Harry Potter and the Claw of the Raven

Chapter Four

Harry was the first student to arrive at the Charms classroom and he chose a seat near the front on the left and pulled out his book. It didn’t take long for other students to begin to arrive, apparently they were sharing the class with Gryffindor’s. Terry was the next Ravenclaw to arrive and he sat next to Harry.

“Merry meet.” Terry grinned at Harry. “What are you reading?”

“A book on wandless magic.” Harry answered, smiling shyly at the other boy.

“Really?” Terry looked amazed. “That’s awesome. Where did you get it?”

“I bought it a few days ago.” Harry answered. “Do you want to have a look?”

“Sure.” Terry accepted the book from Harry and began to look through it. “You’re reading this? It looks really intense.”

“Yeah, I don’t know all of the words though. So I have to look them up in a dictionary.” Harry answered.

“I’m not surprised.” Terry laughed. “What on earth does coalescing mean?”

“To blend or to come together.” Harry told him. “I looked that one up this morning.”

“Wow,” Terry handed the book back to Harry. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, thanks.” Harry grinned and put the book back into his bag. “You?”

“Sort of.” Terry shrugged. “We stayed up pretty late playing cards. I’m surprised we didn’t keep you awake.”

“Takashi and Jeremy told me that the curtains on our beds have silencing spells.” Harry explained. “Once they were closed I couldn’t hear a thing.”

“That makes sense.” Terry nodded. “You got Nado for your buddy, right?”

“Yeah.” Harry grinned. “He’s great. Who did you get?”

“Andrew Beery.” Terry answered. “He’s pretty great too.”

“Cool.” Harry said awkwardly and began searching his mind for something to talk about.

“Hi!” A red headed boy greeted as he stood in front of Harry’s desk. “You’re Harry Potter, right?”

“Uh, yeah.” Harry answered awkwardly. “Hi.”

“It’s him!” The red head called to people behind them and suddenly there was a group of Gryffindors trying to talk to him.

“Harry Potter!”

“I can’t believe we’re in the same class.”

“I didn’t believe my ma when she said that you’d be here this year.”

“This is so cool!”

Harry looked at Terry in desperation. “What do I do?” He whispered.

“Hi, I’m Terry Boot.” Terry stood up and offered his hand to the red head who had first talked to them.

“Ron Weasley.” The redhead replied, shaking his hand absently while staring at Harry.

“You’re the twins’ brother.” Harry said.

“Yeah.” Ron frowned. “Did you really sit with them on the train? I thought they were making that up.”

Harry shrugged. “Yeah, I sat with them and Lee. He had this brilliant spider.”

Weasley shuddered. “I hate spiders!”

“Oh.” Harry looked down.

“Alright, everyone sit down.” Professor Flitwick called from the front of the class.

Harry sighed in relief as the group around him all left to find seats.

“Look at the professor.” Terry whispered. “He’s standing on pile of books.”

Harry grinned at him.

Charms was both fun and frustrating. The first half an hour was purely theory, but during the second half, Flitwick began to teach them a spell called ‘lumos’ that turned your wand into a torch.

Harry tried a few times, with no result and then sat back to consider it for a few minutes.

Everything he had read said that wands and incantations were focusses for the magic that was already within him. Which meant that somewhere inside him the magic to make this spell work existed, he just needed to figure out how to find it.

He took a deep breath and imagined pushing his magic through his wand as he did the hand movement and said the incantation.

Nothing happened.

Harry tried again, only this time he tried to imagine light coming out of his wand like it had Professor Flitwick’s.

He thought he saw a faint glow at the end of his wand and tried again.

“You did it, Harry!” Terry exclaimed loudly, apparently also seeing the faint glow.

Harry tried to shush him, but it was too late.

“Already, Mr. Potter?” Flitwick had moved to stand in front of him. “Show me.”

Harry tried to ignore everyone watching and focussed hard on imagining the light again. “Lumos.”

“Well done, Mr. Potter!” Flitwick beamed at him. “Ten points to Ravenclaw. Keep up the good work.”

The classroom burst into whispers and Harry blushed.

