'Are you alright, mate?' Ron asked during the Welcoming Feast.

Harry nodded, 'Yeah. I'm alright.'

'Are you sure, Harry?' Came Hermione's concerned voice.

'I'm fine Hermione,' Harry reassured.

'Maybe you should see Madam Pomfery,' she suggested.

Harry shook his head, 'I'm fine.' He knew she was concerned therefore he tried with all his might not to snap.

'You always say that Harry. I will speak with Professor McGonagall after the feast,' the bushy-haired girl said firmly.

Harry sighed wearily, 'I. Am. Fine.'

'Either you will or I will,' Hermione told him with her best glare.

Harry rubbed his face. His head as well as the rest of his body hurt, he was tired, and he was in no mood for dictatorship, ultimatums, or hospital beds. 'No,' he replied harsher than he intended to. Heaving another sigh he ate a piece of treacle tart and it instantly made him feel better.

Ron frowned at Harry, 'She was just trying to help you Harry. There is no need to be mean.'

Harry bit his tongue to keep himself from calling his best mate out on the hypocrisy of that statement. 'I told her yesterday if I needed help I know how to ask. I have a headache and making demands of me is not helping.'

'What is your problem?' Ron asked hotly.

Harry sighed rubbing his temples, 'The dementors.'

'We all felt the demontors Harry,' Hermione notified him. 'No one else is being rude.'

Harry placed his utensils down softly. 'As you are only questioning me you can hardly know what the others are feeling or being. For some of us that was a horrible experience.'

'I felt the same dementors and I am not being rude. We suffered similar primary school days and I am not behaving like you. What is your problem really?' Hermione asked with her arms folded over his chest.

Harry did not answer her as considered her statement. Sure, they both were friendless in primary school, but she had parents and her teachers to help and encourage her. There situations could not be compared all that much.

That evening as Harry was about to change his clothing when Professor McGonagall came to see him. 'Mr. Potter a word of you please.' McGonagall called in her Scottish brogue. Harry turned to see her standing in the dorm doorway wearing her favorite color: emerald-green.

'In trouble already Potter?' Seamus Finnegan called from beside his bed. 'Going for the record are you?'

Harry shrugged and have the Irishman a grimace, which was laughed at. His Head of House led him down the stairs and out of the Common Room. They were in the corridor when Harry asked, 'Where are we going Professor? I am tired.'

'To the infirmary. Miss Granger tells me you aren't feeling well, Potter,' McGonagall said briskly. Harry stopped moving and bristled. After a few moments she noticed he had stopped following.

'I'm tired, Professor and I really want to go to sleep,' Harry said.

'Miss Granger said...'

'I know how I feel,' Harry protested with irritation. 'I have a headache and I would like to go to sleep...please.' McGonagall seemed to hesitate so Harry filled the silence, 'Maybe you should take Hermione to see Madam Pomfrey. I don't think she hears too well.'

'Very well, Mr. Potter, go back to your dormitory. If you die in your sleep you will only have yourself to blame,' McGonagall said as she began to walk away.

He snorted at her statement and he turned to leave. Then he stopped. 'Professor...I need to talk to you about something,' Harry said remembering his wand.


'There is something wrong with my wand,' Harry said softly as he closed the gap between them.

'What do you mean there is something wrong with it?' McGonagall asked through narrowed eyes.

'I don't know...I...it doesn't give me warmth anymore. It feels like the connection is fading,' Harry explained feeling ridiculous.

'Cease using your wand, Potter. This is a major problem. We will have to get you to Ollivander's as soon as possible,' McGonagall said.

Harry tilted his head, 'Ron had a broken wand for the entire year...'

'Mr. Weasley's parents refused to pay for a new wand,' McGonagall said with the barest of twitches.

Nice save, Harry thought. 'Oh, well when can we go?'

McGonagall thought, 'Come see me early in the morning tomorrow. Do not fool around tomorrow morning.'

Harry nodded, 'Good night, Professor.'

Harry walked back into the common room with a huff of frustration. 'Harry?' He stiffened at Hermione's voice.

'Yes?' He drawled managing to keep his annoyance in check.

'Well?' Hermione demanded. After a moment she huffed, 'Did you go to see Madam Pomfrey? Are you alright?'

'If I say yes,' Harry began slowly, 'will you hear it?'

Hermione shook her head in confusion, 'I can hear very well.'

Harry shook his head in the negative, 'I don't think so. I told you no. I told you not to go to McGonagall. Apparently you did not hear that.'

'I did what was best,' Hermione sniffed. 'You hardly know how to take care of yourself. As you refused to do it I did.'

Harry closed his eyes and begged for patience and fortitude, but his headache did not relent. Calmly he said, 'I appreciate your concern, but when I say I do not need to go the hospital wing please listen to me.'

Hermione chewed her bottom lip in contemplation. 'Fine, but you will go if you need to.' She gave him a quick hug before heading for her dormitory.

When Harry entered the room Ron and Dean were arguing over football and quidditch. Flinching, he took out his wand and began casting silencing spells against his better judgement. Thankfully nothing happened. He put on his sleeping clothes, said goodnight to his dorm mates, and slipped into the Land of Morpheus.

The next morning Harry woke thanking Merlin his headache had ceased. He smiled as he thought of his first kiss. The kiss from Daphne anyway. There was no way that he would ever consider that creature...

He thought of Daphne and smiled. Harry fingered his lips in remembrance of how soft Daphne's lips were. He sighed and reached for his wand. The remembered he wasn't supposed to use.

Harry rose to wash and dress. He turned on the shower to wash. He was still thinking of Daphne as his hands lowered on his person. He closed his eyes and thought, why not.

Thirty minutes later Harry was on his way to his Head of House's office. When she bid him entrance Harry looked around the green office. If not for the banner on her desk one could have questioned who the real Head of Slytherin was. 'Good morning, Potter.'

'Good morning, Professor,' Harry greeted.

'Well Potter I have looked over your schedule and we do not have corresponding off periods. I am willing to give up my lunch period today?' She finished giving Harry a questioning look.

'Err...yeah we can go. I really don't like to be without a wand,' Harry said. McGonagall gave him a searching look. 'You know how I always find trouble, Professor.'

'Very well Mr. Potter, meet me here before lunch,'McGonagall stated.

Harry hesitated before asking, 'May I have my schedule since I am here?' McGonagall handed him his schedule. 'Thanks, Professor.'

'Be on time, Potter.'

'Yes, ma'am.' As Harry already had his things he went straight to the Great Hall. For some reason he was extremely hungry. His teammates were already there. Sitting next to them he bid them good morning before piling his plate with a large amount of food.

'Potter,' Oliver Wood said hesitantly, 'are you well?'

As his mouth was full of egg he could only nod. The Gryffindor Quidditch team and some of others sitting at the table watched the fascinating sight of Harry Potter eating a full, hearty meal. It was something that had never been seen before.

'Maybe he will gain some weight now,' Katie Bell whispered to Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet, whom nodded in return.

'Oh Merlin...' Fred said.

'He is Ron's best friend...' George said catching on.

'They might start eating all the food,' they finished together as they started piling their on plates.

