A/N: This is my first piece of fiction that I have ever written. It will be a long, novel length story. I have already written several chapters, which still need some editing. I am currently doing all of that on my own. If anybody would like to help, you can feel free to let me know. I don't imagine myself to be a great writer, but I think the story is at least pretty decent. If you have any comments or criticisms (hopefully constructive), I would appreciate them. I would like to make this story as good as it can be.
A little about the story: it is Pre-HBP, even though I began writing it after HBP was already out. It does not follow anything that happened in HBP. I'm not just talking about the plot points in HBP, but there are some facts about the HP world made in HBP that I don't follow, not the least of which is the method in which the Ministry tracks magic use (more specifically underage magic use). So please don't leave me comments about anything said in HBP that contradicts anything in this story. Thanks.
Without further ado, I give you the prologue and first chapter of my story: Taking Control (the name is a little lame, I know, but oh well). Oh, and Harry Potter is in no way a work of my own creation. You all know I stole the characters and settings and basically everything from JKR.
Privet Drive was a perfectly normal street. It was lined with perfectly normal houses, one nearly identical to the next. The inhabitants of these homes were all perfectly normal people as well, save for one house. In this house lived a family who tried its hardest to be perfectly normal. But there has always been one aspect of Mr. and Mrs. Dursley's lives that has never been anything close to their definition of normal. That thing was sitting on his lumpy bed in the smallest room of the house, filled with their son's old, broken toys accumulated throughout his pampered life. That thing was none other than their nephew, Harry Potter.
Harry Potter didn't pay any attention to the numerous objects strewn about his room. He sat motionless on his bed staring unseeingly at the bare wall in front of him. He had been sitting in the same position since he had returned to his "home" for the summer exactly 36 hours ago. Harry Potter had not eaten, slept, spoken a word, nor even averted his gaze in all that time.
It was his snowy white owl, Hedwig, who finally broke Harry out of his reverie. Returning from her nighttime hunt, she alighted on his shoulder and nipped affectionately at his ear, giving a soft hoot. Broken from his trance, Harry glanced at his bedside clock to find that it was just after 3:00 in the morning. Harry absentmindedly stroked Hedwig's feathers as he realized something else he'd neglected to do in the past 36 hours. He then promptly ran out of his room to use the loo, leaving an indignant owl in his wake.
Finished relieving himself of his most pressing concern, Harry realized how hungry he was. A growl from his stomach reaffirmed his decision to sneak down to the kitchen to scrounge up something to eat. He quietly made his way through the hallway and down the stairs, careful to avoid the floorboards and steps that he knew to creak. Once reaching his destination, he set out to make himself a sandwich. It only took Harry two bites before realizing that despite his obvious hunger he didn't have much of an appetite.
Harry forced his way through the rest of his sandwich despite the rising sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach. Finished with his midnight meal, Harry cleaned up after himself and soundlessly made his way back up the stairs and into his bedroom where he collapsed onto his bed and promptly dropped off into a fitful night's sleep.
The next few days progressed in much the same manner for Harry. He only ever left his room in the middle of the night, and he had not encountered any of his relatives since the day they had picked him up from King's Cross Station. This was one of the very few things in his life for which he was grateful for at the moment.
He spent those days in bed drifting in and out of sleep. To be honest, Harry couldn't really tell the difference between his sleeping and waking hours for he continuously relived the same moments within his mind regardless of his state. Harry had become rather adept at avoiding and eluding his enemies. (He had been doing it since he was a baby when Voldemort first targeted him.) His years of practice could not help him this time though, for Harry Potter had become his own worst enemy, for the moment anyway. He did still have the darkest wizard of the century plotting his death.
Harry could not escape the mental images of that dreadful night when he dragged five of his closest friends from their school in Scotland to the Ministry of Magic in London into certain danger on a harebrained scheme to rescue his godfather from the clutches of Lord Voldemort. What Harry had not known at the time was that he was being duped by Voldemort; Sirius, his godfather, was actually safe and sound in his London home at the time. The ensuing disaster led to injury for all five of his friends plus several Order of the Phoenix members who had come to their rescue and worst of all, the death of his godfather, who had been a part of the rescue team.
The moment Harry relived most often in his mind was watching as his godfather fell through that accursed veil. This moment brought a mix of emotions through Harry: pain and grief at the loss of the closest thing to a father he had ever known, anger at his murderer, Sirius' own cousin Bellatrix Lestrange, anger at Sirius for not taking the duel seriously (if only he had attacked her rather than wasting time taunting her), helplessness as he could do nothing but watch as Sirius tumbled through the archway, and confusion as to what the bloody hell that veil was exactly.
Remus Lupin, Harry's only remaining connection to his long deceased parents, had held Harry back from following Sirius through the archway explaining that Sirius was gone and would not be coming back. Everyone he had talked to since then only reiterated this fact, yet Harry didn't understand how it worked. If the arch was a doorway to the world of the dead, shouldn't it work both ways? It wasn't as though Sirius had died properly, leaving behind his body while his spirit moved on to its next adventure. No, Sirius still had his body with him, and as far as Harry was concerned, that should mean that there was still hope that he could come back. Hope was all he had at this point.
When Harry wasn't brooding over his godfather's state, he was reliving the rest of the events of that evening. After the shock of Sirius' tumble through the veil, Harry had raced after Bellatrix and cast the worst curse he could think of on her: the Cruciatus Curse. It was this act more than anything else that stole Harry's appetite away. The thought of what he had done made him physically ill. He had cast an Unforgivable Curse. Not only that, he'd cast the worst Unforgivable in his mind. He wasn't looking for control or a quick death for Bellatrix; he wanted to inflict pain, to make Bellatrix suffer as he was suffering at the time, as he was still currently suffering. She had mocked him for his effort, for the curse did not work properly. He had learned the hard way that when casting the curse you had to actually enjoy causing others pain. If you didn't enjoy causing others pain you were only left with a feeling a self-loathing. Casting that curse had made Harry feel as though he was no better than Voldemort himself.
It was that feeling that had left Harry completely powerless when Voldemort confronted Harry that night and had allowed Voldemort to possess Harry and gain control over his body. Harry still shivered when he thought of that; it left him feeling as if he was dirty, tainted, like he was covered in dirt that would never wash off. His hatred of himself in conjunction with his grief over the loss of Sirius caused Harry to drop his guard and welcome death's sweet release. Had it not been for Albus Dumbledore's impeccable timing, Harry would have been reunited with his parents and godfather in the afterlife that night. Being in the Headmaster's debt was not somewhere Harry wanted to be at the moment.
