Chapter 8 – Hogsmeade
“Oops! Looks like we’ve been found out” said Harry.
All the students whipped around to face the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall. They suddenly started shouting the spell Fumos, which created a dark gray smoke. Harry laughed and quickly conjured the wall. The students stayed behind the smoke they created and escaped to their safe haven leaving their poor professor all alone to face the music.
“Very good students,” announced Dumbledore waving his hand in front of his face to clear the smoke. “20 points each to Gryffindor and Slytherin for their Defense work.”
“Excellent kids,” said McGonagall. “I see that our Mr. Potter has been helping you with your Defense.”
All the students came out from behind the wall and walked to in front of Harry so they were between him and the professors.
Kevin spoke up. “Professor Potter is the best. We have learned so much from him. We are even ahead in our Defense class in both spells and theory. It’s all due to Professor Potter helping us.” The rest of the kids were nodding in agreement.
“Professor Potter is so busy,” said Lucy, “but he offered to help us with Defense so we wouldn’t fall behind. I’ve seen how busy he is but he has always been here for us, every class time he’s here to teach us. Please don’t make him stop,” she pleaded.
“Lucy, just so you know I have been sneaking into this class since Professor Potter tested you guys in that scenario where you had to light your wand, unlock doors, and escape. I was most impressed with Professor Potter and each of you and how well you performed. I have since then dropped in unannounced several times into all of the classes that he teaches. He helps the other students just as much as you.”
The students all nodded and smiled at the Headmaster.
“And I was most impressed,” said McGonagall, “with your performances today in the contest Professor Potter setup. Most ingenious to use strong bubbles to work on your aim. I was extremely impressed with you Kevin and you Lucy for having the fastest times. Congratulations,” she said smiling at them.
“And that is where we leave you,” said Dumbledore. “I believe you need to finish your contest and see if anyone else here is quicker. Professor Potter, I would ask that you come visit me in my office after dinner. I believe we have a few things to discuss,” he said with a smile.
“Yes, Professor. I will see you then,” replied Harry.
Dumbledore and McGonagall had headed toward the door. Dumbledore turned back around. “I apologize kids for not being able to find a suitable Defense teacher yet but it appears you’ve found one on your own. Excellent work!” He and McGonagall walked out the door.
“You heard the Headmaster. Let’s finish this. Next!”
Every student got their turn and did pretty well. Some were not as good but Harry encouraged them to keep practicing. Lucy’s time still held as the fastest when they were done.
“Well done, Lucy, well done,” said Harry, “and you weren’t so bad yourself Kevin. She only beat you by a couple milliseconds. Most of the rest of you came close so everyone give yourselves a hand for a job well done.”
They all clapped.
“Professor,” said Lucy, “there is still one person here that has not had a go at it. I find it hard to believe that I’m the fastest in this class. Perhaps he’s faster?”
“Who are you talking about Lucy? I’m sure everyone got a turn,” said Harry looking around at all his students.
“You haven’t gone Professor,” said Lucy.
“Oh, you want me to go?”
All of them said “Yes!”
“Alright, Kevin, here is the stop watch. When you say go, I’ll go. Let me setup the bubbles again.” Harry conjured the bubbles again. “So I have to beat Lucy who was just shy of 5 seconds?”
They all nodded.
Harry got into position facing the bubbles from 10 feet away. “Wait, since I’m the teacher it’s only fair that I make it harder. I’ll move back to 20 feet. That good for everyone?”
They all nodded again. They were anxious to see how fast Harry was.
“I’m ready Kevin. You call it.”
Kevin said, “Go” while pushing the button on the watch and Harry started. His wand came out of his wand holder in a blur. He popped all five of the bubbles without missing a one and it sounded like they all went about the same time.
All the students were amazed and could not form words for a second.
“Professor, you did that so fast that I was slower than you stopping the time. The stopwatch shows the time at less than two seconds. I’m pretty sure your real time would be just over a second.”
“Really? Hmm, that wasn’t too bad I suppose,” said Harry
“Duh! That was fantastic,” said Stephen, a Slytherin.
“I don’t know,” said Harry. “I think I can do better.”
They all just picked up their things and left, mumbling as they went.
After dinner, Harry went to see Dumbledore in his office. When Dumbledore told him to come in, he was surprised to see all the teachers there, except Binns. Harry suddenly felt more nervous than he already was.
“H-hello professors, I was not expecting to see everyone h-here,” said Harry.
“Have a seat Harry. We have much to discuss,” said Dumbledore. Harry sat down in the seat provided and looked up at Dumbledore expectantly.
“Harry, I want you to know that I discovered what you were doing when I noticed the school was tallying points from the Defense class. Since I knew we had no teacher for Defense, I had to see whom the school was recognizing as a professor. I observed your classes for a while before I decided to invite Minerva along today so she could witness it for herself,” said Dumbledore.
“I had to apologize to the others here before you arrived because they did not get to see you in action. However, I provided a small snippet of my memories for them to watch before you arrived. I must say that all of us have been very impressed not only with your self-sacrifice to teach these children but the skill at which you have taught them. We are also aware of the DA and commend you on your job teaching the third through the seventh years. We realize that not all the students are getting the benefit of your teaching but it appears that is their fault for not joining the DA.”
