Chapter 17 – Spring Break
“Wormtail,” said Voldemort in a raspy voice, “what happened at Godric’s Hollow? You are the Secret Keeper. How did we lose it?”
“It had to be Dumbledore, my lord. He’s the only one I know of that bunch who could get rid of the Fidelius and replace it with another. They have some very advanced wards placed on the house as well. It will be impossible to get in there again.”
“And what happened to our recruits I had you station there to wait for the boy to show up?”
“Evidently they were captured and sent to the Ministry.”
“So they failed?”
“Yes, my lord. If it was Dumbledore they likely didn’t have much of a chance.”
“And, you lost us the Potter house?”
“My lord, there wasn’t anything I could do. The Fidelius was removed without warning and they completely locked me out. I couldn’t get back in and now I can’t even find the place.”
“This is the job I gave you to do so we could capture the boy and you have failed me.”
“Please, my lord, it wasn’t my fault.”
The next morning, on Monday, after his exercises and breakfast, Harry went back to his house in Godric’s Hollow. He took some tea and a few supplies with him this time. He checked to make sure the place was still empty and no Death Eaters were hanging about looking for the place outside. Finding none, he looked the place over for a bit to find any work still left to be done then decided it would be best if he procured some help.
He wanted to have someone check to make sure all the modifications he made to the house were sound and that no problems existed with the wood and other material the house was built with. Since it was damaged and left open all these years, he wanted to make sure everything was fine. Since Harry had other things on his schedule for the week, he thought of someone who would be perfect for the job.
“The Great Harry Potter has called on Dobby and Dobby is here to help Master Harry Potter sir. How can Dobby help?”
“Dobby, it’s very nice to see you again. I was wondering, could you do some work for me?”
“Yes! Master Harry Potter only needs to tell Dobby what he needs Dobby to do.”
“Are you sure you’re not too busy at Hogwarts?” Dobby was shaking his head no. “This is a big job and I insist you let me pay you for your services before I let you start.”
Dobby looked constricted at that piece of information. Dobby didn’t want the Great Harry Potter to have to pay him to work.
“In fact, you may want to get some help with this so it won’t take you so long to get it all done. Do you have another elf friend that could help you?”
“Dobby can bring Winky to help. Dobby takes care of Winky because Winky was sad and was drinking too much butterbeer but Winky stopped now that Dobby takes care of her. Winky is a very hard worker and will help if Dobby asks her.”
“Great! I’ve always liked Winky. Can you go get her and bring her back? I’ll tell you what I need done when you both are here.”
“Yes, Master Harry Potter sir. Dobby will be right back.”
Harry went to the kitchen and was about to make him some tea when he heard another pop behind him. He turned and there stood Dobby and Winky.
“Well, hello there Winky. It’s very nice to see you again. I was just about to make some tea, would you guys care to join me?”
Dobby started shaking his head no and went over to Harry. He grabbed Harry’s hand and led him to the table where he had Harry sit down. Winky took up where Harry left off and began preparing the tea.
“Winky and Dobby will get the tea for the Great Harry Potter sir.” After Dobby had Harry seated he went back over to help Winky. Harry just smiled at the two elves. In a few minutes, after Dobby had popped away and came back with some items, he and Winky came back over with tea and some biscuits. They set everything on the table for Harry and stood back to the side.
“Would you guys care to join me?” Harry asked but the elves were shaking their heads. “I see. That’s too bad. I was really hoping I could have some company at the table while I enjoyed my tea and explained what the job is I have for you to do. It’s always nice to sit at the table with friends.”
Dobby remembered eating with Harry last year in his room at Privet Drive and being treated as an equal. He started to sit at the table but noticed a big frown on Winky’s face. He walked back over to Winky and started whispering something in her ear. As he spoke to her, the frown on her face slowly began to dissolve and when he finished telling her whatever it was he said they both came and sat at the table with Harry. They were looking a bit apprehensive though, Winky more so than Dobby.
“That’s more like it. Would either of you care for some tea? Biscuits? They taste great!”
“No thank you Harry Potter sir. Winky and Dobby are just fine.” Dobby answered for both.
“Very well, let me get down to business. Do you guys know what house you’re in?”
“This is the house where Harry Potter was a baby and was attacked by that mean dark wizard,” replied Winky.
“That’s correct Winky. My parents were killed here and Voldemort was defeated. This is a very important house to me and I would not trust just anyone with it, but I trust you two.”
Both of the elves perked up and had smiles on their faces after they heard that.
“When I came here yesterday I found four Death Eaters here and two teenage girls they were abusing. I captured the Death Eaters and healed the girls. I sent Kingsley Shacklebolt a message and he showed up with help to take the prisoners and make sure the girls got back home safely. Remus Lupin was with him and he decided to stay when I told him I had come here to fix up the place. We sent a message to my godfather Sirius Black and he came and helped us. Between the three of us we fixed most of it I think but I would like you two to go over the place from top to bottom, attic to basement, checking the entire house for any problems, inside and out.”
“Make sure the Death Eaters didn’t leave anything dangerous. Make sure the wood and other material that the house was built with is still in good condition, with no bugs, etc. in the woodwork. Please fix any issues you find. And if you would, make sure the house is clean before you leave. Is this something you would be willing to do for me?”
Winky was nodding her head. Dobby spoke up. “Dobby would do anything for the Great Harry Potter. Dobby and Winky will have all this work done for Master Harry Potter sir.”
“Good. I’m glad you guys are willing to help. Now, let’s discuss your fees.” Dobby and Winky looked at each other then back at Harry. “Since it will likely take you guys two to three days to get all this done I was thinking that 20 galleons each would be fair.”
