(A/N: I should note that I had deleted chapter 8, the questions chapter, so if you haven't read the NEW chapter nine you should do that before reading this. I got that up two days ago for you who would complain about the wait for ONE chapter. Anyway! Thanks to my few reviewers and I hope that you enjoy the chapter. It is a little short but also a little boring. I'm thinking to end this year in a few chapters at most. Thanks for all who have been reviewing faithfully.)



Chapter 10: Quidditch and Christmas Break

Harry woke earlier and grabbing his broom and quidditch robe he ran down to the common room where he me the rest of the Gryfindor quidditch team for an early quidditch practice. It would be a quick practice before the last game of the semester. Harry said good morning to Fred and George before the whole team left down to the quidditch pitch.

Harry knew that Wood wouldn't work the team to hard because of their game today, and he was right. Wood had the team practice chaser formations, and beater and seeker tactics. Harry had to admit that the team was getting very good, especially for only having fifth years and younger on it.

In the rules of the game nobody but the chasers and the keeper could actually handle the quaffle, however, there was nothing stating that the other players brooms couldn't help. Wood had Harry practice hitting the quaffle accurately with his broom tail. The result of this practice was Harry becoming another member of the chasers; one who incidentally also had to look for the snitch.

By the end of the practice the team was feeling very good about their chances versus the Ravenclaw team, who were about as good as the Slytherins. The Gryfindor team now had three hours before the game started. They had orders from Wood to rest and eat during this time. After the practice the whole team went down to the Great Hall where they sat together with a few of their friends. Everybody in the Hall was talking excitedly about the upcoming match.

After breakfast Harry, Angie, Ron, and Hermione went down to the lake where they talked about the upcoming Christmas Break.

"Are all of you staying here for the break?" Harry asked his friends.

"I am," said Ron, "I always will I suppose, Fred and George do."

"I am staying as well," Hermione said, "I think that if my parents had me home they would not let me come back," she added with a smile.

"I'm staying as well," said Angie softly. The others knew that she was not welcome home.

Harry attempting to cheer her up said, "Well, I'm staying as well of course. I can't very well go back to Sirius with the Ministry watching every move I make." He smiled. "Well, if all four of us are staying, we need to do something. I say that we explore the castle on the break, you know, go through all the corridors and up all the stairs. I even know some secret passages that I could show you."

Hermione smiled at this and Ron asked, "Did my brothers show them to you? I think they know every secret passage there is. They even know more than Filch!" "No, they didn't show me any. I did however, meet them in one that they had thought that nobody knew about. You should have seen their faces. 'How did you get in here?' they asked. Oh it was classic."

The four were rolling on the ground laughing at Harry's act.

All too soon the three hours were up and Harry had to leave his friends and go to the Gryfindor locker room to meet the rest of the team.

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"Alright team, we can do this. We are better conditioned and better practiced than the Ravenclaws. With all the new tricks that we have learned," he looked at each team member in turn, "and all of our new formations, we should be able to win this game in record time." He turned to look at Harry. "Harry it is up to you to catch the snitch before Chang does. Do you think that you can do it?" Harry nodded his head. "Good then, Gryfindor on three! One! Two! Three! Gryfindor!"

With that the team in scarlet walked out onto the pitch and were welcomed by cheering crowds.

"And here comes the Gryfindor team! Wood, Johnson, Bell, Spinnet, Weasley, Weasley, and - Potter! Harry Potter is the youngest seeker in a century at Hogwarts and was quite a find from the first years flying lesson."

Harry felt himself blush at Lee Jordon's comments. The Weasley twins waved at their friend in the tower who waved back.

"And here comes the Ravenclaw team!" The Ravenclaw team walked out onto the pitch and screams and cheers erupted from the side of the pitch that was in blue. All the players surrounded the ball release point with their brooms at the ready. Madam Hooch, the referee of the match, came out with the four balls. She released the bludgers first, and then the snitch. Harry tried to follow its quick movements but it was lost to his sight almost immediately.

Then taking the quaffle in hand she said, "Players, mount your brooms." They all did so. Then with a throw of her hand and a blast of her whistle the quaffle flew into the air and the players went after it. Harry rose quickly over the game and began his search for the snitch. By the time he had reached his desired height the Gryfindors had already scored; it was 10 - 0.

The game continued and Gryfindor was in the lead, 50 - 20. "Ravenclaw in position!" yelled Jordan, "The Ravenclaw chaser just made a fabulous spin to avoid a bludgers, she's coming up to the goals, she throws! And an excellent block by Wood! Wood tosses it to chaser Angelina Johnson. A fabulous evasion of a bludgers, she's gonna get hit! The bludger smacked her in the arm, but she got the quaffle off to Katie Bell. Katie Bell looks to be in a little trouble. Two Ravenclaw chasers are on her tail. She tosses the quaffle - Where is she throwing it to?"

