Like promised last week, here is the second part of the story. Thanks to all those that already left a review. They were really nice to read again. Now enjoy the second chapter.
Overall Harry had to spend five days in the hospital wing before Madam Pomfrey allowed him to return to Gryffindor Tower, but she gave him strict instructions for his diet to follow, as well as times where he had to come in for a check-up to see if the potions and diet were doing their work properly. Harry found that he didn't mind too much. Sure, the hospital wing was rather boring when you were stuck there, but Madam Pomfrey was nice and talking to her about her job and why she had decided to become a healer was very interesting.
He also found out that there were several specialisations in healing, which he hadn't expected before. But after hearing how many different areas of injuries and illnesses St. Mungo's had to treat daily, he understood the reasons. When he returned to his common room, he found his friends sitting around a table doing homework.
He thought how much he would have to catch up on, but thankfully Hermione had taken notes for him and informed him about the homework that had been set. The other Gryffindors seemed unsure on how to react to his return. Some looked uncomfortable. Perhaps in part because he still had to wear a bandage around his forehead with a salve that helped the healing of his scar. He recognised a good number of them as those that had bullied him over the loss of the points. He ignored them all and went to his friends.
"Hey Harry," Ron greeted him smiling, "Good to see you out of the hospital wing again."
"Thanks, Ron. I'm glad to be out again, even if talking to Madam Pomfrey was quite nice at times," Harry replied.
"Are you fully healed now?" Hermione asked concerned.
"The concussion is gone, but you know about the potions I have to take for a while, Hermione," Harry answered, not wanting to talk about anything in the common room.
Hermione simply nodded. Rumours about Harry not having a good home and him being removed by the school's healer for medical reasons had gone around the school for two days now. There were also stories about how Professor Dumbledore had tried to prevent it, but had been dressed down horribly by the normally pleasant school healer. Others said what kind of horrible things Harry had contracted to have to stay in the hospital wing for four days, when any normal injury would have been healed after at most one day.
Then there were rumours about a cowardly attack on him which had taken time to heal. It was really ridiculous what the students came up with. The real thing was bad enough. Harry hadn't told them all about his condition, but she knew that you didn't have to take potions for a longer time if something wasn't massively wrong.
Harry just joined the group doing homework and they talked about what had been covered in class. Well, Hermione talked and Harry listened.
Over the next week a few people actually approached Harry and apologised for their treatment of him. Most were Hufflepuffs, stating that they wouldn't have acted like prats, had they known from the start that he had only tried to help a friend. It wasn't any good excuse, but Harry had an easier time to forgive them, who had only shunned him for the effect for the house cup that his actions had had, than those that had actively bullied him. Hannah had really managed to get the Hufflepuffs on his side, even if he didn't know that she had done it.
The Gryffindor team wasn't off the hook so easily. Wood didn't like that Harry wasn't allowed to train for two weeks until he was allowed to take off the bandage, but he was too afraid of Madam Pomfrey to really give him a hard time. He insisted that Harry attended the strategy sessions of training and the team was now a lot nicer to Harry again. Even if only Katie had truly said that she was sorry. If Harry didn't like playing seeker so much, he would have considered to simply quit the team. And he let the others sweat with comments about how many points the twins had lost over the whole year. He really wasn't in a charitable mood.
His meetings with the school healer were actually quite nice. The check-ups didn't take long and Madam Pomfrey always took a bit of time to simply talk to him about all kinds of things. From his schoolwork to his favourite dessert. He really liked that and over time opened up to her more and more.
Harry stood in front of the room that Madam Cresselia had got from Madam Pomfrey for their meetings. He entered through the open door and was somewhat glad that it didn't look like the kind of psychiatrist office that he had seen on the telly once when Aunt Petunia had watched a series. There was no large black leather couch, no bookshelf with hundreds of books about psychology, just a sitting group with two comfortable armchairs, a coffee table on which some pieces of treacle tart sat on a plate, with a pot of tea and a pot of milk next to it.
"Hello, Harry, please take a seat," Madam Cresselia said smiling.
Harry did and she closed the door, setting up a charm.
"I've spelled the door locked and put up a charm that prevents that anybody can hear what we're talking about in here, Harry," she explained.
"Okay," Harry replied.
