Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Cage and Key

Serious and Sirius

by faromir 0 reviews

chapt 6

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Ron - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2015-05-11 - 5733 words

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe and all the characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
Rumors had already spread inside Hogwarts the following day of the incident with Katie bell, the other witnesses having undoubtedly talked to their fellow students, eager to tell them of the scary and bizarre events they saw. Daphne and Tracey were currently working on their essay for Herbology in the library, the assignment asking for information on how the Dragon's Bane will change and evolve in its later stages.
"Oh, Merlin. You can't be serious." Was all Daphne said staring at her Herbology book in horror.
"And your right Daphne! I'm just Tracey." Tracey responded unable to resist another lame pun.
"No, really. Have you not read about the Dragon's Bane yet? Daphne asked but was already pretty sure the answer was no, otherwise Tracey never would have been able to keep quiet about it.
"Hm? What is it then? Will it start puking slugs?" Tracey asked airily, putting her chin in her hand, resting her elbow on the table.
"Worse, listen to this: 'In later stages, the flower on the plant will start to change colour to midnight blue, indicating that the Dragon's Bane nears his maturity, soon after will it's properties for truth-serums make itself known by occasionally exhaling it's fumes. Take note that these fumes when directly inhaled; have the effect of lesser truth-serums for a few seconds, inducing acts of unrestrained honesty.'"
Tracey immediately caught on and started to make a mixture of coughing and laughing sounds at the same time, wanting to cover up her laughter in fear of Madam Pince hearing them.
"S-so during the l-lessons people might start blurting funny stuff out? True stuff?" she continued, laughing throughout her question.
"I don't see how this is going to be any fun, it will be pure chaos. Everyone blurting out embarrassing things. We will also be doing the same, I don't fancy doing that while fighting a monstrous plant, Tracey." Daphne said an incredulous look on her face at Tracey's reaction, although it was to be expected.
"Ah, Don't sweat the small stuff Daphne. I can't wait to see what kind of shades Weasley might get! He will surely reach colours never touched upon before by mankind." Tracey said, throwing her hands in the air, proclaiming a grand spectacle.
Daphne could only hang her head a little, just hopeless this girl.
"Besides who knows, maybe Potter might blurt some secrets out himself. Something you want to know more about right?" Tracey asked turning a little bit more serious.
"I guess you're right, but then maybe not." Daphne said, frowning.
"Oh? Why not then?" She said, leaning forward a little, looking interested.
"Potter was capable of resisting the Imperius Curse from the Teacher in fourth year. Truth-serums can also be resisted to some extent, depending on the quality of the potion and will of said person. Potter might show the same sort of resistance to the fumes. Besides I also think this only entails to positive acts and thoughts, these are only fumes, not full blown potions, they will help you say stuff you wanted to say in the first place." Daphne explained, disappointed that it was probably the truth.
"Ah, I guess that explains why they say 'unrestrained honesty', it helps you get past your own embarrassment of saying it." Tracey replied, the meaning clear to her now.
Tracey soon grinned, her head lazily rolling to the side "I see, I guess you're screwed then Daphne. You'll be blurting out all your curiosities about Potter."
"No I won't! I'll be perfectly and completely immune, you just watch me." Daphne said, confident in herself.
"Can't wait to find out Daphne, when will the fumes come out?" Tracey asked eagerly.
"I'm not sure, weeks? Months? It will in any case still be quite some time away. Luckily." Daphne said putting emphasis on the last word.
"Guess you'll never find out about Potter then, unless we're going to stalk him again." Tracey said, casting an accusing glance at her.
"It was merely coincidence Tracey, nothing more." She said easily brushing the guilt inducing glance off.
She said those things but she was truly getting interested in Harry Potter, their little adventure in Hogsmeade only spiking curiosity that had begun to grew after multiple Potions and Herbology lessons with Potter, he seemed calm and kind, gave little personal information about himself during their lessons. Although she was the same in that regard, so she couldn't really complain there.
