So, I felt like writing this again and, given that I removed the old chapter 32, it's only fair that I put up a new one, isn't it?
Let me know what you thought. Reviews and PMs are always welcome.
Special thanks to Raph for the beta work; the best Frenchmen in the world. I will be updating the other chapters, with them being beta-read in the coming weeks, so the quality of the writing will definitely improve. Also, thanks to Nauze of the STS discord, for being incredibly kind, and warming me to the idea of writing this story again.
Hope you enjoy!
Warmth filtered through Harry's curtains with increasing intensity as the days of Spring passed, with even the Scottish highlands gaining some seldom-seen warmth, but he himself did not notice, excepting that he dressed without a jumper.
Eikthyrnir, he could sense, enjoyed such warmth, though Harry had begun to feel guilt over his friend. So engrossed was he by his study, that he had neglected the outside world almost entirely, his best friend included. He'd made an occasion, once or twice, to sit upon the waterfront and watched his friend dance upon the lake's surface, though in truth such occasions were short lived.
The great beast, these days, had attracted a crowd wherever it went, both human and animal alike, the attempts of some of studying him quickly rebuked simply by his own manner. Frogs and toads flocked to his water as it ran so much purer than the rest of the lake, fish and merfolk following his path with cautious fascination from beneath the water. Though, none of this compared to the way the bucks and does of the forest had begun to watch him with unbroken awe.
The young fauns of spring, in graceful ceremony, were oft brought in front of Eikthyrnir, the wise beast's presence seen by the other deer as a blessing upon their children, their natural timidity forgotten, if only to meet this wonderful creation. And, as Harry had watched this, with his friend's antlers dancing like a jewelled crown, he did not question why.
Where Eikthyrnir's grace and purpose was so beautifully clear, Harry did feel like the fawn that were brought before him. With everything that Grindelwald had brought to the world, the chaos he wrought, for Harry he had brought clarity.
He knew that it would be difficult, but he simply could not use Charms as the rest of his peers would. It would be like asking the winter to be warm; the days, dark; the water, dry. He had looked upon himself, and he knew that this ability did not exist there.
And, as he had let go of such an idea, clarity had began to return. With clarity, came the Northern Magics.
There was a fluidity to their use that he'd thought on before, but had not truly cultivated. With heat and fire, he could before take in the warmth of magic's hearth and revitalise, but now, as he began to formulate a truer sense, the fire that lived within him, where once it was only his mind's meditation, grew more and more.
The fire burned in his bones and sinews, his arms energised, his mind strengthened and metal-hardened. He could carry around that very warmth he'd once conjured as if his very soul was wreathed in this glorious fire. With water, emboldened by Eikthyrnir's own grace, he too grew clearer, his own heart, once a place of worry, now became calmed.
Tonks spoke truly before. There had been a seismic shift within him, he simply needed the clarity to sense it. With this connection, this honesty he felt with his magic, just as humanity was brought into the world with fire, he too was brought into himself with it. And, just as water was our lifeblood, so too did it prove now for Harry.
The Earth, then, was to be his newest fascination. He did not truly know himself well enough to ponder its depths and its magnitude. He did not know the strength of his bones, of the age of everything that had brought him to where he was then.
The ground that he stood beneath, just as the trees that hung above him and the stars above them, were of an equal age. Each piece of the tapestry of the universe were brothers and sisters in the beginning of everything, united by time and being. The iron in his blood and the carbon in his bones were all of the same age. By the connection of life and magic, they were intertwined. Just as life and magic knitted together the molten rock that ran deep within to the blooming flowers that had begun to sprout.
The Earth was alive, born just as he was, a child of the forces that were greater than any comprehension. And, that is how Harry accepted such a force into his own spirit. The Earth would outlast every fibre of him, but magic would outlast both of them. And, the fibres that brought together his being would live in the depths of the Earth, their existence tiny but still, they would live on.
