Hi everyone. I'm finally moved out to my apartment for college (believe me, moving an apartment worth of stuff from Saint Louis to Denver ain't fun), and got a new motherboard for my computer, and I finally had some time to transcribe the next chapter.

This chapter is mainly Taylor's, with some minor corrections made.

Once again, I extend thanks to Jadesabrexiv of Portkey, who did the beta-ing for this chapter.

Hope you enjoy the chapter.

Disclaimer: It's JKR's, not mine. All of the characters, settings, and ideas from the books belong to JK Rowling. I have never, and will never profit from these writings. The only things that are mine are the parts of the plot differing from the books, any original characters, and the characterization of Hermione's parents.

Key: Sentences in italics and single quotes indicate sign language. 'Sort of like this'

Chapter 8: Classes

Entrance Hall, Hogwarts Castle – Monday evening, 3 January, 1994

"Agreed." Malfoy said, reaching out his hand.

Harry gripped it firmly and was surprised when a flare of light came from both his hand and Malfoy's wand. As Malfoy strode off with his two goons in tow, Harry turned to Hermione.

He looked at her with a serious expression, and then asked, "What's a Wizard's duel?"

Hermione looked at him with a smile for a minute, until she realized he was being truly serious about his question. Her expression became incredulous, and she began to sputter, as she had thought he had likely read about it in the Guide to the Wizarding World book based on how readily he had agreed to the duel. "H-Harry! You just…. You just agreed to a Wizard's duel and y-you don't even know what it is?"

Harry at least had the grace to look embarrassed. "Well, not really…"

Hermione passed her hand over her face, and then sighed. 'Harry, a Wizard's duel like the one you just agreed to is a fight between two wizards, until the referee calls the winner – usually it is until one of the wizards gets hurt or knocked out, or loses their wand to the other wizard.'

Harry's eyes lit up. 'This'll be easy then! Malfoy is a lot weaker than most people on the street are, and I've been able to win a lot of fights there,' Harry began, until he saw Hermione lower her eyes and shake her head.

'Harry, a Wizard's duel is Magical, not physical. In fact there's no physical contact allowed – if you try to even touch him, he'll be declared the winner.'

She saw Harry's expression dim greatly. 'Well… I guess I'll just have to beat him that way. He's only had a few more years than me to learn magic, hasn't he?'

'The Malfoy family is known for its Dark Magic ties, and Draco has been probably training since he was little, learning every spell he could, at least the ones that can cause harm, the ones that are just below the line of being considered Dark Magic. You could be hurt badly!' Hermione signed, and while thinking about it, becoming more worried about the whole thing.

She made up her mind quickly as to what they would do. 'Okay, Harry, let's drop our things off at my mum's quarters, and then I'll go to Gryffindor Tower and get some of my Defense against the Dark Arts books, to teach you some quick spells, while you go off to Professor Lupin and tell him about this great mess you've gotten yourself into, and I'll meet you there.'

'Okay,' signed a relieved Harry, glad that she had figured out some sort of plan. They hurried to Emma's quarters and dropped off their things, speeding inside past Blackie, who looked at them in bewilderment. They parted ways at the door, Harry heading toward Professor Lupin's office, which he had been shown earlier that day. He spent the whole way silently berating himself for taking up Malfoy on his offer without knowing what a Wizard's Duel really was – and also worrying because it had seemed like Hermione was angry with him for accepting the Duel, and he didn't want to already lose a friendship over the whole thing.

Hermione ran up the stairs toward Gryffindor House. She darted past Ronald Weasley, who only registered her presence in time to shout some snide comment up the stairs at her. Parvati was exiting the Fat Lady portrait, and, seeing Hermione, actually held it open for her. As Hermione moved quickly up the stairs to the Third Year girl's dormitory, she thought back and realized that Parvati had actually been… friendly to her during the day. She had noticed the change shortly after the school had found out Harry was deaf, and she wondered if that had something to do with it.

