For some reason, Malfoy never paid them a visit the entire trip.
Wonders never cease.
As the six of them walked to the thestral drawn carriages, many were pointing at Harry and whispering to each other.
“Here we go again,” said Harry to his friends.
“What?” asked Ginny.
“All the stares, finger pointing, and whispering to each other. Will it ever end?”
“I suppose if you were to stop amazing people for a while, it might slack off,” teased Ginny.
“I don’t do it on purpose, you know! I do it to survive!”
“Well then, I suppose you just can’t help it, Harry,” replied Hermione with a smile.
“I may have to start looking for some new friends,” Harry teased back. “You guys are no help at all.”
“We try!” said Neville looking serious, but failing.
“Well, try harder,” Harry mumbled, which got a chuckle from the group.
The sorting and Welcoming Feast was typical as usual, although the first years appeared to get shorter every year. The interesting part was the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor – it was Snape! The new potions professor was an older witch who looked like someone’s grandmother. Her name was Lucy Spindall. According to the introduction by Dumbledore, she was a master brewer.
Harry was torn over Snape’s new position. He was afraid the greasy git would ruin his favorite subject. On the other hand, he was delighted that since the position was cursed, this would likely be Snape’s last year at Hogwarts. He didn’t know whether to be disappointed or erupt in jubilation. He could only hope that the new Potions teacher was a step up. She almost had to be after Snape.
Harry was right in the middle of letting his thoughts be known about that while they ate, when he got a tap on his shoulder. He looked up and saw McGonagall standing there.
“Mr. Potter, the Headmaster would like to see you in his office after we are dismissed. He told me to tell you that he is very fond of Nosebleed Nuggets,” she whispered the password.
“Okay. Thanks, Professor.”
“I wonder what he wants?” asked Hermione.
“Who knows,” Harry said, still not wanting to go back to that office.
After eating, Harry went to the Headmaster’s office and knocked on the door.
“Come on in, Harry.”
Harry went in and quietly stood before the Professor.
“Please have a seat and you’re welcome to any Lemon Drops or Ginger Snaps. I would like to share some things with you, if you don’t mind.”
Harry sat down in the chair and just waited.
“Harry, I wish to apologize to you. When Remus went to your relative’s house and found you missing, I thought for sure you had run away. That the information I shared with you that night in this very office had been too much for you, and you decided to run. What a surprise it was to see you at the will reading. I was relieved that you were still around. I’m afraid my actions toward you that day were a result of an old man not realizing how far you have come. It is quite obvious now how much you have grown and matured. You also take your safety very seriously. You have proven that you can keep yourself safely hidden from not only Tom and his Death Eaters, but from me and the Order as well. Quite an accomplishment and I’m very sorry I ever doubted you.”
“Thank you, sir,” Harry replied, shocked at Dumbledore’s admission.
“Not only have you matured as a man and a wizard, you have also been training very hard. It is quite obvious, Harry. This is beside the point that you are now classified as an adult. I was told that you used some special spells against the Death Eaters in Diagon Alley and that those spells were part of your family magic. I will not question you as to what those spells were. If they are family magic, then it’s no one’s business but your own.”
“They are, so thank you again, sir.”
“The last thing I wish to share with you, Harry, is I’ve noticed your power is growing at an exponential rate. Just this summer, your power has increased several times over. You are nearing my own level and I suspect that at this rate you will be at my level by the time you reach the age of 17, if not sooner. I also suspect, that you will eventually surpass me in power.”
“Professor, I find it hard to believe that I am that powerful. Surely, you’re wrong about this.”
“I suspected that you did not realize yet just how powerful you are, Harry. Trust me. I’m not wrong. I can sense how much power a person has. I felt your power at the beginning of summer and it was very strong. Now, after summer, it has increased many times over. Hear me out about this. Remember the battle magic spells you used in Diagon Alley that took out a dozen Death Eaters at the same time?” Harry nodded. “They were that powerful because you are that powerful. Believe me, Harry, a regular powered wizard using the same spells would have far lesser results.”
Harry was silent for a bit thinking about the new information. Dumbledore let him think for a minute.
