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HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE! Chapter 20

All in a First Day’s Worth


The next morning, Harry sat in Dumbledore’s office. He got up rather early that morning and he woke Ron to tell him where he was going and that he would meet him for breakfast. Harry left to see Dumbledore soon after he had showered. Since the dream about Sirius didn’t involve his scar hurting, Harry had decided not to say anything to Dumbledore. He did decide, however, that he would have a talk with Remus sometime. Harry figured that if there was anyone who probably knew what it felt like to lose Sirius, it would be him.

“Good morning,” Dumbledore began and after a few words of greeting he directed the conversation to the purpose of this meeting. “As you were present and witnessed the actions of the Sorting Hat last night, you may be wondering what the incident was all about.”

Harry nodded. He had indeed wondered since Dumbledore had glanced at him during the occurrence. Harry had a feeling that it was something to do with him.

Dumbledore continued, “I have to confess that I was caught off-guard by what the Hat said to me, and it is for this reason that I’ve called you into this office.” Dumbledore began with a smile, managing to peak Harry’s curiosity even more.

“What did the Hat say?” Harry couldn’t help but ask. Dumbledore’s eyes sparkled.

“He told me the reason he was unable to sort Miss Bellou is because he was not created to sort Mages of her kind,” Dumbledore replied.

Harry looked at the professor in confusion. He wasn’t sure what that was supposed to mean nor how Joséphine’s sorting could have had anything to do with him.

“Magic is a mysterious thing, Harry, and too complex for any one individual to completely grasp all of it...” Dumbledore said standing up and walking to the window to look out over the grounds. He turned and faced Harry with a gentle smile on his face, yet there was apprehension and worry etched in his features. “There are different kinds of magical wizards. 99.99% of the magical population can be categorized into wizards, witches, warlocks and sorcerers. The remaining .01% are Mages.”

Harry was starting to wonder if Dumbledore would get to the point.

“Mages are the most powerful wizards, but they are very rare and in the last centuries they have been all but extinct. So you can imagine when I say that the revelation made by the Sorting Hat that Miss Bellou is a Mage was a surprise.”

Harry nodded, but still didn’t seem to understand why this all mattered, and what did it have to do with him?

“But what’s even more extraordinary is that the Hat also revealed to me that you are a Mage as well.”

“ME?”

“I’ve been asking myself the same question, but the Hat assured me that you are one also.”

“But you just said that the Sorting Hat couldn’t sort Mages, yet he sorted me into Gryffindor,” Harry replied in shock.

“The Hat said he could never sort Mages of Joséphine’s kind. And the Hat didn’t place you in Gryffindor; you made a choice. You chose not to be placed into Slytherin, which is where the Hat strongly suggested you should be. He has let every Mage that has ever attended Hogwarts make a choice. Why the Sorting Hat chose to reveal such a thing now, he will not tell. There is little known about why a particular witch or wizard inherits the specific magical traits of a Mage, but I’ve begun looking into it and I have just discovered a few unknown things about Mages and I hope to have answers to you fairly soon. The Hat did tell me, however, that you are an Elemental Mage,” Dumbledore said and continued, “Elemental Mages are the ones we Wizards know the most about. This scroll,” Albus said handing a large scroll to Harry, “contains a good amount of information on everything that we know about Elemental Mages.”

“Now…” Dumbledore continued before Harry could ask questions, “I want you to meet the new Professor for Defence Against The Dark Arts,” Dumbledore said and Harry whipped his head round to look behind him. There was a man standing by the door as he had just entered. He was dressed in a dark cloak, with the hood covering his face so only his chin and lips were visible. It seemed like Déjà vu to Harry.

“This is Professor Donovan.”

It was him!

Donovan gently took his hood off his head and Harry was startled to see someone completely different than the man he met at the café in London. Donovan had said to Harry that Dobsen was his Muggle alias, but the man here didn’t look like Dobsen. He wondered if he was a Metamorphmagus, like Tonks… who could change his appearance at will. The man in front of Harry appeared much younger, and Harry suddenly felt a sense of dread. What if this was the real Donovan and that other man at the Leaky Cauldron had been an impostor and had said Dobsen was an alias because he didn’t know what Harry was talking about? What if it was the other way around!? The impostor was sitting right here! He should say something to Dumbledore. But as Donovan spoke, Harry definitely recognized the same voice.

