You Broke Him, You Fix Him
Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling, I am not a multinational bookselling company, nor am I a multi-million dollar movie company, so I don't own anything that you recognize. I am a retired former teacher who likes to twist plots and play with characters, so enjoy.
Chapter 34: O.W.L.'s and Endings
Harry flew up the stairs, his feet barely touching the risers, Amicus flowing gracefully beside him. He clutched the results of his Ancient Runes and Arithmancy tests tightly in his fist, a huge lopsided grin split his face, his dimples deeply etching his cheeks as he ran through the almost disserted hallways.
With a quick muttered password, he grabbed the edge of the portrait that guarded his grandparents' quarters and pulled the too slow opening portrait aside so he could run in and throw himself into Perenelle's opening arms. She had stood up from the table, her lunch forgotten as she noticed the manic smile upon her grandson's face. She hugged him tightly as he gasped for breath. He waved the crumpled parchment in the air in the vague direction of his grandfather. Nicholas reached out and took the offered roll, reading it rapidly as his own smile spread. He grabbed both Perenelle and Harry in a group hug and planted a proud kiss on the slightly shorter boy's black hair while telling him, "I'm so proud of you, Harry. You did an excellent job!"
Perenelle let go of Harry and spun around in her husband's embrace, grabbing the roll of parchment out of Nicholas' hand. She squealed like a girl hundreds of years younger as she turned back around and gave her grandson an even bigger hug. Poor Harry was turning slightly blue from lack of oxygen before the two finally let him go, though Perenelle kept hold of his hand and pulled him over to a comfortable leather sofa to sit down beside her with her arm around his shoulder, pulling him close to her as she spoke. "I am so proud of you. This is quite an accomplishment you know, and you wouldn't have been able to do it without a lot of hard work."
Harry basked in the warmth of their pride. He treasured it even more because this was something he had earned all on his own, no Boy-Who-Lived adoration or special treatment, he had earned this all upon his own. He looked between the two Flamels and explained. "Professor McGonagall brought me to her office this morning to meet with Professors Vector and Adiectus. They wanted me to take the end of year tests for both Arithmancy and Ancient Runes because they had heard from some of the other students that I had been studying them with you, and they were afraid if I took them at the non-N.E.W.T. level next year they wouldn't challenge me, and I would be too bored in class. And so they gave me the tests this morning and I passed them so that I can take the O.W.L.'s in them next week."
The three talked for another half an hour before Harry excused himself, telling them he had promised to fly with Amicus that afternoon and that the young griffin was getting cranky and impatient. That and he would need to revise with Hermione and Kenneth if he was going to ace those O.W.L.'s.
Draco and Pansy had kept their heads down since returning from the Easter holidays but it hadn't been nearly as bad as they had first feared. Since there were so many Slytherin students now beholden for their continued schooling on Sirius Black, no one wanted to jeopardize that support by attacking the wizard's ward. Draco had surprised himself by actually beginning to enjoy himself now that he didn't have to be Daddy's perfect little pureblood puppet for the Dark Lord.
Blaise Zabini had emerged from the behind the scenes jostling as the new Slytherin leader. He and his family had always maintained strict neutrality when it came to the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore even though Blaise himself was leaning slightly toward supporting Harry and Dumbledore, especially now that he was a member of Harry's DA group and enjoying the feeling of camaraderie to all four houses. That position was gradually taking over in the once divided and embattled house, led by the twenty members of the DA. And after the first group of Slytherins had not only been accepted but then befriended by the other houses involved in Potter's DA, the ice had been broken. People were seeing new groups of mixed students from every combination of all four houses as the house boundaries blurred more and more.
Harry and his friends had mostly ignored Draco in the beginning, but that first uneasy truce had led to a much easier fellow student type of relationship. Without the constant verbal jousting that had often escalated into the frequent physical attacks that had typified the Gryffindor/Slytherin relationship before, everyone in school benefited. The tension that had permeated the old castle had virtually dissolved before the normal tension of end of year tests spread once more, but without the added stress of hostile houses, it was more manageable than it had been in many long years. And the 'new' Professor Snape had helped greatly.