“Uh…thank you, sir,” said Harry. “I was not expecting to see all of you here tonight. I only wanted to help until you were able to find a teacher for the Defense class. I asked the students not to say anything because I wasn’t sure of your reaction since I’m not really qualified. I’ve had to skip History of Magic and Divination in order to do this for the first and second years but I have Hermione to help me with History of Magic and both Lavender and Parvati are tutoring me in Divination. It’s difficult to squeeze everything in but I found that I enjoy sharing my knowledge with the other students. I get excited when they do.”
All the professors smiled at him knowingly.
“When Hermione complained about falling behind in Defense and asked me to lead the third through seventh years in a Defense club I was happy to oblige but that made me think of the first and second years and how important it is for them to learn the basics. That’s when I started talking to them and we worked out a schedule. It was easier to meet with them at their regularly scheduled time.”
“One second year class has Defense the same time I have Charms but it worked out that they had a free period during my scheduled Defense class time. Hermione likes to help with teaching that class while the rest of us are helping the DA plan ahead for the next meetings.” Harry quickly added a second later, “Oh and I was not aware the school honored the points I handed out. I told the students that I could not actually award points but wanted them to know when they deserved it.”
“Well, Harry,” said Dumbledore “from what I’ve seen you handed out points in a very even and well deserved manner. I believe the school honored those points because it saw what a great job you’re doing as a teacher.”
“Mr. Potter,” said McGonagall, “you have outdone yourself with your teaching. I dare say if we took a vote of the first and second years to see who their favorite teacher is I believe it would be you. With your DA group, it might be you again for the third through seventh years. I am very proud of you… Professor Potter.”
“Indeed,” said Dumbledore. “I’m proud of you too.” All the professors, except Snape, were nodding their heads in agreement. “But we best get on to the main reason I asked you here. Harry, I’m sorry but it looks like there is just no one available this year to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. I’ve looked for many weeks and I’ve not found anyone. What I propose is that we make a few changes. Am I correct in saying that you really don’t desire to continue in Divination?”
“Yes, Professor,” answered Harry. “Divination is just not for me but it is one of my electives.”
“Very well then, what I propose we do is allow you to drop Divination and we’ll substitute your teaching the DA for that elective. However, for the teaching of the first and second years we’ll have to devise another plan. Keep in mind that History of Magic is required so you’ll need Miss Granger’s help keeping up with that class. I realize that this is difficult to do during your OWL year but all the professors have noticed how well you’re doing in your classes. You appear far ahead in spell knowledge and theory so I take it you’re keeping up fairly well?
“Yes, Professor. I had to learn many spells last year in order to compete on a seventh year level in the tournament. Then this summer I had a crash course in magic and learned spells even past seventh year. So, basically the spells and theory we are going over in class are subjects I’ve already covered in my studies.”
“That was what I thought,” said Dumbledore. “So, we would like you to continue to teach the first and second years and we will set you up as Assistant Professor. This will give you rights to what you need to do as a professor but you still maintain your status as a student. We will also allow you to use the office in the back of the Defense classroom for preparation and study as you see fit.”
“Thank you Professor, I appreciate that. I feel much better with Divination removed and getting to teach more is fine with me. I really like helping them.”
All the professors, save Snape, congratulated Harry on making Assistant Professor and acknowledged his excellent teaching skills before he left. Once Harry was gone, Professor Dumbledore looked at all of them and said, “I have a strong feeling that our Professor Potter is going to be due another special award for services to the school before his fifth year is done.”
A few days later on Saturday, it was time for their first Hogsmeade visit of the year. As usual only the third years and above were allowed to go. Harry had asked his DA group to go with someone and to not go alone. There was safety in numbers and they could watch each other’s back he told them. It would be just like Voldemort to send his Death Eaters to spoil their visit, he warned. He asked them to be alert for any sign of trouble. If they did run into trouble, they were to sound the alarm he had taught them. The DA was to come running ready for anything. The third years were instructed to alert the non-DA members and help get everyone else moving back toward the castle where they were to alert the teachers.
On Saturday morning, Harry met Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Ginny in the common room before they all set off together for Hogsmeade. They picked up Luna on the way who was waiting just outside the main doors to the castle. They had decided to take Harry’s advice and go as a group together. Luna had been joining them more and more since she joined the DA. She had even started attending Harry’s karate class and was working on getting caught up with the others. Harry found that he really liked the strange girl. She was fast becoming a good friend.
“Where do you guys want to go first?” asked Harry.
Harry heard “Honeydukes” from Ron, “Scrivenshaft’s” from Hermione, “Zonko’s” from Ginny, “It doesn’t matter” from Neville, and Luna was staring into space still thinking about it, he guessed. They all stopped and looked at each other with a grin.
“Well, we could split up in pairs,” said Hermione, “then we could all meet at the Three Broomsticks for lunch. Sound good?”
“Sure,” said Harry. “How do we want to split up?”
“How about Ron and I stay together,” said Hermione. “I just need a quill at Scrivenshaft’s, then we can go over to Honeydukes. Why don’t Luna and Neville go do whatever they need to do and you can accompany Ginny to Zonko’s?” Ginny smiled at Hermione.
“Okay, that sounds good,” said Harry. “Is that good for everyone else?” They all nodded at him. “Remember, any sign of trouble sound the alarm and protect yourselves.”