The elves were shaking their heads. “I cannot accept pay to help Harry Potter,” replied Winky.
“Dobby does not need the Great Harry Potter to pay him because Dobby will do anything for Master Harry Potter sir.”
“Are you sure you guys won’t reconsider and take pay to do this job for me? It’s real important that you do.”
They both shook their heads no.
“Well,” Harry thought for a minute, “it was nice talking to you then. You can go back to Hogwarts. I will see if I can find two more trusty elves to help me, ones that will accept pay for their services. You both know my friend Hermione and if she found out I had you working for free she would hex me into next week. It was very nice seeing the both of you again and I much appreciate the tea and biscuits you made. Have a good rest of the week at Hogwarts and I will see you next week when I return.” Harry stood up from the table, waved his hand, and the dishes all went to the sink and began washing themselves.
Dobby and Winky remained in their seats at the table looking at each other trembling. They felt like they had just been dismissed when they were looking forward to the work. They slowly got up from the table and walked over to Harry and stood before him with their heads bowed.
“Dobby, Winky is there something else you guys needed?”
“Harry Potter sir, Dobby and Winky is so very sorry to disappoint the Great Harry Potter such that he felt he had to dismiss us,” said Winky.
“If the Great Harry Potter would be willing to give Dobby and Winky another chance then Dobby and Winky would be willing to do the work for pay,” said Dobby.
“Guys,” Harry said kneeling down to their level, “I’m not disappointed in you. I just can’t have you do all this work for free. It wouldn’t be right. You’re both free elves and I’m not your master. I’m just one lucky wizard to have such great friends like you two who would be willing to do all this work for me. But I have to pay you to be fair and to avoid Hermione’s wrath.”
“Then we will do the work for 10 galleons each, Harry Potter sir,” replied Winky. “That is more than enough to be fair.” Dobby looked at Harry with a questionable look on his face.
“Deal! I’ll pay you guys 10 galleons each when the job is done. Please get in touch with me when you’re through and we’ll settle up. I will likely be at Potter Place when you finish. Just pop over to get me and I’ll meet you back over here.”
“Yes, Master Harry Potter sir. It will be done,” replied Dobby happily.
“Oh, be sure not to overwork yourselves. Take breaks when you need to because there’s no reason this has to be done quickly.”
“Thank you sir,” replied Winky with smile.
“See you later.” Harry pulled out his watch, held it in the palm of his hand, and muttered “Legends of Potter.”
The rest of the week leading up to Friday flew by quickly for Harry since he stayed busy. He made portkeys for the Grangers, the Weasleys, Luna, and Neville then sent them over via Hedwig with instructions to activate any time on Friday when they were ready to show up. He sent an extra one for Arthur to use after he finished at work.
Harry never missed his workouts or karate training but he had spent plenty of time with Rolly, he had also taken advantage of Simon and Henry to learn additional advanced spells, and he spent most of his time under the tutelage of Mattie to learn more about all the dealings at Potter Place and beyond. Harry was amazed at how much there was to keep track of and know. Mattie, of course, had it all under control.
Harry had filled everyone in about the happenings at Godric’s Hollow and his hiring of Dobby and Winky to make sure the place was in tip-top condition. They were happy Harry was not hurt in the ordeal and upset to hear what the Death Eaters did to those poor girls. Harry wondered if he should check up on them sometime to make sure they were doing okay.
On Wednesday, Dobby showed up to let Harry know they had finished so Harry met Dobby and Winky back over at the Godric’s Hollow house to see their handiwork. Harry was very impressed and they did a great job cleaning up everything. It was spotless. There was not a speck of damage anywhere inside or outside the house. They assured Harry that the magic on the house kept all the bugs away so no damage was done in that regard. They did find some rotted wood that they replaced and strengthened some areas that the explosion had weakened. Harry thanked them profusely and paid them their 10 galleons each, promising he would call on them again if he ever needed them. He headed back to Potter Place.
That same day Harry received an owl from Kingsley letting him know that the Death Eaters Harry captured were indeed there waiting for him. They were supposed to capture Harry and take him to Voldemort. “What else is new?” thought Harry.
On Friday, Harry was in his animagus form flying high around the property when he spotted several people on the ground near the house waving at him. He looked with his eagle eyes and was able to make out clearly all his friends from that distance. He saw Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Neville, and Luna. Harry circled back and flew down to land about ten feet away from them before he changed back and walked over to greet them.
“Hey guys! Where are your parents, Hermione, and where are the rest of the Weasleys?”
“We had them get settled in their rooms. Mattie told just us what you were doing so only we came out to find you in case you didn’t want anyone else to know this secret,” replied Hermione.
“Dad will be here later after work,” offered Ron.
“Thanks guys but I think this group is okay to know this. Of course the fewer who know, the better our secret is kept. Let’s head back in so you can get settled then we can figure out what everyone wants to do first.”
They all headed back into the manor and five house elves appeared who took the guests to their individual rooms where they had already placed their bags. Harry went to the kitchen and made himself a cup of tea. He was halfway through making it when Leru came in.
“I’m terribly sorry Harry that I was away when you wanted some tea. Let me finish that for you and can I get you something else?”
“Oh, no, no Leru. There is no need for you to bother yourself with this. However, my friends did arrive so if you can make sure they are taken care of when they come back from their rooms I would really appreciate it. They may want something to drink as well and a mid-morning snack perhaps. I’m sure Ron will at least.”
“Certainly, Harry,” replied Leru smiling. He remembered the young man’s appetite quite vividly.
Harry sat down at the table and was in deep thought enjoying his tea when Mattie came up to him.
