Disclaimer: Harry is going to do many dangerous things and while they may be fun, I wouldn't advise you to copy him. If you do and you get hurt, well . . . that's just social Darwinism. If you cause someone else to get hurt then I expect that you may have to pay numerous fines and or spend time in jail.
Better living through Chemistry Revised
It all started with a book. Harry walked stiffly towards his relatives' house, Dudley and his 'friends' had been a bit . . . rougher then usual and Harry was having to take frequent breaks.
Leaning against a garbage can to catch his breath, something caught his eye. "What's this?" Harry pulled out a book and read the title. "'Better Living Through Chemistry?' Well, I suppose my life can't get any worse." Harry carefully tucked the book in one of the pockets of his massive hand me down jacket and continued home.
It would be several hours before he had a chance to examine his find, after he'd been tossed into his cupboard. For the next few hours, Harry used the thin sliver of light that intruded through the cracks to digest the contents of the book. And with one little book, the world changed.
The first ones to notice Harry's new hobby were his aunt and uncle.
"What's this then?" Vernon demanded as he lifted Harry's prized book out of reach.
"Book on chemistry," Harry said quickly.
"Who'd you steal it from?" Vernon growled.
"No one," Harry replied. "I found it in the trash."
"Likely story," Vernon grunted. "Get into the cupboard."
"Yes uncle," Harry said in defeat.
Petunia waited until the boy had left before offering a comment. "Vernon I think . . . I think we should let him keep his hobby."
"What, why?" Vernon growled.
"Isn't science the opposite of . . .of . . . freakishness?" Petunia whispered, as if the conversation might summon one of 'them.'
"I suppose," Vernon grudgingly agreed.
"We've tried beating it out of him," Petunia whispered. "And that didn't work. I can't think of anything else."
"Might keep the little bastard off the dole when he gets older too. " Vernon mused," Anything that keeps another leach away from my taxes is a good thing in my book."
"Exactly," Petunia agreed.
"BOY," Vernon yelled. "Get out here now."
"Yes uncle," Harry said hesitantly.
"We've decided to let you keep your book," Vernon said magnanimously. "So long as you do your chores and a few extra."
"Thank you uncle," Harry replied.
Time passed and Harry's skill grew by leaps and bounds. Every spare moment was spent in a makeshift laboratory he had cobbled together in a corner of the garden shed or in the public library. Little Whinging's library didn't have much of a chemistry or science section, but it was connected to the British interlibrary loan system. Harry's ever increasing laundry list for journal articles, textbooks and dusty research tomes were godsend to bored librarians trying to justify their existence, thus nobody minded when Little Whinging began to borrow more chemistry books from the big libraries than all the rest of Surrey combined. Harry's other ally turned out to be Mr. Kertz, the science teacher at his school, who happily spend long hours after class explaining everything he knew about chemistry, which was plenty. The once promising, bright Oxford student, had to abandon his dream in science to make a living at this nowhere school, teaching students who couldn't care less. For him, Harry was the only one who ever shared his childhood passion.
Harry's first break came when a particular sturdy ant colony invaded aunt Petunia's roses. None of the available pesticides worked, or if they did, they took out the roses as well or left ugly residues on the leaves.
"Harry, can't you do something about these monster-ants? It is bad enough that we have to endure the foul smell from your lab all the time. Isn't it time that you try to do something useful?" Petunia yelled in anger and frustration.
"I'd like to try, Aunt Petunia, but I'd need a few chemicals for that – nothing expensive, but I can't really buy such things even if I had any money. You know, they wouldn't sell to anyone underage." Harry replied in his most innocent voice. His supplies so far had been refined household chemicals. For example, drain cleaner is mostly sodium hydroxide, but it has added color and odor to discourage drinking and enzymes to accelerate the solution of organic matter. This extra stuff tended to spoil Harry's experiments and required him to spend a lot of time on purification, incidentally teaching him a valuable skill that would help him a great deal in his future.
"Hmm... oh well. Make me a list and I'll talk with Vernon about it." Petunia said, knowing that she was grasping for straws here.
Harry on the other hand thought that he had licked the problem already and was just using this opportunity to advance some of his other projects. A week later and after receiving a few small glass jars containing red phosphor, ethylene oxide, ... and other things that no 9 year old should ever lay their hands on, Harry placed a few small cotton balls soaked with 3 drops of a thick, brown liquid near the roots of Petunia's roses and the ants were no more. That made him the hero in the Dursley household ... for about two seconds.
"Hey freak," Dudley yelled at his cousin, annoyed by Harry's success.
"What is it Dudley?" Harry asked with a sigh.
"Why don't you look at me when I talk to you," Dudley growled.
"You tell him Duds," one of Dudley's toadies cheered.
"I'm too busy to play with you at the moment Dudley," Harry said absently. "Why don't you go play with yourself."
"I said look at me when I talk to you," the large boy took a menacing step forward.
"I don't think you want to get any closer Dudley," Harry's voice hardened. "In fact, I don't think I want you anywhere near my glass. Some of these items took me forever to find."
"You can't tell me what to do," Dudley said belligerently. "I think it's time I showed you who's boss again. Boys, break his toys." Dudley said to the small gang of hangers on that surrounded him.
"Remember." Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a bottle of nasal spray. "I warned you."
"Wha?" Dudley felt a split second of confusion before his world dissolved into pain.
"What did you do to him?"
"Formaldehyde," Harry said with a yawn. "I think you might want to flush his eyes out with this." Harry tossed a small bottle to the other boy. "I also think you might want to tell him to leave me alone form now on."
"Wait till I tell my parents," Dudley gasped.
"Thought you were more of a man then that Dudders," Harry laughed. "Then again you did bring a few friends with you to deal with little ol' me." Harry's voice hardened, "listen very carefully. If you do anything that causes damage to my laboratory, I'll do something very unpleasant to you. I don't care what else you do, I don't care if you act like your normal boorish self anywhere but here. If you threaten my lab in any way, well . . ." Harry waved his spray bottle in the blinded boy's direction. "you will regret it!"
Things were looking up. Dudley kept his distance and Harry was not the least bit surprised that Petunia asked him for more favors. In return for less chores, more time in the lab and extra contraband, Harry developed better fertilizers, bug repellents, fungicides, weed killers, etc. His crowning achievement was a rose, with ultra bright, yellow petals, that won Petunia multiple awards at various gardening shows. Little did Petunia know that Harry had actually spliced a gene from the Aequorea Victoria jellyfish into her rose that produced yellow fluorescences, a feat that should have been impossible with the poor tools of Harry's lab.
The owner of Little Whinging's sole nursery did however became suspicious of Petunia's fortune. Not impressed by her claim to two green thumbs, he began to investigate.
"Harry, may I have a word with you?", said a middle aged man in a business suit as Harry was leaving the library.
"Why... well yes, if it doesn't take too long. I'm a bit late for dinner, you know." Harry replied while wondering what to make of the stranger with the fake smile.
"All right then, I can walk with you to Privet drive, if you don't mind." the stranger replied a little too prepared. "Oh, I'm sorry. How rude of me. I should have told you who I am first. I'm Art Short and I own Whinging Plantland. Your aunt is one of my more, ah, memorable customer, you see." Harry didn't, but that didn't stop Art.
Harry tried to read the man's face, but not having dealt with any business types in his life so far, Harry couldn't get much out of it.
"You see, we both know that your Aunt isn't a Gertrude Jekyll, but yet she impressed us all lately. I was wondering how until my dear friend Mr. Kertz told me a little about you."
Harry very much doubted that Mr. Kertz had any friends, let alone dear ones, but the connection made sense and Harry quickly figured out where Mr. Short was headed. While Mr. Short took his sweet time to get there, Harry was busy calculating how much was in it for him.
"... and so you see that my preposition could be very beneficial for both of us." The sudden silence startled Harry. Evidently, he was supposed to say something.
"Ah, hmm,... so if I understood you correctly, you want me to give you my formulas in return for what amounts to the bus fare to London, . . . one way?" Inwardly, Harry smiled. He knew that he was good at this game. He didn't know why, but he came to trust his intuition about making deals. Petunia was hooked and, if he had liked her, he would have felt guilty of extortion. But now he realized that he had set his sights way too low. Mr. Short had connections and resources and besides, there were always other garden supply companies.
What followed was a very lopsided negotiation between a 9 year old and a seasoned entrepreneur, who ended up getting the short end of a huge deal. But I would take him years to figure this out. Mr. Short's new lines of HP gardening products took off like a rocket, but he always found himself missing some critical ingredient at a critical time that had to be bought from you-know-who for a pretty penny. Harry ended up with another lab, two assistants, several patents to his name, but assigned to Whinging Plantland and a nice bank account, none of which the Dursley's knew about.
Life was definitely looking up. Dudley wasn't an issue anymore. Petunia was eating out of his hand, school was a bit more fun and his chores consisted now entirely out of lab work. Only uncle Vernon resisted his move from the cupboard to the spare bedroom.
"Damn Yanks. Titantium nighty, harrumph. Why can't they make drills the way God meant them to be made." grumbled Vernon, who was in an extremely foul mood. Ever since he came back from work, he would sulk and complain. Harry knew to keep a low profile at times like this, but his ears perked when Vernon mentioned a chemical. This was probably this first time ever, so he kept listening from a safe distance.
"BOY! Come here!" Vernon eventually yelled, so loud that the glasses in the cabinet rang.
This wasn't good. Not good at all. Harry took his time to get to the living room, his nasal spray at the ready in his pocket.
"Yes, uncle Vernon?" Harry whispered, trying to appear more intimidated than he actually felt.
"What do you know about this titantium nighty stuff?"
"You mean titanium nitrite? It is a very hard coating with good adhesion to steel that helps to prevent wear. Looks kind of goldish yellow and is pretty tough." Harry replied in a shy voice.
"Yes, that stuff. Its killing us! Grunnings is loosing a lot of business because we do not have a license to use it on our drills. You should try to invent something like that, instead of mucking with plant stuff all the time!" Petunia looked gravely wounded, but Harry found the problem intriguing. If he were to come up with something,...
"I will try to look into it, Uncle Vernon." Harry replied meekly.
It took Harry nearly two months to understand the problem and to come up with the outline to an sketch of a vague shadow of an hunch to an idea. There was a ton of literature on drills, steels, and coatings, but he knew that he needed something different. Drills are big business replete with many smart people with big labs and near infinite resources. What can an almost 10 year old do that hasn't been done before? But once Harry had an idea, he usually found a way to make the chemicals do what he wanted, if only he tried hard enough.
"U.. Uncle Vernon, do you have a moment?" Harry uttered one evening when he thought that his uncle was in a particular good mood.
"What is it, BOY?"
"I was thinking about your drill coating problem, but ... ah, but maybe you could make the drills out of a better material that wouldn't need to be coated? Have you considered Wootz steel? If you could process that into a Damascene steel drill, it could work, perhaps, maybe?"
"Bah humbug. Our scientist would have thought about that." said Uncle Vernon, dismissing Harry with an impolite gesture.
'Like hell they would' thought Harry on his way to the cupboard. It was a risky gamble. Vernon would mention this as his idea at work, and he would be roundly laughed out of the room. Nobody knew how to make Damascene steel for over 1300 years. That knowledge had died when the Indian mines ran out of the right ore to make Wootz steel. But Harry had an inkling that he may be able to do it. But for that, he needed a lot equipment and supplies...
"BOY! COME HERE! RIGHT NOW!" a purple Vernon shouted while nearly shattering the front door.
"Thought it was funny eh! Dr. Bofin nearly nearly had a heart attack from laughing too much when I mention your idiotic idea! Tried to make a fool out of ME! You'll see who had the last laugh here. You'll stay in the cupboard from now on. You hear me!", shouted a very irate Vernon.
So far so good, thought Harry, but now comes the hard part.
"But uncle Vernon, it can be done. I read it in this paper from a Russian scientist...", this was about as far as Harry got before seeing spinning stars from being slapped hard across the face. Harry retreated in pain to his cupboard, but he felt sure that the seed was planted. Now he had to wait. Vernon hated the Russians, and stealing their idea was just the thing that would appeal to him. Never mind that there is no such paper.
"Vernon,.. the boy, he is quite good with that science stuff, you know." whispered Petunia.
"But that woozzz, bah. It is complete nonsense. Can't be done!"
"but what if..."
The next morning saw a very quiet Vernon at the breakfast table. Nobody said a word. Even Dudley had the sense to keep his mouth, ...well full of food. Eventually, on his way out, Vernon asked Harry "What do you need?"
