Harry Potter and the Unforeseen Hero
Chapter Four: The First Week
"I am pleased that so many of you have made it. Welcome back to Hogwarts"'
"Things will be a little different for you our `eighth years'" as the words left McGonagall's mouth a small murmur of whispering broker out and Zacharias Smith could be heard expressing his like of the way things had been.'
Clearing her throat she continued, "As I was saying, things will be a little different. There has never been an eighth year at Hogwarts and you will only be staying with us half the academic year it has therefore been agreed that school should continue, as far as is possible, as usual for the other students. You will of course continue your affiliation with your respective schoolhouses however, this will be in a supportive capacity. You will therefore be expected to eat and commune with that house as well offer advice and guidance to its students. Prefects may also be keen to enlist your support should you wish to offer it. However, I must inform you that you will be ineligible to participate in inter-house teams and events.'
The muttering of discontent peaked "So we can't play Quidditch?" Ron blurted out looking thunder struck.'
"That is what I would understand ineligible to mean Mr Weasley" perhaps expecting a hostile response McGonagall raised an eyebrow as the atmosphere had gone flat. The buzz of excitement at being back in the ancient castle and seeing friends had gone and in its place an air of resignation and disappointment.'
Softening her formidable expression "We may however, consider the possibility of allowing you to form a cross house 8th year side to take on a Hogwarts side at the end of the current term. It will of course not be at the expense of your NEWT examinations. As we approach a more meaningful timeline I will provide further information"'
As McGonagall had walked into the room Harry had felt awkward – having not parted on pleasant terms the last time they had met. As she surveyed the room however, he managed a curt but polite nod in her direction acknowledging the compromise she was proposing.'
"This leaves me with two final items to address prior to our attendance at the start of term feast. As many of you will be aware the areas of the castle set-aside for the four houses of Hogwarts are not easily expandable. It is neither easy to expand the dungeon into the lake or Gryffindor and Ravenclaw towers into thin air. This leaves us with a certain accommodation shortage particularly when coupled with the castles increase in quantity of quarantined areas. Therefore it has been agreed to locate you all together. You will find that the room of requirement has been configured to accommodate your various needs.'
It felt a little like first year all over again but for an entirely different reason. The majority of the school was already packed into the Great Hall and as the eighth years trooped down from the floo point Harry couldn't help remember waiting to be shown into the hall in his first year.'
"I'm glad I didn't shake your hand in first year"'
A faint crimson crept up and over his face "What about now?" and the two slowed to allow their fellows to pass them.'
"I wont ever let go" Harry muttered so that only Draco could hear and sliding his hand into the blonds he pulled the hand up to his lips and kissed.'
"Promise me something?" Harry asked'
"I don't want anything between us to change, ok? The last time we where at school together things were rather different..." and his voice trailed away "I just don't want anything to be different"'
Stopping and pulling Harry into a close embrace he pressed his lips to the raven haired boys "Nothing will change, you are everything. Ok? Don't forget it"'
Taking long strides they caught up with the rest of the group and they let their hands fall to their sides "see you after dinner". Harry splitting off to the right to join his fellow Gryffindors and Draco to the left to join the Slytherins. Nobody had organised it but in each house the greater or lesser quantity of `8th years' sat collectively at the ends of the benches.'
At the front of the hall the sorting hat could be found on its usual stool looking more tattered and frayed than ever before and as McGonagall took her seat in the middle of the teachers stage it burst into its annual song'
Do not be surprised when I sing to you,
Words of song that you will surely recognise,
The danger broadly averted I can now reflect
In times of old, the
founders of our noble school
They created this school of learning with the promise.