“Harry, can I have a word with you?”
“Certainly Mattie. You can tell or ask me anything. You are the most important girl in my life. I would be lost without you. Just spit it out.”
“Okay, I went over earlier to check on the house at Godric’s Hollow. I was not going to tell you this, as I didn’t want you to think I didn’t trust your judgment, because I do. It’s just that the house was so severely damaged that I wanted to look for myself to see that everything was fixed properly. Dobby and Winky did a marvelous job I’m pleased to say and the house is perfect. The reason I’m telling you this is because I saw two teenage girls out on the street looking for the house. I assume they’re the ones you saved. One had blonde hair and the other had brown.”
“Mattie, first of all do not ever feel bad about checking up on my work. I welcome you having my back. I’m not perfect and if we both can check it then it’s more likely to be done correctly.”
“Now, Mandy and Julie will have to be dealt with. They were obliviated about any magic they might have witnessed but they live in Godric’s Hollow so are very familiar with the area. They know they were rescued in a house down that street so that is why they were so close. However, the Fidelius charm is preventing them from seeing the house and lands around it.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to make a portkey. Can you go and tell our guests that I need them ready to go with me as soon as they can manage?”
Harry conjured a rope pointed his finger at it and said “portus.” It glowed an electric blue for a second indicating there would be no pull behind the naval.
A few minutes later, his friends trickled in joining him in the kitchen. Molly, Fred, George, Dan, and Emma also joined them. Charlie was still in Romania and Bill was out of town on business for Gringotts. Arthur was going to join them later after work.
“Now that we are all here, I have a question for you after I give you some background information,” announced Harry, “and help yourselves to any drinks or snacks Leru has available for you.”
Everyone grabbed a drink and then looked at him expectantly.
“On Sunday I took a trip to Godric’s Hollow to visit my parent’s graves and to see the house I lived in as a baby.” Harry heard a few gasps. He cut anyone off who tried to interrupt. “Let me finish what I have to say before you ask questions or make statements, please.” They all closed their mouths and listened carefully. “Thank you.”
Harry told them about the experience he had, about the Death Eaters, the two girls, and all the details. He also told them how Sirius, Remus, and he fixed up the house and how he had paid Dobby and Winky to do the rest that was needed. He then told them what Mattie had just related to him and asked his question.
“After hearing all of that, would all of you care to join me by taking a portkey over to my house in Godric’s Hollow? I would love for you to see it. It’s all nice and shiny after Dobby and Winky worked their magic. Then I would like to take just a few with me to visit Mandy and Julie to check on them and make sure they don’t come looking for the house again.”
Everyone nodded agreeing to the proposal.
“Yes,” said Dan. “I know you’re good with karate but how did you take on four grown men, Death Eaters at that, and save two girls all by yourself?”
Ron started laughing. Neville joined in, then Ginny, Hermione, and finally Luna. Harry was smiling because he had a good idea what started them laughing.
“What do you guys find so funny?” asked Fred.
“Let us in on the joke please,” added George. “We’re supposed to be the funny ones around here.”
Molly was just staring at the kids in wonder. Emma was too.
“What’s so funny everyone,” began Ron, “is that Harry has been training us to fight multiple Death Eaters at one time. Any one of us in our group standing here, he indicated the six students, could take out four Death Eaters without help and all of us have seen Harry in multiple scenarios where he has taken out up to ten Death Eaters all by himself. Harry could take out four in less than a second and not even break a sweat.”
“Of course, everyone knows that information doesn’t need to be told to anyone outside our circle,” added Harry.
Their eyes were big after hearing that but they all nodded in agreement.
“So, is everyone coming along?” asked Harry.
At their affirmation, Harry pulled out the rope and asked everyone to grab on. Harry then told everyone the address and told them to remember it. When everyone was touching the rope, Harry activated it and they ended up in the house in Godric’s Hollow. Most of them landed on their feet.
Harry gave all of them the grand tour then announced that he was ready to go check on Mandy and Julie. He remembered their addresses from when they made their statements to Hestia and Tonks.
Everyone wanted to go to protect Harry in case he was attacked but he had to put his foot down.
“Listen, we all can’t go and visit these girls. I’ve never met their parents and the lot of us showing up will not look right, plus it will draw way too much attention when eleven people are seen walking down the street together. Half of us is still pushing it but teenagers sometimes travel in groups and I have an explanation to give them that will help in that regard. The six of us are the most trained and know how the other ones react and move. It will be the safest that way because it will take a very large group of Death Eaters attacking all at once to even have a shot at beating us. Please stay here and make yourselves at home. There is tea and other items for consumption in the kitchen. We will be back shortly.”
Molly did not like it but Harry made sense so she kept her mouth shut. She was still wondering how Ron and her little Ginny had learned so much to protect themselves like that. She knew the reason was Harry and she was thankful every day for Harry being part of their lives. Half her family would likely be dead if it weren’t for Harry. She decided she would just have to trust him. He sure was responsible and acted very mature for his age.
Harry and his friends made their way down the street into the neighborhood where Julie and Mandy lived. They finally found Julie’s house and Harry rang the bell. A minute later, the door opened and there stood a woman probably in her early forties with brown hair. She reminded him of an older Julie. Her eyes opened wide when she saw there were six teenagers at her door.
“Can I help you?” she asked nervously.
“Hello, ma’am. I didn’t mean to startle you. I realize there are six of us out here but the people behind me are my close friends and they came along just in case I needed some help while finding your house. You see my name is Harry and I know Julie. I wanted to check on her to make sure she was alright. I know what she went through was very difficult so I wanted to make sure she was doing okay and I was hoping I could have a word with her.”
