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Chapter 24 The Grim Well I must say thank you for all of the incredibly kind reviews I have received for the past few chapters, hopefully you will all be as nice with this one. This isn’t a double update, but it is a 7,000+ word chapter so I think it’s just as good. I re-wrote parts of this chapter over and over, so I hope you enjoy it. Please review!!!! ~Treacy~ * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * “Wake up Harry, if McGonagall walks In you are in so much trouble.” Harry heard the words, but brushed them aside, feeling very groggy. “Ten more minutes.” He mumbled. “No Harry, the common room is full get up now!” “Donwanna.” He mumbled. “Huh?” Said the voice. “Don’t want to.” He said it more clearly, as he slightly pried his eyes open. Standing before him was Brooke, Seamus, and Neville. “Oh shit,” He yelped, as realization began to sink in. He opened his eyes up all the way and scanned the common room, then looked down at his lap. Ginny was curled up asleep, looking quite peaceful and angelic if he did say so himself, but then again there was also a full common room watching them, most of the girls shooting daggers at Ginny. “How long have we been like this?” He asked. “Well Neville just came down and came up to tell us that you guys had fallen asleep down here, and that everyone was gawking at you?” Said Brooke, “By the way, what were you guys doing down here?” She asked, raising an eyebrow at the compromising position. “Talking.” Harry lied. “Whatever, but if I were you I would end this little sleep in, you know before you get caught.” Said Seamus. “Yeah I guess.” Replied Harry, “Thanks for waking me up.” “No problem, we’re going to get something to eat.” Said Brooke, as she got up to leave the room, followed by Neville and Seamus. “Ginny, come on it’s time to wake up.” Whispered Harry, gently shaking the sleeping girl on top of him. She had about the same reaction as he did to being woken up. “But I’m so comfortable, five more minutes, please.” She mumbled against his chest. “No, you can go up to your dorm if you have to keep sleeping, but we can’t stay down here.” He continued, brushing back a lock of hair that had fallen in front of her house. “Why?” “Well for starters we’re in the middle of the common room, and second everyone is staring.” He whispered, however she paid him no heed and continued to sleep. After trying fruitlessly for ten minutes to get Ginny up, Harry came up with a plan, he would take her to his dorm. So, he carefully lifted her up, and carried her up the boys staircase, receiving numerous questioning glares as he went. Once he reached the dorm, he put her in the farthest bed to his right, his bed, tucked her in, and pulled the hangings around her. With one last glance at the bed he headed back down to the common room, receiving even more glares than when he went up. Tired of the stares, he opted to go find Ron and Hermione. He didn’t have to go that long before he found both of them walking back up the common room, Ron holding a stack of toast. “So what were you doing with my sister last night?” Asked Ron, eyeing Harry as he approached. “Talking.” He lied. “Oh, I don’t believe you just admit, we all knew it was bound to happen eventually.” Said Hermione. “What?” Asked Harry, slightly taken aback that she had called his lie out so easily. “Did you two tell each other how you really feel?” She continued. Harry gave Ron a nervous glance before finally nodding his head in a yes. “I’m happy for you mate.” Said Ron, patting Harry on the back. “W-W-Wait, you mean, well you’re not mad, I’d figure you’d be upset.” Stammered Harry. “No, why would I be, I mean yeah I’m protective of Ginny, but you’re my best mate, I couldn’t pick anyone else who I would rather have her with.” Said Ron shrugging his shoulders. “Oh.” Said Harry, still slightly surprised. “Well now that, that’s done we’re going to go back up to the common room, we still don’t have lessons today due to well, you know why, you coming Harry?” Asked Hermione. “Nah, I think I should steer clear of there for awhile, I was getting a lot of strange looks. I think I’m gonna take a walk, I need to clear my head.” Said Harry. “Alright, well then see you around.” Said Ron, making a move to leave. “Oh wait, Ron if Ginny’s up in my bed asleep, she wouldn’t wake up so I put her up there, if she wakes up confused tell her I’ll see her around.” Said Harry. “You are so lucky you are my best mate.” Said Ron laughing. “Why?” Asked Harry. “Well if you weren’t I would probably have to kill you.” Said Ron smiling. “Whatever, see you around.” Said Harry waving goodbye, as Hermione led Ron away by the arm. After wandering around the corridors aimlessly for quite some time, he finally decided that a nice walk around the lake would do him good. So he set off for the grounds, stopping several times to answer questions by some excited students in younger years. Finally making it down to the lake, he gave