“Harry, the important thing about being so powerful is to simply accept it. If you don’t, you run the risk of seriously injuring or killing someone on accident. You have to learn to control all that power. Once you accept it, then you will be fully cognizant of it and will start adjusting to it. Just know, that should you have any questions or need any guidance, I will be here to help you. I’ve been through this before, so call on me anytime.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“That’s all I had, Harry, unless you have any questions or concerns or, perhaps, wish to say something else.”
“No, I believe I have enough to deal with right now. This is going to take some serious thought. Thank you for your apology and for sharing that with me, Professor. I appreciate your help.”
Harry was still coming to grips with his changed relationship with the headmaster but didn’t feel it prudent to be rude. He could tell the professor was being genuine so decided to ease off a bit about what happened at the end of last year. Letting Harry know about his growing power was extremely helpful. He wasn’t suddenly going to be all buddy, buddy with him, but he could at least take a step back for now and observe how things go moving forward.
“Good night, Harry.”
“Good night, sir.”
Classes, surprisingly, seemed to be going much easier than Harry thought they would be. He wasn’t sure why until he realized that all the work he did on learning to use Parselmagic, was playing a significant role in how he was learning the new spells in class. It wasn’t due to him studying ahead, but the fact that the Parselmagic spells required so much more intent and thought process. By comparison, even though these were NEWT level spells, they didn’t seem as difficult to learn.
Hermione was certainly noticing how easy it was for Harry to get a spell correct in class. In fact, he usually was the first one. Of course, her biggest problem was not Harry, but Ron. Ron was showing the ability to learn quickly as well. Sometimes, he was first in class and he never needed help with his homework anymore. Now, he was normally the first one to get his homework done.
As a matter of fact, everyone was adjusting to Ron. He was not the same Ron they remembered. He was more serious about everything. He studied hard and did well in all of his classes now. It was a complete 180 for all those that knew him.
In Transfiguration, where Hermione has always been known as the best student, she was shocked when Harry was the first to change his eyebrows to a different color – Weasley red. Not only that, he went on to change his hair to the same color, then changed his hairdo to a different style and even made his eyebrows bushier. He seemed to be having fun the whole time and he did it all non-verbally. McGonagall gave him 15 points for his success.
Hermione was the second person in class to change her eyebrows to a different color but Ron was only a second behind her. He changed his to black then changed his hair to the same color. It was like Harry and Ron switched places. Hermione was then able to change the shape of her eyebrows but never quiet got her hair to change color. She was starting to get a bit flustered at her two best friends who were now passing her up in her best class.
Then in Charms class they had to change vinegar into wine. Hermione changed hers into a deep crimson wine pretty fast but when she looked up, Harry had two glasses. One was full of a red Merlot, while the other was full of a white Chardonnay. On top of that, while her wine was acceptable and tasted like decent wine, Harry’s tasted like very expensive wine.
Ron’s was much like Hermione’s, but some in the class had wine with a strong vinegar flavor. They needed more work. As it turns out, Harry actually conjured the extra glass, poured half the vinegar into it, then not only turned the vinegar in both to two separate types of expensive wine, but increased the volume of wine in each glass to be full.
Hermione wasn’t sure what was going on with Harry. He was so focused now. Ron was another story altogether.
Potions was the same thing all over again. Hermione supposed Harry was able to work better without Snape picking on him all the time, so she was not surprised when he was able to brew perfectly the Draught of Living Death. He did manage an O on his OWL, after all. Ron produced about the same quality as well. Professor Spindall was a great teacher and obviously cared for the students and wanted them to succeed. She was very nice to all the houses too. What a huge change from Snape.
Defense was the real kicker. Hermione was thinking that since Snape was now the professor, Harry may not excel so much in the class like he normally does. Boy, was she wrong.
After Snape explained what he expected out of the class and what they would be studying over the semester, he decided to give the students an example of how to properly duel when faced with someone attacking you. Naturally, he called on Harry to try and show him up in front of the class.
Harry walked up and calmly faced the professor.
“For this demonstration, Potter and I will duel trying to stun each other. Nothing stronger than a stunner will be used. Is that clear, Potter?” Harry nodded. “The first one to succeed will be the winner. Prepare yourself, Potter.”
A few Slytherins chuckled but Harry just stood there.
“You might want to at least use your wand, Potter,” Snape suggested.
“If you say so, Professor.” Harry dropped his wand into his hand from his wand holster on his arm, but still just stood there and did not go into a fighting stance like Snape did.
