Author weeps The last chapter! wail
'No, Harry, I'm sorry but I've got to catalogue the broomsticks ready for the first years,' said Mrs Hooch, her hair shockingly straight.
'But can't I go out on my own?' implored Harry.
'No! Certainly not! Unsupervised flying is strictly forbidden!' snapped Madame Hooch, who was currently measuring the Quidditch goal posts with a tape measure that was panting from the exertion of clambering 50 feet up.
'But -' said Harry.
'You're too young!' added Madame Hooch, making Harry scowl, he hating being young, it seemed to be the reason he couldn't do anything.
'But-' he said again.
'Harry!' exclaimed Madame Hooch, hawk-like eyes wild. 'I'm too busy right now to go flying! Go and bother your Grandfather!'
'He told me to come and ask you if I could go flying,' Harry told her innocently.
Madame Hooch muttered something under her breath that made the tape measure briefly flush blue.
'I'm sorry, Harry,' she said, a little gentler. 'Why don't you go and see what Professor McGonagall is doing?'
'Okay,' sighed Harry, he turned around.
'Oh, and Harry,' Mrs Hooch called after him.
'Don't tell her I sent you.'
There was a loud banging noise and an untidy thud-thudding sound from down the corridor outside Professor McGonagall's classroom, a moment later her door squeaked open and a dark-haired little boy slipped in.
'Hello, Mrs McGonagall!'
'Hello Harry,' said Mrs McGonagall, quite calmly.
'What are you doing?' Harry asked, beaming at finally receiving a non-antagonistic greeting. He scrambled up onto a chair on the other side of the desk at which she was seated, Mrs McGonagall was holding a long feather in one hand and a long piece of parchment was stretched out along her desk. In fact, it was so long that Harry noticed it ran off the table, under her chair, up the black board and part way along the ceiling, before curling up.
'Wow,' he said, Mrs McGonagall looked up to catch his gaze, and smiled.
'My check-list,' she explained.
'Check-list for what?' asked Harry, reaching forward to tickle the end of her quill - which giggled girlishly.
'My check-list for the beginning of the new school term; it helps me to make sure that I have everything ready for the students and staff.'
'Oh,' said Harry. He lifted up her silver inkpot and the parchment it had been resting on immediately began to roll up - Professor McGonagall caught it just in time - she put the inkwell back on top of the resisting paper.
'How would you like to run some errands for me, Harry?' she suggested mildly.
'What do you mean?' asked Harry cautiously.
'Well, for example, I need someone to take a note down to Professor Flitwick, who is probably in his charms classroom, or the staff room. Could you do that Harry?'
'Excellent,' said Professor McGonagall, briskly. She reached into her desk and took out a fresh piece of parchment, quickly she scribbled a note (a suitably serious expression on her face), made sure to tie it securely with a big piece of red ribbon and handed it to Harry. 'Quickly now,' she told him. 'It is essential that Filius has this piece of information; don't delay! And beware the suits of armour, they're feeling playful today.'
'I won't let you down, Mrs McGonagall,' said Harry, a big smile on his face.
'I know you won't, Harry,' McGonagall assured him; her lips barely twitched.
Funnily enough, Professor Flitwick also had an urgent errand for Harry to run, this time to Professor Vector, the Arithmancy teacher. Mrs Vector made Harry nervous; every time he had to spend time in her company she tried to tell him how exciting geometry was. No matter what she said, he had a funny feeling that magical geometry was an acquired taste that he didn't possess, but he was too polite to tell her so.
Professor Vector however, was practically hidden amongst the biggest piles of rulers Harry had ever seen, and strangely, lots of them weren't straight at all, but did loop-the-loops or made you cross eyed trying to find the end.
'Yes yes,' she said, fighting off an enthusiastic rubber. 'Take this to Filch, will you Harry? I don't know what it's doing in here.' She handed him a broom with bristles both ends.
'Okay, Professor Vector,' he agreed, quite happy to dash around the magical castle in search of the grumpy caretaker. It took longer to find Mr Filch than it had to find the others, the scowling man was struggling to control a suit of armour that was half polished.
'Do you want any help?' Harry asked, curiously.
'No,' Filch grunted, doing an elaborate two-step with the armour. 'Whad'ya want?'
'Professor Vector wanted me to give you this.'
Filch glanced briefly in Harry's direction and was rewarded by a twirl from the suit of armour, he spun out and past Harry, mouldy robes a flying.
'Oh, that,' he said ungraciously. 'Put it down over there.'