Harry learned later that night that the illustrious headmaster had been withholding quite a bit of information from him, not the least of which was the reason why Voldemort had tried to murder him almost fifteen years ago when he was only fifteen months old and the reason why Voldemort might want to lure Harry to the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic. Harry learned that a prophecy was made before he was born about the one who would have the power to defeat Voldemort. One line kept playing repeatedly in Harry's mind: "And either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives." That is what Harry's life had come down to: kill or be killed. The entire war rested on Harry's shoulders, and nobody had saw fit to let him know or to help him prepare.
The headmaster thought it best to hide this from Harry for the five years since they had first met. Surely nothing bad ever came from acting out of ignorance, right? Dumbledore was the great puppet master in the story, and Harry realized that he'd been nothing but one of his puppets all along, his strings manipulated behind the scenes. Harry realized that the real weapon the Order had been guarding all along had been him and the knowledge that he was in fact their only weapon against Voldemort.
With this thought, Harry realized why he had been left with his viciously cruel relatives all his life and why he had no say even now in where he spent his summer vacations. No one ever worried about his well-being or happiness; they just wanted to make sure nothing damaged their precious weapon. Harry was sick of everything in his life right now: himself, his relatives, the Order, his headmaster, and more than anything else Harry was sick of feeling helpless and out of control in his life. It was this final thought that Harry focused on one night as he drifted off to sleep. Before sleep claimed him, he made a vow that no longer would he sit idly by and be manipulated. "From now on, my life is in my own hands. I'm taking control. If Voldemort wants to come kill me, let him come. Next time I'll be ready for him," Harry murmured as his eyelids began to droop and he finally succumbed to sleep.
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Visitor
Harry's dreams that night started out as they had ever since he had lost Sirius. He watched in despair, feeling helpless as his godfather fell through the veil again and again, when a familiar voice startled him: "You really do need to stop brooding so much like this, Harry."
Harry whirled around and felt his jaw hit the floor. "Si—Sirius?" He barely managed to whisper.
"In the flesh." At Harry's pained expression he hastily added, "Sorry, wrong thing to say given my current state, but yeah, kid, it's me."
Harry felt the tears welling up in his eyes as his all too familiar feelings of guilt quickly surfaced. Holding back his tears, he barely managed to choke out, "I'm so sorry Sirius. It's all m-my fault. If only I hadn't been so stupid…."
"Now hold it right there kiddo," Sirius interrupted. "I love you to pieces and all, but if you continue acting like this is all your fault, I'm not opposed to knocking some sense into you…literally," his trademark cocky grin firmly in place now.
"But…how…where…what..?" So many thoughts and emotions were racing through Harry's mind that he couldn't focus on any single one. Sirius was here talking to him, but Sirius was dead. It was his fault Sirius was dead, but Sirius didn't think so. But how was Sirius even here talking to him? Moreover, was it really even Sirius? Harry paused and took a breath. "How is this possible? … Is it really you?"
"Articulate as always, I see. If I didn't know any better I'd think you were talking to a certain pretty Ravenclaw seeker." Sirius's smile widened as Harry's cheeks stained red behind the tear tracks. "You're better off without that one, Harry. She wasn't right for you. But to answer your question, it has to do with the veil and how I died. Because I still have my physical body on this side, I have stronger ties to this world than one ordinarily would. But before you go getting your hopes up, that doesn't mean I can come back, unless you want another dementor on your hands."
"Dementor?" Harry asked, confused as to just what his godfather was talking about. Where did dementors fit into all of this?
"That's right. Once your soul passes on, it can never go back. Those who have come through the veil and gone back have been stripped of their souls and filled with an eternal yearning to fill the void that the split created, so they feed on the souls of others. Their real souls, for all we know, are lost forever somewhere in the process."
Harry tried to wrap his mind around what he had just been told for a minute before resuming his questioning. "But I still don't understand, how are you here talking to me? And where is here?" Harry realized that they were no longer in the Death Chamber in the DoM. Instead he found himself in an open field full of lush green grass with trees planted intermittently for as far as the eye could see.
"This is a figment of your imagination, or maybe my imagination," Sirius replied waving his hand about at the landscape. "And as I was saying, my tie to the physical world is strong because I took my body with me. The connection will weaken over time, and I will eventually pass on entirely to the other side. Think of it as what the muggles call limbo or purgatory, sort of a waiting period. I'm not sure if I can visit anybody I want; you were the first one I tried. But from what I gather, it should be some time before I'm so far gone that I can no longer visit."
"Have you seen my parents?" Harry blurted out, unable to contain himself once the question formed in his mind. He unconsciously took a step toward his godfather and was bouncing on the balls of his feet in anticipation.
Sirius' grin faltered slightly as he began to reply. "I have, though not as much as I would have liked to. Because of my ties to the physical world, I can't fully join those in the land of the dead. I'm sort of stuck in middle ground right now. I can talk to your parents for short periods of time, as I will be able to with you."
"What did they say? Can they see me? Have they been watching? Did they say anything about me?" One question tumbled right after the other, as Harry was eager to learn more about his mum and dad.
Seeing Harry's hungry, almost desperate expression, Sirius decided not to tease Harry about this particular subject. He took a step towards Harry and laid a hand on his shoulder. "Aye, they've been keeping an eye on you over the years. Quite proud of you, they are. They had a few choice words for the Dursley's that I'd be afraid to let reach Mrs. Weasley's ears. Your mom's sick with worry about you given how you've been dealing with my death. She wishes you weren't so hard on yourself; James and I do as well."
"But…" Harry tried to interrupt, throwing off his godfather's comforting arm and taking a few steps past his godfather. How could he say that after he had gotten the man killed? How was he supposed to go easy on himself when he had his own godfather's death on his hands?
"But nothing, Harry!" Sirius cried in exasperation before Harry could even begin blaming himself again. Harry spun around to face him again. "There are a lot of people who share in the responsibility of what happened to me: Voldemort and Bellatrix being the two primary ones."
Harry scowled and looked like he wanted to object, but Sirius pressed on. "Let's not forget Dumbledore's part in this, keeping you in the dark for so long. I kept pleading with him to tell you, but he refused to see reason. I might've told you myself had I known the full story. All any of us were ever told was that the prophecy somehow concerned you and Voldemort. Had Dumbledore not been so foolhardy, Voldemort never would have been able to lure you there the way he did."