“Did you say your name was Harry?”
“Yes ma’am. My name is Harry, Harry Potter.”
The woman grabbed him in a fierce hug so suddenly Harry’s friends almost drew their wands. The woman started crying and thanking Harry repeatedly. She let go and started pulling Harry into the house and indicated for his friends to come in as well.
Once they were all in, she introduced herself as Joan and explained that her husband Jim was still at work and that Mandy was here right now visiting Julie, but she hardly got the words out when Julie and Mandy came down the stairs wondering what all the commotion was about. They locked eyes with Harry and then shot off running towards him. He stood up to brace himself and was caught first by Julie who was squeezing him with all she had. Mandy was trying to hug him as well but Julie was in the way at the moment. When Julie finally let him go and kissed him on the cheek, Mandy pushed her out of the way and had her turn. Harry was beginning to think that his ribs were cracked. Mandy finally let go and kissed him a big one on the cheek as well. Julie’s mother Joan was smiling to beat the band.
Harry introduced everyone then sat back down with Julie and Mandy who insisted on sitting right next to him on each side. They were each holding one of his hands. Ginny was having to keep a firm grip on her jealousy but she kept reminding herself of the ordeal the girls had been through. She could also understand their hero worship. She had some experience with that herself.
“Well, now that you’re both here I need to share some information that I was given this week. The terrorists that kidnapped you two were actually there in my house waiting for me. The agents found this out after questioning them. I thought they might have just been squatters who came upon a broken down house but I was wrong. They were sent to wait for me, capture me, and take me back to their leader. They didn’t know I had the special training and that is what saved me and you two as well.”
“Why would this guy want you?” asked Joan. “You’re so young.”
“It’s a long story ma’am.”
“Wait, you said your name is Harry Potter. Were you the baby that survived when your house blew up those many years ago?”
“Yes, ma’am I was. My parents were murdered in that house by the very monster that wants me brought to him. There was an explosion of some kind and everyone thought the man died. I got lucky, I guess,” Harry said with a frown, “and the only physical damage was this weird lightning bolt scar on my forehead.” Harry lifted his hair and showed them the scar. “A friend searched through the rubble and found me. I was taken to some relatives.”
“Wow,” said all three women together.
“The point ladies is this. I don’t want to see you hurt again. The agents have taken over and added all kinds of protection, new technology, camouflage, and deterrents to my house. The terrorists will not be able to take it over again if they could even find it. If they do happen to find it, they will have dangerous traps waiting on them. Moreover, the house is under surveillance. The monster is alive and for some reason he wants me dead too. I guess killing my parents was not enough for him. What I need you to do is stay away from that house. Do not go there. It’s very, very dangerous. If more terrorists are sent, they’ll be looking for the house so stay away. I won’t even be there so don’t come looking for me.”
Both of the girls had their heads lowered but they were nodding them. Harry knelt down in front of them where they sat. He cupped both their chins and lifted so they were both looking him right in the eye.
“Promise me Julie. Promise me Mandy. Please?”
“I promise Harry that I will stay far away from that house,” said Julie.
“I promise Harry that I will stay far away from that house too,” said Mandy.
“Thank you ladies. Please be safe. Don’t let all the hard work I did to get you out of there go to waste.” Harry stood up. Mandy and Julie stood up to and this time shared a hug with Harry, he had his arms around the shoulders of both girls. He kissed them both on their foreheads.
“Will we ever see you again?” asked Julie.
“I hope so. I know where you live now. It’s best if you don’t know where I live or even tell anyone that you know me. It will be safer that way. Once the agents take care of that monster then hopefully it will be safe for me again to venture out.”
“Bye Harry,” said Mandy. “I’ll miss you. I’ll never forget what you did for me and Julie. I know they were going to kill us sooner or later.”
“I have no doubt about that Mandy. Those guys were cold-blooded killers. Those four have been put away for life but that monster has more followers so be careful.” Mandy nodded her head and kissed Harry on the cheek.
“Bye Harry,” said Julie. “I’ll miss you too.” She then kissed Harry on the cheek but lingered there a while until she stepped back with tears in her eyes. Harry brushed a tear from her cheek with his thumb.
“Don’t cry Julie. You have your whole life ahead of you now,” said Harry gently.
“All because of you Harry,” replied Julie tearfully.
“No, I just got you out of a bad situation. It’s what’s in here (he touched her head) and what’s in here (he touched her chest) that makes all the difference.” Harry stared at her for a second. “You know what I told the agents when they arrived? After I told them you’d been badly abused I then told them that you were both strong in character and mind. I also said I knew you would both be alright after some time and I still believe that.”
“Thank you Harry,” said Joan giving him a hug. “These girls are strong and they will be just fine,” she said while grabbing and holding both their hands.
“Thanks for inviting us in. We will get going now and let you get back to your day. I’ll take my posse with me,” Harry said with a smile. “They’re watching my back.”
“Be careful Harry,” said Julie.
Harry and his friends left Julie’s house. When they found a secluded place a short distance away Harry stopped them, pulled out his watch, and held it in his hand.
“Everyone place a finger on my watch.”
After all five of them had a finger touching, Harry said, “Godric’s Hollow,” and they all vanished from the spot, appearing in the entryway of Harry’s house. Molly, Emma, and Dan all greeted them.
“How did it go?” asked Dan.
“We didn’t see any Death Eaters or get attacked by anyone if that’s what you’re asking,” replied Hermione.
“What about the girls?” asked Emma.
“They obviously had been through a lot,” replied Ginny, “but our boy here was quite a comfort to them and had all the right words to say. I was very proud of him.”
