with skeptical glares and intimidating pacing around the room, and Herbology
became a tactical game on staying away from Draco and his gang. While Charms
and Transfiguration let him excel behind the scenes as much as possible, except
when the professors tried to drag his shining accomplishments out on display for the
class. History and Defense both dragged on with scant changes, while Flying and
Astronomy improved as Harry avoided the single manic-defective broom he got at
the first, being able to enjoy flying more, and they got to see wondrous sights of
distant galaxies in a large school telescope during Astronomy.
It was only the third week of school when the bullies came out of the woodwork, or
rather stonework in this case, to show how much they ran the school. The seniors
had already sorted out their hierarchy for the most part over the years, but now it
was the first year's turn to figure out their pecking order and learn their place relative
to the rest.
Harry was having none of it though, avoiding confrontations with everyone he could,
and those he couldn't seemed to start slipping in the halls, not able to lay a hand on
him as he passed them by. The Ravenclaws themselves rarely bothered him,
besides the random prank now and then, or the few third years offering to protect
him for money. He ignored the intimidation attempts and insults from Gryffindors and
Slytherins, but it was becoming difficult to divert Draco's constant harassment
without causing serious harm, which he wasn't sure if it could be traced back to him
somehow.
Everything came to a head in the middle of the week during potions class. Harry was
stressed from the increasingly heavy workload of things he barely understood, and
the incessant nagging of classmates about how he liked to show off. Which couldn't
be farther from the truth in his mind, but that seemed to be why they latched onto it,
and why it bothered him so much. Even the Hufflepuffs got in on the action,
complaining about how he thought he was so much better than them, as one boy

kept trying to throw things in his cauldron when Snape left the class for more
ingredients. Hanna tried to tell them to stop, but was quickly shamed for not siding
with her housemates. She meekly tried to avoid the whole situation after that, quietly
chopping ingredients to not garner attention.
Although nothing ever landed in their cauldron, Harry used his polished silver knife to
watch behind him and catch Zacharias Smith in the act. Turning around to stare at
the snub nosed boy, Harry was yelled at by professor Snape when he entered the
room again carrying a crate of supplies. Drawing laughs all around and especially by
Smith. So Harry turned back to watch the reflection in his knife, as Snape put the
ingredients away.
Right before Smith was about to throw something else, Harry bent the stand his
cauldron was sitting on and dumped the whole thing in his lap. Causing bedlam in
the class as he cursed and fell back into two more tables, knocking their cauldrons
over as well. The incomplete potions did nothing but make people itch, thus Harry
figured there wasn't any need for concern. Yet in his stressed and addled state, he
forgot the main rule of causing trouble; pretend like it was unexpected.
So upon noticing he was the only one not looking around in concern, Harry caught
sight of Snape's cold malevolent eyes as they bored into his own, and finally realized
where his headaches were coming from.

Chapter 5 - Explanation
Chapter 5
Explanation
Dumbledore looked down at the young boy who had caused such an uproar in the
school recently. He appeared so innocent sitting there in the oversized velvety
armchair, which got so many young students to pour their hearts out to a kind and
forgiving headmaster. But instead of squirming in his seat from nervous guilt or
wearing a pleading look of honest innocence, he merely gazed around the room in
curiosity at all the instruments, gadgets, portraits, and shelves of books that had
collected over the years. Dumbledore considered that maybe someday he could give
the boy a tour and share his knowledge of all the fun and interesting trinkets until his
curiosity was sated, although today he had to discover just who was sitting before
him.
Their eyes finally met and Dumbledore decided to delay no longer, since it was
obvious the boy wasn't about to confess or plead his innocence. It was only the third
week of school but staff rumors already spread that he was very straightforward with
the other professors so that was where Dumbledore started. "Harry, I am sure you
can guess why I called you in here today. I would like to know if you attacked
Professor Snape earlier today."
This is it, Harry peered up at the white haired wizard with his crooked nose and halfmoon glasses. The long awaited confrontation with authority I knew was coming, and
it isn't starting how I hoped. He was glad the Headmaster wasn't trying to manipulate
or guilt him into a confession like others tried in the past. But this time there was no
escaping, no tricks or secret mind games could work on someone so old and
experienced in dealing with misbehaving students and magical subtlety. If rumors
and history books could be believed, he was sitting in front of the most revered and
strongest living wizard in the entire world, who was proficient in law, politics, and who
knows what else he might be capable of. It was time to see if this tower of authority
he was facing could be trusted. Harry couldn't guess what he might already know or
suspect, so simple honesty was the strategy of choice.
"No sir, I didn't attack him."
Mulling over the boy's short response, Dumbledore could see his apparent honesty,
but knew the young so often had a way of viewing the world from a distorted vantage
point. He found it doubtful that Severus would lie to him about being attacked with
magic in his own classroom, in front of the entire class. It was far more likely Harry

was a good liar or didn't view it as an attack but retaliation for some slight. This was
not starting off well.
"If you do not mind my asking, what do you think happened to Professor Snape that
forced his head to be thrown against the classroom wall and lose consciousness?"
Quick and simple was a sign of honesty, use contractions and be convinced of your
statements, Harry reminded himself. "I don't know sir, but I'm curious as to why I'm
suspected." Too much, shouldn't have given him more than an 'I don't know'.
A puzzled expression crossed Dumbledore's face. Having heard the Snape's report
after the event, and also the testimony of a few students that saw the incident, there
was no obvious conclusion. No one saw Harry or anyone else use a wand or say a
curse, let alone the girl right next to him. Unintentional magic was the likely culprit,
yet a distant memory of Tom as a charming young student, sitting in the very same
chair, crept into his mind. A shake of his head dislodged the disturbing thought. Harry
gave no other signs of malevolent behavior or similar mindset, but his answers were
almost too measured for such an age, it seemed he had to be confronted.
"Professor Snape claims you were the one to attack him in the middle of class,
although no other students saw anything, he does have my utmost trust." The split
second look of disdain from Harry was all Dumbledore needed to know about what
he thought of Snape. "I'm sorry but I must ask to see your wand to verify what spells
have been cast recently."
Attempting to restrain his feelings at the thought of trusting a man like Snape, Harry
was lucky enough to keep his face a composed mask as the delighted smile of
victory surely would have given him away when he handed over his phoenix wand
that wasn't used since breakfast. He watched the headmaster cast a detection spell
over the wand and another two he had no idea what might be for, especially since
the headmaster mumbled them under his breath. Knowing his wand wouldn't convict
him, Harry felt it was better to be himself and show his curiosity instead of acting so
reserved all the time. "I've heard what that first spell does but I was wondering, what
the other two are for?"
Dumbledore waved his question away, "Merely making sure the wand is yours and
un-tampered with. It would appear you are indeed innocent of casting any curses or
hexes. Tell me Harry, what were you thinking about when the professor was
assaulted?" The negative results suggested it was indeed accidental magic, but that
begged the question of why Severus thought Harry was responsible. Dumbledore
could only guess, but students did often complain about being provoked by the
hostile Potions Professor act.

Harry knew he should distract the headmaster from that line of questioning, but
didn't know what would work. Might as well bring out the reserve strategy; he's
bound to find it out sooner or later.
"I'm not sure, but I think you should know something else. That isn't my only wand."
Producing his other wand from the holster on his arm made Dumbledore's eyebrows
shoot up in surprise. Perfect, that might be good enough to keep him off track for a
while.
"It seems I have underestimated the inventiveness of students these days. Not many
adult wizards think to carry multiple wands, and even fewer wear them in holsters,
excluding experienced aurors. Did you happened to meet a man named Alastor
Moody who gave you some tips?"
A shake of Harry's head prompted him to continue.
"Well no matter, I am glad you came forward with this, so there shall be no doubt to
your culpability." Dumbledore marveled at the unusual beauty and exceptional power
of this second wand but put it out of his mind after he checked it with the same
spells. He paused to considering things in a slightly new light. Harry appeared more
clever than anticipated, but almost seemed too sure of his innocence from the hint of
a smile on his face.
Dumbledore realized he would have to be careful with how to treat him. "You would
not happen to have a third wand just in case, would you?"
Glad for the distraction Harry answered in depth, "No, I didn't see the need for
another wand yet. But it seems I am the only other student I know of to have two, for
some reason most people don't see any purpose to have more than one. I'm glad at
least some experienced individuals see the need. As for the holster, I was curious
how others carried their wands, and Mr Ollivander mentioned where to get one. The
price seemed excessive but I supposed the hiding and protection charms are what
makes it worthwhile. If you don't mind me asking, how many wands do you have
sir?" Things were going smoother now and he hoped he could ingratiate himself
somewhat with the Headmaster, at least to see if he was trustworthy. Learning a bit
from one of the most powerful wizard alive wouldn't hurt either.
Dumbledore studied Harry and his open expressiveness when talking about a
subject he was interested in. His calculated and reserved attitude was gone,
implying it was due more to nervousness than deceptions. Which gave Dumbledore
a hint on how to lure him out of his shell, by offering a little knowledge and wisdom to
stimulate his Ravenclaw interests. Coming back to the subject at hand, it was very

unusual for students to have uncontrolled bursts of magic in an everyday situation as


a potions classroom, especially for one so intelligent and already skilled in wand use.
Further memories cascaded through his thoughts, this time of his young sister. He
coughed, and cleared his throat too rid himself of them.
"While I encourage preparedness for all things magical you need not emulate an
eccentric old wizard such as myself." Seeing the slight disappointment in Harry's
eyes he revised his answer, "but I own four different wands, each are slightly better
at some tasks than others. I don't think it would be worth the cost for you to try more
than two for now though, as it is usually much more advanced spells that would ever
require the finesse of a specific wand. Though I am surprised you manage to talk
Olivander into selling you a second."
"It was quite difficult actually."
Bright and curious eyes gazed back at his own. Reassuring Dumbledore of his
impressions of Harry. He resembled the classic Ravenclaw, thirsty for knowledge of
every kind, yet displayed his own individuality in being reserved with a unique
perspective on the world. The only question Dumbledore had now, was what could
have struck such a chord of unrestrained violence in the boy to smash Severus
against a wall.
"I imagine so. - While some experienced wizards like myself and Alastor prefer to be
cautious, others might see a second wand as a sign of... mistrust, or danger even.
As if that person feels threatened or has dangerous thoughts on the mind. I suppose
that is why many wizards and witches do not consider keeping a wand in reserve,
because others might think something is wrong. You would not have any, incidents,
in the past that made you feel the need for more than one wand, would you Harry?"
He handed the wands back with an encouraging smile.
Looking down at his wands after accepting them back, it was hard for Harry to
consider all the implications of what was just said, but it was more than obvious that
the headmaster was inquiring about any abusive situations or violent tendencies he
might have. I was right in the first place, there is no dissuading Dumbledore from
finding out what happened. He obviously knows a lot about wandless magic and
what might have happened, even if I don't. Maybe if I led the conversation into my
perspective the headmaster would be more understanding.
"Well I haven't had a storybook life if that's what you're asking, but I've managed to
make due. Nothing too serious or life threatening, except for the frying pan episode."
He groaned silently at having mentioned that, but it was too late, death by frying pan,
the obvious thing to inquire about.

Now Dumbledore felt he was getting somewhere, Harry was still equivocating but
that was something to work with. "Hmm, a frying pan episode, no one got hurt I
hope?"
Might as well explain some, since it doesn't give too much about myself away, and I
don't want to be one of those people... Harry mentally rolled his eyes, "It was a few
years ago during one summer holiday, I was supposed to be mowing the lawn, but
the lawn mower ran out of petrol. I didn't want to tell my uncle it was out so I sort of...
wished, for it to keep running. It didn't sound right though because it was much too
quiet, I hurried up and finished cutting the grass only to find my aunt watching me
with a weird look on her face. After finishing up and putting things away I started to
head inside. But as soon as the door closed behind me, I saw this frying pan coming
straight for the side of my face. I tried stepping back to get out of the way but
realized the door wouldn't move, not having anymore time to turn the doorknob or
duck, I simply... wished for it to stop.
"When I opened my eyes the pan was almost touching me, but it was frozen in
place. I looked around it and could see my aunt holding it, but she was just as
unmoving as the pan. Her eyes were glazed over and staring back at me. I was
frightened and don't know what was going on so I ducked underneath her
outstretched arms and ran to my room. About ten minutes later I heard something
like the pan dropping on the floor but I was tired so I just locked my door and fell
asleep. I realize now I must have stunned her or something but back then it just
seemed like she went into shock." Left out a few details like mowing the entire lawn
that way for a couple of weeks, chasing Dudley with it for a bit, and blocking my door
with every bit of furniture in my room that night, but there's no need to give too much
away at once.
Dumbledore restrained his eyes from widened in horror and jaw dropping at such a
story. But quickly glanced around at his instruments that were meant to detect
potential bodily harm to the boy. None had gone off since he broke his leg falling out
of a tree when he was five. Having looked into Petunia's mind at the time to make
sure, Dumbledore could barely believe the same dull woman could even think about
such actions, let alone carry them out. Thoughts of his sister rose to the surface
once again in worry about what they might have done to Harry. But the calm and
resigned attitude Harry wore after retelling the story eased his mind again. Yet it
seemed related to the subject at hand, if a difficult topic to broach.
"There would not be any problems like that here at school, would there? Because I
must be very firm and punish anyone swinging frying pans at you." Dumbledore
hoped a little levity wouldn't harm any progress so far.

It was hard for Harry to dislike such a strange and grandfatherly figure who had a
twinkle in his eye all the time, but he couldn't trust Dumbledore only because of an
affable personality. He would have to be tested, to make sure of the character of this
eminent old wizard. It might be all or nothing at this point, but I've got a feeling it's
worth the risk.
"Honestly sir, I know what you are getting at and what you want to hear, whether
something happened between Snape and I to cause me to, - wish him harm or
something similar." Dumbledore was rapt with attention, his eyebrows risen even
higher than before and slowly nodding his head. "I seem to know your intentions but
you don't seem to understand mine yet, so I will to make it clear. I don't mean to be
rude, but while you seem like a wise and kind old wizard, I don't really know you and
I haven't decided if I can trust you yet. I know how this may sound for a young
student to talk to you this way, but I can't find any easier way to put it."
For one of the very few times in his life, Dumbledore was speechless. Looking back,
he wondered if he really was worthy of this fascinating boy's trust. Yet there was no
one else that could help or guide Harry with what may come. Then and there,
Dumbledore decided to become worthy, no matter the past.
"While I realize you may not want to confide in me yet, what would you have me do
to earn your trust?"
Peering up at the puzzled headmaster in his colorful medley of clothes, it was hard
to decide what to ask for first. Harry almost wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the
situation but instead gave a reassuring smile. "I think I need to know something
about you that isn't in all the history books, something that might convince me that
you are who they say you are."
"If you are interested, my favorite flavor of jam is raspberry." He wore a lopsided grin,
"but I suppose I should first warn you about the ways I could be someone other than
I appear. There are potions that can change appearances, others that create
obsessions and upset the mind, spells that overcome a person's will, change their
memories, or bind their vows. There are also enchanted items that can take over
your body or read your mind, some can detect dark objects, lies, or deceit. On the
other hand there is a potion called verasiterum that can force someone to tell the
truth about whatever they say, or whatever is asked, yet it is hesitantly used. The
goblins have an enchantment that is called Thief's Downfall which removes most
curses and potion effects from anyone who enters the vaults. There are other ways
to verify who someone really is, but by the look forming on your face you are not
concerned with me being me, but who Albus Dumbledore really is? - There you may
have me at a loss because I am all of my past, not only individual stories taken here

or there to exemplify the best of who I would like to be. There are too many to be
sure, which you probably would not care to hear right now. Do you have anything
specific in mind?"
Harry thought it over for a moment and almost laughed again at how easy the
headmaster turned the tables and would learn what was important to him at the
same time Harry might learn about the headmaster. "It probably isn't one event or
easy to explain, but what made you choose the light side rather than the dark? And
why do you consider that good?"
Dumbledore's face became stricken for a second at the memory he endeavored to
avoid if at all possible, bringing with it the agonizing pain he still carried. It passed as
hurtful memories always do, but he recalled the distressing time that led up to it,
when he had to rethink who he was and what he wanted to stand for. He frowned
deeply, not wishing to tell the story, but began anyway.
"It was 1899, when I was but a young man. As you may not have heard I was close
friends with Gellert Grindelwald, long before the war he started, we had an idea to
raise witches and wizards above muggles, who had taken over control of almost the
entire world. I will admit I was immature and resentful then, having been affected
greatly by one such abhorrent muggle crime, which made it personal for me, as well
as dealing with my mother's recent death at the time. Gellert and I saw the muggles
as barbarians, always fighting with one another, abusing, or killing in unspeakable
ways. It seemed justified to rule over them if only to stop all the violent and insane
behavior that occurred. We knew it would be difficult and would require necessary
evils to accomplish, but convinced ourselves it was only for the greater good. Alas I
believe now we really wanted power and control more than anything such as justice,
Gellert especially.
"That was all before I saw what those ideas would lead to, or the consequences of
our actions. I had my doubts along the way but my inexperienced ideals and
emotions kept me loyal to him. I felt as if my life was a ruin then, and he was my only
escape. Soon I was confronted by my brother about these wayward thoughts and for
neglecting my family responsibilities. We argued but that day I saw the true face of
Gellert Grindelwald as he cast an unforgivable curse on my brother for trying to
dissuade my ambitions. We fought, all three of us in a violent duel..."
He paused, taking a deep breath and gazing out the window with moisture in his
eyes.
"Sufficed to say, it ended in tragedy beyond words. Gellert fled out of fear of the
consequences and I abandoned the cause along with all notion that wizards were

superior to muggles. It was my greed for power that led me to ignore my own
conscience and follow such a flawed ideal. I realized much later that our notion of
'for the greater good' was an excuse to commit crimes I knew were wrong. There
can never be a greater good that is forced on others. If there is such a thing, each
person must decide to accept that for themselves." Dumbledore held back his
trembling emotions, while hoping that painful story might teach Harry something as
well as demonstrate his candor to the young wizard.
It took a minute for Harry get his own thoughts in check and to weigh over the
revelations he heard. It felt like too much was left out, little details hidden and larger
problems glossed over, but he couldn't very well expect to hear every intimate detail
from a man who may not trust him as well. He saw the wisdom in Dumbledore's
conclusion, similar to his own ideals, yet he still needed more information to really
trust this mythical figure.
"What happened after that, the books say you defeated Grindelwald in the most
impressive battle anyone has ever seen?"
Sighing Dumbledore finished the tale, "After Gellert fled, I came to dedicate my life to
helping others and started teaching here at Hogwarts. I had many happy years
teaching here and made a great many friends, but as always our past can come
back to haunt us. Many decades later Gellert tried to accomplish our long forgotten
goals. He had started a war, and not just a magical one but involving and using
muggles as well. Playing off their fears and prejudices he manipulated the leaders at
the time. In 1940 things were getting worse all across Europe and I tried to find him
to stop the madness that was another world war. As I searched I met others like him,
and I started to see what the true evils wizards began to perform themselves,
becoming no better or sometimes far worse than the muggles they were trying to
rule. When I finally found where he was staying I was walking down some ancient
catacombs looking to confront him, only to hear a young girl screaming for her life. I
ran as fast as I could to find who was in danger, only to discover it was Grindelwald
himself, older and depraved, who had sacrificed a muggle girl in a terrible dark ritual.
I left unnoticed, too distraught and confused to do anything then, realizing he was far
past saving or convincing to change his ways. Yet I couldn't face him then, I was too
afraid and emotionally lost thinking of what he was, of what I could have become.
That is a regret that I will always remember, that I possibly could have ended the war
right then. I ran away from my thoughts and from my past, to hide from the pain and
memories."
He took another deep breath, and looked down at his hands.
"During the winter and end of 1941 I was finally shown what my inaction and fear

cost. I entered Diagon Alley to find it subdued and dismal on my way to the leaky
cauldron to meet a friend. It was during our meal together that a young muggle boy
stumbled through the front door, half frozen and not realizing where he was, he tried
to beg for food only to be rebuffed by less than sympathetic wizards. The small boy
fainted in my arms when I tried to help him, so I fed and warmed him up, if only to
return him to his parents who I assumed must be searching outside in the cold for
him. As I scoured all over war torn London for them, it became painfully obvious how
much I had failed, leaving Grindelwald to continue such a misguided cause had left
everyone else, especially the muggles exposed to the horrors he was causing. I
found out later when the boy awoke that he was an orphan, I did all I could for him
and left him with a caring family.
"Exploring what was happening outside our hidden world I became enraged beyond
anything I had ever felt before. I left on a journey determined to stop Grindelwald and
the horrific war. It took many years in between keeping an eye on students at school
and trying to track him down again. All the while I tried to defeat his subordinates
and end his support. It was near the end of May in 1945 that I followed him to Italy
and defeated his second in command. The next day I fought a calamitous duel with
him, supported by many misbegotten, enchanted objects and powerful artifacts I had
collected over the years. He had secretly obtained an object of immense power as
well, but we fought equally the entire day, only to have it end for both of us in
complete exhaustion of every kind. That was when a benevolent phoenix, Fawkes,
my rescuer, found me and saved me from the brink of death. I was able to imprison
Grindelwald with Fawkes' help and the war soon stopped." There was no great
morality tale to gleam from that part, Dumbledore knew, but it was what everyone
wanted to hear. How the mighty had fallen and the legend began. He glanced at the
empty perch beside his desk with longing.
Harry stopped himself from tearing up and thought rationally. The only thing of
consequence in that story was the notion of stopping evil before it fully started, and
that there were many powerful enchanted objects and a magical creature that could
help defeat dark wizards. But the headmaster didn't seem to acknowledge the very
lesson he was shown. By his vague and subtle warnings he didn't view magical tools
or methods to gain them particularly virtuous either. Fawkes on the other hand
seemed to be reputable by it's very nature, and there was something else about a
phoenix he felt he was forgetting as well. Oh well, I'm bound to remember it
sometime.
"Fawkes wouldn't happen to have any friendly siblings around here would he?"
That got a mirthful laugh out of Dumbledore, seeming to marvel at Harry's topic of
choice. "I wish it were so, but phoenix are one of the few powerful magical creatures

who rarely if ever, bond with a wizard. They are said to pick a wizard as a companion
rather than the other way around. Yet I fear we have strayed far from the original
topic at hand. Is there any other way you can begin to trust me?"
Harry thought for a moment then realized it was more prudent to deal with the main
issue, rather than ask for magical favors or knowledge of ancient artifacts and spells.
He made a mental note to research other magical creatures and artifacts owned by
famous wizards in the future and pushed on, "I suppose I would like to know what
you intend to do if it was me who... pushed Snape into a wall. Would it include any
permanent punishments?" That didn't come out right. I should really slow down and
consider my words better when dealing with the man who could decide to snap my
wands or not.
The hesitation was confirmation enough for Dumbledore, but he noticed Harry was
worried about his future at Hogwarts rather than a fear of detentions. He decided it
was best to ease Harry's mind quickly before he resolved to lie. "I'm afraid I would
have to give you a few detentions with your head of house, but there would not be
any permanent repercussions due to uncontrolled magic. Except you would have to
receive training to control that in the future, which I am sure Professor Flitwick would
be happy to supply. Does this mean you willing to tell me what happened now?"
At least he seems trustworthy enough, Harry considered, no reason for him to go
through all that for a simple confession. Maybe he could even explain what
happened a little better, if he heard my side of events. Which could also determine
how much I might tell him in the future.
"I honestly don't know exactly what happened, but it started out with Professor
Snape yelling at me for something he thought I did. He was glaring at me when I felt
a headache coming on, and something else, almost as if it was a grimy hand
reaching into my thoughts and digging at my memories. It was horrible and I tried
pulling away from it as far as I was able but it wouldn't stop. So instead I just pushed
at it as hard as I possibly could, that's when I heard a crash and looked up to see the
professor lying on the floor. I'm not sure, but I assume Snape just was in the way of
the unintentional magic I created." Of course it was Snape who felt like a greasy
hand in my mind, but what was he doing is the question. Now to see if the
headmaster can figure out what happened and admit it to me.
Dumbledore was unsure which was more surprising. That Severus would use
legilimency on a first year without approval or that Harry was strong enough to repel
him out of his mind and unintentionally throw him against a wall. He would have to
make sure before confronting anyone. "That seems very frightening Harry, but would
you mind if I attempted to make sure what you are telling me is true?"

A hesitant nod of understanding let him continue. "I will try to ascertain what
happened without being invasive, but remain calm, and try to push away like before."
With a flash of their eyes meeting, Dumbledore entered the boy's mind to see a
grand entrance to a house. Upon entering inside there were countless bizarre
decorations, some objects leaning against or sitting on top of others, paintings of
ordinary and strange styles with oddly dressed people in them. One main hallway
spread out into multiple rooms, with static people and irregular furniture covered in
books and even more random items. A small shelf to the side of the entrance held
miniature sculptures of many teachers at Hogwarts, each one was holding
something unique. His sculpture cupped a large white and red bumble bee,
Minerva's balanced a miniature Griffin wearing goggles on one finger, Filius grasped
a blue candle with a burning sun at the tip, a snake with a blade in its mouth was
coiled around Severus' hand, and professor Quirrell held two objects, a two
feathered quill and fabric wrapped around, darkness.
This was not the mind of an ordinary child, Dumbledore concluded. He saw a small
black puppy come bounding up to him and stop, wary of his outstretched hand. The
rooms started to fade away and plain grey walls surrounded him on all sides. Sitting
down in the middle of the room, he noticed the puppy was still staring at him, the
only thing left. Nothing similar to this had ever occurred before in his legilimency
experience, except for his duels with Moody, being trapped in a room with mirrors
not knowing where to go. Most people simply had thoughts and memories floating
around connecting to each other, not that mish-mash or organization he saw a
moment ago. Even Severus had only a black stone wall to keep people out, or an
imitation of the thoughts and memories he let others see. The puppy caught his
attention again and tilted it's head sideways staring at him, he reached out to pet it.
On closer inspection, it appeared to have green eyes, just like... it bit his hand and
he jumped back, but was in his body again staring at the young wizard with the same
bright green eyes.
"Harry, what was all that, and were you...?" He trailed off in thought as Harry started
to answer.
oOoOo
"It seems as if I was right in my assumption, that was taking place in my mind. This
time I thought of my memory palace but your image of me kind of threw me for a
loop so I took us somewhere else. Is that what Snape tried to do as well, reach into
my mind?" He was revealing too much, but knew the headmaster would have to
admit it now. He even got a better sense of who this wise old wizard really was after
he entered his mind. Harry felt he could trust him for the most part. He would try to
do the right thing, but would be overprotective at times and overconfident at others.

Dumbledore looked down at his hand behind the desk and saw small pink teeth
marks. That surprised him the most out of all that happened today, "Memory palace?
Is that how your memory works? Or is it something you made up in your mind? How
did you manage to affect things outside, like Professor Snape and myself, that
should not be possible!?"
For a first year to have a natural form of occlumency was something very rare, but
Dumbledore had never even heard of an ability to affect others while inside
someone's mind. Making an enemy go mad with legilimency was the worst outcome
ever recorded on the subject. Even masters of the mind magics had tried to reach
beyond, yet never achieved even something as small as the marks on his hand, let
alone throwing someone against a wall. The prophecy ran through his mind, but he
couldn't make sense of this latest revelation.
That wasn't the reaction Harry expected from the headmaster, especially after
getting used to his calm and understanding demeanor. This was something
extremely dangerous or new, neither was usually good with older people stuck in
their ways. He would have to be extremely careful trying to explain, if he could.
Feeling it would be safer to start with common knowledge, he tried, "A memory
palace is something muggles invented to sort their thoughts and remember things
better, it's how I organize important things I want to keep track of. I read about it in a
book at the library years ago. I was just remembering it all when you entered my
mind but I don't know exactly how I did that to Snape, what did I do to you?"
Dumbledore's lifted his hand from in his lap to display the small indentations. Harry's
mouth twitched, "Sorry, I really didn't mean to do that. I guess it was because I was
focusing on staying in that plain room and a little peeved about being a puppy to
you... at least I think that's why I was a puppy, that was weird."
Reaching into his drawer Dumbledore picked up a memory vial ready to save these
memories for later. Another thought struck him first, "Were you very angry at
Professor Snape when he yelled at you earlier? Do you think it is anger that enables
you to reach out through the mind?"
It was bound to come to this eventually, if Harry trusted the headmaster this far he
might as well explain more."No, I was scared more than anything, until after I
realized what might have happened, even then I wasn't sure until you tried as well.
Usually I just need to concentrate or focus hard enough on something to make it
happen."
That seemed hauntingly familiar to Dumbledore, "You are not only talking about
today are you? You were able to perform controlled wandless magic before ever
gaining a wand. How... how long ago were you able to control your magic like this?"

He knew of only few other people in all history were good with wandless magic at his
age, but almost all had to be angry or emotional while doing so. Except Tom. Which
did not bode well.
It was hard to decide what to hold back at this point. Harry thought he could trust the
headmaster but there was a chance that could be artificial. With people able to jump
in and out of someone's mind with magic, create memories, and remove them,
maybe even your own thoughts couldn't be trusted. "What if I told you I didn't want to
talk about this anymore?"
Dumbledore was taken aback, trying to see Harry for who he was, rather than the
image of Tom that kept coalescing in his mind. Things were going so well and so
badly, yet he touched on a sore subject it seemed. He considered how to patch
things up without making it worse, "I suppose that would be the end of our chat. With
this new information it seems you were only defending your mind from an unwanted
intrusion. I could not very well give you detentions for that." Just then a brilliant idea
struck him, "You would... or would you consent to lessons on how to control this
talent? So you would be able to protect your mind from future intrusion, and not risk
something like this happening again?" Sometimes Dumbledore even had to
congratulate himself on his cleverness, taking out a tin of sherbet lemon, he offered
one to Harry then took one himself and smiled.
Harry took one of the proffered sweets and stuck it in his mouth without even
thinking about it. When he realized what could be in the sweet it was too late, he was
getting a little too paranoid lately, but with teachers entering his mind, he felt justified
at times. The headmaster was rolling his own candy around his mouth while he
smiled with those ever indulgent twinkling eyes.
"Who would be giving these lessons?" Harry inquired skeptically.
As Dumbledore suspected, the Ravenclaw side of Harry was powerful and could not
pass up on learning something new. "There are only two registered occlumens
instructors able to teach it at this school. I can guess you would not be amenable to
learning from professor Snape so I would be the one to teach you, if you choose to
learn or not."
Sometimes it was simple phrasing that could lead to the desired outcome. These
lessons would be the perfect time for Dumbledore to get to know Harry better. Even
though some of his doubts about Harry were building, these meetings might let him
influence and guide the boy, which he failed to do with Tom. If all else failed he could
see who Harry really was while training him in occlumency.

It was hard to gauge the motivations of a man who played so many roles, even with
Harry's ability to sense intentions. Only one thing was obvious to him, so he would
have to focus on that, "I need one more honest and complete answer from you
before I trust you enough to let you back into my mind. Why do you want to get to
know me so badly?"
Dumbledore's eyebrows jumped once again, but slightly lower now that he was used
to the shocks. Being transparent was not something he was accustomed to, unless
he was with Minerva or Alastor. He might have to watch himself around Harry so that
he did not give too much away. As he was just about to bend the truth again to
appear in the best possible light, he noticed the hopeful if cautious look staring up at
him from that oversized chair. Having just promised himself to be worthy of this
astounding boy's trust, only to fall back into old habits once again was terrible. He
would do better.
"I admit, I was originally fearful of why Snape was convinced it was you who threw
him against a wall, and wanted to understand your character better. With your
explanations I feel reassured somewhat, and am interested in you and your talents.
After all I was quite close friends with your parents, I feel they would want me to
make sure you are doing well at Hogwarts. As for why I would be willing to teach you
personally, I cannot tell you everything yet but I know you have great potential and
might have a hard life ahead of you as the boy who lived. If I can help you along the
way, then I shall." There, if that wasn't more honest and open than he was with any
first year ever, he would give up sweets.
That was a lot more than Harry was expecting and posed great opportunities for the
future. To really have a mentor he could trust completely would be like a dream, for
that mentor to be possibly the greatest living wizard was beyond any hope he had.
Not to mention being taught new magic while able to tease information out of his
parents' old friend was making his heart race with excitement. Even though he might
not trust Dumbledore fully yet, the whole conversation was starting to make sense
now. He was ready to explain. "I would be happy to take lessons from you. And as
for your question earlier, I was seven when I started practicing magic but I thought it
was something else then. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being forced to say
anything before telling you."
Suddenly a cuckoo clock struck the hour and a miniature dancing house elf came
spinning out holding a platter of food. It even gave off the smell of roast duck and
other enticing delicacies which made Harry's stomach growl. Dumbledore's face was
pure cheer as he gave a small chuckle, "It seems we have let the time run away
from us. We better head down to dinner before Minerva catches us spoiling our
appetites with sweets. But I would enjoy continuing this conversation in the future,

along with your first lesson in occlumency. Would you mind starting this Saturday,
perhaps after lunch?"
Harry remembered he had a history of magic study group around then but he really
didn't need to go, it just seemed the way to fit in around Ravenclaws. "That would be
fine by me. By the way, you wouldn't happen to have a faster way to the Great Hall
than taking all those stairs would you?"
Dumbledore's smile spread wider, while his eyes twinkled madly, "Come come, let
me show you a perk in being the Headmaster." He nodded to a lower portrait on the
wall of a genial and portly old man, which swung sideways to reveal a well lit stone
staircase descending gradually down to another floor.
Harry was finally storing his wands while he considered the possible ramifications
and outcomes of this conversation, but in the end shrugged his shoulders and
followed behind Dumbledore's bright flowing robes.

Chapter 6 - Overture
Author's Note: Thank you all for the valuable input in your reviews so far, I
appreciate even the criticisms. All I can say to most is wait and see, and your
questions and concerns will be answered in time. But this is a slightly slower paced
story than canon because I wanted to explore the world and let readers have more
fun, building up the story with small details that will be relevant later on, rather than
jumping from one obvious plot point to another. Now for the meeting you've all been
waiting for.
Chapter 6
Overture
Walking down the stairs kept Harry in a daze while trying to keep up with the long
legged Dumbledore. He barely noticed the intricate designs in the walls and the
smoothly curved handrail that kept him circling downwards. It took less than half a
minute to reach the bottom where the back of another portrait opened outward into a
large sitting room surrounded by even more portraits. The hidden door closed behind
Harry to reveal the twin of the person in the first portrait except with different clothes.
Dumbledore nodded towards the only obvious door in the room but stopped by a
desk hidden beneath papers before leaving, "I'll be along in a moment, headmasters
shouldn't arrive too early." His eyes twinkled with a shared secret.
The door opened directly into the Great Hall to the side of the staff table. Harry
realized the room was an antechamber that only teachers seemed to use. The
majority of students didn't notice his entrance, considering they were still finding their
seats. Yet he did catch a few stares from older students and teachers but quickly
took a seat.
Padma sat down next to him with a book in her hands and was about to continue
reading until she noticed who was sitting right beside her. "Harry, where'd you go
hiding after potions? Some people thought you got lost on the way to Charms but
when Flitwick didn't call your name there were rumors that you went to the
headmaster's office. You weren't planning on taking over his job already, were you?"
"Ah, no, I was just called up to explain what happened in potions, nothing too
important. Did I miss anything?" He hoped acting nonchalant would mitigate some of
the wild rumors that had already spread. Padma nodded, then shook her head, and
turned back to her book on memory spells.

That also seemed to mollify those listening in, but they weren't the problem. It was
hard for Harry to care about social status or bullies at any school he went to, but it
seemed to make life easier when other people thought well of him. It was extremely
hard for him early on at regular schools when he had no clue why some people
disliked him and others wanted to be his friend. But with a little insight and some
gentle manipulation things turned out alright most of the time. Here, rumors and
negativity about him was already spreading, which he guessed was because he
didn't like playing by their rules. Although he thought another reason might be the
quarter of students who were supposedly cunning manipulators with lots of ambition,
influenced by a rich brat who had it in for him. Although some like Crabbe and Goyle
seemed more fit for Hufflepuff if not for their cruel personalities.
The scrumptious food appeared along with Dumbledore and the rest of the staff.
Harry piled a variety onto his plate and continued contemplating. It seemed strange
to him why a school would want to separate students by their traits or values and
then generate animosity between the houses by keeping them apart and making
each create a team to play one sport only against the other teams. Then to even
compete for which house did best at the end of the year with a running tally. It felt
like some crazed social experiment gone wrong.
Harry looked up to students staring at him, then glancing toward the head table in
worry. Seeing Dumbledore with a large roll in his mouth gave nothing away, but his
vision was dragged to the side by Snape, giving his most menacing glare straight at
Harry. It was disconcerting to say the least but he thought for a second about the
best course of action. Instead of smiling at the professor over a battle won, like he
wanted to do, he decided to shrug his shoulders and continue eating. Pretending like
he didn't know what was going on, to possibly confuse even more people. Yet the
glaring seemed like a tactic aimed at the other students rather than him. Confronting
him on a mental level again seemed like a bad plan,as it might not go the same way,
but Harry knew that it was at least possible to defend himself if attacked. Still,
throwing Snape into a wall a second time in the same day didn't seem like such a
good idea. Yet noticing more whispers breaking out inspired another tactic, starting a
few rumors of his own.
Penny whispered across the table to him, "Harry, is there something going on?
Snape seems to be using his best glare tonight."
He smiled at her, the best prefect in the school, who actually cared about her
underclassmen and tried to help them out. She seemed to come to his rescue more
often than not, almost able to sense when she was needed. He spoke a little louder
than usual, "Oh, I noticed a bit ago, kind of weird isn't it? You think he might be
taking a few too many of his own potions?" If she didn't take it too seriously those

listening in might spread it around.


Always the personification of Ravenclaw she appeared to understand exactly what
Harry was doing and gave him a sly wink, "Oh every professor knows not to
overdose on certain potions, but I hear he does do quite a bit of research with new
and altered brewing. Surely he wouldn't be so desperate for willing volunteers that
he would try his own experimental potions..."
The way she left it almost a question for other curious Ravenclaws to interpret was
brilliant. It made Harry want to laugh, clap, and hug her all at the same time. The
next moment Morag spoke is a scandalized hush, "That explains it! No wonder he
was thrown from his chair today in class, it must have been a strange reaction from
one of his experiments! No one in the whole school trusts Snape enough to try one
of his potions, even the Slytherins."
If that wasn't more than everything Harry had hoped for in a rumor getting started, he
should have been placed in Slytherin himself. Penny was trying not to laugh as well
when it started getting discussed in depth down the table where the 7th years sat.
He wore an abashed grin out of amusement and remorse for using his classmates
like that.
Penny waved it off like she could read his mind, "Everyone has to be responsible for
their own thoughts and actions. Besides someone might learn from this." And even
that comment was integrated into the gossip of how Snape should know better than
to test his own potions on himself.
oOoOo
Dumbledore looked down at the busily chattering Ravenclaws and smiled happily.
Things had worked out quite well and Snape had even taken the news adequately
about Harry not receiving detention, as well as being warned off using legilimency on
the boy because he would now be receiving special training on the subject.
Dumbledore could feel his own eyes twinkle in delight at how everything worked out,
until he noticed too many students glancing up at the staff table in gossip. Focusing
on Severus, who was using his trademark glower at the Ravenclaw table which
meant only one thing, he was holding a grudge. Even as an adult Severus could still
hold a grudge better than anyone around. The smile slowly fell down Dumbledore's
face and dropped to the floor when he saw him almost snarl. It was unacceptable,
especially after barely earning the boy's trust.
He grunted loud enough for the staff to feel the reverberations through the table, but
that didn't dissuade Severus from his glare. Standing up slowly Dumbledore cleared

his throat once again and received complete quiet. "This might be unusual but it
seems like such a lovely night tonight I thought we all might like some entertainment
with our dinner."
Lifting his wand, the lights dimmed and a bevy of shooting stars lit up the cloudy sky,
bursting into fireworks here and there, raining down sparkling showers around the
tables, leaving the staff in dark relief. He rarely used so intricate of magic as a
distraction for students but the few times he had, the staff knew something was
wrong. Minerva was standing beside him in a moment, ready for anything. What he
wouldn't have done for a friend like that his whole life. He held up a hand calming
her with a weary smile. She nodded as if she completely understood and sat back
down calming the rest of the staff with her. Except for Severus who looked like his
trance was finally broken as he scanned the room warily.
Dumbledore nodded directly at him with a command when he caught the man's eye.
"Come", and they both walked back to the sitting room they had just finished their
discussion in. Right away the excuses started, "I don't see why that was necessary,
if no other professors need get up couldn't this have waited till after the students
left?"
A little anger was brimming behind Dumbledore's now resigned smile. "It was
necessary it seemed to get your attention. Your most powerful glare was locked onto
a young first year that I thought we had just resolved any difficulties with."
Confronting Severus seemed to be the only way to avoid all the evasions he usually
put on.
Severus studied the headmaster for a moment, "I was simply doing what I always
do, letting a student know I was onto his trouble-making and letting him stew about
how bad of punishment might be expected, since you refused to give him even
detention I figured that was the least I could do to dissuade any thoughts of further
rebelliousness in my classroom."
It all sounded so reasonable and straightforward. If Severus had learned anything
over the years it was how to do just that, being a triple agent while a war tore the
country apart had only perfected his act. Though Dumbledore prided himself on
knowing him better than that,"I could believe that if I hadn't seen your snarl at him
the exact same way you used to at James and Sirius across the tables after they
had played a prank on you. I know when I see you warning a student out of duty and
threatening out of anger, but this was beyond even that tonight. You didn't even
register my first attempt to get your attention and were even worse after you
probably saw Harry smile or something that reminded you of his father."

The smallest of twitches in Severus' lip signaled a correct guess, or close enough.
The point had to be hammered home. "My word Severus, I didn't believe the rumors
before but to treat him as if he was James incarnate? You can't possibly see much
resemblance between them can you? If anything he seems most like his mother,
with those intelligent and bright green eyes! He hasn't pranked a single person and if
anyone has been bullied it was him, by your beloved Slytherins that you seem to
encourage. Think back at which Gryffindor was insulted by Slytherins for no fault of
her own. Was she so different than Harry that you would let him get bullied, called
names, and even contribute?!" Dumbledore knew the emotional blackmail he was
using was wrong, just like in the past when he convinced him to turn sides, but it was
all that could get through to him sometimes.
Severus wore an expressionless mask but Dumbledore could see a turmoil of
emotions in it, from anger to remorse, fury to guilt, and a deep sadness behind it all.
He appeared to resist the tragic memories brought to the surface, but it was too
much, and he lashed out. "He's why she died. He's just as bad as his father!"
The room went dark in an instant, the little light left bent around the headmaster in a
radiant aura. Dumbledore's face was sterner than iron, anger almost seemed to
seep out of his eyes, and the air around him began to boil as it got close. There were
only outrageous tales spread about Dumbledore's battles with Voldemort which
Severus never witnessed, as he could not be seen to fight for either side. But this
monstrosity was obviously what Voldemort truly feared. Severus stepped back
instinctively and turned away with a shiver. Dumbledore's tone was even but his
words rang like a hammer strike, "Don't disgrace their memory with lies!"
It took a few deep breaths and seeing Severus quiver, to calm Dumbledore down.
He relaxed as much as possible and spoke in a kinder but stern way, "This is the end
of any hostility towards Harry. She sacrificed herself, they both sacrificed themselves
trying to protect Harry. His life and trust is too important for everyone to lose,
especially in the fight to come. Let us protect him as if she was still standing guard
over him. If nothing else, simply leave him alone."
With that Dumbledore exited the room, leaving the lights to flicker on again.
oOoOo
Harry was happily munching on desert and enjoying the show with everyone else,
until the back of his neck started to prickle. The hairs on his arms and neck rose with
goose bumps everywhere. He almost would have said a ghost passed through him,
but that had already happened and felt nothing like this. The air almost vibrated with
energy, but as he looked around hardly anyone seemed concerned, except the dim

shadows standing up and darting back and forth behind the staff table. A few
seemed to pace while most were ready with wands out. One could be made out
walking towards to sitting room he had entered from at the start. That was it,
whatever the feeling was, he could sense it coming from there, having never before
felt anything as clearly. Harry thought there was something familiar to it, but then it
suddenly disappeared.
Penny shivered in the corner of his eye and muttered something under her breath,
"Did someone create a breeze in here as well?"
Harry squinted back at the teachers who were starting to sit down again. He hadn't
imagined it then, other people, especially the teachers felt it as well, and that meant
his senses were coming back as well. It took a few moments but the last one to sit
down after all the others looked to be Dumbledore, then the regular lights came on
and the stars receded into the night sky.
The headmaster stood up again and addressed the elated students, "That was
enjoyable, a good end to a good evening." Despite the words Harry noticed the
twinkle in his eyes were gone, filled instead by misty tears. Everyone began shuffling
out of the great hall and back to their common rooms, so he only caught one last
glimpse of Dumbledore frowning down at his empty plate before being pushed out of
the hall.
oOoOo
The hard stone stairs passed by quickly as the Ravenclaw students flowed up to
their tower. Some stopped off at study rooms or a library when the gathering passed
by. After a few older students took a detour, Terry peeled away from their shadows
and came towards Harry, "Did you hear about Snape? They figured out why he went
mental in class today, he's been dipping into his own experimental potions. Can you
believe they let someone like that teach classes?" This was said with all the
seriousness that an incredulous first year Ravenclaw could muster.
It was hard for Harry to control his face after his eyebrows rose in surprise, but at
least he managed not to laugh out loud. He looked around to see if any others heard
then turned to address Terry, "That really is unbelievable, I bet the Hufflepuffs that
were in class with us would want to know what happened too."
Terry nodded along in agreement, "I think I saw Ernie heading down to the kitchens
instead of his common room, I bet he would want to know." He waved to Harry as he
raced back down the stairs.
Harry was sure of it now, a house didn't tell you who a person was but where they

slept. Maybe it said more about what someone's parents raised them to believe,
rather than the traits they demonstrated. That would explain a lot, why all the
Weasleys, especially Percy were in the same house. Just then Harry remembered
what he wanted to do tonight, backtracking a little he came to the Ravenclaw library.
He tried to remember what Dumbledore mentioned he would teach him.
Legilimency? No... Occlumency, that was it. Might as well find a book on any and all
mind magic if I still have to be taught by Snape.
Turning a corner he bumped into Robert, the second Ravenclaw prefect, who was
putting away books that others had left out. A perfect opportunity to ask a few
questions Harry thought, and cleared his throat, "Excuse me, is there a good spell
for finding the right book you're looking for, say, on a specific topic?"
Without pausing between shelving books Robert replied back, "There is the
summoning charm, accio 'title of book' if you know exactly what you want, but that's
a fifth year spell. Most people use the spell 'ask a perfect' but that works only if they
do it right."
"Ah, then could you please point me to the books on mind magics if you have the
time?" He considered learning accio as well if he didn't have to abase himself every
time he needed help.
Robert grinned around at him, "You learn even quicker than some of the fourth years
around here, seems like some people have forgotten even the word, manners. I
heard your mother was a star pupil back in the day, better than Snape himself in
potions is what they say. I bet you'll surprise everyone as well someday Harry,
especially if you're already interested in so advanced of subjects. - Most of the books
are two shelves to the left, near the bottom. Oh, and don't try out any of those spells
without supervision, you don't want to erase half of your memory before even
learning the important stuff." He returned to putting books away with the practiced
efficiency of a librarian.
That was a little unusual, but at least he wasn't as bad as he originally seemed.
Maybe his usual gruff and businesslike demeanor is a way of acting like a leader.
Turning into the right set of shelves he found another student sitting on the floor,
looking exactly at the same place he was told to look. Something seemed odd, yet
Harry couldn't quite place what it was. He stood there staring at the familiar mess of
frizzy brown hair and it finally clicked, she was wearing red trim, not blue.
She caught sight of him standing there and became flustered, "Oh, excuse me, I
didn't mean to take up the entire isle, professor Flitwick said I could come here if I
couldn't find what I was looking for in the regular library. I don't want to be a bother

though so I'll just get my things and leave."


