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“I still can’t believe you’re going to be the defence against the dark arts professor again and you didn’t tell me sooner!” Harry said to Remus at breakfast the next morning. “Thank god, a decent professor again.” Hermione said, sounding mightily relieved that they knew that their NEWT years weren’t going to be spent in the company of a tortuous ministry official again. “At least you won’t have to run the DA again Harry.” “I liked that.” Ron said. “I know but it was exhausting.” Harry said. “Besides, you’re meant to spend your NEWT years learning not teaching.” Remus said as he ate his toast. Today Harry was learning to apparate from Mad Eye, he had wanted to be there to help and to laugh at him when it went wrong but he had to go into Hogwarts for a bit to help out Filius and Minerva with sorting out the timetables for the year. Hermione and Ron were still doing homework and were very irritated that Harry had finished his first. Hermione said that she didn’t mind and knew that she would learn more from her homework than Harry would from his attempts at apparating. Ron was furious and was scribbling away even during breakfast, although all his teachers had assured him that unless he got at least an A in each piece of work then he wouldn’t be learning to apparate or become an Animagus. Dumbledore sat amongst them that morning. He had unusually little work to do and had decided upon taking breakfast with those whose company he most enjoyed. It was for this reason that Albus found himself listening to the general arguments and discussions of most of the Order. “There is no way that this is going to be good.” Severus complained as he stabbed the mushroom on his plate rather violently. “Teaching that boy occlumency was one of the worst things that Dumbledore ever made me do and just when I thought it was all over…” “I know it seems bad now, but what’s the worst that can happen?” Minerva asked him as she conjured a crumpet from thin air. “You have no idea. Last time the boy ended up in my pensieve and watching his father charm me upside down and…” Severus broke off and glared angrily up the table at Harry who had his mind halfway between learning to apparate that day and the occlumency lessons he had been informed that he would be having again earlier that morning by Dumbledore. Sadly he had learnt that he wasn’t going to get a new teacher, which was what he had been silently pleading for, but instead he was going to have to be taught by Snape again. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to, Severus.” Minerva said to him calmly. “Whatever, that boy was made to ruin my life.” Severus muttered darkly as he glanced up the table at the boy who was talking to Lupin. “This is just a sick punishment from Dumbledore because I was a Death Eater all those years ago. It’s not good enough for him that I’m now a spy, he just has to have a little fun as well.” Minerva rolled her eyes next to him and told him to stop being so melodramatic. “After all, if you don’t teach the boy then no one else can. You’re the only one apart from Albus with the skill enough to teach occlumency and we know that Albus can’t so you’re going to have to put up with teaching him.” Minerva said coolly, “I don’t see what you have against him anyway, just because of who his father was doesn’t mean that you have to hate Harry as well. They’re very different from one another you know.” “I refuse to believe that. Like father like son.” Severus said, “Potter is as bad as his father ever was. He only entered my pensieve because he knew full well that it contained some private and humiliating memory of mine and the sadistic little git wanted to see what it was.” “Do shut up, Severus.” Minerva said coldly to him after he had finished his tirade against Harry, whom she was becoming quite fond of, although she would never admit it. She glanced up to the other end of the table just to check that none of the younger people at the table had been listening to their conversation. It wouldn’t do much good for Harry to hear about Snape’s intense hatred towards him, although he most likely knew how bad it was anyway. Harry wasn’t listening however; he was talking with Tonks at the other end of the table. “Forget it, you’ll be fine.” Tonks tried to reassure him, “Snape’ll forget about it eventually and he’s good at occlumency.” “Yeah, but it’s difficult to learn from someone who hates you so much.” Harry scowled. “Well think of it as practice; Voldemort won’t be nice about it if he breaks into your mind, why should Snape be?” Tonks said. “I suppose so, but I don’t feel like I learn anything or get any better at it at all. He always makes me feel like I’ve managed to get worse.” Harry said and rested his chin on his hand as he looked down at his cereal that was swimming in half a bowlful of milk. “You’re still not eating enough.” Remus commented from the side of him to which