Chapter 1: The Suggestion
Harry Potter was zoning out the whole lecture in Transfiguration. He was clearly in deep thoughts; probably thinking about different kinds of strategies for the Hogwarts Quidditch team. Because for this year, a new set of competition was formed. Quidditch will not be about the four houses; it will involve all of the different magic schools to compete against each other. It's just like the Triwizard Tournament, only it's Quidditch.
Ron had to practically nudge and call him to leave the room once their class was done.
"Mr. Potter," Professor McGonagall announced when Harry was about to walk out of the door. "Can I have a moment?"
Harry turned to look at Ron and nodded for him to go ahead without him. He immediately approached the Professor's desk, standing a foot away from it. "Yes, Professor?"
"Harry," Professor McGonagall began, dropping all formalities. "I know that you are having a hard time balancing your academics and winning Quidditch for our house."
Harry doesn't know where this conversation is heading so he simply nodded to assure that he is listening intently.
Professor McGonagall continued to explain. "I also know for a fact that ever since you became the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, your grades started to decline. This was overlooked by the faculty because you were still getting Exceeds Expectations on most of your subjects."
Harry had an inkling that a negative statement was to come after that. And he was proven right when Professor McGonagall spoke again.
"Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that you are now on the verge of having Acceptable marks. This will not be enough for you to pass in becoming an Auror." Professor McGonagall shifted her glasses. "I assume you still want to be one?" she inquired.
"Yes," Harry answered at once.
Professor McGonagall nodded. "I see." She placed her arms on the edge of the table as she clamped her hands together and leaned towards Harry. "And now that you have also been assigned as the Captain for the Inter-School Quidditch Competition, your studying hours will be much more limited."
"What are you trying to tell me, Professor?" Harry asked tentatively, stepping closer to the table.
"Harry, for you to be able to cope up with all of your classes, I am suggesting that you have someone to help you with them."
"Help me?" Harry said with wide eyes. "Like tutoring?"
"Yes, you can say that," Professor McGonagall smiled at him.
"But I can perfectly do that on my own," Harry protested.
"No, Harry. You need someone to guide you with your essays, projects, and more importantly, reviewing for your NEWTs." Professor McGonagall said with finality. "Besides, being on your own doesn't result to what you need to achieve: Exceeds Expectations, if not Outstanding," she added.
Harry sighed. "Who do you suggest I take as my tutor?"
"Hermione Granger, of course," Professor McGonagall replied as if that should have been obvious. "She's your class valedictorian." She looked down at the parchments on her desk and started to pile them together.
"Hermione Granger?" Harry repeated, incredulous.
Professor McGonagall stopped with what she was doing and looked back at Harry. "Is there something wrong, Mr. Potter? I don't suppose there is any, considering that she lives in the same house as yours."
Harry opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to formulate a good excuse. Coming up with nothing, he settled for a nod to ensure his agreement.
Professor McGonagall also nodded in response. "You may go now. I'm sure your friends are already waiting for you in the Great Hall."
Harry trudged to the Great Hall with slumped shoulders. What was he supposed to do to have Hermione Granger help him? His life is doomed; he just knew it.