Hi, I have finally finished this chapter which marks the end of Harry's first year at Hogwarts. For now it is also the final chapter of this story. I might write a sequel in the future, but right now there is nothing I have even started. After all, this story was originally planned as a two shot.
I thank everybody who has followed this story faithfully. Now happy reading.
End of Year
For the students of Hogwarts time flew by. While their teachers were really busy implementing the changes for the new year and Professor Dumbledore held many job interviews, they mostly noticed the improved free time offers and the easier time they had in Potions thanks to their new teacher. Though that held only true for the sixth and seventh-years as the lower years had been taught by Professor Figg already. Professor Jolnom had organised that one double period each month was taken by Professor Figg to teach how certain ingredients had to be prepared, what effect certain methods had on them and different techniques in brewing. The real brewing lessons he took over which worked well. The students were much more relaxed having a fair teacher, even if concerning strictness Professor Jolnom was much worse than Snape had ever been.
The difference was that he explained what to look out for in brewing what to avoid at all costs and what he would do if he saw anybody messing around in his class. Potions was a dangerous subject as mistakes could lead to horrible accidents. He demonstrated just what could happen if you messed around and didn't work precisely by intentionally botching up a potion. While only botching up slightly didn't immediately cause trouble, he simply threw a common ingredient into the cauldron, a horned slug. The explosion behind the shield he had placed beforehand made even the stupidest student realise why you didn't try to sabotage a potion and why you concentrated on what you did in class.
Once the snow melted the Quidditch teams could use the pitch again, but except for Slytherin they all still scheduled one training session in the indoors rooms as those sessions were more intense for them physically and helped building up stamina and muscles. They also kept to playing training matches against each other. Next to that thanks to a donation of brooms for the school more students had the chance to play pick-up games of Quidditch when the pitch wasn't used by the teams. It led to more students having a chance to play when they wanted to, just not in the highly competitive manner that the house teams played in.
The results of the new training schedule showed in the first matches that counted for the Quidditch Cup. The match between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor was a close one and Harry just managed to catch the snitch before the Hufflepuff seeker could. The Gryffindor chasers were slightly better, but Hufflepuff had held against them very well and never let them get away more than four goals. The Ravenclaw vs. Slytherin match meanwhile was totally one-sided in favour of Ravenclaw. It showed that the Eagles had trained a lot more during the winter months than the Snakes and won the match clearly with 400:30. The Snakes of course protested, but they had only themselves to blame. They hadn't wanted to train indoor Quidditch as it wasn't the pureblood way to play Quidditch off the broom.
Now they were firmly in last place for the Quidditch cup with Ravenclaw in the lead, closely followed by Gryffindor. The direct encounter of the two teams would decide the winner of this year's Quidditch cup. The difference was only thirty points, so whoever won the match would normally win the cup. Neither captain wanted to lose so the teams trained hard within the limits that the teachers set up for them, much to the relief of the players.
Around Easter the new lists for electives were handed out to all students. The first-years could choose one elective, the second years up to four and the higher years could decide if they wanted to add one of the new electives that were offered to their already existing ones. They were also all given lists with the subjects that would be mandatory from next year on. That of course created complaints with many students as most wizard raised children, mainly the pureblood extremist children though, complained about Muggle Studies, though they liked getting taught Wizarding Traditions. But there was no way around it. Both classes would be taught to all children as well as Ancient Runes from first-year on.
The complete list looked like this:
Curriculum of Hogwarts / From September 1992First – Fifth Year / Basic Subjects
-Defence Against the Dark Arts
-History of Magic
Electives from First Year (one elective per student)
-Care of Magical Creatures (limited to class one and two creatures e.g. kneazles, owls,…)
-Language (French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian)
Electives can be changed after one year
All first and second years have to absolve a mandatory workshop of sixteen hours totally, spread over two weekends to learn how the Hogwarts farm works, which animals are needed to provide for the school and what environment is needed for everything to work. The workshop will be offered during the whole year and students can choose when they want to take the workshop. Voluntary work on the farm for earning pocket money will be offered to those that absolved the workshop and are accepted by the head of the farm.
