Harry spent the rest of the holidays either in the room
of requirement or in the chamber of secrets with Viride. He was
enjoying himself immensely. It was very rare that the castle was all
but empty, and it was kind of nice to go places like the library and
have there be no people to stare at his scar.
He only ate dinner in the Great Hall. Usually he got up early and went to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat for breakfast, and take a picnic basket to wherever he was going for the day so that he would not need to go to the Great Hall for lunch. He knew that he could have called a house elf, but he did not want them knowing about the chamber of secrets. He only showed up at the Great Hall for dinner because otherwise he knew people would come looking for him.
The only real deviants to this routine were the two times he went to talk with Snape. He had indeed liked his gift. Of course he wondered where he had gotten it from, and asked him so. Harry told him the truth or at least most of the truth, that when he went to Gringotts it was within his vault.
Snape then asked him if he realized what exactly it was that he'd given him, and if he realized how valuable it was. Harry told him that he knew it was a very valuable potions text, but also that he knew that Snape would enjoy reading it far more than he would. That seemed to surprise Snape immensely, however he did not press any further.
Very soon it was the day that the students would be returning from the holidays. Harry spent the day in the room of requirement. He had made some headway since the beginning of the school year, but there was still tons of piles to go through. He was always finding more things that would be useful. For instance, just that day he had found a very rare book on Occlumency.
Most books on Occlumency were highly restricted. They were about a branch of the mind arts after all, and the Ministry did not want these books getting in to the hands of people who would use them for evil things. Of course being the Ministry they did not bother to think of the fact that most of the older families would already have books on the mind arts in their collections at their manors.
Harry had been spending so much time in the room of requirement that he quite lost track of it. Before he knew it, it was the time that the students would already be entering the Great Hall, and if he did not leave immediately then he would be late. He was just rushing out of the room when he ran into someone quite literally.
Both of them ended up on the ground. He shook his head briefly to clear it and then looked at who would be running through the halls when everybody should be in the Great Hall or entering it. Surprisingly, it was Hermione with Neville standing looking quite amused staring down at them both.
Harry quickly stood, and helped Hermione up as well. It was not long before Hermione's curiosity kicked in.
“Harry! What are you doing here?” Asked Hermione.
“I could ask you the same thing Hermione.” Said Harry calmly.
“Yes well, we just got back and I just had to go to my dorm to get a book that I wanted to look over during the feast.” Said Hermione as if it was rather obvious what she had been doing.
Harry smiled. “So Harry I ask again, what are you doing up on the seventh floor that is floors away from your common room, when you should already be at the feast?” Asked Hermione once again.
“Well,” began Harry. He really did not know what is right to say to them. He was not planning on showing them what exactly he had been doing, it would not do for Snape or Dumbledore to read their minds and find out after all. However, in this case the fallout should not be too bad if that were to happen. Also, it was highly unlikely that Dumbledore or Snape would find reason to look into their minds. Not to mention that Harry was dying to show them all the things he had found, but right then was not the time. They had a feast to get to.
“Now is not the time Hermione.” Said Harry. She began to protest, but he continued “We have a feast to get to. I will show you later.”
Hermione looked rather dejected, but followed Harry down to the Great Hall anyway. Thankfully they got there as the last of the students were walking in, so they wouldn't stand out. They had already decided that they should sit at their own tables for once, it was technically a feast after all. Harry found it rather weird to be sitting alone at the Hufflepuff table.
At the end of the feast, Dumbledore stood up to make some announcements, “Welcome back everyone. I hope you enjoyed your holidays. Now for an announcement. Before the end of last term, a suggestion was made to Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, Snape and I about a new club.
This club will be called the Defense Association. As you might infer, it is a club to do with defense. This person wanted to get more practice outside of the Defense against the Dark Arts classroom. I will not mention who this person is, but I thought their suggestion was a good one.
So from now on, every other Sunday for the two hours following lunch the Defense Association will take place. As we are sure that many of you will want to join the club, or at the very least see what the club is about we have decided to open up a new room to have it take place in.
If you are interested in joining this club or at the very least seeing what is it is all about, the first meeting will take place this Sunday on the seventh floor in the room across from the tapestry depicting Barnabas the Barmy. That is all. Now off to bed you trot.” said Dumbledore with a smile. ~~~~~~~~~~~~NTTMP~~~~~~~~~~~~ The next day was the beginning of that term's classes. In Harry's memory it would also be known as the day Hermione tried to stare him into submission. The whole day, she bugged him about what he had been doing. She did not stop until he promised to show them before dinner that night. She still stared at him all day though.
Right after their last class of the day they quickly dropped their bags off in their respective dorms. They then just as quickly went to the area across from Barnabas the barmy. Hermione looked at him funny as he paced back and forth. Then her eyes widened as she took in the door that appeared that she could of sworn hadn't been there before.
Harry entered the room with the other two following. They stare wide-eyed around the room.
“ Welcome to the Room of Requirement, also know as the come and go room. This is where I have been. I am sorry for not telling you before. I don't quite know why I didn't tell you before.” Harry lied. “I guess I just wanted a secret for myself you know.”