Hermione shook those thoughts from her head as she dug through her trunk for every Defense book she had, and since she had bought several that had not been required over the past three years, she managed to come up with five – ignoring the books that the fraud Lockhart had assigned them the previous year.

Hermione grabbed the stack of books, and hurried back down the stairs and out the portrait door. She moved quickly across the castle and down to the second floor where Professor Lupin's office was. She could hear heard Lupin speaking inside, so she rapped softly on the door.

"Come on in, the door's unlocked." Remus called out. She opened the door and entered, and saw Harry and Remus sitting in chairs facing each other. "Ah, Hermione. Harry just got done telling me that he's got himself into a Wizard's duel with Draco Malfoy." Remus said, a slight frown on his face.

Hermione bit her lip nervously, and said, "Y-yes Professor," she said. Her gaze flickered briefly to Harry, who she realized seemed almost frightened at how Lupin was going to react at the news, something she knew likely came from his time at the Dursleys. "Professor don't be angry at Harry! Malfoy was saying horrible things about me, and then about Harry's mum. He- he said that the reason Harry is deaf is because his mum was a Muggleborn, only he called her a…"

Remus smiled slightly as she started to ramble, and raised his hand, cutting her off. "Hermione, Harry already told me most everything that happened, including how you tried to stop him." He looked over at Harry. "Don't worry, Harry, I'm not angry at you – I would have probably done the same thing in your place at your age, and probably even today. I'm just worried for you, because duels can be very dangerous, and you don't have much experience with magic."

Hermione spoke up at that point. "Professor Lupin, Malfoy agreed to the Duel with you being the referee."

Remus looked relieved. "Well, that's good. I'll be able to end it before anyone gets very hurt." He turned all the way to face Harry. "Now, Harry, it looks like our first tutoring session will be a sort of crash-course in spells you can use in the duel."

Hermione pulled up a chair and set her books heavily on Remus' desk. She sat down, and Remus took out his wand. "Okay, Harry, let's get started. The most useful thing for you right now will probably be the Shield Spell. The incantation for it is Protego…"

Great Hall, Hogwarts Castle – Monday evening, 3 January, 1994

Remus had spoken quietly to Dumbledore at the beginning of supper about the Duel, and he hadn't looked very pleased, but when he heard that it had been an Oath Duel, he knew there was nothing he could do. Oath Duels were Wizarding Duels in which the two Duelists agreed to the duel, and their Magic flared and took it as a Magical Oath. Breaking that oath could end in complete loss of magic, and sometimes even death.

As the meal was winding down, Dumbledore stood and addressed the students. "It has come to my attention that Mister Draco Malfoy has challenged Mister Harry Potter to a Wizard's Duel. As it is an official Duel, it will be held publicly here in the Great Hall in a few moments. I would ask that all of you leave your House tables, and stand along the sides of the walls if you wish to view the Duel. If you do not wish to do so, you may leave the Great Hall."

There was a lot of murmuring as the students made their way over to stand along the walls. Most of the Slytherins were smirking in Harry's direction. Many of those in Gryffindor were oddly silent, likely because from what they had heard, Harry did not know much about magic, and they did not think it was likely that their fellow Gryffindor would win the duel.

Ronald Weasley was surprisingly silent, as he really didn't know who he wanted to win – he had despised Draco for years, and yet Harry had completely humiliated him, and made him grovel and apologize to the know-it-all. He decided neither should win, and began hoping for a mutual knockout.

At the staff table, as Dumbledore made the announcement, Emma's mouth dropped open, and she began to look worried. Remus saw her expression, and leaned over to apologize for forgetting to let her know about the Duel.

Finally all the students had gone near the walls, and Dumbledore waved his wand and the tables and chairs in the hall disappeared. He flicked his wand again, and a large ring was drawn on the floor in the center of the Great Hall. "Mr. Potter, Mr. Malfoy, please step into the circle."