"Well, I think we should simply start with getting to know each other for the start. I asked Poppy what kind of cake you liked and she told me that treacle tart was your favourite dessert, so I asked the house elves to prepare some for our meeting," Madam Cresselia informed Harry.
"Thank you. Uh, what exactly is a house elf, Madam Cresselia?" Harry asked.
"Ah, I guess you haven't met one yet," she realised, "House elves are magical creatures that like to look after wizards. They are happy when they can clean, cook and look after the family they're bound to. I'll admit that during the war against You-Know-Who many of them were abused by the dark families, but things have changed for most of them now. Here at Hogwarts the house elves take care of cooking, they clean the common rooms and the castle, make sure that the fires are lit, do the laundry and so on. From what I've seen of them, they are happiest if they find that wizards are pleased with their work. They're really nice creatures."
"What did you mean with saying that they're bound to wizarding families?" Harry asked.
"Well, elves normally bind themselves to a family and then serve them. Sometimes they also bind themselves to a building, like Hogwarts. They then have to follow the orders of the family they serve and keep their secrets," Madam Cresselia explained.
"Isn't that slavery?" Harry asked.
"It can be like that, Harry. But for most elves it is symbiotic, meaning that both sides have a profit from the bond. The wizard family get a loyal servant and the house elf has a family where he belongs and can do what he loves most, looking after wizards. It becomes slavery if you abuse the elf. Which is one reason why only the teachers and other staff here at Hogwarts are allowed to order the elves to do anything. A student may ask an elf to help, but the elf could theoretically refuse. Most will only do that if they have orders to the contrary of the student's wish."
Harry would have to think about that. And perhaps he could ask a house elf, if he could find one, how they liked living at Hogwarts and working here. He then took the plate with a piece of the tart and a cup of milk from Madam Cresselia and between eating the cake and drinking his milk, he talked with her about things he didn't mind talking, like how different schooling was in the muggle world and the magical world before a child was old enough to go to Hogwarts.
"I have wondered for a while why Hogwarts only starts at eleven, Madam Cresselia. I mean, why aren't magical children taught earlier? Muggle school starts with five years of age after all," Harry asked.
"Well, the time where a child shows accidental magic is different for everybody. Some show it while they're toddlers, others have the first sign with eight or nine years of age. The core normally stabilises between the tenth and eleventh birthdays of a child. With eleven it is assured that the core can take controlled magical training. While with eleven your cores aren't ready for the advanced magic, you can start learning to manipulate your magic. There is a good reason why most of your classes have large parts of theory in them and you take a lot of time to fully master some low-level spells.
"Take the basic things you start with in Transfiguration. Changing a matchstick into a needle doesn't take a lot of magic, but it requires you to learn letting your magic flow and influencing it with your will. The better you visualise what you want to achieve, the better your result will be. It's one reason why you normally don't succeed in your attempts from the get go. You need to get a feeling how your magic acts. The incantations and wand movements help you concentrating on the results you want to achieve.
"Once you reach NEWT level, you'll start learning casting spells without incantations and those that have years of experience in a field can normally also skip the wand movements, as they can instinctively form their magic into the spell they want to use. For example, Professor Flitwick can use most charms while just pointing his wand at something. He doesn't need the incantations and wand movements anymore.
"Or take the models that are the base for Transfiguration. Professor McGonagall has made knowing them instinctual throughout her life and now can shape her magic the way she needs it without long wand movements. You also get a lot of free time so that your core can rest after exercising your magic in class. The rule about no use of magic being allowed during the summer break was also made with that in mind, next to keeping the Statute of Secrecy. Until you turn fifteen, your magic needs the rest for two months. The law stating that you can only use magic outside of school once you turn seventeen is simply because of the Statute. It would be really bad for our world if the muggles found out that wizards and witches still exist," she pointed out.
Harry had to agree with her. The Dursleys were one example of intolerant muggles. If they had the power to get away with harming him more than they already did, he didn't want to imagine that. And he didn't want others to suffer the same he had done.
Harry's friends noticed a change in their friend over the weeks following his stay in the hospital wing for his concussion. Slowly he seemed to be opening up to them a little bit more. Nothing extreme, like him telling his whole life story, but he told them snippets of what his life had been with his relatives here and there. He also showed a lot more interest in his studies, a fact that made Hermione very happy. You could see Harry about two evenings a week reading a book about some topic that interested him. Hermione watched him read up on basic healing charms, differences between muggle and magical government and magical child diseases.
