Harry Potter and the Boy Who Lived

Chapter 7

Pushing Boundaries

Durmstrang, (Jan. 11th)...

It was an unhappy Harry Potter who returned to Durmstrang following the Christmas holiday. After finding out that Calypso had been looking up and recording information about both him and his family, Harry had gone home hoping for a very quiet and relaxing break. Instead, he found himself constantly at odds with Nathan, and his parents worried sick about what was happening at Hogwarts.

Not only had there been another attack, resulting in a Muggle-born Hufflepuff and a ghost having been Petrified by Slytherin's monster, but Nathan was the school's prime suspect to be the heir of Slytherin. Nathan, it seemed, had somehow managed to acquire the very rare and obscure talent of Parseltongue from the Dark Lord after Voldemort's killing curse failed.

According to Professor Dumbledore, who had personally taken the time to explain everything to Harry on the second day of the holiday, Nathan had discovered his Parseltongue ability while taking part in an extra-curricular dueling club run by Professors Snape and Lockhart, Hogwarts' newest Defense teacher. Draco Malfoy had Summoned a snake, and, after a mishap involving Professor Lockhart, Nathan had intervened to stop it from attacking the crowd. Unfortunately, the Muggle-born who Nathan had apparently stopped the snake from attacking was later victimized by Slytherin's monster, proving without a doubt to most the students that Nathan was the heir of Slytherin.

After Harry told Nathan that he didn't believe him to be a future Dark Lord because of some silly talent, it seemed like the holiday was going to bring the Potter family closer together than ever. All that had unraveled the moment that Harry decided it would be interesting to see Nathan talk to a snake. Nathan had promptly refused to ever use the talent, which Harry felt was completely ridiculous. There had been only six recorded Parseltongues in the last century, and very little was known about the ability besides rumor and conjecture. As far as Harry was concerned, his brother was wasting a rare magical talent by refusing to use it. Nathan, however, felt the ability was a disturbing connection between him and the Dark Lord, and he resented it.

The difference of opinion about Nathan's new talent was never resolved during the holiday. It was simply ignored when another, larger, argument took its place. After a heated argument between the two brothers, Harry had attempted to change the subject and informed Nathan that he copied the instructions for Polyjuice Potion. The only catch was that Harry wanted to know what his brother was planning to do with it before he handed over the instructions. This resulted in Nathan explaining Hermione's idea about sneaking into the Slytherin common room to find out what Malfoy knew about the Chamber of Secrets.

Harry had instantly argued against the plan, pointing out several places where Nathan could not only get expelled, but arrested, and he refused to give the Polyjuice Potion instructions to his brother. Much to Harry's annoyance,however, Nathan, Hermione, and Ron had somehow gotten their hands on a book from the Restricted section of Hogwarts' library, and the potion was now nearing completion. Hermione was, according to Nathan, staying at Hogwarts over the break to ensure that it would be ready when they got back.

Nathan's desire to go through with the Polyjuice idea had led to the first ever duel between the two brothers. Harry had threatened to tell their parents about his brother's plan, and the two had ended up exchanging spells, which resulted in both boys getting grounded for the last week of the holiday. For Nathan that meant no Quidditch, while Harry had to do extra chores around the house.

Harry never did tell his parents about Nathan's idiotic plan to sneak into the Slytherin common room. After Nathan had hit him with a Jelly-Brain Jinx while he was reading in the library, Harry had decided to just let his brother get expelled for attacking another student and using their hair in Polyjuice.

For the first time ever, Harry wanted to leave home and go back to Durmstrang. In fact, the only reason Harry stayed the entire length of the holiday and didn't return to school early was his mother's promise to help him with his Charms and Potions final projects. It had taken a bit of convincing, but Harry had managed to demonstrate that he was good enough at Charms for his mother to teach him how to properly enchant an object.

While Harry wanted to build on his previous Charms project and enchant his room, he soon found that was unlikely to happen. Learning how to enchant was like going back to his first-ever Charms class and re-learning how to do everything. A charm to make a teacup dance was simple enough, but to enchant the same teacup to permanently dance required a lot more effort.

By the end of the break, Harry had succeeded in enchanting a small butterknife to repel water, but that was all. When he realized that he wouldn't be doing any large-scale enchantments to his room any time soon, Harry had decided to make his final project a single small object that had many enchantments on it. Since he already knew how to enchant a knife to repel water, he made a list of other enchantments he could add to a knife.

When he was younger, Harry had loved reading about medieval wizards who enchanted swords for Muggle knights, and he went back to those stories to find ideas. Eventually, Harry decided he would order a small dagger and enchant it to be unbreakable, repel water, and have lasting sharpness, with an added self-cleaning charm. If he could make it work, the dagger would be a very impressive final project, and would easily put him in the running for the mastery award for Charms again.

For his final project in Potions, Harry decided to taunt his brother a little. After looking at the instructions for Polyjuice Potion one night, Harry decided to take a chance at brewing the potion for his final project. While his mother had been initially skeptical of his ability to brew a N.E.W.T-level potion, Harry eventually won her over by pointing out that the most difficult part of the potion was making sure that the ingredients were picked at the right time, and that it did not require any complex stirring techniques or especially rare and expensive ingredients.

Harry had enjoyed sitting at the diner table as he talked about the potion with his parents while Nathan stewed. At one point near the end of the break, their mother had said how proud she was of Harry for trying to learn such a complicated brew at such a young age. Harry was almost certain that Nathan was going to blurt out that he too was making the potion, but he managed to hold his tongue and instead gave Harry the cold shoulder for the rest of the break.

Another thing Harry was upset about was that he didn't get a chance to ask his brother's advice about Calypso during the break. Between the constant arguments with Nathan, working on his final projects, and not wanting to reveal Calypso's identity to his parents, Harry managed to constantly find excuses to not bring up his friend's suspicious activities to anyone in his family. In retrospect, Harry knew he should have. If Calypso was making notes about his family, Harry knew his parents or uncles should have been informed.

ooo0000ooo

A Very Happy Return

Harry's Room, Durmstrang Jan 11th

Opening the door to his room, Harry looked at his already magically expanded room in surprise. In his rush to leave Durmstrang over the Christmas holidays, he had obviously forgotten to remove the expansion charm he placed upon his receptacle. The fact that the receptacle actually managed to continue working throughout the entire Christmas holidays was rather shocking and it gave Harry a great sense of accomplishment. Clearly, all the practice he did over the summer had paid off.

Placing his trunk at the foot of his bed, Harry went to his desk, removed his older receptacle, and placed it in his bag. After quickly inspecting his room, Harry didn't think anything would be irreparably damaged in case the receptacle were to fail suddenly, resulting in the space expansion charm being canceled. Walking back outside Harry made his way back down the boy's hallway and down the main staircase. Once on the second floor, he quickly found his way to Professor Kosarev's office and knocked patiently on the door.

"Come." The sharp voice of Kosarev commanded, prompting Harry to turn the handle and open the door.

"Ah, Mr. Potter," Kosarev said pleasantly, a smile gracing his face. "Welcome back. I trust you had a pleasant holiday?"

Stepping forward and closing the door behind him, Harry couldn't help but marvel at his professor's office. The room almost felt alive with the amount of magic that was actively taking place. Just slightly to the right of Kosarev's desk, two enchanted suits of armor were casually sitting in chairs playing a game of wizards chess as an enchanted train flew around the room. As soon as he entered the room, a plush chair seemed to move of its own accord away from the wall and situated itself directly in front of the professor's desk.

Sitting in the chair, Harry looked up when the flying train's horn blew, and his eyes immediately drifted to a new addition to the room. Floating around an impressive chandelier in the center of the professor's vaulted ceiling was a startling rendition of the solar system. At first glance Harry thought the planets were simply stationary, but as he continued to watch them, he noticed they were in fact moving very slowly.

"I see you're fond of my latest enchantment," Kosarev commented lightly. "It took quite a while to figure out how to make the planets mimic their actual counterparts rotation and movements around the sun, but, fortunately, I found myself with some free time over the holiday."

