Chapter 31: End of Year One
The next morning, after breakfast, Harry hurried to meet the headmaster before his final Quidditch practice. The match would be taking place the next day, and Harry knew that the practice would be brutal. As he entered Dumbledore's office, he was contacted by Fawkes.
Have caution; chosen one, he is suspicious. Close your mind.
Thank you, Fawkes. As Dumbledore's desk came into view, he noticed that the headmaster seemed particularly grim.
"Have a seat, Mr. Potter." Harry knew that the use of his surname did not bode well for him. He took the seat the headmaster had indicated.
"Is something wrong, headmaster?"
"Professor Quirrell has not been seen since last night."
"So he took the Stone?"
"So it would seem. However, I am at a loss as to how he retrieved the Stone."
"Well, I had protected it such that only myself or Professor McGonagall could retrieve it. It was specially hidden here in my office." Dumbledore stared at him, apparently expecting a response. Harry kept his eyes firmly on the bridge of the headmaster's nose. With a sigh, Dumbledore continued. "I wondered if you had any ideas on how this might have been accomplished." Harry affected a look of wide-eyed innocence.
"Sir, unless you are suggesting Professor McGonagall or yourself handed over the stone, I have no idea. Perhaps Dark Magic was used?"
"Impossible, I created the protections myself."
"Then I don't know, Sir. I don't know why you think I would be able to shed light on the matter." Harry felt Dumbledore sifting through his mind the moment he met the headmaster's gaze. Harry obligingly provided a false memory of an empty room, and Professor Snape finding him moments later. Fawkes spoke the moment Dumbledore had removed from his mind.
Well done, he is satisfied for now.
"Professor, if that's all, I need to get to practice…"
"Oh, yes, forgive me. Run along, Harry, and best of luck." Harry nodded and left, making sure to pet Fawkes on the way out.
Practice was just as rough as he had expected. Marcus kept them on the field until lunch. They practiced every move in their arsenal. Marcus even taught Harry a new move, the Wronski Feint. They thought it would come in handy as the Ravenclaw Seeker, Cho Chang, was notorious for allowing the other Seeker to actually search and simply taking her cue from him. It had served her quite well, obviously.
The team trooped into the Great Hall, absolutely exhausted. The rest of the students were very keyed up in anticipation of the coming match. Harry simply relaxed in the common room that afternoon and evening.
The match arrived much sooner than he had expected. One moment he was relaxing in the common room. The next—or so it seemed—he was waking up the next morning. Then he was in the Great Hall, and in the locker room changing. Just before they walked out to the pitch, Marcus cleared his throat.
"This is it. The final match of the season. We'll do great. We have to. We must win the Quidditch cup. Don't let our house down."
"So, no pressure, right?" said Harry, relieving the tension as everyone laughed. They walked onto the field amid more boos than cheers. Ravenclaw usually cheered for them and evened things out. However, that wasn't about to happen when they were opponents.
"Just think of how much better it will feel when we win!" shouted Marcus. Smiling, they mounted their brooms and flew around the pitch a few times before taking their positions for the start of the match. The snitch was released, Madam Hooch threw up the Quaffle, and released the Bludgers as she blew her whistle to start the match. There wasn't a single sign of the Snitch throughout the first hour of the match. Harry was pleased that his team had already scored seven goals. Ravenclaw had only scored three.
True to form, Cho was tailing Harry rather than looking for the Snitch. As Harry caught his first glimpse of the Snitch, he decided to use the Wronski Feint to disable Cho. He dived, arm outstretched, and she followed without thought. However, at the last second, he pulled his broom upright and shot off for the opposite end of the field, where he still saw the glint of gold. He heard the students gasp as the inevitable happened and Cho hit the ground with an audible thud. Without stopping to even look over his shoulder, Harry rocked toward the Snitch. As he grabbed it, he turned back toward Cho. She was standing, although she looked a little wobbly, so he didn't feel too bad. Perhaps it would teach her to do her own searching.
As the crowd realized what had happened, a roar of noise burst from the Slytherins, drowning everything else out. Marcus flew over to Harry and gave him a hug, nearly pulling Harry off his broom. They carefully flew to the ground, and Marcus led the team to Professor McGonagall, who was holding the Quidditch Cup. Her voice magically enhanced, she spoke over the crowd.
"The winners of the 1992 Hogwarts Quidditch Cup: Slytherin house!" The cheering became, if possible, even louder, as Slytherin house celebrated its sixth straight win. The celebration continued through dinner, through the evening, and well into the next day. Professor Snape came by around four in the morning to warn them that they would all be expected at breakfast the next morning.
The general consensus among the partiers was that they would go to breakfast, then sleep until lunch. They weren't just celebrating their Quidditch Cup win. The win provided them with an extra hundred points. It virtually guaranteed them the House Cup as well, meaning they were one year closer to beating Gryffindor's record.
The post-win adrenaline was wearing off by breakfast, so it was a quiet affair at the Slytherin table. Harry and his group of friends were some of the few who made it to lunch. Most of their housemates were asleep.
Harry was amazed at how quickly their last week passed. On their final day at school, their grades were posted. To no one's surprise, Hermione was first in the class. Harry and Draco were tied for second, which they all thought a bit odd. It was extremely rare that two people managed to get the EXACT same total score on their exams. They did, however, have a good laugh at seeing that Weasley almost hadn't made it to second year. After lunch, Professor Snape stopped Harry as he was about to go into the Slytherin common room.