He also borrowed a book from the library on composition of essays, as he had been told that the teachers expected a certain way how you set up an essay they asked for. He didn't immediately manage to get top marks, but the comments under the essays were promising for him. The first class in which his grades for the homework essays rose was Charms. Professor Flitwick even complimented Harry on his improved casting in class one day.
Harry also treated his head of house with cold indifference. He didn't want anything to do with her besides being in her classes. She had been the cause for how much things had gone out of control. If he had a problem, he would go and see Madam Pomfrey, Professor Sprout or Professor Flitwick. While they looked at him strange when it happened, they did help if they could. Thankfully the Transfiguration teacher seemed to have accepted that she had been wrong and accepted the distance that Harry put between them.
The matter of their detention for being out of beds after curfew was finally announced and they were told to be at the Entrance Hall at ten in the evening that day. Harry could only roll his eyes. It seemed that his head of house was completely off her rocker. Yeah, it made so much sense to punish children that were out of bounds by being out of bounds. Hearing that the detention would be with Hagrid, and that Malfoy would also be there, was not reassuring. When Filch delivered them to Hagrid, Harry decided that enough was enough. While he hated agreeing with Malfoy on anything, this was ridiculous.
"Hagrid, are you barmy?" Harry asked, shocking the large man, "Don't misunderstand me, you're my friend and brought me back into the wizarding world and away from the Dursleys, and gave me my first birthday present. I'll always cherish that about you, but this detention is ridiculous. Not only are we first-years, which means we don't have any proper training in dealing with dangerous creatures or wizards, but we also are forbidden to go into the Forbidden Forest. Now you want us to hunt something down that can kill unicorns? And that when you say that they're too fast and powerful to stand up against a werewolf?"
"Harry, the detention was decided on by Professor Dumbledore," Hagrid stated.
"Great, now the headmaster wants to get me killed. Wasn't being bullied by the while school, especially my own house, enough? Now he wants me to go into a forest with only a dog and a man, who isn't allowed to use magic thanks to bureaucratic idiots, to hunt a unicorn killer? Had I known that everybody would be gunning for me here, I could have as well stayed at the Dursleys. At least I didn't have to fight for my life there!" Harry shouted and marched off back towards the castle.
"Where are you going, Harry?" Hagrid shouted.
"I'm going to see Madam Pomfrey. Let's see what she says about this idiocy!" Harry shouted back.
Hermione, Neville and Draco, in rare unity, sprinted after Harry, leaving Harry stand at his spot, wondering what had happened that Harry would explode and say those things about the headmaster.
The result of the planned detention was memorable. The whole school heard about the dressing down that the headmaster got from the healer for wilfully endangering four first-years. One that he had already been told to keep away from under orders of the investigating officers of the DMLE. On top of that, Andromeda Tonks, who had agreed to take Harry in as his new guardian, wasn't amused at all that her ward had been slated for a detention that could have cost him his life, had he followed the instructions of Hagrid.
Andromeda made it clear why the House of Black had been feared in the past and what the true values of Slytherin house should be. The four students had been confined to the hospital wing for the night and had therefore watched the whole drama. Even Draco was impressed how cunning his aunt was, even if he had been told that she was a blood traitor for marrying a mudblood. The problem was, the way she took apart any argument that the headmaster brought up, was so very Slytherin that he couldn't help himself but admire her. Perhaps he should ask his mother about her. This was really confusing to him.
In the end the four were sent to scrub cauldrons for Professor Snape for three hours the next evening, enduring the snide remarks (at least the Gryffindors), about rule-breaking and being arrogant enough to think they could get away with it. Draco got a lecture about a lack of cunning and planning.
The time for the end-of-year exams had come and all students were busy with last-minute revision of the things that had been covered during the year. Hermione was going spare over the whole thing, but Harry knew that she would be doing great and was just uselessly being hysterical. When it became too much for anybody to endure, he dragged her off to the hospital wing to get a calming draught. He was Gryffindor's hero for that, even if he ignored the majority of those that praised him. He still hadn't forgiven them for the way they had treated him.