That was how he began, to imagine the tiniest fibre of the ancient Earth, a long-formed and oft-forgotten stone, and to recognise its being. There was no majesty in it, no great value, and yet through the network of existence, when brought together with its peers, it could be truly formidable.
That fibre could live within the deepest ground, or within the palm of Harry's right hand, though it did not matter. If he could move one, he could move the other. And so, he did.
Harry raised his right hand, his wand held firmly within, and from the floor came a pebble-sized rock of no great significance with the exception of its colouring, that of a pure white.
And, not for the first time, Harry was astounded by the beauty that his life, this magical life, offered him. What he had done was not remotely difficult. Any first year could conjure a stone; it was one of the first things they were taught to do. Perhaps that was the problem, though.
Harry raised his hand again, this time with thoughts of connectivity. If he could move one pebble, why not two?
If not two, why not ten or twenty?
Harry closed his eyes, his brow furrowing in concentration, and as he opened them again, a boulder had formed, floating an inch above his skin, heavy and yet weightless in the grasp of his own magic.
And that, that was the difference.
"They're arranging a party for me," said Harry, by way of greeting, as he slid into the booth, sitting across the table from Tonks.
By no conscious effort, it seemed that he and her had fallen into a routine. Unless something got in the way, they'd meet up in Hogsmeade together every Saturday, Harry either arriving with his schoolmates or, if it was not a permitted weekend as it was then, by sneaking out underneath his invisibility cloak.
Tonks, it seemed, and her proclivities for rule-breaking, had finally rubbed off on him.
"And hello to you too," Tonks said, with a smile playing at her lips. "You know, most people would be excited about this."
Harry offered her a look.
"I'm well aware that you're not normal," she teased. "Might be an idea to pretend to be, though?"
"Because if you truly hated the idea, you'd've dismissed it immediately, rather than telling me about it," replied Tonks, before she sipped her butterbeer, the foam lining her upper lip. "People that don't want to do things, don't talk about doing things. People that don't want to do things, don't do things. It seems to me that you want to do things."
Harry allowed himself the time it took to drink his butterbeer to absorb her statement.
"Neville asked me to go," explained Harry.
Tonks grinned. "And you just want to do whatever you could for the beloved Boy-Who-Lived?"
"Something like that," he replied. Sirius' secrets were not his to tell, and Neville and his…kinship was much too focused upon that to explain otherwise. "I owe him a favour is all."
"Well, if it gets you out in the real world, with real people, I'm all for it," said Tonks. Harry's eyes looked around the pub, and he noticed that he was not the only student to sneak out of the castle. There were a fair few seventh years escaping the torment of revision for a few hours, but they were not alone.
"Are you not real, Dora?" asked Harry. Tonks looked at him oddly, and he quickly realised he'd called her Dora; a name he hadn't used since December.
Tonks marched through it without a hint of awkwardness.
"Of course I'm not real, Harry. Whatever gave you the idea that I was?" Tonks asked, her voice laced in faux-grandiosity.
"You're real annoying,"
"Look at you," Tonks said, her arms gesturing wildly at him. "You become mates with Neville Longbottom and all of a sudden you're Billy Big Bollocks. God, if you could see yourself now."
Harry laughed, and so did Tonks.
"You are going though, aren't you?" she asked, after they'd finished. Harry nodded.
"Probably," Harry said, before laughing. "I haven't been to the dorms for ages. Might see if they look any different now."
Tonks offered him a soft look, her hair becoming a warm blonde. "You're an odd one," she said, her hair returning to violet. "What are the Gryffindor dorms like anyway?"
"You don't already know?" asked Harry, surprised.
"Contrary to what you might think, I didn't get around that much," replied Tonks, her words sharp though her eyes kind. "Well, that's not actually true. It tended to be a bit too dark to get a feel for the décor, if you catch my drift?"
Harry's nose scrunched in distaste.