Potions classes with the improved potion's master and the addition of Nicholas Flamel in most sessions made the classes much more bearable, and with the easy question and answer style of Nicholas's laid back and infinitely patient teaching style, more and more students were beginning to actually look forward to the subject; instead of it being the ulcer causing class it had once been.
On the Sunday morning before his O.W.L.'s were to begin, Draco held the letter his mother had owled to him in stunned surprise as he sat next to Pansy at the Slytherin table. His mother had informed him that she was moving to France to accept an invitation to become the Protocol and Etiquette Professor at Beaubaton's that Madame Maxime had proffered to her. She would be leaving the small home were they had spent the Easter holidays in the middle of July, and asked him to find alternate housing for the time she would be gone until the beginning of the next term. Narcissa had written that she was sorry for the short notice, but the offer had been a chance for her to begin her life again, and she hoped her son would be happy for her, and would understand and forgive her for leaving him.
Sirius and Harry both noticed the sudden blanching of Draco's face as he clutched a crumpled piece of parchment tightly in one fist, his expression one of shocked disbelief and horror. Sirius caught Harry's eye and raised an eyebrow in question. When Harry gave a half nod in understanding, Sirius left the staff table and made his way down the Slytherin table to his ward. He put a strong hand on Draco's shoulder and asked the boy to follow him. Severus had noticed the interplay between his student and Sirius, and had swiftly followed the DADA Professor and Draco out of the Great Hall. As the three exited and turned toward the stairs to go to Sirius' office, Harry stopped his father with a hand on his back.
"What's going on, Professors?" Harry was always careful to use the proper form of address for his adopted father when they were in public.
Severus and Sirius both looked at a shell shocked Draco and waited for the teen to answer. He just handed his letter to Professor Snape and stood there, his head bowed as his mind whirled, unable to form a coherent sentence to explain the turmoil that was churning and making him nauseous.
"Ah, well that wasn't expected. Perhaps Mr. Potter should join in the discussion as it is likely to affect him also." Professor Snape said his tone oddly flat. The four climbed the stairs to the fourth floor corridor without speaking again until they reached the cluttered DADA office. Moving a few piles of parchment and books off of the chairs, Sirius had everyone sit down and looked at Severus to explain.
"Narcissa has been offered, and has accepted a position at Beaubaton's Academy starting in mid-July. As such, Draco will need to find alternate accommodations for the summer holidays. I suspect it has been somewhat of a shock. That in conjunction with the other upheavals in his life lately, has him somewhat … distracted."
Sirius looked at Harry who glared for a moment before really thinking about everything that had happened to all of them since the middle of April, just two short months ago. His expression showed a wide range of emotions as he processed all of his feelings. He looked between the hopeful looking Draco and the absolutely expressionless face of Professor Snape and made a decision, one he would not have been able to even comprehend before the recent upheavals.
"I will need to double check with my Grandparents, but I know they are planning on a large group of us spending the entire summer on the island. I do know that my Grandfather was hoping to invite Professor Snape along to help teach potions, as well as to work on some experimental potions he is developing. I would not object to Draco spending the summer with the group. As long as the truce stands and he doesn't attack any of us, verbally or physically… well unless we are practicing dueling in DADA, of course."
A look of great pride shone from Sirius' eyes toward Harry before he turned and nodded at Draco, who had a look of wonder and growing hope in his pale grey eyes. "I don't know what to say, Potter. I wouldn't have expected you to invite me…I was just hoping that Professor Black knew somewhere I could stay." Draco was at a loss for words as he looked around at the other three.
Professor Snape had a pleased expression, though only the brightness of his eyes revealed his feelings. "I would be honored to accept the invitation to spend the summer. I would need to return several weeks before term begins to replenish the potions and supplies needed, but I can grade end of term papers and exams, and develop my lesson plans on the island as well as in the castle. And I would like to experiment with Nicholas as well."
