Hi, this is the extra special Christmas update outside of my normal update schedule. I have decided to update all of my stories for which I had the next chapter (at least) ready. So you get six update over all as well as a new story! Merry Christmas.
Good News for Quidditch Enthusiasts
The students had returned to Hogwarts and the normal life soon began anew. The students went to their classes, did their homework and followed their interests in their free time. Many were waiting for the surprise Madam Hooch had promised them for the beginning of February. It had been speculated since the welcoming feast what it could be she was planning. Some said that she had found a way to heat and light the Quidditch stadium to enable the house teams to train during winter; others guessed that she would offer a broom creation workshop. When the big day had come the students were all excited to find out what their flying instructor had been up to.
"I see you are all excited to find out what the surprise I promised you is. Well, I have long thought that it is a shame that only seven persons per house can be on the house Quidditch teams each. But except for a few reserve players there was no possibility to give more students the opportunity to participate in this popular sport. And during the winter months it's simply too cold to let you practice outside. So I got together with Professor Flitwick and we set up three special rooms to solve that problem. We have created a variation of Quidditch that all of you can play indoors. The rules are a bit different than outdoor Quidditch as sadly we have no rooms that would allow you to properly fly on brooms while playing. Only the Great Hall has enough space and making it a playing field is out of the question.
"So listen well now. First, the positions are the same as in outdoor Quidditch. But instead of flying you will have to run on your own feet. The rooms are about as large as two large classrooms put together. On each side are three hoops and you still get a quaffle to score goals. Now as for indoors the normal bludgers are too dangerous to keep the original purpose of them interrupting the plays of a team we invented the freezer. It is a heavy ball that the beaters have to throw on the players of the other team. If the freezer hits a player a charm will freeze that player in the position he was for about twenty seconds. A freezer can only be thrown by a beater as we have enchanted special gloves for each position to count goals, freeze people or catch the snitch. So changing of positions during a game is only possible if you exchange your gloves which you won't have time for, believe me." Madam Hooch explained the attentive crowd.
"Now as the snitch would be much easier to find and catch in a smaller room, we also spelled it to only fly at heights that you can reach by jumping up. So to make it more difficult the snitch will turn invisible for random periods of time. It will make the job of the seekers much more demanding. The rooms will be available from the weekend on and are open for all students. We will place lists in the common rooms where you can sign up if you want to use a room. The house teams are only permitted to book the rooms six hours a week overall each. This is to ensure that all students can have a go. I hope many of you will try your hand at indoor Quidditch."
The students cheered. This sounded like an awesome way to spend some time.
The teachers were comparing their notes on the subjects and what topics they wanted to be covered in each year at the least. The subjects that were naturally discussed most were Potions and Defence. Over the holidays the expected ruling over Snape had happened and he had been declared unfit to teach students no matter his expertise in the subject. Therefore the school governors had worked out a compromise with Dumbledore who didn't want to let Snape go completely. As Snape's knowledge of potion brewing was nearly unparalleled in Great Britain they had come up with the plan to let Snape have a laboratory in the dungeons of Hogwarts to do research on potions. There were still many things that could be discovered and he would probably be the one to be able to do so.
Snape would keep the hospital wing stocked and let the potions teachers have his notes on his developments to teach the students. For that he got free cost and rooms at Hogwarts, including Dumbledore's continued protection from legal persecution. The teachers would point out outstanding students that had a knack for the subject and he could choose three of them each year and offer them additional training in the subject as his assistants which might become apprenticeships after graduating. The country needed more qualified potion masters and as it was already determined that only the most determined students could hope to get through Snape's lessons, only those would accept an apprenticeship under him. Snape had accepted the decision and was secretly happy to not have to teach untalented brats a delicate art like potion brewing anymore. Especially not the Potter brat.