When Harry finished eating he looked at the time. Looking st his schedule he realized he did not have time to go to the Chamber as he still had to find the Runes classroom. That would have to wait for later. Turning back to his neighbors he said, 'So...are you ready for quidditch?' The twins snorted while the chaser trio giggled in amusement. 'What?' He finally turned to Oliver, whose face was set in a stony glare.

'You weren't listening at all were you?' Oliver asked with a bit of a pout.

'Err...of course,' Harry said.

'What did I say?' Oliver challenged.

Harry racked his brain for something Oliver Wood would say, 'Err...you said...you said this was your last year to win the quidditch cup as captain. You said we were the best team, but...err...problems have a-always prevented us from winning...' Everyone except for Oliver roared with laughter.

'That was a good try, Harry,' Fred called out.

'It did sound like something Oliver would say, though,' George stated still chuckling.

The team continued to laugh as Oliver pouted and Harry gave him a sheepish look, 'Sorry.'

Fifteen minutes later Ron and Hermione still had not entered the Great Hall. Harry saw Kevin Entwhistle and Anthony Goldstein leaving the Great Hall. Saying a hasty good-bye to his teammates, Harry jogged towards the two Ravenclaw boys. 'Are you two going to Runes?'

'I am,' Entwhistle answered.

'I'm not,' Goldstein said. 'I have it on Wednesday. I have Arithmancy now.'

Harry nodded. It made sense that the classes were spilt. He assumed all or most of the Ravenclaws were taking Runes, Arithmancy, and possibly Care of Magical Creatures. Half of Slytherin was probably taking those as well. Gryffindor and Hufflepuff would be mixed in between all five electives. The four houses couldn't possibly fit into one classroom.

Goldstein left as they reached the second floor. 'Err...Potter,' Entwhistle began when the two were sufficiently alone. 'Michael gave us your message.' Taking a deep breath he said, 'I...I apologize for assuming you knew everything. We have all heard stories of the Great Harry Potter growing up and...I guess we all were swept up in the fantasy. May I ask you about your mail?

Harry nodded, 'I will be going through everything soon. There was a ward which redirected everything...and thank you for your apology.'

'You're welcome and I will have my parents send any invitations to me so I can give it to you personally,' Entwhistle said.

'What invitations?' Harry asked curiously.

'Oh...you know...parties, balls, the like...' Entwhistle said airily.

Harry's eyes widened, 'Will I have to dance at the balls and parties?'

Entwhistle looked at him sharply and smirked, 'Yup.' Harry's felt his face heat up as Entwhistle laughed. Daphne was raised in this world. Surely she knew how to dance. 'Oh and don't forget dress robes...in case you didn't know,' Entwhistle said.

Harry nodded his head, 'Thanks Entwhistle.'

'Call me Kevin.'

'Then you can call me Harry.'

The pair walked in silence before Entwhistle asked, 'Can you tell me a bit about the muggle world? I'm taking muggle studies...'

The two raven-haired boys had a nice conversation about muggle electronics. Harry idly wondered if he could find some way to make those things work in the magical world...

After searching for a few minutes the pair found the Runes classroom. They had about ten minutes before the bell rang. They stood outside and continued to talk. Eventually they started to hear the footsteps of their peers. The first one to step out was Hermione. She did a double take when she saw him. 'Harry?'

Harry sighed and decided to put his annoyance with her behind him, ''Lo Hermione.'

'What are you doing here? And why didn't you wait for us this morning? Ron and I were looking all over for you.'

Harry waved his hand around, 'I needed to speak with McGonagall.'

'What about?'

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Kevin raise an eyebrow, 'Hey Hermione do you remember Kevin Entwhistle?'

Hermione blinked at the boy, 'Entwhistle.'

Kevin nodded his head and coolly said, 'Granger.'

There was an awkward pause as more people began to arrive. 'Kevin,' the light brown-haired blue-eyed Lisa Turpin greeted.

'Hey Lisa...you know Harry and Granger right?'

Lisa looked over with a smile, 'Granger.' Turning to Harry she said, 'I'm sorry about...you know...well...everything.'

Harry nodded, 'Thank you.'

Hermione looked between the two in confusion. Her confusion only grew as more and more students came to apologize to Harry. She poked him in the side, 'Why are they apologizing?'

Harry twitched, 'Accusations and assumptions.'

'Oh well...that's good of them,' Hermione said. 'Why didn't you tell me you were taking Runes?'

'I forgot,' Harry said softly. With everything that had gone on yesterday he had genuinely forgotten. He still had to tell them about Sirius Black.

'Oh...well you should have at least told Ron where you were going,' Hermione lectured. 'You shouldn't be on your own like that.'

Harry saw Entwhistle raise an eyebrow as Harry furrowed his own in confusion. In a slow voice he asked, 'Why shouldn't I be on my own?'

Hermione flushed but said, 'You know how trouble always follows you...'

Same thing I said to McGonagall. Giving her a reassuring smile he said, 'I think I can handle it.'

Hermione looked relieved, 'If you say so Harry.'

Finally the Professor arrived, 'Come.' She had red hair almost looked like copper. Freckles littered her face, which framed her dark brown eyes. Hermione latched onto Harry's arm and pulled. Harry was going to go with her, but his bag split.

'Oh...do you need help?' Several people offered assistance, but Harry waved them off. 'I'll be right in,' He said to Hermione.

When everyone was in the room Harry felt lips touch his cheek and the smell of coconuts infiltrated his nostrils. 'Sorry about that, but I wanted to sit with you.'

'As long as you buy me a new bag and some more ink...'

'Of course, Emerald,' Daphne said before repairing the bag. As they entered the room Daphne said, 'Move Potter.' Harry slowed down to be annoying. She shoved him a little. As they looked around they saw one table open in the middle with Kevin standing at the side. Hermione looked back with an apologetic look. Hannah Abbott and Susan Bones had taken the seats next to her.

Harry shrugged as if to say what can you do. Harry took the seat between Kevin and Daphne.

'Nice of you two to join us,' the Professor said.

'Sorry Professor. My bag split,' Harry explained apologetically.

'I was running late this morning, ma'am,' Daphne said coolly.

'Don't let it happen again,' She said. Clearing her throat she said, 'Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am Professor Bathsheeda Babbling and welcome to Ancient Runes. Runes was originally used for Divination purposes only, however in the last three hundred years, they have been used in warding, enchanting, and the creating of magical objects.' Looking around she asked, 'Can anyone tell me what the Rune variations are?'

As customary Hermione's hand rose first, 'Futhark, Futhorc, and the Younger Futhark. The latter two are derived from Futhark, which originated in ancient Scandinavia.'

'Two points to Gryffindor Miss...'

'Granger, Hermione Granger.'

'Does anyone know what Futhark stands for?' Harry, for the first time since his first day in primary school, he raised his hand, 'Yes, Mr. Potter?'

Harry sighed, but said, 'Futhark represents the first five letters in the Elder Runic alphabet.'

'Two points to Gryffindor.'

'Each Rune has its own unique style, meaning, and symbols. F in the Elder Futhark is Fehu. The god of Fehu is Frey. Does anyone know what Frey was the God of?'

Seeing no one with a raised hand Harry put his in the site once more, 'Frey is the God of fertility.' He used to steal a lot of Dudley's books as a kid. He knew Norse mythology and had been enamored with the god Tyr. Still was in fact.

