Harry Potter and the Return of the Heirs
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By J.C. Vascardi
Disclaimer: All characters and places featured in this story that relate to Harry Potter are the property of J.K. Rowling, various publishers, and Warner Brothers. No money is being made on this story and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. The only things about this story that I own are the storylines, places and characters that are not featured in the books.
Author's Note: This story takes place during Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts. I will be trying to follow the Order of the Phoenix canon as much as possible. I may however deviate from the canon occasionally if the story I am trying to tell would be better served by doing so. Even though this story takes place in Harry's sixth year, it is mostly AU because it was written before the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Now, I would also like to say that I'm an American, so while I will try to use some of the British terminology that I'm familiar with to make this story more real, there will likely be instances when the characters may sound a little more American then they would otherwise. For those of you who care about such things, I apologize in advance.
Feedback is very much appreciated. You may contact me by email at
email@example.com or you can contact me at JCVascardi on Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. For updates on my writing progress, check out my writing journal at: http://www.greatestjournal.com/users/jcvascardi/. Also, feel free to check out my website at http://jcv.5u.com/all/jcstories/.
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Harry's Journal – September 3, 1996
Well, today is the first day of classes. Normally, I probably wouldn't even be awake right now, and would have woken up in a fashion similar to yesterday: with Hermione shaking me, trying to get me to wake up with just enough time for a quick breakfast before having to go to my first class. Speaking of first classes, my first class this morning is double Potions; usually I would hate spending all morning in that class, but maybe with Bill teaching, it won't be so bad.
I suppose the reason that I'm awake so early, is because of what transpired last night with Malfoy. I never thought I'd find myself in the position of having him cry on my shoulder, while I comforted him. Of course, I can certainly understand why he needed comforting, because losing one's mother is bad enough, but actually witnessing her murder makes it even worse. I can't imagine what it would be like if one's father were the murderer, but I'd guess that would make it worse still, even when you have an evil git like Lucius Malfoy, for a father.
Once Malfoy ran out of tears, he did thank me for comforting him, and we spent the next hour chatting about various things. I'm still a bit shocked, to be honest, that I actually had a civil conversation with him. Of course, with the war and everything, I, personally, would not complain if I could put my rivalry with Malfoy to rest. Thanks to Trelawney's damn prophecy, I have enough to worry about as it is, without having to worry what Malfoy will do to my friends and me next.
I'm not sure how my friends would react, if I told them that I wanted to stop fighting with Malfoy. Hermione might be willing to give him a chance, but I know that being called a Mudblood really did hurt her. I know that Ron would be totally, one hundred percent, against ending the rivalry with Malfoy. I don't think there is anything that Malfoy could do that would ever convince Ron that he isn't a slimy git and evil Slytherin bastard; of course, I'm not totally convinced that he isn't yet, myself. One night spent comforting him while he cried, and having a civil conversation for an hour after that, doesn't really make up for five years worth of fights and insults.
Well, my dorm mates are starting to stir now, so I should stop writing, and put my journal away. The last thing I need is, for Ron to see this entry about Malfoy. If he saw that I was showing him even the slightest bit of compassion, he'd probably insist I go see Madame Pomfrey, because I'm sure he'd think something seriously addled my brain.
* * * * * * * * *
About an hour later, Harry was sitting in the Great Hall, eating breakfast with his friends, when the room filled with owls and the post began to arrive. A large brown owl dropped a copy of the Daily Prophet in front of Hermione, along with a small, rolled up piece of parchment; Pigwidgeon and Hedwig delivered similar parchments to Ron and himself.
Hermione decided to ignore the small parchment for a moment, to take look at the Daily Prophet. Distracted shortly from his breakfast, Ron asked, "Anyone we know dead?"
"Oh, gods," Hermione muttered.
"What's wrong, Hermione?" Harry asked, afraid that what Ron had asked might be true.
"Lucius Malfoy escaped!"
"What? He was just captured!" Harry said as he took the proffered copy of the Prophet from Hermione and read the article.
Morning Edition – September 3, 1996
AZKABAN FORTRESS PRISONER SHIP ATTACKED
Several captured Death Eaters escaped.