Harry did he was told and watched as the suit of armour manhandled Filch into an energetic tango.
'Ungh! It's no -damn- use. Pass me that elbow grease, boy.'
A big black tin pot sat a little way off and when Harry approached he noticed that it had 'Elbow Grease' written in elaborate curls, he was intrigued, but when he opened it up, all he saw was a black sludge, not unlike boot polish. It helped Mr Filch though, with just a bit of Elbow Grease slicked onto his arms he was able to quickly subdue the hyperactive suit of armour. Harry enjoyed the show immensely, he loved this magical world.
'Why'd they do that?' Harry asked.
'Damn things're ticklish,' snarled Filch, picking up his cloth and silver polish again, he stopped suddenly. 'What you still doing 'ere?' he glared.
'Did you want me to run an errand for you, Mr Filch? I can, you know.'
'Aye. Actually … go down to the Gamekeeper's hut, see if he's back yet, lazy lump, an tell 'im his new keys are back from the key smith.'
'All right,' said Harry. 'Where's the gamekeeper's hut?'
'In the grounds, out the front door.'
'All right,' agreed Harry, amicably, not at all concerned by the lack of direction.
He took the stairs two at a time, (once nearly three -but the castle stretched itself to catch him), and at a very fast run, he ran so fast the pictures were a blur, in fact, he ran so fast that it took him a minute or so to realise he'd crashed.
'All righ' there?' boomed the large thing he'd crashed into. A hand the size of a muggle dustbin lid hoisted him up by his shirt. 'Well I never!' exclaimed Hagrid, upon seeing his would-be tackler. Harry swallowed hard and looked up, and up, into beetle black eyes and a wild mass of hair, this man was a giant!
'Um,' said Harry, scared stiff -he backed away slowly. 'Who are you?'
'Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys an' Grounds at Hogwarts,' beamed Hagrid.
'Oh!' said Harry, brightening. 'Are you the Gamekeeper too?'
'Yep, that's me!' Hagrid chortled. 'An' yeh're Lily and James' son!'
'How'd you know that?' wondered Harry.
''cos I knew 'em, that's how!'
'You knew my mum and dad?' Harry's fear abruptly disappeared in the face of such sturdy approbation. 'Oh, Mr Filch said your keys are back.'
'Righ',' nodded the huge man.
They paused, and looked at each other.
'Wanna come an' see me dog? I got a boarhound, his name is Fang, but 'e's a softie really.'
'Can I?' asked Harry, eagerly.
''course! Piggy back?'
Harry looked up to the broad shoulders of this wild man, they looked very, very high up. 'Okay.' he said, extra-determined in the face of his fear.
'Tha's me lad!' roared Hagrid in approval, and with one huge hand flung Harry up onto his massive shoulders, making the boy squeak in shock. They set off.
'How are yeh finding Hogwarts, Harry?' Hagrid asked him.
'It's great!' said Harry, sounding breathless, hanging on to Hagrids great mane of hair for dear life.
'Yeh'll like it better when the students arrive, busy, noisy too.'
'Granddad said the students get put into four houses.'
'Yeah, Gryffindor -tha's yer parents old house- for the brave, Ravenclaw's for the ones with brains, Hufflepuff is nice enough, full o' duffers if you ask me.'
'What's the fourth?' asked Harry, wondering what a duffer was.
'Slytherin,' snarled Hagrid.
'That's a cool name,' said Harry innocently.
'Eh? T'aint! Students in Slytherin aren't too nice, Harry, ambitious, sly lot. Yeh watch yourself around 'em, all righ'?'
'All right,' agreed Harry, somewhat startled by the change of tone in the Gamekeepers voice.
They approached a small circular building, made of stone with a big wooden door, nestled against the forest, and with a large vegetable patch -full of the biggest pumpkins Harry had ever seen.
'Welcome, to my home,' said Hagrid warmly, and from inside a deep resounding 'Woof' sounded; Fang had heard his master arrive.
There was something off about the staff room today, Harry decided, as he peered around, it was the smell, he realised, something smelt awfully weird, like mouldy old cheese, left in the rain. Harry was on the watch for somewhere safe to hide from Mrs McGonagall and Granddad, who had been muttering something about baths and a change of robes. Even though magical baths were much more fun that the ones Aunt Petunia had given him (half an inch of tepid water and a bar of soap), he still didn't see the need to have one this afternoon. He'd had one last night after all!
He settled on the window seat to watch the steadily darkening sky and wait for the glitter of lights that would herald the arrival of the students.