'Five points to Gryffindor. Fertility in and of itself is a sign of wealth. Fehu symbolizes wealth, or cattle which was the main source of wealth when this alphabet was created...'

Harry listened to his new professor. This woman obviously loved Runes. It was also obvious that she loved to spread her knowledge. Harry found that he would truly enjoy this subject.

Half way through the lesson Harry wrote Daphne a small note. He wanted her to meet him in the bathroom...Myrtle's bathroom right before curfew. The class ended surprisingly fast. Harry had been enjoying himself that much.

'I want a 76.5 cm essay on the differences between the Elder Futhark and the Futhorc. I hate grading papers therefore when I say 76.5 centimeters I mean 76.5 centimeters. Nothing more nothing less. Class dismissed.'

Hermione walked to the table and began to talk. Entwhistle cleared his throat. 'Harry,' he called louder than necessary, 'I will see you later.'

Harry nodded, 'See ya, Kevin.'

Nodding he said, 'Granger, Greengrass.'

'Entwhistle,' Hermione said. Daphne just nodded her head.

Daphne squeezed Harry's hand under the table before sweeping away without a word.

Hermione sniffed, 'I'm sorry you had to sit next to her.'

Harry shrugged indifferently, 'Wasn't too bad.' Not bad at all.

Hermione walked out of the room with Harry. The green-eyed boy turned around to ask her a question, but when he turned around she wasn't there. 'Where did she go?' He looked around in confusion for a moment before he headed towards History. This was his second to worst class. Nothing could out beat Snape and his acerbic way of teaching. But Binns was as dull as he was dead and Harry could not comprehend how Hermione could stand to stay awake for the ma...ghost.

He was the first Gryffindor to arrive for history, which was shared with the Hufflepuffs. Part of him still resented the Puffs therefore he avoided looking them in the eye.

'Harry? Where have been mate? I've been looking all over for you.' Ron sat in the chair next to him with an expectant look.

'I had Runes this morning,' Harry explained.

'What?! Why? I thought we were taking Divinations and Creatures together,' Ron said loudly in Harry's ear causing the other boy to wince.

'I decided to take Runes and Arithmancy, but I'm still taking Creatures,' Harry explained softly.

Ron looked irritated. 'You are taking more classes than before,' he grumbled. Ron was still complaining as Harry turned to look for Hermione, but she was no where to be seen.

'I wonder where Hermione is?'

Ron stopped his mumbling, 'I dunno she was behind me, but when I turned to talk to her she had disappeared.'

Harry frowned, 'What do you mean she was behind you?'

'If you had been with us for breakfast you would have known Hermione and I had Divination this morning,' Ron said smartly.

'Hermione was in Divination with you?' Harry asked trying to keep his face impassive

'Yes,' Ron said.

'Are you sure?' Harry asked for clarification

'Yes,' Ron said with a bit of exasperation. 'She wouldn't stop snorting and hissing in my ear about how ridiculous the class was.'

Harry knew Hermione was in the class with him. Or at least someone who looked like Hermione. Could someone be polyjuicing Hermione? To get closer to him? But why polyjuice Hermione? They would need to be extremely convincing. Raising their hand constantly and answering question after question. It would have been easier to polyjuice Ron. Harry shook his head. Polyjuicing Hermione in broad daylight would be incredibly stupid. Plus, the idea of Malfoy, or any of his ilk, drinking any essence of a muggleborn was ludicrous.

Finally, Hermione made an appearance. 'Where did you go?' Ron asked in confusion.

'I had to go to the loo,' Hermione explained in a flustered manner.

'Oh,' Ron said with a blush. Hermione just rolled her eyes.

Binns eventually began his usual boring lesson. Harry groaned audibly before grabbing his book to begin reading about the Reductor Curse. He idly wondered if he would be able to practice this in the Chamber. He hoped so. Maybe Dobby or some other house elf could find him a dummy to practice on.

'What are you doing?' Ron asked softly as he peered over Harry's arm.

'Reading,' Harry answered.

'What for?' Ron asked with extreme incredulity.

'There is nothing to do in this class and I am not tired. Don't you think I should do something with myself? Instead of staring at the walls?' Harry asked.

Ron scoffed, 'You are turning into Hermione mate.'

Harry opened his mouth, but closed it with a shake of his head. 'Go to sleep Ron.'

When the bell rung Harry hastily gathered his things. 'I will see you two later...and I won't be at lunch,' He told Ron and Hermione before rushing off. He walked briskly to McGonagall's office.

'Enter,' McGonagall called after Harry knocked twice. 'Right on time, Potter.' She ignited her fireplace before throwing some floo in. 'You have used this whilst staying with the Weasleys correct?' Harry nodded, 'You go first.'

'The Leaky Cauldron. Diagon Alley.' Harry swirled away almost immediately. The thirteen year old felt victorious as he stepped from the floo. While he hopped a bit he did not stumble, and most importantly he did not fall. Harry was almost envious of the way McGonagall gracefully stepped from the floo. He consoled himself with the fact that she was an old woman who had a lot of practice.

'Come Potter.' As they walked down the alleyway she said, 'I was pleased that you wrote to me asking for a change of classes. What made you change your mind?'

'One of many conversations at Fortescue's,' Harry said.

'Well I am glad Mr. Fortescue could be of assistance,' McGonagall said briskly.

As they entered Ollivander's Harry, once again, felt that ancient magic. Harry turned to his Head of House, 'Do you feel that?'

'Do I feel what Mr. Potter?' She asked.

'That magic when we entered?'

McGonagall gave him a startled look, 'Yes I did, but it I am deeply in tune with my magic...did you feel the magic the first time you were here?'

'Yes,' Harry said.

'Not many people can feel that, Mr. Potter,' a voice said startling them both. McGonagall glared as her hand clutched get chest. 'The Ollivander's have been using the shop for generations. What you are feeling is the magic of the building itself. The magic that has built up and collected in this establishment for centuries. Tell me, do you feel it at Hogwarts?'

'No, sir.'

'Not yet...what can I do for you today?' Ollivander asked.

'My wand...err...it doesn't feel right,' Harry explained feeling a bit stupid. 'Err...it feels cold and distant.'

'May I have it, please?' Harry removed the bag for his bag, which was falling apart.

'I believe you need a new bag Mr. Potter,' McGonagall observed.

Harry nodded as he handed Ollivander the wand, 'Yeah it spilt right before Runes.'

'If we have enough time you may replace it instead of owl ordering one,' McGonagall suggested.

'Mr. Potter,' Ollivander called, 'Do you remember what up told you?'

'Err...the wand chooses the wizard?' Harry asked.

'Precisely,' Ollivander said. 'I believe your wand no longer wants you.'

'Well, Harry said after a double take. To think he actually liked that wand.

'Do not be offended, Mr. Potter, this has happened before. Not often, mind you, but it has happened. Wait just one moment.'

Harry sighed, 'I hope this isn't as long as last time.'

'How long?' McGongall asked.

Harry shrugged nonchalantly, 'I lost count somewhere around eighty.'

'You do not have potions today, correct?' Harry shook his head in response. 'Good I do not wish for Gryffindor to finish the day in the negatives.'