She had mostly moved in the masses during the previous years, only hearing rumors about his supposed showdown with a basilisk, encounter with a hundred dementors, and battles in the triwizard tournament. At the time she didn't know what to think of him, she only heard bad things from Malfoy about his attention seeking ego, and read articles about him being deranged in the Prophet.
She hadn't been convinced that all of it was true, as she only saw a teenager caught between a rock and a hard spot on those moments. Their –now- comically first encounter on the train and newly established partnership in lessons had given her at least some insight into him after nearly six weeks.
He had been civil with her from the start of their lessons and always listened closely whenever she gave him instructions and feedback during Potions, his green eyes fixated on her during these times, interested in her knowledge. Always quickly trying to correct his mistakes and making sure not to repeat them in their next brewing. His efforts were quite endearing.
During Herbology he always went for the vines, gaining cuts multiple times from the flailing appendages but always keeping silent, encouraging her that he had everything under control. Never showing annoyance at her fluent cursing, or failures to approach the flower.
Harry Potter was a good person, shrouded in many unknown secrets to her, being the gravity point of people around him without his own noticing.
"Hey, still here with me in the library Daphne? Or did you go somewhere else hm?" Tracey called out to her wiggling her eyebrows.
"Just lesson reminiscences. Remember me to practice the Protego Charm again soon. Mine was pretty bad at the last DADA." She offhandedly said, pulling herself from her thoughts.
"Yeah sure." Tracey answered unbelievingly. "Weren't you rather thinking about your teamwork with Potter during said lessons? I can see that you're getting a bit chummy. Although I must say that I'm quite jealous of you there. Having a responsive partner would be nice." Tracey said, her grin back in place.
"Pure neutrality, Tracey, I assure you. And since we're on that topic: I've seen Weasley look less red each lesson, are things getter better?" Daphne asked, wanting to turn the attention away from her, and thinking about Tracey's partnership in return.
"It's coming along you know, slowly but surely he gets a bit more civil each lesson. He even managed greet me last time!" Tracey said, nodding at her, as if needing to convince her that it had actually happened. Which might be true.
Daphne winced, feeling sorry for Tracey. "I hope you come out of this okay, a lesson doesn't go by with your potion being vanished."
Tracey shrugged "I already asked Professor Slughorn, he said that successful teamwork will result in extra marks but otherwise won't affect our scores. I'll just have to make sure I get it down right on the exams."
"That's some good news at least then. Still I hope he manages to get civil soon." Daphne said remembering the glare she received when handing Potter the note from Dumbledore.
What business did Potter and the headmaster have anyway?
Harry knocked on the doors leading to the Headmaster's office, "Come in." Said a voice from inside, a bit muffled by the door.
There sat Dumbledore looking a bit tired, but he smiled when he gestured to Harry to sit down. The Pensieve was sitting on the desk again, casting silvery specks of light over the ceiling.
On his desk also stood the case made of glass, Inside rested a crudely crafted golden ring; Gaunt's ring, looking the same as last time he saw it. He had felt the dark enchantments on the ring the moment he had entered the office, beckoning him closer, radiating feelings of longing and affection.
The distracting feelings probably didn't bother the headmaster, the effect being negated by a mage of Dumbledore's caliber, he reasoned.
"Haven't gotten to destroying the Cursed object yet, Sir?" He asked, idly wondering how Dumbledore hadn't found means to destroying it yet.
"Oh no, I'm afraid not. Soon however, it will be nothing but broken jewelry, but then again, I also said that last time." The Headmaster replied, chuckling a bit.
"Now, you have had a busy time while I have been away," Dumbledore said, becoming more serious. "I believe you also witnessed Katie's accident."
"Yes, sir. How is she?"
"Still very unwell, although she was relatively lucky. She appears to have brushed the necklace with the smallest possible amount of skin; there was a tiny hole in her glove. Had she put it on, had she even held it in her ungloved hand, she would have died, perhaps instantly. Luckily Professor Snape was able to do enough to prevent a rapid spread of the curse-"
"Why him?" asked Harry quickly. "Why not Madam Pomfrey?"