“Pleased to finally meet you, Mr Potter,” he said and stared pointedly at Harry.

“Erm, likewise… Professor,” Harry replied without thinking.

“Professor Donovan is an Unspeakable at the Department of Mysteries and I have hired him to be one of the new professors for Defence Against the Dark Arts. He arrived shortly before the feast was over last night,” Dumbledore said and placed his hands on the desk forming a steeple. Harry nodded. He had been with Remus when Dumbledore greeted the two new professors in the Entrance Hall.

“It is extraordinary to have a Mage among us…” Dumbledore said and looked at Harry, “but even more extraordinary is to have more than one Mage together in the same century,” he said with serenity. “It is quite unimaginable to have three of them in this school,” he said now turning to Donovan.

Harry turned to look at Professor Donovan with shock.

“When I first interviewed Mr Donovan for this position,” Dumbledore said not taking his gaze from Donovan, “he surprised my by revealing to me that he was a Mage. It was a surprise because I would have expected that he would keep this information secret, since the nature of this information is very sensitive.”

Harry didn’t quite understand why that would be so, but he noticed that Donovan looked straight into the headmaster’s eyes.

“I have heard that if you can not trust in Albus Dumbledore, then in who can you trust? You are famous for your less than conventional appointments, and I know you don’t discriminate against those of us who are different, no matter what the rumours or beliefs are,” Donovan said to Dumbledore.

“One reason why you obtained this job is because I appreciate your honesty,” Dumbledore said, and Harry had the feeling that there was plenty more that he meant that was unsaid. Harry also wondered if it wasn’t to keep a closer eye on him. Dumbledore had, after all, met Donovan before when Donovan sorted out some things about the vault left to him by Ellen Schellden.

“But there will always be things that I will be unable to speak of with you, Headmaster, unless I am given clearance to do so. I am bound to keep secrets…” Donovan said a bit enigmatically and a bit apologetically at the same time.

“Naturally. I expect no less from an Unspeakable,” Dumbledore said and turned to Harry. “Professor Donovan has enlightened me with new information about being a Mage and, in light of this information, I am going to schedule special classes for both you and Miss Bellou so you will be able to experiment and to train in your Mage abilities. Professor Donovan has agreed to teach you and guide you during the extra classes. I hope you take this opportunity to your advantage. Also, it will be best if we keep this between us. That is all for now,” Dumbledore said and dismissed Harry.

“I can’t believe it!” Harry heard Hermione’s whisper on his wrist watch. Harry had forgotten that he had linked with Ron this morning so that he was able to hear on the conversation. Hermione must now be with him.

Harry walked out of Dumbledore’s office and stepped onto the escalator.
His head was reeling. Not only had he found out he was a Mage, the mystery man of the summer showed up as the new DADA professor and, to top it off, he was a Mage himself, and would be spending extra time with Harry and that new girl, Joséphine. He could still not get over his unease that Donovan looked different to Dobsen. He remembered then the incident from Hogsmeade at the end of last year. Ron had told Harry about it and he had seen the silicone mask the man had worn that Mr Weasley had kept for ‘research’. Maybe Dobsen’s face had also been a mask. Was Donovan now using a mask as well?

Harry heard running footsteps and he saw Ron and Hermione running towards him when they rounded the corner.

“So that’s why you two can do wandless magic! Only your kind has been known to wield it! It all makes sense now,” Hermione stated as a matter of fact while she caught her breath. Ron looked at Harry a little apprehensively, seeming almost fearful.

“I’ve never done wandless magic,” Harry countered.

“You told me about all those incidents when you were younger. That is wandless magic,” Hermione interjected.

Harry didn’t say anything and he realized that she was right but he had thought it was normal for underage wizards to do that when they felt a powerful emotion. Harry also noticed the way Ron was acting.

After the three chatted for a while, they headed down to the Great Hall for breakfast.

“Erm, Harry, can I study those a bit?” Hermione asked pointing to Harry’s scroll. “I’ll give it back to you,” she said and smiled eagerly.

“Sure, then you can explain things to me and I won’t have to read it,” Harry grinned at her.

“Of course!” Hermione answered and greedily reached for the parchment.

“Erm, Harry. If I were you I would really keep quiet about you being a Mage and all,” Ron said scratching the back of his head.

“Ron, that is ridiculous. Stupid beliefs…” Hermione berated him.