A ship carrying prisoners bound for Azkaban Fortress has been attacked. The ship arrived at the prison late yesterday afternoon, with all the prisoners gone, and the crew and Aurors dead. Ministry officials have confirmed that it appears You-Know-Who sent a large team of Dementors to attack the vessel.
Among the escaped, was Lucius Malfoy, who was only just recaptured a few days ago, after he was arrested for using the Killing Curse on his wife, Narcissa Black Malfoy, and the Cruciatus Curse, on their son, Draco Malfoy. In addition to Mr. Malfoy, fifteen other known Death Eaters were aboard the vessel, and all are now unaccounted for.
Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, said in a statement, that in any other situation, it would have been nearly impossible for this attack to succeed. The Aurors onboard would have reacted fast enough with the Patronus Charm, to drive the Dementors away. He added, however, that having been on a ship bound for Azkaban Fortress before; he knows firsthand how unpleasant the journey is. Due to the prison's far northern location, the crew, prisoners and Aurors of prison ships often spend much of their time below deck, desperately trying to keep warm.
Ministry officials speculate, that if the attacking force of Dementors was large enough, the Aurors and crew could quite possibly have frozen solid from the cold environment, not to mention the fact that the Dementors would have robbed them of any of the artificial heat they managed to produce. Examinations of the deceased crew and Aurors indicate that those who didn't die from the Dementor's Kiss, died from extreme cases of hypothermia.
"Why use a ship?" Harry asked. "I mean, wouldn't a Portkey be more secure?"
"No, it wouldn't," answered Hermione. "Just like at Hogwarts, you can't Apparate to or from Azkaban Fortress. It also has wards to prevent the use of Portkeys, and none of the fireplaces are connected to the Floo Network. Its so visitors to the prison can't slip a Portkey to a prisoner so they can escape, and should someone manage to get out of their cell on their own, they can't use one of the fireplaces to escape. Honestly, Harry, didn't you learn anything in History of Magic?"
"I don't recall Binns talking about Azkaban," Harry replied. "The only things I remember him talking about are the Chamber of Secrets, and goblin wars. If he talked about anything else, I was sleeping through it."
Hermione shook her head as she picked up the small parchment and unrolled it.
"It's a note from Bill," Hermione said. "It says we're supposed to meet in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom."
"Why?" Harry asked as he unrolled his parchment and sure enough, it was a note from Bill telling them to meet in the Defense classroom for their double Advanced Potions class this morning.
"The greasy-haired git probably didn't want to give up his dungeon," Ron said in between mouthfuls of sausages.
"Ronald, you're a prefect," Hermione admonished. "You shouldn't insult the professors, no matter how much you dislike them."
"Dislike?" Ron asked. "I don't dislike him, Hermione. I bloody hate him! He's a slimy, evil Slytherin bastard."
"Ron, you're very lucky," Harry said.
"Because if you weren't a prefect," Harry said. "I'm sure Hermione would be taking points from you."
* * * * * * * * *
After breakfast, Harry, Ron, and Hermione headed to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, instead of the normal Potions classroom in the dungeon. When they arrived, they found the room was now suited more to Potions class, than Defense. Several cauldrons of various potions were displayed on a long table at the front of the room, and Bill was sitting at his desk.
"You can sit anywhere for now," Bill said as they arrived. "Don't get too comfortable though, because you will be moving." Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat down near the front of the room.
Normally, they would be inclined to sit as close to the back of the room as possible, but with Bill as their teacher, they didn't mind sitting up front. Once the whole class had arrived, Harry scanned the room and saw that there were thirteen other people in the class: five from Slytherin, five from Ravenclaw, and three from Hufflepuff.
Once everyone was seated, Bill stood up to address the class.
"Welcome to Advanced Potions, sixth-years," he said. "I am Professor Weasley. Now, before we begin, I just want to make a few things perfectly clear. I don't want any of you to think that you can get away with any misbehavior in my class simply because I am younger than your other professors. I also want to make it crystal clear, that I will be treating each and every one of you the same, regardless of any personal or familial relationships that I may have with you."
