Essences of Lily Revised

Chapter 18 – Removing the Binds

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Extreme Makeover: Home Addition is the property of the American Broadcasting Corporation. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Summary: What is 'The power he knows not' and how did Harry get it? How did Harry survive the killing curse and what does Sirius Black have to do with it? Who is the voice Harry is hearing in his head?

Chapter 18 – Removing the Binds


After receiving an oath from everyone, Harry, took out his wand and cast a few more privacy and locking charms on their compartment.

"Now this first part deals mainly with Neville, so Neville, I'll let you make the decision. Do you want me to tell you the things I need to tell you in private, or I can just tell it to the group. They will be under the same wizard's oath that they have given me – meaning they can not discuss what they hear me tell you, without permission from you, understand?"

"Ya I think I do. It's fine to tell everyone – who knows when I might need some of their help understanding what it is you have to say."

"Okay, here goes." Harry addressed everyone in the compartment. "All of you know I was born to James and Lily Potter eleven years ago on July 31st. What you may not know is that Neville here was born to Frank and Alice Longbottom on July 30th. Alice Longbottom was to be my godmother, and Lily Potter was to be Neville's godmother – so I guess that makes us god brothers."

Neville was in shock. Here was 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' and not only did he know who he was; he also knew who his parents were, and who his godmother was to be. His Gran had never told him that they knew the Potters! Why wouldn't she? Here the Harry Potter - 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' was acting as if they were to have been best friends. What was the term he used? 'god brothers?' It may be a little strange, but for some reason he liked the way it sounded.

"We know what happened with me just less then ten years ago when Voldemort – O, come on guy's it's only a name – came and tried to kill me. He came to kill me be cause there was a prophecy. I won't tell you the prophecy just yet, but let's just say that Neville could have just as easily been 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' as me."

Now, everyone else in the compartment was stunned. Here was 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' telling them that someone else could have been chosen, and from the way he sounded, he almost wished they had been chosen instead of him. Harry continued.

"After Voldemort was removed from his body – not killed, but not quite alive also – I was taken away from my godfather and placed by Professor Dumbledore with my mothers sister (my aunt) and her husband against my parents wishes as stated in their Will. My aunt and uncle both hated magic and for the next seven years I was mistreated and abused – but I didn't know why, and no Susan, you can not tell your aunt. She already knows most of this information anyway."

"On my eighth birthday, I came into possession of some journals that my mother and father had written, and this trunk. Among other things in the journals, they say that my parents discovered that the ministry, under the advisement of Professor Albus Dumbledore, had each infant wizarding child tested to see how strong their magical core was at birth. The practice was that if a child were too strong magically at birth, they would have their magical core bound so that they were less likely to grow up to be a powerful dark witch or wizard."

Hermione was just taking everything in. Accepting it as simple a matter of fact. She had not been raised in a magical family, and so probable didn't have her magical core bound.

The other occupants in the train car were dumbfounded. Susan was asking herself why her aunt hadn't told her about her magical core being bound, or why hadn't she done something to have her bind removed. Susan understood how significant it was to the over all power of a witch or wizard to have their core grow and develop during their early years.

Ron was just mad! How dare someone bind his magical core! Why didn't his parents do something about this? Did everybody have their core bound? Obviously not since Harry seemed to be so much more powerful then he was.

Neville didn't know what to think, so he just kept his mouth shut and listened.

"My mother was able to prevent my core from being bound, however, due to the sensitive nature of what she knew, was not able to do the same for you Neville."

"One of the things she plead for in her journals was that at my earliest convenience, I was to find you, and check to see if in fact you had a block on your core. If you did, she wanted me to remove it and to start training you so that you could overcome the years of effect the bind would have had on your core."

"Do you mean to tell me that every magical child has a bind on their core?" Susan asked.

"No, most muggle born magical children would not have a bind on their core because there is no record of them at St. Mungo's. It is also possible that other families discovered this bind on their children, and like mine, prevented it from happening. If I may demonstrate, I can show each of you your current magical power level is."

Receiving each of their permissions, Harry walked over to each one with his wand and said magnitudo de magica (size of magical core). Susan's rating was 220, Hermione's was 485. Ron's rating was 240, and Neville's was 130.

"That's why everyone in my family thought I was a squib." Neville said sadly. "My power rating is just barely over what a squid's rating would be."

"What's your power rating Harry?" Hermione asked.

Harry just smiled at her. "My parents put a protective amulet on me when I was just a baby, that amulet prevents anyone, even me, from getting a good power reading on me."

"Well, why don't you just remove the amulet and then test yourself and put it back on?" Ron asked.

"The amulet was put on by my father, and could only be removed by him to prevent any damage to either myself, or the amulet. Besides, after my father put the amulet on me, it apparently fused with me over my heart, so there's no way for me to know how to take if off without doing some research first." Harry didn't think it would be too bad telling them a half lie... or was that a half truth?

"Now may I see if there is a power block on you?" Harry asked.

Again, after receiving permission from each one, Harry went over each one with the ostendere virtus compresco – (Show or Reveal the power block). What was interesting is that, as expected, Hermione didn't have a power block on her, but Susan and Ron both had one, but Neville had two power blocks on his core.

"It would appear that you had two power blocks placed on your core by two different people. One probable when you were a baby, and another one at a later time. The second person may not have been aware of what the other was doing. This would account for your slow development.