"A word, Harry." Harry waved the others on and followed Professor Snape to his office.
"Is something wrong, Professor?"
"Not at all, Harry. I have come up with a way for you to avoid the Dursleys for the summer without needing to mention a word to the headmaster." Harry's eyes went wide.
"Well, as Miss Granger pointed out at Hogsmeade last December, by Wizarding law, you are officially considered the last of the Potter line. Where you go for vacations is at your discretion as Lily and James Potter left no official will or any official document naming someone as your guardian."
"But sir, they weren't my real parents."
"True, but Dumbledore would never reveal that as it would raise far too many questions. Also, if he did, you would be expected to go home to your mother, which is exactly where you want to go. Now, as the heir to the Potter line, you are not required by law to give any notice of where you are going for your vacations."
"Very well, so what do I do, Professor?"
"I have already informed the Malfoys of my plan. You and your friends must sit at the end of the train. When the train pulls into the station, you will be closest to the Apparition platform. You must exit the train quickly and Apparate directly to Malfoy Manor. Narcissa will be the one to transport you, and Lucius will transport his son."
"You're brilliant, Professor." Professor Snape smiled at the compliment.
"Thank you, Harry. Now did you learn the shrinking charm this year in class?"
"No, sir. That must be for next year."
"Very well, take out your wand, you are about to learn it. You will need to shrink your trunk on the train." Harry did as he was told.
"Now, this charm reduces size and weight equally. So if you shrink something to half size, it will also be half weight. The incantation is 'Reducio'." Harry repeated the word.
"Exactly. Now, to use it, simply tap the object you wish to shrink, and speak the incantation, like so." Professor Snape tapped a goblet on his desk and muttered, "Reducio." It was abruptly shrunk to a quarter of its size. "As you speak the incantation, be sure to think on what size you want the object to be. It is easiest to think in terms of relative size, say half size, or quarter size. Understood?"
"Good, now give it a try." Harry was delighted when he managed to successfully shrink a book on his first attempt.
"Very good, Harry."
"What is the counter-charm, sir?"
"Engorgio. It works in exactly the same way." Harry tapped the book again and muttered, "Engorgio." Again he managed a perfect transformation.
"That is quite an accomplishment, Harry, you should be very proud of yourself." Professor Snape quickly moved him on to bigger and more complicated objects, and within an hour, Harry had successfully shrunken and enlarged the desk. "Very good, Harry, you shouldn't have any problems tomorrow. Now, hurry on and get packed, it wouldn't do for you to miss the leaving feast."
"Thanks for your help, Professor. Will I see you this summer?"
"I'm not sure, Harry. We'll see." Harry nodded and ran to his dormitory. He packed quickly, and left things rather disorganized, but he wasn't too worried about neatness. It took him a while to find all of his belongings, finally finding a lost robe hidden under Blaise's bed. He didn't know, or care, how it had gotten there, but he was glad to have all his things packed. Harry made his way up to the end-of-year feast alone. He had waved on his friends, asking them to hold him a seat so he could finish packing. The Great Hall was already full. It was decked out in the Slytherin colors of green and silver to celebrate Slytherin's winning the house cup for the seventh year in a row. A huge banner showing the Slytherin serpent covered the wall behind the High Table.
When Harry walked in there was a sudden hush, and then everybody started talking loudly at once. He slipped into a seat between Draco and Hermione at the Slytherin table. Dumbledore arrived just moments later. The babble died away.
"Another year gone!" Dumbledore said cheerfully. "And I must trouble you with an old man's wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were… you have the whole summer ahead to get them nice and empty before next year starts. Now, as I understand it, the house cup here needs awarding, and the points stand thus: in fourth place, Gryffindor, with three hundred and twelve points; in third, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and fifty-two; Ravenclaw has four hundred and twenty-six and Slytherin, four hundred and seventy-two."
Someone standing outside the Great Hall might well have thought some sort of explosion had taken place, so loud was the noise that erupted from the Slytherin table. Harry, Draco, and Hermione stood up to yell and cheer. Vince and Greg even hugged each other. Harry, still cheering, nudged Draco in the ribs and pointed at Weasley, who couldn't have looked more horrified if he'd just had the Body-Bind Curse put on him. "Yes, Yes, well done, Slytherin," said Dumbledore.
It was the best evening of Harry's life, better than winning at Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls… he would never, ever forget tonight. And suddenly, they were back in their common rooms; their trunks were gone, taken to wait for them on the platform; notes were handed out to all students, warning them not to use magic over the holidays; Hagrid was there to take them down to the fleet of boats that sailed across the lake; they were boarding the Hogwarts Express; talking and laughing as the countryside became greener and tidier; eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans as they sped past Muggle towns; pulling off their school robes and putting on everyday robes (in Hermione's case, pulling on a muggle jacket; pulling into platform nine and three-quarters at King's Cross Station. Harry made sure to shrink his trunk and say good-bye to all of his friends as they were pulling into the station.
Harry was the first off the train. He made a beeline for the Apparition platform. He spotted Mrs. Malfoy standing by the exit to the platform. He made sure not to walk too quickly. He didn't want to draw attention to himself. The moment Harry reached her, Narcissa took his hand and led him out to the platform. The moment they were past the Apparition wards, she Apparated him to Malfoy Manor. She hurried him past the gates, only slowing down once they were inside the manor. Narcissa led him to the sitting room where his mother was talking to the back of Quirrell's head.
"Mum, Dad, I'm home!"