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Chapter Thirty-Five

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"That's better, Jack. But it helps your balance if you have one leg in front of you, and then bend it slightly. Having a firm and balanced stance when dueling is just as important as the actual spells and wand movements." Harry instructed, watching as the fourth-year Slytherin boy did just as he was told, by moving one of his legs forward a tad.

Jack looked up a Harry, his eyes clearly showing that he wanted to impress Harry. "Like this?"

Harry smiled at the boy and nodded. "That's perfect! Now, why don't you try the spell again?"

With his hand, Harry gestured towards Jack's chosen dueling partner, another Slytherin boy, who Harry learned was named Marcus.

Marcus stepped forward as he recognized that his friend wanted another go at mastering the spell.

Harry stepped back to observe Jack's new approach to the spell. Where Harry had initially been surprised by the several Slytherins who had wanted to join the D.A., now he gladly accepted them. Anyone who came to the D.A. meetings could clearly see that they were nothing like the mean-spirited Slytherins like Malfoy or Zambini.

With an expression of fixated concentration, Jack lifted and pointed his wand at Marcus and boldly exclaimed the incantation. A jet of light burst forth from Jack's wand and hit Marcus squarely in the chest, after Marcus had failed to block the spell.

Immediately, Marcus started to walk backwards, until he was standing in the same spot he had been waiting while Harry had worked with Jack.

"I-I did it!" Jack exclaimed, both stunned and proud of his accomplishment.

Harry turned to him with a grin, coming up to pat Jack on the shoulder in a congratulatory manner.

"You performed it flawlessly!" Harry exclaimed. He still couldn't believe the rush that he felt from helping all of these students perfect new spells. And perfect it, Jack had. The Reversal Laserver spell was an incantation that forced your opponent to repeat the actions they had just performed, only backwards. It was bloody useful when trying to get away in dangerous situations… especially with the more power one put into the incantation, the longer the opponent would have to endure the reversal of actions. It was yet another spell that had no counter-curse.

Jack's incantation only lasted for about a minute and a half, but that was more than enough time for an adult-aged wizard to apparate away. With more practice, Jack could lengthen the time of the spell to three or even five minutes!

Once Marcus was released from the spell, and was moving on normal time, he leapt forward to congratulate his friend at mastering the difficult spell.

After enduring many thank-yous from Jack, Harry managed to move on, looking for anyone else that was having trouble with their level of spell.

He had made sure to keep a watchful eye out for Ginny, who he knew who practicing with Colin close to the front podium. It wasn't that he was worried about Ginny in any way… oh no, he merely was keeping an eye out for an opportunity to jump in and help her if he found that she was having trouble with her spell.

It had been a week since their talk in detention, and what a week it had been! It didn't take Harry very long to assess that being in a relationship with Ginny Weasley, was as easy as breathing air.

He revelled at how easy it was to laugh in her presence, how he was now allowed to stare at her openly without any shame or reprimand… and Harry sure did like to stare at Ginny…

Even now, he found it to be difficult to keep his eyes away from her. Like many students, she had changed out of her school uniform and was currently wearing Harry's emerald, green sweater that Mrs. Weasley had made for him in his first year - a sweater that was now too small for him, but he had kept for sentimental reasons.

Ginny had found it while accompanying Harry up to his dorm when he went to fetch his broom for some one-on-one quidditch with his girlfriend. As soon as she saw it, she had claimed it as her own. Harry saw no issue with this, as there was a part of him that revelled in seeing Ginny wearing his clothing… Especially with the giant 'H' that Mrs. Weasley had stitched on the front, a symbol that Ginny now wore proudly on her chest… It let everyone know that Ginny was his, just as much as he was hers. It stroked the primitive, testosterone man inside of him that felt the need to claim what was his.

Seeing her in the sweater all evening, caused Harry to think about giving Ginny his old quidditch jersey that he had worn as a first and second year… He could only imagine how it was he would feel seeing 'POTTER' printed boldly across Ginny's back.

She would look as breathtaking as she did now… with her red hair braided down the expanse of her back, the green of the sweater she wore contrasting her hair nicely.

Harry still couldn't believe that he could be so lucky to have such a fun, witty, mischievous, and beautiful girl such as Ginny as his girlfriend. Perhaps the fates have decided that Harry has had to endure enough unfortunate luck in his life already, and was now allowing his to reap some reward.