'YES!' thought Harry. Here comes phase III. If he had know how much labor it entailed, Harry probably would have never tried. But as it was, Harry had asked for access to the Grunnings laboratory. From May throughout summer, Harry's life became very intense. His day would start in the late evening with Vernon driving him to the Grunnings factory. He would work in the lab all night long while uncle Vernon would snore in his office. In the morning they would drive home. Harry would take a short break, and spend any spare minute outside of school in his lab or in the library. Often he would spend the entire weekend in the Grunnings lab, operating vacuum furnaces, melting steel, forging ingots, running tests, operating x-ray machines, cutting and polishing samples, looking at the screen of an electron microscope, and so on.
Harry was amazed that nobody caught them. Initially, He tried hard to cover his tracks, but eventually he didn't had time to change all the dials and switches back to the way they were. How could the Grunnings scientists not notice that their equipment was still warm in the morning? How could they not notice the metal filings on the floor? The dulled saw blades? The used crucibles? The missing raw materials?
Operating the bigger metal working machines was also hard physical labor: these things were designed for grown up men, not 10 year old kids. In the end, Harry had enough muscles to take on Dudley easily, if that were ever an issue.
June came and went. So did July. Three months of exceedingly intense mental and physical labor had their effect on Harry. But Harry was excited by the steady progress. At times he had the feeling that he could talk to the glowing steel, tell it what to do. Sense its composition. Feel its micro structure. This guided him towards his goal.
Uncle Vernon was about to give up. Truth be told, Harry was surprised that he lasted this long. Now he had only until the end of August. But then, three days before his time was up, he had it in his hand. At 4:33 in the morning, he held a 10mm drill in his had. At first glance, it looked just like an ordinary metal drill. Grey steel, shaped like a drill bit. But upon closer inspection, you could see a faint pattern on its surface that followed the twist of the drill. Harry knew that these were zones enriched with carbon nano-tubes. They would resist wear and sharpen the bit during use. A carefully aligned matrix of steel grains, carbon nano-tubes, carbides, and various micro-crystals would all work together to preserve a sharp cutting edge. Harry felt the cold steel in his hand and he knew it would work as he expected it.
"Uncle Vernon," he woke up his uncle, who had been snoring deeply on a folding bed in his office.
"Wha... what is it, boy? Did you break anything? I..." this was as far as Harry let him. Then he silently handed him the drill.
"This is it?" stuttered his uncle, puzzled if he was still dreaming.
They drove home silently. Harry went to sleep, at long last. He didn't bother to wake up until some 12 hours later.
The Dursley's were celebrating. The new drill exceeded all expectations. The Grunnings scientists couldn't believe their instruments. This drill was at least ten times more durable than the best titanium-nitrite coated drill bit on the market.
There was no "thank you" from Vernon. But Harry didn't expect one. He knew what was coming: phase IV. Vernon was hooked. Knowledge is power. His Uncle had no clue how to make these drills, only Harry did. He was about to rule Privet Drive #4. But things unfolded a little differently than Harry expected.
One pleasant late October afternoon, Harry found himself home alone after school when the doorbell rang.
"Hello Harry, may I come in?" said an elderly gentlemen through the half opened door.
"Sure, please do. Would you like some tea?" Harry found himself saying, which surprised him. He wasn't in the habit of letting in strangers. But somehow, this fellow seemed rather friendly. Like a grandfather bearing presents or Santa Clause.
"I'm Christian Grunnings," the old man explained after Harry had offered him a seat in the living room.
"and I'm very impressed with your work." continued the old man.
"What work? My uncle..." protested Harry
"Rubbish! Your uncle is all prawn, no brain. He has his uses, but he couldn't tell a door nail from a steel pin. Harry, do you really think that I don't know what happens in my factory, late at night, all summer long?" his warm, knowing smile needed no answer.
"Harry, you are a true genius. What you have done is pure magic. None of my scientists could have done this. I had ordered them to journal your progress. There are surveillance cameras in the lab, you know. They'd spend all day long figuring out what you did at night."
Harry was shocked. He hadn't expected this, yet he instantly knew that he should have.
"And yet, they could not figure it out. They still can't." continued Mr. Grunnings. "I'm sure you know that." He added with a sly smile.
"Harry, do you know how much your invention is worth?" Christian continued in a more serious tone.
"I don't know." replied Harry truthfully.
"I'd say many tens of millions, perhaps hundreds." said the man. Then he unexpectedly paused. His face suddenly filled with genuine sorrow.
"I lost my wife and son in a tragic gas explosion nine years ago. My son was a good kid, a scientist like you will be. You remind me a little of him." Harry noticed the faraway look on this man's face. "Please pardon the ramblings of an sentimental old man. But you should know, I have no real family anymore. My distant relatives want only my money and they can't wait 'til I'm gone."
The old man took a break and Harry noticed that he really did look old and lost right now. He could see the shadow of an entrepreneur, but this man was very different from Mr. Short. Mr. Grunnings radiated honesty. Harry felt he could trust this man.
"I'd like to be your friend. Harry. I'd love if you could think of me a bit as if I were your godfather. And I would be here telling you this even if you had failed or if you were to sell your invention elsewhere."
Harry decided to trust this man. He had now a second, much larger bank account. Vernon had been instructed to treat Harry right and his life was looking great. No more second hand things. Dudley was occasionally allowed to carry Harry's briefcase to school for him.
Things once again fell into a predictable routine until a certain letter arrived . . .
"Thanks." Harry snatched the mail out of the post man's hands and quickly sorted through it. "Junk, junk, junk, junk, a letter with my name on it?" Harry spared it a glance before tossing it on the pile of junk mail. "Ah, here it is." Harry held it up in triumph. "My new industrial chemical supply catalog. I've been waiting weeks for this to arrive." Sure he couldn't officially buy anything in it, but nearly anything he'd like would appear in one of his labs. His assistants would take care of that.
"What's this, Harry?" Vernon's voice stopped Harry before he could escape to his lab.
"What?" Harry turned to look. "Oh that? Just some garbage."
"Be on your way then." Vernon had to fight to keep the pleased smile off his face. Looked like his years of hard scheming had paid off. Harry was hooked on science and his promotion and bonus...
Harry spent the rest of the day in his laboratory and woke up early the next day to finish an experiment he'd been working on. His uncle's bellow of anger caused him to look up a bit. But as the man was nowhere in sight, Harry concluded that the anger wasn't directed at him and turned back to his work.
The house was filled with letters when Harry woke up the next morning and his relatives found him standing in the sitting room looking at a the pile with an odd look on his face.
"Gather those up in a bag and put them on the curb," Vernon ordered.
"I'd rather not," Harry said absently.
"Why?" Vernon growled.
"I think I might be able to turn them into something useful," Harry said in the same absent tone. "And it'd be a shame to throw them out if that's true."
"An artificial log maybe?" Harry mused. "Or fertilizer for the garden."
"Oh . . ." Vernon wasn't sure how to react to that.
"Well?" The Headmaster asked.
"He's getting them," Minerva replied with a frown. "Charms say that he even read one, but we still haven't gotten any response."
"Perhaps I should go and find out what's wrong," Dumbledore suggested. "I can't imagine why we haven't gotten a response."
"He was raised as a muggle," Minerva pointed out.
"True," Albus agreed. "No matter, I'll straighten things out myself. No need to worry about it any longer."
Dumbledore walked off school grounds and disappeared with a pop. He reappeared in front of the Dursley home and approached the door. Raising his hand, he knocked three times and fixed a smile on his face.
"You," Petunia said as she answered the door. "What do you want?"
"I'm just here to make sure that Harry gets this." Albus brandished the letter.
"He got it and doesn't want anything to do with you," Petunia spat. "Now go away."
"Why don't you let him tell me that," Albus said reasonably.
"Of course," Petunia said with a smirk. "He's in the garden shed behind the house."
"Thank you," Dumbledore said to the closing door. Whistling a happy tune, Dumbledore walked around the house and to the shed. "Is anyone in there?"
"Just a sec," a child's voice replied.
"Alright," Dumbledore agreed. He was pleased to note that Lilly's son hadn't seemed to pick up any of his Aunt's habits.
"What can I do for you?" A boy that could only be Harry asked.
"I've come to give you this," Albus said with a smile. "Your acceptance to Hogwarts."
"Does it have a chemistry department?" Harry asked bluntly.
"I'm afraid not."
"Biology, mathematics, engineering, any of the sciences at all?" Harry demanded.
"It has magic," Dumbledore said with a smile.
"No thanks," Harry said with a poorly concealed frown. "I'd rather stay at my current school which has an excellent science curriculum."
"But . . . don't you want to learn magic?" Albus asked in shock. In all his time as Headmaster, he couldn't recall a single instance like this.
"It might be amusing, for parties perhaps." Harry allowed. "But why would I want to do that if I had to give up science? Besides, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
"But . . ." Albus was flabbergasted. "We have potions," He offered weakly.
"Uh huh." Harry seemed less then impressed.
"And I could teach you alchemy," Albus said desperately.
"Or I could stay here and learn real chemistry and other hard science," Harry countered. "Hmmm, I think I'll stay here."
"Why can't you study chemistry on your holidays?"
"Why couldn't I study magic during spring break?" Harry retorted. He sensed the headmaster's growing desperation. He didn't know why this Albus wanted him to attend Hogwarts so badly, but he instinctively felt his bargaining power. His life was good, but he was still underage, which meant being tied to the Dursleys.
"Because magic is so complex that . . ." Albus stopped when he noticed Harry's expanding grin. "I see."
"Unless I went to one of the intense study camps they have, I'd never keep up." Harry explained. "You can't expect me to give up my dream to learn a few parlor tricks, now can you?"
"Tell me about these camps," Albus demanded.
"They take place at various places around the world," Harry began. "They're fairly intense, and they also require my Guardians permission to attend." this later part was really Harry's current problem. The Dursley's wouldn't let him go, weary about loosing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
"What if I were to arrange for you to attend these camps?" Albus asked. "Then would you be willing to attend Hogwarts?"
"Maybe," Harry said slowly, sensing leverage. "But only if I could have a place for my laboratory and plenty of time to use it. And I have time off to attend conferences and seminars..."
"Agreed," Albus said quickly, too quickly. "It's a deal then."
"With the understanding that I leave if it isn't kept," Harry said firmly. Years of living with the Dursleys had taught him to be suspicious of people's word.
"Of course," Albus replied. "Now if you're not too busy, why don't we go buy your school supplies."
"How long will it take?" Harry asked. "And for that matter, is there any reason I need to come back?"
"Shouldn't take too long," Albus said slowly. "But why wouldn't you want to come back? This is your home isn't it?"
"It's just a place I sleep," Harry said with a shrug. "Well?"
"I suppose you could take a room at the Leaky Cauldron," Albus replied. He did not like the the thoughts that Harry's statement dredged up.
"Good," Harry said with a smile. "Help me pack up my labs."
"Labs? How many labs do you have?", Albus puzzled
"Three, this one, the one at Grunnings and one at Plantland, oh and my library of cause.", Harry answered casually. "I don't need to move them all, you see I consult for them and it is convenient to have a ready lab when I show up. But I rented some storage space for a few items I acquired to put into my new lab."
"like what?" Albus puzzled.
"Nothing much really. Let's see, there is this surplus cyclotron to make isotopes, an ovenized gas chromatograph, various chemical reactors, a few vacuum distillation columns, a pressurized Czochralski crystal growing furnace with radio frequency heater, some glove boxes, a ball mill, a few furnaces, an evaporator, a few PCR machines, electrophoresis equipment, some microscopes, and miscellaneous supplies and glassware. About 2500 square feet of lab space would do nicely to begin with." Harry replied casually. He enjoyed seeing the shock on the headmaster's face and was wondering just how much space he could actually wring out of him.
Albus entered the shed and was flabbergasted to find a first-class well equipped chemical lab, with several computers and a dozen machines he didn't recognize.
"Would shrinking hurt it?"
"Some of it maybe," Harry agreed. "And most of it is quite fragile."
"I'll be careful," Albus promised.
"Be especially careful with the chemicals," Harry said quickly. "Most of them can be quite dangerous."
"Where did you get them if they're dangerous?" Albus asked in confusion, he'd heard the the muggle world was even more restrictive then the magic.
"I have my ways." answered Harry evasively.
"I see," Albus said thoughtfully, wondering how he could transport two truckloads to Hogwarts.
"Ready," Harry said suddenly. "If you can use magic to pack all that, otherwise I'll need a bit more time."
"Easily done," Albus replied. Albus waved his wand and accomplished the task, privately he was a bit disappointed by the boy's lack of reaction.
