Harry has some things to write to some people...
CHAPTER 4: MESSAGES BACK AND FORTH
As soon as Harry took the initiative and got out his stationary and sat down to write those letters when he noticed a large brown owl. It held a letter in its beak, which bore the Hogwarts crest. Before he took the letter from it, he asked it to wait so he could write a letter before it took off. It hooted in agreement, and he opened the letter to see his O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) results.
O.W.L. results for: Harry James Potter
Care of Magical Creatures: E
Defense Against the Dark Arts: O
History of Magic: D
Harry was impressed with his grades. And to think he had gotten an "O" for Defense Against the Dark Arts! The bonus point for his Patronus must have helped to ensure his grade.
On the other side of that token, however, there was how he had only gotten an "E" for Potions, and Professor McGonagall had told him how Snape would only accept those who got nothing less than an "O" for their Potions O.W.L.
Just then, on a separate sheet of paper, Harry saw a letter from Professor McGonagall.
Dear Mr. Potter,
You have done exceedingly well on your O.W.L. exams. Like I said at your Career Advice appointment (even though it ended up in an argument between myself and Umbridge), I would help you on your career path to be an Auror. After discussions with the Ministry of Magic, they have seemed impressed with your career choice and have even allowed you to become an Animagus, should you choose to do so.
After last year's fiasco with Umbridge, your rights to play Quidditch and visit Hogsmeade have been returned, and all those ridiculous "Educational Decrees" have been countersigned. Your Firebolt is on its way back to your house, though it may take a bit longer, since eight school owls had to be used to deliver it.
I know I told you that Professor Snape would accept nothing less than an "O" from any student wanting to take N.E.W.T. Potions classes, but rest assured, I will find a way to make sure that he admits you into his class.
The other Professors and I offer our condolences after Sirius Black's death. Rest assured, we will find a way to help prove his innocence soon.
There is also one other thing. Headmaster Dumbledore will be coming by your residence in three days at 1 P.M. to discuss some matters with you.
Professor McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress
Harry took out his pen and a fresh sheet of paper (he kept Muggle stationary around these days so he could wisely use his quills, ink and parchment once back at school), and wrote down a response.
Thank you for the letter and for your condolences. I have been trying to study Occlumency on my own time, and Professor Snape will be pleased to know that I've been able to shut Voldemort out almost entirely. (I'm not entirely sure yet; either I've cancelled him out of my dreams completely, or he's just been very quiet lately.) I await Headmaster's Dumbledore's visit, and the trip to the Weasley twins' store after that. I also happened to have given Fred and George the thousand Galleons I won from the Triwizard Tournament. I didn't want the money, Cedric Diggory's parents didn't want it, and the twins need it, end of story. In retrospect, it was a good idea too, since it helped them find new ways to drive Umbridge insane, from the Wildfire Whiz-Bangs to the Portable Swamp. (In other words, Professor, be sure to thank the twins later.)
Also, regarding my choice to be an Auror, you said they accepted no less than 5 O.W.L.s, and you mentioned four subjects I would need: DADA, Transfiguration, Charms, and Potions. Do you think they would accept Care of Magical Creatures? I can easily cooperate with phoenixes, hippogriffs, and threstrals. I'm sure there are other things I want to ask about in regards to being an Auror, but I have yet to think of them.
He rolled up the letter, gave it to the owl, and sent it out the window. No sooner than the owl had taken off than eight owls had flown in with the Firebolt in a box. Harry released the owls of their burden, and they flew off. With a pang in his heart, Harry remembered how it was the first thing Sirius had even given him. With a sad look on his face, he put it at the bottom of its trunk.
He then decided to write a letter to Neville.
Hi again. I just wanted to find out how you were doing after what happened at the Department of Mysteries. I should probably buy you a new wand, seeing as it's sort of my fault that your wand got broken in the fight.
Speaking of which, I should probably give you an explanation for why I had to go there in the first place. I thought my godfather was in trouble, and I had to go and help him. In retrospect, that may have been just about the dumbest thing I've ever done, and that's saying something.
Sirius Black was in fact innocent, which is something I hope to set straight very soon.
I just wanted to let you know that you fought well. I don't know how many other people have faced the Lestranges and survived, but I'm sure it can't be that many.
I hope everything else is going well for you at the moment.