a sad smile thinking of how excited they had been when they had talked to him. *** --FLASHBACK— “Hey Mr. Potter!,” exclaimed a second year Gryffindor girl with her friends all watching apprehensively behind her. “My name’s Harry, Mr.Potter makes me sound old.” He replied, he couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm. “Hi Harry,” Said a very meek looking girl at the back of the crowd. “Hi,” He said giving a wave before turning to go. “Wait Harry, is it true what my brother told me?” Asked a black haired boy. “Well it depends, what did your brother tell you?” He asked the boy. “That you’re the one who’s going to stop Voldemort just like you did before?” “Well, uh, I don’t really know how to answer that.” He replied truthfully. “You can do it Harry, you’re the bestest.” Said a very cute blonde first year girl, who was currently sucking her thumb. “Ah well, thanks.” Said Harry nervously running his hands through his hair, “Well I’m going to go take a walk now, bye!” He said in a fake enthusiasm, as he left to a chorus of ‘bye Harry’s’ *** “Hiya Harry.” Greeted a Ravenclaw third year, who’s named he remembered to be Greg. “Hey Greg,” He replied. “You remember my name?” Greg asked sounding slightly shocked. “yeah,” Harry replied lamely. “Is it true that in your fourth year you saw Voldemort come back to life?” Asked an excited fourth year Hufflepuff who had joined in the conversation. “How would you know about that?” Asked Harry raising a questioning eyebrow. “Oh simple, my mommy sent me the books about you for Christmas, they’re really good, is it true you saved the Sorcerers stone in your first year?” Continued the Hufflepuff. “Well, um, yeah, I guess it’s all true.” Replied Harry running a nervous hand through his messy hair. “I knew it, in your first year too, you were only eleven!” Exclaimed Greg, looking up at him in adoration. Harry feeling extremely uncomfortable under their gaze and quickly, excused himself saying he had to use the little boys room. *** “You feeling alright Harry?” Harry gritted his teeth ready for more squealing second years, but to his pleasant surprise found that it was only Ernie McMillan, from Hufflepuff, who had spoken. “Alright, you Ernie?” He asked. “Oh same as always, can’t really complain.” Ernie replied. “That’s good.” Said Harry forcing a smile. “Listen Harry, I wanted to just tell you, that I know you are one hell of a wizard, and that you’ve been through a lot, but even though we’ve had our differences in the past, I want you to know if you ever need help, I’d be gladly willing to lend a hand.” Said Ernie placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder. Harry was slightly taken aback, by this sudden gesture, but quickly recovered. “That means a lot Ernie, it really does.” Harry said from the heart stopping to look at Ernie. “Harry, I know I have judged you unfairly in the past, but now that I know what you’ve been up against your whole life, and now that I know what we’re all up against, well I just wanted you to know how I felt. I have to go, but I’ll see you around Harry, I gotta go meet Hannah.” Said Ernie with a smile, releasing Harry’s shoulder and heading down the passage that led to the Hufflepuff common room. “Bye Ernie,” Harry replied to his retreating back. --END FLASHBACK— *** It was now growing dark outside, and Harry had circled the lake four times already lost in his own thoughts. Thoughts of his parents, thoughts of Sirius, thought of his dreams, thoughts of Ginny, thoughts of the recent attack, thoughts of the message in the sky, thoughts of a spy, and mainly thoughts of those little kids telling him how great they thought he was. He gave a sigh as he slumped down by a rock and chucked a pebble into the water, needless to say all this thought was leading to quite a headache. They had all been so sweet, saying how they knew he could do it, and the looks on their faces when he confirmed their questions. It made his heart break. He didn’t know if he could do it, not in the time he had. If Voldemort really was going to come after him, well then he didn’t know if he would be strong enough, if he would be able to fully control his powers when the time came. He just didn’t know anymore. He picked up another pebble, making it dance across the lakes glassy surface. He smiled as he watched a group of Ravenclaw fifth year boys out by the Quidditch Pitch, clutching their brooms and whispering excitedly. They didn’t seem to have any worries, they probably had families that loved them, and had no clue what it was like to be the ‘hero’, if that’s even what you wanted to call it. The bloody fricken hero. He watched them wistfully as they sped in and out of goal hoops, cheering each other on, laughing so hard all the while that they were on the edge of falling off their brooms. Finally, he observed them pack up their gear, clapping each other on the back, heading up the castle, probably for dinner. Harry’s stomach gave a slight rumble, but he dismissed it, he