"Ok, let's go."
"What about your things in the house?"
"Every thing I care about is in my labs," Harry replied. "Let's go."
"Wouldn't you like to say goodbye to your relatives?"
"Alright then," Albus said slowly. "Just touch this sock and we will be on our way."
"I'm gonna have to get some more physics books," Harry muttered to himself. "A lot of physics books."
"What was that Mr. Potter?"
"Now we buy your wand and books," Dumbledore replied.
"Ok, but first we need to drop by Waterstone's, Piccadilly and Blackwell's, Charing Cross road." Harry said bluntly.
Albus was again shocked to find out that Harry had standing open accounts with both Bookshops. The staff at both shops seemed to give Harry the royal treatment and no one was the least bit surprised when Harry proceeded to clean out multiple shelves full of expensive textbooks.
"I think I got what I needed for now, I can mail order the rest later," noted Harry.
Arriving in Diagon Alley, Harry again failed to be impressed.
"We should get some money," Dumbledore said with a smile. "You have a whole vault full of it."
"Really? That's pretty silly. Why didn't anyone invest it properly. Besides why bother visit a bank? Don't you have electronic funds transfer? Eurocheques? Purchase orders? I could use one of my credit cards." replied Harry
"Well, how shall I put it, the magical world prefers some more traditional methods of payment." Dumbledore replied with an audible sigh. This is not going his way at all.
"If you say so," Harry agreed reluctantly. Harry followed the Headmaster lead to Gringotts. "Name?" the counter Goblin ask in an unfriendly tone.
"Harry Potter." Harry replied evenly.
"Oh, I'm so sorry Mr. Potter, how may I help you? Would you like to discuss your business in the manager's office?" the Goblin replied in a completely different tone. Again, Albus couldn't help but being surprised. What did the Goblins know about Harry that he didn't? A lot as it turned out. Harry's estimated net worth, not including his vault, was way north of 7 digits and rising fast. An eleven year old kid that manages to acquire such fortune on his own inspired awe among Goblinkind.
"So," Dumbledore began. "Where do you want to go first? To get your wand perhaps?"
"Is there an alchemy supply store near here?" Harry asked with a yawn.
"I don't believe so," Dumbledore said slowly.
"What about a potions supply store?" Harry persisted. "A place where I can check out lab ware?"
"That there is," Dumbledore replied.
"Let's go there," Harry suggested.
"If that is your wish young Potter," Dumbledore agreed. Dumbledore led Harry to a small shop and motioned the boy inside.
"Cauldrons?" Harry said in shock. "You people still use Cauldrons? What century do you folks live in?"
"Yes we do," the shopkeep said with a nod. "Muggle born?"
"Half blood, muggle raised." Dumbledore replied.
"What does that mean?" Harry demanded.
"Muggle is a term for a non magical person, your mother was from a non magic family and your father was a pure blood. Hence the term half blood." Dumbledore explained. "Muggle raised because you were raised by your non magical relatives."
"Any tangible advantage to being from a magical family?" Harry asked quickly. "I mean genetics not the fact that they are raised in a magical environment."
"No there is not," Dumbledore said quickly.
"I see . . ."
"Are you going to buy something or are you going to take up space all day?" The shopkeep said with a grin.
"Is there any difference in performance between the various types of metal used in the cauldrons?" Harry demanded.
"Some potions can only be brewed with some types of metal," the shopkeep explained. "And some metals last longer in some circumstances."
"Give me one of each of them," Harry said quickly. "I'd also like to get a look at your glass."
"You don't use glass in potion making?" Harry asked in horror.
"Some," the shopkeep admitted. "But not many due to the heat involved. Mostly it's just used to hold completed potions."
"Since when can metal withstand heat better than glass or ceramics? Oh well, let me see one of your containers," Harry sighed.
"Here." The man placed a small vial on the counter.
"Ah," Harry commented as he examined the vial. "Rather poor quality. I see why you don't use it much."
"You've got better?"
"Much better," Harry said quickly. "Headmaster, would you mind un-shrinking some of my glass?"
"I'd be delighted to help Harry," Dumbledore agreed.
"This looks like a common bottle," the shopkeep examined one of Harry's most useful pieces of equipment.
"It is Pyrex," Harry replied. "inert to most chemicals, low thermal expansion coefficient, does not shatter easily, is easy to clean and doesn't mind thermal gradients. Besides it has standardized precision flanges, makes vacuum tight connections and does not outgass. It has a flat transmission spectrum until the near IR and is compatible with simple extinction meters. Tends to reduce defervescence and if you do manage to break it, the shards are mostly dull."
"Could you get more of these?" The shopkeep asked as he looked in fascination at one of Harry's precious beakers.
"Because if you can then I'll pay handsomely for them," the shopkeep said. "Even more handsomely if you'll take store credit."
"Agreed," Harry said quickly. "Do you take custom orders?"
"What did you have in mind?"
"I'd like a small leather satchel that is larger on the inside then the outside," Harry began. "It'll need to be large enough to contain every bit of your best equipment and a full inventory of ingredients."
"Shouldn't be too hard," the shopkeep mused. "Leather merchant owes me a few favors. I presume that you want me to stock it for you?"
"With everything you have," Harry agreed.
"Might be a good idea to add a reference library too," the shopkeep suggested. "If you'll let me market this, I'd be willing to give you a percentage."
"I think it would be a good idea Harry," Dumbledore reentered the conversation.
"Alright sir," Harry agreed.
"How does ten percent sound?" The Shopkeep asked.
"That's fine," Harry said carelessly. He knew he could get much more but wasn't in the mood to bargain.
"Good," the shopkeeper agreed. "This may not sound . . . well, let me restate that. I doubt sales will be as good if it's known that a first year Hogwarts student came up with the idea. Would you be willing to adopt an alias?"
"Sure," Harry agreed. "How about Newton?"
"First or last name?"
"Last name," Harry said. "H.P. Newton."
"Very good Mr?"
"Potter," Harry said.
"Might have been best to keep your name after all," the shopkeeper said with a laugh. "No matter, our invented man will do well enough."
"When will this all be ready?"
"Shouldn't be more then a day or two."
"Good." Harry paused to think about something. "Do you know where I could get a good lab coat?"
"You know," Harry encouraged. "A white jacket that you wear to protect your clothing from spills?"
"I've never heard of such a thing," the shopkeeper admitted.
"Headmaster," Harry said. "Could you enlarge one of my catalogs?"
"Here you are Harry," the Headmaster handed Harry the lab supply catalogs.
"Just a sec." Harry flipped through the tome for several seconds. "Here, page 2156, this is a lab coat."
"I might have a few ideas for improvements," the shopkeeper said. "Mind if I talk with Madame Malkin before we go any further on this project?"
"Sure," Harry agreed with a shrug.
"Excellent, it looks like Mr. Newton may soon have another invention to his credit." The shopkeeper rubbed his hands together as he thought about his future profits. "Any other ideas?"
"Goggles, eyewash, uh . . . maybe you should just flip through the catalog."
"Thank you," the shopkeep said as he began flipping through the catalog. "Mr. Potter, I believe that it will be quite some time before we have to worry about a drop in profit potential if you can get me even half of these items."
"Good then. I can easily get any item in that catalog and more."
"Will you be some place where I can reach you in the next few days?"
"Mr. Potter is intending to take rooms at the Leaky Cauldron," Dumbledore said quickly.
"How about I meet you there in a day or so," the shopkeeper suggested. "I'll have Tom tell you when."
"That's fine uh . . ."
"Never gave you my name did I?" The shopkeeper asked. "It's Fred Abel."
"Then I'll see you soon Mr. Abel," Harry said.
"Call me Fred Mr. Potter."
"Harry it is then."
"Goodbye Fred," Harry called out over his shoulder as he left the store.
"Where to now Harry?" Dumbledore asked. "Would you like to get your wand now?"
"I'd like to get some books," Harry replied.
"Flourish & Blotts is right over there," Dumbledore sighed.
"Let's go then," Harry demanded.
"As you wish." Dumbledore followed Harry into the store and quickly steered the boy towards the sets of first year texts. "I believe this is what's required for your first year."
"Good," Harry said. "You get a set of those and I'll get a few others to read before school starts." Before Dumbledore could make his reply, Harry disappeared into the stacks.
"This isn't quite how I expected things to go," Dumbledore sighed.
Harry quickly found the store's pitiful section on alchemy and was happily flipping through one of the books when a young girl approached him.
"Hello," the girl said. "Are you starting your first year too?"
"Yeah," Harry said absently.
"That's wonderful," the girl said. "My name is Hermione Granger and I'm the first witch in my family, are you the first magical person in your family."
"No," Harry said without taking his eyes off the book. "But I wasn't raised around magic."
"Do you think we'll have a hard time fitting in?" Hermione asked with a worried frown. "I've been worried that I won't fit in so I've been studying everything I could. I came here today to get more books, my parents said I could get a few and I was just trying to figure out what to get. Do you have any ideas?"
"This one seems rather good." Harry held up the book so she could read the title.
"Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakarīya al-Rāzi?" Hermione read the author's name aloud.
"Many think he's the one that discovered Sulfuric Acid and the process to distill ethanol," Harry added.
"Oh," Hermione examined the book with greater interest. "Are there two of them?"
"Here." Harry handed the girl another copy.
"Thanks, I . . ." Hermione stopped when she noticed an older woman waving at her. "My mother's calling me, I have to go now."
"Fine," Harry said as he turned back to his book.
Eventually, Dumbledore managed to pull Harry away from his books to continue the shopping trip. Much to the old man's dismay, Harry insisted on getting every other item before they finally drifted into the wand shop.
Mr Oliviander measured Harry and began to try out one wand after another with ever increasing havoc and mayhem. Fresh out of his wits, Mr Oliviander finally opened a shipment of wands from abroad, obviously with with great misgivings. "Carbon fiber in epoxy resin, laser drilled, 21.67cm, magically stabilized Bose-Einstein condensate core." Oliviander read from the box with a face as if he were eating life worms.
Harry was happy to hear his kind of jargon and eagerly picked up the black wand. This wand wasn't just black, rather it was as if it was simply a cylindrical back hole in space. No light reflected of its surface, absolutely none. However the moment Harry's finger touched the surface, it sprang to life: tiny luminescent purple veins began to appear on its surface, forming an ire, moving, organic patterns. Soon they were extending beyond the wand, like Saint Elmo's fire. Harry could feel power building up. His hair began to stand up and the air around him began to crackle with faint discharges. Slowly the discharges grew stronger and stronger until a purple beam emerged from the tip of this wand.
"Cool, a star wars light saber!", said Harry, not noticing the scared look on Mr. Olivianders face.
"Peculiar, most peculiar, Mr. Potter", Oliviander said quietly. "This is an experimental wand made by a rather crazy wizard at the Massachusetts institute of magic technology. Nobody had been able to touch it before you. It has the unfortunate tendency to extract magic from the environment and everything it touches to store it in its core. Normal wands just focus magic, but this one is supposed to accumulate magic that can be used later. Very powerful in theory, but also quite dangerous and untested."
Harry clearly felt that Mr. Oliviander was happy to see them leave and even happier to get rid of the alien wand. On the other hand, if the MIMT is anything like the MIT, then he could expect a lot from his wand.
Next, Harry was fed an odd but nice meal and bundled off to bed in Tom's best room.
Fred the shopkeeper was waiting when Harry walked down to breakfast the next morning.
"Morning Fred," Harry yawned.
"Ah Harry," Fred began. "I have something to show you."
"What is it?"
"The prototype of the new lab coat," Fred said. "Madame Malkin was so intrigued by the idea that she worked through the night to make a prototype."
"I've asked Tom for a private booth so we can discuss it," Fred continued. "Make your order and join me there will you?"
"Sure," Harry agreed. Harry quickly made his order and rejoined his new business partner.
"Take a look at this." Fred laid what appeared to be a standard lab coat on the table. "We took a muggle idea and used magic to make it as good as possible. It's as resistant to damage as we can make it, it has several self repairing charms, and the pockets are much deeper then they appear to be."
"They can see heat and cold, have a bubble headed charm, etc." Fred said with a yawn.
"No problem," Fred said with a wave. "Most of the things went in here to prove that they could work together. Our production models will be much less extensive."
"Ok," Harry agreed. "Is everything else ready?"
"It'll be a few more days," Fred replied. "I'll have everything delivered to you at Hogwarts if there are any delays."
Tom led Harry through the floo to the Platform personally on the first day of school. The old man had said that it was the least he could do for 'the-boy-who-lived', whatever that was supposed to mean, and Harry found himself a seat on the train.