Harry decided to keep it short and to-the-point, and really didn't know what else to say. He briefly flashed back to when Umbridge had been "evaluating" Hagrid's lesson on thestrals, and Umbridge had treated Neville as though he was fragile and needed pity when he didn't; Harry didn't want to make that mistake.
Apart from his friends, as well as Neville, there had been one other person who went with him into the Department of Mysteries... Luna Lovegood.
Well, why not? he thought to himself as he began a new letter for her.
I just wanted to thank you again for being there for me... not just about the Department of Mysteries, but what you said to me after what happened to my godfather.
Sirius Black was innocent, which is something I'll get that sorted out soon enough. I'll make sure that you and your father get to break the news to the rest of the Wizarding world. Who knows, maybe you'll make another windfall like when you interviewed me about Voldemort's return.
Speaking of which... how's Sweden? I hope you're enjoying your vacation there, but I also hope you're safe from whatever's going on back here.
The letter to Luna proved to be much easier than he thought. However, he could only wonder what sort of weird things Luna might talk about in whatever response she might send back.
Next up was what may have been a difficult letter to write... one for Cho.
I realize you may not have been expecting a letter from me anytime soon.
I just wanted to apologize for the way I acted towards you last year. I could have been more understanding and sympathetic towards you. I guess it could have gone a lot better, considering how we were both under lots of stress and pressure because of whatever.
In fact, I should also be honest about something here... in regards to dating, I honestly had no idea what I was doing as I went along doing it.
Before I go any further, I just want to point out this is not some letter asking you for a second chance to be a couple again. This is more of a combination of an apology and an explanation.
I also remembered what happened to your friend Marietta, and just wanted to let you know that I'm not too happy about that either. I guess you could say I want to apologize for that, even though it wasn't my fault. I didn't know Hermione had done that to the magical contract until I saw what happened to Marietta's face. Heck, she didn't even tell me that the D.A. contract was a magical contract at all until Umbridge's Educational Decree Twenty-Four went up. However, maybe I should apologize to you because of something I said to her. Remember when you pointed out that she was under pressure because her mother works at the Ministry and I countered with how Ron's father works at the Ministry and yet he didn't betray us? I admit that I may have been wrong to use Ron as an example, since Marietta isn't Ron. (Speaking of which, has the writing come off her face yet?)
I hope to get the D.A. reinstated next year in some form or another, but if you or Marietta want to still be part of it, then you're both welcome to join.
One thing which Harry learned for himself as he wrote this letter was how, sometimes, a person had to show a little humility when talking or writing to people like that. Listing off everything Cho had done wrong the previous year in an "I'm-right-and-you're-wrong" manner would have been a very bad idea.
Harry was just getting those three letters together when the thought of a fourth person suddenly popped into his head.
Harry grimaced as he remembered the incident with Snape's Pensieve. Well, he had been responsible for that. Harry couldn't imagine the upcoming year at Hogwarts being any better after what had happened. Perhaps he should have to try to offer the olive branch, so to speak.
As with the letter meant for Cho, Harry would certainly have to be diplomatic in this letter... especially with that "Don't-confuse-me-with-facts-because-I've-already-made-up-my-mind" attitude which Snape had.
I realize you weren't expecting to hear from me again, but please don't rip up this letter before you've read it entirely.
I wanted to apologize for last year when I looked into your memory in the Pensieve. I know I was out of line by doing that.
However, I did not do that with the intent of trying to find some humiliating secret of yours. You might not believe this, but at least know that I did not find it amusing or entertaining what happened between you and my father that day. On the contrary, I hated it.
I know full well how you hate my father, but you should also know that I am not him. Yes, I've gotten in trouble and in detention a few times, but then again, so have countless other students.
If you remember our Occlumency sessions, you'll recall all my memories you've went through where I got bullied by my relatives. Trust me, I hate bullying.
If you want more proof that I'm not like my father, consider how I'm apologizing at all for the Pensieve incident, and how I never told anyone what I saw (and I don't intend to).
Harry wanted to politely point out how just because his father had bullied Snape that one particular time, that didn't mean he bullied Snape all the time. However, doing such a thing would most likely only spark another round of arguments.
Before he finished it all up, however, he decided maybe he should write another note to his friends, just because.
Ron, Hermione, and everyone else,
Just wanted to drop you a line, let you know I was OK. Will write more when there is more to talk about.
