Harry has potions and Transfiguration, writes a letter to Dumbledore and makes a stop in Diagon Alley
Author of Original Story: Curalium Lacrimo
Pairing: (tentatively) Harry Potter/Luna Lovegood
Rating: M for Future Content
Archived: fanfiction(dot)net under pyrodaemon; hpfandom(dot)net under pyrodaemon
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoat Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: So I've gotten pretty good feedback on the friend situation and I've pretty much made up my mind (it was surprisingly what I wanted to do anyways). Now I've got another question: I plan on having Harry live with Tom and his wife at the Leaky Cauldron. Any thoughts on that? I also want to thank everyone for your reviews. I do read every one of them.
The Trouble with Magic Is
Harry woke on Monday morning at his regular time and went about his morning routine which now included running around the lake for an hour. He went back to his dorm where he took a quick shower and dried himself then used his hair Rune to make it lay flat so he could comb it. He used a mouth cleaning spell on himself – toothpaste tasted awful with anything other than water and he still had to eat – and dressed, grabbing his pointed hat on the way out.
He got to the Common Room just as Padma and decided to walk with her and discuss the Transfiguration homework that was due that day. “Personally I think we should be taught things that matter/.” Padma said sitting down at their table in the Great Hall. “Who /cares if we can turn a matchstick in a needle? Are we ever going to really use that?”
“Probably not.” Harry said with a shrug. “But that's not why we do it.”
“Then why do we do it, Oh Great and Wonderful Oz.” Lisa Turpin asked as she sat down with a grin.
“We do it because it builds us up to the more complicated magics. Turning a matchstick into a needle is easy because they're both about the same shape and size. The needle's denser but the matchstick has all that extra stuff, like sulfur and more mass so it's easier to get it to go into it's new shape. Next year if I remember what I read correctly, we'll be changing beetles into buttons. Why?”
“Because they're about the same size? And shape?” Lisa guessed.
“Right. And because they both have five letters, both start with B and they sound relatively the same. Beetle. Button. See? It also gives us good practice of changing an Animate to Inanimate. Granted Inanimate to Animate is much harder because you have all those guts and things but everything builds up. You wanna be good at the later stuff you get this down and you will be. Or at least it'll be easier.”
“Well look at you Mister-I'm-So-Good-At-Magic!” Padma said laughing while Harry blushed lightly. “Someone should give you an award.”
“We better get to class.” Padma said after five minutes. “I like to be there early to get the best seats.”
“All right.” Harry said as he finished off the rest of his tea. “Su, you coming?”
The girl in question looked up from her second year friends and then at the large clock at the front of the room before nodding as she said her goodbyes. “Does anyone know what potion we'll be making today?” Padma asked.
“A Peace Draught.” Su said grinning. “It's relatively easy and there are few ingredients. But if you don't remove it from the fire before you add the billywig stingers it'll react with the dittany and you'll create nothing more than a mess.”
Harry nodded to show he agreed and mentally went over the procedure for the Peace Draught, which was a basic potion whose strength depended on, surprisingly enough, how fresh the winter aconite flowers were. Seeing as the flowers bloomed early January – where snow was light but never here in Northern Scotland – and died during late spring, the freshness was in question, but should make a mildly strong Peace Draught. Unless Snape hadn't ordered fresh aconite last spring then the Peace Draught might be strong enough to calm a crying male. Generally this potion was used to calm children, though Hogwarts used a lot of it during September and October and again just after Winter Holidays to calm homesick students. Let's see,/ if I change out the fluxweed for wormseed I can counteract the freshness, or lack of freshness, from the aconite. That way we'll have a Draught strong enough to calm a hysterical OWL student. And changing out the pennycress for sweatroot will add about six months onto the shelf-life so it'll still be good for when those OWL and NEWT jitters come around. Not that I'm actually going to switch out ingredients. No need to give Snape more ammunition than he already has./
“IN!” Snape snapped as he thrust open the door. Harry strolled in calmly while the rest scurried in like frightened mice. Su would hold their table for him, he knew, and he had a point to prove. He wasn't scared of Snape, he knew the man's weaknesses and he wasn't going to put up with his filth without giving some back. They might have been able to work with each other during the war but they'd never gotten along. It was more of a 'you shut up and I will and there will be no need for the curses to fly' situation. Snape's stare was on his back and if Snape had been more powerful Harry might have burst into flames. “Now that Mr. Potter has seen fit to grace us with his presence, let's get started.”