Getting to the point he was most anxious for, Sirius continued somewhat shakily, "Which brings me to why I've come to you tonight. I didn't come right away because I wanted to give you time to come to terms with my death. This past night you found something else to focus on, and I've come to help you with that."
Harry's face bore a mask of confusion. "I don't understand…"
"I'm here to help you take control of your life, Harry. You're a powerful wizard when you put your mind to it, and I've decided to help give you a push in the right direction. You'll need all the training you can get if you're to face Voldemort. I'm actually shocked that Dumbledore hasn't taken over any part of your training yet. Seems rather foolish that he hasn't. He's left you unprepared to face your destiny. Had he taken over years ago rather than shielding you from your fate, you'd be well beyond where your abilities are now." Sirius' voice accumulated a touch of anger as he finished his thoughts.
"But how can you help me when you're…you're…dead?" Harry asked, voice trailing off to barely a whisper.
"Harry, am I not able to talk to you, interact with you, here?" Sirius questioned.
"Well yes, but…"
"And while you can't exactly perform magic outside of school in the real world yet, nothing is stopping you from doing so here." Harry's mouth hung open, and seeing that he wasn't going to be able to talk just yet, Sirius continued. "If you're really serious about taking control of your life, I'd like to help, Harry. I even have your first lesson all planned out. You'll need some way to move around quickly without being noticed, even by those who can see through invisibility cloaks. It's how I was able to move around after I escaped from Azkaban."
"You're gonna teach me to be an animagus?" Harry asked, shock and disbelief etched across his face.
Sirius's grin was back in full force as he replied, "That's the plan. And with any luck, you'll be something that can move quickly and unobtrusively. Here's hoping you'll be able to fly…"
"Fly…?" Harry muttered as his mind drifted off considering all the possibilities.
"Aye, it would make sense too. Flying's always been second nature to you, so it would be natural for that ability to manifest in your animagus form" Sirius remarked looking smug.
As Harry slowly recovered from his day dreaming of what his animagus form could be, a steely resolve glinted behind his eyes as he locked them onto Sirius' gaze. "When do we start?" Harry asked in a no-nonsense tone of voice.
Sirius chuckled. "Now there's the Harry I know and love: man of action. Before we can really get started on that front, you'll need to find your animagus form. To do that you'll need to brew a potion that will put you into a meditative state where you will meet the animal form inside you. Here's how the potion goes…"
Harry was gently awoken for the first time in so long that he couldn't even remember. The sun was peeking through the curtains adorning his window, casting beams of light across his face. He rose feeling better than he had for a few weeks…hell, for a few months even. He had a purpose in his life now and a plan. Granted the plan only covered the start of his training, but compared to the helpless, purposeless feeling that had filled him just the day before, Harry felt like a new man.
Harry broke his monotonous routine of spending the day in bed by going downstairs for breakfast. He walked into the kitchen to find his relatives already there working on breakfast. His aunt was at the stove cooking up some scrambled eggs. She dropped the frying pan she had been holding when she noticed Harry's presence. Luckily, it was only a couple inches off the stove at that point and only a bit of egg managed to fly out of the pan. His uncle's face had been hidden behind the morning paper. When he heard the pan drop, he looked up and caught sight of his nephew. They both looked shocked to see him as if they had completely forgotten he was even living there at the moment. His cousin, Dudley, was nowhere to be seen. He chuckled to himself humorlessly as he realized that they probably had forgotten he was there. He barely acknowledged the Dursleys as he helped himself to some eggs and toast.
Harry wolfed down his breakfast and dumped his plate next to the sink before heading back upstairs to his bedroom. Despite the turnaround in his attitude, he was still far from cheery and did not want to spend any more time in the Dursleys' company than was strictly necessary. Harry was still plagued with guilt and self-loathing over the events in the Ministry of Magic, but his newfound sense of purpose in life coupled with his excitement at the prospect of seeing Sirius again gave him something else to focus on, making the pain much more bearable. He no longer felt completely numb to the world.
As Harry settled back into his room he noticed a couple letters that he vaguely remembered receiving sometime during the void that was the last few days of his life. He had been much too preoccupied to pay them any mind at the time, but now that Harry was in better control of his mental faculties, he decided he should give them a read. He picked up the first one and immediately recognized Ron's untidy scrawl.
How are you, Harry? Those muggles aren't treating you bad, are they? If Moody can't scare them straight, I don't think anything will. Mum's already on Dumbledore's case about getting you out of there, but he insists that you've gotta stay awhile longer. I never did get why you have to keep going back.
Ginny was bugging me about letting Pig bring you a letter with mine, but I told her to bugger off for a bit since I know you won't be in much a mood to talk to anyone right away. I got an owl from Hermione earlier, and she's in a right state worrying over you. I told her to lay off you for a while since I know how pushy she can be when she wants you to talk about something. I'm sure the opportunity to thank me by saving me from one of her usual tirades will come up soon enough. Mental, that one is.
I'll keep bugging Mum to get Dumbledore to let you out of there. Don't let the muggles get you down.
Harry shook his head in frustration as he crumpled up Ron's letter and pitched it in the trash. He hated when people walked on eggshells around him, as if he was fragile and unable to take care of himself. And to blatantly point it out the way Ron was doing…it was just utterly ridiculous. He resolved to write a letter to Ginny to thank her for thinking of him before he wrote back to Ron. Maybe then Ron would get the hint that he didn't need another minder. 'Then again, I wouldn't count on it.' Harry thought. 'Thick, that one is.' If he was in a better mood he might've laughed at his own joke; instead, he picked up the next letter to find Hermione's neat script covering the parchment.
How are you? And don't you dare even think of writing back saying "I'm fine." Have you been eating regularly and sleeping alright? You know Mrs. Weasley will make a fuss over you if you come back looking like you haven't had a decent meal in weeks.
I can only imagine how dreadful you must be feeling after all that's happened. I know you don't much want to talk about it, but please don't shut me out or push me away like you usually do. I'm just worried about you, and I want to help. And talking about it can help.
I'm hanging in there, but I think my parents can tell that something is wrong. I've been sugar coating things (a horrible thing to do to a pair of dentists) for them over the years because I was afraid they would pull me out of Hogwarts if they knew the truth of what was happening in our world and the kinds of danger we've been in. I fear the time has come for me to come clean. I only hope they are not too upset with me.
