Harry and Hermione Start their Sixth Year


Story Summary:
What happens when two close friends discover they are in love in a time of attacks? Covers late July to early September. H/Hr R/OC G/L DT/CC R/T

Chapter 03


Chapter III

"Well, Mister Potter; hopefully we will be able to have an uninterrupted discussion today." Professor McGonagall was behind her desk, looking very composed, and yet satisfied.

"Yes, Ma'am," Harry agreed, again slightly depressed.

"Problem, Mister Potter?"

"Well, Professor," Harry answered, "I didn't get the O in Potions, and Ron missed the O in both Potions and Transfiguration. I guess that means auror training is out for both of us."

"I believe I was unable to fully explain the qualifications for auror training the first time we met," McGonagall said with a sniff. "The requirements are five N.E.W.T.s. All must be E or O. One must be in Defense, and at least two must be in Charms, Transfiguration, or Potions. Preferred optional fields include Basic Medicine, Muggle Studies, and either Arithmancy or Runes, but not both. You may also have one of the five N.E.W.T.s in any field. Now, Arithmancy and Runes are certainly outside your current knowledge range."

"True," Harry admitted.

"If your only acceptable choices were Charms, Defense, and Transfiguration, that would leave you two short. You have a sufficient academic background to take the Basic Medicine however, and, with some help, the personal background to make up the material for Muggle Studies. Both will be difficult, but I think you capable enough to try."

Harry smiled with relief. "Thank you, Professor."

"Don't thank me yet!" McGonagall warned. "There is a certain student who, somewhat surprisingly, received only an A O.W.L. in Transfiguration. I have agreed to take him on if Professor Snape accepted you in Potions, which he did this morning with rather less grace than, well, never mind that." She waved the problem away. "That will give you six chances to earn the five N.E.W.T.s, and an extra chance to earn those in the required fields. You may feel it better to try Creatures instead of Potions, or even Muggle Studies, or Creatures. That would still give you six chances to earn the five required in total, but just five to earn the three in required fields." She hesitated and said, "No offense, Mister Potter, but I do not think it wise for you to take seven classes."

"I agree, Professor!. Doesn't the Basic Medicine include most of the auror material on potions, other than the actual making of poisons?" Harry asked. He had read the course descriptions many times. "Even more so than the Advanced Potions?"

"It does," McGonagall replied, glad he had looked over the material "Still, I am willing to tutor you regularly in any class other than the Muggle Studies."

"Could I ask you a really large favor instead, Professor?"

"If Miss Granger, and especially you, are willing to work with him, I will admit Mister Weasley to the class. He will NOT be eligable for Advanced Potions."

That made Harry pause. He realized McGonagall wanted HIM to help Ron because it would help Harry stay on top of the material, and so that Hermione wouldn't be too burdened. She, of course, would take the full seven courses. "Thank you, Professor." He thought a moment. "When do I have to decide?"

"Ideally, now. I understand, however, you might wish to confer with Professor Dumbledore and Miss Granger before any final decisions."

Harry blushed slightly. which made McGonagall smile. While she had no objection to either Ginny Weasley or Luna Lovegood, she thought Hermione a better match for Harry, and Harry a better match for Hermione than Ron Weasley. She was very glad that Cho Chang was out of the picture. This pair were her favorite students in over a generation.

"I will of course take Defense, Transfiguration, and Charms," Harry finally said. "And I think I should take Basic Medicine and the Muggle Studies. Do you know if Professor Snape is going to be coaching me on Occlumency this year?"

"He is not," McGonagall said firmly. "The Headmaster and the new Defense professor will be. I wish I could tell you who it will be, but you know the Headmaster enjoys his little surprises."

"Other than the fact it gives me a very unlikely fall-back chance at a N.E.W.T., why should I take Potions instead of Creatures? Especially considering my, well. . . ."

"Usual academic performance? Or your rocky history with a certain member of the staff?"

"Both," Harry admitted.

'There's the honest Harry that makes him one of my favorite students,' she thought. "You are NOT to repeat this to anyone, not Miss Granger, Mister Weasley, Remus Lupin, or even the Headmaster. Understand?"