Reminding himself that he was in the professor's office for a reason, Harry forcibly turned his eyes away from the impressive enchantment. "Well, sir, I just returned from England, and it appears I forgot to remove the space enhancement spell from my receptacle before I left Durmstrang in December."

"Ah," Kosarev said knowingly, "and what is the damage to your room?"

"Actually, none sir," Harry said, a slight smile on his face. "The receptacle managed last throughout the entire holiday."

Slightly surprised, Kosarev asked, "Do you have the receptacle with you by any chance?"

"I do sir." Harry reached into his bag, carefully removed the quill, and placed it on Kosarev's desk.

Kosarev held the quill in his hand, looking intently at the object. After a few moments, he said, "I would say this receptacle will last another eight to ten days Mr. Potter. Still, this is a most impressive improvement."

"How do you do that?" Harry asked curiously

The Charms Professor simply raised a curious eyebrow, inviting his student to elaborate.

"How do you always know how much magic is left in the receptacle? You're always so accurate. The revealing spell my mother taught me will only show in vague terms how much magic an object contains."

"Yes, Specialis Revelio can be a most frustrating spell. Oh, it has its uses I suppose, but it's not exactly ideal."

"So, what is it that you do?" Harry pressed. "What spell is it?"

"Harry, there is so much more to magic than spells and incantations," Kosarev said authoritatively. "If you learn nothing more from me at your time at Durmstrang, remember that. What I do is magic at a much deeper level. You see, a truly talented wizard can reach out with their senses and feel the lingering hints of magic. With enough practice, they can interpret and manipulate these traces in a number of ways. So while I held your receptacle, I did my best to sense the magic that emanated from the object. From my familiarity with how to create a receptacle, I can give you a fairly actuate estimate of how long your spell will remain intact."

"That's incredible," Harry said in awe. "I've never even heard of magic like that. When will we learn how to sense magic? Is there a book on it that I should consider reading first?"

"Harry, your enthusiasm is, as always, refreshing." Kosarev chuckled. "Unfortunately, I will not be teaching you this magic." Before Harry could open his mouth to protest, Kosarev held up a hand, indicating he was not done speaking. "This is magic far beyond what we expect even our seventh years to accomplish this type of magic, Harry. It does not belong to any specific field, and there is no real book, wand movement, or potion that can help you learn it."

"So how did you learn it?" Harry asked.

"Perhaps I am explaining this wrong. This isn't an ability that is learned, Harry, yet it's not a magical talent, like a Seer's clairvoyance. I believe anyone can achieve this connection with magic, if only they push themselves to discover it. It is, of course, still quite difficult to achieve, and it requires the ability to clearly discern one's own magic, as well as the experience to understand and command various types of magic at a high level. Tell me, Harry, what do both of those requirement have in common?"

Taken slightly aback, Harry said, "Err, I'm not exactly sure, sir."

"Time, Harry," Kosarev provided. "It takes time. Time that often goes well beyond the seven years of training at a magical school. Did you know, Harry, that it used to be traditional for exceptional wizards to not take jobs after they graduate?"

"No," Harry said, slightly surprised. "Why not?"

"It was seen as a waste of their talent. Why should a student with great potential be forced into a menial job in government. Why, even an Auror or Healer program would be too restrictive. One hundred years ago, it was common place for the top students of the day to ignore work and go travel instead. It was expected that the best would want to see the magical cultures of other nations, to seek out forgotten lore or uncommon magic. Only after they spent time abroad would the person come home and seek a job or a family."

"So...what changed?" Harry asked curiously.

Kosarev scowled. "The Ministries grew tired of watching the best and brightest leave. There was always the chance that the witch or wizard might not ever return from their travels. Should they settle in another country, the ministry would lose the benefits of his or her talent. Of course the subsequent rise of Grindelwald didn't help matters. Everyone knew Grindelwald traveled extensively following his expulsion from Durmstrang. It is now commonly believed that during his travels Grindelwald searched for rare dark knowledge and crafted his plans for domination. Since then, traveling abroad for 'self study' has had a somewhat negative connotation."

"Oh," Harry said, frowning somewhat. "So I won't be learning how to sense magic anytime soon then."

Laughing slightly, Kosarev said, "You are a long way away from such magic Harry, but, if you continue improving, it is certainly not out of your reach."

"When do you think I'll be ready?" Harry couldn't help but ask.

"I will make you a deal Harry. You are on pace to finish your Charms class at the end of your fifth year. Typically, students who finish a classearly are tasked with a period of self study to continue expanding their knowledge of the class. Should you actually manage to complete your Charms classes early, I will do my best to teach you how to sense magic. As I said, I don't believe the magic can be taught, but I will do my best to guide you. Now, not to push you out, but I do have some last minute lesson plan adjustments I need to make."

"I understand. Thank you sir," Harry said, placing his old receptacle back in his bag and leaving the room.

As he walked down the boys' hallway towards his room, Harry decided to drop by and visit with Viktor before the feast. Reaching his friend's door, Harry was about to twist the doorknob and walk inside when he remembered to double checked the doorknob's color. Seeing that it wasn't red, he opened the door and casually walked inside the room, only to be treated to the sight of Kira viciously snogging Viktor against a wall. Fortunately, this time they were both fully clothed.

Harry's rather un-masculine 'eep' when he saw the two alerted Kira and Viktor to his presence.

Before Kira could so much as say a word, Harry blurted out, "It wasn't red. I checked!"

This seemed to give Kira a moment's pause as she leveled her wand at him. "They say once is an accident, Potter."

"And twice is still just a coincidence," Viktor reminded his temperamental girlfriend as he guided her wand back down to her side.

Kira growled as she pocketed her wand. "Fine. But the next time you interrupt us, Potter..."

"Err," Harry said uncomfortably, "I could come back, or rather, I'll see you at the feast, Viktor."

"Don't bother leaving Potter, the mood is ruined," Kira grumbled. "Viktor, you need to learn some better locking charms."

"Actually the door was unlocked," Harry said before immediately falling silent under Kira's rather pointed glare.

Viktor laughed. "Well, to be fair, Kira, you did spring the snogging on me rather suddenly."

"Suddenly!" she exclaimed. "You tell me that you're going to be starting for the Bulgarian National team and I'm, what? Supposed to just say congratulations and shake your hand? You should have expected the snog of your life."

"You're going to be starting for Bulgaria! How? When did this happen?" Harry asked quickly.

Viktor gestured to an open chair, inviting Harry to sit down. "Well, each national team squad is only allowed to keep one Seeker on their roster. It's a rule that was put in place to make the game fair. If a team has great Chasers or Beaters, but a lousy Seeker, they can aim to knock out the opponent's Seeker and not have to worry about losing because of the Snitch. Well, Bulgaria's Seeker was knocked out during a World Cup qualifying game against Romania over the break. At first they thought it was a slightly damaged lumbar vertebra, which would have kept him out for only a week or two. After they got him to the hospital, though, it turned out that there was some major muscle degeneration and ligament damage around his spine, and if he was to take another Bludger to the back, he would likely be paralyzed."

"And you're going to taking his spot," Harry said in astonishment. "What about that Peja guy? You said the coaches liked him more than you, and he should be fully recovered from when you plowed him during the summer."

"Ah, yes, Peja. Well, it seems that dear Peja is still recovering from the emotional trauma of smashing headfirst into the pitch at full speed. He is scared to push his broom to its limits, and he refuses to dive for the Snitch. The coaches had to make a decision. It was either take me, or reshuffle the entire lineup and move one of the team's Chasers to Seeker. After I beat the Chaser to the Snitch seven straight times in my tryout, the coaches all agreed that Bulgaria would have a better chance of winning with me as Seeker."

"Wow, congratulations, Viktor. When is your first game, and how are you going to be getting to practice?"

"My first game will be against Germany in a little over a month, and the Highmaster has been kind enough to give me a reusable Portkey, which will let me bypass Durmstrang's wards to get to practice," Viktor explained with a huge smile on his face.

"Have you told anyone else?"