Please write back soon, Harry. I'd really like to hear from you.
Typical Hermione letter overall, always trying to get people to talk about their feelings. He actually didn't mind it as much as he usually might have. At least she wasn't tiptoeing around him or trying to shield and coddle him. Of course, if Harry had read the letter just the day before he most likely would have scowled and tossed the letter aside, but running away from the pain didn't seem quite so important now. He had to face it and move past it if he was ever going to be any help in this war.
What really surprised Harry about the letter was Hermione's admission that she had lied to her parents. 'Maybe Ron and I have rubbed off on her more than we thought,' Harry pondered. She was the queen of rules and following authority to the letter. She must have been seriously scared of being pulled out of Hogwarts to have lied to her parents about it.
Before Harry began crafting any letters of his own he searched through his trunk for his potions supplies. Sirius had told him the ingredients and instructions for the animagus potion the night before, and they had decided that Harry should ask his friends to get the additional ingredients he'd need. He was unable to go himself, lest his safety be compromised. The Order was surely keeping tabs on him, monitoring his whereabouts, and asking an Order member could arouse suspicion if they recognized what the supplies could be for or questioned his motives. Harry would just tell his friends he was studying this summer and wanted to be extra prepared for Snape's NEWT class, as he'd need to do well in that class to become an auror. That was of course assuming that he even made it into Snape's NEWT class in the first place.
Harry quickly compiled a list of what he'd need to make the potion and decided to ask Ginny for her help. He didn't want to risk asking Hermione for two reasons: 1) She was just too clever for her own good, and 2) her parents were muggles, meaning she didn't have easy access to Diagon Alley. So with that set Harry pulled out quill and parchment and began to write.
The Weasley's had just finished dinner that evening, and Ginny ascended the stairs to her bedroom. She was not having a very pleasant summer thus far. She had lost a man who, while she had only met him just a year ago (and prior to that thought him to be an escaped lunatic murderer), had quickly turned into a favorite uncle-like figure. He was an adult, technically speaking, but he was so full of life and mischief that it was hard not to see him as a friend first and an adult second.
She knew that her feelings of loss were nothing compared to Harry's. Sirius had been the closest thing to a father that he'd ever known. Harry had been in such bad shape when they parted ways several days ago. He had almost seemed devoid of all emotion. Only his eyes betrayed the true depth of his pain. She knew this had to be weighing heavily on him, and he was probably blaming himself for the whole thing, the noble git. Not that she could really blame him for it; hadn't she, after the incident with the Chamber of Secrets her first year, done the exact same thing? She had been manipulated by Tom Riddle, otherwise known as Voldemort, same as Harry.
Her brother, Ron, who also happened to be a complete git although for entirely different and much less flattering reasons, was not helping matters at all either. Ever since she'd mentioned she was seeing Dean Thomas on the train ride home he had not shut up about the subject. After living with the guy at school for five years without any problems, all of a sudden Dean Thomas is a right prat completely unworthy of me. Right! And to top it all off, he had refused to send her letter to Harry with his, claiming that Harry needed his space right now and didn't need to listen to another girl go on and on about feelings and emotions. 'If he keeps this up Ron'll be having a big prank coming his way before long,' Ginny thought while grinning ruefully.
Just as she started to contemplate the different ways she could exact her revenge on her dear brother, she was pulled out of her thoughts by a tap-tap-tap coming from her window. She jumped two feet into the air, startled out of her reverie. As she glanced over, she saw something she had not been expecting: a beautiful snowy white owl with a letter trying to get in her window. She unlatched the window and opened it up. "Hedwig? You know Ron's room is on the top floor. Why…?"
She was interrupted by an indignant hoot from the owl in question. Hedwig held her leg out impatiently while glaring at the red-haired female who dared to question her ability to deliver a letter to its correct recipient. She did not deliver to the wrong person, and she delivered her mail with dignity, unlike another owl she had the displeasure of knowing that belonged to a different red-haired somebody.
Sufficiently cowed by Hedwig's response to her questioning, Ginny shrugged and took the proffered letter. She scrounged up a bowl and filled it with water offering it to the owl as a peace offering. While Hedwig hooted gratefully and helped herself to a drink, Ginny looked down at the envelope in her hands and sure enough, the envelope had her name on it. The first thing she noticed as she held the envelope was its weight and clunkiness. She ripped it open to find several gold coins contained within along with two pieces of parchment, one full sized, the other a torn scrap. 'Now that's odd,' Ginny thought to herself before pulling out the full sized letter and beginning to read.
I'm not exactly sure where to start as I've never written you before, but I suppose the beginning is as good a place as any. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for a lot of things, actually. I'm sorry for not noticing you and getting to know you sooner. I realized over the past year what a great person you are, and I'd feel lucky to be able to count you as a friend.
I'm sorry for forgetting about your run in with Voldemort. After you brought it to my attention over the Christmas holidays, I realized that I never once asked you how you were handling it and to make sure you were doing okay. I was a bloody git. Can you forgive me? I'm also sorry for leading you into that trap at the ministry. I appreciate your help and willingness to come that night. Without you and the others, there probably wouldn't have been anything left for the Order to save by the time they arrived.
I just got around to reading the letter I received from Ron. He mentioned that you had wanted to send me a letter and that he'd refused to send it with his. The prat was acting like he had done me a favor. I haven't written Ron back yet. The last thing I need right now is another minder or someone who is going to tiptoe around me. Instead, I decided to write to you. I don't want to think of you as an acquaintance, or my best friend's little sister, but as a friend in your own right. That is if you'll have me.
Now that that's over with, how are you doing? Is your ankle alright? I don't really know how you've been affected by Sirius's passing. Did you really know him well? I know you guys were all at Headquarters before I ever made it there, so I don't know how well you got to know him or if you even liked him. Plus I was probably a little too caught up in myself to notice much of what was going on around me anyway.
God, I miss him. I just can't help thinking to myself, if only I hadn't been so stupid, maybe he'd still be here now. Maybe I'd be writing him a letter complaining about being stuck here, but now being stuck here doesn't seem so bad in comparison. I was in pretty bad shape for a while. I wasn't able to eat, and I barely left my room. I'm starting to feel a little better though. I made a promise to myself last night to take control of my life and not make a mistake like that ever again, and I woke up this morning feeling like some of the weight had been lifted off me. It still hurts, but now it seems bearable. That's all I can really ask for at this point.