Harry nodded. "Yes, Ma'am."

"If you take Potions, I must take Mister Malfoy. Professor Snape's treatment of you will partially determine Mister Malfoy's continuation in my class. Other than that . . . may I make a personal observation?"

"Of course, Professor."

"You are . . . now seeing Miss Granger?"

"Yes, I am."

McGonagall smiled at Harry's defiant look. "I do not disapprove as such, Mister Potter. Miss Granger is the most outstanding student I have seen at Hogwarts since . . . well, we don't talk about a young man a few years behind me, do we? At least not by name?"

"Not usually by title, anyway," Harry agreed, realizing she meant Riddle/Voldemort.

McGonagall smiled. "There is only one thing I worry about when it comes to you and Miss Granger. Should your relationship . . . blossom, I worry you might both be lost into the Muggle world. I am a Pure-Blood, Mister Potter, but I do NOT believe any of the nonsense the various anti-Muggle prophets have spouted about blood. But heritage is a bit different. I worry that when any two Muggle-raised children fall in love that they are losing something -- the heritage of the wizarding world."

Harry had heard much the same, even in strident members of the DA the year before. He didn't totally agree, but even he and Hermione had some sympathy with the problem. "Maybe there should be a one year course, done during the Second year, for people like me, then. That's not my idea; Hermione has mentioned it a few times. Percy Weasley did, too." He hesitated.


"Not meaning to bad-mouth a professor. . . ."

"Go on. I shall keep it in confidence."

"Shouldn't Professor Binns be doing this in class anyway? And lecturing the Pure-Bloods and such on how dependent the wizarding world is on Muggle manufacturing and food?"

"Miss Granger again, no doubt?"

"And Mister Weasley," Harry acknowledged.

"Professor Binns will teach as he thinks best," McGonagall said, although she didn't look terribly pleased by having to say it. "However, the idea of a Second year class, split to help both types of students, has merit. I shall discuss it with Miss Granger. However, we have gone off subject." She paused for just a moment. "All things considered, I think I shall advise you NOT to take Potions after all."

"Thank you, Professor." Harry suddenly smiled a devilish smile. "Would it be so bad having Professor Snape owing you a major favor?"

McGonagall returned the smile. "As a matter of fact, no. It would not. Just one more matter before you run off and see the Headmaster."

"Yes, Professor?"

"You are restored to the Quidditch team as seeker. Miss Weasley has requested to move to chaser, if you have no objection?"

"No, I don't. She's brilliant."

"Now, that means you, Miss Bell, and Mister and Miss Weasley are returning. The two temporary beaters have both indicated a preference for not playing if anyone better can be found. That will be the responsibility of the captain. Miss Bell does not want to be captain, as she will be the next Head Girl. Should I consider you?"

Harry thought a moment. "No, I think Ron would do a much better job."

"I thought so, too, but the Headmaster thought I should consult with you." Harry looked very embarrassed. "Do you agree it might be best if Mister Weasley doesn't know about this?"

"You might mention you asked me my opinion of him as captain and I said I thought he'd be the best person for the job."

"Very well. Off with you, then."

"Thank you, for everything, Professor," Harry said as he left.

After Harry had greeted Fawkes, refused three different types of sweets, and sat down, Dumbledore got to the point.

"Harry, we now have evidence that Voldemort's plan is currently three-fold. one) to draw you out into the open where he can kill you; two) to free his followers in Azkaban; three) to force his followers to declare themselves. Your telling Mrs. Lestrange about Tom Riddle's heritage was a move I hadn't thought of. Six Death Eaters have turned themselves in and nine have been killed before they were able to surrender. His best hope for drumming up support in the near term is to kill either you or myself. He failed to kill me last night, and that news will be in The Daily Prophet tomorrow, along with the news that you are out of reach, where only I know. This may cause a split within the remaining Death Eaters, it may not, but it is worth the chance. While the protections you had at your Aunt's would still protect you, it is possible that if he is desperate, he might figure out a way for hired Muggles to harm you."


"The subject has been raised," Dumbledore said. "This should cut such an idea from being pursued. Needless to say, your relatives will be protected from Muggle attack while you are gone and at school."