"Just me," Kira said, wrapping her arm around Viktor possessively, "and you saw what my reaction to the news was."

Harry blushed. "Um, yeah, it was..."

"Enthusiastic?" Viktor offered with a grin.

"Exactly," Harry agreed immediately.

"Well, as much fun as this is, I should be leaving to get changed for the feast. I'll be back in a little while, Viktor," Kira said, planting a kiss on his mouth before departing his room.

"I really don't get her," Harry said shaking his head.

"Who? Kira?"

"Yeah, one minute she's civil and the next she's sending a curse at me."

"She's just passionate. Plus, she's a girl," Viktor said as if that explained everything. When he saw the confusion on Harry's face, Viktor smiled. "You'll learn someday that girls can be rather prone to mood swings."

Harry looked at his friend in confusion before giving up and shrugging his shoulders "If you say so, Viktor."

"Trust me, Harry," Viktor smirked. "The benefits of a good girlfriend far outweigh any negative aspects. Now, speaking of girls, what have you decided to do about Calypso?"

"I honestly have no idea what I'm going to do," Harry muttered. "My Christmas was bad enough without thinking about Calypso."

"What happened?"

"I really don't want to talk about it right now Viktor," Harry said exasperatedly. "As far as Calypso goes, I know she's taking notes on me and my family, but I can't figure out why. If it was just stuff about me or my brother, then I'd be more concerned, but I don't understand why she would be interested in why my great-great uncle won the Order of Merlin for Research in experimental charms."

"It is strange," Viktor agreed. "Obviously, you could confront her about it, but you still don't know why Calypso is looking at parts of your family history, and it could easily turn out to be nothing. Of course, another option would be for you to simply stop being friends with her–"

"No," Harry said before hesitantly adding, "It's like you said, I don't know what she's doing. It could be nothing."

Viktor looked less than pleased at his friend's adamant refusal. "Very well. I suppose you should simply act as normal as possible when around her then, but keep your guard up. I suppose it all depends on if you think you can trust her, Harry."

"Do you think I can trust her?"

"I think you've shown a great deal of trust in her thus far, Harry. The decision is yours and yours alone," Viktor said firmly. "I won't tell you what to do here, but if it were me...no. I would not trust her."

"I'm going to trust her...at least until I can get some answers."

ooo0000ooo

A Challenge Accepted
Main Hall, Jan. 25th

Calypso and Harry took a seat at their usual table for lunch in the Main Hall. While Harry had done his best to act normally around Calypso, it was a constant struggle not to demand an answer from her about the parchment in her room.

"I can't believe you're really going to try to brew Polyjuice Potion for your final project," Calypso said, sounding impressed. "I didn't even know you were researching it."

"Yeah, ever since you mentioned it as something to use for our Animagus study I've been thinking about it," Harry lied.

Calypso gave him an odd look before smiling slightly. "What did Professor Kral say when you told him?"

"He was skeptical that it could be done by a second year, but he did say that if I pulled it off I would be getting the Master award for his third year class. He gave me a private lab usually reserved for upper class students working on long term brews and warned me not to damage the room. I'm actually hoping I can finish the Potion in the next month or two so I can turn my project in early. I don't want to have to worry about running back and adding an ingredient to the potion while I'm trying to make sure all my other projects are done at the end of the year."

"I wonder what the record for Mastery awards in a single year is," Calypso pondered.

"It's five," Viktor said, announcing his arrival with a slight scowl, "Grindelwald achieved it in his fifth year."

There was a pause before Calypso said, "You should try to beat it, Harry."

Harry choked on a piece of ham and looked incredulously at Calypso. "Calypso, that record has been standing for almost a century."

"So? I think you can do it. If you can make the Polyjuice, that will earn you the mastery for Potions. Didn't you say your mother started teaching you how to enchant this Christmas?"

Harry nodded, slightly confused as to when he mentioned that to Calypso. "Err, yeah, I want to do a multiple enchantment for my charms project. I managed to enchant a butter-knife to be water proof over the break. I thought expanding on that would be interesting."

Calypso and Viktor shared a look of disbelief. "So you're actually working on a multiple enchantment? There is no way anyone is going to beat that project. I have an idea for what you could do for your Dark Arts project. It would definitely impress my father enough to get you the Mastery award. What are you planning on doing for Transfiguration, Herbology, and Spell Creation?"

"Err, well for Herbology I was just going to harvest the ingredients for Polyjuice. It's not amazing, but Professor Guiles said he would pass me if I could gather all the ingredients myself and the potion was brewed correctly. I have an interesting idea for Spell Creation, but I'm probably going to need some help making it work," Harry admitted.

"Kira will help you with that," Victor said with a gleam in his eyes. "Now, what will you be doing for Transfiguration?"

Harry rubbed his temples in frustration. From the look on Calypso and Viktor's faces, they were serious about this. "I don't know what I'm going to do for Transfiguration, and before you say it, no, there is no way I'm going to be able to do the Animagus transformation by the end of term."

"What have you been working on the most this year in Transfiguration?" Calypso asked.

"Mostly Inanimate to Animate transfiguring," Viktor answered, cutting Harry off and speaking directly to Calypso. "It is a lot of turning pillows into Porcupines. We are also supposed to spend a lot of time focusing on more advanced Switching Spells this term."

"Any chance you could do a large-scale Inanimate to Animate transfiguration? Maybe turn your desk into a large animal?" Calypso asked.

"No way," Harry said sharply. "if I messed up that kind of spell..."

"Alright, if we can find a good transfiguration project for you, that would give you the Master rank in Charms, Potions, Dark Arts, Spell Creation, and Transfiguration," Calypso pointed out. "You'd be tied with Grindelwald. Can you not think of a more advanced Herbology project?"

"He doesn't have to have a more advanced Herbology project." A large grin spread across Viktor's face. "You are forgetting a subject, Rosier."

"What?"

"History. The top scorer on the final exam is given the rank of Master. If Harry can get the top score, that will give him six Master rankings."

Calypso smiled. "Well, Harry, I hope you didn't plan on joining any clubs or playing Quidditch this term because you're going to be rather busy."

ooo0000ooo

Harry's Room, Feb. 1st

Dear Harry,

You were right. Polyjuice was a bad idea.

Nathan

Harry had been staring at the short missive from his brother for the last five minutes, his mind a whirlwind of thoughts about what could have happened. He hadn't gotten a letter from his mother or father telling him that Nathan was going to be suspended, expelled, or arrested, so clearly Nathan wasn't in too much trouble.

Dipping his quill in some ink, Harry prepared a letter, wondering just what Nathan and his friends had done now.

ooo0000ooo

The Meeting

Professor Rosier's Office, Feb 13th

The soft knocking on his door caused Romulus Rosier to look up from the small stack of essays on his desk. With a casual flick of his wand, the door opened and Calypso stepped into the room. "Take a seat." Romulus easily conjured a somewhat uncomfortable looking straight back chair directly in front of his desk. He then waved his wand at the stack of essays, causing them them to fly into an open desk door.

"You wanted to speak with me father?" Calypso asked.

To anyone else the question would have sounded respectful and calm, but Romulus caught the slight hint of apprehension in his daughter's voice. "Tell me Calypso, how is your research into the Potter family coming along?"

"Very well," she said, sounding more confident before faltering somewhat, "do you want to see everything now?"

Romulus narrowed his eyes, easily sensing his daughter's discomfort. "No, I'm merely interested in seeing what you've uncovered about Nathan Potter."

"Nathan Potter is the Boy Who Liv–"

Calypso immediately stopped when she found her voice silenced. Looking up at her father, she saw him looking at her with a mix of annoyance and amusement. "When I ask you for information, I am not asking for what everyone already knows Calypso." Removing the silencing charm, Romulus said, "Now, try again."

"Harry doesn't like to talk about is brother," Calypso said hesitantly. "I know that his brother's fame was somewhat involved in his transferring to Durmstrang, so I've done my best not to press Harry about him."

"Surely, you have something," Romulus said patronizingly.

"His brother was involved with something recently at Hogwarts. I'm not sure what, but I overheard Harry muttering about idiots and questioning what his brother was thinking."

