"When your seconds away from dying, or watching a friend die...you just don't know what that's like."
The assembled students in the Hogs Head were shocked to silence. Harry Potter, the boy who lived, and the boy who had lost his mind in the maze last year was presenting himself naked in front of his fellow students. He sounded desperate, and defeated. It was in this moment that some of the students were stirring. This wasn't some ploy for attention, or an attempt to usurp the Ministry like they had been told. Whatever had happened to the last Potter, it was deep, and it was scarring. Something had changed the young heroic boy, and the man that stood before them was attempting to save them, though they had done nothing to deserve it.
A young head red head, whom was in Harry's year stood in the back of the room in deep thought. Her Auntie was unsure of what exactly had happened at the end of the Triwizard Cup, and Dumbledore had blocked her off at every attempt to get in contact with the young man. Susan had tried to reserve her judgment about Harry, she had once fallen prey to the rumor mill that entranced the magical world, and she misjudged the boy then, but now she did not want to misjudge the man in front of her.
Susan Bones was many things, but a fool was not one of them. She knew from what her Auntie had told her, Harry was almost dismissed from the Wizarding World just before the start of term for simple underage self defensive magic, which was undoubtedly used to counter a dementor. Her Aunt had questioned as to how she knew that he hadn't just used it to show off, but Susan knew the boy well enough to know that wasn't his style. Harry Potter had a short temper, and if he was going to get in trouble for underage magic she had no difficulty believing that it would be a blasting charm to some stupid muggles face.
She didn't know how much of the rumor mill was true, but she knew that every rumor had to hold some truth to it, and if even one of the stories about Harry Potter was real, he was an incredibly powerful young wizard, with a decent fortune to inherit when he became of age. He was no millionaire by any means, but he certainly had enough money to buy himself some better clothes, or some private lessons to fix his grades in theory.
Had Harry been in Hufflepuff Susan would have tried to befriend Harry Potter, and maybe even ask him some of the questions that she at times pondered when he came up at the dinner table conversations. However she was not friends with Harry Potter, yet here he was offering to, if nothing else save her grade from a failing practical OWL.
Looking at her best friend Hannah next to her she knew that the girl was much more interested in the drama then the grade, but also knew that she would want the grade. Every person in the room had different opinions about Harry Potter, but at one point or another they had all seen his clever abilities, or superior wand work. The Triwizard tournament certainly proved that he was capable if nothing else.
When Hermione stood at the end of her tirade she turned to gathered students, "Whether you believe Harry's story or not, Umbridge has to be stopped. I am not proposing any actions against her, but if you want to past your practicals Harry is your best shot. He covered every spell up to NEWTs last year to help him survive the tournament, and he was able to teach Ron and I most of these spells. He is a capable teacher...I have a contract here that says you won't rat any of us out to Umbridge. If you sign it, I will give you a fake galleon that will heat up when we have decided a time and place to meet. If you don't decide to sign you can leave now, and forget this ever happened."
Not many people cleared out, but nearly everyone was at the very least interested in what Harry would teach them, so by the end of the day there were lots of signatures on Hermione's paper. Susan wasn't surprised to see lots of Ravenclaw names on it. Everyone knew that they would ace the theoretical portions, but if they wanted to get their outstanding, they would need the actual practical to get it.
Susan and Hannah got in line standing behind Cho Chang who was attempting to give Potter her doe eyes. Susan rolled her eyes a bit knowing that Cho was a bit of a psycho obsessive, especially when it came to her powerful wizards. A bit of the teenage girls heart throbbed at the thought of her friend Cedric she had lost just six months, but shook it off hoping that he was in a better place, and also importantly, away from Cho.
