In the summer of 1996, Voldemort launches eleven attacks against the Muggle-born of Hogwarts while he leads an attack against Privet Drive. In the aftermath of the attack on Privet Drive, Harry i...
Friday, July 19, 1996
Harry's dreams were undisturbed. When he woke up, again in Hermione's arms, he saw that the constant rains of the day before had cleared off, and the Friday was a pleasantly cool, partly cloudy day.
Harry did find an owl waiting for him after breakfast, however.
I received a rather odd letter from Ginny last night. Part of it was news and not odd at all. I am glad you are well, and tell Hermione I am glad that she and her family came through their ordeal without injury, although one other family was killed. I am certain we Ravenclaws will have a memorial service for the Clampetts when school starts in September.
The odd part came after the information that you are staying with Hermione and her family. Ginny seems to be under the misapprehension that I am madly in love with you, and need to fight to 'keep you' away from Hermione. This seemed very out of character for Ginny, on many levels, and I suspect that Ronald put her up to this, or that she is at least doing it in large part for his perceived interests.
I do think we made a close connection between the end of November and the end of term. I admit, I have entertained fantasies of walking to Hogsmeade with you, and doing the many little things together that both close friends and couples do. I have known, of course, that these are harmless little fantasies. Ginny pointed out that, should you find yourself staying with Hermione for some weeks, if you have any feelings for each other you will come together, and my little fantasies will be destroyed.
Should you and Hermione find happiness together, I will be happy for you both, for you are both dear to me. Should you not, we may reconsider our options. In any event, I wish you well, and I hope you can enjoy the rest of your summer. Tell Hermione the same. Please let me know how your O.W.L.s go. Please take care.
love from your friend
"What does Luna have to say?" Hermione asked.
Harry nervously handed the letter over.
Hermione read the letter. "I see," she said, in a soft, harsh tone.
"You aren't angry at Luna, are you?" Harry asked worriedly.
"No," Hermione admitted. "No, I'm not angry at Luna. She likes you, and if we're not dating by the end of summer she might want to date you. She's being honest, as she always is, and I really got to know her in the Infirmary." Hermione smiled grimly. "I know she bothered Ron, but she came to visit us three times a day. She has some very odd ideas, but beyond that, she is a beautiful person." Then Hermione grimaced. "No, I'm not upset with Luna. I'm not thrilled by Ginny and Ron."
"I understand. I need to send Luna a note."
Hermione nodded. "I should, too."
At that point, there was a sizzling sound, and a thick envelope appeared on the kitchen table. "What's that?"
"That's the same sort of paper I used to send Dumbledore my message yesterday," Harry answered. He tore open the very thick envelope.
I am sorry to hear of your encounter with Lord Voldemort. There are now three watchers near the Grangers, all of whom are proficient with the Patronus. While it is possible that Voldemort may attack himself, it is more likely he will try dementors. Should you or Miss Granger leave the property, please notify the contact team by telephone fifteen minutes before leaving.
"Pretty informal for the Headmaster," Harry commented. "He must have been in a hurry."
"What's the rest of it?" Hermione asked.
"Oh, these? Just our O.W.L. results a few days early."
"HARRY!" Hermione shrieked.
Harry smiled and handed one of the other envelopes to Hermione. "You first."
ORDINARY WIZARDING LEVEL RESULTS FOR HERMIONE JANE GRANGER
Required Courses and Theory. . . . .Theory Practical Total
Astronomy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . . E . . . .O
Charms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O+. . . O . . . .O
Defence against the Dark Arts. . . . O . . . O . . . .O
Herbology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . . O . . . .O
History. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . . - . . . .O
Potions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O+. . . O . . . .O
Transfiguration. . . . . . . . . . . O+. . . O+. . . .O+
Combined Theory I
(Defence, Herbology, Potions). . . . O
Combined Theory II
(Charms, Defence, Transfiguration) . O
Arithmancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . O+. . . O . . . .O
Care for Magical Creatures . . . . . O . . . E . . . .O
Runes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O. . . .E . . . .O
All students are required to take between 5 & 7 courses in their Sixth year. At least two must be on the N.E.W.T. level. You are eligible for the following N.E.W.T-level courses: Accounting & Introduction to Magical & Muggle Business Practices; Arithmancy; Astronomy; Care for Magical Creatures; Charms; Defence against the Dark Arts; Herbology; History; Medical Training (must be taken with Potions, Herbology, Transfiguration, and Charms); Potions; Preparation for Joining the Ministry; Preparation for Muggle University; Runes; Spell Building (must be taken with Arithmancy and Charms); Transfiguration.
