Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Luna's Hubby

Harry Does Hogwarts

by Meteoricshipyards 10 reviews

Harry and Luna go to Hogwarts for their first year. With the Chamber of Secrets threatening to open, and Lochart as the D.A.D.A teacher, they're going to be busy.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor, Romance - Characters: Gilderoy Lockhart, Harry, Luna - Warnings: [!] [?] - Published: 2006-07-14 - Updated: 2006-07-14 - 12019 words - Complete

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 Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Chapter 8 Harry Does Hogwarts

"Hello, Cissi!"

"Hello, Selene."

"So, why the change of plans? You know you're very welcome at the Meadow. The kids could play outside. Sirius has done wonderful things with the house. . . ."

"More than you know. You probably wouldn't want to see what it was like when we were growing up."

"But there isn't any place for the kids to run around outside."

"No, but Draco insisted that another friend from school join. She's a Muggle-born, and despite his father's feelings, he befriended her. I don't know if it's puppy love, or what, but I've been trying to teach him to think for himself and not become a cold, manipulative, arrogant, bas. . . er, wizard like his father. So I'll do anything I can to support him when he does think for himself."

"Not that I'm being nosy, but is he why the kids don't go to your place?"

"Yes. Harry's mixed blood, isn't he?"

"Uh, yes. I believe his mother was a Muggle."

"Well, I'd hate to hear the abuse my husband would heap on him if he found out."

"I think he could do without that, too. Are you and Lucius. . . ?"

"We get along civilly, as long as I don't disagree."

"I'm sorry."

"It's too late for sorry. Besides, I'm Slytherin. We always turn situations to our best advantage."

"There's the bell. With most people floo-ing in, I don't think I've ever heard it before. Let's go meet Draco's friend and her family."

Narcissa said, "You make it sound like it's serious."

Selene answered with a smile, "No, he's upstairs, last I checked."

"AAARRRGGGG! I can't tell you how many times I heard that joke growing up. I'm afraid I'm going to have to hurt you if you do that again."

- - -

"Harry, this is Hermione Granger, the one I wrote to you about. Hermione, this is Harry and Luna Lovegood, my friends."

"I'm pleased to meet you."

"So tell us about the troll!"

"I am so sick of talking about the troll, Luna! If I never hear about it again, that would be too soon!"

"I get the impression he doesn't want to talk about it, Luna. Hello Hermione. That's an interesting name."

"My mother named me after a character from Shakespeare. I can guess where your parents got your name."

"You can?"

"I bet there are a lot of boys named Harry in your year."


"Named after Harry Potter."

"Oh. I don't know. My parents died when I was a baby, so I can't ask them."

"I'm sorry."

"It was a long time ago. So, want to do something?"

"Like what?"

Both boys answered at the same time, "Exploding snap!"

- - -

Neville and his grandmother arrived soon after, and the parents/guardians visited while the children played snap. Sirius joined the children at play, mumbling something about "women's talk."

Meanwhile the adult women were getting to know each other. They were a diverse group, the aristocrat, the researcher, the grandmother, and the Muggle, but they all loved their children and wanted what was best for them. Each of them felt that their children were helped by having friends; Draco because of the solemness of
their museum-like home; Neville, because he was surrounded by people Augusta's age or older, he never got to be a child; Hermione because she had been ostracized for being a bookworm; and Harry and Luna, because Selene thought they tended to be too exclusive with each other.

The disappointment the children expressed when the visit was over was proof that it had been a good day. As Muggles the Grangers couldn't get their fireplace hooked up to the floo network (permanently) but Selene thought that something could be worked out to allow them to visit the Meadow.

After the Grangers drove off, Draco asked Harry and Luna, "Well, what did you think? Most of us are pure-bloods, you're a mixed blood, and she's a Muggle-born. Any difference?"

"She's a girl."

"Hey!" Luna exclaimed, punching Harry in the arm.

Harry laughed, and added, "No, nothing obvious. I'll take your word about how smart she is. She didn't catch on to snap very quickly."

"I think she was trying to copy Luna's style of play, and it wasn't working. I still can't figure out how you almost never lose," Draco said.

Luna shrugged, "I can tell which cards are going to heat up before they start. I just pass them on."

"How can you know that?"

"Magic," she said, and walked away.

"Is she always like that, Harry?" Neville wanted to know.

"No. Sometimes she's crazy."

- - -

The next Friday Harry told Ron about the get-together. Ron didn't have anything nice to say about Hermione, but Luna vigorously defended her. As she later told Ginny, "We could use a few more girls in our circle of friends." Harry didn't so much defend Hermione as express displeasure that Ron would talk about anyone the
way he was doing. That made him drop the topic.

- - -

Once more Larry's hopes to search the northern countries of Europe for Crumpled Horn Snorkacks were vetoed by Selene. The Lovegoods invested in a few more magical language courses and learned modern French and Late Latin. They then spent two weeks mostly in Paris. They visited more museums than Harry could count.

They saw an opera (The Magic Flute) and Harry enjoyed that a lot more than the one he had seen in Germany.

Selene would not let Luna try to find the way to the roof of the Notre Dame cathedral to find out why one of the gargoyles was glowing with magic. Harry calmed her curiosity with a whispered "Someday."

- - -

Albus Dumbledore, Supreme Mugwump, etc, sat across from the Minister of Magic.

"This is impossible, Dumbledore. He's been dead for ten years, and now you're telling me he's trying to come back?"

"Not dead, Minister. He wasn't dead, he never died, and now he's trying to get a body back. One way of doing it is using the Elixir of Life. I finally got Flamel to agree to destroy the Stone before Voldemort finds it for real."

"But where's your proof!"

"I saw him with my own eyes. That's my proof."

"Eyewitness accounts are notoriously inaccurate. Why just this last Quibbler it recounts eyewitnesses who claim Harry Potter was in Paris. The author of the article was there at the time, but found no trace of anyone with a lightning bolt scar. You just can't trust eyewitnesses, Dumbledore."

The eyewitness in question put his palm to his face and asked, "What would it take for you to accept that he's out there trying to come back?"

"I'd have to see it with my own eyes."

Dumbledore shook his head, and left. Maybe it was time for a new minister of magic.

- - -

Summer seemed to speed by even though Selene let up on the kids' lessons. She was letting them enjoy their last taste of freedom (within limits). There were several more visits with Draco, Neville and Hermione. Selene floo-ed to the Leaky Cauldron to bring them back through the floo network to her house. Mrs. Granger (or any Muggle) could use it as long as she was accompanied by a witch or wizard. Ginny, Luna, and Hermione hit it off, even though Hermione wasn't interested in playing Quidditch. Luna wasn't either, but she enjoyed flying, which Hermione didn't. After flying (or not, depending on preference) in the morning, the group ate at the Weasley's then went to the Lovegoods' for an afternoon of Quiff. Hermione enjoyed that a lot more than flying.

Harry and Luna had a long conversation with the Ravenclaw. Harry had to admit that she was very smart. She disputed Draco's suggestion that she was the smartest witch in their class; she admitted that she was slower at getting spells to work than some of the other Ravenclaws. Her own theory was that the students who grew up with magic had an advantage in the practical aspects of spell casting. Draco still insisted that she was the smartest witch in their year, even if she didn't get the spells first. Hermione blushed at the compliment, and Ron rolled his eyes.