“Yes, Professor,” they all said in a high-pitched small kids voice.
“Right,” Harry mumbled as he set off again towards Hogsmeade at a quicker pace. Ginny with her shorter legs ran to catch up. The rest were laughing and started moving again as well.
Ginny was taking her time in Zonko’s. It was almost as if she was studying all their products and committing them to memory Harry thought. He patiently followed her around like a good boy keeping himself alert for anything out of the ordinary. Everything seemed peaceful though. Finally, Ginny indicated she was done. Harry noticed she had not purchased anything as they walked out the door. They noticed Neville and Luna going into Gladrags and waved.
“Ginny, what exactly were you doing in there?” asked Harry.
“I was seeing what products they carry,” replied Ginny.
“Because Fred and George need to know what the competition has.”
“Ah, I see. So you’re helping Fred and George with their joke shop?”
“Of course, they’re my brothers and I have a very good memory.”
“Where to next?” asked Harry.
“What about you, Harry? Don’t you have some place you’d like to visit?”
“Not really, but I could use some items from Honeydukes to take back, but I can get that later. Do you have any other place you need to go?”
“Actually, I need to go to Honeydukes,” replied Ginny with a smile. “I could use some candy to take back to the school.”
“Okay,” said Harry. “Let’s go then and I will get what I need as well.”
They set off down the street toward Honeydukes and were about halfway there when they heard a woman scream. They looked and saw a few Death Eaters had apparated right in front of the Post Office, which is located across the street from Honeyduke’s. Harry saw one of the Death Eaters raise his wand at the woman and start a spell. Harry heard him start “Avada Kedavra” and with hardly a thought, Harry had his wand out and silently Summoned the woman to him with a quick Accio. He then put up a Cushioning Charm and pulling Ginny with him, he sidestepped out of the way so the woman wouldn’t hit them.
The Death Eaters all turned to where the woman flew to and noticed Harry and Ginny.
“Ginny, sound the alarm and get that woman inside now,” ordered Harry. He then advanced on the Death Eaters.
“Wait Harry come back!” shouted Ginny.
“GINNY! DO IT NOW!” he shouted as he continued toward the Death Eaters.
Ginny quickly sounded the alarm following Harry’s orders. The DA went into action. The third years started rounding up non-DA students to head them back toward Hogwarts and to warn the teachers. The rest of the DA headed toward the alarm.
While Harry was advancing on the Death Eaters, he had wandlessly cast an anti-apparition charm on the area they were in. He noticed there were five of them and they were still grouped together looking at him with their wands coming up. Harry conjured a mini sandstorm that swirled around them and all over them, getting into their eyes so they couldn’t see what happened next. Harry then hit all five with a Stunner each just like he was popping bubbles in the classroom. They all went down and out in a little more than a second. He quickly Summoned their wands and cast Incarcerous to tie them up.
He heard a crack behind him as he kept moving toward the downed Death Eaters. He whipped around only to see Ginny take out the Death Eater with a powerful Stunner that knocked her back toward Harry about five feet. Harry Summoned her wand and tied her up. Next Harry heard another scream and he turned back to look toward The Three Broomsticks. He saw two Death Eaters. One had cast Crucio on one of the DA while the other cast a Stunner on another DA member.
Thinking quickly, Harry Summoned the Death Eater casting the Cruciatus to him. He then Summoned the other one right behind him. When the first Death Eater came close, Harry leaped into the air and hit the Death Eater on the chin with a spinning back kick. He was out cold with a broken jaw. The next Death Eater was hit with a short-arm clothesline, which flattened him on his back. He moved a little so Ginny Stunned him, took his wand, and tied him up. She looked at the one Harry kicked and then did the same to him just in case. She noticed Harry was moving down the street toward the DA members that were hurt.
The DA was starting to gather so he got their attention. Harry cast a Sonorus on his voice.
“DA, STAY ON ALERT! THERE MAY BE MORE COMING OR MORE HERE ALREADY. GO IN GROUPS OF FOUR OR MORE AND SWEEP THE TOWN FOR ANY MORE DEATH EATERS OR ANY INJURED. IF YOU FIND A DEATH EATER, ONE OF YOU SEND UP AN ALARM WHILE THE OTHERS ENGAGE. PICK ONE FOR THE ALARM, ONE FOR SHIELDS, AND TWO FOR OFFENSIVE SPELLS. IF YOU ARE CLOSE TO AN ALARM, HELP EACH OTHER. NOW GO! BE CAREFUL!”
Ginny looked at Harry and said to herself “I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Dumbledore apparated in close to Ginny. “The aurors are on their way! Are there any more Death Eaters?”
Harry turned back when he heard Dumbledore. “Professor, we have a student who was subjected to the Cruciatus. Please get Madam Pomfrey. Another was stunned, I believe. I’m going to check on them now.”
“Not that we know of Professor,” replied Ginny. “The DA is doing a sweep of the town for any more Death Eaters or others injured.”
Dumbledore quickly cast his phoenix patronus and sent it to Pomfrey. He followed Harry and asked what happened. Harry provided the details to Dumbledore and the DA’s planning in case anything happened. Harry cast an Enervate on Theo, the stunned fourth year DA member. He then cast a healing spell he hoped would help on the fourth year girl, Janet. They were both from Hufflepuff. Madam Pomfrey showed up a couple minutes later with potions. She waved her wand over Janet and then over Theo. “I don’t see much to do here,” said Pomfrey. Harry walked over to her.