There certainly wasn't much that Harry could complain about in his life as of late. In fact, he would even go so far as to say that he has never been so happy in his life as he was now.

The only downfalls were, of course, the obvious ever-looming threat of Voldemort, and his decision - at his parents urging - to abandon his research to resurrect his family.

Harry's good mood plummeted slightly at the thought. He still felt deeply disturbed by the decision, no matter how much sense his parents arguments on the contrary were.

True, he did have a level of responsibility that he had to pay more focus to. Like paying attention in classes, his training with Dumbledore, and preparing both his friends and himself for the oncoming war… But he still couldn't shake the feeling that abandoning his research on resurrection felt more like he was abandoning his parents and Sirius, themselves.

He knew that if he broached them with these thoughts, they would immediately tell him that those thoughts were ridiculous.

He had talked to Ginny about it all, however, and she had been just as torn on the matter as he was.

"On one hand, I do want you to have your family in your life, Harry." Ginny had told him. "But I do see your parents having a point. I don't know what I would do if you got yourself killed by Voldemort all because you were too distracted to train properly… And I suppose, in a way, your family is still a part of your life through the Resurrection Stone…"

That was also a valid point… Harry did have his family as a part of his life, a fact that Harry took advantage of every night before bed - time devoted to his family through the use of the Resurrection Stone. It was a gift that Harry certainly couldn't take for granted, as whether dead or alive, he still had his family… which was certainly not something that Harry had before.

So, there was really no room for Harry to complain.

But still

"Haaarrrryyy…!" A sickly sweet voice called out to him.

Harry groaned at the sound of it. He turned to see that it was Romilda Vane who was waving him over energetically. He had thought that she would have given up after he had gotten Dobby to apparate her away from the Gryffindor victory party… but he supposed that there was one thing that Romilda wasn't, and that was a quitter.

The memory of when his and Ginny's newfound relationship became public knowledge came to mind… to say that Romilda hadn't been pleased was an understatement.

Harry turned once again, his eyes roaming the expanse of students for either of his best friends… They had made an agreement three D.A. meetings ago that whenever Romilda tried to corner Harry, either Ron or Hermione would try to step in as soon as they were able.

Harry was in luck, as his eyes found Ron not far from where he stood. Ron must have felt Harry's pleading eyes on him, because it didn't take long for Ron to look up and meet Harry's eye.

As soon as their gazes locked, Harry shifted his eyes over towards where Romilda was making her way towards him.

Immediately catching on to Harry's situation, Ron made good use of his long legs, and stepped quickly forward and met Harry just as Romilda had made it to his side.

"Hey, mate…" Ron greeted, cutting off the sultry greeting that Romilda had been about to make to Harry. "Ginny told me to tell you that she is having trouble with the level four spell, and asked me to send you over to help."

Harry knew that it was a light lie to get Harry away from Romilda, seeing as Harry had been watching Ginny all night and saw that she had no problem with the spell taught tonight. But Harry wasn't about to spoil his chance for escape.

"Right!" Harry exclaimed, too eagerly. "I will go right to her and see how I can help."

Harry had been about to leave right then and make his way to Ginny, but a tight grip on his bicep stopped him. Harry looked over to see that it was Romilda that he invaded his personal space by touching him.

"But Harry…" Romilda said in a whiny voice. "I need help with my spell."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ron roll his eyes at Romilda's antics. It was blatantly clear to anyone how she was trying to manipulate the situation.

"Oh, come off it… We both know you don't really need help." Ron said, bluntly and he helped Harry by extracting her hand from around Harry's bicep. "Besides, Harry is the only instructor to help the third and fourth level students… It is Hermione and I who are around to help the level one's and two's."

"But I just saw him help those two fourth year Slytherin boys!" Romilda argued passionately, trying to get her hand around Harry's arm once again.

Ron stepped in-between them, and argued back, "That's most likely because there weren't any level three's and four's that needed help at the moment. But now there is, so lay off it!"

Harry chose that exact moment to escape, quickly making his way over towards the podium where Ginny was practicing with Colin.