Electives from Third year (minimum of two up to four)
-Care of Magical Creatures
-Household Management / Cooking
-Language (French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Gobbledygook, Mermish)
Electives will be kept until OWLs
Additional Courses for NEWT students
-Wizarding Law (requires OWL in Politics and Wizarding Traditions)
-Muggle Law (requires OWL in Politics and Muggle Studies)
-Healing (requires OWL in Potions and Charms)
-Warding (requires OWL in Charms, Ancient Runes and Arithmancy)
-Farming (requires OWL in Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology)
Harry had decided to take German as his elective as he had already a good understanding of the creatures that would be covered in the Care of Magical Creatures class for first and second year students. For third year he wasn't sure yet, but with the possibility to take up to four classes as long as one was a language class, he would have many options. He was really happy that they would have this many options for electives from next year on. He wanted to learn so much and now he had the chance to do so. Many of his friends agreed with him. Neville had already decided to take Fencing as his elective, which Harry had somewhat expected. Neville was great at the sport and had complained about not getting enough training in it while being at Hogwarts.
Susan wanted to take Care of Magical Creatures and Hannah was considering Portuguese he knew. No matter what it would be an interesting year next year.
Quirinius Quirrell knew that his time was running out. He had to get the stone for his master soon or it wouldn't help him anymore. His body was giving out from the possession by his master and only the unicorn blood he had drunk unwillingly prevented him from dying. Only the Elixir of Life would be capable to heal his body and give his master a body of his own. But thanks to all the new teachers there was no way to get to the third floor corridor unnoticed. And Snape without having to teach anymore was keeping a much closer eye on him. It was really annoying. He finally knew how to get past the Cerberus, he wouldn't have thought that something as ridiculous as playing music would do the trick of sending the beast into a deep slumber.
The problem was getting to the door behind which the beast was held. He had to come up with a plan and fast.
The end of year exams were the last ones done in the old curriculum, from next year on Hogwarts would follow the new teaching plans. It would mean a lot of catching up in some subjects for the students and their teachers, but it would be done to get the students to a level where they could rightfully state proudly that they were taught at the best school for magic in at least Europe. The world would take a while to reach, but the goal of all teachers was to at least establish a spot in the top ten over the next five years.
Thankfully all preparations regarding the new curriculum were done, over the summer the farm would gain the first harvest which would be used to supply the school with corn, vegetables, fruits and animal products. The house elves would then take those products that needed special storing to not spoil like milk and eggs and turn them into things that could be stored like cheese and bread. After all, stasis charms worked on nearly everything except raw products that tended to spoil really easy for infinite amounts of time. There were also plans to sell the exceeds of those products to the villagers in Hogsmeade. After all, during the summer, over Christmas and Easter there were fewer inhabitants of the castle and with the number of animals being set for the full student population there would be a lot more than the elves could use.
All teachers were looking forward to starting the new ways from next year on. Right now though the students sat their exams which took a lot of the teachers' time. The OWL and NEWT students especially needed to be watched during their written exams. While the Ministry sent examiners and set the test papers for those two years, the overseeing of the written tests was in the hands of the Hogwarts teachers. The Ministry examiners would be the ones testing the students in the practicals and later grade the written parts. Next to that each year was sitting written and practical tests for each subject. While in the past there might have been only a practical or a written exam in certain subjects, now the headmaster had insisted in having both parts in each subject which meant more work for the teachers.
It was a bit of a challenge to think up practical or theoretical parts for some subjects, but the teachers managed. For example in Astronomy Professor Sinistra, who had got a new classroom in which the ceiling got a similar charm to the one in the Great Hall, except she got to see the current night sky without any clouds obscuring the view and could zoom to different areas with a charm, set a written test about the planets, moons and attributes of the heavenly bodies and after that had the students enter one after another to point out which star was which in her classroom. She really loved the idea of a muggle planetarium which had been the basis for her new classroom. It also helped with managing the class schedule better as they could reduce the late-night sessions for the students to twice every month for teaching how to find stars with a telescope and still give them more knowledge of Astronomy than what had been possible before as they had to coordinate all years over the week getting enough time on top of the Astronomy tower.
In Potions the test was even split in three parts. Professor Jolnom first had a combination of written and practical so he could have the whole group together to save time. He had set out five ingredients that the students had learned about this year in class. The test was to identify them correctly, name their attributes in potion making and their correct preparation, which could differ from potion to potion in which case the students were asked to give three examples at most. After that he had them do a written test to answer questions related to potions that had been covered during the year and write down the recipe of one potion from memory. After that they were told to leave the room and were called back inside in groups of ten.