Harry stepped into the circle, looking over at the smirking Malfoy who did the same. With another flick of Dumbledore's wand, a huge, nearly-transparent dome appeared around them, its base being the circle. Madam Pomfrey, who had been quickly summoned by Dumbledore and told about the duel, stood near the Dueling ring, ready to tend to the inescapable injuries that would be received during the duel.

"This dome will protect the students from stray spells. Now, Professor Lupin has been selected as the referee for this duel, and he will decide who the victor is, and when to stop the duel."

Remus stepped up to the dome, and addressed Harry and Draco. "Okay, basic rules: no lethal or illegal spells are allowed; keep the spells that can cause serious injury to a minimum; keep the fight clean. As this is a Wizard's Duel, no physical contact is allowed. The instigator of any physical contact will immediately be declared defeated. The loss of your wand to your opponent will signal an immediate end to the match. Are both of you clear on the rules?"

Both of the boys nodded. Harry looked quickly over to Hermione, who was standing along the wall, looking extremely nervous already. She saw his glance, and a quick, reassuring smile flitted across her face. Harry took a deep breath, and pulled out his wand as Draco did the same. Remus walked over to where Harry could see his face. "Okay, both of you ready?" They both nodded. "Begin the Duel." Remus announced.

Draco's wand snapped up and he quickly shot off a spell, but Harry was already stepping quickly to the side. The bluish curse whizzed past him and hit the dome and was immediately absorbed by it.

Draco sent off another spell, and this time Harry sidestepped again, and also flicked his wand forward, saying the incantation for a Stinging Hex that he had learned from Hermione. The yellowish spell flew toward Draco, who tried to copy Harry in his dodges. He was not quick enough, and the spell glanced off his left leg, causing him to grimace.

His wand flashed again, this time sending off two spells in quick succession. Harry saw he couldn't dodge both, so he raised his own wand. "Protego," he incanted, and a purplish shield over half as tall as he was snapped into place, and deflected the larger spell, but it was weakened enough by that hit that Draco's own Stinging Hex punched through it and slammed into Harry's side. It wasn't at full power due to going through the shield, but it still caused a sharp pain in his side, which he pushed quickly to the back of his mind.

Going on the offensive, Harry sent off another Stinging Hex as well as a weak Stunning spell – something he had found easy to learn having already used an uncontrolled one just days before, but difficult to control the power of the spell. Malfoy dodged the Stunning spell, but the Stinging Hex struck his wand arm, causing him to gasp in pain, and his grip on his wand loosened temporarily.

Harry smiled humorlessly at Draco, when a flicker of fear crossed over his face as he realized that Harry wasn't quite the pushover he had expected. Seeing the smile, Draco's face turned red, and he became enraged, the things Harry had said about his Pureblood heritage running through his head.

Draco's eyes narrowed, and he began to send out a barrage of various coloured spells that Harry had no clue as to what they were. Harry was sent on the defensive: sidestepping, diving, sometimes somersaulting, and other times having to resort to throwing up a Protego, which, as he had not quite mastered it yet, often allowed some spells to pass through like the earlier spell. His right arm was bleeding slightly from a successful Cutting Hex, and his left elbow had a purple welt from the concussive force of a minor Bludgeoning Hex.

He was still on his feet, however, and still weaving to avoid as many spells as possible. A quick glance up while Draco paused a moment to catch his breath allowed him to spot Hermione, Luna and Susan in the crowd, all looking worried – Hermione quite pale and with her hands covering her mouth.

His attention snapped back to the duel as he saw Draco's wand again move toward him, sending out another barrage of spells. The Duel had already been going on for nearly five minutes, and both Harry and Draco were beginning to tire. Harry dove to the side, and launched another stinging hex at the same time Draco shot off a nasty-looking scarlet spell. Harry tried to move again, but his foot slipped on the stone chips thrown up by a Bludgeoning Hex that had missed.

Draco, on the other hand, hadn't even seen the spell shot at him until it was almost there. His eyes widened, and he managed a grunt of surprise before the Hex hit him straight-on in the throat. Shocking pain hit him, and he grasped desperately at his throat, gasping for air, and only barely remembering to keep his wand gripped in his hand.