The parents/guardians were happy to see their children enjoying themselves and promised to get together again. Mrs. Granger and Mrs. Malfoy found that they had something in common -- their husbands were annoyingly interested in tradition and tried to enforce it in the household. Mrs. Granger admitted that her husband's "Stiff upper lip" and "We shall do this the British way!" didn't quite compare to Mr. Malfoy's hatred of anything not pure-blood, but they could see the same faults in each other's husbands. Selene was reminded of something she once heard, "Friendship starts the moment you say, 'I didn't know anyone else felt that way.'" She was also quietly glad that Larry was the way he was.

Harry discussed the various houses with each of the Hogwarts students. Knowing that he could change houses if he was incorrectly sorted made him feel better about the whole house business. Luna didn't really care -- she was going for an education, and felt she could get along with anyone. Draco warned Harry that that wasn't true; that there were people in several of the houses that would take advantage of someone as good-natured as Luna and not care if she was hurt. Harry nodded and grumbled when he couldn't get any of the other students to tell him about the actual sorting. It was a tradition to keep it a secret. He did come to a conclusion about houses, though.

- - -

"Daddy! We got mail. I got my letter!"

"That's wonderful, water lily!"

"Have you seen Harry? He has a letter too."

"He was just in the yard a moment ago."

"I'll go find him."


"Over here, Luna!"

Luna ran into the back yard, jumped the stream, and went a short way into the woods. "Harry! You have. . . . Hello. Who is this?"

"Luna, this is Willow. Willow, this is Luna. Mrs. Slither told me that there was someone else who could talk to snakes, so I came out to see who."

Luna looked at the strange toddler and said, "Hello, Willow. Are you out in the woods all alone? And naked?" She also noticed the green snake from the garden, and waved, "Hello Mrs. Slither."

The little girl answered with a voice older than she appeared. "I'm not all alone. I'm with you and Harry, and all the trees, and the snake and the salamander over there, and those birds, and the moss, and the insects."

Luna commented to Harry, "She has quite a vocabulary for such a small child."

"Luna, she's not a child. This is the spirit of the tree that the Dryad gave us."

"Oh. Well, I'm very glad to meet you. That must be why you're green. And you can talk to snakes, too?"

"I can talk to anything. It's just not everything can talk back. Most insects and plants don't have anything interesting to say. Most of the mammals I've talked to go on and on about their babies."

"What about the birds? They seem to have a lot to say."

"No, they just say the same thing over and over again. Usually it's 'This is my place, stay away.' But sometimes they say, 'Hey girls, prime catch, come and get some.' But there's an awful lot of, 'Oh what a beautiful morning.' They may have brains the size of peas, but they certainly don't use it to have any interesting

"Do snakes say more?" Luna, never having talked to any of these animals (or at least not had a conversation with them) was curious. What the young Dryad had said made sense. Most animals, she supposed, didn't have much of a varied life from day to day and thus wouldn't have much to talk about. Yet Harry seemed to have long
conversations with snakes.

"Oh, yes," Willow answered. "That's the magic of Parseltongue. It not only enchants you to talk with the snakes, but gives them the power to have intelligent conversations."

"I wish I could speak to the snakes," Luna complained.

"I could teach you," Willow offered.

"You can teach me Parseltongue?"

"No. I can teach you an incantation that will give you the power of Parseltongue so you can speak to the snakes or any reptile. Ready?"




Harry answered, "'Oh cold one, let us speak our minds.'"

"That's not what Willow said."

"Yes it is. The incantation is in Parseltongue."

Luna asked, "Oh, so if I hiss that, I can talk to the snakes, too."

"Yes," Willow answered.

"OK, let me hear this again, perhaps slower."

- - -

"Hello, pecan. Did you give Harry his letter?"

"Oh, no! I completely forgot! We've been so busy talking with the snakes and an old turtle that lives in the stream. Harry, you got a letter. Here, open it up!"

"It's an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. And a list of items we'll need."

"You can't be going to Hogwarts! You're too young."

"Oh, Daddy!"

"Congratulations, both of you. You're growing up so fast!"

- - -


"Yes, Selene."

"Did you teach the children the tickling charm?"


"They were casting /Rictusempra /on each other while they were playing with their wands. How did they know that spell?"

"Well, I did cast it on Luna when we were joking around the other day. But only once."

"Was Harry there?"

"Yes, he was."

"You know he picks spells up really fast. Be careful what you show them."

"Yes, dear."

- - -

The last Wednesday before the school year started, the Lovegoods went to Diagon Alley to get their materials. The first stop was Gringotts Bank. After Selene handed over her key, they were asked to follow a goblin to Hornswaggle's office. There he informed them that Harry's parents had left him funds to pay for his school supplies. He supplied them with a replacement key ("The original is in the Headmaster's keeping. We've changed the locks, so while he has never tried to enter the vault, should he change his mind, he won't be able to.")

The kids enjoyed the cart ride to the Lovegood's vault, and then to the Potter's vault. There was a lot more money in Harry's vault, but they just took what they thought they'd need for his books and clothes. Luna was sad that they didn't see any dragons, but their driver told her that she was correct -- there were working dragons in the caves.

- - -
"Harry, we get our Hogwarts books and things this Friday!"

"Sorry, Ron. We won't be going with you. Aunt Selene and Uncle Larry took Friday and Monday off. We're just going to enjoy our last few days together. We already have our stuff. Oh, and we got an owl."

"Really? What kind?"

"A snowy owl. She's white and beautiful. Luna wanted a raven, but the man at the store said they weren't as good with mail, so her parents got us an owl to share."

"Nice. We'll just have to use the school owls."

"What are you complaining about? What would you need an owl
for? You only answered two of our letters all last year."

"Well, it would just be neat to have one."

"Maybe. But you can clean out her cage any time."

"I'll pass."

"Have fun at Diagon Alley!"

- - -

"Harry! You'll never guess what happened. We saw Lockhart in the bookstore, and my father and Malfoy's father got into a fight!"

"Oh, that's awful. Is your father alright?"

"He's fine. I just wish that they would just lock him up. He used to be a follower of You-Know-Who."

"Lockhart was a follower of You-Know-Who?"

"No, Malfoy's dad."

"What was Lockhart like?"


"That's the impression I got from the book of his I read. I couldn't believe we have to buy all of his books. We decided to just get one set and share."

"That's not the worst of it. He was telling the reporters that he's going to be a teacher at Hogwarts this year."

"Well, I hope we learn something from him."

"I wonder who he's replacing? Hey, there's something different about you."

"I got a haircut."

"Yeah, like you needed it! You keep your hair so short. . . . But that's not it."

"He got new glasses, Ron! Maybe you need some."

"Well, excuse me, Ginny! Can't they fix your eyes at St. Mungos?"

"Aunt Selene checked into it a few years ago. It's dangerous to do that while I'm still growing. I may end up with worse eyesight. They'll probably be able to do something for me in a few years."

"I think they look very nice, Harry."

"Thank you, Ginny."

- - -

Selene stood up from the fireplace, and called to the rest of the family, "Larry! Kids! I have to go over to the Croakers'. Rosamond is ill, and Algie has to go out. I'll be back late."

Luna looked up from the book she was reading and asked, "Can I go too? I like Mrs. Croaker."