Harry smiled a true smile that made his eyes sparkle as he held out a hand toward Draco. "Hello, my name is Harry James Ravenclaw Flamel Potter-Black, but that's just too much of a mouthful. You can call me Harry."
Draco stood and took the offered hand, "I'm Draco Black; but call me Draco." The two teens solemnly and forcefully shook hands before the group settled down into a very pleasant discussion of logistics, before Draco left to go and owl his mother with the arrangements they had tentatively decided upon.
Hermione had the entire Gryffindor fifth and seventh years up almost an hour and a half before breakfast would begin to give them a pep talk about general test taking strategies. "It's best if you read the entire test first; then go back and answer every question that you are sure of the answer, then the ones you think you know. Leave the most difficult ones for the end so that you don't run out of time, and not answer any that you are sure of. Sometimes you think of the answer to one you weren't sure of when you are answering one that you do know. And I know that everyone has learned this information backwards and forwards, so just relax and do your best." She looked pleased at the confident faces looking back at her, though many were still yawning a bit at the early hour.
Harry stood up and finished off for her. "Now we all know that Hermione will beat all of us, so that takes the pressure of trying to be first ranked off. I know that everyone will pass, we are Gryffindors after all. I am proud of each and every one of you, and I don't need a little scrap of parchment to know that. And no matter what the results, you are a winner to me and all the rest of the house. Now, eat a good breakfast, drink lots of strong coffee, and relax for the next couple of hours, no last minute studying. And that's an order for all of you…Hermione especially!" The group laughed as Hermione rolled her eyes and began to protest before Harry grabbed her with one arm around her shoulder and the other one clamped over her mouth so that she couldn't speak and pushed her towards the portrait hole to head down for breakfast.
The laughing and teasing group followed Harry and Hermione through the portrait hole, and walked en masse down to breakfast, laughing even more when they noticed the bleary eyes and panicked expressions of their age mates in the other houses.
Harry had Charms first and thought that was a good class to begin with; since it was one of his strongest subjects. He had been surprised at how much he had learned while tutoring the other students in the subject, particularly the younger ones. He had to really know the subject in order to answer their questions, and be proficient enough himself in doing the charm to be able to help them correct any errors they had when they were casting it. The examiner looked pleased at Harry's charms work; and even reached an old, gnarly hand out to shake the teens hand when they were done. A smile and a knowing wink from the hunchbacked and bespectacled old wizard told Harry all he needed to know to leave with a smile of his own.
He wasn't as sure of the next exam as it was Ancient Runes; but his grandmother had been tutoring him steadily, and he thought he did pretty well. He was both relieved and happy to find out that he knew all of the standard questions, and even three of the four extra credit problems. He wasn't as sure of the last problem, but he gave it his best shot and then left for lunch and his friends. He was surprised to find his grandmother waiting for him outside the testing room, and greeted her with a smile and a hug of welcome.
"I did it, Grandma. I know I passed so I can take it with Hermione next year, though I don't know exactly how well I did." He let go of her and the two walked companionably down to the Great Hall talking comfortably about trivial matters; before Harry peeled off to join Ron, Ginny and Neville at the Gryffindor table, whilst Perenelle continued on to sit between Albus and Nicholas, who was animatedly discussing some obscure and almost forgotten potion with Severus on his other side. Harry looked for Hermione but she apparently hadn't left the Ancient Runes exam yet, so he shrugged and piled his plate high with food. He was starved; four solid hours of exams had made him hungry.
Hermione walked in several minutes later, looking around for the group. She flopped down and leaned tiredly against Harry's shoulder as she complained. "That was harder than I expected. Harry, did you know any of those bonus questions? I don't think we ever covered them in class or our reading before; and I know they weren't covered in our textbooks."
Harry swallowed his bite of sandwich and looked at Hermione in surprise. He pulled out a spare piece of parchment from his pocket and quickly wrote out the problems and then showed Hermione what he had done with them. She looked gobsmacked and then somewhat angry. "How do you know how to do them, Harry? You weren't even in the class for the last two years!" She huffed angrily at him.
