June finally arrived and with it came the finals. Harry scanned through his notes early in the morning before he made his way with Ron, Hermione, and Alex to the defense room.

Once everyone had arrived, Splikvin appeared and all talk, nervous as it had been, ceased.

"This final will have two main parts," she began, "A written exam, and a practical exam. You will take the written exam first; you have sixty minutes to finish and you may begin now."

The tests appeared along with the anti-cheating quills. Harry began as Splikvin turned the hourglass over. The test was five pages long, with questions on both dueling and dangerous creatures.

Harry worked through it at a steady pace, thinking each of his answers through before writing them down. Some of the questions were multiple choice, others were labeling diagrams, sketches, or short answer. The last page was full of essay questions. He found them quite nasty and similar to the essay questions Snape but on his exams.

Harry finished with what he guessed to be seven minutes, so he went over his answers again.

Sevvie meowed from his perch on Splikvin's shoulder, a habit of his that annoyed the Defense Professor, announcing the end of the hour. "Put your exams face-down on my desk, then line up by the door." Splikvin told them, they obeyed silently.

The tests disappeared and Splikvin led the class outside and to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. "Do not worry, the place we are going to go has been searched and secured, nothing is in there that I don't know about." She said, then turned to the sink and hissed in Parseltongue, "Open." The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets was revealed. "Hop in," she said calmly, "One at a time, wait at the bottom." Alex smiled at Harry and went in first, once she'd gone, the others lined up. As Harry slid down, he realized that it was clean and lit by floating globes, like the ones Helga had taught him to make last summer.

He landed on his feet and waited for the others. Splikvin was the last; she came sliding down on her feet. "Follow me." She led them through the caverns and to the door which led to the main chamber, she stopped there. "For the practical exam, there will be three sections: one without your wand, one with your wand, and one with a partner of your choice. No two people may have the same partner. We will go in alphabetical order, starting with Susan Bones." The Hufflepuff girl came forward and Splikvin led her into the main room.

Harry waited as the others came and went. All of them were sweaty and pink-faced; making him wonder what awaited him. Finally, Splikvin called his name and he followed her through the door.

Once it closed, he saw that the Chamber was foggy and some of the tunnels leading away had been blocked off by fiery 'x's. "Your first part of the exam will be without your wand. It is defense only; you must rely on the surrounding environment and yourself to make it from one end of the room to the other." She hesitated, "I also ask that you do not use your elemental abilities, Parsloz magic, or animagus forms during this final."

Harry nodded. "I understand Professor."

"Then you may begin." She stepped backwards and was swallowed by the shadows as parts of the fog lifted. Harry took a breath, and walked towards the beginning.

He kept his eyes and ears open, the only sound was that of his footsteps. Suddenly, something whizzed past his head. Harry ducked and rolled as beanbags soared brutally through the air. He heard something click beneath him and felt his elbow press a button. Harry looked up and saw a large stone block falling straight above him.

He log-rolled out of the way and saw a wall. He checked above it for any traps then made a run for it. He dove behind it as more bean bags came pelting by. One clipped his ankle, and hard. He marveled at the force behind such innocent looking things. Returning to the task at hand, he ran to another wall, still dodging the ferocious beanbags. Suddenly, the bean bags stopped and seven dummies appeared instead.

They charged at all angles towards him, holing both wands and what looked like knives. Harry couldn't help thinking: And how did she get Dumbledore to let her do all this? as he ducked a punch of a dummy. He rolled under its grip and jumped out of the way of a stunner. He bolted towards the end of the room, remembering that it was defense only for this part. With relief he reached the end and wondered what he was supposed to do now.

"You've finished, Mr. Potter." Splikvin's voice said as she came out of the fog. "Now you will take the second part of the gauntlet, follow me."

Harry followed her to one of the tunnels, she returned his wand. "Now that you have passed the evasion form of defense, you will take the exam of the offensive form. There are markers leading you through this section, I ask that you do not wander from the trail. You will encounter many things, all of which you have seen before. There are several paths, each with different obstacles, but you need only to take one. There is a time limit, so take advantage of what time you have. Do not rush, but do not linger either. Good luck." With that she turned and vanished into the shadows again. Creepy, Harry couldn't help thinking.

