Chapter Thirty-Four

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Note: By 'no one fails their final year', I mean 'no one at Hogwarts fails their final year.' Apparently it's so easy to pass that you don't even need to TAKE the Exams in order to move up to the next grade, although those that do poorly on their OWLS/NEWTS might have some career difficulties starting out. And even in the real world, people usually don't fail for being stupid, they fail for lack of attendance and/or doing the work. Stupidity…not so much. I've seen some pretty stupid people graduate.

Other note: Finally! Third Year's done! And I finished it before my class! It was kind of short, but I didn't want to just completely skip over it and since nothing was actually going on, it couldn't drag on too long. Next year will be interesting, though.

Exams were never fun. Even if you were twelve years older than everyone else taking the exams and had, in fact, literally done some of the spells in your sleep. And the complaining from everyone else about how 'difficult' it was to turn a teapot into a tortoise. Although that wasn't nearly as bad as Hermione moaning about how her tortoise looked more like a turtle.

"Hermione," Harry said patiently. "We've been over this. You did the spell for changing a teacup into a tortoise, not the spell for changing a teacup into a turtle. And don't think Professor McGonagall won't get a letter from the new Magical Chapter of PETA for this. Seriously, what is with everyone and their constant abuse of animals?"

"Harry, look at how everyone treats people who don't happen to have magical powers and ask me that again," Hermione told him. "Anyway, getting back to the fact that I'm going to fail-"

"Oh, please, Hermione," Ron scoffed. "NO ONE fails. Ever."

"Marcus Flint did," Hermione reminded them.

Harry snorted.

"What?" she demanded.

"Nothing, just that he didn't fail; he just showed up to play Quidditch," Harry explained.

Hermione rolled her eyes at that. "Right. Like anyone would come all the way back to Hogwarts and convince everyone that they had to repeat a year just to play a couple of Quidditch games."

There was silence for a moment as the three boys exchanged pitying glances.

"I totally would," Ron said.

"Me too," Neville agreed.

"They would have to pay me," decided Harry.

"Right, because that's not pathetic at ALL," Hermione rolled her eyes.

"It's not pathetic," Ron corrected her. "It's Quidditch."

"And even if it were possible for anyone to fail at Hogwarts," Neville quickly changed the subject as Hermione looked to be bracing herself on a rant about Quidditch fanatics. "Having the end result look like a practically identical species isn't exactly the worst thing that could happen. I mean, look at Ron's tortoise: it still peed tea."

"Hey, at least I didn't lose my head and accidentally turn my teacup into a flock of flamingos," Ron shot back.

"Oh, right, Hannah Abbot," Harry smiled fondly. "One of these days that girl is going to learn to keep her head in an exam…"

"Mine still wasn't as good as Harry's, though," Hermione pouted. "Professor McGonagall said she'd never seen a more perfect tortoise in all her years at Hogwarts! I just can't compete with that."

"Don't feel bad, Hermione," Harry reassured her. "McGonagall just thinks I'm a Transfiguration prodigy like my dad apparently was."

"But all the other teacher's say the same thing!" Hermione pointed out. "Well…except for Snape." Snape had, as a matter of fact, docked Harry's potion five points because he had ended up using a modified recipe for the Confusing Concoction that Luna always swore by – apparently her mum had made the changes.

"Don't you mean 'Slughorn'?" Harry grinned. Right before their Potion's Exam, Sirius had apparently decided that since Snape's hovering tendencies were such a distraction, replacing Snape's unpleasant countenance with Slughorn's physically-incapable-of-being-imposing one would make them all feel better. Of course, half the class didn't even know who Slughorn was, but it was the thought that counted. Besides, Harry knew full well and was amused as hell.

And it was a good thing that he WAS so amused, because otherwise he'd be annoyed that Hermione had, once again, refused to use the Cheering Charm on him for the exam. And to make matter worse, Professor Flitwick seemed to agree with her and let her do the Charm on somebody else.

Hagrid's exam was a great deal more interesting than 'don't kill the Flobberworms', which Harry vaguely remembered it to be last time. This time, they all had to take a ride on a Hippogriff. Needless to say, this was Harry's easiest exam to date. The rest of the class vehemently disagreed with that, but the fact that no one else knew what to do was their own damn fault for making him deal with Buckbeak alone during their first class.

Their Astronomy Exam went okay, or so Harry was told. He kind of fell asleep ten minutes into it but his friends assured him that when Professor Sinistra came by to give him his oral exam, he had sleep-answered all of her questions correctly. So maybe that was the easiest exam ever.

In Herbology, Harry took great delight in making fun of his classmates for not knowing any charms to cast to keep from getting sunburned as they all turned bright red as the hours wore on. The Exam itself was pretty boring, but then, that was Herbology. Even if it was dealing with magical and potentially lethal plants, the fact remained that it was a class on plants. He just couldn't find it within himself to really care one way or another.