Harry knew they would be making this potion alone so went up last to get his supplies. He made a perfect potion which made Snape twitch and asked the man to sign the form to take Runes. “I shouldn't, you know. Your arrogance will only grow if I do.”
“Its not arrogance or boasting when it's true, /sir/.” Harry said, looking calmly at the man. Snape's snide comments weren't going to get under his skin this time. He wouldn't allow it. Snape's jaw tightened before a nasty smirk tugged at his lips.
“No...no I don't think I will.” Snape said. “You may leave.”
Harry eyes narrowed but he didn't say anything as he left. He stormed through the halls to McGonagall's classroom and dropped his bag as he sat between Hermione and Neville. “'Lo Neville. Hermione.”
“Potter.” Hermione said, her voice distant as she gave him a regal nod.
“H-hello H-h-Harry.” Neville said looking down at the desk, his face turning red.
“Are you enjoying Hogwarts?” Harry asked as he glanced at the board where McGonagall was writing the notes. He quickly copied them down and made a copy for the shy boy while Neville said, “I-I.” Neville took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I am.”
Harry quickly put up a barrier so that sound reached their table but they wouldn't disturb their classmates. “All right, Neville, I can't stand this anymore. I refuse to see talent like yours wasted.” Harry said as he remember everything that had happened the First Time. Neville had been powerful, magically, but he'd hadn't found that strength until it was too late.
“I-I haven't got talent.” Neville mumbled. “Malfoy says I'm a Squib and he's right.”
“That's rubbish, Longbottom. Malfoy's a parasite who hides in his father's shadow and will never accomplished anything of his own. He's jealous because you have such a strong potential for magic and he doesn't.” Harry stared at the boy for a second before narrowing his eyes. “Tell me this. When's the first time you did real accidental magic?”
“New Years last year. My Uncle dropped me out the third story window.”
“Have you ever been sick? Really injured? Are you good with anything? Like plants or animals or memorizing things?”
“I've never been sick, not even a stuffed nose, the worst injury I've ever suffered was when I stubbed my toe and it took a hour for the bruise to disappear and I am---my Uncle on my Mum's side says that I have the most natural gift with plants he's ever seen.”
Harry nodded. “As I thought.” He sighed and tapped a hand against the table. “Neville some people don't do a lot of accidental magic because they have no need for it or because they have a lot of control over themselves. I don't know what's wrong with your relatives or why they've convince you that your worthless – no don't. You don't have to defend them and I won't hear you doing so. There's something wrong with people who'll do that to a child. You magic didn't manifest itself because it didn't need to. You were fed, you had a roof over your head and you didn't need anything more than what you had. So it made sure that no matter what happened to you you didn't get sick, injured or anything of the sort. It also developed into something you like. Gardening, I take it?”
“I love gardening.” Neville said quietly.
“I'm sure you do. So your magic developed in that direction. What you need, Neville, is more self confidence.” Harry said with a nod. “So that's what your going to get.”
“You shouldn't waste your-”
“I've never wasted my time in my life. I have too much to do for that. So you buck down and do as I say.” Harry said. “First thing you have to know about wandwork is how to hold your wand.” Harry spent the next three minutes teaching the boy how to hold his wand so his moves could flow into each other and not become jerky when he had to go from a right swish to a left flick. “Good, now you have to know that Transfiguration is much easier than people make it out to be, at least early on. Everything is visualization at this level. If you can't picture a needle, you'll never be able to change the matchstick into it.” Harry took the matchstick at the end of the desk and changed it to a needle. “This is a needle. Take it and learn it. You have a minute.”
Harry let the boy stare at the needle for a minute before taking it and sitting it on the desk. “Good now the wand movements are thus,” Harry swished his wand and tapped the matchstick three times, which wasn't really necessarily when you mastered the spell but was good for beginners. “And then you say /lamnia/.” Harry said.
Neville did it and did it and did it again. “Whoa Neville, calm down this isn't a race. For one your pushing far too much magic through your wand.” Harry didn't mention that the wand itself was ill suited to Neville. Harry would have to talk to McGonagall about that. “For two, if you try to force magic to do what you want it will fight you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I'm not saying magic can reason but it does...react. Magic is older than you or I can even imagine. What right do we have to tell it what to do?”