"Don't give me that look," Tonks said, barrelling onward, grinning up at him. "I'm sure you learned all about that with your night-time rendezvous with Fleur."
Harry suppressed a flinch at the sound of her name, his leg beginning to fidget beneath the table.
Tonks caught the movement, despite his best efforts, her hand coming to rest atop his. "Sorry, I'm a dick," she said. Harry flashed a half-smile. For a moment the colour fell from her features, her hair becoming muted and her eyes a deep grey. "This isn't much fun to talk about, is it?"
Harry shook his head. "No," he said. "But we're friends. We have to be able to talk about these sorts of things, like you said."
"I know," said Tonks, softly. She drank from her glass, offering herself a moment's composure. Harry mirrored her action. Tonks caught the eye of the barman, wordlessly asking for another round for the pair of them.
Silence hung in the air for a moment. Harry drew breath as if to speak, but stopped himself.
Tonks gave him a significant look.
"We never, y'know, did 'it'," said Harry, though he did not understand why, or how, he was speaking. He felt as though his mouth was no longer his own. "I mean, we slept together, but we didn't sleep together."
"Right," said Tonks, with a swallow. A smile flashed, briefly, before confusion returned to her face. "Why?"
Tonks' eyes widened.
"You don't have to answer that if you don't want to," she added, in haste.
Oddly though, Harry's mouth still did not belong to him.
"I didn't think I was ready for it," said Harry. "I really liked her, obviously, but I dunno. It didn't feel right."
"Then you're a far braver person than most," offered Tonks, softly.
"She was really nice about it," continued Harry, his eyes not meeting Tonks'. "Never pushed me into doing anything I didn't want to."
"I can't imagine it's a position she's used to being in," said Tonks, with a laugh.
Harry laughed, too. "She said as much, to be fair."
"Still," asserted Tonks, with a smile. "I'm proud of you."
Thankfully, that was the end of that. They finished their drinks quickly, leaving the pub behind.
"There's actually something I wanted to talk to you about," Tonks said, as they met the warm spring air of the village. Harry grinned at her words, as they almost always precluded a film that would improve his life immeasurably or a piece of music he'd felt like he'd been waiting his whole life to hear. "You know how you were supposed to meet Mum, ages ago?" Harry nodded. "Well, every time I see her, she keeps inviting you 'round for tea and she's stopped taking no for an answer."
"So that's who you got that from then?" Harry asked. Her words made his chest lighter, though. He didn't know why, but he liked that Tonks had told her mum about him. "I'd love to go, and I've been meaning to for ages, anyway."
There was a flash of panic in Tonks' pretty eyes. Harry watched as her mind was turned back for a moment to Christmas day, though it disappeared just as quickly as it came.
"With any luck, It'll actually happen this time, and I won't end up halfway up a mountain freezing my arse off," Harry said quickly, with hopes of diffusing the tension between them. Tonks laughed immediately, shocked, so he liked to think it worked. "What day were you thinking of, anyway?"
"In a week on Thursday?"
Harry nodded. Truthfully, with the utter lack of structure his life held, he found it difficult to keep track of the days most of the time. Tonks had become the only constant. "I think that should be alright," he said, before stopping himself. "Actually, there's this thing for the tournament then. They're inviting the champions to meet with some people from the ministry." Harry frowned. "But Dumbledore said it wasn't mandatory, so I'm definitely not going."
"Are you likely to miss out on something important?" Tonks asked.
Harry shook his head. "Apparently they'll announce some details for the final task, but I can just find out later," he told her. "Besides, I really want to meet your family, Dora."
"Well that's good," Tonks told him, before grabbing his arm and pointing them toward the bookstore. "They really want to meet you too."
The thought brought him a warmth far beyond Scotland's meagre sun.
The Gryffindor dorms were as they always were, both in their appearance and in the feelings they inspired within Harry, as he approached them for the first time in months. They were as loud as ever too, perhaps louder even, with the party in full swing.