Harry was about to ask why she put up with Snape, but Ollivander had returned. 'Red Oak and phoenix feather, twelve and a half inches, sturdy.' It was snatched back before Harry could do anything with it. 'Aspen and unicorn hair, eleven and three-quarter inches, rather bendy.'

'Cypress and unicorn hair, thirteen inches, supple.'

'Birch and dragon heartstring, ten inches, hard.'

'Maple and phoenix feather, eleven inches, whippy.'

'Hornbeam and dragon heartstring, fourteen inches, rigid.'

'Pear and unicorn hair, nine inches, bendy.'

'Cedar and unicorn hair, twelve and a half inches, supple.'

'Ebony and dragon heartstring, 11 inches, sturdy.'

This pattern continued for a while causing McGonagall to groan. 'Really Mr. Potter.' Harry wanted to pout.

'Elm and dragon heartstring, thirteen inches, unyielding.'

When Harry touched the wand he once again felt that warmth and connection. Red and green sparks flew out of the wand causing Ollivander to clap enthusiastically. 'Very good, Mr. Potter.' Harry's green eyes met the intense, gray eyes of Ollivander hoping he would not find out this was the brother wand of some other dark lord. 'I still expect great things from you Mr. Potter.'

Sagging noticeably with relief Harry said, 'Thank you, sir, and I will try to exceed your expectations.'

Harry dipped into his pocket, but Ollivander said, 'I believe you have already paid for a wand.'

'My old holster will fit right?' Harry asked.


'Thanks again,' Harry said as he and McGonagall turned to leave.

'Most you always be so difficult, Potter?' McGonagall asked a bit amused.

'Where is the fun in being easy?'

'Where have you been?' Hermione demanded as Harry skidded into the charms corridor.

Harry shook his head, 'I will tell you later.' Then he waved to the Ravenclaws, all of whom waved back.

'When did you become friendly with them?' Ron asked a bit loudly.

'This morning,' Harry said airily.

'Harry?' Hermione called slowly.

'Yes?' He asked slowly.

'That's not your bag,' she stated.

Harry nodded, 'This is my bag.'

'Where did you get it from?' She inquired with narrowed eyes.

'I will tell you later,' Harry answered wearily.


Thankfully Flitwick made an appearance to distract Hermione. Today Flitwick was going over the three lighting charms. When the diminutive professor called for them to practice lumos maxima Harry grabbed his new wand in anticipation. 'Lumos Maxima,' he muttered. This was the first time he had cast the spell since the incident therefore he did not expect his wand to light up like the sun. 'Nox.'

'Mr. Potter!' Flitwick squeaked.

'Really Potter,' someone called.

'We don't all want to be blind like you, mate,' came the voice of Seamus.

Harry sent him a scowl as Hermione said, 'Honestly Harry.'

'I didn't do it on purpose,' he grumbled.

'Remember your control Mr. Potter,' Flitwick squeaked sternly, which was ineffective considering how it sounded.

Nevertheless, Harry nodded absent-mindedly wondering why he could not perform the spell properly when he could do so at the Leaky Cauldron. He calmed himself and concentrated, 'Lumos Maxima.' The light was still too bright, but he managed to temper the amount of magic in the spell.

'How are you doing that?' Hermione demanded standing next to him.

'I practiced over the summer,' Harry said not paying attention. His eyes widened as he realized his error.

'How? You can't practice magic at home. It's against the law,' Hermione said.

Harry shook his head, 'I found a loophole.'

Hermione was scandalized and began to hiss a lecture, but Harry was skilled in the art of tuning people out. Petunia was a great practice dummy after all.

'Lumos Maxima.'

'Lumos Maxima.'

'Lumos Maxima.'

Each time he did it the better his control over the spell became. 'Excellent Mr. Potter. Five points to Gryffindor. Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley your turn.' Hermione performed the spell quickly and efficiently earning another five points. Ron, however, had a problem, which did not improve his already bad mood. 'Continue practicing Mr. Weasley.' As Flitwick walked away Ron began to grumble.

'Here let me help you, Ron,' Hermione said as she lifted her wand to demonstrate for the ginger sitting next to her. She pronounced the incantation a few times and showed him the correct wand movements.

Harry groaned in despair thinking Hermione would never learn. He knew she meant well, but she had this way of speaking when she explained and demonstrated. He always felt...well stupid after she explained something to him.

Ron glared, 'I don't need help.'

'There is no need to be rude, Ronald,' Hermione stated smartly.

'If I need help I know how to ask,' Ron said quoting Harry.

'Clearly you do need help as you cannot perform the spell.' And they were off.

Blessedly, class ended soon after. Harry took his time gathering his things while Ron and Hermione hardly paid attention to him as they were still bickering. He sighed as they left the classroom snipping at each other. Nodding to the amused Ravenclaws he left the classroom for the greenhouses with the Slytherins.

Harry was annoyed as he entered the library. Ron and Hermione continued to bicker for the entirety of Herbology and they were still at each other's throats when he left them eating in the Great Hall.

After placing his things at a vacant table, he then went in search of an advanced charms book for the theoretical explanation of the Patronus Charm. As he knew the library very well due to the events of first year, he found the charms section easily.

Harry found three helpful explanations on the Patronus Charm. They all basically said the same thing: it was a difficult charm that needed a powerful, happy memory. It was just his luck he had so few.

He sighed as he took out his homework. As he had other things to do he wanted to get it done now. Once again he found he enjoyed Runes. So engrossed in the topic and his homework that he did not realize that he was close to going over the required 76.5 centimeters. Miracles did, indeed, happen everyday. He completed his Herbology and history work next. As he had performed the spell adequately in class, he had no Charms assignment to complete.

When he finished he looked at the time contemplating his next move. He wanted to go to the Chamber, but he wanted to avoid Ron and Hermione, especially Hermione, becoming too curious about his location. He was just about to get up when Kevin and Corner entered the library. Corner saw him first for he pointed Harry out to Kevin.



'Corner, Kevin,' he said with a head nod as the two sat at his table.

'What are you doing in here?' Kevin asked teasingly.

'I wanted to look up the Patronus Charm,' Harry said.

'Ahh,' Kevin said. 'You did look a little pale yesterday. You alright?'

Harry nodded, 'Yeah.'

Corner sighed next to them, 'I hate history.'

Harry nodded sympathetically, 'I know how you feel. I hate history too.'

Kevin groaned, 'Not you too.'

Harry sighed in contemplation, 'I guess it's more that I dislike Binns...'

'Have you read any history books?' Kevin asked enthusiastically.

Harry shook his head then said, 'Please don't tell me to read Hogwarts: A History!'

Kevin pouted, 'Fine, but let me show you some books.' The blue-eyed boy hopped up from his seat and directed Harry towards the history section with way too much enthusiasm. Taking a dusty, dark blue book from the shelf he said, 'This is a book a book on the history of the Ministry of Magic. It details how it was founded, departments and their purposes, everything you want to know about the Ministry of Magic is in this book.'

Grabbing another book, which was black in color, he said, 'This is a book on all magical wars: wizard v. wizard wars, creature against creature, and creature against wizard. The witch hunts are also in there. Fascinating stuff. This one here is about the history of magical Britain. You should read this and get it now since this book is always taken out the library. It is amazing that it is here,' Kevin said a bit breathless.