Now for the sixty-four Galleon question – Do you want the power blocks removed.

"YES" the three shouted.

"Okay, I thought that is what you would say. But before I do that, let me explain a little bit more about this trunk."

"As I said earlier, this trunk was commissioned by my grandfather. It was finished the day he was killed, and sat in the trunk makers store until my father went and requested a similar trunk be made. There are nine chambers in the trunk. The first two are normal expanded space chambers where I can store my clothes, books, and other study supplies."

Taking everybody into the third chamber of the trunk, Harry heard Hermione and Susan let out a little squeal of joy.

"This is a copy of the Potter's Main library and study hall." Harry began, "According to what my parents wrote in their journals, this looks a great deal like the library at Hogwarts." Harry then went on to tell how books could be added or retrieved, and that without his permission; you could not get to any of the books.

The boys had to drag Susan and Hermione from the library area. Hermione especially wanted to read everything right now. Harry had to assure her that there would be time later to start reading.

Chamber four was more to the boys liking. This was the Physical training room with a track, weights, dueling platform, training dummies, and power targets. Harry demonstrated how much of the equipment worked, and had each of them have-a-go at the power targets in their 'stationary' mode.

"We'll skip chamber five for right now since it is my private area, and I don't know what I might have left out." Harry blushed slightly, but the rest of the kids just laughed at him.

Chamber six was the Potions lab. "This was my mum's idea." Harry said. "Even though she was a charms mistress, dad said in his journal that she could have just as easily been a potions mistress as well. I guess if we have trouble in our potions class we can always come in here and work on it some more."

Harry noticed Ron frown at the idea of doing more work.

Chamber seven was more to everyone's liking. The 'open spaces' with the wooded area was peaceful and serene. "This is where I go for some 'down-time'." Harry admitted. "It can also be used for keeping animals, like Trevor or Scabbers, or larger animals, or it could be used for training as an animagus."

"But Harry, unsupervised training as an animagus is illegal!" Susan stated. "Besides becoming an animagus is very difficult and closely controlled by the ministry. You weren't thinking of becoming an animagus were you?"

"No, I wasn't thinking of becoming an animagus," Said Harry, 'because I already am one'. He thought to himself.

'That's splitting a mighty thin hair Harry.' 'Ma' said.

'It is, but technically it is the truth,' was his response.

"Harry, what's this monument for? Who is Raven." Hermione asked.

"Maybe Sassy would be a better one to ask about that. Sassy?"

At once Sassy was at Harry side. "Sassy, Hermione was asking about the monument here. Could you please tell her about Raven?"

"Oh yes Master Harry!" The little elf turned and faced the other children in the chamber.

"After Master Harry had been installed as the head of two different houses, he called for a general meeting all the elves of those houses, one at a time. Well, being quite young at the time, Harry not only called for the elves of the House of Potter, but also all free elves who had been dismissed, or who were not attached to a house. Needless to say it was quit chaotic." Sassy was enjoying telling of one of Harry's 'slip-ups' even if it was three years ago.

"While I and several other house elves from the House of Potter were trying to get things straightened out, Master Harry called a general meeting for all house elves for the second house he is the head of – and no, I can not tell you the name of the House. Anyway, when Master Harry called for a general meeting of the second House, only one house elf appeared."

"Harry was here with his guardians when a portal opened up in front of him. Immediately the guardians drew their wand ready for any threat that may present it's self. Instead, a firm voice is heard coming from the portal – "I really don not think that will be necessary." – "Was all he said, suddenly, there was a feeling of complete contentment and serenity. Out of the portal stepped a single elf. Ancient beyond years – wise to surpass all understanding and noble beyond words. He had been entrusted by the last head of this noble house to deliver certain key items to the current head of house. All the other house elves immediately stopped what every they were doing to watch this noble elf."

"When Master Harry asked him how he should address him, the ancient said that it had been so many years since he had spoken to anyone that he could not remember his name, but for now, he would be called 'Raven'.

"Raven asked that he be allowed to fulfill his duties so that he may be permitted to go on to the next great adventure."

Sassy had to stop for a few moments to clear the unshed tear from her eye, and a lump in her throat.

"Here was a house elf that had been faithful in the extreme in executing his charge. Remaining faithful to the duty entrusted to him for untold centuries. He was what every house elf should aspire to be."

"To see the dignity that Raven displayed while fulfilling his assignment, and …" Sassy looked at Harry with a love and respect, "to see the dignity that was extended to Raven by his new Master. That is when Master Harry won the hearts of every house elf that was there that day."

Sassy continued quietly, "After Raven had completed his task, he ask Master Harry to free him so that he could enter the next great as a free elf. Most of the other elves would have found that terrifying, but to see how it was done with such dignity and respect, put all fears to rest. Master Harry did not have a loose piece of clothes with him, so he sat down on the ground, took off a shoe, and then a stock and gave that Raven." Sassy had to fight to keep the tears from falling.

"Raven thanked Master Harry for allowing him to complete his task, and then left his blessing for Master Harry and his friends: 'May you be successful in your fight against evil'. With that, Raven faded from view."