Murmuring to herself while tying her hair back, she stood up, finally allowing Harry to
see her face properly. That's when it all hit him like the Hogwarts Express might; she
was the same girl he saw in Diagon Alley, spoke to in the bookstore, heard on the
train, and noticed in the front of every class they had together. Hermione Granger.
His brain rushed to think of something to say before she walked away, and fell back
on old reliable curiosity, "What were you looking for, maybe I could help?" He
congratulated it on a job well done as he saw the hopeful and inquisitive expression
on her face. She looked like a little otter that was waiting to be rewarded. Wait, why
an otter of all the animals that came to mind? Maybe because they seem so smart
and yet so cute? Okay, it was officially time to change the subject.
"Well, this irritating boy in my house was claiming someone was reading his mind,
not that anyone would have a reason to do that, let alone want to. So I was going to
inform him how implausible that was, except I'm not having much luck finding the
right book." She finished with an exasperated sigh to emphasize her point.
It almost seemed like she was trying to play some over the top know-it-all role, but
hadn't found any dim witted friends to tag along just yet. His brain didn't seem to
care though and continued the conversation, "I see, surprisingly I'm looking into the
same topic myself. Recently I heard about occlumency and legilimency and decided
to research them a little. Legilimency might be the topic you're looking for. By the
way, my name is Harry Potter, I don't think I caught yours? "
Holding out his hand she shook it on reflex.
"Hermione Granger," she responded automatically and only let go of his hand when
he gently slipped out of her grip. Harry sat down on the floor beside her and she was
too flabbergasted to do anything but the same, and wonder. Everyone knew who
Harry Potter was but he wasn't supposed to be... normal, not to mention know things
that she didn't, or maybe he was?
Her curiosity got the better of her as well and finally kicked into gear, "Where did you
hear about the name for that kind of magic? I asked a few older students but they
didn't know. A teacher even said I wasn't supposed to learn about that until much
later." She pulled a book off the shelf just to feel comfortable with one in her hands.
Harry considered how much to tell another intelligent student but settled on just
being vague, "I heard a teacher talking about some impossible magic and it was
related to these. I believe legilimency was the ability to read minds and occlumency
was the ability to block it. If there's the first one, it seems wise to learn the other." He

scanned the shelves and found one that looked promising, To Get the Mind Free.
Taking a second to process and store this new information, Hermione was talking
again before she realized what she was saying, "But who would want to read your..."
she caught herself, biting her lip before saying more, "Sorry, I didn't mean to lump
you in with any nutters. It just seems excessive to worry about your mind being read
at a safe place like Hogwarts." Gluing her eyes to the book, she tried not to blush
while leafing through the pages.
Pondering the rosiness in her cheeks, Harry wore a wry smile, "I wouldn't be so sure
of the safety of this school. While it might not be fatally dangerous around here, I've
already heard about some colourful hijinks being perpetrated by none other than
Gryffindor house. Even I was subject to the twin Weasleys' shenanigans on the train
ride here. And there are worse rumors of how bad the bullying gets as well. - As for
mind reading, I would rather be sure in the safety of my own mind, rather than ever
have to worry about it in the future."
It made Hermione blush even further when remembering the stories being boasted
about in her common room. She couldn't squeak out more than an, "Oh," as she
tried to bury her face further into her book. After a minute of mindless reading she
finally noticed the title of her book, How to Keep His Eyes on You, her fingers barely
made it out alive when she slammed the pages together so hard it blew her hair
back, and at the same time producing a strangled, "Eep!" Luckily one sound
overrode the other as her clumsy hands made it harder than usual to put the book
back. She quickly turning away from Harry, and leaned over to look at more books
near the corner of the stacks if only in an effort to calm down and compose herself.
Her constant embarrassment was even harder for Harry not to laugh at than starting
the rumor about Snape. He nearly cackled like a mad old lady as he read the title of
the book she was reading. But then it got serious. Harry's eyes widened and he even
started silently talking to himself. This is not good, not good at all. I can't tell her, not
now! This isn't right, she'll hate me for sure. But she'll hate me even more if I wait
until later won't she? I can't even believe this is happening the first time I meet her,
it's like some bad sitcom on TV!
Mulling over his options for a second he realized there weren't any good ones, and
continued his internal monologue. I have to tell her right now. But... I almost, don't
want to. No! Just say it! Say, 'your skirt is pulled up and I can see your knickers.'
uggghhh what kind of pervert even thinks about saying something like that!? She's
only eleven! Wait, what am I saying, I'm only eleven too. But I still shouldn't be...
staring! Even though the pink flowers are almost captivating... No. I've made up my
mind, I'm going to pretend like I didn't notice and turn the other way. And Harry did

just that.
Until three seconds later his conscience caught up with his drifting thoughts. He
cleared his throat and managed to mumble a few words, "Umm, your skirt..."
Hermione finally had herself under control, she could feel her cheeks cooling, her
mind settling down and working right. But what did he just mumble? Something
about my shirt?
She looked around at him but he was facing away, no wonder it was a mumble. It
wasn't until her present vision and memory of what he said clicked into place.
Hermione nearly jumped through the wall, screamed into the ultrasonic, and died all
at the exact same time. Yet all the sound she made was some muffled shuffling and
a near breathless, "Aaahheeep!"
She stood clutching against the far wall, panting from the freight. Nearly sweating
through her robes, feeling a bright neon red, and thinking a mile a minute in screams
directed at herself. Oh my God!? HOW? WHY? Did he? No, did I? How looong!? Oh
god, he saw! No wait he was turned... No of course he saw because he said
something! He could have been just ogling, but he turned away? At least? Oh my
god my life is ruined, and Harry Potter saw my undies... Hermione slumped down
against the wall, unconsciously making sure her skirt was pulled down right as she
did so. Her head in her hands and eyes closed tight, she started to sob.
oOoOo
Staying still was the hardest part after hearing the near silent scream, that was until
Harry heard her first sob. He turned around to see her face covered but
overwhelmingly flushed, almost shining from the intensity. The second sob kicked his
brain into overdrive and he came to a conclusion immediately, distraction, "Hey
Hermione, look what I found in this book? Apparently some people keep living brains
in a tank and call them encephala, they're some sort of magical creature. But they
say study of them is completely restricted because they are really aggressive and
form tentacles of thought that can strangle anyone close by."
Peeking out from behind her hands Hermione slowly looked up at Harry with the
most confused expression possible on a weeping crimson face. "What?"
Turning the book around to show her, Harry pressed on, "Yeah someone even tried
to draw what they look like, pretty horrible even if you like brains. I think they
intended to give it teeth but drew over that part." He scooted over beside her and
began reading as Hermione peeked out with one eye at the eery drawing of a
bloodthirsty brain.

"They were discovered or grown by Sturgis Scamander, grandfather of the great


Newt Scamander, in 1785. After having killed a pet Kneazle that was exploring
around their tank, all known specimens were secured in a the department of
mysteries from then on. Soon after, Sturgis passed away as well. There is much
speculation about the nature of these creatures and their origins since none have
been found since. Some say they were actually the magically empowered brains of
deceased ancestors of Scamander but reported accounts put the tally of around
twenty total. Much too many for one man to collect, thus instigating more speculation
about previous generations contributing willingly to the collection." He peeked up at
Hermione and noticed her eyes were only slightly watery and her face was a gentle
pink. It seemed to work better than expected so he continued on.
A few chapters later the book started to get really boring, listing transportation notes
on the height and weight of the tank they were found in. Hermione was glad for the
temporary distraction and realized what Harry had done, but even she was fed up
with the book now. She still wanted to run away and never show her face again, but
it just wasn't in Hermione to give up on finding the information she desired. Putting
her hand over the book and gently closing it, she finally spoke, "Okay Harry, now that
that's over with, let's get back to the real goal of finding out how mind reading
works."
They both sat against the wall and researched for a while, skimming through a
dozen books before coming upon something useful. A list and detailed descriptions
of many different spells that targeted specific parts of the body. Some were very
unpleasant to learn about but finally they came to the brain. Hermione read it out
loud while Harry tried to listen, instead of letting his mind wander to previous
thoughts. It started out talking about the confundus charm, then the obliviate spell,
stupify, the jelly-brained jinx, and passively mentioned the imperius curse.
Eventually they came across legilimens and the counter to it, occlumency. The
description wasn't too detailed but it explained that legilimency was dependent on
eye contact. And was not taught in schools, but rather by individual tutors if one
could be found, as there were very few books on the subject which made them
extremely rare and costly. Occlumency on the other hand was more commonly
taught in book form but was usually inadequate unless taught by a tutor as well. It
was stated that occlumency could also protect you from the imperious curse if well
trained enough. Some suspected that masters of the subject would be able to resist
other mind altering spells and potions as well, but with so few known masters none
have been willing to confirm these suspicions. At the end it noted one known
textbook on occlumency for further reading but they couldn't find it. While they were
putting away the books Harry made a mental note to learn some of the spells they

read about, like the trace and apparition, even if some weren't exactly legal yet.
Hermione closed the last book and Harry peeked at his watch. "We have about
twenty more minutes until curfew. Does it take long to get to your common room?"
She shook her head, "Professor Flitwick told me about a shortcut just in case I lost
track of time here, since there isn't an official librarian to tell you when to leave. It's
only a few minutes walk, even closer than the school library is."
"I guess I should expect you back more often then, since only Ravenclaws are
allowed to check books out here. Maybe we could research more topics together
sometime?" The look of stunned horror on Hermione's face definitely wasn't what he
expected to see, "umm, but you don't have to of course... Is there something
wrong?"
Closing her mouth Hermione tried to form the words, "Only, Ravenclaws, can, check
out books? That, that's just cruel! That's like waving ice cream in front of child's face
and then eating it all in front of her!"
She was about to keep going but Harry cut in, "Woah, I'm sure Professor Flitwick will
make an exception for that as well. Besides that rule is probably only so some
uncaring people don't damage or lose them. If you really care that much I can just
borrow them for you." Harry put on a smile and again tried not to laugh at how
excitable she could be.
Calming down, Hermione was still a little indignant about the possibility of being
denied books. "Okay, I guess I can wait to check something out until I talk with
Professor Flitwick again. What did you have in mind to research next?" She
reluctantly handed him the book she was carrying.
"Why don't we find some chairs before my legs go to sleep and then discuss the
subjects we're interested in?" Hermione agreed and they soon found a couple of
cushy blue chairs looking out a window towards the sun setting over the forests and
mountains.
Once they got settled Harry continued, "So, I was thinking we could look into useful
charms and enchantments that would be helpful for everyday tasks. Like a spell my
prefect just mentioned, accio, which let's you summon objects to you. Also looking
into some powerful creatures that could be kept as pets instead of just an owl, toad,
or something boring like that. What about you?"
Taking time to consider Hermione perked up when an idea came to her, "That
reminds me, reading through 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' I came

upon the moke, their skin is used in handbags that are almost unstealable, and
some can be enchanted with an undetectable extension charm which makes them
perfect to carry books and stuff around in. There are so many useful magical objects
that we could learn about. Maybe we could practice occlumency if we find that book
too. But you're right, I think it would be best to search for the most useful spells to
learn first. I've just been trying to learn everything assigned in the books and
classes, but some of it seems impractical."
It surprised Harry how similar their ideas were, his next suggestion was going to be
about powerful artifacts and enchanted objects. But he remembered something else
as well, "Not to be rude but you're muggle born right? I assumed the smartest
student in our year would be from some famous wizarding family." Hermione's lips
twitched to the side as he continued, "I was wondering because I was raised by
muggles as well, so I don't have much experience with magic."
A pleasant grin blossomed over her face and she nodded, "My parents are dentists, I
managed to get my books right after my letter came so I've been reading ever since.
They always say that my study habits are unnatural, but that doesn't seem to come
from magic. What about... never mind. At least we can be learning about magic
together." She frowned, afraid to ask about his life since she knew his original
parents had died.
Harry didn't have too many double classes with her, but so far it seemed there was
more than study habits that made her brilliant, "Maybe because it's still so exciting
for some of us, it makes us want to learn as much as we can. Though it might be
nice to have an experienced point of view if we get stuck when researching some
topics. - By the way, I still like your smile better."
Hermione was inspecting her idle hands as her brow furrowed in confusion, then her
eyes flicked up at Harry with her mouth open, gaping once more. "That? That was
you?! - I knew you looked familiar! But you had glasses on, and your hood up. - Wait,
that rumor is true as well? You actually started that silly trend to blend in?"
"Why does everyone say it's silly, hoods are cool..." He eyed her with the hint of a
grin, daring her to disagree. But she snorted lightly, trying to hold back a laugh,
causing Harry to roll his eyes. "Actually, I only wore it to hide my scar at first, and it
worked, until the next time I went when the rumors caught up with me."
"You got to go twice? That's no fair. My parents wouldn't take me back after I finished
reading all my books, so I had to keep rereading them. Did you get anything neat
there? All I was able to buy extra were a few magical erasers and a dictation quill."
She bit her lip again, this time in envy, which Harry found rather humorous.

A smirk caught Harry's mouth as he rolled back his sleeve to show her his watch.
"Only a few different inks, and this." Hermione became entranced by the realistic
depth and detail, tilting her head this way and that to peer around inside. Her mouth
kept forming the word wow, but never quite managed to say it. While Harry was
reminded of the Hogwarts express again for some reason.
"Now that's cool."
"Thanks." The grandfather clock at one end of the room struck a gong and then
played a little tune. "That's the five minute warning, I guess we should get going.
Would you like to start our research tomorrow after supper?"
Hesitating for a moment Hermione found the courage to speak, "...don't we have a
paper due in defence class the next day? I would like to do more research but I don't
want to ignore our homework." She turned away and braced herself for the
inevitable, hoping he wouldn't call her names or throw insults at her desire to do
homework.
Smacking his forehead Harry gave a slight laugh, "Of course, getting distracted by
interesting magic makes me forgetful sometimes. If you want you could come back
tomorrow to do it together, I think a few of the other Ravenclaws are forming groups
to write theirs. We could join in I bet."
Hermione turned around with a beaming smile, "That sounds great, should I meet
you here after dinner then?"
He nodded and they waved goodbye, walking to opposite doors. Yet Harry turned
around and watched her skip away, already knowing it would be hard to dislike the
quirky Gryffindor girl.
Hurrying up the large stairway to his common room, he quickly answered the riddle
and stepped past more Ravenclaws discussing the rumor he started earlier. The grin
he had on never left his face that night. Later, before going to sleep he was thinking
over the days events and organizing what he would remember for the future, and
couldn't recall a better ending to a day in his entire life. Harry fell asleep dreaming of
all the wonderful adventures he would have with his new friend and wise old mentor.

Chapter 7 - Rumors
Chapter 7
Rumors
The next day was a pleasant summery Thursday, the nineteenth day of the month,
with few clouds in the sky and the halls brimming with gossip about Snape's
experimental potions. Rarely heard sensible people knew it probably wasn't true and
talked about other things. But the Slytherins appeared especially bright, as they
wouldn't dare repeat such a rumor about their head of house, at least within earshot
of another Slytherin. In potions, Snape avoided glaring at Harry as often and seemed
to stalk the aisles with less hostility. Everything was going smoothly for Harry,
allowing him to look forward to writing his essay later that night, that is until Draco
interrupted his lunch.
"Think you can get away with it, don't you Potter?" Draco sneered behind him, "We
all know it was you who cursed Professor Snape yesterday, you probably even
started those rumors as well." He was posing contemptuously with his usual lackeys
to either side.
Harry interrupted before he could go any further, always put the aggressor off
balance, "Why thanks for the compliment Draco. I didn't know you were a
clairvoyant, seeing into other classrooms you weren't in. But can you see why kids
love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch?"
Draco's eye twitched, pretending not to hear the last part, he pressed on, "It wasn't a
compliment you half-blood, and everyone knows it was you because Snape was
cursing your name all yesterday. Even if you are the boy who lived it won't help you
now." He finished with a smug grin that made Harry want to punch him in the nose if
he didn't throw up first.
Instead of doing either, Harry restricted any reaction from his face, having learned
that most bullies hated it when people didn't respond the way they expected, "I can't
imagine you saying anything that isn't a compliment. You vogon poet. - See, you're
claiming I'm so good at magic that I could throw a teacher into a wall in front of a
class full of students that didn't even notice it was me. And since I haven't been
punished for anything, you're implying I can deceive the entire faculty as well. It also
seems you think I can manipulate a school of students into believing any rumor I
want. If that's not a compliment, you should pay more attention to where your towel
is."

Someone down the table laughed and Harry just reveled in the confused look on
Draco's face, but kept his in check, appearing to be completely serious. Picking up
three napkins and folding them into random shapes in front of their faces, he handed
one to Draco, then Crabbe and Goyle, and turned back around to start eating again.
Finding it extremely difficult not to laugh.
It took a second for Draco to gather his wits and contempt, crushing the napkin with
a snarl.
"No wonder father says not to talk to Ravenclaws, they're all insane!" It looked as if
his other hand was itching to curse Harry, but he glanced up at the head table to see
many eyes on him. Instead he stalked away as his goons stood still, confused and
trying to understand what happened while inspecting their napkins. They quickly
rushed after Draco upon hearing a loud grunt from the Hufflepuffs behind them.
"You're one hoopy frood Harry!" Called the senior boy who laughed earlier.
Penny overheard it all and saw the sly grin on Harry break into laughter at the
strange comment. She nodded, appearing to think he had it under control but helped
again anyway, "If I didn't know better, it almost seems like Draco has been assisting
Snape with his experiments." Half the table that heard broke into laughter with Harry.
oOoOo
The day continued on as usual and it finally came time to write his essay as
everyone excited out of the Great Hall. But while looking around for his classmates,
Harry realized he had forgotten to ask anyone if Hermione could join them. Trailing
swiftly after Anthony up the stairs he spoke up, "Anthony, mind if someone from
Gryffindor joins us to write our essay tonight?" By the immediate look of irritation he
received, it didn't look promising.
"Uh, we're going to work in our dorm so that probably wouldn't be a good idea." It
had become obvious that Anthony wasn't happy with Harry beating him in most
classes without seeming to try, and disliked the idea of studying with him, let alone
the prospect of dealing with a Gryffindor as well.
Harry shrugged and wandered off. He was debating whether to just pretend the
others decided to do something else when he walked into the library and saw Padma
and Sue Li sitting at a table together. Walking up to them, he made sure it was the
essay they were working on, then smiled as he made a request, "Would either of you
mind if me and a friend joined you to write our essays?"
Padma looked up first, "Only if it isn't Terry, all he seems to do is gossip. We want to

get this done before curfew, not next week." Sue looked up as well and rolled her
eyes at Padma.
Chuckling at the apt description Harry shook his head, "Actually she's a Gryffindor,
Hermione Granger. I'm sure she can keep up." The girls giggled and looked past
him. He turned around to a red cheeked Hermione standing a yard away, awkwardly
looking off towards some books.
"I suppose you can join us, just as long as there isn't any snogging going on."
Padma said while trying not to giggle too much.
Sue smiled and cuffed Padma with the back of her hand, "Don't worry Hermione, she
just loves to tease people. And thank you for the help in history the other day. You're
both welcome to join us." Harry ignored his own flushed face and smiled. They sat
down and started discussing the topic, in between bouts of giggling and small talk.
Lumos was the subject of the essay they had to write. It was relatively simple spell
for Harry, having already performed it during class from practicing inside his bag,
when no one was looking. He was sure Hermione had tried it as well from her
confident manner. They discussed what it was used for, the creatures it was used
against, the wand movement, and the limitations, then started writing. They talked
once in a while but Harry was surprised at how focused the group was compared to
his classmates in the past. After everyone stopped writing they all exchanged papers
and made comments on what could be improved or more often the case, what could
be left out. When they finished revising, it was easy to tell they all enjoyed the
productive time with each other.
Sue and Hermione got up to stretch while Padma got out her wand and asked,
"Since we're going to learn this in charms as well, anyone want to practice a little? I
think there's a room one floor down that we're allowed to try spells in." They agreed
and packed up their stuff following Padma down the stone steps. She stopped by an
old oak door and peeked in, "Looks like it's all ours."
They entered the homely wooden dueling room. Containing rusted suits of armor,
dull tapestries, and a few display cases against the walls, with three long blue carpet
runners denoting duel lanes. Worn wooden benches outlined the room with a few
brown leather arm chairs in the corners. A single large portrait hung across from the
door containing a dignified witch in all black dueling robes.
She spoke, "Good evening ladies and gentleman, you are allowed to duel and use
spells in here. Do not worry about damaging anything since it is all protected. If you
have any dueling questions I would be happy to answer them. One last note, all dark

arts and harmful spells are restricted here and will be reported to your head of house
if they occur."
It was Sue that responded first, "Thank you madam, we will obey the rules." Getting
their wands out they started to practice, except for Harry who stayed back to
observed for a moment. Padma swished and swirled a little emphatically, a faint light
came from her plain wand while Sue's controlled movement produced a brighter
aura but tended to fade now and then. Hermione started out with a graceful
swooping motion that gave a smaller light but after every try it got incrementally
brighter.
Padma noticed him only observing, "Just because you're the only boy here doesn't
mean you get to ogle all the girls, let's see what you can do already." Harry smiled at
her and cast. A vibrant but pleasant white light was emitted from the tip of his wand
and all three girls starred in consternation. "Oh come on, your first try even? How do
you get it to be so soft and not hurt your eyes?"
"Focus, just imagine exactly what you want to happen. The movement doesn't seem
to matter that much as long as it's close. And I was practicing in class when the
professor was writing the assignment on the board as well." Harry stopped the light
and tried again changing colors to blue then red. Then he shockingly realized he
wasn't saying 'Nox' like the girls after every time, but luckily they didn't seem to
notice. After seeing his example they kept trying, Hermione got hers to shine gold
after a few tries. By the end they all were pretty good at it and could change the color
to at least a strong yellow.
Harry was trying another spell he wanted to learn but it didn't seem to work yet. He
gave up after a while and watched the girls again, becoming curious, "So what kind
of wand does everyone have? Mine is holly with a phoenix feather core."
Padma started in, "Mine is walnut with unicorn hair, not as fancy as phoenix feather.
Did you want to show us your pet phoenix as well?" She waved her wand about and
produced some sparkles.
Sue nudged Padma and cleared her throat, "My wand was made in China from
bamboo and Qilin whisker, but many around here have never heard of it. It's a fire
beast, deer shaped, with the head of a dragon, carrying forked horns, scales over its
back, and has the tale of an ox. Legend says that it walks on water and carries flame
on it's back, but is rarely ever seen. Some compare it to your unicorn."
"That's extremely interesting Sue, it would be neat comparing the different woods
and cores that are used in other countries to see how their strengths and traits differ.

Along with the exotic magical creatures." Hermione stepped closer to show her
wand, "It's vine with dragon heartstring core, not too exciting but I like it. - I read
somewhere that phoenix feather is very hard to incorporate into holly, but it seems to
fit you well. Although I think I remember you waving a different wand around
yesterday Harry, were you borrowing someone else's?"
They all stared at him, waiting for an answer.
Seeing their expectant faces, he figured that the secret was already out once he told
Dumbledore, so there was no harm in showing them too. "Well, that's kind of
because I have... two wands." He pulled out the second from in his sleeve holster,
and showed them the intricately carved green and blue wand. "It's twelve inches,
made from Lignum Vitae and a Nundu whisker core."
"SHUT! UP!" Padma yelled, "There hasn't been a Nundu killed or captured for two
hundred years! I know because my great grandfather was part of the team that killed
the last one!" She took another breath, "And why would you need two wands in the
first place? Are you just putting us on Harry?"
He shook his head in denial and Padma began a story, "In my great grandfather's
diary he wrote that the strongest wizards from around the world were assembled to
stop just one going berserk near Egypt. It had already destroyed seven villages
before they tracked it down, and even wizards were fleeing in fear at the name. He
wrote it was silent as the stars and almost impossible to see in the savanna due to
its camouflage, despite how big it was. After sunset it's skin turned pitch black as a
moonless night, swallowing any Lumos or common fire spell. They couldn't let it
continue to rampage through the country, so they had to rely on sensory
enhancement charms and tracking spells. Even multiple fiendfyre only singed its fur,
and not one of the hundreds of killing curses they were allowed to use ever landed.
The only way they managed to defeat it was after someone portkeyed in an illegal
basilisk and that simply served as a distraction, until it was killed by the Nundu. He
never wrote down the exact way it was defeated, but that it was by 'darker magic
than he cared to remember.' "
The slightly confused expression on Harry's face prompted Hermione to list the facts
she knew about the creature as well, "Harry, no known Nundu has been defeated by
less than a hundred wizards working together. They look like giant leopards, their
breath is toxic enough to poison a well, and are said to eat entire elephants and
hippos by themselves. They are feared as the most dangerous beast alive, and are
cursed some books say, 'to see one is to know death.' The only reason why people
don't leave the entire continent is because they hibernate nine months out of the
year, and they're never seen unless they attack a whole village. To have part of one

as a magical core in your wand seems incredibly dangerous. It's hard to believe
someone would make that, let alone allow you to purchase it. Also, true Lignum
Vitae wood is very rare and expensive, I don't even know how rare a magical tree of
it would be."
It took a bit for Harry to absorb all this, as he somehow hadn't read about them yet,
but it finally sank in that none of the girls believed him. If he wanted to keep it a
secret, he shouldn't have shown anyone, even Dumbledore if possible, but he didn't
want them thinking he only made it up for fun. It was already too late to take anything
back and he figured that telling the story couldn't do much damage, as there were
already enough crazy rumors about him floating around.
"Mr Ollivander actually had it in a locked display case and didn't want to sell it to
anyone. The only reason why he told me the story of it was probably because it
started glowing while I looked around the shop. I'll try to repeat his whole tale if I can
remember it all. - He said it was only an experiment he had attempted many years
ago to test the boundaries of wand making. The core had been left to him by his
grandfather, who might have fought the same Nundu as your relative Padma.
Neither his father or grandfather had ever found the right wood to tame the wild
magic of it and Mr Ollivander doubted he ever would as well.
"But one day while he was gathering materials on his own, and trailing some
bowtruckles back to their magical tree, he saw something unusual. They didn't lead
him to a tree but a single smooth stick which they had tried to plant in soft dirt. He
tried to get closer only for them to attack violently, though he managed to fend them
off and stun them. Upon closer inspection he saw the stick was an old muggle
truncheon made from an unusual wood. He said he felt bad for the bowtruckles and
couldn't see them protecting dead wood, even if it was still magical somehow. Taking
the truncheon home he laid their stunned bodies next to a magical tree he already
knew about. But when he examined it later he noticed a powerful resonance with the
wood and his stock of wand cores. He supposed any core would have worked well
with it to craft a wand out of, but after determining it was true Lignum Vitae, he knew
it was the only chance that the Nundu whisker could safely be bound into a wand. It
took him many months to determine the precise shape and length of what the wand
should be, then it took him the rest of the year to actually craft it."
Glancing at the interested and incredulous faces, now sitting on a nearby bench,
Harry continued on.
"He said that no one had gotten a spark out of it since it was made, except to
collapse the roof once, so he rarely let anyone hold it. That it was too powerful and
the consequences of the combination were unknown. He told me he wouldn't sell it,

even if the minister of magic himself demanded it. He distracted me first with other
wands and even found me my phoenix and holy which glowed warmly and produced
bright flames through the shop when I waved it. But even after that I begged to see
the other wand. Finally relenting, he said I could hold but not wave it, citing the
unknown danger. Well I was so excited that when I touched it, bright blue flowers
blossomed all over it and I jumped back in fright. It took another whole round of
begging to try holding it again but he seemed to be too curious to put up much of a
fight. After I picked it up the flowers started to bloom and actually produce a light of
their own, there was even a breeze and pleasant floral scent that filled the room.
Padma wore an extremely skeptical expression, managing to raise one eyebrow to
emphasize her point.
"I was so unused to magic then that I assumed everyone got weird reactions like that
now and then. So I was upset but not too surprised when Mr Ollivander still refused
to sell it and insisted I put it back. He shook his head while saying something along
the lines of, 'I should never have made it, being so reckless and arrogant in my youth
I didn't consider the ramifications. More importantly it is incredibly dangerous to
tempt fate and allow one person to carry the destiny of two such powerful wands.' I
was a little annoyed at such an explanation and wasn't thinking when I threw my
arms up in the air in exasperation, but that seemed more than enough of a wave for
the wand and it made his countertop start growing into a tree. It nearly got to the roof
before we both got over the sudden shock and he cast a few spells to stop it. I think
he mumbled something like 'it's magical... ' before turning back to me with the wand
still in my hand. I was a little embarrassed at what I had done but just knew I had to
have the wand after that, like it called to me. He almost was about to tell me to put it
back one more time when the tree started growing again. This time it took him a
minute and many more spells to get it to stop. Every time he began to say no, the
tree seemed to inch a little higher and distract him. He finally turned to me and said,
'Fine! Fine, just don't say I didn't warn you. One destiny should be enough for
anyone, but we'll see what you do with two!' he laughed a little weirdly and tried to
figure out a price. It was outrageous but I barely stopped to think before I plunked
down the money and escaped before he could change his mind again."
The girls all seemed to have mixed reactions to the story. Sue Li once again
responded first, "I've heard of similar tales in the past, many times even. But those
were all bedtime stories about Merlin or other famous wizards designed to entertain.
I'm guessing this one is as well?"
Padma chimed in next, "Yeah, come on, you can't really expect us to believe you
grew a magical tree from your first wave of your wand! What do you take us for, little
kids?"

Harry was starting to become dismayed when Hermione finally spoke, "It does
sound incredible, but then again so does most magic. It's simple really, we just need
some evidence of what the wand can do. If that isn't convincing then we can always
owl Mr Ollivander to ask him personally. Growing another tree without a spell would
be sufficient evidence... is that possible?"
Harry wasn't too confident he could pull it off, but he appreciated Hermione's
attitude, willing to accept new evidence, and find confirmation. "Well I can try, but I
heard not many people can replicate their first wave of a wand." Padma and Sue
nodded in agreement. Harry pointed at a table with his wand and concentrated on
what he wanted to happen. He could almost feel the magic release and hit the table
with a wave of his wand. Nothing happened. He tried again, and nothing continued
to happen.
"Good one Harry, you almost had us going there. Anyone can carry around a backup
wand from a relative, but they usually don't work very well. " Padma chuckled, then
got up and dragged Sue along with her, "it's almost curfew so tell us how the owl to
Ollivander goes. We'll be waiting!" They pranced out the door and up the stairs.
It was another few moments after they left that someone cleared their throat, "Uhhm,
I did say that the furniture was protected." It was the portrait on the wall. She shuffled
her feet and looked away.
Hermione stood up with her books in hand, "Of course, I should have remembered
that. Is there something else we can try or should we just make sure with an owl?" A
hopeful expression crossed her face while waiting for the answer.
It seemed enough that she was willing to trust his word just to spend time on a owl,
but Harry wanted to reward that cute otter face she had on again. He thought back
and knew the perfect way, if it worked, "Okay, one more try."
He held his wand up and concentrated, imagining it happen before his eyes.
Remembering the smell, the size, and shape of how they formed. And there they
were, a bunch of beautifully bright blue, five petal flowers with golden stamen
sprouting from the tip of his wand. They even glowed with their own hazy blue light
and smelled enchanting, just like before. Seeing Hermione's face light up with delight
at the sight was even better though. He plucked the flowers off the tip and handed it
to her with a smile. "For you, it may not be a tree but we can get to that another
time."
Hermione couldn't stop from grinning madly at being handed flowers. "Thanks!" She
tried to say without blushing, but failed.

Turning away she whispered quietly to herself, "This is the best birthday!"
As they headed out the door Harry surprised her one last time, "I'll just have to try
harder next year then." She couldn't stop her embarrassed giggle as she ran to her
dorm, wearing a scarlet face all the way there.
oOoOo
Friday morning Harry noticed Hermione walking around with a single blue flower
proudly pinned below her collar, suiting her even with the red and gold trim. It still
looked like it was glowing faintly but was hard to tell in the bright light of the hall.
Other girls were asking her about it which she responded to in whispers. Uh oh, I
sure hope those kind of rumors don't spread. His wayward thoughts passed as he
headed to the Great Hall.
Harry was still new to the idea of having people cook for him, let alone new dishes,
so most meals he decided to sample a little of all the dishes to see what bits he
liked, but some turned out to be awfully weird. Like the liver flavored ice cream
prepared the night before, although some students seemed to like it. Though today,
breakfast was especially good with an amazing treacle tart that he probably could
never replicate. It had a thin and rich filling with a light crisp crust and a perfect
golden lattice over top. Of course he also ate a perfectly cooked omelet first with
fresh fruit on the side, but he savored every bite of dessert wondering how he could
give his compliments to the chef. Then it hit him, he had never seen anyone cook or
clean, let alone set the tables.
Obviously they did it all with magic, but who were these unsung heroes of the
students taste buds? No one was ever introduced as the head chef or cleaning crew
at the sorting ceremony and he had never bothered before to head to the kitchens.
There was never talk about who made it all happen either. Surely it wasn't just the
castle itself that produced such wide variety of food on demand and cleaned up after
everyone? Was there some magical device that you just fed raw ingredients into and
spelled it to make what you wanted? If so he definitely had to have one during
summers. He cleared his mind of wild thoughts and decided to simply ask.
"Can anyone tell me who makes all the food and how they do it?" The first years
beside him shook their heads in ignorance or indifference.
Penny, always nearby, came to the rescue one again. "It's all done by house elves
with their own unique wandless magic, like most regular household tasks in the
castle. They say there is a legion of them working around the clock to keep
Hogwarts running, but the reason why no one ever sees them is because staying

unseen is something they value. Some say they can't use wands, that they're
incompatible together. Though I bet people are just afraid of other beings that are
able to control wands."
"Hmm, thanks." It was amazing how much the magical world kept surprising Harry.
Along with a few other first years around him.
The thought of other sentient beings in all different shapes and sized almost boggled
the mind, with a whole team of them living, under our feet? It doesn't seem that they
all arose naturally, but much more likely that they were somehow humans magically
transformed into other forms who retained their minds. Maybe others were simply
creatures that were magically given intelligence as well? Almost anything seems
possible these days, except for understanding girls. That will always be impossible.
It took Harry a second to regain his train of thought, "How much does it cost to hire
one? And what are they like, tall with pointed ears or something like the north pole
kind?" His fantasy books didn't seem to help very often and even made it
embarrassing when he made the mistake of assuming too much. Which seems to be
happening now.
A older boy wearing a Queen button, took over in Penny's confusion, while a few
others laughed, "Wizards own house elves, and they don't actually like money,
freedom, or regular clothes; they wear pillowcases, rags, and I think the Hogwarts
ones wear tea towels. It sort of puts a spin on the whole slavery idea. An intelligent
creature that actually likes being owned and doing work without pay. As for their
looks, they're sort of more like north pole elves only not so cute. Really I always
imagined it was like someone crossed Gollum and a Rivendell elf but it turned out
badly and were only two feet tall. Most are kind and loyal though if you ever meet
any, just watch out for ones from certain families, they get really creepy when not
treated properly. And I don't even know how people get them in the first place, all the
ones I've heard of have been inherited or given away. Anyone know?" A seventh
year shouted down the table 'Auctions', "And there you go, confusing slavery even
more."
Harry pondered the idea of a willing slave and the comparison to his life at the
Dursleys. Then he thought of how useful a house elf might be. He never fantasized
before about owning someone or wanting minions like Malfoy but he figured it was
more like a pet who you treated well and could have as a companion. Maybe they
were like a really intelligent dog? Only this pet is sentient and has wandless magic.
He could easily imagine some sadistic wizard transforming actual humans into
house elves and altering their mind enough to be his willing slaves. It was disturbing
but sounded like there wasn't much that could be done, at least not until he was

older. He made another mental note about investigating house elves and decided to
talk it over with Hermione later.
oOoOo
The rest of the Friday progressed to be rather routine, listening to a long and boring
lecture in history of magic, trying to understand what was said in defense because of
all the stuttering, learning the basics for a new charm from professor Flitwick, and
planting some strange looking plant in Herbology. Harry had a desire to sit beside
Hermione in their classes together, but house lines appeared quite strict and he
didn't want to ruffle even more feathers. So he settled on discussing the new spells
he had looked up, with her later that night. But right before dinner she caught up with
him. Only to be told she couldn't make it, that another Gryffindor girl asked if she
would help on some homework and she had said yes without thinking. Harry was
fine with it after she smiled cheerfully and got out a pocket calendar to make new
plans together. They agreed to continue their research after dinner on Saturday, and
off she hoped to sit with the other Gryffindors.
Shaking his head at the happy school girl Harry turned around towards his table only
to find two tall red headed boy's blocking his way. The one on the left spoke, George
maybe, "Special research is it?"
The other replied, "What do they call that in the muggle world George?"
"'Playing dentist' isn't it?"
Fred chimed in to correct him, "Playing doctor I believe dear brother."
Both their eyebrows rose in unison with knowing smirks, "But Harry here wouldn't be
doing anything so improper."
"Not with our genius Hermione, would he?" Each put a hand on Harry's shoulder as
he tried to leave.
Hearing about their other antics Harry knew they weren't too evil, so he hoped they
would be better on his side if he could talk their language. "Oh, I didn't realize you
two wanted all her attention, maybe I should send her to you when she wants to do
as six hour study session tomorrow?" The stricken looks on their faces told all, they
had apparently heard the mad rumors about her study habits as well.
They looked at each other and then back at Harry and said in unison, "Quidditch
practice, can't avoid it."

Their hands retracted and patted Harry on the shoulder, "You'll take care", "of her",
"won't you", "Harry?" They alternated between pleading looks and nodding while
speaking.
Harry returned their smirk with one of his own, "I might be able to... that is if no
strange rumors get started, and maybe some more reasonable explanation won
out?" Again they looked to each other and back nodding at him. "That reminds me,
you two haven't heard about Draco being Snape's new potion tester, have you?"
"You started that one?" They exclaimed together.
"He's good." Both reached out and shook his hands, and Fred continued, "You didn't
start the one about carrying-", "a second wand with a Nundu core-", "and Lignum
Vitae wood, did you?"
"Cause that's just", "bonkers!" They laughed.
Harry had trouble responding without snorting. It was already out, might as well use
it to impress. "I wouldn't know about any rumor, but this one is real." Pulling his
second wand out of his sleeve he twirled it in front of them.
With amazement on their faces they clearly looked back and forth from the wand in
his pocket to the stunningly unique one in his hand. "Nooo..." said one, "Woah!" said
the other.
Harry let them look at it for a bit and then tucked it back in his sleeve as the food
appeared on the tables. "I'll see you guys around, and don't worry about Hermione
too much." They ran back to their table to spread the story. People shouldn't know
what to believe if they say it.
After dinner he practiced a few spells he knew would be useful and then started
reading another book in the Ravenclaw library. Before going to bed he added a few
more ideas to the list of spells to research, and soon drifted off to sleep, thinking
about the wonderful day of he would have tomorrow.
oOoOo
Waking up in the morning Harry knew something was wrong. He could feel it, could
sense something didn't feel right, like he wasn't whole. Looking around he soon
noticed his trunk latch was open, but upon inspection nothing was missing. He
shrugged it off as if it was his imagination. Putting on his clothes and grabbing his
wands from under his pillow was when it hit him like a bucket full of ice-water. His
Nundu wand was gone from his holster.

Frantically searching everywhere around his bed and on the floor he knew it wouldn't
be there. This is what I get for trying to show off, it couldn't have been the Weasleys
could it? It was a great prank for them if it was, but I imagine they would leave a
note, if only to show who the master pranksters were. Nothing would be fixed by
berating himself now or speculating who might have done it, he needed to tell a
teacher. He could almost sense it though, and it didn't feel too far away, wandering
around the dorm room it didn't seem any closer either. He slapped himself in the
face a few times to wake up and focus, to think and feel what his senses were telling
him. It wasn't too far below him, but it felt, safe. As if it was waiting for him to come
get it. That's exactly what he would do then. He took a single book with him to
pretend to be going somewhere and walked downstairs to the common room.
There was a lot of noise and movement for so early in the morning, and there were
quite a few people huddled around the center of the large circular room. As he got
closer the feel of his wand did as well. Random thoughts made him afraid his wand
was broken in half or splintered in pieces on display for everyone to see. Harry
rushed forward pushing past people. Really, he wasn't that fearful when he thought
about it, because there was still the assurance of safety he felt from it. When he
finally got close enough, he could see what everyone was starting at. It was a statue.
Looking to be of a young student, made of cold grey stone, facing the giant windows
overlooking the quidditch pitch. Just then, an older student stepped up and tried to
grab something out of the statue's outstretched hand, and instantly he was flung
back against a large chair with extra pillows someone had set up. His hair standing
on end and coughing out a puff of smoke, he shook himself off and grabbed a
proffered glass of water from similar looking students.
That wasn't normal.
Squeezing further around the outer ring of people Harry finally saw what was in the
statue's hand, his wand! He pushed harder at the churning mass of students until he
got out near where the other boy had been thrown. Now he could see who the
student was supposed to be, or who he was rather. Anthony Goldstein stood frozen,
halfway between waving Harry's wand and cringing in horror. More people were
milling around now and he heard someone say Professor Flitwick was coming. Harry
could see the situation was already a disaster, and waiting, or denying it was his
wand would only get him in further trouble. Too many people had seen it already.
Noticing Padma and Sue off to the side staring at him was all the push he needed.
He walked up with a determined pace towards the statue, and as he reached for his
wand that was now calling to him, there was a frantic yell, "Harry! No!"
The yell shocked him as his hand touched his wand but nothing else happened. He

pulled it out smoothly from between the stone fingers that were wrapped around it.
Turning around with it in his hand made the whole room fall silent. Penny came
running up to him and stopped a few steps away. She was the one who had yelled, a
strange look came over her face but then it turned back to concern. She spoke
again, "Are you okay Harry? Is, is that your wand? You didn't intentionally...?" The
main door opened to reveal short professor Flitwick standing there taking in the
scene with a concerned expression, and making a few subtle movements with his
wand.
Shaking his head Harry answered in a clear voice, "Somehow my wand disappeared
from my nightstand where I left it last night but I don't know how it ended up here
and I didn't even know something like this could happen." Penny acknowledged his
answer as if she agreed and turned to Professor Flitwick to explain the situation.
The professor held up his hand to halt her, his squeaky voice could be heard by the
whole common room, "It appears we have some improper use of a foreign wand,
and an unusual form of natural protection as well." Walking up to Harry and Penny
the other students crowded around their head of house.
"May I please see you wand Mr Potter?" Harry hesitated at first but slowly handed it
over. Flintwick examined it closely and used his own wand to verify it the same way
Dumbledore had, "It appears this is very much your wand, and powerful indeed,
would you mind if I attempt to cast with it?"
This surprised Harry after having witnessed what was done to the last one who tried
that, "If you're sure, I don't mind."
Penny almost tried to stop the professor but was halted again by his upraised hand,
"Fear not everyone, a wand would not do harm to those who have permission to use
it."
Harry realized what the professor was trying to do and nodded to him in silent
thanks. With that professor Flitwick swished the wand at Anthony's statue, but
nothing happened. He tried again, and again with no success. Feeling a little
flustered he proffered the wand back to Harry and used his own wand to cast at
Anthony, trying three times without success. Wiping away a single bead of sweat he
addressed Harry one more time with the squeak in his voice even more pronounced,
"It seems to be a very stubborn wand you have there, it is good no ill intention was
directed towards you or things might have gotten completely out of hand. If you
would be so kind as to cast Finite on the young man here? Maybe then I can explain
to him the risks of using an unknown wand without permission."

Harry obliged, glad to have practiced that spell the day before. Simply pointing and
imagining any magic being dispersed he cast, "Finite."
Within a second the stone melted away from Anthony and he was back into his own
flesh, falling limply into Penny's outstretched arms. That's when the chatter started
up again and Harry tucked away his wand. He followed behind the professor and
Penny heading out the door with Anthony floating in-between, where it closed behind
them without a single follower. "I'm really sorry sir, I never should have told anyone
about my second wand, I never even considered something like this happening."
Waving his concerns away Flintwick replied, "Accidents happen all the time, do not
worry too much over what has already past. Though I would suggest you find a
better place to hide your wand from now on. As for what occurred I was as surprised
as well, it has been a long time since seeing such a wand protect itself. We should
hope no lasting effects will be seen for anyone."
Harry said goodbye as they entered the medical wing. Returning to the great hall in a
daze he was one of the very few Ravenclaws to sit at their table. A minute before the
food appeared the giant mass of Ravenclaws flowed in like the tide, all still a gaggle
of noise and discussion. It quieted around Harry as only a few students sat very
close. It was kind of reassuring that Padma and Sue stuck by instead of going to the
other end of the table like some. Robert Hilliard sat across from him as well and
smiled at him, "See Harry, already amazing things happening around you, just wait
until you learn some really useful spells and no one will be able to stop talking."
With that, the conversation around Harry picked up and the questions began.

Chapter 8 - Memories
Chapter 8
Memories
Harry couldn't escape the whispered questions and spreading rumors throughout the
morning, especially by the Weasley twins who caught up with him after the new
breakfast tale was spread. They insisted on hearing the true story and seeing his
wand one more time. It didn't bother him much, as it would only be another legend
for the boy who lived, which he had come to accept as a part of life after the first few
weeks of spurious whispers, hand shaking, and awkward staring at his scar. He
hoped it would die down a little in the coming years though, since he wasn't much of
a people person, and cared nothing for fame. Although his early life had trained him
to stoically endure abnormal situations and how to deal with rude or mean people.
Not wanting more attention if possible, Harry went into hiding within the giant school
library; as the Ravenclaws knew to look for him around the common room or their
library. He saw Hermione already at one of the main study tables, determinedly
trying to explain something to a small group of Hufflepuffs. But one intense glance
his way from Ernie, deterred any thoughts Harry had of joining them and being
bombarded with more questions. Instead he meandered through the fringe aisles,
researching a few more spells and exotic creatures that came to mind, then lost
himself in an unusual book on alchemy by Argo Pyrite.
When the lunch bells rang he quickly put his books away and headed for the great
hall, only to slip and fall as he exited the library. He could hear the laugh of idiot
minions followed by the commanding shush of a familiar and annoying Slytherin.
Harry picked himself up and looked around but only heard distant footsteps running
away. An ice spell was in front of the doors and quickly melting to leave no evidence
behind. He wanted to follow them and repay the favor but knew better than to play
on the same level. Even though his wrist and back hurt he didn't let it spoil his lunch
or the anticipation for his first occlumency lesson.
The meal was agonizingly slow, even with the wonderful sampling of dishes he tried.
He decided to sit facing Slytherin and Hufflepuff, with his back to Gryffindor from
then on, since it was obvious they hated Slytherin the most and wouldn't let any
sneak up behind him. Sitting nearer to Hermione and hearing her talk was purely
coincidence.
Anthony arrived later at lunch, wearing a sullen expression and almost stumbling to
a seat, as far away as possible. That was fine by Harry, as insincere apologies or

ignoring the obvious wasn't something he liked. It looked like Anthony was already
suffering from what happened, as well as being ostracized by those around him, and
reaping any number of special punishments or detentions, if the rumors circling
around were to be believed. For now, Harry was content with keeping an eye on him,
but only time would tell how things might play out.
The questions for Harry were kept to a minimum with Penny sitting only a few seats
away again, but he had to wait for all of the students to leave as he pretended to be
waiting to ask the teachers something. Several students and teachers gave him
curious looks as he waited for Dumbledore. Seemingly oblivious to it all, the
headmaster kept sipping a spoonful of cold soup, one after the other. When the last
teacher left and the door closed behind them, Dumbledore looked up, straight into
Harry's eyes.
Feeling embarrassed and nervous over standing there waiting the entire time, Harry
stammered out a sentence, "Sorry sir, I didn't know where, or when, to meet after
lunch today, so I just figured to wait here."
Dumbledore smiled, "No bother at all, as I am quite fond of this soup. But we should
keep these lessons a secret, because technically, first years are not allowed to learn
occlumency. Since you seem to be a natural occlumens, an exception would be
made, but that would require paperwork, meetings, and official hearings which would
only inconvenience everyone involved, not to mention delaying any lessons." He
stood and his dishes disappeared right before he could grab one last slice of bread.
He shrugged in acceptance and walked towards the antechamber they both left from
last time, "Come, let us begin our journey."
Harry noticed that he didn't mention it might be difficult to explain how anyone found
out as well. Which led him to conclude it wasn't exactly legal for Snape to be
sneaking around in students' minds. Yet it was tolerated, instead of punished, giving
him second thoughts about the whole situation. Athough he still followed after the
long blue robes Dumbledore wore that day, through the sitting room, past the
portrait, and up the clever stairs. Once again marveling at the noisy trinkets and
shelves full of books cluttered around the office. All the portraits seemed to be
sleeping except for a few who peaked out at him from under the brim of a hat or
behind a book.
Dumbledore led him to a small alcove off to the side containing two relaxing leather
chairs in front of a fireplace, "I find it much easier to converse here without my desk
in the way. Besides it is getting slightly cool in here, would you mind starting a fire
Harry?" He started rummaging around in a cabinet off to the side and pulled out a
box of toffee and a plate of biscuits then set them down on the table set between the

chairs. "I find it nice to have a snack when important things are discussed."
Harry reached into his pocket for his wand, hoping he could start the fire after only
practicing the spell once.
"Ah, I didn't mean that way my boy."
It took a second to understand what Dumbledore wanted; to see his ability in
wandless magic. "I never actually tried that before, but I'll give it a go."
Feeling dubious in his abilities, Harry turned towards the dry logs in the fireplace and
stared. Letting his vision lose focus, he thought about ways fires could be started,
and choose one, concentrating on forcing a large amount of air into one small dot on
a log. As he was already familiar with using force to accomplish things. A few tries
later, resulted in not a single change, so he tried a different tactic, similar to the
incendio spell he read about. He imagined the surface of the log getting hotter and
hotter, thinking of the warmth from a fire he had felt in the past and wanting that
intense heat. He saw the flame in his mind, felt the heat on his skin, and heard the
flame crackle at the combustion. He willed a small stream of magic to shoot towards
the point he was looking at. Then a patch of the log ignited into popping yellow
flame, but soon died away again into wisps of grey smoke.
Clapping slowly Dumbledore exclaimed, "Astounding, that took me nearly half a year
to accomplish, even with a skilled teacher. Tell me Harry, what were you trying
differently the first few attempts?"
That kind of shocked Harry, that he could be read so well without even talking, "I was
trying to compress the air around a log into a single point hot enough to light the
bark. That didn't seem to work so I tried what I read in our book about incendio if you
were having trouble casting it."
"That is interesting indeed, it might be possible that both would have worked for you.
That is if you had tried compressing more air into a smaller space, since lighting
wood by itself takes a lot of heat. I'm also surprised you have never tried lighting
something on fire before now, was there simply always a flame handy in your
home?" Dumbledore lit the fire fully with the wave of his hand, then picked up a
biscuit and started nibbling on it.
Harry shook his head, he had already decided to trust Dumbledore to an extent,
since if he was to train him in occlumency he might be able to view the memories
anyway, and this way Harry got to frame how the story was told. "I guess I should
start from the beginning and explain it all." He sat back in the chair, staring deep into
the roaring fire.