"Professor Snape knows much more about the Dark Arts than Madam Pomfrey, Harry. Anyway, the St. Mungo's staff are sending me hourly reports, and I am hopeful that Katie will make a full recovery in time."
"Where were you the past weeks, sir?" Harry asked, hoping for the feeble chance that Dumbledore might tell him.
"I would rather not say just now, however, I shall tell you in due time." Said Dumbledore, confirming Harry's disappointment before withdrawing a fresh bottle of silver memories from inside his robes and uncorking it with a prod of his wand.
Harry continued despite this, he had more important questions, quite a lot of them.
"Sir," said Harry tentatively, "I met Mundungus in Hogsmeade."
"Ah yes, I am already aware that Mundungus has been treating your inheritance with light fingered contempt," said Dumbledore, frowning a little. "He has gone underground since you confronted him outside the Three Broomsticks; I think he dreads facing the consequences. However, rest assured that he will not be making away with any more of Sirius's old possessions, he has been prohibited from entering the house again."
"And the items he has taken? They will be forever lost?" Harry asked wanting justice and everything that had belonged to Sirius returned to their rightful place, even if Sirius hated all of it. He wanted it for the small favor and honor he could do for him.
"I fear so Harry, but remember that nothing is certain, who knows? They might find their way back to you again. Fate can be a funny thing sometimes, turning you at corners you never thought of crossing."
Harry sank back in the chair behind him, the Headmaster's cryptic words not really helping.
"Professor," said Harry, after a short pause, "did Professor McGonagall tell you what I told her after Katie got hurt? About Draco Malfoy?"
"She told me of your suspicions, yes," said Dumbledore.
"And do you-?"
"I shall take all appropriate measures to investigate anyone who might have had a hand in Katie's accident," said Dumbledore. "But what concerns me now, Harry, is our lesson."
'Anyone who might have a hand in this?' Dumbledore also didn't believe him then? Did anyone believe him nowadays? Harry felt resentful at this, sitting stiffly in his chair. However he said no more about Draco Malfoy, suppressing his feelings. I still have the whole evening left, I need to stay calm, calm, calm. He repeated in his head as a mantra while he watched as Dumbledore poured the fresh memories into the Pensieve and began swirling the stone basin with his wand.
"You will remember, I am sure, that we left the tale of Lord Voldemort's beginnings at the point where the handsome Muggle, Tom Riddle, had abandoned his witch wife, Merope, and returned to his family home in Little Hangleton. Merope was left alone in London, expecting the baby who would one day become Lord Voldemort."
"How do you know she was in London, sir?" Harry asked, his voice not entirely neutral.
"Because of the evidence of one Caractacus Burke," said Dumbledore, "who, by an odd coincidence, helped found the very shop whence came the necklace we have just been discussing."
"Now, into the memory we go Harry."
"I think that will do," said Dumbledore at Harry's side, and seconds later, they were soaring weightlessly through darkness once more, before landing squarely in the present day office.
"Sit down, Harry" said Dumbledore.
Harry obeyed, his mind still full of what he had just seen. He had learned how Merope sold one of Marvolo's treasured family heirlooms; Slytherin's locket, only to get a little gold for it, likely dying of starvation and depression afterwards, unwilling to continue her life and raise her son.
After becoming of age to go to Hogwarts Dumbledore came to Riddle, who had been sent to an orphanage where he used his already developing powers to frighten others.
Dumbledore informed young Riddle on the wizarding world and of its school of magic; Hogwarts, Riddle took little time to believe Dumbledore, already believing himself special and better than others, his manners far colder than any child should have been at his age. Already showing dislike for his common name and unwillingness to have someone accompany him to Diagon Alley.
Dumbledore continued explaining the memory to him, how he also noticed Riddle showing dislike of his name, leading to the image of Lord Voldemort and his tendency to experiment on people through acts of cruelty, secrecy, and domination, taking trophies of his acts from them.