"Very well, Luna. You two stay out of trouble!"

"Yes, dear."

"We will, Aunt Selene."

Larry looked at Harry, as the two women of the house floo-ed away. "Well, Harry, want to practice some flying?"

- - -

Later that night, Selene floo-ed home. "Larry! Hi. Algie just floo-ed. The emergency is going to take longer than they expected. We'll just be spending the night and see you in the morning. Tell Harry I love him. Good night."

- - -

Luna got a drink of water and stopped in the bedroom with Rosamond Croaker.

"Hello," she said, finding the older woman awake.

"Oh, hello, dear. What time is it?"

"Getting close to two."

"You should be asleep."

"So should you."

"I don't think so. I think I'm done sleeping. Oh! I just wish the pain would go away. Please, may I hold your hand? Thank you, dear.

"It's funny, when you're young you don't know anything about death. You're young and immortal! Then, as you get older, you don't think about it, because it's so very far away. Then there's a time when you know it's coming, and you wish it weren't. It's sometimes called a mid-life crisis. You realize you're going to die, and all those plans you made when you're young just aren't going to happen before you go. Just a word of warning -- men sometimes get crazy when that happens. They do all sorts of foolish things trying to convince themselves that they're still young, or virile, or that their dreams aren't dead. You just have to be careful with them at that time.

"Later, as you get even older your body stops working so well. I had a great uncle who went blind, and his legs got weak and he couldn't walk very well, and he told me he never got hungry and his food didn't have any taste any more. He lived to a hundred and two. His mind was wonderful, though, but his body was dying around him. He lived as a bachelor until he retired, then married his childhood sweetheart, who was a widow. They celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary before she died. He lived another decade or
more. But when he died, it was peaceful. I think he had been ready for several years before it happened.

"I thought I was ready. But now I'm afraid. I was in Gryffindor, you know. I always thought I could face anything. But I'm afraid now.

"He,he, not so afraid as to cast the spell to become a ghost. But still, I don't want to go. Will you stay with me? Thank you, dear."

- - -

"Luna? Luna? Oh, there you are. How's Rosamond?"

"She went away. She was there, then all the magic faded, and she went away. She stopped wheezing, but she went away. Her hand cooled off too. But she went away."

"Oh, Luna. I'm so sorry. I assure you, we didn't want you to be the one with her. . . ."

"She went away. She went away."

"Yes, Luna. Let's go. Come on."

"She went away. She went away."

"Please, Luna, let go. There's nothing more we can do. Come on, dear, let go."

- - -

Harry went into Luna's room, and spoke with Selene.

"Will she be alright?"

"The healers think she's in shock, but she should get better soon."

"She didn't seem to know me."

"No, the healers think that she's sort of hiding from the world in her own mind. You just have to give her time. Do you want to sit with her. It might be a good idea to have someone with her when she wakes up."

"I suppose. I'll sit with her."

"Good boy. Harry, this is one of the things that married people do. I don't know if you used it in your vow, but many people promise to love each other in sickness and in health. When your husband or wife is sick and you have to take care of them it can be a very difficult time. Patience is very important when working with sick people." Harry nodded, and went into Luna's room.

- - -


"Luna! You're awake! How do you feel."

"I'm fine, Harry. Why are you sleeping in that chair?"

"You weren't very fine when you came back from the Croakers' house. Your mum thought someone should be with you when you woke up."

"Thank you, but it's probably not necessary for you to sleep on that chair. Come sleep with me."

"Alright. Don't steal all the blankets."

"I'll try not to.


"Yes, Luna?"

"Another one has moved."


"Another dark object attached to your scar has moved. The one from Swindon is south of us, now."

"How do you know? We haven't even gotten the map out yet."

"I just know. The one from Draco's house has moved."

"It was at Draco's house? I didn't even know he lived in Swindon. How did you know that?"

"I just know."

"But what's south? We're only forty kilometers from the Channel, and across that is France, and farther south is Spain, and Africa. If it's down there, it may be years before we can get it."

"Then it will be years. But I don't think so. It will be days, when we're at Hogwarts together. It will be nice being there with you."

"It's going to be an adventure. I'm glad we're going together."

"Me, too. Good night, Harry. I love you."

"Good night, Luna. I love you, too."

- - -

"Dear Diary. . . ."

- - -

"Aunt Selene?"

"Yes, Harry," she answered, as they were making breakfast.

"You and Uncle Larry are married, and there's only one bed in your room. . . ."

Selene thought, 'Uh, oh. I think he wants a refresher on The Talk.'

Harry continued, "and last night Luna and I slept together. . . ."

Selene sighed.

"but it's so uncomfortable! How can you sleep together every night?" Harry finished.

"What do you mean, uncomfortable?"

"She must have kicked me at least three times, and almost pushed me out of the bed, after crowding me to the edge. I can't get mad, because she was sleeping, but how do you stand it every night?"

Selene gave him a smile. "It's something that you have to get used to. But once you do, you don't want to sleep apart. It's very comforting to sleep with your spouse, and you miss it when you're away from each other. Don't worry about it, you won't be allowed to be together all the time until after you leave Hogwarts. Now, why don't you take her breakfast in bed." She handed Harry a tray for Luna and him, as she set one up for Larry and herself.

'Children,' she thought, 'innocent children to whom "sleeping together" means "sleeping." Was I ever that young?' She used the opportunity to give him a refresher on The Talk anyway.

- - -

"I don't like this."

"But she shouldn't miss the sorting. She's up and talking and acting almost normal. She'll be fine."

"I don't know, Larry. She's different. She's always staring now. And she doesn't seem to be as animated as normal."

"She'll be fine in a few days. Harry will take care of her."

"I just feel that something's wrong."

- - -

"Good bye, Luna! I love you. Take care! Write lots of letters."

"Good bye Mum! Good bye Daddy!"

"Good bye Harry. I can't tell you how proud I am of you, and how happy I am that you came to our family." She continued in a whisper, "Take care of Luna. She doesn't seem to have completely recovered. I love you!"

"I love you too, Aunt Selene. And I can never thank you enough for rescuing me from that place."

- - -

"That barrier was weird. Kind of scary, too."

"It wasn't scary, Harry."

"Well, not all of us can see magic. What did you see?"

"Muggle repellant, of course. Notice-me-not, restricted to Muggles. A sidehill winder as we came through. And a dimensional shift. That looked weird. It may have said platform nine and three quarters, but it's a magically created place."

"Like our trunks being bigger on the inside than the outside?"

"Yes. Strange about the winder, though. They're native to the New World, and there are no hills in the train station."

Harry looked at her, worried. Several times since she returned from the Croakers' she had seen animals that he hadn't, that weren't even native to the area. He would just have to keep taking care of her.

"Er, right. Are you sure it was a sidehill winder? I didn't see it. Shall we wander around the train, and meet people?"

"We can if you want."

- - -

"Lovegood, Harry."

"Hmmmm. You weren't always named Lovegood. But no matter. Good mind. Loyal to your family. Not surprising, considering what your old family was like. And you're married. You realize that there are no provisions for married students here?"

"That's alright. As long as we're in the same house."

"No guarantees. But I like your theory about Muggle-raised. That shows real intelligence. Therefore RAVENCLAW!"