Even from afar, Harry could see that Ginny was mastering her incantation flawlessly. Poor Colin didn't stand a chance as her dueling partner. Regardless of this, he came closer to her and watched her latest attempt at the spell…

A flash of light came out from Ginny's wand and struck Colin right in his wand arm, immediately turning his entire arm to stone. Harry had to hold back a laugh as he took in Colin's state… Not only was his entire wand arm now stone, but so was his left foot, his right shoulder, and half of his right cheek…

Colin looked deeply uncomfortable, and it seemed as though Ginny hadn't bothered to use the counter-curse on him just yet… the minx.

"Please… Ginny…" Colin complained. "Can we please take a break? And please, please, use the counter-curse on me now? I can barely move…!"

Ginny giggled, teasingly. "But where would be the fun in that?" She asked, before doing what he asked and performing the counter-curse on him.

Colin's skin morphed back to normal, and Colin immediately sat where he stood, rubbing at his formally-stone foot…

Harry couldn't help but chuckle as he came behind the vixen in question, and wrapped his arms around her - constricting his arms so that she was pressed tight against his front.

"Miss. Weasley…" Harry growled, his mouth pressed against her ear. "I have half a mind to have you stay after class…"

He could sense the smirk that formed on her face, as well as hear it in her voice as she retorted, "Oh. Please do, Professor Potter. Maybe then I can use my womanly charms to seduce you into giving me good marks…"

Harry paused, not quite able to believe his ears. Sure, she was teasing, but the sensual nature of her words was a line that they hadn't yet crossed. Their previous remarks to each other over the last week had been quite innocent, never daring to border anything remotely sexual sounding. Even while snogging, they kept their vocalizations sweet and innocent, especially since their relationship was so new. But if Ginny found herself willing to cross that line, then who was Harry to argue? In fact, he was all for it!

Harry chuckled, purposely letting his breath tickle her ear, causing her to shiver in the most delicious of ways. "Seducing a teacher, hmmm…? That is quite… naughty behavior, isn't it, Miss. Weasley? Perhaps that warrants a one-on-one detention where I can teach you good behavior."

Ginny practically purred. "But I like being naughty…" Harry nearly groaned at her implication, feeling his cock twitch in his trousers... "It's in my nature, Professor. Red hair, and all…"

Harry had been about to retort with something equally as randy, when he was interrupted by the clearing of a throat. Harry jumped and stepped back from Ginny, immediately, once again realizing that they were in a heavily public place…

Both Harry and Ginny looked up to see that it had been Colin who had interrupted them. Once he had their attention, he silently jerked his head to the side. They followed his movement, to see that Professor McGonagall was nearby. His interruption had been a warning, seeing as the Professor had not yet seen them in their compromising position.

Harry sighed and smiled thankfully at Colin. "Thanks…"

Colin snorted once before waving off Harry's thanks. "No thanks necessary. Thanks to you for distracting the She-Devil's wrath away from me for a bit to allow me a break!" Colin said, obviously still sore as he indicated to Ginny.

Harry couldn't help but laugh at the unapologetic smirk that Ginny sent Colin's way. Merlin help him if he ever found himself in Ginny's bad graces in the future… Harry was sure that, when Ginny set her mind to it, she could inflict much more damage than a bat-bogey hex…

Suddenly his wand sounded with the tempus alarm that he had set, indicating to him that it was almost near the end of the D.A. meeting. Harry reached out and squeezed Ginny's hand once, smiling at her, before stepping back and taking his leave - heading towards the podium.

Once up on the podium, Harry cast a spell to shoot a small spark into the air, effectively capturing everyone's attention in the room. He waited as everyone abandoned their spellwork - while others were quickly using the counter-curses on their partners - and watched as they all came to gather around the podium.

When they all settled, Harry used his wand to amplify his voice to the room as a whole.

"Great job, everyone." Harry congratulated with a smile. "I really hope that everyone was able to grasp and master the spells that were taught tonight. And, if you hadn't been quite able to get it, then with a bit of practice on your own time, I'm sure that all of you will manage to get it in no time!"

Harry paused at the round of applause the group gave themselves, before continuing on as they settled. "Now, as always at the end of every D.A. meeting, I'm putting out the offer to any of you that is willing to challenge me to a duel. Of course, the duel would be all in good fun and-"

"I CHALLENGE YOU TO THE CLAIMING DUEL, POTTER!" A voice rang out from the crowd.

Everyone in the room gasped, and parted the crowd… until it was only Dean standing in the open.

Harry could only gape at him. Was he bloody mad?! But no… Dean's face was intensely serious as he stared at Harry with nothing but contempt.