"Now Harry, time is making fools of us again." Said Dumbledore, gesturing to the dark sky beyond the windows, indicating the end of the lesson.
But harry wasn't ready to go yet, he had more questions besides the ones from taking these lessons. What did it matter that he learned all this? Harry didn't believe that physiological warfare was going to work on Voldemort, and he was sure that Dumbledore also knew, there was another reason, that was related to his theory as he had told him earlier; in their first lesson. A reason he felt himself closing in on.
"Sir," he began, pausing, knowing he would be giving away part of his own secrecy now. "I have been researching the matter of Voldemort being able to return to physical bodies, the same matter I have laid before you last time we spoke here."
"I am growing confident that it is the same as yours, the method being 'soul anchoring' a seemingly horrible way of ripping one's soul apart and binding it to earth." He said, leaning forward in his chair as Dumbledore sank back in his own.
"You have been doing your homework then Harry, I see." Dumbledore said, his eyes seeming to dim.
"I do hope that you are not pushing yourself too hard Harry, I must say that you look a bit fatigued." Dumbledore said, looking tired himself as he spoke.
"I'm fine as long as I get answers, Sir." Harry replied, not sure if Dumbledore meant it or was trying to steer them away from the subject.
"I have been looking for some time now, but information has nearly run out with no clear answer in sight, I was hoping that you could share yours on the subject." He said fixating his gaze on Dumbledore's own blue.
"What more information is there to the anchoring? What deeds must be done for someone to rip their own soul?" Harry began.
Dumbledore was silent for a moment, contemplating before answering him. "Murder Harry, it requires murder."
Harry was briefly surprised that he had gotten an answer at all before continuing, there was more to it than that. "In what way? It's not like anyone can use anchoring like this right?"
"You are correct, Harry… hardly anyone will meet the demands of the act, for it asks no sympathy, empathy or any remorseful emotion during the act. It needs to be done in such a inhumane way to ensure that the soul, a human soul; normally not capable of such an act is punished by its own magic; ripping and scarring the soul." Dumbledore explained, having decided to answer his question.
Harry absorbed the information, finally hearing information he had been searching for, keeping completely silent during the explanation, afraid that any sound might break the spell.
Still he had to break the silence that now hang, as Dumbledore had stopped speaking. "Sir, their destruction, how are they destroyed? Is it possible to destroy such a thing as someone's soul in the first place, seeing as they are corporeal?
"It is possible to destroy them Harry, the methods however are largely unknown." Answered Dumbledore.
"Then what is known about destroying them?" He questioned again, fascinated by what he had heard before.
"That destruction is difficult, but not impossible, and requires that the receptacle to be damaged completely beyond physical or magical repair."
"What kind of methods are destructive enough then?" Harry asked, pressing on.
"I cannot say for sure Harry, likely the most dangerous and potent spells, venoms and weapons. Although I do not know which exactly." Dumbledore vaguely told him, his voice reluctant.
"And the soul itself, how are we capable of attacking it with magical and physical means? Magical I can understand, but using physical methods on the soul?" He asked, changing questions on the subject, and expressing his lack of clarity at the Headmaster's answers.
"I have my suspicions but wish not to indulge in them yet with you." Dumbledore said, completely stopping.
"Why not? It doesn't matter whether or not you know for sure." Harry tried convincing him.
"We will discuss it when we have confirmed it through the memories." Dumbledore said with a voice of finality.
"How-" Harry began again.
"Harry… I will not share the information, not yet." Dumbledore interrupted, his voice serious.
Harry could feel his lips get set in a tight line, and his jaw harden. "Fine. Good night, Sir" He ground out. This wasn't the end of it, far from it, but for now he would gather all his patience and wait for next time he got an opportunity.
He had at least learned something and was going to see what he could do with the new information until then.
He stood up and moved towards the doors leading out of the Headmaster's office, but heard Dumbledore speak up when he had his hand on the door.
"Harry, one last thing before you go please."
"Yes, Professor? Harry asked from the door, his back facing Dumbledore.