A new potion master had already been found and contracted; he was already fifty-eight and had decided that teaching the next generation of brewers would be a nice challenge. He was sitting with Professors McGonagall and Flitwick and was discussing how to structure his classes. His name was Eric Jolnom and he had a lot of patented potions to his name. He had worked in Ireland before and had been taken well by the students. He had decided to keep Arabella Figg around for an introductory seminar on ingredient preparation and basic reactions. He had been delighted with her knowledge and experience in teaching and had exchanged many experiences.
For Defence Quirrel was forced to describe which parts should be covered each year and the other teachers, to the surprise of everyone Snape had a lot of good suggestions, added from their experiences. It took two weeks to have all the goals for each class set up. Then the applications of the potential new teachers and assistant teachers were looked through. Some were sorted out immediately, others were written down to be contacted for interviews.
Pomona took charge of everything that concerned the setting up of the new greenhouses that would be delivered as soon as the snow melted. She would decide where which kind of plant should be grown. A team of ten house elves would be at her command and any student volunteer.
Hagrid got command over the farm together with the new manager, who still needed to be determined, but he was the one best suited to deal with any animal that would be brought to Hogwarts. Professor Kettleburn would assist in the beginning, but he admitted freely that Hagrid was better suited to deal with large numbers of animals thanks to his size.
Each subject got another classroom added to make setting up the schedules easier. Each teacher listed his preferences where the classrooms should be located and Dumbledore wrote everything down so that he could set up the final plan with Minerva. This new educational reform and Hogwarts restructuring would keep them all very busy, but as Dumbledore now had more time thanks to resigning from his ICW position. He was currently working on teaching Joseph Fitzpatrick to take over for him as the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot too come summer. He had realised that he really needed to concentrate on Hogwarts now that the changes would soon be implemented. But contrary to the ICW his replacement as Chief Warlock needed some time to learn the ropes to not succumb to the pressure of the different factions.
Next to setting up the normal classrooms the teachers discussed setting rooms up where the students could practice their hobbies like art, music and hand-crafting. Madam Hooch, hearing the rumours that she would set up a workshop on how to create your own broom had taken up the idea and would do exactly that next year. Other teachers thought that there would be other possibilities to add to that idea. Many girls liked fashionable clothes, but there were few shops that offered them. If they could learn how to design their own clothes it would probably interest a lot of them. Dumbledore was more than open for those enterprises.
The British Wizarding World had stagnated somewhat over the last three decades and it was time that fresh ideas were given the chance to grow.
Harry headed down to the Quidditch rooms. Oliver was very enthusiastic about the new training opportunity during the winter. With a bit of protective gear, mostly for their elbows and knees, the Gryffindor team had taken well to the new variant of Quidditch. They often organised training sessions against the Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw teams to get some game practice. It was incredibly funny. They even got some spectators that cheered the teams on. With the high interest the fake matches got, Professor McGonagall had transfigured a stand in one of the rooms and declared that if they wanted to have matches with spectators to use that room. It wasn't a problem for the teams and organising that they had the room with the stands was easy enough.
Harry had learned quickly that catching the new snitch was harder than the normal one. While spotting the snitch from his broom from a distance was difficult, finding and catching the snitch in the room before it became invisible again was much harder. The most difficult part was that he needed to get through the other players and reach the snitch in time. It required some massive flexibility and dexterity of his body and Harry noticed that his endurance had gone up a good portion with regularly training.
Some muggleborn students had also decided to use the rooms for muggle sports like basketball and football. They had sent requests for the respective balls home and now there were some teams for both games. While they weren't magical, they liked playing well enough. And even a few wizard raised kids joined in on the fun after seeing how you played the respective game. Basketball was somewhat more popular than football thanks to it being more similar to Quidditch.
The normal training for the Gryffindor team now consisted of twenty minutes warm-up, something that had been found out to be necessary after the first torn muscles appeared, then basic moves for each position and then position play. Whenever the chasers trained their formations Harry, Fred and George took the position of the opposing chasers, trying to steal the quaffle from the three girls. It helped with coordination among the team.
All players got shooting sessions at Oliver to help him defend the goals better. Harry discovered that while he was still better at playing seeker he wasn't half bad as a chaser. The whole team's awareness of their surroundings doubled as the freezers did exactly that, freeze you in your position when they hit you. It could lead to painful experiences when the freezing spell wore off.