"Together we will build and teach"
Though soon divided
with friendships foul
The whole sad, sorry tale
And so it was for a hundred years of more
Toil, quarrel, disquiet and foil
Along came a power and I fought to maintain the light
Now I speak with a renewed hope
The power dispelled but not yet extinct
One final hurdle must yet be overcome
The unity that has been shown this night
Must now remain to maintain this new found harmony
You could do worse than to rally those who might
Break your unite, remember these words
knowledge is power and better to use it for the light
Heed my words or feel thy pain
I say again we must
unite inside her
or we'll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you...
let the Sorting now begin.
As the first years trooped up to the platform Ron leaned towards Harry "Well it hasn't gotten any happier then. What do you suppose it means?"
"I have a shred idea that I know what its talking about `rally those who might break your unite' and `knowledge is power and better use it for the light'. How do you think we might use our knowledge to unite those who might conspire against the light?"
Ron looked blank and Harry rolled his eyes in a Hermione-ish way. "I'm not the cleverest one here but I didn't spend so long with Hermione to not be able to see that it's telling us to share what has happened with the rest of the world. With the power of knowledge they can unite under that knowledge and we can avoid world war two. Fucking thing. Do you think McGonagall could influence the hat's speech?"'
"No idea mate. Foods up" but Harry was suddenly less than hungry and watched as Ron pilled his plate with chicken and mashed potato. Looking away from the mass of flying potato it was at moments like this that Harry missed Hermione dearly. He thought about her everyday and that was unlikely to ever change but it really was moments like this that it was rammed down his throat. She would have some wise and insightful piece of information to add to the conversation. Though undoubtedly they would all be whisked off to the library to research some intricate piece of history.'
Carefully extracting his wand from his pocket Harry tucked it back up his sleeve so that just the end was sticking out and he grasped it like a quill and began slowly and deliberately writing on his upturned palm `can we go yet?' and moments later as he snacked on the edge of a chicken drum stick a familiar pleasant tingling feeling in his left palm occurred. Turning it upwards so that he could look into his palm Draco's familiar neat script appeared `no. eat – you will be hungry'. Harry covertly scribed `not hungry' and received `don't be stubborn' for his troubles.'
Trying to contain his frustration he pointed his wand at himself and muttered `occultus' and the familiar sensation of an egg being cracked over his head filtered down his body. He knew that Neville had seen him if not others in the hall but being sat at the end of the row did indeed have its advantages. Slinking away Harry found himself out of sheer habit walking to Gryffindor Tower. Old habits die hard I guess and he changed direction to the seventh floor corridor.'
Glancing at the painting of Barnabas the Barmy Harry knew he was in the correct place but was surprised to see a doorway opposite. Whenever he had used the room for the DA it had required a process of walking up and down the bare wall, no longer it seemed. Upon closer inspection it became clear that the door had neither a handle or a knocker and no painting standing guard over it. `How the bloody hell do you get in' turning to face the painting and regretting the need to do this he coughed and directed his question to Barnabas who seemed intent on trying to teach his trolls Swan Lake. "Excuse me" and he watched as Barnabas physically jumped and the trolls paused in a comical slow motion.'
Banging his hand against his head he had forgotten that he remained invisible and quickly muttered the `finite' counter charm "Sorry. Its Harry"'
"Ah well you see my boy had you still been in the great hall you would be finding out how to open the door at the end of the feast"'
"Please I just want to go inside"'
"I don't know! Though I have seen McGonagall go in of course"'
"What does she do to open the door then?"'
"Hummm. Will you come to my performance?"'
"Performance?!" Harry questioned confused'
"Yes we are to put on a grand performance, Swan Lake you know!" he puffed his chest out importantly.'
"Will see what I can do" Harry offered lamely'
Looking rather dejected Barnabas sniffed the air in mild contempt "Well all I have seen is her tap her wand where the door handle would be and it appears. Be prepared for a shock though"'
"Yes, that's right..."'
"Right, erm thanks"
"Would you like to see the first act now? We have almost perfected it" half of comedy, Harry remembered Ron saying once, is timing and Harry could barely smother his laugh as a troll appeared from behind a door dressed in a leotard. Bringing his hand up to cover his mouth and hide the grin Harry managed to splutter an excuse.'