He took a breath, regriped his wand, and then entered the tunnel. He allowed his eyes to adjust to the dim light cast by the torches and set off at a steady jog, listening. The now familiar whoosh of beanbags alerted him and he quickly threw up a protective shield around himself to block the physical objects.

He soon came to the first fork in the tunnels; he jogged down the central tunnel and ended up having to block several stunners that shot out of the walls before he reached a turn. The left passage was crossed off, so he went right. There was an eerie silence that was only broken by his footsteps and breathing.

Then, a roar met his ears—one he recognized as the sound of a chimera. Sure enough, one of the beasts appeared around the next corner.

It was about four times the size of Harry, with a lion's head, tail and forelegs; a dragon's snout, spines, chest, and fire breathing abilities; along with a goat's shoulders and hind legs. Harry dodged a spurt of flame and the lashing claws. He worked his way to the chimera's blind spot, behind it, since its shoulders got in the way. As the chimera turned frantically around, trying to see him, Harry fired a stunner at the glowing crystal spike on the back of its neck. When it hit, the chimera froze and Harry moved on. As he walked down the next few tunnels, he passed a manticore, another chimera, five traps, and three dummie ambushes.

Finally, he reached the end, the main chamber, where Splikvin awaited him. "Alright Mr. Potter, you will receive you scores for these two parts later. But for now, please wait outside."

"Yes Professor." As Harry turned to leave, he saw another figure appear. It was a tall man in his forties, with a hooked nose, short, greasy black hair, and a muscular build—Harry recognized him as Algor Snape. "Professor!" Harry warned.

Splikvin turned around and froze. "Treacherous girl," Algor spat, "You've broken your word." Suddenly, Snape appeared next to Algor who got out his wand and pointed it at the head Slytherin, "Avada-". How'd Snape get here? Harry wondered, Both of them?

Splikvin paled and got out her wand, wrenching her eyes shut. "Riddikulus" she growled. The two Snapes vanished, to be replaced by the wisp of smoke that was a defeated boggart. "Damn creatures," she muttered, "Must have gotten out of the tunnels. Go on Potter, let the next student in." Harry left quickly, surprised by the shape the boggart had taken. If Snape being killed because of her was Splikvin's worst fear, what was Snape's?

While the other students entered and came back out again, Harry thought about partners. He knew Ron and Hermione were going in together, and so were Neville and Luna, and Alex and Susan. "Hey Draco," he called quietly, the Slytherin Prefect came over. "Want to be partners?" Harry asked.

Draco grinned. "I was going to ask you that as well."

Harry grinned back. "Alright, partners then?"

Draco nodded. "Partners." When the last student, Blaise, finally came back out, so did Splikvin. "You have one minute to find a partner and line up." She told them.

Quickly pairs were made and they assembled side-by-side with their partners in a line. "In this last part of the exam, you will enter together, and make your way through several rooms. There will be the exact same conflicts for each pair, but the rooms will automatically switch in order. There will be no illegal magic and you may not attack your partner, or else you will receive a zero on every part of the exam, both written and practical. Understood?"

"Yes Professor." They answered.

She nodded. "Very well. Hermione and Ron, come on in." Harry's two friends followed the professor while the other students waited anxiously. Harry and Draco meanwhile, quizzed each other on what they'd covered in DADA, listed the spells that might be helpful, and stretched—just in case.

After seven more pairs had come and gone, Draco and Harry entered. The chamber had been changed so that there were walls closing off certain areas, with doors being the only ways in and out. The two of them approached the first door, got out their wands, and went in.

This room contained several chimeras, sinkholes, and fog. Quickly they stunned the rampaging chimeras and made it out. The second room housed a dementor. Harry conjured a patronous, and then realized that the dementor was changing shape. Instead, he pictured a popped balloon whizzing about and said, "Riddikulus!" The boggart disappeared when Draco also said the incantation.