“Good job!” Terry grinned at him. “Can you teach me the secret?”

Harry shrugged. “I just imagine pushing my magic through my wand and creating light.”

Terry considered it. “Worth a try, I guess.”

Harry turned back to his wand and kept on practising.

-

“How did it go?” Jeremy asked Harry as he exited the classroom.

“Okay.” Harry shrugged.

“He made his wand glow!” Terry told the older boy. “No one else even got close.”

“You managed to cast the ‘lumos’ charm?” Jeremy asked in surprise. “And here I had been practising my, ‘it’s okay, no one gets it in their first class’ speech. “

Harry shrugged as he felt his face flush. “It was only a faint glow.”

“Still, that’s impressive.” Jeremy led them down a corridor. “Takashi had a questions for McGonagall, so he asked me if I would show you the way. That’s why he’s not here.”

“Okay.” Harry followed Jeremy around a corner. “What did you guys learn about today?”

“Today was a theory day.” Jeremy grinned. “We were learning about the theory of Switching Spells.”

“What are they?” Terry asked.

“They allow you to swap one object for another.” Jeremy explained. “Let’s say, you left your potions textbook on your desk and you really needed it. You could perform a switching spell on your charms textbook and they would swap places. Your charms textbook would be on your desk, and your potions textbook would be in front of you.”

“That’s awesome!” Harry grinned up at him. “What will we be learning?”

Jeremy thought about it. “I can’t say for sure, but the first think McGonagall taught us in first year was how to turn a match into a needle.”

“Any hints?” Terry asked hopefully.

“Not really.” Jeremy admitted. “Nothing that McGonagall won’t tell you anyway.

-

Jeremy was right, McGonagall did get them to try and turn matches into needles.

It was harder than lumos, because there was so much to concentrate on. Harry struggled to think about his magic as well as his desire for the match to change shape. Most of the time he only managed one or the other. They had the class with the Gryffindor’s again, and out of all the people in the class only Harry and Gryffindor student named Granger had managed to change their match, and even then neither of them had a needle.

“How do you do it?” Terry asked Harry as they were leaving the class.

“I told you,” Harry answered. “I imagine forcing my magic down my wand and then doing what I want it to do.”

“I tried that.” Terry argued. “And it didn’t work.”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t know then, sorry.”

“No worries.” Terry grinned at him. “Do you know where we’re going?”

“Vaguely.” Harry replied, pulling his map out of his bag. “We’re looking for Greenhouse F. Which means we need to be outside, which means we need to find the floor with the great hall on it.”

“Okay, which level are we on at the moment?”

“Four.” Harry answered. “And the great hall is level three, so we need to go down one level.”

“There are some stairs.” Terry pointed out as he began walking towards them.

“Do you guys know where you’re going?” Michael asked, hurrying after them.

“Sort of.” Terry answered.

“Better than us.” Michael laughed as he waved for the other Ravenclaws to come with them.

“So, how’d you do it, Harry?” Anthony asked as they hurried down the stairs.

“Do what?” Harry asked.

“You know,” Anthony said impatiently. “Do the spells.”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t know. I just imagined forcing the magic through my wand and doing what I wanted, but Terry tried that and it didn’t work for him.”

“He’s Harry Potter.” One of the girls, Lisa Turpin laughed. “What do you expect?”

“This way.” Harry told them as he looked at the map. He led them outside and then looked at the map again.

“If we’re here,” He muttered to himself. “And we want to go there, then we want to go left.”

The greenhouse wasn’t as hard to find as Harry had feared and when they got there they realised that they were sharing the glass with the Slytherins.

“Potter.” Malfoy bowed to him as he entered, and all the Slytherins followed suit.

“Malfoy.” Harry nodded at them all.

One they were all in the greenhouse, Terry and Michael, along with two of the girls, bowed to Malfoy who nodded at them regally. Harry decided he would ask the other boy to teach him how to nod like that.

“This is Harry Potter, heir to the Most Ancient and Noble Houses of Black and Potter.” Malfoy said formally to his friends.

“Merry meet.” Harry said to them.