“Madam Pomfrey, Theo was stunned and Janet was tortured with the Cruciatus. I’m not sure how long. I used Enervate on Theo and cast a general healing spell on Janet but I was not sure if it would help. I knew it wouldn’t hurt.”
“Apparently, it helped a lot. She shows no physical signs of the torture. Well done, Mr. Potter. However, the Cruciatus curse tends to cause mental anguish as well. I will get her back to the hospital wing for some potions and require an overnight stay for observation. The other one is fine. It was just a Stunner and you fixed that just fine. Please come see me soon Mr. Potter so we can discuss your healing abilities,” she said with a smile.
“Thank you Madam Pomfrey, I will,” said Harry as the aurors started showing up. Harry cast Sonorus again.
“DA, CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION?”
Everyone stopped to listen, not just the DA.
“EVERYONE COME BACK BUT STAY ALERT. THE AURORS HAVE ARRIVED. I ALSO WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW HOW VERY PROUD I AM OF YOUR ACTIONS TODAY. I WILL SPEAK ON THIS AGAIN LATER WHEN THE THIRD YEARS ARE BACK WITH US. I AM VERY PROUD OF THEM TOO. HANG AROUND FOR A LITTLE WHILE LONGER IN CASE THE AURORS NEED TO TALK TO YOU. IF THEY DON’T, THEN TRY TO ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR HOGSMEADE VISIT. THANK YOU ALL!”
“NO, THANK YOU HARRY!” they practically all shouted together. “YOU PRETTY MUCH DID IT ALL!”
Hermione and Ron came up to Harry. “We spoke to all the groups who were doing the sweep. No one else was injured and no other Death Eaters were found. If there were more, they probably left after what you did to their friends,” said Ron.
“Thanks, guys. Good job!” said Harry
Ginny came up to Harry. “Harry, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have –”
“No, Ginny. I’m the one that should be sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you. I had in my mind what I needed to do so needed you to sound the alarm to get the DA moving. I’m sorry if I overreacted, Ginny. I was too focused on the job at hand and forgot to regard your feelings. I’m truly sorry.”
“Harry, you have no need to be sorry. If I had known that you could do what you just did, I never would have hesitated. You were awesome! I’m sorry I ever doubted for a second your ability. I won’t hesitate again. I promise. Thank you for saving us.” Ginny kissed Harry on the cheek and gave him a big hug. Harry hugged her back and it felt good.
They heard a throat clearing next to them so they pulled apart and turned to see Dumbledore standing with Kingsley Shacklebolt. Harry heard that distinct deep voice from Kingsley as he said, “Mr. Potter, it appears you have some details for me. Can I trouble you for a few minutes for the information?”
“Certainly, sir, but you will want Ginny’s account as well. She was right behind me the whole way using her wand like a real pro.” Ginny smiled innocently.
“I see. Well, let me get the aurors moving so they can take these Death Eaters back to the Ministry. Why don’t you and Miss Weasley, Professor Dumbledore, and anyone else you think can add to the details meet me in The Three Broomsticks? We can go over the details and quench our thirst at the same time. I will bring Auror Tonks with me as a second to help gather the facts. We may need a big table. See if Madam Rosmerta can let us use one of the back rooms. There are big tables in there and more privacy.”
“Yes, sir,” said Harry. “We’ll meet you there.” Harry called over Ron and Hermione and let them know. He recommended they come along. They all walked down to The Three Broomsticks together. When they entered, the tavern erupted with applause and a quiet chant for Harry. “Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry –”
“THAT’S ENOUGH,” shouted Harry. “What are all you on about?” he asked when the noise died down.
Seamus Finnegan stood up. “Now Harry, is it not true you took out eight Death Eaters all by yourself? No one else in the DA has reported even fighting one.”
“No, Seamus. I did not,” replied Harry. “Ginny here was helping me. Just ask her.”
“Let me see Seamus if I can set the record straight. Hmmm, yes, I remember. I took out one and Harry took out seven. That about covers it.”
The room erupted again and Harry hung his head shaking it back and forth. Dumbledore walked up beside him. “Come on Harry. I spoke to Rosmerta and she’s letting us use this back room over here.” They all followed Dumbledore and Harry into a back room under the soft chant of “Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry, Harry…” Hermione put a silencing charm on the wall and door facing the tavern.
“Thank you, Hermione,” said Harry.
“You’re welcome, Harry,” answered Hermione. Then after a pause, she said, “Anything for my hero.”
Everyone started laughing. Even Harry could not help but grin. He then said, “I’ll get you for that.”
“Don’t worry Hermione,” said Ron, “I’ll protect you.”
“Who’s going to protect you, Ron?” asked Hermione.
“Uh…Ginny?” asked Ron.
“Not me,” said Ginny. “I will not fight Harry. I saw what he’s capable of today and I’m telling you it’s a good thing he’s on our side.”