- - -

"Lovegood, Luna."

"I just sorted your husband."

"Yes. Now put me in the same house, please."

"Not until I say so. You're pretty sneaky. . . ."

"Thank you."

"And brave. Some of the things you've done; and talked him into doing. . . ."

"He's brave, because he does what he has to do despite being afraid. I'm just not afraid."

"Smart, too. That's good enough for me. RAVENCLAW!"

- - -

"Weasley, Ginevra."


- - -


"Yes, Harry?"

"If you wait here, I'll go get the brush and do your hair."

"Thank you Harry."

"You're Luna, right?"


"I'm . . . ."

"Penelope Clearwater. Yes, you told us in the Great Hall."

"Uh, yes. First years should go right to bed."

"I have to wait for Harry."

"He's a first year, too. He should go to bed."

"Not yet. We're not ready yet."

"Luna, I'm a prefect. . . ."

"Hello. Got it, Luna."

"You're Harry, right?"

"That's right."

"Why are you brushing her hair?"

"Somebody's got to do it. . . ."

"And I never liked doing it until Harry started doing it for me."

"How long have you been brushing Luna's hair?"

"I don't know. Years, Luna?"

"Years. Every night."

"Wow. I wish I had a brother who would do that for me."

"He's not my brother."

"No, we're just related."

"I, uh, see. Well, finish up, and get to bed. Classes start early tomorrow."

- - -

"Uh, Luna? Did you just kiss Harry?"

"Yes. We've been doing that for years before we go to bed, too."

"You must come from a very loving family."


- - -

"Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts. Anyone messing around in my class will leave and not come back. You have been warned.

"It will be quite a while before you will be turning furniture into pigs. We shall start with transfiguring these matches into needles. This can take some students weeks to master, so pay attention, and take good notes."

- - -

". . . .Bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death. If you aren't as big a group of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.

"Miss Lovegood!"


"Pay attention! If I told you to find me a bezoar where would you look?"

"On the third shelf of that cabinet over there."

"Huh? There's no bezoar here!"

"It's behind the blue bottle."

"How did you know it was there?"

"I saw it on the way in."

"A point from Ravenclaw for your cheek!"

- - -

As Harry, Luna, and the rest of the first year Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw students came up the stairs from the dungeons, they heard some screams. Harry rushed to the top of the stairs. Something small and blue was dive-bombing the students in the Entrance Hall. Harry whipped out his wand and yelled "/Aquamenti/!" A jet
of water erupted from his wand and struck the blue creature, knocking it out of the air. Students gathered around to look at it, until Filch appeared and shooed them away. Harry and Luna went into the Great Hall for lunch, meeting Draco inside.

"Hi, Harry. How are classes going?"

"Not too bad, Draco. Yours going OK?"

"Yes. They get harder second year. Well, some of them. You know what Lockhart did? Let a bunch of Cornish Pixies loose in the class, then ran away."

"Oh, is that what it was? One of them was attacking students in the Entrance Hall. Oh, by the way, do you know if any of the Slytherin first years are Muggle-raised?"

"One. Why? He's getting a bunch of grief from his house mates. I suggested he change houses, but he's stubborn."

"I'm going to have an informal meeting with the Muggle-raised tonight after dinner, and was hoping you could ask him to come."

"I'll ask him. What are you meeting for?"

"Teaching them things the wizard-raised already know."

- - -

"What's this all about, Lovegood?" John Tunny, Hufflepuff, asked.

"Yeah, why'd you want to get all of us together? It's not like we don't have enough problems already," Colin Cleevey added.

"That's why I asked you to come. My friend Hermione is a Muggle-born, and was telling me about her problems last year. She said that she had trouble at first getting the magic working and after talking a little, I had an idea why she was having trouble. I'd like to test it out with you."

"Typical Ravenclaw," said Mike Daly, the only Slytherin there.

"What's your idea?" asked Liz Ericson, another Ravenclaw.

Harry answered, "I've been doing household magic for several years, and I bet lots of the rest of the first years who were raised
in wizarding households either have been doing it or have watched and played at it for years. So I thought you might want to learn at least some of the basic wand motions for spells. I suppose I could teach you how to use magic to do the dishes, but there's no dirty dishes to practice it on, and it's illegal for students to do magic at home."

"If it's illegal, why did you do it?" asked Tunny.

"As my aunt explained, I wasn't a student, so it was like a . . . loop hole, she said."

"Why?" asked Mike.

"Why, what?"

"Why are you doing this?"

"Because I was raised by Muggles for years, and if things hadn't changed I'd be in your shoes, and I hope someone would help me."

"'Do unto others', huh?"


"Don't you know that saying? It's from the Bible, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?'" Mike asked.

"Uh, no. Haven't read the Bible, but I think I probably should."

"I'll tell you the parts to skip. Some of it is as boring as Binns."

"Thanks, Mike." The two boys smiled at each other.

"OK, there's a few main wand movements, and some variations. There's the flick, the swish, the wave, the point or jab, the rotate, and the circle."

"That's a lot."

"It sounds like a lot, but individually they're not that hard. This is the flick."

- - -

"Very good, Mr. Tunny. That is an excellent needle. I can tell that you have been practicing. You too, Miss Shrake. You are an exceptional group of first years; you all seem to be picking this up very quickly."

- - -

"Bugger! Another dead end."

"We'll find it, Harry. It's not on this floor, anyway. I just thought we could find a stairway to it, since the most obvious way is blocked on the next level."

"But I'm sure that I was through here the other day. I don't think it ended in a brick wall then."

"The walls change. The stairs change. Doors change -- sometimes they're only there certain day's of the week. We should go back, it's almost curfew. We'll try again tomorrow."

"Too bad you didn't see it by accident like you did with the beehive in Snape's class."

"Bezoar. And these black lines are very hard to see. Once they are a few feet away from you, they virtually disappear."

"OK. Let's get back to the tower. Maybe we should go after the other one?"

"It keeps moving. I think someone's carrying it. I thought we'd try this one first."

"OK, this one, then the moving one. We'll try again tomorrow. Third time's the charm."

- - -

"So what now, Harry?"

It was another meeting of the Muggle-Raised, as they called themselves.

"As I see it, we can do one of three things. I can teach you the household charms I know, we can study together, or we can stop having these meetings."

"We could join one of the study groups in our common room," Liz said.

"I can't," Mike Daly grumbled. "Half the other Slytherin's don't think I belong in the house, in the school, or among the living."

John said, "Hey, I'm Hufflepuff. There's probably a magic rule that says I can't say anything bad about my house mates, but there is some of that even in my house. So, if it's all the same to you, I'd like to keep this going. I like you guys. Most days." The smile he had removed all insult from the last sentence.

"But it doesn't have to be either/or. We can study, and we can learn the charms you know," Liz added.

"OK, I'm easy. Next question, I'd like to open the group up to any other first year that wants to join us. I know Luna would want to study with us."

"She's your cousin?"

"Relative, yeah. And anyone else, as long as they behave and work." Nobody had any objection to that, so they called it a night.

- - -

"Through that wall."

"Alright, let's try this way, maybe we can find the room."

The two Lovegoods wandered down several more corridors before they found it.

"There, in the cabinet."

Harry and Luna had found the Trophy Room. Luna led Harry to one of the glass covered cases. She pointed at a plaque.