Harry had signaled for her to pass him the quaffle, he would hit it to Alicia. Katie did. As the quaffle headed to him Harry swung his broom tail around, smacking it across the field to waiting Alicia's hands. There were no Ravenclaw chasers anywhere near her, it was just Alicia and the keeper.

"What a wonderful move by Potter! I've never seen anything like it! Alicia Spinnet has the quaffle and it is a one on one. Alicia faints a throw and the keeper lurches left! Alicia dives under and tosses the quaffle up through the hoop! What a wonderful show of teamwork by the Gryfindor team! You go girl! 60 - 20 Gryfindor!"

Alicia did a short victory loop, but Harry didn't have time for any such thing. He had seen the snitch, and so had Chang. Harry, lower than he should be took off at a straight line towards the middle of the pitch. Cho Chang on the other hand had remained higher up and dove for it.

"Oh my! The seekers have seen the snitch! Harry Potter is on the faster broom but he is a little behind Cho Chang! They are going to collide! No! Potter spun up on his broom and is now above Chang! What an excellent move. Potter is reaching out his hand! Does he have the snitch?" Just then both seekers turned direction straight for the ground. "It looks as if the snitch is trying to get away! Both seekers are flying full speed at the ground! They've changed direction again! Now both are flying straight up! Potter's broom speed is starting to show as he his pulling ahead of Ravenclaw seeker Cho Chang! Potter is reaching out! Does he have the snitch?!"

Just then a bludger hit from a Ravenclaw beater flew into Harry's arm, and Harry heard a sickening crack. He was in great pain but he reached out his other arm, and turning once again to horizontal, reached out and grabbed the snitch.

"Harry Potter has got the snitch! Gryfindor wins 210 - 20! What a great game by the Gryfindor team and what a fight that SEXY Ravenclaw seeker put up."

"Jordan!" yelled Professor McGonnagal, "Remember what we talked about. Only comments on the game are allowed."

"Sorry Professor, it won't happen again."

Harry however did not hear the argument between Professor McGonnagal and Lee Jordan for team members and friends were swamping him. Harry couldn't remember every feeling so happy.

"Harry!" somebody yelled, "Party in the Gryfindor tower!" Harry however couldn't respond because of the bear crushing grip he was in from all the supporters of the team.

It was a little while before Harry escaped the crowds and began the walk up to Gryfindor Tower with his three friends. On the way they kept congratulating him on a game well played, and Harry kept saying that the entire team played well, not just him.

Upon entering the common room Harry groaned as he was once again swamped by supporters and a cheer was raised in his name. Somebody, more than likely Fred and George, had gone to Hogsmede and brought butterbeer for the party. Harry was given about three bottles of the stuff from his classmates. These he passed out to his friends and then he got one more for himself. The quartet settled in the back of the room where Harry could attract as little attention as possible to himself.

It was then that Fred and George came over and lifting him up began to shout, "Speech, speech, speech, speech!" Harry began to wave his hands clearly showing that he didn't want to give a speech but he wasn't let off the hook. Harry found himself groaning yet again.

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Harry awoke and looked at the clock. It was seven o' clock, December 24th. Harry found that he was not able to get back to sleep and so he resigned his attempts and throwing on some robes he proceeded to go down to the common room. On the way down he grabbed his ancient runes assignment.

Soon after deciding to quit divination Harry had taken up ancient runes and Ron was taking that class with him. Hermione and Angie had decided on taking Arithmancy, which was another form of divination, but more accurate. That subject was defiantly along Hermione's lines for she loved logic and numbers and Arithmancy was divination using numbers.

Harry worked on translating the twelve-page paper that they had gotten. It wasn't all that hard for Harry because once he saw a rune once he knew its meaning forever. This was due to the gift he received on his eighth birthday. Harry finished up to page six before Hermione came down an hour later. Harry noted with a smile that she was carrying a large book, probably six hundred pages. Harry was almost sure that she had it for "light reading."

The book turned out to be something to help her with an Arithmancy assignment, which she started on after saying hello to Harry. Harry and Hermione worked on their assignments for another hour before Angie and Ron came down from the rooms. By this time Harry had finished translating the paper and Hermione had gotten a good start on her Arithmancy assignment.

When the other two came down the four went together to breakfast. The four were still not yet used to the unusually empty hallways. Most of the school it turned out did go home for the holidays. This absence of students was especially apparent in the Great Hall. There were only fifteen students in the hall including the quartet. Even some of the staff left for the holidays.