As he said the last part, Bill looked directly at Ron, making it clear that he was especially referring to him. Ron looked a bit upset, and Harry knew that it was because he was hoping that with his older brother teaching, he'd be able to glide through Potions this year without doing a lot of work.
"Now, before we begin, I'm going to ask that all of you stand up and go to the back of the room; we will have a seating chart this year. It will help me to memorize all of your names, and Professor Dumbledore has also asked all the teachers with multiple house classes implement a seating chart that mixes the houses up, rather than letting housemates sit together."
Placing his hand on the nearest workstation, Bill said, "Susan Bones and Mandy Brocklehurst."
Susan and Mandy moved to their new seats as Bill moved to the table behind them and said, "Stephen Cornfoot and Tracey Davis."
Stephen and Tracey sat at the indicated desk, and Bill then motioned towards the table behind them and said, "Ryan Cromwell and Nicolas Delaney; Kevin Entwhistle and Hermione Granger behind them."
As Ryan, Nicolas, Kevin, and Hermione moved into their new seats, Bill moved back to the front of the room and placed his hand on the first workstation, across the aisle from Susan and Mandy, and said, "Daphne Greengrass and Ernie MacMillan."
Daphne and Ernie moved to their table, as Bill moved to the table across from Stephen and Tracey and said, "Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter."
Draco didn't really react, and went to the indicated table and sat down. To be honest, he looked a little sick, and Harry guessed that it might have something to do with the article in the Prophet this morning. Not wanting to cause a scene, and despite his displeasure at having to sit next to Malfoy for the year, Harry just sat down at the desk.
"Zacharias Smith and Lisa Turpin," Bill said as he moved to the next desk. "And finally, Ronald Weasley and Blaise Zabini."
Chancing a look in Ron's direction, Harry could see him glaring daggers at his brother for assigning him a seat next to a Slytherin. If Bill noticed this however, he chose to ignore it. He walked back to the front of the classroom and said, "Now, I suggest that you all get comfortable with the people you are sitting next to, because they will be your partners for the rest of the year. If you have any personal differences between you, I highly suggest you leave them at the door, because your grade in the class will depend on your ability to work together with your partners, and I will not hesitate to fail each and every one of you, if necessary."
The class was soon working hard on brewing that day's potion and things went very well. Much to Harry's surprise, he didn't find Draco all that hard to work with. Of course, throughout the class Harry couldn't help but notice that Draco looked a bit ill and preoccupied. Harry was no idiot though, and he knew that Draco was probably still mourning his mother's death, and the article in the Prophet that morning about Lucius couldn't have helped him feel any better.
It wasn't long before class was almost over, and despite the fact that Draco was a bit preoccupied, his ability for potions still managed to show. Between the two of them, Harry and Draco did manage to brew a nearly perfect batch of the Blood Replenishing Potion; enough that Bill awarded Gryffindor and Slytherin twenty-five points for a job well done.
"Before you go, for homework I want a scroll from each of you that is at least a foot, but no more then a foot and a half, all about the properties, ingredients, and history of today's potion. The assignment is due on Friday afternoon, at our next scheduled class. Class dismissed."
* * * * * * * * *
After heading to the Great Hall for lunch, Harry, Hermione and Ron made their way to their first afternoon class. They had the next period free, so on Hermione's insistence, Harry and Ron agreed to accompany her to the library after Charms, to work on the essay that Bill had assigned. She said the class work this year would be much harder and that none of them could afford to slack off during their free periods any more. Harry was a bit more understanding of that logic than Ron, who, instead of writing an essay, would much rather have spent the period kissing Hermione or just slacking off as much as humanly possible.
Harry wasn't the least bit surprised to find that Professor Flitwick had also devised a seating chart for the class. Unlike Potions, however, Charms class consisted of only Gryffindor and Slytherin students, but Harry realized that it was probably due to the fact that enough people were taking Charms this year that it would have made it very hard for Professor Flitwick to teach them if they were all in one class.
Harry already knew that all the Gryffindors in his year had signed up for Charms, since he was there when they were scheduling classes with McGonagall. However, Harry would have been lying if he said that he hadn't been shocked to see that all the Slytherins had also signed up to take Charms. The two Slytherins that Harry was most shocked by were Crabbe and Goyle; he would have expected them to get failing grades on all of the O.W.L. exams. Maybe that was being a bit harsh, but Harry had always gotten the impression that Crabbe and Goyle's combined brain power would still only make them slightly smarter than a slug.