"Magical abilities?" Romulus prompted.

"None that I'm aware of. He survived the killing curse, but besides that–"

Romulus slammed his fist down on his desk, an angry expression now on his face. "None! None at all?" Reaching into his robes, he withdrew a letter and said, "From your uncle Lucius: As I'm sure you are aware by now, Nathan Potter has revealed himself to be a parseltongue." Calypso's eyes widened. Dropping the letter on his desk, Romulus reached into a drawer and pulled out a old copy of the Daily Prophet. Calypso physically winced at the headline proclaiming Nathan Potter a parselmouth.

"I-I–"

"I do not want to hear excuses," Romulus said calmly, his tone underlying the withering glare he was giving his daughter. "I should not be finding out information about Nathan Potter from your uncle Lucius. Nor should I need it confirmed by a back issue of this rag of a newspaper. This rather colossal failure on your part makes me question whether you're even taking this seriously."

"No," Calypso said hurriedly, "no, father I am. I swear it. I-I'm just focusing more on Harry than his brother. Even uncle Lucius said Nathan Potter has so far shown to be of no real talent."

"I'm growing tired of this Calypso. You've made your position quite clear in the past. Now I find that you're not even doing a good job at this. I expect better daughter. From now on, I want updates twice a month until the end of the term, and I suggest you find out why your friend didn't care to mention that his brother possesses one of the rarest magical talents in the wizarding world."

"Yes father." Calypso said, an unreadable expression on her face.

"Dismissed."

ooo0000ooo

Testing 1,2,3

Kira's Room, March 4th

"I swear, Potter, this is the last time I help you," Kira snapped. "I don't care how much Viktor begs, it's just not worth it!"

Ignoring Kira's complaining, Harry looked at the large piece of parchment in front of him. All over the page were scribbled notes and theories about Harry's Spell Creation project. "I think it should work this time."

"That's what you said last time, and the time before that."

"Well, maybe, if you would help instead of just pointing out things I was doing wrong and making fun of me, I would have finished it sooner," Harry argued.

"Excuse me? This is your project, Potter! I'm helping you out of the goodness of my heart!"

Harry didn't believe that for a minute. Kira was only helping because of their deal with the Animagus transformation.

"The mistake was thinking we could just increase the brightness of the lumos spell," Harry said, making a few notes at the bottom of the parchment. "Instead we should have looked at other amplification spells like sonorus and work backwards from that."

"Which is what I said a month ago," Kira pointed out.

"Fine. You were right. Happy?" Harry asked, starting to get annoyed at Kira's attitude. If she wasn't one of the best students at spell creation in the school, Harry would have stopped asking for her advice a long time ago.

"Yes, now let's see it."

Drawing his wand, Harry started the movement for a simple lumos, but incorporated an upward slash and ended up pointing his wand straight up before saying, "Caecus."

Instead of a small light appearing from the tip of his wand, a blinding flash of white light encompassed the entire room for a brief moment before vanishing a second later. Kira screamed and fell to the ground rubbing her eyes. Harry stumbled backwards, blinded by his own spell.

"Potter, you idiot! I can't see!"

"Neither can I," Harry said, shocked that the spell had worked so well. He had learned the blindness curse in his Dark Arts class just prior to the end of the fall term, and he couldn't help but think that there had to be an easier way to blind your opponent than hitting them with a curse. That's when the idea came to him to increase the power of the lumos charm to disable your opponent. What had started out as a simple idea had ballooned into a much more difficult project when he realized that the lighting charm couldn't generate the amount of power to temporarily incapacitate anyone. After going to Kira for help, he had finally succeeded in creating the spell.

Unfortunately, it appeared that a side effect of casting the spell was that it blinded both the caster and the opponent. Harry would have to remember to close his eyes when using this spell in a duel. Still, it was a good way to throw your opponent off. Since it wasn't a curse, jinx, or hex, the spell couldn't be blocked by a shield or dodged, forcing your opponent to almost certainly suffer temporary blindness.

After almost a minute of seeing only white spots, Harry's vision slowly began to come back. The first thing he saw was Kira angrily pointing her wand at him from across the room. Her eyes were bloodshot and tears were flowing down her face. A silent stupefy from Kira's wand caused Harry to leap out of the way.

"Get out! Get out now!" Kira snarled, sending another curse and forcing Harry out of her room.

ooo0000ooo

A Legend Is Born

Harry's Room, March 7th

Harry tuned his wizard wireless radio to the correct station, and waited impatiently for the broadcast to start. Viktor would be playing in his first ever National team game tonight in Berlin against the heavily favored Germans. Viktor had explained how his team needed to win two out of their last three games to clinch a second place finish behind the Germans, and qualify for the World Cup. Unfortunately, the last three games were against some of the top teams in central and eastern Europe, all of who were chomping at the bit to usurp the Bulgarians' second place spot. After the first place Germans, the Bulgarians would play at home against the Lithuanians, and finish up on the road against the Poles, who were currently in third place.

The international Quidditch community had all but dismissed Bulgaria's chances to make it to the World Cup, regardless of the fact that they were still narrowly holding onto their second place spot. Losing their starting Seeker and replacing him with a sixteen year old boy, who was still in school and had only played in five Junior National league matches, was seen as a sign that the Bulgarian coaching squad was admitting defeat. Harry had tried to show his support of Viktor by placing a small five-Galleon wager with Gringotts Prague. He had later found out that because of the heavy betting on Germany, the Goblins had given him 15-1 odds against Viktor catching the snitch and the Bulgarians winning.

"And we now switch you over to our friends in Berlin, who will tonight attempt to clinch a first place finish in Group B of the European World Cup Qualifier against the decimated Bulgarian squad! Romp those Bulgarians boys! Deutschland über alles!" The German radio host shouted enthusiastically as the station switched over to the match.

While the wireless was capable of picking up the Bulgarian broadcast of the match, Harry didn't speak Bulgarian, and so was stuck listening to the German broadcast. Viktor had offered to teach him the most common Bulgarian dialect of Balgàrtski, and Harry was contemplating learning it just so that he could listen to his friend's matches.

"Welcome, Quidditch fans," an enthusiastic voice shouted, "to tonight's match between Germany and Bulgaria! I'm your announcer, Hans Klein, and with me in the booth, as always, is the legendary German Beater Marcus Werden. Marcus! It's good to see you again my friend."

"You as well, Hans."

"Now Marcus, correct me if I'm wrong, but tonight's match seems to have lost a bit of its luster. What should have been the meeting of the top two teams in this group is now considered by everyone to be an easy victory for the Germans."

"You're not wrong there, Hans. The Bulgarians are in some serious trouble. Alonzo Lom's retirement due to injury has left the Bulgarians reliant upon a sixteen year old boy to carry them into the World Cup. After looking at Bulgaria's remaining schedule, I just don't see that happening. The Poles and the Lithuanians are both top-notch squads, and, well, I don't think I need to tell you that this German team is especially dangerous."

"Oh no, you certainly don't, Marcus. Herrmann is playing at the absolute top of his game, and the rest of the squad hasn't been too shabby either."

"Not too shabby? That's an understatement if I've ever heard one. Our Beaters are first in Bludger connections, while our Chasers are second in the group in scoring. This German squad is without a doubt poised for a deep run in the World Cup!"

Harry heard the door to his room open, and he turned to see Calypso walking in carrying a book.

"Listening to Krum's match?"

"Yeah, it doesn't sound like anyone is giving Bulgaria much of a chance."

"I heard you placed a bet with the Goblins. Do you really think Viktor is going to win?" Calypso asked curiously.

Harry shrugged. "It was only a few galleons, and I certainly hope that Viktor wins. Besides, I think it did Viktor some good to know that someone believed he could win. Even his own country's media have been denouncing the move to put him at Seeker. They all think the coaches have given up on winning the cup, and are just looking to give Viktor some experience at the highest level."

"Well, how would you feel if England decided to put a fifth-year Hogwarts student on their national team squad?"

"Point taken," Harry conceded.