Muggle Studies was his first new Exam of the timeline and it was actually rather enjoyable. They basically just took a Portkey to London, were handed a few pounds, and told to try and act inconspicuous. Granted, they had to do a paper on the experience once it was over, but still, he and Hermione had had fun pretending to be tourists.

Divination was also easy, since it just took Harry making something up, which he had been doing on a regular basis ever since he came back to the past. Harry told Trelawney that he saw a group of people trying to bring Voldemort back to life and getting arrested. She jumped a little at the name, but Harry ignored it. He didn't know that was going to happen, per se, but so help him it had better. And if nothing else, Harry's vehemence seemed to impress the professor.

Their History of Magic Exam was probably the biggest deviation from what had happened during the previous timeline's Exams. Instead of a written test about medieval witch hunts that nobody cared about and only ever ended up killing Muggles anyway, Sirius announced that everyone was going to have to write an essay about something they'd learned in his class that year ranging from 200 words to 1600 words, depending on how well they did in his oral quiz. Basically, he called on them at random and asked them a question about what they'd covered that year. The first one to miss a question was out and had to write the 1600 word essay, the second one to miss a question had to write the 1400 word essay, and so on. Harry was kind of miffed because he'd lost to Hermione at the last second with 'What is the name of the orphanage Tom Riddle grew up in?' Like he CARED. Still, a 400 word essay was a piece of cake. He was tempted to go over to annoy his classmates who had to write more, but had forgone that for turning it in within ten minutes and playing Hangman with Sirius while everyone else wrote and Hermione revised. Needless to say, when her 200-word essay turned out to be a little over 3000, no one was exactly surprised. Annoyed, granted, but not surprised. And as the students were used to having their essays be a certain number of inches or – recently – pages, Sirius cast a spell on all of their paper to automatically list how many words they had so far.

Harry's favorite Exam, of course, was Defense Against the Dark Arts. The obstacle course was great fun and reminded him a little bit of Auror training – on that first day where they were weeding out those who couldn't hack it at the real training. Harry, of course, finished first with full marks. This annoyed Hermione to no end considering he'd done it backwards, with his eyes closed, and without his wand. But that was just what she got for beating him in Sirius's class. There was no way his godfather would let him live down being outsmarted by a fourteen-year-old, even if it was Hermione.

"I can't believe you took directions from our exam," Harry laughed at Ron, who had encountered problems upon reaching the Hinkypunk when he had – for some reason – followed its advice and ended up sinking wait-high into the quagmire.

"What would you know? You had your eyes closed the entire time! It's not like you could have stopped it and asked for directions," Ron replied.

"I get that you're sore that I beat you so blatantly in this Exam," Harry told his agitated friend. "But you have to remember: this is my subject."

"You had the fastest time yet!" Ron pointed out, still irritated.

"My subject," Harry reiterated.

"Your modesty is really your best quality, Harry," Hermione said dryly as she came up behind them.

"Hey," Harry greeted her. "How was sonnet-spewing McGonagall?"

"She wasn't," Hermione answered. Upon seeing the twin looks of confusion on Harry and Ron's face's, she elaborated, "This time she rapping an opera about my failings."

Harry laughed. "Now that I have to see. I wonder if I can-"

"No," Ron interrupted. "I can see what you're going to ask and I'm telling you right now: she'll never do it, mate."

"Spoilsport," Harry pouted. "Hey, what's taking Neville? He's been in there with the Boggart for over twenty minutes now."

Hermione and Ron exchanged meaningful glances.

"Well," Hermione began, trying to be tactful. "His Boggart is rather intimidating…"

"It is NOT-" Harry started to say when he was interrupted by Neville bursting out of the trunk with the Boggart, screaming.

"Oh shut up," Harry said annoyed as Ron started giggling.

"What happened?" Ron asked between his laughter.

Neville looked tentatively at Harry. "You wouldn't…REALLY…convert your old house into a haunted house would you? Or allow people to keep their name off of the list of registered animagus' by paying extra? Or give the House Elves a union? Or allow Goblin's to use wands on Mondays since they don't exist? Or make everyone wear pink on Thursdays? Or make 'Do the Hippogriff' by the Weird Sisters Magical Britain's national anthem? Or regularly import llamas and releasing them in random places? Or-"

"Dear God, how many of those do you have?" Hermione asked, horrorstruck.

Neville shrugged. "Remember, I was in there for awhile."

Harry sighed. "To answer your question, Neville: No, no I would not. But I do plan on becoming Minister one day, thanks for the idea."

With that, Neville promptly fainted.

Harry rolled his eyes. "He is SO faking." He nudged the boy with his foot. "Probably."

This year, Harry didn't even bother sitting down at the Gryffindor table during the end-of-the-year feast. He knew he'd have to bail very shortly anyway when Dumbledore started reading off point totals, so he just made his way to the Slytherin's at the beginning of the meal.