"That's it."

"'For special services to the school, awarded to T. M. Riddle, March 18, 1945. Who's T. M. Riddle?"

"I don't know. The real question is what are all these objects? I still haven't found anything about dark magical connections."

"We might have to ask someone. But I don't want to. I don't want it known that I'm dark."

"You're not dark, Harry. It's just something left over. These objects are dark. And this whole case, this whole room is warded. Someone or something will know if we try to open this."


"It could be connected to a bell or siren, or something."

"Oh, for a moment there I thought you were talking about a guardian creature."

"If it alerted Snape, you could say it was guarded by a giant bat."

They both laughed at that.

"But it's not going anywhere, so we'll have to learn how to get past these wards."

"That should be a whole lot easier, Harry, with the Hogwarts library at our disposal."

"True. Let's go see what it has on wards?" He gallantly offered her his arm, and they headed to the Library.

- - -

'It sounded interesting,' Harry thought to himself. 'Defense against the Dark Arts. Learn to protect yourself against evil wizards, witches, curses, objects, and creatures. This should be one of the more exciting classes. But I'm not sure if this or Binn's is more boring.'

"And I wore my lime green robes with the orange frill. My hair was perfect, and I was set to fight the zombies. They came at me, roaring, dropping bits of decayed flesh. I knew I had to do something quick, and pretty devastating, or they would overwhelm me with sheer numbers!"

"Nothing came to mind," Harry mumbled.

"Nothing came to mind. So I cast a spider legs charm, and ran up the cliff face. I perched myself on a ledge a good three meters above the filthy fiends, and considered my options. But while I was thinking, they were still coming. They were finding hand holds and foot holds, climbing on each other!"

"I was in a world of trouble," Harry mumbled. Luna elbowed him with a smile. She had read the book too.

"I was in a world of trouble. Zombies can't be affected by any of the standard spells you would use against a living opponent. Stunners, sleep, daze, confusion -- none of them work. Body damaging spells, like bone-breaking spells, blindness, laming spells -- they might take out a limb, but the zombies would still come at you. It was then, with the zombies almost to my ledge, that I remembered their weakness!"

"Salt," Harry and Luna muttered together, trying hard to hold their laughter.

"Salt! There was plenty of sand amidst the cracks of the cliff, so I started transfiguring it into salt. As quick as I could transfigure some, I would brush it off the cliff. Where it hit the zombies, they started screaming as in pain, as if a dead thing can feel pain! They fell to the ground and twitched, and never moved again. But there were more zombies than the sand I had available! So I conjured a whirlwind, which swept across the beach picking up sand, and while concentrating to control the dust devil, I transfigured the sand it carried to salt. Sending the mini-tornado across the zombies repeatedly, I finally destroyed them all!" He finished with a bow. About half the class looked at Don Bixler, one of Harry's dorm-mates. It was his turn today. He raised his hand, in a bored way.

"Yes, you have a question?"

"Yes, sir. Can you teach us the spider legs charm?"

"Sorry. I don't think they teach that until sixth year charms. I wouldn't want to get in trouble unleashing a class of first year students all over the walls! Considering the way Mr. Filch goes on about dirt on the floors, he'd have my hide if I let a class walk over the walls! I doubt even my prestigious skill in defense would protect me from our caretaker in that situation." He laughed at his own joke. He was the only one laughing.

"Then can you teach us the sand to salt transformation?"

And so it went. The designated questioner would ask about every spell mentioned by Lockhart and he would give an excuse for not showing or teaching it. The first class it had been several people -- mostly Ravenclaws. Lockhart had actually tried a few spells the first day, which hadn't worked. After that he always had an excuse. The class quickly decided to have a designated questioner for each class.

After not showing them any of the curses he said wouldn't work against zombies, Don ran out of questions. Harry raised his hand, causing some of the other students to wonder what was going on.

"Yes, Mr. Lovegood?" Lockhart sounded relieved that someone else was asking questions. Even he was beginning to realize that he wasn't satisfying the class. He couldn't understand why. When he went on the lecture circuits he was always a big hit with his stories. These children had him exclusively for a whole school year. Didn't they realize how much they would have to pay if he were doing this out of the school setting?

"Is there some other type of zombie? Or something like a zombie that doesn't make any noises, isn't decayed, but is dead, and moves? It's, uh, supposedly very pale, and in the story I heard they were underwater until a traveler accidentally broke a ward that released them to attack him. I thought they were zombies, but they don't sound like what you encountered."

"That sounds like the Inferi. A horrible dark creature, I think there were some used during the war by You-Know-Who. Very dark, and powerful -- which may be why they don't decay. Where did you hear about it?"

"Oh, around a campfire several years ago in the New World."

"Ah, campfire stories! I've heard my share, but they don't hold any interest for me anymore; not with all the real adventures I've had. Oh, there's the bell!"

- - -

Every time Harry brought up the subject of looking for the other linked object, Luna would tell him to have patience. It was moving all over the castle, and she wasn't going to bother anyone until she was absolutely sure they could get it. Harry gave up asking after getting the same answer three times.

- - -

"Your papers were for the most part very good. What I've come to expect from Ravenclaws. Before we move on are there any questions? Yes, Miss Lovegood?"

"Professor Lockhart was just telling us about his defeat of some zombies," Luna began. McGonagall got a very strange look on her face, as if she just stepped in something unpleasant. "He said that he used a sand to salt transfiguration and it would be too difficult for us to learn. Is that a difficult transformation?"

"What do you think, class? Sand to salt? Miss Esberg?"

"They're similar size and shape, and sometimes even similar color."

"Very good, anything else? Mr. Bixler?"

"Similar sounding words."

"Exactly. Anyone else? Mr. Towey?"

"Both minerals?"

"Yes. So, what would you expect? Easy or hard transfiguration, Miss Lovegood?"

"I would think easy, for a single grain of sand. What about a pile of sand?"

"More difficult, but not exceptionally. A little practice and it shouldn't tax even a first year. However, I would suggest you look up exactly how much salt it takes to destroy a zombie, and the proper method of doing so."

"Is that an assignment?"

"Indeed it is. I want six inches on it by our next class."

- - -

The Muggle-Raised had become the Inter-House Study Group. It usually included half to two thirds of the whole first year class. A few Slytherins never attended, as if to counter them almost all the Hufflepuffs showed up. Some of the Ravenclaws also didn't show up, preferring their own company. It met most nights shortly after dinner was cleaned up, and, without any organization, someone almost always brought some library books relevant to the assignments. A few times they had to dispatch people to the Library if the necessary books were in use, and only once did they find they were unable to get an assignment done. However, since it wasn't due the very next day, the group was still able to complete it on time.

Another group also used the Great Hall for studying. Hermione, Draco, Pansy Parkinson(who seemed to have a crush on the blond Slytherin), Neville, Susan Bones, and Hannah Abbot met several times a week at the Hufflepuff table. They were frequently joined by the second year Gryffindor boys and girls, and others from the various houses. Even Theodore Nott showed up a few times when they had a particularly difficult assignment.

As it was now after dinner the first years were gathering.

"Hi, everybody!"

"Thanks a lot, Lovegood!"

"Hey, give her a break! Who knew just asking a question would get us more work?"

Colin asked, "What work?"