More was simply too hard to oversee to prevent accidents properly. They had to brew one potion from memory with only being given the ingredients by their teacher. The total time most needed for brewing this potion was about half an hour, which was also the maximum time they got. Professor Jolnom then let them go and called the next group inside. Afterwards all years agreed that the Potions exam was much harder than ever before, but also much easier as they knew what they did and nobody was breathing down their necks during the exams. Professor Jolnom was a hard taskmaster, but he was fair and had prepared them well, not to mention that all students now knew how to work with their ingredients thanks to Mrs Figg.
Quirrell was not happy. Thanks to the higher requirements for the final exams in Defence this year he had had to set up five different tests more extensive than he had wanted to set up. Five sets of written papers and five years of practical tests. It took away time he needed to get to the stone. Thanks to the damned practical part needing to be taken individually he had to waste a whole week for the exams. If he had had his will he would have simply set a written test with questions that covered the things he had taught over the year. But no, the headmaster wanted a practical and written part in each exam.
Thankfully he had worked out a way to keep Snape and Dumbledore busy for a few hours. Dumbledore would be lured to the Ministry by a fake letter and Snape would be brewing an antidote for a weak poison that caused stomach aches and sickness. The poison would be spread thanks to it being airborne easily and a majority of the students would have to get the antidote. Both Jolnom and Snape would be needed to brew those amounts of antidote. It would give him enough time to get the stone and leave the castle.
It was a desperate plan, but he was desperate. Thanks to Hagrid discovering the dead unicorns in the forest Dumbledore had somehow managed that they retreated into another part of the forest, deeper inside and further away from the school. He hadn't found trails, so he must have taken care of eradicating them after the herd left their former living grounds. This meant if he didn't get the stone within the next week his body would collapse and his and the Dark Lord's plans would fail.
The students were enjoying the nice weather outside of the castle. Finally the exams were over and they now had to wait until the final marks were announced. Harry and Neville were sure that they had done well. While the tests had been exhausting and covered a lot of material, they were fair and could be done in the time you were allowed if you concentrated and had prepared properly. Right now they were contemplating their end-of-year-feast-prank. They and the twins had decided to have the year end with a great bang. The summer would be great, they were sure of it. Not only would Harry fully move in with Sirius, they would spend all the time they could together. Harry would go on a trip to Italy with Sirius for two weeks, after that they would be able to visit each other regularly.
Harry was looking forward to the trio. Sirius had promised that they would combine sightseeing with spending lots of time at the beach, playing games and visiting muggle entertainment sites like adventure parks, theme swimming pools and zoos for example. He would take his camera with him on the trip and take lots of photos to show his friends once he had developed them. As he had never been abroad he was really excited. Neville would spend four days with his uncle in Sweden where he was researching some plants that exclusively grew in Northern Scandinavia. For Neville that was a great thing as he loved learning more about plants and his uncle was fun to be around. As soon as it had turned out that Neville's magic was introverted he had stopped his attempts to get his magic to show and had tried to make up for the lack of acknowledgement he had shown Neville over the years.
Neville would also enter a tournament for fencing. He would now be participating in a higher age group; the tournament was early in August, which meant he would have better opponents to face. Neville was eager to see if his skill would also prevail in a higher age-group.
Quirrell had planted his devices that would set the poison gas free in the air. He would activate them as soon as Dumbledore was away and on the way to the Ministry. The gas would cause symptoms after about fifteen minutes, which meant that as soon as the first victims were found he would have a clear rod to the stone. He was keeping an eye on McGonagall as she would be the one that Dumbledore left in charge while he was away. His owl had arrived five minutes ago so it shouldn't take long now that the old fool left. There, he was approaching McGonagall and briefly talked to her. She nodded and he left. Finally. He walked to the third floor corridor and touched a piece of parchment that was connected to another one that he had cut in little pieces with his wand and sent a magic pulse through it. The pulse would be detected by the small pieces of the second parchment, which he had prepared with a few useful runes and a special potion to act as the trigger to let the gas out. The devices were spread over all the areas of the castle where many students would be, that being the Great Hall, the Entrance Hall, the main staircase, the corridors to their common rooms and the library.