Unlike Bill's seating chart, Professor Flitwick didn't put everyone in alphabetical order, and Harry found himself sitting between Draco Malfoy and Tracey Davis. As long as Draco continued to act the way he had during Potions class, Harry didn't foresee having any problems with his longtime rival. Harry hardly knew Tracey Davis, so he had no idea what to expect from her.
"Okay, class, please settle down," Professor Flitwick said from his perch on top of several thick books, which rested on his desk. "This year, we will be covering many different things, including non-verbal spells, but we won't be getting to that until next semester. For today's lesson, we will be learning the Locomotion Charm. You will quickly realize that the incantation of the spell is similar to one that you are already familiar with, that is the Leg-Locking Jinx, Locomotor Mortis. The Locomotion Charm is different because it will only work on inanimate objects, and only the first half of the incantation is the same. The rest of it is like the Summoning Charm, where you simply say Accio and then whatever it is you wish to summon. In this case, however, you will be saying Locomotor followed by whatever it is you wish to move.
"Now, if you'll all please take out your books and turn to page six, I want all of you to first read the chapter on the Locomotion Charm and to pay close attention to the illustrations of the wand movements."
Reaching into his book bag, Harry found that he had not packed his Charms textbook. Looking at the book that he had packed, he groaned when he saw that he had accidentally grabbed the book that Lupin had given him for his birthday, which was about the same size as his Charms textbook. Having no other choice, Harry raised his hand.
"Yes, Mr. Potter?"
"Professor, I seem to have accidentally packed the wrong book, and I was wondering if I could run up to my dorm and get it."
"That won't be necessary, Mr. Potter. I have some old textbooks left behind by former students, so you can borrow one of them," Professor Flitwick said as he pulled out his wand and mumbled an incantation under his breath causing an old textbook to float over to Harry's desk.
"Thank you, Professor."
"No problem, Mr. Potter," Professor Flitwick said. "I will let it slide today, since it is the first day of classes, but I warn you that if it happens again, I shall have to take points from Gryffindor for not coming to my class prepared."
Harry nodded before he set the book down, opened it to page six, and began to read the chapter. Forty-minutes later, Professor Flitwick called for everyone's attention.
"Alright, class, you've had half the period now to read the chapter and study the correct wand movements. I would now like to use the rest of the class actually practicing the charm. Wands out!"
Taking his wand out, Harry took another look at the illustrations in his borrowed textbook. He had been rather annoyed to find that whoever had owned this book previously, had drawn in the margins, leaving them full of sketches of little pink hearts, flowers, and birds. This, combined with the flowing handwriting, suggested to Harry that the previous owner of the book had been a girl.
Professor Flitwick had Blaise Zabini and Dean Thomas help him give each student a silver teapot. They were all extremely battered and it was clear that they were all very old, but Harry figured that Professor Flitwick must have decided that as sixth-year students, they could handle practicing on something a bit more substantial then a feather, even if that would have been a bit less dangerous for the first day of practicing the charm.
The next twenty minutes went rather slowly, with hardly anyone managing to get their teapot to move so much as an inch. Harry was getting a bit perturbed himself, with his inability to move his teapot, and decided to look around the room to see how everyone else was doing. He wasn't the least bit surprised to see that Hermione had now gotten it at least partially right; her teapot was now floating about three inches above her desk, although she seemed to be having some trouble getting it to move. His eyes lingered on Hermione's teapot for a few moments, before he continued looking around the room just in time to see Neville's teapot start to shake, before launching up from his desk and flying across the room. It finally came to a stop when it connected with Draco's face, and Harry could hear a sickening, crunching noise. Looking at Draco, it didn't take long for Harry to realize that Neville's teapot had broken Draco's nose, because his hands were now covering it and blood was seeping through his fingers.
"Professor Flitwick, come quick!" Harry exclaimed.
Professor Flitwick quickly came over, and realizing what had happened, pulled out his wand and said, "Mr. Malfoy, please move your hands."