He thought that his exams were going pretty well, even the Potions one where he had to brew forgetfulness potion. The two weeks where the tests were done were exhausting, but in the end, after History of Magic being the last test, they were finally done and everybody couldn't help but cheer over having finished the hellish time.
Harry, Ron and Hermione sat next to the lake after the last test, with Hermione trying to go over the test, which Ron clearly didn't appreciate, as he only wanted to do nothing but relax until they got their results. Harry watched Hagrid working in front of his hut, but didn't think too much about it. It was too nice a day to think about anything. Ron was right in that regard. They deserved a break. His thoughts drifted to his meetings with healer Cresselia and the weekend meetings with the Tonks. He had to say, he was looking forward to moving in with them during the summer. They were really nice and Aunt Andromeda, as she wanted him to call her, had lots of great stories about his Dad.
He had met with them each weekend for an afternoon, sometimes they took him to Hogsmeade to spend time undisturbed, sometimes they took walks around the lake or other parts of the grounds of Hogwarts. He had learned that Aunt Andromeda worked as a Potions Mistress for St. Mungo's and that Uncle Ted was a lawyer that dealt both with muggle and magical law. Their daughter Nymphadora, who hated her full first name, was an auror trainee in her first year. Harry had found out a lot of things about the wizarding world from their conversations. The most baffling thing for him was that the Tonks honestly seemed to like him, unlike most adults he had met in Little Whinging.
Thanks to his sessions with Healer Cresselia he had come to accept that the treatment of the Dursleys was wrong and in no way his fault. It was the fault of the Dursleys, the fault of the Ministry, for not giving the Dursleys help with understanding his accidental magic and how to keep it to a few incidents, Dumbledore, for forcing him onto his relatives and Voldemort for killing his parents. He was a child and not responsible for the actions of adults that behaved stupidly. It took a while for the thought to really sink in though.
He was aware that he had a long way to full healing in front of him, but after the first awkward start, he didn't mind the sessions with Healer Cresselia anymore.
Albus Dumbledore didn't like how things had gone during the year. While his hopes that Harry Potter would be sorted into Gryffindor had come true and the boy had befriended the youngest son of the Weasley family on top of that, the boy had slipped from his control during the time he was treated at the hospital wing for a concussion. He hadn't thought anything about it, but Poppy had to meddle too much while taking care of the boy. Now Harry would lose the protection of the blood wards, which would also endanger the Dursleys, as they would be out in the open again.
But nobody would listen to his arguments. Those busybodies didn't accept that for the Greater Good some sacrifices had to be made. He was sad that Harry's relatives didn't treat him properly, but at least the boy was still alive, which wouldn't have been certain if he had been placed with a wizarding family. They argued that the level of child abuse that Harry had gone through at the Dursleys was nothing that could ever be justified, no matter how strong the protection gained from living there might be.
Now Harry wouldn't simply take his word anymore. Hagrid's report about the detention that he had set up to make Harry realise the truth about Voldemort still being out there, made that more than clear. No student, especially no first-year, should dare refusing to do a detention that the headmaster had set up. But Harry did. He had accused him of trying to get him killed and Poppy and Andromeda had agreed. It was clear to Albus that Harry had no respect for him. The look of contempt he caught in the hospital wing spoke a clear language. Minerva also reported that he showed forced politeness towards her in class, but if anything ever happened, he went to others with his problems. He didn't trust Minerva at all.
That could become a massive problem in the future. Minerva was the one member on staff that unquestioningly followed his lead. The others, while they trusted him, questioned more things and argued if they thought he was wrong. It had been a fight and a half to get them to assist in the protection of the Stone. Even if he, after they had set up their protections, had downgraded them, except for the Cerberus at the third floor. He wanted to make it into a test for Harry while still stalling a thief.
But the boy didn't go for the test. He was content to let things happen. He didn't make the connection between the dragon egg, thankfully Harry didn't suspect that the headmaster knew about it and let things play out to see what Harry would do, and somebody getting the secret of getting past the Cerberus from Hagrid. He knew that Quirrell planned to go after the stone tonight. Albus and Severus had found out that much. But without Harry coming to the right conclusions and trying to save the stone himself, he wouldn't get to test the boy as planned. And Harry needed to be prepared for the inevitable return of Voldemort. The prophecy was clear. Harry was the one that had the power to vanquish Voldemort. Nobody else.