Harry's slip on the loose stones proved disastrous for him. His left leg flew out from under him, and he had to throw his arms out to attempt to maintain balance and not fall flat on his back. In doing so, his left arm flew out directly in the path of the scarlet spell Draco had sent at him. The spell hit his forearm, and he felt a bone snap sharply, and then doubled over when a wave of pain washed over him.

It triggered a short flashback in his mind of Vernon twisting his arm until it broke. Between the pain and the painful memory, he began to feel something build up inside of him. As it grew stronger, he realized it felt exactly like a few days ago when he had Stunned the attacking gang of boys. He knew now that it was the feeling of his magic reacting in an attempt to protect him.

His right hand, the one holding his wand, directed the wand at the gasping Draco with barely a thought from Harry, and then he felt the magic explode outward, coursing down his arm, through his wand, and out toward Draco. A flash of light enveloped Draco, dazzling the eyes of most everyone in the audience. Harry collapsed to the floor, hugging his wounded arm to his stomach, still firmly gripping his wand, and gasping as he felt the energy of the magic leave him.

Hermione heard the clattering of a wand upon the floor, and when the bright light cleared, she saw Malfoy's wand on the floor, but Malfoy himself was nowhere to be seen. Lying on the floor in his place, was, she realized with a short giggle, a Draco-sized sewing needle.

Many of the others, especially those in Gryffindor started sniggering, and soon most of the students were laughing aloud. Hermione saw that even Remus was struggling to keep a straight face. Then she looked past him and saw Harry kneeling on the floor in obvious pain, and all the humour of the situation left her.

Remus, quite happy to end the Duel, announced quickly, "Harry Potter is the winner of this Duel." He looked to Dumbledore, who hastily waved his wand, lowering the dome. Madame Pomfrey quickly rushed in, and began to tend to Harry.

As the dome fell, Hermione and her mother, almost as one, rushed over to join Madame Pomfrey. Poppy knelt down next to Harry, and drew his attention to her, before pulling out her wand and quickly running several diagnostic spells. She then gently took Harry's arm, the movement causing him to wince in pain, and felt for the broken bone her spells had indicated.

Harry looked up from his arm, and saw Hermione and Emma waiting anxiously behind Madam Pomfrey. Poppy smiled gently at Harry, and said, "Well, Mr. Potter, you have a clean break of your ulna, which should be easy enough to mend. I'll have to give you some more Skele-grow, but this time you will be awake, so I'll warn you it might be somewhat painful while it works."

She waved a wand across the cut on his arm, and it began to mend itself due to the healing spell she used. She then took out a potion, and poured a steaming beaker-full of the Skele-grow, and handed it to Harry to drink. Harry gulped it down, grimacing at the burning sensation it caused in his mouth, and then wincing slightly as he felt the slight pain in his arm as the potion began to do its work.

She waved her wand once again, and rigged up a temporary sling for Harry's arm. "You should be all healed up within the hour, Harry. Now, excuse me, I have to go see what I must do for our resident needle." She said to him, a hint of a grin on her face.

As soon as she picked up her bag and made her way over to Malfoy, Emma and Hermione rushed forward. Hermione grabbed him in a hug, making sure to avoid his healing arm. Emma gave him a quick hug as well, and both looked at him in worry.

'Are you alright Harry?' Hermione signed to him.

Harry gave a brief nod, but realized he would have difficulty signing for the next hour. "Yeah, I'm okay. Arm 'urts a little, but… I've 'ad worse." He said, his expression darkening a moment as he remembered just how much worse he had experienced.

Hermione, finally satisfied that he was alright, began grinning. 'Harry, you were wonderful in that duel, especially when you only learned most of those spells a little over an hour ago. I especially liked that last spell.' She signed with a laugh.