As people were clearing out Susan was trying to explain to Hannah that she just wanted a quick word with Harry before they headed back to more popular side of the village. Unfortunately convincing her very blonde best friend of anything wasn't the easiest task in the world, and that wasn't the only obstacle in her way. When she approached the table again that Hermione, Ron, and Harry were quietly talking at they all went quiet when she got within ear shot. Ron and Harry looked expectantly at her, while Hermione smiled at her, "Hey Susan, glad to see you signed your name on the list. Did you have a question or...?"
Susan understanding that she was kind of interrupted something said, "I was just wondering if I could have a word with Harry."
Ron protectively said, "Anything you need to say to Harry you can say to us to. He's my best mate, he is going to tell me anything you say anyways."
Hermione bit her lip, like she always did when she wanted to give someone a only half way pacifistic answer, "Harry just had a bit of a rough meeting, can't it wait?"
Clearly being annoyed Harry rolled his eyes, "Harry can speak for himself, thanks. Is it important Susan?"
Susan was biting her lip nervously now, she had never been under the pressure of Harry's watchful green eyes before, "Uhhh, no it wasn't important, I will just ummm, talk to you later, yeah?"
Harry glared at his best friends, "I was just leaving actually, mind if I walk you out?"
Susan smiled a bit, but felt her confidence waver under the glaring eyes of Hermione and Ron, "Its really okay Harry, I don't mean to intrude. I just had some questions for you, it really isn't that important! I will just see my self out, Hannah is waiting for me at the door."
Harry nodded his head, "If your sure then. Will I see you at the next meeting?"
The girl tucked a bit of her hair behind her ear smiling, "Yes, I do believe you will. See you around Harry!"
With that the girl turned around and walked over to her best friend guiding her out to the door. The blonde whom had seen the conversation unfold immediately busted out her questions the second the cold air was on their faces, "Merlin! If Hermione and Ron weren't so damn up tight Potter might have more friends around our parts! And what was with that all that tucking your hair behind your ear, and smiling, and stuttering? I mean seriously what are you 12?"
If it was possible Susan's cheeks would've turned a deeper stage of red, but the freezing cold weather kept her pride in tact, "Hannah Rebekah Abbot! Don't you dare lecture me on my actions in front of Harry, after you all but accused him of attacking Justin in second year. Also should I remind you the last time that Cormac Mclaggen tried to talk to you, I had to all but carry you out of the room."
Hannah swore, "You promised never to speak of that again!"
Grinning the red haired girl spiked out, "I fight dirty to defend myself!"
"Fine fine! I won't attack you or your school girls crush sorry!" Hannah held her hands up in mock surrender.
Susan tried to glare at the girl further, but the brutality of the winter storm was overwhelming, which made the two girls decide to head back to the castle a bit early.
The nervous students gathered in the large room hesitantly. None that gathered had ever been in this room before, in fact most did not even know it existed until about 30 seconds before entering the room. Harry had not told them how to open the room, or what he did to make it appear, but it was clear that the boy with the scar once again had a well kept secret.
Susan and Hannah were among the nervous tonight. Susan's aunt was the head of the Department Magcal Law Enforcement, and if she were caught in this group tonight she would be in big trouble with not just the school, but her aunt as well. It was now against Hogwarts student code of conduct to be in unsanctioned groups. The result of being caught could be expulsion, and that was not something any member of the Bones family had ever had to endure, yet she was still there, hoping for something worth her while.
Harry stood in front of assembled group with a neutral expression on his face. Flanking his left and right were his usual best friends that were always at his side, and they both at least had a bit happier expressions. Hermione was of course the one who got the ball rolling, "Thank you everyone for coming out. Believe me, we know and appreciate the risk you are taking to be here, so we will try to make it worth your time and dismiss you in groups to ensure that you won't be caught out in corridors, and that you will be back before curfew."
Mandy Brocklehurst from Ravenclaw rose her hand sarcastically, and asked, "How exactly are you going to do that? The whole not getting us caught thing?"
Harry speaking for the first time tonight, "You won't be caught. Trust me."