“That's right, none. So suggest to the magic that it might want to change a matchstick into a needle and it will.” Harry said. “So relax, take a deep breath, let it out, then take another until you feel yourself relax.” Harry sat there while Neville did as he was told. “Good, now keeping your eyes closed and do as I showed you.” Harry watched Neville's magic, watched as it struggled to get to the surface and out through his wand. “Do it again.” Harry couldn't believe what he was seeing. Someone had blocked Neville's magic purposefully/. That was a great deal different than the Killing Curse --- or any over spell --- blocking a person's magic. That was the one spell that was illegal in /every country, even the one's that secretly allowed the darkest of dark arts to be practiced made it illegal to block or take any person's magic. It was an automatic death sentence for anyone caught doing so. Good-bye Lestranges, your going down sooner than I expected.
Harry shook himself out of his thought and concentrated back on Neville. He nodded when the matchstick finally changed. “Good, good. Now do it again until you can do it on the first try. Then I want you to reverse the transformation.” Harry said.
“Why reverse it?” Neville asked.
“It's good practice and knowing how to undo a bit of magic is the only way to truly master a spell. When you can do it ten times in a row and undo it, you'll have the spell mastered.” Of course to truly master a spell it took more than that but for school work that was good enough. “If you go back and do this spell ever so often later magic will work better for you. Just remember to stay calm and focused.”
At the end of the lesson Harry went up to McGonagall and asked for permission to get tutored in Ancient Runes. Of course he got his permission, but was told in a very stern tone that if his grades started dropping the extra tutoring would stop /immediately/. He agreed and waved goodbye.
Harry bit his lip as he stared down at the parchment in front of him. He knew what he had to say but how to say it was the question. If he sounded too knowledgeable then Dumbledore would go looking for him, but if he wasn't knowledgeable enough Dumbledore might ignore him.
I believe at your school you have a first year named Neville Longbottom. It is my understanding, through information I have recently received, that the boy has had his magic blocked by parties unknown. The longer you let this situation go unchecked the more damage to the boy's magic there will be. For suspects look to the three Lestranges, Couch Jr., the Carrow's, or Thorfinn Rowle. //Your Faithful Servant,
Harry bit his lip as he re-read the missive. Nothing in it gave away any information on him, or rather 'Blue', but it did get his point across. Then again the old man is a sly old bastard and will probably know my age, name, and birthday before I even know what's going on, Harry thought. Of course Dumbledore didn't know everything, just look at everything that happened last time, but he was smart and he knew a great deal more than Harry or anyone else Harry had ever known.
Harry closed the letter, sealed it using blue wax and an old ring he'd found in the Room of Requirements. He quietly made his way through Hogwarts before leaving it using the Honeydukes Sweetshop secret exit. He'd thought at first of using the Owl Post in Hogsmeade but knew that it was too close, that Dumbledore could find out where the owl came from then it would be the end of him. He was probably just being paranoid but better safe then sorry. So Harry Apparated to Diagon Alley and charmed himself to look like a six year old. He clutched the letter tightly in his hand, like a nervous six year old would, and tentatively made his way to the counter of the Post office. “Why hello there, little one, what are you doing here alone?”
“My daddy says I'm big and can send a letter all on my own!” His high-pitched voice enough to cause the woman's lips to twitch.
“Why, you sure look big enough to me.” The woman smiled brightly down to him. “Where are you sending a letter to?”
“Albus Dumbly-dore!” Harry said with a bright smile before he leaned closer and whispered. “My brother played a prank and Daddy wants Dumbly-dore to know that he can give him all the attention he wants to because he shouldn't do stuff like that.”
“I see.” the woman smiled and took the letter. “Well make sure he gets this by tomorrow morning.”
“Thank you miss Post Office Lady ma'am!” Harry said before putting the money on the table and racing out. Harry quickly made his way back to Hogsmeade, then to Honeydukes and down to the cellar when no one was looking. He slipped back into Hogwarts without anyone the wiser and saw that he even still had time to grab a bite to eat before going to the library to study.
Albus Dumbledore sat at his desk and re-read the letter he'd just received. It held disturbing news but unblocking magic was dangerous. The only person he knew who'd try to block the young Longbottom's magic was those monsters who'd attacked the Longbottoms after the Downfall of Voldemort. And the only one capable of doing so was Rabastan Lestrange. Neither his older brother or sister-in-law had the patience or fitness to do so. The others the letter mentioned weren't really worth looking at, not without proof, but Thorfinn Rowle hadn't even been on his list of suspected Death Eaters.
“Albus? You called for me?” Minerva McGonagall asked as she sat down before his desk. “Is there a problem? The Ministry making new decrees?”
“Oh no, nothing like that. This has to do with one of your lions.” The change in Minerva's posture was rather remarkable. He always loved seeing Minerva's ferocious defense of her cubs. “I believe you have a first year named Neville Longbottom?”
“Yes, Albus, he should be at breakfast.”