Harry had pulled out a new textbook and was just starting to understand a concept that had eluded on a previous reading when the door to the compartment opened.
"Uh . . ." Ron took one look at the boy with his nose in a book. "I'll find somewhere else to sit." Harry didn't even bother grunting in reply.
The next distraction came with the bushy headed girl he'd met in the bookstore. "Hello again," Hermione said. "It's nice to see someone I know on the train. You haven't seen a toad have you? Because a boy named Neville is looking for his pet toad that got loose and is now hopping around the train and I agreed to help him look for it. What book are you reading?"
"A brief history of time," Harry replied. "And no, I haven't seen a toad."
"Ok," Hermione said. "I'll keep looking then. See you later."
Ten minutes later, a blond boy with two friends who looked like Dudley's minions suddenly opened the door with a loud bang.
"They were saying that Harry Potter is on this train. That wouldn't happen to be you?" drawled the blond.
Harry took his time to finish reading a paragraph before looking up at the intruders.
"Who wants to know?" replied Harry in a quiet but firm voice.
"I'm Draco, Draco Malfoy. And these are Crabbe and Goyle." said Draco, trying to regain his train of thought, which had derailed when Harry failed to be impressed by his grand entrance. He then launched into a speech on his glorious ancestry and family connections.
"... and so you see that some wizarding families are better than others. Hey, are you listening to me? What are you reading there anyway? Isn't that some muggle trash?"
Harry just ignored him and continued reading, which enraged Draco even further. Malfoy angrily stepped forward, intending to rip the book out of Harry's hands. However he managed only one step before slipping and falling in a most undignified and painful manner. Crabbe and Goyle's attempts to righten their fallen leader resulted in a series of awesome pratfalls, a spectacle fit to shame most slapstick movies.
"I'll get you for this, Potter!" spat Draco as the bruised trio retreated.
"What did you do to them?" asked Hermione, who had heard the commotion and was about to enter the compartment.
"Nothing really, I just spilled a few drops of Fullerene suspended in a silicon oil on the floor. C60 Bucky balls, you know. That combination has an amazingly low friction coefficient." Harry replied while he was spraying something else on the floor. "It is safe to walk now."
Harry rode the train the remainder of the way to Hogwarts and allowed himself to be dragged along with the group to the sorting, his nose still buried firmly in the book.
"Potter, Harry." McGonagall called out and the hall went silent. "Potter, Harry . . . POTTER, HARRY."
"Hmmm?" Harry looked up from his book, "what do you need."
"Go sit on the chair and put on the hat," McGonagall ordered.
"Alright," Harry agreed. The hat was on his head for less then a second when Harry returned to his book.
"Hmmm," the hat mused. "a very interesting read. Do you really think that dimensions could freeze out? and what is so special about 4D space over 11D space?..." pretty soon the hat and Harry were pondering symmetry violations and were well on their way towards string theory when the Headmaster rudely interrupted their chat by donning the hat himself. Moments later the hat was placed back on Harry's head.
"I'd like to continue our conversation some time," said the hat "but regrettable they insist that I sort you now. Hmm... not a bad mind, cunning too, you would thrive in Slytherin, but they hate geeks. Geek?? Well that starts with a 'G' so it better be ... GRYFFINDOR." The hall erupted into cheers . . . which trailed off after the students noticed that Harry hadn't made a move to get out of the chair.
"Take your seat Mr. Potter," McGonagall said calmly. "Take your seat Mr. Potter," she said a bit louder. "TAKE YOUR SEAT MR. POTTER," she yelled.
"Where?" Harry looked up with a bewildered expression.
"At that table over there." McGonagall indicated her house's table. "Got the looks from James," McGonagall muttered. "But I'll be damned if that isn't Lilly's boy."
Harry's first week of school was rather eventful. First, Harry set out to see Dumbledore.
"You promised me a decent laboratory! These facilities here are utter crap. There is no electricity, no fume hoods, no gas supply, dreadful lighting, no vacuum, no compressed air or cooling water. The rooms are filthy, badly ventilated and lack air conditioning. There is no network connection, no phone and even my portable computer is acting up. If you don't hold up your end of this bargain, I'm out of this filthy dump." an irate Harry yelled at the headmaster, who was cringing in his seat.
"Harry, please give me one more week to fix this." pleaded Albus, knowing full well that it would require a miracle to do all that within just one week. He needed to remodel the entire Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw dungeons, build a shed for a 2 Megawatt generator plus tanks for diesel fuel, add magical shielding to protect the finicky muggle equipment, transport over a dozen truckloads of muggle things, run miles of phone cable through the forbidden forest, and he needed an army of muggle contractors because no wizard had any clue how to install electrical lighting and all the other stuff Harry demanded. Harry's cyclotron turned out to be a 25 ton iron and steel behemoth for which they had to cut holes into the castle walls to move into place, plus it needed 6feet thick concrete walls for shielding the radiation when turned on. The muggles had to be obliviated afterwards and his budget was severely strained. On top of it all, if the ministry were to find out, he would be in a world of hurt. This boy was very high maintenance and he wondered more than once if it wouldn't be easier to just tackle Voldemort himself instead.
"All right, but only if you add a closed cycle liquid helium system for my new superconducting mass spectrometer." replied Harry, upping the ante yet again. On the other hand, having access to a high resolution mass spec would be a godsend to sort out all that organic gunk in the potion ingredients. There were so many organic compounds in there that Harry couldn't help but wonder if all of it was really necessary.
"How much space would that need?" asked a resigned Headmaster.
"Not much really, say 200 square feet." replied Harry, purposefully neglecting to mention that a helium chiller is about as silent as a machine gun and that it needed quite a bit more space for the helium storage tanks, which were technically not part of the chiller.
"OK, but this is really the last addition. No more. Do you understand?"
"Yes, of cause, headmaster." replied Harry, thinking 'fat chance'.
While Dumbledore had the order of the phoenix working overtime. Harry leisurely began school. First came his Transfiguration class . . .
"What are you doing Mr. Potter?" McGonagall sighed.
"Checking the weight of the matchstick," Harry mumbled. "And comparing it to the needle you transfigured. Hmmm . . . weight is the same, I wonder if it's just gotten denser? Professor, could you transfigure another matchstick but stop half way this time?"
"Why don't you do it yourself?" McGonagall asked quickly, "that way you could have several at all stages if you gain enough skill."
"Right," Harry agreed. McGonagall watched in shock as the young boy transfigured several matches into needles. "Having trouble getting it to stay in the half done state," Harry said with a frown. "Could you offer a hint Professor."
"Five points to . . . " McGonagall started say before she caught herself. "Just . . . stop half way through."
"Uh . . . ok?"
Potions class also proved to be eventful . . .
Daphne growled, she had woken up late and by the time she got to her first Potions class everyone had paired up except one of the Gryffs. Why oh why was she being punished so?
"Move over," she growled at her new partner.
"Hmm?" Harry glanced over at her, "who are you?"
"Daphne Greengrass," she said with a smirk waiting for the stupid boy to recoil in horror . . . any moment now.
"Oh," Harry said with a blink. "Have a seat." With that the boy went back to his book, leaving his new partner in a state of confusion.
Professor Severus Snape entered and gave his usual first year speech.
"Ah yes, Harry Potter. Our new – celebrity." Snape uttered in his most malicious voice, starring into Harry's eyes, ... which continued to read a textbook.
"POTTER!! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
"Draught of Living Death, Sir, although vacuum extraction via ethanol at 30C would work much better on wormwood than infusion. Besides, one should seek to isolate the active ingredient..."
"Where would I find a bezoar?" barked Snape
"Inside the stomach of an unfortunate goat, who had swallowed some basaltic rock. The stomach acids then etch the rock to increase its surface area, which can subsequently absorb hydrophilic poisons. Although activated charcoal would work better, Sir"
"What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?" shouted Snape, whose face now matched Vernon's finest purple.
"None, it is also called Aconite, Blue Rocket, Friar's Cap, and Auld Wife's Huid, Sir. The name Wolfsbane tends to be used by wizards in South Wales, where the hardy perennial plant prefers well dug moist soil in shady places. Yields 0.3 to 1 Aconitine - crystalline, acrid and highly toxic - with the alkaloids Benzaconine, Picraconitine, and Aconine..."
"Oh, shut up." snapped Snape, feeling not too well right now. His plot foiled, Snape wrote a recipe for a hair coloring potion on the board and stalked over to his desk to sulk. It was one of his favorites: a vile potion more prone to induce vomiting than hair color change, finicky to brew and even subtle mistake could result in amusing effects on the unlucky students testing their potions. Snape tried to find comfort in the image of a green haired Potter on his way to the infirmary to stop his nose hair from growing uncontrollably.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Harry said to his new partner.
"Why now?" Daphne challenged.
"Because if you add that now it will explode and shower us with burning liquid," Harry replied. "Somehow I doubt you'd like to experience."
"Oh," the girl said in a small voice.
"Here." Harry spent a few moments arranging the girl's ingredients. "I've put them in order, first pile goes in first and so on. Feel free to ask if you need any more help."
"Ok." Daphne spent the rest of the class period brewing her potion and shooting curious glances at the boy sitting next to her.
Harry meanwhile continued looking at the recipe and flipping through his reference books. Nearly an hour went by while Harry did nothing but scribbling formulas into his lab-book using a multi-colored ball-point pen.
Snape's spirits rose considerably when he realized that it was now impossible for Harry to finish brewing the assigned potion in the remaining time. So he wasn't particularly concerned when Harry fetched his portable table-top reactor from his leather satchel, and began dialing in process parameters.
The reactor, a maze of glass tubes, heaters, stirrers, condensing columns, and automatic metering valves sprang to life with a faint buzzing noise and colored numbers began scrolling across a small window. Harry added minuscule amounts of various chemicals and processed magical ingredients from his supplies, oblivious to the fact that the class was now silent enough to hear a pin drop.
Professor Snape was hovering in front of Harry, face contorted in anger and ready to explode any second. Then a bell rang in Harry's reactor and Harry removed a very small vial filled with a crystal clear liquid from the machine and capped it carefully.
"What is the meaning of this, Potter? How dare you play with your silly toys in my lecture. I'll have you expelled for this insubordination!" Snape growled happily.
"I didn't play, Sir! I synthesized the potion you assigned." Harry protested and handed over the vial.
"Ha! The potion is supposed to be dark green, not clear. And you need at least 5 full table spoons to have any effect. You were supposed to brew a quart, not just 10 drops. And it is supposed smell like fish." a triumphant Snape replied. Then he uncapped Harry's vial, held it to his massive nose and took one deep breath before Harry could voice any warning.
"I wouldn't have done that, Sir. This potion looks clear because it is the purified essence of the recipe you gave us. It is far more concentrated and potent. I figure that only a few micrograms are needed and, given its high vapor pressure, you probably inhaled that much right now." replied Harry.
Snape quickly capped the vial, but it was too late. His black, oily hair had turned into flowing golden locks that seemed to be pure silk. All the girls gasped in envy while the boys turned purple from trying to hold their laughs.
"Class dismissed! All out NOW!", barked Snape, too shaken to even hand out detention.
Harry shrugged, calmly packed up his equipment and left the dungeon, where he found himself surrounded with girls asking about different colors, curling options, etc. Later that evening, he called Fred Able in Diagon Alley, who had gotten a telephone upon Harry's insistence.
"Hi Fred, what do you think about adding a line of H.P. Newton hair care products..."
Next was Prof. Flitwick's charms class. Hermione had just shown Ron how to successfully levitate a feather when Harry began to wonder if or how momentum was conserved. If it was conserved, he reasoned, he might be able to feel it as a force on the wand. The only problem was that the feather is so light that he probably would not feel anything either way. Then it occurred to him that Fma, so if the mass is too small, how about increasing the acceleration a bit? Harry didn't think any further and tested his theory. Moments later, the class was disrupted by a load bang when Harry's feather broke the sound barrier on its way to embed itself deeply into the ceiling.
"What did you do?" ask a concerned Prof. Flitwick.
"Oh, ... sorry about that, Sir. I just tried to see if I could feel any recoil in my wand if I were to accelerate the feather a bit harder."
"And did you?"
"No, actually. May I have another feather? Perhaps I can feel it if I make it go faster."
In his entire teaching career, professor Flitwick had never seen any student push a feather hard enough to penetrate flagstone.
"Ah, no Mr. Potter, I'd rather prefer you try to practice control, make it hover. Things like that..."
"All right." replied Harry in a bored voice, thinking about a paper that had described an experiment that used an accelerator to shoot a carbon disk at a stationary graphite target resulting in the formation of diamonds...