"Master Harry asked me to set up this memorial for Raven. It is a place we elves treat as hollowed ground. Each of the house elves have now seen an example of true devotion and dedication to they house and master. We wish to be worthy enough that if Master Harry asked us to do something similar, we could and would." Sassy finished the talk standing tall, and with a look of pride in her eyes.

"Thank you Sassy, you did a great job. Oh, that reminds me, I need to write a letter to Professor Dumbledore about Ron's spell, could you please get Hedwig, and let her out when I through with the note?" Harry asked.

"Sure Master Harry. It would be my pleasure." Sassy replied.

"We'll skip chamber eight for now, because that is where I want us to end up at. Chamber nine is mainly just a large empty space where you can put anything you want in." With that, Harry took his new friends to the ninth chamber.

Ron's eyes opened wide when he saw a scaled down quidditch patch in the back of the chamber. "Wicked! Do you play quidditch?" he asked Harry.

"No, not really, I just like flying around practicing the different positions. But it's kind of hard to practice keeper, when you're the only one on the field."

"You know, a greenhouse would go nicely down here." Neville said.

"A greenhouse? Why a greenhouse?" Ron asked of his new friend.

Neville looked rather sheepishly as he hung his head and responded. "My Gran has a greenhouse at her manor that she lets me look after. It's where I go to be alone and to forget about my parents and their situation. I know that sounds kind of bad, but…"

To everyone's surprise, it was Susan that put her arm around his shoulders and gave him a supportive squeeze. "I understand Neville." She said. "My parents were killed almost before I can remember, but at least I had my aunt to go to. I think I got off easy. I don't know how I would act my parents were still alive, but didn't know who I was."

The other students looked at her and Neville with a questioned look on their faces.

"It's not really my place to say, but I hear a lot of different things from my aunt and some of the other Aurors since she is the head of the Magical Law Enforcement Department. Neville…?"

Neville still had his head down. He couldn't believe that someone else knew one of his most painful secrets. Tears slowly ran down his round cheeks just thinking about his parents in the long-term care section of St. Mungo's Hospital. "Go ahead." Was about all he could say.

Susan continued, with her arm still around Neville for support. "Well, I guess it makes more sense knowing how close Harry's and Neville's birthdays are…" She turned to mainly face Ron and Hermione, thinking that Harry knew all about this next part.

"The same night Harry's parent's were killed by You-know-who, another group of his Death-eaters went to the Longbottom house – probable to do the same thing to Neville, but before getting to that, the four Death-eaters held his parents under the Cruciatus curse until they were driven out of their minds. The four Death-eaters were caught but of course, it was already too late. Neville wasn't even there. So, obviously, the four Death-eaters were tried, then sent to Azkaban Prison for the rest of their lives."

"Neville's parents aren't dead, but they are in some long-term care facility where they will probable stay for the rest of their lives. "

The reaction from the other children was interesting. Hermione, thinking how she would have reacted if it had been her parents, held on to the closest boy to her, Ron, and Ron, thinking how he would react if it had been his parents, reached out for the closest girl next to him – Hermione to get and give comfort and support. While they were lost in their own thoughts, they found themselves thinking that maybe Neville was braver then they had originally given him credit for.

All at once, Ron and Hermione noticed how they were holding on to each other, and, as if someone had put up two magnets with the same pole on it, moved apart as quick as they could blushing heavily.

No one had notice how heavy the magic was feeling in the air at that moment. Harry was livid, and his aura was showing it. 'Harry, you need to get yourself under control before you scare your new friends. I don't think they are ready to see you like this right now.' 'Ma' said.

'Why didn't you tell me about Neville's parents sooner?' Harry asked.

'Well, I guess it's because I didn't know about it until right now. Remember, they were attacked the same day that Voldemort attacked us. I had always wondered why when we saw Neville in Diagon Alley he was with his Gran and not Frank or Alice.' 'Ma' concluded.

'I wonder if uncle Remus or any of the others knew about it and didn't tell me.' Harry asked himself. 'I'll have to ask them when I see them.'

Harry took some cleansing breaths, and brought up his Occlumency shield to full to suppress the emotions he was feeling right now.

Everyone was brought out of their thoughts as Harry cleared his throat.

"Neville, I will promise you that you will have your greenhouse. Besides, it would be great to be able to grow some of our own plants for potions. Also, I will do everything I can to help your parents. After all, that's my responsibility as a godson."

"Thanks Harry. Thanks Susan." Neville said in a small voice blushing.

"Anytime Neville." Susan found herself saying giving him a one-armed hug.

Once everyone had their emotions under control, Harry took them to chamber number eight.

Susan immediately went into overdrive.

"This is a rites and rituals chamber isn't it! Do you know how difficult these are to build! Have you done any rites or rituals in here yet! Do you know how dangerous that could be if something went wrong?"

Harry held up his hands as if defending himself.

"Yes, this is a rites and ritual chamber. No, I didn't know how difficult it was to build since it was my grandfather that had it built. No, I haven't done any rites or rituals on myself yet. For one thing, I'm too young, and yes, I do know how dangerous things could be if something had gone wrong. But this room also has one other main function."

"Notice the runes that have been drawn on the different surfaces? If you activate them in the right sequence…"

Harry uses his wand to activate the proper runes. When he is finished, the other students noticed two clocks appear against one wall. One had a label 'Outside' that included the date along with the time on it. The second clock was labeled 'Inside'.