I'm sorry for rambling on so much. Here you probably hate my guts for almost getting you killed and I'm talking your ears off with my problems. I hope this letter finds you well and that you can find it in your heart to forgive me for everything. I'd like it if we could write to each other this summer. I'd like to get to know you better. I asked Hedwig to wait around for you, in case you wanted to reply. If you don't want to write, I'll understand. Just send Hedwig on her way.
P.S. I almost forgot. The galleons are for potions supplies. I was hoping you could talk your mum into picking some things up from the apothecary for me, since I can't exactly go into Diagon Alley myself. I've decided to occupy myself with my studies over break for lack of anything else to do, and potions is taking a priority as I've got to be ready for Snape's NEWT class (assuming I make it in). I'll need to do well if I want to be an auror. I wasn't sure how much it would cost, so tell your mum I can send more if need be. There's a list of what I need in the envelope. Thanks, Gin. You're the best.
Ginny was speechless. What was that? He'd just said more in that one letter than he had probably ever said to her in the past five years since she'd first met him. He had just practically begged her to be his friend. She had thought he'd never see her for anything other than Ron's little sister.
It had been the world's worst kept secret that Ginny had a huge crush on Harry Potter when she was younger, and she could now admit to it without that familiar blush creeping up from her cheeks to her ears. She had spent years hoping Harry would finally notice her, realize he was madly in love with her, and whisk her away on his noble white steed… Okay, so that's not exactly what she had been hoping for, but looking back on it now, she knew she was waiting on a fairy tale. Only fairy tales aren't real. How could she expect Harry to notice her when she couldn't utter a single coherent sentence in his presence? Hell, she had trouble just getting out any sounds that could pass for human speech. She had realized during her third year just how silly she was being. If she couldn't hold a conversation with Harry, she would never be anything to him.
The first step was to drop her fairy tale. She gave up hoping for her fairy tale romance with Harry. She still cared for Harry, as most people who came to know him did. After Harry came out of the third task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament at the end of her third year looking so broken and lost, she resolved that she would help Harry in any way that she could. She would be his friend. She wasn't holding out on some romantic fantasy of being the shoulder Harry cried on and the one who gave him comfort in his darkest hours. No, she was done with that silliness.
Harry needed his friends and family – and from what she knew of his family, they were bound to be of no help whatsoever – to be there for him, to support him, and to help him shoulder his burdens. It tore at her heart that night in the Hospital Wing, watching Harry sob into her mother's embrace. At first, when her mother had wrapped her arms around him, he had stiffened as if unsure what was going on, as if he had never been held like that before. It wasn't until later that she realized how true that thought was. She had heard Ron talking in the past about Harry's relatives, but it never really hit her until later that night what he was really saying.
She had been proud of herself that summer at Grimmauld Place. When Harry had finally arrived to spend the summer with them, she had not turned into the silly little lovesick fan girl she always used to become around him. She hadn't let his appearance change her at all. She acted like her usual self all throughout the summer. She had not said much directly to Harry, but the point was that she was now capable of talking to Harry. And she had no trouble talking to others even in his presence. Sadly enough, this was a remarkable improvement.
Things had remained stagnant as school began, at least in regards to Harry. She was a year behind him, so they had no classes together. Eventually the DA started, so she got to see him a bit more. In addition, over the winter holidays Harry had witnessed the snake attack on her father through his connection with Voldemort. He had been afraid that he might have been possessed by Voldemort and tried to withdraw from everyone. When they confronted him about it, she had been the one to pull him out. He had claimed they wouldn't understand, but she understood all too well what it was like to be possessed by Voldemort. When she brought up the diary from her first year, Harry had immediately realized his misjudgment and had quickly retracted his attitude. Finally, Ginny had felt like she had done something useful for a change. She had finally helped Harry.
During the next term, she helped concoct the plan to allow Harry to speak to Sirius and at the end of term went with Harry into the Ministry of Magic to rescue Sirius. Harry had tried to talk her and the others out of coming, but she had adamantly stood her ground. He just had to learn that he couldn't do everything on his own. Ginny had always been jealous of the adventures that Harry, Ron, and Hermione had shared over the years. She had romanticized them in her mind, thinking them wonderful and fun and exciting. After that night, those thoughts were immediately dispelled.
Their adventure was anything but wonderful, fun and exciting. It was at times cold, uncomfortable, terrifying, painful, seemingly helpless, frantic…no, nothing like she had imagined it to be. Nevertheless, she would have gone again in a heartbeat. It was just right. It was her chance to help Harry and to fight Voldemort.
That brings us back to the present. Ginny had read through Harry's letter again in between her musings, and she still could not quite fathom the letter she held in her hands. This just didn't seem anything like the Harry she had gotten to know over the past year. And it definitely wasn't the broken, vacant Harry she had just left a little over a week ago. Harry was notorious for being closed up about his feelings, but he had been so open with her. The letter had a serious tone to it, but it wasn't a depressing one. He wasn't joking around and laughing, but she hardly expected him to be doing anything of that sort at this point of time. To top it all off, though, he had seemed genuinely concerned about her and her acceptance of him.
Ginny was utterly confused. For a moment she considered the possibility that he had simply sent similar messages to all of those who had gone to the ministry with him to get it out of the way and avoid our questions and nagging. But that didn't quite add up. For one, Harry had specifically stated that he had yet to write Ron, and he had said that he only just got around to reading letters today, so there's no way Hedwig could have made many deliveries before her. Plus she was still sitting in her room waiting to see if Ginny was going to reply. There was no way around it. She was the one he had chosen to write to. He could have at most sent out only one other letter beforehand.
As she was watching Hedwig, the owl hooted at her questioningly. "Oh!" Ginny jumped as she quickly withdrew from her thoughts. "You're wondering whether or not I'm gonna write back, aren't you?" At Hedwig's nod, Ginny remarked, "Well aren't you the clever one? I'll try not to keep you waiting too long." And with that Ginny withdrew a roll of parchment and a quill and ink bottle from her desk and sat down to write.
As Ginny finished off the last sentence of her letter to Harry, she wondered how she should sign it. Normally she'd sign it "With love, Ginny" but with her history with Harry, she briefly considered choosing a safer tag like "Your friend." In the end, she decided that she really shouldn't even have to think about it. Harry was a friend now, so she'd sign it as she would sign a letter to any one of her friends.