"Calm down, 'Mione; you know I've been reading up, and my Grandmother has been tutoring me in this and Arithmancy since April. And I spent a longer time on the island than you did. I know the books I had to study from were much older than the current text; perhaps they covered these and didn't cover some things that you know that I don't. I mean not everything was on the test, now was it?" His tone was soothing, trying to placate his irate friend.
She visibly deflated as she realized how she had sounded. "I'm sorry, Harry. That didn't come out very well did it? I know you've been studying hard; I guess I'll just have to get used to the new you. The one I don't have to badger to study and the one that can beat me on tests." She still didn't look very happy about her friend's new found learning skills as she filled her plate and began to eat slowly, still leaning against him.
Harry leaned over and whispered in her ear. He had already explained about being a Ravenclaw heir to his friends on the island, but it wasn't common knowledge and he didn't want to discuss it too much here in the open. "Remember what Grandmother explained about the locking of magic and learning ability that she released in the courthouse after the public acknowledgment? That's why I learn so quickly now; it has nothing to do with you and how hard you study. I will always have an unfair advantage in some things, but I will always need you to be my friend and my…sister?" He pulled back from her and looked at her, a trace of the old, uncertain Harry visible as he waited nervously for her answer.
Hermione threw her arms around his neck and gave him a chaste kiss upon the cheek. "Oh Harry of course I will. I love you too you know!" Ron looked rather startled at her public display; and Ginny glared at her friend, her eyes narrowed and darkened. The two Weasleys understood when she continued. "I feel the same way about you, brother of my heart."
Harry grinned and said, "Okay Sis, now how about letting your starving brother go back to his lunch? And you need to eat too."
When Lavender noticed the dark look that Ron had thrown Harry after he had kissed Hermione and told her he loved her, she leaned against the redhead, her head on his shoulder as she demanded he pay attention to her instead of the other two. "Oh, Won-Won would you like to go for a …walk after the last exam and …look at the lake?" She had a possessive and predatory look to her pretty face as she calculated how to separate Ron from Harry and Hermione.
All three were laughing as they made their way back up to the castle after successfully completing their Care of Magical Creatures exam. After surviving a succession of Hagrid's 'innerestin' creatures for the last two years, the animals the Ministry had asked about had been downright tame! Even Ron was positive he had made an 'O' in the subject, even with the glares that Lavender kept shooting at him.
The trio enjoyed their twenty minute break before Ron and Harry; with the ever present Lavender attached to Ron's arm, split with Hermione as she went to take the Muggle studies exam. The other three Gryffindor's went to an unused classroom for the Divination O.W.L. At least they didn't have to climb the long staircases up to the North Tower and put up with Professor Trelawney's constant predictions of Harry's unfortunate and invariably dreadfully painful demise, as well as the stifling and overpowering scent of her incense burning. As the two boys walked down the corridor, they tried to top each other in bizarre predictions for the other's future, as Lavender grew increasingly agitated with their spoofing of Trelawney's rather ethereal and obviously fake wispy voice.
Luckily they reached the classroom door and had to split up to take seats in the long rows of chairs that surrounded the room, before Lavender grew angry enough to explode at them. Every fifth year to be tested in the subject sat talking quietly to their age mates as they waited for their turn. A group of five students at a time were called in alphabetical order, and led into the next room to take a seat at the widely scattered testing stations. An examiner sat at each table, a set of Taro cards, a pot of tea with a blue patterned tea cup and matching saucer, a scrying bowl filled with a crystal clear liquid, and a crystal ball arrayed before them. Harry took his seat nervously in front of a middle aged witch with a rather large mole right between her slightly bulging light brown eyes. He tried not to focus on it, but it was rather hard not to notice; as it had a long, thick and curling hair emerging out of the middle of the splotchy brown spot. He twisted his hands together in his lap, wondering madly how he was going to pass the test when he had never actually seen anything, and he and Ron had just made up their homework.