"Everything seemed to start on my seventh birthday, it was then that I pleaded and
begged with my relatives to be allowed to watch a specific movie that was on TV. I
was looking forward to seeing it for weeks, but it was on late at night, so of course
they didn't let me. They seemed to be getting callous and resentful as I grew older.
Which I later came to understand, sitting in my cupboard under the stairs, seeing my
life in a new clarity. I wasn't wanted, I was someone they put up with and it was only
going to get worse, especially after Dudley began hitting me at school. I cried until
my eyes hurt that night, wishing harder than I ever had before, on just being able to
get out of my locked cupboard."
The biscuit fell out of Dumbledore's mouth and onto his lengthy beard, as his eyes
widened at Harry. But Harry continued on without noticing.
"After about a half an hour I wiped away my tears and with all the hope in the world,
tested the door. It swung open to a dark and quiet hallway, and I nearly cried again in
ecstatic relief. But then I became afraid, wondering if this was just a test to see what
I would do. They had done that before, left a few biscuits out where I could reach
them and then waited until I grabbed one to punish me."
Harry looked down at the ones on the table and back up to Dumbledore. There was
moisture in his stark blue eyes when he raised the dish towards Harry.
Giving a weak smile he took one and ate it, "I know now what they did to me was
wrong, and how I was mistreated. I think I've made my peace with that because they
don't, can't, do it anymore. But back then, I was extremely frightened that they would
jump out from around a corner and scream at me for leaving my cupboard. I hoped
that someone had left my door open because it was my birthday, and it was a small
kindness they could give me. I still don't know if it was magic or one of them that let
me out, but it doesn't really matter. I looked up at the clock and it was five minutes
until the movie aired. Quietly creeping to the TV I turned it on and hurriedly lowered
the volume so it wasn't heard. I hoped and wished that no one would wake up, all
the while I sat right in front of the TV to hear the quiet words being spoken. I even
turned it off once in a while when I thought I heard a noise now and then. I
remember, the entire time my heart was racing and I was so excited to finally be
watching this movie. It was really entertaining as well, imagining myself in the story
with them. I don't know if you've ever even heard of it, let alone watched it, but the
name of it was Star Wars."
Nodding and smiling at the memory Dumbledore answered, "It was quite popular for
muggleborn wizards as well back when it first came out, and we had our own dark
lord to fight then. Some called it wizards in space."

"Heh, well that was my teacher in magic, but I thought I was a Jedi using the force.
No wands were used and it all depended on how hard you could concentrate and
how strong your will was. That's why I never thought to create fire, because I didn't
think it was possible. - The next day I was punished for sleeping in too long but they
didn't know I was up the night before. After making breakfast I just sat and stared out
the window at the rain. Once in a while a single drop of water would splash on the
window, and I would try to move it with my mind. It took an entire week, stuck inside
while it rained, trying to get a single drop to move sideways. And then it finally did.
"I knew then that I could control the force. From that day on I would try to clear my
mind and focus moving objects every chance I got. It took another month with a lot of
headaches until I could open the latch to my cupboard any time I wanted. I managed
to watch the other movies and read the very few books I could find, wanting to
emulate Jedi as much as I could. But I was young and I got into a lot of trouble after
that, them calling me a freak while small things tended to break when I was
punished. Half a year later I was getting really good at moving small objects but still
had trouble moving larger ones, when it hit me. If I really was using the force, I could
do more than move objects, I could influence people's thoughts."
Harry was still staring at the fire while Dumbledore studied him, wondering if he
could use legilimency or memory charms without a wand.
Looking up Harry answered the unasked question, "I don't know what kind of spell it
really is, or if it's even a normal spell. I imagined it as the force influencing
someone's thoughts, making them do things if their mind was weak. After learning
that I had magic and that others could sense it... I haven't tried to use it since. So
you don't have to worry about me messing with people's brains anymore."
Dumbledore looked thoughtful, but didn't respond to this so Harry continued on.
"I practiced a lot on Dudley at first, since I assumed he had the most impressionable
mind. It was nothing at first, just the thought of Petunia calling his name. It took me
four days before he yelled at his mom for nagging him. That's when things became
fun. I would ask for something simple, to stay up a few minutes more, and try to
convince them to allow it. Every day it progressed to something a little bigger if it
worked. From biscuits to books, then new clothes, glasses, my own room, a TV, and
even a computer. They resisted lot at first but I just had to keep putting the thought in
their head. Sometimes it was much easier than others and I began to see why from
their moods and feelings at the time. I got better, learning what thoughts worked best
and when to try. It got to the point that I didn't even know what to ask them for after a
while. So I tried to make them compliment me, once as day, just as practice. Petunia
still does it every day now out of habit, I don't even think she realizes it anymore. But

I could never change their real attitude towards me, at least not that way."
Taking a piece of toffee this time, Dumbledore remarked on the topic, "The ability to
alter surface thoughts in others is a remarkable power. Do you think you used it
wisely?"
Harry considered his words, "I know it probably wasn't right of me to influence what
they did so much, but most of the time they truly deserved it. I tried to not use it on
my friends or school mates but there were bullies I made an exception for. I still
thought of things on the light side and the dark side back then, so I tried to be good
and not use my powers to harm. It's difficult, seeing the opportunity to change things,
to get revenge, to force things to go my way."
"We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." Dumbledore
intoned gravely.
Tilting his head, Harry's brow knitted together. "Kind of... at that point I felt like I had
mastered the simpler part of those techniques, so I wanted to learn more. I realized
then, my mind and others were more important to understand, so I started reading,
about science, philosophy, and psychology. Soon I was reading every day of the
week while not practicing or going to school. Trying to understand the implications of
my powers and how I should use them.
"After rewatching the movies over and over, I knew there was more I could do. I
would sit and meditate on my surroundings, trying to sense things around me. The
next few days I tried to track everywhere Dudley went in the house, and check on
him to make sure. He got very annoyed with me following him around but after a few
months I could avoid him easily, always knowing where he was. In a year I was able
to tell where everyone was in the house at any time. And the times when I went to
London in could feel others more strongly than anyone else, even a delivery man I
knew back home felt that way as well. I didn't know what it meant at the time, but I'd
guess now they were all wizards."
Choking lightly on some crumbs, Dumbledore conjured a few cups of water for them,
and waved Harry on with his story.
"Once I felt I had mastered those skills, I was afraid to try the last power I knew
about, because it was supposed to be evil. Giving much thought on it while still
practicing and reading everything, science fiction, fantasy, and more philosophy
books, I came to a conclusion. That the power itself couldn't be bad, but only the
way it was used.
"Being almost nine by then, I tried to learn how to make lightning. I practiced in the

garage against the cement floor so as to not light anything on fire. It turned out to be
harder than the rest and it took a whole year of practice to do much, yet it all became
easier with time. I thought of using it tonight to start the fire, but wanted to see if I
could do more. It turns out real magic is somewhat easier if it's explained in a book.
Or maybe after so much practice over the years it's easier for me to learn." Holding
out his hand, Harry let electricity crackle out of his fingertips and into the air, "It never
looked exactly like in Star Wars so I always thought I was doing something wrong. Of
course I realized it was all fake, but I thought somehow they had managed to
describe something real. I suppose like real magic, I thought there were hidden
powers that people really had, being put in a story by those who couldn't use it. But if
I could do it, so could others."
It was hard for Dumbledore to speak after all those revelations, some were very
disturbing and others fantastical. He would have to check in on Harry's home life
over the summer and make sure there were stronger wards and precautions in case
of any further abuse. Most of all though he marveled at how a fiction had helped
Harry to master his own abilities, to do things even he had never tried. Producing
lighting from your hand, and only influencing a single thought in another mind were
not ordinary spells. They didn't seem to be extremely useful but to invent and
practice all of it in imitation of a story, and without a wand was beyond explanation.
Harry had trusted him with his secrets and his past. The least he felt he could do is
return that honesty, even if it cost him dearly.
"Harry, I must tell you something that might be hard to hear but I feel you should
hear it from me personally. As your parents friend and confidant, it was I who placed
you with your aunt and uncle. I assure you though, if I knew of how they would treat
you I would never have done so. The reasons why I did not take care of you myself
or place you with a wizarding family are numerous but I shall explain the most
important."
Slowly turning his head toward Dumbledore, Harry had a wild look in his eyes.
"As Hagrid explained, when Voldemort disappeared that Halloween night, every
follower of his was out for revenge or information the next day. They captured and
tortured many innocents along with those who fought against them, trying to learn
what happened. Once they heard the story of his death by your hands, all they
seemed to think of was revenge. It took years to track down and capture as many as
we could. Even now there a few who have evaded capture. For you to be protected
and hidden from these criminals, there was only one definite way to keep you out of
danger. That was an ancient spell of blood protection, that could only work if you
were taken in by your relatives. It protected and hid you at home and wherever you
went, as long as you came back once a year.

"Of course I did not leave you alone, as I set up wards and other spells to alert me if
you were hurt or ran away. I also checked in on you regularly in disguise of a
cheerful delivery man who gave you sweets whenever you opened the door, to
which you seem to have caught on. With the cooperation of the ministry of magic we
placed Mrs Figg, who is a squib as your neighbor and made sure she was the only
convenient babysitter available. She was supposed to check in on you more
thoroughly and make sure you were always protected and taken care of, but
obviously she was not as thorough as needed. As to how they treated you, all I can
say is that she, like I, did not fully consider the emotional abuse they might put you
through. While they were known to be unpleasant people, I did not imagine they
would actually hurt a relative, especially a small boy. For that you have my deepest
apologies. - To preserve the protection spell, you must return to their home for at
least a week every year, but if you wish to be elsewhere for the rest of the time, I am
sure we can arrange some alternative."
This was almost too much for Harry, like his life was a lie, built around a world that
didn't really exist. Ever since he learned he could do things that others couldn't, he
wished to meet someone similar, and to escape his relatives. To talk about and play
with the extraordinary powers that he always had to keep a secret, while being called
a freak. And finally Hogwarts had answered that call. But all the while the nice portly
delivery man with twinkling eyes and his cat lady neighbor who babysat him already
knew, and were watching over his torture the entire time. He balled his fists in agony
at such an idea. Yet he had learned this lesson in the past, it didn't matter what could
have been, only to learn from it and find what is possible in the future.
"I really wish you would have told me that when I was five or six... It's confusing, I
hated them for so long, but if I left now it almost feels like I would be wasting all the
effort I put in to change how they treat me. After many years of changing things I
have kind of made it my home, even if they don't love me. But a lot of kids have to
deal with that and much worse, and I can stop them from ever abusing me again so I
don't have to worry much. It's like a sunk cost, I don't want to lose what I put in, yet I
know it's already gone. But the idea of someone else..."
It was not the cry of joy or anger Dumbledore was expecting but he had to warn him
off the consequences if he was hesitant, "I should also tell you that when a wizard
reaches the age of eleven and gains a wand, the ministry begins tracking your magic
and does not allow you to perform any in the muggle world or elsewhere until you
are of age, at seventeen. Even wandless magic is tracked and can be punished if
deemed severe enough, although usually it is deemed unintentional and allowed to
pass. But a strict punishment for repeated occurrence is the breaking of your wand.
So you must consider your choice carefully."

That nearly decided it, the risk and false investment wasn't worth anything unless the
alternatives were even worse.
Harry took another biscuit and thought more while he ate it, then replied, "I don't
have to leave but I would prefer to, especially if I can't use magic. Though it all
depends on where I would go instead, who else could take care of me and not be in
danger?" He sat quietly waiting for the choices that could influence the rest of his life.
"...It would appear even I get ahead of myself sometimes, as I did not have a plan in
case you accepted, only knowing it was right to offer. There are many families that
would be more than willing to accept you into theirs, but each are riddled with
complications. There is one friend of your parents who might be perfect, yet
circumstances could make it difficult for him to accept. The Weasley family I am sure
you've heard of, is a very caring and protective bunch. Although their home situation
might also be difficult to deal with and protect. I would offer to let you stay at school
with me, but that would cause all kinds of controversy with the board and the
ministry. I am afraid I shall have to delay this conversation after I have looked into
the best options and can give you more than hope. Do not worry though because we
have much time to figure this out before the end of the school year." Harry nodded in
acceptance.
Dumbledore cleared the empty plate and box from the table and waved his wand to
aim their chairs towards each other. "Now, I believe I was supposed to teach
something rather than simply talk. In occlumency it is usually taught to empty your
emotions from your mind and clear it of any stray thoughts. I believe you could try
what you used to practice when performing wandless magic, instead of that grey
room for now."
Sitting back and relaxing Harry cleared his mind and looked into those intense blue
eyes. Dumbledore accessed his mind once more, finding nothing but darkness. He
could barely sense anything, but knew he was in Harry's mind if only for the distinct
feeling of not being in his own. Looking around, there was nothing to distinguish top
from bottom, left to right or even himself. He could feel his own presence but not the
form or physical manifestation he usually presented.
Calling out with a disembodied voice he spoke, "Harry, come speak with me now."
Nothing changed, but as he turned around he saw a brilliant flame in the distance.
Incorporeal and alone he called out again, "ha..." but his voice was sucked towards
the flame, the same as other stray thoughts that seemed to form here and there
around him. Reaching out with his mind towards one he tried to catch and examine
it. The thought slipped away through his metaphorical fingers before he could tell

what it was. Trying harder this time Dumbledore put real effort into it and held on
long enough to be dragged towards the distant flame, while he saw the thought was
of his blue robes. Letting it slip away he reached for another and by force of will tried
to hold it still. Managing to see it was a memory of Dudley yelling, he tried to let go
again to grab another but this time it held onto him, pushing him off balance and then
dragging him towards the flame with it.
Finally feeling the heat, he turned his mind to stone and dragged it to a halt. A
different memory rammed into him making him see Vernon swinging a newspaper.
Then another and another slammed into him pushing him slowly closer towards the
now intense red flame. It actually felt hot where no memory of a flame ever could. He
inched towards it with every new memory of past torments that collided with him.
Finally understanding the anger, resentment, and danger he faced, Dumbledore
released the connection with Harry and felt at home in his own mind again. Clearing
his throat he shook Harry gently when he didn't respond.
"That was interesting once again, although next time we should try a little more
interactive practice. Would you mind explaining what that flame was for?"
Being shook, Harry woke slowly from his trance, "Oh... that's the flame in the void.
Something I read about in a book last year and try sometimes to get rid of persistent
thoughts. It helps me keep meditating with distractions." He thought over his
memories of the meditation, "Ah, was that actually you in my mind? I kind of wasn't
thinking and out of habit assumed you to be another stray thought trying to distract
me... sorry, I'll do better next time."
Dumbledore brushed away his concern, "That is what we are here for, to practice
and learn. Though I think that is enough for now, best to keep it short at first. In the
mean time, try practicing by focusing on and controlling one or two thoughts at a
time and let the others float away."
"I'll try that."
"Before you go, I do have one other topic to discuss, if you don't mind." Harry shook
his head, "Then I was wondering about the incident this morning involving your
wand, as I have heard tell it is made out of Lignum Vitae and contains an unusual
core which has surprising capabilities. When I first held it I noticed how remarkable it
felt but was distracted by other things before I could inquire further. I wonder if I
might study it for a moment to confirm a suspicion of mine?"
Removing it from his sleeve once again Harry handed it over but felt a little
reluctance to do so. Dumbledore accepted it and mumbled a few new sounding

spells with his own wand. The Nundu wand began to glow slightly in his hand, he
smiled at Harry, putting his own wand away. Standing up he gave it a slow wave,
"Ouch!"
It had sprouted thorns all along the handle which he dropped to the table with a dull
clatter. "That, was not meant to happen. I am afraid it might take some time to
remove those thorns before you can use it again."
Not thinking, Harry reached out to stop it from rolling off the table, but when he was
about to touch a thorn they all bloomed into the signature blue flowers again. Picking
it up to examine them, he gripped the handle filled with flowers, and they fluttered to
the ground.
"Have you ever seen anything like this before Professor? The same thing happened
when I grabbed it in Mr. Ollivander's shop. When I waved it a tree grew out of his
counter, the way others have reacted to that story I assume that might be unusual."
Dumbledore shook his head in wonder, "No, I have seen nothing quite like that. It
goes to show, even wise old wizards don't know everything. I could not confirm what
I wanted, but I can tell you that this is a very powerful wand and if it is what I
suspect, will only get more powerful with continued use."
"How's that work?" Harry asked.
"As a wizard grows, they gain a stronger connection to some wands, being able to
perform certain magics better or almost forming an understanding and acceptance of
what is desired from the user. Some very few legendary wands even grow in power
with their user. My suspicions are of little concern though as it is most unlikely in any
case."
This didn't satisfy Harry for being much of an explanation, but he guessed was
probably all that was known about such rare wands.
"I suppose that shall be all for today, next Saturday simply come back ten minutes
after lunch is over and I shall wait for you in the antechamber of the Great Hall."
Dumbledore waved his empty hand and the main doors opened up to the rotating
stairwell.
"Okay, I'll remember that," Getting up and stretching his legs Harry asked another
question, "One more thing, in your opinion what is the best spell to learn in order to
defend yourself?"
A small smile crossed Dumbledore's face, "Ah, but to answer that, one must

understand what you are defending from."


Dumbledore raised his eyebrows at Harry enquiringly, "I trust you know it is not
permitted to cast spells towards classmates, although if you join a dueling club or
similar sport, I would suggest expelliarmus or stupefy when you are old enough to
perform them. They can be interchanged regularly since both produce a red light and
stop the opponent casting. However, if you go exploring, incendio will scare most
regular creatures, or a bright lumos may blind them temporarily, that is if they have
eyes. But for your specific case Harry, you should know that there are very few
creatures or people who can sense nonverbal wandless spells cast upon them.
Please do not abuse that fact though, as it would take a mountain of paperwork and
time to punish you for harming someone in that way." He ended with wry grin.
Smiling back Harry was proud to get so much useful information by just being
himself. "I understand completely sir. And thank you." He walked out the main
entrance and wandered through the halls of the castle, reflecting on their
conversation.
oOoOo
Upon reaching the boy's toilet on the sixth floor Harry was suddenly accosted by a
excitable Peeves. "Oh, Harry warry come to take a potty wotty? This is a good
bathroom for it. No prank in sight and no one around to bother you."
Harry looked at the strange being in disbelief. Was it really that dense or did it think
the students were even worse? He tried to sidestep him slightly, "That's okay
Peeves, I heard there was a better one on another floor, and was planning on going
there already."
The frustration was obvious, with Peeves' whole body seeming to vibrate, but he
quickly moved to block Harry, with another idea. "If you tells me which one it is, I
could check on it for you to make sure its safe? Nothing is not known if I knows it
not!"
Sliding a little further away from the poltergeist Harry considered this last statement
for a second, but thought better off it, "It's on the second floor, so I'll be going now,
have to hurry and all." He tried to look casual walking down the hall hoping
something else caught Peeves' attention. But of course, luck was not with him.
"But Harry warry, what about your secret meeting with Granger wanger? Are you still
going to smooch in the library or did you change places for that too?" His malevolent
smirk grew wider, relishing the torment he caused.

Stopping mid stride, Harry really didn't want to turn around but if even Peeves knew
about their first planned meeting, it didn't bode well for future ones. Slowly looking
back he came up with an idea and asked, "That's good you heard about it Peeves, I
was just thinking of coming to tell you. Maybe you can thank the person that
informed you, who was it by the way?"
"No no no, I never reveals my secrets to ickle firsties, even if I have thousands of
them. Can't be telling secrets to just anybody." He crossed his small arms and stuck
out his tongue at Harry.
"Oh? I bet I know just as many secrets, maybe even some that you don't know."
Teased Harry.
A surprised and disgruntled look overcame Peeves, as his grim eyes narrowed,
"Prove it! No ickle firsty has more secrets than me!"
Harry thought quickly and was even ready to bluff if it might loosen the poltergeist's
tongue about something interesting, if he wasn't bluffing as well. "I could tell you
about the secret history of Dumbledore, the number of people who can read minds in
the castle, or maybe why the third floor corridor is off limits? But how am I to know
you're being honest as well, can you prove you know any secrets?"
Looking appraisingly at Harry, Peeves suddenly returned to his wickedly
mischievous manner and floated closer, "I know gobs, oodles more than you. Bet
you don't know about the clandestine cabinet that conveys commodities?" Harry
nodded in confirmation that he did, "Or that the mischief makers have a mysteriously
marked map? Maybe you don't know what forces fluffy to fall fast asleep? That
someone sleeping in the surrounding space is suspended from slinging spells?"
With every secret mentioned Harry pretended to know exactly what was being talked
about, or teased out more information if he could manage. Then confirmed the few
he actually knew to keep Peeves going, "Of course, Hagrid is having a hard time of
it, I've heard." He even played along with the alliterations.
Peeves kept going and soon was getting more insistent, "You haven't heard who is
hurling the harrowing humiliations at the horror heducator? Or what about the
secrecy surrounding the stone secured away in the subjacent suite in this safehold?
Don't think you deduced the devious disappearing door, designed to detect deepest
desires!?" Peeves was looking angry now and seemed to be stretching his ability,
and need to alliterate further.
"Yes, yes, Dumbledore has told me all about it. It seems we have amassed the same
amount of secrets, so I'll take my leave now. If you find any other good ones be sure

to drop by and we can compare notes again. Have fun roaming the castle now."
Harry left him floating in the hallway, still scratching his chin and mumbling to
himself. Feeling it was best to escape while he had the chance instead of finding out
how their secret got out. But dealing with Peeves seemed to go a lot better for Harry
than he imagined it might. Maybe I'll get the hang of living in Hogwarts after all.
And then a bowl of moldy fruit hit him in the back of the head.
oOoOo
Nothing too exciting happened after Harry cleaned up from his meeting with Peeves.
He read a little, watched some quidditch practice from a distance, and played
wizard's chess with Kevin in the common room to pass the time until dinner and his
research with Hermione. But after the second game of being thoroughly trounced,
Kevin began discussing football teams in depth and how terrible it was with no TV to
watch them. Harry tried changing the subject to books, video games, or something
he could relate to, but it soon became apparent that even though they were both
muggleborn Ravenclaws, they had very little in common. Even in magic, Kevin liked
potions, flying, and defense class the most. All things that Harry cared little for, yet
they still got on well enough.
Dinner came and passed, without Padma poking fun at his turning a student into
stone. It occurred to him that maybe she was afraid, or possibly nice enough not to
rub salt into his problems. But from the stern look Sue gave her, it seemed she might
be avoiding another elbow to the ribs instead.
Finishing his meal, Harry left the Great Hall early and headed to the Ravenclaw
library. Wanting to modify his list of spells and any desired spell effects he was
supposed to bring. They had planned to each make lists of what they wanted to
learn about most, and then discuss which they would research together. Including
known and unknown spells, and any magical items that sounded useful or
interesting. If there was time, Harry also wanted to talk about magical creatures that
might be worth studying.
When Hermione eventually arrived she found him in one of the two plush chairs from
last time, looking out the scenic west window, towards the dimming sun and
cloudless sky. She sat down and they immediately exchanged lists, having no need
for words. Harry was surprised by the amount and variety Hermione had written, she
even made a key for the symbols she used, " was for spells they would learn in
class, identified ones she was learning, and signified those that were probably
too advanced for them. Some he had never seen before in any book he owned, so it
was with interest that he scrutinized her extensive list. The more useful ones that his

list lacked, were making objects weigh less, creating an invisible barrier, showing
secret passages, and enhancing the senses. She also put an explanation point by a
permanent shrinking charm, which seemed odd to Harry.
He found the back of her list contained quite a few magical items with descriptions
that sounded more than useful. The mokeskin pouch was mentioned again, along
with communication mirrors, a sneakoscope, concentration capsules, universal
translator, enchanted quills, a magical book able to read any book in a library, probity
probe, flying carpet, and a map of Hogwarts. These she rated in difficulty of
obtaining, with the universal translator and library book at the highest. Harry didn't
know if those really existed but all he had thought of differently was darkness
powder, an invisibility cloak, emergency portkey, and a magical expanding trunk he
had seen mentioned in books. At the end of the page was a short list of potions they
might like to explore, the antidote to common poisons, pepper-up potion, invigoration
draught, wit-sharpening potion, and the blood replenishing potion which was marked
'just in case'. He hadn't even thought about potions because most seemed relatively
pointless, and the prices excessive. But the cost was probably the same for most
items on their lists. Maybe all that gold in my vault isn't going to last as long as I
thought...
With a wry grin on his face, Harry handed her list back, "It seems we've already been
thinking about the best parts of magic since learning it was real. Imagining what we
would learn about and get first, like we're setting out on our own RPG."
Hermione giggled quietly, "Except we don't start out with piles of gold or passing
caves to plunder."
"Well..."
Her eyes grew wide, "That rumor is true too?! You've already got your super wand
and mysterious backstory, now you're hogging all the starting gold as well?" Putting
on an exaggerated look of indignation, she turned away, "if you're going to take all
the ancient artifacts as well, then our adventure ends right here."
Harry just started laughing, "Hey, my backstory is a pain, and I've barely done
anything with my wand yet, for all we know it might be weak and boring!" The
extremely skeptical glance she threw his way only made him laugh more, "Okay,
okay, tell you what, next enchanted artifact is yours. And I'll even invest in any
supplies we need."
"Deal," she shook his outstretched hand and smiled, "now, how should we organize
our lists? By usefulness, difficulty, or when they're taught in classes?"

"How about a mix between the most practical, and the easiest to learn or cheapest
to buy?"
Hermione nodded in acceptance and began making notes while glancing up at
Harry, "I'm sorry, but I have to ask. Why do you have an apple stem in your hair?"
Cringing slightly, Harry ran his hands through his hair and plucked it out, "I suppose
it's because I only learned to defend against fresh fruit, and I don't think a tiger or
gun would have worked anyway." Her total confusion wasn't what he hoped for.
"What?" She looked at him as if he'd gone mad.
"Sorry, only a joke. I ran into Peeves."
"Ahh... did he hit you in the head a little too hard?"
Her look of concern only made him laugh again, "Maybe."
After much discussion and deliberation, they sorted the spells and spell effects they
wanted to learn, then guessed at the prices for the items that they wanted most.
Although they had no clue about the rarer objects or if some could even be
purchased, it was more fun than serious in the first place. Hermione wanted to ask
the teachers or prefects about everything while Harry thought it was best to be
discrete and check the libraries. They compromised on asking about the innocent
sounding spells or items and looking up anything else that might arouse suspicions.
It was also agreed upon to split up the top ten spells to practice individually, then
teach them to each other, hopefully speeding up the process.
"Which ones do you want?" Hermione prompted.
"You can pick first, don't want to be accused of getting the easier ones later on."
"Oh, so that's how you want to play, is it? Why don't we see who can learn the
fastest then?" She gave him a rueful smile.
"If you insist. But on one condition, we both have to choose a defensive spell as
well." That seemed to rouse her own suspicions but she agreed anyway, and they
began picking one by one.
In the end it was determined that Harry would try to learn stupefy, epoximise, accio,
aresto momentum, and episkey. For Hermione it would be expelliarmus, alohamora,
immobulus, scourgify, and glacius, since they already knew a few more important
ones like reparo and finite. Incendio, diffindo, and other spells they liked would be

taught in charms or other classes so they would wait on those. Both were in
agreement that communication mirrors and moke skin pouches would be their first
goal for special items, but sneakoscopes and concentration capsules were the
easiest and cheapest to obtain, other than enchanted quills which weren't too
important. It was easy for Harry to see how excited Hermione got about learning
outside of class, and at the prospect of researching interesting items and spells. So it
wasn't much trouble convincing her to meet every night when they didn't have
homework or other plans.
When everything seemed settled there was still time before curfew so Harry brought
up magical creatures. "I'm guessing you've already read Fantastic Beasts and
Where to Find Them, so I was wondering what you thought might be the best
creature to tame? Since most common pets are boring or, fragile, I thought we could
research several for the future. I heard Dumbledore has a phoenix which might be
perfect, except they're too rare, what's your opinion?"
Hermione considered for a moment, "Tebo and Demiguise can turn invisible but
neither sound like optimal pets. Crup are very loyal and will eat anything, and
Kneazle are highly intelligent but they aren't near the level of a phoenix. Graphorn
have immensely tough skins and are very strong but highly dangerous, even giants
can't tame them. Griffins, Hippogriff, Kelpie, and winged horses are all very similar
and would make excellent mounts, but are somewhat rare as well as difficult to
tame. Sphinx are supposedly even worse and not very friendly. Nifflers hunt treasure
but just make messes most of the time. A Jarvey might be cute but you would have
to put it under a permanent silencing spell for the language. Streelers are prized for
their shells and the poisonous slime they produce, but aren't much of a pet either.
Most other creatures I read about would be too useless, rare, or deadly for a pet. In
all I would say the second best to a Phoenix might be a Griffin, if you could tame
one, but personally I would rather a Kneazle for simplicity and companionship."
That was very close to Harry's own thoughts as well, although he couldn't shake an
idea he had, "You're right, but I saw potential in one other you listed, the Kelpie.
Imagine, a shape shifting water demon as a pet that can grow as large as the Loch
Ness monster and is almost impossible to hurt. If it can change size along with its
shape it would be even better than a griffin."
This puzzled Hermione, "But Harry, when the bridle placement charm is put on, it
loses it's ability to shape shift. All they are after they're tamed is a strong and fast
water horse."
"I know, I know, I read that to. But I was just thinking maybe there is some other way
to tame one, some modification of that spell we could find, or using a real bridle that

can conform to any shape. It just sounds like the perfect pet, to be any pet you
want... It's wishful thinking I know, but it seems there's always hope with magic
around." He stared out the window lost in thought.
Feeling sympathy for dashing his hopes Hermione tried to take his mind off it, "It
won't do to dwell on that now, especially when we have such interesting new spells
to learn, and items to gather. Besides that placement charm is probably a sixth year
spell that we couldn't even cast yet, maybe we can find a way to make it possible by
then." The clock chimed and played its tune again to signal curfew. "I better be
going, last time I was delayed and almost didn't make it back on time. Let's research
and practice tomorrow okay?"
Harry nodded and smiled, noticing the blue flower he gave her still glowed. "See you
tomorrow."

Chapter 9 - Adventure
Author's Note: As there have been many comments about Harry lately, I would like to
clarify something. Harry is smart, probably too smart for a regular eleven year old,
but nothing like some other popular fan fiction. The reason for his intelligence is
explained in the previous chapter, but you will come to see many more sides of him
in the future. Halloween arrives next.
Chapter 9
Adventure
Sunday morning presented Harry with a bright and eager Gryffindor running up to
him after breakfast, "I had a great idea last night!" Hermione exclaimed. "You seem
to know Hagrid right? Well I heard he's very good with rare magical creatures, and
knows a lot about about them. So he might know where we could find the moke we
need, and help you with choosing a magical pet!" She beamed with cleverness and
accepted some chocolate from Sue who was handing out stuff she got from an owl.
That is brilliant, except I turned him down last time, "You're right, I remember he was
talking about strange creatures in Diagon Alley, and even offered to buy me an owl.
It's almost like you were reading my thoughts." He gave her a suspicious look, but
couldn't keep his smile from breaking through.
Turning a light pink she shook her head, "Fred and George were bragging about
their exploits in the forbidden forest and finding out what Hagrid keeps in there. They
have all kinds of wild theories like giant spiders, manticore hybrids, and such
nonsense. But they were adamant that he loved rare and dangerous creatures."
"That sounds about right, he even told me he wanted a dragon. So when do you
want to go talk to him?"
Hermione smiled, holding a book on Magizoology in her arms, "No time like the
present."
Off they went, outside into the cool morning fog. Where colourful autumn leaves
decorated the ground, outlining a cleared path to Hagrid's hut. It was a very large
and old wooden cabin with a single giant door in front, sitting beside an even larger
pumpkin patch and garden. Old tools and a cart decorated the outside, with oddly
shaped leaves stuck to the walls. They walked up to the door and knocked, hearing
a booming bark in return. It appeared to shake the house as the mass of leaves on

the outside flew away, glowing bright orange and humming as they did so. Harry
starred in amazement. Even leaves are magical here.
"Those are flitterby moths, they're attracted to heat and hum when excited."
Hermione informed him. Just then the door jerked opened to the sight of a giant man
in makeshift plaid pyjamas, wearing a bushy black beard and unruly hair. Making
Hermione squeak at the intimidating sight.
Hagrid had to bend down slightly to look out his own door, "Oh, hullo there Harry,
nice of yeh ter visit, and who's this?"
"This is Hermione Granger, a Gryffindor in the same year as me, she wanted to
come visit as well. Sorry for not owling before, but you're so close by, I wasn't
thinking." Harry smiled awkwardly.
A large smile matched his and spread across Hagrid's face which could even be
seen under his massive beard, "No matter, yeh'll always be welcome here." He then
addressed Hermione with the same smile, "I heard of yeh, professors always like teh
brag abou' their best students. I used teh be in Gryffindor myself when I was yer age,
surprised me when Harry didn't make it though. Well, come on in an' warm yerselves
up, an' don't let Fang bother yeh, he may look intimidatin' but he's jus' a big softy."
The inside turned out to be a single large room, big enough for a Hagrid at least.
Pots and pans surrounded the roaring fireplace to one side with wild game hung
around the room, and earthy aromas throughout. An enormous bed with a
multicolored, hand stitched quilt on it took up the opposite corner, while a large
sturdy table and chairs belonged in the center. The massive dog named Fang
jumped up excitedly towards Harry, ready to lick him in the face. Reacting by instinct
Harry sent a commanding thought at the dog which had him sitting and wagging his
tail, waiting to be petted. He looked around to see if the magic was noticed but it
seemed to be safe.
Hagrid made himself busy setting out tea and a plate full of large grey pastries. "Sit
down, sit down, make yerselves at home. Have a rock cake and tea if yeh like. - Bin
worried yeh wouldn't want teh come visit, what with yeh studyin' all the time."
Hopping into a chair Hermione helped poured them tea and looked questioningly at
the rock cakes. She picked one up and felt it, then banged it against the table when
Hagrid was turned away. It came away looking better than the table, so she set it
back quickly with a dubious expression. Hagrid sat down and thanked Hermione for
pouring the tea, then took a cake for himself, smelling it with relish. "So how's
lessons bin treatin' you two so far? Like it in them towers do yeh?"

Busy scanning the room, Harry didn't respond immediately so Hermione answered,
"They're good, I'm learning a lot but I like charms the best. Gryffindor is cozy and
nice, though not many students there care about learning much it seems." She
lamented then sipped her tea.
Harry sat down while petting Fang, "Lessons are fine for me too, though I'm sure
Hermione loves them all. Ravenclaw tower is really nice, with lots of comfortable
furniture, tons of books, and a great view of the forest and mountains. It even has a
nice library below the common room that we've been using." He picked up one of the
rock cakes and sniffed it. He put his teeth on it to test how hard it really was but felt
like it might be easier to eat an actual rock, at least those broke down with time.
"Hagrid, I don't mean to be rude but do you actually like these?"
"Huh?... Er - well, they're kinda a tradition, them what me mum used to bake for me
Pa and he baked 'em fer me. But... now that yeh mention it, she didn't really know
how teh bake. Why, the pinecone bits gettin' stuck in yer teeth?" Hagrid chomped
down on one and it made a grinding sound reminiscent of gravel under the wheels of
a car. Hermione cringed and tried to look away.
Struggling not to laugh or shiver Harry replied, "I don't know, I'm used to food being a
little... softer. Would you like to try baking some cauldron cakes with me sometime? I
tried one on the train ride to Hogwarts and they were delicious."
Hagrid grunted a laugh in response, "Huh, imagine that, a Potter bakin' cakes. Yer
mum an' dad cooked worse 'an I did, an' that was sayin' somethin' back before I's
got some practice in. Great folk they 'ere, but poor cooks. - Yeh got a point though,
the ones made in the kitchens ain't half bad, but they feel like swallowin clouds, don't
know if yeh got em in yer mouth. Maybe we could make 'em a bit denser, get
somethin' ter chew."
It was a start. Was all Harry could think, "That sounds good, maybe I can get the
house elves' recipe and we can alter it a little. - Although we actually came to visit for
a different reason."
Hermione looked at Harry in curiosity before getting startled by another hearty laugh
from Hagrid.
He sighed, "No, don't suppose students ever come ter me talkin' about bakin'. What
did you two have on yer mind? I hope it ain't got nothin' ter do wit what's hidden in
the castle. Maybe yeh came to talk abou' some magical beasties? I ain't too bad at
dealin' with them, bein' the groundskeeper an' all."

The same curious look crossed Harry's face but Hermione felt it was time for her to
speak, "Actually, that's precisely why we came. We heard that you were good with
rare creatures, and we wanted to ask you about some. Recently I read that there
were mokes living in the area and we thought you might know how to find them.
Harry was also interested in researching exotic magical pets, such as phoenix."
"Yea? So that's why yeh refused an owl, should'a known yeh'd want somethin' fancy
ter go with that other wand o' yers Harry. And mokes yeh say, betcha I know what
yeh want them for. - I'm supossen I could help yeh with all that. Moke are might
tricky ter catch though, need special traps an lots o' patience."
They discussed how to track moke and where they usually lived, along with the best
bait and traps to use. After that, they talked about Harry's thoughts on pets and
which creatures might be most helpful to tame. It became obvious Hagrid had no
concept of the dangers of each one but only what it might take to train one. Griffin
were also his idea of a nice pet, second to dragons of course. He even mentioned
something about owning a much bigger dog than Fang and then began mooning
over the wonderful owl Harry missed out on for his birthday present. Though he fully
understood about wanting something more unusual.
"I keep hearing about this wonderful birthday but don't get details, when was it?"
Hermione inquired.
Hagrid motioned for Harry to tell it as he got up to make more tea.
"It was on July 31st, Hagrid took me shopping the week before but we had to leave
early, and only managed some time at Ollivander's, and Flourish and Blotts."
Hermione smiled at that, "So he offered to take me back out on my birthday for the
rest of it. I thought it would be great to have more time to explore magic stores as
well. We went around to get the rest of my school equipment and he offered to get
me a pet for my birthday since I didn't have one. But I had already read part of
Fantastic Beasts and I didn't necessarily want a regular pet... since I had a bad
experience with a puppy I brought home one time." Hagrid spilled a little water on the
stove at that. It popped and hissed as Harry continued.
"So he offered to get me something else. I was hoping that my vision might be cured
by magic, but settled for these new 'conspecs' instead, which are probably better.
When Hagrid mentioned my name and the owner saw my scar he offered to give
them to me for free if he could advertise that Harry Potter wore them, since he was
having trouble selling any. I was reluctant but agreed anyway."
Sitting back down and smiling Hagrid continued, "An' that's when he saw 'is watch

was actin' screwy, being muggle made an' around all the magic there. So off I take
'im to this fancy watch maker I knows. An' Harry picks out this bronze beaut' made
fer Ravenclaws, like he already knew what house he'd be in." He nodded at Harry's
wrist.
"Thanks again Hagrid, it's really nice. - Then, after going from bookstore to
bookstore for the rest of the day, he takes me to this fantastic ice cream shop and
has them make me an ice cream cake right there on the spot, which I had to explain
since they'd never heard of one before. It was great though, you'll have to come next
time Hermione."
"It does sound like fun."
"That reminds me Hagrid, when's your birthday? Hermione just had hers recently as
well." She blushed a little and touched the flower.
Hagrid laughed, "Oh don't yeh worry abou' that, s'not important." They both looked
up at him with pleading puppy dog eyes and he caved quickly. "Alrigh' jus' don't
make too much fuss abou' it or anythin'. December sixth is the day, but yeh probably
have lessons then anyways."
"There's always lunch and after dinner, besides we'll have to pay you back somehow
for all your help." Hermione replied.
The conversation meandered back to mokeskin and other useful parts of animals,
such as dragon parts, graphorn hides, phoenix feathers, unicorn hair, demiguise fur,
re'em blood, and murtlap backs. They learned a lot of practical knowledge from
Hagrid and had fun talking until lunch time. Nothing was decided but they wanted to
come back to get help setting some traps.
oOoOo
Walking leisurely back to the castle Harry and Hermione encountered another
horrible beast, Malfoy, and his two other heads. They tried to look intimidating while
Draco started in, "So you think you can get away with spreading rumors about me
too do you? You've got a lot to learn Potter, my father-"
Harry stopped listening, deciding enough was enough, and at that moment thought
of the perfect torture for Draco. He sent a thought at Goyle.
"He'll make your life a living-" Mid sentence Draco was rudely interrupted by Goyle
flicking his ear. He turned around in horrified indignation, "What in the name of youknow-who, do you think you're doing?"

Before he could really get going Goyle shook his hands in fright, "There was a bee
on you, was only getting it off! Honest, sorry!" Flustered and ashamed he backed off
onto the wet grass and slipped, landing on his rear end with pain covering his face.
Malfoy laughed uproariously at this, "Serves you right to touch someone as-" Just
then Crabbe flicked his other ear from behind, releasing a tormented scream from
Draco. "Arrrghhh! What is WRONG with you two!? I suppose you saw something on
my ear too?"
"It really was there, the bee, even I saw it this time. But I don't know-"
Draco interrupted him with a scowl, "You barely know your arse from your face!"
Crabbe looked down in shame at his feet. "There aren't even any bees out this time
of year you gormless flobberworm! Get out of my sight, right, now!" They rushed off
in fear at what might happen to them later.
Harry and Hermione were having a hard time containing their laughter, but after the
minions left Harry couldn't hold it in anymore and laughed right in Draco's beet red
face. That is until he started reaching for his wand, which stopped Harry's laughter
immediately and put him on guard. Luckily Madam Hooch walked by, heading
towards the quidditch pitch, forestalling any confrontation.
Draco seethed with venom as he lowered his voice at them, "You won't think that's
funny after I wipe the floor with you! I challenge you to a wizards duel, tonight at
midnight in the trophy room. You can even take your mudblood servant with you as
your second, if she isn't busy licking your boots that is."
The outraged expression on Hermione's face said all he needed to know about the
unfamiliar insult, but Harry intervened before she could verbally trash the pompous
wind-bag."I accept Malfoy, though it's curious why you want to clean floors so badly.
Do you have a desire to be a servant yourself? Perhaps you like dressing up like a
maid? It's nothing to be ashamed of, but listen, you shouldn't try to involve others in
your fantasies." The enraged and confused look was priceless but Harry didn't let
him catch up, "Anyway, I shall meet you at the appropriate time, that is if you bring
your own coconut halves to bang together."
Spitting on the ground at their feet wearing a look of disgust, Draco turned away with
his head held high and tried to keep his superior stride over the muddy earth. When
his foot must have caught a rock and he tripped, tumbling down the grassy bank and
sliding to a halt in a lake of mud.
Harry chuckled and couldn't help calling out to him, "Might want to keep your head
down and watch where you're going next time Malfoy." The responding screams of

fury weren't discernible as real words.


Having to drag Hermione up the steps wearing an bewildered frown, Harry
pretended like everything was normal. But as they entered the castle and headed
towards the great hall she finally found the words to speak and pulled Harry aside.
"Harry, what just happened? You aren't really going to duel that lunatic, are you?
...and, and did you just reference Monty Python at him?"
"Ha! I knew it, you did get that reference!" He grinned at her, "I swear, it's like living
in a zoo around here sometimes with no one getting my jokes, they just stare and
gawk. And you're right, no one should be stupid enough to duel the git, he probably
would bring all of Slytherin to ambush me or just tell a teacher and not show up
himself. Imagine if he does go there, he might wait around for hours losing sleep
over it. - Do you think we should tell a teacher ourselves, just in case he gets caught
and tries to drag me into it?" He was still chuckling to himself as the lunch bells rang
their merry tune.
Hermione wasn't nearly as amused, "I guess we should, but Harry, why didn't you
just refuse? And why were you acting so weird, pretending you didn't understand
him? I might have told him where he could shove his boots and blood purity if he
didn't run away from your nonsense so fast."
"Ah, Hermione that was the whole point, bullies like him expect retorts and insults
thrown back at them. They want to see anger and indignation to know they're
manipulating you. It's how they think they're in control and part of why they keep
doing it. But if they get confused or lose track of what they wanted, it makes them
dislike talking to you. I didn't give him anything he expected, except the duel, but he
would only come back with some other strategy if I refused. I know you didn't like
what he called you, but if you act like it doesn't bother you at all, he loses.
Sometimes they keep coming like Malfoy might, yet you have to ignore the taunts
and hopefully someday he grows up and stops. Unless you want to force him to back
down, which would take a lot more planning and cunning that simply insulting him
back." He gave her an encouraging smile.
"Uhh, that's okay, I think I understand your point now. By the way, how long have you
had to deal with bullies?"
Harry's lips twitched to the side in thought, "It seems like all my life some days...
Why don't we protect each others backs? Nothing like the smartest students teaming
up against evil, and the occasional bully."
She rolled her eyes at him, but grinned in agreement anyway. Then walked into the

great hall together and sat down on their separate benches, back to back. It was
much later during lunch that Draco finally entered and sat down with a red tinge to
his eyes and new robe on. That made Harry feel a momentary pang of regret, until
Draco put on his customary sneer and started insulting his two minions again.
Maybe it would be better for them all if I split their little group up. Having flunkies
sure doesn't help Draco's personality.
oOoOo
The meal once again was fantastic, with small vol au vent stuffed with chicken and
mushrooms, and cups of creme brulee for dessert. Harry felt it was time to meet the
chefs, then he would talk with a professor. After the last dishes disappeared he got
up with Hermione and asked if she wanted to accompany him. She thought it was a
great idea, as she meant to inquire about house elves when he mentioned them at
Hagrid's. So they headed off in search of the kitchens.
It was hard to find until an older Hufflepuff noticed them wandering around the
basement. She told them to tickle the pear on the large painting of a bowl of fruit, if
they wished to talk to the kitchen staff. Doing so surprised them, when it giggled
happily and sprouted a green door handle. The painting opened into an immense
room, just as big as the great hall, decorated with so many pots, pans, silverware,
and loads of raw food, strewn neatly about the place. All the noise and excitement
they heard when the door cracked open suddenly vanished, as the lingering scents
of luscious cooking reached them. And there they were, probably a hundred of the
funny little creatures, with pointy ears, knobby limbs, and wrinkly skin. All wearing
neat tea towels emblazoned with the Hogwarts crest, some a little more worn than
others. The whole lot of them were staring at Harry and Hermione, waiting for
something.
An older sharp nosed one with greying wisps of hair slowly walked up to them,
bowed, and spoke in a slightly squeaky voice, "Can we help you, young master and
mistress? Was there something wrong with the meal or have your nutritional needs
changed perhaps? Maybe you needed a snack made for a romantic picnic?" He
smiled indulgently at them.
Hermione was still taking it all in as her eyes grew wide at the words, and Harry
spoke, "Nothing like that, we only wanted to thank you for the excellent food you've
been serving us. It's some of the best food I've ever had, and I was hoping to watch
you prepare it sometime, if you don't mind."
Looks of joy and eagerness spread around the room as what he said was passed on
to the ones in the far back. Happy and proud smiles shown on many faces, while the

leader blushing slightly, speaking up again, "Oh you needn't flatter us so young
master, we are quite content to supply you with anything you need, even when yelled
at."
His words put a frown on Hermione's face but she didn't have the words to reply.
Another younger and much less wrinkly house elf seemed to appear from nowhere
and scurried up beside the older one, nudging him. This one clearly resembled a girl
as her voice did as well when she spoke, "Don't be rude Pokey, he's serious. You
can tell by his eyes, he's... interested." She addressed Harry with a pleasant smile
and a bow, "My name is Kolie, and this is Pokey, grandson of the great Hooky here
at Hogwarts. We are all most thankful of your generous compliments young master
and would be delighted to show you our skills now if you'd like. Would you care to
see us make anything specific?"
Harry returned the pretty elf's smile, "Now that you mention it, I was recently talking
to Hagrid about the rock cakes he makes."
Many of them tittered shyly but in good humor, Kolie spoke again, "Yes we know
Hagrid, the BIG eater. But surely you don't want us to make more of his rock cakes,
do you?"
"Actually, I was trying to convince him into making your cauldron cake recipe with
me, but he would like to make them chewier. It would be interesting to see how you
make a small batch first though, if that's alright." Harry suggested.
A good dozen of them nodded in unison, and started pulling out ingredients. Kolie
nudged Pokey again, "Cauldron cake are Pokey's specialty, he shall be happy to
direct the baking."
The older elf tried to hide an embarrassed grin while organizing the others into line,
and looking over their perpetrations. At an nod from Pokey they all started working at
once, and a wide bowl began moving from one end of a table to the other ready to
receive all the ingredients. In one smooth movement, egg after egg was cracked into
the bowl as it glided past each elf. A magical mixer was set into the bowl, stirring the
following ingredients, which were gently added by one elf at a time, liquid chocolate
here, sifted flour there, and a few other mysterious elements as well.
While that bowl continued its graceful journey down the table another started from
the beginning. This time cream and sugar were added along with other colourful
ingredients being slowly mixed together. At the end of the table the finished bowl
was magically held aloft, pouring the batter into a single tray of small cauldron
shaped molds by Pokey himself. When he reached the end of the table it glided out

of his hands comfortably into an awaiting oven, opening and closing at exactly the
right time. Soon after the second bowl received it's last ingredients, and was set on
top of a waiting cooker to simmer into a gelatinous green goo, filled with bits and
pieces of delicious things to resemble a bubbling potion. This wasn't just baking but
a skilled dance they performed flawlessly.
The unoccupied elves cleaned up silently behind as the preparation was completed,
then lined up to the side while smiling and congratulating each other with pats on the
back and handshakes. Only Pokey and Kolie remained to watch the baking cakes
and filling, as soon fragrant and mouth watering smells drifted across the room.
Harry's stomach growled slightly even after their recent lunch. At the same time
Pokey waved his hand at the stove, opening it as the tray floated down to the table
and the rich chocolaty aroma made Hermione's mouth water. Kolie had removed her
bowl from the heat only moments earlier and looked to be cooling it with frosty
waves of magic. She scooped out globs of the thick filling with a large spoon and set
each one to sit waiting in the air. As Pokey flipped over the tray and deposited the
cauldrons on a platter underneath, the filling plopped down into each cauldron
without spilling a drop. All the elves around the room clapped lightly with their small
hands. Harry and Hermione couldn't help but clap along, adding to the buzz of
excitement filling the room once again. Pokey let the finished cakes glide in front of
him and the other elves trailed along behind to finally line up in front of the students
and bow in unison, as if at the end of a show.
Harry estimated it took only one minute to prepare everything, but more impossibly
they only took two minutes to bake and cook it all. Magic, of course. Both Harry and
Hermione were encouraged to try them freshly baked, as they were the perfect
temperature, despite the rich filling still bubbling in imitation of heat.
Grabbing one each they bit into the soft velvety cake with creamy filling and gooey
bits of warm fruit inside. Hermione let out a delighted moan at the taste, "Mmmm,
that's sooo good!" Her cheeks turned slightly pink but then she smiled and kept
chewing slowly, enjoying every moment of it.
Too distracted with the celebration on his tongue to notice much, Harry managed to
exclaim in delight, "Wow! That's even better than Honeydukes. You lot are amazing!"
All the elves giggled and did little dances in response. Smiling, Kolie walked up to
Harry and handed him a crumpled and well used piece of paper, it contained the
recipe and a few notes at the end on how to make it extra chewy.
Swallowing another bite, Harry repressed the urge to keep stuffing his face for a
second, "Thank you, for everything. This should definitely save our teeth from rock

cakes. Is there anything we can do for you in return?"