“Why?”

“No, I’m serious. Well, it’s like, you know, with Professor Lupin… he is feared and hated for… uh… what he is… and well… Mages are considered… erm… dark wizards and people have always feared them. But they have disappeared and there haven’t been any more for a long, long time,” Ron said shifting his weight nervously. “It might be best if no one else but us knows.”

So that’s why Dumbledore said he understood why Donovan kept it a secret.

“People are so ignorant. They fear what they don’t know,” Hermione said, sounding quite upset.

Harry frowned. The last thing he needed was another reason to draw unwanted, and possibly highly negative attention to him.

“But you do trust me?” Harry asked directly.

“Of course, mate!”

“Always!” both Ron and Hermione exclaimed at once.

They ran into Ginny, Dean and Neville along the way to breakfast, and then they noticed another person joining them. Bianca Malfoy was now walking timidly next to Ginny. Ron gave Ginny a questioning look, and Ginny shrugged her shoulders.

The Great Hall was not very crowded yet and the six of them sat down to eat breakfast. After a while, Professor McGonagall began to hand out their timetables.

“Congratulations on your OWLS,” she said as she handed the timetables to the group. “Miss Bellou, your equivalency grades arrived this morning and Dumbledore had a few questions before you can sign up for your classes. He would like to speak with you after breakfast,” she said to the new girl, whom Harry hadn’t really met yet. She was sitting next to Fred again. Harry had learned from Hermione that she was a seventh year student, transferred from Beauxbatons.

Ron looked as his schedule and called Professor McGonagall back.

“Professor? I think there’s a mistake on the timetables,” he said waving the paper to her.

“How so, Mr Weasley?” she asked with a stony look on her face.

“Look here!” Ron said pointing to the timetable. "It says that Defence Against the Dark Arts is at 6 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays!” Ron exclaimed.

Professor McGonagall’s face did not change from the stony expression, but there was definite amusement in her eyes. “I assure you, Mr Weasley, there is no mistake. The new Professors have requested this addition and Dumbledore approved. You will have classes as scheduled,” she said and continued down the table handing out timetables.

Ron, Harry and Hermione could hear other students making the same comment to the professor.

Professor Dumbledore stood up at the breakfast table and called for attention.

“I have been asked to clarify something this morning. There is no mistake in the timetables you have received. Fifth year students and higher have Defence Against the Dark Arts at the time scheduled. This year we are making Defence Against the Dark Arts mandatory for all upper level years. If you have questions, please consult the new professors. Both are present this morning, so I will take a moment to introduce them.” He motioned to two figures sitting at the table; one was cloaked in black robes, with the hood raised over his head, so only his chin and mouth were visible. The other one also had robes with the hood pulled over the head, but in contrast to the pitch black of the first, it was bright red. The students could only see the chin and lips.

“This is Professor Donovan. He works for the Ministry which is the reason we have a second professor; he may be absent on Ministry business at times,” Dumbledore informed the students, and they watched as the man under the black robes nodded his head in acknowledgement. “And this is Professor Liliana de Valerio. She comes highly recommended from the Royal Magical Academy of Spain. She will assist Professor Donovan with his classes and will instruct you in the case of his absence,” Dumbledore indicated as the woman in the red robes nodded her head in acknowledgement.

The student body began to murmur about the mysterious professors whilest others were groaning about the fact that they had to get up and be in class by 6 in the morning.

Joséphine finished her breakfast and stood up. Harry overheard her speaking to Fred. “I will see Professeur Dumbledore now. I will see vous lateur, zhank you for your ‘elp this morning,” she said to Fred with a smile, although she seemed tense and walked over to the staff table. Dumbledore stood up and Joséphine followed him back to the office.

Justin Finch-Fletchley, Ernie McMillan, Hannah Abbott and Susan Bones walked over from the Hufflepuff table towards the Gryffindor one.

“Hey guys,” Ernie greeted the group.

“What’s up?” Ron asked after a moment of greeting.

“We were wondering if you were planning to re-instate the DA again this year and if you were going to have a meeting this week,” Justin asked as the others nodded.

“Yeah… my aunt said to me that there had been an outpour of requests from parents that wanted Dumbledore to increase the Defence Against Dark Arts classes before I came back, so I think it is important that we keep up. I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely learnt more in the DA than in class last year and we have no idea what the new professors are like,” Susan began speaking quickly, afraid that Harry would not agree to starting the DA again.

