Chapter 18 - OWLs
Everything went as expected for about a month after Spring Break ended but then cranked into gear quickly because the OWL examinations were rapidly approaching. May was coming to a close and in June OWL preparations would really go into high gear.
Hermione was anxious as usual about the upcoming tests and spent most of her time in the library. Even Ron was a little concerned because this was the first year he felt like he’d stepped it up a bit. Hermione always bugged him about doing his homework and studying, plus with his best mate so far ahead of him, he was feeling a bit left behind so he stepped it up and put in more effort.
Of course, between Hermione and Harry he had plenty of help whenever he had a question or struggled with a new spell. Both of them were excellent at the theory and no one was better than Harry when it came to the practical application of it. The only class Ron was better at was Divination. Of course, out of the group of six, Neville and Ron were the only ones still taking the course. Ron just made everything up that he turned in to Trelawney but apparently she liked his work so he did well in her class.
Neville was doing a lot better since his confidence boost and Harry seemed to have taken Snape down a notch so his troubles in Potions class were practically non-existent now. Of course, Neville was the go to guy for Herbology. Neither Hermione nor Harry could top him in that class. Ginny and Luna didn’t have to worry about OWLs until next year so unless asked to help they stayed out of the way of their older friends while they were studying, especially Hermione who tended to get a little caught up in it all.
Harry was ready to take his NEWTs so was not overly concerned about the upcoming OWLs. He spent more time helping his friends prepare than he did preparing himself. He wasn’t sure what else he could do to get ready.
Of course, Harry and his friends kept up with their exercises and self-defense. They were all making great headway in combining their karate with magic. After another week, all of them had caught up with Neville using wandless magic and working on their animagus. They were not quite there on a full transformation but they were getting close.
After everyone had got into his or her daily routine of classes and preparation for OWLs Harry decided it was time to take care of Neville’s wand problem. He approached Neville one evening when the other friends, all except Luna, were there in the common room. Harry put up a Privacy Charm real quick and got their attention.
“Everyone, if I could have your attention please?” asked Harry.
All of them stopped what they were doing and looked at Harry.
“On Saturday, tomorrow, I plan on taking a short trip outside of Hogwarts and I will need you guys to cover for me. In addition, I’ll need Neville to tag along with me so you’ll need to cover for both of us. Can you do that?”
They nodded their heads in agreement.
“But what do you need me for?” asked Neville.
“I’ll explain that to you later Nev but rest assured I have no reason to go if you don’t go with me. Sound like a plan?”
“I guess… but where are we going?”
“That is a surprise Neville. You will just have to wait,” Harry said with a smile. The rest of them started smiling as well since Harry had mentioned over Spring Break what he planned to do for Neville. “Let’s go around 10:00 in the morning Neville so we’ll be back in plenty of time for lunch.”
“Okay, but I’ve never been away from school like this without permission.”
“No worries mate. I have it all under control. I will transfigure us both so we won’t be recognized and we shouldn’t be gone long enough for anyone to notice.”
The next morning at 10:00, Harry and Neville went back to their dorm room followed by Ron who made sure Dean and Seamus stayed out for a while. Harry looked at Neville’s blonde hair and sized him up trying to decide on the best disguise for him. While he thought about it, Harry quickly changed his looks so he looked like Jack Peavey again. He was taller and heavier with sandy brown hair, a mustache, and dark brown eyes.
“What do you think Neville? Shall we go with dark brown hair for you with bright blue eyes and a tan complexion, maybe age you about ten years like me?”
“Sure Harry, whatever you think.”
Harry made the changes to Neville along with standard black robes and let him look in the mirror so he could see what he looks like.
“Wow Harry, you are really good with transfiguration. I’ve never been so handsome in my life. I don’t look anything like my real self.”
“Well, I didn’t change your height as much as I did mine since you’re already taller.”
“I guess I’m ready if you are Harry.”
“Alright, put a finger on my watch and we’ll portkey over to Diagon Alley.”
Neville touched the watch in Harry’s hand and they quickly went to Diagon Alley. Harry started off toward Ollivander’s Wand Shop with Neville catching up.
“I guess I can tell you now Nev. I’m taking you to Ollivander’s to get a new wand.”
“But I already have a wand. It was my Dad’s wand.”
“Precisely! Mr. Ollivander says it best, ‘The wand chooses the wizard.’ The wand you have is your Dad’s wand and it didn’t choose you. It chose your Dad. Remember that I told you I have a second wand?”
Neville nodded his head.
“I came to Ollivander’s when I was eleven years old. He told me that ‘the wand chooses the wizard’ and my holly with phoenix feather wand chose me. It was different from all the other wands Mr. Ollivander had me try. It was perfect when he put it in my hand. I knew it and he knew it.”
“When I first met with Simon and Henry, they insisted I use a second wand that couldn’t be traced so I could take care of a few things I had to do in order to get fully moved in at Potter Place. They didn’t have my parents’ wands so I started with my grandparents first… wait a second I need to remember to ask if anyone knows what happened to the wands my parents used. They weren’t at the Godric’s Hollow house. Perhaps someone took them for safekeeping? Anyway, I just got off topic. Sorry about that.”
“So, I tried Henry’s wand, then my grandma’s wand, and so on until Simon stopped me and recommended I try his wand. His worked for me pretty much as well as my own wand. The point is this. Wands that belong to family members tend to work better for you than wands that belong to strangers. However, that does not mean that any family member will do. I had to go back seven generations before I found a wand that worked correctly for me. Just because it was your Dad’s wand that does not mean it will be a good wand for you.”