Draco looked rather reluctant to do so, but finally relented, and Harry saw that Draco's nose was twisted at an odd angle, and gushing blood. Professor Flitwick waved his wand before Draco, and mumbled something under his breath, before finally saying, "Well, I've stopped the bleeding, but you will still want to see Madame Pomfrey about that, Mr. Malfoy. I'll take you there myself. I'm sure I can trust all of you to continue practicing quietly, until I return. You are, after all, sixth-year students, some of you are prefects, and some of you will even be coming of age this year. I shall return shortly."
After Professor Flitwick and Draco left, Harry looked back down at his book, sure that he must have missed something, anything that could explain why he wasn't having any luck with getting the spell to work. That was when he noticed, near the bottom of the page; among the previous owner's sketches, were what appeared to be wand movements. Harry studied them, and found that they were in fact, instructions for a combination flicking, swishing movement. Deciding that he had nothing to lose, Harry practiced the movement a few times, trying to get it right before adding in the incantation.
`I just hope that when I do, I don't end up injuring anyone.'
By the time Professor Flitwick had come back, Harry was ready to try the new movement, so he said, "Locomotor teapot!" and was amazed when the teapot lifted up from the desk, and began to follow the tip of his wand wherever he pointed it.
"Excellent, Mr. Potter," Professor Flitwick exclaimed as he clapped his hands. "I didn't think anyone would get it right on the first day. Take ten points for Gryffindor, my boy."
* * * * * * * * *
It wasn't long after Charms class ended, that Harry headed for the library along with Ron, Hermione, Nicolas and Ryan. All of them had decided to get an early start by working on their essays for Potions. Well, everyone except Ron of course, who was much more content to repeatedly reenact the events of Charms class, taking great pleasure in Malfoy's misfortune.
"Ron, please be quiet," Hermione said finally. "You're a prefect; you shouldn't be taking pleasure in other people's misfortune. You're supposed to set an example, and you're not setting a very good one."
"Oh, come on, Hermione, lighten up. You can't honestly say that you didn't find it even the slightest bit amusing, seeing ferret-boy get his nose broken. Hell, we should give Neville points for a job well done."
"You will do nothing of the sort, Ron," Bill said as he walked over to the table. "That would be a serious misuse of your prefect position, and if you do, I will be forced to take away any points you award, and then, I will go speak to Professor Dumbledore, and recommend that he make someone else prefect in your place."
"Bill, you wouldn't take points from your own house."
"Oh, yes I would, Ron," Bill said as he sat down. "In case it hasn't sunk in yet, I'm a Hogwarts professor now. So, the fact that you are my brother will not stop me from doing my job. If you break the rules, I will punish you, just like I would punish any student. And if that means taking points from Gryffindor, I'll do it, regardless of the fact that I was a Gryffindor myself. Professor McGonagall was a Gryffindor, and you don't see her having problems with taking points from her house, now do you?"
Ron just gave Bill a nasty look before pulling his Potions book toward him, and pretending to read it. Bill sighed, and then, looking around at everyone else, said, "Working on the essay I assigned, I see."
"Yeah," Ryan said, looking up. "You sure about the foot and a half limit? Because I think I could easily write another two or three feet, at least."
"I'm sure you could, Ryan," Bill answered. "As could every other Ravenclaw in my class, which is why I put a limit on it to begin with; that is one thing that Professor Snape was kind enough to warn me about."
"So, are we going to be having Defense class in the dungeon now?"
"Yes, Harry, you will," Bill confirmed. "Professor Snape didn't want to have to walk between the Defense classroom and his office, so Professor Dumbledore agreed to let us switch classrooms."
"Well, of course, we mustn't inconvenience the greasy-haired git," Ron mumbled.
"I heard that, Ron," Bill said in a stern voice. "Five points from Gryffindor, for insulting a professor." Ron looked at Bill, and was about to open his mouth to reply, when Bill said, "I'd advise you to not say anything Ron, or I'll take more points, and give you detention with Mr. Filch."
Ron just looked at his brother angrily, before going back to pretending to read his Potions book. It wasn't long before Hermione finished her essay, set down her quill and looked at Bill.