Harry grinned as well, looking over at Malfoy who was being Transfigured back from the giant needle Harry had changed him into. "Didn't realize it was poss'ble to do that," Harry said, "I just felt my magic start t'build up, an' didn't even think 'bout what spell was going t'come out."

Remus had walked over while they had been talking, and he spoke up. "I was very impressed, Harry. You learned those spells very quickly and held your own against someone with several years more experience than you. I think you'll be able to catch up to everyone else in third year very quickly if you continue to apply yourself like you did for these spells."

Malfoy was now transfigured back, and a pain-soothing spell had been applied to his throat. Once Madam Pomfrey was finished, he got up, glared hatefully at Harry, and left the Great Hall without a word, ignoring the stinging jeering he was getting from the other houses, especially Gryffindor.

Luna and Susan quickly joined the now-growing crowd around Harry. Behind them, two redheaded boys who appeared to be identical twins, both looking to be a few years older than he was, made their way over. He could see a family resemblance between them and Ronald Weasley, so he braced himself for any sort of "payback" they may have in mind for his little confrontation with Ron.

He was surprised when, as Hermione moved to the side so they could get closer to Harry, they took turns shaking his hand, in a comically exaggerated way.

The one on the left spoke first, and he soon found they had a peculiar way of speaking: one would start a sentence, and the other would finish it.

"Hello, Harry, we're very glad to meet you,"

"His name is Fred Weasley,"

"And his name is George Weasley."

"We thought we'd introduce ourselves,"

"And get to know the kid who humiliated Malfoy so aptly."

Harry's eyes flashed back and forth between the two as they spoke. "Er, well, nice t'meet you too." Harry said, hoping he had caught everything they had been saying.

The one who had been introduced as George spoke again, and Harry tensed at his first statement.

"We heard you had a little run-in,"

"With our little brother Ron."

When they didn't say anything else, Harry nodded cautiously, and saw even Hermione looking uncertain. "Yeah, I did."

"We'd like to extend our apologies,"

"For the problems Ronnie caused you four,"

"Because he's become quite a prat over the years,"

"And we're quite ashamed at some of the things he has stooped to."

"If he bugs you any more just let us know,"

"And we'll take care of him for you."

Harry was pleasantly surprised, and soon realized that the twins were basically the exact opposite of Ron. They talked some more about the duel, but eventually had to leave when Madam Pomfrey bustled over to check on how the Skele-grow was working.

They were, Harry decided, people who he could definitely get along with, and eventually become friends with, whether their brother liked that or not.

Professor Granger's Quarters, Hogwarts Castle - 3 January, 1994

Madam Pomfrey had given Harry a clean bill of health, and had removed the sling from his now-mended arm, and he had been given permission to leave the Great Hall. Remus had bid his goodnights, as he had to get up early the next day to prepare for a morning Defense with First-year Gryffindor and Hufflepuff students.

Harry entered the portrait that was the entrance to Emma's living quarters, and almost immediately sprawled out on the couch, exhausted from the huge amount of power he had expended during the Duel.

Hermione, not quite ready to go to bed, and also needing to pick up her things from where she had left them to run to Gryffindor tower, had come along, and decided to stay for a while.

Blackie jumped up onto the couch next to Harry, looking both worried about his exhausted state, and confused as to what had happened between Harry and Hermione running in and throwing their things down, and now. Harry finally realized that he had not said a word to Sirius before the duel, so he had no clue as to what had happened. He made a mental note to tell Sirius about it later after everyone went to bed.

He settled for petting Sirius while he sat there, looking at the fire. Hermione had sat on the couch on the other side of Sirius, and had taken some parchment from her bag, and was currently working on some assignment.

Harry remained silent for several minutes. He finally looked over at her, watched her for a moment, scribbling furiously with a quill, a slight furrow of concentration in her brow, and finally spoke to her.

"Hermione, can I ask you somethin'?"

Hermione looked up, startled at the interruption. She set down her quill and turned fully to look directly at Harry. "Of course, Harry." She said, looking questioningly at him.