Harry nodded his head before asking lightly, 'Any books for potions you can recommend?'

Kevin's face lit up happily. Harry grabbed the book on magical Britain's history as Kevin dragged him away. 'This,' the other boy pointed to a worn, brown book, 'is a book for beginners. It describes everything you need to know about potions. The various ways to cut, stirring, a dash of this...the technical part of potions. Grab it while you can. Once my house has it, it won't be seen again.'


'Because the first claw that takes it out will give it to the next claw by returning with that person there so...'

'The friend takes the book out almost immediately,' Harry said softly. 'Smart. It never leaves the House.'

Kevin nodded, 'Doesn't make much difference in Snape's class, but they say it makes a difference on the OWLs and NEWTs.'

Harry grabbed that book as Kevin led him over to a shelf close to the Herbology section. This book looked relatively new. It was cream in color with what looked like aconite on the front of it. 'Filled with all types of ingredients, their properties, and anything else you need to know. You can always buy a volume of this at Flourish and Blotts...I think.'

'How many books can I take out at once?' Harry only having removed Quidditch Through the Ages from the library.

'Five,' Kevin sulked a bit.

Harry was amused. 'You know this because?'

Despite the blush blooming in his face Kevin raised his chin. 'I tried to remove seven, but that harridan wouldn't let me.' Harry honestly tried to look sympathetic, but he eventually have in to the snort he had been fighting and chuckled silently. Kevin sniffed, 'There is nothing funny about this.'

'No,' Harry shook his head gravely before grinning once more.

The pair walked back to the table where Michael was sitting grimacing at the paper in front of him. 'Hate this...I really, really, really, hate this.'

Kevin snorted, 'If you help me with Transfiguration I can help you with History.'

'Deal,' Corner jumped on the chance with enthusiasm. Harry watched in fascination as Kevin explained the Goblin Rebellion of the 1930s to Corner patiently and effectively.

'Listening Harry?' Kevin asked looking down.

Harry nodded before realizing the boy could not see him. 'Yeah.' Then he furrowed his brow, 'Do you know about the Great Depression Kevin?'

'No, what's that?'

'It was a worldwide economic crash from...I think it was late 1929 to some time in the early 1940s.'

Entwhistle blinked then nodded, 'That's during this time. Vault holders began removing funds from the bank, the goblins began to protest, and a fight broke out in Gringotts. A lot of the old Pureblood families lost a lot of money already and blamed the goblins.'

Harry tilted his head, 'How many witches and wizards invest in the muggle world?'

'A good few,' Kevin said. Lowering his voice he said, 'That's how the Davis family lost their money.'

The three boys continued to talk about various subjects until Harry announced he had to leave.

'See you later, Harry.'

'Bye Harry.'

Harry bid goodbye to them both before checking his books out. He left the library and made his way to the first floor girls' lavatory. Half way there he threw in his cloak in an empty corridor. It was quiet, but he could hear chatter in the distance. He ran into no one. Myrtle, thankfully, wasn't there. ~Open.~

He flinched as the sink began to twist and grind causing Harry to flinch. When it opened Harry stared down the tunnel. Suddenly something hit him. There was no stairs. For the life of him he could not see Tom Riddle or Salazar Slytherin sliding down a tunnel and landing on their arses. ~Stairs.~

He grinned victorious as the slide began to twist into stairs. He jumped when Daphne entered the bathroom. She gave him a shy smile, 'Hello.'

Harry have her a weird look before saying, 'Hello.' Not knowing how to react he poked her shoulder, 'You alright?'

'Yes,' she answered softly. 'Are you alright? I mean from yesterday and ask?'

Harry nodded, 'Yeah, I went right to sleep last night.'

'You didn't see Madam Pomfrey?' Harry could hear the frown.

'Nope. Didn't want to,' Harry stated lightly. 'Come on let's go.' Harry took Daphne's hand after a bit of hesitation. Half way down Harry turned around and closed the sink. 'Lumos Maxima.'

'Do you know the banishing charm?' Daphne asked stiffly.

'No,' Harry said wondering at her tone. 'Err...Tank?' He would have called Dobby, but the excitable house elf's voice would have echoed dreadfully. With a crack a house elf wearing a purple and black toga with what looked like his family crest appeared.

Bowing the elf said, 'Master Potter.'

'Can you err...remove these rocks?' Harry asked hesitantly. 'Please?'

The elf bowed once more before raising his thin arms and banishing the pile of rocks in front if the two teens. 'Is there being anything else Master needs?'

Harry nodded, 'I need you and the some of the other elves to...err render is it? Yeah render a dead basilisk.'

The elf looked at him with wide eyes before nodding, 'Yes Master, Tank comes back when Master calls.' The elf popped away as Harry led Daphne further into the Chamber.

'You were very nice to that elf,' Daphne said softly. 'Most people would frown at that.'

Harry looked at Daphne in confusion, 'Is there something wrong?'

With pursed lips she said, 'No...I'm fine.'

Harry didn't think she was fine, but as he had been badgered by Hermione too many times when he wanted to be left alone he decided to drop it. ~Open.~ Seeing the enormous piece of shedded snake skin Harry swished and flicked, 'Wingardium Leviosa.' Harry and Daphne walked further into the Chamber as Harry opened the last barrier.

Turning the corner Harry heard Daphne gasp, 'Merlin.' Looking at Harry with wide eyes she asked, 'How did you kill it?'

'The sword of Gryffindor,' Harry answered softly.

'Why did you have to kill it?'

Harry sighed as he told her the tale of his second year.

'I would never speak to that girl again,' Daphne declared.

Harry just shrugged in response. It was all water under the bridge now. 'Tank,' He called. The house elf popped in with two other elves.

'Master this bes Bo and Pip,' Tank stated pointing to his left and right respectively.

'Err...nice to meet you.' Pointing to the beast Harry said, 'I need you to take care of that and then take it to Mr. Fitzpatrick, please.'

The elves nodded before Tank snapped his fingers and a load of various tools and supplies. Harry turned to Daphne, 'You wanna look around?' When Daphne nodded hat took a step forward before stopping and furrowing his brow.

'What's wrong?'

~Speak to me Slytherin! Greatest of Hogwarts' four!~ The same portal the basilisk came from opened up once more. Harry took out his wand and said, 'The basilisk came from in there so...' Daphne gulped beside him as she took out her own wand. He stepped inside with his wand in front of him. 'Lumos.' Looking around he saw nothing more than another large piece of skin and a tunnel. 'What can basilisk skin be used for?' He asked his betrothed.

'Potions, wands, and clothing,' Daphne said.

'So I can use those two pieces for say boots and jackets?' Harry asked.

'Yes.' Harry nodded as he and Daphne walked further down the tunnel. 'Incendio,' Harry heard Daphne say behind him causing several candles to light up.

'Nox...thank you.' At the end of the tunnel were two doors. Harry looked at Daphne with a raised eyebrow. She nodded, but gripped her wand tighter. There footsteps echoed in the stone floor. When they reached the doors Harry gripped the handle. 'Ouch!'

'What's wrong?' Harry could hear the nervousness in her voice.

'The handle bit me,' Harry complained. Suddenly it twisted into a large snake.