"I asked about transfiguring sand to salt to get rid of zombies, and Professor McGonagall assigned us a small essay on how to use salt to kill zombies. But since I got us the work, I brought the reference materials. Dark Creatures, Volume Z and Dangers of the Carribean. Oh, and Harry, here's Volume I for looking up Inferi."

Mike Daly took over, as he usually did.

"OK, the Ravenclaws have the extra assignment, but the rest of us still have the potions essay and need to practice the Placement Charm. What reference materials do we have for the potion assignment?"

And so it went. They passed the reference materials around; people felt free to ask questions, and while they didn't actually copy from each other, you would have to say it was a collaborative effort. After they practiced the Placement Charm many of the other students left. Mike stayed around, reading about Dark Creatures. As the Ravenclaws finished up their assignment, he looked up and said, "You know what this means, don't you?"

"What?" asked Liz, one of Luna's dorm mates.

"We just found that to kill a zombie with salt you have to completely cover it, and keep it that way for several days. Much easier to just destroy its head. But what this really means is we have proof that Lockhart is full of it."

"We sort of came to that conclusion a while ago."

"Yes, but this is proof. According to these references, what he said couldn't have happened. Is anyone else bothered that we haven't learned thing one about defending ourselves?"

Harry nodded. "I thought D.A.D.A. would be our most exciting class. But you're right. We're not learning anything from it, and it does bother me."

Mike smiled, "I have an idea."

- - -

Dear Aunt Selene and Uncle Larry,

We are doing well. I think Luna has completely recovered from the shock of Mrs. Croaker. Unfortunately, it took her several days to get over it, and she got a bit of a reputation for being strange. It doesn't seem to bother her, so we ignore the names she's sometimes called.

We have a problem, though. The Defense against the Dark Arts teacher isn't teaching us. You remember how we had to buy a complete set of Lockhart's books? That's because Lockhart is the teacher, not that he actually teaches us anything. He quotes stories out of his own books almost word for word, and hasn't taught us a single spell.

A group of first years, including Luna and me, are going to teach ourselves as much defense as possible. We did some research, and hope you can send us two copies of last year's defense book, The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble. There is a copy in the library, but there are about twenty of us who want to do this.

Thanks, and have a happy Halloween!



- - -

The Halloween feast had been fun. A lot of food, Hagrid's giant pumpkins floating overhead, the Weasley Twins had learned some self transfiguration spell and one had donkey ears and the other had cat ears. The feast went late, and first years' study group didn't meet. Harry and Luna headed up to the Ravenclaw tower with the rest of their house. Luna settled in a chair away from the fireplace (since that was "reserved" by a group of seven years) while Harry went up to his room to get the brush. Some second year girls came over to Luna while she waited.

"It's so sad that you can't brush your own hair," Marietta Edgecombe said.

"Maybe someday you'll learn," Cho Chang added.

"I don't know, it may be beyond her capability. She's obviously not Ravenclaw material; the hat probably put her here so that her cousin could take care of her. Sad, really," Sue Baker, a second year, added.

Luna sat without reacting to them.

"What's the matter? Too dumb to know you've been insulted?" asked Marietta.

She looked at them with wide unblinking eyes.

"Oh, Hullo. You know, there's very little I like better than witty repartee. If you hear of any around here, let me know please?"

They stared at her for a moment, then were interrupted by Harry's angry voice, "What's going on here?"

"Hullo, Harry. These girls came to say something, but it wasn't intelligent."

"Keep better track of your girlfriend, Lovegood. We don't like smart asses here."

Harry rejoined, "Then why do you hang out together?"

At that point the picture covering the entrance to the Ravenclaw tower swung open. Penelope Clearwater, the sixth year prefect ran in quickly.

"Filch's cat's been killed! Someone killed it and hung it up. There was a note written in blood on the wall that said 'The Chamber of Secrets has been opened! Enemies of the heir beware!'"

- - -

The school was abuzz with rumors. Everyone knew something, but nobody could agree with each other. The second year and the first year groups got together a few days later and compared notes. Hermione had asked Binns and recounted the legend of Slytherin's Chamber. Draco said that the word in the Slytherin common room was that Muggle-born and half-blood wizards were going to be attacked. Someone had heard that there was some sort of attack about fifty years ago. Beyond that the stories got wilder and wilder -- vampires, hags, Nundus. Nothing helpful. Several people had received their copies of the previous year's D.A.D.A. textbook, but most hadn't, so they decided to hold off on that. When Hermione heard what the first years were going to teach themselves defense, she quickly talked the second years into doing something similar. They did a little homework that night and broke up early.

As they were leaving, Harry noticed Ginny seemed upset. He asked her what the problem was.

"I can't help thinking that if Harry Potter were here that he'd solve the problem."

"I think you're putting your trust in someone who doesn't exist. . . ."

"Harry Potter does too exist!"

"You misunderstand me. I'm not saying he doesn't exist, but maybe he grew up in such a way that he wouldn't solve the problem? I think we have to work on our own problems and solutions. We can help each other, but to depend on someone we've never met and don't really know isn't very useful."

"I suppose. That poor cat."

"I'm sure one of the teachers will find a way to cure it. Good night, Ginny."

Harry and Luna headed out of the Great Hall. They made their way to the hall where the attack took place.

"Harry, the words are warded."


"Looks like against water, /Scourgify/, a few other spells. Designed not to go away, I guess."

"Shall we head to the Library and see if we can find a way to get past the wards?"

"We have to eventually, so we might as well now."

They met Hermione in the Library. Or rather she met them, surrounded by a group of large volumes.

"What are you studying?"

"Wards," Harry answered.

"That's NEWT level magic. Are you sure you want to be playing with it?"

"Yes," Luna answered, turning a page.


Harry answered, "We figure that the magical criminal profession is wide open, and this knowledge will help us become successful burglars."

Hermione looked aghast.

"Actually, we were just curious because we noticed that writing on the wall was warded against being washed off. We thought we'd take the opportunity to learn how to counter it," Luna explained, turning another page.

"You don't think the teachers know that?"

"Uh, I suppose so," Harry stammered.

Luna still didn't look up from her book as she answered, "Doesn't matter. We still want to know how to counter it. What's the best book on wards and breaking them have you read?"

"The Vern book on the bottom of the pile is pretty good. Wait a minute! I wasn't trying to do anything wrong when I was researching them!"

Harry and Luna looked at each other, and started to laugh.

"Did it ever occur to you that other people might want to research them just like you?" Harry asked, quieting his laughter before Madam Pince kicked them out of the library. Luna was already picking up the book.

"Thank you, Hermione," she said, starting to read.

- - -

A week passed, and the rumors started to subside. Harry and Luna spent more time studying wards in the library after the study group sessions. After several days of research, Luna showed Harry something from the Vern book.

After reading it, he said, "That's nice, but if you don't know what the ward is warding against, it doesn't do much good."

"But we know at least one thing the ward on the sign is stopping: water. Come on."

They moved through the castle to the third floor corridor where the attack had occurred. On the wall, in foot-high red letters, it said:

The Chamber of Secrets has been opened.
Enemies of the heir, beware.

"Ok, let's try to remove the water ward." Luna pointed her wand at the word "The" and concentrated. She mumbled the incantation to herself, and smiled. She then said, "Aquamenti" and sprayed the word with water. It washed off the wall.