didn’t have time to think about eating right now, not when he had so many other things to worry about. And there were a lot of things. “What you doing?” Asked a voice from behind Harry, he jumped at the voice, but relaxed when he realize it was just Ginny. She gingerly made her way across the stumps and rocks along the lakes edge and took a seat next to him. “Thinking,” He finally replied. “About what?” She asked. “Everything,” He replied. “Everything is a lot to think about,” She replied, following in Harry’s example and tossing a pebble into the lake. “You’re telling me,” Laughed Harry as he ruffled a hand through his hair. Ginny giggled at him. “What, what’s so funny?” He asked confused. “Oh nothing, it’s jus you’re cute when you ruffle your hair like that.” She confessed, he smiled at her. “Oh really?” He asked, eyeing her up and down. “Mmmhmmm.” She replied, blushing slightly. “Well then maybe I should keep doing it.” He teased, as he ruffled his hair once more. They both began laughing, and were soon laying on their backs staring up at the night sky. It went back to being silent, leaving Harry to lapse back into his thoughts. “Something’s really bugging you.” Said Ginny, propping herself on her elbow, leaning over to talk to Harry. “Yeah, a lot of things are, but they all just seem to boil down into one big thing.” He said as he gave a heavy sigh. “You want to tell me?” She inquired. He turned and examined her for a few seconds before nodding his head yes, he really needed someone to talk to, and he trusted Ginny. “Today when I was walking down to the lake I kept getting stopped by all these people who wanted to say hi to me, and just ask me random questions. Nothing out of the ordinary right?” “Right.” “Well today, after all the weird dreams I’ve been having, and after what happened the other day with the whole message in the sky thing, things were beginning to get pretty heavy, not to mention that this morning I realized I have to take my NEWTS in June, I haven’t even started studying, heck I haven’t even been thinking about studying.” “So you were feeling pressured?” “Yeah, to say the least, and then all of these people are stopping me and asking me if I really saw Voldemort come back, and did I really save the sorcerers stone from Quirell, and then when I said yes they all gawked at me.” “Nothing new.” “Exactly, and you would think by now that I would be able it, but today it hit me that these peoples fates rest in my hands, in my abilities. They are counting on some seventeen year old boy to save them all, and I’m not sure if I can do it, and I really don’t want to let them down.” He said, emotion filling his voice as he spoke. “It has to be rough Harry, I’m not even going to pretend that I understand what you’re going through, because I don’t, but I’m here for you, if you ever need to talk, or vent, or just need a crying shoulder.” She said it with a small smile, as she squeezed his arm reassuringly. He didn’t respond to that comment, but merely smiled at her nodding his head his head in understanding. “There was this little first year girl. She looked like she was no older than eight, really young looking, and her friends started talking about me beating Voldemort she looks up at me with these big blue eyes and says ‘you’re the bestest Harry.’ I mean how am I supposed to respond to that?” He said it as a rhetorical statement, but Ginny answered him anyway. “Well I think you are just going to have to accept that you are the bestest, and it’s not just cute little first years who think so either.” She flirted with him, trying to draw him out of his melancholies, and it seemed to be working as a smile flitted across his face. “Come here.” She whispered, and he complied. She kissed him softly on the lips, and he kissed her back readily. Slowly the kisses turned more passionate and filled with lust and wanting. Their lips crashed together hard. Matching the others advances. A kiss for a kiss. Carefully Harry placed a hand on Ginny’s hip and rolled her over onto her back, kneeling above her, showering her jaw line and neck with kiss after kiss. She heard him moan slightly under his hot breath, and felt a renewed passion as he continued the kisses. He could feel her small hands working the buttons on his white oxford shirt. He broke apart from her, and helped her along, ripping the buttons off, and unceremoniously tossing the shirt aside. He felt the cold against his exposed torso and quickly knelt back down, kissing Ginny’s forehead, feeling her warm body pressing against his bare chest. She sent shivers running down his spine, as she ran her hands along his back, and played with the hairs at the nape of his neck. He kissed her full on the mouth again, ignoring the sharp pain in his knees from kneeling on the rocky ground. She kissed him back hungrily, her tongue now inside his mouth. He felt more shivers creep through his body as she began to rub small circles on his shoulders. He gave a small intake of breath when she