Shaking that off, Harry asked, “Ron and Hermione will you go order us some drinks from Rosmerta? I would but don’t need to hear any more of that out there. Cold butterbeers all around?” Everyone agreed so Harry reached into his pocket and handed some gold to Ron. “Get extras will you? I’m extra thirsty. I’m sure others are as well. Drinks on me,” he said to everyone.
“Thanks Harry,” they all said.
By the time Ron and Hermione got back with the drinks, Kingsley and Tonks had entered the back room. Ron brought back plenty of butterbeer so Harry offered some to the aurors who accepted with great thanks.
Kingsley started the conversation. “Basically, I need to hear in your own words what happened today. Who would like to start?”
“I’ll start,” said Harry, “since I was in the middle of most of it. Before I do though I wanted to mention that I didn’t recognize any of the Death Eaters and I thought I knew most of them.”
“I believe they were new recruits and were sent here for some practice on what they thought would be easy pickings with all the students here,” replied Dumbledore. “I think you surprised them.”
“Alright, Mr. Potter, you go first and the others can add their viewpoint after that,” said Kingsley. “Tonks will monitor the quill that will write down everything that we say. Go ahead and start it up Tonks.” Tonks cast a spell on the quill and it made ready to write.
“So, Mr. Potter, tell us in your own words what happened today in Hogsmeade,” stated Kingsley very formally.
“Well, Auror Shacklebolt,” Harry said formally as well, “Ginny Weasley and I had just come out of Zonko’s Joke Shop and we were headed for Honeydukes. We had made it about halfway when we heard a woman scream. We looked and saw a few Death Eaters had apparated in front of the Post Office. The lady that screamed was in danger because one of the Death Eaters was casting the Killing Curse on her. I quickly Summoned her to me and cast a Cushioning Charm to stop her. I then had Ginny sound an alarm that our Defense group had practiced and also had her get the woman inside and out of danger.” Ginny was nervous about Harry revealing her hesitation but he didn’t. He continued on.
“The alarm was to alert our Defense group and set them in action. The third years were to get everyone who was not a member of our group to head towards Hogwarts and they were to alert the professors. The rest of the group was to go to where the alarm sounded and be ready for anything.”
“I approached the five Death Eaters in front of the Post Office with a plan in mind. They were turning toward us following the witch I Summoned. I first cast an Anti-Apparition spell, then conjured a mini sandstorm around them that temporarily blinded them. While they were struggling with the sand, I Stunned them all, took their wands, and tied them up. As I was still heading toward them, I heard an apparition crack behind me. I quickly turned around to see Ginny hitting the newly arrived Death Eater with a Stunner that must have knocked her toward me about five feet. Unfortunately for that Death Eater, she arrived with us on both sides of her and Ginny was loaded for bear. I Summoned her wand and tied her up.”
“We next heard another scream coming from up close to The Three Broomsticks. I saw that a Death Eater had a fourth year under the Cruciatus curse. I saw the second Death Eater hit another fourth year with a Stunner. I Summoned the Death Eater that was using Crucio then Summoned the second one right behind him. When the first one was close, I kicked him in the head. The second was met with a short-arm clothesline. I believe Ginny stepped in and Stunned them both, retrieved their wands, and tied them up.”
“After that I sent the Defense group to sweep the town looking for any injured or more Death Eaters. They travelled in groups of four or more and were to respond to any alarms. They all reported back to Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.”
“We called in Madam Pomfrey to take care of the Cruciatus victim and she also checked the Stun victim. They were both doing okay but Madam Pomfrey told me she would give the Cruciatus victim some potions and keep her overnight for observation in the hospital wing.”
“That is all I have,” finished Harry.
“Miss Weasley, it would seem you would be the most logical to go next,” said Kingsley.
“Certainly Auror Shacklebolt. Like Harry said we heard the woman scream, he summoned her, put up a cushioning charm then sidestepped both of us out of her way. He told me to sound the alarm and get the woman to safety so I did. I stunned one Death Eater only because she apparated right between me and Harry. The two Death Eaters Harry summoned were not likely to get up but I stunned them anyway for precautionary measures, took their wands, and tied them up. The one he kicked was out cold and his jaw was obviously broken. The one he clotheslined moved a little bit but I still doubt he would have been able to get up anytime soon.”
“That‘s all I have” finished Ginny.
“Mr. Weasley or Miss Granger?” asked Kingsley.
Hermione nodded at Ron. “We were in Honeydukes when the alarm sounded,” said Ron. “We immediately went out the door to see what was wrong. We came out just in time to see Harry hitting Death Eaters with stunners. He took out five in about a second or so. We saw when the other Death Eater apparated in a few feet behind Harry. We started heading that way but Ginny took her out quickly. We next heard Janet scream and turned that way to go help but once again, Harry took care of it. We saw the two Death Eaters go flying by one after another headed straight for Harry. He never flinched. He leaped so high in the air and spun around hitting that man with his heel right on the chin. I know his jaw broke because I heard the crack from several feet away. The second one was actually funny the way Harry clotheslined him. I was like ‘ouch’ when he did that. He may have moved a little but I’m with Ginny on that one. I doubt very seriously he was going to get back up anytime soon.”
“I don’t have anything to add to that Auror Shacklebolt,” said Hermione. “Except I didn’t think it was funny at all. It looked like it hurt…a lot.”
“Professor Dumbledore, do you have anything you can add?” asked Kingsley.