The flying lesson was a bit boring too. Neville had lost control over his broom and was escorted to the infirmary when Malfoy grabbed Neville's rememberall and tried to take of with it. Harry didn't feel like getting involved in feuds that don't concern him, but he disliked the git intensely. So he sprayed a little of his super-lubricant on Malfoy's broom. Malfoy promptly slid of his broom, landed ungracefully on his behind while his broom flew off over the forbidden forest. Harry quickly picked up the rememberall from one dazed Draco.
Harry really liked flying, but not on broom sticks. Like so many things magical, it seemed to him that wizards often discovered some really interesting effect, but then never bothered to understand it or to refine the effect beyond its first embodiment. So understanding the actual nature of brooms became one of his side-projects. However, as it was more of a physics kind of thing, it ended up in his low priority queue.
Defense against the dark arts class was literally a headache for Harry. For some reason, his head would start to hurt whenever he was near Prof. Quirrell. The class itself was not too interesting either. Harry found that they spend entirely too much time on dealing with minor irritations, like Doxys and other magical vermin. He read about the dangers of dark spells in books, but he was far from convinced that this class taught him any skills to defend himself effectively.
In the weeks after the first potions class, Daphne began spending quite a bit of time around Harry. This of course confused the boy terribly but he eventually broke down and showed her his laboratory that the Headmaster had finally managed to complete.
"Time to eat Harry," Daphne said.
"In a minute," Harry said absently.
"You said that ten minutes ago," Daphne whined. "It's time to go now."
"Alright," Harry sighed. He'd learned that there was only so far he could go before things started getting unpleasant. "Let's go."
The two children were walking down the hall to the great hall when Daphne froze. "Harry, be very quiet and don't make any sudden moves."
"Because there is a large Troll in the hallway ahead of us," Daphne replied. "Slowly, very slowly. Let's just slide into this room and hope he goes away."
"But that's the girl's toilet," Harry protested.
"It'll be ok to go in this once," Daphne hissed. "Now come on."
"Fine," Harry agreed with a sigh. The two children went into the bathroom and quickly discovered that they weren't alone.
"Granger?" Daphne said in shock. "What are you doing here?"
"Why are you crying?" Harry asked.
"Because I don't have any friends," Hermione sobbed. "No one likes me. They say I'm just a know it all."
"We'll be your friends," Harry offered.
Daphne frowned for a moment upon hearing Harry's pronouncement. Friends with a mudblood? Although . . . she did have the highest grades in the year and was second only to Harry when it came to potions. "That's right," she agreed. "We will."
"Thank you," Hermione said great fully. "I . . ." Anything more the girl might have said cut off when the door burst open to reveal one angry troll.
"That's right the troll," Harry said with a nod. "Forgot about that."
"You forgot about the Troll?" Daphne screamed in exasperation.
"Didn't seem important," Harry replied with a shrug.
"Not important? Bloody thing's gonna kill us and you don't think it's important?"
Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out a bottle of nasal spray and gave the Troll a squirt to the face when it got too close. The girls watched in shock as the troll began bellowing in pain and clutching it's eyes. "No," Harry agreed. "I don't think it's important."
"What did you do to it?" Hermione forced herself to ask.
"Formaldehyde," Harry explained. "Easy to get and it's more painful then capsaicin when you get it in the eyes."
"Isn't that what they use on dead people?" Hermione asked.
"Yep," Harry agreed.
Daphne watched in shock as the other two students held a normal conversation only a few feet away from a screaming troll. "What have I gotten myself into?" The girl muttered to herself.
Harry was hardly surprised that a few weeks after the broom lesson incident, he found himself cornered in a deserted hallway by Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, who had their wands out.
"Potter, it is payback time!" drawled Draco in his most menacing voice, while playing with his wand as if trying to decide where to hex Harry first.
"Oh, really? I'm so scared." replied Harry while raising his hands away from his pocket. That confused Darco a little, who had expected Harry to reach for his wand. He did not notice that Harry had bend his left hand just when his arm was pointing at Draco's face.
"Yeah? Well you better should be!"
Sensing no danger, Draco spend the next minutes taunting his would be victim when suddenly he was interrupted by an angry snapping noise that was homing in on the trio fast. Draco couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the source of the noise: a huge, bright red shark was approaching him, swimming through air as if it was his native habitat. Draco fled in panic with the shark in hot pursuit. Snape, who must have been lurking nearby, tried a few spells to dispose of the shark, but he found that he couldn't do anything but conjure a strong metal cage around his students to protect them from one angry red shark, a giant purple octopus with yellow spots and a barrage of falling, fluorescent green apples that were larger than beach balls. For the next 2 hours, a plethora of strange, menacing creatures appeared, all in very bright saturated colors and all fiercely determined to eat Draco and his friends. The steel cage had to be reinforced frequently as it tended to melt away, as did the nearby walls. Pretty soon, Snape was sporting two extra pairs of arms and his robes had changed into a pink leather body glove. First Snape, then Prof. Flitwick and one by one all Hogwarts Professors were busily trying to end the bizarre chaos. In the end, they had to settle for an uneasy stalemate to prevent bodily harm while the rest of the student body had a great time watching the battle of the absurd. All except for Fred and George Weasley, who looked rather distraught.
Once the mayhem finally subsided, Harry found himself in the Headmaster's office, with Profs. Snape and McGonagall.
"I demand that Harry is expelled for attacking my students!" fumed Snape.
"I attacked nobody!" protested Harry.
"Ha!" snapped Snape. "Give me your wand, at once!"
"As you wish, Sir."
A moment later, Snape wished he hadn't. All of his skin that had touched Harry's wand was severely burned, his hand was completely paralyzed, and drained of all magic, which would take Madam Pomfrey weeks to restore. Then the Headmaster levitated Harry's wand onto his desk and carefully proceeded to perform the prior incatatem spell, which revealed the last few spells Harry had used, all of which were totally benign and classwork related.
"I can do better than that." Said Harry and proceeded to calmly pick up his wand. "I, Harry James Potter swear on the core of my magic that I did not use magic in any form to hurt or otherwise inconvenience Draco Malfoy." His magical oath completed when his entire body was briefly encased in an purple glow.
Snape however was not giving up and was attempting to stare down Harry, at least that is what it seemed to everyone else in the room. But his glaring into Harry's eyes lasted only a few seconds. Then a very bright flash erupted from Harry's left armpit, momentarily blinding Snape. Simultaneously two darts shot at Snape trailing thin, silver wires. Within a tiny fraction of a second, the darts were embedded in Snape's robes. Snape instantly fell to the ground, convulsing in pain and unable to move.
Harry calmly turned off the Taser, without any undue haste. Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall appeared nearly as shocked as their fallen colleague.
"Harry, what happened?" asked the Headmaster finally.
"Snape tried some sort of magic on me, which triggered my new hex defense system. A modified Taser gun really. Quite cool, isn't it?"
"Harry! That is Professor Snape for you. And you cannot attack a Hogwarts teacher." Dumbledore replied sternly.
"Snaippy did that to himself. He has no business directing magic at me without my consent." replied Harry, totally unconcerned.
"But what if your ... your thingamajig malfunctioned? Professor Snape didn't point his wand at you, now did he? How can you be sure?"
Harry pulled up his left sleeve and looked at his wristwatch, which sported several extra dials. "Nope, it functioned perfectly fine. The magical signature was recorded and it was directed at my head. I don't know the spell yet, but I'm sure that Hermione can identify it quickly."
The headmaster slumped into his seat, contemplating what to do. The jovial twinkle in his eyes had vanished. Eventually he drew his wand, quickly pointed it at the fallen potion master and stunned him.
"There is no need for Mrs. Granger to get involved in this unfortunate incident, Harry. Professor Snape is a legilimens, which means that he can read your mind if he is in eye contact with you. He was ill-advised to invade your privacy in this manner. However, he does have good reason to be suspicious." The headmaster paused to collect his thoughts. "I think that it is best for everyone, if no word leaves this office about what just happened. Harry, please trust me on this. We cannot have it be known that a student attacked a teacher for any reason and we also dearly need Professor Snape. You do not know all the facts about this situation and you are too young and inexperienced to appreciate them." Dumbledore pleaded with Harry.
"Alright, I could agree to forget Snape's hostility if you will agree to a few conditions." Dumbledore knew that this was coming, but he still hated every bit of it.
"First, Snape starts behaving like a professional teacher. In particular, this includes no more favoritism for Slytherin and no more harassing of Gryffendor students."
"Second, from now on Snape addresses me and all of his students in a respectful and courteous manner. Only then will I return him the favor."
"Third, Snape allows us to brew potions in any way we see fit, provided that the results are satisfactory." This should take care of Snape's stupid cauldron-only rule, which caused Harry so much extra work lately.
The headmaster knew better than to argue. Harry probably had retained hard evidence of Snape's intrusion attempt and he did not technically initiate the attack on Snape himself. Plus he had no evidence linking Harry to the Malfoy incident: strong suspicion would not cut it in a disciplinary hearing. He would have to modify Snape's memory of today and it would be hard to keep him behaving. On the other hand, Harry was far from the only one complaining about Snape.
"Ok, Harry. You may go now." Dumbledore didn't fail to notice Professor McGonagall's consternation. He had some explaining to do.
On his way back to the Gryffindor common room, Harry was intercepted by George and Fred Weasley.
"Quite a trick you did to the git."
"Oh yes, we are very fond of your taste of colors."
"Yeah, so, so ... oh so subtle."
"I'm rather partial towards pink."
"Oh, yes, it befits Snape nicely."
"But inquiring minds want know..."
"Yes, indeed they do. And there is also the mystery of invisible sleeper."
"...right, how could I forget that. How is it that a certain first year Gryffindor's bed appears to be unused more often then not?"
"Or is it that said Gryffindor prefers to spend his nights in the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw dungeons?"
"How do two you know that???"
"How about a secret for a secret?"
"A fair trade indeed, oh brother of mine."
"Alright, I guess. Let's go to my Lab."
Once the Weasley twins got over their shock of entering a large muggle laboratory in Hogwarts, Harry demanded tit for tat and learned the secret of the Maruder's map.
"Now it's your turn Harry, so what is the spell you used on Malfoy and his gang?"
"No spell at all. Lysergic acid diethylamide."
"LSD, it is a muggle drug that causes hallucinations. It is very potent. Just 20-30 micrograms will do the trick. I sprayed the gits with some LSD. You can inhale it, eat it or adsorb it through the skin. Add some dimethyl sulfoxide and it sails right through the skin."
"That's all? No magic at all? Where did that red shark come from?"
"Oh, there was plenty of magic. It was just their accidental magic that caused all that ruckus. It seems that acid trips are pretty eventful affairs for wizards. I guess Snape could have stopped it instantly if he had stunned them, but that idea didn't occur to him." shrugged Harry, while Fred and George collected their jaws from the floor.
Harry's life was looking up. He greatly enjoyed his increasing ability to control his life. He, Daphne and Hermione would spend most of their free time in his lab or library. Fred and George were frequent visitors and began to join some of Harry's experiments and started some of their own projects with Harry's assistance. Hermione appreciated the telephone to keep in touch with her parents and Albus quickly found himself in need of adding more circuits to accommodate the other students with muggle relatives. But that was just one of a growing number of headaches for the headmaster. Another was that Harry's constant stream of mail-orders quickly wore out all the school's owls and he had to set up a mail box plus shuttle service in the nearest muggle village.
Harry had added a pager system, ostentatiously to inform him of the progress of his experiments while in class. However, the system was also connected to a computer with a camera that monitored the Maruder's map constantly and kept him and his friends advised about the whereabouts of all teachers. Their pagers would vibrate in their pockets to alert them of company. Harry also had placed magically shrunken and hardened, electronic bugs in Dumbledore's office, the teacher's lounge, Snape's office, the Slytherin common room and other strategic places. That helped him a great deal to smooth his operation and to avoid unnecessary confrontations. The twins were fascinated by all the new opportunities that combining muggle technology like radios, video-cameras and remote control with magic offered. Only Hermione was distraught by the idea of tracking their teachers, a concept that didn't bother Daphne in the least.
Harry spend most of his time working on experiments that included elements from both magic and science. Magic allowed him to trace molecules and unravel reaction pathways that were beyond reach of his scientific instruments. This in turn lead to the discovery of several drugs that he sold to muggle pharmaceutical companies. On the other hand, scientific methods allowed him to isolate and understand the active ingredients in magical potions which produced too many inventions for Fred Abel to commercialize so that Harry had to start two additional magical ventures. In only a few months after arriving at Hogwarts, Harry kept a small army of solicitors, accountants and managers busy in both the magical and the muggle worlds, much to the delight of the goblins at Gringotts, who were having a record year from all the transaction fees, interests and a vastly increased revenue from their muggle department.