moved her hands down to his chest. Suddenly, she pulled out from under him, looking at him with a slight look of horror appearing on her face. Harry winced as he crashed into the hard ground, due to her sudden jerking. “What…” He mumbled, while he rubbed his elbow, that stung particularly since it had crashed into a sharp rock. “Sit up straight,” She said in a slightly shaky voice. “Ginny, what is going…” She cut him off before he could finish. “I said sit up straight Harry Potter.” “Fine,” he grumbled sitting straight up. He was very surprised to watch her eyes fill with tears, as she ran her hand along his chest. “Ginny, you mind telling me what is going on.” He demanded. “Look at you,” She whispered, still running her hand down his chest. “Yes it’s me Harry…” He broke off as he realized with a sickening dread what must be upsetting her. He too glanced down at his chest; except it didn’t look like it had the last time she had last seen it at the beginning of the year. It no longer had as much muscle definition, but had a hollow appearance, as the skin hung to his now frail body, if he had wanted to he could have counted every single rib against his pale skin. Glancing once more at Ginny he made a grab for his oxford to cover himself, but Ginny stooped him her hand covering his. “It’s not that bad Ginny, it’s just stress.” He tried to explain away his appearance, but by the look on her face it didn’t seem like she believed him. “Shit Harry,” she whispered, “I knew you weren’t eating as much, but look at you you’re skin and bones, there’s nothing to you.” She mumbled as a few tears slid down her face. “It’s nothing to cry over Gin, really I’m fine, I’ll be okay, I just haven’t been very hungry lately.” He wrapped her in a hug trying to console her. After a few minutes she pulled away from him. “Harry please promise me that you’ll eat more, please.” She was practically begging. He didn’t want to promise, he knew he most likely wouldn’t be able to keep it, so he settled for nodding. Apparently Ginny didn’t settle for it. “No Harry, look me in the eyes and tell me you promise.” She directed, finally he gave in and gazed up into her gorgeous blue eyes, wishing that what he said could be genuine “I promise.” He whispered. She took him in another hug, as Harry inhaled her scent. He loved the way she smelled like eucalyptus and spearmint (A/N: my fav combo at bath and body works, sry just had to put that there). “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “Don’t be, just eat more,” She whispered back not releasing him from the hug. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * Harry and Ginny stayed out together most of the night talking and laughing after she confronted him about his weight. When they finally crawled up into bed it was to Ron interrogating him. Finally after half an hour Harry finally told him to shut up, and Ron had admitted that Ginny had threatened to curse him if he got in the way of her and Harry’s relationship. Breakfast the next morning had been a painful affair, Ginny had sat next to Harry the entire time, practically spoon feeding him the entire time, never taking her eyes off of him. She received many a jealous glare from Harry’s ‘fan club’ who had become a permanent accessory ever since the daily Prophet article, but that still hadn’t deterred her from making sure he eat two pieces of toast, three strips of bacon, and two spoonfuls of eggs, despite his protests. After feeling like he was going to hurl on the spot, Harry had excused himself for the first lesson early, and quickly made his way to the bathroom, where he proceeded in losing the breakfast Ginny had force fed him. It was clear to all of Harry and Ginny’s close friends and to the majority of the people in the common room, minus the few who had been in denial about Harry’s recent interest in a certain red haired girl, that Ginny and Harry were a couple. Yet there was still his ‘fan club’ that had formed in the middle of sixth year who had decided that Harry hunting was a favorite past time, but they had taken their pursuits to the next level as soon as the recent Daily Prophet article had come out, apparently believing that if they stayed close to him that they would remain safe. Harry had to hand it to Ginny, however, who took all of their advances on him in great stride, something he was sure he wouldn’t have been able to handle if the shoe had been on the other foot. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * “Excellent Ms. Granger, ten points to Gryffindor,” exclaimed Professor McGonagall who was congratulating Hermione profusely on her ability to change a cat into a sparrow. She set to pacing the room again, searching for her next victim. Of course she settled on Harry, “Now Mr. Potter let me see you transform your cat.” She ordered. Harry nodded, before clearing his throat, and pointing his wand at the large tabby cat sitting in front of him. “Jaspix Primero,” He spoke, and watched satisfied as the cat turned into a small sparrow that flitted about the desk before flying up and perching itself on his head. The class gave an appreciative laugh, as Professor McGonagall gave a nod signifying she was pleased. “Good, good Mr. Potter ten points to Gryffindor as well, good wand control.” She praised before moving onto Dean Thomas. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * “ ‘Aight,” Said Hagrid at the end of Care of Magical Creatures, “Good ‘leson, we all progressed nicely with the Rinfers.” Rinfers, were not exactly pleasant creatures in Harry’s opinion. They were large scaly creatures with very large talons, they actually reminded him greatly of a giant lizard. A giant lizard with fangs, so that if they bit you, you would die within 24 hours, if you did not receive the proper antidote. Large scaly lizards that Hagrid thought they should try and ‘tame’, so that they’re venom could be harvested to produce the anti-venom. “Class dismissed, Harry could you help me move this table,” called Hagrid over the crowd. Harry nodded and allowed the rest of the class to go on, waiting behind to help Hagrid. Once the rest of the class left Harry made his way over to Hagrid, raising an eyebrow at the flimsy table Hagrid needed ‘help’ with. “You don’t really need help do you?” He asked, eyeing Hagrid suspiciously. “Nah, I got the table, I just wanted to make sure you were feeling alright, you know after everything that’s been happening.” Said Hagrid, his eyes watching Harry with concern. “I’m fine, really getting on with things, focusing on school, NEWTS this year and all.” Replied Harry casually. “Thas’ good Harry, I must say I was right worried ‘bout you there for awhile, especially after what they said in the Daily prophet, had me up worrying it did.” Said Hagrid, as he readjusted some supplied for his next class. “Yeah, I’m just trying to take things one day at a time.” He said with a sigh, while he stuffed his hands in his pockets, and directing his gaze towards the entrance of the forbidden forest. But what he saw made him stop dead in his tracks, making him forget what he was going to say next. “What is it ‘Arry?” Asked Hagrid, watching Harry closely. Harry broke off in a run towards the forbidden forest wanting to confirm whether or not he had just seen had been real, ignoring Hagrid’s yells behind him. He had seen a large black dog. A large black dog that resembled a grim. He had seen Sirius, he could have sworn. But as he stood in a clearing in the middle of the forest turning around rapidly, looking for a sign, he thought maybe he wasn’t so sure, maybe it had just been some unknown beast that wandered out of the forest, it wasn’t the fist time that had happened, or maybe there had been nothing there to begin with. Maybe he had just wanted there to be something there so bad, that he had imagined it. Yes, that was it he had imagined it, best not dwell on things like that, he reasoned with himself, as he tore himself aware from the clearing and out to where Hagrid was standing looking quite baffled. “What was this ‘Arry, you tore out of here like you had seen a ghost.” Laughed Hagrid. “Thought I saw a unicorn,” He lied. “Now ‘Arry you know that unicorns don’t come this close to the forest edge on their own, they like it deeper in the forest.” Said Hagrid, still chuckling to himself. “Yeah I know, I guess it must have slipped my mind.” He mumbled, “Listen Hagrid I better get up to lunch, you know before the others start wondering where I am. I’ll see you around soon.” He didn’t wait for an answer, and barely heard Hagrid’s goodbye as he made his way up the castle. Instead of going up to lunch like he had said he would, Harry entered the empty defense against the dark arts classroom and took his seat in the front, deciding to just wait for class to begin. He crossed his arms and buried his head into the desk, wanting desperately to clear some of the thoughts from his head. ‘What I need is a pensieve’ he thought, as he drifted into sleep. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * “Harry wake up, wake up!” “What!” Snapped Harry as jerked up from his sleeping position at the desk, he rubbed his eyes, he was not only groggy but he felt that his allergies had been acting up as his contacts felt itchy (A/N: Remember in an earlier chapter I said Harry had gotten contacts). Once he regained his vision, he was able to tell that the person who had awoken him had been Brooke, “what happened, I’m awake.” He said, while stifling a yawn. “You fell asleep in here it looks like, but now it’s time to wake up DADA starts in five minutes and I doubt Stallworth would want you sleeping at the beginning of class.” She said. “Oh.” “Why were you in here?” “I was just tired.” He replied, at least he was being semi-truthful. “You know Ginny was in a right fit at lunch carrying on about how you had skipped so you wouldn’t have to eat and how she was going to make you eat your weight load in food at dinner, I’d watch out for her if I were you.” Said