"And it appears like the referee is ready to start the match!" Marcus Werden said excitedly, drawing Harry and Calypso's conversation to a close.

"For those of you Bulgarian fans, you have my sympathies," Hans chuckled. "Just looking at the tiny figure of the Bulgarian Seeker...what's the boy's name again, Marcus?"

"Krupt? No, Krum."

"Yes, well. While the young man has a decent build for a Seeker, he is still just a boy. I do hope the Bulgarian's aren't ruining a good young talent by throwing him to the wolves too early. It's always a shame when that happens."

"Agreed, Marcus. And it looks like the referee is done talking to the captains, and, yes, the Snitch and Bludgers have been released! The Quaffle is in the air as well, and the players are off! The Quaffle is immediately taken by the Bulgarian Chaser Dimitrov. He passes to fellow Chaser Levski, who does an inverted sloth grip roll to narrowly avoid a Bludger. Leviski passes to… intercepted by Schlussel, and the Germans are countering.

"Schlussel to Vogel, Vogel passes back to Schlussel. Schlussell shoots! And it's saved by Bulgarian Keeper Zograf, who passes the Quaffle off to Ivanova."

"A good solid start to the match with both Chaser teams testing each other," Marcus pointed out. "However, unless the Bulgarian Chasers are somehow able to take over this game, I just don't see them having a chance at winning."

"Very true, but oh, my! What are the Seekers doing? Ladies and gentlemen, both Seekers have entered into a steep dive! I think they've seen the Snitch! Herrmann is using his superior size to shield the Bulgarian Seeker, but Krum has managed to pull alongside him! They both have their hands extended... and the Snitch changes directions! Krum executes a perfect corkscrew reverse and… I don't believe it! Krum catches the snitch in the third minute! Bulgaria wins 150 to nil."

"YES!" Harry jumped up and pumped his fist. "He did it! I knew he could win!"

"Unbelievable," Calypso said, shaking her head. "So how much money did you just make?"

Harry's eyes widened. "Err… wow."

"That much, huh?" Calypso smirked. "I'd write a letter to the Goblins if I were you. Have them put the money in a new vault at Gringotts Prague. Unless you want your parents to find out that you've been gambling?"

Harry nodded his head and started writing out a note to Gringotts Prague with instructions to open a new vault and place his winnings inside it.

"Oh, Harry?"

"Yes?"

"I've got an idea for your transfiguration project."

"Really?" Harry asked interestedly.

"I know you said that you won't be able to use the Animagus transformation," Calypso said, "but you've gotten pretty good at self-transfiguration this year. What if you–"

"Calypso," Harry interrupted, "if you're suggesting I try transfiguring myself or someone else, it's not going to happen."

"Why not?" Calypso protested. "You're able to transfigure large appendages almost perfectly. The last time we practiced, I didn't feel any hint of pain when you transfigured both my arms. The fact that you've managed to do some self-transfiguration as well is amazing! If I'm lucky, I'll be able to try transfiguring my hand by the end of term!"

"Honestly Calypso, I might be able to do a pretty interesting human transfiguration project." Before Calypso could say anything, Harry continued, "But only if I dedicated every spare moment to transfiguration. I'm still working on my Charms project, my Polyjuice Potion isn't done, and you know how far I still need to go on my Dark Arts project. If I'm actually going to have a shot at beating Grindelwald, I can't focus all my attention on transfiguration."

"Well do you have any ideas?" Calypso asked. "You need to start working on something!"

Harry looked conflicted for a moment as he glanced over at his desk.

"You do!" Calypso said excitedly. "I can tell. Well, what is it Harry?"

"It's nothing," Harry said evasively. "Just an idea that came to me after something Rosemburg said about switching spells."

"Well let's hear it," Calypso pressed.

"Alright, you're going to think it sounds crazy, but..."

ooo0000ooo

How to make a Bider

Durmstrang, March 22nd

"And you're sure that this wouldn't be illegal?" Harry asked. "Did you double check the ban on experimental breeding?"

"Stop second guessing yourself Harry," Calypso said impatiently. "Your idea is brilliant and you aren't breeding anything, so it's not against the law."

Harry grinned and looked down at the creatures he and Calypso had spent the last few days catching on the Durmstrang grounds. After he had explained his plan, Calypso had refused to let him ignore the idea. After double checking every source he could find, and, with his friend pushing him to experiment, Harry's curiosity about what would happen eventually got the better of him.

His idea was a direct challenge to one of the longest standing rules governing switching spells. Everyone, from the greatest master of transfiguration to the stupidest third year student, knew that switching spells between living and nonliving things didn't work, it was one of the first things that was taught about them. Professor Rosemburg explained it as nonliving objects lacking a certain 'spark of life,' which resulted in switching spells between living and nonliving objects not being possible.

While Harry believed that the rule was fundamentally correct, he remembered during his first year how a botched enchantment had turned one of the first floor storage closets into a mouth, which attempted to eat everything inside of it. The closet wasn't alive, but it certainly had living properties, such as the desire for food. For Harry, that raised an interesting question. If something had a property of being alive, was it actually alive?

In order to test that, he had done his best to remember exactly what he did wrong when first casting the enchantment on the closet. Eventually, he was able to successfully mess up an enchantment on his pillow, causing it to try and eat anyone who laid their head on it. His plan was to transfigure the pillow into a small animal, and then use switching spells to switch the limbs from living animals with the transfigured animal. According to all literature, a transfigured animal from a nonliving object was still considered a nonliving object, and so a switching spell between the two creatures shouldn't work.

After carefully searching in the library, Harry and Calypso discovered that no one had ever tried to purposefully botch an enchantment, transfigure the result, and then test it against switching spells, though they could easily understand why. Enchanting was a difficult skill to master, and as you grew more experienced at it, you trained yourself to instinctively avoid those kind of dangerous mistakes. No experienced enchanter would ever think of purposefully screwing up an enchantment, especially not to to test it against a rock solid transfiguration theory.

Since there was no literature about what would happen, Harry felt that if he could somehow demonstrate it was possible to use a switching spell between living and nonliving things, Rosemburg would award him the Master rank for pioneering a new discovery in Transfiguration.

"Alright, turn the pillow into a rabbit," Calypso said, clearly excited about what was about to happen.

Harry cast the spell, and a moment later the pillow had become a small fluffy white rabbit.

"What do you think we should do now?"

"Let's start small," Harry said. "We'll switch the rabbit's two large front teeth with the snake's two fangs."

Calypso levitated the petrified snake they had caught the day before next to the rabbit, and Harry cast an immobolus charm on the rabbit to stop it from running away from a perceived threat. Not knowing what to expect, Harry performed a textbook switching spell on the rabbit and snake's teeth. The large front teeth of the white bunny were instantly replaced by the two sharp fangs of the Milos Viper.

"It worked!" Calypso said excitedly. "I wonder what would happen if you turned the rabbit back into a pillow right now?"

"I don't know." Harry had considered doing just that after he saw the switching spell worked, but something else had caught his attention. "Does the rabbit seem different to you?"

"You mean besides the two fangs?"

"Yes," Harry said slowly, "it seems more... menacing."

"It does have fangs now, Potter, of course it's going to look more menacing," Calypso replied. "Now, try to switch something else. Let's see if a transfigured animal can have multiple limbs switched with a living creature."

"Okay," Harry said, switching the rabbit's four legs with the eight legs of a small wolf spider. Harry then cast an engorgement charm on the legs so they could easily support the weight of a rabbit.

"That's really disturbing," Harry said looking at the small rabbit/spider/snake.

"I don't know what's stranger to look at, a rabbit with spider legs or a spider with rabbit legs. I wonder if the rabbit can actually use the new limbs? Let's unfreeze it and find out."

"Calypso, I don't think that's a good ide–"

"Finite."

Harry watched as the bastardized creature was released from the Immobolus charm and immediately charged at Calypso. The creature opened its mouth, exposing the fangs dripping with viper venom. Calypso immediately cast a severing curse, but the strange magical construct dodged out of the way and quickly began climbing one of the walls.