“No, Auror Shacklebolt. I do not. Mr. Potter had it well taken care of by the time I was able to arrive.”
“Thank you everyone for your detail on today’s events. We appreciate your cooperation,” said Kingsley. He indicated for Tonks to stop the dictation, which she did.
“Harry, can you tell me which kick you used on the one Death Eater?” asked Tonks.″
“I jumped and used a spinning back kick. Surprisingly, since he was moving toward me quickly I managed to connect just right on his chin. I felt the jaw break as well. I would have helped heal it but he was the one who used the Cruciatus on Janet. I was much more concerned with her and Theo than helping him. If I ever see him using an Unforgiveable again I might be a little less nice.”
A shudder ran through Tonks with the way Harry finished that statement. He was serious. She had seen him in action before and knew he could back it up. She pitied anyone who would be stupid enough to attack one of Harry’s friends.
“So, Harry,” said Kingsley, “Tonks tells me you are quite proficient in Self-Defense and that you’ve been teaching karate to a few of your friends. She said that she even joins when she can. Would it be okay for me to come by sometime with Tonks and join you too?”
“Certainly, Tonks knows when we meet. Anytime you can join us, you are more than welcome. I hear you are also proficient. Perhaps you could share with us sometime?” asked Harry.
“It would be my pleasure, Harry, but from what Tonks has described to me it would seem I have much to learn from you. I’m looking forward to your class.”
“Great! We hope to see you there soon.”
Things were running a little smoother for Harry with Divination out of the picture. He found more and more that his own classes were less of a challenge, so he didn’t require any real study time anymore. He had to complete the assignments but he could do those quickly from memory now. Ever since his magic was unbound, his ability to remember things and the speed at which he learned had been increasing. He was not sure why but it felt like his magic helped stimulate the parts of his brain that involved memory and comprehension. He wondered if the same thing had happened to Simon. He decided he would ask at his next opportunity.
It’s about time something good happened where he could do well in school and improve himself. This also allowed him to work more intensely on self-defense, physical training, and his magic. He had a feeling that he would be facing more Death Eaters in the near future and wanted to be prepared for whatever life threw at him. He was well into several of the advanced books his parents left him.
The Halloween feast was good as usual. It came and went and November was the time for sending out the Christmas invitations. Mattie had done a marvelous job on the invitation design and Harry was excited over who all might come share Christmas with him. He decided it was time for another visit home. He had his friends cover for him again.
Harry used his watch and portkeyed over to Potter Place. He spoke to Mattie and asked her to add Kingsley Shacklebolt to the invitation list. He then went and talked to Simon. He wanted to ask about his new learning abilities.
“Simon, how have you been?” asked Harry.
“Excellent, Harry. As a portrait I can’t complain,” replied Simon.
“I have a question for you, O Wise One,” said Harry.
“Flattery will get you everywhere, young Harry.”
“I’m glad to know that, but I do have a serious question.”
“Okay, ask a way. I’m here to help you anyway I can.”
“Simon, I’ve noticed a change in me. Ever since my magic was unbound, it seems like my ability to learn and remember are increasing. I don’t have to study anymore for my classes. Dumbledore allowed me to drop Divination, which is great. My DA group that I lead is now counting as that elective. I have a lot more free time due to that. Hermione takes excellent notes in History of Magic. All I have to do is read through them once and I remember all of it. They made me an Assistant Professor and want me to continue teaching the first and second years. I love that and the kids seem to like how I teach them. I’m not sure where all of this is headed but I was wondering how you became so smart and I know you were very powerful like me.”
“That is wonderful news Harry. You are correct in what you are thinking. This also happened to me. I have a theory that I have not been able to prove completely but nonetheless with each discovery my theory becomes more credible.”
“Let me guess, Simon,” said Harry. “I bet your theory is that magical power in abundance stimulates your brain in certain ways so that you become smarter, your memory is better, and your comprehension is increased.”
“You are advancing quickly Harry. That lends credence to the theory. Without a doubt, you are more powerful than I was. With that much power, your abilities will advance even faster and further. You know that I was powerful and I was known for my great intellect.”
“You are still a great intellect. What you left behind in your portrait speaks volumes as to how intelligent and wise you were. You are still providing great wisdom to whomever gets to speak to you.”
“Thank you, Harry but let me speak of someone else. That will make it easier to discuss. Look at Dumbledore. He is without a doubt a very powerful wizard and he is very wise. Don’t you think that his intelligence and wisdom has been aided by the magical power that flows through his body? I would be willing to guarantee that is why he is so smart and wise because I believe that my theory is correct. I am not saying you have to be magically powerful to be smart. What I am saying is that if you are magically powerful then you are likely to be smart as well because the power within you aids your brain function.”
“I see what you’re saying and from my own experience your theory rings true. I was a mediocre student before. I did okay when I tried harder but I was certainly no Hermione Granger. Now, I can do as well or better than Hermione without much effort. Hermione is super smart but she studies all the time to keep learning. I know she has a good memory but she constantly reads or studies to be that smart.”
“That is the key Harry. You have to keep learning. Learn from your friend’s example. Read and study things to advance yourself. Start with the things that interest you the most and then you will see after a while that your interests are expanding and you will thirst even more for knowledge.”