"For every two minutes of outside time, one hour will pass by in this chamber. That works out to one day inside for every forty-eight minutes outside or 10 days inside for every eight hours outside."

"This is where I will take the binds off your magical cores. I'm sure you will need some rest after the binding is removed, since your magical core will have to find a new level of equilibrium without the bind on it."

"But Harry, where will we stay? What will we eat? How long will we have until we reach Hogwarts?" Hermione asked.

"Those are all good questions Hermione. Sassy!"

In an instant, Harry's personal house elf Sassy, in her House of Potter robes, was in front of him.

"Yes Master Harry? Did you need something?" She asked.

"One minute Sassy." Harry said. Turning to the others he started to explain. "It appears that all house elves appear to be immune to the effects of the time compression between the outside world and the inner chamber. As such, she will be able to retrieve anything we need from the 'outside' world, and bring them into the 'inside' world."

Turning back to Sassy, Harry said: "Sassy, we will need a magical tent large enough for all of us, and supplies for five days. I will be removing some binds from their magical core, and they will need a place to eat and rest. They may have access to the regular sections of the Potter Library should any of them ask for something to read. Is that understood?"

"Yes Master Harry, perfectly, I won't be but a moment." With that she was gone.

"I know personal house elves are not permitted at Hogwarts, so Sassy will be staying here in my trunk, or back at one of my guardian's manor when she isn't needed somewhere else."

Harry had just finished speaking when what looked like a six person tent appeared against the far side of the wall.

"Oh, it looks like Sassy is ready for us now." Harry said as he started to move towards the tent.

"You expect us to all fit in that tent Harry? Where will the girls stay? I'm NOT going to be sleeping in the same room as the boys!" Hermione said.

"No one is expecting you to Hermione." Harry said. "This is a magical tent. Please just step inside."

Hermione was skeptical as she entered the tent, but when she did, the others heard her gasp. She quickly stuck her head out of the tent and looked around, then drew her head back into the tent and gasped again. Coming all the way out this time, Hermione grabs Ron and Harry and drag them into the tent.

Inside was a mansion to say the least. The tent door entered directly into a forty-foot by twenty-foot formal living room with marble floors, and oriental rugs, leather chairs and couches. There were magical portraits of Harry's ancestry, and a suit of armor standing at attention in the corner.

You could see that a kitchen / eating nook was off the backside of the living room. Also, a study area, and exercise room.

On either side of the living area were staircases going up to a second level. The left side was marked 'Girls', and the right side was marked 'Boys'.

"Harry this is fantastic! How did you do it?" Hermione asked.

Harry smiled, looked at the others – Susan was trying not to laugh, turned back to Hermione and with a straight face said: "Magic."

The others stated laughing. They weren't laughing at Hermione, but at how the 'joke' had been set up. Hermione for her part just stood there for a few moments with her hands on her hips looking rather displeased with everyone, but after a moment, she too saw how funny the question was, and joined them in the laugh.

"Come on everyone, if I know Sassy, she already has a snack ready for us in the kitchen."

Harry led the way, and soon everyone was busy eating and making small talk. Everyone noticed how quickly Ron could put away a sandwich, and the fact that Sassy was eating with them. Hermione thought this was normal, but the others knew it was unheard of for a house elf to eat with the family.

After everyone had enough to eat (even Ron), Harry suggested that they all go to the study area where he could explain what would be happening next.

After they were all around the table, Harry began. "As I had said before, my mum was a charm's mistress. She was the one that came up with those versions of the 'show size of magical core', and 'show power block'. She also came up with a charm to remove the binding, amoveo virtus compresco – (Remove power block). As she explained in her journal, the person casting this spell must basically over power the binding spell. Now is this respect, we are somewhat lucky."

"The binding spells are set to 'disappear' after the person reaches their seventeenth birthday. That means that they have been deteriorating for the past eleven years, so I won't have to use as much energy as if the spell had been newly cast."

"Since Hermione doesn't have a bind on her, I thought she could take notes on the procedure, and also cast the ostendere virtus compresco charm to show when the bind has been eliminated. When we are through removing the bind, I would like to take another reading of your core strength, then Sassy can take you to your room where you can rest."

"When you get back up, we will test you again to see how things have changed. Then for the rest of the five days we can read, talk, get to know each other a little better. About the only thing we won't be able to do is go outside of the time-flex and play some quidditch. Sorry Ron."

They all laugh for a moment and then get back to business.

"Well, who wants to be first?

Susan stands up quickly and says: "I think it should be girls first." Susan was angry that no one had told her about the bind that had been on her for the last eleven years.

The group went over to the exercise area where a shield could be placed between what Harry was doing, but still allow the others to see what was going on.

Harry brought Susan over to a chair and had her sit down. Hermione was sitting behind a desk next to Susan, where she could cast the ostendere virtus compresco to see if the bind was still there, and could make notes as needed on the procedure.

"Okay," Harry started, "Hermione, if you could record the basic information – subjects name, nature of procedure, previous power rating, and then cast the reveal power block charm. Then I'll remove the bind."

"Okay," Hermione said. "Ready."

Harry showed her the wand movement to monitor the magical bind, and the incantation that went with it. After a few times, Hermione had it mastered.

"Okay, here we go Susan. I'll start off low, and slowly add more power into the spell until we can remove it. Ready?"

"As ready as I'll every be." She said.