About twenty dummies awaited them in the next room. Harry cast a shield while Draco fired disarming spells, then they switched. "Patroni on three?" Harry suggested, ducking a curse. Draco nodded, and three seconds later they fired their own solid patroni. They leapt onto the stag's and hippogriff's backs and proceeded to shoot disarming spells from there. Harry used the butt of his wand to knock three dummies on the sides of their heads, causing them to fall into 'unconsciousness', as Draco finished off the remained two.

Once every dummie was down, they dismissed their patroni and proceeded to the next room. It was a bare, circular room of stone with only one other person in it, Splikvin. "Is this the end?" Harry asked.

She nodded. "Arm yourselves. On the count of three, begin. One..." I wonder if Hermione almost fainted, knowing she had to attack a teacher, Harry thought, "Two…" Wonder if Ron would've laughed or not. "Three."

"Stupefy!" Harry exclaimed; Splikvin easily sidestepped it. The two students went on opposite sides of their professor, both firing stunners, disarming spells, and shields when needed. Splikvin barely kept their spells off of her. She's not as fast as us, Harry realized, and fired off a patronous. Draco followed suit, and Splikvin now had four things surrounding her.

As they backed her into a corner, Splikvin revealed her trick: patience. The second thing they'd learned from her. She fired a reflector charm on herself and the patroni as Harry fired a stunner. It bounced off her shield then went of the stag's to hit Draco. As Harry raised his wand to remobilize his partner, Splikvin shot a stunner at the hippogryph which reflected and hit Harry. She accio'd their wands and then patroni vanished. "Cornering your opponent is as dangerous for you as it is for them." She said. "Finitae incantantum." They were able to move and she retuned their wands to them; a second door appeared. "Take this; you may return to your common room, go outside, or remain and wait for everyone to finish. There is an exit staircase to the main level through the statue's mouth, use it if you wish and your scores will be given to you in a few days." The two nodded and exited, Harry decided to wait and Draco left to study.

(A/N: My apologies for making the DADA final description so long, I just couldn't write it as short as the others.)

None of Harry's other finals took as long as the DADA one had. The written exam for Charms was based on theory, which was something Harry now understood well, as well as describing the wand movements, incantations, and effects of the things they'd learned. For the practical exam, they were given models of houses and told to decorate them as they would at a certain holiday. Harry chose Halloween and decorated it with miniature 'giant' pumpkins, black and orange floating chandeliers, animated bats, and various furniture to suit the occasion.

Potions wasn't as long as it normally was for Harry. He figured that since he actually knew what Snape was talking about made it easier, if not enjoyable. The written exam was extremely long, filled with essay questions that made Harry grind his teeth in annoyance, and he had to describe the properties of certain ingredients, sketch them, who discovered them, and list at least five potions that they were used in as well as when. For the practical part, they were required to make two potions: a stomach soothing solution, and an extreme burn healing paste.

At lunch people were talking about their own finals with those who'd already taken them; then they were off to their last. The sky was cloudless, sunny, and bright, with cheerful breezes twirling about as Harry and his friends made their way down to Hagrid's cabin. For their Care of Magical Creatures exam, Hagrid gave them two parts. The first was to properly feed and groom one of the twenty griffins there. The second was to find the sprites hidden nearby. Harry chose a black and silver griffin, but found that the griffin was restless, not hungry, and didn't like being cleaned. After half and hour of annoying care taking, Harry finally finished and began to look for the sprites. He was tempted to use his elemental abilities, but when Hermione gave him a 'don't-you-even-think-about-it' look, he squashed that idea. The forest sprites were found when they threw pinecones at his head in cheerful fun; Harry found the water sprites playing in a hidden spring, the two earth sprites had burrowed beneath the vegetable patch, and Harry found the shadow sprite lurking in Fang's shadow.