"Harry, I do not wish to see you leave frustrated and angry like this. Allow me to speak a few words that have been dwelling aimlessly in my aged mind until now." Dumbledore spoke to Harry's back.
"I've seen you deal with your current situation and problems for some time now Harry, a situation I've placed you in and problems I've given to you. I can tell you that where others might have given up, you continue onwards, despite everything placed upon you.
"I want to tell you that i'm impressed by your will and perseverance, but know that it is equally strong to show your weaknesses from time to time, keeping your emotions locked up will do you no good Harry. even the sweetest fruit can fester and rot when left unattended."Dumbledore said to him, his face likely smiling in the faint darkness of the office.
Harry swallowed, his grip on the door handle tightening, suddenly finding the craftmanship on the door very intriguing.
"I know that Sirius's death is hard for you Harry." Dumbledore spoke in an understanding tone, no pity but experience sounding through his voice.
He turned around again to face Dumbledore before speaking. "Sir..have you ever lost someone.. important to you?" Harry asked slowly, trying to keep his voice steady.
Dumbledore was silent for another moment, making Harry wonder whether or not he had asked one question too many for tonight. the Headmaster however, spoke again.
"I have Harry. It had been a mistake on my own part, and i live with the regrets of my decisions to this day." Dumbledore spoke solemnly, his face regretful and body sinking.
"I am to blame for this. I had made my choices for my own good and wellbeing, much unlike you did for Sirius, Harry. You were lured and deceived on multiple fronts, rushing in to save Sirius, disregarding your own safety."Dumbledore said.
Harry opened his mouth wanting to tell Dumbledore that it had only ended in disaster, disaster he had caused. But his voice didn't come out when he wanted it to, having no control of his vocal cords and only managing to produce silent words. the moment passed and Dumbledore continued.
"Few people have qualities like those Harry, including me. Please allow this old man to speak for others by saying that Sirius would have been proud of you." Dumbledore said to him, his eyes twinkling in what could be described as pride, and care that went above a normal teacher's.
Harry let out a breath that quivered a bit. His nightmare of the Ministry still fresh on his mind, would Sirius really have been proud of him? At the very least he wanted to think like that. Sirius being proud and happy of him would take a lot of the burden from him, would he really not be mad at him, even if Harry had blame in his death?
"It was cruel for you to lose him so fast after having just met him. Sirius represented much to you that you had never known before." Dumbledore said, honesty in his voice.
Harry said nothing, just standing there as memories of Sirius passed through him: his roaring laughter, doggish grin, funny jokes, and parental advice. Sirius had been exactly that above all; a parental figure, giving his opinion on various matters, whether that was relating to him with his outcast upbringing, or supporting and reprimanding him for his behaviour. It wasn't fair that Sirius had been ripped away from him, out of his life and into oblivion; Sirius had been stolen from him.
"Now.. good night Harry, come and see me when you feel the need." said Dumbledore gently.
Harry nodded, before gathering his will again, pushing the feelings of grief and guilt down. "Yes, he did mean a lot, Professor… and good night" He replied softly, closing the door behind him, wanting to leave it at that.
It was morning again and out of the top windows in the great hall, owls came flying through to delivering newspapers and letters.
Nerves welled up inside her stomach as she saw her family owl descend to her, Tracey's owl also heading downwards to her respectively.
Their owl' s landed, managing to avoid knocking over anything on the table as they held out their feet, letters attached to them. Daphne quickly reached over the table to give both owls some bacon before detaching the wrapped papers, quickly handing Tracey her own letter, their owl's flying away to the Owlery after haven done their jobs.
She began ripping it open, Tracey mirroring her, quickly scanned through the letter, the contents neither comforting nor very alarming. "Fuck." Daphne hissed softly, cursing anyway.
Death Eaters had visited her house again, conversing with her parents about the same things. The exact words hidden in their discussions, but nonetheless there, namely; about them pledging their allegiance and joining the Dark Lord, offering empty promises of wealth and prosperity for their services.