“Potter,” Malfoy stepped forward. “This is Daphne Greengrass, of the Ancient and Noble House of Greengrass.”

Harry recognised the girl who curtsied to him from the Sorting Ceremony.

“And Theodore Nott, of the Ancient and Noble House of Nott.” Malfoy continued.

A tall thin boy bowed to Harry, who nodded back.

“Then there is Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini, Parkinson, Davis, and Bulstrode.” Malfoy introduced the rest of the Slytherins who all bowed, or curtsied in turn.

“Merry meet.” Harry nodded to them and then realised in horror that Malfoy was waiting for him to return the favour. “Uh, this is Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein, Rodney Johnson, Lisa Turpin, um, Sue Li, Padma Patil and, uh, Mandy Brocklehurst.” He stammered.

Terry, Michael, Sue and Padma all bowed, and curtsied again, and receive one of the Malfoy’s regal nods and Harry realised that Greengrass and Nott were nodding too.

“Merry meet.” Malfoy greeted them.

“Good you’re all here.” Professor Sprout arrived at the door. “Find a partner, quickly now.”

“What do you say, Potter?” Malfoy asked moving towards Harry. “Shall we be partners?”

Harry nodded. “Sure.”

“Once you’ve found your partner, find a bench to sit at.” Sprout instructed.

Malfoy led Harry to a bench at the back of the room. “So, how is Ravenclaw treating you?”

“It’s brilliant.” Harry grinned. “Ravenclaw’s great, there are so many books!”

Malfoy smirked. “Spoken like a true Ravenclaw. Have you come up with any questions yet?”

“Huh?” Harry asked before he remembered their conversation the night before. “Yes, actually. Why are there four noble heirs in our year? Isn’t that a pretty high percentage?”

“It is.” Malfoy agreed. “My Dad said that when the war broke out, all the families who didn’t have multiple heirs made sure that they produced some. My parents didn’t have any kids, obviously, neither did yours, Lady Bones wasn’t married so her brother had to provide an heir for her, and it’s the same with Lord Longbottom.”

“Oh,” Harry considered that. “What happened to the families who didn’t?”

“Well, Lord Crouch probably thought he was safe with one heir, but when his son ended up in Azkaban, he ended up heirless. The Prewetts had two sons and a daughter, but both their sons died in the war. Their daughter has heaps of kids,” Malfoy grimaced. “But none of her sons have claimed the title.”

“Why couldn’t their daughter inherit?” Harry asked.

“Because it’s a patriarchal house.” Malfoy explained patiently. “A son couldn’t inherit either in the matriarchal houses. That’s how the Houses of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff died out.”

“Oh.” Harry fell silent and then realised the Professor had started the lesson and he had missed some of it. He rummaged in his bag and grabbed his parchment, quill and ink to start taking notes.

He and Malfoy didn’t say anything for the rest of the lesson, but when Harry was packing up his parchment Malfoy spoke.

“Your handwriting is terrible!”

Harry flushed. “I know. I’m working on it.”

“It’s an embarrassment to all Most Ancient and Noble Houses.” Malfoy continued. “I will ask Mother to send you a book to help.”

“Thanks.” Harry grinned at the other boy. “I was wondering whether you could, uh, um.”

“Spit it out, Potter.” Malfoy interrupted.

“Uh, teach me how to do the nod thing like you do.” Harry said in a rush.

Malfoy stared at him for a moment. “Yeah okay. Yours is really awkward.”

“I know.” Harry sighed. “I only learnt that I had to do it yesterday morning.”

Malfoy grimaced. “Right, you grew up with muggles.”

“Yeah, is there anything you think I should know?” Harry asked. “I mean, I don’t know what questions to ask yet. So any suggestions?”

Malfoy thought about it. “Not off the top of my head, I’ll let you know.”

“Thanks.” Harry grinned at him. “It’s lunchtime now, right?”

“Yeah.” Malfoy said as they walked out of the class and found all the Slytherins waiting. “You’re welcome to walk with us.”

“Thanks.” Harry nodded. “So what’s Slytherin like?”