"Kill it," Harry snapped as the creature hissed at them from the wall.

"That is not how a rabbit is supposed to act," Calypso commented as the creature began angrily circling them on the wall and ceiling.

Before the creature could decide to attack again, Harry cast the counter-transfiguration, causing the rabbit's body to be replaced by a white fluffy pillow. Much to Harry's astonishment though, the spider's legs continued to move the white pillow body with two protruding fangs around the room.

"Have you ever seen anything like that?" Calypso asked in disbelief.

"No," Harry said in astonishment. "But it sort of makes sense. A transfigured animal takes on the characteristics of the creature you transfigure it into, and by switching parts of different animals..."

"We gave the transfigured rabbit the instincts of both a spider and a snake, which overpowered the instincts of the rabbit," Calypso realized. "But... how is it still alive?"

Harry glanced down at the two animals they had used as test subjects. The spider seemed to be spasming in agony as its legs had been replaced with a fluffy piece of pillow. The snake's eyes had glazed over, having choked to death, when the rabbit's teeth had gone back to being part of the pillow. Hearing two soft drops, Harry turned around and saw that the viper's teeth had fallen off the pillow and landed on the floor. "Calypso, kill the spider." Harry said curiously.

Pointing her wand at the struggling wolf spider, Calypso cast another severing curse, splitting it down the middle. Almost immediately, the spider legs on the pillow fell off.

"That's very interesting," Harry muttered. "The switching spell left the spider and snake instincts, even after I transfigured the rabbit back to a pillow, but once the living animals died..."

"The switched body parts of them died as well." Calypso paused before a smile crossed her face. "Harry this is incredible, you just defied one of the longest standing laws of magic! We have to show this to Professor Rosemburg."

"Oh yeah, we should definitely do that," Harry said.

Calypso smirked as she helped Harry gather his notes before leaving the room.

ooo0000ooo

A Brother's Plea

Main Hall, April 15th

Calypso had been absolutely right about Rosemburg, but even she had underestimated their professor's reaction to Harry's discovery. After explaining what he had done, and repeating it for the professor, Rosemburg had absolutely flipped. Rosemburg had dragged Harry into a staff meeting where he had Harry demonstrate the discovery yet again. It had been a little disconcerting for Harry to see the shocked expressions on several of the Durmstrang faculty members' faces. The Highmaster himself praised Harry's ingenuity, and Rosemburg had begun writing an article to publish Harry's discovery in Transfiguration Today, the largest and most respected Transfiguration magazine in Europe.

Rosemburg's announcement in the staff lounge had only been the tip of the iceberg for Harry. A few days later he had turned in his perfect Polyjuice potion to Professor Kral, and had once again found himself to be the subject of an inordinate amount of praise. When Professor Kosarev jokingly said that he hoped Harry wasn't ignoring his Charms class for Potions and Transfigruation, Harry had explained his enchanting project and the progress he had made on it. The Charms professor had immediately written him a note excusing him from Transfiguration, and dragged Harry into his office and had him show him his progress. Two hours later, Kosarev could be found in the staff lounge praising Harry's ability at Charms and calling him a one in a million talent.

Of course, the real shock to the professors came after Viktor let slip that Harry was seriously attempting to break Grindelwald's record for the most Master ranks in a single year. According to Calypso, who learned it from her father, the faculty at Durmstrang were seriously discussing the possibility of Harry achieving six Master ranks. Even Professor Cherny, the typically standoffish Spell-Creation professor, had asked Harry to wait after class one day to ask about his final project. Harry presented his blinding spell to Professor Cherny, who agreed that it was an interesting, if self-limiting, dueling technique, and that he would have a chance at the Master award depending upon the projects his peers designed.

With Calypso assuring her father that Harry would have an amazing Dark Arts project for him, a lot of professors began to seriously believe that Harry had a chance to best Grindelwald's ninety-seven year academic record. Professor Cristof, Durmstrang's History teacher, knowing that Harry would need to place first on her final exam to get the illusive sixth Master rank, created an early study guide for him, hoping to help the young student surpass Grindelwald.

"When is your next match, Viktor?" Harry asked.

"We play Lithuania on the 12th of May.. They are a good team, but as long as our beaters can keep their chasers off-balance, we should easily win. I've been watching Pensieve memories of their Seeker after practice, and he is dependent on the same two or three moves. I've spent most my time at practice learning how to counter him. We should win and clinch a spot in the World Cup without having to worry about the Poles, which is a good thing as their Seeker is much better."

"So you're telling me I should place another bet on Bulgaria to win, and for you to catch the Snitch." Harry laughed. It wasn't a secret that Harry had probably been the only person to actually bet on Bulgaria and Viktor to win against Germany. Most of the school had been rather envious after they had heard how much money he had made off such a small bet. The Goblins had also not been happy, and Harry figured that for Bulgaria's next game the odds were likely to be less outlandish.

"Yes, Harry, I think a bet on Bulgaria is always a smart decision," Viktor agreed as an owl entered the Hall and immediately landed near Harry.

"A letter from home?" Viktor asked.

"No, my parents have always liked snow owls. This is your standard Hogwarts barn owl, so this is probably from my brother."

Harry,

I need your help. Hermione has been attacked by Slytherin's monster and has been petrified! I know we haven't been getting along great right now, but I don't know who else to turn to for help.

Dumbledore has been removed as Headmaster by the Board of Governors, and Mum and Dad are totally freaking out. McGonagall has been named temporary Headmistress, but there have been all these rumors about the school closing.

Harry, Mum and Dad are considering withdrawing me from Hogwarts. They're worried that I might be attacked next by whatever it is that got Hermione. Dad wrote me a letter saying that Dumbledore was going to be having a talk with them about me staying at Hogwarts for the time being, and that they'll decided if I can stay at Hogwarts after they talk with him.

Do you have any idea what the monster in the Chamber of Secrets might be? It can petrify anything, including ghosts! I can't think of anything that could affect a ghost, they're already dead after all.

Can you please look in the Durmstrang library for any magic that can petrify things? Ron and I are looking through the Hogwarts library, but you're always saying how Durmstrang's library is better because you don't have a restricted section. Please help Harry.

Nathan

"Viktor, I've got to go to the library," Harry said.

"Why? Is everything alright?"

"No, my brother's friend was attacked at Hogwarts by some creature that has the power to petrify."

Viktor looked confused. "Petrification? There are many creatures and spells that can do that."

"I know, but whatever is attacking students can petrify anything, Viktor, including ghosts."

"That... should not be possible."

Harry nodded his head. "I know, but there is something at Hogwarts that has attacked and petrified a ghost."

"Did your brother tell you anything else?" Viktor asked.

Harry re-read the letter and shook his head. "No, just that his friend Hermione had been petrified, and that my parents are considering removing him from school."

"Then before you go tearing the library apart looking for any creature or spell that can petrify someone, you should write your brother and ask for more information."

ooo0000ooo

What Ever Doesn't Kill You

Harry's Room, May 1st

Harry stood in the center of his room, all of his furniture, books, and personal effects had been shrunk and moved to a single corner in order to minimize the damage that his Dark Arts project might cause. Standing ten feet away from him was Calypso, who, without warning, cast a Jelly-Brain Jinx.

Just as the spell was about to hit him, Harry whipped his wand across his body, smacking the jinx away from him and into the nearest wall, leaving only a slight scorch mark against the stone.

For the next twenty minutes, Calypso began steadily increasing the dangerous nature of the spells she sent at Harry. Simple jinxes soon gave way to hexes, which eventually led to minor curses. In order to give Harry an easier time deflecting the curses, Calypso had taken to speaking all the incantations out loud. While she was positive her father would cast each spell non-verbally, she was more interested in giving Harry practice at deflecting spells rather than simply cursing him senseless.

In order to gain the rank of Master for his third year Dark Arts class, Calypso had been teaching Harry a technique that she knew her father thought was very important, deflection. While standard hex and jinx deflection were introduced at the start of fourth year, curse deflection wasn't introduced until fifth year, and many were never able to master it. Deflection, like shielding, was one of the most important techniques to learn if one was going to go far in dueling.