The kitchen quieted around them, spreading quickly to the ones who didn't hear.
"That isn't necessary young master, your thanks are enough. We could never accept
anything in return for performing our duty." Pokey explained.
"What do you mean, you can't accept gifts? Do you really get paid that much?"
Hermione asked in concern. The quiet hush turned into deafening silence as startled
elf faces turned away or looked on in dismay. Seeing their disconcerting reactions
made her look to Harry for answers. "Harry, what are they talking about?"
"Ah, I'm sorry everyone, it's just a misunderstanding. She didn't mean to offend you
at all, it's just a very unusual concept in the muggle world, which I seem to not
understand perfectly either. We just liked what you did so much we wanted to show
our appreciation, and in the muggle world that's often done through other means.
But if you like we'll try to limit our gratitude to words instead. - So, I would like to
once again thank you for the wonderful food you prepare, and all your hard work
around the castle. We really appreciate it." Some started clapping while others cried,
tears of happiness he hoped.
He whispered to Hermione, "We better go before something else gets
misunderstood. I'll explain later." They waved goodbye and made a hasty retreat.
Only to be caught by Kolie at the door, "That was handled well young master. And
don't worry about the others, they're just not used to dealing with human interaction,
especially with such kind ones like yourselves. I'm the envoy to the teachers and
headmaster so I know what to expect. We do hope you come back again sometime,
since you are certainly welcome here. Besides, it's always nice feeling useful." She
gave them a wink and shoved two more cauldron cakes into their hands as they
stepped out the door.
oOoOo
"Harryyy!" Hermione groaned, "You always seem to make things so confusing...
What was that all about? You're not going to tell me they barter with dried squid or
cacao beans because they're allergic to metals are you? And what was with their
clothing? They looked like they had on old towels or something." She began
wrapping her extra cake in a napkin to save for later.
Harry chewed slowly on his to delay, "You're not going to like it, I can tell you that
right now. You're better off not knowing and pretending like you didn't hear anything."
She gave him a very intimidating glare, or tried to at least. If an otter could make an
annoyed squint, that would be similar. Harry caved, shrugged, and tried to put it into

words, "They're kinda like... yet, they enjoy it. They don't like possessions or regular
clothing, so you could call them - willing indentured servants?"
Hermione took a second to speak, building up all the indignation she could muster,
"They're SLAVES!? And they like it that way? What century is this? Trying to
convince people slaves are better off because they enjoy it, you should have seen
through that Harry! I know you're smarter than that." She ended in a huff, crossing
her arms.
"Okay, relax a little. I wasn't sure I believed it either, that is until the display we just
witnessed. We both saw the same thing, they were happy doing all that, they were
proud of their skills, and basically made it into entertainment more than work. From
what I was told they were somehow made or born enjoying working for wizards and
shunning property. They're magical beings and don't exactly think the same way as
humans, so you can't compare their situation to human slavery so easily."
Harry noticed her nod imperceptibly at that point, "I admit its screwed up to use them
basically as slaves, but it wouldn't be right to force them to change how they want to
live either. I asked one of the professors about them the other day and he said
they're free to leave, and some have left with wizards in the past, but that the
connection between wizards and house elves is too strong to break for them to live
on their own. That some have to be owned or they die." He finished and waited for
her rebuttal.
It took a minute for Hermione to sort out all the new information on the subject,
"You're right that magical creatures aren't exactly human, even though they are
considered beings. Especially when there are Hags, in which eating flesh and little
children is normal, yet are still classified the same. But what if they're simply trained
from birth to live that way and are brainwashed into thinking they're supposed to like
being slaves? What if you could convince them otherwise? Maybe all it takes is
some de-conversion classes and being separated from a society that keeps them
locked into this way of thought. Even if you're right and it's a magical condition of
their birth, freedom shouldn't be based on whether someone enjoys it more than
slavery. No one should have the right to own another sentient life form!"
"You're definitely right about the last part. But you saw their reaction to your question
about being paid, there's no way they could be convinced otherwise. My guess is
that some highly unethical wizards created them somehow to serve and be bound
magically to them, and we know barely anything about magic yet in order to fix that.
But you have my support if you can ever free them from that curse." They had
walked to the staff room while talking and now stood outside the door.

Hermione looked a little frustrated but shook it off and sighed, "I don't know what to
think, but, you're probably right... guess you're not as dumb or crazy as the
Slytherins claim." She gave him a teasing smile.
"Well I never! They underestimate me - I'm far more than just dumb and crazy!"
Harry laughed maniacally.
Rolling her eyes she pushed him out of the way and knocked on the door to the staff
room. Professor Vector answered and they asked if Professor Flitwick or
McGonagall were inside. Minerva in her emerald greens appeared at the door with
an annoyed look but quickly changed to mild surprise when she saw who was asking
for her. "Oh, what are my two brightest first years needing today? I hope you aren't
asking for more homework on a Sunday miss Granger. You should be out having fun
as well as learning."
Harry chuckled lightly at the comment and Hermione gave him another glare. "We
came to report a duel that is supposed to occur between students at midnight
tonight, in the trophy room." She said with a note of seriousness.
"My word!" McGonagall returned to her severe demeanor immediately, "Who are
these students and how did you hear about this?"
Harry glanced down, not being prepared for the questions, "Er - Its supposed to be
between Malfoy and... me." He looked up to see her face molding into full
disbelieving shock as he hurried to tell the rest, "He came up to us earlier,
threatening and insulting us, then challenged me to a duel. Of course I had no
intention of actually doing it, but thought it safer to agree than refuse to his face.
After, we agreed it would be best to tell a teacher instead of staying silent, in case
something went wrong."
McGonagall looked back and forth between them with a stern glare, but all she
appeared to see were honest, if somewhat intimidated children. "These are very
serious charges. Students out of bed after curfew, and participating in an illegal and
unsupervised duel. If it was anyone else I might assume they were fabrications
made up to get another student in trouble. But as your participation in my class and
others have shown, you both are upstanding students and too intelligent to lie
directly to a professor's face." Her last veiled threat and fierce look didn't reveal any
deception, so she nodded in acceptance. "Alright, you may go. And thank you for
reporting this, it was the right thing to do."
With palpable relief they left together, heading for the Ravenclaw dueling room.
Having decided to get started on spell practice, due to the recent threat of

aggression. When Harry mentioned his icy incident outside the library, Hermione
added detection spells to the list of needed research and admonished him for not
mentioning that to Professor McGonagall as well. They reached the room and found
no one in it, not even the portrait who spoke to them before. Hermione began to
practice with expelliarmus, while Harry tried his hand at stupefy. By dinner time Harry
had made almost no progress, barely emitting a spark upon casting the spell. Much
to his chagrin, Hermione was already producing a decent looking red shimmer
across the room, or sometimes at him.
Feeling his wand move slightly in his hand, Harry sent a sharp look her way. "You
might be careful where you point that..."
She wore a pleased grin while trying to pretend it didn't happen, and continued to
cast as usual.
Dinner turned out to include glazed honey hams, pots of grilled vegetables, a diverse
set of side dishes, and more cauldron cakes for dessert. Harry only took two though,
having had more than enough sweets that day. At the head table he could see
Hagrid picking up two or three at a time and stuffing them in his mouth. He smiled at
Harry when their eyes met and gave a thumbs up with more cakes in his other hand.
Hermione laughed cheerfully behind him, and he guessed she must have seen as
well.
Watching Hagrid made Harry think of what he said about his parents, that they were
even worse cooks than he was. And here I imagined I would be having amazing
home cooked meals once upon a time. Turns out I had to wait until Hogwarts
anyway. I wonder how they ate, surely there couldn't be many magical take-away
places with how few magical people there are. Though with that pile of gold at
Gringotts maybe they ate out all the time, or had a chef, or rather a house elf...
Everyone has praised my parents as kind and wonderful people, would they have
cared about enslaving a house elf? Would I feel bad to own one as well? Wait,
maybe I do own one, if my parents owned a house elf wouldn't I have inherited it?
But when they died and I was given to the Dursleys, it probably found another family.
Which is unlikely in the first place. I barely know anything about my parents...
He shook his head, took his last bite of cake and savored the new happy memories
he was making, looking forward to many more.
oOoOo
Back in the Ravenclaw library with Hermione again, it was discussed how they might
go about acquiring other items they wanted. Since first and second years weren't

allowed on Hogsmeade weekends, they would have to get someone else to buy
things for them, or wait until the holidays.
"I might not go home for the holidays," warned Harry, "since I've heard you can't
practice magic outside of school, and I'm starting to really like it here." Leaving out
the part about his disagreeable relatives, he shrugged at her concerned expression.
He continued, "I might be able to talk Hagrid into taking me shopping again though,
but I don't know how easy it would be to get some items if he's around. Plus that's a
long way away."
Hermione seemed to hesitate before saying her next idea, "There is another option,
but not a very good one... Fred and George offered to buy stuff at Hogsmeade for a
small fee, if any younger students needed anything. I wouldn't trust them with
anything important, or much at all, but they could be a last resort."
"Why? Did they already start pranking you as well?" Harry felt defensive for a
second but tried to ignore it.
Looking down and away, she shook her head, "They saw me explaining at length
how legilimency works to their brother Ron, and when he began rolling his eyes at
me and gagging, they threatened the other Gryffindors on pain of torture if I was
made fun of again. It was probably just to harass Ron, since all he does is follow
them around, but the others have been nicer lately."
Harry chuckled, glad that he was right about them, but couldn't resist the temptation
to tease her, "Could one of them already fancy you? Or maybe both?"
The deadly glare she cast his way only made him smile while trying to restrain his
laughter. Of course there was nothing deadly about her tight lipped stare, but Harry
figured that was her intent, and she did seem to be improving.
"Go boil your head in muffling draught."
He snorted and covered his mouth, "Sorry, sorry... back to the topic at hand. The
final option is owl post, but they can't deliver everything, and who knows how it's
monitored or restricted, or what it costs. We need to find some brochures, if they
exist."
They soon decided that Hermione would get anything suspicious at Diagon Alley on
holiday since her parents wouldn't know any better, Harry would try to go shopping
with Hagrid there as well, and they would ask the Weasleys for only harmless items
that might be useful earlier. If that didn't work they would use owls as a backup.

Making plans seemed to cheer them both up from any unpleasant thoughts.
Harry had another topic he wanted to discuss though, "We should probably start
researching enchanting as well, since it'll be cheaper in the long run to enchant our
own items. And we might be able to make improvements or even create customized
artifacts ourselves one day."
Hermione sighed, "You keep trying to go way beyond our skill level Harry. Like
wanting to learn stupefy, a first year shouldn't even be able to cast it. You have to be
a master at the spells you want to make a permanent enchantment of, and most
require a lot of magic. That might be easier than taming a Griffin but I think we
should concentrate on simpler topics for now."
"Okay, if you insist on limiting my genius... but I still think we should learn the basics
so we can keep in mind anything that might be useful along the way." Harry enjoyed
provoking her desire for knowledge, because they both knew she wanted to learn
everything, yet tried to be the sensible one as well.
"Fine! But just the basics!" She rolled up a piece of paper and threw it at Harry's
smile of victory. They both laughed when it sailed over his head.
The next few weeks turned out to be much the same. Harry began sitting near
Padma and Sue in classes or Hermione too when they had doubles. They often all
did homework together and sometimes practiced spells as well when Sue and
Padma felt interested. One day they went down to Hagrid's for tea and talk of
creatures. During the visit they uncovered that Padma happened to buy the beautiful
snowy owl Hagrid was going to purchase for Harry, and that Sue's giant fire-bellied
toad could croak real flames, which Hagrid thought was adorable. They tried making
Cauldron cakes together with Hagrid's batch turning out excessively hard and chewy,
but still edible for everyone else to try. He loved those the most, and welcomed
Padma and Sue to come back any time.
The week after, Harry and Hermione helped set moke traps on the edge of the forest
which Hagrid had borrowed from a friend. They visited the elves again to watch their
dinner preparation, which was even more spectacular than before. Hermione was
convinced that something needed to be done, but realized that the house elves
thoroughly enjoyed themselves all the same. Some nights during their research and
practice, there would appear plates of fruit or biscuits, along with a tea, or hot
chocolate. It only happened when both their heads were turned or they got distracted
by a book falling from a shelf, they both assumed it was the house elves since it
started with a couple of cauldron cakes and milk. Which was weird, but Harry knew it
was common in the states, and it tasted amazing together.

Soon, nightly practice and research with Hermione started showing results. Spell
practice progressed rapidly, with only a few proving to be overly difficult, yet they
already began teaching each other the easier ones. Hermione was quickly
overtaking Harry with her proficiency, but he guessed she practiced a lot more, or at
least hoped she did. They read about uncommon spells, the habits of rare beasts,
famous items of great power, and the basics of enchanting. Which included mentally
forcing your own magic into an object, or using special materials to enchant
something permanently with a spell. Seeing the potential, Hermione relented and
they planned to keep it on their list of research topics.
Nothing seemed to come from the supposed duel with Draco except some odd looks
from him afterward. McGonagall didn't mention it either. That bothered Harry
somewhat but he decided to be prepared next time. Every double lesson with
Slytherin he would concentrate on sensing Draco in the crowd, as the incident with
his wand demonstrated it was still possible. Though it was much harder than sensing
his wand or the difference between his three relatives in a single house, especially
because all the magic around made things and people indistinguishable from one
another. After a while his senses got used to the buzz of magic in the air and he
began noticing the differences between individuals. Practicing while walking to and
from classes, he got better at ignoring any strange sensations and it became easier
to tell students apart.
His years of practice were paying off and he was even able to distinguish between
students at meal times, which gave him more time to practice sensing where Draco
was as well. After a month of this daily exercise it was easy to tell the usual people
around him. It still took effort, but was manageable and became a habit whenever
anyone came close. First year Ravenclaws were a snap if he tried, with Padma, Sue,
and Hermione being the easiest to sense, even if they were far away. Penny, and
most of the other prefects were relatively distinct, since they were usually moving
around halls between classes or on patrol near curfew. Draco and his crew were the
hardest of the bunch but every day they became clearer and once or twice he was
able to avoid bumping into him.
Throughout his entire time practicing, Harry nudged Draco and his minions mentally,
to get them arguing or annoying each other, causing strife during their time together.
It was fun, making Crabbe and Goyle think Draco wore makeup or getting them to
ignore and misunderstand his orders. Everything was relatively harmless until one
time he managed to make them laugh directly at Draco as he was being insulted by
a Gryffindor. That's when Draco started truly bullying Hermione and the others in her
house.

Chapter 10 - Trolls
Author's Note: Warning for those who need it, there is adult language in this chapter
and the next.
Chapter 10
Trolls?
Harry waited patiently in the Ravenclaw library. She was twenty minutes late and
that had never happened before. Hermione was almost always on time, except once
she had to ask a teacher more questions, but even then she got there only a few
minutes late, breathless from running too hard. It didn't matter to him much if she
forgot or got distracted, but that was even more unlikely than being late. Something
didn't seem right. He felt a strong urge to make sure Hermione was safe, but didn't
want to act stupid running all around looking for her. So instead, he closed his eyes
and relaxed, letting his ever expanding senses roam the castle to find her. Reaching
further away than ever before, he felt a trace low in the castle, probably the
dungeons. That wasn't the strangeness he felt, since he knew she had double
potions today, what was weird was that she was surrounded by other students, and
a few felt like Draco and his gang. As Harry's senses adjusted to the distance, he
was able to feel something new as well, an intense emotion. Anger, deep and
resentful, aimed at those sound him, and getting worse. Though the sensation
wasn't Harry's, he could tell it was coming from an arrogant prat. The anger pouring
off Draco tasted bitter in his mouth, but the violent rage he felt next sent a shiver
down his spine. This is bad.
Leaving his bag under the table Harry rushed to the spiral stairwell and came to a
halt at the wooden banister, looking over the edge there was an opening all the way
down. Shit. He leaped over the railing and fell straight down.
Watching the ground come towards him was overwhelming but he resisted the
distraction, cleared his thoughts and snapped his wrist to produce the wand from his
holster. Quickly focusing on what he wanted, he twisted the wand and cast at his
feet, "Arresto Momentum!"
He hit the stone floor hard, but in a crouch like he practiced the days before. Bloody
hell, that was scary.
Shaking himself off from the brief pain in his legs, he stood up slowly, it was no
worse than when he fell off the garage roof at his relatives. Leaving thoughts of

splattering on the hard stone behind, he quickly took off towards the dungeons.
Opening his senses again revealed Hermione had left Draco but was being followed
by two others, flanking her closely, as if she was being escorted to some cruel fate.
Relaxing into a jog he felt for a prefect close by, since he might not be able to stop
two at once it they were older. None were close enough to discern, so he decided to
try an ambush. Picking up his pace and ignoring confused looks by the random
students he passed, Harry found the perfect spot in the dimly lit dungeons. He hid in
the shadow of a large statue at the corner of the hallway they would soon pass.
Then he prepared a plan.
Freezing the floor under their feet as they pass should shake their concentration or
make them slip, then I'll distract both with thoughts of sand in their eyes. Next, fling
their wands away and stick them to the floor. If anything fails stun them. I just hope
my stunner is powerful enough to actually knock one out. It had been the hardest of
any spell he could cast, when he even managed to do it. If all that worked they could
escape easily and find a teacher or prefect. If not, then he had another trick he was
meaning to try.
Sounds came from the hallway now, sobs of someone trying to resist crying. The
profanity engulfed his mind while his muscles tensed in anger. He wanted to hurt
them now. Listening closer for who these other villains might be, he heard something
else, "It'll be okay, you know it was all lies what they said."
Wait that was Hermione's voice, why is she comforting her bullies? The sobbing
continued and Padma spoke, "They're just a bunch of bullies, you can't let them tell
you how to feel!"
But that wasn't Padma, she was up in the Ravenclaw tower only minutes ago. Then
it hit him as he saw the three walk past his vision, they all wore Gryffindor colors. It
was Hermione, Parvati, and Lavender, they must have been arguing with Draco and
his minions, or being insulted by them. The relief flooded through Harry as he
realized he wouldn't have to fight and that Hermione wasn't hurt. The drop of
adrenalin made him feel weak, his knees and ankles started to hurt as well.
Harry ignored the pain and followed behind them out of sight, trying to listen to what
happened. Apparently Lavender and Hermione were insulted the most being called
mudblood and blood traitor, Lavender being picked on for being a nit-wit who
couldn't brew a potion and many other topics that were hard to understand between
the sobs. Finally realizing he shouldn't be snooping, Harry tried to get past them, but
there was no way around. He heard Hermione offer for them to come to the
Ravenclaw library to study. They refused at first, until she mentioned Harry's name.

Lavender looked up from between her moistened hands, "R-really? H-harry's going
to be there? O-o-okay..." When they stopped by a girls bathroom to freshen up,
Harry sighed and hurried back to the library. He arrived a few minutes later from the
long climb, being especially hard on his knees, while the paintings that saw him jump
were lecturing him as he passed by.
Sitting down to relax at a central table, Harry almost fell asleep, until the excited
giggle of young girls brought him wide awake. They entered the library with
Hermione still in the lead, and she gave him a weak smile. He built up some courage
and spoke first though, "Hello ladies, would you like to join me for some light
research on the topic of hexes? I hear there are some good ones to dissuade
bullies."
That seemed to irritate Hermione as her eyebrows pinched together, "And how long
have you known about Draco's pitiful attempts at bullying us? Just so you're aware,
we don't need your help either."
"W-we don't?" Lavender squeaked.
"Course not," Parvati replied, "but it would be rude to refuse the offer as well." A
smile played in the corners of her lips.
Harry nodded to her with a friendly smile, "I haven't known long enough apparently,
but we can still research a few spells that might be useful in case they get too
aggressive, can't we?" Hermione gave her own reluctant nod and they sat down.
Each of them went looking for a book or two on jinxes and hexes, bringing back a
smattering of useful ones. They began to read while Lavender and Parvati kept
talking and asking questions throughout, but they eventually came up with a good list
of potential spells. There was entomorphis which changed someone's head into a
bug's, collodent which stuck teeth together, lingucornu the horn tongue hex, and
melofors, which fit the season because it grew a pumpkin around someone's head. It
was soon agreed that melofors would be the spell to learn, since it would be fun with
Halloween so close, and at the same time stopping anyone casting or seeing. Harry
even suggested it could be used as a costume, but only received playful looks of
scorn and mocking laughter in return.
The rest of the night they practiced and played around in the dueling room below the
library. The Portrait on the wall even summoned a training dummy from the house
elves for them to practice on. It arrived in moments, and melofors being an easier
spell, they all managed to cover it's head with a pumpkin by the end of the night.
Although Lavender and Parvati seemed to have a lot of trouble, they eventually got it

after some instruction and tips from Hermione.


When it was time to go, Hermione stayed behind for a second pretending she forgot
something. "That was nice of you today Harry, it's sometimes difficult fitting in around
the other Gryffindors, but opposing bullies or Slytherins seems to be something they
enjoy. I don't know how they'll pass their exams though with how little they study...
Anyway, don't worry about us, we'll be fine standing up to Draco."
"If you do need anything, just ask. And maybe stick close to the other Griffins if you
can, it doesn't seem like Draco likes being around that youngest Weasley."
Hermione made a face of annoyed disgust, "Ugh, don't remind me. The only reason
why is because he's so annoying, always taking about quidditch or insulting
Slytherins, not to mention everyone else. You're right though, I should try to be
friends with Fay and Sally as well as the others. Maybe they'll talk about more than
boys and gossip."
"Well, as long as you don't let them catch you alone and unprepared, because I think
there might be something wrong with Draco."
oOoOo
They waved goodbye outside as Harry started back up the steps to his common
room, only to be accosted by Padma and Sue.
"Making more friends Harry? You better not be hitting on my sister as well. Hannah,
Lavender, and Hermione are more than enough for you. And don't try increasing
your harem with us either." Padma stared him down.
Utterly flabbergasted, Harry didn't know what to say, but looked to Sue for help. She
just shrugged her shoulders, not contributing anything. So he would have to muddle
through on his own, "I don't know what you've heard, but I'm not creating a harem or
anything similar. Besides this is the first time I've said more than two words to
Lavender or Parvati since the train, how are there already rumors about that?
Hannah is only my potions partner and Hermione and I are just friends."
"Pfft, right. - Those rumors started long ago, and I didn't believe them at first either,
but we just saw you taking and laughing it up with them in the library like you were all
extremely, intimate... If I find out you're sneaking into the Gryffindor girls dorm you're
going to pay, dearly." Her first was wrapped around her wand and she crossed her
arms with a look of intimidation. She must have had practice too, because it was
much better than Hermione's.

It worried Harry that vicious rumors were still being spread about him, and that even
his friends might believe them. He'd never even heard about this one before either,
which was strange, as the Weasley twins usually kept him in the loop, by wanting to
know more. Maybe it was only between the girls...
"I don't want to be insulting Padma, but those are only stupid rumors and lies. We've
been working in lessons and studying together for more than a month, have you
seen anything in all that time to make you think I was some dodgy lecher? Besides,
you know someone has to be intentionally spreading these rumors, although who
knows why."
Padma twisted her mouth in thought, then looked at Sue to get her opinion, "I
believe him, he rarely does anything but study with Hermione and practice spells. I
doubt he even knows how to woo a girl, much less multiple ones."
"Hey now!"
Laughing Padma shook her head, "Well then why does every girl in our year talk
about him constantly?! Does he produce some kind of magical pheromone or does
someone put love potion in our pumpkin juice in the morning?"
"Wait, they do? Why?" Harry asked.
They were basically ignoring him now, as Sue responded, "It's called fame and
fortune, the best known drug on the market for girls. He's the mysterious Prince
Charming of the year and hasn't done anything too stupid to mess it up yet. Don't
worry though, they'll get bored with him when they finally learn all he does is study."
"Okay, you heard her Harry, go do something stupid like staying out after curfew to
study and lose lots of house points. Then we won't have to deal with all this drama."
Padma made shoeing motions with her hands at him.
Harry just stared at her dumbfounded for a few seconds, then threw up his hands
and walked around them up the steps, "Girls!"
oOoOo
Over the next few days Harry and Hermione practiced spells with all the girls
together, any animosity long forgotten. They taught melofors to Padma and Sue,
while helping Lavender and Parvati with simpler ones. During this time he ignored
the rumors as they got even worse, professing that he was madly in love with,
Lavender, of all people. Harry could tell she had a crush on him but couldn't figure
out why he was supposed to like her back. Confusingly, his harem supposedly

increased as well, to almost all of the first year Ravenclaw and Gryffindor girls, along
with more Hufflepuffs. Ultimately the boys started hearing about it too and the
Weasley twins were forced to inquire, already knowing it wasn't true of course. No
one was that smooth. It seemed only pure luck to him that Hermione hadn't heard
anything about it though.
It got so bad that one day Ron Weasley came up to him after lunch and got in his
face trying to intimidate him.
"What do you think you're doing with all the girls you poncy git? Think no one will
stand up to you since you're the big, bad, boy who lived?" His arms and even his
eyes crossed in emphasis.
Harry simply stared at him as if he'd gone crazy. No wonder no one likes him, he
might be more annoying than Malfoy if he actually had a brain. Maybe I'll try a
different track with this one, since he doesn't exactly seem malicious.
"Ron, do you know about rumors?" Harry asked calmly. Looking surly and a little
confused, Ron nodded, "Well then you might know some rumors are made up. You
don't really believe all the things your twin brothers tell you, right?"
"Course I don't, but that's got nothin'... to do with... you?" He seemed to be starting
to understand, "...Are you trying to say my brothers made up those rumors about
you? Cause they can be a couple of berks but they wouldn't tell such rubbish. No
one would believe that." Ron failed miserably but looked confident again, and stuck
up his chin at Harry as if he'd won the argument.
"I didn't say it was them, but obviously someone made it up, probably a Slytherin,
being that Draco and his gang hate me." The last bit Harry was pleased he thought
of, having heard Ron making crazy accusations about Draco and his father as well.
One more should be easy to believe.
As he thought, Ron wore an expression of dazed realization at that news, "Oh!
Right, sorry mate, didn't realize it was them again. You never can tell with them
being so shady an underhanded an' all. We alright? - Brilliant." He was about to walk
off before Harry even replied.
"There's one more thing, I heard Draco's been trying to bully a few Gryffindors
recently, maybe you could keep an eye on him?" The moment Harry saw the
expression of crazed outrange on Ron's face, he knew things were going to go
wrong, in so many ways.
"Yeah, I'll keep an eye on the blighter, you can be sure." Nodding to himself Ron

walked out of the Great Hall.


oOoOo
Finally Halloween arrived, Harry's first holiday here would be in celebration of people
thinking he killed Voldemort, and the night his parents died, all rolled into one. It
never felt odd to him in the past, but suddenly he had to ignore the looks of pity the
older kids were giving him as well as the cheers the younger ones threw his way
when they passed him in the halls. It wasn't so bad for a Thursday though, candy
was being thrown out in lessons for right answers, the halls were decorated with
spiderwebs and bats, pumpkins replaced the heads on suits of armor, and each
meal was better than the last.
All except for flying lessons after lunch. Where Madam Hooch thought it would be a
good idea to switch lesson times with other teachers, to put all the first years
together for four hours and make them play rounds of quidditch in randomly selected
groups. Or somewhat random, as Harry discretely managed to influence her and get
on Hermione's team.
Everyone was assigned positions and made to practice while other teams were on
the pitch. Since the start of school Harry had improved drastically in flying lessons,
as the malfunctioning broom 'accidentally' broke before he had to use it again, and
he got accustomed to riding one with a functioning cushioning charm for a seat.
Although he tried not to show off in front of all the clumsy Hufflepuffs and
uncoordinated Ravenclaws. Especially since he heard from Hermione that a few
Gryffindors hurt themselves and were severely punished for risky behavior in their
first flying class.
Despite that, Harry was still appointed seeker, but given another lousy broom since
they had to borrow many from a secondhand shop to all practice at once. It didn't
bother him much, since he only had to pretend to be looking for the snitch, which
guaranteed a win when first years could barely make five goals per game. It seemed
pointless to Harry, to be the only player that made a difference, yet not be involved
with the rest of the team. The only fun part was watching Hermione try to stay in the
right place as keeper. Hardly anyone got close to throwing a goal in their first match,
so she wasn't too frustrated. It was easy to tell who had training before they ever got
to school, most were seekers or chasers, yet even that was pitiful compared to the
practice matches he could see from Ravenclaw tower at times.
Other than Hermione, the team included Lavender Brown, Hannah Abbott, Daphne
Greengrass, Susan Bones, and Dean Thomas. Harry was grateful that he didn't
accidentally choose to be the only boy on a team full of girls rumored to like him,

which was already too close for comfort. Luckily enough, Dean stood out as the best
chaser on the team to take even more attention away from him.
Their first game was with another bunch of dismal players, except Gregory Goyle as
a beater, who kept trying to hit the bludger at Harry. Most didn't get anywhere close
but it was disconcerting none the less, especially when one whizzed past of his face
while not paying attention. He tried to float higher after that, but his broom wasn't
having it. A respite only came as Dean scored a goal, pulling Goyle's attention away.
People cheered, "Go Dean!" And were scolded for watching in the stands instead of
practicing.
When Harry finally relaxed a bit and surveyed the pitch, he saw the snitch
immediately. It was buzzing near the Hufflepuff stands, not going very fast. Another
bludger flew his way and he decided watching the chasers drop the other ball on the
ground half the time wasn't worth the risk of a bludger to the head. He could watch
Hermione trying to fly during his afternoons off as well. Discretely, he glided down
near the snitch, only wanting the game over with. It was not the brightest of the
bunch and simply flew back and forth in an artless pattern around the same spot. He
didn't dive or reach for it, but simply stuck his hand in its way as it passed. No one
else even noticed it, especially not the other team seeker. He had to fly over to
Madam Hooch and present it to her before the game was called. Everyone was a
little stunned, especially the few spectators who booed because they wanted a
chase, and probably someone to hurt themselves.
It was an elimination game and there were only seven matches total with eight
teams, whoever won all three rounds got to skip a flying lesson as a prize. The other
matches didn't last too much longer than his though, as the snitch seemed to be
unusually easy to catch, probably to keep the games short.
On the next round, Harry saw the snitch the moment he looked for it and wondered
what was going on, but then he remembered the conspecs he got in Diagon Alley.
They were said to increase the distance and detail he could see, apparently they
worked well against snitches too. He flew slowly over to it once again, but when he
reached for it with a little speed it ran directly away from him to the other side of the
pitch. The little bugger is jinxed to sense your intentions. That's why I caught it so
easy the first time, I barely cared before.
The other Seeker was squinting suspiciously at him now. This Hufflepuff boy seemed
to be one of the only students with glasses in Hogwarts, and was named a seeker
when it appeared he could barely see. Sometimes it amazed Harry how magical
people could even feed themselves without a house elf. Deciding to delay his
approach, Harry roamed around for a little while, feeling the joy of flying when there

was no one to give orders. But soon another bludger whizzed by his feet, hitting his
shoe, and it was time to end the daydream. He ambled lazily towards where the
snitch was, not looking directly at it. Relaxing his mind and emotions he dropped
slowly over top of where it was buzzing around in the same basic pattern, he got in
front of it's next pass. Just then the other seeker saw it and started racing towards it,
but was much too far away. Yet that made all the spectators and everyone who was
already out of the running look where he was headed, right at Harry. The snitch flew
directly into his hand while sitting still.
"Woah!" Roared the small crowd.
His teammates cheered and the game was called, two in a row and faster than any
other games. Hannah and Susan clapped because they knew he was a good flyer,
but didn't see him catch it. The others didn't know how to respond after the initial
reaction, they'd never seen a snitch fly into someone's hand before. Although
Hermione just stared at him, as if she knew there was some trick to what he did. The
next match would decide it though, was it luck or had Harry just figured out quidditch.
A few other classes were getting out early before dinner and came down to laugh at
the first years playing quidditch. Fred and George arrived with more quidditch
players from other teams. They cheered when learning that Harry's team would
compete against whoever won the playoffs of the other game. But then they heard
about the impossible catch and Fred began teasing him about being the best seeker
in a century to catch a defective snitch, in a game against first years. Ron tried to
join in, as his team lost the first round and he had nothing to do but tag along behind
his brothers and comment about the matches to whoever was near. Harry ignored
him and laughed along when George explained that sometimes defective snitches
happened, especially when they were intentionally weakened for practice. Although
the final game should have a real snitch, so he'd actually have to chase it next time.
A cheer erupted through the small crowd that was actually watching the ongoing
game. The score was twenty to twenty with the seekers now chasing after the snitch.
It looked intense, one bumping into the other as they sped along the pitch, but of
course, it was just Harry's luck that Draco elbowed the other seeker and caught it in
the end. Hermione, Lavender, and all of Gryffindor booed at him, making Harry
wonder if the cause was house loyalty, or his winning personality.
Word spread that the last game would be him against Draco, flying for the snitch
while both their teams tried to keep the other balls in the air. Fred and George
offered to get their brooms for Harry and Dean to ride, but Madam Hooch wouldn't
allow it, as everyone had to have school brooms. So instead they poached the losing
teams for the best available, quickly bringing back seven for the whole team.

When everyone got into the air the end game began. Harry flew up high, getting out
of the way of any bludgers and looked around. Again he could see the snitch right
off, it was almost too easy. He guessed that his conspecs might be illegal but a real
game was a chase for the snitch, not a looking contest. Draco was racing around
frantically not noticing him or the snitch at all, so Harry delayed for a few minutes,
supposing he could play fair. Sitting in the sky peacefully he watched the game for a
minute, seeing Hermione finally able to stay in place and even try to block the
quaffle. Dean caught it before it hit the ground and flew all the way to the other end
to score a goal. It felt nice up in the sky with a breeze on his face and the warm sun
on his back. Another cheer sounded from the audience and there was Draco off
chasing the snitch.
Harry sighed deeply and figured he better actually do something this time, or get
ragged on by his team. He went into a dive and was already on Draco's tale, noticing
just how good of broom he had this time. Although when Draco caught sight of him,
he focused more on trying to knock Harry off than catch the snitch. It soon swerved
in a different direction and Draco lost sight of it as he tried to put his broom's bristles
in Harry's face. Instead of chasing after where it went, Harry just stopped dead and
let Draco search again.
There was a whole lot more action down below where they were now, but it mostly
involved dodging bludgers, and picking up the quaffle from the ground, even with a
slow falling charm on it. Harry could kind of see the allure of quidditch, if there were
talented people playing. The crowd picked up again as Draco sped away, except he
wasn't chasing anything. The snitch was on the other end of the field still. Was he
really smart enough to fake people out? The crowed turned to a boo as he got near
them. Apparently not.
Two bludgers shot out of nowhere to almost hit Harry's broom, but he noticed them
in the corner of his eye and pulled up before they managed to connect. Okay, time to
end this. No sense dragging it on if I can get out of class early.
Wandering over by the snitch he figured he would give the growing crowd something
to cheer about, since that's all they were here for. He sped up to a dash but still kept
his mind clear, the snitch only started to react at the last second, until Draco flew in
from above and it shot away. They rushed after it, close to the wall and around the
stadium. This time Draco wasn't playing around and was really after the snitch, he
reached out a few times but it turned just before he could grab it. Harry was trying to
keep his mind clear in order to catch it, but when he tried for a grab, Draco slammed
into him and pushed him hard into the stands. He bounced off, nearly falling off his
broom but no foul was called, and Draco was almost on the snitch.

Then a thought came to Harry. The snitch could sense the desire of being chased to
run away, and he could send thoughts or feelings towards people. Why not a snitch?
He tried sending the thought of grabbing it from above. The snitch changed direction
and dived down with Draco following. Harry laughed out loud and flew over in front of
the crowd in the stands. He wasn't going to be blamed for anything this far away, so
he sent the snitch flying straight towards a wall as soon as it reached the ground.
Malfoy swept down after it admirably, but when it flew into the corner he tried to turn
with it, except he tumbled into the ground and fell flat against the wall. The snitch
flew high up into the air, slowly coming towards the audience and Harry, who was
hovering right in front of them. Malfoy got back on his battered broom and chased
after it. Harry flew forward directly at the snitch and opposite Draco, the whole
stadium was watching now, even the other players. As they both got close, Harry
sent it rocketing skywards and caught it in one smooth motion of victory, Draco
stared up in disbelief and rammed right into Lavender Brown with a loud clatter. She
had drifted too close and wasn't paying attention to anything but Harry.
They fell disastrously toward the ground, people screamed, and right before they
were about to hit, there was Dumbledore, watching from the stands. He caught them
five yards from the ground with a wandless spell, causing a loud intake of breaths
from the crowd. Harry looked down surprised at the sight of their brooms tumbling
down and shattering against the ground, while they stayed in place and were gently
lowered onto conjured mattresses. He floated down after them as did the rest of both
teams. When he finally got to the ground Lavender picked herself up and threw
herself awkwardly at Harry. He caught her in a strained hug. She was obviously a
little bruised but apparently her spirit wasn't.
She screamed in excitement, "You won, oh Harry you won!" And kept bouncing up
and down on Draco's mattress to his growing dismay.
When Draco sat up enough to understand what happened he started cursing,
"Geroff you bloody troll! Only a daft minger like you would be brainless enough to
stop in the middle of the sky!"
Hannah interrupted him, "Stop it Draco, you ran into her as well!" While Ron
approached like a brewing storm, looking ready to punch Draco in the face, but
stopped immediately.
"Oh piss off you nosey slag! I would have caught that bleeding snitch if it wasn't for
this shit broom or that cheating toerag Potter." That was when all the teachers
arrived behind him.
Draco was frozen stiff and lifted into the air by Snape of all people. "It seems he has

damaged his brain as well in the collision, I will take him directly to the infirmary."
As everyone watched the display in stunned silence, Fred and George set off some
fireworks in the air and whooped for joy. The whole crowd around them cheered and
tried to pat Harry on the back. All his teammates congratulated him and Hermione
gave him a funny smile then hugged him. Lavender received glares from some
Slytherins but was being treated and lightly scolded by McGonagall, as she led her
away to the infirmary as well. It turned out that every head of house came out for the
last game, having let out classes early. For Snape that was a miracle, though he
probably came out to see Draco play, which may have disappointed him a bit. Even
Professor Flitwick squeezed in close, beaming at Harry with a proud and cheerful
face.
Madam Hooch handed Harry a small transfigured trophy with a broom on it and a
signed certificate that said, 'Free Day Off.' Then handed others out to the team.
Dean got an extra pat on the back, as it appeared he made fifty points while
everyone was distracted by the snitch chasing.
A hand clapped Harry on the shoulder and shouted over the crowd, "We should have
a talk about quidditch sometime. But now it's time to celebrate!" It was Robert
Hillard, the Ravenclaw prefect and quidditch captain, Harry recently learned.
Dumbledore cleared his throat to gain complete quiet and eyed Harry with a severe
glance, but then nodded when he had everyone's attention, "This calls for a feast,
but since we're already having one, it shall just have to be made longer, with many
more sweets!" The whole mass of people cheered again and headed towards the
looming castle walls.
It was still half an hour before dinner, but when they started entering the great hall
Dumbledore clapped his hands and the dinner bell rang, spouting forth all kinds of
sweets and treats on the tables that had people sitting down happily. The first years
mingled together at the sparsely filled tables and Harry's team sat together, next to
Padma and Sue at the Ravenclaw table, discussing the game.
"How'd you do that Harry? It looked like you knew where the snitch was heading!"
Hannah asked, but Harry simply shrugged.
"That was great Dean, you lot could have won it no matter who caught the snitch. I
bet there's going to be a lot of competition in quidditch tryouts next year." Shouted
Terry, who seemed to enjoy just being close to the winners.
Padma threw a glare and wrapped toffee at Harry, "I thought I told you to do
something stupid, not become a blooming quidditch champion!" She smiled as Harry

shook his head in exasperation.


Hermione squeezed in beside Harry and stole a sweet roll off his plate with a
mischievous grin. "Lavender is fine by the way, Parvati and I checked in on her at the
infirmary."
"That's good." Harry commented, but was curious about the half smile, half frown,
expression she wore, unable to place its meaning.
All the other students flowed into the hall, creating a racket, surprised at an early
party but more than willing to join in. Draco trailed in last, extremely upset, and
sneering at anyone who laughed near him.
Everyone else was having a ball when even more delicacies, sweets, main dishes,
and sides arrived to pile on top of others at the proper dinner time. The lights started
to dim and the true Halloween celebration began. Orange streamers rolled down the
walls as cobwebs formed everywhere. Ghosts rose up out of the floor and started
singing creepy songs as the candles overhead pranced along with giant Jack
O'Lanterns in the sky. Professor Flitwick cast a charm and all the platters sprouted
legs to start dancing, but bowed and offered their wares whenever a hand reached
out. Lively skeletons sat down at empty seats as bats flew around their heads. While
more snuck around to creep up behind students and frighten them.
When everyone was distracted by a band of ghouls playing instruments, Hermione
whispered to Harry, "So what did you figure out while thinking up there in the sky?"
Harry smiled back, "Nothing!" She waited, eyebrows raised, not believing him, "It
was after I got pushed into the stands that I found I could control the snitch." He
whispered, then pushed a cauldron cake into her open mouth and laughed. She
rolled her eyes and pushed him back, while trying not to laugh along with so much
cake in her mouth.
oOoOo
The doors crashed open with a thunderous roar. Everyone turned to look as
professor Quirrell stood to one side, leaning oddly, blood dripping down the side of
his face and along half of his robe, "Troll... in.. the-" And fell over face first into the
hard stone floor. Something sounded like it snapped when he hit. One boy laughed,
thinking it was a Halloween prank to scare everyone. No one else did after seeing
the professors faces.
A girl screamed, but the room quieted once again when Dumbledore stood up,
"Madam Pomfrey, if you would tend to the defense professor, the rest of the students

will stay here, as the teachers and ghosts come with me to investigate. Hagrid, I
shall leave you in charge here, but I trust that no one will leave this room for any
reason."
After all the teachers left, Poppy floated Quirrell onto a bench and started healing
him here and there. While Hagrid sat down in front of the main doors making sure no
one would leave. Hushed conversations broke out everywhere with a few older
students and prefects comforting the younger ones. Parvati came over to the
Ravenclaw table next to Padma and Harry's group, looking panicked, "Where's
Lavender? I thought she would be here by now but I can't find her!"
Padma stood up to comfort her sister, "What do you mean you can't find her, didn't
she go to the hospital wing with McGonagall and then come here with Madam
Pomfrey? Where did you last see her?"
Looking sick Parvati sat down, "In the first floor lavatory... she wanted to clean up
and said she'd be right behind me... but, that was almost half an hour ago."
Hermione stood up alongside Padma, "We have to go tell Madam Pomfrey and
Hagrid, they'll know what to do." They rushed away, pushing through the crowd to
get to them. Parvati tried to hold it together as others told her to breathe deeply.
Returning minutes later they both looked frustrated and angry.
"Neither of them can get a message out of here, and they say the teachers are
bound to find her so we shouldn't worry... Harry?" Hermione looked on the edge of
tears now too, hoping he could help somehow.
A coarse rope tugged at his emotions. He couldn't say no. He definitely wanted to,
but couldn't, not with that face pleading for his help. But running after a lost student
with a troll on the lose wasn't his idea of brilliant thinking. "Okay, just let me think for
a second, we're not getting out of here to chase after her anyway."
Harry racked his brain for ideas. He tried before, but was never able to send
thoughts far away. They couldn't reach a teacher or ghost without leaving, but there
was another way out. Shit, not again. There's the antechamber that leads to
Dumbledore's office but I just told them we can't go out. Besides this whole group
looks like they would want to go, now that they overheard. He had another idea then,
which he thought was worth a shot.
"Alright, if anyone wants to help, raise your hands low." Everyone but Daphne raised
their hand, "Don't worry this part won't be dangerous." Now it was everyone.
"Okay, when I say ready, everyone go to your house prefects and ask them if they

know how to get a message out to Dumbledore or a Professor. If they don't know
how, stay there and don't lead them directly back or they might become suspicious,
walk around a little. Ready."
He turned to the three left, Sue, Padma, and Hermione who had caught on to his
distraction and ignored his orders. "I won't be able to convince you three to stay
behind, will I? It's really dangerous you know." They all glared daggers at him, he
sighed, "Okay, follow me."
They snuck out to the side and quietly entered the antechamber. Harry led them to
the portrait of the portly twin, "Open please."
The man in the portrait shook his head, "I'm sorry, I only open for the headmaster."
"Why did I think that would work..." Then he remembered something else that
worked on inanimate objects. He sent a thought at the portrait, open.
The portrait looked down at him rudely, "I'm not going to open just because you
command it. I'm a headmasters portrait, not just any riff-raff!"
Hermione piped up, "Can you please send a message to any Professor or the
headmaster, there's a girl in the first floor bathroom that might be in danger." Harry
smacked his forehead in disgrace for not thinking of that, but was relieved as well.
"I can try, but they'll have to be by a portrait." He hefted himself up and walked
through the other portraits, disappearing at the edge of the room. They waited, not
knowing what else to do. Harry tried to think of other options but was lost.
The door opened behind them and then shut, "What are you four trying to do in
here?"
First shock, then relief set in again. It was Penny. Good thing we didn't succeed in
doing anything wrong. But maybe she might have another idea. "We were sending a
portrait on a mission to contact the professors. Lavender is still out there
somewhere, do you have an idea that might help?"
Penny mulled it over for a second, "We could get a house elf to tell someone, since
they can apparate inside the castle. But I've only ever seen professors call them
specifically by name, and... for some reason, I can't seem to remember any."
Hermione brightened at this information. "That's right! She told us to call if we
needed anything, but we didn't suspect she meant literally. - Kolie?"