"Hello Harry, please have a seat. Would you like a lemon drop?" said Dumbledore to his most troublesome student. "Why did you want to see me?"
"Thank you, Professor." replied Harry while taking one of the offered sweets. "I hired a few science teachers for Hogwarts and need some place for them to live. At minimum, they will help me with my experiments in the lab and give me one-on-one lessons, but I thought that the other Hogwarts students could benefit from them as well. You see, I have been explaining some things to my friends, but I'm no good at teaching."
Albus didn't need to look at the portraits of his predecessors to know what they thought of students who hire teachers first and let the headmaster know second.
"But Harry, don't you think that your schedule is already full?"
"Oh no, not at all. More than two thirds of my classes are totally useless. Take History of Magic, for example. Or Divination. Or broom flying. Or care of magical creatures. Potions could be cool but lacks a decent teacher. Astronomy is wacky and disorganized. Arithmancy is just a weird subset of topology, differential geometry with a bit of group theory, thinly disguised with clunky jargon. Quirrill goes the extra mile to avoid making any practical points. Herbology is so so, but lacks a systematic approach and rigor. At most transfiguration and charms are worth paying any attention to - occasionally. I'm skipping most of the junk lessons anyway. So, yes I do have ample time."
"Well, I heard about that. But don't you worry about your OWLs?"
"Why, no, that would be silly. You can't even mention them in your resume, so I don't plan wasting time to take them." replied Harry, genuinely puzzled. "I'm worried about my math, chemistry, biology and physics grades. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get admitted to a good university?"
Dumbledore didn't, but he knew that Harry's grasp on scientific subject matters was miles ahead of excellent. Considering his patent portfolio and his wealth, the headmaster knew that Harry will have no trouble to attend any university of his choosing. In fact, Harry's most recent weapon was an open admission letter by a Harvard Professor, who begged Harry to join his group at least once a month after learning that Harry had unraveled how the DNA methylation pattern was preserved during mitosis.
Harry's frequent and overt skiving of classes was bad for student morale as were his many conference and seminar trips, but there was little the headmaster could do about it. Harry just ignored detentions, didn't care about house points, and threats of expulsion were called bluff from the get go. Furthermore, when Dumbledore promised Harry time for his studies, he had neglected to limit how much. His only consolidation was that Harry was actually quite competent at learning magic and Harry aced all exams he choose to take.
"But Harry, do your teachers know about magic? The secrecy decree is rigorously enforced and if you were to violate that, you would be severely punished. You know that, don't you?"
"Yes certainly, Sir. But that is no problem. Three of them come from families with one magical person and the last one comes from a magical family, she just can't do any magic herself, but she's real smart. They all know of magic."
Dumbledore floated a few more objections, but he knew that Harry wouldn't take no for an answer. In addition, he could see quite a few benefits from a souped up muggle studies program. So in the end Harry got permission to renovate 4 unused classrooms and have his teachers take up residence in the staff wing, with the explicit understanding that they were not part of the official Hogwarts faculty.
While the headmaster had great difficulty to placate a rebellious magical faculty and an even more upset board of governors, Harry proceeded with the renovation of the four classrooms. In reality, all he did was to tell one of his managers 'ask his teachers what they would like and make it happen, let the costs be damned'. Managers excel at that kind of assignments. The result were four shiny new, state of the art classrooms with excellent lighting, ergonomic chairs, superb acoustics, studio quality audio/video systems, ample science demonstration equipment and an interior design to shame five star conference resorts. Needless to say, this compounded Dumbledore's headaches. Harry's teachers turned out to be truly excellent. Not only were they actually top-notch university professors, they also had extensive experience and psychological training as educators. In short order, their classes were very popular among students with muggle background. This added to the discontent among the Hogwarts faculty, which was also fueled by the fact that Harry paid his teachers about 12 times more than their remuneration.
"They cheated! I demand that the game is annulled and that Slytherin is awarded a win over Gryffendor!" Snape shouted angrily while pacing back and forth in the Headmaster's office. The other professors watched the exchange passively.
"And your rational for that would be?" asked Dumbledore calmly.
"Isn't it obvious? Their brooms flew at least twice as fast as the Slytherin ones! Someone tampered with them. And I think we all know who that someone is."
Without saying another word, Albus switched on a TV set on his desk and put in a rectangular, black piece of plastic into a slot below the screen. Shortly, the image of the school's broom shed appeared on the screen. A little while later a group of students appeared.
"Alohamora!" and the doors of the shed opened.
"Which brooms do we fix, Draco?"
"All of them, of cause. Flint knows the counter spell."
Albus stopped the VCR a few minutes later.
"Quite a nifty muggle invention. It turns itself on when it sees something moving. You were saying Severus?"
"Potter!" spat Snape. "And you allowed him to use this muggle contraption to spy on my students?"
"Actually, I'm a bit puzzled as to why Harry bothered to set it up myself, but the fact remains that when we checked the brooms yesterday, they were indeed all hexed to fly erratically. It took a lot of effort before Madam Hooch was satisfied that they were fit to be used again. The broom shed had been guarded continuously until this game."
"But... if the brooms were all the same, how could they fly this fast and reckless? You saw them! Those were no normal brooms. They could turn much quicker, had insane acceleration and could even fly backwards and upside-down!" replied Snape.
"We don't know. But we do know that the brooms are just ordinary school brooms. The same as ever. I personally checked them again after the game." added Madam Hooch.
"I demand a full investigation!" continued Snape
"Do you really? I mean, it would have to include Draco and his gang." replied Albus evenly.
"I see. - Fine." replied Snape uncomfortably, "But we must clamp down on all this muggle nonsense that Potter uses to tarnish Hogwarts. Do you have any idea how much trouble he causes? Take quilts for example. They don't use them anymore, only those damned pens. No ink either. That gives them an unfair advantage. And even when I insist that they write their homework in a sane way, Potter and his friends hand in scrolls that are obviously not done by hand. Every letter is written exactly in the same way and there is never any sign of a correction."
"They use a word-processor with a pen-plotter in Harry's lab. Hermione told me." McGonagal added in a resigned voice. "I don't know what those things are, but they do help them write much faster than other students."
"What does a walkman do, Albus?" asked a puzzled Prof. Flitwick
"They are seen with many printed Journals and Magazines in class, most of them of Muggle origin. They have artifacts that record pictures and sounds. They have "TVs" and "VCRs" whatever those are. Hermione has a little plastic pad with buttons on it that can calculate certain arithmancy equations for her. And she produced a printed magic affinity chart that we discussed after one lecture. From the initial idea to completion took her only a few hours. To calculate and draw such a chart would have taken me at least a year." added a distraught Prof. Vector.
"Her telescope finds celestial objects all by itself and it is much more powerful than anything I ever saw in my life. Takes pictures too. Yet it is much shorter than our school telescope. She calls it a Schmidt-Cassegrain and was wondering why our telescopes do not use AR coated optics. On top of that, she has access to all sorts of astronomical data. She even got perfect pictures of Saturn, despite the fact that we had overcast the entire homework period. Harry and Daphne use the same equipment and the rest of the class is near mutiny."
"The other student with muggle background are beginning to use all sorts of devices too. They just give them to Harry and his gang, who manage to make them work here, often much better. Don't you think that the statues against misuse of muggle artifacts becomes an issue?"
"Slytherine morale is at an all time low. After at least a dozen incidents, many of which ended with some of my students in the hospital wing, Potter and his friends have never received even a single detention or lost one measly house point. Albus, you can't seriously think that he-who-runs-this-asylum is a saint!"
"Well, it isn't all bad. I had several Slytherin students sign up for Muggle studies. Some of them are re-examining their believes."
The muggle teachers were not present. They were the white elephant that no one talked about. All teachers had seen the disdain on the face of students that entered their classrooms after having had a lesson from them.
"Albus, you opened Pandora's box. You must close it before the mudbloods get any ideas." growled Snape.
"Severus, language! ... But I fear that it is too late for that. Harry's ventures already constitute nearly 2 of the entire magical economy, a fraction that is rising fast and that pales compared to his resources from his muggel enterprises. Few know so far, but the Goblins do. They became fiercely protective of the goose that lays golden eggs."
Prof. McGonagal broke the stunned silence with a resigned sigh, "Albus, what will happen seven years from now? When Harry graduates? At this rate, he will be minister of magic before then."
"... or dead." added Snape.
After the meeting, which had dragged on seemingly for hours, Dumbledore sat at his desk pondering his options. He sensed that Hogwart's power structure, which resembled that of the magical world at large, was indeed adrift. Dumbledore too had noticed that Harry and his friends, including the Weasley twins, where never caught doing any mischief - yet the amount of which was at an all time high. They also appeared to know entirely too much, but he could not figure out how. Yet another headache was Harry's performance in class. His use of muggle devices encouraged the other muggle born wizards to use technology too, which gave them an edge that was much resented by the traditional pure blood fraction. Their grievance was compounded by the fact that all of their attempts to intimidate Harry or his friends and sympathizers backfired and resulted in painful disasters. He knew that this would inevitably lead to increasingly bitter attempts of retribution. Unfortunately there was little that he could do about it. Harry's resources continued to grow exponentially. Hardly a week went by in which Harry had not filed for half a dozen patents or started at least one business. Harry was recklessly changing the magical world, trampling on a great many written and unwritten rules. Sooner than later, the ministry would wake up and resist. Harry doesn't seem to be aware of his impact – yet, but Albus knew the kind of power that emanated from vaults full of gold. That kind of power in the hand of a bright, hyperactive teenager was a surefire recipe for havoc or a revolution. Harry's friends were also a force to reckon with. Hermione was as brilliant in physics as she was in magic. Daphne had a knack for strategic thinking and was well connected in the magical world and the Weasely twins were a lot more than super-pranksters. Plus most students with awareness of the non-magical world had become loyal sympathizers. And on top of all these storm clouds on the horizon, his informants had not picked up any signs of Voldemort since the start of the school year. Albus was way too experienced to regard this lack of news as a good sign. With all this on his mind, he had paid no attention to Hagrid's report of a slain unicorn in the forbidden forest.
Meanwhile in the Gryffindor common room a victory celebration was in full swing.
"Harry, your flywear is fabulous!" enthused Oliver Wood, the Quiditch team captain. "We hardly needed the brooms at all."
"Thank Hermione for that. It was mostly her work with some help from Fred and George." replied Harry.
"I really thought you lost your marbles when you brought that leather underwear, and the bulky belt. If it hadn't been for Fred walking on the ceiling of the locker room..."
"yeah I know, it is a bit different. But I thought wearing the levitators on the body is more comfortable than sitting on a stick. You can't fall off, have your hands free and the force is distributed over a larger area. The thrust vector is always aligned with the center of mass. You can accelerate much faster that way. But really, the key was Hermione's discovery of how brooms dump impulse into hyperspace. Once we could control that, the rest was child's play."
"Whatever you say, mate." replied a confused looking Wood. "but can can you keep this under wraps until we have bagged the cup?"
"Sure. As long you wear those loose fitting robes, nobody should be able to see it. And I'll be too busy to set up volume production for flywear until summer at least. I'm sure the patent application can wait until then too."
Oliver got the distinct impression that he was talking with someone from another planet, but that didn't matter. He knew that the days of broomsticks were numbered and he fully intended to be one of the first broom-less pro Quiditch players in history.
"Do you know why I've called you here Patrick?" Professor Snape asked.
"Not a clue Severus," Patrick Greengrass replied. "Does it have something to do with my daughter?"
"I'm afraid it does," Snape sighed. "Your daughter . . . Daphne has been spending a lot of time around Potter. So much time in fact that her classmates are beginning to wonder about her."
"Ah, is that all?" Patrick said with a laugh. "I'm well aware of that, in fact I've encouraged her to continue her friendship with the Potter boy and the muggle girl."
"You have?" Snape asked in shock. "Why?"
"You're asking me why I'm encouraging my daughter to pursue young Potter?" Patrick asked with an amused grin. "Let me put it another way. You're asking why I'm encouraging my daughter to go after a young wizard that has fortune, fame, runs many very profitable businesses and is well on his way to be one of the greatest potions masters of our time?"