Harry rolled his eyes and insisted that he was. “I’m sure I eat more than you do.” Harry said to him, “You just say that I don’t eat enough to cover up for your own noneatingness.” “Noneatingness?” Remus said and raised and eyebrow at his fictitious vocabulary. “You can’t just make up words.” “You’d think that, wouldn’t you?” Harry smiled and hoped that the conversation wasn’t about to revert back to his eating habits. Luckily for him it didn’t; Remus had to leave at that point and go to Hogwarts where he said that he was sorting out some things for school. Soon after everyone else left the table and went off to pursue their own leisurely activities, leaving Harry at the kitchen table still, waiting for Mad Eye to arrive whilst he watched Ron racing through his homework as fast as he could and Hermione working slowly and steadily through her textbooks, determined to get an O in each of her homeworks so that she could claim she had learnt more than they. “Right, ready to go then Potter?” Mad Eye asked him as he walked into the room. Harry nodded and got to his feet, both of them leaving the room and walking out into the garden. Mad Eye explained to him as they made their way down to the field on the other side of the wall which separated the garden of Black from the rest of the world that they wouldn’t be apparating inside Grimmauld Place yet due to the fact that something could easily go wrong whilst he learnt to apparate. “Well consider this then, if you’re practicing on the second floor of the house and you apparate too far to your left then you’ll end up ten metres in the air on the outside of the house: a perfect opportunity for you to break both your legs but not the best way to learn to apparate.” Mad Eye said to Harry as they went. “And we’re not practicing in the garden because I don’t like it and I don’t fancy losing you in all these hedges.” Harry nodded as they reached the bottom of the garden and both of them jumped over it easily, landing on grass on the other side of the wall. “Right then, let’s get started.”
***
“So, how did apparating with Mad Eye go?” Remus asked Harry when Mad Eye left them both sat on the wall some two hours after Harry had first walked down with the intimidating man. Remus had arrived back from the school in time to watch Harry apparate a few feet to the left of him and was miraculously still in once piece when he had done it although he fell over. “Urgh, it’s awful!” Harry said. “What, apparating, or being taught by Mad Eye?” Remus asked, laughter in his eyes. “Being taught by Mad Eye’s fine but I already don’t like apparating.” Harry said as he idly shot a few sparks at some crows on the field, causing them all to scatter. “Why not?” Remus asked as he charmed bubbles out of the end of his wand. “It feels like you’re pulled apart into tiny pieces and then put back together again a moment later.” Harry said, “It’s weird.” “You’ll get used to it. Once you get over the initial shock that you really are being pulled apart into tiny pieces and being put back together again a millisecond later then you’ll be fine.” Remus said to him. “You seem to be doing quite well though. You can already apparate a few feet.” “Yeah, but it took me two hours to manage that although admittedly half an hour was spent putting me back together after I splinched myself.” Harry smiled and Remus rolled his eyes. “You managed to splinch yourself? You were apparating two feet!” Remus laughed in disbelief. “Don’t tell Ron.” Harry said to him. “I might have to.” Remus said mildly. “Don’t Remus!” Harry scowled and Remus laughed and told him that he wouldn’t before pushing him off the wall and into the field below. Unfortunately for him Harry caught onto his arm as he fell and pulled him down with him causing Molly to raise her eyebrows as she looked out of the kitchen window at seeing the two people just fall off the wall. “Harry!” Remus said, trying to sound stern but failing miserably as he half laughed at the same time. There was a moment of stillness as the two of them lay on the grass before both of them tried to scramble back onto their feet. Harry was first to stand up and Remus shot a quick hex at him in an attempt to knock him back down but Harry quickly blocked it. “We’re not duelling again…” Harry said to Remus who grinned at him. “Why not?” Remus asked him. “You’ll never get better at it without practice.” “Maybe I don’t want to get better.” Harry said. “In general aurors have to learn to duel, Harry.” Remus said to him, “And if you want to be an auror then you’re going to have to duel and duel well.” Harry pulled a face at him although he knew that Remus was right, he was going to have to learn to duel well at some point. He supposed that he could duel again, although he would almost certainly lose. He would have been exceedingly surprised if he didn’t and so they began to duel one another. Faster and faster they duelled and Remus didn’t hold back against him; he