Before Harry could respond Hermione jumped in, “We already discussed this during the summer, and Harry agreed to do it.” Hermione turned to Harry. “Should we meet tonight before we are swamped with coursework?” she asked.

Harry didn’t like that she had spoken for him but he guessed she was right. She had already convinced him to continue with the club, despite the fact that he still felt guilty to have put some of its members in mortal danger because of his stupid mistake.

“Sure,” he replied., “but I think we should keep it a secret still. I really don’t want word out and getting new members until we’ are sure we can trust them.” Everyone agreed it was a good idea.

“Do you think everyone has their Galleons?” Hermione asked.

“I think so, but we can speak directly with the members,” Hannah replied. “Susan and I can talk to the Ravenclaws if you want to let the rest of the Gryffindors know,” she added.

“What about Marietta?” Ron asked, and the group scowled.

“Well, I personally don’t want that sneak back in the group,” Susan replied crossing her arms. The others agreed.

“No, I mean she probably still has her Galleon, and what if she tells on us when she feels it get warm?” Ron clarified.

“You would think her mouth would be sealed after last year…”

“Still…”

“Leave Marietta to me,” Luna voiced and caught the attention of the group. She had walked over from Ravenclaw table when she had seen the group heading towards Gryffindor. “I’ll get the Galleon back,” she added.

“All right, once you get that Galleon back let Hermione know and we’ll set the meeting time for tonight,” Harry said and they finished the conversation.

The Hufflepuffs went back to their table, while Luna joined Ginny with the Gryffindors.

“So, what do we have first?” Harry asked as he picked up his timetable.

“Double Charms with Professor Lupin. I can’t wait to see what he teaches us,” Hermione said with enthusiasm. She pulled out her morphing book and opened it to the first page.

“The standard book of spells: Year Six,” she said as she tapped the page with her wand.

Searching Database… Please wait

After a brief moment, the title appeared on the list.

Hermione tapped her wand to the words and the book morphed into the class book.

“I did a little bit of reading—” she began.

“Which means she has memorized it by now,” Ron whispered to Harry who chuckled.

“—there are all sorts of useful charms. There’s the freezing charm, and the opposite one to heat things up, and there’s a feather-light charm! And we get to learn the shrinking charm! Oh, and Aguamenti…” She began to drone on about the spells and Harry had to tune her out, ignoring her ranting. Instead, he turned his attention to the head table.

Harry saw Professor Lupin eating his breakfast, and he smiled at Harry. Harry noticed that Remus was looking a bit better. The full moon had been five nights ago, and last night Harry had noticed the dark circles under his eyes. Remus’ attention was drawn away when both new professors stood up and left. There was something in the way that Lupin turned to look at the professors that told Harry that Remus did not trust Donovan one bit. Then it dawned on him. Remus had mentioned something saying that the man from Hogsmeade and King’s Cross was the same as Michael Dobsen, who Harry knew was Michael Donovan. He must have recognized his scent, Harry thought.

“Come on,” Ron said tugging on Harry’s sleeve. “We don’t want to be late for Charms.” Hermione closed her book and stuffed it in her bag, and the three of them left the Great Hall.

“Hey Neville,” Harry said to the tall young man already in the queue. Parvati, Dean and Seamus were the other students from Gryffindor taking Charms.

“Hey guys,” Neville replied waving his hand.

It was almost lesson time, but there was still no sign of Professor Lupin. Just as the bell rang, he walked down the hall, hastily opened the door and set his books on the desk. Everyone filed in. Harry sat down and was surprised to see Hermione take the seat next to him. Ron sat on the empty spot next to Neville. Harry groaned inwardly because now he would have to put up with Hermione’s lectures on top of having the lesson. He had hoped to doodle away with Ron as they did in some classes when they were bored, although he wasn’t expecting on being bored with Professor Lupin.

“Welcome to Charms. As you know I will be substituting for Professor Flitwick for the first half of the school year and I must tell you that I am delighted to see you all again. Now, when I call your name I want you to do a charm that you have previously learned,” he said and picked up the register.