First, they took and recorded their preliminary reading to show Susan starting magical rating. Then Hermione cast her charm to monitor the bind, then Harry did his part. "amoveo virtus compresco" Harry whispered. A soft silver shield surrounded Susan. She let out a small gasp when she first felt the spell hit the bind. Slowly Harry increased the amount of energy in to the spell. Hermione kept an eye on her charm and watched the image as the bind became dimmer and dimmer until it disappeared completely. When it did, Susan let out another gasp as she felt a rush of magic come into her newly freed core.

Harry stopped the one spell and quickly cast the magnitudo de magica (size of magical core) spell, and asked Hermione to record the new reading.

"345 – that's more then a fifty percent increase! Susan, how are you feeling right now?" Hermione asked.

"I feel light headed. It's like some kind of power rush. I don't know if I could stand up right now if I wanted to."

"Do you want to go up to your room now, or do you want to stay down here for a minute?" Harry asked.

"I think I'd like to stay here to see how the others do."

"Okay, I'll have Sassy move you outside of the shield. Just stay seated."

Sassy moved Susan out, and Ron came into the area. Taking another chair you could tell he was quite nervous. Just as Harry and Hermione were going to start, he raised his hand and stopped them.

"Why are you doing this for me Harry? I mean I can understand why you are doing it for Neville and even for Susan, but why me? We didn't meet until I opened the compartment door and asked if I could sit down. I don't think I've met you before so why would you chose to do something like this for me? Is it out of pity? Is it out of guilt? Do you feel that if you did it to one person in the compartment, you would have to do it for everyone? Or are you doing it just to show off – to show that you can do it?"

"Ron!" Hermione said.

"No Hermione, he has a valid point and I think he needs to be answered."

"I'll give you a couple of answers Ron. The first is that if Malfoy hates you that much you can't be all bad."

That brought a smile and slight laugh from everyone.

"I'll answer your last question first." Harry got very serious, and all the humor left his eyes. He looked right into Ron's eyes and answered: "I never do anything 'just to show off'. Not any more. I hope I've learned my lesson regarding that."

Ron found that he could not take his eyes off of Harry's. He felt a cold shiver go through his body. He knew that he should never question Harry's motives again.

"I am trying to correct something that shouldn't have been allowed to happen. That doesn't mean that I'll be removing the magical bind off of Malfoy's core anytime soon – if he even has a bind on his, but I believe it should be left up to the individual as to how they use what they have been given, and not have that decision taken away from them.

I believe that with power comes responsibility and a person should have the opportunity to use their power for the betterment of their fellow beings – ALL fellow beings, magical and muggle, goblin, house elf, witch, wizard or other. You treat all beings honestly and fairly."

"And if a person doesn't act fairly? What then? They answer to you?"

"In a word – yes."

"What gives you that authority? That's being a little smug for even 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' isn't it?" Ron was being quite belligerent in his statements.

Harry just smiled at his new friend, hoping he could make him understand.

"Do any of you know what a 'Paladin' is?" Harry asked.

Hermione answered before anyone else could. "A paladin is a fighter for justice. He would have a high moral standard, and would be very powerful."

"So you're telling me that you're a 'paladin'? What proof do you have of that claim?" It was obvious that Ron was still not convinced.

"I may not be a paladin yet, but I am in the process of being trained as one. Do any of you know about a paladin named Roland, and his sword, 'Durendal'?" Harry asked.

This time to everyone's surprise, it was Neville who answered. "Roland was the nephew of King Charlemagne, and was chief among the twelve paladins or 'champions'. The sword given to Roland by King Charlemagne was said to be indestructible. Roland tried to destroy it, but ended up creating a 40 meter by 100 meter gap in the Pyrenees Mountains that helped King Charlemagne retreat during the battle of Roncevaux Pass. When Roland found he could not destroy Durendal, he threw it into a poisonous stream so the enemy could not get it. Roland is said to have died in that battle."

"Very good Neville, you know your history well," said Harry.

"I always wished I could be something liked Roland while I was growing up. I wanted to be a champion for the weak and oppressed, but then, I was the weak, and I felt oppressed."

"Don't worry Neville, I have a feeling you will prove more the fit to be a champion."

Turning his attention back to Ron, Harry lifts his right hand and calls Durendal to come to him. As it appears in his hand, the blade looks as if it is 'burning' in a pure silver flame. As Harry lowers the blade to Ron, the flame goes from silver to green.

"Ah, so that's the problem… you're jealous." Harry stated in a normal tone.

"I AM NOT JEALOUS!" screamed Ron jumping up from the chair, blushing bright red. Then calming down, he lowers his head and says, "I don't mean to be jealous. It's just that it seems like everyone is something special but me."

"My oldest brother Bill, he was a head-boy at Hogwarts. The next oldest Charles was the captain of the house quidditch team and a star Seeker. Even this year, there will be my brother Percy who is a prefect and the twins, Fred and George who are always making people laugh. What is there for me to do? Or how can I standout when all of my brothers have already done everything. I feel lost and worthless." Ron finished with his head looking down at the ground."

"Believe it or know Ron, I know exactly how you feel. No, I don't have brother who have done things before me. For basically the first eight years of my life, I was treated as if I were nobody – a zero. I felt jealous of every other kid that had a mum or a dad, or that had brothers and sisters that loved them. Believe it or not, when I saw you on the platform, I was jealous of you! I would give everything I have to have a loving family like yours. If I could, I would trade you straight across."