A Claiming Duel? Harry had learned of it in his third year, while Remus was teaching the Defense Against the Dark Arts class. The Claiming Duel hadn't been commonly practiced in well over a century, due to it's deeply misogynistic nature. The duel consisted of two wizards who were both wanting to court the same witch, so in order to settle the feud over the witch, they would partake in the Claiming Duel… where the winner would get to 'claim' the witch…

Nevermind that the witch could just choose who she had wanted to be with without any such duel… which was why the practice had been mostly abandoned in the late 19th century.

Everyone started to whisper as they looked back and forth between Dean and Harry… until Professor McGonagall stepped forward, a deeply surprised and perplexed look upon her features. "Good Heavens, Mr. Thomas! Why in Merlin's name would you invoke a Claiming Duel?"

Dean stood firm and resolute in his decision, seeming to refuse to back down under Professor McGonagall's stern look. "I challenged Potter in a Claiming Duel because of Ginny Weasley, Ma'am."

Everyone immediately turned their attentions to finding Ginny, and when their eyes found her, it was to find her face devoid of color as she stared wide-eyed at Dean.

Everyone was whispering madly to each other about the dramatic, first duel challenge, especially some of the girls who found the scandalous nature of it quite exciting.

Harry, still speechless at how daft Dean had to be in order to believe that this was a good idea, turned his attention over to Ginny…

She must have felt his eyes on her, as she turned her head to look back up at him. Harry knew that he had to have so many questions in his eyes for her… 'What do you think of all of this?' 'Are you alright?' 'What do you want me to do?' And finally, 'Do you want me to duel him?'

He could tell from her eyes that she understood what it was that he was silently asking her… He could see her eyes shifting back and forth slightly, as she thought over what she wanted. Until finally, Ginny looked up at Harry… and rolled her eyes as she shrugged one shoulder - essentially telling him that it did not matter, because the outcome of the duel wouldn't change a thing.

So, it was up to Harry then… Harry turned his eyes back to Dean, who had been watching his silent exchange with Ginny with loathing eyes as all of the students still whispered excitedly around them.

Dean looked up at Harry then, and flashed him the most arrogant smirk Harry had ever seen on someone who wasn't a Malfoy. And right then, all that Harry knew was that he bloody well wanted to wipe that smirk clean off of Dean Thomas' face.

"I accept your challenge." Harry suddenly stated, loudly.

Most of the whispers got louder at that, while there was a good number of students that cheered at Harry's acceptance.

McGonagall stared at Harry for a moment before she sighed in resignation. "Oh, very well. Students, we best make some room for the duel then…"

Hermione immediately followed the example of Professor McGonagall and started to direct the excitable students away from the middle of the room. "That's right, please get to the side of the room where it is safe…" She told the surrounding students.

Harry stepped down from the podium, his hard eyes not ever leaving Dean's face. As he walked closer to where Dean stood, Harry whipped off the sweater-vest that he had been wearing and threw it to the side, leaving him only in his white button-down… then he proceeded to roll his sleeves up his forearms - the perfect picture of ease.

When he was only a few paces away from Dean, was when Harry finally stopped, his wand clutched tight within his grasp.

"Professor?" Harry called, his gaze still never leaving Dean.

Professor McGonagall must have heard him, however, because in the next moment, she was at Harry's side. "Yes, Mr. Potter?"

"Could you please moderate the duel, seeing as you would be the most impartial?" Harry asked her, finally shifting his eyes to look at his Head-of-House.

McGonagall nodded once. "But only because I want this to be a safe and fair duel. You hear that Mr. Thomas? Potter?"

Both boys nodded once.

When the crowd finally settled to watch the duel, McGonagall spoke in a loud, clear tone, "Gentlemen, wands at the ready."

Both Harry and Dean raised their wands, holding them symmetrical to the bridges of their noses, as was custom.

Seeing that their wands were drawn, McGonagall then stated, "Bow to your opponent."

Both Harry and Dean begrudgingly bowed to each other.

"Now, gentlemen, take your five paces ea-"

"WAIT!"

Harry's head snapped over to where Ginny was now striding out towards them. Excited mutterings could be heard through the crowd as Ginny covered the distance. Harry dropped his wand arm as she got closer, until she was standing right next to McGonagall.