had no qualms about that, after all he was going to have to learn to duel somehow and people whom he would one day be duelling were likely to be shooting much more painful curses at him than tickling charms. Their duel lasted longer this time than it had done the day before and soon Remus hit Harry hard with the disarming spell and Harry flew backwards across the field a few feet, coming to a halt on the ground and for one moment Remus feared that he may have injured him until Harry slowly began to drag himself back onto his feet, his wand now in Remus’ hand. “Are you alright?” Remus asked him as he walked over to his godson who had just made it back to his feet. “You’ve twisted it, I think.” He said to Harry who gingerly put his weight on his left ankle and bit his lip as pain shot through his leg. “I’m sure Molly will be able to heal it when we get back to the house, for now I’m afraid you’re going to have to walk.” Harry nodded as Remus moved closer to him and Harry put his arm around his shoulders for support as they walked back to the wall. “I don’t like duelling.” Harry scowled as Remus levitated him over the top of the wall before jumping over it himself. “You only don’t like it because you’re not very good at it yet.” Remus smiled, “When you get better at it then you’ll like it more, I’m certain of that, the same with apparating.” “I doubt it.” Harry said as he limped through the garden, his guardian’s arm around him. “I don’t.” Remus smiled, “Anyway you did much better today than you did yesterday.” “You mean I lasted a few seconds longer.” Harry said coolly. “A couple of minutes longer.” Remus corrected and Harry scowled at him. “That’s the only way you can measure how good you are at it, I don’t duel better or worse each time and since you lasted longer I can only presume that you’ve improved slightly.” “I’ll beat you one day, you wait and see.” Harry said to him as they passed the middle of the garden, the snakes appearing to watch them as they passed through. “I’m certain of it.” Remus said sincerely, “And do you know how to get good enough to beat me?” “Practice.” Harry said dully and Remus smiled down at him. “Unfortunately so.” Remus replied. “See if you can get Tonks or Mad Eye to duel with you.” “Mad Eye?!” Harry demanded of him, “No thanks, I don’t really fancy being blown to a million pieces!” Remus laughed. “Alright then, maybe not Mad Eye just yet.” He said and Harry raised an eyebrow as if to say ‘how about never?’ and then added that he thought that he should duel with Bill or Charlie, or maybe the Weasley twins. “You have to duel with people who are better than you to improve, and I know that you’re much better than Ron and Hermione so don’t duel with them too much if you’re wanting to get better. It might help your ego to beat them but it won’t help your skills.” Harry agreed unhappily and resolved to duel with as many people as he could so that he could beat Remus some time in the far distant future. “When are you learning to be an Animagus then?” Remus asked, changing the conversation from duelling. “Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.” Harry replied, “And I’m learning to apparate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays.” “So you’ve got Fridays off then?” Remus asked. “I only wish, I’ve got Occlumency on Fridays as well as Tuesdays.” Harry said. “I’m surprised that Snape’s teaching you again after last time.” Remus said to him as they reached the end of the hedges and walked slowly across to the steps into the house. “You’re not the only one.” Harry replied, “And Snape doesn’t seem too pleased about it either, I can’t see occlumency being much fun.” “It’s not meant to be fun, it’s meant to help you block your mind from Voldemort.” Remus reminded him. “Well there has to be a better way to learn than just having your mind attacked repeatedly and being criticised for your weakness afterwards.” Harry said as he tried to walk up the stairs. “Here, let me.” Remus said and levitated Harry up to the top of the steps before running up them after him and entering the kitchen by the side of him. “What on earth have you done?” Molly demanded of him as she watched Remus help Harry into the kitchen, the former supporting the latter who limped to a chair by the table. “Let me have a look.” Harry pulled up his trouser leg and he, Remus and Molly all looked down at it. His ankle was swelling up quite badly and Molly tutted as she pulled out her wand from her pocket. “What’s he done to it?” Remus asked. “What have you done to it.” Harry corrected darkly as he glanced up to his godfather who stood with his hands on his shoulders behind him. “It’s a mild sprain. You shouldn’t have let him walk on it, Remus.” Molly said to him. “I know, I thought it was only a twisted ankle or I wouldn’t have let him.” Remus said before turning to Harry, “If you had actually told me how much it hurt then I would have known and could have levitated you