“I never knew this,” replied Neville.
“And, I imagine that your grandmother simply forgot. Neville, you are a powerful wizard and always have been. You can do wandless magic with more power than you can using your Dad’s wand. That’s the opposite from what it’s supposed to be. The correct wand will give you more focus and power to your magic. You need a new wand and I’m going to make sure you get one today. You have just enough time to get used to it before you take your OWLs.”
“Thank you Harry.”
A couple minutes later, they arrived in front of Ollivander’s. Harry opened the door for Neville, let him in, and then followed. Once inside he made sure no other customers were there before he locked the door and turned the sign to say “Closed” with a simple wave of his hand. Ollivander came out from the back to greet them.
“Ah, Mr. Potter and a friend,” said Ollivander.
Harry waved his holly wand at himself and then Neville to change them back to their regular selves all the while wondering how Ollivander saw through his disguise.
“You must be Neville Longbottom. I was wondering when I was going to see you. What wand have you been using for school Mr. Longbottom? May I?” Ollivander held out his hand.
Neville took out his father’s wand and handed it to Ollivander.
“I remember this wand very well and the day your father Frank at only eleven years old came into my shop and bought it. It chose him that day and I can tell that it hasn’t chosen you Mr. Longbottom. Since your father is still alive, I doubt his wand wants to work for anyone else. Did you not know that the wand chooses the wizard?”
“Harry was just explaining it to me. He told me he learned that from you, sir.”
“I’m glad Mr. Potter was paying attention.” He turned toward Harry. “I trust your holly with phoenix feather wand, nice and supple, 11 inches is still in good working order?”
“Yes sir. I make sure it stays that way too.”
“Glad to hear it Mr. Potter.” Ollivander turned back to Neville. “I trust you are here Mr. Longbottom to get your own wand finally?”
“Yes sir. I believe it is well past time for me to have my own wand. My father’s wand does not work well for me. I think my grandmother forgot that the wand chooses the wizard.”
“Well, let me see if I can find the one for you, Mr. Longbottom.” Ollivander went back to his stacks of wands and looked around. He came out with three boxes and laid them on the counter. He opened one and handed Neville the wand that was inside. “Give that one a wave.”
Neville waved the wand and a couple of red sparks came out. Ollivander took the wand back.
“No, that one won’t do.” He laid the first one on the counter and handed Neville another one. Neville started to wave it when Ollivander stopped him and took the wand back. “No, that one won’t do either.”
Neville looked at Harry and shrugged his shoulders. Harry just grinned at him. He remembered Ollivander’s odd behavior.
Ollivander handed Neville the third wand and stood poised to take it back quickly. Before Neville could give it a wave, Ollivander grabbed it back as well and put it down on the counter. “Definitely not that one either.” He walked back into the back where there were shelves of wands and finally came out with one more box. He handed the box to Neville and said, “I believe you should try this one Mr. Longbottom.”
Neville opened the box and pulled out the wand Ollivander handed him. He immediately felt a warmth from the wand and it spewed out a fountain of gold sparks. He knew right away the wand had chosen him.
“Mr. Longbottom, I believe the wand has chosen the wizard.”
Neville just nodded at him while he stared at his new wand.
“Thirteen inches, cherry with a unicorn hair core. Take care of it, use it well, and it will perform for you like no other.”
“Thank you Mr. Ollivander. It’s perfect. I know what you mean now about the wand choosing the wizard.”
Ollivander smiled at Neville and Harry walked over to pay for it. “Mr. Ollivander,” said Harry handing him the galleons, “would you mind if we portkey from here so we don’t have to change our appearance again and go back out? I will gladly turn your sign back and unlock the door before we leave.”
“Do not trouble yourself Mr. Potter. However, I’m afraid you cannot portkey from inside the store. Allow me to check the alley out back before you exit and portkey from there. That should be safe enough. Follow me.”
“Thank you sir, we very much appreciate it.”
Harry and Neville followed Ollivander through to the back of his store. It was interesting to see the tables and the stages of work on different wands he was creating but they kept pace with the old wand maker and allowed him to make sure the alley was empty before going out themselves and using the portkey to return to their dorm room. They were gone for a little less than an hour so were back in plenty of time. They changed their clothes and Neville put away his Dad’s wand for safekeeping.
Harry invited Neville into his trunk and to the large space he had so Neville could practice with his new wand. Harry then conjured some dummies for Neville to practice on. At first, Neville was having some trouble over powering his spells until Harry showed him the techniques he’d learned to control his own power. Neville, while a powerful wizard, was not even close to the level of Harry so it didn’t take him all that long to adjust to his new wand.
“Neville, you are welcome to use my trunk or the Room of Requirement if you prefer over the next few days if you need the extra time to get more adjusted to your new wand.”
“Thanks, Harry. I can’t believe after all these years the huge difference this new wand makes. I can never thank you enough.”
“No need to thank me Neville. You are one of my best friends. After all, what are friends for?”
Harry left Neville to practice and tended to the potions he was making in his lab. Later they met up with their other friends in the Great Hall around noon and joined them for lunch.
“How did it go Neville?” asked Ron.
“Great! My new wand is incredible,” he said taking it out to show them.
“Neville,” said Harry “I recommend that when you go home for the summer that you put your Dad’s wand in a safe place so it doesn’t get lost or damaged. I assume your Gran has a safe place for them?”