Brooke with a smile. “Yeah, I better.” Said Harry only half-jokingly. “Alright class take your seats,” Said Professor Stallworth as he entered the room, setting his briefcase down on the desk, turning to face the class. Brooke gave Harry one last smile before she shuffled off to her seat with the rest of the class, who now all had their eyes on Stallworth as he wrote on the chalk board. “How?” He said, repeating the word he had written on the board. He turned to examine the class, his eyes resting on Harry momentarily before continuing, “In order to fully understand the dark arts, sometimes you have to ask the simplest of questions. Now, can anyone tell me how?” “How what?” said Hannah Abott, speaking up. “How? Just how.” Said Stallworth, no one else answered, “No one can tell me how?” He still got no response. “Why do human beings do the things they do? How de we decide what makes good wizards good and bad wizards bad?” Said Stallworth. Harry felt a grin play at his lips, he could answer this, he looked back to see that he was the only one that had his hand in the air, everyone was watching him and Stallworth in turn, preparing for another one of their infamous debates. “Yes Mr. Potter.” Called Stallworth, stopping in front of his desk, leaning against it, examining Harry as he began to speak. “It all boils down to our choices sir.” Harry stopped waiting for an answer. “Continue, explain yourself.” “Well you can tell someone they are going to be evil, but what makes them evil isn’t the fact that you told them they were evil, but the fact that through a series of actions they made themselves evil. Same for good. You can tell a wizard they’re good, but they aren’t good because you told them they were good, the only way they are good is if they make the decisions.” “Interesting theory Mister Potter, I must say I quite agree, but let’s try a different question now.” Said Stallworth as he made his way back up to the board, “Why?” He spoke what he had written aloud, like before, while he underlined the word and set the chalk back down on the desk. This time Kurt raised his hand, shooting a cocky glance over at Harry, who in turn just settled for glaring. “Yes, Mr. Haus, would you care to enlighten us with your thoughts of the matter.” Said Professor Stallworth. “The answer is simple, why we do things, it ties in with how. Basically there has to be why for there to be a how.” He finished with a conceited smile, as he shot a glance over at a blonde Hufflepuff who giggled under his gaze. “Wrong.” Replied Stallworth, ignoring the shocked, fish out of water, gaping look on Kurt’s face, “Anyone else?” No one raised his or her hand. “Very well, let me demonstrate.” Stallworth walked over to the desk and picked up that mornings copy of the Daily Prophet, and rolled it up, walking in front of Harry. Harry looked up at him quizzically, while Professor Stallworth smiled down upon him before swatting him in the head with the newspaper. The class laughed as Harry started rubbing his head. “Ow, why’d you have to go and do that?” Mumbled Harry massaging the spot on his head where he had been hit with the newspaper. “Exactly Mister Potter, why did I hit you in the head?” Harry continued to look at him, before he finally answered. “Because you’re a nutter?” supplied Harry. Professor Stallworth laughed. “Well I have been told that before, but that is not the correct answer.” Replied Professor Stallworth crossing his arms and examining Harry, before he swatted him on the head with the newspaper again. “Would you just stop doing that!” Exclaimed Harry, glaring at Professor Stallworth with annoyance. “Not until you can answer my question, or anyone for that matter.” Said Stallworth, examining the classroom with a scrutinizing eye. “No? No answer yet?” “Well it’s confusing,” Said Brooke from the back. “Yes it is confusing, but we assume that one word is always simple, amazing how complex it can be, hmm.” He said, smiling at Brooke. “McMillan five points from Hufflepuff.” “What did I do!” Shrieked Ernie, “I didn’t say or do anything. Why did you do that!” “Exactly Mister McMillan why did I take points away from your house, why did I smack Mister Potter across the head?” “Well I suppose like Harry said you’re a nutter.” Grumbled Ernie, Stallworth merely laughed and continued pacing the room. “Raise your hand if you’re left handed.” Announced Stallworth. Two Ravenclaw girls looked at each other anxiously as they raised their hands into the air. “Very good, five points to Ravenclaw each.” Awarded Stallworth. “Wait, that’s not fair!” Exclaimed Ernie. “And why is it not fair Mister McMillan?” “Well you took points away from me for doing nothing, but gave points to them because they’re left-handed.” Ernie sputtered, trying to justify Stallworth’s actions. “I never said I had to be fair.” Stallworth said shooting Ernie a large grin, who was still sputtering in the back of the room. “Well you should be.” Said Seamus Finnigan from somewhere in the middle