You are eligible for the following vocational classes: Household Charms; Household Potions; Living with Muggles; Magical Traditions. You may also take Introduction to Apparation in the Autumn or Spring.
"I knew that one mistranslated rune would ruin my score," Hermione complained. "And they really should have marked the Astronomy practical on a curve!"
"On the other hand, you got five O pluses on the individual scores, and one over all," Harry said. "You must be proud of that. In fact, you scored all O's on the final scores. It wasn't perfect, but I bet it was the best in years."
"I suppose," Hermione said.
"No matter how perfect you are, idiots like Malfoy will hate you. I'm proud of you, and you should be, too."
Hermione almost smiled.
Harry leaned over and kissed Hermione's cheek. "I really mean that, Hermione."
Hermione dipped her head, blushing. It was the first time Harry had kissed her in any way. "How did you do?" she asked, changing the subject.
ORDINARY WIZARDING LEVEL RESULTS FOR HARRY JAMES POTTER
Required Courses and Theory. . . . .Theory Practical Total
Astronomy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . A . . . P . . . .A
Charms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . . O+. . . .O
Defence against the Dark Arts. . . . O+. . . O+. . . .O+
Herbology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . A . . . A . . . .A
History. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . T . . . - . . . .T
Potions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . . O . . . .O
Transfiguration. . . . . . . . . . . E . . . O . . . .O
(Defence, Herbology, Potions). . . . A
(Charms, Defence, Transfiguration) . O
Care for Magical Creatures . . . . . E . . . O . . . .E
Divination . . . . . . . . . . . . . A . . . P . . . .A
All students are required to take between 5 & 7 courses in their Sixth year. At least two must be on the N.E.W.T. level. You are eligible for the following N.E.W.T-level courses: Accounting & Introduction to Magical & Muggle Business Practices; Care for Magical Creatures; Charms; Defence against the Dark Arts; Divination; Herbology; Potions; Preparation for Joining the Ministry; Preparation for Muggle University; Transfiguration.
You are eligible for the following vocational classes: Household Charms; Household Potions; Living with Muggles; Magical Traditions. You may also take Introduction to Apparation in the Spring.
"Huh," Harry said, "there really is a score of 'T'."
Hermione was scandalized. "Harry!"
"What? That's when Voldemort attacked, remember? I only finished one question."
"True," she said. "Still, ten O.W.L.s, five of them O's, with one of those a plus, you should be proud. And you can still do the auror training."
"I can," Harry said. "Accounting; Care for Magical Creatures; Charms; Defense against the Dark Arts; Potions; and Transfiguration. What do you think?"
"What would you think about the 'Magical Traditions' course?"
"That would make seven courses. You might be able to do seven, but I don't think I could."
"Why not?" Hermione asked. "I always knew you were smart, but you really are more than just smart. You scores prove that."
"Leaving aside Quidditch, remember I'll be preparing for Voldemort, and we might be running the DA again."
"We?" Hermione said.
"I wouldn't consider it if we weren't doing it together, just like last year."
"Thank you," Hermione said, although she suspected Harry would spend more time flying.
"Hermione. . . . I don't know where we're going, but you're my best friend and partner, at the very least."
"Thank you," Hermione said again. Seeing Harry was a little uncomfortable, she changed the subject. "I know you want to take Care for Hagrid's benefit, but are you really interested in it?"
"No," Harry admitted. "You?"
"No," Hermione admitted in turn. "I wish I could take the 'Traditions' course." She sighed. "Arithmancy; Charms; Defense against the Dark Arts; Herbology; Medical Training; Potions; Preparation for Muggle University; Runes; Spell Building; and Transfiguration. That's ten courses, and Professor McGonagall already warned me that seven is a solid standard."