"If you insist on dueling over me," Ginny stated in a firm tone that demanded no arguments, "Then I demand that I get to duel for my own hand."

Dean's jaw dropped as he gaped at Ginny. Harry could tell that he was surprised, to say the least. But Harry found these new turn in events rather unsurprising to him… it just like something for Ginny to do, wanting to fight her own battles, herself. Honestly, it was like Dean didn't know Ginny at all…!

"B-But, you can't do that!" Dean sputtered, before turning his complaint to Professor McGonagall. "She can't do that, right?"

Harry, however, was already pocketing his own wand… before he turned to Ginny with a smile, and walked up to her to plant a chaste kiss on her cheek.

"Good luck." Harry whispered in her ear, before pulling back to see the tenderest of smiles directed at him… telling him how much it meant to her that he was stepping back to allow her to do this.

Harry reached for her hand and squeezed it once, before stepping away and making his way to the edge of the crowd… where Ron and Hermione stood with surprised looks.

As soon as Harry walked away, and Ginny went to stand in his former place - facing Dean - everyone in the room seemed to have caught onto what was happening.

"She means to duel him, herself?!" Harry heard one whisper, nearby, as he settled himself next to Ron.

"But she can't do that! She's a witch and this is the Claiming Duel!" Another argued back.

"She bloody well can do whatever she pleases!" Ron argued loudly over his shoulder, obviously hearing the whispers, as well.

Harry smiled at his best mate and patted him on the shoulder, before turning his attention back to where Dean seemed to still be arguing with McGonagall… Ginny seemed none-too-pleased as she waited impatiently with her arms crossed across her chest.

"I think that it's great that you stepped back to let her do this, Harry." Hermione said quietly, from Ron's other side. "It really shows how much you have matured… with you not needing to stroke your pride."

Harry smiled slightly, never taking his eyes off of Ginny, before leaning sideways slightly to say, "You really think that I actually had a choice in that matter?" Harry pointed out, and both Ron and Hermione chuckled in agreement. Ginny would have likely been furious if Harry had denied her this... "Besides, Ginny has more right to castrate Dean than I do…"

In the middle of the room, the argument seemed to have been settled, as McGonagall once again stated loudly, "Mr. Thomas, Miss. Weasley… Wands at the ready."

The room went quiet.

Both raised their wands in front of their faces, but this time, Dean was far more uncertain as he did so.

"Bow to your opponent." Both Ginny and Dean bowed to the other, before straightening, wands still held up in front of their faces.

"Take your five paces." McGonagall said, and both Ginny and Dean turned on their heels and took five steps in opposite directions.

When they reached the fifth step, both stopped and turned on their heels once again, facing each other.

Everyone was waiting on pins and needles… Harry held his breath as he suddenly felt an anxiety take hold of him.

He knew that Ginny could take care of herself, but there was always that slight chance where Ginny could get hurt. Even if it were by accident. Harry found little comfort in the fact that Dean most-likely didn't want to hurt Ginny. Anything could happen in a Wizard's Duel…

"Now on my count of three…" McGonagall stated, stepping herself back away from the middle of the dueling pair.

"One…"

Harry stared at Ginny with sweat starting to gather on his brow…

"Two…"

Ginny's eyes narrowed as the deepest concentration overcame her. Her eyes never faltering away from her opponent…

"Three."

"IMMOBULUS!" Ginny shouted, her wand pointed right at the spot where Dean stood. Everyone gasped at Ginny's quick wand work. But Dean, managing to be quick on his feet, dodged the freezing charm.

Just after Dean managed to narrowly miss the rapid-fire curse that Ginny had sent his way, he sent his own curse at her…

"INCARCEROUS!" Ropes shot out from the tip of his wand towards Ginny… It was clear to Harry that he was trying to defeat her in ways of not hurting her badly… a fact that he was begrudgingly grateful for.

Ginny saw the long expanse of ropes coming at her, and seemed to understand that there was narrow chance for her to dodge the binds… So, with a complicated flick of her wrist, Ginny boldly stated, "PROTEGO!"

Harry grinned as he watched the ropes hit the magical barrier that Ginny had put up. Merlin… was she ever magnificent… There was just enough hint of focused anger in her eyes to cause Harry to watch her in awe. Wisps of her hair had become loose from her braid, causing her to look wild in her ethereal glory.