Harry didn't feel well. He didn't know what was wrong with him, but ever since dinner he had felt a bit sick. As he knew that Madam Pomfrey was nice and would probably have a simple potion to help him, he made his way over to the hospital wing. He knew that it was after curfew, but medical needs allowed you to break curfew if you got confirmation from the school healer. He was halfway there on the third floor when he came across Professor Quirrell, who seemed to be happy about something. With dizziness now being added to his sickness, Harry stumbled into the DADA teacher.
"Sorry, Professor Quirrell," Harry mumbled.
"Mr Potter, what are you doing out here after curfew?" Quirrell asked.
"Hospital wing. I don't feel well," Harry answered.
"I see," Quirrell replied.
Harry noticed surprised that Quirrell wasn't stuttering anymore. Seemingly Quirrell had seen the realisation on his face, because he pushed him against the wall.
"Your bad that you came across me when I finally reached my goal for my master, Potter," Quirrell sneered.
"You were faking all the time," Harry said while he felt worse with every minute.
"Smart boy. What a coincidence that I seem to have got you while you're not at your best and helpless. My master will greatly reward me for getting rid of you," Quirrell declared.
Harry managed to slap the hand going towards his throat away and was surprised at the pained yelp from Quirrell. He noticed boils and burned flesh where his hand had hit him.
"You'll pay for that, Potter," Quirrell growled and attacked again, this time shooting cutting curses at Harry.
Harry didn't manage to dodge them all, but he realised that he would die if he didn't do something. If he could harm Quirrell with one slap to the wrist, what would happen if he got more and longer contact? At least he could probably stop the curse barrage. He dodged under the latest cutting curse and grabbed Quirrell's wand hand. His feeling sick worsened as his magic flared up, but the cry of pain from Quirrell and the stopped curses made up for it. He knew he had to hold on, even if he just wanted to curl up. A second voice seemed to encourage Quirrell to kill him, so he had to stop him somehow. One hand kept on the wrist, the other shot upwards, hitting the face of the bastard, which made him scream more. Harry wondered why nobody was coming to help him.
"Harry, let go and roll to the left!" A command was shouted and he simply followed, being too weak to really do anything else.
He saw a red spell hit Quirrell, followed by ropes binding the man tightly. Harry meanwhile had black spots in front of his eyes.
"Hold out, Harry, I'm going to take you to the hospital wing," he recognised Professor Flitwick saying.
"Thank you," Harry mumbled.
Then from Quirrell's prone form a black cloud erupted.
"Curse you, Potter, I'm going to find a way to get you back for this," the cloud with red eyes threatened.
"No, you're not, Voldemort," Flitwick said and started making fast wand movements.
In front of him appeared a small bottle and after firing a spell at the black cloud that was seemingly Voldemort or what remained of him, the spirit was pulled into the bottle. It shrieked while it was trapped in a whirlwind of magical power and finally it was completely sucked into the bottle. Flitwick corked the bottle and then transfigured the material to be made out of completely indestructible crystal without a single opening.
"You should never underestimate somebody with goblin ancestry, Voldemort," Flitwick stated smugly, "As if my people wouldn't have dealt with more than one old and dark spirit while working with ancient magic in tombs looking for treasures."
Harry was in awe of his Charms teacher. He hadn't expected him to be able to capture Voldemort as easily as that. Then he felt himself be put onto a stretcher and a wet cloth was put onto his head while his worse cuts were treated.
"I'll leave the finer work to Madam Pomfrey, Mr Potter. She's better at medical charms than me. Even if I'm quite proficient with them as well," Flitwick stated.
Harry didn't say anything. He was just glad that Professor Flitwick had found him so fast. He didn't really notice that a dark red stone had got into the pocket of his robe in the struggle with Quirrell. He was too exhausted and simply closed his eyes, soon falling asleep.
The report from Flitwick had consequences. Not only did the Unspeakables approach him to get the crystal to study how Voldemort had survived in 1981 and possibly undo it, of course without freeing him from his prison, but the DMLE, which was already at odds with Dumbledore over the abuse of Harry Potter, went into the school in full force to find any kind of danger to the students and they weren't happy with what they found. A huge acromantula colony in the forbidden forest, a Cerberus and other traps on the third floor, cursed items en masse in the personal things of students, school brooms that were only good to be used for kindling and the discovery that the stone that Harry Potter found in his pocket once he was back to speaking with anybody again, was in fact the famous Philosopher's Stone.