“I thought they were going to break my ribs on the first hugs they gave me. I’m pretty sure though based on their promises and my dire warnings that they’ll not be looking for this place again.”
“You were very convincing Harry,” said Hermione, “and I agree with Ginny. You handled yourself with those girls quite well. I’m proud of you too. I just never thought you had it in you,” she said with a smile.
“Harry, those two girls were very pretty,” said Ron, “and you said they were both seventeen? Maybe we should introduce them to George and Fred. They should be able to cheer them up.”
“I actually thought about that Ron but I believe your brothers have their eyes on some other girls at Hogwarts.”
“How do you know about that Harry?” Fred and George asked in unison.
“I have my sources,” Harry said with a smile.
“Harry,” said Neville, “those girls were very clingy and all over you but given what they went through and how you saved them I can hardly blame them for showing such admiration and affection. I think you were right in what you told them that they have strong minds and strong hearts. It will be rough for a while but I believe they will be just fine.”
“Thanks, Nev. That’s exactly how I feel and I wish them the very best. I’ll check on them again if the opportunity presents itself but I think for now it would be safer for them if I’m nowhere around.”
“You’re probably right mate,” added Ron.
Luna had never offered an opinion the whole time but when the conversation dropped off she went over to Harry, kissed him on the cheek, and hugged him gently. She finished and then pulled back from Harry.
“Thank you Luna but what was that for?” Harry asked.
“I was just thanking you for what you did for those girls back there. I hope that if I ever am abused that way I will have you there to hold my hand and help me through it.”
“Luna, you are one of my closest friends. You can count on it… but I sincerely hope you never have to go through that.”
Leru prepared a scrumptious dinner for everyone that night and Arthur was very thankful that he came straight over after work. It was a wonderful atmosphere at Potter Place and that Leru could sure give Molly a run for her money in the kitchen, he thought.
Kingsley had filled Arthur in about Harry’s Death Eater encounter at Godric’s Hollow a few days ago. He heard the rest about what happened today right after dinner. He was proud of Harry for the man he had become and ever thankful for him coming into their lives.
The twins claimed they had some joke ideas to come up with so scuttled off to their room. They promised not to blow anything up. Harry asked the adults if they would excuse himself and his friends. He explained that they had an extra-curricular but fun assignment they were working on together and he thought they should compare notes after a week away from each other. The adults said they would be fine sitting there chatting and digesting their food and encouraged the kids to go have fun.
Harry took them to the training room by way of the Study and Library (Harry had to drag Hermione back out) where he informed Henry and Simon that he was going to work with his friends now. When the group arrived at the training room, they found Simon and Henry already in their portraits.
“You guys all remember Grandpa Henry and Simon of course? They’re my backup if I need assistance and are otherwise going to watch.”
Everyone said hello to each other.
“Okay guys, where do we stand? If I recall correctly we discussed feeling your magic so you could use it to transform into your animagus. Then we decided that the best way to work on feeling your magic was to try to perform wandless magic. We worked with that some on the train and all of you were supposed to work on it at home every chance you got. Who wants to show us some impressive wandless magic? Step up.”
Harry waited for a volunteer then asked the room for some dummies to practice on. “Room, please give me six stationary dummies, one for each of us. Everyone spread out so we each get a dummy two on one side of me and three on the other so I’m fairly in the middle and don’t think I didn’t notice no one volunteering.”
“You said ‘impressive wandless magic’ Harry so I couldn’t volunteer,” replied Neville. “Had you asked for just wandless magic then I could’ve obliged.”
“Neville, Neville, Neville – any wandless magic is impressive. You accidentally stunned Ron on the train wandlessly so I assume you have figured out by now how to cast a stunner wandlessly and on purpose. Show us the stunner Nev! Hit that target using your pointer finger.”
“Stupefy,” yelled Neville while jabbing his finger at the dummy from twenty feet away. The dummy fell over.
“Way to go Neville! I knew you could do it. Look out everybody, Neville can you knock you out with just one finger!” Harry waved his hand and Neville’s dummy stood back up.
“Could you feel the magic Nev? Did it go right down your arm and out your finger? Can you remember that feeling?”
“Practice some more Nev. You can even try some other spells. Each time you cast pay attention to what the magic feels like. You will notice that each spell feels slightly different. The constant though is the feel of the magic. Even though each spell feels slightly different, there’s a part of each of those spells that feels the same. That is the magic that powers it. That is the one you want to feel in your body and be able to control.”
Harry turned to his other friends and moved them over further away from Neville so they could talk.
“Is anyone wondering why Neville picked it up so quickly?” asked Harry.
They all nodded their heads.
“Neville is a powerful wizard. He has some extra power so it’s easier for him to feel the magic.”
“Huh?” said Ron. “Neville?”
“How do you know that?” asked Hermione.
“Actually, it was Dumbledore that pointed it out to me. I’ve been noticing it ever since. You see Neville has the wrong wand. He’s using his dad’s wand, which did not choose him. It’s been holding him back. Neville’s parents were two of the most powerful and best aurors the Ministry has ever seen. They were second to none, other than maybe Mad-Eye, and when teamed up they were a site to behold. Neville does not know about his extra power and while he has come a long ways confidence wise, he still needs more encouragement. I’m going to make sure he gets a trip to Ollivanders to get a proper wand as soon as he’ll let me.”
Harry worked with his other friends while Neville continued to practice. Harry asked Simon and Henry to give Neville some pointers while he concentrated on everyone else. Most were still confused over how to do it and none had made any progress over the week, so they were more frustrated than anything. After hearing all their complaints about not being able to do it, Harry decided to take them back to the basics and at the same time hopefully prove to them that this works.