Harry hardly noticed the approaching Christmas break. Having been shunned by the Dursleys had left him without any sense of Christmas tradition. In addition, his exposure to magic had opened so many avenues to further his studies that he hardly noticed the world outside his laboratory. The interaction with his new teachers was great and Hermione was quickly turning into a physics genius. Even Daphne and the Weasley twins could sense the excitement that permeated the laboratory. They were onto something. Ever since his summer in the Grunning laboratory, Harry was addicted to the thrill of cutting edge research. The challenge, the hunt and ultimately the triumph of mind over matter. His boundless energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Thus it took the combined efforts of all his friends to yank Harry away from the lab on Christmas day. Threatened with death by tickling, Harry had to swear a magical oath not to work for the next 48 hours, or even to think about his experiments.
It was worth it. For the first time in Harry's life, he felt something like happiness. It was a new, strange, and confusing sensation. He finally noticed the decorations, the festive mood and his friends. He hadn't really realized that he had friends, some strange humans that seem to actually like him. Perhaps Christian Grunnings was his friend. He had felt it, but this was a bit different. These people were his age, he had things in common with them. Sitting leisurely in the Gyffindor common room, listening to Christmas music from the stereo system and watching Hermione and Daphne happily unpacking their presents made him notice things that he had never realized before. He had bought them presents because that is what you do on Christmas, but now he began to feel something. Just being there, not worrying about a thing in the world, relaxing, and watching the joy in his friends eyes. Somehow he realized that this moment was precious.
Harry opened his first present, a book on the top 50 unsolved mysteries in chemistry. It was from Hermione. He read her card multiple times. Her words touched him. Daphne's present was also a book: "The 50 unfinished potions that could change the world". He smiled and hugged his two friends. Feeling their warmth, he found himself wishing that this moment would never end. Very peculiar.
Harry received one mystery present, a cloak that made the wearer invisible. The present had a card advising him to use this invisibility cloak responsibly, but it carried no name or address. Puzzled, but happy, Harry added the cloak to the pile of his presents.
Christmas had ended and Harry did not immediately resume his normal work schedule. Instead he enjoyed the quite time between Christmas and new year with his friends. From playing in the snow to playing games, he enjoyed the carefree life of a normal teenager. This was by far the best vacation he ever had.
School resumed normally and Harry quickly returned to living on caffeine, rarely sleeping more than 4 hours a day, and working on a multitude of projects. His magical classes were as slow paced and boring as ever. Harry was very adapt to learn from books on his own. He could learn from lectures and classes, but that worked best if the teachers matched Harry's pace and kept him interested, like his science teachers did. Now that he had his invisibility cloak, Harry began to systematically raid the restricted section of Hogwarts library, which quickly eliminated the need to attend the DADA class at all. This suited Harry just fine because he didn't care much for the headaches he felt from being near Professor Quirrill.
Life had just settle in this new routine when Harry was walking back from the library to his lab at about one hour past midnight. His pager did not alert him of Mr. Filch or any teachers, so Harry was thinking about the book he just read and didn't pay much attention to his surroundings. Suddenly he felt rather tired. He was in the last hallway before his lab, which has poor lighting, but now it was pitch black. Harry could not see a thing. Moreover, an intense and unnatural tiredness began to grip him. He was about float away toward unconsciousness when he felt the sudden jolt of the flash-powder charges from his anti-hex system. It seemed that all 4 charges had gone of simultaneously, but he did not see much of the flash. And the bang had been rather muffled. On the other hand, he felt the tiredness quickly receding. Because his flashlight didn't seem to put out much light, Harry grabbed a magnesium flare from his pocket and ignited it. The extremely bright, ultra-violet rich light from the flare showed a spooky scene. All around him were shreds of a dark, shadowy cloth that withered from the intense light. It seemed to be alive, but was fading from the light of the flare. Harry quickly took a few shreds and placed them in a dark brown sample jar and capped it with a back lid. The jar seemed to protect it from the light of the flare, which was evaporating the remnants of the black shroud fast. Feeling fine again, Harry waited until the last shred of dark matter had disappeared and retired to his lab.
Harry met Hermione at breakfast and described the strange incident.
"You mean there was a dark, black cloak that warped itself around you and made you feel tired?"
"Yeah, exactly. It did not have much substance. It was very soft. You could hardly feel it when you touch it. And it could not stand intense light. It would adsorb the light from my flashlight, but the flash-power discharges and the magnesium flare were too much for it."
"Harry, I think you are very lucky to be alive! What you told me is the textbook description of a lethifold. It is a dangerous creature that hides in the shadows at night waiting for pray. It is totally silent. It wraps itself around its victim which quickly looses consciousness. Then it siphons off the life force from its victim. Without your anti-hex, you would have died in less than an hour!"
"Are you sure? Oh, well. We can check it out. I collected some samples of it."
"How?" asked Hermione.
"I put some fragments in a dark glass jar. They are now in the deep freezer in the lab."
Harry read up on lethifolds during the morning, which was a subject that had not been covered in the DADA class, even though it was part of the curriculum. A few tests on his samples confirmed that it was indeed a lethifold encounter.
"Hermione, you were right. It was indeed a lethifold." Harry told her during lunch. "Now the mystery is: how did it get into school? The book said that lethifolds stay away from buildings and people: too much light. You only have to worry about them in magical forests at night. The torches of Hogwarts should have kept them safely away."
"Yeah, I know. It is very strange. You know what is strange too?" replied Hermione.
"I ask Professor Quirrill about lethifolds this morning in the DADA class and he seemed to be very startled by this question. He stuttered for nearly 5 minutes before he told the class that we would never need to worry about them. Then he changed the subject."
"That's odd. Lethifolds are covered by our DADA textbook. Why would he skip them? I never thought much of his class anyway, but this is suspicious."
Later in the lab, Harry pondered last night's incident. He was about to seek out the Headmaster when he got an idea and went to check out the log from the Maruder's Map tracking system. Harry searched if there was anyone in that hallway before his encounter. And sure enough, about 2 hours earlier Prof. Quirrell and a Tom Riddle were in that hallway. They had stayed there for some ten minutes before leaving the same way they came. This was no accident!
"What's wrong Harry?" Daphne called from the library. She had seen Harry suddenly get up from his terminal, visibly shaken.
"I just found out that someone tried to kill me last night!" shouted Harry, slamming his fist on the table and kicking his chair.
"Are you sure?" asked a concerned Daphne, trying to calm Harry.
"Unfortunately, I'm very sure about this." He proceeded to tell her the entire story, which actually helped him to manage his anger.
Later, after dinner Harry, Daphne, Hermine, Fred and George were meeting to discuss what to do.
"So the good news is that the anti-hex works against lethifolds and the bad news is that Prof. Quirrill and this Tom Riddle are trying to kill me."
"You don't know that they put the lethifold there and you don't know that it was meant for you." objected Hermione.
"Well you and me walked through that hallway at 8:34pm when there was no lethifold. At 1:07am there was one and only Quirrill and Riddle were in that Hallway between these times. On top of that, they walked in, stay at about the spot where I was attacked and went back to his quarter. They did not pass through the hallway, just to the one spot and back. It is just a plain, empty, dark hallway there. No paintings, no classroom, no nothing. They had no reason to stop there for 10 minutes." countered Harry.
"Ok, what if they encountered the lethifold there and tried to capture it?"
"Then they should have succeeded or alerted the headmaster. These things are deadly. You just don't call it a day and do nothing if you failed to handle one. This is the DADA professor for crying out loud!"
"What if they put it there for some other reason? Maybe it was meant to be a test for someone. They did not know you would pass through that hallway, Harry."
"Well, maybe. But that does sound awfully far fetched and dangerous. Lethifolds can move. Even if they fixed it there somehow, they should have guarded it to make sure nobody else gets hurt."
"Who is this Tom Riddle anyhow?" interrupted Fred.
"I don't know. I think we should find out."
"Why don't we ask Prof. Dumbledore?" suggested Hermione.
"And how do we explain to him where we got that name? We can't tell him about the Map." objected George.
"Right, but I think he needs to know about this attack. I'll leave out Quirrill and Riddle when I talk to him for now. But I agree that we need to find out more about these characters. And we need to be very careful. Do any of you have any ideas why someone might want to kill me?"
"You really need to ask?" puzzled Daphne.
"What do you mean?" asked Harry.
"I think she meant Voldemort." volunteered Hermione.
Fred and George cringed while Daphne almost fainted. "You should never say his name." she gasped.
"Harry, I think you need to read up a little on recent history, say the period from about 30 years ago until you lost your parents." suggested Fred trying to defuse the situation. It was nearly curfew time and his friends had to retire to their dorm. Harry set out for the library.
"Would you like a lemon drop?"
"No, thank you." replied Harry, not being in any mood for small talk. Instead he angrily slammed a dark brown glass sample jar on the Headmaster's desk. The loud bang startled the headmaster and woke up all portraits.
"What is in there?" ask Prof. Dumbledore when it became clear that Harry was awaiting his reaction.
"Freshly tanned lethifold." replied Harry, pacing in fort of his desk and staring down at the seated Headmaster. "Care to explain why these creatures are allowed to roam Hogwarts at night? And while you are at it, feel free to include mountain trolls in your exposition."
Dumbledore was stunned. Harry was clearly upset, but not in the just-escaped-from-a-deadly-encounter kind of way. Harry's righteous indignation seemed acted, calculated. He guessed that Harry's meeting the lethifold was not all that recent, that Harry had had time to investigate, and that Harry held back some information. Dumbledore was being tested and a 'don't worry, we will take good care of you, Hogwarts is safe' speech will most definitely not do.
"Please have a seat, Harry. I guess it is time for me to explain some unpleasant facts of the magical world that may concern you. However before I do that, could you perhaps tell me a little more about what happened." replied Dumbledore, trying carefully to feel his way out of a trap.
Harry explained the basic facts, leaving out his discovery of Quirrill's and Riddle's roll in his assassination plot. But he pointedly mentioned the troll encounter, strongly suggesting a connection.
Dumbledore was alarmed. "Harry, I think you are right. There never have been lethifolds inside of Hogwarts before. And neither did wild trolls ever enter school while classes were in session."
Then Dumbledore proceeded to tell Harry about Voldemort, how his parents died and how he got his scar. He could see from Harry's stoic face that none of this was news to him. Indeed, he was being tested.
After the headmaster had finished his account, Harry bluntly asked "Is Voldemort dead?"
"No, I don't think so. I don't think that he is fully alive either, but I have reason to believe that Voldemort is trying to regain a body and that he may succeed." That did not do. Albus immediately sensed that he lost ground.
"And what exactly are your reasons for this 'belief' ?" Harry angrily snapped back. He hated being fed half-truths.
"I'm sorry, Harry. I should have mentioned that some friends of mine and myself have been looking for signs of Voldemort's activities. For example, we received reports from people in Albania who had sensed an invisible presence. By them self, such reports are easily dismissed. But if you collect them and trace the reported locations, you find that there is a pattern. Also, consider that a disembodied Voldemort would likely seek help to regain a body and that there are not too many dark wizards inclined to help him. Thus I had some ideas where to look. It happens that the possible Voldemort sightings are near places where you might find such dark wizards. Unfortunately, I did not receive any recent reports and I fear that there has been some new development, which is most likely not good for us."
"And why did you drag me to Hogwarts?"
"I want to help you and I think that if Voldemort returns, he will try to hurt you. That is why I think you need to learn magic to be able to protect yourself."
Harry didn't believe that that was the whole story for a second, but he let this half truth slide for now. Instead, he opened a new offensive on a different front:
"What is in the west wing on the third floor?" Hermione had reminded him that the Headmaster had made a peculiar announcement about the third floor during the welcome feast and he was currently inclined to see connections between mysteries.
"I can't tell you that because of security reasons." the headmaster replied, a little too rehearsed. He could see from Harry's reaction that he just failed his test, but he was just too used to control his empire unquestioned.
"When you changed your mind, you know where to find me." with that Harry got up and quickly left the headmaster's office. He was now certain that there was a connection. The headmaster hadn't been expecting his last question and his rushed, unresponsive reply was all the confirmation he needed. But knowing that something was going on that involved the forbidden third floor section was a long way from knowing how this all fit together. He needed information.
Information comes from the source, so from now on Prof. Quirrill's movements were watched constantly. Rover had already entered Quirrills office and living quarters to deploy electronic bugs and tracking transmitters, some of which were glued to Quirrell's robes. 'Rover' is a radio controlled toy tank that can shoot electronic bugs and that also featured cameras, night vision equipment, microphones and a radio link. While Rover is actually quite large, once magically shrunk it is a tad smaller than a cockroach and has no trouble driving under closed doors.