Harry had to wonder, as he walked up the tower, if Neville had managed to bribe the staff so that they wouldn't break it all up, as they were not subtle. Despite the sky only just having inked black, there were already couples wrapped up in one-another all along their floor, some even making noisy use of the disused neighbouring classrooms. As he walked by, some offered him a brief nod, but most had other, more interesting matters to contend with.
The Fat Lady rolled her eyes upon seeing him, surly as ever. "You again?" she asked. Harry nodded, which brought on a deep sigh. "Password?"
The door swung open. "Get in then," rushed the portrait. "They've been waiting for you."
And, where once the door filled his eyeline, there was then a banner, upon which was written 'Harry Potter, Hogwarts Champion, Hero of the People'. There was an artful depiction of himself battling the Horntail, too, with the dragon's wings animated and it's maw breathing fire.
Neville stood beneath it. Harry flicked his eyes around the room, to see that it was packed to the rafters with faces he'd known for years by then, yet as they were, they looked like strangers all over again.
A jolt of panic shot through him, but it was not as overwhelming as it might once have been.
Either by ignorance or by kindness Harry was not sure, the assembled mass did not make a great deal of fuss at his arrival, though Neville did rush over to greet him, and in doing so nearly tipped over a coffee table.
"You've made it," Neville called out, over the din of conversation. He patted Harry on the arm jovially, the drink in his hand sloshing as he did so. "I didn't really expect you to, to be honest."
Harry shrugged, his eyes moving back to the banner. Neville followed his gaze.
"Too much?" Neville asked, nodding toward the dragon. "I asked Dean to keep it low-key, but he got a bit carried away."
"It's really cool," Harry told him in earnest. While he and Diggory were on slightly-friendlier terms, the notion that he and only he was their school's champion was vindicating, in a petty way. "I never knew that Dean was into that sort of thing."
Neville folded his free arm across his chest. "I suppose you never went to our Quidditch games either," mused Neville. Harry had seen the murals that Gryffindor had taken to cheer on Neville and the rest of their team, but he'd assumed they'd been commissioned, not drawn by his roommate. Harry searched the crowd, to see if he could pick Dean out, and he did, though he appeared in focused conversation with Ginny Weasley, the difference in their height making the sight almost-comical. "I'm glad you came, anyway."
"So what is it that you do at these sorts of things?" Harry asked. Neville laughed. "What?"
Neville shook his head. "Nothing, I just don't think I've ever been asked that at a party," he replied. "You know, I'm not really sure what you do. That tends to take care of itself." He pulled his wand from his pocket, and with a mutter summoned a butterbeer into Harry's hands. "I'd say you could try and chat someone up, but honestly with what I've heard, you really don't need any more attention in that department."
Harry nodded; he was not wrong. "Probably not."
"You didn't actually go out with Gwenog Jones, did you?" Neville asked quietly, leaning in.
Harry shook his head. "I barely know who that is," he said, before quietly adding. "I've met her sister though."
Neville looked at him like he'd grown another head. "There's just some things about you that I'm never going to get," he said. "I reckon the feeling is probably mutual." He searched the crowd, seeking out and then finding Katie Bell. "Now, I need to make sure my girlfriend doesn't hate me. Have fun!"
Quickly, Neville rushed off, leaving Harry alone amongst the crowd. His chest ached a little, as his distraction left, though he did not quite yet rush for the door.
Thankfully, he was not alone for too long, as Hermione soon snapped into the space the boy had once occupied. She bundled him into a tight hug that caught him by surprise, and he almost ruined her sweater with his butterbeer, his glasses nearly whipped off his face by her hair.
"I never expected you to come!" Hermione said, echoing Neville's words.
"I could say the same to you," Harry returned.
Hermione caught his eye. "I'm not quite the misanthrope you are, you know. I actually leave the library on occasion. I have friends and unlike you, I live here."