"Well, it might be personal, an' you don't have to tell me if y'don't want to, but, um, I saw you were limpin' before when y'came to Remus' office, an' then on our way t'supper. Did you 'urt your leg when you were gettin' the books?"

A shadow of some unreadable emotion passed over her face. "Y-you could tell I was limping? Usually people don't even notice it."

Harry shrugged. "Well, it wasn't very bad of a limp, but I could tell y'were walkin' a bit different."

Hermione looked reluctant, but answered his question. "During my first year, I was attacked by a huge creature called a cave troll. He had a big wooden club, and hit me several times in the leg with it. I-I think if Professor McGonagall hadn't gotten there and stopped the troll, I wouldn't be alive now. I was taken to the Hospital Wing, and Madam Pomfrey started fixing my leg – the troll had given me a compound break, which means several parts of the bone were broken, and a lot of it was splintered."

She took a deep, calming breath before continuing, "I had to take Skele-grow like you did, but with as many breaks as I had, it was almost impossible to heal it perfectly. So, a few parts of the bone in my leg are irregular, and if I do a lot of running, like I did yesterday, it ends up hurting the muscles in my leg that run along the bone, and I get a bit of a limp."

She finished her explanation, looking pale at reliving the entire ordeal over in her mind. Harry looked at her with concern – seeing a tear leak from one of her eyes and down her cheek – reached out over Blackie, and for the first time since he met her, initiated a brief hug on his own. Hermione hugged him back after a moment, holding fiercely onto him, and he could feel several hot tears fall on his shoulder.

She pulled back and was using her hands to wipe away the tears still on her cheeks, when Harry spoke to her. "I-I'm sorry, Hermione, I should've just not asked you. I didn't know it was anythin' like that. I know what it's like t'remember bad things like that, so I'm sorry I made y'tell me."

Hermione gave him a watery smile. 'It's fine, Harry. Like you said, you didn't know, and there was nothing wrong with you asking me. I just… that's one of the things in my past I don't like remembering, and now you know.'

Harry nodded quickly. 'I know how you feel.' Harry signed, and then hesitated a moment before asking the other question burning in his mind. 'Are you mad at me for accepting the Duel with Malfoy? You seemed a little angry with me when you were explaining the duel to me.' He signed in question.

Hermione's eyes widened in shock. 'No! I'm not mad at you. If he had done the same to me I probably would've accepted the Duel…. although I would've known what I was getting into.' Hermione signed, a teasing grin on her face. 'The only one I was angry at was Malfoy for what he said, and I was a little worried about you dueling with him.'

Harry looked very relieved. 'Okay, I was worried I'd already ruined us being friends by jumping at the Duel without knowing what it was.'

Hermione shook her head firmly. 'No, Harry, I really like you, and you've been one of the best friends I've had, and I've only known you the past few days. I wouldn't go and toss that away because of something silly like that.'

A smile broke out over Harry's face, and he signed, 'Thanks Hermione.'

His mind now at ease, he sat back on the couch once again, and grabbed Hogwarts, A History from where he had set it on the table, and began to read it. Hermione watched him until she was sure that he was truly okay, and then went back to her homework assignment.

Great Hall, Hogwarts Castle – Tuesday morning, 4 January, 1994

Harry sat next to Hermione at breakfast, and read the Daily Prophet with her. They didn't have nearly as much of a revealing article as they had published the day before, but most of the paper was dedicated to a sort of "Potter special", in which they printed various stories from the past involving Harry, had a sort of timeline of the defeat of Voldemort all the way up to current time, and had several pages of various opinion articles and editorials on Harry's return, the fact that he was deaf, how the Wizarding world would change now that he had been found, and pretty much anything else they could cram into the paper.

He felt his mind whirl as once again he saw all of this coverage solely on him, and he found himself thinking of what would have happened if the same thing had happened to him, except for Voldemort's defeat. He knew that there would likely not even be a mention of him in the paper – all of this was solely due to fame for some event that had occurred that he could only vaguely remember in dreams.