"Now to begin with, I will deal the Taro cards and then you will read them for me. Don't be nervous, just take your time and let the inner eye flow." Her voice didn't sound like Professor Trelawney, but her words were something the batty old fraud would say. Harry took several deep breaths as he watched her shuffle the slightly dog eared deck, and then dealt them out with a well practiced speed and dexterity.
Harry looked at the cards, clearing his mind and hoping for some inspiration. He opened the memories in his mind to the section in his text that had to deal with Taro cards, and reviewed everything he had organized in his mind while he had been in the coma. With a sudden flash of insight, he began speaking, his tone flat but sure. "The Chariot card heralds unexpected good news but you will have delays and unexpected frustrations in your travel plans so allow extra time. Combined with Temperance, you should avoid making any hasty decisions out of impatience; your plans will succeed if you wait. Third is the Star card. You will have success in your endeavors, especially those in regards to educational and travel goals, avoid self doubt and negativity. You will have good luck in spite of your cynicism. And finally, the Justice card tells me you will succeed in your dealings with certain people. An old wrong will finally be righted; and good fortune and reward shall be yours for past efforts."
Harry blinked several times as he drew his attention back to the room. He noticed the slightly open mouth of the examiner gaping at him and shrugged nervously. "Uh, are you all right, Ma'am?" He asked as the witch shook her head once and then schooled her expression to neutrality once more. "Very good, Mr. Potter…let me just take a moment to write that all down and then we will continue."
Harry waited patiently, turning to observe the other students at the other tables. Malfoy…oops Draco seemed to be sweating as he looked blankly into the crystal ball setting in front of him, but Pavarti seemed excited as she spoke quickly to her examiner. He looked back around just as the witch finished writing on a piece of parchment with his name printed across the top. "Now, Mr. Potter, please pour a cup of tea and then read it for me."
Harry followed her directions, enjoying the warmth the little bit of tea he had poured gave him before swirling the leaves and then dumping the excess liquid out into the saucer as he had been taught. He held the cup in front of him, the handle to the right and read the largest forms first. "I see an apple which signifies achievement, the bell at the top means I will receive good news soon; hopefully that I have passed all of my tests." He gave a small grin to the witch as she motioned for him to continue, she was writing down what he was saying. He scrunched up his forehead as he turned the cup slightly to see if he could see anything more in the soggy mass. "Uh, well, I can see a rabbit and a snake which means I need to have courage in the face of my enemy and the dog at the bottom tells me a friend needs my help. That's all I can see." He handed the cup to the witch so that she could verify the images he had seen when she had finished writing down his reading, and held out her hand for the teacup.
"Excellent, I can tell you have studied hard and encouraged your inner eye." She shot a stream of water into the cup from her wand, and then scourgified the mess, readying the cup for the next student before putting it aside. She pushed forward the scrying bowl. "Now I would like you to scry for a lost item for me. We have hidden several items around the castle and I would like you to find one of them for me. Read this list carefully, and then see if you can spot one of the items on it."
Harry took the proffered parchment and looked at the short list of ten items. They were everyday items and he couldn't seem to get a visual image of any of them. He shut his eyes and cleared his mind, hoping to summon something to say to the woman who was watching him intently. He opened his mouth and then shut it abruptly as he saw a flash of something cross the bowl. He looked intently, clearing his mind once more. There, a small golden something, it was….it was…he couldn't tell exactly what it was. His forehead wrinkled in concentration as he focused intently on the elusive image. He started speaking, his voice slightly vague as he concentrated on the image, rather than what he was saying. "Professor Dumbledore has lost his Gringott's key, it was in his robe pocket and …there was a hole in the lining…it is in the hem of his robe. Tell him to feel along the bottom of his dark blue robe with the golden stars…the one he was wearing when last he visited the Ministry. It is within the lining."