“Neville? Can I ask you to join us again? These guys are struggling a bit so we need to double-team them. This exercise will help you too. Perhaps what you say to help them will strike a chord if what I say is not getting through. They may just need to hear it explained a certain way. If we can also demonstrate it that should help as well.”
Harry had all the dummies disappear except one. He next had them all sit down on the floor facing the dummy that was out in front of them about 20 feet away. Harry turned the dummy so it had its back to his friends.
“Everyone, we are going to work on building up your magic. Let me give you a scenario. Pretend the dummy in front of you is Voldemort. He has taken your wands and he is forcing you to watch as he tortures me with the Cruciatus Curse. He’s had me under for a good minute. Our only hope is for you to use the lessons I have taught you and stun him wandlessly. You must be careful and make sure your one shot counts. If it’s too weak or doesn’t go he will turn around and kill you.”
“In order to have the best shot at casting that stunner you will need to build up your magic so that when you release it the spell is powerful and will stun Voldemort. Concentrate now and build up your magic as high as you can, wanting to release the biggest stunner on Voldemort you can muster. Don’t cast yet though. Just see how high you can build up your magic first. Give me a nod when you think you have it built up as high as you can go.”
It took them a minute to get into the scenario and figure out how to build up their magic on purpose. This normally happened to them accidentally. Harry slowly started getting nods from his friends. After all had nodded, he addressed them again.
“All of you have indicated that you are built up as high as you can go. Now, before I let you cast I want you to turn your mind inward and recognize what your magic feels like. Do you feel all that built up magic?”
They all nodded.
“Good. Remember that because that is what your magic feels like. When you try to transform if you can’t find that feeling then build up a little magic and use it to help you transform. Just push some magic toward it.”
Harry heard several sighs of relief and contentment.
“Harry!” cried Hermione. “That was incredible. I now know what my magic feels like. I never even knew I could feel it before. This is fantastic!”
“Excellent Hermione! Does everyone else feel the same way?”
“YES SENSEI!” they all answered loudly.
“Merlin, you guys are good,” replied Harry. “Alright, everyone build up your magic again. Voldemort is driving me loopy. Somebody has to save me from this mad man. Build it up and hold it so you feel it again. Nod when you are there.”
Everyone got there quicker this time and they all nodded.
“I want you to point your finger at him so you have maximum focus and will be able to stun him with all you’ve got.”
All five of them pointed their fingers at the dummy Voldemort.
“NOW!” yelled Harry.
“STUPIFY!” they all yelled.
It was unbelievable. Harry knew one would be coming from Neville but he was surprised when he saw five stunners leave his friends’ fingertips and smash into the dummy. The dummy dropped like a rock.
Suddenly all five of them jumped up and started congratulating each other, jumping around, and giving each other hugs. Simon and Henry were clapping in their portraits. Harry looked over at them and the two men gave him a silent nod of approval. Harry smiled at the praise.
After they quieted down, Harry got their attention again.
“I would like to try one last thing before we quit for the evening. I know you’re all magically tired but this will give me an idea of where you’re at now.” Harry conjured six chairs that made a semi-circle with Simon and Henry at the head so they could be a part of the circle. Harry sat in the middle directly facing Simon and Henry with his friends on each side of him. “Please have a seat.”
After they were all seated, Harry began. “Tonight, since you made some progress, I want to see if any of you can transform your left hand. Close your eyes and picture your animagus. Pull up that vivid picture you memorized with all the detail. Concentrate on the left front paw, hoof, claw, talons, whatever it is for your animal. Get it clearly in your head. Do you have it?”
All five nodded.
“Good. Now I want you to concentrate on changing your left hand. Just your left hand. Concentrate just on that. While concentrating pull up a little magic and push it toward that image you want to achieve. If you have to build up some magic first, do it, but remember it only takes a little for this.”
Harry watched as his friends concentrated hard on changing their left hands. He didn’t see any change at all for several minutes but he wanted to let them go until they either achieved it or gave up. Harry was watching Neville carefully since he had a feeling he would be first again. After another couple of minutes, Harry saw Neville’s left hand start to grow fur then claws. After another minute, he had a big bear paw with huge claws on his left hand.
“Neville, you can open your eyes now,” prompted Harry.
Neville opened his eyes and looked at his left hand. He held it up and moved it around in front of him. Pretty soon most of the others gave up, opened their eyes, and looked up to see Neville examining his left paw.
“Very impressive Neville,” Luna complimented him.
“Impressive indeed Luna,” added Harry. “I believe our Neville will be one overly large bear when he completes his transformation. Nice job, Neville. You are well on your way. I would suggest though that you don’t try more of the transformation unless I’m with you. It’s not likely anything bad will happen but there is a possibility so let’s play it safe.”
Neville nodded and continued to examine his paw along with the others who wanted a look.
Everyone heard a gasp behind them so turned and saw Ginny looking at her left hand that was now an eagle claw with very large talons.
“Way to go Gin!” exclaimed Harry. “That’s very impressive. You have come a long way in just one night. You gained a lot of ground.”
“Thanks Harry. Wow!” she said looking at her talons.
“The same goes for you Gin. Don’t attempt a full transformation unless I’m with you. We need to play it safe with this project.”
“I won’t Harry. You’ve brought me this far and I’m sure I will need you the rest of the way.” Ginny smiled a big smile at him.
Everyone came over to see Ginny’s talons and then Neville and Ginny compared their talons and claws. They were surprised that Ginny’s talons were about as long as Neville’s bear claws.