During their games against other teams, after a month other make-shift teams asked to play against the normal house-teams occasionally, the twins came up with a very effective strategy. They used every chance they got to freeze the other team's beaters first and then targeted the other players. It gave the Gryffindor team a lot of opportunities to score. While twenty seconds didn't seem like much, if your own team had no chance to freeze attacking players you took more goals. Of course the other teams quickly caught up to that strategy and tried to do the same. Sadly the twins had also trained catching the freezers in their hands before that which neutralised the effect.
Overall the students enjoyed the new ways of having fun.
Quirrell sat in his office, thinking hard how he could get to the Philosopher's Stone. Snape wasn't completely gone thanks to Dumbledore's interference and he was no closer to completely working out which defences protected the stone. He had found out about Sprout placing Devil's Snare as her obstacle, it couldn't really be called a protection. Every trained wizard could get rid of it as long as he knew what he was dealing with. Fire or light were very effective. McGonagall would have done something with Transfiguration, just what he couldn't find out. He had seen Snape carrying bottles into the room he had been assigned to protect, but he didn't know what they were needed for. And the worst part was that thrice damned Cerberus. He didn't know how to get past it and Hagrid wasn't telling anything.
The man was too loyal to Dumbledore to willingly part with the knowledge and Legilimency didn't work on a half-giant. So finding out that way wasn't an option. He would have to come up with something soon or his master would show his displeasure again. It was a regular occurrence these days. It was understandable. The new changes brought more unity in the school and the filthy mudbloods were more accepted than they deserved.
But soon he would have to present results to his master. He was getting restless and he felt that sharing his body with his master was deteriorating his health. His master had already thought of a solution, unicorn blood. But drinking it came at a high price. A half-life, a cursed life. But he calmed himself thinking that once he drank the elixir of life to give his master the body he desired and deserved all of that would be in the past. The elixir was more powerful than unicorn blood.
Sirius was working on the house, implementing the changes that he and Harry had agreed upon. It was incredible to think that Harry had asked to become his son. It showed how much the boy had wished for a family of his own. And he was more than happy to adopt Harry. He had made everything official before Harry returned to Hogwarts. So now Harry was officially Harry Potter-Black and his adopted son. It wouldn't change a lot, he wouldn't put too much attention to stupid pureblood traditions, but some proper manners Harry would have to follow. Thankfully Augusta Longbottom had already taught the children that had learned at Longbottom Manor all they needed to know at this stage.
Until Harry turned thirteen there was nothing he needed to consider. Then he would have to inform him about proper courting, not that he himself had really followed the rules, if he had liked a girl he had gone for her, but Harry needed to at least know them. And he didn't want that Harry made some of the mistakes he had made with not being faithful when he had a girlfriend. That ended badly every time. He had learned from his mistakes and now he would try to have his son avoid them. If Harry liked a girl he should start slowly with getting to know her, if they found out they liked each other more than friends they could start dating with simple physical contact and keeping sexual actions to kissing. That was innocent enough and normally Harry wouldn't even think about trying more before he turned fifteen. Then a wizard's hormones started messing with his magic.
He had massively experienced that. He had really suffered during that phase of puberty and made a fool of himself more than once for making unsuitable comments or going too far with his girlfriends who hadn't been willing to go as far as he wanted. That had ended more than one relationship he had had. And he had been able to choose among the girls. His good looks had made him a magnet for girls and even his bad reputation didn't stop some throwing themselves at him. That and that he had still been the Black heir. His family had power, influence and money, so he had been a good target for girls whose families wanted to get close to the Blacks.
His mother's reaction when he ran away after everything became too much for him stopped some of them out cold, but interestingly his grandfather who had still been head of the family when his mother tried to disinherit him hadn't finished the act formally. He didn't like his daughter-in-law and her insanity and so he didn't disinherit Sirius. While his father had died in 1984, his grandfather had outlived him and Sirius' mother and only died in 1989. So now Sirius was Lord Black by right of inheritance.