He bit into another piece of bacon, and then broke off the end and gently fed it to Hedwig who was perched on the back of his chair. The previous day, after lunch, Hermione had enough time to show him where the Owlery was, and he took Hedwig there so that she would not be cooped up in a small cage, and so that she could come and go as she pleased.

He had been surprised when he saw her fly in along with the various other owls carrying the morning paper, and the Owl Post for the day. She had been carrying nothing, and she landed gently on the arm he had held out, and playfully nipped his fingers. While he was not sure why she had come that morning (Hermione had suggested that she was already making a Familiar Bond with him), but he welcomed her companionship.

Today would be the first day that he would attend classes, and he was excited, as well as a bit nervous. He and Hermione had Charms right after breakfast, and then Transfiguration right after lunch.

Breakfast was over more quickly than he had expected, and the next thing he knew, he was hurrying along the corridors behind Hermione. She led them up several flights of stairs to the third floor, and down a long corridor to a large classroom. As Harry entered the classroom, he saw they were the first students there.

There were several rows of tables in the room, with three chairs to each of them, and a desk and blackboard in the front of the classroom. A large window on the wall gave a view of what he guessed could only be the front drive leading up to the Entrance Hall.

Hermione immediately sat in one of the chairs in the front row, and Harry sat next to her in the middle chair. He pulled out his Charms textbook – Standard Book of Spells Grade 3, as well as several pieces of parchment, and his Easy-Notes quill, which he would activate with a tap of his wand once class started.

Other students began to trail into the class – Weasley saw Harry in the front and immediately led his group to sit in the back row. As more students entered, Harry recognized that some of them had Hufflepuff colours, and remembered Hermione telling him that most any class was made up of students of a particular year, from two Houses. He saw Susan come in, and she made her way to the front and sat on the other side of Harry.

"Good morning Harry, good morning Hermione. Are you ready for your first class, Harry?" She asked him.

Harry nodded enthusiastically. "I looked through the syllabus, and I think Charms will be very interesting, so I'm looking forward to this class."

"Well, I see someone is as enthusiastic about school as you are, Hermione. You may just have some competition here." Susan said teasingly.

Hermione blushed, and leaned over to respond so Harry could see her. "Well, it will be nice to have someone that likes learning as much as I do." She paused and then added – "I think you'll like this class, Harry. You seem to take to Charms much easier than Transfiguration spells, so I think this will be an easy class for you."

Susan was about to say something else, the door opened to reveal a very small old man. He smiled enthusiastically at the students, and walked to the front of the room. He walked up to the front row of tables, barely a head taller than the tops of the tables. He waved his wand, and some books flew off the shelf and stacked themselves in front of the table, and he hopped up onto them, and extended a hand to Harry.

Harry reached out and shook it, and the old man spoke to him, making sure he didn't try to exaggerate words, which Emma had told him would only make it harder to understand, "Hello, Harry, my name is Filius Flitwick, and I'm the Charms Professor. I hope to get to know you much better over the semester – please be sure to come to me if you have any questions about the class. I must say, you performed magnificently in that Duel yesterday. As a former Dueling champion when I was younger, I was impressed with how you handled yourself."

Harry blushed slightly at the praise. "Er… thanks Professor."

Flitwick released his hand, and then waved his wand, causing the books beneath him to hover and move up to the center of the room, carrying him with them. He let them settle down, and then addressed the class. "Today, and for the next two weeks, we will begin working on a charm that is rather simple once you practice it a bit – the Colour Changing Charm."

Most of the class consisted of going through the pronunciation, and the wand movements for the charm. At the end, they were given some time to experiment, to see how adept they were at the charm. Harry paid close attention to the class, despite the fact that Sirius had already taught him the charm.

At the end of class, Flitwick looked on proudly as Susan, Hermione, Neville, and another Hufflepuff all successfully changed the colour of a rock, to varying degrees – Hermione's was a complete colour change, but she admitted that it was not exactly the colour she had been trying for. Flitwick clapped gleefully when Harry's turn came up, and he changed the rock completely from a brown to a red colour on his second attempt (he deliberately broke his focus on the first attempt, so it didn't appear that he had mastered it so easily).