"Why are you here?" a black boy Harry thought might be in a few of his classes asked.

"I can't possibly be with the Gryffindors when we win the House Cup," Harry explained. "And I've sat with the Ravenclaw's a few times already recently."

"Why can't you sit with the Hufflepuffs?" the boy asked, eyeing him warily.

"Blaise, don't!" Theodore warned, sitting down next to the boy in question – Blaise Zabini apparently.

"Don't what?" Blaise asked, confused. "I just asked him a question."

"Talking encourages him," Theodore explained.

"I don't NEED to be encouraged," Harry claimed. "I'm a Gryffindor."

"We noticed," Draco said, sliding into the seat beside Harry.

"And as for why I'm not at the Hufflepuff table…well, the first time Draco and I met we were talking about the House's. We decided that if we ended up in Hufflepuff, he'd leave and I'd defect. Since I'd have to come over here anyway if I went over to the Hufflepuff table, I decided to just spare myself a trip and come here instead," Harry explained.

"How can you defect from something if you haven't actually been a part of it in the first place?" Blaise couldn't help asking.

"Blaise!" Theodore cried.

"Sorry," he apologized. "But Draco's encouraging him, too. Why aren't you yelling at him?"

Theodore rolled his eyes. "Draco, God help him, likes Potter."

"Not to mention my teenage rebellion," Draco added.

"That reminds me, are your parents still pissed?" Harry asked.

Draco snorted, but didn't say anything. Harry took that as a 'yes.'

Dumbledore stood up then. "This year has been an exceptionally high-scoring year as far as House points go – the highest I've ever seen. In fourth place is Hufflepuff with 9307 points. In third place we have Ravenclaw with 9526 points. In second place we have Slytherin with 10094 points. And in first place, with the single greatest number of points accumulated during the course of one year we have Gryffindor with 13877 points!"

"What's with these freakishly high point tallies?" Draco asked.

"Sirius gives out points like candy," Harry explained. "Not to mention his 'Fifty Points to anyone who he hear say 'Voldemort'' thing."

"For once, I do not actually have any last-minute points to give out-" Dumbledore paused as Sirius leaned over and said something. "Correction, I award Harry Potter fifty points for finally saying 'Voldemort', bringing Gryffindor's total up to 13927."

Harry banged his head on the table. "Damn him."

"Dumbledore?" Draco asked.

"No, Sirius. I was so careful not to say that in front of him this year, but now…And damn Neville, too, for predicting that we'd win again."

"EVERYONE knew you were going to win," Theodore pointed out.

"Not helping," Harry said.

"Not trying to," Theodore replied.

"Seriously, does EVERYONE get to talk to Potter but me?" Blaise complained.

"So how did you beat the curse?" Harry asked Remus curiously.

"Curse?" Remus repeated absently as he packed.

"You know, the one Voldemort put on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position so Dumbledore would have to get a new one every year? Seriously immature of him, by the way," Harry reflected.

"Oh, I didn't. My contract was only for a year," Remus told him.

"Oh." Harry paused. "What are you going to do now, then? I mean, didn't you say your lycanthropy made it kind of hard to find work?"

Remus smiled at that. "Normally, yes, but Sirius-"

"Totally hired him to be Lord Black," Sirius interrupted, barging into Remus' office.

"He hired you to be Lord Black?" Harry looked to Remus for confirmation.

Remus nodded. "He likes the title but he doesn't want to deal with all the responsibilities and I needed a job."

"Besides," Sirius added. "Moony's, like, the most responsible person I know. He knows all the laws, he's a half-blood so it ought to annoy anyone I'm related to who isn't Remus's future girlfriend or her mother and-"

"For the last time, Sirius," Remus cut in. "Nymphadora is NOT my girlfriend."

"She let's you call her Nymphadora," Harry pointed out.

"Yeah, not even I get to do that," Sirius agreed.

"She let's Cedric Diggory and Charlie Weasley call her that, too," Remus said defensively.

Harry nodded. "Yeah, but those two are because she lost a bet. And she doesn't bet first-name privileges anymore. I should know: I've tried."

"Nymphadora is a bit young for me," Remus insisted. "Seeing as how she just graduated two years ago."

"I absolutely agree," Sirius said heartily, patting Remus on the back.

Remus looked up, surprised. "You…do?"

"Definitely," Sirius confirmed. "For another two or three years. But then I expect you and her to start going out. I'm sure you'll be very happy together. But Harry and I expect joint godfather-status."

"Aren't…you going to warn me about breaking her heart?" Remus asked, a bit dazed. "And what's this about children-?"

"Why, are you planning on breaking her heart?" Sirius challenged, pointedly ignoring the second question.

"Well, no, but-" Remus began.

"Then she can handle herself. She is well on her way to becoming an Auror, after all," Sirius said proudly. "And I'm sure she could castrate you far better than I ever could."

Remus gulped.

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