Thoroughly exhausted by his chasing of the shadow sprite, Harry went back to the castle with Alex for his final exam, Transfiguration. "Lucky," Alex teased, giving his hand a quick squeeze, "I have three more." Harry smiled wearily before the written exam began. It was also based on theory, as well as the inventors of several transforming spells and the pros and cons of certain spells. After his hour was up, Harry went into a separate room for the practical. His test was to first conjure a desk; he earned points for style, sturdiness, and efficiency. Then McGonagall told him to turn it into a dog, which was graded on its realistic behavior, then turned the dog into a mouse, which was graded on the same rubric. The mouse he then turned into a needle, and the needle he was told to turn into the desk he'd originally created. Once finished with that, he was told to banish it. Harry left feeling extremely satisfied with his performance and mentally thanked Mark and Salazar over and over.

For the last week of school, it was free time. They celebrated the end of homework, worried about their scores, talked about plans for the summer, and went outside to relax.

More than once Harry & Alex and Ron and Hermione were teased when seen sitting by the lake together; this earned the teasers several stinging hexes until the four were left alone.

Occasionally Harry and Ron would scrounge up some people to play a game of quidditch. They weren't divided by houses, but random selection, and more than once Harry was on the same team as Draco and other Slytherins. He got to try different positions, laughing along with everyone else whenever he messed up a hit or shot—which was often.

The houses also intermingled at meals. Sometimes Harry would join Draco at his house table, and Draco sometimes joined the Gryffindors, much to the surprise of several teachers. Soon enough, it was impossible to tell who was where and from what house and Dumbledore could be seen beaming nonstop.

Harry ended up doing well on every single one of his finals. He grinned when he saw that he got a 98 on his practical potions exam, and a 100 on the written; it must have killed Snape to do it. He actually beat Hermione in Charms, but didn't tell anyone about that.

Finally, the day to leave Hogwarts arrived. Harry wasn't leaving on the train this year, and the Dursleys wouldn't be picking him up for the first time since he'd come to Hogwarts. Instead, he would be teleporting home with Remus.

Harry saw all of his friends from the various houses off, taking a bit longer to say good bye to Alex, wished them good, safe summers, and waved until the train was gone from view. He then returned to the castle and packed his own belongings. He levitated his trunk down to the Great Hall where he waited for Moony. He thought while he sat patiently, and finally got out parchment, a quill, and a bottle of ink from his trunk. He wrote one sentence on the parchments. 'I live at The Hideaway about 60 miles outside London. Tallon P.' He sealed it and asked Hedwig to drop it off on Dumbledore's desk. She agreed with a trill, disappeared, and then came back just as Remus entered. "Ready Tallon?" he asked.

Harry nodded. "Yup." Together they disappeared. Sirius greeted them and Harry went up to his room to put his things away. While doing so, he took a look outside.

It was a partly cloudy and cool; a sharp contrast to the clear, scorching day it had been yesterday. As he stared out the window, he thought about all that had happened to him and to others in just one year; about how much he had changed, both mentally and physically, in just one year, about how much closer to fulfilling the prophecy he was in just one year. However, in all truth, he had no idea what this summer would bring. But whatever it was that life planned to throw at him this season, he promised himself that he'd be ready.

And he'd be waiting.


(A/N: Alas, another story ends and a new one shall begin. Again I thank all of my reviewers and all of my readers for coming with me, and enduring my bad spelling:) , all of this way. Don't worry, the sequel is in the process of being posted, though I'm working on the title, and I am now able to use spell checker! I hope I have not disappointed you in the plot, characters, and theme of my story, and I hope I do not disappoint you in the sequel to come. I wish you luck in your own writing and thank you again for your support, whether you made it known or not. A.S.Leif)

Here is the summary for the third installment:

It's the year after Harry's sixth, and it will be his deadliest and most dangerous yet. Voldemort has succeeded in gathering more followers than ever before, threatening to throw all into darkness once more, and the Order gains new members of its own. Harry has identified the 'Power the Dark Lord knows not' but will it be enough? This year the Final Battle approaches and Harry will find friendships, challenge foes, make sacrifices, and meet his destiny head on.

Coming Soon.

by A.S.Leif

(Title not yet found)