While shields were used to block unfriendly curses, for the majority of hexes and jinxes, a shield was simply overkill. Deflection allowed a wizard or witch the means to avoid unfriendly spells that were not powerful enough to require a shield. It also took away the burden of learning hundreds of counter-jinxes and counter-hexes. It wasn't necessary to remember the exact counter to the Jelly-Legs Jinx if you could harmlessly redirect the spell away from you.

Even though the magic required in deflection was somewhat advanced, there was a very simple reason for why deflection was introduced to older students and why still many failed to learn it properly. Deflecting a spell meant staring down an oncoming jinx, hex, or curse until the spell was quite literally an arms length away. Only then could one strike out and redirect the spell away. In the face of an oncoming spell, many people froze up or reverted to casting a shield. Fear and uncertainty in their own ability was what ultimately handicapped many wizards and witches.

While deflection was typically used with jinxes and hexes, it was possible to deflect a curse, which was what Harry was desperately trying to learn how to do. Unfortunately, deflecting a curse was much more difficult than a jinx or hex. Curses, by definition, were a malicious piece of magic, intended to harm or disable another person. The intent behind a curse was so much greater that deflecting a curse required both excellent timing and a great amount of mental willpower. Even if you perfectly timed your deflecting of a curse, if you weren't properly focused, the curse would simply overpower the person trying to deflect it.

When Calypso had first demonstrated curse deflection to Harry, he had been surprised at how determined she had looked. When Harry had sent the body-bind curse at her, he had been amazed at how Calypso had stared down the curse until it was only a few feet away from her. Then, at the last possible second, she smacked the spell away with the tip of her wand.

"Confundo," Calypso snapped.

Harry watched as the swirling pink spell raced towards his chest. At the last moment, he brought his wand across his body only to slightly miss the spell, which sent him to his knees. Harry tried to stand up only to pitch forward onto the ground. Why couldn't he stand up? He wanted to stand up. Maybe he was standing up. Yes, staying on the ground was the same as standing. That made perfect sense. "I'm ready for the next spell, Calypso." Harry called out from the ground waving his wand in a dramatic fashion.

"I'm sure. Just hold still, Harry." Calypso said walking over and applying the counter-curse.

The strange feeling left him, and Harry looked up to see Calypso smirking at him. The memory of trying to block the Confundus curse hit him, and Harry blushed. "I think I've embarrassed myself enough for today. Let's pick this up tomorrow."

"You're getting better," Calypso said.

"But am I doing good enough to get the top spot in Dark Arts?"

"No, not yet, but you've got a month, and I'll be working with you every day."

"You just enjoy cursing me," Harry said with a wry grin.

Calypso laughed. "True. That certainly makes helping you more entertaining."

As Calypso began packing up her things, a sharp tapping could be heard against one of Harry's windows. Looking outside, Calypso saw a small barn owl flapping its wings, waiting to be let into the room. With a flick of her wand, the window popped open and the small bird flew inside and landed on Harry's shoulder.

After removing the letter from the bird's leg and watching it fly away, Harry quickly opened the letter and began to read.

Calypso watched curiously as Harry's face scrunched up in annoyance the further he read. When he reached the end of the letter, he shook his head in derision, crumpled the letter up into a ball, and tossed it into his rubbish bin.

"Trouble?" Calypso asked, picking up his discarded letter.

"No, it's just a letter from my brother. There have been some problems at Hogwarts this year, and my brother's friend was petrified."

"Ah," Calypso said knowingly, "the chamber of secrets."

Harry's head snapped up. "How do you know about that?"

"You do realize that you're not the only person who knows someone at Hogwarts, right?" Calypso said sarcastically. "My cousin Draco wrote me a while back talking about how I was clearly missing out by being at Durmstrang."

"So, do you have any ideas what the monster might be?" Harry asked hopefully.

"It could be anything from a Gorgon to a clutching Fire Salamander," Calypso said indifferently. "There are hundreds of different ways to go about petrifying someone, and who's to say it's actually a monster and not just some student practicing dark magic?"

"But the legend–"

"Could be a load of hippogriff shit." Calypso finished before an annoyed look crossed her face. "Oh, by the way, why didn't you tell me your brother was a parselmouth ?"

Harry swallowed nervously and bit back his initial response of 'because I don't know if I can trust you.' Instead he bitterly said, "I really didn't want to talk about my stupid brother."

Calypso looked at Harry in surprise. That was the first time she had ever heard him actually insult his brother and seem to mean it. "What do you mean?"

"When I found out that Nathan was a parselmouth over the Christmas break, I was really excited." Harry said patiently. "I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. My brother had one of the rarest abilities in the world. There's practically nothing written about parselmouths , and I couldn't wait to see what he could do with the ability."

"So, what happened?" Calypso asked, curious.

"Well, at first, everything was fine. Nathan was obviously glad I didn't think he was the second coming of the dark lord." Harry's eyes narrowed in anger. "But when I asked him to show me the ability, to actually see what limitations it had, he refused."

Calypso arched her eyebrow. "Limitations? I'm pretty sure the only thing the ability grants is the power to speak with snakes."

"Yes, but is that all it can do?" Harry pressed. "The only other parselmouth in recent memory was the dark lord. For all we know, parseltongue isn't just the ability to talk to snakes, but command them. Since snakes don't have ears, there's obviously a magical component to the language. Who knows what kind of power or control a parselmouth might have over snakes."

"I suppose you're right," Calypso conceded. "I take it your brother didn't want to experiment with the ability?"

Harry snorted. "That's an understatement. He kept going on and on about how everyone thought he was a dark wizard. I basically told him to practice or else he was wasting a rare talent."

"Did he eventually practice?"

"Of course not," Harry said bitterly. "I tried to push him towards practicing, but it didn't really work out the way I planned."

"What did you do?" Calypso smirked.

"I may have put a few conjured snakes in his room," Harry admitted, slightly embarrassed. "It wasn't my best plan, and Nathan ended up getting bit by one of them. How he let a snake sneak up on him when he can hear the bloody things talk, I'll never know. Still, he freaked out, and I got into a bit of trouble. Fortunately, none of the snakes were venomous."

"I take it your brother didn't appreciate your help?" Calypso asked between laughs.

"No. He tried to hex me if you can believe it." Harry looked slightly smug. "Naturally he was the one that ended up getting hexed."

ooo0000ooo

A Friendship Fallen?

Calypso's Room, May 12th

"...Krum pulls up...HE HAS THE SNITCH! Bulgaria wins 310 to 190! Bulgaria goes to the World Cup!"

Harry cheered as Calypso stood up and turned off the wireless. "I knew he could do it," he said happily.

"I suppose if Krum is going to waste most of his time playing Quidditch at least he is good at it," Calypso replied.

"You're just upset that you didn't place a bet with the Goblins when I offered."

Calypso sniffed imperiously. "Betting is for peasants, Potter."

"Well this peasant, just made fifty more Galleons," Harry taunted.

"And what are you going to do with your new-found wealth?" Calypso asked. "Buy a broom and ask Viktor for flying lessons like the rest of the school?"

Harry rolled his eyes. After Viktor's stunning victory over the Germans, many of the people who had previously called him an idiot had started to worship the ground he walked on. Viktor, of course, found the sudden change of attitude by most of his peers to be utterly pathetic, and he did his best to ignore the majority of the student population. Kira, however, was not ignoring the sudden urge by most of the girls at the school to date the resident Quidditch superstar. She had made it well known that any attempt to poach her boyfriend would be met with very hostile force, and she demonstrated her point by cursing a fifth year, who was loudly talking about buying some love potions to slip to Viktor. Harry could only imagine what Viktor's latest victory on the international stage would do to his reputation.

"I'll be sure to ask Viktor to book my flying lesson right after yours. I know how much you love Quidditch, Calypso."

"Oh, yes, of course," Calypso said sarcastically. "My dreams are filled with Snitches."

Harry paused. "Is it weird that my brother's dreams probably are filled with Snitches?"