“A lot like Ravenclaw, I imagine.” Malfoy said. “Except with less books and more traditional students.”

“And with more appreciation for status.” Greengrass put in. “Ravenclaw had about fifty percent traditionalists right?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Harry agreed.

“Since everyone in Slytherin is a traditionalist, or pretends to be for self- preservation, the whole common room stops when Draco enters and bows. Even Professor Snape when he’s there.” Greengrass explained.

“Isn’t that weird?” Harry asked. “You’re only a first year.”

“He’s used to it.” Nott commented. “There are only twenty two people that Draco has to bow to, and three of them are in Azkaban.”

“Twenty three.” Greengrass corrected.

“What?” Nott looked confused for a moment and then caught on. “Oh yeah, twenty three.”

Harry was confused.

“He forgot to count you.” Malfoy explained to him.

“Oh.” Harry mouthed as they entered the great hall. “Hey, so if Slytherin is so traditional, why don’t they bow whenever Malfoy enters the great hall?”

“Or you for that matter.” Malfoy reminded him.

“Self-preservation.” Greengrass answered. “The Gryffindors would hate it, and since the school is pretty much split on the issue we try not to cause too much of a stir.”

“Speaking of causing a stir.” Malfoy muttered.

Harry looked up and realised that everyone in the great hall was staring at them. “What are they looking at?”

“You.” Greengrass answered with a smirk. “But more correctly, Harry Potter talking to Draco Malfoy. Look at the Gryffindors, they look like they might faint.”

She was right, the Gryffindors did look horrified.

“See you later, Potter.” Malfoy smirked at him before bowing slightly. “Merry part.”

Harry nodded at him. “Merry part.”

Harry walked over the Ravenclaw table and grinned gratefully at Takashi and Jeremy who had saved him a seat.

“Thanks.”

“No worries.” Jeremy answered. “You’ve met the Slytherins then?”

“Yeah.” Harry shrugged. “I met Malfoy last night on the boat over the lake and he introduced me to the rest of them in Herbology. They’re pretty cool.”

Jeremy looked as though he had eaten something sour. “Sure, if you say so.”

Takashi elbowed his friend. “So, how were your first three classes?”

“Brilliant.” Harry beamed at them. “I preferred the first two, but it was nice to hang out with Malfoy in Herbology.”

Takashi elbowed Jeremy again. “Cool, Jeremy told me that you managed to cast lumos in Charms.”

“Yeah, and I made my match silver and pointy in Transfiguration.” Harry told them as he served himself some pasta. “It wasn’t a needle, but it wasn’t a match anymore either.”

“How did you manage that?” Takashi asked interestedly before taking a bite of his lunch.

“At first I couldn’t,” Harry admitted. “But then I remembered what my books had said about my wand and incantations being a focus for my magic. So I realised that I needed to stop concentrating on my wand and start trying to move my magic. I ended up just imagining that I was pushing magic through my wand and making it do things, and stuff would happen.”

Takashi’s eyebrows rose. “I think you’ll enjoy meditation.”

“Is it like that?” Harry asked after swallowing his mouthful.

“Meditation helps you to find your magic and sort of communicate with it.” Takashi explained. “So that you don’t have to imagine forcing your magic through your wand, you can just ask it to go and it will.”

“Theoretically.” Jeremy put in with a frown. “But then I manage to do magic fine and I don’t meditate.”

“That sounds brilliant!” Harry told Takashi, ignoring Jeremy. “I can’t wait until we start tomorrow.”

“Do you have an alarm clock?” Takashi asked. “To wake you up on time?”

Harry shook his head. “I don’t even have a watch. That’s why I was up at four thirty this morning.”

“I’ll see if I can find someone who is willing to lend you theirs.” Takashi told him with a smile.

“Thanks!” Harry beamed at him in delight.

-

Harry’s next class was potions and Takashi showed him how to get there before disappearing for his own class.

Harry was the first person to arrive again, so he found a seat near the front and got out his parchment, ink, quill and book. He hadn’t been reading long when Terry sat down next him with a thump.

“Hi.” Terry grinned at him.