Snape shrugged and then quickly fired off a stunner. The red spell flew toward Harry and impacted right at chest level, only it did not quite reach Harry. It was like he had an invisible shield that was just a few inches away from his body.
Snape stopped and looked to see why the spell didn’t work then he just dropped unconscious to the floor. Pansy, who happened to be sitting at the front of the class and was the only student within range of the spell, also was stunned and slumped over onto her desk. Harry looked over at the class and smiled.
“That was way too easy,” Harry said. “I expected a better showing from our new Defense teacher. Didn’t you?”
A few nervous laughs were heard, but most of the Slytherins were not happy at all. Harry flicked his wand at Pansy who stirred and then sat up and looked around.
“Alright there, Miss Parkinson?” asked Harry.
Pansy just frowned at him then noticed Snape was laid out on the floor.
“I suppose I should enervate him so he can teach us more of this fascinating subject,” Harry said then flicked his wand at Snape.
Snape sat up and looked around.
“What happened?” he asked.
“I won, Professor,” said Harry before walking back to his seat. “Great lesson so far!”
Later in the common rooms, the news was spreading about what Harry did in the Defense classroom. The Slytherins were particularly vocal about it. Pansy finally got her answer as to how they were all stunned at the same time last semester and how Harry blocked their spells before that. Nott was cashing in on his ‘I told you so’ to Pansy who couldn’t believe she was stunned again.
Nott also told everyone that Harry’s magic was several times stronger than it was last semester. Somehow over the summer it had increased significantly, he said.
“I still can’t believe that Potter can cast spells with just his mind,” said Draco. “That is just freaky.”
“I wouldn’t call him that to his face,” said Bole, a seventh year. “There’s no telling what other spells he knows. He killed twelve Death Eaters with just two spells that he cast at the same time. Those spells could be seen though. They were orange, according to the paper. The one you were describing couldn’t be seen, you said.”
“Right,” said Nott, “but if you remember he stunned eight of them before he killed the twelve. No one saw the spell when he stunned them. He must have used the same spell on Professor Snape today and it must be a wide area stunner of some sort because he got all four of us last June. He got the eight in Diagon Alley, plus some others who were close by them, then he got Professor Snape along with Pansy here because she was the only one who was close enough to the radius of the spell. Interesting.”
“The paper also said he never used his wand,” added Bole. “The two powerful spells he used against the twelve were said to come at the same time from his hands. They put up shields but the spells just exploded on contact, killing them all. That is some very powerful stuff.”
“Did you guys see what he did on the platform before he got on the train?” asked Vaisey, another seventh year.
“You mean when he stunned all those reporters, made a big leap over them, then made a bigger leap from the platform all the way to the top of the train?” asked Nott.
“That would be it,” answered Vaisey.
“Once again, Draco,” warned Bole. “I would not toy with Potter.”
Draco just nodded slowly in agreement. Truth is, he saw what Harry did on the platform and he read about the Death Eaters in Diagon Alley. That’s why he decided to not pay him a visit on the train. He wasn’t stupid.
Harry was getting even more stares after his simple duel with Snape in the Defense classroom. It was worse because all the sixth years from every house were in the class, due to it being a combined NEWT class.
Harry supposed that perhaps he should have kept this all under wraps. After Diagon alley and now Defense class, everyone will definitely know of his ability, even if they don’t know the specifics. It was no secret now, that was for sure. Needing some time to think and get away from all the questions in the common room, Harry left, then ducked into the nearest alcove where even the pictures couldn’t see him.
Once hidden, Harry changed into Sneak and turned invisible. He then tore out of the alcove as fast as he could go and headed toward the back of the castle, down all the stairs, and through the hall until he came to the bare office of Salazar Slytherin. It only took him a few seconds and he may have leaped across several stairs when they changed on him. Sneak entered the office by thinking the Parseltongue command open then changed back into Harry who issued the command lock, causing the door to close behind him and lock. From there, he used the floo to travel back to his chamber apartment.
Harry grabbed a butterbeer from the cold storage then went to the lounge and sat on the sofa. Dobby popped in and joined him.
“Harry Potter, sir. Can Dobby get you anything?”