They wrote her that it had ended the same as usual, dodging answers and forestalling decisions on their part, keeping vague on their opinions and thoughts. But they all knew what side they would be joining as staying neutral was no choice this time. They would be joining Dumbledore, for the first time in their family line joining the Light side.
She felt better with this decision, joining the side that wanted to keep the peace and freedom as it was before the Dark lord's return, instead of joining the side that annihilated any opposition, and oppressed others for their background and upbringing.
She turned to Tracey, seeing that things had stayed the same for her too at home, as she nodded and smiled slightly.
They returned to their breakfast silently, feeling a bit down and still in contemplation.
She soon willed her thoughts to something else, to distract her from the mood dampener. Something. Anything.
Her eyes began gliding towards the Gryffindor table, searching for him between the masses before spotting his messy black hair, sitting opposite from her between Weasley and Granger. Who were, by the looks of it; bickering again about nothing in particular, their mouths opening and closing rapidly, but they didn't interest her much at the moment.
Potter sat between them, a bit hunched, offering few words in between their verbal warfare, taking slow bites out of his breakfast, distracted. The posture made him look a bit tired. Granger seemed to also take notice but said nothing to him, seemingly holding back her worries and questions, returning focus back soon enough on Weasley.
Their encounter in Hogsmeade, or rather; unknown encounter, still hadn't left her mind. She was curious as to what he had really done in their previous school years, who this Sirius really was and what he seemed to tire himself with.
But then again, maybe I'm overthinking things, maybe he just has a lot of homework to catch up on, and is this Sirius business nothing like she and Tracey thought it might be.
Still.. She was a bit curious, just a bit. Maybe she should watch him a bit more, no harm done there, right?
A few days had passed after Harry had his last memory lesson. They were currently walking through the halls on their way to the common room, having just come out of DADA with Snape, the lesson itself hadn't been that bad. Snape had obviously tried to make him look stupid by asking him the differences between inferi and ghosts; expecting him to fail. Harry however, perfectly and calmly explained it as he had done weeks of research on the nature of ghosts and the state of undead. Making Snape, look like he swallowed something extremely sour before he abruptly turned on his heel and began gliding away.
He was also doing a little bit better in other magic classes, probably duo to his own practice sessions. Allowing him to gain more efficiency in picking up spells and understanding them better.
He had also returned to the library with the little information he gained from Dumbledore. However there wasn't much to go by in the first place, only haven gotten one whole, a half and an abundance of deflected answers during his lesson. Books with any information had already run low before he had visited the Headmaster, now his questions were more specified, only serving to narrow down any information that was available.
Still he would continue trying, he just had this itching feeling that he was one step away from his conclusion, from his clarity of knowing what was going on and allowing him in on Dumbledore's full theory. He had to do it this way, find the information himself and push Dumbledore for explanations. The headmaster wasn't planning on telling him anytime soon, or at all for that matter, Harry could only dig it out from underneath him.
They rounded the corner and all thoughts stopped as alarms sounds went off in his head, there at the end of the hallway stood Slughorn, his round figure merilly skipping a beat upon seeing Harry.
"Nope, let's find another route!" Harry suddenly said, taking them by the arms and steering them in another hallway as he heard Slughorn call out to him with 'Harry m'boy, let's have a talk!'.
"Harry," Hermione began after steadying herself from his abrupt change in direction."You can't keep this up forever; it's rude towards Professor Slughorn. Besides his parties aren't that bad, the Professor has many intersting tales, and the food is also very good." She tried, making it sound better than it probably was.
"I'll rather pass hermione." He said, not wanting to think about Slughorn parading him around like his own personal house cup, telling boring stories of famous people he met during his lifetime.
"Well, Slughorn is preparing a Christmas party you know, and there is simply no way that he wont make you come to it. He'll adjust the date if he has to." Hermione said, warning him.
"Well, I'll happily enjoy my freedom untill then." he said, dismissively. He'll continue avoiding slughorn as long as he could, maybe, just maybe he manages to stay out of it long enough. Then the party will pass and Slughorn might start considering leaving him alone for the remainder of his life.