Rapping his wand smartly on the door a solid brass handle appeared. Grasping it he gasped as the handle turned a fiery red stung hot and a smug voice "Told you! Red fire for Gryffindor, blue water for Ravenclaw, green earth for Slytherin and yellow air for Hufflepuff"'
Well it sounded to Harry that once again Gryffindor got the raw end of the stick. I mean how in the hell can `air' affect you as a door handle he didn't know. As the door opened the voice from the painting continued "and together combined in greater and lesser quantities they make". Harry shut the door behind him to be welcomed into a deep regal purple common room of sorts.'
Thick purple velvet curtains hung down what he knew to be magically created windows and a number of soft looking purple sofas and armchairs arched in a horse shoe shape around a crackling long fire and then at the far end of the room a staircase that split in three different directions. It was certainly lavish perhaps not as well worn as Gryffindor and missing that familiar `lived in' touch but certainly very comfortable.'
Flopping down in the armchair nearest the fire Harry gazed at the crackling logs. There was definitely something entrancing and captivating about fire. Not in a pyromania way more a hypnotic quality. His mind began to wander as the sorting hat's lesson and McGonagall's impassioned speech replayed in his mind. `Well it certainly wont be the first time I have something to do that I don't want to' he mused. Gazing back at the fire he watched mesmerised by the crackling flame. Snorting in self-amusement he imagined the sorting hat atop the fire burning as it sang its final song. Why does it change anything? Why does a two a penny hat change anything about the way I feel about it all, he didn't understand.'
A deal was required, a bargain with himself he conceded. If it could be proved that the hat had some deep magic that could not be influenced by third parties he would do the fucking interviews for McGonagall's stupid book. He didn't want to but the hat had been right before and it would be foolish to ignore such guidance. If however there was even a little doubt the whole thing was off and the interview could be long since forgotten and if McGonagall didn't like it well...'
Conditions in the event that the hat was speaking the truth were required; guidelines to be followed. Reaching to the table beside him he found precisely what he was looking for a quill and parchment and he began to scribble:'
1. No questions regarding relationships unless offered freely
2. If a question is asked and not answered then the subject is closed
3. Ron, Draco and I must always be in attendance for the meetings
4. Nothing is published without our permission – unbreakable vow?
5. Meetings should be dispersed through the term so as not to affect studies
6. Quidditch game mentioned must be confirmed
Harry re-read the list. None of it seemed unreasonable to him and after all he didn't want to do this so if McGonagall wouldn't agree then it was no skin off his nose.'
He had to admit that the chair was really comfortable, not too hard, and not too soft just perfect...'
A loud whooshing sound and the common room door opening snapped Harry from his nap and in walked a rather windswept Hannah Abbott with the other eighth years in tow. For the second time this evening Harry had to swallow a laugh as the shocked faces looked around at Hannah and also the plushly adorned room.'
"Discovered the wonders of the door" Harry grinned at Hannah'
"You could say that, does it always do that?"'
"Dunno but from what I could gather from Barnabas Gryffindors get burned, Hufflepuffs get blown around, Ravenclaws get frozen and as for Slytherins I dunno yet"'
"Something to do with earth though" Hannah added sagely'
"Yeah I think so but who knows what that entails. Have you seen Draco?"'
"Last I saw he was still in the great hall talking to Pansy" a little pang of jealousy hit the base of Harry's stomach as she paused, an uncomfortable pause that left no doubt she had something else to say.'