A cheerful house elf popped into existence by her side. "Yes Miss? What can I do for
you?"
"Ah! Thats so amazing... - Okay, could you please contact Dumbledore and tell him
Lavender Brown is in the girls bathroom on the first floor, she doesn't know there's a
troll on the loose." Kolie nodded and popped away again.
A few moments later she popped beside Hermione again with a reply. "Headmaster
Dumbledore says he was already told by a portrait but that she is not there, and asks
if you have any other ideas where she might be?" They all looked at each other in
shock but no one had a clue.
Sudden realization hit Harry, that he might be able to sense her presence. Closing
his eyes and relaxing, he tried to expand his awareness to where Lavender was. But
after reaching as far as possible, he felt only his teachers and unfamiliar people. It
was only because he knew Hermione so well that he could pick her out of a crowd.
As his senses became used to the reach, he could feel another strong emotion, fear,
and life threatening terror rolled into one.
It wasn't close, but it had to be her, she was moving randomly, somewhere on the
sixth or seventh floor but it felt fuzzy, and hard to distinguish as her, as if he'd only
gained back his senses again. Another presence was close, following her, something
not quite human, the troll. "She's on the the upper floors, being chased by something
but I don't know where. Can you take me there Kolie?"
The elf grabbed his hand as Penny and Hermione screamed, "Harry, No!" But they
popped out of existence before anyone could reach them.
Reappearing on the sixth floor Harry almost fell over from the disorienting lurch,
nothing like being twisted through a thin straw which he read apparating felt like. He
shook off the thought and cleared his mind to feel for Lavender again, she was one
more floor up and off to the left.
He pointed at the location, "Up there Kolie." They popped away once again and he
fell to his knees when they landed, Kolie helped him up. Now it was easy to sense
Lavender, she was on the other side of the wall they faced. He ran to the closest
door and looked inside. It was an empty classroom not connected to anything, so he
ran to the door on the other side. It was a storage closet.
"Kolie, get the others while I try to find a way in." Damn! She had popped away again
before he could clarify he meant teachers. Shit.
Walking back to the other classroom he noticed a door that wasn't there before.

Opening it revealed a foul stench, like rotting meat marinated in a sewer for a month.
The room was gigantic though, and he could feel Lavender inside, along with
something massive but even harder to distinguish. Kolie soon popped back with all
the girls in tow, appearing extremely worn.
"Can you apparate in there and bring her back Kolie?"
She breathed heavily for such a small frame, "I'm sorry young master, no one can in
that room."
"Okay, one more thing, find Dumbledore or any professor and bring them here if you
can." Straining to stand upright Kolie nodded in determination and popped away
once more. Harry looked at the rest, "Stay here."
Hermione grabbed Harry's shoulder before he could go in the door. "How do you
know she's in there Harry? And you can't just go in there alone, not if there's a troll
as well. Besides we should wait for a professor in any case."
A hysterical scream came from far inside, which was distinctly Lavender sounding.
Penny pushed her way past them, "You four stay here and report to the professors
when they arrive, I'm going in."
Harry, Hermione, and Sue followed her, Padma waited at the door shaking in freight.
Harry called back to her, "Stay there Padma, we need someone to tell the teachers."
They hurried down the isles of cluttered junk, running past all manner of strange
objects and furniture.
Harry whispered just loud enough to be heard by the others, "This is a really bad
idea, we know that right?" They looked at him in consternation. "Alright, she's up
ahead but there's something in the way, probably the troll. We should probably
distract or trip it, maybe even lure it away until a professor arrives?"
They nodded as Penny whispered back, "Never mind how you know that, everyone
stay far behind me and don't try anything stupid, run back to the door if it gets close.
And I'll... take care of it."
With all their wands out they crept slowly closer, hearing noises nearby. No one
spoke or made a sound, probably because Penny cast a wordless silencing charm.
Harry even held a wand in each hand, not that he'd practiced that much but he
figured anything was worth a try. A loud grunt revealed the troll was close, near a
giant mound of random clutter a few degrees to the right. Flying pieces of furniture
sailed through their path to crash into a wall of junk. Harry could sense where
Lavender was now, hiding under stacks of chairs, scared senseless but keeping

quiet. He tried to whisper but the silencing charm was still active. Thinking quickly he
sent the idea to Penny, then Hermione and Sue. They all looked in the same
direction at once. No one seemed to realize how they knew, except Hermione, who
flashed a questioningly look at Harry.
The pile shook violently and Lavender squeaked out a small scream.
A strange dull laugh reverberated around the room. Loud bellowing grunts followed,
as if it was calling out it's victory. Harry tried sending a thought at the creature, stop.
Another weird noise could be heard "Ugnnhh?"
Sounding almost as if it didn't understand him. Then it came into view. A tiny bulbous
head on the most massive human shaped body, it had greenish grey skin with spikes
dotted around the legs and feet. It saw them and lifted one giant piece of wood onto
its shoulder, then grunted again as if confused.
Penny waved them back and gathered magic into the tip of her wand so much that it
glowed. She whipped her wand and cast loudly, "Confringo!" an amazingly large
blast hit it directly in the face and staggered it. But a moment later it stood up straight
with an angry snarl on it's blackened face. The little hair it had left was still on fire. It
opened it's large jaws to produce a venomous roar.
"Oh fuck!" whispered Penny. The others were frozen, but the fear in her voice and
that language from Penny shocked Harry into action. He tried expelliarmus and
stupefy but they did nothing. The troll started coming. Penny sent spell after spell at
it, "Defodio! Reducto! Duro! Ventus! Aqua Eructo!" They gouged and ripped out
small chunks of flesh at places but some barely did anything at all. Getting its legs
up to speed it raised it's club up high.
Casting quickly Harry concentrated hard, "Epoximise," and pointed at its foot. It was
starting to swing the club as it's leg was pulled taut beneath it and it crashed to the
floor shaking the whole room. Penny fell back and they all spread out further away
from it. Growling in frustration the troll propped itself up, then simply ripped the wood
from the floor where it's foot was stuck and stood up once again. Casting Lumos at
its most brightest, Harry only made the troll snarl and put a hand over its eyes while
swinging its club blindly at him. When that didn't work he tried diffindo, but imagined
it cutting underneath the skin, into its brains. A small cut appeared on its forehead
but the troll kept going.
Then Sue cast a hex, "Melofors," and a pumpkin grew around its head. Swinging
wildly again, it's club slammed into a rack of weapons sending shards everywhere. A
piece of rusty blade tore into Harry's leg, he cried out in pain and fell behind a pillar

supporting the roof. Penny blocked most of it from hitting the girls with a shield
charm. Then glanced toward Harry, seeming to note it was only a flesh wound. She
looked back and tried the reducio charm on it's club but it was unaffected. Another
confringo at the club barely chipped it. The troll produced a low growl.
It picked up a fallen sofa and threw it wildly at Penny so fast she didn't have time to
react and was sent flying. Colliding with a far rack of clothing as her wand rolled
under a heap of statutes. She seemed stuck in the tangled mass of cloth but cried
out, "Run!"
Finally Hermione unfroze at the sight of Harry and Penny being injured and cast,
"Glacius!" At its feet and then, "Wingardium Leviosa," at the club. It rose to a low
beam while the troll reached around blindly, then she dropped it back down on its
head. But it wasn't high enough and only broke open the pumpkin so it could see
again.
An Immobulus charm from Sue did nothing, as well as the switching spell she tried
on its head. Casting Locomotor on the club Hermione was able to move it out of
reach but was somehow too heavy to move far. She was about to run towards Harry
to check on him, but he waved her off.
Sue yelled out "Incendio," and startled it, sending it falling on it's butt with another
loud bang.
At the same time Hermione cast glacius over and over trying to stick it to the ground.
The troll ignored all this and broke the ice around its body easily with a large fist. It
stood up once again, thick ice clinging to its feet and simply walked through it to
reach its club. Harry was finally able to ignore the rending pain and watch, as it stood
upright with the club and grunt deeply. Realizing his mistake Harry sent not a word at
it, but a thought of it turning around and leaving. It shook its head fiercely and raised
its club one more time, while the girls tried more and more spells. Harry sent the
blinding image of the sun into its mind, it's only real weakness. Screaming in fear
and anger it covered its eyes with one hand and slammed down its club, crashing
through the wood floor to hit solid stone.
One more time Harry sat up straight and cast "Epoximise" at the tip of the club.
While Hermione repaired the wood floor around the club to keep it in place and cast
glacius again, building up more and more ice on top, securing it. Sue was weak with
casting every spell she knew and having little endurance practice, but she cast
melofors one more time. Again Harry sent the image of the sun at it and as bright,
hot, and intense as he could imagine it. The resulting scream of terror was
deafening. Savagely ripping off the remaining pumpkin from it's head the troll

grabbed onto the club with both massive hands, it's muscles strained under the effort
of pulling it up. Harry released the sticking spell and the club slammed into the troll's
face, knocking it down. It shook the ground with a thunderous boom.
Harry ignored the sound and concentrated hard, trying to cast one more nonverbal
spell at the club, which rested on the troll's chest. Immediately the wood grew into a
giant oak, filling the whole area with a great canopy, while large thick roots spread
everywhere over the troll and into to the wood floor, locking it in place. It grunted and
strained at it's bonds, but couldn't move an inch.
Sue fell to the floor in exhaustion and Hermione forced a weak smile at Harry.
Relaxing, they breathed sighs of relief, except him. Something was wrong, again,
Harry could feel it and it was coming closer, fast. There was no time to say anything
before another troll, larger than the first burst forth from behind a wall of junk. It flung
broken scrap everywhere and with one enormous hand slammed Hermione across
the room into the giant tree. She bounced off the bark and fell to the floor with a
sickening thud. Lavender who had finally crawled out from underneath her hiding
place let loose an ear-shattering scream and fainted.
Time slowed down as Harry gripped his wands hard and gritted his teeth. The rusty
piece of sword was still stuck in his leg as he pointed both wands at it. Adrenaline
pumped through him, and almost in slow motion he remembered every time he had
practiced compressing objects back home. He pulled the shard out of his leg with
one wand and willed it towards him, as he used the other to push a long column of
air behind it, building up pressure with all his focus and concentration possible. Then
he heated the air inside with his mind. Sue was already casting melofors one more
time when Harry released one wand, shooting the shard so hard and fast it ripped
through the resulting pumpkin and troll head with an intense explosion. Raining tiny
bits of orange flesh and skull all around, the limp body fell crashing to the floor, as
the teachers finally arrived.
Harry sent one last thought at Dumbledore and passed out.

Chapter 11 - Gambling
Chapter 11
Gambling
Dumbledore heard the demand forced into his mind, 'Save Hermione!' as he got
within view of the scene. Crossing the distance at a run he quickly cast a sensing
charm at Harry and continued on to the young girl crumpled in front of a tree. Harry
only had a minor wound and magical exhaustion, he would be fine. When he cast
the same charm again, it was much worse than he feared. The other professors
tended to the students while he called Fawkes over to the unconscious girl, dying at
his feet.
Landing, Fawkes knelt beside Hermione as she was rolled gently on her back. It
sang mournfully as a single tear rolled down its cheek and fell in her mouth. She
opened her eyes with a gasp and Dumbledore hugged her, "I do not know what
would have happened if Harry lost you now."
"Waah?" She asked disoriented and still feeling sore.
"I'm terribly sorry, go to sleep, you should wake feeling better tomorrow." He waved a
hand over her eyes and she was asleep. Dumbledore felt grateful that she was alive
and relieved that the only positive effect on Harry lately was not lost after such folly.
Snape had poured a potion down the surviving troll's mouth and was extricating it
from under the tree and mound of ice. McGonagall was trying to calm a now frantic
Lavender from hyperventilating, and glancing back and forth from Hermione to Harry.
Dumbledore nodded to her in acknowledgement of their safety. Pomona handed Sue
a restorative drought and was healing the many bruises and broken bones Penny
had while Flitwick stood fussing over Harry. The other teachers were told to see the
rest of the students back to their dorms.
Flintwick squeaked in frustration, as Dumbledore levitated Hermione over to them
and put a hand on his shoulder. "It's this infernal wand Albus! It won't come out of his
hand no matter what I try. It seems to have fused itself to his skin, no benign wand
would do something like this! I was afraid the moment it turned Anthony to stone, but
this is not right. I don't understand. He's fine otherwise, I healed his wound and he
isn't in danger any longer. Do you have any ideas?"
"It does not seem to be causing him harm, but everything about that wand is
abnormal. Perhaps it is only responding to his unconscious fears, I believe we might

simply wait until he wakes to worry overly much." Dumbledore didn't want to speak
his own fears about the feeling he got from the wand. Whatever was happening, it
was most unusual.
They set Hermione and Harry on a small cot and Flintwick floated them to the
infirmary. Pomona whisked the other students along as well to double-check them
with Madam Pomfrey. Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall soon came to stand in
front of the dead troll with its head missing. Sticky green blood was oozing out of the
neck as Snape asked the most obvious questions, "Did they find some ancient
weapon by chance? And what is this room, another moving storage area?"
"Albus, you don't think one of the children could have done this, do you?"
McGonagall eyed him skeptically, always trying to read him better than his own mind
did.
"Well, I certainly hope troll heads are not exploding on their own these days.
Although if their brains are made of pumpkin, that certainly might explain a few
things." He chuckled forcedly at his own poor joke.
"Really Albus, this is no time for humor. A child could have been killed today, and if
Fawkes was needed we came much too close." Minerva scolded him with a
disappointed scowl.
Snape interrupted, "I have a feeling this trend might continue with Potter able to
circumvent protective wards and disobey direct commands without a single thought
of punishment. Does anyone know how they escaped a room full of students in a
magically sealed area with no obvious exits?"
Minerva looked affronted at this and said so, "You don't really expect us to punish
them for trying to rescue a fellow student!? I have already heard they tried multiple
ways to contact us to find the girl, but while we were running around without a clue
they managed to find her and defeat two trolls with only the help of a fifth year. I'm
surprised they aren't all in my house with that kind of bravery, no matter how ill
conceived it was. Though, I would like to know how they managed it." She again
focused on Albus.
"About that, it seems they have already met a friendly house elf who was able to
bring them all here. She was sent to me right afterward it seems but passed out
upon arrival. It took me more than a moment to reawaken her and retrieve Fawkes,
along with calling you all here. I shall try to dissuade this elf from helping them in so
dangerous manner again, but I fear she already has a greater affinity to Harry than
to any of us. As to your next suggestion of kicking her out Severus, she is highly

respected and the house elf representative, a sacred duty to them, which might have
us eating gruel and doing our own chores for the next many years if we did so." This
stopped Snape mid-protest, yet he kept his sneer of contempt for the idea of house
elves having power over them.
Minerva looked around, "I suppose we should clean up these beasts before the
room disappears again, since even the house elves don't enter by the look of it. I
doubt it has been used in many years, and probably won't be again for a great many
more." Snape squinted in cynicism but went to work all the same.
Dumbledore glanced up at the glint of metal buried deeply into the stone ceiling and
whispered to himself, "That seems unlikely..."
oOoOo
Hermione woke up to the sounds of whispering and opened her eyes to white
surroundings. She didn't recognize anything which was strange, but the dream she
woke up from was even stranger. The terrifying nightmare last night was much too
real for a dream she knew, but afterward was even more bizarre. Did Dumbledore
really hug me? And Harry protecting me from all kinds of monsters, that had to be a
dream, didn't it?
She still felt secure in his arms, and looking down there was an actual arm around
her. Freaking out a bit and feeling violated she fearfully turned around to see who it
was. Relieved to see it was Harry, she laid her head back down. Wait why am I
relieved that Harry has his arm around me? And more importantly, why DOES he
have his arm around me? Not to mention I'm in a strange bed with him in some
unknown room while people are whispering behind white curtains. Don't let this be
some crazy magical bond of love meaning we're considered married or some mushy
romantic story like that...
She blushed scarlet at the thought but couldn't piece together what was really going
on.
The curtain was drawn back by Madam Pomfrey who smiled endearingly down at
them, much to Hermione's relief, even if her face was beet red at her continued
speculation. "Ah, it's good that you're awake already, you'll soon return to full health
in no time. - Can you not remove his arm either? It seems while you were being
moved here he latched on, and everyone who tried to move him was given a little
shock by that overprotective wand. I suppose we shall have to wait until he wakes up
as well, if you can hold out that long my dear?"
Not knowing what to say since she hadn't even tried to move his arm yet, Hermione

wondered what someone would think if she explained why. Instead she simply
nodded and laid her head back down after Poppy left. She tensed slightly and tried
touching his arm, nothing happened so she lifted it with no trouble either. Oh no, now
what? If I remove it now they might think I lied, or worse, and if I leave it, would Harry
interpret that wrong?
Giving up she set it back down safely around her stomach and decided to ignore the
nagging little thoughts in the back of her mind. She studied his hand and the wand in
it for a moment, thinking things she probably shouldn't. Soon she fell back asleep
still comfortably wrapped in Harry's arm, with much different dreams this time.
Harry woke to a pleasant scent and strange warmth that made him feel extremely
refreshed and happy. He decided to simply enjoy it while he slept longer and pulled
what he assumed was the blanket closer, only to feel more resistance than he
expected from cloth. Feeling around, he came upon something unexpectedly soft
and warm. He left his hand there, confused by the sensation but savoring it all the
same. In a half dream fantasy he moved his hand slowly upwards. Just at the
moment he felt a different kind of cloth on the tip of his finger a hand caught hold of
his wrist and slowly moved it down to where it was originally and held it there. That
woke him up completely and made him terribly afraid of being caught or accused of
something he really didn't have any thought of pursuing. He opened his eye barely a
crack and saw a fluffy mass of brown hair. His imagination had led him elsewhere
but this brought on new feelings, or reawakened old ones as he remembered their
original meetings.
Aw crap, she's going to kill me. I don't want our friendship screwed up like every
single story I've read or seen. The soft touch of her flesh made him curious but he
resisted.
She doesn't like me that way, and I don't want to lose the closest friend I've ever had
in my life. But wait... why is she holding my hand there and not throwing it off? She
must still be asleep or half asleep like I was and imagining I'm someone else. I
should just... wait why am I in a bed with her? In a white room of all places? Is this
some kind of magical honeymoon where the goddess of love gave us time to be
alone? Okay, can't go back to dreaming again. Need to get up so nothing gets ruined
and no one gets in trouble. We're probably in the infirmary or something and
someone is bound to come check on us, where I would receive a long embarrassing
lecture about appropriate behavior. How did I even get on the same bed though? Did
I actually sleepwalk to her and try to grope her in my sleep? That's really creepy if I
did, but what if she sleepwalked to me? It's kind of funny how some reversals aren't
nearly as bad, but that's probably because there's virtually no chance of that
happening. Never mind, need to think of a plan, simple and explainable, roll over and

pretend I didn't do it? How do I keep getting myself into these situations...
He slowly rolled to his side but Hermione wasn't letting go of his hand. What does
that mean? Either she really is enjoying her dream or she might... like -?
Her hand slipped and he tumbled off the bed, smashing into the cold hard floor. He
thought he heard a few quiet giggles, but assured himself she was still asleep.
Gently lifting himself off the floor and trying not to make too much noise he looked
around. His eyes locked onto Hermione's soft bare back where her shirt was lifted up
slightly. Quickly squashing that pang of guilt and interest he pulled the sheet up
gently over her to cover anything she might not want seen. Shaking himself a little he
pulled his eyes away from her and peeked out between the curtains outside. It
looked nearly noon and they had missed all their morning classes. He glanced back
at Hermione and she seemed perfectly healthy after the nightmare last night. He
shook off the terrible memory and calmed himself. If that's magical healing I have to
learn more.
Scanning the room once more he noticed his phoenix wand sitting on the table which
made him check for his other. It was gone, and he feared what they thought he did to
that troll. Though he had probably saved their lives, it was becoming obvious; people
didn't like power, unless they had it. To make sure, he looked over at the table on
Hermione's side and there was only her wand. Except then he saw it, laying on the
bed in front of her. Revealing the very evidence of touching her that he didn't want
found. It was almost obscured by the sheet he pulled up but he couldn't reach over
her from this side. He tip toed around the bed and looked at her face to see a hint of
a smile, but her eyes were closed. Ever so slowly he crept closer to his wand,
reaching out with one hand he almost had it.
"What do you think you're doing?" He jumped in shock and his eyes found hers.
They just stared at each other for a moment in embarrassed confirmation of what
happened. Trying to pretend he had no ill intentions or otherwise he pointed at his
wand on the bed, but then he noticed her shirt was pulled up more on this side
revealing her smooth stomach as well, which captivated his eyes even while she
was looking at him. When she looked down at where he was pointing and staring at,
she noticed it too and gave him a look he had no words for, while quickly yanking up
the sheet around her.
He managed to stammer the word "W-wand," before the curtains opened up behind
him and made him jump once again.
Swishing through the curtains Madam Pomfrey nodded to him in passing and
checked on Hermione who sat up quickly. She did a quick diagnostic spell on her

and said, "Well, you two both look in fine health now. There is half an hour until lunch
so if you hurry you can get cleaned up and attend if you feel up to it. - Oh and next
time, leave that wand behind, it's a terrible inconvenience to have you brought in
with your arm wrapped around someone so protectively that we can't pry it off
without being shocked in the process." She glanced at his hand for where it was,
when Hermione jumped off the bed and shoved the missing wand into his chest, a
little harder than needed. She jumped through the curtains and called a quick thanks
back at Poppy before tearing off down the hall.
Harry nodded politely back at Madam Pomfrey and said his thanks as well. Feeling
the need for a long cold shower he walked back to his dorm. At least he wasn't a
creepy sleepwalker, but instead just fond of hugging girls while he was asleep.
That's even endearing in a certain light... hopefully.
He gave up thinking about and remembering the incident, being only slightly
distracted by the intense hunger in his stomach. After a shower and new robes he
felt refreshed when he arrived at the Great Hall.
oOoOo
Sitting down a few minutes early at lunch gave him time to watch the reactions of
people seeing him. A couple whispered, some didn't seem to care, but the
Gryffindors he noticed were staring and pointing. So somehow Gryffindor learned
about it all before the others, or at least it was more widespread there. Only
Ravenclaws and Gryffindors knew what happened, and there was only one
Gryffindor who wasn't in the infirmary with him all last night.
I guess it was a traumatic event for Lavender that she wanted to tell other people
about. But wouldn't she realize it was a bad idea to talk about breaking rules and
fighting trolls? - Which she didn't hear about... Oh well, I guess it's just another rumor
that'll be circulated for a while. Besides, me killing Anthony and bringing him back to
life seems to have been forgotten about now, why shouldn't a new rumor take its
place? Might as well have some fun with this one, and here come the twin terrors to
tweeze it out of me.
Sitting down on top of the table facing him, Fred and George said at once, "Is it
true?"
"Nope, all lies. Except for the part about me walking on water, that bit was accurate."
Harry replied blandly.
Fred leaned in, "Come off it Harry, half the school knows about it by now. You can't
trick us with more muggle references, even we get that one."

George continued, "You blew a troll's head off! You can't pretend something else
happened instead."
"Oh, that. That was probably the melofors spell going wrong, let me warn you, don't
cast that one while sneezing. It's a doozy." He grinned at the look of incredulous
horror they showed him. But that gave it away and they grilled him more about what
really happened.
"Alright, so there I was about to be eaten when they both start arguing about the
best way to prepare me. I throw my voice and pretend to impersonate one to keep
them distracted until lunch."
Interrupting him the food finally appeared on the table. George hopped off and shook
his head, "That couldn't work, trolls can't speak English Harry and you wait until
dawn with trolls not lunch."
"Of course, but it certainly worked with you two trolls." Harry laughed and they
looked at each other, vowing vengeance on him for wasting their time.
Hermione sat down a little ways away from him and kept looking away when he
glanced at her. At least he wasn't the only one embarrassed he thought. The food
was excellent as always but he seemed to be crowded with larger platters of food
that were much closer than usual. Penny, Sue, and Padma sat down in front of him
on the other side of the table but didn't say much, only kept whispering to
themselves about something. Near the end, after dessert was served and things
were quieter, Padma decided to speak.
"So how did you know where she was Harry?" The table grew quieter around them
as students pretended not to be listening in.
"Well she does have a very distinctive perfume..."The looks on their faces told him
they were not amused, "Oh come on, I can't give all my secrets away, otherwise I
won't be mysterious anymore. - But if you must know... I put a muggle tracking
device on all the people I know, so I can tell where everyone is and who keeps
stealing my pudding!" He looked around suspiciously.
"No way, muggle stuff doesn't work around Hogwarts! Me mum told me that." A
Hufflepuff first year who managed not to be noticed until now revealed himself.
Harry smiled at him, "Ah, but you're thinking of electricity. These devices work
through... MAGNETS!" He restrained his laugh at the other students around who
nodded in acceptance. Penny glanced meaningfully at the Hufflepuff boy and he

scampered back to his own table.


He could tell Sue, Padma, and Penny still weren't convinced of course, but they
gave it up for the moment. That was when an older Gryffindor walked up behind him
to ask the obvious, "Hey Harry, how'd you kill that troll? Was it a crazy strong
Expulso from inside its mouth? That's currently the highest on the bidding pool."
Many of the Ravenclaws looked around in shock and broke into chatter.
Penny cleared her throat and cast a silencing spell around her. "Gambling is against
school rules, and what happened last night is not a topic for meal times. If you would
please return to your table now." He shrugged his shoulders and made his way back
to a group of gossiping Gryffindors.
Laughing when the silencing charm was released, Harry shook his head, "So that's
why Fred and George were so insistent." Maybe I can use this to my advantage...
oOoOo
When lunch was done Hermione avoided him before class as well. Padma and Sue
even refused to talk to him until he told them the truth. To top that off, his feather for
levitating practice burst into flame after he had already accomplished it in the last
class. Nothing was going his way as he entered the great hall for a snack during
break. He was greeted with a sharp pain in his scar that hadn't bothered him for a
long time. He could remember it hurting when he used to have nightmares, before
he started practicing his meditation to move objects. Sitting at the end of the table, it
steadily got worse as a large tray of food appeared in front of him.
Closing his eyes while opening a book and grabbing a sandwich, Harry tried to
meditate. He relaxed his muscles and let the thoughts in his mind dissipate. The built
up emotions from the last few days seemed to drift away along with them. Except
one strange feeling kept nagging at him, it was not pleasant at all. It almost felt like
Draco had when he was bullying Hermione, hate, but far beyond what he felt then.
Yet this wasn't coming from his senses, it was coming from inside him. Nothing
made him feel this strongly before and it seemed to be the cause of the pain in his
scar. He didn't hate anyone that much, he barely cared about anyone except
Hermione, and it was pretty obvious he didn't hate her. Ignoring the world around
him he examined the feeling completely, but it didn't seem to belong. It felt foreign,
but familiar, similar to his early nightmares yet real, like the emotions he felt from
Draco and Lavender. He grabbed hold of it as Dumbledore seemed to grab hold of
one of his memories. It struggled back.
It felt wrong, like the troll, the hate seemed to spread through him and he was afraid.

Afraid of what it meant, paralyzingly afraid of what he would do with this hate. NO!
Fear is the mind killer, I've already learned that lesson at the hands of uncle Vernon.
Emotions don't control me, they only show me what I feel.
He let the fear pass and held onto the hate that wasn't his. Nothing had made him
afraid like that since he learned to influence minds. In one sudden jerk the hate tried
to pull free and escape. It nearly got away but he held tightly, rending it between his
mental hands. Crushing and ripping at it made it a more potent hate but feeling
weaker. He ground it down, trying to break the hate apart when he was bumped out
of his meditation, releasing his grip on whatever foreign feeling that was. It seemed
to slip away through a path he couldn't follow.
Opening his eyes Harry saw the rest of the students getting up and leaving, he
looked at his watch and it was less than five minutes before class. Strange he
thought, and grabbed another sandwich to eat on the way and satisfy his growling
stomach.
He certainly didn't feel like facing Draco in Herbology but walked towards the
greenhouses anyway, trying to ignore the dull ache in his head. Only pure luck saved
him as there was a large notice on the door of greenhouse one. 'First year class
canceled due to poisonous mushroom spores.'
Sighing in relief, he made his way back towards the kitchens to get more to eat, but
decided to stop by a small study room first. He didn't know what to say to Kolie yet.
There were five older students already inside, and few were working together when
he entered. The room was decorated with benches under large tables in the center,
lit with lamps, and softer chairs in the corners and around a central fire. Old wooden
desks and sparse bookcases dotted the walls, where dull portraits hung in between.
Taking a cushy seat by the fireplace Harry fell asleep soon after, basking in the
radiant warmth on his toes and feeling worn from only one class he'd attended.
A couple frustrated curses woke him much later, along with muttered arguments, but
he felt better after the nap and didn't want to leave his comfortable spot just yet. He
glanced at his mesmerizing watch checking the time.
There was still half an hour before dinner when his stomach growled again, yet he
ignored it and opened his book bag, scanning through the beginners enchanting
book he had borrowed from the main library. Most of it was filled with standard ways
to enchant the usual objects, bewitched brooms, relighting lanterns, enchanted
razors, and always hot irons. The easier ones wouldn't stay enchanted for too long
and the better ones required special items that mentioned stores in Diagon Alley you

could purchase them from. Some required dragons blood or parts of strange magical
creatures which you could also buy. The only thing he could find that seemed
interesting was that placing doxy wings in shoes let you enchant them to make you
light on your feet. Making a mental note of winged shoes flying around his fireplace,
he flipped through the rest of the pages. It disappointed him that only the first
chapter gave any description of the enchanting process which was sorely lacking,
but it looked to be a book of recipes rather than training in the art of enchanting.
Engrossed in his book Harry almost didn't recognize the annoying chuckle and
disconcerting presence that came through the door. His scar was feeling better but
he didn't want to risk confronting Draco after just escaping him. He sent a thought at
Crabbe to put his foot in front of Draco, and heard a bad tumble into a table. Then
yelling, "You clumsy half-blood! Have you forgotten how feet work since yesterday?
You're no better than that grotty Longbottom-"
Harry knew this was his chance, he sent an angry thought at Goyle to push Draco
down, and sent another at Crabbe again. Another tumble and more screaming,
"That's it, you're both getting curs-"
"Shut up Malfoy!" A long pause as everyone in the room heard the unexpected, "You
think you're so much better than everyone 'cause your father owns people, but
you're not."
Goyle chimed in without any encouragement, "Yeah, we see yer poor spells and you
picking yer nose when you think no one's looking. We even saw da letter you wrote
yer mum 'bout people being mean to you. Quit picking on 'em an' maybe they would
like you!"
Peeking around the corner Harry could see the ashamed fury in Draco's eyes. He
was reaching for his wand with a savage snarl building on his face, when a senior
Slytherin growled at them from across the room, "Bugger off, ya maggots. This is a
study room, not your fuckin' bedroom to have a wank with your fellow poofters."
The rage spread across Draco's face, but when he saw who said it, it turned to fear
instead. Noticing it was the boys Slytherin prefect, a lot angrier than even Draco
looked. The dinner rang and they escaped before the older students started getting
up.
Harry had a hard time controlling his laughter as he put his books back in his bag
when the same Slytherin came over to him. "You better not say a word about this to
your tosser friends or any teachers, you hear?" Looking up at the surprisingly good
intimidation tactic of leaning over and glaring, Harry slowly nodded at him. The

Prefect's face changed when he saw the scar on Harry's head. "Yeah, well it'd be
better for everyone, just so's you know." Then he walked off to dinner.
Another student clapped him on the back after getting up, "Don't worry about Flinton,
all the older Ravenclaws have your back."
"Huh?"
"It's rare that a first year really belongs in Ravenclaw, so we don't want you bullied
into submission. Just don't do anything too stupid like fighting a troll on your own and
we should be able to keep you safe. You're lucky Penny was there to save you guys
or that might have ended badly." He was a much older Ravenclaw, Harry could tell
by the worn blue trim on his robes.
That confused Harry a little, "What do you mean 'belong in Ravenclaw'? And why
would I need to be kept safe?" They started walking to the great hall.
"Oh, it's just most of us have to grow into appreciating what Ravenclaw stands for,
not many arrive here with those values. So when there's a brain like you in first year
who doesn't go around showing off and just acts like himself, the older Ravenclaws
try to keep the bullies from tearing you down like they naturally want to. We're even
trying to help that Gryffindor friend of yours as well, but those types just tend to
attract trouble."
"Huh," repeated Harry, "I guess I've been dealing with bullies for so long that I just
assumed everyone had to deal with them, not that I or others like me were special in
any way to attract their attention. It's good that I'm in Ravenclaw so people actually
tell me these things instead of expecting me to know it all, like they usually do."
The older boy laughed, "Yeah, we even share a piece of wisdom for occasions like
this. It's a Japanese proverb that says, 'The nail that sticks out gets hammered
down.' We try to dress you up as a hook instead so people think they need you. My
name's Grant by the way."
"I guess I'll try to find something useful to hold up so it convinces them. And its nice
to meet you." They shook hands.
Arriving at the entrance, Harry said his thanks, and sat near Hermione at the other
end of the table. After another meal with a few too many trays of food centered
around him, he got up only to find she had left early, probably to avoid him again.
That was getting a little disconcerting after what happened between then, or
whatever he thought happened. Maybe she... no, I can't even begin to figure out
girls. I'll probably see her tomorrow since it's the weekend.

oOoOo
Noticing the twins heading out Harry walked up behind them, "Anyone win the bet, or
are you two still rigging the odds?"
They jumped a little and smiled back at him, Fred started, "It hasn't been won of
course, but that's because no one can believe Lavender when she says you beat
two single-handed while sitting on your arse. Some of the others were second
guessing whether you actually killed one until a Slytherin mentioned the headless
body down in the dungeons that Snape was picking apart for materials. We almost
got to see it too."
George continued, "Did you learn lots in charms today? We heard you had a small
problem with... flammable feathers?" Their mischievous smirks explained everything.
"So you thought to pull a prank on your benefactor eh? Looks like you two don't even
want to win that bet..." He walked past them when they stopped in surprise.
Rushing back beside him their smiles returned, "All in good fun Harry, if we didn't
involve you, how would anyone believe we weren't conspiring together."
"Yeah, couldn't have anyone catching onto us could we? We should probably take
this secret passage..." They directed Harry to a corner statue outside the entrance
hall, and as they passed by they flicked it's elbow and a side passage opened up
behind it.
Following them up one flight of stairs and onto a small landing they stopped to talk,
"Since you only did it to keep up appearances, I suppose it won't cost you too much.
But I will need a small favor or two in return for telling you how it was really done,
then admitting to it later on to someone else I suppose. What's the theory with the
greatest odds?"
Fred laughed, "You're going to like this one, it was you throwing one of Snape's
experimental potions in its mouth when it was about to bite your legs off. That's
twenty to one."
George joined in, "Or there was the idea you transfigured it's brains into a pumpkin
and it grew from the inside out, dunno how that one got started though, since you
can't penetrate troll flesh with spells. It was fifty to one but no one would ever bet on
it."
"What do you think the odds would be if I threw a muggle exploding device into its
mouth, say a grenade?" Harry already thought of a few ideas that might be able to

explain what he did by normal means, since he didn't know if he should even explain
it to Dumbledore.
"That's perfect!" Fred exclaimed, "We could probably get at least ten to one and
everyone would believe we thought it was possible cause our da is nutters about
muggle stuff."
"Was that really how you did it?" asked George.
"Maybe. So after you make your bid, send someone else around to ask me, maybe a
girl so they'll think I was tricked? It doesn't really matter though, just as long as
they're not too close to you."
Fred steepled his fingers in mock glee, "We know who would be perfect for the job..."
He laughed, and George got down to business, "What did you have in mind for a
favour? We could tell you some secret passageways, help you out with your seeker
training, brew a potion or two? We're good at that."
"Possibly prank someone in need, or do you want more than half the winnings?"
"None of that, but the passageways do sound tempting. I need some items procured
from Hogsmeade and I heard there was a trip this weekend." Harry listed a few items
he thought they could get.
They both looked shocked, "But Harry, we would have done that for free, just for
starting those rumors about Snape and Malfoy. There's got to be something else you
need that we can do?"
"Hmm, well you could throw in those secret passageways and a couple of potions if
you don't mind. Actually, do you two know where I could find a map of Hogwarts
instead, it's a pain trying to ask portraits for directions every time I get lost."
Glancing at each other they shook their heads in turn, "No way!", "He's too good!",
"How could he have known?", "It's impossible, he's just guessing." They looked back
at Harry in confirmation.
Confused by their rapid fire speech he took a second to mull it over. Thinking he
picked up on their meaning from a memory of peeves, he wasn't sure but he bluffed
anyway, "You mean the secret map you two keep hidden from everyone else? I'd just
like a copy if that's okay."
"He is good!"

"But not too good, he still doesn't know the details."


"Yeah, a copy can't be done, or at least..."
"Not one exactly like ours?" They took out a folded piece of parchment from
somewhere between them and cast an advanced Geminio charm on it. Another one
appeared on top and they slipped the original back where Harry couldn't see.
"Let's see what we've got," they mumbled as they opened it up to reveal a detailed
map of Hogwarts castle with labeled rooms and a few notes here and there.
Talking quietly to themselves they continued, "Must have made this before
enchanting the rest."
"It looks like it was drawn by hand and doesn't move."
"Here we thought it was all one spell."
"You know," said Harry, "That might be a great way to make money, selling copied
maps to first years who get lost too much."
Their eyes widened and wicked grins spread across their faces, "Let's give him a
little advance, shall we?"
They took out a special looking quill and told Harry to hold out his hand. Stabbing
him lightly they explained it was a secrecy quill, only those stabbed by it could read
its ink. Then they started writing down passwords for secret locations dotted around
the map with instructions and destinations for some. Talking back and forth,
reminding each other of this one or that one, they trading off using the quill. It
became quite amazing to Harry as he watched them work, he didn't imagine there
were this many secret passageways in Hogwarts, but was glad all the same. It would
be a life saver just for his feet alone. Finishing up they marked two more places, but
didn't write down how to get in.
"Those are the entrances to Hogsmeade, but McGonagall would kill us if we told you
how to get there this year."
"Better to have us buy your stuff, everyone would notice you too easily anyway."
They held out the map but pulled it back before he could grab it, "This comes with
one condition."
"No sharing secret passageways, especially with Ronald."

Harry laughed, "That's too easy," and pulled the paper out of their hands with his
wand. "But you have yourselves a deal, as long as you don't reveal my secrets."
Their surprised and astonished faces were better than expected. They nodded and
followed behind him up the stairs, whispering all the while.
Before opening the door he remembered something, "Oh yeah, how much do you
think the betting pool is up to now?" Guessing, they replied that it might be
somewhere around sixty galleons, so harry pulled out a small stack of coins from his
pocket and handed it to them. "Might as well win it all if gambling is illegal, don't want
people betting on me all the time, thinking I'm lucky."
oOoOo
Leaving their excited dancing behind, Harry strolled through the camouflaged door to
appear on the sixth floor corridor, just a little ways away from the Ravenclaw library.
With a secret map in his hands and some magical trinkets headed his way, things
were finally turning out okay after such a blunder he made of things. He strolled into
the library, sitting down at his customary window lookout. Seeing a sixth year noting
his arrival and going back to her studies was confirmation of what he was told earlier.
It felt odd, to have a group of people watching out for him personally. That didn't
really bother him so he figured it would be best to just ignore it.
Harry watched the group of people flying out on the cloudy quidditch pitch, getting
ready for the upcoming official matches. Wondering what it would be like to be one of
them, being cheered as the greatest seeker in a century. He shrugged and
rummaged through his bag.
Picking his enchanting book up again he tried to make sense of why some
ingredients were used rather than others and how any of them connected together.
After a long review the answer started to become evident. The magic used in animal
parts was similar to the spell you needed to enchant. It seemed to only make sense
on the surface, but he supposed magic creatures with a certain purpose, such as
flying, hiding, and defending tended to imbue that type of magic into their very cells
or atoms may be. Comparing it to regular body parts made sense somewhat,
muscles, skin, and organs all were made up of similar basic proteins and
compounds, but performed widely different functions, depending on how they were
organized.
Magical objects were different though, based more on intent and purpose. So it
would be hard to enchant a cutting spell with the hair of a Puffskein, but might be
easy to enchant a cushioning charm on it. Likewise, the claws of a dragon would be
a good part to enchant into a razor, but poor for a cushion. This didn't seem to be

universal because wood was used quite often in a variety of objects, not seeming to
have any specific magical characteristics except for in wands. He had a feeling that
every lasting enchanted object had to have some magical component, whether it
was magical wood, or a part of a magical creature. Only then could an enchantment
direct the innate magic toward a new purpose.
It all seemed too simple after considering it, since someone should obviously start a
book with that sort of information if it was true. Yet he couldn't find any examples of a
contradiction to his ideas. He would just have to set up an experiment sometime and
test them. Maybe he could tempt Hermione to join as well. But then he remembered
the warning McGonagall gave at the first of the year, and decided against it for now.
Since he was quite attached to his limbs.
A bone-chilling cold passed through him for a second and a serene voice whispered
in his ear, "Don't damage it again. This is your only warning."
Harry shivered and looked around at the back of a strange ghost, disappearing
through a bookcase. Now I have to deal with vague and threatening spirits too? Did I
curse the wrong deity yesterday?
Lightning flashed in the darkening clouds outside his window and the thunder
crashed against the castle a second later, shaking the glass. But Harry just laughed,
marveling at the nature of chance.
oOoOo
Dumbledore excused the last girl from his office as none of them knew any more
about what really happened, although they did reveal hints of how it was
accomplished. A mysterious door appearing in the girls bathroom to lure one in,
meaning another could have opened for the trolls somewhere else. Yet the motive
made no sense, as well as the outcome. The perpetrator seemed to gain nothing,
while both were defeated in unexpected ways. The staff were able to discover
nothing unusual while Harry was thrown into the light once again.
He massaged his temples as the portraits began their discussions. "Something
needs to be done about that blasted room before another student figures out its
purpose."
"What would you suggest Phineas? Destroy half the castle to remove it? You know
what it's capable of and who made it." An older portrait sneered in response.
"Surely he knows it is inviolable as do we all, but there must be a way to keep
students out, especially former students." Commented Dippet.

"The las' time tha' was tried the entrance merely moved to another location. It wan's
to be used, tha's its purpose."
"Oh shut it Swott, you just wish the other headmasters told you about it before you
died. You're not going to convince Dumbledore to move your portrait in their either,
so stop trying." Growled Black.
"There is one option. Find the key."
"Basil, that is more of a legend than Slytherin's chamber. Not even the founder's
portraits will acknowledge its existence."
"Are we all going to forget about the monster who used it to bring in two mountain
trolls to almost kill a young girl under our watch? That should be our focus here, and
I still dislike the gamble you take in allowing this charade to continue Dumbledore."
"You shall support the present headmaster no matter your likes or dislikes
Scamander. That is our duty!" Shouted Fortescue.
"Enough!" Commanded Dumbledore, and they all quieted. "The room was an
oversight that none of us predicted. A temporary barrier shall be placed around the
area for now. If it does move in response, then we must control who has access. And
we have been over the plan before, this is the only way we might capture him so he
can not return in another form. Otherwise we risk countless more lives and the
destruction of the entire school, if not all the children in it."
Grumblings could be heard, but were few and far between.

Chapter 12 - Apologies
Author's Note: For those of you still up, here is my last post for the year. Thank you
for all the input and support you've given me so far, it helps more than you know.
Have a happy New Year.
Chapter 12
Apologies
Trudging up to bed that night, Harry wasn't excited for his occlumency lesson with
Dumbledore the next day. Not because it was difficult, he thought he'd been
progressing rather well; it was because he didn't want to try explaining what
happened with the trolls, or that whole day, or anything afterwards. It was
bothersome remembering it all, let alone explaining why he choose one alternative
over the other, and imagining what he could have done differently. It was obvious he
was trying to put off the inevitable, since that was how he learned best. By reviewing
his stupid mistakes and finding ways not to repeat them. Have to remember to be
more specific with house elves for one. And not groping friends while asleep is a
close second.
There was just so much for him to do as well, thank Kolie for her help, apologize to
Hagrid for escaping while he was in charge, try to patch up things with Hermione,
and the other girls as well. Dumbledore's interrogation seemed to push him over the
edge of wanting to escape.
The excitement of teaming up with the Weasley twins and joy at gaining new
artifacts had faded quickly with no one to share it with. He could only hope he felt
better after a good night's sleep.
But no, his dreams were filled with nightmares once more, painful imaginations of
what could have happened to Hermione or anyone else at the hands of a troll. The
hate was back somehow, and with it the fear. His scar hurt, burning like a potent acid
through his skull. It plagued him all night long, chasing him from one nightmare to
the next. When Hermione finally died in one, legs bitten off and bleeding out on the
floor in front of him, he realized it was a dream. A story made up to hurt, to show him
something. Now he understood though, and it was his turn to tell the story.
The hate seemed to recognize this fact and tried to escape once again. Too late
though, as Harry was already in control. It squirmed under his grasp and tried to
imitate what he did, biting at him, cutting and slashing in order to escape. His scar
hurt like crazy, but the hate was weak and had no power in his mind. His fear was

gone, replaced by determination, and a single thought of destroying this vile thing
that plagued him. Conjuring a flame that consumed all thought, he pulled the the
beast of emotion over top of it. It finally made sounds of desperation and fear,
screaming in agony as Harry held it crisping over the flame. Catching alight, it
howled maddeningly in wails of terror. It fought with every shred of strength it had,
hurting through his scar so much it felt like blood was running down his face.
Gripping firmly he ignored the pain and pushed it farther in. It shook violently,
vibrating his whole body with it. But no, that was someone actually shaking him.
Trying to ignore the distraction he focused on holding the hate into his mental
furnace, burning away layer after layer of blackened emotion. His real face was
slapped in stinging pain and he opened his eyes in shock, losing hold of the
nightmare creature.
It was Penny, yelling his name, and about to slap him again. She saw his eyes flutter
open and finally relaxed her hands, slouching down in relief she spoke, "Are you
okay Harry?"
Looking around the room, there were all his dorm mates standing watch, with a few
others observing as well. "I was close Penny, so close... why?"
Professor Flitwick burst into the room and his eyes locked on Harry's. "Right, now
everyone back to their beds, we shall take it from here." Madam Pomfrey entered in
behind him a few seconds later, appearing sleepy and disoriented but casting
diagnostic charms at Harry. Shuffling around, some students left while others slipped
back under their covers.
Harry was helped out of bed by Penny and Madam Pomfrey, while Professor Flitwick
cast a charm to make him lighter. They set him down on a couch in the common
room. He was still holding onto his wands tightly, doubtlessly he grabbed onto them
during the middle of the night. Penny cast a cleaning charm on his face to remove
something as Madam Pomfrey took out potion after potion from a large bag.
Proffering the first one into his hands she motioned for him to drink up. He threw
back the first disgusting potion and nearly retched. Tired and miserable, he was
starting to feel better just from being awake though. Then he actually began to think
about what was going on, "Do I really need all these potions for just a nightmare?"
There was a line of them out on the table for him to drink apparently.
They all looked at him oddly as he set the first empty bottle down. Penny stood up
shakily and went to the side of the room, bringing a smaller mirror back to him. He
barely recognized himself as a pale white ghost stared back, with singed skin and
cracked dry lips. His scar was inflamed and caked with dried blood. Then he looked

down at his hands, blistered and red all around the outside with cold white palms,
they started to shake as realization struck. The funny thing was, nothing hurt.
Another potion was shoved into his hands and he didn't hold back any longer,
ignoring the taste as he concentrated on what had happened.
Professor Flitwick asked the first questions, "Do you know what happened Harry?
Was it the wand again?"
Confusion filled his face as he looked at the wands still stuck in his one hand. He set
them down beside him as he was handed another potion. Between gulps he
answered, "No, something else... hate, just pure hate it felt like. I tried to burn it,
holding it under the flames." Then he remembered no one else was supposed to
know about that. After taking another swig he continued, "I must have cast the spell
while I was asleep, but I don't know why I'm so pale. Nothing hurts though."
Penny was starting to tear up as she looked at him. Noticing the blood on her night
gown he followed the trail of it from their steps up to the dorm entrances. Looking
down at his shirt it was soaked in more blood on one side, underneath the scar. Well
that explained a few things. I hope Penny doesn't have nightmares from this herself.
He reached for his wand to try cleaning himself up but Madam Pomfrey tutted him
and shoved another bottle in each hand. "Your magical core is nearly exhausted
once again. You're too weak and should barely be sitting up, let alone casting magic
now. Tell the professor if you need anything."
Pointing at his shirt Professor Flitwick got the message easily and with a few waves
of his wand, all the blood was gone from the room. Harry relaxed and closed his
eyes for a moment, finding his calm center and letting the rest float away, there was
no longer any trace of the hate. But he could almost sense the path it took to get to
him, hidden from his reach. Sipping the last bottle of medicine, it actually tasted the
best. I guess they've also learnt the last thing you tend to feel is usually what you
remember.
"I'm alright now, I'll go back to bed and hopefully we can all forget about this little
incident." His legs were instantly locked together and he fell back down to the
cushion. Penny's wand was still out pointing at him.
"Thank you Miss Clearwater, if you would cast a few cleaning charms in his dorm
and bed, then you should go back to yours. We shall take it from here." Professor
Flitwick lifted him off the ground with a silent charm and set him in motion to the
main door.
Harry tried to struggle for a moment, "But my wands!" He almost pulled them

towards him before he thought better of it.