"Are you serious about the healer training?" Harry asked.
"I am thinking about it, why?"
"If you don't do the medical course, you can also drop Herbology. If you don't do the Prep course, you could take Traditions."
"Of course, the Traditions course doesn't carry the N.E.W.T." Hermione mused. "You may not have to worry about that, but I do."
"Actually, I do, too," Harry admitted. "I do need five N.E.W.T.s. for auror training."
"True," she admitted. "I guess we'll have to think about it, and I'll talk with Mum and Dad tonight."
"Okay." Harry hesitated. "I don't want you to over-work. . . ."
"But while you can only take seven N.E.W.T. courses, maybe you could take the Traditions course as an eighth course."
Hermione's smile grew. "Do you think?"
Harry shrugged. "I need to write a note to Dumbledore anyway. I'll ask him to ask McGonagall. That will also bring him into things without getting you in trouble. I'll ask about the DA, too."
"Good idea," Hermione said.
"We should also write to Ron, and not mention Luna," Harry said.
"No more cooking?" Hermione teased.
"We have enough chicken soup for days," Harry admitted. "You have a pasta maker, and I can also make a couple different kinds of dumplings."
In the end, they merely sent Ron their O.W.L. results. They did the same to Neville and Luna, although they included other notes to Luna as well.
I've thought about walking to Hogsmeade with you, too. I don't know what will happen, or who, if anyone, I might be walking with. I do know I learned to appreciate you a great deal in a short time last month. No matter what happens, I hope we'll be close.
Thank you for being honest with Harry (and me), both about your feelings and what motivated you to write the letter you did.
When are you returning to Britain? If it is possible, I hope we three may get together to talk. As of right now, Harry and I are still a bit uncertain of where we might be going.
The pair spent the rest of the morning looking over the detailed course descriptions. Harry decided, after repeated urging from Hermione, that the Magical Traditions course really would not be a lot of extra work. He did wonder if he would have made the same decision if he hadn't been staying with Hermione.
They decided to spend the afternoon at Diagon Alley. Hermione got permission from her parents and also notified their watchers. They ate an early lunch, and made their way to the one magical pub in Norwich. They ordered and each drank a small butterbeer, and then flooed to the Leaky Cauldron.
Hermione wanted to compare the texts of the various courses. Harry wanted to take a quick look at the texts required for the Traditions course. There were nine, and he was not about to get in too deep.
Harry was a bit shocked to find that seven of the nine 'texts' barely qualified as pamphlets, and at least one of them looked like it was pro-Pure Blood propaganda.
It was a slow day in Flourish & Blotts, and an attendant was helping Harry while the owner assisted Hermione. "Are you going to be taking these five courses, Mister Potter?" she asked, pointing to the books for Accounting, Charms, Defense, Potions, and Transfiguration.
"Plus Care for Magical Creatures," Harry said. They were still using the book Hagrid had given him three years before.
"You may not know it, but 'Magical Traditions' and 'Living with Muggles' are seen as something like 'filler' courses. Sixth and Seventh year students have to have at least five courses, and sometimes they need one or two non-N.E.W.T. courses to make it up to five."
"I see. So, are these pamphlets all like this?" Harry asked, pointing at the suspect pamphlet.
"By no means. I think this is included because amongst all the prejudice, it does explain a number of old rituals which are still used."
"I see. Thanks. I'm just curious. What do they use for the Muggle course?"
The assistant handed over a dozen pamphlets, most of which looked rather silly to Harry. "Interesting. Bung them all in a bag and shrink the lot, please. I need to look over the Defense and Hexes sections."
"Very good, Mister Potter."
Harry came by Hermione twenty minutes later, fifteen books barely balancing in his arms.
"You look like I do in a book store," Hermione teased.
"Probably. Be right back." Harry handed the books over to the assistant, and then he returned. "Made any decisions?"
"No, not really," Hermione said. "I mean, I know some of the courses I'll be taking no matter what, but I just wish I had the time to take all of them. These all look interesting."
"Fine." He looked at the owner. "We'll take them all."
"What?" the owner said.
"Eh?" Hermione asked.
"Put them all in bags, along with the books for the Magical Traditions and the Living with Muggles courses, and shrink them down," Harry stated. He looked at Hermione. "We ought to get you a trunk like mine, too."