"AQUA ERUCTO!" Ginny yelled, and a large jet of water spurted forth from her wand, the action of the spell so fast and so abrupt, it managed to catch Dean unawares…

The water hit Dean in the chest, and caused him to plow over from the force of it. Harry was impressed by her accomplishment of such a complicated spell… and he seemed to not be the only one, judging by the gasps.

But while still under the weight of the water, Dean managed to cast a drought charm to counteract with the blast of water, drying it all up completely… From what Harry could tell of Dean from where he stood, he could see that Dean was getting more than a little frustrated from the way he was clenching his jaw...

"INFLATUS!" Dean cried, casting the inflating jinx at Ginny, which Ginny only narrowly dodged… causing her to become unbalanced on her feet.

Dean took advantage of Ginny needing to take the time to steady herself and cast yet another curse at her…

Harry watched in horror as large boulders appeared in front of Dean, before shooting forward, looking to get a direct hit on Ginny…!

Ginny! No! She was about to get hurt!

Harry had just been about to step forward, grab his wand from his trousers and intervene before the boulders had a chance to hit Ginny and do some permanent damage… before Ginny had beat him to it.

"DELETRIUS!" Ginny yelled the disintegration spell, flawlessly turning the oncoming stone to dust.

Harry relaxed once again at the vanishing of the threat… not able to believe that Dean would stoop to such dangerous means.

Ginny seemed to think the same, as her angry eyes now looked more than mildly inconvenienced… they looked dangerous.

"COLLOSHOO!" Ginny exclaimed, causing Dean's shoes to stick to the ground as a sticky adhesive stuck him to where he stood.

Almost immediately afterwards, Ginny followed up with yet another curse. "EVERTE STATUM!"

Dean's entire body was thrown backward, hitting the back wall of the Great Hall, and sliding down the wall onto the floor.

With Dean now sufficiently distracted by the onslaught of attacks, Ginny went in for the final curse to end the duel once and for all…

"EXPELLIARMUS!"

Dean's wand shot out from his hand, flying through the air, until Ginny reached out her free hand to catch it.

A burst of cheering exploded all around Harry, and Harry found that he had to be one of the loudest.

The Claiming Duel was over… and Ginny had won.

Harry found that he was running forward before he even knew to do it. And he plucked Ginny up into his arms, twisting her around in a circle of celebration.

Ginny laughed in his arms, exuberant in her victory as all of their classmates gathered 'round to join their celebrating.

And Harry found that there was no way to avoid it with how he was feeling at the moment… Harry kissed her. Deep and fully displaying the awe and appreciation he felt for her.

….

It was only a few hours later, where Harry found himself sitting in the common room with Ron - both sitting next to the fireplace and talking of the D.A. lesson that night, the duel and how much of a git Dean was, and also the ball that was coming up that weekend.

Ginny had long since gone to bed… the excitement of the day finally catching up to her, causing her to feel exhausted.

Harry had kissed her goodnight at the foot of the stairs, regretfully letting her go so that she could get some rest. Before he went over to sit next to Ron and Hermione.

It wasn't long after that where Hermione had also stated that she was tired, and went up to bed as well.

So, for a time it had just been Ron and Harry.

"Well, I'm off to bed." Ron finally said, as he stood with a stretch and a yawn. Then he looked at Harry, who had made no such moves. "You coming, mate?"

Harry stared into the fireplace, thinking about this time last year… remembering how he would spend hours staring into this very fireplace, willing Sirius to show his face through it by the floo…

Shaking his head with the slightest of movements, Harry replied, "Nah… I think that I'm going to stay up for a bit longer…"

Ron merely shrugged, and said with yet another yawn, "Suit yourself, mate…" Before he made his way up the stairs to their dormitory.

Harry sat by the fire for quite some time… staring into the flames as more and more Gryffindors went up to bed, as well. Until he was finally on his own.

It was a rather blissful feeling, to clear the mind and allowing oneself not to think of any stray thoughts. And the fire was rather hypnotic… the perfect tool to use when the past was wanting to sneak up on him when all that Harry wanted to do was to forget…

But, as always, his time of peace hardly ever lasted long. A disruption coming in the form of a brown, barn owl came swooping through a wayward, open window, landing on the arm of his chair.

Harry shifted his eyes over to the creature, his lips smiling slightly at the rather impatient look it was giving him.