Madam Pomfrey picked them up and followed behind him, "They shall be kept safe,
while you recuperate in the infirmary with a few monitoring charms for the rest of the
night." They all left the room and Harry was whisked off to another night's stay in the
hospital wing.
oOoOo
Waking up in the morning wasn't near as pleasant as the day before, but he certainly
felt a lot better than last night. The scent of fresh bacon, toast, and pumpkin juice
was in the air which made his stomach growl. With a near silent pop a house elf
appeared before him, carrying an enormous tray filled to the brim with many different
kinds of food. It was set down easily on a waiting stand but made a weighty creak of
strain after the house elf fingers left it.
Before the timid elf could pop away again Harry called her name, "Kolie?"
She stopped mid turn and looked up abashedly at him, her large round eyes
glistened with guilt, while remorse contorted the rest of her features. "Yes master
Harry Potter sir?"
"What's wrong?" Harry had a guess but didn't want to risk being wrong, not on such
a topic.
Her eyes started to water, but she quickly wiped them away with a small bony hand.
"You're hurt, again! Because of me!" The tears came quickly now. She began
bawling on the floor, attempting to smash her face against the stone but stopping just
short every time.
This concerned Harry more than he cared to admit, since he had only met the elf a
few times. "Kolie, stop. It wasn't your fault, last time, and especially not this time.
Besides I wanted to thank you for helping us out the other day, if you hadn't been
there a student might have died."
Not helping at all, she continued to bawl harder, "B-b-but H-Harry could h-have been
killed as well! A-a-and K-Kolie still wasn't strong enough to help, again!" She started
pulling at her face and hair now.
"Stop trying to hurt yourself, please." Gazing up at him from the floor, she couldn't
help but keep crying and sniffling every few moments. "It was never your fault I got
hurt, because you were only doing as I asked you to, and I thank you for helping me
protect another student. Anyway, I'm not in pain at all and feel completely recovered,

so you shouldn't worry. - And I can guess it was you trying to push more food toward
me yesterday, but you needn't coddle me so. If I need more food I can always reach
a little further for it, thank you for the thought though."
Wiping her nose and eyes she looked up, "Master Harry is so kind... just like them.
Kolie promises to do better next time!" With that she popped away, leaving the
steaming tray of food behind.
Harry relaxed again, one down, three to go. His stomach groaned at the sight of all
that food. Might as well stop resisting.
Pulling the tray towards him he dug in. Buttery pastries with rich jam, fluffy eggs,
fresh succulent fruit, and thick crisp bacon made him whole again, along with some
refreshing juice to wash it down. He couldn't begin to eat it all, but gave it a good try
all the same. There was even a cauldron cake for dessert which he enjoyed as he
began getting out of bed.
Madam Pomfrey came walking back into the hospital wing with a piece of toast in
one hand and newspaper under her arm. Seeing movement behind Harry's curtain
she went to check on him. "And how did you wake up without my charms going off?"
She looked down at the oversized tray of food and back at him. "That house elf sure
has taken a liking to you, but I wish she wouldn't try to do my job for me..."
"I'll try to remind her of that next time I'm here, hopefully it's not for a very long time."
He gave a weak smile.
"See that it isn't. Now, let me check you over one more time before you go." Casting
more diagnostic charms while Harry put on a clean set of robes someone left for
him, she harrumphed. "If I hadn't seen everything, I would imagine you had some
secret regenerative powers hidden up your sleeve whenever I wasn't looking."
As she was checking over one red hand, Harry picked up his Nundu wand from the
bed and attached it back to the holster, it clamped onto his wrist by itself like it was
supposed to. She grabbed his other hand to compare and huffed again. "Would you
look at that, one side redder than the other now. Is this the sleeve with the healing
powers is it?" She teased him, but when she flipped his hand over she saw his wand
there, "Hmm... well, no matter. Drink this potion later tonight, and put this salve on
your arms and face when they itch or feel dry." She handed him two small bottles
and he put them in his pockets. "Be sure not to mix them up, or you might be back
here with a stomach ache you wouldn't believe."
Harry saw the labels on them and didn't know how you could forget. Grabbing his
other wand he turned back, "Thanks again Madam Pomfrey, I'm sorry to trouble you

so much."
"No trouble at all, it's my job. And call me Poppy, everyone does." She gave him an
encouraging smile but seemed hesitant to let him out the doors.
oOoOo
Having until after lunch to be anywhere specific, Harry decided to explore the castle
with his new map. Quickly taking the same shortcut he was shown the day before,
he made his way to the Ravenclaw common room and then his dorm. Retrieving the
map, he scanned it for anything interesting that jumped out at him. The Hogsmead
entrances sounded great but he wasn't about to risk that just to buy a few trinkets he
would get soon enough. Looking around the Ravenclaw tower he saw the perfect
one to try out, it was just down from the common room, inside an old storage closet.
It let out right beside the greenhouses which would be perfect for his morning
herbology lessons. Labeled with a password and a note it said 'watch out for the first
step' which seemed ominous.
The map was tucked back in a pocket as he headed downstairs, where he bumped
into Sue and Padma upon exiting out the main door. They looked embarrassed,
sympathetic, yet expectant, almost hoping he would let them in. Harry's mouth
opened to say something, but couldn't find the words. Another student pushed by
them standing in the doorway, disturbing the quiet as Harry looked away in shame.
He knew exactly what they wanted, to have him confide in them, to be his friends,
instead of simply fellow students he studied with or sat next to in class. But there
was only one person he let get close, and now she wasn't speaking to him. He
wasn't ready for more.
Padma ground her teeth and was about to start in, until Sue pulled her away with a
sigh. Harry looked back in regret, but continued out the door.
Finding the designated closet soon after, he quickly stepped in while no one was
looking. Saying the magic password, 'Cado' and tapping on the door with his wand,
he heard a grating sound of stone on stone behind him, then saw the meaning of the
note. It was a steep drop to the next level that held a door only two steps away with
a brilliant light shining underneath. The drop was taller than he was, so he sat down
on the ledge and turned around while slowly lowering himself down. It felt strange
dropping down, like he fell through the entrance to platform nine and three-quarters
in mid air.
Putting his map away again he opened the door leading directly outside, next to a
potting bench on either side. He recognized the door as being between the third and

fourth greenhouse, one the first years tried to explore but was locked better than
they could open with alohomora, now he knew why.
Harry soaked up the late morning sun and enjoyed the fresh cool air. Wandering
around a bit he figured that this was as good of time as any to go talk to Hagrid,
especially since he was already outside. He strolled along the exterior of the castle
walls, following a well worn dirt path. Avoiding the whomping willow, he carefully
walked over the dewy grass, trying not to slip. An owl hooted in the distant forbidden
forest. Nothing seemed to move though when he stood still to watch, it only looked to
be a dark forest with a variety of large trees. It was almost tempting to go exploring
in it because of all the stories told about the strange creatures that lived there. Not
that he wanted to risk his life at all, but to see how honest or exaggerated those tales
really were. If he could see into it from above the canopy, then he thought it might be
worth a broom ride over it.
Shrugging his shoulders he continued on his slippery path to Hagrid's, not wanting to
put off the apology much longer. He managed not to fall once before finally arriving
at the pumpkin patch. Most of them were picked for the Halloween feast, but some
few still remained, namely a giant one that looked Hagrid sized. The roof of the cabin
still puffed out a steady stream of smoke so Harry assumed he was home. Walking
up the small steps and knocking created another cacophonous bark from Fang with
some quieter words inside.
"Now who could that be, wasn't expectin' one visitor, let alone two." Wanting to run
and hide, Harry didn't feel up to apologizing with anyone else around, and it would
be awkward leaving so fast, or waiting for them to leave. But he stood his ground
and waited for the inevitable.
Hagrid swung open the large door with ease and looked down, "Why speak o' the
devil, we was jus' talkin' about you. Come on in an' join us for a cup o' tea." Harry
was ushered inside to see the bushy haired seat filled once again. He hid his reddish
hands in his sleeves and moistened his dry lips. How did I miss sensing her so
close? Am I still that out of it?
She turned around towards him slowly, "Hi Harry, are you okay? I didn't see you at
breakfast and there were some strange rumors going around..." Looking a little
sheepish she turned back when he didn't respond. Fang ran up to him again ready
to lick his face but a quick thought sent him mopping back to his bed.
This is even more awkward than waiting for some random person to leave. Why
would she come here without me to have tea with Hagrid? Was she that concerned
about her moke traps, or did they really have that much in common to talk about, like

being in Gryffindor without me? And why would they be talking about me, after she
was avoiding me so much? Probably because of the rumors about last night...
His headache was coming back and neither of the potions he carried would help with
that. Hagrid was clanging away in his makeshift kitchen, brewing another pot of tea
and grabbing a miniature cup he was trying not to break. Harry tried to relax and
calm his racing thoughts. Not wanting to think up some excuse and leave, he walked
over and sat down, deciding to suffer through it with forced dignity.
Hermione's eyes flicked to him and away, not wanting to meet his gaze. "Do you
need some help with that Hagrid?" She inquired, probably to avoid Harry's scrutiny.
''Na, I'll be fine, be right with yeh. - It's funny how things work out, ain't it? Yer jus'
startin' ter worry about Harry here and up he pops, settin' yer mind at ease. Bet yeh
was lookin' for her as well, weren't ya Harry?" Hagrid chuckled at the thought and
finally brought more tea with a few softer looking biscuits he made over. Hermione's
cheeks started to blush with the divulged information, but she sipped her tea in quiet.
"I was, but it's been a little hard trying to track her down lately." He felt badly about
where his thoughts were leading earlier but still wasn't happy about being avoided.
Hoping he might get an answer if she was looking for him now.
Her cheeks turned a little redder and she hesitantly took a biscuit to nibble on, or to
keep her hands occupied.
Sitting down Hagrid looked at the two of them, "Got that all sorted then..." He took a
biscuit and waited, but no one spoke. After a minute he grunted strangely, "Are yeh
two try'n ter find a new way ter communicate instead o' talking now? I heard
merpeople use a sort'a sign language when huntin', sounds might useful at times."
Hermione appeared to build up her courage and started to speak, "That does sound
useful Hagrid, the muggle military also do that when quiet is needed." She looked
down at her tea again, "But as for us, I think there's a little trouble communicating at
times. Not knowing what one wants or when the other needs time to think... I should
probably be going now anyway. Thank you for the tea and biscuits Hagrid, it's good
to see you're okay Harry." Getting up from the table she walked towards the door.
"Hermione, wait..." It seemed Harry wasn't going to get an answer after all.
"Not today Harry, I'm sorry. I have other plans. Bye." She opened and closed the
door behind her in one swift movement. Or as swift as possible for a first year to
move Hagrid's enormous door.

The stunned look on Hagrid's face was still there when Harry gave up and took a
biscuit, tentatively trying a bite. "These are really good Hagrid, what are they called?"
Hagrid's jaw flapped up and down a few times trying to catch up with what was going
on, "Huh? Uh, oh, they're called purfle biscuits." Harry coughed suddenly but
managed not to spit anything up. "Say, what's goin' on with yeh two lately? Havin' a
fight about somethin'? Shouldn't yeh be going after her?"
"Not really... I guess she just needs time alone. Ever since the troll incident she's
been a little distant, or a lot distant to me anyway. - That reminds me, I was meaning
to say I'm sorry for leaving the Great Hall when you were put in charge. I wasn't
really thinking that much and didn't consider how running off would affect other
people. So I'm sorry and I hope you didn't get in too much trouble because of us."
Ruffling Harry's hair, he laughed, "Don' worry about it, Dumbledore wasn't expectin'
me ter hold down every house elf who wanted ter help out. They're a might handy ter
have around, but always want ter help too much. Same wit' these biscuits 'ere,
helped me bake 'em, but wanted ter use chocolate or some nonsense in 'em instead
o' some chizpurfle shells. Gotta stop 'em at some point." He took another bite of one
and shot a grin at Harry.
Trying not to laugh Harry nodded along, "That's some good advice." In some
circumstances... just like all sensible rules and wisdom can have reasons to be
ignored. But that's about as rare as Hagrid baking something delicious.
They talked some more about house elves and trolls, Harry mentioning how he stuck
the troll's club to the floor and let it smack itself in the face when he released it.
Hagrid regaled him with a story about scareing off a forest troll with fire from his
pumpkin patch a few years back, and how he never thought the smell would go
away. They laughed about Harry's odd quidditch victory that Hagrid caught sight of,
and reminisced about his father, how he used to love quidditch and could have gone
professional once. It was fun talking to Hagrid, if not always intellectually stimulating.
He could see why Hermione would look for him here, and even want to come here
on her own at times. They soon finished the tea and batch of biscuits while talking
about other fantastical creatures Hagrid heard about.
Harry weaseled in the idea of going shopping during Christmas break, to see if
Hagrid might take him, since his relatives definitely wouldn't want to. Having to check
with Dumbledore first to make sure it was okay, Hagrid was more than willing to take
him out again. With that, Harry said his thanks and left him to tend to gamekeeper
duties.

oOoOo
Walking back to the castle Harry worked on his magical perception, barely sensing
someone waiting near the main entrance. It wasn't Draco and his gang or anyone he
knew closely, but still somewhat familiar. Whoever it was might not even be waiting
for him, but he wasn't too worried even so, with his easy successes against Draco
lately. He came over the rise to see an older student reading a book and leaning
against the stone steps to the entrance hall. It was Robert Hillard, who had probably
heard from Hermione where he was. Harry remembered Robert wanted to talk about
quidditch, maybe to invite him to try outs next year. Something else he would have to
confront before lunch.
Making his way up the steep dirt pathway Harry wondered why no one seemed to
use magical escalators or something similar. It was always, walk here, teleport there,
or bend space through this door and that one, but never make it easier walking from
place to place. He never walked so much in his life since coming to a magical
school. At least now he had a map and shortcuts, but he also had to be careful
people didn't see him enter or leave any.
Maybe all the walking is intentional, since no which or wizard seems to care about
physical fitness unless it's to ride a broom. That has to be it, a teacher or
headmaster must have thought of it, in place of any gym class, they simply walked
all the time. It couldn't be they always did it that way just because no one thought to
change it. They weren't that dull and uninventive, - were they?
Robert noticed him as he entered the courtyard, waved, and put his book away.
"There you are Harry, was almost worried you were avoiding me. Attaching a troll
would have to be the most extreme method anyone has taken in order not to talk
with me. Getting hospitalized two days in a row has been done though, that's why
I'm persistent."
"Ha, that sounds like you have girl troubles worse than I do."
That made Robert smile, "Girl troubles already? I think you might be ahead of the
whole school if you can solve that problem. My troubles on the other hand usually
stem from trying to convince studious Ravenclaws to try out for the quidditch team,
and actually spend time practicing. You wouldn't believe the excuses some of them
give, it's like they take me for a Hufflepuff who trusts in their loyalty. Sometimes I
wonder if there'll even be a quidditch team when I leave... But I'm just being
dramatic, most are passionate enough. That's where you come in, think you have
what it takes this year?"

Harry hesitated, "Honestly? I don't think so. I know everyone loves it, but I'm not
really into public competitions. The main reason why I did much in that amature
tournament was so I wouldn't be hit by a bludger. But the time off wasn't a bad
incentive either. I realize that might not convince you, so you're welcome to give me
your pitch if you want."
"Huh... The only difficulty I expected was talking you into practicing more than once a
week with us. Maybe get you in as seeker next year at the very least. The way you
predicted where the snitch was going to go was as good as the professionals, but
you don't even want to play? - I'm a little surprised, almost every first year in school
would probably jump at the chance to be seeker - if they weren't going to embarrass
themselves. You're not worried about that are you?"
Shaking his head, Harry responded, "Nope, I never was that interested in sports, I
only played football when I was younger because I thought every boy had to. I'm
hoping not everyone has to know about me refusing though? Somehow I get the
impression that declining to join a quidditch team as a first year would be even worse
than being the only one asked."
"Of course... I guess that cuts out my usual ploy to get you to practice with us until
you feel comfortable. - Think you might be willing to explain to Professor Flitwick? If I
told him the news he might not believe I really asked you."
Harry shrugged his shoulders, "Sure, might as well make it official. And I doubt he
has any other method to convince me either."
"Haha, you are a lot brighter than most. But I wouldn't be so sure about that, how do
you think he got me to be captain of the quidditch team and prefect in the same
year? He's not head of Ravenclaw house for nothing. Besides, he would want to
convince you to join every year if you don't explain it to him yourself. He should still
be in his office today."
The trek all the way up to the seventh floor took a few minutes while Robert
explained the virtues of quidditch. Some of the history he mentioned was interesting,
and the rest extremely difficult to believe, yet Harry was dealing with wizards, so he
made allowances in his estimation of accuracy.
Moving on, Harry asked what a professional player got paid. It turned out that the
highest paid ones got around two hundred Galeons per game, which didn't seem
that much considering the popularity of the sport and each team only played an
average twenty games per year. But then again, he saw an ad for a job in Diagon
Alley that paid only forty two galleons a month. Something was definitely strange

about wizarding currency, or the jobs they had.


When they arrived at Professor Flitwick's door Robert knocked loudly as Harry
gazed down the corridors leading to the hall of hexes, and before that, the hallway to
the disappearing room that they fought the trolls in. It was disconcerting that a girl
could get lost in a room without a door on it all the time, and somehow be followed
by two random trolls. The room wasn't even on the map he got from the twins, but
that wasn't saying too much. He figured it might be a good idea to question Lavender
about the incident, to see how she got there and if the trolls were already inside.
He was startled as the door banged open in front of him to reveal a very disgruntled
Professor, Kettleburn was the name Harry remembered. Having only one of each
limb made him a little too unique to forget, his eyes barely glanced at them as he
rushed by in a huff.
Knocking again on the open door, Robert looked towards the distracted and frazzled
Flitwick. "Mind if we come in Professor? Harry wanted to tell you his decision
himself."
"Ah? Oh, yes do come in. Have a seat, and don't mind the burn marks." Said the ash
covered professor.
The chair Harry sat down in was oddly shaped and looked to be built out of old
books and folded papers, much like the rest of the room. Everything was decorated
with blackened soot marks but those seemed to be unintentional and new. Beneath
the layer of grime Harry noticed more books and old scrolls stacked away in open
cabinets or piled in many individual shelves. Despite all the clutter it was still cozy
with rich blue tapestries on the walls and warm reddish wood underlying the whole
room, instead of the usual drab stone. Harry looked back to see Robert still standing,
then backing out of the room, "I'll get out of your hair now, but I tried my best
professor!" He gave Harry a smirk as he closed the door on his way out.
Sifting through stacks of messy papers and disheveled books Flitwick barely
acknowledged his hasty retreat. After several more minutes of watching the
professor maddeningly search around the room, Harry spoke up, "Excuse me
professor, but what are you looking for?"
"My wand, can't do much about this mess without it I'm afraid. Professor Kettleburn
seemed to have forgotten he was carrying an ashwinder egg in his pocket which was
improperly frozen once again, and made a mess of things. If you have a moment to
spare, would you help look as well? It must be around here somewhere..." He was
peeking underneath a giant tome of spells, nearly his own size.

A little confounded, Harry realized there wasn't a new trend in holding your wand at
the ready. It was stuck in the cuff of the professor's small and pointy wizards cap,
matching the plain olive colored robes he usually wore as well. The stick kept
bouncing back and forth on top of Flitwick's head as he tilted this way and that,
searching all around the room. Harry was having difficulty not laughing, "Um,
professor, is that it on top on your hat?"
Straightening up Flitwick looked at Harry in confusion before slowly raising a tiny
hand to his head, feeling around for it. Finally clasping his fingers around the wand
he gave a small high pitched chuckle, "That simply goes to show, even an expert
wizard can learn from some outside perspective." With a wave or two of his wand
the room started organizing itself back into place, furniture straightened up, and the
soot around the room began to disappear. It looked much better and Harry was
impressed by the sight of it, especially when multiple windows were revealed behind
the books which let in more light.
"There, I've been meaning to clean up lately. Now, what can I do for you young man,
I believe Robert said you were here to tell me something?"
"About that, I know some people may want me on the quidditch team, but I don't
think it would be much fun. Somewhat because I already figured out the trick with the
snitch. Though I didn't want to tell anyone else that unless it made them pressure me
even more." Harry spoke as he glanced at the moving lines of text, drifting along the
arms of his chair made of books.
"No fun? I guess sitting through a week long game does tend to discourage people...
but even being seeker doesn't hold your interest? And which trick to catching the
snitch did you find?" Flitwick's bushy eyebrows were raised and he leaned over his
desk with interest.
Having second thoughts, Harry figured it was safest to only reveal one or two things.
"That it reacts to your desire to catch it, so when you clear your mind it simply flies in
the same pattern. Also I believe my enchanted conspecs might be giving me too
much of an advantage."
"Conspecs?" He studied Harry's eyes closely, "Oh, yes, correct you are. Modified
glasses are against the rules, but would be simple to disable the spell during games.
And I should tell you that in professional matches there are more advanced and
faster snitches, since after years of practice almost every seeker realizes what you
already have. Besides, the real challenge is against other competent players, it can
get very exciting trying to influence the snitch at the right times." Harry shook his
head. "No? - Well there always are other positions you might like to try, beaters tend

to have lots of fun if they enjoy hitting things, but with your natural ability on a broom
I'm sure you would feel right at home in the chaser position. If nothing else you could
simply practice this year with the others and learn which fits you the best?"
Harry considered for a moment, but knew he simply didn't care enough. Not when
there was a whole world of magic to explore, and he didn't want to be stuck with
broom riding as his only useful talent because he didn't have time for anything else.
"I'm sorry sir, I don't think it's for me. Maybe someday I might be interested enough,
but not right now. While I do like flying, spending so much time practicing doesn't
seem worth it, and I wouldn't want to get special treatment to skip practices either."
Flitwick gave a lopsided smile, "You remind me a lot of myself in school, always so
studious and eager to learn new spells. Though I did regret not spending more time
playing with friends and having fun in my youth... But I had quite a lot of
entertainment in dueling competitions later. I guess it all balances out in the end,
yes? - I'm sure you will find your own wondrous path with talent like yours, although
if you ever get curious, you will be most welcome at the practices." He winked and
took out a tin of cupcakes. One jumped out and started dancing over the table
towards Harry.
He picked it up and laughed, it was just like Penny showed them at the start of the
year. "Thanks for understanding Professor Flitwick. By the way... do you happen to
know any good books on enchanting theory?"
"Oh-ho, you do have your sights set quite high." With another flick of his wand a
small book came floating down towards Harry who caught it. "I believe that one
might help get you started, but it is a very tricky art to study. Some people take many
years before they are able to enchant a single thing. Most often they are
discouraged by destroying too many valuable materials in the process of learning to
enchant in the first place. Be very careful before you try to enchant anything yourself,
and make sure you have a teacher present at all times, if you do. Since some spells
have a tendency to backfire catastrophically when enchanted wrong."
oOoOo
Thanking him one more time, Harry got up from his seat and left smiling with a new
book in his hand. Closing the door, left one thought nagging at him. Looking down
the sparsely lit corridor Harry followed his map towards where he remembered the
room was, while munching on the cupcake struggling in his hand. Turning the final
corner he saw someone else near the wall where it appeared. Of course, it was
Hermione. He was surprised how she ascertained where it was, but that was also
predictably Hermione, surprising everyone with her amazing knowledge. He could

see her frustration at not being able to find the room and could guess why she might
want to. He stood there to watch, finishing his cupcake, and wondering if she might
discover anything.
She had already told him to stay away once today, but he was determined to at least
apologize to her, for whichever thing he did to make her mad. Although her absent
mindedness cried out to be disturbed.
Slowly sneaking up behind her, he thought a distraction might get her talking. He
knew it wasn't a bright idea, yet it was almost irresistible when she was in such deep
thought, not caring about a thing in the world but the problem in front of her. She
chewed lightly on a loch of hair while staring at the blank wall in concentration. Harry
wished he knew a silencing spell but kept going all the same. Creeping up to a few
steps behind her, he opened the book in his hands and sat down on the stone floor.
"This is interesting."
The silence was broken by a piercing screech. Hermione jumped back from him,
breathing heavily and pointing her wand directly at his head. When their eyes met
she gave him an evil glare. Walking straight at him she pushed him down to the floor,
"Criminy Harry! I'm going to kill you one of these days! Don't hold me responsible the
next time you do that and I throw a blasting curse right at your head. What in Merlin's
name are you doing here anyway? Just come to show off your tracking skills again
and frighten me all at once?"
He laughed lightly while laying on the floor, "Maybe... or I just got done refusing to be
seeker of the Ravenclaw quidditch team and I thought to check on the disappearing
doorway. Though you might want to stay more aware, since it wouldn't be good if
you killed the headmaster because he spooked you one day."
"You know I get distracted when I'm thinking about something, and you snuck up
behind me on purpose! I would say that deserves a little blasting. Now what did you
say about a disappearing doorway?" She tapped her foot in agitation and kept the
glare she was beginning to perfect.
Harry just smiled up at her, "You're kind of cute when you're angry." That halted the
conversation immediately. And there was that unreadable expression back on her
face. He sat up again, "I... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I know
what happened in the infirmary was overstepping the bounds of our friendship and I
don't want to jeopardize that. I didn't mean to do anything creepy and I'm really sorry
if I did. I hope we can still be friends?"
She just stared at him, not moving a muscle or even blinking. He lasted a whole

minute of suffering under her gaze, until he broke, "Come on Hermione, please just
say something. I don't know what else to do, or why you're so mad at me. You're my
best friend, and I've never had one of those before. Please don't push me away by
just ignoring me!"
That broke her expression. She turned her face away and finally spoke, "You really
need to make up your mind about who you like. First I hear it's Padma, then Hannah,
then Lavender, and half the first year girls."
"Wait, Padma? All she does is torment me!"
Rolling her eyes at him, she continued, "Sometimes you can be really dense. You
know that right?" Harry tilted his head and nodded half heatedly. "Now be quiet and
let me finish."
"There have always been crazy rumors about you, and I never know what to believe
for sure. You confirm some, but I can't ask you about them all, especially certain
ones. Yet I come to find out about one you wouldn't want me to hear, that you've had
a crush on Lavender Brown and were using me to get close to her... I mean
Lavender of all people?" She shook her head in confusion, "But I ignored that as
well, seeing how much you liked her. Taking advantage of every opportunity you got,
offering your help against bullies, suggesting I keep Gryffindors like her close, and
secretly practicing your flying. You knew she liked quidditch players and I don't know
how you managed to get on our team, but you certainly impressed her in the end."
Her lips tensed while trying to swallow past the lump in her throat. "I even tried to be
happy for you two..."
She sighed heavily, "But then you get all weird when she goes missing, acting like
you barely care, to knowing exactly where she is, and trying to go save her on your
own. - Next thing I know, you're feeling me up while asleep and ogling me when you
think no one can see. Making me feel horrible because she can't stop talking about
how you saved her, and all you're doing is following me around. That's some pretty
messed up friendship if you ask me." She sniffed and turned her back to him.
The crushing weight of hurt and relief was flooding through Harry. He finally figured
out what was wrong, but a turmoil of emotions kept his throat strangled in fear.
Standing up with near tears in his eyes he took a step towards her. He tried to reach
out a hand to her but she pulled away. Throwing away his fear, pain, and insecurities
he stepped up close and wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly. She
resisted lightly but gave up and sniffed again. The pleasant smell of her hair and the
comforting hold on her let him speak once more.

"I know this sounds crazy, but there isn't anyone I care about more than you
Hermione. Maybe that's sadder than it is sweet, but you're the only one I can relate
to. I barely know Lavender, let alone have a crush on her. I've never even thought
about her in that way, and would never use you like that. You may think I'm a creep
for touching or watching you improperly, but I promise it'll never happen again. I don't
want to risk our friendship or have you stop speaking to me ever again. You're my
best friend in the world, and we have the most fun together. No one could replace
you. I think you know that." He felt better getting everything out, but all his hopes
hung on what she would say next.
Hermione stood there for a moment, shaking slightly, then turned around and
hugged him back, mumbling quietly while sobbing into his shirt, "Don't say never...
you muppet."

Chapter 13 - Friends
Chapter 13
Friends
Lunch bells rang, signaling the time to compose themselves. They slowly untangled
their arms, while Hermione tried to tame her frazzled hair, Harry adjusted his
disheveled robes, and both discreetly wiped away watery eyes. Harry looked for a
distraction and found one already in his hands, "Look what Professor Flitwick loaned
me, it's a book on enchanting theory."
Hermione chuckled at him with a knowing half smile. "You were serious... you turned
down being seeker."
He grinned back, "Yep. Oh, and you won't believe what I managed to get ahold of - a
real Hogwarts map. Want to take a secret passage to the ground floor?" Slipping it
out of his inner pocket he unfolding it in front of her.
This replaced her look of doubt with interest as they slowly headed towards the main
staircase. "Where did you manage to find this? Did Hagrid have it lying around in his
sock drawer or something?" She looked it over for secret passages but there were
only the regular hallways and rooms in great detail. "I don't see any way to get down
there any faster, what did you figure out this time?"
Harry tried to restrain his continuous grin, "I promised not to tell, or even show
anyone the secret passageways, but I'm sure an exception would be made for you.
I'll try to get you access, and maybe another map if you want. The only thing it
doesn't show is the disappearing room you were searching for, we might... or
hopefully someone can talk with Lavender to find out how she got in. Because even I
don't know why the door appeared when it did for me, it could be only available at a
certain time of day or something."
"You mean it wasn't there when you arrived? That's how you know it disappears... By
the way, are you going to tell anyone how you found Lavender?" She glanced at him
skeptically.
"We'll have to talk about that later, I promise, it's just I have... I have a meeting with
Dumbledore after lunch. Where I'll probably have to tell him about the troll incident,
and some other things. But right now, follow me." Leading her onto the sixth floor he
took her to the statue that mirrored the one on the ground floor. Flicking its elbow
revealed the entrance and he pulled Hermione in quickly so no one would notice.

Two short flights down and they were already exiting outside the entrance hall. "Like
it?"
Hermione nodded absentmindedly and stared back at the statue, probably burning
the location into her memory. Harry stepped in front of her, "Can we meet up after
my talk with Dumbledore is over, or do you really have other plans today?"
With a playful grimace she punched him lightly, "Since you startled me from my other
plans and gave me some new information, I guess I can get back to it another time.
And if you get me a copy of that map, all is forgiven." They entered the Great hall
and walked down the aisle together.
"I'll meet you in our usual spot then at around two?" Hermione nodded at him and
they sat down back to back once again.
oOoOo
Harry returned to enter the antechamber in the Great Hall after everyone had left.
Finding the portrait already open and Dumbledore nowhere to be seen, he headed
up the stairway to the office. Checking his map quickly, he noticed this shortcut
wasn't noted on the map either. Probably because the Weasley twins couldn't sneak
into the headmaster's office even if they tried. Exiting out of the other portrait he
smelled the unique scent of toasting marshmallows. Seeing Dumbledore sitting in
their usual alcove holding a thin piece of wood towards the fire confirmed the notion.
Relaxing into the chair beside him, Harry felt whole once again. Hermione was
talking to him, he had apologized to almost everyone he needed to, and no trace of
last night's nightmare remained except the memory. He decided to tell Dumbledore
the details, since if anyone might be able to help or understand the mysterious
magic, it was this man. Roasting a marshmallow over the fire in some plain robes, he
looked almost like a regular person sitting there. Until he wordlessly conjured
another wooden skewer out of thin air and set it down beside Harry. They had
somehow become a lot more casual with each other over the passing month, and
felt at ease simply enjoying each other's company. Maybe that was inevitable when
training in occlumency and sharing personal memories with another person, yet
Harry couldn't help holding some things back.
Starting first, Harry spoke, "So what would you like to hear about first? The quidditch
game, the troll incident, or last night's indie horror film?" Dumbledore was pulling off
a roasted marshmallow onto a crumpet and put a piece of chocolate on as well. "Are
you trying to make s'mores? I've heard they're made with graham crackers though,
and similar to chocolate teacakes or wagon wheels."

Dumbledore jumped up in excitement, "Ah-ha, graham crackers! That was the name
I could not remember. Thank you dear boy, you have saved us from a most dreadful
fate. Coda." A hunched and aged house elf with greenish skin popped into existence
beside him. "Would we happen to have any graham crackers in the castle?"
"Not believing so sir, make them the kitchen could if you like. Requested they have
been, by foreign students in the past." He bowed while answering.
Taking a small bite out of the crumpet s'more Dumbledore's face twisted slightly,
"Hmm, I suppose we will need them after all. Only a small batch if they can Coda.
Thank you." The house elf disappeared again with another slow bow and flourish at
the words.
Harry chuckled quietly but became curious all the same, "What's your opinion on the
idea of owning house elves? Hermione kind of reacted badly to the idea, but I
suppose most muggleborn might, growing up with a history of freeing slaves as the
moral thing to do, after millennia of it being common. I guess even wizards owned
human slaves in the past, but I haven't seen much about it in the history books. That
probably ended in 1689 when wizards all started hiding from muggles, so they
missed the global trend of banning slavery I imagine."
"That is quite admirable of you to pay attention in Professor Binns' class Harry...
many cannot manage the same."
Harry shook his head, "Neither can I, I just read the books. Maybe you can tell me
why you keep a ghost on as Professor some other time though." And such a mind
numbingly boring one at that.
Sitting down again Dumbledore let a droll smile touch his face and considered the
original question, "While Hogwarts must own house elves legally, it has been since
Helga Hufflepuff first brought them to Hogwarts in the tenth century, that this place
was intended to be a sanctuary for them. Away from true ownership, allowing them
to live however they wish. I have tried to uphold that ideal as well. There are no real
rules or restrictions on them here, although they are asked to avoid students, since
some have been taken advantage of, or abused in the past. Very rarely do students
ever seek them out, so I was astonished to learn of your friendship with Kolie and
the rest, especially so soon after arriving here. I can only imagine the reaction of new
muggleborn students, since their presence has been part of Hogwarts to me, for so
many years now. But I have considered similar thoughts to yours as for why the
practice is still allowed, despite my attempts to change it."
"I see, I'm sure Hermione would like to know all that. I guess student abuses are also

why they aren't mentioned in the usual Hogwarts history textbook. We had to search
for a while even to find out anything written about them." Just then, Coda popped in
front of them holding a plate laden with crispy brown crackers, full of little dot like
perforations, topped with sugar and what smelled like a hint of cinnamon.
Dumbledore thanked Coda again and offered to roast a marshmallow for him.
Refusing of course he asked if there was anything else they needed and then
popped away with satisfied grin.
Dumbledore relaxed back in his chair with relish, and his eyes twinkled madly at
Harry when he offered a marshmallow on a stick to him. Harry accepted it with a
chuckle at how someone so old could get so excited about sweets. They roasted the
marshmallows over hot coals while continuing the conversation. "I have to admit
Harry, I was a little disappointed in your quidditch match against Draco. With your
skill it looked as if you could have beaten him more than fairly without resorting to
using your mental abilities."
"I don't know why everyone expects me to be so great, it isn't like I've had any
practice at quidditch, and not much in flying as well. I know I was given the
advantage when I realized the snitch responds to your desire for it. But I didn't want
to be ground into the stands while chasing after a ball, so I just influenced where it
would go instead."
Looking quizzically at him Dumbledore inquired further, "You mean you were
manipulating the snitch and not Draco? I.. It appeared that you were forcing Draco to
chase dangerously after the snitch and crash into both the ground and another
student, while you easily manage to avoid him and catch the snitch."
At Harry's dismayed expression he continued, "I admit I can vaguely sense your
mental spell sent at people but I did not consider you could use that on the snitch
instead, as most mental spells do not work on the nonliving. This revelation is
astonishing, and might account for some unusual occurrences in famous quidditch
games, if another Wizard could use a similar spell. It also explains how thoroughly
you were able to predict where the snitch was headed in that last moment. I am
sorry for thinking so badly of you. Although using your special glasses and being
able to control the snitch is not precisely fair... luring another student into a
dangerous situation is not only unkind, but malicious." Dumbledore's marshmallow
caught fire and he had to blow it off, revealing a charred outside that disappointed
him further.
"I know, I only meant for him to lose the snitch or get knocked off his broom at first,
like he almost did to me. Honestly, I didn't try to run him into Lavender, or even see
her there. As for cheating, I admit it has become habit to take advantage of my

powers at times..." Or when Draco is acting like an ass.


Refastening another marshmallow Dumbledore nodded, "I hope you keep that in
mind and play fairly in any official matches from now on. We definitely would not
want anyone finding out you can manipulate the snitch or the whole international
quidditch league would be up in arms."
"Actually... I turned down the offer. Playing quidditch and practicing riding a broom all
the time doesn't appeal to me, especially knowing I could win at any time but holding
back to play fair. As I was telling Robert and professor Flitwick, I like flying but
quidditch isn't my idea of fun. Finding useful spells and inventive magic is much
more appealing. In addition I think it would be better for me to stay out of the
spotlight with all the harmful rumors and talk still circulating." Harry took the perfectly
toasted marshmallow off his skewer and assembled the pieces together. Taking a
bite was messy but oh so delicious and gooey. I'll definitely have to share this idea
with Hermione and the rest. Packaged Wagon Wheels barely even compare.
Dumbledore concentrated on his marshmallow this time, even with the surprising
news. Although his eyebrows jumped in reaction for him, "I have to say, your father
would be disappointed, being a quidditch champion himself. On the other hand, your
mother would be delighted at your sensible choice to avoid playing a dangerous
game at such an age. I suppose you have six more years if you ever change your
mind."
It took another second or two before Harry could respond with the sticky treat in his
mouth. "So would you like to hear how I found Lavender or fought the trolls now?"
"That part seems mostly self explanatory due to your past descriptions of your
abilities. I should have guessed you might be able to find Miss Brown, yet seeing a
giant tree trapping one troll, and the force at which you threw that bit of metal does
astound me. - Would you like to talk about being responsible for the death of such a
creature? Or what motivated you to take such action?"
"I think you know that last part as well, and it didn't feel sentient to me despite its
human like form. I didn't revel in its death if that's what you're worried about, but I
also didn't feel compelled to show compassion after what it did. Did I do anything
you think was wrong there?"
"Not as such, although I do wish you could have contacted me or another teacher
before tiring Kolie to the point of fainting at my feet."
Shrugging, Harry countered, "It was miscommunication, but if you have some spare
communication mirrors or a way to send messages faster than an owl, I'd be more

than willing to use that next time you let some trolls in the castle."
Dumbledore glanced knowingly at Harry and began building his own s'more, but
managed to squeeze out fluff from one side to drop on his robe. He shrugged and
kept talking while trying to eat it all at once. "I was much more, interested in... what
happened in your nightmare, last night. Spontaneously bleeding scars, and burnt
hands, are something we must watch out for." His long beard was smudged with
more white fluff and crumbs as he devoured the warm sweet.
Hary laughed briefly at the sight, "With all the rumors of the troll I hope last night gets
lost in all the speculation. It's a good thing no one can find that room we fought in or
it might even be more crazy. By the way, do you know why that room disappeared, or
how Lavender and I even found it?" Harry attached another marshmallow to his
skewer and put it back over the dying fire.
"Sometimes the youth have so many advantages..." Dumbledore looked down at the
mess on himself, then cast a cleaning charm and it was gone, "But we wise old
wizards are not without out any strengths. To combine your talents and my
experience is what this school should strive towards. - I do not know exactly what it
is, but it felt similar to a lavatory I found years ago, when I was in a hurry to find one."
Harry looked at him dubiously.
"It also seemed akin to a storage room I found a unique object in last year, it was
exactly what I needed. But I can give no further clues or you would learn nothing on
your own. Please continue your tale about last night." He squished two more
marshmallows onto his skewer and rested it in mid air over the fire, slowly turning on
their own.
Harry began to tell him about the feeling of hate that entered his mind, how it started
earlier in the day, and he had fought it off. Later that night it was more insistent and
caused him nightmares, sensing it was somehow foreign, he realized it wasn't part of
his dream and caught it. Burning it in the fire of his mind, it struggled and fought him
but before he could destroy it Penny woke him up. Probably saving his life in the
process. Dumbledore asked a few questions during his story but was quiet at the
end.
After another s'more each he finally spoke up, "It might be wise to not try that again,
and only push it out of your mind. That is until your are much older and we have
found some better explanation for this event. Or protection for you against it."
"So I'm supposed to simply hope it doesn't come back again? - And are you going to
tell me how two fully grown mountain trolls made it to the seventh floor of the castle

without your knowledge?" He looked up to observe Dumbledore's reaction. Or will


you simply change the topic once again?
He winced minutely at the question, "That I'm afraid is my fault, having tasked
professor Quirrell with procuring a troll to guard a door, I did not suspect he would try
for two wild ones at the same time, let alone lose control of them in the hallways. As
for how they made it to the seventh floor, they must have been chasing Miss Brown
for some reason. I have ensured it will not happen again though."
"That's good at least." Harry resisted commenting on his poor choice of teachers.
Instead he picked up one more marshmallow and glided it to the center of the coals,
holding it in mid air with wandless magic. Slowly roasting it on all sides to a perfect
golden brown, he floated a piece of chocolate to it and melted it slightly as well. Then
brought it back to sit gently between two more graham crackers, making the most
perfect s'more.
Watching him control multiple objects effortlessly, Dumbledore spoke, "It might be
better to restrict your use of any advanced magic as well, until you are fully healthy
again. This dark magic might have been able to affect you recently because of your
weakened state, having passed out the day before from using too much magic
against the trolls. Conserving your energy and getting lots of sleep should help if that
is the case."
A nod of acknowledgment was enough between them. "Does that mean we don't
have to practice today? Trying to manipulate my thoughts and defend from mind
attacks doesn't sound fun right now."
"I would imagined so, given recent occurrences. Next week then. - Now, I can not
reveal my sources, but I hear tell that you might be planning a birthday party for
Hagrid next month. If so, may I be invited as well? He is a good friend and I would
enjoy helping in any way."
Harry might have been surprised if he hadn't gotten to know Dumbledore over the
last month. However much he acted the proper wise old wizard at times, he was just
a big kid at heart who cared a lot about his friends. "Alright, but we were planning on
bringing everything to his place after dinner on his birthday, so it won't fit too many
extras."
"Understood." He nodded gravely, "Please let me know when my help is needed."
Standing up and stretching Harry smiled and motioned to his last s'more, "Do you
happen to have anything to carry this in? I was planning on sharing one with
Hermione if it didn't get all over the place."

The twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes shined brightly once more, "Sharing treats with
friends, one of my favorite past times... Now let me see here, I should have just the
thing."
They walked over to his desk and he reached deep into one of his drawers, shifting a
few things around he finally pulled out, Tupperware? "Muggles do make some
wonderful and creative devices these days. Although it gets hard to keep up with any
of it, I sometimes find useful items like these. I even managed to squeeze in a
preserving, and warming charm on it, so it should be perfect. I would like it returned
later though, having lost a few on my own already."
Nearly laughing at the house-wife imitation, Harry thanked him and made a quick
exit.
oOoOo
On the second floor corridor Harry exited out beside the massive stone gargoyle,
which moved back into place to the din of grating stone on stone, ending with what
sounded like an exasperated huff. He looked back at the passive chiseled face and
squinted at it in contemplation. But soon was interrupted by whimpering sounds of a
young student. Harry followed the noise towards a hallway at the end of the corridor
with his wand at the ready, having recently learned that any cries warranted caution.
Peeking around the corner he saw where the noise was coming from.
It was a young Gryffindor boy trying to pull himself up with the help of a doorhandle
while his legs were locked together. He looked familiar but Harry hadn't tried to
remember everyone's names yet. He fell to the floor again with another whimper,
after the doorhandle slipped out of his weak grip. Wiping the snot from his nose with
what looked like an already moist sleeve, he tried again. Harry stepped around the
corner to help when he felt the presence of someone else farther down the hall. It
was Draco, but by himself this time.
He jumped back behind the wall and expanded his senses to search for the other
two who were probably lying in wait somewhere else, but came up empty. Did I
finally succeed? Did they abandon Draco or did he leave them? If this is a trap for
someone, then it doesn't seem to have helped curb the bullying much. But I can't
expect instant results either, maybe he'll start to mellow with time now that there's no
one to encourage him. I suppose I better help his victim out, but what would be the
best way...
Deciding on a little long distance spellwork, Harry peeked an eye around the corner
again to give the boy a boost. Gently helping him up to his feet received only a cry of

alarm.
"There's someone over there trying to help!" He pointed directly at Harry. What, an,
idiot.
Draco came bolting down the hallway after him, and Harry took off as well. Not
wanting to trip Draco while running, in case he fell face first into the unforgiving stone
floor and died. Quickly ducking into the side door of a darkened lecture hall, Harry
closed the door behind him and tried to calm his breathing while opening his senses.
He felt Draco run past, but also sensed other people in the room with him.
Turning around, he saw a large light shining against the wall he was next to. The
light originated in the middle of the room, from what looked like an exceedingly old
fashion slide projector. It had bronze metal work and a wooden frame that changed
slides at the wave of a wand from an older boy at the front of the class. Though
Harry couldn't see what the image was.
Reading off a cue card, the boy spoke, "What we are seeing here is a bunch of big
breasted, brown, boobies... bouncing on bananas... in the Bahamas." Harry's
eyebrows knitted in bewilderment as boisterous laughter filled the room. "Alright,
who's the jokester that added this one? This is a birding club, not your personal
pranking grounds." More laughter followed as two distinctly red haired individuals
could be seen rushing out the opposite door of the lecture hall, cracking up as they
left. "Weasleys!"
It was another few minutes before the room quieted again and order was restored.
That's when Harry heard the voices outside his door, "Where'd they go
Longbottom?" That's right, Harry thought, he's the one from the boat ride over,
Neville.
"I... I don't know..." He sniffled.
"Bleeding squib, even a piece of rotting troll flesh would be better bait than you.
Forget about me asking Snape to lay off, I'll tell him I saw you spitting in your
cauldron next time you cockup."
"B-but you promised, on your family honor!?"
"Ha! Like your family would know anything about honor, bunch of blood traitors. Have fun getting to the seventh floor with your legs stuck together."
Harry heard the Gryffindor being pushed down and whimper again as he hit the floor.
As he felt Draco walk away, Harry opened up the door a crack and tripped him when

he started to turn a corner. Causing more cursing down the hallway.


Not knowing the counter-jinx to free Neville, Harry opened the door all the way to let
the light in the room, getting the other's attention and angry responses from inside
the room. He stepped outside and looked at the pitiful sobbing Gryffindor. "Next time,
tell a prefect or teacher instead of trusting someone like him." Then he walked away,
leaving him there.
oOoOo
Making his way back to the Ravenclaw library, Harry took another shortcut on his
map to the seventh floor and quickly checked for the disappearing doorway, but it
still wasn't there. So he walked back down to the sixth floor, all the while wondering
how much he should tell Hermione about everything. Coming up behind her reading
intently in their window nook, he nearly gave into scaring her again, but resisted.
Instead he sat down beside her and peeked over at what she was reading,
Beginner's Occlumency, Harry almost laughed. Just when he was wanting to avoid
the topic with Dumbledore, she was getting interested.
"You might want to guard your back before you delve deeper into your mind, you
keep forgetting to stay aware of your surroundings."
"Or, you might be lucky to restrain yourself from trying to frighten me." She lifted her
poised wand from behind the book and smirked at his raised eyebrows.
"So now you're trying to lure me in, acting all bookish and innocent, only to take
revenge. Maybe you don't deserve a special treat after all..." She glanced over at the
small container he took out of his pocket but continued her book, ignoring him. She's
cute even when acting smug... And I'm supposed to be resisting those thoughts,
damn it.
"Never mind, you've got to try one of these, they're amazing." He opened the lid and
held out the s'more to her but she kept ignoring him, simply to needle him a little
more. "You better try it before it gets cold. Otherwise I might eat it up and you'd have
to ask the elves to make a special batch, just for you."
Hermione tried to hide her grin from him but was doing a terrible job, "Fine, if you
insist."
Picking it up she examined it a little and took a tentative bite. Her eyes widened
while trying to keep pieces from falling all over, "Wow, did Kolie decide to spoil you
today or what? This is amazing!" Taking small bites with a hand underneath, Harry
moved her book so she wouldn't spill any on it. She nodded in thanks, not wanting to

try talking again.