"In reading my mum's journal, I came across one of her favorite poems called 'Desiderata'. There are a couple of lines from this poem that you need to hear:

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

There's a lot more to the poem, but this is the main point I want to make. There will always be someone better or worse then you. If you worry too much about it, it will canker your soul and you will always be miserable."

"Now, getting back to the original question – Why am I doing this for you? To be honest with you, it is the right thing to do, because I can remove this bind, and because you need the bind removed to become your 'best' self. Will you accept that answer? Do you still want me to remove the bind on your magical core?"

Ron felt guilty about questioning Harry's motives. "If you think I am still worthy, then yes, I would like the binding removed." As he sat back down into the waiting chair.

"Of course you're worthy Ron. You just had some questions that need to be resolved, and some issues that you will have to face in the now and in the future."

With that, Harry instructed Hermione to do as they had done with Susan. After they were finished with Ron, Harry asked Hermione to take Ron's power rating again.

"480 – That's exactly double what it was before!" she announced excitedly.

"How are you feeling Ron?" Harry asked quietly.

"Whoa, I can see what Susan meant by getting a power rush! This feels great! Ah, Sassy, do you think you could help me out of the shielded area? I don't seem to be able to stand up right now."

Sassy helped Ron, and then helped Neville into the shielded area.

"Ready Nev?" Harry asked.

Neville looked nervously up at Harry and said: "Any time Bro." Harry smiled.

"I'm going to try to take the binds off one at a time. I don't know what will happen if I were to remove them both at once."

Again Hermione cast the ostendere virtus compresco – (Show or Reveal the power block) charm, and Harry concentrated on removing the first bind that they found.

When they were through with that, Hermione took note of Neville's increased power rating. "260! Congratulations Neville! You doubled your previous reading!"

"Ya, thanks. Just give me a minute to get use to this new feeling."

After a ten-minute break, Neville indicated he was ready to have the next bind removed.

Harry and Hermione repeated the process they had done previously. This time however Harry found that the bind had been put on by a much more powerful witch or wizard. Everyone else could also tell that this binding was much harder to remove.

Harry kept on putting more and more energy into his spell to remove the binding. Finally, you could tell that the binding was giving way. A few minutes later, with one final push, Harry got the binding to finally collapse.

Harry was soaking wet with sweat, and Neville looked like he had been put through the wringer. Both were breathing hard as Hermione completed her assignment and took Neville's final power rating.

"720! Neville, that's unbelievable! That's almost two and a half times the rating you were after the first bind was removed, and six time more then your original reading! Harry, why was that so much harder to remove?" she asked.

"Three main reasons, one, this bind was put on after the first bind, second, it was put on by a much more powerful witch or wizard and it lastly, it would appear that that person did not plan on having the bind come of in time. It was meant to be permanent. Some one wanted to permanently limit your abilities Neville."

"How are you feeling now?" Harry asked.

"I've never felt better in my life! Everything looks brighter, more colorful and full of life! Thank you so much Harry!"

"Hey, I promised my 'Ma', that I would do this as soon as I could. Now, I don't know about you, but after that last bind, I need to get some rest."

The others that had had the magical binds removed from them agreed. Hermione however was ready to start reading some of those books she had seen in the library.

"I'll tell you what Hermione, why don't you go to the study in the tent, and I'll leave Sassy here to help you get things from the library okay? The rest of us are going to take a nap until dinnertime. Sassy will come and get us when it is ready."

With that everyone went to their respective room for a well-deserved rest, but before Harry could get away, Hermione said she had one more question to ask.

The rest of the group went up to their rooms, when Hermione turned to Harry and asked: "Okay Harry, tell me, Just how much time did you spend in flextime over the last three years?"

Harry had been worried that one of his new friends would ask a question like that, but he didn't think it would be this quickly.

"Actually Hermione, that is a very personal question. Let me just say that I have spent a great deal of time here, or in a similar room on my guardians property. As I said, there is a prophecy hanging over my head, and I will be prepare when the time comes. I'm sorry if that seem to be 'short', but I don't really want that information getting out by accident."

"That's okay Harry, I understand. I just had to ask."

While Harry and the others rested, Hermione read. She asked Sassy to get her additional books on the Magical culture; creating, detecting and removing magical binds; and the nature of prophecies. She felt thrilled beyond belief that she now had access to all this information in a single library. Being a muggle-born witch, she knew she had a lot to learn with regards to this new magical world that she had been exposed to. She immediately when through every book Sassy brought to her, listing the differences between her two worlds. The more she read, the more frustrated she became.

There were arcane ideas and beliefs regarding the rights of individuals based on how someone was born – pure-blood, versus half-blood versus mixed-blood, versus muggle-born. Also arcane ideas as to how to treat other magical creatures, though some authors did seem to suggest that any magical being should be treated with equality and respect, but that opinion was defiantly in the minority. 'What type of world have I got myself into?' she asked.

Hermione had been reading for about four hours when Sassy informed her that dinner would be served.

Entering the dining are, she was greeted by the other occupants of the chamber, still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. They all quietly sat down and started into the soup and sandwiches Sassy had put out for them.