"Professor, I was wondering if you could give me permission to access the restricted section."
"For what purpose, Hermione? I take it you just finished your essay?"
"Yes, well, the reason I want to go into the restricted section isn't school related. Well, actually it is, but it has nothing to do with Potions, or any other subjects."
Bill thought for a moment before saying, "Ah, let me guess. You want to look in the restricted section to see if you can find anything that might give you any clues to the identities of the founders' heirs. Am I right?"
"Precisely," Hermione confirmed.
"Well, normally teachers aren't supposed to grant access to the restricted section for anything that doesn't pertain to their subjects," Bill said as he leaned close to Hermione, and murmured, "but, I've just come from talking with Professor McGonagall. It seems that Professor Dumbledore is anxious to know who the heirs are himself, and asked Professor McGonagall to inform the other teachers that they had permission to allow students access to the restricted section to aid in finding out their identities."
Hermione smiled, as Bill stood up and motioned her to follow. Walking over to Madame Pince's desk, Bill cleared his throat.
"Yes, Professor Weasley?" Madame Pince asked.
"I just wanted to let you know that Miss Granger here, has my permission to access the restricted section to look for information pertaining to the founders."
"With all due respect, Professor, you can't give that kind of permission. Professors can only give restricted section permission for their specific subjects."
"Hmm, funny. I would have assumed Professor McGonagall would have told you first. She told me that Professor Dumbledore asked her to inform all the teachers that we are now empowered to grant students access to the restricted section for the purpose of research on the founders."
Looking like she didn't believe Bill, Madame Pince was probably about to argue, when Professor McGonagall walked into the library.
"Madam Pince, sorry. I would have come up to tell you sooner, but I had a class to teach. Professor Dumbledore has decided that professors can now grant..."
"Permission to access the restricted section for research on the founders," Madam Pince interrupted. "Yes, Professor Weasley here wanted to give Miss Granger permission, but as far as I knew that wasn't allowed."
"Well, it is now," Professor McGonagall said. "Obviously the same restrictions as before do still apply. No more than two students at a time in the restricted section, and all research from the restricted books must be done at the tables in the section."
"I understand, Professor McGonagall," Madame Pince said. "Now, Professor Weasley, did you want to grant permission to anyone else?"
Looking over towards the table they had been sitting at, Bill noticed that it looked like Ryan had finished his potions essay, and Bill motioned him to come over.
"Mr. Cromwell, I assume you've finished the essay I assigned this morning?"
"Yes, Professor, I have."
"Would you care to assist Miss Granger in researching the founders then? If that's okay with you, of course, Miss Granger; I just thought two sets of eyes might make it a little easier."
"Fine with me," Hermione said with a smile.
"Yeah, sure. I'll help."
"Alright, then. Madame Pince, Miss Granger and Mr. Cromwell have my permission."
"Duly noted," the librarian said as she wrote the names down on a scroll of parchment on her desk, before standing up, motioning the two students to follow her, and walking over to the entrance to the restricted section. Pulling a large key ring from her pocket, Madame Pince inserted a key into the lock. After removing the lock and key, she pulled open the wire mesh door, and ushered the two students in, before closing the door behind them.
"I'll come back periodically to check on you, to see if you're having any problems. Keep in mind that the library closes at eight-thirty, so if you're not done by then, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to continue."
Hermione and Ryan nodded before setting off down the aisles.
* * * * * * * * *
Later that evening, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were in the common room of Gryffindor Tower. The library closed half-an-hour earlier, and despite not wanting to leave, Hermione had little choice when Madam Pince said it was time to go.
"So did you find out anything?"
"Not a thing, Harry," Hermione revealed. "Ryan and I searched through several books and didn't find anything useful, but we're going to try again. I have first period free tomorrow, so I'll go and see if I can find anything. Ryan has fencing class that period, but said he'd join me in the library afterwards, since we both have the second period free as well."
"Did you see the look on ferret's face when his nose broke?" Ron asked suddenly, once again deciding to bring up the subject.
"Oh, not this again, Ron," Harry muttered. "Will you please just stop?"