"Well I was just wondering... is it true?" a small crowd had formed eves dropping on their conversation'
"Am I secretly a devout lover of baked beans? Well I must confess..." he was interrupted as she clucked and raised an eye brow "You know what I mean. We all read in The Prophet about you and Draco but we also know that only fifty percent of what it reports is accurate and that's if we are lucky"'
"I would say more like twenty five percent. But on this one occasion they have something right. A lot has changed since we were last at school"'
"No shit" replied Terry Boot cutting across Hannah "Hermione's dead, you take it up the arse and we are all palls with Slytherins now"'
"You little fuck" Ron interrupted punching Terry in the face. The force pushed Terry back off his feet and into a sofa whilst blood dripped from his nose. Harry scrambled to his feet as Neville ran forwards placing himself between the Ravenclaw and Ron'
Through gritted teeth and tear filled eyes "Let me make a few things totally clear. Nobody insults Harry OR Draco and..." Ron began walking closer to Terry until Harry prevented him getting closer "and Hermione is not a topic for discussion". The silence that hung in the room was heavy, deep and impenetrable. Half of comedy was timing Harry reminded himself as the door opened again and Pansy, followed by Draco, entered the room.'
"What the fuck?" she muttered out oblivious to the conflict that had just taken place and started to pick leaves from her hair and clothes.'
"Erm Pans" Draco began and couldn't contain a laugh "You look like a tree"'
Baring Ron and Terry the room burst into laughter, which eased the previously heightened tension, and Harry explained once again the secrets of the door handle.'
"But why?" Draco asked'
"I dunno, maybe McGonagall has developed a sense of humour?" Neville suggested and it was at this point that Draco managed to divert his attention from the pile of leaves around Pansy's feet to where Neville, Harry, Ron and Terry were standing.'
"What's going on?"'
"Ron's defending your honour" Harry explained cryptically and pointed his wand at the bridge of Terry's nose "Episky" and Terry's nose clicked back to place.'
"I don't understand?"'
"Terry here was just summarising some of the changes that have occurred since we were last here. Not sure that he will do it again, at the very least not when Ron is around anyway" Draco walked over and placed a hand on Ron's shoulder and the red head visibly relaxed as he proceeded to move over and stand with Harry.'
"Right this is only happening once if you have questions about Harry and I ask them now because you wont get another opportunity. How, who asked who or maybe something more graphic? Positions, who does what..." "Draco" Harry muttered, embarrassed.'
"No questions? Are you sure?!" Draco continued'
"Don't be so dramatic Draco" Neville raised an eyebrow "not everybody is interested in Harry and your personal life. You aren't the first male couple I have ever met, I am sure you won't be the last and frankly, with the upmost respect, I'm really not that interested"'
"But Neville I'm Harry Potter. Everyone finds me interesting" Harry grinned an impish, childish smile and Neville grinned back "Just don't wake the house up with whatever it is you do do"'
"Well! I think that's all of them" Pansy announced "As fun as this has been I think I will head to bed"'
A mutter of consent echoed around the room and the small crowd began to make itself way up the staircase and Pansy peeled off to the right and Zacharias Smith to the left. As Harry placed his foot on the left hand staircase he slipped bumping into Draco.'
"What the fuck"'
"Well the staircase didn't move itself did it Potter" Draco retorted'
"After you!" Harry motioned irritated'
Draco moved his foot up three steps and pushed forward to climb to the next step was similarly pushed back. Tempted momentarily to let him fall Harry reached out his hands to steady the blond.'
"Right great so we sleep on the sofas do we?" Draco spoke iciness in his voice'
"Don't be stupid Draco. Males to the left, Females to the right and couples straight on" Neville indicated and reached out his hand. Draco looked affronted until Cho Chang – Harry's ex girlfriend from fifth year took his hand blushing.'
"Oh I see" Draco commented regaining his composure and then his face lit up and a full on smile broke across his face "Oh!! I see". It was really endearing Harry had decided. The revelation that he would not be parted from the man he had shared a room with for well over a year cracked one of the few genuine full on smiles to grace his face.'