Harry raised his hands in surrender. "I never said you didn't," he assured. "How's things?"
She sighed. "Fine, I think. Well, I know," she stumbled. "I'm meeting Viktor's parents in a week."
Harry blinked back at her, shocked that she'd thought to tell him this. "Are you worried?"
"Yes Harry, of course I am," Hermione told him, her eyes flashing with irritation. "What if I say the wrong thing?" She tugged at the hem of her sweater absently. "I'll be speaking Bulgarian and I'm barely fluent and what if they don't like me?" Her tugging became so frenetic that she pulled a thread loose. "I mean, it's entirely reasonable. They could just look at my face and hate it, you know?"
She took a deep breath, her eyes closing for a moment, before looking at Harry again.
"Thanks Harry," she said.
"I'm not sure I did anything."
She waved him away. "That's been on my mind for a while; you helped it get out," Hermione said. "You're quite easy to talk to, considering everything."
Harry thought she simply found it easy to talk. He didn't say that, though.
"So how come Fleur isn't here with you, then?" Hermione asked, quick to question him. "I would've thought an evening being the centre of attention would be something she'd look forward to."
Harry frowned. "We're not together any more."
Her eyes softened, her hand leaving the hem of her top to pass over his arm, consoling. "Are you alright?" she asked. "I'm sorry that I brought it up."
"It's fine," Harry told her quickly. "I'm not happy about it, but I think it had to happen. We're still friends, but it just didn't work out."
Curiosity burned inside her eyes, and for a moment Harry was all too aware of everyone that surrounded him, but thankfully she did not inquire further.
"I have friends, by the way," Harry argued, her words having turned in his head in the silence. Sure, one of them was a deer, but they did exist.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yes, the main one being the girl that broke your heart." Harry clenched his jaw; she caught him doing so out of the corner of her eye. "It's true though, isn't it?"
"You sound like Fleur."
"Oh, so that's why you broke up?" Hermione asked, already accusational. "Still, Tonks?"
The sound of her voice turned some of the nearby heads, and for a moment Harry had a strange feeling of deja vu, arguing with Hermione in-front of people, though he quickly grew too irritated to care. "No," he said, quietly though clearly. She did not shift, even after his assurance. "God, why does no-one believe me when I say that."
"Well, why else would you be friends with her?" Hermione asked.
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Yes Hermione, why would you be friends with someone who rejected you?"
Her cheeks tinted red. "That's not the same," she told him. "I was nowhere as infatuated with you as you are with her, and we barely see each-other whereas you're with her all the time."
"You could visit me too, you know," Harry said. "You know where I am."
"But with Tonks, she doesn't have to seek you out, does she?" Hermione asked, undeterred. To his eyes, it didn't seem as though either of them truly searched for the other; they just met in the middle. "If she was anyone else, would you ever put in the effort you do now?"
"It's not effort," Harry said. "It's never an effort."
And, perhaps that was all the more telling, spoke a quiet part of Harry's mind, but he did not allow himself to dwell on it.
"Fine!" Hermione exclaimed at him, huffing out a breath. "If you don't think it's a problem, then neither do I. It's really none of my business."
In spite of her own words, Hermione looked ready to continue her investigation, though thankfully Harry was reprieved of it by Neville returning, with Katie by his side and Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet hot on their heels.
Hermione slipped away the moment they arrived, and for a moment Harry weighed up the option of following over having a conversation with the four most popular people in their house.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, before Neville could begin to explain why he'd brought his teammates over, he and Katie peeled away, arm-in-arm, and then there were only two.
"God, I wish they'd realise they're in public," Angelina moaned, her eyes following Neville and Katie. "Do they really need to wear each-other's faces off in the middle of the common room like that?"
"They're hammered," Alicia said. She and Angelina were drinking water, and seemed to be the only ones there doing so. "They'll barely remember it by the morning."