“I think so Harry and I’m going to do just that.”
“Speaking of parent wands, I need to speak with Dumbledore since the wands of my parents weren’t found in the house at Godric’s Hollow. I assume someone took them for safekeeping. Otherwise, I’m afraid Wormtail or his Death Eater friends snagged them. Since we keep all the wands of ancestors in a safe place at Potter Place I would like to have them so I can put them with the others.”
“Someone must have picked them up since it would be dangerous to just leave them laying around,” added Hermione. “I’m sure Professor Dumbledore might know or at least know who to ask.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” replied Harry. “Hagrid was the one who pulled me out of the rubble so maybe he picked them up and brought them to Dumbledore. I’ll just have to ask him.”
Later that evening…
“Come in Harry. You wanted to ask me a question you said? Have a seat.”
“Yes, thank you Professor,” replied Harry as he walked over and sat in the chair in front of Dumbledore’s desk. “I do have a question that popped into my mind earlier today. I’m hoping you will know the answer or at least give me advice on where to go to find the answer.”
“Well, Harry my boy, I will endeavor to help you in any way I can. Let’s hear the question.”
“As you may already know I visited Godric’s Hollow over Spring Break.” Dumbledore nodded indicating he already knew. “It dawned on me today that I’m missing my parents’ wands. We have a warded box at Potter Place that contains all the Potter wands that are recovered after a Potter dies, which is most of them. However, the wands my parents used are not in that box as they should be. I’m hoping that someone picked them up for safekeeping. Otherwise, I fear that Peter or the Death Eaters he let stay there, took them. Would you happen to know what happened to their wands?”
“Oh, Harry, I fear I must beg your forgiveness. Hagrid picked up their wands and brought you and them to me. Your head was all bloody where your scar is located. I immediately called a special healer from St. Mungos to look at it since it was caused by a dark curse and then I put your parents’ wands away in a safe place with the intention of giving them to you when you first came to Hogwarts. I somehow remembered to return your dad’s cloak but for some reason the wands escaped my memory. Old age, I reckon. Give me just a minute and I’ll retrieve them for you.” Dumbledore went through a special door back into his personal quarters and came back out a few minutes later holding two wands.
“Harry, my apologies again. These are your parents’ wands. I realize how special they must be to you so I deeply regret my failing. Otherwise you would have had them for several years by now.” Dumbledore handed them over to Harry who reverently took them and admired them carefully.
“No problem Professor. I’m just thankful they were kept safe.”
“The one in your right hand…”
“…is my mum’s. I know and this one,” Harry said holding up the one in his left hand, “is my dad’s. I can tell.”
“I can feel the wand magic, Professor, and who they are aligned with.”
“That’s incredible Harry. You may have a profession in your future making wands.”
“I don’t think so Professor. I recognize that Mr. Ollivander is a powerful wizard but he also has an extreme affinity for wands. I, on the other hand, can simply detect and feel magic in any object or person, especially if I am in personal contact but that’s not always necessary.”
“Thanks for sharing that with me Harry. That is indeed a rare gift that you should protect from too many people knowing.”
“Thank you Professor for the wands and for your advice. Most of my life is a secret it seems but it’s for the best, at least for now.”
“Enjoy the rest of your evening Harry.”
“You too, Professor. At the first opportunity I will get these wands to Potter Place for safekeeping.”
Harry left and Dumbledore stared after him. There was never a dull moment with Harry Potter around, he mused. The abilities that young man had at his disposal were quite astounding. He just hoped Harry was able to call on them and use them when they were most needed.
The next day, on Sunday, Harry took a quick trip to Potter Place to put his parents’ wands in the warded box. He met with his grandparents’ portraits in the study to let them know and to store the wands.
“Look what I have,” Harry said when he entered the study, holding up the wands.
“Harry! It’s so good to see you,” said Elizabeth.
“It’s good to see you too, Grandma.”
“What do you have Harry?” asked Henry
“Grandma and Grandpa, I spoke to Professor Dumbledore and as it turned out Hagrid, who saved me from the Godric’s Hollow house, picked up my parents’ wands when he rescued me. He took me and the wands back to Dumbledore who put them away for safekeeping. He just forgot about them over the years and gave them to me when I asked about them. Here they are.” Harry held up the wands so they could see them clearly.
“That’s wonderful Harry. We feared they were lost,” replied Elizabeth.
“And, now you wish to put them with the others?” asked Henry.
“Yes, Grandpa. I wish to put them with the others so they’ll be kept safe. How do I do it?”
“Simple, my boy, just open the box and give the wands to it. It will take them, create holders, and a label for them. It’s very nice magic.”
Harry walked over to the box and opened it. He handed his father’s wand to the box. It took the wand and floated it into the middle of the box. It spun the wand a few times then Harry saw a new holder appear with a label for it. The wand moved over and was placed into the new holder. Harry read the label.
Owner: James Charlus Potter
Length: 11 inches
Core: Dragon Heartstring
Harry did the same and handed over his Mum’s wand. He then watched the same process and read the label.
Owner: Lily Genevieve Evans Potter
Length: 10 1/4 inches
Core: Unicorn Tail Hair
Afterwards, he closed the lid.
“I feel much better now that they’re safe. Is that too sentimental?” Harry asked turning back to his grandparents.