“Thanks Simon. As usual, your advice is very sound. I think Rolly is waiting for me. When I get back, would you and Grandpa like to share some more spells and tactics with me? I would love to share with you what I did to those Death Eaters in Hogsmeade. You guys might get a kick out of it.”
“Looking forward to it Harry and we would be happy to share more with you. I will speak with Henry so he will know to be ready to join us when you get back.”
“Okay, see you again soon.”
Harry and Jojo had another great time riding around together. Rolly was obviously excited to see Harry again. He was bursting with energy and raring to go. Harry spent some extra time with him when they returned. He washed him up and brushed him down real good, taking his time, and talking to Rolly the whole time about his Christmas plans. Rolly was grateful for the added attention and nuzzled Harry a goodbye before he left to go back to the house.
Simon and Henry were ready for him and took him through his paces in the training room. They got a kick out of Harry’s story about what happened in Hogsmeade. They were kidding around with him a bit about Ginny, especially when Harry described her long red hair. He took it all in stride though. He knew they were just trying to get him going. He liked it too. It felt like real family, which was not a normal feeling for him.
After he learned several new spells and tactics from Simon and Henry, Harry spent a good bit of time with his Grandma learning several new healing spells and techniques. She also taught him about several potions used for healing and how to brew them to make them more effective. She used her pepper up potion as an example. Harry was excited to take this information back to his Potions class to see how much better he could do. She also gave Harry her recipe for her pepper up potion. He thanked her heartily for that. He remembered how well that worked on him.
Back at Hogwarts, Harry was getting a lot of attention from the friends he had invited over for Christmas. They all thought the invitations Mattie created were outstanding. Basically, they were all invited to come home with Harry for the Christmas holidays. If they could not come for the stay then they were invited to at least attend the Christmas Ball starting at 7:00 pm on Christmas night. Plenty of food and music would be provided. You only needed to show up for the Ball. Dress for the Ball was formal attire, wizard robes, or Muggle. The guests were asked to RSVP so Harry would know who and how many to provide instructions and transportation.
Molly Weasley sent Harry an owl message gushing over how thoughtful he was to invite them to his home. In fact, everyone was genuinely excited to get the invitation. Dumbledore and McGonagall told Harry they could not stay but would not miss the Christmas Ball for the world. Hermione immediately borrowed Hedwig and sent her to her parents to confirm their plans. Harry had told her that an owl had delivered her parents the invitation already. Neville’s grandmother said she would come to the Ball and allowed Neville to stay for the holidays. Everyone was happy about it, except Ginny, and even Ron seemed a little down.
Harry finally got Hermione off to the side to ask her a question. “Hermione, something is wrong with Ginny and Ron. They say they’re fine and not to worry about it but I know something is wrong. Do you know what’s going on?”
“Harry, you know they don’t have much money. Ginny told me that she can’t afford a formal gown and she doesn’t currently have one that fits. Ron’s in the same boat. For that matter, I need a new one too but we’re not allowed another Hogsmeade visit to get one. I was going to see if Mum would pick one out for me and bring it with them although it might not fit perfectly.”
“I see,” said Harry. “I didn’t mean to hurt them this way. I just didn’t realize this would cause a problem. I hate seeing them like that.” Harry paused for a minute to think. “I’ve got it! I can fix this. Hermione, I want you to gather up Ginny, Ron, Neville, and Luna. Have them meet us in the Room of Requirement tonight at 8 pm. I have a surprise for everyone.” Harry took off without waiting for a reply.
Hermione said “Okay” and began finding the friends to do what Harry said.
At 8:00, Harry was found waiting in the Room of Requirement when his friends showed up. The room looked a bit like the Gryffindor common room.
“Thank you guys for coming. I have a surprise for all of you. Give me just a second to get setup.”
Harry pulled out his little ornate trunk, kissed it, and set it on the floor. It enlarged to regular size. They were all impressed. Next, Harry opened and closed the first compartment. The trunk shrunk again. He picked it back up and walked over to a wall where he kissed it again and placed it on its side against the wall. It turned into a door and his friends were speechless. Harry opened the door and said to them, “Step into my office.”
They all walked over and entered the trunk. They were impressed with the spaciousness. Harry had them wait just a second so he could tell them something. “This living space is fully furnished. Everything works. It has a living room, dining room, kitchen, small loo, two bedrooms each with two walk-in closets and loos with showers. This is part of the surprise I wanted to share with you. This was left to me by my parents. The rest of the surprise I will share with you if you will follow me.”
They all followed Harry to one of the bedrooms. He took them to his closet with the clothes for men. “See all of these clothes?”
They all nodded.
“Every single one of them was Charmed by my mum to auto-fit anyone who wears them. There is another closet over there full of clothes for women. They are Charmed as well. My parents left me all of this. Back at Potter Place, I have a closet bigger than this bedroom full of even more clothes. There are plenty of wizard and Muggle formal wear in both of these closets.”
“I realized that since we are not going to get to go to Hogsmeade to buy clothing for the Christmas Ball that my friends were going to be in a pickle and I didn’t want that. I am now offering to each of you and only you as my friends, that if you need new formals then pick out something you like from these closets and you can have them. I can’t wear the dresses and I have more men’s clothes than I can possibly wear.”