The house itself had already got basically destroyed and the new parts were rebuilt where it was necessary. He had only left one room that he used as his bedroom. That one would only need new wall-papers, a new floor and new furniture. Something that would be done in a day with magic helping.
The warding scheme of the house was updated already and so he had one less thing to worry about. Harry would have a nice-looking home that was completely safe when he returned for the summer. The renovations wouldn't be done over Easter, so Sirius and Harry had agreed that Harry would stay at Hogwarts and Sirius would only take him for dinner on Easter itself. That way Harry would only see the end result and not the work in progress, which, if Sirius was completely honest, looked like a battle field. He didn't want to imagine how long this would take without magic. He didn't understand how muggles could do this.
Minerva looked at the list of new teachers that had been contracted already. Including Professor Jolnom who had already taken over Potions and Arabella for the Potions introductory course they now had five new teachers ready. They had decided to let Narcissa Malfoy become the fencing instructor as there was little she could do to cause trouble in that position and it would look good in the eyes of the Dark houses. The wife of Lucius Malfoy teaching at Hogwarts in a traditional aspect of wizarding life was a real coup. It allowed them more freedom in more critical classes. The first teacher for Wizarding Traditions was found in Desmond Trybell, the third son of Lord Trybell, one of the minor neutral houses. The Trybells followed the old ways, but were in no way pureblood elitists. The children would really learn all about the traditions of their world without having it coloured in any way, light or dark.
That had been one thing she wanted to ensure. Many traditions had got a bad reputation for being rituals, but most of them weren't bad. There were dark rituals, but they were rare and wouldn't be taught. But cleansing rituals for example were perfectly alright. Other traditions like celebrating the start of each season and getting the blessing of nature were forgotten over time and only a few could even remember them. It was high time that the stigma of traditions being dark was cleared up and where better to start than the children. They would learn unbiased views on them and think nothing following them. It would also enable the muggleborn children to fit in better if they learned about them from the beginning.
Most of the animosities were based on misunderstandings; some of falsely assumed prejudices. Thankfully some problems were already on the mend with George McIntosh being a really good History of Magic teacher. He had managed to get the children to learn more than goblin rebellions and giant wars. Why Cuthbert had always insisted on sticking to topics that made those races look massively bad she didn't know, but she didn't like it at all. Thankfully Albus had listened at the beginning of the school year and had hired George. The History grades had shot up immensely and it had shown in the end-of-term exams in December. The average grade for History of Magic had become an A compared to the barely P it had been before.
Next was an assistant for Transfiguration. Emily O'Rourke wanted to get her mastery in Transfiguration and learning under the famous Minerva McGonagall had been a dream to her. Minerva was very pleased that she was so respected in the Transfiguration scene. The farm manager had also been found in Kevin Walters, a muggleborn wizard who came from a family of farmers and had jumped at the chance to make Hogwarts the best and biggest magical farm ever. Last but not least was the assistant for Filius, Rodrigo Perez, a journeyman in Charms who had lost his former master to dragon pox. He only needed to finish the last two years of his apprenticeship. That meant he would be able to be included in other areas than just the teaching of the first to third year classes.
He was able to speak Portuguese fluently, so he was also roped in the language elective. His father had been Portuguese while his mother was English, but had lived for many years in Portugal already when the two met. Rodrigo had graduated from Beauxbatons with honours in Charms and taken up the apprenticeship half a year later. He showed great promise and had been happy for the chance to teach at Hogwarts while finishing his apprenticeship.
There were four more interviews planned for this week, two of them for Herbology apprentices and two for head of house assistants. It would be a while, but in the end they would have their new staff and could start making Hogwarts into the truly best magical school in the world.
I hope you liked the long awaited update. I know i have slow updating speed with this story, but it is one I hadn't pre-written more than the first two chapters when I put the story up. It was originally a two-shot. And as I don't want to update very short chapter that are done half-assed updates might take a while, but the will come until the story is finished.