After a few moments, Hermione got everyone's attention by clearing her throat.

"Ah, Harry? Um, well, first of all, thanks for the food and this neat place to study... but I was wondering if some of you could answer some questions for me?" She asked tentatively.

Harry and the others looked up from their meal and nodded their heads yes. "Sure Hermione, what is it you want to know about?" Harry asked.

"Well, I've been reading some of the wizarding culture book about the current state of affairs in the wizarding world, and I find myself a little concerned and confused."

"For example, I am a muggle-born witch. There seems to be a great deal of discussion as to if I should even be allowed to go to Hogwarts and learn magic. I mean, just look at that Draco boy from this morning. He and his 'friends' were yelling at me and my parents about we should just go home, that we wouldn't be welcome at Hogwarts or in the magical community." Hermione was fighting back a tear in her eye thinking about the experience she had had this morning.

"I mean, until you and your Uncle came to help us, no one stepped in to make them stop. Is this the type of attitude I'll be facing at Hogwarts? I don't know if I can take it if it is. I guess what I am asking is: What is each of yours opinion as to the status of 'classes' of blood in the wizarding world?"

Harry looked at the others around the table, and then back to Hermione. "What do you think about the issue of 'Blood Purity' Hermione?" Harry asked back.

"Personally I think it's ridiculous. I mean, what are you going to base it on? Raw power? Even after having the binds taken off your magical core, only Neville has a higher number them me, even though Ron's ending number was almost the same as mine. So what else would it be based on? Heritage? That's a luck of the draw as far as I am concerned. Remember you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your parents. So why not judge me on my ability?"

"I know as a muggle-born witch. That means that most of you have an eleven year head start in understanding the magical culture that I'm just now entering into. But given time, I'm sure I could come to function properly, and understand everything there is to know about this culture. I would love to see how well you would function in the muggle world – especially if you really are as isolated as the books I've read indicate you are. I'm sure I could work rings around you in that environment. Does that answer your question Harry?"

"Yes it does very nicely Hermione. Now Ron how bout you? How do you feel about the Blood-Purity issue?" Harry asked.

"Woll, I dot no saxtly." Ron started out.

"Ron, please don't try to speak with your mouth full." Hermione said half in disgust, having to look away from the train-wreck that was in his mouth.

Ron took a few moments to swallow his food before continuing. "Ya sound just like my Mum." Ron said softly.

"What was that Ronald?" Hermione asked coldly.

"Oh, a... nathing" came the reply.

"Like I was saying before I was interrupted, I really don't know exactly. I mean, I'm from one of the oldest pure-blood lines in Great Britain, but me Dad loves all things muggle, like batteries, and plugs and elektricty..."

"The electricity Ron." Hermione corrected.

"Ya, like I said elekricty. Anyway, I know there are some wizarding families that look down on ours because of his interest in the muggles. Some have even called us 'blood-traitors', but I'm like you Hermione, I believe it's what a person does and how they use the gifts they have been given that defines who they are. I don't think it has anything to do with blood. Look at our little group here; You have the Longbottom's, Bones', and Weasley's all some of the oldest pure-blood lines. You have you, Hermione, a muggle-born witch, and then you have Harry here, and even though both of his parents were magical, most people would still call him a half-blood because his mother was muggle-born."

"Now of all of us here, who do you think would be the most powerful? According to the blood purist, it should be one of us three, but it's not is it? It's Harry – a half-blood. I mean, just look what he did when he was just a baby! And who's the weakest among us? Again, according to the purist, it should be you, but it isn't. You have a higher number then two of us here. So I can't see were these guy's get there idea that magic should only be taught to the pure-bloods. I guess they just don't want to be shown up by some newcomer to the magical world."

"Well said Ron, but I'd still give anything to have my parents back." Harry said with his head facing the floor.

"I'm sorry Harry, I didn't mean anything by that." Ron said.

"I know Ron. It just that I still miss them, even though I barely knew them. But enough about that... How about you Susan? Where do you stand on the issue of the importance of blood in the wizarding world?"

"Well as most of you know, I live with my aunt, who is the head of The Department of Magical Law Enforcement (DMLE). As a prominent member of the Ministry, we get 'invited' to a lot of functions. It seems that most of the families that supported You-know-who are the ones that are most set in their views regarding the Blood issue. It is interesting that these same families seem to be the same ones that spend a lot of their time at the Ministry trying to buy their way out of trouble."

"I know Aunt Amelia put many half-blood Aurors up for promotion, but they never seem to get very far."

"What about muggle-born Aurors? Are there very many of them in the DMLE?" Hermione asked.

Susan bowed her head, as she said, "As far as I know, there isn't a single muggle-born witch or wizard working anywhere in the Ministry of Magic."

There was a thick silence in the dinning area and everyone around the table digested that information.

Finally Susan started talking again. "I know it's not fair, but it's tradition. It's the culture of the Ministry..."

"It's wrong." Said Harry firmly. "I don't know why I haven't noticed it before. But it seems to be true."

"When I had a new guardian appointed over me when I was eight years old, there were three candidates. All of them were listed in my parents Will as acceptable candidates. They all knew my parents and were equally qualified in my opinion. One was a half-blood with a 'minor' medical problem. The second one I guess you would call a mixed-blood – one of his parents was not a witch or wizard, but was still a magic being. The third person was from a pure-blood family and was subsequently appointed as my guardian. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but it does look like that cards are stacked against the muggle-born. That is not acceptable. That is something that will have to change in the future. Why are they so prejudicial against muggle-born Susan?"