"It's like they don't care about their career at all," Angelina said, before meeting Harry's eyes for the first time. "Sorry, that was rude. I'm Angie, and this Alicia; it's nice to finally meet you." She extended her hand to shake which Harry shook, slightly confused. "Congratulations on the tournament."
At once, it clicked. "You know we've spoken before, right?" Harry asked. "In my second year, you showed me how to get to the kitchens."
Angelina's eyes went wide. "That was you?"
She'd sat beside him at one mealtime and she was the first one, other than Dumbledore, to notice how much of a wreck they made him. She'd quietly showed him how to get in and shooed away the elves so that he'd be left alone. Harry grew half a foot that year, mostly because he didn't skip every other meal.
"Thanks for that," Harry said, with a small smile.
"It's basically an open secret," Angelina told him, easily. "You'd have found out eventually." She looked to Alicia for a moment. "We haven't got much use out of it, anyway. Six years here and we still can't get healthy food served." She folded her arms. "I've no idea how they expect us to be athletes when they serve roast dinner four days a week."
The pair soon disappeared into a conversation about Quidditch that Harry couldn't have followed if he wanted to and so he slipped away quietly, and with aims to leave the party entirely. He'd talked enough for one day, and it was better to get out before something went wrong.
Before he left though, he decided to check out his dorm again. He'd not been there in months, and while he'd moved everything he cared about, he wanted to make sure that his old roommates hadn't destroyed his bed with a plant or a bomb in his absence.
Upon his entry though, he found that someone was already sat upon his old bed, and whoever it was looked to be the only student in the tower actually doing their homework that night. And, what was most odd, was that Harry could not immediately place who they were.
Their eyes shot up at the sound of his entry, and even in the dim light of the room Harry could see panic begin to burgeon there.
"Hi," Harry said, with a stilted wave. "I think you're on my bed."
"Oh!" the boy exclaimed, shooting off of the bed as though it were alight. "Well, I suppose no-one ever told you, but with you being gone so long, everyone just assumed you'd left the house and so I took your bed." He gave an equally-awkward wave. "I'm Dillon Dunbar."
Harry nodded, realisation clicking in. Evidentially, he'd missed a great deal in his absence.
Dillon had a sister in the year above who he'd been close to, as far as Harry was aware, and so he'd not socialised much with the others in their year and certainly not with Harry. From what Harry could remember, back when he lived in the other dorm he'd been too quiet to get along with Lavender or Parvati, and not academic enough for Hermione.
"You don't mind, do you?" Dillon asked. "I can move out if you want."
Harry shook his head. "It's your place, not mine," he said, simply. "I hope you enjoy it more than I did."
Dillon nodded, settling back once more, only to stand up again.
"Can I ask you something?" he asked. Harry nodded. "How do you actually conjure things?" Dillon's eyes drifted toward his homework. "Because I've been trying for months now, and I still haven't got close."
"Hermione kept going on about you after the first task," Dillon admitted, upon watching Harry's expression change. "She said you helped her with it, and given you're here thought I'd ask."
"Sure," Harry said, settling himself on his old bed. He didn't feel comfortable there then; he felt as though he was intruding, but he felt more comfortable in their conversation than any he'd find elsewhere there. "Is there anything in particular you're struggling with?"
"I just don't get it," Dillon said, reaching onto the bed and grabbing his wand. "I can conjure flames and snakes, but I don't get how to conjure real stuff."
The snake-conjuring spell was an odd quirk of magic; a rare gift of Arithmancy. Through some miracle, the spell required almost no wand motion and its pronunciation was forgiving even enough so that even the most novice wizard could speak successfully. Visualisation provided no great obstacle either, for the human mind knew it all too well.