“No, Harry,” replied Elizabeth. “Those wands belonged to your mum and dad. It’s perfectly normal to feel that way. James is our son and Lily our daughter in law; she was more like a real daughter. We feel the same way.”
“Thanks, Grandma and you too Grandpa for helping me with the box. I have to go but I’m going to stop by and let Simon know about the wands before I head out. I’ll come by and see you both again when I get another chance. I have to get back to school now.”
Harry ran over to the Library and told Simon about the wands before he went back to Hogwarts. Simon was glad to hear the wands had been kept safe and Harry had them secured in the box now.
“Listen up everyone,” Harry said loudly. “I have an announcement regarding OWLs and NEWTs.” Harry waited until they had settled down. They now numbered over one hundred students and it was no small task to get their attention. Harry frequently had to use the Sonorus Charm so he would be loud enough.
They finally all quieted down and looked up to Harry who had stepped up on a raised platform the room provided so all could see him.
“As you all know OWL and NEWT exams are fast approaching. Many of the fifth and seventh year DA members need extra time to study. You will be excused from the remainder of the DA meetings to give you more time to prepare. It is totally up to you. There are also regular end of the year exams that the rest of you will be dealing with. From this point forward all are excused from DA meetings if they need the extra time to study.”
“However, I will be here at all the meetings through the remainder of the year and will gladly work with those who wish to come. We may be a little short-handed on instructors but I will change up the format a little if necessary to accommodate. As an example, today I am going to upset the Hogwarts staff a bit by teaching all of you to disillusion yourself.” Harry waited until they settled back down again. They were excited about it. “It’s the end of the year after all and what better time to teach a complicated spell. Are you ready?”
They all cheered and nodded their heads smiling.
“Are there any present who already know how to perform this charm?” No one stepped up. “Really? None of the seventh years know it?”
“Harry, they don’t teach this spell at Hogwarts,” answered Hermione, “so they don’t have to deal with students abusing it. You have to learn it after leaving Hogwarts.”
“Then we are right on track to upset the staff.” Harry waited for the laughter to die down. Then getting serious, he added, “I’m not being rebellious, I am being practical. This spell could be very valuable to you in a dangerous situation. Keep in mind that the spell to disillusion yourself and others is not necessarily an invisibility spell, which is better but far more advanced and complicated. It is still possible to detect someone under the Disillusionment Charm but it’s not easy, especially if you’re not expecting it. It normally depends on the power of the caster and the skill in which they performed it. If you don’t cast it correctly it won’t work as well to hide you.”
Harry took out his wand and wove it around himself as if he were wrapping a ribbon around his body. He suddenly became disillusioned. He then used his hand to wandlessly cast a Silencing Spell on his feet. He walked quietly over to the other side of the platform and heard a lot of “wows” before he removed the spell. They had to suddenly look at him in a different location than before.
“Could I get a volunteer?”
Collin Creevey ran up to the stage while others simply raised their hands.
“Well, I guess enthusiasm wins out sometimes,” Harry said with a smile. Collin blushed. They got a few laughs from their audience.
“Are you ready Collin?” Collin nodded his head up and down quickly. He was clearly excited. Harry tapped him on the head and Collin faded from view.
“What was the difference between how I disillusioned myself and how I cast it on Collin?”
Several students raised their hands.
“Dean? I believe your hand was up pretty quick.”
“For yourself,” answered Dean Thomas, “you twirled your wand around like you were wrapping yourself in something. For Collin you just tapped him on the head. Why the difference?”
“To be honest Dean, I don’t know. This is one of the spells I learned quickly and then never read through all the theory. I’m more of a practical kind of guy if you didn’t know that already. If Hermione doesn’t know,” she indicated she didn’t, “then I’m pretty sure she’ll find out and let us know next time.” Harry looked back at Hermione who nodded at him with a smile. “Thanks Hermione but I think Dean ought to look it up since he asked the question.”
“I’ll do that Harry if you let me borrow your book,” volunteered Dean.
“Thanks Dean, but I’m sure Hermione will still look it up as well because she just can’t stand not knowing.” Harry smiled at Hermione. “Check with me later Dean in the dorm and I will get that book for you.”
Harry turned to Collin who was still disillusioned.
“Collin, tell the DA what it felt like when I cast the charm on you.”
“It felt like he cracked an egg on my head and it slowly ran down all over me. It felt cold.”
Some students reacted to hearing Collin’s voice but were not able to see him.
“Very good Collin. That was a perfect description even though we could not see you describing it,” Harry said with a smile.
“Alright, stay there for a bit while I get a few more volunteers.” Harry turned back toward the class. “I need four more, please. Come on up. Don’t worry; everyone will get a chance before we’re through learning this one.”
Anthony Goldstein, Padma Patil, Roger Davies, and Lavender Brown joined Harry on the stage.
“Just line up next to Collin,” instructed Harry. “… Oh, he’s right there. Say something Collin.”
“Hello, I’m right here,” replied Collin.
The other four lined up next to Collin. Harry went behind each of them and tapped them on top of the head. Now that they were all disillusioned, Harry joined his DA on the floor so they could all look at the five volunteers.
“Can you guys see them?” asked Harry.
“No,” many of them replied.
“The Disillusionment Charm makes the person under the spell become like a chameleon so they look like whatever is around them. Very difficult to see as they just stand there,” added Harry.
“Could all of my hard to see volunteers start walking around on the platform?”
The five volunteers started walking around and bumping into each other, making noises when they did.