"This is really odd. Quirrill and Riddle never separate. They even go to the loo together." said Harry to his friends when they met after dinner to review their intelligence two days later. "Look at this:"
Harry played a Rover video from Quirrill's living room. Quirrill was apologizing profusely to his "master" for having failed to find the stone and to kill Potter. But only Quirrill could be seen. The "master" could be heard however, commanding him to try harder. He also ordered him to gather ingredients for a certain potion.
"He could be wearing an invisibility cloak", suggested Hermione.
"Yeah, but why bother: he locked all doors and cast several privacy charms."
"Those were pretty advanced charms. I need to do some research on those."
"Good that they don't stop radio waves."
"The Headmaster thinks Voldemort ... oh come on, it is just a name ... isn't dead but is just a body short. Could that be this 'master'?" Mused Harry.
"Is there a connection between Voldemort and Riddle?" asked Hermione.
"All I could find about Tom Riddle is that there was a Hogwarts headboy of that name in 1947. Here, Tom Marvolo Riddle, got some sort of trophy for helping Hogwarts. No details though, which is unusual. All other special trophys come with explanations."
"That's not too long before he who mu... whatever rose to power." said Daphne.
"So besides trying to kill me, this odd couple is looking for a stone. Any idea what kind of stone that could be?" asked Harry to no one in particular.
After a long silence, Hermione shrugged. "No, but you were right. They really want to kill you. What shall we do now?"
"Wait, observe and prepare. I could do something about him, but now that I know, I'm not too worried about a surprise attack. I rather try to learn more about this plot than to hand Quirriddle over to the Police."
"Aurors, Harry." injected George.
"Right. Dumbledore is hiding something, but perhaps I have my staff hire some private eyes to do some digging."
That turned out a bit more difficult than Harry thought. The magical world had very few private investigators, and mentioning Voldemort would cause the few he found to wet their pants and run. Only a goblin from Gringott's special services office didn't seem to care and began to investigate the Riddle family story. His disappearance from public life was indeed only a few years before Voldemort emerged. But more interesting was that Riddle's class mates were thought of as core death eaters, in particular one Lucius Malfoy.
Over the next few months, Harry spend some time on trying to understand the potions Quirrill was preparing for his master. Indeed, they had something to do with stabilizing spirits, creating artificial bodies and replenishing life-force. However all of these potions were incomplete stop-gap measures. Eventually a testable hypnosis emerged: if, as Harry suspected, Riddle was the disembodied Voldemort, Quirrell was likely to acquire fresh unicorn blood for some of his potions. Spying on Quirrill also yielded a reference to the elixir of life in a book from Hogwarts restricted library section. That lead him to a description of the Philosopher's stone created by alchemist Nicolas Flamel, who was said to be a friend of one Albus Dumbledore, despite being born in 1330. At this point, Harry had the feeling that the pieces of the puzzle may come together. He called for meeting with his friends after dinner. Unfortunately, Fred and Geroge were busy with Quidditch practice.
"Harry, I think you are on to something. I talked to Hagrid, the Hogwarts game keeper, and he did find slain unicorns in the forbidden forest. Two so far, one shortly after the start of the school year and one two weeks ago. That was just two days after Quirrill's last nightly excursion." reported Hermine.
"That makes sense. I noticed that Quirrill's master was a bit more talkative lately and I think that I saw something like unicorn blood used in a potion from a Rover video recently." replied Harry. Then he explained how the philosopher's stone may fit into this picture.
"So you think that Quirriddle is after this stone, which the headmaster hid here at Hogwarts in the forbidden part of the third floor." summarized Daphne.
"Exactly. Now the question is what to do about it. I think we agree that Riddle shouldn't lay his missing hands on that stone. So we could warn the headmaster, which would lead to some unpleasant questions."
"Well we could fabricate a reason to be suspicious from the fact that the DADA skipped over lethifolds. That let us to snoop around a bit and we were just lucky that Rover got us some incriminating videos." suggested Hermione.
"Sounds plausible. That might cost us Rover though." agreed Daphne.
"Hey, Quirriddle is on the third floor." shouted Harry, who sat next to the terminal of the Maruder's map tracking system.
"Where is Dumbledore?" asked Hermione.
"Not in the system right now. Must have left Hogwarts."
"Damn. That's no coincidence. What shall we do?"
"I say let's go and have a look what Quirriddle is up to." Suggested Harry. Reluctantly, his friends agreed.
They quickly reached the third floor door to the forbidden section. Once inside the room, they spotted a giant, alert, three headed dog. It sat near the center of the large room. It was not amused, growled once and got up. Unfazed, Harry fetched a device with several metal cylinders from his pocket and aimed it at the dog.
"Hold your breath." he shouted at his companions. Next a hissing sound from Harry's device could be heard and soon thereafter the dog was fast asleep.
"Here, quickly cover your nose and mouth with these, then breathe normally." continued Harry, handing out disposable respirators.
"Activated charcoal, takes care of the Halothane I used to put that doggy to sleep." added Harry when he met Hermione's questioning eyes.
It didn't take long for them to find and open the trapdoor in the middle of the room. Harry drooped a magnesium flare down the pitch black opening and observed some dark plants at the bottom of the shaft wither away in the bright light.
Using a rope from Harry's magically enlarged supply pocket, they descended the shaft and began to explore. The shaft, which was about 12 feet deep, was connected to a short tunnel that lead to room with only one door. There was a swarm of winged keys, buzzing angrily near the tall ceiling.
"We're going to have to get on a broom and pick out the right key," Hermione said in realization. "Uh . . . are either of you good enough to get it?"
"I might be," Daphne said with a frown. "But it'll take me a while . . . what are you doing Harry?"
"Mixing up some thermite," Harry replied absently.
"What's thermite?" Hermione asked.
"You might say it's a key to every lock," Harry replied. "Cover your eyes." The girls had known Harry long enough not to question him about things like this and both slapped their hands over their eyes immediately. "Ok, you can open them now."
"Uh . . . how did you burn a hole through the door?" Daphne asked in shock.
"I told you," Harry said. "Thermite, iron oxide and aluminum powder, mixed with a bit of magic so it ignores gravity and there you are."
"Oh . . . let's go then." The three students walked through the door to find a room with a larger than life chess set. The sculptured stone pieces sported an intimidating arsenal of ancient weaponry.
"I think we're suppose to play through," Daphne said. "Harry . . . what's that bottle in your hand?"
"Nitro Glycerin," Harry replied. "You two might want to go back into the other room for a moment."
"Nitro . . ." Hermione's eyes widened in shock and she immediately grabbed Daphne by the arm and forced her into the other room. They were joined a few moments later by Harry.
"What did you just . . ." Daphne was interrupted by a giant explosion and a cloud of dust coming through the open doorway. "Never mind."
The next room was rather spartan. It had one table with several bottles and one note. As they approached the table, a curtain of flames blocked the way forward. Hermione began to read the note.
"One of us is going to have to stay here, one of us can go forward, and one of us will have to go back for help." Hermione said. "Just give me a moment to work out this riddle."
"We could do that," Harry agreed. The girls watched as he pulled out a fire extinguisher and hosed down the flames. "Or we could all go ahead."
"Why did you have a fire extinguisher with you?" Hermione demanded.
"You'd be surprised at how often I need to use it," Harry replied with a shrug.
"Actually," Hermione said. "No I wouldn't."
"Let's just go," Daphne said in exasperation.
"Ok," Harry agreed.
In the next room, they finally found Prof. Quirrill, who was busily examining a large, decorative mirror. The room was circular and fairly large. It could have been some kind demonstration hall, for it had circular seating around a depressed center stage. Quirrill seemed to be rather frustrated, alternatively muttering apologies and begging for directions.
"Excuse me, Professor Quirrill. You wouldn't happen to know where I might find Mr. Tom Riddle?" interrupted Harry casually.
"Y.Y...You" stammered a startled Quirrill.
"THERE IS NO TOM RIDDLE. I am Lord Voldemort, the greatest wizard in history." the angry voice of the master bellowed from the same direction. "Let me handle him." With that, the DADA professor turned around and removed his turban to reveal a grotesque second face on the back of his head.
"And so we meet again. Harry Potter!" spat Voldemort after he shook off his rage. He then began to rave about ruling the world and graciously offered Harry to join his quest.
"You see Potter," Voldemort said. "There is no good or evil, only power and . . . are you listening to me?"
"Sorry about that," Harry said as he pulled his sprayer out of his pocket. "I just needed to find this." With that, Harry shot a long steam of liquid into the dark lord's face.
"Arrrg," Voldemort screamed, dropping his wand and clutching his eyes. "What have you done to me."
"Formaldehyde," the girls replied together.
Harry rotated the barrel of cylinders and squirted Quirrill's wand with another liquid which instantly burst into flames and quickly incinerated the wand. "White phosphor dissolved in carbon disulphide - you may want to put the respirators back on. That white smoke isn't too healthy."
After one more rotation of the barrel, Harry began to douse Quirrill's robes with a clear, somewhat viscous liquid. After he was satisfied that the whimpering Quirrill was thoroughly soaked, Harry switched to yet another liquid and briefly sprayed Quirrill again. The robes instantly solidified and Quirrill was glued to the spot.
"Loctite 382, a space filling cyanoacrylate. It is a tad expensive, but it bonds well to skin and hardens in seconds with the Tak Pak 7452 accelerator. Has a tensile strength of more than 7 Newtons per square millimeter. Quirriddle isn't going anywhere. Is anyone up for spell practice?" said Harry to his recovering friends.
A shaken Hermione tried a timid "Stupefy" on Quirrill followed by a more enthusiastic "Petrificus Totalis" from Daphne, who had recovered a bit faster from facing Voldemort. Many more spells followed.
Meanwhile, Harry examined the mirror and saw himself holding a red stone, which his mirror image placed in its pocket. When he examined his pocket, he indeed felt a stone in it.
"I think we are done here. Let's find Fred and George, they should have finished by now." said Harry as he walked towards the exit, leaving a severely stunned and bound DADA professor behind. It would take the aurors nearly a day to free him later, mostly because they confused the resin with magic.
The next morning, the trio alerted the Headmaster to the whereabout of his defense against the dark arts professor. Harry used Hermione's idea of explaining how they started to suspect Quirrill and left out any incriminating details. While it was clear that neither Dumbledore nor Snape believed their story, neither dared to use Legilimency on Harry or his friends. Quirrill had confessed, and Voldemort was still trapped in his body when the aurors arrived. The trio's statements were well rehearsed, and convinced the ministry official who lead the interview. With all parties eager to hush up the incident, no hard questions were raised.
The debriefing in the headmasters office finished just after lunch. Harry was about to leave the office and follow his friends when Dumbledore called him back.
"I'm afraid that I have some bad news to tell you." said the headmaster after closing the door. "You see, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge panicked when confronted with Prof. Quirrill and ordered him kissed by a dementor right away. That was a grave mistake. He should have let the unspeakables study the situation first. Alas, it appears that the dementor's kiss only got Quirrill's soul and that Voldemort's spirit was freed in the process."
"Well isn't that special. So we are back to square one."
"So it seems, but perhaps we learned a bit to help us in the future."
"Right! Have nice and pleasant day, Headmaster." replied Harry scornfully and turned to leave.
"Harry, aren't you forgetting something?"
"Nope, can't think of anything." replied Harry with fake sincerity.
"Where is the Philosopher's stone, Harry?" prodded Dumbledore.
"I can't tell you that because of security reasons." replied Harry smoothly, got up and left a stunned Headmaster behind. Harry had actually arranged to transfered the stone back to his vault in Gringott's bank. For a pretty penny, Harry had assisted the Goblins to beef up their security with the latest muggle technology. Cosed circuit TV, retina scanners, motion detectors, microphones, body heat sensors along with remote controlled weapons and high-tech composite steel vaults made it rather unlikely that either a wizard or a muggel could penetrate their security ever again.
The school year ended peacefully a few weeks after the Voldemort encounter. Gryffindor easily won the Quiditch cup and sported the most house points. The only noteworthy event occurred on the morning of the departure day, when Hogwarts was awoken from the noise of a shiny new Dauphin Eurocopter with a red and gold Gryffindor color scheme that landed near the entrance to pick up Harry and his friends. The headmaster was only mildly surprised to learn that Harry owned the helicopter, piloted by two squibs and that he planed to used it regularly to commute to Hogwarts to work in his lab during the summer. Naturally, Dumbledore was informed rather late that construction for a proper Hogwarts heliport would commence next week.
AN: Revised and Expanded by not2real and this author deserves all the credit for the improvements. I'd say it was a nice job, better then what I did anyway.