“Hi, Dobby. I just had to get away from everyone and their stupid questions. So many people have seen me use my Parseltongue magic now and they are all going nuts about it. Of course, I didn’t tell them it was Parseltongue. I just said it was private family magic. Make sure you don’t tell anyone that I’ve been studying that type of magic.”
“Dobby will always keep the Great Harry Potter’s secrets.”
“Thanks, Dobby. Say do we have any biscuits left?”
“Dobby will be right back!”
Dobby popped out then popped back a minute later with a plate full of biscuits which were yummy. Harry ate a couple and pondered his situation before suddenly sitting straight up.
“Oh, I just remembered, Dobby. I needed to ask you a question.”
“Dobby is listening.”
“Do you know of another elf who would like to work for me?”
“Is Dobby not doing a good enough job for Harry Potter, sir?” he asked worriedly.
“No, that’s not it at all, Dobby. You are the best!”
Dobby was happy to hear that.
“Do you remember my godfather, Sirius?”
“Well, if you remember, he left me practically everything the Blacks own. This includes the Black family residence in London. It’s rather large, in horrible shape, and needs a really good cleaning. Since you are a Potter family elf, I thought I should take on another elf for the Black family since I’m the head of that family too. Then the Black family elf could stay there and keep that residence running properly. In fact, you could probably go help that other elf get that house in order if you needed more to do. It would help too if that elf can cook some.”
“Kreacher is the elf for the Black family. Is he not doing his job?”
“No, not really. Kreacher is old and is a bad elf. He is partly to blame for Sirius dying. I thought maybe a good elf working there could help him see what’s right. He was basically brain washed and abused by the Blacks. I think Sirius was the only decent one that came out of there. Who knows, Kreacher may turn around.”
“Dobby knows of a good elf who would love to be a Black family elf. She is a very good cook too.”
“What’s her name?”
“Yes, I remember Winky. She was Barty Crouch’s family elf. Is she working here now?”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir, but Winky is not happy. She only wants to serve a proper house so would love to be a Back family elf.”
“Excellent, can you give her a heads up about this now and bring her here?” Dobby nodded. “Then on Saturday, I will take you two over to the residence, which is protected by the Fidelius, so you can see it and make plans to clean it all up. I hope you can work with Kreacher.”
“Kreacher will not be a problem, Harry Potter, sir.”
“Good. Also keep in mind that Professor Dumbledore uses that house for meetings with a special group he runs. What they discuss must not be shared with anyone. Understood?”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir. Should Dobby go get Winky now?”
“Yes. Thank you, Dobby.”
Harry finished his butterbeer and ate one more biscuit before Dobby and Winky arrived. Winky was crying.
“Harry Potter, sir, Winky would be honored to serve the Black family. I will be a good elf and work very, very hard.”
“I know you will Winky and I know you’re a good elf. You deserve to work where you’ll be happy. Do you accept the position of a Black family elf?”
“Yes! Winky accepts!”
“Great! Welcome aboard.”
Winky was trembling with excitement.
“Just so you know, I am the head of both the Potters and the Blacks. Dobby is my Potter family elf and he is now the overall head elf.” Dobby perked up at that. “You, Winky, are now my Black family elf. The Black house is in London and needs a whole lot of work. On Saturday, I’ll take both you and Dobby to the house so you guys can get started. Dobby will help when he can with the initial cleanup. After that, it will be your job to keep the house nice and cook when necessary.”
“Winky will be happy to work hard for the Great Harry Potter!”
Harry turned to his head elf. “Dobby, have you been influencing my new friend here?” Dobby looked sheepish. “I thought you were the only one that called me that.”
“Dobby just explained to Winky about not using the word master. Winky is just using what she heard Dobby use.”
“I see. Well, Winky, regardless of what Dobby says, I am not the Great anything. I’m simply Harry.” Winky frowned at that. “However, if it makes you more comfortable, feel free to call me sir.” Winky then smiled.
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir!” she said excitedly.
“I’m glad we got that straight,” Harry said then winked at Dobby. Dobby smiled. “Now, let’s discuss this place, Winky. Please follow me.”
Winky nodded and followed her new master. Harry led them out to the lower chamber and stood on the steps leading down. He gestured to the beautiful chamber.
“Did you happen to help with this, Winky?”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir.”
“Harry Potter, sir,” said Dobby, “Winky is one of the three elves who made the copy for your special room.”