The small boy jumped out of his skin, he hadn't heard anyone enter; a pale young man with a dark purple turban coiled heavily around his head now stood before the glittering fireplace.
'Who are you?' Harry asked, a little nervously.
'Who am I? More to the point, why, oh why, dear boy, are you here? Here!'
'Granddad adopted me,' explained Harry. 'Mr Dumbledore -?'
'Dumbledore,' the man spit out the name, disgust evident; Harry was shocked.
'I - - sorry,' he apologised, not quite sure why.
'It is you!' the stranger hissed, not unlike Mr Snape had.
Harry smiled in what he hoped was a disarming manner, 'I don't know you,' he said, when the silence grew too protracted for his liking. The strange smell was cloying and unpleasant.
An eerie high-pitched hiss came from the man as he stepped forward, translucent fingers stretched towards him, eyes bulging white, wide -
A burst of flame and Fawkes reared between the two figures, light exploded into life over the shadowy tableau of a stone grey room.
Harry shouted, punching the air with a child's enthusiasm for the fantastic; naïve of any threatening undertones.
A whisper, a withdrawal, a pause for breath:
'I am Professor Quirrell, I teach Defence Against the Dark Arts.'
'Cool!' said Harry, excitedly, he ran a hand down the soft feathers of Fawkes' regal plumage.
The door creaked open.
'There you are Harry! I thought I heard you.' It was Professor McGonagall. 'Come along, it's time for your bath. Fawkes! Keeping an eye on him? Good!'
Harry made a face.
'Oh, Professor Quirrell! You're back! How was Transylvania?' McGonagall smiled politely.
'F-fine, t-thank you, P-p-professor McGonagall.'
'Good! No doubt we shall hear all about it later. Come, Harry,' and she beckoned imperiously, holding the door open. Harry obediently followed, but cast a curious look back; Professor Quirrell hadn't stuttered once during their entire exchange.
'So what should you do, Harry?'
'Sit still, be quiet and… um, don't bug Granddad when he's talking.'
'Very good!' smiled Professor McGonagall, she straightened the collar of his blue robes.
'Will I have to be quiet all the time, Mrs McGonagall?'
'No Harry, of course not. Just when Albus is addressing the students.'
Professor McGonagall entered the Great Hall, Harry trotting alongside her, up ahead the Professors were taking their places, a low murmur of conversation warming the air.
'Mrs McGonagall?' Harry ventured.
'Will I still be able to sit with you, in classes?'
'Sometimes Harry, but sometimes not, my classes are very dangerous, even for big boys.'
'Oh.' There was a brief pause. 'What will happen to me then?'
'You'll be learning your own lessons, just like in Muggle School.'
'Just like?' asked Harry sounding exceedingly gloomy.
'Well, maybe not "just like",' smiled Mrs McGonagall taking pity on the boy beside her. 'Some of the professors have offered to teach you in their spare time.'
'Really,' chuckled McGonagall.
'Will I learn magic?'
'That will be up to your Granddad.'
'Can I get a dragon?'
'You want a toad?'
Mrs McGonagall suppressed a laugh and greeted Professor Sinistra, it was not long before a small hand tugged on her robes.
'Can I have an owl?'
'Ask your grandfather.'
'Can I have a wand?'
'Not until you're eleven.'
'That's the law, no underage wizards.'
'Because doing magic when you don't have the proper knowledge can be very dangerous.'
Professor McGonagall went back to telling Professor Sprout why her new classroom was better than the old.
'We have more students than ever this year, you need the extra space, S-'
'So I can't do any magic?'
'Whuh?' said McGonagall, distracted from her main line of reasoning. 'No. My dear professor, you must see how tight the Ministry have been this year, we can barely afford the dusters for -What is it Harry?'
'None at all?' asked Harry, aghast.
'Dusters?' wondered McGonagall, confused.
'Magic!' corrected Harry, wide eyed.
'Oh… I said ask your granddad.'
'He's not here,' complained Harry.
'Oh yes he is,' rumbled Professor Dumbledore's voice from behind him, Harry gave a squeal as the Headmaster turned him upside down magically.
'Headmaster!' exclaimed McGonagall, looking rather relieved, Harry's robes fluttered into wrinkles around his waist, revealing a pair of slightly muddy trainers and jeans.
'Good evening, Minerva. Should you not be greeting our first years around about… now?'
'Oh, goodness me! Hagrid! The first years!' And Mrs McGonagall hurried off down the aisles, emerald robes flicking out behind her.