Harry leaned back and rubbed his tired eyes as he took a deep breath and waited for the woman to stop writing. She looked rather startled and then snapped her fingers for a house elf. When the little creature appeared, she handed it a folded piece of parchment upon which she had written what Harry had told her.
Finally she had Harry look in the crystal ball; but his predictions had apparently run dry, and he just mumbled some more about her travel plans and seeing Dumbledore's key again. She nodded with satisfaction as she continued to scribble with her quill. Harry looked over and found to his surprise a very happy looking Headmaster coming over to the table he was sitting at, a golden Gringotts key clutched in his hand as he waved it at Harry. His blue eyes twinkled enough to rival one of the twin's firecrackers as he leaned over and whispered in the examiner's ear. When he had finished, he turned to Harry and gave him a half bow, saying, "Thank you Harry, I have been looking all over for this key. I was afraid I had dropped it in the Ministry building last week when I was there. Take care, and good luck with the rest of your exam." He nodded at the witch, and left the room just as Harry was dismissed for the evening.
As they sat in the Gryffindor common room that night, Harry wasn't sure what he wanted to tell his friends about what had happened in Divination. After all, he had always believed it was a dodgy subject at best, but how did that explain him finding Dumbledore's Gringott's key? After all, he hadn't even known it was missing, so how did he know where it was?" He preened Hedwig's crest as Amicus rumbled a loud purring sound at his feet. Luckily Amicus and Hedwig not only tolerated each other, they had become good friends once they discovered they could play a bizarre, but very fun to watch, game of aerial tag. Of course, anyone watching would think the Griffon was hunting and the Snowy Owl would soon be lunch, but then it was really funny watching Hedwig chase the much larger and more ferocious Amicus when it was her turn to be it.
Harry turned his attention back to the comfortable conversation between Neville, Hermione, and Ginny as he decided he would wait and discuss the peculiar exam with his Grandmother instead. He tuned back in to laugh as he listened to Ginny's revolted description of finding her brother and Lavender lip locked in a game of tongue tag as she was walking to dinner, and of how it had almost made her lose her appetite for the meal entirely. She smirked as she recounted telling the twins of her brother's location and activity, and watched them gleefully head in that direction.
A few minutes later a very red faced couple tried to sneak into the common room only to be met with gales of laughter. Both miscreants were covered with fake multi-colored kisses and love bites all over every inch of exposed skin. Ron was fluctuating between embarrassment at being caught snogging in public, and ranting at what awaited George and Fred if he ever found them. Fleeing their laughing house mates, the two disappeared up their respective stairs and remained in hiding for the rest of the night.
The remainder of the O.W.L.'s filled the rest of the week, and Harry knew he had done very well on all of them. He had been able to complete every transfiguration requested, though he went a little overboard when the wizard examiner had requested he conjure a tea cup, and he had conjured an entire ten piece sterling silver tea service, complete with engraved tea roses and ivy vines adorned with tiny leaves, in the shape of his initials.
DADA was actually fun. He stood in front of the novice Auror who was doing the practical part of the testing, and disarmed the man in less than a minute. When he managed to repeat his success twice more; another older Auror was called over to test Harry. With a powerful ancient stunner that blasted through the wizard's shields rendered the poor man unconscious in less than a minute, the examiners grouped together and whispered frantically as Harry just stood by and watched them, unsure of what was going on.
After several minutes, the Headmaster himself stepped into the room and took a place opposite Harry, his wand out and ready as he faced his student. "When you are ready Harry, just begin."
Harry grinned, at last a worthwhile opponent! He flicked his wand as he said clearly 'Tarantallegra', soundlessly sending a body binding to the right of the old man at the same time. Dumbledore smiled and simply stepped to the right to avoid the first spell and was hit with the second one. His arms and legs frozen to his sides, he fell over immobilized as Harry walked up and took his wand from his frozen fingers, smiling down at his Headmaster.
"Finite incantatem. You walked right into that one, Professor." Harry was smirking as he released Dumbledore and handed him back the confiscated wand.