"I'm pleased too" Harry muttered into Draco's ear'
"Hey Ron" Harry called'
"We are going this way. Meet downstairs at seven I want to talk to you both before breakfast"'
"Sure ok" and he waved a goodnight'
"Ron" came Draco's voice'
"Anytime" nodded in their direction and continued up the stairs'
"So Neville and Cho eh?" Draco commented as they headed up the middle staircase that thankfully did not give way underfoot'
"Yeah, good isn't it! Not the only couple in the house" At the top of the stairs it opened up into a small landing with a door to the right and to the left.'
"Erm, which did they take?"'
"The one on the right"'
"How do you know?"'
"It has their name on the door Harry..." Draco commented with a touch of impatiens as he reached for the door handle "Hey this isn't going to you know make me sprout leaves, right?"'
"Dunno try it! My sexy tree" Harry chuckled as he wrapped his arms around Draco'
"You do it"'
"Nope no fire, I think your not going to be growing leaves to get into the bedroom at least"'
The room was small but sufficient. It had a double bed in the middle of the room and a small private bathroom opposite the door from the landing. Around the outside was a wardrobe, chest of draws and mirror.'
Harry drew Draco closer and gently bit the base of his neck "So do we get to christen the bed?"'
The following morning found a bleary eyed Draco Malfoy slumped in one of the purple armchairs looking less than impressed "Remind me why we had to meet so early?"'
"Because I wanted to talk without interruptions and before breakfast"'
"Remind me what we are talking about?" Ron asked'
"We are talking about the sorting hat"'
Comprehension filled Draco's face "I can't believe we forgot about that"'
"Well things were a little busy with fire, trees, and broken noses and not to mention slippery staircases!"'
"Yeah I guess so"'
"So this is what I want to know; can the hat be influenced or well how does it work?"'
"You think McGonagall might have put it up to its speech last night?" Ron questioned'
"Well it's not very Gryffindor is it?" Draco added and continued, "I would need to check a book but I am pretty sure that it would have to be independent. It's not like it can be susceptible to a confundus charm is it? It's an independent, sentient, magical object. But as I say I just need to check something"'
"Have either of you thought anymore about doing these stupid interviews?" the vacant expression on Ron's face made it clear that he hadn't. No doubt hoping that if it was ignored long enough it might just go away.'
"Well I think we should have decided before we go to bed today. It can't be put off. We need to find out if the hat can be influenced and if it can't...well I think we have to do it"'
"Why?" Ron whispered'
"You know as well as I do that deep magic cannot be ignored. Which is why it's so important that we find out about the stupid hat"'
"Ok Great Hall for breakfast and to get our timetable and then we work out when to find out"'
Arriving early to the Great Hall had many disadvantages such as having to get up early and not having as much sleep but it did have one major advantage it was quiet as they entered the hall. The three approached the teacher's stage to receive their timetables and compare schedules.'
"Third period free" Draco questioned'
"No we have Divination then. How about forth?"'
"No I have Arithmancy then"'
"Last period is the only other free we have today"'
"That's good I can do that too and an early finish on a Monday, result!"'
"Yeah starts with double potions though"'
Draco frowned at this last comment being rather keen on the subject he didn't share the same dislike "see you after breakfast"'
The day it seemed flew by. Double potions was bearable as it seemed that Slughorn still had a soft spot for Harry. Defence was an interesting experience, as Harry felt sure he knew, as much if not more, than the professor and the charms class was more a revision of all the common charms that they had learned before their sabbatical. It was not all together surprising to find Pansy join the three of them for the lessons that they shared. She was after all the only other Slytherin in the extra year.'
It was therefore as if five minutes had passed since the start of the day and the three, plus Pansy, who had tagged along for good measure, found themselves in the library. Draco was off scouring the shelves for the particular volume he was looking for whilst Ron, Pansy and Harry where in an animate discussion about the new DADA teacher.'