The Headmaster bent down to look at Harry who was giggling from floor level.
'And have we been a good boy?' he enquired, very seriously indeed.
'Yes!' reported Harry, whose cheeks were going cherry. 'Can I do magic Granddad?'
'You're a magical boy aren't you?'
Severus Snape, passing, snorted; he was ignored, Filius Flitwick found the show immensely amusing, and charmed Snape's fork into an irritating tap dance as the man sat down.
'Yes,' affirmed Harry.
'Well then! Turn yourself the right way up - unless you wish to attempt eating your soup like so. I can pour it down your nose if you would like?' Dumbledore pursed his lips, raised an eyebrow and straightened his aching back.
'Ewww!' said Harry, fascinated and disgusted at the idea.
There was a moment of suspicious silence as the staff watched surreptitiously from their various placements along the table.
'What kind of soup is it?' asked Harry after a while.
'Pea,' replied Dumbledore, blithely, his moustache quivering.
The boy grimaced, pea soup upside down didn't sound too fun, and he frowned in thought.
'What do I do?'
'Stand up,' said Dumbledore, as if it were the easiest thing to do in the world, and Harry, believing, turned himself upright, in the barest blink of an eye. 'Well done!' approved Dumbledore, taking the now very messy haired boy's hand and leading him to their seats, there was noise from beyond the Hall doors.
'So I can do magic?' Harry beamed as Dumbledore plopped him on top his new seat, set higher than the staffs so that the boy might reach the table.
'Under proper supervision, yes, and only if you promise to be very good for your new teachers, no turning their hair blue!'
A sallow voice interrupted. 'It's against the law.'
'Exceptions have been made before,' smiled Dumbledore, pointedly not looking in Severus Snape's direction, Harry had no such qualms, he put his elbow in some butter leaning forward to beam at the man.
'Will you teach me, Mr Snape?' he inquired innocently.
'Why I think that's an excellent idea!' said Dumbledore.
'Why yes, Severus,' said Filius, 'Bravo!'
'Good for you,' concurred Professor Sprout grinning.
'Jolly good show,' agreed Professor Binns, with no idea what he was agreeing to, in fact it was doubtful he had yet noticed Harry's arrival.
The large doors swung open and a sudden flush of black robed people swept into the hall, claiming ownership to seats, a rolling crescendo of noise ran before them; laughter, arguments, teasing. The students had arrived!
The Headmaster's speech this year was, of necessity, slightly less peculiar than usual, whilst the world knew the Boy Who Lived was now living at Hogwarts, some comment had to be made to the actual fact.
'… Mr Filch tells me that Flauberts have a new pranks-list out, and he is aware of all its pertinent details.
Ah, as I am sure you have noticed, we have a new addition to the staff table, my grandson, Harry Potter.'
He paused, whispers rippled out and then an attentive silence fell.
'Harry is very new to this magical world of ours and so I would ask you to keep an eye out for him, otherwise, I doubt you will cross paths overly much.'
He paused again, Harry had tugged on his sleeve, and he bent to hear what the boy had to say and then turned to readdress the students.
'Harry wishes to say "Hello".'
There was a collective Awww from the female population, whilst the boys rolled their eyes and some of the Slytherins scowled unpleasantly, Harry smiled faintly from behind his Granddad's voluminous robes; too intimidated to wave.
'Oh yes, and Professor Sprout's classroom has moved, it is now 145d.
Now all that remains is for me to wish you a very successful term, full of fun, surprises and furbies' (he received a few odd looks from muggle-born students).
'Welcome,' he said, flinging his arms wide and knocking a soup tureen over. 'To Hogwarts!'
And this is where I leave you, for now! I'm sad to say I will be taking a leave of absence from the Harry Potter world, fan fiction and all, at least for a time. For a while now I've had difficulty writing with the same sort of enthusiasm as I did at the beginning, and my desire to read fan fiction has also faded. I'm sure it's only temporary, but with Uni demanding a lot more from me; exams, essays... blood…, and student life.. Well, I have no time!
So I just want to say a great big, loving Thank You! To all of my wonderful, wonderful reviewers, of whom there are now so many, I cannot reply or name you all as you deserve. It is for you that I finish this fic, and to you, that I will return!
I really hope you all enjoyed this fic, and yes, I do love it, it's been funny to write, aggravating perhaps, but always enjoyable! A sequel when I return? Perhaps, but no promises!
Hugs and Chocolate Frogs to you all!