“Has the boy had any problems in class?”
“Yes, I don't understand it either because the boy is powerful. In the first years he's in the top ten. Confidence is a powerful thing but a lack of it shouldn't hurt him this much.”
Albus sighed deeply. “I see. I just received a letter from a person or persons unknown who claim to believe the boy's magic is blocked.”
“The Lestranges?” Minerva asked, her eyes spitting fire. They both knew how much Minerva had wanted to go to the Ministry and rip the Lestranges to pieces and transform them into something nasty. The Longbottoms with the Potters had been her favorite students and she lost them both with two weeks of each other.
“That's my guess.”
“I-wait you got this information from a /letter/? From who?”
“I don't know. It's merely signed Blue.”
“Blue?! What kind of name is blue?”
“I don't know. It could be the color of their eyes or perhaps random. I'm going to contact Augusta and get her permission to bring the boy to St. Mungo's.”
“Poppy's capable-” “Yes I know. But I don't want rumors to start about the boy.” Albus said.
“I...yes I suppose that's best. Poor Neville wouldn't know what to do being the center of attention.” Minerva said with a nod. “Do you want me to get the boy now?”
“No. There's no need if Augusta doesn't agree.”
“What's not to agree with? The boy's magic is blocked, it needs to be unblocked.”
“Theprocess of unblocking a person's magic is a difficult and dangerous thing. The boy could end up being a Squib.”
Minerva froze and stared at him for a moment. “I didn't know it was such a hazardous procedure.” She said with a frown.
“Quite.” Albus said as he threw some powder in the fireplace. “Longbottom Estate.” He cried and stuck his head in the flames when they turned green. “Augusta, are you there?”
“Albus? Has something happened to Neville? He hasn't done anything foolish, has he?”
“No, no nothing like that. Would you mind coming to Hogwarts for a while? There is a problem we have to discuss.”
“Very well.” Augusta said with a nod. “I'll be through in ten. I have to cancel my plans for the day.”
Albus pulled his head back through the flames, pausing for a moment as his stomach turned, before standing up when he was sure he wouldn't do anything preposterous like falling over, as he'd done so often in his youth. He sat back down at his desk and called for a house-elf. “Tea for four, please.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Headmaster Dumbly-dore, sir!” The house-elf bobbed a curtsy, the only way Albus knew to tell it was a girl – he'd never quite got the hang of telling male and female elves apart.
“Ah, good, Augusta.” Albus said up and waved her into a chair before his desk and retook his own seat. “I understand that your grandson has problems with his magic. You must have noticed.”
“We thought the boy a Squib until last year.”
“There's a reason for that. His magic has been blocked. I believe-” “The Lestranges.” Augusta hissed, her cheeks turning red and her eyes flashing. “It was enough that they destroyed my boy! They had to destroy my grandson as well?!”
“He's not destroyed, Augusta.” Minerva snapped. “His magic can be unblocked.”
“And at what cost? Destroying what little magic he has at his disposal? You're asking me to chance making my grandson, the only one left to carry out the Longbottom name, into a /SQUIB/?!”
“Its not like that, Augusta. I understand.” Minerva said placing a hand on the arm of her old dorm mate.
“Oh what could you possible know, Minerva? Are you the one who has to see her son laying in a hospital bed year after year? Knowing he doesn't recognize you or his own son? Knowing that he'll never get better? Never be the man you knew he was going to be? And now you want me to risk his son? The only thing I have left of him?”
Minerva couldn't think of anything to say that would put her friend at ease, so fell silent and let her hand fall to her side. “I'm sorry, Augusta.” Minerva said as a flash of the boy Frank Longbottom had been. He'd always been so happy. He'd been dorm mates with James Potter but hadn't exactly been friends with James' group until their sixth year. He'd been such a serious but happy boy.
“Augusta, if you let this block stay on Neville it will only grew stronger and stronger, year after year until the boy is a Squib. Right now having his magic blocked effects his entire life. His physical body is just as effected as his magic. You have no choice either way.”
Augusta's eyes closed and a pained looked crossed her face. “Very well. Bring the boy here and we'll go to St. Mungo's.” She shook her head. “I hope Neville will have the chance to become the man his father could've been.”
The next day at breakfast Harry saw McGonagall quickly walk to the Gryffindor table and lead Neville Longbottom from the Great Hall. He smiled mentally. Harry went back to his eggs and his book. Maybe Neville will be the man I knew sooner rather than later.
As always any questions or comments can reach me through review or PM and I'll do my best to answer.
Added: June 01, 2008