“Hi.” Harry put him book back in his bag. “Did you enjoy Herbology?”

“Yeah, I was paired up with Michael which was fun.” Terry told him, retrieving his parchment from his bag. “How was Malfoy?”

“Fine.” Harry replied with a shrug. “Why?”

Terry looked unsure about something, but eventually he leaned closer. “Listen, I’m not sure whether I should tell you this, it’s just that I figure that having been raised by muggles you might not know.”

“What is it?” Harry whispered.

“Apparently, the Malfoy’s are dark wizards.” Terry whispered back. “I’m not saying that they are, I’m just telling you what other people say. Apparently Malfoy’s Dad supported You-Know-Who in the war and the only reason he isn’t in Azkaban is because he bribed someone.”

“What?” Harry asked in a voice that was definitely louder than a whisper.

“Shhh,” Terry frowned at him. “Malfoy’s Aunt, on his mother’s side, is in Azkaban and so is her husband. As I said, I’m not saying that Malfoy is dark, I just thought you should know what other people think. That’s why everyone stared at you when they saw you come in with them.”

Harry considered his new information for a while, ignoring Terry’s worried glances. Just because Malfoy’s father had followed Voldemort didn’t mean that Malfoy did, right? Besides, maybe it wasn’t true. Harry resolved to ask the other boy about it.

“Merry meet!” Professor Snape swept into class from behind them and when Harry turned around to look at him he realised that they were sharing the class with the Hufflepuffs.

“Merry meet.” Harry chorused in reply with the rest of the class and was surprised to see half the class, stand up and bow to the Professor. Only then did Harry remember that Professor Snape was the Heir to the Most Ancient and Noble House of Prince.

“We will do this once.” Snape said coldly once he had nodded in reply. “And then never again. I will not have half of my class taken up by observing the social necessities.” Then he turned to Harry and, with a sour look on his face bowed. “Mr. Potter.”

Harry was tempted to duck down in his seat, he really didn’t want his Professor to bow to him. Then the half of the class who had bowed to Snape, bowed to Harry too. Harry nodded at the Professor and then them.

Then Terry bowed towards one of the Hufflepuff girls, and the standing students followed suit. “Bones.”

Susan Bones’ nod was much more regal than Harry’s imagined his one to be, but wasn’t nearly as regal as Malfoy’s.

After than everyone sat down and Professor Snape called the roll and then began to talk to them about potions. It was amazing. After a few minutes, Snape instigated a class quiz.

Most of the class did alright, but it was obvious that some of the students hadn’t read the textbook.

“Mr. Potter,” Snape turned to Harry suddenly. “What is the difference between wolfsbane and monkshood?”

Harry tried to remember reading that and frowned when he realised that he couldn’t remember it in his textbook. It only took him a moment to remember have read it in one of his other potions books though.

“They’re the same plant, Professor.” He answered quietly. “There isn’t any different between them.”

Snape stared at him for a moment. “Very good, Mr. Potter. What is the most poisonous part of a Baneberry plant?”

“Um,” Harry thought about it for a moment. “The berry, Professor.”

“Hmm,” Snape was still staring at him. “Tell me, Mr. Potter, what is special about Standard Potioning Water?”

Harry mentally worked through everything he had learnt from his potion books before admitting defeat. “I don’t know, Professor.”

“Hmph.” Snape strode to the front of the class. “Standard Potioning Water is water that has been purified and then bottled to protect it from contamination. It ensures that your potion will not be affected by unknown elements in the water.

“Today we will be making a basic potion to cure boils.” Snape said. “You will be making it in pairs, so decide whose cauldron you will be using. The recipe is on page one hundred and sixteen in your textbook.”

“We can use my cauldron.” Terry offered.

“Alright.” Harry agreed and opened his textbook to find the recipe. It was a pretty basic recipe, but Harry was glad that he had read the extra potion books. Otherwise he wouldn’t have known how to crush the snake fangs, or how important it was to get the exact weight of the ingredients. An extra ounce could set the entire potion off.

“How did you know that stuff?” Terry asked once they had gathered their ingredients from the cupboard and had begun preparing them.