The School Governors immediately acted and suspended Dumbledore from his position and installed Professor Snape as interim headmaster, as Professor McGonagall had protested about Dumbledore knowing what he did and things being blown out of proportion to destroy the reputation of a good man. It had led to her being skipped in the normal order of who got the post. Flitwick wasn't given the position, as the governors mostly consisted of purebloods that didn't like those of mixed heritage and would never agree with giving a part goblin that kind of power. They already disliked that he had caught the spirit of Voldemort and got the fame for that.
Even if there was a mention that Harry Potter had driven it out of the body of Professor Quirrell, enabling the Charms and Duelling Master of the capture. Professor Sprout had refused the position, as she wanted to keep tending to the greenhouses and was happy with her current position as head of Hufflepuff. It would be interim for the moment anyway, as the investigations first needed to be done and the dangers eliminated. Nobody wanted to have the school be plagued by masses of injured students.
While all of the action was taken, Harry stayed at the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey diagnosed him with Squid Measles and told him he was lucky to have gone to her that early on, or it could have become nasty. Still, the illness was contagious, so he had to remain in a private room of the hospital wing to not infect other students that came in for one thing or another. Harry was a bit sad that he would miss the last Quidditch match of the season, but he was honest enough, he would have fallen off his broom, had he tried to fly. He was dizzy for a few days and especially during the first day vomited a lot.
Oliver Wood protested, but the stern lecture of Madam Pomfrey made him flee from the hospital wing. It led to Gryffindor losing spectacularly against Ravenclaw in the last match, letting the eagles take the Quidditch Cup that year. Wood was really depressed about that. But the other players all sent Harry a get-well card, telling him that he shouldn't listen to Wood and that he wasn't at fault for catching Squid Measles. It was simply a magical child disease. Harry liked that they did that and was a bit easier about forgiving them for their behaviour. He didn't want to be angry at people his whole life, and as long as they didn't do it again and apologised, he could forgive a lot. Without an apology, he would just ignore them. They then weren't worth knowing in his mind.
Harry sat on his bed in the private room and read his exam results. He was really proud of doing so well. He had got full marks in Charms, Astronomy and to his surprise Potions, over ninety per cent in Transfiguration and Herbology and passed both History of Magic and Defence Against the Dark Arts. With how hard learning in those two classes was, he was happy enough with that. When Madam Pomfrey came in to do his last check before he was allowed out of the hospital wing for the last two days of school, he showed her the parchment and she complimented him for great achievements. Harry was happy about the praise and he couldn't wait to show Aunt Andromeda and Uncle Ted his report card. It was strange to have people who wanted him to do well at school.
He was cleared to leave and went to Gryffindor Tower. He gave the Fat Lady the password and was let inside. There was a mini party going on about all Gryffindors passing their exams, well, the fifth years didn't have their results yet, as the OWL results were sent two weeks into the holidays, which Percy told Harry. The seventh-years already had their NEWT results to be able to use them when they were applying for jobs after school. Harry got himself some sweets and sat down next to Hermione.
"Everything okay again, Harry?" She asked concerned.
She hadn't liked that they weren't allowed to visit Harry for days, as he was contagious.
"Yes, Madam Pomfrey said that I was fully healed. The worst part about the squid measles was not being allowed any visitors that didn't have the measles already," Harry said, "It was really boring."
"Yeah, I can imagine, mate," Ron agreed from the other side of Hermione, "So, only one more day and then the holidays begin."
"I can't wait to see my parents again. They wrote that we would go on a trip to southern Europe this summer, but they wouldn't tell me which country. They want it to be a surprise," Hermione told them.
"That sounds nice," Harry agreed smiling, "I don't know if anything is planned this summer. I guess I'll find out when I get home."
It felt great being able to say you went home after a year at school. The other two nodded.
"How did you do in your exams, Harry?" Hermione asked.
"She's being asking everybody that since she got her report card," Ron informed Harry.
Harry laughed. It was typical for Hermione.