He began to read names and each student performed a charm to show their skills. Hermione did her signature portable waterproof fire, and received an ‘excellent’ and a smile from Lupin. Ron used an Accio spell to summon his textbook, while Neville performed a correct Bubble-head charm. He had become good at it last year when there were so many stink pellets and dungbombs set about the school. On Harry’s turn, Harry pointed his wand at Lupin and cried “Expecto Patronum” and his silver stag left his wand and galloped about the room before it disappeared. Several of the students in Charms belonged to the DA and they clapped with enthusiasm. Harry felt a tinge of colour rise into his cheeks, and noticed several of the Hufflepuff sixth year girls looking at him with adoring eyes. He looked away quickly, only to settle on Parvati who was looking at him dreamily for a second, before she blushed and looked away. Harry sat down feeling his ears hot.

Lupin smiled at him, ticked Harry’s name on the list, and moved on to the next person.

After the syllabus was discussed, they spent the rest of the class hour reviewing the charms they had learned last year, such as the silencing charm and the colour changing charm. Once the lesson was over, the trio headed over to Gryffindor Tower during their break. When they arrived at the portrait Luna was walking by with an aloof expression on her face.

“Oh, I’m by Gryffindor,” she exclaimed in a surprised manner. She was wearing a pair of bright pink shoes that were sticking out from under her robes, her wand tucked behind her ear as usual. “All the better,” she said and shrugged, then turned to the trio, “this will save me from having to try to find you.”

Harry, Ron and Hermione simply shook their heads. Although she was very strange, all three of them considered her a friend and comrade by now.

“Here is Marietta’s Galleon,” she said handing the fake Galleon to Hermione. “I remembered last year for some reason she couldn’t remember about us meeting after Umbridge made the clubs illegal, so I said that if she didn’t want to participate this year that she had to surrender the Galleon and sign a release form. She was apprehensive about signing, but I told her that if she didn’t, she would probably end up with the same problem as last year once you burn the original list. She signed this,” Luna said handing a parchment over and smiled, “I then informed her that now her teeth will grow large and her whole body will be covered with the word ‘sneak’ if she says anything about the DA ever again.”

“You charmed this parchment?” Hermione asked impressed.

“Actually no, you will have to do it,” Luna replied in her dreamy voice.

Harry and Ron laughed at her cleverness. “So she doesn’t know? That’s brilliant!” Harry exclaimed.

“I better get ready for class. I think Hagrid has brought the Crumple-Horned Snorkack to show the school. My father finally found it. Maybe he’ll show it in your class as well,” Luna said and left the trio.

“Do you reckon she’s all right up here?” Ron asked pointing to his head.

“I don’t know, she has some weird beliefs, but I don’t think she’s crazy,” Harry said and shrugged.

“What time do you want me to set the Galleons for the meeting?” Hermione asked switching the subject. The beliefs Luna held, that Hermione could not comprehend, were very unnerving to her.

“How about 8 tonight?” Harry replied.

After break, Harry and Ron played a game of chess as they waited for their free period to pass, while Hermione had Ancient Runes. They could have started on that short essay Lupin had assigned for the next class which was tomorrow, but they felt they had plenty of time to get it done. An owl flew into the common room and gave a letter to Harry.

Harry,

Please come to my office.

Dumbledore
Headmaster, Hogwarts


“What does he want, I wonder?” Ron asked.

“I dunno. I guess I’ll see you at lunch,” Harry said and left the common room and headed over to the headmaster’s office. He spoke the password and took the escalating stairs two at a time. When he entered the office, he found Muluc perched on a stand in the headmaster’s office.

“Lemon drop?” Dumbledore offered Harry the sweets in his dish. Harry politely refused. “I hope you do not mind that I have requested that Muluc bring your correspondence here, rather then deliver it publicly. You can imagine how noticeable Muluc would be in the Great Hall delivering at the same time as the post. From now on, anything between you and Miss Machado will be handled in here. Simply come to my office whenever you have a letter to send to her, and I will inform you when a letter arrives for you. That is all… oh, one more thing, your own personal password to get in is ‘Smarties’. With the return of the Weasley twins, I’m afraid that I will have to return to my custom of changing the password often. Yours however, will remain constant. Please do not share it with anyone,” Dumbledore said and grinned at Harry.

Harry took the letter with an extreme feeling of guilt. He had completely forgotten to write to Veronica. It struck him as odd that he hadn’t missed Muluc delivering a letter to him. He and Veronica wrote to each other almost daily, but it had been three days since he had sent a letter or even thought about writing one.