"Hello, there." He greeted the owl, who restlessly stuck its leg out - insisting that Harry take the letter that was tied to its leg.

Harry loosened the knot tied around the owl's leg, freeing the burden of the letter from the exhausted bird. Before opening his letter, Harry looked at the owl apologetically. "Sorry. But I don't have any owl treats on me. But if you fly up to the owlry, there's bound to be plenty for you there."

Without listening to another word more, the owl flew back out the window, no doubt looking for a bounty of food and a warm place to rest.

As soon as the owl was gone, Harry turned back to the letter that he held in his hand, turning it over in his hand, and breaking the seal… wondering who it was who had chosen to write him.

With a feeling of pleasant surprise, he saw that the letter was from Remus! Harry grinned, his greedy eyes starting to read the words his honorary uncle had written him...

Harry,

I'm sorry that it took me such a long time to write to you. Things have been rather hectic for me as of late, but I won't bore you with the details.

I must say that Mrs. Weasley is a god-send. I should confess that I've been spending quite a bit of time at the Burrow, and it all stems down to Mrs. Weasley's spectacular cooking. Better than Hogwarts food, by a landslide. Especially her chocolate fudge pie. I fear that I will resemble that of a bloated walrus when we next meet…

I've also been taking the time to get to know Mr. Weasley. He had told me that you have never quite told him the use of a rubber duck, and he asked me if you could reply with an answer.

Now, tell me about how the school year has come along for you so far. I know if Sirius were standing over my shoulder as I write this letter to you, he would be pestering me about asking you if you had found any girls to fancy… But for the sake of your embarrassment, I will leave that up to you whether you want to tell me or not.

The full moons have been rather hard now that Sirius is no longer here to help me through the transformations. I had gotten so used to his presence during the full moons, again, that it has made it quite difficult to accept the fact that he is gone.

I realize that we hadn't yet had the chance to talk about what had happened to Sirius. But I feel that it is unhealthy for us to grieve alone. So, if you find that you need to talk to me about anything, including Sirius, I will always be here to listen.

The last couple of weeks had been quite stressful for me. You see, Harry, I had lost my copy of Sirius' will. And there were some rather important memorabilia from our Hogwarts years that I knew was in Sirius' vault.

I had spent weeks tearing a part Grimauld Place, trying to find the will, but to no avail… I had begun to think that the will had been lost for good, until I realized that I could just go to Gringotts Bank and request another copy of the will this entire time!

You see, Harry, when you feel that you are all out of options, it is best to start from the beginning and go to the source.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Remus

Harry stared at the letter.

He stared at it long and hard.

For some peculiar reason, he felt as though something written in this letter was trying to tell him something important. That he had a blaring hole with a problem in his life that he needed fixed - that could be fixed - with something that was contained in this letter…

But the question was… What was the solution? Or better yet, what was even the problem that needed solving?

Harry frowned as he reread the letter… then reread it for a second time… then a third.

By the time he had gotten to reading the letter for the fifth time, Harry found himself fixated on Remus' telling of Sirius' will…

Yes, Remus recounted how he had lost Sirius' will… and that he searched in all of a matter of places for it.

But what was it that he had done after losing hope that he would ever find it?

"You see, Harry, when you feel that you are all out of options, it is best to start from the beginning and go to the source..."

Harry gasped as it all suddenly clicked.

He suddenly found himself standing, letting the letter drop from his hands and onto the floor.

"Of course…" Harry breathed, his thoughts going a mile a minute. His mood brightening as it all became quite abundantly clear to him. "Of course!"

Harry beamed, not quite able to believe that he hadn't managed to see it before! The solution to his problem! It had been so obvious, how the bloody hell had he managed to miss it for so long?!

He couldn't help it… the elated laughter just belted out of him as he eagerly bent down to pick up Remus' letter, once again.

There were so many plans to make, but Harry was pretty confident that he had just struck gold! After all, there was only one person that he had to convince to help him in order to pull this off… and with a bit of time and practice, Harry was sure that he could piece together a convincing argument that one person would have a hard time saying no to…

.

.

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A/N: All will become clear in time. :)

Also, please leave me a review! I know that there are plenty of you out there that merely read my story without telling me of your thoughts… and all that I ask is that you share those wonderful thoughts with me in a review. Please? The reviews certainly help me to write faster, which means faster updates! You don't want me to get discouraged now, do you?

Think about it...:)