of the room. “Why should I be fair?” Asked Stallworth. “Well you’re a teacher you’re supposed to be unbiased, you just can’t go around doing unfair things.” Said Seamus, as if it was the most obvious answer in the world “No one ever told me that.” Replied Stallworth with a sly smile. Harry had been sitting quietly at the front mulling over possible answers, when the answer snapped into his brain, it was so simple, true Seamus’ argument had brought the idea in his mind, but he should have thought of it before. “Because you can!” He called out. “What did you say?” Asked Stallworth, turning to face Harry, a wide smile breaking out across his face. “I said, the reason why, is because you can.” Harry repeated himself. “Go on.” Encouraged Stallworth, walking up to the front of the room and leaning against the desk once again. “You hit me in the head, because I didn’t stop you, I allowed it, I made it so you could hit me. And you were able to dock and add house points, because you were a teacher, so you could.” Explained Harry. “EXACTLY!” Roared Professor Stallworth, startling the rest of the class, “That is absolutely correct. Twenty points to Gryffindor.” Kurt glared at Harry shooting daggers, while the female students in the room seemed to be swooning at his brilliance. Sarcasm. “We all make decisions in this life who shape who we are and the way others see us. That is the how, the choices we make. But once we are categorized, once we have our how, we must be careful with our why. Just because I can hit Mr. Potter in the head doesn’t mean I should, just because I can take house points from Mr. McMillan for nothing doesn’t mean I should, oh and by the way Mr. McMillan take ten for Hufflepuff.” Added Stallworth, making Ernie wear a triumphant smile. “So what I am trying to say to you in this lesson, is simple yet complicated. Don’t do things just because you can, because those are the things that you end up regretting over time, the things you wish you could just go back and change. Don’t let someone tell you are one thing when you know you are another. Make the right decisions for you and the ones around you, and don’t, whatever you do, do something just because you can.” He paused for a few minutes letting the words sink in before he continued. “If you remember only one thing I teach you this year, remember what I have taught you today, for it will serve you in everything you do, not only when fighting the dark arts, for the rest of your lives. Class Dismissed.” He finished with a waving his hand for * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * Dinner that night was very eventful for Harry, as Ginny shoved anything she could get her hands on down his throat. After about an hour he began to protest. “Listen Gin, I’m stuffed, no human being could eat that much food without exploding.” He tried to reason with her. “No Harry I’m worried about you, you think you’ve eaten a lot but you haven’t, you’ve only had one piece of chicken, it took you half an hour to eat.” She shot back. “because you kept trying to feed me other things at the same time.” He said exasperated. “Please gin, let it rest tonight, Please.” He jutted out his lower lip, pretending to pout. “Besides, I have to meet Stallworth for my Acer Motar lessons.” He fake whimpered. “Alright fine go, but I’m making sure you eat just as much in the morning.” She finally gave in, crossing her arms, and shooting him an annoyed look mixed with traces of concern. “Thank you.” He shot her his lop sided smile. He leaned forward to whisper in her ear, checking to make sure Ron wasn’t listening, once he was sure he wasn’t he proceeded, “You know you are utterly breathtaking when you get upset.” He smiled as he watched her smile despite herself. He gave her ear a little nibble, before he got up from the table. “I’m off to see Stallworth,” He announced to the table at large. He got many jumbled goodbyes, as he gave one last wave and gave Ginny a quick peck on the cheek before heading out the doors of the Great Hall. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * Stallworth was already in the classroom when Harry arrived. “Hey Professor,” He called jovially, he was actually feeling quite good after his successful DADA class, and the fact that Ginny had made him eat more food than he had eaten in one sitting for two months and he didn’t feel like puking. “Hello Harry, excellent work in class today.” Praised Professor Stallworth. “thanks,” Replied Harry grinning sheepishly. “well let’s get started then, try and make this an early night, I am absolutely beat as I am sure you are.” Said Professor Stallworth through a sleepy smile, and slightly sagging eyelids. “Sounds good to me.” Said Harry. “well you know the drill.” Said Stallworth. “Yup,” Replied Harry. He did know the drill he did the same thing every time he came in for a lesson. Put your wand on the table, go to the center of the room, and then perform the spells that Stallworth said to do. He did all of that again