back you foolish child.” Molly muttered a charm under her breath whilst Remus scolded Harry for his silence earlier on and a moment later the swelling began to subside and the pain decreased in his leg. “Better?” Molly asked him as Harry stood up and put his weight on his leg. “Much better thanks.” Harry smiled at her. “Don’t do anything much on it, no running about the house or anything like that.” She said to him and Harry nodded to her. “Now get out of the kitchen and let me concentrate on making dinner.” She said to them and both Harry and Remus left the room in pursuit of other occupations for a few hours until dinner was ready. The day was Sunday: the only day of the week when most of the Order were promptly present at the dinner table at half past two for the Sunday roast. Unfortunately that meant that they had to wait another two and a half hours for anything to eat since Molly was very against the eating of anything which would spoil their appetites for their meal. “So, how was apparating?” Ron asked Harry as he sat down in the lounge where Ron and Hermione were both still working on their homework. Hermione was now on her Potions which was the last piece she had yet to complete. Ron was writing his care of magical creatures but it was taking him a very long time; he was only on his second foot out of seven and Hermione was halfway through her second yard. “Difficult.” Harry replied. “Did you manage to apparate anywhere?” Hermione asked him mildly. “Only a couple of feet.” Harry told her and her eyes widened slightly. “That’s very impressive; it’s really difficult to learn to apparate anywhere in only an hour or two.” Hermione said in response. Ron didn’t do anything but looked back down at his text book and started to write again. “Yes, I have to congratulate you on picking it up so quickly.” Minerva said to him from the chair to the side of him. Most people who were eagerly awaiting their dinner had gathered in the lounge and were now conversing about nothing in particular as they started to wait out the hours until they were permitted to re-enter the kitchen and eat until they could eat no more. “Although I seriously doubt your success with becoming an Animagi will be at such a rate.” “I seriously doubt his success will be existent at all.” Severus muttered darkly and Harry looked daggers at him. At that moment the door opened and Bill walked inside and grinned at Tonks who noticed the difference instantly. “Brilliant Bill!” She grinned at him and everyone turned to look at him. “My god! What have you done?!” Arthur asked in disbelief as Bill sat down next to Charlie. “Has your mother seen that yet?” “That’s not all I’ve had done.” Bill said and Harry wondered what else he had had pierced, other than his eyebrow which now had a silver ring through it. Bill stuck his tongue out to show that his tongue was now quite a bit larger than before and more purple but it also had a silver stud in the middle of it. “Wow, cool!” Tonks grinned and to the side of her Dumbledore shook his head in disbelief. “I might get my eyebrow done.” “No don’t.” Hermione said, “Girls look awful with their eyebrow done.” “Well what else can I have pierced?” Tonks asked thoughtfully and a few interesting places struck Harry’s mind but he chose to keep quiet. “Have your belly button pierced, that’s all the rage at the moment.” Hermione said to her. “People have their belly buttons pierced?!” Mad Eye asked, his eyebrow raised. “Well no, not their actual belly button but the skin just at the top of it.” Hermione explained and Tonks looked as if she was ready to go out and have it pierced right then. “Anyway, I’m off out,” Tonks said to them all and it only required one guess as to where she was going to, “I’ll be back for dinner.” She picked up the floo powder and muttered an address into the fire before dropping the powder into the grate and stepping through the flames. “She’ll be getting a tattoo next.” Harry said mildly and Hermione agreed. “Tattoos are ridiculous.” Hermione scowled before glancing back down at her work which she needed to finish soon. “What’s a tattoo?” Kingsley asked. “Do we really want to know? If it’s as awful as those piercings...” Snape said apprehensively. “It’s not that bad, it’s just a picture on your skin that’s there forever. Like the Dark Mark but it can be any picture you want.” Harry said and Snape automatically put his hand to the skull permanently etched into his skin. “That’s not so bad then.” Fred said, “I might get one.” “Of a phoenix or something cool like that.” George said thoughtfully. “Tattoos aren’t cool.” Harry said, “They never go away so people have things like someone’s name tattooed onto their arm and then if they end up hating them years later then it’s still there.” “Unless you have it lasered off.” Hermione added, “But that hurts more than having the tattoo done anyway.” “It hurts to have it done?” Filius asked, “How do they do it?” “They get a