“What stuff?” Harry asked as he triple checked the scales. There needed to be exactly thirty eight grams of dried nettles.

“You know, about monkshood and the Baneberry plant. That wasn’t in our textbook was it?”

“No,” Harry shook his head. “I have a few other potions books that I read last month.”

Harry watched as Terry set aside the crushed snake fangs and winced. They weren’t crushed correctly and he didn’t know how to tell the other boy.

“What?” Terry asked, having seen Harry’s wince. “Did I crush them wrong?”

“Yeah, sorry.” Harry winced. “You’ve ground them rather than crushed them.”

“So I should start again?”

“I can do it if you like?” Harry offered.

“It’s alright.” Terry sighed as he pull out two more snake fangs and put them in his mortar. “Tell me if I’m doing it wrong.”

“I think it’s supposed be more of a downward motion.” Harry commented as he grabbed the bottles of Standard Potion Water and began to pour three litres into the cauldron.

“Like this?” Terry asked him.

“Yeah, I think so. “ Harry shrugged. “I’ve never actually done this before, so I’m just going by what I’ve read.”

“Tell me when to stop.” Terry instructed him.

Harry lit the fire under their cauldron and looked at Terry’s watch. The cauldron was supposed to heat for ten minutes before they added any extra ingredients, which meant that they needed to add the snake fangs at two forty seven and thirty two seconds.

He looked over at Terry’s snake fangs. “You can stop now, I think.”

“Great.” Terry grinned. “What else do we need to prep?”

By the time they added the crushed snake fangs to the cauldron they had prepared all the other ingredients and Harry had appointed himself timekeeper.

“And now I stir it three times?” Terry asked peering at the pattern.

“Yeah,” Harry replied. “But quickly. Start at the top of the cauldron and stir in an anticlockwise direction.”

Terry did as instructed. “Why does it matter where I start?”

“Because you must start at the same place each time you begin stirring, Mr. Boot.” Snape answered from behind them.

“How did you know that?” Terry asked Harry after Snape had moved away. “It’s not in the textbook.”

“It was in one of my other books.” Harry told him. “You can borrow it if you want.”

“Yes please.” Terry said with feeling.

“Get the nettles ready.” Harry told Terry. “You need to add them in five, four, three, two, one, now! And now stir it six times anticlockwise.”

“Have you memorised the recipe?” Terry asked him incredulously.

Harry shrugged. “You’re going to need to add the chopped knotweed in about ten seconds, and then stir twice clockwise and twice anticlockwise, five, four, three, two, one, now!”

“Wow!” Terry and Harry both watched the potion with open mouths as it suddenly doubled in size and turned blue.

“Is it supposed to do that?” Terry asked Harry.

“Yes.” Snape answered, apparently having snuck up behind them again. “One point to Ravenclaw.”

“We don’t have to do anything for five minutes.” Terry told Harry unnecessarily.

“Or until it turns green.” Harry pointed out. “So we need to watch it closely.”

“Do you have a photographic memory?” Terry asked after they had sat in silence for a few minutes staring at the potion.

“I don’t think so.” Harry replied. “I just remember things well.”

“Do you play quidditch?” Terry asked suddenly a minute later.

“I grew up with muggles, remember?” Harry told him. “I’ve never even been on a broomstick before.”

“Wow.” Terry stared at him. “Really? Are you looking forward to our flying class then?”

Harry shrugged. “I feel really unprepared, I haven’t even read about it.”

Terry laughed at him. “It’s not something you can learn from books. It’ll be fun, you’ll see.”

“We’ll need to put the horned slugs in any minute now.” Harry said looking at his watch.

Terry picked up the slugs and watched the potion closely. “Oh, it’s green!” He exclaimed, throwing the slugs in.

“And now you need to stir in eight times in each direction. First clockwise, and then anticlockwise and then clockwise again.” Harry told him. “I’ll count for you.”

When Terry finished the last stir, Harry looked at the watch quickly to catch the time.

“Okay in about forty five seconds we need to take it off the fire.” He instructed.

“Where do we put it?” Terry asked.