"Here it is. Non Human Sentient Magical Objects for Intermediates" Draco announced placing the book on the table and continuing as he sat down "Let me see if I can find the page"'
A few minutes later "Yeah here it is. `A non human sentient magical object is a rare and extremely valuable commodity. They are known to range from pocket watches to diaries and perhaps the most famous of such items is the Hogwarts sorting hat. Their origins are unclear which is directly correlated to their often-unique nature. It is clear to magical historians however, that they channel deep magic and are often closely connected to the very essence of the magical world. Often the objects are able to sense the smallest anomaly or discontinuity in magical vibrations. It has long been thought that the Blick family had foreseen the rise to power of Gellert Grindelwald through the family heirloom; a sentient gramophone"'
"Ok so we know that they exist but what about if they can be compromised"'
"Hang on. I never finished this book" Draco returned to the book and continued to skim through. Some forty minutes later he coughed and the other three fell silent.'
"Whilst it is not entirely impossible to dupe a non human sentient being it is however, extremely difficult. The object is intimately linked to all magic, see chapter seven, and is not susceptible to standard charms, potions, hex's or curses. In the event of a deception it is highly likely that the object has been replaced as opposed to directly corrupted"'
"Right – so it sounds like we should listen to it" Harry summarised looking dispirited'
"Assuming of course that the hat was not replaced last night" Ron added'
The conversation continued until the bell rang for dinner as they debated the various merits or possibilities of the hat being replaced. They had agreed that Harry's conditions made sense and that the only way to be sure was to seek a meeting with McGonagall and then ask the hat directly. As such Harry found himself once again at the teacher's stage at the front of the Great Hall at dinner requesting the meeting.'
"Of course Potter, you may come to my room at 8PM. Oh and the password is shape shifters"
The trio whiled away the hours between dinner and their meeting Professor McGonagall in the purple common room. They toyed with some potions homework and a closely fought game of chess between Ron and Draco. It almost ended in tears as Ron's queen captured Draco's rook and he pronounced `checkmate'. Draco was not used to loosing. One of the few leisure activities Harry and Draco had enjoyed whilst hunting for Horcrux's was chess and Draco won almost every game. As the bickering started it was to some relief to Harry that it was fast approaching 8PM.'
"Come on then girls" to which he received an icy stare from Ron and slap on the arm from Draco. It didn't stop the disagreement continuing as they strode through the castle to the now headmistresses office.'
"Shape shifters" the gargoyle leapt aside presenting the familiar staircase that rotated up to McGonagall's office.'
"Enter" her brisk Scottish voice called out and the three trooped into Dumbledore's former office. Little had changed between now and the last time Harry had been there. A few different touches here and there – an extract from `Transfiguration Today' hung on the wall and a picture that depicted a much younger Minerva McGonagall laughing at some long lost joke and a handsome man in the background.
"Potter, Weasley, Malfoy" she nodded "What can I do for you?"
"I know this is a bit of a strange request but I was hoping to erm well I was hoping to talk with the sorting hat"
The twinkling in her eye's was of a Dumbledore-esk quality. Maybe, Harry considered, when becoming headmaster or headmistress of Hogwarts you automatically became insufferably knowledgeable.
"I anticipated as much. Help yourself" and she indicated the familiar stool with the hat propped on top as if nothing had changed from the second time he had tried spoken to the hat and it had repeated its earlier declarations- that Harry was particularly hard to sort, and that he would have done well in Slytherin House.'
Carefully lifting the hat and placing it on its head he sat on the stool.'
"Ah Mr Potter. I wonder when I might be speaking to you again"'
"Erm, Hello" he felt ridiculous. He hadn't been keen on having a conversation in his head the first few times it had happened. He certainly felt no more comfortable now.'
"One assumes that you have not come to ask me to move you to Slytherin. A little late now Potter"'
"No, actually I wanted to ask you about your song; yesterday"'
"I see and what is it you would like to know about my song?"'
"How do you know what to say?"'