“Alright Neville and Ginny, I want you to change back to your regular hand so we can see if you can do it twice in a row.”
“How do we do that?” asked Neville.
“Good question and I have the simple answer. Remember how you wanted so desperately to change your hand? Well, now want just as much to change it back. It’s usually easier going back.”
Ginny and Neville closed their eyes and concentrated. In about a minute their hands were back to normal.
“Take a breather both of you and when you’re ready change it back to your animagus paw and claw, respectively. I am going to discuss this more with our friends while you do that. If I’m still talking to them when you’re done then repeat the process so you get used to changing it and can do it quicker.”
“Over here guys.” Harry motioned them to follow him away from Ginny and Neville. He stopped when they were far enough away so they would not disturb the other’s concentration.
“I realize Ron, Hermione, and Luna that you are probably disappointed, especially you Hermione since you always push yourself to be first, but I want you all to perk up and remember you did wandless magic tonight. You are not far behind them at all.”
They all smiled at him.
“I suspect that after a good night’s rest, some mulling over of what you learned tonight, and possibly a dream or two about performing amazing wandless wonders with the greatest of ease, we will see some tremendous progress from the three of you tomorrow. However, we will be starting the day with as much fun as we can have. We will have to squeeze in another lesson when we can.”
“What’s on the agenda tomorrow?” asked Hermione.
“Anything and everything, whatever is the most fun,” replied Harry. “We can swim, ride horses, hike in the woods, play Quidditch – wait a minute. Let’s play Quidditch on Sunday. Well, you get the picture. We can do whatever makes you happy as long as you promise to spend time with the group, Hermione, and not all your time in the library.”
Harry looked at her closely. “Let me see your fingers. Any crossed? No? Okay, I’m going to hold you to it,” he said with a smile.
Hermione grabbed Harry’s cheeks and pinched them. “Oh, you are so cute when you’re trying to be funny,” she said turning his head back and forth.
“Hey, I am funny,” Harry replied shaking her off.
“Keep telling yourself that, little brother,” Hermione replied. Luna laughed.
“Just for that Hermione, could you and Luna go check on Neville and Ginny? I need a word with Ron here – in private.”
“Oh sure, push us away. We don’t have any feelings you can crush,” Hermione said pretending to wipe a tear away as she and Luna walked away.
“That was a real moment for me too, Hermione… almost,” said Ron.
Hermione turned her head back to them and stuck out her tongue.
Harry and Ron smiled. Harry cast a wandless silencing charm around them.
“Ron, tomorrow sometime you and I need to sneak away to Diagon Alley. I’ll cast some transfiguration spells on us so we’re not recognized. We shouldn’t be gone all that long but I want you to accompany me to Quality Quidditch Supplies so I can buy some brooms for the Quidditch Pitch. The ones down there are too old. You can help me pick out really good ones for the different positions. Then we can have a really nice game on Sunday.”
“Are you serious? One broom is expensive. That many brooms will cost a fortune!”
“Ron, look around. I have plenty of money.”
“Look, I don’t plan on buying enough for a full team. Most people who play have their own brooms but some don’t have a broom and some don’t have good brooms, or sometimes they might forget to bring theirs. I just need enough extra for that.”
“Okay, but it won’t be cheap.”
“Let me worry about that.”
Harry cancelled the charm and he and Ron walked back over to the others.
“How did it go Ginny and Neville?”
“We were both able to do it two times more each, Harry,” replied Ginny. “It’s very cool. I can’t wait to fully transform.”
“Very nice work you two,” said Harry. “Tomorrow we have fun but we’ll squeeze some training in. How about we hit the kitchen for a snack and check on the parents?”
“Right behind you mate,” said Ron.
On Saturday, Sirius, Remus, and Tonks joined them for the fun. They did several fun things, including hiking, horseback riding, and swimming. While hiking, Harry talked to them more about their animagus transformations. The other guests overheard the conversation so were curious.
Harry ended up changing for them and surprised Dan and Emma the most but Arthur and Molly were no less impressed and even more so when they found out their kids were going to be able to change as well. Dan and Emma were incredulous about Hermione being able to turn into a lioness. They were not sure if they would believe it even when they saw it. She promised them that she would show them one day. She just needed to finish working it out in her head so she could do it.
Sirius even joined in the fun and changed into his grim form for them. He gave the friends some sage advice on their animagus changes and helped where he could. Some of his advice was very sound and helped them to understand it better.
While they were at it, Ginny cashed in on her promised ride on back of Harry’s gryphon form. He assured her he had flown enough now that he no longer grew tired when flying. He told her to hang on to his mane for safety, but he would fly as even as he could so she would have less of a chance to fall off.
Ginny’s only comment was “Let’s go flyboy!”
Harry transformed and laid down low for Ginny to climb on. Once she was seated, he stood up nice and tall. She noticed she was higher than when she was riding that horse earlier. She grabbed a hold of Harry’s mane and was just about to yell, “giddy-up” when her mother said, “You be careful Ginny and don’t do anything stupid.”
“Mum, I’m just going for a ride. I wanted to know what it felt like to fly on his back and Harry wanted to know what it felt like to carry a rider and fly. We’re about to find out. It’s as simple as that.”
“Well, be careful,” said Molly.
Ginny rolled her eyes and smiled. Harry turned his big eagle head to Molly and nodded.
“Okay, Harry, I’m secure and holding on. Giddy-up!”
Harry took off from a standstill with a leap into the air and they were flying. Ginny leaned in hanging on to Harry while he climbed higher. When he straightened out, she sat back up and looked around. Nothing like flying, she thought. Harry picked up speed and took her over some hills and valleys, a lake, and some more beautiful country. He finished his tour with his passenger and flew back down with a smooth steady landing.