“On the floor, I guess.” Harry answered. “It won’t hurt the stone.”

“Okay,” Terry grabbed the handles of the cauldron. “Tell me when.”

“Five, four, three, two, one, now!” Harry counted for him. “And now we add the porcupine quills, stir anticlockwise twice and we’re done.”

“Do you want to stir?” Terry asked as he threw the porcupine quills in.

“No, you do it.” Harry answered. “It’s important that the stirring stays consistent.”

“One, two.” Terry counted out his last two stirs and grinned when the potion turned blue and pink smoke floated out the cauldron. “Yes!”

“We did it.” Harry grinned at the potion. “Now what?”

“Now you bottle it up.” Snape told them. “Well done, Mr. Potter, Mr. Boot. Ten points to Ravenclaw.”

“Professor?” Harry asked tentatively.

“Yes, Potter?” Snape glared down at him.

“How do we bottle it up?”

Snape sighed. “Retrieve some vials and a pourer from the cupboard and transfer the potion.”

“Thanks.” Harry smiled shyly at him and then went to retrieve the vials and two pourers.

The transferring of the potion wasn’t too complex, but they were both careful to make sure the potion didn’t touch their skin.

Once the vials were corked and sitting on their desk, Snape came to stand in front of them.

“You may leave.” He told them. “I don’t want you in here distracting your classmates.”

“Yes, sir.” Harry nodded.

“Thanks, Professor.” Terry grinned up at him.

They gathered their things quickly and left the room, trying to ignore the jealous looks their classmates were giving them.

“How long do we have?” Harry asked Terry, who had his watch back again.

“Um, twenty five minutes.” Terry replied. “Let’s go put this stuff up our dorm and then head down to the Quidditch pitch. I don’t want to be lugging my cauldron all the way out there.”

“Good idea.” Harry grabbed his map out of his bag and the two boys carefully manoeuvred their way back to their common room.

Terry was puffed by the time they had climbed the spiral staircase up to the entrance of their common room, so Harry was the one who approached the bronze knocker that guarded their common room.

“What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?” The eagle shaped knocker asked him.

Harry considered it. “Um, a towel?” He guessed.

“Correct.” The eagle told him as the door opened.

“Good one.” Terry told him, still puffing slightly. “Those stairs are going to be the death of me.”

“They’ll be good for you.” Harry told him as they walked through the common room towards their dorm. There were a few older student studying at the desks, but it was mostly empty.

“Why are you so fit?” Terry asked. “You aren’t even slightly out of breath.”

Harry shrugged. “I used to run a lot.” He answered vaguely. There was no way he was going to admit that he had spent a lot of his childhood running away from Dudley.

They stashed their cauldrons in their trunks and Harry retrieved the potions books he had read.

“Here.” He passed them to Terry. “These should help you. They explain a lot.”

“Thanks!” Terry looked them over. “These are really nice.”

Harry shrugged and locked up his trunk. “Someone recommended them to me. Are you ready to go?”

“Almost.” Terry put one of the books in his trunk and the other one in his bag. “Let’s go.”

They left the common room and walked down the spiral stairs before getting out the map and finding their way outside again.

“The Quidditch Pitch is this way.” Terry told him, heading left.

“How do you know?” Harry asked as he followed him.

“My older sister used to be the Ravenclaw Keeper.” Boot explained. “She graduated last year, but we used to come and watch all her games.”

“You have a sister?” Harry asked in surprise.

“And a brother.” Terry said. “Melanie is my sister and Tony is my brother. Tony’s a year older than Melanie.”

“So eight years older than you?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Terry nodded. “Your Dad was a quidditch player, right?”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Terry looked at him strangely. “My Mum told me that he was. Apparently they used to face each other. My Mum was a Ravenclaw keeper and your Dad was a Gryffindor chaser.”

“Cool!” Harry grinned. “What do those names mean? Keeper, chaser?”

“You really haven’t read up on this stuff, have you?” Terry laughed. “They’re positions. The keeper guards the hoops, see those tall things there.”

Harry looked where he was pointing and saw a set of three tall posts with hoops on the top of them.