Some murmurs and whispers came from the group, and Herimione bit her lip as if she wanted to say something to Harry, but shook her head and continued, "Anyways, I think before we get started we should come up with a name. Something to call ourselves, I also think we should elect a leader."
Harry's eyes flashed with annoyance as he gave Hermione a look Susan was becoming all to familiar with, while Neville asked timidly, "I thought Harry was going to be the leader?"
Ernie nodded speaking out, "Yeah, no thanks Granger, your brilliant and all, but I don't think I want practical lessons from a text book!"
Hermione flushed, and Ron spoke up, "She was just suggesting it McMillan, we will both be voting for Harry, but its a formality, don't be a git!"
Ernie blushed a bit, and nodded his head. Hermione then asked, "So all in favor of making Harry the leader?"
Most of the hands went up, and when Hermione asked for other nominees the room was quiet, meaning the one's whom had not raised their hands had been abstained from the vote, "Right then. Now a name? I was thinking something simple, and something that would make an easy acronym."
Silence enveloped the room so Ron spoke to the group, "If no one has any ideas we discussed a few. Dumbledore's Army, which would be kind of a shot at the Ministry as a joke. We thought Defense Association, and also Potter's Marauders?"
There were some whispers at each of the names, but Cho said, "Best to keep as simple as possible, in case we are caught. Potter's Marauders would probably see Harry in Azkaban, and Dumbledore's army would be unfair to the headmaster."
There were some nods at this logic, and Harry shook his head, "That is all really excellent, so now that we have done all of Hermione's pre-planning, does anyone have any last complaints? We elected a leader, we took a name, shall we move on?"
Some more quiet mutters of agreement went up and Harry nodded his head, "Good, grab a partner, and practice the shield charm and disarming charms. Obviously one person will attack, one person will defend. Make a line, and we will assign a side to attack first."
Zacharias Smith Susan's least favorite housemate voiced a loud complaint, "You gotta be joking Potter? The shield charm is a third year spell, and the disarming charm I learned in second year! You talk about fighting the Dark Lord, but that is all your going to teach us."
Susan's eyes never left Harry's as he spun around in annoyance, "I was going to have Hermione demonstrate with me, but I suppose you would like to Smith. By all means. See if you can disarm me correctly. I won't even move. You get one shot, and then I will return fire. We will take turns until one of us is disarmed."
Zacharias nodded as people began to clear a path between the two. Harry held out his wand as Zacharias pointed it at him and cried out, "Expeliarmus."
A jet of red light shot from the boys wand, and Harry's head weaved out of the way at the last second as the spell zoomed past him. Before most people could blink Harry had returned the spell and disarmed Zacharias, holding both wands now in his hand.
Harry threw the wand back on the floor towards the boy, "Your wand movement was to erratic. Had my head been my wand you would've had a good chance at disarming me. You can perform the spell, but you can't hit a wand with it, which makes it worthless. Your shield was to slow, if I was a death eater you would be dead. If I was a dark wizard you would be dead. If I was your enemy, you would be dead. Keep that in mind as you practice Smith."
Feeling thoroughly chastised, Zach fell in line with the rest of the pairs, and began working on the charms.
Susan was quiet impressed with Harry's wand work. His follow up spell was so fast, she wasn't sure an auror could have blocked that. She was also impressed with his critique. It was useful, and to the point. She wasn't sure she had someone ever critique her like that, which made the young red head hope he would get around to her in this class period.
After a few minutes of mostly failed attempts Harry stopped the lesson and told everyone to face the center as he and Hermione faced off against each other. He called out to her to ask if she was ready, and as she nodded, he shot a spell slowly at her. Though the spell was slow, Susan was certainly not the only one to notice its power. Hermione had a nearly solid shield, and it still shuddered at the impact. Still though her moves were exaggerated, and fluid. It was clear the two had worked on the combination of spells many times together.