~You have tainted blood, but I will let you pass...Peverell. Now let me taste the girl.~

Harry stared at the snake in shock. 'It wants to taste you Daphne.'

'I beg your pardon?' She sounded outraged and scared.

Swallowing Harry repeated himself, 'He wants to taste your blood...to see if you are pure.'

Daphne have Harry an incredulous look, but all she got in reply was a shrug. 'This better be a one time thing.'

~Will you do this again?~

~No I will forever more know your taste and magic.~

'He says he won't do it again. He will know it's you from now on.'

Daphne grit her teeth and flinched when the snake bit down.

~What is her family? I do not know this magic.~

~Greengrass.~ Biting his lip Harry asked, ~ Did you ever let a Tom Riddle in here?~

'No! He was the son on a muggle...filthy beasts. Before he died, my master said he would rather his line die out than to claim the son of a muggle.~

Harry chuckled softly which turned into a full guffaw.

'What is your problem?' Daphne asked startled.

'Voldemort...hehehe...he couldn't c-come i-in...hahaha...father was a muggle.'

'What!?' Daphne asked in shock.

Harry turned to get still chuckling, 'He is a half-blood. He had a muggle father and a witch mother.'

'B-but h-he...M-Malfoy, B-Black...the entire dark followed him,' Daphne finished. Her face was pale and her hands were shaking. Harry's eyes narrowed. 'They believed in him. My grandfather bragged about going to school with...he knew...'

'Who was the Death Eater in your family Daphne?' Harry asked suspiciously.

She looked at him with a set jaw. 'My father.' She then lowered her eyes and continued, 'I saw the mark on his arm when I was about seven. He told me it was the biggest mistake of his life.'

'Why? Why was it the biggest mistake of his life?'

'He wasn't married to my mother for long. They married because she was pregnant. So that I wouldn't be a bastard. My grandfather was still alive and disappointed that he...that my father married an...a foreigner. He became a Death Eater in order to...to stem the disappointment...when my mother died he immediately found himself in a marriage with my step-mother: Cosma MacNair. My father...he told me the contract with...this contract was to punish him as well...he...we thought I or my sister would have to marry Malfoy,' she finished wiping her face.

Harry nodded his head, 'Thank you for telling me.' He held out his hand hesitantly, which was grasped with the same hesitance. Harry gave it a squeeze as they walked through the doors. 'Great Merlin my eyes.' They entered a study, which was decorated in green and silver.

Daphne smirked, 'I think it's beautiful.'

'Naturally.' Harry looked around the study. The desk was black and littered with paper. 'You know...I don't think many of his heirs found this room.'

Daphne nodded, 'Too dusty.'

Harry let go of Daphne's hand to walk over to the bookshelf. 'Tom probably hated his ancestor.' Harry began rifling through a book. 'Curses,' He declared.

'It did not stop him from claiming him,' Daphne said softly.

'Would it stop you?' Harry asked.

'Merlin no! To be related to Salazar Slytherin...' She turned to stare at Harry, 'If it didn't let You-Know-Who in why did it let you?'

Harry frowned, 'Maybe...maybe because Tom Riddle, Voldemort's real name, was the son of a muggle while my mother was a mugglborn witch...Daphne?'


'Who is Peverell?' Harry asked.

'Comes from a fairytale,' Daphne answered. 'It's a famous tale about death and three brothers.'

'What's it called?'

'The Tale of the Three Brothers. In a book called Tales of Beedle the Bard. They meet Death and he's upset because they avoided him. He gives them three prizes for their success: the older brother gets the most powerful wand ever made. The middle gets a ring to bring back death, and the youngest brother gets a cloak.' Shrugging she said, 'Some people say those things are real, but I don't know.'

Harry nodded, 'Do you have the book?'

Daphne nodded, 'I'll give it to you if you would like.'

'Yes, please.'

As she investigated Slytherin's desk she asked, 'What made you ask about Peverell?'

'The snake called me Peverell,' Harry said. 'Not Potter, but Peverell.'

Daphne looked at him with curiosity, 'Maybe one of them was your ancestor.'

Harry nodded, 'Maybe.'

Harry and Daphne ceased to speak as they became preoccupied in what they were doing. Harry found that Slytherin enjoyed curses and potions as well as blood magic. Hearing Daphne huff Harry looked up. 'What's wrong?'

'I can't read any of this.'

Harry walked over and looked at the books read. 'This is a journal...'

Dear Helena,

Today I leave this old castle behind. This hatred and anger betwixt myself and Gryffindor has become too much. We can no longer be in the same room before we are at each other's throats. Sometimes I just wish to kill him...

'See?' Harry said looking at Daphne. 'Just a...what's wrong?'

'It's in parseltongue,' she said sourly.

'Ahh...' Harry tilted his head, 'You should check over those tomes then.'

Daphne went to look at the books on the shelf before declaring, 'It's in English.'

'I want to learn some of them, but I don't know the bad ones,' Harry said.

Daphne had moved from the bookshelf to open a door to the left of her. 'A bathroom. Needs to be cleaned...what if he has a potions lab down here?'

'We could do the practical parts without Snape and your housemates,' Harry said happily. 'Hey how well do you do in potions?'

'I don't actually know,' Daphne admitted. 'Snape is so hung up on favoring us that I don't actually know my Potions grades.'

'Kevin showed me this book...well two of them that the other Ravenclaws recommended. We can share it,' Harry said. 'You study one while I study the other then switch.'

'Alright,' she said sitting on the gray loveseat. 'I'll take them out when you finish.'

'Excellent,' Harry said opening another door. It was a passage way. 'You want to see what's in here? Incendio.' Harry walked down the passageway with Daphne chose behind him. They stopped at a blank wall and Harry crouched down to listen.

'Can you believe Dumbledore?' Harry heard what sounded like Draco Malfoy say. 'Hiring that fat oaf to teach us? I bet Mother regrets her choice not to send me to Durmstrang...'

Daphne groaned beside him, 'He never shuts up about Dumbledore and...'

'Funny I haven't seen Potter yet...'

'...and you,' Daphne finished. In the background they could hear Pansy Parkinson laughing.

'The entrance to the Slytherin Common room. This could come in handy,' Harry said softly.

'Yes,' his companion agreed.

After listening for a few more moments Harry and Daphne went back to the study. They continued their search. They did find a small potions lab as well as a bedroom. There was no kitchen, but the two teens deduced that be just ordered a house elf to bring him food. 'Her lived down here,' Harry said. 'His last days in the castle must have been spent down here. He probably only showed his face when he had to teach.'

'You sound like you feel sorry for him?' Daphne said amused.

'I don't know enough about what happened to feel sorry. I feel...curious,' he explained. Holding out his hand for her to grasp he said, 'Let's go back out there.' When they came to the entrance Harry said, 'Wingardium Leviosa.' The second piece of basilisk skin rose into the air.

'Finite,' Daphne snuffed out the lit candles.

When they arrived at the chamber Harry sat on the floor and wrote a note for Fitzpatrick. He wanted boots and jackets for him and Daphne.

'Tank,' he heard Daphne called, 'can you clean the floor?' The house elf snapped his finger cleaning much of the floor. 'I cannot wait to learn how to conjure.'