He had taken the antidote already and would be safe. He quickly checked for wards that he might trigger by entering the corridor, but there were none. Foolish Dumbledore. He took out a harp that he had brought to make the Cerberus fall asleep and walked towards the door. He put a spell on the harp that let it play a melody on its own. Then he opened the door and watched how the giant dog's six eyes became heavy and finally closed while the dog sank onto the ground, fast asleep. From there on things were really easy. He opened the trap door, levitated himself down, got rid of the Devil's Snare by using a bit of fire, he summoned the key in the next room out of the masses of flying keys after finally spotting it as 'accio right key' didn't work. Flitwick was too smart for that. And every time he checked a room for wards he found none. Strange, he would have placed at least alarm wards.
The chess board was just annoying as it cost him time. McGonagall had made sure that you couldn't avoid the chessmen so he had to play his way across the room. Thankfully his master had no problem beating the white chessmen. The next obstacle was really easy as it was the troll he had provided. He simply had to tell it to stand aside and let him pass. The riddle was cute. Did Severus really believe a logic riddle would stop him? While many would be stumped right here he wouldn't. He deducted which potion was the right one to go on and felt his insides becoming like ice when he gulped it down. Then he confidently stepped through the black flames towards the last obstacle, Dumbledore's. There was a big mirror in the middle of the room. He walked towards it and looked into it. He saw himself presenting his master with the stone and drinking elixir of life which saved his life and gave his master a new body. Just how did he get the stone?
What Quirrell didn't notice was that all around the room runes had activated in the corners. One at a time became visible and called upon the magic of Quirrell in small amounts. Dumbledore after the troll had been loose on Halloween, mainly to appease the enraged parents and the enraged teachers that knew about the stone being hidden here, had set up a double trap as the final obstacle. First the stone was secured in the mirror so that only the one who wanted to find the stone, but not use it would be able to get it. Next to that his cleverly hidden runes that only activated if a magical person was in the room for at least five minutes and wouldn't be spotted if somebody checked for wards would sap the magical power out of the fool being in the room for too long.
It would only be a small amount at a time, but the longer the person was in the room the more runes would activate and the faster the drain would happen. The other obstacles were to lure a thief into false security and delay them from reaching the stone too fast, not to mention exert a good portion of magic. On the ceiling in each room were the same runes that would ensure that if a spell was cast they would take an additional quarter of the magic put into the spell.
After about ten minutes the drain would be started to be noticed but by then it was too late. The second set of runes would be activated by the magic collected by the first set and unleash an odourless and tasteless not to mention colourless sleeping gas. So the thief would fall asleep and the magic draining runes would finish their work until the captive would be close to squib level. And the best part was that potions wouldn't help in the state, only common rest for two weeks would restore the magical reserves.
Now over the course of the tasks that had been set up to be overcome Quirrell had used spells against the Devil's Snare, to summon the correct key, to make the troll recognise him and step aside and of course the ward detection charms. Overall that made a nice drain on his magic already. Now combined with the increasing number of runes in the last room and more detection spells that were cast Quirrell's magic was sapped away quickly.
So in the end Quirrell fell prey to the combination of runes and the stalling effect of the mirror. He would be found dead with a strange hole at the back of his head hours later after the teachers at the school noticed his absence over the chaos that dealing with all the poisoned students had caused.
At the end of the year Professor Dumbledore decided to not mention that Quirrell had died, only that he wouldn't return for the next year due to health reasons. There was no reason to frighten the students over something that couldn't be changed and that had been Quirrell's own fault. His greed and the probable possession which the dark magical residue on the back of his head indicated had spelled his doom before he had even gone down to the location of the stone. An analysis of his blood would later tell them that he had been the one to kill the unicorns which allowed for them to return to their normal living places inside the forest now that the danger was gone.
Dumbledore pondered if Voldemort could have been the one to possess Quirrell, but there was simply no real proof about anything. He would have to stay vigilant, but in the end the relief that none of the students had been truly hurt over his attempt to get the stone outweighed his concerns where Voldemort could be now. Over the summer the wards would also be upgraded. Three former students, John Goldluck, Brian Fraser and Odmuns Groundstamp owned a company that specialised in high ranking wards. They had offered to investigate if there was really a curse on the DADA position to enable Hogwarts to finally retain a good teacher longer than a year and they would also completely upgrade all the wards around the school. It was their contribution in the project to make Hogwarts better.
