Harry Potter and The Last Horcrux

The Dueling Club Returns

It was a few days later that Harry found himself facing his first class with Kathryn. As fate would have it was Ginny and Luna’s class. Ginny had walked in and stopped up short. Luna, not paying attention, walked right into her.

“Hey what’s up?” Luna said rubbing her forehead where it had impacted against Ginny’s shoulder.

“Harry,” Ginny said.

“I am not,” Luna said indignantly, “I had my hair trimmed last week.”

“No, Harry,” Ginny said pointing to him.

“Oh,” Luna said looking at where her friend pointed, “that Harry. What’s he doing here?”

Ginny glanced at Luna pulled her to the back of the classroom and whispered, “Hermione was almost killed over the holiday.”

Luna’s eyes widened, “How?”

“Snape kidnapped Slughorn and Hermione tried to stop him. Harry and Professors’ McGonagall and Ryan found her.”

“Wow,” Luna whispered, “I wonder why Snape kidnapped Professor Slughorn?”

Ginny shrugged and was prevented from replying by Professor Ryan calling out from the top of the steps to her office, “Come on class let’s get in here. We’ve got a busy class today.”

Ginny and Luna put their stuff down as Professor Ryan came down the steps, “We’ll first off, I’m sure you’ve noticed Miss. Granger is not here,” she paused and saw many of the students nod their heads, “She has had a family emergency come up and will be back in a few weeks, until then Mr. Harry Potter has agreed to fill in as my assistant.”

Harry nodded and gave them a slight smile. His eyes met with Ginny’s and he quickly looked away.

Professor Ryan stopped in front of the class, “Now as you can see the room is set up for dueling,” she indicated the room setup with her hands. There was a raised runway in the center and the students gathered around it, “I understand from Mr. Potter that Professor Lockhart attempted to put together a dueling club many years ago with very little success. Well I’m going to try again.”

“She’ll be better than Lockhart,” Ginny muttered to Luna.

“Now, you all should know how to defend yourselves should it be necessary,” Professor Ryan said, “Now Mr. Potter has informed me that many of you have learned the basics from him and a few of those have actually had some practical use, like Miss. Weasley and Miss. Lovegood.”

A few nods were her reply and she continued, “So knowing that I intend on using those students to help those who haven’t. The club will meet once a week and will be monitored by myself, Mr. Potter and several other professors.”

Professor Ryan climbed onto the raised platform and walked to the far end, “From this point on, I’ll spend a small part of the class showing you the basics before your actual lessons and in the club is where you’ll put to practice what you’ve learned as well as learning the finer points,” she pulled out her wand and turned to Harry, “Now for a demonstration. Mr. Potter?”

Harry climbed onto the platform and took out his wand.

“Now it’s polite to salute to each other before you begin,” Professor Ryan said. They saluted each other and stood at the ready, “However you generally won’t get that polite in real combat so it’s wise to just be prepared and ready for anything.”

It was tense stand off as the students waited see who’d strike first. Professor Ryan did.

“Rictusempra!”

Harry immediately countered, “Protego! Tarantallegra!”

Professor Ryan dropped under the spell, “Stupefy!”

Harry dodged the spell and with a slight quirk of his mouth, “Aguamenti!”

Professor Ryan watched in surprise as a strong jet of water came at her and nearly knocked her off the platform.

The students laughed, but were quickly silenced when Professor Ryan rolled up and pointed her wand at him, “Expelliarmus!” Harry’s wand flew from his grasp and she shouted another spell, “Immobulus!”

Then everyone, including Professor Ryan, got a real surprise. Harry preformed wandless magic, “Protego!” he shouted and with a wave of his arm, the spell was deflected. Then he countered by holding out his hand in front of him palm forward, “Incarcerous!”

Professor Ryan snapped out of her shock quickly and acted, “Incendio!” she shouted and the ropes headed her way burned to nothing, “Alright enough!” she shouted and stood.

The students clapped and cheered in appreciation of the little demonstration. Professor Ryan went and shook hands with Harry. Harry retrieved his wand and waited as Professor Ryan magically dried herself off.

“Well now that was impressive,” she said, “That was certainly exhilarating from my point of view,” she smiled at Harry, “Very clever and unexpected using the aguamenti spell Mr. Potter. Are you hinting that I needed a shower?”

The class laughed and Harry just smiled slightly and shook his head.