"You never noticed, but I did get a new trunk last year, a seven compartment one," Hermione said, amused as she stuffed all their shrunken books into her knapsack. "Thank you, Harry."
"You're very welcome," was all Harry said. "Shall we visit Fred and George?"
"What's wrong? I doubt if they'll turn us into canaries," Harry pointed out.
"Well, they might try," Hermione said. "You know they'll tell Ron and Ginny they saw us."
"True," Harry said. He hesitated, then asked, "Hermione, would you consider dating me?"
"You don't want to wait for Luna?"
Harry shook his head.
Hermione intertwined her fingers with Harry's. "Let's try." The pair walked hand-in-hand towards Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
"Well, well, well," Fred said, "look who we have here."
"Not very busy, are you?" Harry said, concerned. "Is everything alright?"
"Oh, sure," George said, not taking his eyes off of the hands clasped together. "This is the first down time we've had today."
At that point, the shop door opened, and six wizards in their mid-twenties came in, shouting and teasing each other. Fred and George exchanged looks, and Fred went to take care of the wizards.
"So, how are you two doing?" George asked.
"Well," Hermione said simply.
"The reason why I asked about business," Harry went on, "was that I was wondering if you thought Diagon Alley was the best place for you guys, as opposed to Hogsmeade."
"Rents are high here," George admitted, "but believe it or not, they're even higher in Hogsmeade, and they have a lot of regulations about how the shops are supposed to look. Obviously, postal orders would be about the same, but we really think we're getting more stop-by customers here than we would there."
"Why is that?" Hermione asked, "and does that factor in Hogsmeade weekends?"
"It does," George answered. "Other than Hogsmeade weekends, Hogsmeade is pretty dead. Zonkos make most of their money via post owl. Gambol and Japes does mostly walk-in, and their line is a lot older and staid compared to Zonkos, and of course we're a lot more novel than either. In fact, old man Japes is offering to sell out to us, lock-stock, and long-term shop lease for 30,000 Galleons."
"That's not much," Hermione said. "Is it?"
George smiled. "Remember, we started all this with the thousand Galleons Harry invested with us and two hundred of our own, which together had grown into just over two thousand when we left Hogwarts."
"Then is it worth it, if their line is old?" Hermione asked.
"Old but solid classics," George admitted. "Plus we can close this shop and move into bigger quarters at a better price. We could save three hundred Galleons a year on rent over thirty-six years and have the bigger place. And wizarding patents are pretty tough to get around. After we splurged a bit in June, we've been putting most of our surplus cash into securing our patents."
"I gave you the thousand, free and clear," Harry said.
"Harry. . . ."
"I meant it then, and I still mean it," Harry said.
"Well, we can argue about it again later," George said.
"Actually, I have a proposition for you two," Harry said.
"If you'll give me fifteen per cent of the net, starting in six years, I'll invest the 30,000 Galleons."
George was rendered speechless. Hermione said nothing, having made a guess at what Harry was about to do. Finally, George said. "You're serious?"
"I am," Harry answered. "I have the money to do it."
"Then I'm sure we'll say yes," George said simply. "We'll have the documents drown up." He turned to Hermione. "We can call on the two of you?"
"You may, or we may be able to come back here," Hermione answered. She glanced at her watch. "We do have to get back."
George walked ahead of them, and bowed them out of the shop. "Thank you," he said sincerely.
"George," Harry said, "you know you and Fred are the big brothers I never had."
"Thank you, Harry," George said sincerely.
"Oh . . . drat," Hermione spat. George and Harry turned to see what she was looking at.
What they saw was Rita Skeeter, a broad grin on her face, hurrying towards them.
"I wish we could avoid her," Hermione muttered.
Hermione's wish was granted. Rita's wish for a big scoop was also granted.
At that moment, with a large boom, a burst of fire and brimstone erupted between Hermione and Rita.
When the smoke cleared, a collective scream when up in Diagon Alley, for there stood everyone's worst nightmare.
Lord Voldemort stood there, and he was starting to raise his wand.
Sorry about the O.W.L.s -- the html tags aren't supported here.