“Really?” Harry turned and knelt down to Winky’s level. “Dobby eventually explained to me how difficult that was to do and that it took three elves working in perfect harmony to accomplish it. Then you’re all tired for days having to rest. That was quite a sacrifice for me, Winky.”
“All the elves are very fond of Harry Potter, sir,” replied Winky. “We were all happy to do it.”
“I’m glad then that I’m liked by so many. It makes me feel good.”
Both the elves smiled at their master.
“Just remember, Winky, about keeping all my secrets. First of all, the chamber is a big secret, especially my apartment. That’s where I lived all summer with Dobby helping me. It must remain a secret from everyone except us three.” Winky nodded. “Now, at the Black house, there will be many more secrets and not just mine to keep. Professor Dumbledore leads a group that meets there regularly. They discuss things that no one else should be told. If you happen to overhear what they discuss then tell no one. Understood?”
“Can Winky tell Harry Potter, sir?”
“Yes, that will be okay,” Harry said with a smile, “but no one else.”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir.”
“I’ll need to speak with Professor Dumbledore about the Fidelius. I will likely call you to his office while I’m there so he can share the secret with you. Then on Saturday, will all go and speak to Kreacher. Sound good?
They both nodded excitedly.
“What can I do for you Harry?” asked Dumbledore.
“Sir, I have something I need to run by you.”
“Please, go ahead.”
“I want to fix up Grimmauld Place so it’s very nice. I’ve taken on an elf for the job and I’m hoping a good elf will help Kreacher see a better way. I’m wanting to go there this Saturday and talk to Kreacher then let the elves get started cleaning the place up properly.”
“Harry, it seems I need to apologize again. I should have checked with you about continuing to use Grimmauld Place as headquarters since you are now the owner.”
“Oh, no worries, sir. I had planned on allowing you guys to continue to use it. I’ve spoken to the elves as well about the importance of keeping secrets. There will be no problem there.”
“Elves? I thought you mentioned just one.”
“Yes, sorry about that. I actually have two elves now. Dobby finally came to me recently and admitted something. He told me that he accidentally bonded with me after I freed him and when he protected me from Lucius Malfoy, back in second year. Turns out he was afraid I would not want him as my house elf. I was thrilled actually. I like Dobby and given my head of house status now, I believe he will come in handy.”
“So, there will be two elves going with you to Grimmauld Place?”
“Yes, Dobby is now a Potter family elf, while Winky is now my Black family elf. Dobby will help as much as he can on the cleanup but Winky will stay after that to keep the house in order. Dobby also tells me that she is an excellent cook.”
“And, you need me to share the secret with Dobby and Winky?”
“Yes, can I call them here now and have you do that? That way on Saturday we can just head over there and let them get started.”
“Certainly. That will be fine, but could I tag along on Saturday? We can take the floo from my office.”
“That’s fine with me, sir.”
“Dobby, Winky? Come here, please.”
The two elves popped in together and stood eager to please.
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir?” Then he saw Dumbledore. “Is the professor ready to share?”
“Yes, he is, Dobby. Thanks for coming. You too, Winky.” Harry turned back to the Professor. “Sir?”
“Hello Dobby and Winky. It’s good to see you both again. I’m very pleased you will be working for Harry. I believe he can use the help with all his new responsibilities. Give me just a second.”
Dumbledore turned back to his desk and wrote on a piece of paper. He then handed it to the two elves.
“Please read that and memorize it so you will know the secret. Hand it back to me when you’re done.”
The two elves read the paper together.
The Order of the Phoenix meets at #12 Grimmauld Place
When they were done, Winky handed the paper back to the Headmaster who burned it.
“Are you guys good now?” asked Harry.
The elves nodded.
“Okay, on Saturday morning I’m going to come back here and travel with the Headmaster over to the house. Once there, I will call the both of you to join me. Sound good?”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir,” said Dobby. “Dobby and Winky will be ready.”
Winky nodded in agreement. You could tell she was excited.
“I’ll talk to you guys later then,” said Harry
The two elves popped away, leaving a smiling Dumbledore.
“You certainly made Winky a very happy elf, Harry.”
“No doubt, but she truly deserves it, sir. She got a raw deal before.”
“That she did, but it looks like those days are behind her now.”