now, and met Stallworth in the center of the cleared classroom, ready for practice. “Alright Harry as you well know the threat level has risen, which means we have to go after our training with a new vengeance. You’ve accomplished all of the basic spells, so tonight I would like to practice stunning, and maybe we could try something a little harder if you can master that. “Sounds good.” Said Harry. “Very well I want you to stun me, but then you will have to revive me as well.” Said Stallworth with a smile. “If I must.” Harry replied in mock annoyance. “Let’s begin.” Said Stallworth, adjusting the cushions beneath him one last time before he turned back to Harry and nodded. Harry shut his eyes, taking a few deep breaths to calm his nerves. Before concentrating on his emotion, the way he felt around Snape, that utter distain and loathing. He concentrated hard on the feeling, noticing the effects much quicker than he had in the past, as disdain turned to an unreadable force. “STUPEFY” Roared Harry, who cracked his eye open to watch a red stunning light head towards Stallworth, who flopped to the floor stunned. He did a little victory jig before walking up to Stallworth, and focusing on his desire to have Stallworth wake up, spoke “Enervate,” Almost effortlessly, causing Professor Stallworth rise from the pillows, rubbing his backside with a sore look on his face. “Excellent Harry, that is a definite improvement from last time.” “Thanks,” Replied Harry, clearly pleased with himself. “Let’s try that a few more times, hmm?” Asked Stallworth conjuring up a few more cushions beneath him, before turning back to Harry. *** Harry stunned and enervated Professor Stallworth at least eight time, before the Profssor finally claimed that his backside could take no more and that they better move on, to a less painful spell. “Now, I want to try a piece of powerful magic that I know you can do with a wand, but let’s just see if you are ready to see if you can do it without a wand, alright with you?” Asked Professor Stallworth, banishing the cushions he had been using as padding back into a cabinet in the back of the room. “yeah, sure,” Replied Harry from the chair he was sitting from. “There done,” said Stallwoth, as he banished the last cushion and shut the cupboard doors. “Let’s try the patronus.” “You think I’m ready?” Asked Harry a little unsure of himself. “Yes I do, and the sooner you can complete a spell of this caliber, the sooner I can teach you the unforgivables. “Wait, you’re teaching me how to do the unforgivable curses.” Asked Harry astonished, “I read somewhere that they are not to be taught to minors, and I know for a fact that performing one will land you in Azkaban for the rest of their lives.” Harry said, clearly unsure about the whole situation. “Yes, well considering what you’re facing and the fact that we all believe it would be beneficial if you knew how to operate the unforgivables, the Ministry has made an exception.” Replied Stallworth, “Now let’s try that Patronus once before I send you off.” “Alright.” Said Harry feeling dedication and resolve build within him once again. He shut his eyes concentrating on the feeling he had, had when he had seen the black dog by the forest earlier that day, that powerful feeling of hope he had felt. Almost at once, as if a switch had been pulled, Harry could recognize the feel of hope transform into pure power. Concentrating hard on his happy memory he roared out the words. “EXPECTO PATRONUM” He opened his eyes wide as he watched the silver stag patronus come seemingly from inside of him. He never took his eyes from it as it cantered around the room a few times, before stopping to bow to Harry. “See Harry, I told you, you could do it, just needed a little faith.” Said Stallworth clapping Harry on the shoulder. “Yeah I guess,” He said, as he thought back to the incredible power that had swept over him at the summoning of his patronus. “You look tired, we should probably call it a night, you’ve been working hard all day.” Said Professor Stallworth examining Harry closely. “That sounds like a good idea, I think I’m gonna go up to bed.” “I’m right behind you,” Said Stallworth as Harry gathered his wand and cloak up, said goodnight, and left the empty classroom. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams -Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) PLEASE READ: THERE WILL BE NO UPDATES ON THIS STORY FROM JANUARY 3RD TO THE 20TH DUE TO MY FINALS SCHEDULE. THIS STORY IS NOT BEING DIS-CONTINUED IN ACTUALITY I AM BEGINNING TO COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR A SEQUEL, AND IF NOT THAT AM CONTEMPLATING WRITING A LILY/JAMES FIC, PLEASE REVIEW ME OR CONTACT ME WITH YOUR PREFERENCE....I also have created an aim account for anyone who would like to contact me or talk to me about my story or HP in general, it is. SeaMar145 SEE YOU ON THE 20th, don't worry i'll update on that day, you can count on it!

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