"I see. Thank you for telling me, sir."

"You are welcome, Harry. I shall try to earn back some of your trust this year." Harry wasn't certain how to answer that comment, but fortunately Dumbledore went on. "Are you willing to run a Defense Association again this year, Harry?"

"If Hermione has the time to help me. It wouldn't work, otherwise."

"Very true. If so, we will discuss the details the afternoon you come back for the start of term. We will find you a good space in the dungeons. Now, Remus needs to talk to you. He is in his old office at the moment. He has been trapping boggarts for the new Defense teacher next year."

Harry thanked the headmaster, and went off to find Remus.

"Come in!" Remus called out in response to Harry knock. "Good afternoon, Harry."

"Dumbledore said you wanted to see me?"

"Yes, just a moment." Remus went over to the mostly bare desk and opened his shabby briefcase. "Sirius has been officially cleared, and his last will has been approved. You and Tonks split the real estate, stocks, bonds, and such of the Black holdings in half. You, Tonks, and I split the liquid assets. You receive eighty percent, Tonks and I receive ten each. Now, I can't tell you where we're going, because I'm not certain myself. Tonks and I will be able to leave via an open portkey to shop -- that's one that may be reused. I hate to ask it, but. . . ."

"You need to use some of that money?"

"No, I don't HAVE to use your money. However, I think it's time you have decent clothes. I know you have enough money to cover it in your current acocunt, and it will take a week or so for us to access Sirius' cash."

"True." Harry clearly hesitated, so Remus didn't suggest anything. Finally, after loking at how he was dressed in Dudley's cast-offs, Harry said, "What about the others? Did Dean and Colin lose everything?"

"Just about. They at least have last year's school clothes and their wands."

"Get me whatever you want. Ask Hermione for suggestions if you need any. I need three good pairs of trainers for running and some sweats. Beyond that, go crazy. Get. . . ." Harry paused while Remus picked up a quill and parchment. "I think it's time to make at least a small dent in that huge pile of gold. Get Colin and Dean everything they need. Get all of our school things, even for Henrietta. Books, parchment, quills, ink, et cetera. Get Hermione lots of extra parchment and ink. Get Ginny a Cleansweep like Ron's. Get the other's Cleansweep All Weathers if they need a broom, and include yourself, if that awful thing you rode last year is all you have."

Remus's ears flushed a little. "Alright. Anything else?"

"Ron and I need owl treats; Hermione will also need supplies for Crookshanks. Does Henrietta have a pet?"

"A puffskein, so that doesn't require much."

"I really need new glasses, but there's not much we can do about that, is there?"

Remus shrugged. "Perhaps. I'll look into it."

"I need everything. Underwear, socks, trousers and jeans, shirts, uniforms, robes, a new hat, a new cloak, new Quidditch gear, a few jumpers. . . ."

"Alright, I get the idea! I need your measurements. Where we're going the sizes are a bit different." Harry stood still for several minutes while Remus took measurements.

"Remus?" Harry finally asked.

"Yes?" he asked, scribbling down more ideas.

"Could I ask you to get some things . . . that are special?"

"Of course, Harry. What?"

Harry took a scrape of parchment and wrote down his ideas. Remus took it, and smiled. "I'll take care of this. Now, sign these forms. The first acknowledge your taking possession of the inheritance, the second add the liquid assets to your Gringotts vault. The third gives you access to part of the money for bank drafts, and I'll have to ask you to sign for the costs."

"That's alright." Harry looked at Remus. "I need to make a will."

"If it's simple, I can help. Since you're underage, it does need to be witnessed by four adult wizards or witches who do not directly benefit."

"Fine. I'll jot down some ideas."

"I'll get the other boys' measurements. I'll see you at dinner shortly."

"Is Tonks getting the girls'?"

"Yes; they should be up in Gryffindor."

"See you later." Harry went off to find Tonks.