With that done Ginny rolled up the parchment and crossed the room to where Hedwig was perched at the head of her bed. Ginny tied the note to Hedwig's leg and held out her arm for the owl to jump on. She crossed the room to the window and was just opening it up as her door flew open and Ron's loud voice filtered in "Ginny, what have you been – Where did that owl come from?" Ron asked as Hedwig launched herself out the window.
"It just so happens, Ron, that a friend sent me a letter, and I was just sending a reply back," Ginny replied coldly as she slammed her window shut. As happy as she had been to hear from Harry, her earlier anger directed at her dear brother was not forgotten.
"Well it couldn't have been Dean. I know for a fact that Dean doesn't have a white owl. Come to think of it," Ron pondered aloud as he leaned against the wall in her doorway, "the only person I've seen at Hogwarts ever using a white owl is Harry…"
"Yes, well I've got to go ask Mum for something." Ginny left Ron's unasked question unanswered as she grabbed the potions list and galleons that Harry had sent and marched past Ron out the door and down the stairs leaving her brother standing in the doorway still trying to figure out what was going on.
She found her mum sitting in the living room, knitting needles fervently working beside her as she paged through the latest issue of Witch Weekly. Her dad was on the couch next to her mum looking at what Ginny could only assume was a muggle object of some sort. "Mum, Harry sent me a letter and wanted to know if you could pick up these things for him from the apothecary," Ginny explained, handing over the list and galleons. "He said he wants to be ready for Snape this year; he's pretty hopeful about getting into his NEWT class, I guess. He said he could send more money if it ends up costing more than what he sent."
"Since when did Harry start writing to you?" Ron questioned venomously from the bottom of the stairs where he'd obviously been eavesdropping.
Hoping to head off a row before one started, Mrs. Weasley quickly interjected, "Of course, dear. I needed to run out to Diagon Alley this week any way. Shall I have the apothecary owl these to Harry? Or were you planning on sending them to him?"
Distracted from Ron's scathing gaze, Ginny turned back and responded to her mum, "If what he sent will cover the cost for delivery, then sure; otherwise I'll just send them back with Hedwig the next time Harry sends her here."
Ginny turned back towards the stairs to find Ron scowling in her direction. She flipped her hair back and strode up the stairs decidedly ignoring her brother. As she entered her room and sent the door closed, it immediately flew back open as Ron once again entered her doorway uninvited.
"Well?" He demanded loudly.
"Well what?" Ginny asked innocently as she turned to face him, twirling a tendril of her hair around her finger..
"You know exactly what!" Ron exclaimed, throwing his arms above his head. "Since when are you getting owls from Harry?"
"You know very well that I have never got an owl from Harry before, you great prat. Harry wrote me a letter today, and I sent him one back. It's something that friends often do when they spend time apart. And if you weren't such a git, he probably would have written to you instead, so don't go taking your anger out on me." Ginny replied as calmly as she could manage. She turned her back to Ron and strode to her windowsill, where she gazed out at the starry night sky.
Ron sputtered for a moment before biting back. "And just what the bloody hell is that supposed to mean? I'm Harry's best friend. Hedwig probably just couldn't find me, so she dropped off that list of potions Harry needed with you instead," Ron worked out logically.
"Oh, brilliant deduction Ron" Ginny managed through a laugh as she spun around to face him again, "except for the part where my name was on the envelope, not to mention the nice long letter that, sure enough, started with the words: 'Dear Ginny.'"
"But that doesn't make any sense," Ron maintained. "Harry will still be depressed after what happened…won't talk to anyone for a good week I imagine. I expect he hasn't even read the letters we've sent him yet. It's the reason I didn't want to include your letter with my post. I figured we'd wait until I heard back from him before giving the okay for anyone else to write to him. So why would he just up and write to you…and not even respond to my letter?"
"Well you seem to have vastly underestimated your 'best friend,' and you'll find that he doesn't appreciate your presumptiveness. He didn't seem terribly pleased with the letter you sent to him from the sound of it." Ginny replied casually, starting to enjoy the conversation. After being in a similar situation the past few years, having to hear everything about Harry secondhand, it felt good to be in Ron's shoes and he in hers for once.
Ron looked thoroughly confused at this point. He scratched his head for a moment trying to work out that little twist of fate before asking, "What do you mean?"
Ginny thought about whether or not she should reply. Would Harry want her telling Ron what he'd said in his letter? Well, he had sounded like he'd wanted to send a message to Ron, and knowing how thick Ron could be, Ginny figured he'd never put two and two together on his own. She didn't think Harry would mind too much at any rate. "Oh just something he mentioned about not needing another minder and how he hates it when people constantly tiptoe around him," Ginny finally replied.
Ron's mouth opened and closed a few times reminding Ginny of a goldfish. He looked as though he was trying to come up with a reply, but in the end he just shook his head and walked somewhat dejectedly out of her room.
Ginny changed into her night gown and decided to curl up with a book in bed. It had been quite an interesting day, to say the least. She doubted she'd be able to sleep any time soon even if she tried. There was just too much to think about. She didn't end up getting much reading done, nor did she fall asleep any time soon.
That night found Harry lying in bed unable to relax. He doubted he'd be able to sleep a wink. He was nervous. That morning he'd woken up refreshed and confident, but now he was worried that it had all just been a crazy dream. He wasn't even sure he'd see Sirius again tonight. He didn't even know if it was possible for something like that to happen. Maybe it had all been his imagination playing tricks on him. He had no idea what the rules were for this sort of thing.
Harry was also anxious for Hedwig's return. He was surprised with how worried he was about how Ginny would respond to his letter. After he sent it, he had wondered if he'd been too open with her or said too much. He hadn't meant to say so much in his letter, but once he started writing, he couldn't stop. He had felt so lonely the past week since coming back to Privet Drive. It had felt good just to talk to someone and to put himself out in the open. Ginny just happened to be the first person he wrote to, and it had all come out.
It wasn't that he was afraid he couldn't trust Ginny; he just wasn't comfortable sharing that much of himself with other people. She was definitely the last person who would ever go dark, and he couldn't imagine her running around telling everybody what he'd said. He was just worried about what she would think of him now. And he really didn't know her all that well, which made him that much more nervous. He wished he hadn't sent out the letter so quickly. He could have rewritten it, made it less personal.
He really hoped she didn't resent him for almost getting her killed or for completely neglecting her after the Chamber of Secrets. He could use all the friends he could get at this point, especially one who could understand what it was like to have a connection with Voldemort, to have him in your head. He still couldn't believe he'd forgotten about her run-in with Voldemort during his second year. It must've have been the worst time of her entire life, and he'd put it out of his mind without ever thinking about how she must be coping with it.