Harry was glad to see that the Headmaster had not left. Harry and Dumbledore had had a mutual understanding of each other since Harry had opened up to Dumbledore. Harry visited Dumbledore at least once a month to speak with him about how he was doing. Harry had also kept his promise to show Dumbledore the Gryfindor study. Harry was rather surprised to see Dumbledore so excited. Dumbledore had very nearly skipped down the hallways following Harry. When Harry had let Dumbledore into the study the headmaster had run from room to room, examining each room in turn with all the curiosity and excitement of a child.

Harry however was not as happy to see that Snape was still around. That man had taken off points from Harry whenever he felt that he could get away with it. Harry was beginning to wonder if Snape didn't hate but loathed him. In potions Harry constantly felt Snape's eyes on him, waiting for Harry to make any sort of mistake. Harry was sure that if Snape didn't have to teach a class that the man would follow him everywhere taking off points for things like talking in the hallways.

The four Gryfindors talked about the different rooms that they had explored so far. During the five days that they had had off so far the group had covered the basement, first and second floors. Today they were going to explore the third floor. Both Christmas day and the day after they would not explore, but they would continue to the fourth and fifth floor. That was the plan at least. None expected what they would find this day.

The four friends ascended the stairs to the third floor and took out the Marauder's Map. The group began their exploration. The first room that they came to appeared to be an old classroom. There were desks and a teacher's desk all positioned as if they had been used before; though not anytime recently. In it they found a few old textbooks and quills. Other than those small finds however, there was nothing of note in that room.

The group explored three more rooms and still there was nothing interesting in them. Harry was beginning to wonder if they shouldn't call off this floor because of the lack of anything of note. However, they found something different in the fourth door they came to.

Harry shook the handle, it was locked. "Alohamora." The lock clicked and the door was open. Harry kept his wand out for one never knows what they may find inside a locked room. Angie turned the handle and opened the door. The four walked into the dark room and not being able to see anything Harry muttered, "lumos."

Light flooded the room revealing everything they wanted to see, and something they didn't. Standing right above the four was the largest dog any of them had ever seen. And that wasn't the worst part. The dog had three heads, which meant three large tooth-filled mouths.

"AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" all four yelled before running out of the room, closing the door, and locking it. They could hear the dog pound itself against the door trying to get the four friends. After locking the door they didn't stop running until they reached the Gryfindor common room. They arrived scared out of their wits and completely out of breath.

"What WAS that thing?!" Ron almost yelled.

"More importantly," began Angie, "what was it doing INSIDE Hogwarts?"

"Most importantly," said Hermione, "what is under the trapdoor it was standing on?"

"You were looking at its feet?" Harry asked incredulously.

"Well, someone has to notice those kinds of things." Hermione waved her hand dismissively.

"Well," began Harry, "If there is one thing I know, it is that Hagrid must know something about that thing. I mean he loves big scary monsters!"

The others agreed and decided that after lunch they would make a stop at Hagrid's hut.

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"Why 'ello 'vrybody."

"Hello Hagrid," came the reply from all of the friends.

"Hagrid," said Harry, "We have a question that we want to ask you."

"Oh, go a'ead."

"Um, you wouldn't happen to know anything about a very big three-headed dog that is living on the third floor would you?"

Hagrid's face registered a little shock before he responded. "'Ow do you three know about Fluffy?"

"Fluffy?" Ron asked. "Fluffy? Couldn't you have thought of something more, I don't know, dangerous?"

"Naw, Fluffy is a good name for 'im. But I still dun know 'ow you all found out about him. Or 'ow you got away."

"Well, we were just walking down the corridors checking out each room when we came to Fluffy's. Lets just say that we ran like hell to get away."

"Well, you are a lucky bunch. But I'm sorry. I can't tell you what 'e's guardin'. That is between Dumbledore and Mr. Nicholas Flamel." Hagrid hit himself on the head. "I shouldn't've said that..."

But it was too late. The four ran off back to the castle, more specifically the library, and began to look up on the name Nicholas Flamel.

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"Harry! Wake up its Christmas!"

"Huh? Go away!" Harry swatted at whoever was yelling in his ear.

"HARRY WAKE UP ITS CHRISTMAS! YOU HAVE PRESENTS!"

Harry jumped out of bed at the scream. It seemed that Ron had magically amplified his voice using the sonorous spell that Harry had taught him. Now Harry really wished that he hadn't. "I'm gonna kill you," Harry growled playfully.

"Hah, you'll have to catch me first!" With that Ron took off down the stairs to the common room.