Dumbledore returned to his stacks of paper. Harry left the office, down the staircase, and headed back to Gryffindor Tower.

Harry tore the letter open and read it as he walked back to the common room. He wasn’t paying attention to where he was going until he felt something like a draft of air wash over him. For a split second he felt as if he couldn’t move and Harry felt as though his body had been turned into stone, unable to move forward. Then, as soon as the sensation had started, it was suddenly gone. Did he imagine it? Everything seemed normal. Harry shrugged and continued to walk. He didn’t notice the moth frozen in midair nor the dead silence in the corridor. Harry paused when he heard murmurs coming from an empty classroom. He wondered who could be in there, since there were no classes ever scheduled in that particular room. He felt the weird sensation in his body that he felt around the new girl, and couldn’t help but move closer to look through a crack in the door.

He could see Joséphine speaking with someone outside of his view.

“… you can tell …. I can not do zhis”! she exclaimed, frustrated.

“You must… not before time … master… very dangerous,” a male voice spoke in a low volume, and Harry could not make out everything completely.

“I… can not …”

“Jo… you must… I think we better…. What is it Joséphine?” the man’s voice asked. Harry saw Joséphine turn to look towards the door.

Harry jumped from his spot and ran around the corner and up a flight of steps. If he had been paying attention he would have noticed that his footsteps made no sound. He felt another waft of air and suddenly the hall was filled with the little noise of life in the castle. He didn’t pay attention to this as he was wondering if Joséphine felt him when he was around just as he felt her. She probably knew it was him spying on her. He took the long route to Gryffindor Tower to think.

Who was she speaking to? She was new at the school so she couldn’t have known anyone beforehand, could she? And what was it that she couldn’t do? Harry’s curiosity was getting the better of him. When he came around a corner he smashed into Hermione knocking her backwards, and taking her down with him, landing on top of her. She was on her way back from her lesson which had finished early so students could go do some research in the library. Hermione had already done it the day before so she was free until lunch.

“Sorry Hermione,” Harry said leaning over her, his face mere inches from hers. Harry blinked and squinted trying to see her better.

Hermione was stumped for a second unable to respond and for a moment they simply stared at each other.

“It… it’s all right Harry,” she said finally snapping out of her trance and blushing, “but you are rather heavy,” she added and huffed a little.

“Oh, sorry…” Harry jumped up and felt around the ground for his glasses. Hermione sat up on the floor and handed him his spectacles.

“Thanks,” he said, and placed them back on. He stood up and helped her to her feet.

“What were you running from?” she asked as they began to pick up her things. Such close physical contact had been a bit disorienting to both of them, especially Hermione.

“Erm, nothing. I was returning from Dumbledore’s office…” he replied.

“What did he want?” she interrupted him curiously as she picked up a letter. In a quick glance she was able to read the first few sentences from Veronica, and she pushed the letter to Harry.

“I got a letter from Veronica and I guess Muluc is only allowed in his office now,” Harry replied while he looked for the letter among the parchments from Hermione’s bag. He really didn’t want to admit that he was spying on a conversation between Joséphine and someone. It was probably nothing, and Hermione would tell him just so.

“This must be it,” she said handing him the letter and biting her bottom lip.

“Thanks,” Harry said as he stuffed it in a pocket of his robe, not noticing the look in her eyes.

The pair headed back to the common room. Hermione went to her room to set the DA Galleons to the right time and date, while Harry went up to his room to read Veronica’s letter. Ron was taking a nap in his bed next to Harry’s.

Harry finished writing a letter to Veronica and then placed the letter in a pocket of his robe. He went to wake up Ron since it was time to go to lunch.

When they went down to the common room, Joséphine was speaking with Fred and George. They had just returned from their last class and she was upset because she had apparently earned detention in DADA. Both Fred and George seemed to be proud. Harry frowned at this. Wasn’t Joséphine in a deserted hallway just now? He looked at her to see if something was out of place. She smiled at him, but didn’t appear nervous or confused.

“We were just telling Joséphine that she should try out for Quidditch. She said she played in Beaubaxtons. By the way, has McGonagall selected a new captain?” Fred asked him, and Harry focused on him.

“No, I’ve not heard,” Harry replied.

“You’ll probably get the spot,” Ron said it as a fact, although he could not quite hide his jealousy.

“I’m not so sure,” Harry replied.