"Well, that worked. Good job, Luna. Let's go."

"Not yet, Harry. You try. Make the word "beware" go away. But only that one."

"Ok," he said, as he tried the process himself. Meanwhile, Luna was working on the rest of the message. She looked at his work, and said, "Harry, you unwarded "heir" and
"been", too. Good thing I didn't need them."

"What do you mean, need them?"

"Hang on, almost done. Yes, that looks good. Can you wash the wall, please?"

He sprayed the wall with water, and most of the letters disappeared. What was left read:

C a ts
n i c e

"Cats nice?" Harry asked, incredulously.

"It was the only thing I could get it to spell, and even then I had to convert an "o" into a "c" to make it work."

"So, we've spent days in the library just so you can praise cats?"

"Not exclusively for that, no. But mostly, yeah."

"Alright, let's get out of here before someone catches us and accuses us of petrifying Filch's cat for a prank."

- - -

"But Albus, what does it mean?" the deputy Headmistress asked, looking at the wall.

"I think it means someone isn't panicking. And knows quite a bit about wards."

"So, you don't think the person who did this opened the Chamber?"

"People. I'm pretty sure I detect two magical signatures here. And neither of them set up the wards that protected the words. As a matter of fact, most of the wards are still there. No, someone out there is either very brave, or very foolish." He thought to himself, 'Two signatures. I wonder if they had red hair.'

- - -

Harry and Luna were relaxing with a good portion of the Ravenclaw house a few days later after watching the horrible defeat of the Gryffindor Quidditch team at the hands of itself. Technically, they lost to the Slytherins, but anyone objective (which would be most of the school except Gryffindor and Slytherin, and maybe even some of
them) would have to say that, except for the Seeker, the Gryffindor team played better than the Slytherins. They didn't get more points, because their Seeker kept getting in the way of his own Chasers. They were better organized, when the Seeker wasn't distracting his teammates with his insults, harangues, and basic playing instructions. The keeper and captain might have been more effective if he hadn't had to pay so much attention trying to get the seeker to leave the rest of the team alone. Harry would be very surprised if McLaggen was still on the team after today.

He noticed Luna looking at him. She was smiling. This wasn't a "I'm happy" smile. It was an "I've got a plan" smile. It was a "You're going to be busy doing something you
don't want to" smile. It was trouble.

"What?" Harry asked, hoping to get this over with as soon as possible.

Her smile changed a little to an "I'm happy" smile, and Harry figured it was because she knew that he knew that she was up to something.


"I was just thinking. . . ."


"I think we should stop researching wards so much. . . ."

"And with all this extra time, we will, what?"

"Spend some time improving you."


"Well," she said, lowering her voice, "we know that you're probably an animagus. I was thinking we could start doing some research into turning you into an animal."

"That sounds like it might be fun."

"But first we're going to get another partner."

"We are?"

"Yes. Come on."

Luna led him across the common room to a table where a number of students of different years were quietly working on writing.

"Liz, can we talk to you for a few minutes?"

"Luna. Harry. Sure, I guess, but this is a quiet table." Some of the other students were giving them the evil eye.

"Take your stuff, we'll find an empty classroom."

A few minutes later the three first years were sitting in an unused classroom.

"What's this about?" Liz asked. She seemed nervous. Harry shrugged and looked at Luna.

"It's about a trade." She rummaged through her bag for a moment, and brought out a box. "I've seen you writing in a diary, and I've seen the words disappear." Liz' eyes grew wide, and she clutched her bag to her chest.

"What you don't know about the diary -- or maybe you do -- is that it is intelligent, and it is evil."

"How do you know?"

Luna went on to explain about her mage sight. She gave an abbreviated description of the discovery of the Greek temple, complete with her scrapbook entries that included an article from an English newspaper out of Constantinople about the find and the discoverers.

"You mentioned a trade?"

"Yes, we'll trade you a new diary with a magic lock that will only open to you for the one you have, and we'll give you an opportunity to study animagus transformation with Harry."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"I can see that you're probably an animagus. You can learn to change into an animal."

"Alright. But I have to warn you, that book can be pretty scary. There were a few times I found myself somewhere without knowing how I got there, or what I had just done."

"I think the book was possessing you. If you want to know about evil books, talk to Ginny Weasley. Her father's job is to recover things like this, and she's told some pretty horrific tales about hexed books." Luna handed over the box. Liz opened it and took out a brand new diary. When she handed over the old diary Harry thought she was both relieved and reluctant to do it.

"Where did you get that book?" Harry asked.

"I found it with my school books after we picked up our school supplies in Diagon Alley. I figured it was either accidentally added, or it was hidden in one of the other books I bought."

"Or it was placed there on purpose," Harry added.

"What do you mean?"

"If the book caused you to forget or not know what you did, then ask yourself if there have been any strange occurrences in the castle this year?"

"The Chamber of Secrets?" Liz said, hesitantly.

Harry nodded. "Whoever gave you that was hoping that Slytherin's monster would hurt people."

"How can you be sure that it won't take over you?"

"Simple," said Luna, "we won't look at it, write in it, or even open it."

"We won't?"

"Dark, and intelligent, remember. We're only first years, you know."

"Oh, right."

Liz said, "It does have a name in it." Harry looked at her quizzically. "The first page has a name."

Harry carefully opened it and read the name out loud, "T. M. Riddle." He looked at Luna, and she nodded a little.

"Well, close it, Harry, and we'll put it away, and see if my mum can do something about it."

"Your mum?"

"She works for the Ministry of Magic. Sometimes they have to destroy dark objects."


Luna smiled at the other girl, "Thank you, Liz. I think once we get this out of the school over the holiday, that there will be no more strange occurrences."

"I hope not."

- - -

Most of the rest of the study group received their books over the week. They began at the beginning, and started putting in some time at each of their study sessions. Looking ahead, they saw that they would need a room to practice some of the spells that the book described. Some members of each of the houses volunteered to talk to their respective heads to find a place to practice.

- - -

Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of one of the most prestigious magical schools in the world drank a headache potion, and put down another letter from an angry parent. How could this have happened? Yes, there was a curse on the D.A.D.A. Teaching job. He'd been finding new instructors year after year. Now, even people outside the school were noticing it. Lockhart had been the only person to answer his call for a professor, and he hadn't even asked the man. His reputation was impeccable. The school had been flooded with congratulatory letters when the man had announced his professorship at the bookstore shortly before the term started.

Now he picked up one of the calmer ones.

Dear Headmaster,

I am very disappointed to hear that my children's Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is incapable of teaching. It is now November and they have not learned a single spell from him. I shudder to think what the results of the OWLs and NEWTs will be this year.

I have sent my children copies of last years' D.A.D.A. text book. They have organized a self study group. I hope that you will at least lend all the help you can to that group.

Very disappointedly yours,

Selene Lovegood

At least she kept a civil tongue.

There was a knock on the door. It was time for the weekly meeting of the heads of house. At least there didn't seem to be any problem with excessive inter-house rivalry.

"Come in," he called.

The four heads of house came in. They looked concerned.

"Welcome everyone. Has something happened? Minerva? Why don't you start?"

"Albus, I think we have a problem with our Defense teacher."

Dumbledore felt his stomach do a flip.