He had of course accepted the offer happily and the team would arrive two days after the students went home. He would talk to them to include wards that detected dark objects and confiscated them magically and deposited them in a special warded room for the teachers to dispose of them later on after it was found out what the items were respectively. Sometimes valuable items were cursed and through certain procedures could be saved from being destroyed. Those where it was impossible would be destroyed. Next to that after having found out that Quirrell had been possessed by some dark spirit a ward to at least detect possession of any kind would be a must have. He wouldn't allow that in his school possessions could happen. Not again.
Harry and Neville sat with Susan, Hannah, Seamus and Dean in a compartment at the Hogwarts Express. They all were really happy with the report cards that they had got at the end of the year. Every one of them had passed their classes easily, especially Harry, Neville, Susan and Hannah who had had the prior lessons at Longbottom Manor. Next year the last three, Ginny, Luna and Marius would start at Hogwarts. From their letters they were really excited to see the school and start doing wanded magic. While their classes had been a bit restructured at the Manor they had still learned all the things the others had learned before and they probably had a slight advantage compared with the others that had gone to Hogwarts before them because they had had more time in the preparational classes.
With the new way Hogwarts would work next year things would definitely be more interesting. It was a work in progress like Professor Dumbledore had told them when he had presented the complete concept to all students a week before the year ended. Now every student knew what he or she could expect next year. There had been excitement over the possibilities of earning pocket money from many students. Most of the student jobs would be at the farm, but some would also be at the library where Madam Pince wanted five assistants that helped her keep on top of the work and make sure that not only the educational branches were top notch, but also an area where entertainment reading would be provided.
It was a suggestion that had been handed on by a lot of students that regularly visited the library and who liked reading but wanted to do something besides studying all the time. With Flourish & Blott's offering to donate three thousand galleons for stocking up the library it would be good to have more helpers there. Others could earn some pocket money by being trainers for younger students in the new kinds of sports that were offered. Madam Hooch who was promoted to overall physical education teacher would introduce the kinds of sports in her classes and oversee the booking of fields for groups that wanted to play. Perhaps over time other sports teams besides the Quidditch teams would be started.
In all, the next years at Hogwarts would be a time of change and the students couldn't wait to see what would happen.
The wizarding world was looking at Hogwarts as much as the students that lived there. Next to that the first year of the primary school would start next year as well. For the start they would enrol the wizarding raised children and over time include the muggleborn. The Minister had wanted to get the concept started as soon as possible as it was great publicity for him, so compromises had been made about the first new students. The witches included in the conspiracy, which by now had spread a good part beyond the group that had presented the concepts, were busy making sure that the first muggleborns would be offered enrolment by January. Amelia had managed to recruit Mafalda Hopkirk from the Restriction of Underage Magic Office and Stephanie Velbour from Wizarding Child Services to the conspiracy. Those two were the ones to know first where bouts of accidental magic had taken place.
After that it was only a matter of contacting the parents of the magical child, explain the magical world to them and offer the enrolment of the child in the new primary school where the child would learn the normal skills of reading, writing and calculating, history and some science next to basic classes on magical subjects. After discussing experiences of parents of muggleborns they were fairly sure that most parents would gladly let their children go to the magical variant of primary school as it would help them understand the strange things happening to their child better.
In the nasty cases the Wizarding Child Services could take action way earlier than normally and help protect the child better, in the worst cases relocate the child to a magical family. While the pureblood supremacists would never adopt a muggleborn child, there were many families that would love to adopt a child that needed a family. Children were precious to the magical world and with the exception of families like the Weasleys there were few children in this generation. And many families that had tried to have more than one child had had to give up. Those were the ones the Wizarding Child Services would contact if they were willing to help the children that would be taken from the abusive families.
The wizarding world was once again moving. Many didn't realise the dimension of the changes that would happen yet, but once they did there would be no stopping them. And the start had been four women that had been disgusted how one small boy was the victim of the well-meant but not thought-out plans of an old man. The founders of the most successful movement in the wizarding world that most wizards never would know about. The Witches' Conspiracy.
Okay, that's it. I have finished the story. I never thought I would make such a long story from a two shot that was originally just meant to be an Easter Special. I will see if I write a sequel, but I won't promise anything. So for now you have to be satisfied with the other stories I update.