"Yes, and speaking of your brother, how is he?"

"Miserable," Harry said bluntly. "It looks like Hogwarts is going to close any day now."

Calypso smirked. "Think he'll end up coming to Durmstrang next year?"

"Nathan? At Durmstrang?" Harry laughed. "No way. Beauxbatons maybe. Not that I would blame him for choosing to go to a school that actually accepts Veela."

"Are you saying that there aren't pretty girls here?" Calypso asked challengingly. "Because I certainly know someone who would love to hex you for saying something like that."

"Hmm..." Harry said pretending to think very hard. "Gorgeous Veela, or angry witches that like to curse me... decisions, decisions."

"Prat," Calypso said, firing a stinging hex at Harry.

Without thinking, Harry deflected the incoming spell right into Calypso's desk, causing parchment to go flying everywhere.

"Whoops," Harry said apologetically. "I'm sorry about that." He bent down to help Calypso pick up the scattered rolls when he saw a very familiar piece of parchment at his feat. Picking up the parchment with his name on it, Harry looked up and saw briefly saw Calypso's eyes widen before her face took on an eerie indifference.

"'Harry James Potter, born July 31st 1980. Brother of the Boy Who Lived, Nathan Potter. Transferred to Durmstrang from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry demonstrates a unique ability to command magic, specifically Transfiguration and Charms. He has well above average knowledge in Potions; however, he possesses a reluctance to use the Dark Arts." Looking up from the parchment, Harry stared at his friend for a moment. "What the hell is this, Calypso?"

Calypso faltered slightly. "It's nothing Harry," she said as she casually tried to take the parchment from him.

Harry held the parchment out of her reach and tried to continue reading.

"Accio parchment," Calypso said, summoning the parchment out of his hands.

"Calypso," Harry said angrily, "what is that!"

"It's nothing important."

"Then tell me what it is!"

When Calypso remained silent, Harry turned and stormed out of her room, slamming the door behind him.

ooo0000ooo

Of Truths and Tests

Durmstrang, May 25th

With a slight limp, Harry walked down the hallway to his bedroom, prepared to quickly pack his stuff and go home. He had just finished his History exam, and while he had certainly done well, he wasn't certain if it would be enough to get him the rank of Master. Professor Cristof's study guide had been a huge advantage, but while Harry could appreciate the importance of history, he would much rather work on a practical final project.

Of course, while Harry enjoyed practical work, he didn't love getting injured, which was just what had happened to him during his Dark Arts exam earlier in the day. He had explained his final project to Professor Rosier, and asked that the professor send an ever-increasing level of dangerous spells at him to deflect. Rather than opening with a jinx, Professor Rosier had opened with the Retching Hex, a spell with which Harry was intimately familiar from earlier in the year. After four more hexes, Professor Rosier began throwing curses. Simple leg-lockers and body- binds were quickly replaced by the Conjunctivitis and Babbling Curses. Harry managed well enough until Professor Rosier had sent a bone-breaking curse at him.

Caught momentarily off-guard by such a violent spell, Harry was too late in defending against it, causing the curse to break his right leg. Professor Rosier had called for Lady Shulga, who quickly cast a healing charm to mend the bones. Fortunately, it was a clean break and while there would be some bruising, Harry would be fine by the end of the day.

Harry had left the Dark Arts room confident that he had done well enough to get the rank of Master, and a little disappointed that the achievement really didn't mean that much to him anymore. It had been Calypso who had helped him practice for his Dark Arts exam while pushing him to try to usurp Grindelwald's academic record, and the two hadn't spoken since he had confronted her.

Viktor had been supportive of his decision, and, naturally, Kira had claimed that he was better off without Calypso. Not that Kira particularly cared how he felt, she just wanted to throw in into Calypso's face that she didn't have any friends. When Harry overheard Kira saying just that in the library, he had been tempted to go over and help Calypso. Ultimately, however, Harry decided that Calypso could be his friend whenever she wanted, all she needed to do is explain what she was doing.

Therefore, it was a bit of a surprise when Harry opened his door his room to find Calypso standing there waiting for him.

Removing his wand, Harry did his best to ignore her as he began shrinking his bed, removing the charms on his room, and packing his belongings. Calypso had come to see him, and if she had something to say, he wasn't going to drag it out of her. After almost ten minutes of continual charm work, Harry's room was back to its rather ordinary spartan appearance. Without acknowledging that Calypso had even been in the room, Harry picked up his trunk and started to walk out. When he opened the door, Calypso finally spoke up.

"You're angry."

Harry stopped and turned around, giving Calypso his attention for the first time since entering the room.

She licked her lips nervously. "I know you want to know what that piece of parchment was about."

Harry put his trunk down and sat on top of it. "Are finally ready to tell me?"

"No I –"

Quickly standing up, Harry shot Calypso an angry look and started to pick up his trunk and leave.

"Wait. Just wait, Harry," Calypso said, taking a step forward. "I can't tell you what it is because...well, it's complicated."

"Just tell me the truth, Calypso," Harry said simply.

"I know what it looks like," she said. "But I'm not trying to spy on you or your family. If you believe anything, please believe that. I've never asked you any questions about your brother besides what you've volunteered, and you know I could care less if he's the Boy Who Lived."

Seeing that Harry had stopped trying to pick up his trunk, Calypso relaxed somewhat. "That said, I can't tell you what that parchment is."

"Why not?" Harry demanded impatiently. "Just be honest with me."

"It's not about honesty, Harry, or even trust," she said softly. "I need you to learn something called Occlumency before I can tell you about the parchment."

"And what exactly is Occlumency?"

Calypso smiled. "Please, I know you, Harry. You'd rather find out yourself than be told anything."

"Calypso," Harry warned. "This isn't some silly school project, it's our friendship."

Sobering slightly and losing the slight smile on her face, Calypso nodded her head. "I know, Harry, I know. Occlumency is...well, it's hard to really describe. It's a very obscure branch of magic that deals with the mind. Now really, Harry, that's all I'm going to be able to tell you. If my father found out I've said as much as I have, he would be upset."

"Why? I don't understand."

"My father likes to test people," Calypso sighed. "You passed a major test with him earlier today by doing as well as you did on your final project. Congratulations, by the way. He said you managed to deflect six curses before he managed to hit you."

"Calypso, you're rambling. So your father wants me to learn Occlumency, and if I don't, you won't tell me why you're digging up information on me?"

"I am sorry, Harry. I know it sounds unfair, and I really do want to tell you what's going on, but it's important that you know Occlumency first," Calypso explained.

"And if I learn Occlumency, I will be?" Harry asked pointedly.

"Yes," Calypso said immediately. "Learn Occlumency, and I swear I will tell you everything you want to know. I'll even make an Unbreakable Vow if you want. We can go get my father or one of the other professors to be the binder."

"You're serious," Harry said in surprise. "You would actually make an Unbreakable Vow?"

"Yes."

Harry wasn't sure what to say. Agreeing to an Unbreakable Vow was not something to joke about.

"Please, Harry," she said. "Just promise me you'll try to learn some Occlumency this summer."

"Fine," Harry relented, picking up his belongings.

"Thank you," she said, placing a small kiss on his cheek.

Harry looked at her awkwardly, not sure what to make of everything. "Right, err, I guess, I'll be off then."

"I'll see you next year, Harry."

"Yeah. Goodbye, Calypso."

Calypso watched as Harry walked out of the room. A moment later, her father appeared beside her. "You think he'll manage it?"

"I do," Calypso said certainly before her face darkened. "This is it, right? All Harry needs to do is learn Occlumency?"

In response, Romulus simply placed his invisibility cloak back on and walked out of the room.


A/N: This is the correct version of chapter 9. I'm sorry for posting the wrong version. I was rushed to get out of the house for vacation, and I just wasn't paying as close attention as I should have when I did my final read through. Please let me know if any additional errors exist.

Happy 1 year anniversary to this story.

Big thanks to Perspicacity, my beta group, and everyone over at DLP– this chapter wouldn't have been nearly as good without your comments.

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