“Why wouldn’t you?” Ron asked.

“I don’t think I’m the best qualified,” he replied.

“Bollocks!” Fred exclaimed.

“I don’t think Fred and George would make captain, so that leaves you and Katie,” Ron said sounding exasperated.

“Hey!” George exclaimed, insulted.

“I guess we’ll find out,” Fred said shrugging his shoulders.

When several other sixth years and Hermione joined them, the group went to lunch. Ron grumbled when he noticed the Malfoy girl following Ginny, who was walking with another fifth year student.

“Oy, don’t you have classmates of your own age?” Ron grumbled as they reached the table.

“Ron! Leave her alone,” Hermione warned him.

“You’re stepping up for a Malfoy!?” Ron asked incredulously and feeling a little betrayed.

“No, I am telling you as a Prefect to leave a fellow, and considerably younger, Gryffindor alone,” Hermione replied.

“She’s probably spying on us for that git and her Death Eater daddy,” Ron retorted. Bianca’s lower lip began to tremble and she turned around and fled the group.

“You’re such a prat!” Ginny screamed at him and she ran after Bianca. Hermione glared at Ron.

“What? It’s the truth.She’s a Malfoy and can’t be trusted!” Ron defended himself. He was getting worked up about it. He hadn’t done anything wrong. Hermione huffed and slammed her palms on the table.

“You’re an insensitive git!” she growled and left the Great Hall without eating. The whole room turned to look at Ron whose ears began to burn. His scowl was enough to stifle any jokes or retorts. Harry noticed that Malfoy was glaring at Ron but he wasn’t moving to defend his sister. He glared at Harry, and Harry just ignored him.

He agreed with Ron about the Malfoy girl, but he also agreed with Hermione. If Bianca ended up in Gryffindor, maybe she was a little bit different than her family, but again there were plenty of Death Eaters out there who weren’t necessarily Slytherins and a brave Death Eater was the last thing Harry needed.

Halfway through the lunch hour, Professor McGonagall came looking for the Quidditch team. Katie, Ron, Ginny, Fred, George, Jack, Andrew and Harry followed her into the office and took a seat when she offered it.

“I am sure you have some idea why I asked you to come. First of all, I remind you that Harry, Fred and George’s ban on Quidditch has been lifted. Now, I am afraid that since Miss Weasley …”

“I want to try out for a Chaser instead,” Ginny interrupted as if knowing what McGonagall was going to say.

“Oh, most excellent!” McGonagall exclaimed unable to conceal her relief. They all tried hard to suppress a chuckle.

McGonagall regained her composure and continued, “Well, Harry, I guess the position of Seeker is yours again. Now, with the return of the Weasley twins, it will only be fair that there be tryouts for Beaters to give everyone a fair chance…”

This time it was Andrew who interrupted her. “Erm, Professor… I don’t think I want to come back to the team again…” he said nervously.

“Why not Mr Kirke?” McGonagall exclaimed, surprised. Usually Quidditch players remained in a team, especially if they had won the cup the previous two times.

“Well, you see… I only went to tryouts because my dad practically threatened me into it, but I really didn’t want to be there and when I got picked I couldn’t say no… but now that Fred and George are back Gryffindor will be better off with one of them in my position…”

McGonagall turned to face Fred and George with disbelief, her lips thinning.

They both put their arms up.

“—we swear we didn’t say anything!—”

“—Professor! We may be pranksters, and troublemakers, but we ain’t bullies!—”

“—we have honour!—”

“No Professor! They didn’t say anything to me! I swear! I was going to quit anyway whether they came back or not!” Andrew said alarmed and hoped the twins didn’t think that he was trying to get them in trouble.

McGonagall looked between the three of them, and apologized to the twins.

“Very well, Mr Kirke… if you don’t wish to tryout again for the team, I am saddened to hear so. You were, after all, part of the team and with your help Gryffindor won the cup last year. May I encourage you to try out as a reserve? I have decided that in the event anything happens to any of our team players that it makes sense to have a reserve player for each position. Since you have already played in the team and have proven your skills, you would be an excellent candidate.”

“Do I have to go to every practice?” he asked nervously.

“It is desired that you attend practices, yes.”

“Then no, I had to miss some meetings for the Gobstones club last year and this year I’m President, but thanks anyway.”