"The way I like to think about Transfiguration is it's an expression of yourself," Harry began. "I know Professor McGonagall describes it as a science, and a lot of it is, but it's still magic, and magic in all of its aspects is art. With Charms, every charm is the same as the next, but Transfiguration isn't like that." Harry silently conjured fire from his wand; not the great swaths of Helian fire he'd brought forth in times before, but the same fire that every one of his classmates had been taught. "This flame is my flame. If you were to conjure yours, it would be similar but it wouldn't be the same."
Dillon's brow furrowed. "I don't understand what you're saying."
Harry smiled, before he silently directed the fire to snuff itself out "Every time you conjure something, outside of just creating a new object, you're putting a little bit more of you too. Even if it's only for a moment, there's a little bit more of you in the world," Harry explained. "So this might sound stupid, but every time you conjure something, imagine it's yours. Your flame, your snake, your…kettle, whatever it may be." Harry met his eyes. "What do you want to conjure?"
Dillon didn't hesitate. "I've been trying to conjure ropes, but I haven't had much luck," he told Harry, quietly.
Harry raised his eyebrows. That was taught for NEWTs, not OWLs. "That's quite a difficult spell."
Dillon shrugged. "I want to be an Auror," he said, softly. "I definitely need to know it for that."
Harry grinned, unabashed. "I'm glad you said that," he said. "The first step in any transfiguration is always wanting it to happen. You want to become an Auror?" Harry pointed toward the other boy's wand. "Show me then."
Dillon tilted his head, a question in his eyes.
"Just trust me," Harry said, his words even surprising himself. "Let your magic show who you are."
Dillon stood, nodding to himself. "I'll try."
He took a deep breath, and pointed his wand toward a bedpost, and spoke through gritted teeth, "Incarcerous."
In that moment, Harry didn't know what he expected, but he knew he definitely didn't expect two light-blue, razor-thin wires to shoot from his wand and wrap around the bedpost with a force so great it warped the wood. Harry worried first that he'd rip the whole bed apart, but thankfully the ropes left just as quickly as they came, leaving Dillon panting, exhausted, but with a bright grin on his face.
"I didn't expect that to work," Dillon said, in-between gasps of air. For a moment, Harry felt like he was Dumbledore, walking in on him working himself into exhaustion in his room. It was odd to be on the other side, he found, but he couldn't ignore the pride he felt in seeing the other boy succeed. "I've never even got close before."
"Now every time you doubt yourself, just look at that bedpost," Harry said, pointing to the damage he'd accidentally incurred. "It only gets easier from here. One day, if you work hard, you'll be able to do it silently."
"I doubt that," Dillon said, but his smile couldn't leave his face.
Under Harry's watch, Dillon continued to practise the spell. Each effort yielded more control over the ropes, and soon he could conjure them as long or as short as he wished. Dillon held no control over the strength of the rope yet but that would come in time, Harry knew.
"Thank you." Dillon said, after his final effort, meeting Harry's eyes. By then, he looked ready to slump into his bed. "I know you do stuff way more complicated than this and it was probably boring for you, but I'm honoured that you helped me."
Harry smiled back. It really didn't matter whether he was discovering something brand new, or seeing a first-year spell for the millionth time, he'd never grow tired of Transfiguration in all of its forms. It'd fascinated him from the moment he'd learned it existed; it was an evergreen love.
"Let me know if you want any more help," Harry said, finding that he truly meant it, too. "I can't promise I'll always be great at helping, or that it'll come as quickly as it did today. But, you did something that barely anyone our age can, and I'm sure the rest will come soon too."
He thought for a moment on a future that included him teaching Transfiguration to others, just as the Headmaster had done for him. Speaking in passion, rather than obligation. Helping the ones who, like him, might've slipped through the cracks otherwise.
He found he liked the idea more than he would've expected. He liked it a lot, in truth.
Let me know what you thought!
Again, thanks to Raph for the excellent support and beta work, and Nauze for the kind words.
If you like my writing, feel free to check my Harry/Fleur work 'With Whom To Dance?', which I've recently started posting.