When Harry finished his note he pulled out his wand and said, 'Expecto Patronum.' Nothing happened causing him to sigh.

'What type of wand is that?' Daphne asked sitting down and pulling out a book to read.

'Elm and dragon heartstring, thirteen inches, unyielding,' Harry said.

'I have walnut wand. Walnut and dragon heartstring. Twelve and a half inches. Ollivander said it was for intelligent people,' Daphne said raising her chin.

Harry looked at her, 'What is your class rank?'

Daphne blushed, 'It's just outside the top ten. My step-mother wanted me to be behind the more eligible heirs in our year. Now I don't have to do that.'

Harry nodded before standing up and closing his eyes. He racked his brain for a happy memory. His mind immediately found his firebolt. He thought about how it made him feel free and excited. 'Expecto Patronum.' Green eyes opened to see the witch opposite him shaking her head. What else made him happy. Ron and Hermione' faces developed. 'Expecto Patronum.' Daphne gasped causing him to open his eyes. As the image of his two best friends faded so did the spell. Hee did manage to see a bright, white light, however.

'What did you think of?'

'Ron and Hermione,' Harry answered. He imagined their faces once more, 'Expecto Patronum.' The light wasn't strong mind you, but it was there nevertheless.

'Do you know the theory behind the spell?'

'Think of a happy memory. An extremely happy memory. Point your wand and say "Expecto Patronum."' Harry tried the spell a few more times before calling it a night.

'How about we work our way up to that spell?' Daphne suggested. 'When can work on all our third year spells before moving on to fourth, fifth so on and so forth.'

Harry sighed, 'Come on.'

For the next hour and a half Harry and Daphne practiced various spells in all three of their wand subjects. Harry had Daphne beat in defensive and offensive spells. She was better than him with Transfiguration, however. They were pretty even in charms, however.

They eventually called it quits as they both became tired. The house elves were still working on the basilisk. 'Tank,' Harry called. 'Can you please save these two skins and...three...no four vials of the venom?' Harry handed this note to the elf, who placed it in his pocket. 'Mr. Fitzpatrick will know what to do with them. Please hand him that note along with the parts tomorrow morning. Thank you.'

Tank bowed, 'Yes master.'

Harry grabbed Daphne's hand to help her up. 'You ready?'


They walked back to the girls' lavatory. 'You want to meet tomorrow at the same time?'

Daphne nodded, 'I would like that.'

'Alright.'Would you like me to walk you back?'

She shook head, 'No. I'm okay.'

Harry hesitantly stepped forward to give his betrothed a hug. He was still a bit awkward, he believed he was getting better at it. She kissed his cheek before leaving the bathroom. Harry threw on his cloak and slipped out as the door was closing.

When Harry entered the common room Hermione was asleep on in a chair. She was lightly snoring on an open book. Harry walked closer to her in order to wake the bushy-haired girl up. As he shook her awake he caught a glimpse of her schedule. It was completely full. She had Muggle Studies, Runes, and Divination at the same time Monday morning. It was the same on Wednesday morning except Arithmancy was in the place of Runes.

'Hmmm...' his friend hummed as she began to wake up.

'Hermione wake up.'

Her brown eyes looked around in confusion. She stretched until her eyes found Harry. Hermione blinked a few times before asking, 'Where have you been Harry? It's after curfew.'

Harry shook his head, 'Never mind that. You should go to bed.' He had already began moving towards the stairs to the boys' dormitories.


'I'll see you in the morning, Hermione,' Harry said in a loud whisper. That night Harry fell into one of the greatest sleeps he had ever had. Not once did he wake up from a nightmare or anything else.

'Harry...are you alright?' Hermione asked as she watched Harry pile his plate with food.

Swallowing he said, 'Of course.'

'Why are you eating so much?' She asked suspiciously.

'Because I'm hungry,' Harry answered slowly. She observed him eat his food. Harry, naturally, avoided eye contact.

'So...where did you disappear to yesterday?' Hermione questioned.

'I went to the library,' Harry answered before stuffing biting into a scone.

'Really?' Harry would have been insulted by the doubt and suspicion in her voice, but as he rarely went to the library he shrugged it off.

'Why were you in there mate?' Ron asked.

'Studying,' Harry said. Ron gaped in incredulity and disappointment. 'I'm losing you mate. Don't do it.'

The green-boy frowned at his friend, but shook his head as he continued eating.

'Well,' Hermione said after a pause, 'you should have at least said good-bye and let us know where you would be. And if you need any help navigating through the library I am here to help.'

The rest of the week passed with only two significant incidents: Malfoy getting clawed by a hippogriff and his defense Professor (Professor R. J. Lupin according to Hermione) stepped in front of his boggart.

'Malfoy is an idiot,' Daphne declared as they entered the Chamber that Wednesday evening. 'Sure he is an arrogant, self-centered bigot, but I always assumed he had some sense."

Harry snorted, 'I don't think so.' He groaned as he sat on the loveseat in Slytherin's study which had been cleaned by the house elves. As he wrapped an arm around Daphne's shoulder he said, 'Ya'know if Hermione wasn't so suspicious I would only leave here for classes...and quidditch.'

Daphne looked at him with a frown, 'Why don't you tell her to mind her business?'

Harry shrugged, 'Because she's my friend.'

Daphne shook her head, 'That...that sounds so...I cannot understand how those two things go together.' Shaking her head she asked, 'How is everything with Entwhistle and Corner?'

Harry smiled, 'Good...they are really great. Kevin is a great person to talk with about history. Magical history is actually quite fascinating...

Daphne listened to her betrothed ramble on about Michael Corner and Kevin Entwhistle. The difference in his tone amazed her. Whenever she brought up Granger and Weasley he would sigh, roll his eyes, and tell her about them. They were clearly annoying him with their constant bickering, but whenever she asked why he did not tell them to stuff it he would sigh and say 'because they are my friends.'

This was the biggest difference between them. While she had no problem telling her friends and acquaintances they were annoying her, he did. When she and Tracy Davis had been on speaking terms she found the girl's incessant need to speak annoying and tiresome.

'Harry?' She started when he took a breath.

'Yes?' He asked giving her his attention.

'When Granger constantly talks...do you ever tell her to shut up?' Daphne asked with more curiosity than manipulation.

Harry shook his head. 'That would be mean,' he said with a frown. 'It would hurt her feelings. You can't just tell people to shut up.' To her it sounded like the green-eyed boy was...fretting.

'So you avoid telling Granger and Weasley how you really feel because you don't want to hurt their feelings?' Daphne asked. Harry bit his lip and nodded. 'Didn't you tell me that you told Corner to ask if he has a question, but you would tell him to mind his business if it was none of his concern?'

Harry nodded once more, 'But he wasn't my friend...'

Now she was stepping into manipulation territory and she knew it. 'But you are his friend now?' At Harry's nod she continued, 'You have boundaries? You feel comfortable telling him to back off, right?'

Her poor Gryffindor was sometimes slow on the uptake, but he always managed to get there in the end. 'What are you saying?'

'You should set boundaries with Weasley and Granger,' Daphne suggested softly.

Harry bit his lip in contemplation, 'I'll think about it.'