“Wait. This is the place that Dumbledore said that the meeting for the Defense Association would take place.” Said Hermione. “Then means that you were the one that made this suggestion. How could the club be held in here though? This place is a mess. There is not nearly enough room in here for students to practice defense in.”
Indeed it was still a mess though less so than it had been at the beginning of the year. “Well this is not the exact room that the Defense Association would take place in.” They just looked at him weird.
He went on to explain, “ I found this place while I was exploring one day. I figured out that as you pace out in front of the entrance three times thinking about what you want the room to become, the room transforms into what you were thinking of. So if I were to request that this room were to turn into a room perfect for a lot of students to practice defense then it would do so.”
“But you were the ones to bring this to the teacher's attention?” Hermione asked.
“Yes, Hermione. I am tired of learning almost nothing in defense. I came here to learn not to listen to an incompetent teacher stutter.” Hermione looked indignant at such a statement that abused a teacher, but in the end she agreed with him.
“So what have you been doing in here?” asked Neville.
Harry then explained how he had been going through and separating the items into some of the piles that they saw before them. He then showed them some of the useful things that he had found. They then spent the rest of the time until dinner looking through the various items both that Harry had gone through and some that he hadn't.
In the end, he had to lend Hermione his bag that was bigger on the inside than the outside in order to carry all the books that she had found that she had wanted. It was three very happy, but tired people that made their way to supper. They spent the rest of the evening in the library working on homework.
The rest of the week went by much as the previous term had. The exception to this was that they went back to the Room of Requirement together on Saturday. Before Harry knew it Sunday had arrived.
All through breakfast and lunch all anyone could be heard talking about was the new club. It seemed that pretty much the entire school would be showing up. About halfway through lunch Professor McGonagall caught his eye and motioned him into the hallway. After telling his friends where he was going, he followed her out.
“What is it Professor?” asked Harry as he followed her up the stairs.
“Well, Mr. Potter, the other professors and I realized this morning while we determined who would be teaching what and when that we neglected something rather important?” said the professor.
After Harry looked genuinely confused, she explained, “We forgot to ask you how exactly you opened the room and as such we were in a bit of a bind, until we decided that I would just leave early with you to open the room and then you can explain how you did so.”
“Of course Professor. I would be happy to show you.” said Harry.
They soon arrived and Harry explained how to open it, and then he demonstrated. When they walked through the door, they found a room very similar to the one that Harry had showed the Professors the previous term when he had first suggested the club.
The room was very similar to the one the DA had used in the previous timeline in that the back was covered in mirrors, it was however quite different as well. There was an area off to one side that was filled with bookcases overflowing with numerous books. Along one wall there were dummies that could be used to practice spells on. The floors were lightly padded.
The main difference between this room and the one that the DA had previously used was its sheer size. The room that they were currently in was easily ten times the size of the original, perhaps more. It did after all need to be big enough to hold most of the school comfortably.
Just a few minutes later, Hermione and Neville along with several other students walked through the door. It seemed that whatever they had been expecting was not this. They were standing there so long that students behind them ran into them as they were coming in.
This process went on for the next half an hour or so. The rest of the professors were the last to arrive. It was rather amusing to Harry to see the gobsmacked look on their faces, especially Professor Snape's.
A few minutes later Professor McGonagall walked to the front, and all at once the murmuring, though not the fidgeting, that had been going on ceased.
“Welcome to the Defense Association also known as the DA.” began the professor. “I know that you are quite eager to begin practicing some defense, but please bare with me as I explain the rules and give an introduction.
As you all heard Professor Dumbledore say, this club is about supplementing your regular defense classes with extra practice. We are going to begin with some simple spells and work our way up to harder ones so upper years please be aware that we will in all likelihood be going over things that you already know. However, everyone could use more practice.
Myself as well as professors Snape and Flitwick will be taking turns overseeing this club. So, if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to come to one of us with them. We will take all suggestions into considerations.
Now the rules are simple. First, all school rules apply. Secondly, anyone we feel who is horsing around and not taking this seriously can and will be kicked out. Defense is a very serious subject, and we do not need nor want to have to send anyone to visit Madam Pomfrey. You will give whoever is teaching your undivided attention, and do as they say.
Other than those that may be kicked out, you can come or not come to meetings as you chose. However, be aware that you may not understand what is going on if you miss a meeting. I believe that is all, so let's begin.”
Professor McGonagall began by explaining Expelliarmus, the incantation, wand movements, and what it is used for. Some of the upper years did look disappointed, and some of the younger years as well. It was quite obvious to Harry that they were hoping and expecting something more exciting to be taught.
Harry, however, approved. He know that due to the curse, their learning was rather fragmented, and that some of the upper years might even have trouble with that simple spell. This was soon found to be true as they were told to separate into pairs and practice.
Hermione and Neville paired up while Harry paired up with Terry Boot from Ravenclaw. By the end of the lesson, most people had the charm down, this included Hermione, Neville, and Terry. As they left the room, Harry was in a good mood. It seemed, if the excited talk around him was anything to go by, that the club was a success. He couldn't wait to see where it would go from there.