"I don't think that is the real question you want to ask Mr Potter. You know perfectly well that I am connected to the deep magic and that I can interpret the movements for good and for evil. Its all here inside your head you know? So why don't you ask me what you want to know"'
Sighing Harry sucked in a deep breath "I want to know if you could be mistaken" there he had said it after all what's the point in hiding something from your own head. How fucked up.'
"Well of course it's possible for anyone and anything to be mistaken. But again Mr Potter you ask the wrong question. You already know that it is a highly unlikely set of events would make me speak words I did not believe"'
Frustrated now Harry racked his head for the `correct' question. He suddenly recalled his morbid daydream of the hat on top of the fire in the purple common room.'
"Now Potter, be like that and I shall not help you any further"'
"Ok. What I want to know is do you remember what happened in my second year?"'
"Ah warmer Potter, warmer. Yes indeed I do. You pulled the sword of Gryffindor from within me and slayed the beast within the Chamber of Secrets"'
"How about my first year"'
"You didn't want to be in Slytherin"'
"and Ron. What did you say to him"'
"Another Weasley! I know just what to do with you"'
"So you are the real sorting hat?"'
"Can I ask one more question?"'
"What did you mean by `one final hurdle must yet be overcome'"
"Now THAT is an excellent question. The Dark Lord is dead but his followers not yet all accounted for. There is one, one whom you have met before. In particular, this one, should not be permitted his liberty for fear that he will corrupt the rest"
"Who is this?"
"Alas! Alas! My connection to the deep magic allows me an ability to read the vibrations in magical power but it does not offer details. I can say no more, not because I do not wish to but because I know no more"
"Thank you. So definitely the real thing then?"
"Yes Mr Potter the same hat that has sorted every Hogwarts student from the formation of the school. Why does it concern you so?"
"Something you said, well, it makes me...us, I mean, think that we have to do something that will be uncomfortable and that perhaps we would prefer not to"
"Well Potter I read and interpret but only you can choose what must be done"
"Right, thanks" he removed the hat, stood and carefully placed it back down on the stool.
"Its real" he whispered to the two standing beside him
"Well then we do it. Right?" Draco said
"Yeah I guess so" Ron replied
"Yes Mr Malfoy"
"We have decided to go ahead and do these interviews but under a few conditions"
"Naturally" and she extended a hand and taking the proffered parchment Ron held out
"You don't think number six might be a touch excessive?"
"No, we don't" Ron replied resolutely
"Any chance of two matches?"
"Most certainly...not. That is not a condition you have listed here and I do have a school to run here not just a Quidditch timetable"
"Right" Ron didn't look pleased it had to be said
"Very well unless you have an alternative suggestion we can arrange these to be every other Saturday for five hour slots. Two hours in the morning and three in the afternoon. I would recommend, though I will not insist, that you remain at Hogwarts on these weekends. If that will be all gentlemen?"
"Definitely no chance of two games?" Ron pushed
"No" the dower face and pinched lips made it perfectly clear that the conversation was indeed over and she ushered the three to the door.
The first week passed in a mass of homework, classes and catching up with old friends. Harry and Draco settled into a comfortable routine dividing their time between each other, homework, putting in the compulsory attendance in the Gryffindor and Slytherin common rooms as well as winding Ron up about which of the two should be made seeker for the end of term game.
The weekend passed quickly as the two had left Ron at Hogwarts and returned to Secrecy Avenue and it was with some regret that Harry found himself sat at the Gryffindor table on Monday morning. The owl he was reading did not improved his mood.'
I have confirmed your first meeting with Barnabas Cuffe - an extremely professional writer and former editor of the Daily Prophet.
He will meet you, Mr Weasley and Mr Malfoy this coming Saturday in the library in the Dexter Fortescue suite at ten sharp.
He has agreed to the terms you had requested and I added one myself – no quick quotes quill. I trust you have no objection?
Groaning he handed the note to Ron... it was going to be a long week and to top it all it started with double potions. Marvellous!