Daphne nodded while smiling up at him. He took a lot of what she said into consideration. Their conversation turned to Arithmancy. They were discussing their character, heart, and social numbers when Harry once again furrowed his brow. He hesitated before asking, 'Is it possible to be in two places at once?'

What kind of question was that? 'I don't think so,' Daphne said. 'I know there is polyjuice potion and other cloning potions, but I don't know about one person being in two places at once. Why do you ask?'

'Hermione,' Daphne inwardly groaned. 'Her schedule is packed with her taking three classes at once...'

'Are you sure?' Daphne couldn't recall anything like that.

'Yes. Ron said Hermione had been in Divination with him that morning while I know she was in Runes with us,' Harry said with obvious confusion.

Daphne shook her head, 'Never heard of it.'

Harry shrugged once more, 'You wanna start Potions?'

She nodded. They had taken to reading Potions, Herbology, Runes, and Arithmancy for the first hour and then practicing spells for the next two. History and Astronomy were done in History and Astronomy. They were writing about the Wiggenweld Potion.

'It's a strengthening potion. If brewed incorrectly it could be extremely poisonous. Salamander blood, wolfsbane, lionfish...' Harry said reading from the book. 'Something in the salamander is a hallucinogenic. The wolfsbane is used as a pain killer...'

'So the potion provides strength while adding a sense of euphoria and minimizing pain?'

'Pretty much.'

It was two weeks after school had begun and Hermione Granger was puzzled. She had always been an inquisitive child. If there was anything to know she wanted it. What was puzzling her was her best friend Harry Potter. Last year he had been lax in his studies now he was paying attention and performing spells in class adequately. Sometimes he managed to do so before her.

'How did you do on the Runes assignment?' Hermione asked as they sat in a quiet corner of the Gryffindor Common Room.

'An O,' he said nonchalantly. She sniffed a bit. Professor Babbling had given her an EE for "going over the maximum amount.' It was unfair, but Hermione was hesitant to contradict her Professor so she let the matter drop.

'Congratulations,' she offered.

Harry flashed her a smile that made her insides flip-flop. 'Thanks Hermione.'

She nodded before turning back to her work. She had just begun to write the properties of rosemary when a barn owl flew in from the window and landed in front of Harry. She looked up curiously to see what it was, but Harry hid it from view. Hermione frowned as Harry moved to place the package in his bag.

Wanting to know what it was she grabbed his wrist for a better view. 'What is that?'

Harry shook his head, 'Something I ordered.'

Hermione frowned at her messy-haired friend as he did not fully explain what it was. It annoyed her to no end how tight-lipped Harry had become. She wondered what his problem was. Wasn't that the point of friends: to be there for each other and share everything? Harry had stopped sharing things with her and Ron. Ron. She looked over to the red-head, who was in a chess match with Dean Thomas. She shook her head. If only he could put as much effort into his school work as he did quidditch he would go somewhere.

Hermione watched Harry pull out his wand...,'Harry is that a new wand?' She had been meaning to ask him about it as it looked different. Darker and a bit longer.

'Huh...oh...umm...yeah. McGonagall took me to get a new one on the second,' Harry explained.

She frowned, 'Why would you need a new one?'

'It stopped working,' he said frowning.

She gave a small smile at the was his face scrunched up in concentration. Then she frowned and asked dubiously, 'Wands don't just stop working Harry. What did you do?'

He gave her an incredulous look, 'Nothing.'

She chewed her lip as she watched him stiffen in concentration. Then he mumbled what sounded like, 'Expecto Patronum.' Her eyes widened as a bright, white light erupted from his wand.

Harry groaned, 'Blast.'

'What that the Patronus Charm?' she asked loudly. It didn't matter as half the common room had seen it.

Harry nodded, 'Yeah, but I can't get it to take shape.'

Hermione gaped, 'That's really advanced magic Harry...most adults can't do it. How did you?'

His green eyes flashed, but then he shrugged, 'Practice.'

'Hey Potter,' someone called, 'can you show us how to do that?'

'Yeah Harry,' Oliver Wood called out. 'I would like to learn.'

She watched as her friend, who was usually uncomfortable in this type of situation, stand up and begin to teach the common room how to produce the patronus.

Harry stood in the center of the common room and cleared his throat. 'Erm...well the patronus charm is an emotion based spell. Your patronus is a magical guardian that protects you against lethifolds and dementors.' Taking a deep breath as he continued on with the theory he said, 'Each of us have a different patronus. Like Fred's patronus might be a squirrel while George's might be a skunk.'

'You saying I stink Potter?'

'Yes,' Harry said with a smile before continuing. 'In order to produce a patronus you must think of a powerful, happy memory. The memory must fill you with so much joy you might be fit to burst.'

'What if you don't have a memory like that Potter?' Someone else called out.

Harry furrowed his brow cutely, 'Err...' After a pause his face cleared up, 'I've been thinking about that. Maybe...maybe something that will make you happy...something that you want so badly that when you think about it you are filled with hope and happiness. Oliver made be filled with joy at winning the House Cup...or being signed by Puddlemere...'

'That might work,' Wood said with a smirk. Oliver closed his eyes and after a moment he began grinning like a loon. 'Expecto Patronum,' he whispered. Spell took a form, but only briefly. 'Excellent.'

Harry nodded before asking, 'Did you lose concentration?'

'I think so,' Wood said. 'When I opened my eyes to see I stopped concentrating on the spell.'

Harry nodded once more, 'My friend,' Hermione smiled, 'Michael Corner,' she did a double take, 'and I were talking about Transfiguration. He said that not only do you have to concentrate on the initial part of the spell, but also as it forms. I think you have to do that with this as well. Keep your focus on the spell until the patronus is fully formed.'

Wood did it once more producing a hawk. 'Excellent,' he exclaimed, but the bird flickered out. Shrugging he said, 'I have to work on concentration, but thanks Potter.'

Harry grinned at his captain, 'No problem.'

It amazed Hermione how her best friend was transforming. He was usually uncomfortable with drawing attention to himself. In the past he stood in the shadows allowing others to shine. Now he was standing in the middle of the Gryffindor Common Room directing and teaching his peers.

'Add a little more power, Jacob,' Harry instructed.

'How?' Jacob Benson asked.

'When you perform a spell do you feel something...flowing I guess is the word? Do you feel it flowing from your body to your wand?' When the blond-haired boy nodded Harry said, 'That's your magic. Just push it a little harder. ' When Benson performed the spell to get some semblance of a shape Harry nodded, 'Good, but I don't think your memory is strong enough. Think of something that truly makes you happy.'

Hermione whipped out her wand to give it a go. What made her happy? Instantly she thought of her Professors and teacher's praising her and her work. 'Expecto Patronum.' Nothing. Not even a flicker. She frowned, 'Expecto Patronum.' She looked around for her green-eyed best friend, but he was helping Ron. She huffed before continuing her efforts.

'Hey Potter,' someone called out, 'why don't you give it a go.'

Harry blushed before sighing. He closed his eyes before his face lit up causing Hermione to wonder what he was thinking about. 'Expecto Patronum.' The Gryffindor Common room was brightened considerably as a bird...a falcon...if Hermione knew her best friend she would guess a peregrine falcon, erupted from his wand.

The common room silenced until Ron said, 'Bloody Hell!'