“Can you see them now?” asked Harry.
“They’re still difficult to see but you can see a bit of distortion when they move if you really look for it,” answered Cho.
“Plus, when they bump into each other and make noises it makes it easier to detect them,” added Susan Bones.
“Very good, ladies. What else?” asked Harry.
“I can hear some of them walking on the platform,” answered Dennis Creevey.
“Excellent, Dennis. Does anyone know why you didn’t hear me walk across the platform?”
“You used a Silencing Charm,” several of them answered.
“Correct! I’m glad you guys remembered that one. So why am I teaching you guys all these stealth tactics?”
“Because it increases our chances of survival and decreases your chances of feeling guilty.”
Harry whipped around to face the speaker. “That was slightly below the belt… Ron… but… you are indeed absolutely correct,” Harry said with a smile. He heard a few chuckles from the students.
“Sorry volunteers. You may stop moving around now.” Harry pulled out his wand and silently cast the reversal spell to remove the Disillusionment Charm. They all became visible again.
“Wow,” said Lavender, “it was cold when you disillusioned me but it was warm when you reversed it.”
“Thank you Lavender. That was my next question. So now that we know what it feels like and what the wand movements are, who can tell me the incantations to cast it and remove it? I can tell you right now that Finite or Finite Incantatem will not work. Anyone?”
Harry waited for a few seconds.
“Go ahead Hermione. They had their chance.”
“The Disillusionment Charm,” replied Hermione, “is cast using the incantation Absconditus which in Latin means hidden or to hide. The charm to reverse it is Aperio which in Latin means to reveal.”
While Hermione was explaining the incantations, Harry had wished for a large blackboard behind him where he used his wand to write the spells in large letters so everyone could read them properly.
“Thank you Hermione, that was spot on. Does anyone have any questions?”
Harry spent the rest of the time answering questions and going over the thought process necessary when casting the spell. This was the hardest part of it and only a few older students were able to manage a successful cast before the meeting had to break up. Harry recommended the ones who were unsuccessful to work on the spell on their own but if any of them broke the rules using the spell and were caught that it would be on them, not him since he had properly warned them against it.
“Just be careful,” he admonished them.
The time for OWLs had finally arrived. Harry found himself wandlessly casting Cheering Charms on his friends and a few others he thought were too stressed out. Hermione needed them the most.
“Harry, did you cast another Cheering Charm on me?” asked Hermione with a smile.
“Did you see me use my wand?”
"No, but I know better!” she said with a whisper.
“Alright then. I’ll make a deal with you, Hermione. I’ll stop casting a Cheering Charm on you if you will control your stress level and stop getting so worked up over these exams. You are far too intelligent to get anything less than an Outstanding on every single one of them and you are too young to have a heart attack and die. I want you to use the Isshinryu focus technique I showed you in my karate class. It will do you wonders, so use it.”
“Okay Harry. Thanks. I guess I do need to calm down and focus. Thanks for the reminder about the technique. I’ll use it.”
“You‘re welcome Hermione,” Harry said while kissing her on the top of the head. “Just stop making me worry about my only sister.”
Hermione blushed as Harry walked off.
OWLs started with two weeks left in the month of June. Harry got up early on the day of their first exam and made sure all his friends were up too. Some of them had been missing a workout here and there due to studying into the wee hours of the morning. Harry knew that they needed a good workout to work their muscles before sitting down for the written exam. Their minds would be more relaxed and focused if they did. He made sure none of them missed this morning’s workout. There were a few complaints at first but after they were done, they were thanking him since their minds were now sharper, more alert, relaxed, and they felt a lot better too.
The first test scheduled this morning was the written test for Charms. The practical would follow later. Harry zipped through the Charms written exam and waited for his friends to finish theirs. Hermione wanted to discuss the test but Ron was not having any of that. He figured having to take the test was enough. Talking about it afterwards was not part of his plans.
Pretty soon, it was time for the Charm practical exam. Students were called in four at a time. When it was Harry’s turn, he performed all the required tasks with ease. At the end of the exam, the examiner offered him a chance for extra points.
“Mr. Potter, I was informed by Professor Flitwick that you’re an advanced student in Charms. Would you like to show me an advanced charm for extra points?”
Malfoy was still in the room and Harry had entered with Pansy Parkinson and the Patil twins.
“Certainly sir, but there are some in here I wish to not see me perform it as they will go blabbing about it to people who don’t need to know. Let me put up something to block the view first.”
Harry flicked his wand and a long, curved brick wall was conjured behind Harry blocking all view to him and the examiner.
“My, my Mr. Potter, that is very advanced and impressive conjuring. I see you are advanced in Transfiguration as well. What did you have in mind for the charm?”
Harry waved his wand and made himself invisible.
“Oh my! Is that a Disillusionment Charm? It didn’t look like the correct wand movement and I can’t see you at all.”
“Actually, this is the more advanced Invisibility Spell – Indespectus.”
Harry removed the spell and then removed the wall.
“Bravo! Bravo, Mr. Potter! Very impressive Charm work, not to mention the advanced conjuring, which you could repeat for your Transfiguration practical for extra points. I can honestly say I have been impressed today and that is thanks to you Mr. Potter. Very impressive indeed.”
“Thank you, sir. Have a good day.”
“Thank you, Mr. Potter.”
Harry exited the Great Hall to the stares of many wondering what he possibly could have done behind that wall to impress Professor Tofty so much.