needle and put ink in it and it moves really quickly and injects ink into your skin and the tattoo artist draws on your skin with it.” Harry explained to them. “Sounds awful.” Minerva said. “I think so.” Harry said. “But loads of Muggles have them.” “I might get one.” Bill said and Hermione looked at him indignantly, as if he hadn’t listened to anything either she or Harry had said. “I mean, I know it hurts and all but I can stop the pain easily enough and I could have something cool tattooed onto it.” “Like a dragon.” Charlie said. “Or a phoenix.” Fred grinned. “Or a griffin.” Mad Eye suggested. “Or a Hippogriff.” Hagrid said, his mind wandering back to Buckbeak who Hagrid had eventually released into the Forbidden Forest earlier that month. “Yeah, I like the dragon idea.” Bill said thoughtfully. “Where are you going to have it?” Ron asked him. “I dunno, where can you have them?” Bill asked. “Anywhere.” Harry replied. “Anywhere?” Remus asked him uncertainly. “Yep.” Harry replied and Remus thought of a few nasty and painful places someone could have a tattoo before pushing the thought from his mind. The conversation moved on after Bill had decided that he would think about where he was going to have a tattoo and they went back onto the fallback conversation of what kind of animal Harry, Ron and Hermione would become when they eventually became Animagi. After something which almost became a furious argument between Ron and Severus about his future animal state wherein Severus blatantly told him that he was going to be a snake. “I’m not going to be a bloody snake!” Ron shouted at him for something that seemed close to the twentieth time. “I never said you were,” Severus said calmly to him, “It was you that’s so intent on becoming a snake.” “I do not want to be a snake!” Ron said and Severus needed all his self control to prevent himself from laughing aloud at the boy. “Well what about Hermione?” Filius said to Minerva. “She could be a swan I think.” Minerva said in reply. “But people are never the same as their patronus forms, are they?” Remus asked and Mad Eye shook his head. “No, they’re always different.” He replied. “Why?” Harry asked. “Presumably because the patronus is something which protects you other than yourself and your Animagus form is supposedly the animal which is closest to yourself.” Mad Eye said to him and Harry nodded. “So Harry can’t be a stag then.” Remus said. “That’s right.” Mad Eye agreed with him. “So what can Hermione be?” Minerva asked. “She could be a bird of some kind.” Kingsley said. “Like a parrot.” Snape said, entering the conversation and leaving Ron stewing with anger next to him. “No, like an owl or something.” Kingsley said. “I thought Potter would be more likely to be an owl or a phoenix, he does like to fly after all.” Mad Eye said. “Likes to fly?” Remus asked, “That’s an understatement.” “Good job he does like to fly, he’s excellent.” Minerva said mildly. “Well I reckon that Ron could be a squirrel.” Charlie said to Bill who laughed. “A squirrel?!” Bill laughed. “No way.” “Oooo, he could be a sheep!” George said. “Or a pig.” Fred grinned. “Definitely a pig.” Ginny said. “I’m not going to be a sheep or a pig!” Ron said hotly. “But you are going to be a squirrel?” Bill asked him interestedly and Ron leapt at him, knocking over the drinks that had been on the table causing Filius’, Arthur’s and Snape’s coffee to run towards his parchment and slowly soak into his and Hermione’s work which lay untouched on the table. “Ron! My work!” Hermione yelled at him as she picked up her work only to find it completely saturated. She growled in frustration as the ink blurred, causing everything she had written to become one large smear. She looked down furiously at Ron’s work which was only partly ruined and pointed her wand at it. “Incendio! She said furiously and his work burst into flames. “What the hell do you think you are doing?!” Ron shouted at her as he turned round from throttling Bill to see his work aflame. “Dinner’s ready!” Molly called from inside the kitchen and everyone gladly left the room where only Ron and Hermione were left arguing a minute later. A/N: Ahoy there! So, how are you liking my story so far? What would you like to change, if anything? More of one particular character? Less of one? More mindless conversation between the characters like in the scene above? More of an apparent plot? (And before you ask, yes there is a plot, yes it is moving, no it's not moving very quickly, yes the title will fit in with the story in the end [well actually I'm not certain about that, you see it made sense once upon a time but now I'm not so sure. I could tell you the reason behind it but that would completely give away my not so great ending...]) Anyway I'm moving pretty quickly with the chapters now so I can get another chapter up either later on today or tomorrow at some point. Toodle pip! :o)

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