"You're completely right Harry, stupid 'Slug Club' full of snobs." Ron said, becoming grumpy as usual at the mention of the club, he had really taken badly to being ignored by the Professor.
"I'll have you know that we're allowed to bring guests," said Hermione, snippely, "and I was going to ask you to come, but if you think it's that stupid and for snobs then I won't bother, since you would also become a snob by coming."
"You were going to ask me?" asked Ron, in a completely different voice.
"Yes," said Hermione softly.
There was a pause while Harry began to feel like he had the invisibility cloak on. Suddenly wishing he wasn't here with them in this strange atmosphere.
"I'm sorry, I'll come with you." said Ron, in a very quiet voice.
Hermione only nodded.
Harry coughed after seeing that the silence seemed to go nowhere, making his presence known again. Hermione looked flustered and immediately started looking at the portraits they passed. Ron, on the other hand, had a faraway look in his eyes.
It was not as though he was really surprised, thought Harry, he had had a feeling that this might happen sooner or later. But he was not sure how he felt about it. … what if Ron and Hermione started going out together, then split up? Could their friendship survive it? Where would he be in it? Would things stay the same, or would he become a bother? He could only wait and see, he thought as they walked in silence.
They sat in the common room, working on essays. Rather copying them from Hermione as this one was about their Transfiguration lesson, asking for the dangers of human transfiguration, which proved quite difficult to explain, but that might have been due to their lack of interest in the background information. They could search the information up again but it proved to be a bit late to do that now, with the deadline being tomorrow and all. Hermione would finish these things much quicker than that.
Ron and Harry had opted to start on their Herbology essay while Hermione helped them on Transfiguration. An efficient method for all three of them, since she wouldn't have to spend fifteen minutes scribbling all over their Acceptable level Transfiguration parchment.
Hermione, however was slow this evening, slow on a subject that only required pure knowledge. Her quill scribbed but went into pauze again after haven written down a few lines. This was strange in itself as she normally finished these things in nearly one straight line but she seemed distracted, her eyes occasionally staring at her parchment while she nibbled on her bottom lip, obviously in deep thought. She was likely thinking about something else other than their essay.
"Hermione." He said, calling out to her after this went on for a few minutes. "What's wrong?"
"Yeah,what's wrong? You usually finish these things without even blinking." added Ron also having noticed her odd behavior.
"Say, Harry.." hermione began, pulling her head up from their essays to look him hesitantly in the eyes.
"Yes, Hermione?" he asked, softly urging her on, seeing her hesitation to continue her thoughts, which was rare for her.
"You been going away to practise for a long time now, i know that it isn't for the school lessons as you were doing great in them even before you started practicing. But you look a bit tired, there is no need to push yourself. It's not like you're worried for your exams right? Those are still miles away, well i myself already started preparing but that doesn't mean anything of course!" Hermione fired off rapidly as her dam broke in one go, keeping silent as she waited for his answer.
He wasn't surprised by their curiosity; this moment would have come up eventually. He did feel a bit guilty for making them worry however.
Already having prepared his answer, he kept it simple and said: "I want to get a head start on my Auror training. Heard from Tonks and Moody that it's a hard schooling, might as well work on some things now to make it easier later." To which Ron made a nod of acknowledgement while Hermione smiled at him, slightly relieved at his answer before turning serious.
"That's great Harry, but don't push yourself okay? It's still some time away." She said.
"Says the witch who is already starting on exams at the start of the year." He said poking at her, returning her words.
She squirmed away from him, laughing. "Okay, okay stop! I won't say anymore!"
"Oi, Hermione, what the hell does this mean? Are they being serious here with this fumes stuff?" Ron asked, handing her his Herbology book, which looked quite strange on him, after she had quieted down from her laughter.
She leaned over to read the small article where he had pointed. Squinting her eyes from the distance before looking perplexed.
"Oh. Well.. that'll be quite troublesome." Was all she said.
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