"What has he done?"

"It's not what he has done, it's what he hasn't done. A group of my first years have requested a location to conduct some self study because they aren't being taught any spells."

"The same request has come to me from some of my students," said Professor Flitwick.

"And mine!" Pomona Sprout exclaimed. All eyes turned to the potions master.

"Yes, I was approached, too. I was going to see about giving my students private tutoring."

McGonagall turned back to the Headmaster, and said, "I checked with students in the other grades, too. He is not teaching defense. As far as I can tell he is teaching Lockhart."

"The man's a fraud. I thought it the first time I laid eyes on him."

"Thank you, Severus. It does seem obvious now. What do we do about it? You each have full schedules. I can take the class for a little while, but not full time."

"Is there any possible instructor that you could get at such short notice?" Pomona asked.

"I don't know. I've asked just about everyone. But I'll keep trying. For now, Minerva, can you set up a room for the first years? Set up a schedule for the various houses to have equal access. Perhaps meet with the leaders as a group. Be prepared to do the same for the other years.

"Don't tell Lockhart. I'll talk to him, but if we don't see any improvement then I will let him go at the Christmas break.

"Is there anything else? Very well. Regular meeting next week. And my door is always open. Thank you for coming."

- - -

Professor McGonagall answered the door to her office. "Mr. Lovegood. Mr. Daly. What can I do for you?"

"We were told that you were providing a room for our independent Defense study," Mike said.

"Yes, I am. But I'm a little disappointed that all four of you didn't show up. Couldn't you cooperate even that much?"

"All four of us?" asked Harry, with a confused look on his face.

"The leaders of study groups from each house."

Mike and Harry exchanged a look, and smiled. Mike explained, "There isn't anyone else. We're sort of the the unofficial leaders of the first year study group."

"What about Miss Oberuc? She asked me as her head of house to help."

"Terri's just one of the students in the group who happens to be a Gryffindor. We have students in all four houses in the study group. We figured if we asked each of the heads that we'd have a better chance to get help."

"And how did you two become leaders?"

"Harry became a leader when he organized the group."

"And Mike became leader when he started running the meetings."

"And why didn't you just create your own study group in your own houses?"

Harry and Mike looked at each other again. Harry shrugged, "The more the merrier?"

Mike said, "All for one, and one for all?"

"Hey! I read that! That was a good book."

"Long, though."

"Boys! May we get back to the subject at hand? This eliminates the need to worry about schedule conflicts. Let's discuss when you want to use the classroom."

- - -

Harry called, "Colin, Ginny, Bill, Mary! You're the victims. Matt, Sue, Terri, Dan, you're the attackers. Ready! Set! Hello, Headmaster!"

Matt Larkin was a little too ready, and let loose a Jelly Leg curse on the "Hello." Mary Shrake, seeing the Headmaster enter the room, wasn't watching, and fell on the mats that covered the floor. She was quickly given the counter curse, while Matt stammered, "Sorry."

"Good evening, students. I was just wondering what you were studying in this study group."

Everyone seemed to be looking at Harry, so he answered.

"Well, we started with the list of basic hexes given in the textbook. It seems that most people just pick them up from other students. I found that they're all described in 101 Ways to Annoy Your Friends, which I found in the library. Once we all knew them we've been working on the counter-curses. I'd say most people could counter about half the curses at least.

"This," he said, gesturing at the two groups, "is something I was told by an ex-Auror. He said the best counter for a curse is the one you don't have to cast. So we have the attackers here shooting curses at the group down there, and they're practicing dodging. Meanwhile, the attackers get practice aiming and casting, too."

"Very good. And who is this wise ex-Auror?"

"Sirius Black." There was murmuring from some of the children who grew up in wizarding households.

"Sirius Black. Yes, he was studying to be an Auror before his mistaken imprisonment. Yes, now there's an idea. . . ." His voice trailed off as he was thinking. He turned back to the door, saying, "Good job. Carry on!"

Harry watched the Headmaster leave, mumbling, "That was weird."

Luna was somehow right beside him, and said, "You just helped him."

"How did I do that?"

"You reminded him about Sirius. Dumbledore needs him but didn't realize it until you reminded him."

Harry just nodded, then turned back to the group, "OK, let's pick up where we left off. Ready, set, go!"

- - -

"Wow, Luna. This is quite a crowd. Who do you think is going to be running this dueling club?"


"How do you know?"

"Look at the stage. Who else would set up spotlights?"

"I think you're right. There he is. Now I know you're right."

They watched as Snape threw Lockhart across the stage with a spell. Harry said to Luna, "We'll have to teach that one to the group. It's basically an overhand jab motion. I wish that wizards would standardize what they called their wand movements."

Lockhart then tried to get the students to pair up and try it. Harry realized right away that there was too little space, and moved away from the center of the Great Hall, holding Luna's hand. They ended up near the stage. Meanwhile, chaos reigned in the main part of the hall. Spells were hitting the wrong people, angry students were fighting with fists, and spell victims were staggering around or lying down if that's how the spell affected them.

Lockhart said to Snape, "This is getting a little out of hand. Perhaps we should get some students on stage to demonstrate how it's done."

"Very well. You, Lovegood! You're in charge of that defense group. Get on stage. And Mr. Nott. Get up there and show everyone what a Slytherin can do."

Harry walked to one end of the stage, while Lockhart went on about dueling etiquette and traditions. Finally, he finished up with, "And now these two will show how a duel goes. Only use the Disarming Spell. Now bow, and begin!"

Both boys brought their wands down, pointing at each other. Harry was also moving to the right, while he said, "Expelliarmus!"

Nott finished his wand movements just a moment later, and said, "/Serpensortia!" /right before Harry's spell hit him, and his wand went sailing towards the first year. While it tumbled through the air, though, a snake was appearing from the end of Nott's wand. It fell on the floor of the Great Hall just off the end of the stage. Justin Finch-Fletchley yelled in terror as the snake appeared to be preparing to strike at him. Snape tried to move to the edge of the stage but almost tripped over Nott. Lockhart waved his wand and said something, but nothing happened. Luna hissed at the snake and it coiled up her arm.

"I'm taking him back outside where he came from, Harry. I'll see you up in the common room. Let me know what I missed."

As the thin blond wearing a five foot snake walked calmly out off the room, the crowd quietted, everyone giving her a very wide berth. Harry watched for a moment, then went over to Nott. He offered his hand, which Nott took automatically, and Harry helped the older boy up. Handing back his wand, Harry said, "You'll have to teach me that spell some time. It looks pretty neat."

Nott nodded, unalbe to stop staring at Luna as she left the hall.

He muttered incredulously, "She's the heir?"

- - - - - -
Many thanks to my Betas Mione Green and Kaetti.

AN: This was a long chapter, and when I finished I felt that I wouldn't write another chapter this long. The length slowed down the update, but I know when I read that I like long chapters, so what're ya gonna do?

Meanwhile, I think the next chapter is mostly written, and is approaching this one in size. I hope to get that done soon, and to my beta's by early next week.

Once that's done, I have to send my hard drive back to the manufacturer -- it's dying. Haven't lost more than a paragraph while working on the next chapter (I keep the master copy on my data crystal -- er, I mean USB thumb drive :-) Hopefully, I'll get my system back quickly.
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