"Harry, the bloody bastard deserved it," Ron argued. "I still say we should give Neville points, even if we have to come up with some silly reason to do it, to cover up the real one."
"Ron, as your brother said in the library, you will do nothing of the sort."
"Hermione, this is Malfoy we're talking about."
"I wasn't under the impression, that who we're talking about made a difference."
"Doesn't make a difference? Hermione, how can you say that after everything the slimy git has done to us? Do you realize how many times he's called you a Mudblood? Why would you want to do him any favors?"
Hermione remained quiet for a few moments, and then said in a tone that was as cold as ice, "Ronald Bilius Weasley! If you ever call me that again, prefect or not, I will hex you into the middle of next week!"
"What? I didn't call you anything!" Ron protested.
"Well, Hermione actually he was saying that Malfoy called you that," Ginny interjected as she came over. "Ron wasn't actually calling you that, though I can certainly understand why you would be angry with him using the word; Ron you really should know better."
Hermione took a few deep breaths to calm down, before saying, "We may not like Malfoy, but that doesn't mean that we should take pleasure in his misfortune. I think he has suffered quite enough this week already, and I'm certainly not about to let you reward Neville for breaking his nose, Ron. If you do, I will report you to Professor Dumbledore myself."
"I heard about your success in Charms, Harry," Ginny said, and she smiled at him. "Congratulations!"
"Harry, I've been wondering how you did it?"
"Well... I followed the instructions in the book," Harry hedged.
"So did everyone else in class, but you were the only one who got it to work," Hermione said. "What did you do differently?"
"Well, I added this movement," Harry said as he gestured the extra wand movement he had used with his finger.
"Harry, I thought you said you followed the instructions in the book. That movement wasn't in the book, where did you get it?"
"Well, Hermione, I said I followed the instructions in the book. I just didn't say that they were the author's instructions. The previous owner of the book I borrowed wrote a few suggestions in the margins."
"You've been taking orders from something that someone wrote in a book?" Ginny asked, suddenly very angry.
Realizing immediately what was on her mind, Harry said, "It's nothing, Ginny. It's just an old textbook, not Riddle's diary."
"But, you did what it said?" Ginny pressed.
"Honestly, there's nothing to worry about. I just tried a suggestion in the margin. I'm still alive, aren't I? Nothing went wrong, so nothing to worry about."
"Ginny has a point, Harry," Hermione said. "You really shouldn't blindly follow an instruction like that. You have absolutely no idea who the book belonged to, and you could have been hurt, or hurt someone else. I'm glad that you gave the book back to Professor Flitwick."
"Well, actually, I didn't," Harry admitted.
"What? Why not, Harry?" Hermione asked.
"I forgot, okay?" Harry said defensively. "With everything that happened with Malfoy, Professor Flitwick must have forgotten about it too, since he never said anything."
"Well, I guess it's a good thing after all, since it gives us the chance to check it, and make sure that its okay. Hand it over, Harry."
"Oh, fine. I think you're overreacting though," Harry said as pulled the copy of the book he'd borrowed from his bag, and handed it to Hermione.
"Specialis Revelio!" Hermione muttered as she tapped her wand on the front cover. Nothing, whatsoever, happened.
"Finished?" Harry asked. "Or, would you like to wait and see if it's going to jump up and dance? Or maybe sing the chorus from the Weird Sisters' latest hit?"
"It does appear to be just a normal, old textbook," Hermione said.
"Good, I'll take it back then," said Harry as he took the book, and was about to put it in his book bag, when Ginny grabbed his arm.
"I'd still feel better if we knew who owned the book before you, Harry," Ginny said. "We can research the person to make sure they're okay, and you should avoid using any of their tips until we're sure."
"Fine," Harry said as he opened the front cover of the book and looked for a name. After a moment, he found it, written in the same flowing script as all the suggestions had been. Looking at the name in the book, Harry was suddenly overcome with tears and clutched the book to his chest.
"What is it, mate?" Ron asked. "Who did it belong to?"
Wiping away his tears with his sleeve, Harry turned the book around so that all of his friends could read the inscription on the inside front cover.
This Book is the Property of Lily Evans.
* * * * * * * * *
To be continued...