Harry spoke as the demonstration went on, "The shield charm has to be one precise circle. It has to be with your whole arm, and not as much wrist movement. If we were dueling and just flinging curses, it would be the flick of a wrist, but this is just practice so keep in mind you know exactly what spell is coming. Use it to your advantage. The disarming charm is almost the opposite. Its no arm and all wrist. Make a tight circle, and will your magic to the results. You know what should come out of this spell, just make it happen. Don't focus on the words, focus on the goals. I believe everyone in here is capable of this drill. Just focus, and don't force yourself to it, let it flow. Half the effectiveness of this drill is to make it flow, and give it good speed. It helps with your reflexes and it helps with your wand work. Get back at it, I will come around and assist where possible. Hermione and Ron will do the same."
Harry went straight back to Neville whom was greatly struggling while Ron and Hermione both went over in different directions to help people from different houses. Susan wondered if they had a system of some sort worked out, where Harry would help the Gryffindor's, Hermione would help the Claws, and Ron would help the Puff's. The thought irritated Susan greatly that the teacher might just work with one house, but tried to focus on the drill he had laid before them. Her shield charm wasn't bad, but she could not seem to hit her friends wand with her disarming hex. Hannah was only having a little bit of luck with each of the spells, but she hadn't had as much practice as Susan had.
Ron caught of wind of their troubles after just a short while, and came over to help out. He watched for a moment and corrected Hannah first, but when he watched Susan it was like a confusing puzzle or riddle was laid out to him, "I don't know, it looks alright, but your spells are shooting off a few feet in the wrong direction. I would try and compensate and go a different direction with your aim, but that isn't what Harry would do...let me go get him, and I will try and help Neville."
After just a moment the two stopped and watched as the gangly red head walked over to the teacher, and watched him teach Neville for a few moments then interrupted. Ron seemed to explain the situation to Harry, and the young man nodded and started heading in their direction. Hannah muttered, "Don't look now Suzy, your crush is coming over!"
Susan glared at her best friend, but held her best composure as the handsome young man approached them, "Okay guys lets see it. Ron says your wand work looks good, and that he doesn't understand whats wrong, maybe I can give a better guess then aiming in a different direction."
Susan nodded, and once again tried to complete the drill with her best friend. Harry watched it 3 times before walking over to her. He was standing maybe a foot in front of her, and seemed to be inspecting her. The young red head did her best not to blush, and failed when he asked, "May I see your wand arm?"
Susan nodded and stuck her arm out quietly, and when she felt his hands touched her she almost flinched in surprise, but what happened next shocked her. Harry put his hands on her wrist and began rolling back the sleeves on her robes, then said, "Now try it again!"
Susan still a little red in the face turned to the smirking Hannah and told her to cast first. The shield charm came up easily enough when the disarming hex came at her, and when she fired at the hex back at her best friend it felt just a little different, and was a little to surprised when a wand came flying towards her and fell to the ground.
Harry smirked at the girl putting a comforting hand on her shoulder, "Your robes are to long, when you are here roll them back a bit to give your wrist some room. That was good wand work, but make sure you work on your catching. The advantage to having your opponents wand can be more than just taking their wand, but it could be alternate wand if you lose yours in a battle. Keep up the good work Susan, now Hannah your circle is a little off..."
As Harry explained the intricacies of Hannah's critical wand work error, Susan was simply amazed that Harry was so knowledgeable in dueling and in spell work! It made her mind swell with even more unanswered questions, which made the enigma of Harry Potter just a little bit more interesting.
When he was walking away he Hannah whistled lowly, "I think we did a good thing joining this group Suzy. I will be reluctant to admit it, but Potter really knows his stuff. At least in his basic dueling charms."
Susan nodded her head in agreement, and finally the two had pulled off a successful four rounds of exchanges, before Hannah over powered her shield and disarmed her. They practiced for thirty more minutes, when Potter called the end of the class.
"Alright guys that was pretty good, I noticed improvements in everyone's work, some of you it was drastic, and for some it was simply rolling up your sleeves so well done!"