"I did really well, I think. Full marks in Charms, Astronomy and Potions, over ninety in Transfiguration and Herbology and the other two passed as well. With how Quirrell and Binns taught this year, that is more than acceptable in my eyes," Harry answered.
"Sure is, Harry. Your grades are better than mine, even if mine aren't bad either," Ron said, "Hermione of course aced everything."
Both boys grinned at the girl's blush. Hermione wouldn't believe that she was always doing well in a test before she had the grades in front of her.
The leaving feast the last evening of the year was strange in many a student's opinion. Not only was Professor Dumbledore missing, but Professor Snape sat in the golden throne of the headmaster. Three quarters of the students didn't like that, thinking that somebody else should have got the position, even if it only was until the investigations were done with. Though a good number could at least admit that after everything that had happened the school governors were right to suspend the headmaster. One annoyance was Draco Malfoy, who had been strutting around after the announcement of Dumbledore's suspension, boasting about his father being on the Board of Governors and him certainly making sure that Dumbledore stayed sacked.
Harry didn't really like the headmaster for the role he had played in his life. At least he didn't have to fear the return of Voldemort anymore, as Professor Flitwick had assured everybody that the crystal that he had trapped the spirit inside of, would never let him get out. Not only had he used secret spells that no wizard without goblin ancestry was ever taught, he had also charmed the crystal unbreakable. And whatever method of cheating death Voldemort might have used, no being could infinitely do so. Life energy was used up one day and then every soul passed on. The Unspeakables were busy studying what way Voldemort had used to counter it and send the soul on as soon as possible.
Then Snape stood and the hall fell silent.
"Well, again a school year has come to an end. Exam results have been given out and you certainly are all eager to return to your homes. The last thing we need to do is awarding the House Cup," Snape declared and pointed at the hour glasses, and the decoration of the Great Hall in the colours of the winning house, Slytherin.
"In fourth place we have Gryffindor with four hundred and twelve points, third place goes to Hufflepuff with four hundred and eighty seven points, second is Ravenclaw with five hundred and one points and first is Slytherin with five hundred and twelve points," Snape listed and the Slytherin table cheered loudly.
"Congratulations to Slytherin house and more luck next year to the other houses," Snape commented, smirking at his house's victory.
He let the students celebrate for some minutes before calling for silence again by softly hitting his spoon against his glass.
"Now let's eat, we have a splendid assortment of dishes, perfectly suited to celebrate the end of an eventful year," he told them and the tables filled with food.
Harry simply tried to ignore the victory of Slytherin, the complaints about it being unfair from Ron and other Gryffindors and the disgruntled look of McGonagall at the head table, often looking angrily and disappointed at the headmaster's chair in the middle of the table. He just enjoyed the food.
At King's Cross Station Harry told his friends goodbye when he spotted Uncle Ted and Aunt Andromeda. He knew that he would continue with the sessions with Madam Cresselia over the summer, but he could easily live with that. He acknowledged by now that they were really helping him getting over his time at the Dursleys.
"Hey, Harry, how was the last week?" Andromeda asked.
"It was okay. I passed all my classes, but Malfoy was unbearable over Slytherin winning the House Cup. Thankfully Ravenclaw won the Quidditch Cup, otherwise it would have been much, much worse," Harry answered.
"Well, you'll have a new chance at the Cups next year and it would have to be really unlucky if you fell ill before a match again," Ted consoled him.
"We're going to talk about everything at home and then you can show us your report card, Harry," Andromeda nodded, "we planned to eat out today, Nymphadora also got the afternoon off to join us. Tomorrow we can go and get the things you want for your room. Right now we kept it basic, as we didn't know what you would like for it."
Harry smiled hearing that he would get to decide how his new room would look like. Ted took his trunk while Andromeda led Harry over to a fireplace. They would take the floo home and from there on his new life would start. He would see what Andromeda, Ted and Dora thought about his idea of becoming a healer specialised on paediatrics. After spending so much time with Madam Pomfrey and Madam Cresselia, he wanted to learn more about medicine, both standard and mind healing, and he wanted to help children that were in bad situations. Like Madam Pomfrey had helped him.
Harry then got some floo powder and Andromeda flooed with him this time, as he had never before used the floo and had only been told the general process. He was glad about it, as this way he could learn how to do it and then do it alone. He was looking forward to his new life. One where he didn't have to be anything but himself.