Dinner was very light that evening. "I'm sorry if you feel this isn't our usual fine dinner," Dumbledore explained, looking with amusement at Ron's very disappointed expression. "You are going to a very different time zone. You'll take a small draught of a potion, and after a short nap it will seem like it is much earlier in the day. You will all have opportunities to fly, exercise, practice house-hold magic, and any other type of magic your supervisors, Mister Lupin and Miss Tonks, deem appropriate. This will remove all of you from danger for the month. You will return before the afternoon of the first of September. You may or may not receive mail, but you will not be allowed to send any." He looked at them. "I trust you will keep your two owls under control?" Harry and Ron nodded.

Dumbledore raised a cautionary finger. "As you are four boys and four girls, I ask you all to remember the lectures you received during your Second year." All eight rolled their eyes in near unison. "Very good. Please stand up." The eight students stood, as did Tonks and Remus. "Off you go."

And the ten found themselves in a meadow.

"Wow," Harry and Ginny said.

"Wicked," Ron agreed.

Then they turned around. "We're all going to live in that!?" Harry stated in shock.

"I would think it's enchanted," Hermione said. "But I admit, that would have to be . . . majorly enchanted."

It was a small log cabin, perhaps thirty feet long and eighteen feet wide, with a small loft over it and a chimney at each end. There were a few small out buildings -- a woodshed, what appeared to Hermione as a food cache on stilts, and, most disturbingly, an outhouse. Entering -- all that they saw was an open space with a fireplace at one end and a wood cooking stove at the other. A sleeping loft ran most of the way above the center of the room, a ladder at each end. A table with four chairs and a stuffed chair and a sofa completed the decor.

All eight students stared at Remus and Tonks, and then Harry asked, "Where does that door lead?"

"Just a cellar," Remus answered. "Dirt floor and storage."

"Where ELSE does it lead?"

"Why look there, if anywhere, for a magical entrance?" Remus asked.

"All the wood in here are plain logs," Harry retorted. "Even I can see that there are symbols or something carved into the door frame."

"Really?" Remus asked, puzzled. He turned, and saw nothing. "I don't see anything."

Neither did anyone else. Harry went over and when the rest got close enough, they didn't see symbols, but they did see what Harry meant. To the others, they looked like natural curves and depressions in the wood. Harry easily traced them, and Luna picked out the last few, once she knew what to look for.

"Well, it's supposed to be impossible for anyone to see like that, but Harry's right. There are three hidden levels, one in the basement and two above us." He pointed out where to touch. "The basement has a small gym and some storage, plus rooms for the elves. The first level has a kitchen, living room, and library, plus a master suite. Tonks and I will be there. The second level has four smaller suites -- bedroom with two beds, two desks, two closets, and a large bookcase, plus a large bath. Here are the adjustment potions. Use the bathroom if you have to, then get on your beds and drink the potion. In five to ten minutes, you'll fall asleep. When you wake up, it feel like just after noon. The elves will have everything arranged by then. Off you go."

Ron grabbed Henrietta's hand and they charged up the stairs, giggling. "Ron!" Hermione scolded, chasing after him. "What the devil do you think you're doing!" The other students laughed and followed them up the stairs.

"Hermione!" Ron was trying to say, but he made no headway against Hermione's diatribe on responsibility and maturity.

"I rather think now would be a very good time to find our room, dear heart," Luna said to Ginny, ignoring Hermione. Luna held out her hand, which Ginny took. They chose the furthest bedroom.

"Looks like an idea worthy of a Ravenclaw," Dean said gravely. He smiled and picked Colin up in his arms. Colin wrapped his arms around Dean's neck. "Why, Rhett," Colin said in a poor Southern accent. "What ever could you be thinking?" He batted his eyelashes.

"Frankly, my dear, I know you'll give a damn." He carried Colin into the nearest bedroom and kicked the door shut.

Hermione had paid no attention, but continued to lecture Ron. Harry came up behind her and whispered in her ear. Hermione stopped in mid-sentence. "What did you say?"

Harry whispered in her ear again, picked Hermione up in his arms, and carried her to the other further bedroom.

Ron turned to Henrietta, turning a very bright red. "Err. . . ."

"No you don't, Ron Weasley," Henrietta said firmly. "You chose the bed, now we're going to lie in it." She grabbed his hand and dragged him into the remaining bedroom.