Ginny hopped off after he laid back down. Harry changed back and asked how she enjoyed it. She had a hard time explaining since she could not wipe the grin off her face. Harry told everyone that he barely noticed he had a passenger. Ginny’s weight made no difference at all so he was sure he could carry a large man with little effort. He offered Hermione and Luna a ride but they decided to pass since they were both less interested in flying.
It was a little difficult to sneak away but Ron and Harry managed finally. Harry snuck himself and Ron into the Leaving Room where they quickly said hello to Carolyn and Harry transfigured them into men in their mid-twenties. Harry swore Carolyn to secrecy and explained they were just running an errand. They would only be gone a few minutes.
Harry gave Ron darker skin and dark brown hair with long side-burns and a mustache. Harry made himself up with the same disguise as last time. Both wore standard black robes that would not make them stand out.
Last time Harry was in Diagon Alley he saved portkey places to the common areas people arrived such as the Leaky Cauldron. Having Ron touch his watch, they left Potter Place and landed in the Leaky Cauldron, then made their way into Diagon Alley. They went straight to Gringotts where Harry once again had to identify himself but he happened to get the same goblin as before.
“Thank you Rogklaw sir for your help once again. I need to make a large purchase and was wondering if there was another way to do this besides having to withdraw each time? Sometimes I’m not sure how much I need to spend. Isn’t there a better way?”
“Yes, sir. There are several ways we can accommodate you. Might I recommend a card? This card can be used here in Diagon Alley and also in Muggle London. To the Muggles it appears as a credit card. Shops here in Diagon Alley know that it draws directly from your vault. There’s a 15,000 galleon limit on any single purchase. Will that be satisfactory sir?”
“Yes, I believe that’s plenty for any purchase I would need to make like that. How long before a card can be ready for me?”
“Give me just a minute sir.” Rogklaw walked back to an office and returned a minute later with a gold card that had Harry’s name on it. He handed it over to Harry. “Here is your card sir. Please let us know if we can help you further.”
“Thank you Rogklaw sir. You once again have been most helpful. Please say hello to Griphook for me. It was unfortunate I was not able to see him today. Good day sir.”
Harry and Ron exited the bank headed to Quality Quidditch Supplies to buy some brooms. Rogklaw was simply amazed at his good fortune to help the Potter heir again. Harry Potter was indeed a wizard among wizards. “His future will be most interesting to watch,” he said to himself.
“Harry, I’ve never seen anyone talk to goblins like you did today and they were very nice to you too!” said Ron.
“See how being nice and respectful pays off? I’m simply getting back what I put in. I have a lot of money and that helps too but I see no reason to be rude. You catch more flies with honey and all that.”
“What does that mean? Why would you want to catch flies with honey?”
“It’s just a Muggle expression that means being nice pays off.”
“Basically, Ron, if you want people to treat you nice then you must first be nice to them. Why would anyone want to reward you with kindness if you were just rude to them? When I’m nice and respectful to the goblins then they’re nice and respectable to me. Simple.”
“Makes sense, Harry. I’ve just never seen a nice goblin before. Maybe all the other wizards are being rude to them.”
“That I would not doubt, Ron.”
In the store, Ron helped Harry pick out a few brooms of different models for the different positions. All in all Harry decided to buy four models – Keeper, Chaser, Beater, and Seeker. He hoped that would be enough. He spent over 9,000 galleons for the brooms but used his card for the first time without any problems.
Harry shrunk the brooms and put them in his pocket. He then thanked the store clerk and left the store. Harry immediately led Ron around the corner to an alley, had Ron put his finger on the watch and they portkeyed back to Potter Place. Andrew was asking who they were so he could announce them when Harry removed the spells and asked Andrew to not say anything. He obliged and let Harry and Ron out with no announcement. They headed to Harry’s room to unload and expand the brooms to normal size.
On Sunday, they had a great time playing Quidditch with the new brooms coming in handy. Harry still had his Firebolt so he didn’t need to use any of the new brooms. Some with their own brooms got a turn on the new ones just to see what it felt like. The players were Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fred, George, Neville, Remus, Sirius, Tonks, Hermione, Luna, and Arthur. They had six per team with Ron and Arthur playing Keepers. Harry and Ginny played Seekers. Hermione, Luna, Tonks, Remus, Sirius, and Neville played Chasers. Fred and George played Beaters.
Molly, Dan, and Emma watched from the sidelines in some very cushy chairs Harry conjured for them. They played three games switching the team players around. The teams Harry played on won twice whenever Harry played Seeker. Harry played Beater once and that was the one game he lost. Nevertheless, fun was had by all. Even Hermione and Luna had a good time flying around. They were not very good at the game but nobody really cared as long as they were having fun.
They had a little more fun in the pool and Jacuzzi afterwards but soon it was time to go prepare for their return to school. They decided to not take the train this time and just portkey over to Harry’s room using his watch. That way they had plenty of time before having to be at Hogwarts. Harry had sent Hedwig to Professor McGonagall earlier to let her know.
Harry and his friends made sure Dan, Emma, Molly, Arthur, Remus, Sirius, and Tonks all got home safely. Then Harry made the twins a different portkey that would take them to Hogsmeade. They planned to leave a little early to visit The Three Broomsticks before heading to the castle. Then when it was almost time for dinner at Hogwarts Harry had his friends all gather around him in the leaving room and touched his watch to use the portkey.
They disappeared from Potter Place and appeared in the boy’s Gryffindor dorm room.