Hermione, Ron, and Neville were waiting on him when he came out. Hermione had already taken her exam earlier and Neville had completed his a short while ago. Ron had not gone yet.
“How did it go Harry? Mine went pretty well,” beamed Hermione.
“Did you do an advanced charm for extra points Hermione?”
“No, I was not asked to do one. Did you?”
“Yes, evidently Flitwick had told him I was advanced in Charms so asked if I wanted to perform an advanced charm for extra points. Malfoy and Parkinson were in there so I conjured a wall to block the view then turned myself invisible. He seemed to like that.”
“You did advanced conjuration and an advanced charm. Of course he was impressed,” replied Hermione.
“Next time volunteer if they don’t ask,” said Harry. “Ron, be sure and do an advanced charm for extra points when it’s your turn.”
“What advanced charm would I know?” asked Ron.
“You learned how to disillusion yourself, Ron. That’s a charm. Use it for extra points.”
“Right, I do know how to do that,” answered Ron.
Ron finished his Charms exam a little happier than when he went in since he was able to get some extra points. After dinner, most went back to studying for the next day for Transfiguration.
Harry decided to go into his trunk and build a workout area in the large space. He would then populate it with equipment used for working out. While Harry didn’t feel the need to review his notes for the Transfiguration exam, he thought actually performing and using Transfiguration to build his workout area would serve as good preparation.
Besides, he’d been thinking about this for some time now. After using his workout equipment at Potter Place again during Spring Break, he really missed the convenience of it. He could get the Room of Requirement to provide the same setup but he wanted to have his trunk fully decked out for use in case he ever needed it. There was also much more he could do in the large space if he came up with ideas for anything else.
The next morning after breakfast, the Great Hall was setup again for exams. Everyone found a seat and took the written test. Harry finished early again and Hermione finished just a few minutes later. McGonagall took up their tests and told them to go and relax before the practical exams.
Ron and Neville took almost the whole time to complete their written test but felt they did okay overall. The Transfiguration practical was to take place after lunch. Harry was looking forward to it since he knew exactly what he was going to do for extra points.
When it came time for Harry’s practical, he did everything asked of him from the examiner. His transfigurations were spot on and he included finer detail to make them more impressive.
“Very nice, Mr. Potter,” said Professor Marchbanks. “I understand from Professor McGonagall and Professor Tofty you can do advanced Transfiguration that is beyond fifth year. I did see your conjured wall yesterday with Professor Tofty. That was very impressive as well. You can do that again for me for extra points or if you prefer you can show me something else.”
“Actually Professor, I would like to do both. The wall will hide us from view and then I will use another spell for the extra points. As I explained to Professor Tofty yesterday there are some present in here who will tell everything they see to people who have no right to know. Shall I proceed?”
“Certainly, Mr. Potter. Please proceed.”
Harry conjured the curved brick wall again blocking everyone’s view of himself and Professor Marchbanks. Harry then stared at the examiner before casting a series of spells on himself. Griselda Marchbanks watched in fascination as the student Harry Potter changed right before her eyes. She had a shocked look on her face when he completed the human transfiguration.
“What do you think Professor?” asked Harry in an old woman’s voice.
Professor Marchbanks rose from her chair, walked around the table to Harry’s side and looked at him up close. She walked all the way around him to view him on all sides.
“Mr. Potter, this is incredible. Human Transfiguration is taught in seventh year but nowhere near this level. If I had not seen you cast the spells, I would swear you are a metamorphmagus. It’s like looking in a mirror. I dare say if we removed that wall no one in here would be able to tell which of us is me.”
“Thank you Professor,” said Harry removing the spells. “In my position I need to be able to go about undetected, therefore I have perfected certain spells to keep me hidden if necessary.”
While Professor Marchbanks walked back around the table and sat back down, Harry turned and removed his wall.
“Outstanding, Mr. Potter. I am suitably impressed. You earned those extra points and more if I could give them.”
“Thank you Professor. Please enjoy the rest of your afternoon.” Harry nodded his head toward the Professor then turned and walked away. As he was headed toward the exit, he once again noticed all the stares and faces with questions, wondering once again what he did behind that wall. Harry just gave them all a smile and continued on his way.
He met up with Ron, Neville, and Hermione. Once again, Hermione and Neville were done and Ron was still waiting for his turn.
“How did it go Harry?” asked Neville.
“I think it went about as good as it could go Nev. What about you?”
“Oh, I did alright. I messed up once but was allowed to correct it. I got it right the second time.”
“Good for you Nev. How about you Hermione?”
“It went very well for me but tell me Harry why is everyone staring at you when they walk by? I mean, it’s more than they do normally.”
Harry put up a privacy bubble real quick.
“Oh, probably because I put up a wall again before using advanced Human Transfiguration on myself for extra points. Professor Marchbanks was pretty impressed so she was a little loud telling how pleased she was after I removed the spells on myself and the wall.”
“Did you transfigure yourself back into Jack?” asked Ron.
“No, not this time. I decided to have a little more fun with it.”
“So, who did you become?” asked Hermione.
“Before I tell you, Hermione, tell me what you did for extra points.”
“I just conjured a fancy but comfortable chair and sat in it. Any conjuring is above fifth year level so it got me the extra points.”
“Very nice and practical, Hermione. Congratulations!”
“Yes, I am very practical but it sounds like your extra points were far more exciting than mine so spill it. Who did you become?”