Harry realized that he often got caught up in his own problems and would completely forget or ignore others' issues. Granted his problems were often much more serious than the average person's, but that was no excuse to become entirely self-involved. He would just have to work on that and hope his friends could forgive him.
Harry resolved to write to Neville and Luna as soon as he'd written to Ron and Hermione. He owed them all his sincere thanks and an apology. He'd led them all into danger, but without them there, he most likely wouldn't have made it out of the ministry alive. Harry was glad he'd begun teaching the DA last year. Without the extra training, they would have been dead meat against those death eaters.
He decided he would speak to Dumbledore to see if he could continue with the DA as a school sanctioned club. With the training he'd be getting from Sirius this summer (that is assuming that he wasn't just letting his imagination run away with him, Harry reminded himself), he should still have plenty to teach his classmates.
He had spent the rest of his day going through some of his text books from the past couple years at Hogwarts. If he was learning during the day and practicing at night, then his training should hopefully go pretty smoothly. He also found himself going through the books he'd been given for this past Christmas that were meant to help him out with his DA lessons. Those were by far his favorite books of the lot.
Harry turned back to look at his clock to find that it was well past midnight already. He glanced out his window and could just make out a white speck in the distance, barely discernible in the darkness. He jumped up with a start and greeted Hedwig a minute later when she entered through his window. "There you are, girl. I've been wondering when you'd make it back." Hedwig gave him a reproachful hoot, so he quickly amended himself. "I didn't mean it like that, I was just anxious for you to get back because I couldn't sleep." This seemed to placate the owl, for she stuck out her leg and allowed Harry to untie the parchment that was attached.
Harry quickly unrolled the parchment, grateful for something to occupy his unrestful mind and began reading.
To say that I was surprised to hear from you would be quite an understatement. It was a pleasant surprise though. I know how much you hate to hear it, but I was worried about you, along with everybody else, I'm sure. I was quite pleased to find that you are doing better. Time seems to be the only remedy for some wounds, and the fact that you've already begun to recover is certainly promising. I don't imagine you'll ever completely heal, but eventually you'll come to the point where you can think about him and smile, remembering all the good things about him.
As for your apologies, I accept equal responsibility for you not getting to know me better before now, so there is no need to apologize. If anything, I should offer you my apologies for acting like a silly little fan girl; I imagine I probably made you incredibly uncomfortable. And I hardly expect you to have been able to get to know me at the time as all I was capable of doing in your presence was squeaking and stammering and running for cover. But I promise I'm beyond that now. My elbows have been butter dish free for almost four years now.
I forgive you for forgetting about my previous encounter with Voldemort through the diary. I won't lie to you and say that it didn't sting that you had forgotten, but you had a lot on your mind at the time. As for your apology for leading us all into a trap, I will not accept it. That's not because I blame you in any way, but because you aren't at fault. You were tricked, plain and simple. I would have done the same thing in your situation, and if a similar situation arises in the future, I'll be right there beside you again. Plus I know first hand how tricky and manipulative he can be, and if you want to blame yourself for this, then you'll have to blame me for being fooled by the diary.
I miss Sirius as well. I didn't know him very long, but last summer he became like a favorite uncle to me. He always had this spirit to him that set him apart from other grown-ups. It's sad to think how he spent the last fourteen years of his life either in prison or in hiding, but I know he wouldn't have traded the last two years getting to know you for anything. He adored you and talked about you all the time. He always wanted to hear stories of your various adventures. However, I take comfort in the fact that he's probably causing a world of mischief with your father in the afterlife. I'm sure he's happy to see your parents again.
I'm glad you agree that Ron is being a prat right now as he has been almost unbearable this summer. He has not shut up about how much of a git he thinks Dean Thomas is ever since the train ride home. I've never heard Ron say one bad thing about him these past five years, yet I bring him up once and all of a sudden he's a Death Eater in training in Ron's eyes. I swear I think he just does it because he can't get a girl.
I'd love nothing more than if we became good friends. I can't believe you even felt you had to ask. I will always be there for you whenever you should need me. And one thing you never need to apologize for is opening up to me or talking too much. I'll always be here to listen to whatever you have to say. After all, that's what friends are for, right?
As for your potions project (which I don't believe for one second has anything to do with studying for the NEWT potions class, but you don't have to tell me what it's actually for if you don't want to), I'll have mum pick them up for you. I know she was planning to go into Diagon Alley soon anyway. We'll probably have them in a few days. Write again soon.
Harry finished the letter with relief etched across his face. She didn't blame him, and she had made a good point too. He had never once thought to blame her for what happened with the diary and in the Chamber of Secrets. He wasn't ready to just drop his guilt like that, but it was definitely some food for thought. And maybe, just maybe, none of the others would blame him either.
She had seen right through his excuse for the potions ingredients, yet she didn't press him for answers. Ron or Hermione would have demanded to know what they were for, but Ginny had helped him out without asking for anything in return. She had respected his privacy. That was just what he needed right now, Harry thought: a friend who would be there to help and to listen when he was ready who wouldn't pressure him for more than he was willing to give at the time and a friend who could relate to some of what he was going through with his connection to Voldemort. Maybe Ginny could fill that need. It was with that comforting thought that he finally began to drift off to sleep.
Harry's fears turned out to be completely unfounded as his godfather appeared before him. "Bloody hell, Harry. I was beginning to wonder if you'd ever go to sleep," Sirius greeted him with a smile.
"Sorry, I couldn't seem to settle down," Harry replied distractedly as he took in his surroundings. He was in what appeared to be a small classroom, obviously in preparation for his training with Sirius. The room looked like an average Hogwarts classroom, only smaller. He idly wondered whether the room was created by Sirius or his own subconscious.
"Busy day?" Sirius questioned.
"I don't know if I'd call it busy, but definitely thought provoking. You left me with a lot to consider, and as it got later I got nervous that it had all just been a dream and that I wouldn't ever get the chance to see you again," Harry explained, eyes beginning to shine as his emotions caught up with him.
"Understandable. I had trouble believing it myself, but I'm here, and I'm real, and I plan on visiting you for as long as I can. So no worries there, eh kiddo?"
"I was just afraid of losing you all over again."
"I know, Harry," Sirius said as he put his arm around his godson's shoulder. "Eventually I will move on to the next life completely, and I won't be able to visit anymore, but we should have quite a bit of time before that happens. Plenty of time to say goodbye and to get used to the fact. Now what's the story with that potion?"