Well, it was better than nothing, wasn't it?
No sooner than had he sealed all the messages than did Aunt Petunia yell up the stairs for him that Lupin was back.
Carrying all the sealed messages with him, he brought them down to Lupin.
The last Marauder took a quick glance at whom the messages were addressed to, but did not comment on the names of some of them. However, when it came to the small note which Harry intended for Ron, Hermione and the others...
"Kind of small, don't you think, Harry?"
Harry shrugged. "There isn't all that much to say to them right now."
"Fair point," Lupin commented.
"Anyway, thanks again, I really appreciate this."
"It's not a problem, Harry. Anyway, I'll see you again soon."
After they both bade each other farewell, Harry returned to his room to rest, and maybe study some more.
The next day, Harry got three responses. They were from Neville, Luna and Cho.
For a very brief moment, Harry was kind of disappointed that Snape hadn't replied. But then again, he supposed that no response at all was better than a nasty response.
"Thanks again, Hedwig," Harry said appreciatively, making sure he wasn't rude to her like he was last year after the dementors attacked.
Hedwig hooted with gratitude and settled into her cage to get some rest.
I wasn't expecting to hear from you. Thank you.
You can get me a new wand, if you want. I won't stop you if you want to.
I also wanted to express my condolences for the loss of your godfather.
After reading it, he was under the impression that Neville was being just as careful with what to say to Harry as Harry was to Neville. Neville's timid character seemed to have been imprinted somehow into this message.
Harry went to Luna's letter next.
It was lovely to hear from you again. I also mourn the loss of Stubby Boardman. We must talk more when we get back. Hopefully, I will be able to find some Crumple-Horned Snorkacks before then, since I have so much to tell them.
Harry shook his head with a smile. /Typical Luna/, he thought.
Finally, there was Cho's letter.
I was surprised to hear from you again.
I have to admit, I also could have said and done things differently last year. For example, I know I shouldn't have brought up the topic of Cedric when we went out together on Valentine's Day, but I just wanted to know what happened so I could try to find some sort of closure. In retrospect, it was one of those things when it was the wrong place and the wrong time.
There are many things I want to say, but I just don't know how to say them. Hopefully, we can meet again soon and I can talk to you in person.
Harry mused to himself how that actually went quite well.
There were still many troubling things left in his life at the moment, but at least now Harry Potter had a few less things to worry about.
(End of Chapter 4.)
A/N: As I've said before, I'm not rewriting "The Heir of Gryffindor" to make it Book 6 compliant as though it were my alternate version of Book 6, but I decided to make an exception for Harry's O.W.L. results. The only kind of canon-wise changes I'm accepting are things which happened or occurred before Book 6 which were only revealed to us in Book 6, and even then, I'm not going to use all of them. In this case, Harry got his O.W.L. results in Book 5 by doing how he did on the exams (by getting an "O" for DADA, etc.), but they just weren't revealed until Book 6. Does all that make sense? (Otherwise, my original guesses for his O.W.L. grades were pretty close.)
As for the letters... I didn't even look at previous versions of this chapter in previous versions of this story, but I wrote them all from scratch this time around. I just hope I got the characters right, but then again, it's possible that, like Harry, they may have been careful in what they wrote.
Regarding Neville... I didn't want to make it so that Harry was treating Neville with pity or something like that.
Regarding Cho... I still enjoy the occasional good and well-written HPCC fic, but this won't be a fic with Harry/Cho in it. They will reconcile and be able to get along on some level, but they won't be boyfriend and girlfriend again and Cho will not suddenly become one of Harry's best friends. She may have been a one-dimensional whiny airhead or something in canon (not to mention in countless different fanfic interpretations of her), but let's not forget she was grieving, either.
Regarding Snape... He is truly an enigma throughout the Harry Potter books. However, regarding him here... as another author I know named Corwalch pointed out in one of her own fics, Snape has this attitude which is basically like "Don't-confuse-me-with-facts-because-I've-already-made-up-my-mind." I personally have had the misfortune of having to deal with people like that who are otherwise intelligent but oh-so-stupid in that regard... but then again, who hasn't? I was also trying to make a point about how people can see the same event very differently, and like how angry people don't think straight, they also tend to remember things differently than how they actually happened. Bias also plays a big role, with how, sometimes without intending to do so, people glorify those that they like and vilify those that they hate.