“But… but… she was your examiner! You transfigured yourself into your own Transfiguration OWL examiner?”
Ron and Neville started laughing. Hermione was speechless.
Harry explained more. “She had a look of shock on her face when I finished casting the spells but she got up and walked around the table to look at me up close. She even walked all around me and said if we removed the wall, no one would know which one of us was her. I got the feeling she wanted to prank the other examiners but she walked back to her chair while I removed my spells and my wall.”
“I still am trying to get my head around the fact that you transfigured yourself into your examiner,” replied Hermione finally finding her voice. “Where do you come up with these ideas?”
“It just popped into my head. I thought it was pretty clever myself.”
“Right… I’ll see you boys later. I have to study for my Ancient Runes OWL.”
With that, Hermione left the group, walking toward Gryffindor Tower. They joined her later when Ron finished his practical.
On Wednesday, Herbology followed Transfiguration and the tests went well for all of them. Neville completed his written exam in record time. He finished slightly ahead of Harry who finished about the same time as Hermione. The practical was easy enough although Harry had to dodge a Fanged Geranium that tried to bite him when he was distracted.
Defense Against the Dark Arts was the order of the day on Thursday. Harry was finished so quickly with the written that the examiner was double-checking it to make sure he answered all the questions before allowing him to leave. Most of the rest of the students finished earlier than normal but no one was done as quickly as Harry. The ones who remained using up all the allotted time were notably not members of the DA.
When Harry walked into his Defense practical exam he found himself assigned to Professor Tofty again. The old examiner started grinning as soon as he saw who was standing before him.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Potter,” he said with a smile.
“Good afternoon, Professor Tofty.”
“Let’s get the regular exam out of the way so we can get to the extra points. I’m sure I’ll be impressed again.”
Tofty took Harry through all the regular practical tests just like everyone else. As he expected Harry had no issues with any of them. When he finished he congratulated Harry on a job well done.
“Mr. Potter, I was told that you have been teaching Defense to the first and second year students all year long after Umbridge was removed. I also heard that you’ve been teaching the rest of the students via a group called the DA. Is this true?”
“I do teach the first and second year students and have done so since a Defense teacher was never found to replace Umbridge. The DA is over 100 students strong but it by no means includes the rest of the students at Hogwarts. Some simply choose not to participate. It was originally started to give the third years and above a way to learn Defense in light of not having a defense teacher to learn from. I was directly responsible for getting rid of Umbridge so I felt a duty to offer my services.”
“That is very admirable, Mr. Potter and quite extraordinary. I also heard that you can produce a full corporal patronus?”
“Yes sir, I was taught by the best Defense teacher we’ve ever had – Professor Lupin, at least since I’ve been here.” Tofty’s eyes grew big when he heard that. “He taught me in my third year when I was 13. We had Dementors around the castle then, which were ordered here by the Ministry, and they were constantly singling me out and attacking me. I learned it for my own protection and I’ve had to use it on more than one occasion.”
“I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Potter but it’s no less amazing that you were able to produce a full corporal patronus at the mere age of 13. That is extremely impressive. Most witches and wizards can’t produce one, whether corporal or even just mist. Those that do are usually fully grown and no longer students.”
“I would not have been able to learn it had it not been for Professor Lupin.”
“I’m glad he was able to teach you so well, Mr. Potter. Now, would you mind showing me your patronus for some extra points?”
“Glad to sir.” Harry raised his wand.
“Uh, Mr. Potter, do you need to conjure your magnificent wall first?
“No sir, I’m afraid the cat’s out of the bag on this one.” Harry smiled then turned with his wand.
Harry gave it a little extra happiness. His stag came out of his wand as pure a white as he had ever seen. It looked more solid than normal. It was about twenty feet tall and it took off around the Great Hall with all eyes on it. It reached the end and came back, stopping right in front of Harry as if waiting for instructions. It lowered its magnificently antlered head so Harry could pet it. Harry reached up and rubbed the side of its head and it did feel solid. Several gasps were heard throughout the entire hall when they saw that. Harry turned back to his examiner.
“What do you think Professor of my patronus?”
“Mr. Potter, I – I – have never seen a patronus like yours before. He is magnificent to say the least and he is still here even though you’re talking to me.”
“Oh, hang on. He wants to know what I needed him for so he’s waiting patiently.” Harry turned back to his patronus while Tofty looked on in amazement. “Prongs, I just needed to show you off to the Professor here. There’s nothing more for you to do. Thank you. You can return now.”
Everyone watched as Harry dismissed his patronus and it just faded away.
“Has your patronus always been that big and solid?”
“No sir, he has been that big for a while but today was the first time I saw him that solid. I used a lot of happiness in that one. Maybe that did the trick?”
“Perhaps Mr. Potter, perhaps. Once again, you have not failed to impress me. I look forward to us meeting again.”
“Thank you sir, so do I.”
Harry left the Great Hall with more stares than ever, only this time they saw exactly what he did.
The rest of the exams were completed with not much fanfare. The exams left for Harry to do were Potions, Care of Magical Creatures, Astronomy, and History of Magic. All through Harry’s exams, he kept getting a vision of the black door leading into the Department of Mysteries. It was the same as the dream he had been experiencing repeatedly. He suspected Voldemort was behind this. Harry kept pushing the vision aside so he could finish his exams. He managed to do that with flying colors as he zipped through exam after exam with no struggle at all for answers. The information always came to him like he had just read it so he usually finished his tests quickly and ahead of everyone else.