Harry took a moment to collect himself before responding. "I needed some ingredients, so I've asked Mrs. Weasley to pick them up from Diagon Alley for me. Ginny thinks she'll have them within a few days."
Sirius smirked cockily and raised an eyebrow at Harry. "Ginny, huh? Not your usual Weasley correspondent, is she? What happened there? You and Ron get in a row, or did you just finally come to your senses with the female Weasley?" Sirius asked suggestively.
"Ginny and I are just friends."
"I always did think you were a bit dense when it came to her," his godfather continued as if Harry hadn't spoken. "I was always a bit partial to her myself. Had a bit of the old marauder spirit in her, she did. Not like the twins, who are much too boisterous. She has that same mischievous nature, but she's sly about it. The twins are all bang and pop, but she's got finesse like a true marauder. And since you're doomed to end up with a redhead anyway, might as well make it one as cute as Ginny."
"Wait, what?" Harry asked thickly. "What do you mean doomed to end up with a redhead?" He scratched his head trying to figure out where the hell this conversation came from and where it was going.
Sirius let out a hearty laugh and ruffled Harry's hair playfully. "The Potter curse, or blessing as James liked to call it. Apparently every Potter male is doomed to fall helplessly in love with and marry a redhead. James called it his blessing because he knew right away that Lily was the one for him. He never even looked at another girl at Hogwarts. So there's really no use fighting it, Harry. Might as well just go ring shopping now. Maybe I'll have myself a goddaughter-in-law soon enough."
"I haven't exactly got the time or the energy to even think about girls right now. And my only experience hasn't left me itching to get back out there right away. Ron was being a prat, so I decided to write Ginny instead. I was planning on writing her anyway, as well as Luna and Neville. I just sped up my plans a bit, alright?" Harry retorted.
"If you say so, Harry" Sirius teased.
Harry was not in the mood for his godfather's games so he quickly changed the subject. "There was one question that I had." At Sirius' nod Harry continued. "How am I going to be able to transform into an animagus without being caught for doing underage magic by the ministry?"
"Elementary, my dear Harry. You don't use your wand to transform."
"But I don't understand. What does the wand have to do with it?"
"It has everything to do with it. Whenever an underage witch or wizard purchases a wand, a monitoring charm is placed on it, which is how they keep track of the underage magic users. After you've turned 17, the charm is removed from your wand."
"But then how do they monitor accidental magic? And how come in the summer before my second year I got in trouble for a hover charm that Dobby performed?"
"Dobby?" Sirius asked.
"House elf – long story," Harry replied impatiently.
"Alright," Sirius relented. "Accidental magic alerts different sensors because of the strength of emotions and the resulting magical surge that is the result. Accidental magic generally only occurs with younger children because the older you are the more control you have over your magic and your emotions. The sensors only pick it up when there is, for lack of a better word, an explosion of magic. As for Dobby, he must have either used your wand for the charm or found some way to imitate your wand's signature."
"So if I were to learn wandless magic I could perform magic all I went, whenever I want, without repercussions?" Harry wondered aloud.
"That's right, although you'd probably have better luck trying to break the tracking charm on your wand or stealing a spare wand. Most adults would have trouble casting a simple lumos or wingardium leviosa wandlessly even after years of training. Very few are capable of becoming in any way proficient in that branch of magic," Sirius explained to Harry
Harry eyes lit up as he remembered a time when he had cast a spell without his wand. "Last summer, when I was attacked by those dementors, I had dropped my wand because Dudley punched me. It was dark, and I couldn't find it, so I just blurted out 'lumos' and my wand lit up," Harry rushed out.
"That's amazing!" Sirius exclaimed. "How come you never told anyone about this?"
Harry paused to consider that for a second. "I didn't think anything of it at the time. Besides, I was much more worried about finding dementors in Little Whinging and the subsequent trial than about my wandless abilities. By the time the trial was over I had completely forgotten about it."
Sirius held his hand to his chin. "I guess I see your point. You did have a lot going on at the time. But we must see if we can develop your wandless abilities. Tomorrow I want you to practice some simple spells without a wand and see what kind of success you have. Then tomorrow night we can analyze what you can do and try to gauge your potential. If you do have some skill with it, the animagus transformation might come easily to you. The hardest part of the process is learning how to channel your magic within yourself to make the change rather than the usual way of casting spells with your wand."
"How long do you think it'll take me to become an animagus?" Harry asked. "Didn't it take you and my dad a couple years?"
"It did, but you have to remember that we had no instructor. And we didn't have any resources readily available to us. We had to sneak into the Restricted Section of the library and search for all the information we could get. That at least doubled our total time, if not more."
Sirius paused and decided to get back onto the task at hand. "Now there isn't anything we can do about your animagus until you get that potion, so what say we have a couple practice duels tonight? I want to get a feel for what you're capable of. I'm not sure if everything will work the same for us here as in the real world. I tried doing a couple simple spells, and they seemed to behave normally. So first off just try a couple spells to make sure you can perform them okay, then we'll get started."
Harry pulled out his wand, which was stuck in his back packet, and did a few simple charms to test his magic. Everything appeared to be normal, so he turned to Sirius and nodded. Then they squared off.
It was clear that Sirius was the more experienced dueler, but Harry was no push over. A lot of novice duelers enter with the frame of mind that you'll trade hexes. I get one shot, you get one shot, repeat. Harry seemed to start off this way as well, but quickly learned that Sirius was not going to play that way. He would need to work on his spell casting speed, Sirius noted. Sirius made mental tallies of all his observations of Harry. His spell vocabulary was rather limited. He was agile and frequently relied on that to dodge spells, and he used the environment to his advantage, taking cover when possible and occasionally using a chair or some other object to try to distract or disarm Sirius.
When he was finished with his observations, Sirius called for Harry to stop and approached him. "Well I wouldn't mind having you in a fight, but there's plenty of room for improvement. We'll need to improve your spell knowledge and increase your casting speed for starters."
Not sure how to respond, Harry just shrugged his shoulders and inspected an overturned desk on the side of the room before finally looking up at Sirius expectantly.
"Well I suppose that's enough for tonight. Don't forget to practice wandless magic tomorrow." Sirius ruffled Harry's hair affectionately and added, "I'll see you tomorrow night, Harry." And with that Sirius and the classroom faded out of existence.