"Dumbledore got the ingredients, the house elves made the graham crackers, and
we roasted them while talking. They're called s'mores and are from the states. Oh,
and he wants to come to Hagrid's birthday party with us." Hermione coughed a little
and looked at him, trying to discern his truthfulness. "Don't know how he found out,
but he offered to help in any way. Plus he gave me a few hints on the disappearing
door when I asked, though they're a little weird. One was that the room seemed
similar to a lavatory he found once."
A wry look of disbelief played across her face as she licked at the bits of
marshmallow on her hands, "You know, I almost believe you sometimes, until you go
beyond rubbish with your jokes."
That made Harry chuckle even while trying not to, "Your 'not impressed' expression
is great, but I don't think I have ever lied to you. I may have been a little economical
with the truth... but never lied. Dumbledore also told me that he found a really useful
item in a storage room like that, just when he needed it. It almost sounds like it
appears when it's supposed to, like a lame plot device or something."
Her disbelief turned into a half smile, "Seriously? You expect me to believe your joke
about controlling the snitch as well?"
With a sheepish grin he nodded, "But you can't tell anyone, otherwise it might
destroy wizarding society as we know it, or maybe just quidditch. Who knows?"
"You are serious! What a cheat! How on earth did you figure that out? Was it
anything to do with what you did while fighting the troll? Because there were some
strange things going on then..." He didn't respond immediately so she prodded his
shoulder to get him to talk. He still didn't respond so she kept at it, beginning to
giggle as he sat motionless.
Clouds parted outside the window and light shined in, illuminating her laughing face
with the blue flower still pinned near her collar. She never seemed to go anywhere
without it, even when she was ignoring him. It should have been obvious to him
before, but in that moment he knew that he trusted her, and could tell her anything.
Maybe not all at once though, just in case he scared her away again. Harry decided
it was time to really let her in, so she knew who he was. Even with the short span of
time they knew each other, it felt right. She would always be his friend.
He looked around and let his senses search for anyone close but the library was
deserted. Pulling their chairs together with his wand, Harry began, "You're right. Ever since I was about seven, I was able to send thoughts to people, and apparently

to magical objects like the snitch too. That's how I told you where Lavender was and
why the troll kept screaming, I sent it a thought of the sun. I know it sounds mental,
but it's the truth... I was afraid to tell you before now because of what you might think
of me."
Concern with a reassuring smile greeted him as Harry looked back at her from
scanning the room. "Harry, that's amazing! I thought that felt like your magic when
the idea entered my mind. But you don't have to worry about what I might think of
you, we all had some strange things happen with magic when we were kids. Padma
told me she changed Parvati's mouth into a duckbill once because she was pulling
her hair, Sue admitted to making her toad grow so much as a child that they couldn't
shrink it back to normal. And the stories Fred and George tell about their underage
magic are much, much worse. Even I lit a boy's pants on fire once because he was
making up lies about me. Luckily it didn't burn him like bluebell flames, or I don't
know what would've happened. - Just because you're still doing it doesn't mean
anything's wrong, I heard Seamus Finnigan keeps regrowing his eyebrows without a
wand every time he burns them off."
"This isn't an accident or unintended magic Hermione, I learned to control it, just like
I've been practicing how to sense where people are. That's how I found out about
Draco bullying you three before Halloween, when you were late that day I tracked
you to the dungeons and overheard what happened. It's how I knew where Lavender
was as well. I've barely told anyone about what I can do yet, because it's supposedly
an ominous sign of being a potential dark lord or some nonsense. It's not that I
believe it's shameful, but what others might assume. The rumor mill around here is
completely barmy already, if it got around that I can perform wandless magic and
influence minds... it would be bad." Harry sent the words to her mind, 'believe me
now?'
Her eyes widened at the unsaid thought and her voice dropped to a whisper while
leaning even closer, "That's incredible Harry! How do you do it? Is it like a spell you
imagine casting, similar to the description of learning nonverbal spells? Does your
wand help with either? Do they have anything to do with legilimency, if so maybe you
could teach it?"
She continued speculating and asking questions eagerly, while Harry forgot about
his worries. The news was expected to make her wary, not spark her interest in
learning. He definitely should have known better.
After about a minute of her questions, writing down ideas, and forming plans to try
testing the limits of his abilities, he interjected before she got too far ahead. "Okay, I'll
try to teach you, but it might be really hard because they're not regular spells. It's not

like the description of nonverbal spells, but who knows in practice. It might be similar
to legilimency except I've never done that, and I don't need to enter your mind to
send a thought. I read about a spell called homenum revelio which sounds very
similar to how I sense people, so that might be easier to learn. As for the rest, we've
got lots of time to figure it all out. Just imagine though, if you learn how to send
thoughts too, we'll be able to cheat without anyone noticing, even at exams."
Hermione's stunned expression of horror overrode the interested grin she was
wearing, "WHAT?" She couldn't be more incredulous if someone said her real name
wasn't Granger.
Harry cracked up laughing, "Oh that was too good to pass up. You should have seen
your face, the flap you were in was priceless. But really, the possibilities are
immense."
The glare she gave him was her best yet. It only made Harry laugh more though,
because now he knew what a really angry otter looked like. She was still holding the
crumbs from her s'more, so she threw them at him. They bounced away a foot from
his head and fell to the floor as if splashing against an invisible window. Her jaw
hung open for a second, "Noooooo! That's no fair Harry! How did you do that one?
You're going to tell me all your secrets right this minute or.. or I'm going to - to never
share another spell or trick I learn, especially occlumency!" She clutched her book
close and looked at him with a stern pout.
Trying to suppress his continued laughter at the irony, he held the back of his hand
over his mouth. "I'm sorry," he struggled to continue. "I guess you know almost
everything now, might as well tell you the rest. - I can move objects by thinking about
it, that was the first thing I ever managed to do consciously. That was what made me
practice doing all the rest. The last thing I managed to try before coming to Hogwarts
was this." Checking for any spectators again he held his hand in the shadows of his
cloak so only she could see and let the electricity spark along his fingers.
Staring at the curious sight Hermione frowned and tried to make sense of things, it
took a moment or two to respond, "What, did you watch star wars too much as a
child or something?" His response was not what she expected.
Harry just looked back at her with a small smirk and eyebrows bunched together. "I
would ask how you found out, but it's more likely your powers of deduction are
beyond imagining. Or maybe it's really obvious when I demonstrate one after the
other. But yes, when I was seven I tried to imitate the movies, so when I succeeded
you can guess what I thought..."

"Oh my gosh! - You thought you were a Jedi instead of a wizard! That's why you can
do all of these wandless spells... Harry, that must have taken forever! And it wasn't
too big of a leap after all the star wars references you've made in the past. Plus
sending thoughts into my head reminded me of Obi Wan doing that to Luke. Yes, I
watched it many times as well. I bet every kid tried moving objects and using the
Jedi mind trick after watching those movies, but no one actually expected it to work!
Except you..."
She shook her head at him, thinking of how many years of practicing magic he had
over her. No wonder I can barely keep up sometimes. He may not know the books
but in practical experience he has us all beat hands down. He's almost like a fifth
year who forgot his spells. Maybe even higher because we don't learn nonverbal
spells until sixth year, and who knows when you're supposed to pick up wandless
magic. Her estimation of his powers increased, dramatically.
"And you're not going to like this last secret too much..."
Her mind raced to think of something she wouldn't like, and found it only too soon,
"Don't tell me you lifted up my skirt that first time!?" Which made her think of more,
"Or made me think about you like that in the hospital! You shifty little!" Her face was
neon red again from the memories.
"No, no no no no no No, NO! Nothing like that at all, I would never do anything like
that to you, I promise." Harry held his hands up in protest, "It's only something you
might find annoying, I'm... learning occlumency from Dumbledore, that's why I'm
busy every Saturday afternoon. The first day we met at Hogwarts was actually when
he told me about that kind of magic, and why I came here to look it up." He tried not
to think too much about what she said, saving that for later. But now that she brings
it up, I should have pulled her skirt right with wandless magic that day instead of
saying something. Although I was a little distracted at the time... No, can't keep
remembering that.
Finally Hermione's face was blank with a fading red glow, after so much emotion in
one setting she was finished. "Alright, I've had enough surprises today, if you have
any more just save them for another time. Let's go practice some spells before
dinner, since I might have some unintended magic of my own if this keeps going."
She shoved him back down in his chair as he got up, and then grinned. "See you
there!" Racing off ahead, Harry just watched her go.
oOoOo
When he finally arrived at the dueling room she was practicing alone on a dummy

that was left from the last time. He mentioned to Hermione that he wasn't supposed
to exert himself magically so he practiced his aim with the verdimillious charm, as it
required little magic. Most of the time he watched her out of the corner of his eye and
wondering what she meant about thoughts in the hospital. Her spectacular display of
magic kept distracting him though. She knew every regular spell he did now and was
performing one after the other. Some, she barely managed to get an effect from, like
accio and stupefy, but was getting better all the time. Their friendly rivalry and
common goals seemed to push them way ahead of every other student in first year,
at least in terms of spell casting. Even Padma and Sue who were near the top of
classes with Harry, and even practiced with them, didn't seem to be close. Of course
practicing almost every other day with each other made the most difference, yet they
seemed to care more as well. Especially now, with recent real life events to motivate
them further.
Hermione stopped for a moment to catch her breath, and glanced over at him as he
quickly looked away again. She stood there for a little while shooting him fleeting
looks while he lazily practiced his aim.
"Okay, what are you thinking about now?" Harry asked, unable to stand it any longer.
"You haven't sent anyone letters yet, have you?"
Confused by her random question, he slowly responded, "Uh, no. Why, was I
supposed to or something? There isn't a wizarding letter writing holiday I missed is
there?"
She shook her head while deep in thought. "No, I'm just wondering where she got
them."
"Who? And what are you talking about?"
"It's not important... I hope." Hermione bit her lip while turning away and thinking
more. If he didn't send Lavender those letters then who did? I'm not even supposed
to know about them, but it's hard not to overhear all the giggling discussions
Lavender and Parvati had on the subject. The only reason why I believed any of
those rumors is because I snuck in her drawers to have a peek, and they were all in
his handwriting. They didn't sound like him, but how could anyone imitate it that
well... Magic of course. There must be some spell to copy handwriting, but who
would do such a thing? Should I even tell Harry?
Hermione looked back at him, as he turned his head away from meeting her eyes
again. Harry was throwing his spells randomly now, barely even aiming, and she
knew that meant he was lost in thought as well. Of course I should tell him,

especially now that he revealed all that to me. But how would that make him feel,
and what would he do then? Confront Lavender and demand to see something no
one should know about? They'll obviously know it was me who told after he says he
didn't write them. That won't help catch who's doing this, it'll only start another rumor,
and get the other Gryffindors to hate me again. Oh no... That's probably the only
reason why they pay attention to me in the first place, because I'm friends with Harry.
Was it the other way around? Was Lavender being friendly just to get to Harry? No, I
shouldn't think so badly of people, that's how I almost screwed things up with Harry.
He's got too much on his mind lately for me to tell him, with all those horrible rumors
and hospital visits. I don't know what to do anymore...
She began casting spells with more force than before, working her frustrations out
on the dummy.
Harry hoped she was alright, and not any more absentminded after what happened
to her. Going back to his contemplations, he was curious how Hermione reacted to
the memory of being slammed into a tree, or if she even remembered. It still
disturbed him to think about, but he wasn't going to shy away from it, instead he
would use it to motivate himself. He wouldn't let that happen again. The only
question was, how.
Defense training is the first step, which can be used in any situation no matter how
advanced our magic becomes. There are bound to be innumerable books on the
subject so I have to find someone who is already considered a master to know what
to read even. Dumbledore might give advice but he probably doesn't have more time
to help train us. He mentioned someone else good in defense at their first meeting,
Alistor, or something like that, who might be another candidate. Supposedly
professor Flitwick was a dueling champion and might be able to help. Medals for
dueling teams at Hogwarts are in the trophy room, but a club for it doesn't seem to
exist now. Maybe I can convince professor Flitwick to start it up again?
That would serve as a beginning, but for our age magical artifacts might be the most
effective defense. Yet every powerful object we've read about seemed to be lost
relics, or extremely rare and already owned by ancient wizards in far off lands. No
one today is able to create novel artifacts or replicate old feats. All they do is
manufacture slightly better racing brooms and some common trinkets. Sure, some
might be useful like an expanding trunk and invisibility cloak, but where was the
impenetrable armor, or scabbard that never let you bleed? Why couldn't any wizard
create another sword like Fragarach? It almost seems like someone is actively
impeding progress, or wizards have gotten so lazy that no one cares enough to try.
Whatever the reason, Harry was determined to find any useful items available, and
simply create the rest in the future.

While pondering their options Harry realized he was openly starting at Hermione
now. She hadn't noticed yet, being too intent on trying to cast a new spell, Protego.
About to turn away, he saw something odd about her wand. There was a short dark
line down the side of it, almost resembling a crack. "Hermione, what's that on your
wand?"
It took her a second to register the words while practicing but when she did, her
wand shot down beside her, vainly trying to conceal it. "It's nothing, we should be
going now, almost time to eat."
Giving his finest cynical stare, Harry walked over to her and put his hand out. Very
reluctantly she glanced at his face, then slowly placed her wand in his hand. "It's
fine, you're just going to make a bigger deal out of it than it really is. That's why I
didn't want to tell you."
"When did this happen? Was it Draco?"
"No, it happened when... I got hit, or at least it was that way after waking up in the
hospital. There's nothing you can do though and it still works perfectly fine. So give it
back now." And I really don't want to give you even more to be bothered about.
Upon inspection it was only a hairline crack, about an inch or so in the middle of her
wand. Harry couldn't tell any difference in her spells, but he thought she might be
compensating by merely training more. "I'm sorry Hermione, - there's got to be some
way to fix it though. Wands can't be impossible to fix for no reason. We'll figure it out
together." He handed back her wand and she nodded, pocketing it.
Bells chimed for dinner, and Hermione picked up her book bag shaking off the
conversation. "Want to try finding that disappearing door after dinner Harry? Maybe if
you don't distract me this time, I might be able discover a way in."
"That's it! The disappearing door, Peeves said something about it a while back, when
he kept talking in alliterations. It detects your deepest desires. Just like the hints
Dumbledore mentioned, it knew what he needed and appeared each time. We'll
definitely have to go back, and maybe I'll show you how to get in!" He stuck out his
tongue at her and fled before she could reply with a spell.
oOoOo
He smirked at her as she arrived in the great hall a few minutes later, after storing
her books. She still sat right behind him, and halfway through dinner he found out
why, when a cherry pit hit the back of his head. Turning around with a suspicious
look in his eye, Harry saw her repressed grin and pink cheeks at having done

something so mischievous. Shaking his head, he turned back around. But during
dessert he saw bowls of ice cream, sitting in trays of ice to keep cool and thought of
the perfect way to get her back. Discretely, he floated a tiny piece of ice across the
aisle at foot height, only to raise it up behind Hermione and drop it down the back of
her shirt.
Cringing and arching her back in shock, she managed to resist the urge to scream
out and instead balled her hands into fists trying to bear the cold surprise sliding
down her back. She shivered as it reached her lower back and covertly reached
behind to grab it before it went any further. Luckily Harry turned his head back
around before she managed to give him a glare of death.
But he wasn't so lucky when she stepped on his foot after they got up from the table.
She was so light that it didn't hurt, but the real surprise was when she shoved a
handful of large ice cubes down his shirt as well. Thankfully he didn't tuck in his shirt
and they fell quickly through, feeling only a slight chill. With a triumphant smile Harry
said, "After you." and waved her forward.
She ground her heel a little more and with a similar smile mumbled, "Prat," then
walked away.
Catching up to her before the stairs, Harry tapped her on the shoulder and waved
her back to the secret passageway. He followed in behind her when no one was
looking. She ran up the stairs before him, but waited at the stone door peeking out.
When he caught up with her she whispered quietly, "Professor Snape is out there
already, how did he get here before us? Did you see him leave dinner early?"
"I don't know, your foot kind of distracted me. What's he doing?" Harry leaned close
to try looking out.
"Your little practical joke distracted me more, and I still owe you for that one."
Nodding to the opening, "He just seems to be walking around, like he's waiting for
someone. You don't think...?" She looked at him in worry.
Harry chuckled, "What, that he would care if we don't take the right stairs or
something? If he has that much time on his hands then I shiver to think about his
social life. And you really should be the mature one, not keep trying to get me back.
You are almost a year older after all."
The mischievous glare was back, "If you're not worried then go out there and ask
him what he's doing. By the way, I still might owe you for frightening me earlier,
depending on that map. You might barely get off the hook now if it has the hidden
passageways with it. Otherwise you should start looking over your shoulder more

often."
"Naa, I can feel you coming, remember?" He grinned back at her, "But I'll try to get
you the secret passageways as well. Shouldn't take much. - Okay, he's still just
walking back and forth, want me to try tipping something over down at the other end
of the hallway? Then we can make for the stairs to the seventh floor."
"Fine, but if you get us caught, I'm blaming it all on you." Hermione crossed her arms
in mock anger and stood back to let him work.
Seeing a suit of armor down at the other end of the hall, his smile widened, it was
simply waiting to fall over. He gave it a strong nudge on one heel. Ever so slowly it
slid further and further out from under the main body, and with a resounding crash, it
fell to the floor. Snape immediately had his wand out, looking around in every
direction, then he focused on the fallen armor. Walking steadily toward it he kept
looking around, but Harry just waited. When reaching the fallen armor he took out his
wand. That's when Harry grabbed Hermione's hand and as he saw Snape start to
cast he pulled her out with him and around the corner, rushing towards the stairs.
They made it there without any calls to stop, but kept on going past other students,
up and around another corridor onto the seventh floor. Panting slightly from the effort
they leaned against a wall to relax. Harry looked at Hermione who's face was red
and pointed away from him, yet wasn't breathing very hard. "Hermione, what's
wrong? We got away easily, there's nothing to worry about."
She simply looked at him, then down at their still tightly clasped hands.
"Oh, sorry." He let go gently and found his wand instead, if only for something else to
occupy his hand. "Didn't mean to hold on for so long. Let's go check out that door."
Strolling along the hallway they passed a few other Gryffindors who usually played
around on the seventh floor. The sixth floor was commonly occupied by Ravenclaws,
being the level their common room entrance was. Harry heard that the Slytherins
claimed the dungeons, and Hufflepuff mainly congregated on the ground floor and
basement. So they most likely would only be bothered by Gryffindors while trying to
enter the missing room. Finding the right corridor soon enough, they stood in front of
a tapestry depicting someone dancing with trolls. It didn't seem that humorous after
facing real ones.
"So, the clues were finding what you need, and it detects what you desire. We both
really want to get back into the original room so there shouldn't be any conflict there.
Why doesn't it open?" Harry tried to remember anything else he was told about it.

"You didn't say a magic phrase or tap your wand anywhere on the wall, did you
Harry?" He shook his head, so she carried on, "It could be that you have to actually
have a need for it, and not just a desire. Though maybe you were right and it only
appears at certain times when in need. But how could it be there for Lavender before
dinner, disappear, and then appear after right you got there? That seems awfully
coincidental to consider such short time frames. Could it only appear on Halloween
night, whenever there is someone around to need it? That would be disappointing. What we should do is retrace your exact steps to see if that might help. If not, I'll ask
Lavender how she got in later tonight." He nodded.
Walking to the spot he believed was where he appeared with Kolie the other night,
Harry tried to follow his memory of events. He stepped up towards the wall, then
turned to the left, heading for the empty classroom door. Opening it, he looked
around again then closed it and started walking back the other way, only to stop near
Hermione. Someone was close, he could sense it. Whoever it was, came closer than
should be possible without seeing them. It felt slightly familiar but impossible to
place, and should be standing a little way down the corridor.
"What's wrong Harry? Did you forget what-"
Interrupting her from saying more, he shook his head, "Let's go Hermione, you got
what you needed from your dorm, now we should head back to the library. If you
want me to explain that trick, you'll have to hurry up."
Looking at him with a bewildered expression she almost asked what crazy pill he just
took, but instead replied in a less than steady voice, "Okaay?"
He smiled at her and took her hand once again, leading her back to the Ravenclaw
library. He let go of her hand when another student passed by this time but they kept
walking together. The presence followed them for a little while but turned away as
they entered the library. The goosebumps on the back of his neck finally started to
reside.
Sitting down in their usual chairs Hermione turned to him with an expression of
consternation. "What was-"
Cutting her off again Harry put a finger to his lips and took out his wand, and cast the
veredemillis spell at the open doorway, but there was no reaction. He tried sensing
for the same presence again but couldn't find it, "Okay, that was really creepy, sorry
for not explaining better. You know how I said I could find people, well there was
someone, invisible I'm guessing, back near the tapestry just watching us. When we
left, it even followed us until we got in here. I thought they might be tipped off by

saying more, or just shivering too much, but apparently not. Think someone has an
invisibility cloak around here?"
"At least you're not crazy... I think. But why didn't you send me a thought instead of
hoping I understood?"
"Well, apparently it can be sensed by some people, and I... kind of forgot as well. I
haven't used it much to communicate to people, mostly to convince others to do
things. And before you ask, no, I never used it on you that way, and never will."
"It's okay, I trust you, otherwise I would have run away from your madness long ago."
She put on her teasing smile again. "Back to invisibility cloaks, they're expensive but
there's also the disillusionment charm. It's reputed to be really hard to perform
though, perhaps it was a seventh year going to play a trick on us? I guess the
disappearing room will have to wait until tomorrow then. I'm going to find something
to read, you write down what you remember so I can compare it with Lavender's
version later." She stood up and started searching the stacks for something
interesting.
Harry did as he was told and then they read for a while, parting ways when the clock
chimed for curfew. Planning their agenda for the next day only took a moment, it
would be back to the same old routine, along with disappearing rooms to research.

Chapter 14 - Celebrations
Author's Note: Instead of being annoying and asking, begging, or guilt tripping
people for reviews, I shall simply state that they help motivate me. Especially when
they are constructive and informative, which help me improve. Although the simple
supportive ones aren't too shabby either.
Chapter 14
Celebrations
Night passed swiftly for Harry after drinking the potion given to him by Madam
Pomfrey. The chalky taste of it reminded him of some others he was given the night
before, which seemed ages ago. Not a single dream disturbed him while sleeping,
although he couldn't remember having any upon waking either. Throwing off his
covers and sitting up in the morning, he checked himself over for any signs of
damage like the night before but found none, not even the light burn scars on his
hands, which seemed completely healed. Magical medicine is apparently the strong
point of potions. Maybe I will ask Fred and George for a few, like the ones Hermione
suggested.
While brushing his teeth to get ready, Harry began contemplating what
enchantments could be put on a toothbrush to make it better. Other students didn't
seem to have enchanted toothbrushes, although some owned magical toothpaste. A
simple vibrating or self cleaning charm would at least replicate what muggles could
do, yet none were used. He wondered if it was simply too expensive or impractical to
enchant such an everyday object, even if it saved someone weeks or months over a
lifetime. Though it was becoming increasingly obvious to him that wizards did without
most items that could make their lives better. As if they were already so comfortable
in the first place that anything more would spoil them.
Checking his captivating watch, he saw there was plenty of time before breakfast, so
he decided to go downstairs and observe the habits of his fellow Ravenclaws. Before
he got lost in speculation about what enchantments his watch, shoes, and anything
else could use as well.
Hearing a wail of anguish made Harry jump in alarm, his Nundu wand was in hand
before he knew what was going on. But finding Stephen Cornfoot had stubbed his
slippered toe against a chair left in the middle of their dorm relieved the tension.
Apparently wizards didn't have it quite that easy. He helped Stephen sit and cast a
weak episkey on an already swelling red toe, receiving a surprised and emphatic

thanks in return. Making Harry feel almost content, living in a world of magic and
crazy wizards, despite even crazier creatures and rumors.
After quickly grabbing a shower in the boy's bathroom Harry made his way
downstairs. He leaned on the banister above Rowena's statue, overlooking the
whole common room and taking it all in. Being a Sunday morning the common room
had a relaxed yet expectant quality. Some read or did homework, others played
games, but most chatted with friends. One was looking right at him, Penny. Probably
concerned over the night before he figured, so Harry decided to give her a
reassuring smile. She smiled in return and then grimaced, stalking off to scold a few
third years who were still too excited about the their first Hogsmeade weekend, and
forgot to hide their contraband from the day before.
Padma and Sue stepped up beside Harry, "Are you okay? We heard someone cry
out through the wall, and with that story we heard yesterday..." Sue observed him in
concern.
"Never better, thanks for asking. But don't believe those rumors either, the reports of
my death are greatly exaggerated."
"Pfff, maybe your ghost would at least explain a few things." Padma mumbled
snarkily only to receive another elbow to the ribs. She eyed Sue but put on a friendly
smile, "Ready to tell us what happened the other night or shall we have to torture it
out of you?" She held up a fluffy feather quill in a threatening manner and squinted at
him.
"I... I don't know yet." Harry chewed on his lip for a few seconds, "Someone keeps
spreading rumors about me, and while I really doubt it's you two, it's making me
slightly paranoid. I think you should know someday, but.. not right now. Can we still
try to be friends? Or do you need to keep ignoring me until I tell you?"
Padma poked his nose with the feather, "Not the answer I was looking for, - but fine."
She sighed, "I was getting tired of seeing your pitiful and dejected face when you
couldn't sit with us. Is that okay with you Sue? Might wait years for this oaf to spill
the beans."
A mirthless chuckle escaped Sue, "My grandmother would love to teach us all the
relevant proverbs at a time like this. Something like, 'Do not keep a secret from your
friend which your enemy already knows.' Or maybe, 'So long as you can keep a
secret it is your prisoner. If you let it slip then you're its prisoner.' But her favorite
would probably be, 'Never do anything that you want to remain a secret.' - It's
entirely up to you Harry, but every choice has its consequences. We'll still be your

friends though, even if Padma gets in another huff."


Feigned shock was all that could be seen on Padma at the betrayal from her best
friend, "Great, now I've got to deal with a reserved genius and a callous sage,
neither of which like rumors or share secrets. I'm surprised Parvati didn't go mad
after meeting you two. - Perhaps there's still a chance..."
"Oh, and we're sorry that we didn't believe the story about your wand in the past,
seeing that tree grow was quite convincing. Although Padma still wants to see it for
herself, I haven't been able to find the room again. Do you know where it's at?" Sue
took the quill from Padma and got out a scrap of parchment.
"Funny you should mention that, Hermione and I have been trying to find it ourselves
without any luck. Apparently it disappears when not needed. Would you two like to
help uncover that mystery instead?" Glancing between them Harry could see their
eyebrows raise and heads tilt in interest.
Looking silently at each other and then back, they nodded together, "Sure."
After explaining the problem and few hints the clock chimed for breakfast. Reaching
the great hall they found Hermione with mild bags under her eyes and her hair
slightly more frazzled than usual. She even smiled lethargically when greeted, but
explained it was only from Lavender keeping her up all night, talking about what
happened and considerably more. Harry ate ravenously while others joked about,
placing bets on how much he could consume. When it got around the table, an older
student mentioned that extreme hunger was the sign of overused magic, and that
while practicing for N.E.W.T. exams one year, the Head Girl ate a whole platter of
roast beef and mashed potatoes all by herself, along with three pies.
Harry's paltry six sausages, four eggs, a bowl of fruit, and five pieces of toast didn't
compare. So he managed to grab a few buttered scones and a rasher of bacon
without anyone commenting further. It seemed Kolie knew what she was doing
placing so much food in front of him, yet his stomach resisted by grumbling loudly at
times, not being used to the treatment.
As breakfast was winding down, Gemma Farley the Slytherin prefect, came walking
up behind Harry, leading a commotion of whispers as she passed. "Wanna explain
how the troll died yet? People are starting to get out of control and making it hard for
the prefects to keep order." She acted nonchalant with one hand on her hip and a
bemused expression on her face.
In his peripheral vision Harry could see the Weasley twins smirking covertly at the
confrontation. She was truly intimidating, being so tall and shapely with curly black

hair, that nearly all the Ravenclaw boys talked about her and probably the rest in
school as well. Her dark bewitching eyes and delicate pink lips distracted him while
trying to formulate a coherent sentence. Trying not to look down from her face to
even more engrossing sights at eye level, he replied quickly, "Er - It was from an old
grenade I found lying around and managed to throw in its mouth."
"A what? Don't start making things up now."
"It's a muggle explosive device, there were all kinds of odd things in that storage
room. I grew up around muggles so I recognized what it was. Any muggleborn can
confirm it, or even... t-the muggle studies teacher." Harry stammered a bit when his
eyes dropped for a second.
A small half grin was what he looked back up to. She laughed quietly, "Okay
handsome, I'll tell them." Even more excited whispers began as she sauntered off.
Not to mention the shameless leers and ogling eyes that followed her past both
Ravenclaw and Gryffindor tables again.
The expression he got from Hermione before she turned back around was puzzling,
but the looks on his fellow Ravenclaws, especially the girls was disconcerting to say
the least. Sue was wearing a curious but confused expression, much different than
the rest. Another thing he probably shouldn't explain, at least not yet. Breakfast
ended with Hermione going to take a nap, the Weasley twins barely able to contain
their excitement, and Sue and Padma going outside with the other girls from first
year.
Retrieving the new book on enchanting from his dorm, Harry sat down in his
common room, next to the warm blue fireplace and a bright arching window
overlooking Hogsmeade. Older students were walking down the long path to the
gates, intent on enjoying the day there, as two fiery redheads bounced up and down
in unrestrained glee the entire way.
oOoOo
A few of the senior boys teased him about the breakfast spectacle, mostly interested
in why Gemma was talking to him at all. His explanation about the bet appeased
most when they realized she was the only one who all the houses would believe,
after Penny refused. When lunch arrived later on, Fred and George came prancing
back into the Great Hall with sacks of candy and joke items. They threw Harry a
giant bag while shouting "Great minds think alike!" Thanking him right out in the
open like there was nothing wrong. They're entirely too cunning.
Sorting through some of the joke items Harry specifically handed Sue some belch

powder, and Padma a bar of frog spawn soap. They gave him a tired glare. "Just be
glad I didn't try to use them on you!" He laughed as their looks darkened. Seeing a
package of hiccuping sweets he threw those to Penny with a smirk, receiving a small
grin in return. Stashing a handful or two of assorted things in his pockets he spread
everything else around. Sharing the ill gotten gains with others assuaged the little
guilt he had.
Even after saving stuff for later, Harry noticed that everything else disappeared
slowly as it moved around the table. It seemed Ravenclaws weren't gluttons for
sugar or pranks like some houses. He looked back to see Gryffindors fighting over
this sweet or that prank item, which were thrown about by the twins. Hermione got
surprised by some ice mice landing in her dessert, forcing her to eat them first. But
when Dumbledore cleared his throat the room echoed with the noise, getting quiet
immediately.
That is until Fred boldly threw a package of fizzing whizbees up at Dumbledore,
which he caught gracefully and nodded his thanks. The entire room burst into
laughter at this and more goodies started flying to other tables. Minerva gave
Dumbledore a severe gaze but jumped at the fudge flies landing on her plate. She
turned the look on George who twisted away sheepishly. Flitwick just laughed as an
older Ravenclaw floated up a peppermint toad onto his hat, which he promptly
grabbed and ate. A few sweets even made it to the Slytherin table near Gemma, and
it almost looked like they aimed some at the back of Draco's head.
Quiet smacked the room again as Snape's chair screeched in outrage across the
floor. Muted chatter started up slowly when nothing further occurred, but the frenzy
of flying sweets was over. Harry was actually surprised at the level of intimidation
that Snape still held, mostly because he stopped trying to force it down others'
throats in class, at least from his perspective. Lunch ended in mild excitement when
those who needed more sweets ran up to Fred and George in supplication.
Hermione and Harry met up with Padma and Sue outside the great hall for their trek
up to the seventh floor. Slipping a trick wand into Hermione's pocket, he pretended
not to notice her questioning expression.
They took the long way up the stairs, avoiding any awkward situations like last time.
Harry offered the others some every flavored beans as they made their way higher,
but they had already been spoiled on them. He on the other hand hadn't found a bad
one yet. They inquired about his relationship with the twins but he only shrugged,
"They've pranked me a few times, but I don't know how they could have seen what
happened in that room to win the bet."
It wasn't only Sue that eyed him suspiciously at that comment, but Harry interrupted

them by offering more chocolate frogs around, and asking Hermione what Lavender
told her the night before.
"Nothing really, she said she saw an open door in the first floor bathroom which she
thought was the exit, but it only led her into the that room. When she noticed the troll,
she ran, telling me all about the places she hid, but nothing that sounded useful."
They continued on in confusion.
Upon reaching the right corridor on the seventh floor, there appeared something odd.
Red rope barriers, similarly used for queues, blocked the whole hall, starting just
before the tapestry of dancing trolls. Something seemed fishy to Harry.
Walking up to it there was a sign, 'Do not cross, For your safety.' Hermione was
about to touch it to get a closer look.
"Stop!" Harry commanded in worry, he held her hand in place with his wandless
magic before her fingers made contact. Their eyes met in acknowledgment and he
let her go. "There's probably a magic barrier too, and it might not be a nice one." He
could feel a strange buzz of magic it gave off, like the hum of electricity running
through live wires. Picking out a yellow bean from the box, he tossed it over the
ropes. It launched back at them as if from a catapult, flying across the other end of
the corridor, skidding across the stone to a stop against the far wall.
"Huh, a banishing barrier? That's a little severe for a school corridor, even when
dealing with Gryffindors." Padma nudged Hermione in play. "So this is where that
tapestry was, it was a little surreal looking at that while knowing you three were in
there with a real troll... or two." She started chewing her nails, staring at it intently.
Sue rubbed her back gently, "Don't worry Padma, there will surely be more times
that Harry gets us into worse trouble. You'll be able to help them. Besides, it's not
like we girls were able to grow a tree over one troll, or recognize a ...muggle
grenade, to throw in the other." Giving a pointed look at Harry, she hugged Padma
as her sobs began.
Harry's eyes widened at Hermione in helpless bewilderment.
"You were both so, rigid, when they carried you out... They said you were fine but I
couldn't help but imagine, - and every time I heard those horrible sounds..." The
sobs rose to trembling tears, falling down her cheeks.
Tearing up slightly herself, Hermione reached out to hold Padma as well, "We're all
fine now, no one's hurt anymore. We saved Lavender and made it back okay." Her
voice weakened as if from a stuffy nose.

"I'm so sorry... for not helping, for being rotten, for everything." Padma moaned while
looking at Harry through her tears.
"Get over here you secretive oaf, we're friends aren't we?" Sue called him over with
red eyes of her own.
Never dealing with multiple girls crying before, Harry frantically searched his
memories for what to do, but found nothing. Instead he let himself respond naturally
and embraced them. Holding on securely while they wept. He felt the urge to cry
also, but resisted.
"It's okay. That won't happen again. We can all protect each other and practice
together, preparing for anything we might face." They nodded in agreement, quelling
their tears a little. "And maybe I'll have to explain more as well, because someone is
coming now."
Questioning expressions developed on Sue and Padma but Hermione just nodded,
untangling her arms and wiping at her eyes. They all followed suit and separated
from each other, Harry took out his wand and held it behind his back. When around
the corner came Snape, sweeping toward them with a dangerous glint in his eye.
"Potter! What are you four doing up here? Come to soak in your glory over
accidentally defeating a troll?" An impassive and calculating look was all he received
from Harry. "Well, speak up."
Hermione cut in, "We were discussing how two trolls managed to get to the seventh
floor in a secure castle like Hogwarts. And why this corridor was blocked off so
recently. It seems... suspicious." Her incisive tone changed Snape's expression as
his calculating gaze fell on her.
"That is none of your concern, students should not be loitering around corridors
where they have no cause to be. Leave, now." His crisp response brooked no
arguments.
Stepping between the two, Harry glared into Snape's eyes, giving him an unsaid
warning. Harry guessed or possibly sensed the all too familiar magic of legilimency
between them a half second before. "Of course Professor, we will be more careful in
the future."
With that he turned around and ushered the confused girls back down the stairs.
Pulling Hermione aside for a second he whispered in her ear, "Never look directly
into Snape's eyes again, or any other adults that seem suspicious for that matter."
How could I forget about legilimency before telling Hermione about everything? We'll
have to fix that somehow.

Her intent features meant he was going to have to explain much further, but she
agreed none the less, "Alright."
oOoOo
With that area of exploration blocked off, they were forced to the main library,
searching for clues about rooms that could appear when needed. Although with
wizards being stuck in the past meant they were all very secretive and the search
turned up nothing useful. They discussed how it might be possible to talk a Professor
into letting them browse the restricted books for an extra project, but tales of first
years being granted access were simply that, tales.
Harry slammed a book shut in frustration, feeling like he was so close to the answer
yet denied it at the last second. "We really should research your idea about a
magical index book Hermione, or maybe some spell to sort or find specific topics in a
library at least. Even the simple encyclopedia software on my computer back home
is better than this." He laughed, "But just imagine trying to get an old wizard to use a
computer."
Hermione gave an amused chuckle while Sue and Padma tried to comprehend this
new inside joke of theirs. Padma seemed a little offended, "Well this is how it's been
done for centuries, and it's worked so far. And what is a coputer anyway? Some new
muggle device that people will forget about in another few years, like blimps or
electric cars? My great uncle was fascinated by stuff like that at the start of the
century and always complains about muggles getting distracted by useless new
gadgets."
"Muggles do tend to go from one thing to the next quite often. My father is almost
predictable in that way, which my mother likes to complain about as well." Added
Sue.
Trying not to be rude, Harry explained, "Modern electronic computers have been
used in one form or another since the forties, but mechanical ones were around
since the eighteen hundreds or possibly earlier. They started out as a way to do
math or solve problems quicker than in your head, but these days they're so
advanced you can do all kinds of things with them. From reading books, to playing
games, or listening to music, to talking to someone around the world. They'll only get
more advanced with time. I bet every muggle on the planet will have one eventually,
- and then maybe wizards will start using them, if their magic doesn't interfere."
"Wait, how do muggles talk to someone on the other side of the world? Even
wizarding radio doesn't go that far. And what kind of game can you play on a gadget

that does math? Guess the distance to a flying broom?"


That only made Harry want to show them his Nintendo, maybe during summer...
"Well, muggles use technology like radio to transmit stuff, but they also use wires,
satellites, and other computers to repeat the information transferred from one place
to the next, connecting almost anywhere if they want. As for games, they taught
computers how to understand a language of sorts which tell it how to do more than
math, and can create so many cool things. Most games now use simple art like you
might draw by hand, but they get better every year. My favorites are The Legend of
Zelda, and Final Fantasy. You can even pretend to be a wizard in them and cast
spells to battle evil monsters, it's not very realistic of course. But it's still loads of fun."
Looking slightly interested now with one eyebrow raised, Padma relented, "Okay,
maybe they're not all just tosh, but most muggle objects don't work around magic so
you might as well forget that. What we should do is ask some teachers or older
students, they're bound to know something good."
"That would be a suitable idea before our recent encounter, but now Snape or
someone seems to be actively trying to stop us. What if he learns we're researching
how to get back in the room he indirectly told us to leave alone? I don't want to lose
points from Gryffindor, he already takes enough away from us as it is." Hermione
leveled the book she was reading to respond.
Feeling disheartened at the trend of the conversation, Harry interjected, "I doubted
any research would get us very far in the first place, since this room appears to be
deliberately hard to find or enter. The only good hint was from Peeves, but trying to
get anything out of him again might be a lost cause. And even if we do figure it out,
there's the magical barrier. We might as well just table the topic for a little while and
try again when things settle down or the barrier gets removed." Needing to feel
productive, he changed the topic, "Now, I have a few ideas on defense training."
Discussing defense topics and practice schedules got them all enthusiastic again.
They were essentially all Ravenclaws in Harry's opinion, even if a hat didn't think so.
Meaning that squeezing the time in for actual practice was the only difficulty, but
Harry thought the dueling club idea would tap any competitive inclinations
Ravenclaws were said to have. They decided to all approach Professor Flitwick after
dinner with the idea and get him to sponsor the club. McGonagall was their second
choice since no one thought much of Quirrell or Snape who were supposed to be
good in dueling as well. They all choose another spell each to learn and help each
other practice in their spare time. By the end of the year they wanted to have
accomplished something, rather than simply passing classes.

After it was all settled Harry was putting away books, letting the girls talk when he
heard something, "Psst!"
Scanning around for the source he saw a mane of red hair peek around a corner.
Fred, or was that George? Probably here to deliver some items and thank me for
such a great caper.
Following around a darkened hall of books he found them in the corner, peering
down both ways. "There's our little Marauder, here, stand in the corner so no one will
even notice." They cast a few charms to silence and darken the area, along with a
trap spell to catch anyone snooping.
Being cornered by two older and larger students made Harry feel vulnerable, but
their cheerful and honest expressions told him he could trust them, especially after
today. "So, everything went according to plan? Thanks for the sweets by the way."
"It went barking mad!" Fred exclaimed.
"Yeah, after we got Lee to suggest Gemma ask you, there was a betting war. All the
older plonkers started betting on everything, like they would impress her if they lost
more. The pot got up to almost two hundred and forty galleons!" George was almost
bouncing again.
"And after all the other bets, our wager dropped to one in twenty. With your twelve
galleons spread between some friends, we managed to win every dime! It was
bloody brilliant!" Fred finished with an overly excited whisper. He shook Harry's
shoulders in happiness, not able to control himself any longer.
It was more entertaining watching them celebrate than it was to win that much
money, as Harry had a knack for mysteriously winning more than he should. They
handed him a bag of all the items he requested along with more treats of every sort.
Checking the aisles again they reached into hidden pockets and pulled out a very
large bag of coins, reverently handing it over and bowing. Harry chuckled, "Keep it,
I've still got some gold." Their eyes bulged in surprise, as their jaws nearly dropped
off trying to comprehend what they just heard. "But maybe I might get you to buy me
a few more trinkets once in a while?" The smiles returned, larger than ever.
"Of course! Anytime you want, we can even sneak out on weekdays if it's urgent."
"We got a cracking aging potion that makes us look like our brother Charlie, no one
would even think twice the way he comes and goes from Romania."
"I doubt you'll need to go to those lengths, but there is one more thing. Would you

make another copy of this map for Hermione? And perhaps use the quill to let her
see the secret passages? I didn't get her much for her birthday so..." Harry pulled
out his map and held it up with a hopeful expression.
Glancing back and forth between each other and Harry with meaningful looks, they
crossed their arms at last. "On one condition. Since she's sure to be a prefect and
probably head girl one day, she has to promise not to use the map and the passages
to get people in trouble."
"Except Slytherin, that's okay." Added George.
"Yes, and no sharing it with others, especially teachers."
"And keep our names out of it, she nearly complained to Percy about our side
business of sharing his old homework assignments we nicked last year."
"Alright, that sounds fair. How about I throw a sweet at her during dinner after she
agrees, so you know? Oh, and if you ever need to contact me again or deliver
anything, just hand it to her. She knows you're buying me a few things and it'll be
easier than sneaking around like this."
Shaking their heads at him they spoke in unison, "You're buggered Harry, completely, - no hope for your future." George waved his wand and duplicated the
map, then opened it, making sure the quill markings were still there.
"Thanks for the confidence boost, and she's not my girlfriend, by the way." They
sniggered at him as if he couldn't be further from the truth. Harry pushed past them
and waved his thanks, storing the bags and maps away.
After pulling Hermione into another secret passageway on their way to the Great
Hall, Harry explained the situation to her, leaving out the twin's involvement. She
agreed reluctantly to the terms, requiring much convincing, and then cuffed him
when he mentioned the part about throwing a sweet at her. Laughing he handed her
the new map, saying that she would see the passageways soon enough. Dinner
passed smoothly as he tossed a wrapped chocoball at Hermione, once catching the
twin's attention. She gave him a deadly glare to seem convincing, but it almost made
him crack up, seeing how bad an actor she was.
The rest of the evening went as planned, managing to lure Flitwick into starting the
dueling club back up, to a degree. It would be limited only to first years, once a
week, until others showed more interest and a larger room was found. In exchange,
they would be responsible for inviting others and Harry had to concede he would
reconsider quidditch next year, which surprised Padma and Sue.

Before they began practicing spells together in the Ravenclaw dueling room, Harry
decided to disclose some things. He kept it vague in front of Sue and Padma but
explained about turning down the seeker position, why the trolls were let into the
castle, and that growing up, he could sense where people were at times, but it
wasn't a specific spell he used. Eventually they were satisfied after many follow-up
questions and took to casting. Training on dummies with everyone being motivated
was fun, but it was even more entertaining trying to duel against each other with
harmless spells. The portrait coached them a little on the proper stance and
procedures but left spell critiquing to the professors.
Night came, along with their exhaustion. Though Harry seemed to be gaining back
his stamina after eating so much lately, he still got tired. Hermione attributed it more
to the years of training he had before they met rather than recent practice. They all
bemoaned the weekend being over but went to sleep none the less.
Monday, things were back to normal with classes and homework taking up much of
their time. The dueling club would begin in a few weeks starting every Thursday, and
if they got many attending, would grow from there. Many others were invited and
soon there was a large group of first years wanting to drop in.
oOoOo
Tuesday, November 5th on the other hand distracted everyone. Bonfire Night
excitement was in the air, with wizard fireworks said to astound any muggleborns.
The school day passed quicker than ever before in anticipation. Dumbledore had
arranged boxes of s'more materials to be created by the house elves and conjured
wooden skewers for all. Hagrid crafted an enormous bonfire structure, along with fifty
firewood bundles ready to be lit for smaller groups to sit and play around. It was all
set up with conjured chairs and rows of blankets laid out on the sloping grass, southwest of the school overlooking the lake. Not all attended the nights festivities of
fireworks, sitting around bonfires, roasting marshmallows, and telling stories, but
everyone watched.
Harry loved the yearly revelry back at his relatives, especially after reading the
graphic novel, V for Vendetta. Slipping away in the shadows at night and
reappearing behind friends or neighbors with a homemade Guy Fawkes mask was a
joy he didn't get tired of. While he wasn't keen on the methods used in the story, the
motive of toppling a fascist xenophobic government was something he could
sympathize with. It was similar to other works of fiction he'd read, and frighteningly,
how part of the magical world was turning out to be. Blood purists, with the terrors of
Voldemort and his followers still lingered in people's minds. The more Harry learned
about them, the more sickened he became. Even getting lost in thought on the walk

out to the celebration.


To think, there was actually a crazy dictator that nearly toppled the magical
government. I could have grown up like Evey Hammond in a war torn world of
magical fascists, who really could read thoughts and control my every move if
desired... I always thought about how wonderful it might have been if my parents
didn't die, but I never considered there might have been an outcome much worse.
Though now I can somewhat understand why people glorify me. It's like if Hitler was
accidentally killed by a child after his invasion of Poland. The boy would be
worshipped by some no matter how it happened or who he was. But would that have
actually stopped the war or the cause of it? Did it stop this one?
Forgetting his thoughts of the past and feeling the warmth beside him, Harry smiled
happily at Hermione. She started to blush and slowly push him away in
embarrassment. That's when the first towering structure of wood burst in flames and
an amazingly grand firework exploded into the night sky. Hermione jumped towards
him in shock, clinging to his robes while gazing up at the multicolored shower of
sparks that lit up half the visible sky. The glimmering lights didn't dim like regular
fireworks but flashed and danced back and forth in intricate patterns. A ballet of
brilliant colors fell whirling down, reflected all across the shimmering lake. They
fizzled and popped a mere hand's breadth above the taller people. Both their heads
followed the lights down, to meet each other's eyes in mutual awkwardness.
Finally grasping her present situation Hermione quickly extricated her hands from
Harry's robes and gave him another playful shove. A cheer of delighted shouts
echoed the last crackling bits to expire. With it came hundreds of individual fireworks
and light displays, echoing from the crowd of wands pointed skywards. Smaller
bonfires ignited as the students and teachers lit those close by.
Harry pointed his own wand and cast a jet of flame at one near the blanket they
stood on, revealing Padma, Sue, and a few other Ravenclaws walking up to claim
their own spots around the fire. Harry sat down as more fireworks lit up the night in a
rainbow of dazzling flashes. Pulling Hermione down as well, they all relaxed and
stared up in wonder. No acrid smoke blew over them and the crashing blasts didn't
hurt their ears. Near ten minutes of extraordinary fireworks kept a constant display of
feats never before thought of by muggle firework designers. Some turned into
shapes of creatures which fought for dominance, while more grew into trees or
flowers decorating the background of action. Stories were told and characters
blossomed, all within the sparkling flames that faded to darkness. A glittering red
dragon of immense proportions swooped low over their heads, only to swing up and
dive face first into the surface of the lake, colliding with it's reflection and burrowing

under the surface to swim gracefully in the deep water.


With a final burst of lights in the shape of a giant Hogwarts crest, the evening
quieted, only for the chatter of many happy students to begin. "I doubt Gandalf's
fireworks were anything compared to that." Whispered Harry.
Hermione sat up and snorted at his corny reference, "We're real wizards now Harry,
no more fantasy books can compare." He threw a marshmallow at her and received
a stare of open mouthed surprise. Which changed into a tight lipped grin, wanting
revenge.
As the next marshmallow was thrown at his head, he directed it into his mouth and
smiled back at her, chuckling around the fluff. She grabbed a handful of grass while
pretending to throw another marshmallow at him, catching him in the face with the
flutter of greenery, she beamed a smug smile of victory. Spitting off a blade of grass
from his lip, Harry sat up as well and tackled her to the blanket. Squeaking in fright
Hermione reached for her wand only to have her hands pinned to the fuzzy cloth.
Harry leaned down and whispered in her ear, "We'll have to teach you a few
wandless tricks of your own." Then tickled her neck with his own magic. Hermione
squirmed in laughter and pushed him off with little resistance.
This started a war of sweets around the fire, marshmallows being thrown and
chocolate stolen, but the fencing with skewers between Michael and Terry brought
too much attention as Professor Sprout arrived to scold them. The boys apologized
and everything calmed down from there, but didn't stop. After many more subdued
bouts of unexpected marshmallow throwing and roasting, s'more creation and
wandless tickles, Harry and Hermione decided to go for a walk with Padma and Sue,
listening to the stories happening around other fires.
The nearest one was an impossible tale about lethifolds and dementors cornering a
team of young wizards, looking to find hidden treasure. The second was a group of
purebloods apparently, that were telling of muggle death traps which were shot
through the sky with passengers aboard. Hermione interrupted and gave a full
minute lecture on the subject of planes and rockets. All three friends had to drag her
away before she started in on parachutes and the like. Coming up behind the next
group of storytellers, their tale was about the past evils of You-Know-Who. How he
had no nose, scaly skin, and ate babies in a dark ritual to keep himself alive and
powerful.
This time Harry interrupted, "You mean he wanted to literally eat me? That's a
disturbing thought..." The older Hufflepuff boys and girls twisted around in
embarrassment and apologized immediately, but Harry waved it off and laughed.