“That leaves just the three of you to try out for the Beater positions along with the others…”

Sloper raised his hand. “I actually want to try out for Chaser. My arm always kills after beating those Bludgers,” Sloper said and blushed.

McGonagall narrowed her eyes at the twins. “You are sure you haven’t done anything to these boys?”

“We swear!” Fred said raising his hand, flat palm facing forward. George had done a little cross over his heart.

“Mmmh,” McGonagall said in a tone that meant she wasn’t really convinced. “Very well. As you know, we are in need of a new captain. If we go by seniority, the role of captain would fall between Fred and George…”

“—we don’t want to be captain—” George interrupted her.

“—Nah, too much responsibility—” Fred chimed.

“…then the next candidate would be Katie…” she said smiling at her.

“Me? Captain? No, I thought you’d pick Harry…”

“You don’t want to be the team captain? What is going on with everyone here?” McGonagall exclaimed flabbergasted. “Don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to be captain either, Harry?

“Erm, well… erm…”

The whole group was looking at Harry with surprise, McGonagall as well. She couldn’t believe her ears! No one had ever refused to be team captain when offered the position!

“I really love playing Quidditch, but being captain is something that I haven’t really thought about. All I want is to be able to play, and besides, I’m not the best choice when it comes to thinking strategically… I think Ron would be better suited for the position,” Harry replied in all honesty.

Ron was gaping at Harry. “I think you would be the best choice for captain! You’re a great leader!” Ron exclaimed.

“I may be a good leader for the DA, because it’s what I know best, but all I want to do is play Seeker. You know more about Quidditch than anyone, and you are so good with strategies…”

Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. “Well, no one seems interested in the position!” she exclaimed, sounding a bit annoyed. She looked between the senior members of the team, but none seemed too eager to volunteer. McGonagall looked at Ron who looked so eager to be the team captain, but did not seem to believe he deserved it above Harry. After all, he’d only been on the team for one year, and most of it his performance was rather shaky. McGonagall sighed.

“Mr Weasley, try outs are next week on Saturday the 14th, and this time you will be selecting a complete team for the reserve, as well as trying out the other positions. Congratulations, you may go now so you won’t be late for class.”

Ron hadn’t comprehended yet. “You mean…?” Ron said dumbstruck.

“You’re the new captain!” Harry exclaimed with genuine happiness for him. Everyone cheered, although Fred and George didn’t looked too convinced it had been the right choice!

“Really!?” Ron turned to Professor McGonagall. She nodded and was giving him one of her rare, genuine smiles. She handed him the badge and Ron’s hands shook as he took it. He remembered his older brother’s badge and how he had dreamed ever since then that one day he would become the Gryffindor Team Captain. He remembered the way he had seen himself in the Mirror of Erised his first year there. That was something he had always wanted, now if he could only win the cup!

Katie had to help Ron pin his badge onto his robes because he poked himself twice with his wand unable to perform the spell correctly. Fred and George stood up and shook his hand, and Ginny hugged him. Harry shook his hand also and he wasn’t the least bit jealous; Ron deserved this and he hoped that it would help boost his self-confidence. Ron was an excellent Keeper, if only he could control his fears of what everyone thought of him, or the pressure from the opposition. The group turned to go back to the common room to get their things before the bell rang.

“Oh, and Mr Weasley… I am quite fond of that cup, so I remind you of what you must do,” McGonagall said and Ron nodded.

The common room erupted into cheers when they heard the news. Many students became excited about the prospect of being in a reserve team. If they made that then they were probably guaranteed a spot the next time a position opened.

Hermione hugged Ron with happiness, and Ron turned bright scarlet, she then remembered that she wasn’t speaking to him and composed herself.

“I… I have to pin up a notice for tryouts…” he said nervously.

“You better do that after class. We’re going to be late for Defence Against the Dark Arts,” Hermione interrupted him.

“So you’re speaking to me again?” Ron asked hopefully.

Hermione glared at him for a second. “You’re still an insensitive git,” she retorted and folded her arms, but then she smiled at him.

“Would the two of you give it a rest? Can’t we go one day without fighting?” Harry interrupted, but he too was smiling.

“Right,” they both answered and made their way to their most anticipated class of the day.
~~~~~~~~ A/N: I'm making an effort to make my chappies longer, about 6-7K words, so I will probably not be able to post once a week, but I'll try. Also, the longer chapters take longer to get betaed. Thanks for reading, and please review!

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