Harry threw on some muggle jeans and a tee-shirt and ran down after Ron. What he saw made his eyes open wide. For the six Gryfindors that were left in the castle that was a heck of a lot of presents. 'One, two, three... eighty-five, eighty-six... Oh forget it!' With that Harry dived into the pile and began to help the others sort them out.

Harry ended up having the most presents; there were a lot from people none of the kids knew. Finally the six began to open their presents. Fred and George were quite thrilled with the Book of Fun Hexes and Potions that Harry had gotten them. Ron, Hermione, and Angie had gotten Fred and George some of the potion ingredients that were required for some of the more interesting potions.

Ron opened his next, and everybody laughed at his ripping of the wrapping paper. He simply tore at it and used everything but his teeth to get the presents open. In the end he got some pranks from his brothers, a poster of the Chudley Cannons (Ron's favorite team) from Hermione, a book on quidditch from Angie, and some dueling robes from Harry. After opening all of his presents, which of course included the customary sweater, he thanked everyone present and let Hermione open hers.

Hermione opened some pranks from Fred and George first. After trying a few of them out she moved on to her best friends gifts. Ron had gotten her a book, no surprise there. She smiled and almost lovingly read the title of the book, The Science of Gnats. Next was Angie's gift. Hermione opened a box and inside were some girl accessories: makeup, hairpins, and the like. Finally she opened Harry's gift, it was a statue of a ridgeback.

She was quite stunned by this until Harry said, "To remember how we became friends. It was a very bad situation, and something very good came out of it." Hermione smiled and put the statue with her book, which Harry considered quite a complement.

Finally it was Harry's turn to open presents. From Fred and George he had received some pranks; no surprise there. From Ron he received a lot of candy: chocolate frogs, fizzing whizbies, and candied pickles? Harry laughed at the last. Hermione gave him a book on battle dueling positions and strategies, which Harry thanked her sincerely for. Then he opened Angie's gift to him. It was a wand holster for Harry's battle robe. Harry thanked for her gift and then reached for his last. As he turned the package over he saw that it was marked in very neat handwriting, "from a friend." Curiously Harry opened the gift and out fell a silvery-shimmering cloak. His friends all were awed by its beauty. Harry was awed because Sirius had told him it had been lost in the fire. It was his father's invisibility cloak.

Harry decided to show his friends its true use. He slipped it over his shoulders and they all gasped as he disappeared.

"Harry!" Hermione almost yelled with delight. "That's an invisibility cloak!" "Yes it is," answered an invisible Harry, "It was my father's." With that he took off the cloak and the others could see the sadness in his eyes, if only for a moment.

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In the time between opening presents and the dinner feast the quartet was in the library. They were searching every book that they could possibly find that might contain the elusive Nicholas Flamel. So far they were having no luck.

At the feast Ron and Harry were having a field day opening the presents that were on the table. They had collected so far roughly a years worth of candy. The girls on the other hand were quietly talking with each other, leaning back in their chairs. It was at this time that Harry would make the biggest discovery.

Harry cracked open the case to a chocolate frog. As it tried to jump away Harry caught it and put the entire thing in his mouth. As he finished it he was grinning like a maniac. So was Ron who had just done the same thing.

"Hey! I got Dumbledore!" Harry exclaimed as he took out the card of the headmaster. As he read the list of accomplishments of Dumbledore, which was quite lengthy, he came across a name; Nicholas Flamel. He all but dropped the card. He kept reading on to discover that Nicholas Flamel was the only known person to have a sorcerer's stone. Harry called out to his friends telling them of his finding.

'But why do they have the stone under such heavy guard at Hogwarts? What could possibly take the stone from some other spot, even if was not under as heavy of guard. Who would want the stone?' Harry nearly smacked himself at this though. 'Everyone of course! Money and everlasting life? I mean come on!'

"Well guys, now we found what is hidden in there. What do we do now?" Harry asked the group.

"Ummm." Nobody could come up with anything.

"My thoughts as well. I guess that we could keep an eye out for anything suspicious, you know, anything that might point to why the stone is being kept here?"

The others nodded their agreement.

"But for the meantime. Lets play a game of wizards chess!" said Ron, all but formally challenging Harry.

"You're on!"

The two raced up the stairs and down the hallways back to the Gryfindor common room. The boys, because they had been racing, arrived long before the girls, who had decided to walk. Three of them spent the rest of the evening relaxing and talking about what a waste of time that research had been. Hermione was relaxing and talking about how interesting the research had been, and said that she had learned a lot that may be useful sometime.

Harry was thinking that she was crazy.

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(A/N: Hope you all enjoyed the Quidditch match. I had fun writing it. So the vaguely similar plotline begins! Haha. Well, I hope to hear from you all in the reviews!)