“Please accept this gift and my apologies for putting you guys in a situation where you are invited to a fancy Christmas Ball but have no opportunity to shop for what you wish to wear. If you don’t find anything here in these closets that you like, then I have plenty more back at Potter Place. Ginny, my mum had red hair so I’m fairly certain she’ll have something in there that will be perfect for you.”
“Harry, I can’t take your mum’s clothes,” said Ginny.
“Why not? She can no longer use them and she told me herself in a memory my parents left that I should let my friends wear them. In fact, all of these clothes are brand new and have never been worn. Go in there and claim you one.”
“I can’t Harry. It doesn’t feel right to accept it,” said Ginny.
“Okay, then, don’t keep it, just borrow one. You can return it after the Christmas Ball. That goes for everyone. Borrow what you need and you can return it if you want to after the Ball. How else are you going to get a good formal before Christmas?”
Ginny looked indecisive and was looking down.
“Ginny, you need to know that this Christmas Ball is formal attire only. If you are not dressed appropriately you can’t attend.”
Ginny looked up at Harry.
“If you don’t attend my Christmas Ball simply because you are too pig headed to borrow a dress, then I may never forgive you. I had plans to dance with you at this Ball. My plans will be shattered if you don’t attend.” Harry looked upset.
“You guys decide what you’re going to do,” Harry said waving his arms in defeat. “I’ll get out of your way.”
Harry left and went out the door and into the Room of Requirement. They knew he was upset and frowned at Ginny. Harry sat down on the couch in front of the fire. He could not understand her.
After a minute, Ginny came out and sat down right next to Harry. She started crying.
Harry looked over at her then said quietly “Hey, that’s not fair. I’m upset with you because you won’t let me solve a problem and help everyone. You can’t come over here and start crying. How am I supposed to deal with that?”
Harry put his arm around her to comfort her. “Don’t cry Gin. I’m sorry I called you pig headed. I didn’t really mean it. I was just upset and trying to get you to change your mind. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings but I still want that dance with you at my Christmas Ball.”
Ginny crawled up into Harry’s lap, then put her arms around his neck, and her head on his chest. He held her around the shoulders and his other arm was wrapped around her middle in a hug. They stayed there for a couple minutes until Ginny had calmed down a bit.
“I-I’m sorry Harry. I was being pig headed. You were right. I didn’t realize how much this means to you but it is your Christmas Ball and I almost ruined it,” said Ginny.
“Almost?” asked Harry. “Does this mean you’re going to find a dress to wear?”
“Yes, Harry. I accept your offer, with all my heart, to borrow one of your mum’s new ball gowns to wear to your Christmas Ball. I will be honored to do so and thank you for your kindness.”
“That’s more like it!” exclaimed Harry.
Ginny raised up and grabbed Harry’s head in her hands. She leaned in closer to his face and told him, “You are the sweetest man I have ever known.” Their noses were only a fraction of an inch away from each other’s. For a minute Harry thought Ginny was going to kiss him right on the lips, but she didn’t. She hopped up and took Harry by the hand.
“Come on Harry, I need you to help me pick out a ball gown.”
Harry followed her back in and noticed the girls were taking the gowns they were trying on into the other bedroom for more privacy. The guys were changing in the closet and using the mirror in the loo to see how they look. The girls were using the other loo for that. Ginny found a beautiful dark green gown that was gorgeous. Hermione and Luna told her they had saved it just for her. She came out to see if Harry liked it and he was stunned to say the least. He finally stammered and stuttered out a “yes” before she grinned and returned to the bedroom to tell the other girls that this was the one. Luna had come out with a light blue gown that matched her eyes. She looked beautiful. Finally, Hermione came out wearing a silver gown that accentuated her curves. Ron nearly fainted.
“Hermione, you look beautiful in that,” Harry said. “Well, you look good for a sister anyway.”
Hermione smiled at Harry, walked over and gave him a hug and a peck on the cheek.
“Thanks brother. You are very kind to offer these beautiful gowns for us to wear. Mum is going to flip when she sees me in this,” she said laughing.
The guys found some nice formals as well. Ron found a black formal with silver trim while Neville found a dark blue formal with a pale blue trim. The closets also had shoes to match the gowns and the men’s formals.
“I would like you guys to leave your outfits in these closets to keep them safe. I will have this trunk with me at Potter Place. You can get your outfits out then and take them to your rooms. That way no one else will see them and ask about them. No one else needs to know about my trunk. Understand?”
“Sure, Harry. No problem.”
“Now follow me out with your outfits on.” They all followed Harry out of the trunk and into the Room of Requirement again. Harry turned the trunk back onto its bottom and opened the first compartment. He pointed into the compartment. “If any of you need to borrow some jewelry look in here and see if you can find anything that will match your outfit.”
Ginny found some earrings and a necklace that went perfectly with her gown. Luna found a bracelet that was nice. Hermione found a necklace and earrings as well that worked. The guys decided that they didn’t need any jewelry.
Harry setup the trunk as a door again and had them go back in and change. The girls went ahead and hung their gowns in the spare bedroom closets where they changed. Harry waited in the Room of Requirement for them. When they had all come back out Harry shrunk the trunk and pocketed it again.
Harry looked at his friends and grinned. “I’m glad you were all able to find what you need. This will be the best Christmas ever!”