"I think one of the reasons is that there are so few of them. I mean, Hermione here is probable the only muggle-born witch to attend Hogwarts in the past five or ten years."

Harry and the others thought about what had been said for a few minutes before Harry turned to Neville.

"Okay Neville, you've heard what everybody else has said, what's your opinion on the subject? Remember, we're all friends here, you can speck freely."

Neville looked nervously around the room before he lowered his head and mumbled something.

"What was that Neville? I couldn't hear you." Harry said.

Sighing, Neville picked up his head, and said quietly, "I don't have an opinion on that subject... or almost any subject. My Gran was rather strong in her opinions, and didn't really even give me a chance to even think for myself. You just did what she wanted you to do and didn't ask questions. I think one of the reasons she didn't let me think for myself, was that until recently, almost everybody thought I was a squib. I mean, you saw how low my initial power reading was! 130! I mean, it takes at least a power reading of 110 to do even the most basic spells."

"Growing up I basically did what every my Gran told me to do. When I had any free time I would work in the greenhouse out back. I found it very relaxing being there with the plant. They didn't judge me. I learned that if you respected them and treated them well, they would respond to you and respect you."

"I guess if I had to give one answer to you question though Harry, it would be a lot along the same way as I view my plants... Respect. All classes of people deserve respect... at least until they've done something to change that, like that Malfoy boy, and his comments to Hermione. He has lost my respect as a wizard, and if anyone else had that same opinion of muggle-born, they would lose my respect for them. Blood doesn't matter, the person matters and what they do with their ability."

By the end of Neville's statement, he was sitting up a little straighter and specking a little louder. He had a look on his face that was a combination of pride and surprise. He had made a statement, and people had listened to him without putting him down or telling him to be quiet, and it felt good!

"Well Neville," Harry started, "I think you'll find that with those power blocks off your core, your going to be able to state your own opinion, and not just sit back and have someone else do all the thinking for you."

Harry knew Neville had taken a huge step in that direction, but would need a lot of help in learning how to stand up for himself, by himself. Harry knew that having access to the larger magical core would help, but he would like to help Neville grow out of this shell he had been forces into over the last ten years.

For her part 'Ma' was putting together a list of books and exercises that would help Neville grew. She still felt like she was the Godmother of this young man and it was her responsibility to help him any way she could.

The rest of the 'week' in flextime was spent reading, talking and getting to know each other better. Harry showed each of them some exercises they could do on the equipment in the tent, and reviewed all the different charms they would be learning over the coming year, as well as the basic transfiguration's they would be learning. He noticed the girls were having a much easier time with the transfiguration's then the boys were. When Harry asked when the boys got their wands, both of them admitted that they had not gone down to Ollivander's to get their wands, but were using a brothers or a fathers old wand.

"You do know that the wand chooses the wizard don't you?"

"Ya, but what are you going to do when there's no money left?" Ron asked.

Harry knew this would be an ongoing sensitive area for Ron, so he tried to tread carefully.

"Well, I know that's tough, but how about we get you and Neville working together when we get a greenhouse built down in chamber nine, and then grow some of the herbs that the apothecary needs, then you could sale to the stores to earn a little money. Then maybe by next year, you can get your own wand."

"That sounds great Harry, thanks."

As the outside clock got to 7:00 PM, Sassy informed Harry and the others that the students were starting to put their robes on and getting ready to pull into the train station.

The students returned to their respective rooms to get on their robes. Packing everything else in their trunks, Sassy took the trunks back out into the rail car compartment area.

After they had all left the magical tent, Harry deactivated the flextime runes, and they stepped out from chamber eight to their rail car compartment. Harry then shrunk his trunk down and placed in his pocket, then took down the privacy wards around the compartment. Just then the train stopped, and some of the older prefects were going around telling the students to leave their trunks on the train, that they would be taken up to the castle separately.

(AN – I am not going to attempt to write as Hagrid talks. I'll let those with real talent do that)

As they left the train, they heard a loud booming voice call out: "First years this way. All First years follow me." They looked up to see a mountain of a man holding a lamp over his head. Harry and the others made their way over to him. Harry said: "Hello Hagrid, it's good to see you again."

Hagrid looked down and smiled. "Harry! I glad to see you made it! I just know you'll have a great year here at Hogwarts. Now why don't you and your friends move on down the dock and get in the boats. No more then three per boat now and we'll be ready to leave in just a few minutes – Oh, and Harry, remember I expect to see you this weekend at my cabin. I have quite a few stories to tell you about your mum and dad."

"Thanks Hagrid I look forward to that. Do you mind if I bring some friends?"

"Of course not! The more the merrier."

"Okay, I'll see you this weekend then.

Harry and the others moved on down the dock to the waiting fleet of small boats. Harry, Neville, and Susan got in one boat, while Hermione and Ron were with another first year next to them.

By the time they were situated, Hagrid was coming down the dock with the last few first years.

"Everyone in and settled? Good. Now off we go!"

As the boats pulled away from the dock, Harry was thinking to himself; 'now the adventure begins.'

End Chapter 18

Next Chapter – What else has been going on?

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