“Hmmm, if you say so,” she added and addressed the class, “As you saw this can be fun as well as challenging. I am striving for that as well as a good learning experience. Now please choose your partners and if we need to we’ll adjust as necessary.”

The class spent several minutes choosing their partners with Professor Ryan’s ok. Ginny and Luna chose each other and wandered over to Harry, who had just climbed down from the runway.

“Harry,” Ginny said, “That bit with the wandless magic was amazing!”

“Thanks,” Harry said.

Ginny sensed he wasn’t comfortable, “Harry we should talk later. I… Well our conversation on Christmas wasn’t what I had planned.”

Harry looked at her and shrugged, “There’s nothing else to say Ginny.”

Ginny looked at him in disbelief, “Of course there is.”

Harry shook his head, “No there isn’t. The class is about restart.”

Ginny gave him a furious look and turned back to the class. The rest of the class flew by as each pair took turns on the platform. When the class was over Ginny was still fuming about Harry.


Dinner that night in the castle was a quiet one for Ginny. She had expected to see Harry sitting with Professor Ryan at the teacher’s table, but saw that he wasn’t anywhere to be found. She sat down at the Gryffindor table heavily and with a short explosive huff.

Colin looked up startled at the person who’d sat down in such a fashion next to him, “Whoa! Oh hi Ginny,” he said cheerfully and gave her a quick peck on the cheek, “Sorry I missed you this morning, but I was running late.”

“That’s ok,” she growled.

He looked at her quizzically, “Is everything ok? Did I do something wrong?”

Ginny looked at him in confusion, “What? Oh no I’m sorry, it’s not you,” she said forcing a cheerful tone in her voice, “I’m upset at something else.”

She gave him kiss on the cheek and started eating. He looked at her for a moment not entirely believing that he was off the hook. They chatted about their holidays and what each did. Of course Ginny did leave out Hermione’s near-death experience when she spoke.

“Hey did you hear about the Dueling Club?” Colin asked, “I hope it’s better than a couple of years ago.”

“It will be,” Ginny said, “Professor Ryan’s in charge of it.”

“Then it’ll be wicked!” Colin exclaimed excitedly, “I’ll have to take pictures.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. If it was one thing about Colin that annoyed her, it was his hobby of photography. It wasn’t until near the end of dinner that Harry sneaked in. Ginny, and many others, would have missed him if it wasn’t for Dennis Creevey, sitting with his girlfriend, that saw him enter.

“Harry!” Dennis shouted and waved.

Harry gave him a small smile and waved back. Then the rest of the hall saw him and others started shouting their greetings.

“What’s Harry doing here?” Colin asked. He then started looking around, “Now that I think about it, where’s Hermione?”

“She had a family emergency,” Ginny said trying to sound convincing, “Harry’s here taking her place temporarily.”

“Really?” Colin said sounding excited, “That’ll be wicked! If he stays here long enough he could help us with quidditch. After losing to Ravenclaw I think we could use the help.”

“That sounds great,” Ginny said not sounding enthusiastic at all.

Harry quickly went and sat down next to Professor Ryan and whispered in her ear for a few moments before she nodded and turned to whisper at McGonagall. Shortly afterwards the hall filed out heading for bed. Ginny on the other hand, made a beeline for the teacher’s table.

“Harry!” she shouted stopping him from getting leaving, “Hold it!”

She caught up to him talking with Professor Ryan and asked in a low tone, “I’m sorry for interrupting, but is there any news on Hermione?”

He nodded, “I just came from seeing her and she’s doing great. She should be out of hospital by the end of next week.”

“Will she be back here by then?” Ginny asked.

Professor Ryan shook her head and answered, “No, Harry has just been assigned as my assistant permanently and I’m sure Miss. Granger will need to be home for a while to recuperate after she gets released.”

Ginny nodded, “Professor, may I talk to Harry in private for a minute?”

Harry looked at Professor Ryan who nodded, “Of course, but don’t be too late or Filch will get you,” she smiled and left.

After they were alone there were several moments of uncomfortable silence. Harry was patiently waiting for her to speak first, which she eventually did.

“Harry,” she said, “I’m sorry about our talk at Christmas. I should have thought about how you’d take my being with Colin and told you first.”

“Nothing to be sorry for,” he said, “Besides ‘Mione would have told me anyway.”