After class, Susan left to get ready for her next class, and Harry and Hermione walked to the library to kill time before lunch. Hermione had looked somewhat disconcerted after class, about how she hadn't been able to quite master the spell.

As they entered the library and sat down at one of the tables, she turned her attention to Harry. "Harry, you did quite well with that spell today. Umm… could you help me a bit with it tonight when we have our tutoring time?"

Harry smiled broadly at her. "Sure, Hermione, it'll be a lot nicer if I can at least do somethin' t'pay you back for helpin' me out with everythin'."

Corridors, Hogwarts Castle – Tuesday afternoon, 4 January, 1994

The morning passed quickly for them in the Library, and before they knew it, they were headed off to lunch. Lunch was a light affair, mainly consisting of various sandwiches and soups. Hermione recommended a turkey and cheese sandwich to him, and he found it to be quite delicious.

After lunch, Harry found himself on the fourth floor in the Transfiguration classroom, again in the front row, sitting with Hermione. Again, Weasley and his friends sat in the back, and this time they had class with Slytherins. Draco entered the room, looking as arrogant as he had the day before when he had challenged Harry to the Duel. He looked distastefully between the front of the room, with Harry and Hermione, and the back of the room, with Ron, Neville, Dean, and Seamus, before he finally settled for sitting in the center, along with the two lumbering boys that seemed to follow him most anywhere.

Parvati, who had inquired about Harry's deafness the day before, took the seat on the other side of Harry just as Professor McGonagall entered the room. She gave a slight nod to Harry as she moved to the front of the room. Harry tapped his Easy-Notes quill with his wand, and it began to scribble as McGonagall began to talk.

"Good morning, students. Today we will continue the process of learning more and more advanced Transfiguration of objects similar to one another. In a few years you will be expected to be able to transfigure one object into something that is completely dissimilar to it – something for those of you who stayed for the duel witnessed with young Mister Potter using the simple spell you all learned in First Year, to transfigure Mr. Malfoy into a sewing needle."

She took a breath before continuing. "However, we will continue to take it one step at a time. Today, and over the next several weeks, you will be learning how to Transfigure teapots into tortoises."

Just like in Charms, much of the class went over the incantation, visualization, and wand movements. By the conclusion of the class, some students, including Harry, succeeded in causing their teapots to have the patterning of a tortoise carapace, while Hermione managed both give it the patterning, as well give it stubby legs and a head.

McGonagall gave them a short assignment: an essay on the proper wand movement and visualization for the spell to be efficient and successful.

When the class was over, they walked back to the library again, and both immediately began to work on writing the essay, which Hermione decided they would likely be finished with by suppertime.

Harry quickly began the assignment, spurred on by a bit of excitement over the tutoring session Hermione was going to give him after supper. He was especially eager to help Hermione out on the Colour Changing Charm, as it was one of the few things he could offer in return for all of her help, and all of the help that she would be giving him over the next semester.

AN: Thank you for all of the reviews for the last chapter, especially those in reply to Deathly Hallows – several of them caused my opinions on the book to shift, and some got me thinking on parts that I had seen as plot holes.

Well, the college semester has started for me, and it's already pretty hectic (add to that my part time jobs, and it's even worse). The next chapter should be out rather quickly once I get a paper done that is due this coming week, and get a test out of the way. I'd say no more than two weeks from now to get it done and beta-ed, as there is one more full chapter in Taylor's notebook. After that, I'm really not sure what my update schedule will be, but I'll begin writing it on my own with some of Taylor's fragmented chapters, so it will take longer.

Well, hope you enjoyed the chapter.

Oh, and Happy Early Birthday to Hermione.

Next time: Lessons with Hermione – Harry opens up a little bit; more classes including DADA; first potions class with Snape.