After taking his History of Magic exam, which Harry completed early again, Harry relaxed for a bit because he had completed all his testing and knew that he could rest now. As soon as he relaxed, the vision hit him full force. It took him deep into the dream again where he was in front of the black door only this time he went through it and found himself in a circular room with many doors. Harry walked straight across the room and through another door. This opened into a room with a lot of light and loud clicking but he kept walking straight until he went through another door that lead into a large room full of towering shelves filled with glass spheres.
Coming upon row 97 Harry turned and found Sirius lying on the floor, his face was all bloody and twisted in pain. Harry saw himself raise a pale arm clutching a wand and point it at Sirius. Next, he heard Voldemort’s raspy voice. ”Crucio!”
Sirius let out a scream and fell back writhing on the floor. After a few seconds, the white, pale hand lifted the wand and stopped the curse. Sirius let out a groan and then became very still.
“Lord Voldemort is waiting. Do not disappoint me.”
Sirius slowly raised his head and whispered, “You will have to kill me.”
Harry broke the connection and opened his eyes. He looked around and saw that the other students were still taking their tests. This is likely a trap by Voldemort, he thought, but it would be prudent to contact Sirius just to make sure he’s alright. Harry gathered up his completed test and took it to the examiner.
“I have completed my test and need to leave early sir. I find myself not feeling all that well.”
“Very well, Mr. Potter. I suspect it’s the stress of all these exams. Go see Madame Pomfrey and get some rest.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Harry left the Great Hall, went straight to his dorm room as quickly as possible, and went through the door into his trunk. In the bedroom he designated as his own, the one with the closets full of clothes, he pulled open the bottom drawer to the nightstand beside the bed and removed a mirror. It was the same mirror Sirius gave him so they could communicate with each other. Sirius and James used them back when they were in Hogwarts together.
Harry looked into the mirror and called his godfather, “Sirius?”
“Sirius, I really need to talk to you.”
Still no response.
"Maybe he doesn’t have it with him,” he thought. “I don’t carry mine around either so why would he?”
Harry put away the mirror then quickly pulled out his watch and took the portkey to Grimmauld Place. He looked all through the house for Sirius but didn’t find him. He looked for Kreacher as well but didn’t find anyone in the house.
Harry took out his watch again and went back to his dorm room. He went looking for his friends. He knew that Ron, Hermione, and Neville would be done with their History of Magic exam by now. He ran into them in the hallway. They were coming back from the Infirmary.
“Harry, where did you go?” asked Hermione. “Professor Tofty said you weren’t feeling well.”
“What’s up mate?” asked Ron. “You look a little worried. You didn’t do badly on the exam did you?”
“No, Ron. I’m worried about Sirius. You know those dreams I’ve been having over and over? I was getting the same in visions all through the exams but I‘ve been shoving them aside so I can take my tests. I figure it’s just Voldemort trying to get me somehow. After I completed the History exam, I relaxed a little too much and I was flooded with the vision but it went further and I saw Voldemort torturing Sirius. It still could be a trap but I’ve tried the mirror he gave me with no success and I used my watch to get to Grimmauld Place. No one was there. Not even Kreacher. I’ve not been able to contact Sirius at all. I just want to verify that he’s alright.”
“What about sending your patronus?” asked Neville.
“I thought about that but if he’s on a mission and spying on someone then my patronus will likely give him away. I don’t want to get him killed when I’m worried about saving him.”
“Good point, Harry,” replied Hermione. “Your patronus is quite large and difficult to miss. That’s all anyone has been talking about since you completed your Defense practical.”
“Let’s go to Dumbledore’s office and see if he can help us,” said Harry as he headed that direction.
Following Harry at a rapid pace, they headed to Dumbledore’s office only to discover he wasn’t there. They next went to McGonagall’s office but she wasn’t there either. They headed back to Harry’s dorm room to look at the map and see if they could locate Dumbledore. Along the way, they ran into Ginny and Luna who had been looking for them. They filled the two girls in on what Harry had seen in his vision.
“If Dumbledore is not here then I’ll have to go and make sure Sirius hasn’t been captured,” said Harry. “If I can’t locate Sirius or Dumbledore who might know where he is then I don’t see what choice I’ll have. Even though it’s likely a trap, I can’t leave it to chance. If this is real and Voldemort is torturing Sirius then I have to save him and make sure he’s alright.”
“If you have to go then we will come with you mate,” replied Ron. “We’ve been training for this and can help you.”
“It really would be best if we can find Dumbledore,” added Hermione worriedly.
They entered the common room.
“I’m going up to get my map,” Harry told them. “I’ll be right back.”
Harry ran up the stairs, grabbed his map, and ran back down. He opened the map and tapped it with his wand.
“I solemnly aware that I am up to no good.”
The map revealed all of Hogwarts and who was in the castle and on the grounds. McGonagall was back in her office now but Dumbledore was not on the map. Obviously, he had left Hogwarts for some reason. Harry folded up the map and pocketed it.
“Listen guys,” began Harry “I’m not even sure how all of us will get there. I appreciate you wanting to help but trust me, I can handle this on my own. If it’s a trap then it will be easy for me to get out and come back without worrying about having to get all of you out at the same time.”
“Just give us a minute Harry and we’ll come up with a way to get us all there,” replied Hermione.
“Sorry guys but I can’t wait. Sirius may be dying.”
Without warning, Harry suddenly took off running straight toward the window.