Dumbledore stood up and smoothed out his robes as he faced Harry once more. "I shall be much more careful, young Harry. You shall not succeed like that again." He had a knowing gleam in his eyes as he took a ready stance once more. The entire room had stopped and was now watching the unusual duelers. Dumbledore flicked his wand, silently sending a beam of purple light directly at Harry's chest. Harry ducked under it and rolled to the left, regaining his feet rapidly as Sirius and Tonks had taught him, as he simultaneously sent a stunning spell in response. He felt the power of Dumbledore's spell as it washed over his back, and it startled him that the Headmaster would use such power in an examination. Harry grinned as he realized that with that powerful attack, he was also free to use more powerful spells than he had been.
Harry sent a series of annoying little spells that Dumbledore ducked and twirled to avoid, only once or twice having to shield against one. The older wizard was being kept busy, but he did manage to send a slicing hex that just grazed Harry's left shoulder, a slight red and oozing line of blood appearing in the neat slice in his school robe that the spell had made. Harry ignored the minor injury as he continued to send a steady stream of hexes and jinxes always moving around, making a very difficult target to hit.
A stream of water hit Dumbledore's right leg, just below the knee and forced him to jump in the air to avoid it sweeping his leg out from under him but; so he didn't notice that Harry sent a soundless 'glacius' and turned the pool of water on the stone floor into a sheet of solid ice just as Dumbledore landed on it. He went arse over teakettle, his robes flying up and giving everyone a brief glimpse of bright purple pants decorated with moving lightening bolts before he landed hard, knocking the wind out of him. A second silent spell had the Headmaster struggling against the tightly wound ropes that held him. Harry walked up to the old mage and removed his wand from his grip once more, smirking down at the now very sore and irritated man. "Do you give up yet?"
Dumbledore looked at the tester, one bushy eyebrow raised in question. "Uh, yes that was almost exactly the five minutes required. Thank you very much for your assistance, Headmaster." Harry had removed the bindings while the unknown wizard was speaking and had an arm under Dumbledore's shoulder, helping him up from the floor after he had vanished both ropes and ice.
Dumbledore shook Harry's hand and then the examiners, before turning and limping out the door, one had gently rubbing his backside where he had fallen hardest, his hair sticking out and his robes still askew as he shut the door behind him without saying a single word.
Harry's very last examination was potions. A subject he had once hated and dreaded, it had become one of his favorites, mostly because of his Grandfather's patient teaching and his own natural curiosity now combined with his newly awakened Ravenclaw thirst for knowledge. The new and more relaxed teaching of Severus Snape had also encouraged the once reluctant brewer to new levels of understanding and success. He had only been unsure of one or two questions about an obscure potion, and an even more obscure and almost extinct plant, but the practical had been to brew two relatively easy potions at the same time, a task he had excelled at. He smiled at the huge wizard who had proctored his practical exam; as he handed the man his two vials of potions. The dreamless sleep potion had been absolutely perfect in both color and viscosity; he had taken the decidedly vile tasting stuff enough times to be able to know it even without it being labeled. His Grandfather had him make vats of the stuff for the infirmary's use when he had been on the island, so he didn't even have to read the directions he had been given for it. He wasn't as sure of the second potion. He had never had the need for a hair growth potion; but he thought it was brewed right, as it had matched the description given at the bottom of the parchment that had the directions.
He walked out of the last classroom, and then down the stairs and out onto the grounds. He had almost an hour before lunch and he intended to take advantage of having finished the last test of the year. A group of students were hanging around the Quidditch pitch so he ran down to join them. As he headed toward the broom shed to fetch his Firebolt, Amicus and Hedwig spotted him from where they were flying high above the pitch. A loud hooting and a scream from the delighted griffin made everyone look up with varying degrees of panic. With a predatory scream, Amicus plunged downward, his wings furled tightly to his body, his tail streaming straight out behind him. Hedwig couldn't keep up with the madly plummeting predator, but she was trying her own wings pounding the air.