Ginny nodded, “Yes, but… Harry can I ask you something?” Harry nodded and she looked at him, “Do you hate me?”

“Hate you?” his face crimped in confusion, “Why should I hate you Ginny?”

“Ever since we broke up you’ve been cold and heartless towards me,” she said, “You’ve practically cut yourself off from the rest of the world. What’s wrong with you?”

He sighed, “I can’t tell you why Ginny, but please believe me when I say it’s for a very good reason.”

“Harry, what is it?”

“I told you, it’s something I have to do,” he said with a slight edge in his voice, “I can’t tell you any more.”

“Does Ron and Hermione know what this secret mission is?”

“Yes, but that’s because they’ve been helping me.”

“Why can’t I help you?” she asked, “Or is it because you’re being so bloody noble again?”

“No,” he shook his head, “It’s for the same reasons that nearly got ‘Mione killed.”

“What reasons are those?” she asked totally confused.

“Nevermind,” he whispered, “Please Ginny just let it drop. You’re busy with school, quidditch and now Colin. Just let it drop and just move on.”

She looked at him furiously. Her face was red with anger and her eyes filled with tears.

“Please,” he said again, “I’m sorry.”

“Fine!” she shouted, the dam finally bursting, “but I waited for you and you never came! Now you want to cast me aside and pretend like we aren’t even friends! You selfish bastard!”

She slapped him as hard as she could and ran out of the hall. Harry stood there looking down at the floor for several long moments in silence.

“It’s hard isn’t?” came a voice softly behind him, “to let go of someone you love?”

Harry turned and saw Kathryn walking out from the shadows, “How long have you been listening?” he asked angrily.

“Not long,” she said, “I came back to get the hall ready for tomorrow and I didn’t think you’d be here. I’m sorry for eavesdropping.”

“It’s ok,” Harry said quietly.

Kathryn looked at Harry who was looking towards the hall doors where Ginny had fled. His cheek was already showing the mark of Ginny’s handprint on it and his expression was one of hurt.

“This may not help,” she said, “but I went through something like this when I was younger.”

Harry looked at her, “What?”

“Yep,” she said smiling. She sat on the edge of the table, “It was before I came to England. My boyfriend, who is a wizard, and I were very close and we had talked about marriage after we graduated from our school in America. We were excited about our future to say the least.”

“What happened,” Harry asked, “and how does this relate to Ginny and me?”

“Relax and I’ll tell you,” Kathryn said and she paused looking down at her feet before looking back up at Harry, “Well I was offered a Auror position here and I couldn’t say no, but he didn’t want to move here. It’s not like he couldn’t have done anything he wanted even teach here at Hogwarts. After a lot of arguing and teeth gnashing I came here and he stayed there,” her face turned to sadness, “I still love him, but I had to let go so I could pursue what I wanted to.”

She cocked her head to one side and smiled at him, “I sense that’s the same with you and Miss. Weasley. You had to give her up to pursue Voldemort.”

Harry looked at the hall doors, “I just didn’t want her to get hurt or killed for being with me.”

“Noble,” Kathryn said, “but not really your choice entirely.”

Harry looked at her in confusion, “Not entirely my choice?”

“Harry, a relationship takes two people to start and two people to end,” Kathryn explained, “It sounds to me like she didn’t back out.”

“She accepted my decision,” Harry said, “She isn’t strong enough to face Voldemort.”

“Or maybe you didn’t give her a chance to show how strong she could be,” Kathryn said.

Harry looked at her for several moments in silence.

Kathryn returned his gaze, “You know, Hermione told me once that you are the only boyfriend that Ginny’s ever had that all seven of her brothers agreed on and she was willing to tell them off for. From my point of view that’s truly an impressive feat and something very special.”

Harry looked from the doorway back to her again.

“And now it’s too late,” she added standing, “but that was your choice and far be it for me to tell you how to live your life.”

Harry’s head dropped, “Thanks,” he said.

“Harry, you sometimes can’t control everything,” Kathryn said softly placing a hand on his shoulder, “There are things that happen for one reason or another and one of those things for you was and still is Ginny.”

Harry looked at her without expression thinking. Kathryn gave his shoulder a brief squeeze, “Look try and get some rest. We have a busy day tomorrow with classes and the Dueling Club.”

Harry nodded and left the hall. He didn’t go to his room, but up to the Astronomy Tower instead. He walked over to the large circular window and looked out onto the grounds.


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