“There are three chasers,” Terry continued. “And they work together to get the quaffle, which is a ball about this big,” He gestured with his hands. “Through the hoops. Each time they get the quaffle through the hoop they score ten points.”

“Okay.” Harry grinned. “Doesn’t sound too complicated.”

“I’m not done yet.” Terry told him. “There are also two beaters on each team. The beaters have bats that they use to hit the bludgers. There are two bludgers, little hard balls that have a mind of their own and fly around trying to hit people. The beaters job is to protect their teammates and try and aim the bludgers at their opponents. Then there’s the seeker whose only job is to catch the snitch.”

“What’s a snitch?” Harry asked.

“It’s a little golden ball with wings that flies really fast.” Terry told him. “The game doesn’t finish until the snitch is caught and the team who catches the snitch earns one hundred and fifty points.”

“Wow.” Harry stared up at the hoops, they were really high up. “Complicated.”

“But awesome!” Terry defended. “First years never get to join the House teams, partly because they aren’t good enough and partly because we aren’t allowed to bring a broomstick, but next year I’m going to bring my broom and try out for the team.”

“What position do you play?” Harry asked him as they sat down against one of the hoops.

“Keeper.” Terry answered before looking at his watch. “We have ten minutes until class starts. Do you mind if I start that book?”

“Go for it.” Harry answered opening his bag to pull his own book out.

They didn’t get to read for long, five minutes later the rest of their potions class arrived.

“Lucky sods.” Anthony groused at them as he sat down. “Getting out early.”

“How did you manage to get such a perfect potion?” Sue Li asked as she lay on the grass. “None of our potions were even close.”

“It was all Harry.” Terry claimed. “He was amazing, he knew just what to do. I just did as I was told.”

“Well, don’t think you can get Harry every time.” Michael said. “We should share him around.”

Harry flushed and tried to concentrate on his book.

“He’s lent me the books he read on potions.” Terry said. “I’m sure you can borrow them after me if you want. Right, Harry?”

“Sure.” Harry shrugged. “I was planning on adding them to the Ravenclaw Library anyway.”

“What did you do wrong?” Terry asked the others.

“We don’t know.” Anthony looked frustrated.

“Well, were you exact with timing?” Terry asked. “Harry had us counting down to the second, and apparently you have to always start your stir in the same place. I would have been screwed without Harry. I accidently ground my snake fangs instead on crushing them and didn’t notice until Harry pointed it out. I didn’t even know there was a difference.”

“Neither.” Michael and Anthony agreed.

Harry knew that his face was red and he jumped up in relief when he saw the Professor arriving.

“Over here!” She called. “My name is Madam Hooch and I am your flying instructor. You will see that there are nineteen brooms on the grass over here, one for each of you. Choose one and stand beside it.”

Harry left his bag near the hoop and went to find a broomstick.

“Now put your hand over the broom,” Madam Hooch continued. “Right hand if you’re right handed, left hand if you’re left handed and say ‘up’.”

“Up!” Harry commanded his broom, his right hand held out over it. His broom flew into his hand so fast he almost dropped it in surprise. He looked around and realised that he was one of the only people who had succeeded.

“I know how to fly a broom,” Terry was grumbling at his broom. “Not make it move towards me.”

After a while, she showed everyone how to sit on their brooms and how to hold it properly. Eventually she stood back and held up a whistle.

“When I blow my whistle I want you to push up from the ground.” She instructed them. “Hover your broom a few feet above the ground and then come down again.”

Harry kicked off when the whistle went off and was amazed at how much he enjoyed being in the air. He was actually disappointed when he landed again.

They practised taking off and landing a few times before Madam Hooch taught them how to steer. It was strange, Harry knew that he should be one of the people struggling – after all, he had never done this before – but it seemed as easy as walking.

After a seemingly endless number of exercises Madam Hooch gave them permission to fly freeform for a while.

Harry kicked off the ground and flew up, up and up, before turning around and flying down again, zipping quickly from side to side and experimenting with how fast he could go into a turn. It was even more fun than reading.

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