The wind of Amicus' powerful wings beating to slow his dive made Harry's robes and hair twist and turn as if in a gale. Huge clouds of dust enveloped the two before it finally settled to the ground, and a very dusty and dirty Harry emerged, Amicus strutting beside him, as they made their way out to the center of the pitch. Kicking off in unison, the two rose rapidly to meet Hedwig where she circled high above the pitch once more, and then the three joined together in a flight to celebrate their freedom. Swooping and turning, diving and then climbing, the trio engaged in a strange aerial ballet that entranced everyone watching them, including two couples watching from the windows of the castle. Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall had heard the scream of the eagle and stopped their discussion of next years budget proposals. They walked together to watch from the Headmaster's tower, smiling at the sheer joy expressed by the rapidly flying trio. They watched for several minutes before returning to the budget, identical smiles still gracing their faces.
And several floors below, Perenelle and Nicholas stood, arm in arm as they watched their grandson; the joy of their lives, as he flew with wild abandon, almost as much at home in the sky as the owl and the griffin. Nicholas turned and lifted Perenelle's chin with a gentle touch. He bent down and kissed her deeply. She sighed and leaned into him, enjoying his gentle kiss. They drew apart and smiled with love and deep affection at each other, before looking out the window once more.
"I am so happy we found Harry." Nicholas murmured into his wife's hair as he watched his grandson.
"So am I love, so am I. I look forward to the coming summer as I haven't in many years. Having so many young people around makes me feel young again myself." Perenelle confided.
"I too look forward to having all of them stay with us. And I promise not to disappear with Severus into the potions lab too often." Nicolas promised though Perenelle knew it wasn't a promise that Nicholas would be able to keep. But she didn't mind, for the first time in a very long time; she wouldn't be alone while he lost himself in his brewing. She thought back on the revelations of the spring and sighed in contentment. Their lives would never be the same again, but she wouldn't give up knowing Harry and all of his friends and 'family' for anything.
The two watched until the pitch emptied for lunch before leaving their quarters and walking arm and arm down the corridors to the Great Hall themselves.
Harry couldn't believe it. He stood beside his bed making sure everything was packed and he had missed nothing. He smiled as he thought of never seeing the Dursley's ever again. His father would be meeting him at the King's Cross Station before they went to Grimmald Place for a couple of days. Sirius, Remus and he would be leaving then to go to Tir na nOg for the rest of the summer holidays; which would be almost a year for them, once they reached the island. Most of his friends would be joining them, many for the entire time, but some for lesser amounts. The Weasley's four youngest would go with them so that Arthur and Molly could work full time with the Order taking advantage of Voldemort's incapacity and lack of followers, to strengthen the resistance and make plans for his eventual return, though hopefully that wouldn't be for quite a while yet.
Professor McGonagall had been granted guardianship of Lisa and Laura Turpin, and they would all be coming to the island in two weeks, so the Deputy Headmistress could finish her Hogwarts responsibilities until she would have to return two weeks before the term began once more.
Draco would spend the first part of summer with his mother and then join the group on the island; as would Hermione, whose parents insisted that she join them on a long arranged trip to Australia for the first half of summer holidays. Neville and Luna would visit back and forth as well as several of the others who were now Sirius' charges, due to their changed family circumstances and his being the head of the House of Black now.
Harry looked under his bed once more, shrank his trunk and put it into his jeans pocket. He straightened his school robes and ran a hand through his hair, trying in vain to get it to lay down flat. With Amicus loping gracefully beside him and Hedwig perched on his shoulder, he left the dorm for the last time as a fifth year. Saying a silent goodbye to his only home for the last five years; he smiled as he went down the winding staircase. It had taken many long and painful years, but finally Harry Potter was going home.
AN: Thank you to all of you who have stuck with this to the end, especially those who have taken the time and effort to review. My goal is to complete every story I have in progress before I begin classes at OU in January so please bear with me. I will have my daughter add this complete story to my homepage in PDF and mobipocket as soon as she can, but she just started a new job so it might be a while. Thank you again, and keep reading.