"Maybe he didn't get the sarcasm in A Modest Proposal?"


Hermione smacked his shoulder and dragged him off like they did to her. Harry
waved goodbye at the confused faces and chuckling muggleborns. Continuing their
trip through the maze of bonfires, they heard spooky tales of Baba Yaga, Herpo the
Foul, Morgan le Fey, Fenrir Greyback, and even Grindelwald. Then managed to find
the edge of the fires and walked the outer ring of them.
As they passed near a dying fire beside a large oak tree, they heard rustling behind
the trunk. Sue lit her wand as they got closer, only to find a couple snogging under
some blankets, a few pieces of loose clothing were sticking out from underneath and
pink skin could be seen here and there. Quickly dousing the light they all hurriedly
walked off, hoping they weren't noticed. Harry tried concentrating on seeing in the
dark again like his first night at Hogwarts, and the whole world brightened around
him. He peered around only to see the blushing faces of his friends, Sue was
especially red in her cheeks, while Padma had a slight grin, obviously not knowing
Harry could see her in the dark. It seemed Hermione was trying to pretend it never
happened as her arms were wrapped tightly around her cloak, but being so close he
could almost feel the warmth radiating off her glowing face. I have to get a magical
camera sometime soon...
Keeping to the edge of the bright fires for a time their embarrassment finally faded,
allowing them to reenter the crowds of students. Harry was just about to suggest
they go sit back down, when a serious story caught their ears. "The four of them
were friend for ten years, and they trained at Hogwarts together since their sorting
ceremony."
Stopping to listen, the girls wandering closer, "Two came from famous pure-blood
families and became best friends, but they all were Gryffindors, and trusted each
other completely. Although one hid a darker side... which showed itself only in the
very end, at his last betrayal. He was as black as they come, serving under the Dark
Lord the entire time... pretending to fight against evil with his friends, but spying on
them instead. That fateful Halloween night, he told the Dark Lord the location of his
best friend's house, where he stayed with his wife and baby son. Not content that
only they died, he set off to kill another of his three close friends. In the process, he
murdered twelve muggles and completely blew apart his friend Peter... so only a
finger remained. Laughing madly in satisfaction and probably planning to kill their
last friend, he was barely caught by aurors. But not before the Dark Lord murdered
his best friend and wife, then vanished when his attempt to kill their baby failed.
Sirius Black is in Azkaban now, completely mad after committing such horrors, but
that's not all."

Stopping for breath the storyteller built up the suspense, "My father works high up at
the ministry, and he told me the worst part they keep hidden..." The fire flickered in
the wind.
"He was Harry Potter's godfather, and would have raised him too, if not caught for
the monster he is. They say he screams Harry's name every-" Being kicked stopped
the storyteller short, as a nod made the whole circle of listeners turn towards Harry,
seeing his detached expression. Hermione, Padma, and Sue all looked at him in
concern, not knowing how to react when he didn't respond. The stricken expression
on the storyteller kept Harry's attention, he didn't know how to process the
information.
Yet his snarky attitude eventually won out, "You know what they say, always look on
the bright side of life. Not being raised by a psychopathic killer probably counts."
Hermione grabbed him in a tight hug before he could start whistling. She pulled him
away, back to their original fire that was slowly dying now. Padma and Sue followed
after, staying quiet and sitting down beside them. Pulling down his jaw, Hermione
stuck one last piece of chocolate in his mouth and closed it again for him.
Finally looking her in the eyes, Harry tried to talk around the chocolate, "I'm alright
Hermione, I don't even know who those people are, let alone feel invested in the
outcome. It all happened when I was a baby and like most scary stories tonight,
probably half was made up." Her disbelieving attitude said she wasn't convinced.
"I'm fine, promise." He grabbed her hand and squeezed lightly.
Another round of fireworks burst repeatedly high into the air, producing an enormous
and magnificent display of the solar system. It stretched over the entire night sky,
forming into sparkling spheres of planets, moons, and asteroid belts. All rotating
around a brilliant white sun, bigger than the entire castle of Hogwarts and hanging
high overhead. Comets whizzed around in unusual patterns as everything started to
speed up, pulling towards the sun. Planet after planet was absorbed into the center
ball of gas causing mass explosions, and the rest broke up into streaming particles,
racing around their heads, slowly becoming the milky way galaxy, swirling past their
eyes. It too twisted towards the core, revolving into the shape of a mammoth egg.
Cracking open with a fantastic eruption grew a golden phoenix that spread it's wings
above the entire grounds, changing night to day and illuminating everything. With
colossal wings flapping higher, they collided together, detonating into a vast flare of
radiant light. The sky eventually dimmed, reclaiming the night for darkness as all but
the distant stars faded away.
A row of floating lanterns appeared one by one, leading the way up to Hogwarts
castle, announcing it was time to head back.

oOoOo
The rest of November passed quickly, and the dueling club started with less fanfare
than originally predicted. After most first years realized how unskilled and inaccurate
their spells really were, they left before embarrassing themselves. Those who stayed
started improving fast, yet Harry and Hermione were already ahead of the rest.
Although Harry was starting to lag behind in classes, Hermione pulled ahead in all
subjects except flying, finally showing her true talents and dedication to learning.
Which her Ravenclaws friends helped to encourage, rather than hold her back like
some tried to.
Every few days she would check the rope barrier on the seventh floor but nothing
changed on that front. While Harry found an entertaining event to spend his time
watching on his Wednesday afternoons off. Beside their nightly study group and
practicing spells together, school became largely uneventful. Quidditch season
began but as spectators, turned out to be dreadfully boring. Especially for Harry as
he could see the snitch for most of the game. However it was the perfect time to
explore the main library with few others to bother them. If they could sneak away
beforehand.
Soon December arrived and the quartet prepared for Hagrid's birthday. Visiting often
in November, they tried to secretly discover what Hagrid might like. Since no one
could, or wanted to procure a dragon's egg, they had to settle for more modest fare.
Explaining the plan to Dumbledore, Harry suggested they decorate Hagrid's place
after dinner, while he was performing his duties inspecting the grounds and weeding
the vegetable patch, then surprise him when returning. Knowing Hagrid a little better,
Dumbledore proposed that he should invite Hagrid for tea right after dinner to keep
him fully occupied. He also offered to clean the place before they got there and
organize a cake and snacks with the house elves ahead of time, so it would arrive
after they finished decorating. Harry agreed readily, since he hadn't even considered
the time it might take to clean the hut.
Hagrid's birthday started off with freezing rain, pelting the Hogwart's towers
incessantly while students tried to sleep. By the end of breakfast it had turned into a
dense fog, surrounding the entire castle. Hagrid didn't arrive for breakfast or lunch
that day which concerned Harry but he could still sense the half giant in his cabin,
working hard at something by the way he moved about. The four friends organized
everything the night before, and piled all their decorations and wrapped gifts into an
extra trunk of Padma's to carry down. When dinner began relief showed on their
faces as Hagrid arrived, looking a little grumpy, but nodding to Dumbledore as they
talked. A subtle wink from the headmaster let them know everything was set, and to
save room for birthday cake. Excusing himself a little early Dumbledore spoke to

Hagrid before he left and exited through the staff entrance.


After dinner Harry volunteered to retrieve the suitcase left in their common room and
meet the girls outside Hagrid's. With one shortcut he was soon outside in the icy
darkness. Concentrating on his vision once again illuminated the grounds and
revealed a peaceful night. The fog had receded and the stars were out to greet him.
Carefully reaching the path overlooking the cabin, he saw three lit wands out,
assembling in front of the massive door. He followed down the dry dirt path with the
suitcase levitating behind him. Sneaking up behind Hermione, he was about to tap
her shoulder when she turned around and caught him. They exchanged roguish
smiles and Harry bowed to her victory.
Entering the cabin together revealed a hard at work headmaster trying to repair
furniture, clean the floor, and conjure part of a roof all at the same time.
"Ah, I suppose I am a little late on my end, I shall be right with you." Dumbledore
gave a few more flicks of his wand and it was near complete.
Hermione, Padma, and Sue were all a little bewildered by the sight of their
prestigious headmaster casting up a storm with his sleeves rolled up, hat nearly
falling off, and the bottom of his robes soaking wet. Harry ignored it and asked the
obvious, "What happened here? Did Hagrid try giving fang a bath or something?"
A few final spells set everything right, but much cleaner and tidier than usual. Harry's
question received a small chuckle, "By my estimation, the storm last night caused
considerable damage to the roof, and hurried repairs might have done the rest. But
now I am certainly late for tea, would your four cast a few cleaning charms on fang
before the party? He is tied up out back. Oh, and simply call the house elves when
you are ready." With that he pulled out a shrunken broom from his pocket and waved
goodbye as he enlarged it and flew off towards his tower.
"That was different... I wonder if he'll wear the same outfit to the party?" Padma
raised an eyebrow at Harry. He had unwittingly revealed to them that he was getting
private lessons once a week from Dumbledore, during a furious study session one
Saturday that was interrupted by lunch. After which they delighted in teasing him
about his special treatment.
"Your guess is as good as mine. Okay, let's get cracking girls, don't want to keep the
chosen one waiting." The withering stares he got back made him laugh. He learned
to enjoyed teasing them just as much.
Hanging ribbons and streamers were easy with a few levitation and sticking charms
which they all pitched in to do. Hermione was then set to blowing balloons with a hot

air charm they recently learned, and Harry arranged bowls of sweets along with the
presents on a portable shrinking table. A giant red and gold party hat was assembled
for Hagrid and the color changing happy birthday banner they made was hung along
the back wall. Sue called on the house elves who arrived with a mountainous cake in
the perfect imitation of a pumpkin, along with small trays of pastries, flagons of
pumpkin juice, hard cider for the adults, and other confectionery. They set it all on
the main table amid decorative plates and silverware. Hermione invited them to stay
but only achieved polite refusals. Finishing up, Harry asked a house elf to discretely
tell Dumbledore they were done. At last they gave Fang a quick cleaning outside,
then brought him in and dimmed all the lights. Harry was made lookout as they sat in
the near dark, chatting while they waited.
They soon heard a series of unexpected musical knocks that reminded Harry of
Roger Rabbit. He realized who it was and answered the door for a resplendent and
colorful looking Dumbledore who must have flown back down, escaping notice while
Harry was distracted by conversation.
"He is coming, and should be here any minute." Dumbledore hurried inside to cast a
couple of charms on the walls and spoke again, "We can wait in the light now, no
one outside should see a thing. When he gets to the door the lights will go out for a
moment, alerting us." Finally he cast at the fireplace and lanterns, bringing
illumination and the warmth of a crackling fire back to the cabin. "My, it does look
festive in here, you all did a splendid job. And I see the house elves decided to show
their thanks for the wonderful pumpkins Hagrid grows."
When the girls saw Dumbledore's flamboyant birthday outfit in the light, they nearly
giggled in surprise, yet managed to restrain themselves. Placing a golden wrapped
present next to the others, he conjured a few extra chairs and sat down smiling. Sue
and Padma tried asking him a few polite questions, to focus on something else. "Do
you live in the castle year round Headmaster, or only during school?" Sue inquired.
"All year long, my dear. But I do get out more often during the summer." He wore a
friendly expression, already guessing their intentions by Harry's estimation.
But after a couple more dull questions Padma's curiosity got the better off her. "Do
you shop at Madam Malkin's or perhaps spell your own robes? You wear so many
fascinating styles and colors that some older girls have even tried cataloging them
all."
Dumbledore chuckled in amusement, "I have considered telling Becky and Loretta
the exact details of my wardrobe, but that would ruin all their fun in speculation,
would it not?" Padma nodded and slowly turned pink at the thought of his intimate

knowledge of Ravenclaw gossip.


Giving up his window perch Harry sat down next to Hermione, nudging her. She
stopped gawking at the legendary Dumbledore to nudge him back playfully and
smile, then saw Hagrid outside, "He's here! Should we hide?" Harry looked around at
the one room with sparse furniture and then back at her with a dubious question on
his face. "Alright already, let's at least jump up and yell surprise when the lights
come back on?" The others agreed quietly.
Quiet came over them as the lights went out and a silencing charm was cast on the
boarhound. The large door opened and in shuffled Hagrid, "I'm home Fang, wake up
yeh lazy beast." He dropped his umbrella in a stand and hung up his coat.
"Surprise!" Yelled the group as the flames around the room blazed back to life.
Hagrid staggered back into the door with a hand over his chest and his eyes wider
than ever.
"Merlin's beard... You remembered! - A-an' my house!" A bashful smile could be
seen beneath his unruly beard, and his eyes started to water. They pulled him
towards the table and sat him down in front of the cake. He chuckled at the size of it
and looked at them all, then to Harry.
Shaking his head, Harry responded, "The house elves did that for you, we probably
couldn't even find that much flour, not to mention design something so elaborate. We
got you other things." He pointed at the smaller table.
"Yeh shouldn't 'ave, - an' even Professor Dumbledore sir, you were in on it too?"
A cheerful nod and a wave of Dumbledore's wand produced a large candle on top of
the cake that lit with prismatic sparks flying everywhere. "I haven't helped with a
surprise party in ages. Now I believe it is tradition to sing a song?"
The party finally got under way with an odd melody of happy birthday as Hagrid put
on his party hat and clapped along. Cake and all kinds of goodies were served and
presents unwrapped. Dumbledore's was first, turning out to be a large pair of self
warming and self cleaning socks. Padma knitted him an immense scarf in Gryffindor
colors, with the help of a few spells she learned from her mother. Sue got her
parents to send another fire toad as a gift, related to her own, but a lot smaller. Harry
ordered a giant sized cookbook, Hearty Meals Even a Giant Would Love, and
suggested they cook together with it sometime. Hermione's gift was last, and when
Hagrid opened it he laughed.
"I'm sorry, I saw you making one when it broke, so I thought you might like another. I

asked the music professor and he recommended this kind from an owl catalog, it's a
Native American flute and a little bigger so it might fit you better." Hagrid kept
chuckling and thanked her with another tear in his eye.
Getting up, Hagrid showed them all a few more presents that were owled to him
earlier in the day, being so happy and proud at how many people remembered him
this year. While he was revealing a new set of crossbow bolts to Dumbledore, Harry
was munching on a piece of chocolate pumpkin cake when a strange thought hit
him. "Didn't we recently learn that it was impossible to conjure food in transfiguration
class?"
"Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration, yes. What crazy thing did you figure out
this time Harry?" Hermione kicked his shoe with a coy smile.
"Well, don't spells like melofors and avis conjure food? I mean birds and pumpkins
aren't exactly good raw, but they are edible and could be cooked. Does the law only
apply to prepared food, because that doesn't make much sense."
Sue responded, "You're right, and there are many stories in my family of
mischievous witches tricking unwary travelers with conjured food. But in the tales,
the food never satisfies and all who eat it fall prey to the tricksters."
"Wait, there can't really be something so obviously false about the law without other
people noticing... can there?" Padma looked to Dumbledore, who now grinned at the
at the four inquisitive students with twinkling eyes.
"Right you all are. Food can be conjured, although it is technically not food as it does
not nourish. I am sure you all know that conjured items do not last, which can be
harmful, even dangerous if eaten. Much like this conjured roof might collapse if not
repaired properly tomorrow. That is why those spells are not taught and are even
outlawed by many magical governments today. I would ask you not to spread this
knowledge though, as it has been known to result in unsafe experimentation in the
past."
The students agreed readily enough, already having learned to keep secrets in the
rumor filled castle. And the party got back under way.
More cake and sweets were passed around, but not even Hagrid could eat it all. He
tried on the scarf and socks while playing the new flute to great amusement.
Dumbledore conjured more instruments for everyone to join in, creating a raucous of
discordant sounds. The celebrations soon tapered away as it neared curfew.
Everyone was amply stuffed and ready to retire, commenting on the wonderful time
they had. The house elves were called once again and Hagrid thanked them for the

cake as they saved the rest of it for later, while tidying up the place.
Waving good night, they received another round of thanks and Dumbledore was
embraced in a large bear hug, lifting him off the ground. Reaching the castle with the
headmaster still clutching his sides, he bid them farewell and flew up to his tower
once more. While levitating the suitcase back up the stairs the group discussed
whose gift was the best. And most conceded it was Dumbledore's after a lengthy
discussion.
Separating at the sixth floor, Hermione left her Ravenclaw friends to continue
upwards. Taking a detour around to the hall of hexes, she checked up on the rope
barrier with never any luck. Returning down a shadowy corridor a hand reached out
from behind a statue, seizing her around the waist, while another clapped over her
mouth.
"Got ya!"

Chapter 15 - Revelations
Chapter 15
Revelations
During the slow days of November and December Hermione was easily able to
persuade Harry into teaching her the wandless magic he knew. Starting with the
occlumency techniques he was learning from Dumbledore, and meditation practice,
which he thought helped. Yet they had no way of knowing if she was improving or
not, as Harry couldn't use legilimency and looking into Snape's eyes again wasn't an
option. Harry also tried teaching her how to move objects without a wand, by placing
a small glass bead on a table and telling her to move it with her mind. She worked
on everything in her spare time, but thought his teaching techniques were in more
desperate need of the practice.
Progress was slow on all fronts.
Learning the Homenum Revelio spell seemed easier by comparison, but they found
it could only sense people close by and required too much magic to perform, so they
postponed that for later. It was next that Harry had an idea, to constantly send
Hermione thoughts during shared classes, in order to familiarize her with the feeling
of that specific magic, and possibly allow her to replicate it easier. He seemed to
delight in their one sided conversations, trying to make her laugh at inappropriate
times, while she was limited to making faces in return. Either Hermione was
developing an amazing skill at expressing herself with only a look, or Harry was
becoming equally adept at reading her every mood and feature, as their silent
conversations became exceedingly complex.
Exploring the castle and all the secret passages was something Hermione had to be
talked into, yet she started to enjoy the diversions from their regular routine, which
provided some amusing stories. Such as overhearing embarrassing conversations
while waiting to exit a secret door, or finding teachers goofing off in between classes
when they thought no one was around.
Once, while scouting through a disused route with moss and spiderwebs scattered
everywhere, they ran across an abandoned looking classroom. Nearly interrupting a
group of dazed students, sitting in a circle and passing around some sort of pipe.
Being quite confused at the blue bubbles that came out of it, neither knew what to
do. Hermione's first impulse was to tell a teacher, but Harry quickly reminded her of
the promise she made. In the end, they decided to research whether it was harmful
before they choose to reveal it to anyone else. Harry guessed the twins might know,

but not wanting to stereotype them, he didn't mention it.


Hermione had a poor impression of them none the less. Mostly because of the
grades they got and the pranks they pulled, but especially after how much they
tormented her. She complained that they once played keep-away with a book of
her's, only to 'accidentally' stab her with a quill at the end. She didn't care to be the
go between for Harry either, having to endure their constant jokes and teasing. Yet
Harry could tell she didn't mind them too much, as she often smiled when comparing
them to mischievous monkeys, always getting into trouble.
Following the troll incident, Harry started noticing small changes in Hermione's
behavior as they became even closer friends. Although she stopped talking down to
people and acting the bossy teachers' pet soon after they got to know each other.
Recently she was able to resist correcting people as often, and was becoming more
skeptical of certain ideas concerning teacher's. He wasn't sure if she was being
influenced by their daily meetings or other events, but her new changes seemed to
stem from personal growth, rather than dropping the exaggerated persona she came
to school with.
Harry enjoyed her blunt honesty and passion for knowledge, but she was his friend
no matter how much she changed. Yet it became easier for her to get along with
others when she didn't act so abrasive. Which made Harry happy for her, and a little
jealous that someone else might monopolize her time. For the present though, that
couldn't be farther from the truth as they spent practically all their free time together.
Sue and Padma became closer friends as well, studying and practicing with them
most nights. Staying resolute in their mutual ambition to become capable wizards,
able to protect each other. They all got to mingle with other first years in the dueling
club and even invited some along to their study and practice sessions, bringing a
little variety to the cooling winter days. Hannah Abbot and Susan Bones were
included frequently after Harry remembered to apologize for tricking them on
Halloween night. Lavender and Parvati loved tagging along when there wasn't so
much studying, and Lisa Turpin asked to join in as well, turning out to be a bundle of
questions hidden behind thick glasses. Padma called them Potter groupies, but the
girls all seemed to have fun together. Harry even caught them giggling after he left to
put books away or whispering together while he concentrated on difficult spells.
Hermione seemed to linger a little closer on those days as well.
When the rumors of Harry having a harem resurfaced, they felt it was time to invite
some boys.
Justin Finch-Fletchley and Ernie Macmillan joined in a few times, but seemed a little

too intimidated by all the girls, whereas Harry was simply used to it by then. It
surprised everyone when Ron Weasley invited himself, unannounced and acting
amiable, yet was completely rebuffed by Hermione of all people, pointing out that
they planned to actually study instead of just talk, like he usually did. As she
explained later, she knew he wanted to copy their homework and didn't fancy him
getting into the habit of leeching off all their hard work, even if he started being nice
about it.
She tried inviting Neville Longbottom once, but he simply shook his head and ran
away from her, probably thinking it was a trap. They studied with other Ravenclaws
after that, then more Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, but never a Slytherin, even after
inviting Daphne and some others. Most first years weren't compatible with their
group; some had difficulty keeping up with anything they were doing, while others
were annoyed when the topic ever changed from school work, and then there were
the few who stayed far away.
While Draco encountered further problems with his rebellious minions, Pansy
Parkinson and her new gang took over where he left off, insulting and bullying
anyone they thought would allow it. Which turned out to be almost everyone, but
Gryffindors and muggleborns got the worst of it. Resulting in Hermione being
targeted once again. She didn't let it bother her at all though, and instead of
pretending to be crazy like Harry, she ignored it entirely. Harry was proud of her, but
if it continued much longer he was planning on sabotaging Pansy and any thoughts
of friendship she might have.
oOoOo
The night of Hagrid's birthday was a complete success for everyone... except
Hermione. Being clutched firmly in a stranger's grasp nearly made her scream, faint,
and wet herself simultaneously. For everyone's sake it was lucky none of that
happened. Mostly because she would have to kill whoever it was, and wizards jail
didn't sound terribly appealing. Every muscle she could control was tensed. Shock
was the only thing keeping her from lashing out with her wand and every self
defense move she had ever heard of or read about. She held her breath, waiting for
the next move, determined to spring into action.
Whoever it was leaned close to her ear and whispered, "Got ya!"
All of Hermione's tension slid away, and a burning hatred replaced it. The hand
pulled away from her mouth and she screamed in a low voice, "Harry! I'm going to
kill you! And I don't even care if they send me to azkaban, because at least I'll be
away from YOU!" She turned around looking directly in his eyes, not able to escape

his grasp on her yet. A few inches away, she gave him a glare that she hoped could
break glass and melt stone. Then the unthinkable happened.
Harry kissed her.
Pulling away he smiled, that wonderful, heart-melting smile he gave her at times.
Which wouldn't let her heart stop fluttering in her chest, or the blush in her cheeks
from residing. He dashed away, leaving an utterly stunned and dumbfounded look on
her face. From the corner of the hallway he sent a thought, 'Good night' and kept on
going.
She stood frozen in place, trying to wrap her mind around what just happened.
He kissed me! WHY?! He really kissed me... it was more of a peck really, but on the
lips! He said he'd never do anything creepy again, but he loves to torment me too,
maybe he thinks that's okay? What a cheeky git. If only... No! He can't kiss me
whenever he feels like it simply to mess with my head! I won't let him. He knows I
fancy him by now, how could he not? But he's never shown the slightest interest
since the promise he made. Ever since the hospital incident he's acted kind of odd
around me, and even that was probably a mistake, thinking I was someone else. I've
seen the way he looks at other girls sometimes, much more than just friendly
stares... ughh, why did I have to crush on Harry Potter of all people. What a daft twit
I've been, thinking he might like me that way. He's probably just messing with me to
get a reaction, or he's really chuffed, thinking he distracted me from revenge...
Her watch alarm went off, giving two minutes before curfew. Shaking the strained
numbness from her limbs, she headed off towards the Gryffindor common room.
Trying to distract herself from more uncomfortable thoughts, she repeated the
answers from last weeks practice exams in transfiguration. Difficulty multiplied by the
mass, is divided by the amount of magic used, multiplied by your concentration. The
product is then multiplied by your intent, to get your likely... He had to have some
unknown reason to kiss me. No one does that when someone is angry at them, even
if they genuinely like the person - do they?
Retiring early that night was incredibly hard as new and strange thoughts kept her
wide awake, but the long and exciting day eventually caught up with her. Sleep
brought erratic dreams, yet ones she'd had before.
Laying in bed, Harry couldn't help run back through the night's events. Hermione had
been nice to him all day, smiling at him, leaning and sitting closer than usual. At the
party she playfully nudged him now and then, and even rested her head on his
shoulder at the end. When he mischievously wiped frosting on the tip of her nose

she just laughed and licked it off her finger. It was simply too much for him.
I can't believe I kissed her, after all the times I resisted doing something stupid... it
just felt... right.
How else was I supposed to react to all that, pretend forever that I don't like her?
She seemed so shocked when I kissed her goodnight though... maybe I went too far
in scaring her this time. Except she jokingly threatened my death just before that,
she must not have been too afraid. Maybe she really doesn't like me that way...
could I just be interpreting all her smiles and teasing wrong? Am I just the best friend
that'll never have a chance as anything more? I know I promised I'd never be too
forward again, but... I couldn't... I don't know what I was thinking... She was so close
last night, she smelled so good, and looked so cute I couldn't resist! Ugghhh, I really
hope she doesn't stop talking to me again.
oOoOo
Waking up early in the morning, Hermione threw off her sweaty covers and got ready
in a rush. She had a question to ask and it wasn't going to wait until after breakfast.
There were probably many more questions than one, but at least he would answer
that one.
Entering the common room she saw Angela Johnson alone by the fire, getting ready
for the day's quidditch match and doing a few stretches in the warmth rather than out
in the chill air. Seizing an idea, Hermione built up her courage and approached her,
"Excuse me, Angela? Could I talk to you for a second?"
"Sure swot, what is it?" Angela glanced back with a humorous grin.
Blushing slightly Hermione lowered her voice and stepped closer, "How do you know
- when a boy likes you?" Her blush deepened.
"Ooh, so you finally noticed eh?" Her face changed to an expression of wise
understanding, "Well, he does."
"Bu-but, how can you know?"
"Trust me on this one, he does."
"It's so confusing... he's always teasing me and trying to scare me. If it was anyone
else I would think he was an insulting prat. How can you be so sure?"
Lifting an eyebrow at her, Angela replied, "I don't think it could be any more ruddy

obvious, from your description no less. Besides, have you seen the way he looks at
you?"
"...How do you know who I'm talking about?" Hermione asked hesitantly.
Rolling her eyes now, Angela chuckled, "Blimey, you two are glued to the hip. If it
was anyone other than him, I bet he would be cursing them in the halls. But if you
can't trust my word on it, simply wait it out. Stay his friend until you're convinced, it
shouldn't take that long until he shows you. Though you shouldn't go too fast either,
still a little young for that sorta thing."
"Thanks, I was planning on asking him directly, but that might be... easier."
"I guess talking to him is more your speed, but you could simply take a shortcut and
kiss him, that would be quickest." She grinned teasingly, "But I have to be going now,
catch ya later. Hope it all gets sorted." She gave one last encouraging smile and
jogged out the door, broomstick in hand.
There was plenty of time before breakfast, so Hermione made her way towards the
Ravenclaw dorms. She still needed answers, even if she asked different questions
than originally planned. Upon reaching the library she saw Harry entering from the
other side. Their eyes met and it all clicked. But neither could help saying things that
had built up in their minds.
Hermione started, "What was that?" She tried to keep her face even and not give
anything away.
"I'm sorry!" Harry pleaded, "I know I said I wouldn't do anything strange like before,
and I really don't want you to stop talking to me again. So can we forget about it and
stay friends at least?"
"That's it? You're sorry?" Her eyes grew more intent. "You scare me half to death
and then do the most unexpected thing imaginable, and you're only sorry? Nothing
else going on in your mind that you want to tell me maybe? Like what you were
expecting to happen now?" She crossed her arms and waited.
Knowing exactly what he wanted to say, he didn't say it. But she didn't seem
unreasonably angry so Harry tried to hint at it sideways, "If... if we can still be friends,
I thought maybe we can simply see where things go... No pressure or expectations,
just, being ourselves." He looked up with a hopeful expression, and remembered to
breathe.
That sounded almost like what Hermione dreamed about, but she didn't want to

sound overly keen about the idea, in case he meant something else. "That sounds
acceptable, but you better not do anything like that again!"
His hopeful expression dropped into guilt and sadness.
Thinking quickly she clarified her words with a wry grin, "I mean if you ever scare me
like that again I'll curse your nose off! And don't think I'm going to forget about
getting you back, I owe you for that." His smile that melted her heart was back, and
everything was going to be alright now. Those bright green eyes ensnared her
completely.
"We'll see..." Happier than even last night, Harry forgot about the world and his fears,
and stepped close to kiss her again. The bell rang for breakfast and he turned his
step into a slide, moving beside her and holding his arm out for her, "Shall I escort
you to breakfast m'lady?"
She snorted cheerfully and pushed him, then grabbed his arm anyway, pulling him
along to the statue. An older student noticed, but said nothing, simply expecting it by
now. They separated before exiting out the secret passageway, not wanting the
whole school to gossip. Their elbows still touched gently, now and then as they
walked to their seats.
oOoOo
With the meal ending the owl post arrived, dropping feathers and packages all over
the place. Harry couldn't help but remember his first night at Hogwarts, learning what
else they dropped in the past. A single letter fell into Hermione's lap, quite dissimilar
to all the rest. It was printed text on a white envelope, and could only be from her
parents. Harry glanced around at her opening it and reading carefully. After finishing
it, she looked back at him with the barest hint of a grin. He caught her meaning, it
must be good news.
Walking back together Harry asked her who the letter was from. With a bubbly tone
she responded, "My parents, they're especially busy this time of year and were
wondering if I wanted to put our skiing trip off till next year. Maybe I'll write them
back, saying it's okay?"
"That's... good?" He was confused at how she could be happy, being left at school
with a loving family to go home to, but then it dawned on him, and decided to wind
her up a little, "That's too bad I won't be able to stay here and keep you company
over the holidays."
"Wh-What?" Disappointment touched her lips as she hid the letter, "I thought you

said you wanted to stay here over the break..."


Glancing at her miniscule pout, he relented, "Oh, well I guess I could. If you really
want me to that is. Can't have you staying here all by yourself."
Pushing it too far, Hermione caught onto him as well, "No, that's okay, I'll just go
home and have a wonderful holiday with my family and people I actually like."
Elbowing him in the side, he couldn't help but laugh.
"Okay, okay, would you please spend the winter holidays here with me so I'm not so
poor and alone? Is that what you want to hear?" He poked her lightly in the ribs with
wandless magic, bypassing her arms that were blocking his.
"Hey!" She tried to poke him back but settled for smacking his shoulder, "I'm not
sure, it sounds awfully dull hanging around here with you all through Christmas." Her
sarcastic expression was in full force.
"Really now, dull is it? I suppose I won't have to talk Hagrid into letting you come
along with us Christmas shopping in a few weeks, and going to Florean's ice cream
parlor. Or any of the hundred other shops you might want to explore with a rich and
handsome companion by your side..."
"Who, Hagrid? I didn't know he was rich." She smiled coyly at him and ran on ahead.
Arriving at the library Harry plopped down in the chair beside her. She was intent on
reading a book in a surprisingly awkward position, while pretending to ignore him.
"You know what? Dumbledore told me a strange story about his brother a few weeks
back, implied he was a hobknocker even. Something about sheep or goats I
believe."
This received another snort but Hermione shook her head and kept reading.
Somehow he had desensitized her to outrageous topics so much, she had learned to
tolerate even the most absurd stories he told. Looking at the book she was reading
made him question her sanity though. Gadding with Ghouls, a book written as if the
author was begging for attention. Having read a chapter or two when Hermione left
for the bathroom the other day, Harry didn't know how she could stand the pandering
drivel.
At least she doesn't have much time to read those books with the end of term
coming up. But what could she see in an author like that when she obviously has
read much better in the past? I guess it goes to show, that even geniuses have bad
habits, and Ravenclaw can contain obnoxious braggarts like Lockhart.

"Do you really like that book, or are you secretly planning to drive me crazy with how
strange you can act?"
She peeked over the cover at him, "For your information, there are rumors that the
author wants the dark arts position here at Hogwarts. I'm simply trying to discern his
credentials. No need to get your smalls in a bunch."
Getting an evil idea about her comment, Harry imagined what her reaction might be,
and decided not to risk it. "Well I'm glad Hogwarts can rely on you to vet their
teachers. Shame you weren't here last year to sack Quirrell and Snape for being
lousy educators. But if a pompous windbags like him gets in, I'm not sure it'll be
much better." He pointed towards her book.
"Why don't you go watch a Slytherin quidditch practice, it matches your attitude, rude
and pointless." Pulling her book up she sat back and ignored him again.
When things were going so well, he had to ruin it by opening his mouth. "I'm sorry... I
just don't get why you would like that kind of book. But I'll shut up now - can, we still
study together later though?"
Laying down her book once again, she studied his long but pleading face, and rolled
her eyes. "Fine, but we're revising potions. That'll probably be the hardest exam,
judging by all the homework we were given."
He agreed readily, as potions was the only class that gave him any difficulties.
Snape wasn't that horrible lately but he didn't make the subject any easier. Harry's
way of memorizing potion ingredients and their steps let him breeze through most of
the class, but the problems came when trying to figure out what would happen if
anything was changed. It was supposed to be an exact science, but none of it made
any sense to him. Putting in more of one root or another could do anything from
bubble a different color, to explode, with no explanation of why. Not making
mistakes, was apparently hindering him from learning. It probably didn't help that
potions interested him least as well.
Later when Padma and Sue arrived, they moved to a central table and laid out their
books and parchment. Harry had taken to using a pencil for anything but homework
and tests. He found it much easier to scribble notes and erase things rather than
using a quill with dripping ink, even if they could correct his spelling or take dictation.
Their study of potions focused on where he had difficulties, since everyone in their
group memorized the potion steps by now. It soon became apparent that he was
behind them all and even Hermione's tips didn't help him understand. The head start
on magic he had, along with so much practice was still keeping him ahead in most

classes, although others were catching up fast. Somehow they were gaining on him
and learning faster than he did, yet it didn't make sense, and he was determined to
understand why.
Fred and George came bouncing into the Ravenclaw library, carrying their brooms
and making too much noise, heedless of the dirty looks they gathered along the way.
Stopping at their table, the twins leaned down and put their arms over Harry and
Hermione's shoulders.
"Almost time for quidditch, are you lot going to cheer us on this time? The game is
between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff after all."
"Yeah, we know all about Ravenclaws rivalry with the puffs, though we still can't
figure out why." George scratched his chin at the mystery.
"Wait, we're not supposed to like Hufflepuff? How come no one told me this?" Harry
directed the question at Padma and Sue.
Sue shrugged, "It's common knowledge, but we don't know why either."
"The Hufflepuffs claim it's because we're jealous of all their famous alumni, and wish
they were are own. But that's silly, why would anyone care?" Padma remarked.
Hermione pushed Fred's arm off her shoulder and chimed in, "I read that Rowena
Ravenclaw became extremely secretive before she died, hiding many things from
her best friend Helga Hufflepuff. Some say they got into a fight over castle secrets
and founder legacies, and that's when the feud first started, although a thousand
years seems like a long time to hold a grudge."
Harry looked back and forth between them all, "Are you sure it's not just a joke
played on the rest of the school so we aren't included in a house war like Gryffindor
and Slytherin?"
Fred and George glanced at each other, "Naaa, couldn't be. The puffs barely know
what deception is, let alone how to do it. Besides, we've seen how intense your
houses get during quidditch."
"So are you coming or not, we have to go suit up. And we better see you there
Hermione, no one gets out of supporting their own house!"
Finally being persuaded to go, the girls packed up their bags. Harry on the other
hand had another idea.

"I have a meeting with Professor Flitwick, but I'll come down afterwards." Hermione
threw him a suspicious look, but gave up trying to figure him out. They filed out the
library as a few other students followed after.
Meanwhile Harry climbed to the seventh floor, after checking on the rope barrier, he
knocked on Flitwick's office door. "Come in!" Responded a high pitched voice, and
Harry entered.
oOoOo
"What can I do for you today Harry? Change your mind about attending quidditch
practice? Or are you looking for another enchanting book?" Professor Flitwick
hopped up on a pile of papers behind his desk.
"No to both actually. I came to talk about my performance in charms. I was
wondering if I've been doing something wrong lately, because, it feels like something
is holding me back."
Flitwick gazed into his eyes, "Hmm, well you shouldn't worry too much, since you are
still second in your year. But I have noticed you progress is declining a little, have
you been practicing enough? Maybe something outside of class has been bothering
you?"
Thinking for a second, Harry came up with nothing, "Not that I can think of, and I've
been practicing almost as much as Hermione. But I can't help imagining something
is wrong. It's almost as if I'm getting worse at performing spells I've already
mastered."
"Hmm, let's see a few then, start with Lumos."
Doing as he was told, Harry picked up his wand and cast the spell, with a clear
"Lumos," which produced a bright light, yet it stung the his eyes more than normal.
Ending it after a second he was about to cast another charm when he was
interrupted.
"Er... what happened to your 'nox' countercharm?" Flitwick looked confused, "Are
you practicing nonverbal spells already Harry?"
"Oh, well, - It just seems easier without it. I haven't been specifically practicing any
since I heard you learn that in later years, but some spells I use without the
incantation, it just comes naturally... Is there something wrong with that? Could I be
damaging my magical core by doing nonverbal charms without guidance?" Harry
was on the edge of his seat, worried he might have been hurting himself all these

years with wandless and nonverbal magic. Though he knew there was something
wrong with that line of thought.
Looking a little uncomfortable, Flitwick coughed, "Ah, um, no, not quite. Why don't
you try Lumos again, but without the incantation if you can."
He hesitated, looking back and forth from his wand to the professor, but shrugged
his shoulders and began. Doing so, Harry imagined the tip of his wand illuminating
the room, feeling the slight warmth of sunlight, and seeing the clear image of the soft
light shining in his mind. With barely any movement from his wand, he cast,
producing a brilliantly pure glow that lit the entire office. Neither stinging the eyes nor
making either of them squint from glare. His eyebrows rose at the unexpected result.
Professor Flitwick squirmed a little in his seat, "I was afraid of this... You see, the
problem with teaching magic sometimes, is that everyone is different. While one
method may work with most, some few learn better another way. This isn't to say
one method is wrong, or another right, but teachers can't tell which students will
learn better if taught differently. Usually it isn't until the 5th and 6th year that it is
apparent, and that's when all students are expected to try it. Do you see what I
mean?"
Sudden realization hit Harry, "You mean saying incantations aren't needed, but that
most students learn better that way, so that's how it's taught? All this time, I thought
spell incantations were somehow part of the magic, required to do specific spells,
though I should have known better. I was even given a hint early on... Wait, wand
movements aren't needed either, are they?"
I should have seen all this ages ago. I never even needed a wand before school,
why should words and motions matter when it was always focus that limited me
before. That's what was making me so frustrated lately. I was getting caught up in
perfecting meaningless pronunciation and the exact way to wave my wand, thinking
that would improve my spells, when it only distracted me and weakened them.
"Ahhmm, well that depends on the student, but technically, - no. Though many are
helped by it, and some spells seem to function better with a wand movement similar
to their intended action, they can still be performed without. The reason appears to
be that most students need to focus on a specific structure of a spell, using a name,
wand movement, and imagining the concept of a spell with it's effect all at once.
Wingardium Leviosa for instance, sounds like a spell that would let something float,
since most local languages and spells are based on Latin, they resemble those
words and concepts already held by many students. Being that most spells were
developed or changed when Latin was flourishing, they usually stem from it. I

suspect it was easier to teach when everyone spoke Latin and spells were simply
variations from an actual word. The swish and flick I teach is reproduced easily and
tends to give the idea of picking things up, although past professors have taught
differently."
"Of course." Harry nodded along, "Defining the concept of what you want to happen
in your mind is what matters. That should be so much easier though, focusing on
only the desired results. The usual method probably let's the mind make more
connections related to similar thoughts and memories, associating everything with
how you think the spell works. Though there are so many other languages out there,
some people might even have a hard time pronouncing the words right. Do they use
something else in Asia and other countries that never spoke or was influenced by
Latin?" Harry leaned back again thinking of all the possibilities. Jubilant at the
knowledge that he wasn't doing something wrong, and could discard the unneeded
details.
"Some still do, yes, but their languages have changed quite drastically as well since
ancient spells were created, and many have transitioned over to the Latin
pronunciations and this style of teaching recently. That is why many foreign students
come here, to learn what works so well and bring it back to their countries of origin.
Because it is highly useful for the majority of students. Most are given scholarships
to come here from their own magical governments, and expected to teach when they
get back.
"The problem we face now Harry, is a difficult one. You will obviously want to practice
and use spells without focusing on the words or wand movements, but this can
cause problems for others."
This peaked Harry's curiosity, as he sat up a little straighter.
"While you may benefit from nonverbal spells, most students would be severely
harmed by trying to imitate you. Both physically while casting spells they cannot
perform correctly, and developmentally they might lose all confidence in the old way
things are taught. That is the main reason why magic is taught by the current
method, because while some students may be held back like yourself, most would
barely be able to perform the simplest magic if they tried to learn nonverbal spells
from the beginning. Only after years of practice are their concepts of spells so
ingrained that they are capable of learning nonverbal magic without harm. It is
believed that your frame of mind, or how you think is slightly different than regular
people. Allowing those like you to do what others normally cannot.
"So I must ask you to pretend to cast the usual way in classes, and practice your

own way in private. Like those in the distant past, you will most likely refine your
spells better on your own, but simply be guided by the spells taught in classes. Pretending to whisper or repeat the words by rote will help keep up appearances. I'm
sorry, but you might need to continue this deception for many years. It shouldn't be
too hard because others will most likely be focusing on your outstanding magic
rather than your pronunciation or wand movements. Since those like you were
usually the most powerful wizards of their age. Even Headmaster Dumbledore didn't
realize he was better with nonverbal magic until his fifth year, as it is told."
Harry's eyebrows rose again in surprise, this was giving him new hope. He was
getting worse and worse at learning spells as time went on, causing his dreams of
creating new magic or incredible devices to slowly fade away. He almost started
thinking about a future in the department of mysteries, simply studying past
achievements, instead of continuing his research in enchanting. But now it seemed
his potential wasn't lost after all.
"Wow, that's interesting... of course I can keep pretending if you want. Is it the same
for transfiguration and potions as well?" Hope was plastered all over his face.
"For transfiguration it is, although the incantations and calculation of what you want
to change can be very important and helpful, it is not precisely required. I have heard
Dumbledore compare magic and particularly transfiguration to music. Saying that
while most people need it to be broken down into notes, keys, and many other parts
to recreate it, there are some who it comes to naturally. Savants, I believe they are
called."
Reeling at the implication, Harry wondered if he was somehow mentally
handicapped like most savants he heard about. I'm certainly not normal for an
eleven year old, but I don't think I have some kind of disability... And magic didn't
exactly come naturally either. I had to work on wandless magic for years to get very
good at it. Maybe it's just a talent I've learned to harness? He continued to speculate
while Flitwick carried on.
"I'm afraid potions are still controlled by the ingredients and methods used though.
And I would advise you to be especially careful with free transfiguration. Normally
you learn that in sixth or seventh year, because you should have all the basics down
by then. You should inform Professor McGonagall about your aptitude so she will
know what to expect, and be able to advise you further." Sliding down from the pile
of papers he walked over to Harry, "I hope this won't strain your friendship with fellow
students, especially with Miss Granger. Having to keep secrets from friends can be
very burdensome."

"Are you sure Hermione isn't like me? Although she still learns well normally, maybe
she could do better non-verbally too?"
"Possibly... possibly, but it is dangerous to risk it. Do not tell her yet, but if you see
her casting nonverbal spells also, bring her to me and we can make sure. Is there
anything else you had on your mind?" Harry shook his head, "Good good, now I
hope the quidditch game hasn't ended yet, let's go watch?"
His eyes twinkled like Dumbledore's as he climbed up to a back window, opened the
latch, and fell out. Calling back up he squeaked, "Jump down, it's perfectly safe."
Harry looked over the edge at the titchy little man far below, then shook his head and
dived after.
oOoOo
Arriving at the match Harry parted ways with Flitwick and made his way to the
Gryffindor stands. Finding Hermione in the back row, he sat beside her. Ron,
Seamus, and Dean were all up front, shouting at the Gryffindor team in the air,
yelling advice and encouragement, none of which was heard. Neville sat to one side,
cuddling the new hedgehog Lee finally got him. From the talk going around, it was
said to be magical and already bit one of Neville's tormentors. The other Gryffindor
girls were clustered around him, giggling and cooing about how cute it looked.
"Anything exciting happen so far?" Harry asked.
Hermione looked up at him, "Ron nearly fell off the stands earlier, but no, not on the
pitch at least. - Come to point out the snitch again?"
"Well, there's no need to point when it's right over there," He nodded his head
towards the Slytherin stands. It was hovering right above them and no one seemed
to notice. He dropped to a whisper, " - But if you're bored I could push it towards one
of the seekers and let them chase it." He smirked at her scandalized expression.
"But only if you're bored."
"You will do no such thing!" She scolded him, "They're trying their hardest out there,
they don't need you interfering for fun. Even if we find it a little... dull."
He nudged her playfully and brought out a package of chocolate grasshoppers,
offering her some. She took a few and stuffed her hands back under the blanket she
had brought, where she was slyly reading a book. Harry chuckled and she nudged
him back.

"What are you doing here?" Ron asked Harry with an imitation of a posh accent.
Attracting the attention of the other boys.
Catch more flies with honey, Harry thought, "Just cheering on Gryffindor, Fred and
George are doing great. - Care for some chocolate?" He poured some into the three
boy's outstretched hands and they were extremely mollified.
Hermione huffed and shook her head at his confusing actions, "You might be
reinforcing bad behavior you know, better to offer when they're nice."
"Should I ring a bell as well? Heh, if I'm too obvious even they might catch on.
Although I admit, it is unlikely."
"At least you're not tripping them into mud puddles or through the halls like Draco.
I've seen his so called clumsiness first hand, and can guess the cause now. You
know it's cruel to use your magic like that, even on bullies."
Shrugging, Harry chewed slowly on a grasshopper, "I suppose I'm cruel then."
She glanced at the distant look on his face and leaned her shoulder against him,
sighing. Pulling the blanket over him as well, they watched the game together.
Eventually the Gryffindor seeker, some fourth year Harry didn't know, saw the snitch
and the chase began. Taking twenty minutes of on and off bursts of speed, when the
snitch was finally caught by a lucky grab from Gryffindor. It relieved Harry that there
wasn't going to be any superstitious nonsense of him being bad luck if they lost.
Lunch arrived soon after and there was a celebration at the Gryffindor table.
Fireworks were set off and more candy was thrown, but they held the noise to a dull
roar.
'Still enjoying quidditch now?' He sent the silent question to Hermione and she
looked back with her 'you know better than to ask that,' expression.
Meeting with Dumbledore later, Harry revealed his new knowledge and mentioned
that asking him to light the fireplace once, wasn't much of a hint to nonverbal magic.
Especially when he didn't even know that he was supposed to learn from vague and
obscure hints at the time. Not conceding the point, Dumbledore reminded him of
their discussion on defense spells to learn. As well as few casual mentions in the
past month. Harry smacked his forehead and agreed.
"Got any more obvious hints about other topics I haven't been getting? Because as
you can see, I'm not the best at this game."

"That is half the fun, learning how to play. - You have a great advantage already, now
that you realize I give so many hints. I suppose I could spare a few more, yet make
them obscure and mysterious, which is how they are supposed to be passed on."
Dumbledore cleared his throat and sat up in seriousness.
"What has been broken can be fixed, what is hidden will be found, and when pacing
needed things arrive. There, now does that cheer you up?" The wise old wizard
impression with a twinkle in his eye was slightly marred by crumbs on his beard, and
a bit of jam on his sleeve from lunch.
Harry was a little tired of just thinking through hints over again and again, so he
finally said something, "Maybe if there was a clue to HOW I'm supposed to figure the
rest of it out. I only have so much time on my hands to research this stuff, I can't
spend all of it looking for everything about hidden secrets, and special repair spells.
By the way, it's really hard trying to find that disappearing door when there's a spell
blocking the way to it."
A little befuddled Dumbledore sighed, "I told Severus to take that down ages ago. It
was a precaution that appears not to have worked. As for the rest, they should not
be that hard. If I make them too easy, I will not have any secrets left to give hints
about."
Wanting to throw up his hands and grow another tree from the desk, Harry calmed
down and practiced his breathing. "Okay, can I at least try to use legilimency today?
I'm bound to need it sometime in the future, being the boy who lived. Why not start
practicing now?" The severe expression the headmaster rarely used was back,
ready to explain yet again why it was not a good idea. Relenting Harry slumped back
in his seat, "Fine, have it your way. Occlumency training yet again. I hope you grow
bored of this someday and d