Susan smiled at the acknowledgment, but no one except Hannah knew whom Harry was referring to, "I would like to keep classes less than two hours, but more than an hour if possible. Next time for fifteen minutes we will practice this, and move onto the next few things. We are working to have a full on duel before the end of the year. I think everyone did great today, and I hope everyone can make it to the next meeting hopefully in a few days. Thanks for coming out guys, goodnight!"
Before the class could dismiss, Colin Creevey of Gryffindor asked, "Harry can you show us your patronus now? You told me you would show the class sometime, and I really wanted to see it?"
Harry's cheeks colored a bit, "Umm, maybe not tonight Colin, everyone has been here for a while, I am sure the others want to get back to their common rooms."
Terry Boot of Ravenclaw muttered loudly, "I've never seen a real patronus before..."
Others around him nodded and Harry sighed, "Okay, I will give a demonstration. The patronus is one of the easier wand movements, it is simply a flick outwards."
Taking a deep breath Harry closed his eyes. A small smile appeared on his face as he flicked his wand outwards, "Expecto Patronum!"
A giant light erupted from his wand, and a etheral creature emerged from the light. A large stag stood in front of the students standing proudly, and simply radiating power. Harry spoke, "Meet prongs, it was my dads Animagus...He has saved my life more times than I will ever care to count...Now if that will be all, Hermione says we can release the Ravenclaws. Thanks for coming out guys!"
Harry bowed to his patronus, and Prongs bowed back, and then disappeared in a fine mist that settled to the floor. Everyone had clapped at the performance, but Susan was speechless by the power of the patronus. Her aunt told her that only a few wizards alive could cast a true corporeal patronus. Harry's was almost alive though, it was almost as if Prongs could actually impale something with his massive antlers. Susan wasn't just impressed, she was amazed!
As Harry dismissed the Gryffindor students, Susan began to approach him, "Thanks for the lesson Harry, I really appreciated the fix in my fashion statement!"
Harry gave the girl a slight nod, "It was an easy fix. Your wand work was pretty good, I am guessing with your aunt being an auror, you have had some pretty good teachers before me?"
Susan shrugged, "Just my Auntie actually. She doesn't like to take time from her other aurors, but she has helped me during the Summer when she could, as you can imagine she has been quiet busy over the past two years."
Harry nodded grimly, "Yes I am afraid I can imagine so."
Susan grimaced at her choice of words and began to apologize, but Harry waved her off, "Its okay really! I am glad you learned something, and I am glad you and Hannah enjoyed yourself. Next week hopefully I will have time to reach out to the others. I told Neville if he wanted extra work we could do some stuff together in the dormitory since we are neighbors after all."
Susan smiled at the boy, "Thats great! Hey listen Harry, I was wonderin-"
Ron came into the conversation at that point, "Brilliant lesson mate! We should get going before Umbitch catches out past curfew!"
Harry nodded and agreed, "Yeah okay Ron! I'm sorry Susan what were you saying?"
Susan looked from Harry to Ron, and held a fake smile, "Oh I was just going to ask if you would give me some last second tips, but next time! I will let you get back to your dorm!"
Ron grinned and carried Harry off, as Hannah walked over to her best friend, "That red head is one annoying prat!"
Susan sighed, "I don't want to ask anything super personal! Just a few questions about the trial, what happened at the third task, and if you-know-who is really the one who killed Cedric."
Hannah gasped, "So you believe him?"
Susan pondered her best friends question for only a moment before answering, "I do, but if he is telling the truth, then we all have a lot more work to do then just shields and disarming hexes."
(A/N) I know new story, while two others are in progress, but as you can all see it has been a while on those updates. I have quite a bit of this story already written, so I am going to update every Tuesday or Wednesday, and maybe if the reviews are really good I will update some more :) Cheers guys and its good to be back! Also please comment if you want lemons in this story making it M, or if we are good with T and no lemons!