Disclaimer:I do NOT own Harry Potter or Eyeshield 21 or any of the affiliated characters. What I do own is a kick ass Ash Ketchum hat, a freezer full of fudge pops, and a collection of gold medal winning maple syrup. None of which will appear in this story.
Warnings:OC's, some OOC, Het, Slash, AU, fluff, language
The Twentieth Tackle
Harrys first flying class was amazing. It was better than amazing, but he didn't know the world for that, so he had to settle on amazing. Hooch had him down at the pitch, and the first five minutes was just him flying around and warming up. After, Hooch had him run a series of flying drills. After those were over and he was very winded – his abs had never had such a work out- she taught him a new diving technique.
One thing that Hooch had talked to him about was his penchant for dives. Harry's fearless dives were starting to become his signature move and Hooch was determined to make them even better. So far, Harry was able to play chicken with his fellow seekers, but when he entered the professional league he would have stiffer competition that wouldn't bow out as quickly as school children.
They had started on the Hornby Hook. It wasn't really a dive, as you only flew a few yards towards the ground before jerking up your broom up and ascending. The technique was perfect for one of his pet peeves. He hated it when others stuck to his side and followed him. He thought it was a blaring confession that they had no belief in their own skills. The Hornby Hook was meant to startle his opponent, force them into a dive, and as they were flying down, he was flying up and snatching the snitch from the sky.
It sounded easy in theory but it was hard to pull off. This technique was to be used when he saw the snitch above him, but his opponent was too close to risk chasing it. If he tried to prepare to pull out of the dive too early, the other seeker could see and not be fooled. If he pulled out too late, he wasted time and the snitch could possibly disappear. What he needed to work on was the turn. Most flyers used a long U-turn to switch directions. Flying straight down and then straight up was harder to do, considering the force pushing you down. Harry needed to perfect a short sharp U-turn which meant a lot of work from his arms, back, and abs. Instead of simply guiding the broom, you had to force the turn against the wind.
They had work on it for a solid 45 minutes and while he was improving, he knew without Hooch telling him, that he still had a long way to go. The turn was hard, and while he was shortening his turn speed, it was very sloppy.
Nearing the end of class, Hooch had him try some agility drills. He was meant to fly between the golden hoops, turn and then fly through them on the way back. His speed wasn't allowed to drop, and if he hit the metal, then his bruises were punishment and motivation.
By the time the class ended, his arms were jelly, his belly was aching, and his back was tight. And it all felt wonderful. He still had a lot of work to do on the Hornby Hook, and he couldn't wait for his next class. Hooch was fast becoming his favourite teacher. Don't get him wrong, McGonagall was great, but Hooch held so much passion in her voice when she was teaching him something and he was always a doer. He didn't like sitting still for too long and in Hooch's class he was constantly moving and learning on the go, which is what he was best at.
As he approached the doors of the castle, Harry was happy to see Dean waiting for him.
"And how was it?" His friend asked.
Harry grinned widely. "it was brilliant. I wish I had taken Flying earlier." He happily exclaimed. Dean threw an arm around his shoulder and started to lead him towards their next class.
"I got to watch the end a bit. Were you racing Madam Hooch, or was that some form of training?"
Harry couldn't wipe the smile from his face. "We were racing! Hooch wanted to see how her skills tested against a firebolt." It had been exhilarating. Hooch had barely let him have the tiniest bit of a lead. Even on a five year old broom, she managed to tie with him and he didn't feel bad about it at all. He knew he had a massive advantage with his firebolt. It was top of the line, the fastest broom sold ever, and in perfect condition. He hoped they would race again. "Racing, and it was terrific."
Dean chuckled. "Was there anything bad about the class?"
"Not at all." Harry firmly believed it was one of the reasons more people didn't take it. They weren't allowed to. The class was fun, and brilliant, and amazing… the professors had to discourage students or else Hooch would never get to rest. It was also so physically demanding, not just on the student, but the professor as well, he could see why only certain students were allowed to take it. Only those serious about quidditch could sign up.
"Well I'm officially jealous. While you were flying around, I spent my free period watching Seamus hit on Pavarti, Neville take care of his plants, and Ron walking around the common room complaining about Divination. It was bloody boring!"
He couldn't help but laugh at his friend. "You could have always left the common room."
Dean shook his head. "And do what? Study in the library? I heard that Hermione has been driving all the Ravenclaw third years bonkers with how she's managing to go to all her classes. They have taken over the library and are studying extra hard. I swear, I went in there the other day and the book I picked was snatched from my hand by a feral bird. She had bloodshot eyes and was foaming at the mouth."
"They aren't that bad!" Harry laughed. "Although, I do wonder how she's getting to her classes. She has three of that at the same time, and hasn't missed a single one."
Arriving at Charms, Dean opened the door for them. "Well considering where we go to school, I imagine magic is involved in some way."
Taking his seat, Harry laughed. "You could be a detective you know. The Great Dean Thomas, Wizard Detective."
"I know its only my first day, but I'm detecting some sarcasm from you," Dean joked back.
"He's done it! Another case solved!" Harry happily cheered. Dean shook his head and took the seat next to him.
"If you are serious about it, taking flying I mean, you could talk to McGonagall. She didn't let me take it right away because she didn't want me substituting it for an actual elective. I had to prove to her that I was serious, but… if you take it on top of your other two electives, I don't see why she would deny you. You like flying, and you're a hard worker, she will appreciate that."
Dean shook his head. "Not all of us are brave enough to McGonagall's office like you and Wood. She's downright scary when she's looking at you over her glasses."
That was true. His Head of House scared him witless sometimes. "Just give it a thought. We haven't tested you on the pitch yet, but I don't have to be the only quidditch hopeful in our dorm."
"I will think about it… but maybe… could we go flying together first? I like quidditch, and I would love to play, but I want your honest opinion if I would be any good."
"I'll ask Oliver and the girls to help to if you like. I know what a quaffle is but I'm not good at throwing or catching them," Harry admitted.
"You're a good friend, Harry."
They were soon joined by Seamus and Neville, and right after Flitwick started the class.
Takeru distractingly opened his door, allowing the person knocking inside. He was replying to an email one of his American friends sent him, and he wanted to get it sent off quickly.
Looking up, Takeru was surprised to see Honjo Taka in his room. "Yo…" It was odd to say the least. Him and Taka had joined Teikoku together and both made first string on their first day. While they joined together, they were never really close. Taka trained just as hard as him, but their styles were different. Takeru liked to feed off the energy of other people. Taka, was very much the loner type. He trained on his own with his father, he perfected his skills on his own, and he often preferred to ignore his blocking team on the field. There was nothing wrong with his methods, but it wasn't what Takeru enjoyed. Taka was also a quiet boy. He didn't speak much, preferring to read and relax.
"Yamato-san, I overheard you talk about challenging this Eyeshield 21 person."
He wasn't entirely sure where this conversation was going. "He's not the real Eyeshield 21 and I greatly dislike that he is stealing my title." Might as well make sure that was established early on.
Taka's usual expressionless face didn't change much but he did see some surprise. "Who is Eyeshield 21 then?"
Although they trained differently and weren't what you called friends, they did have one thing in common. They both felt like they didn't have a rival. Takeru knew that he was the closest thing Taka saw as a challenge, but they didn't play the same position and never had the chance to truly test their skills against one another.
"I am. It was a nickname my coach at Notre Dame gave me. When I first started there, I had a slight eye injury. I was supposed to wear sunglasses to protect them while they healed, but I refused to miss football tryouts. My mother found an eye shield and fitted it to my helmet. It started with him calling me Eyeshield since he had trouble with my last name, -there was a lot of Yamama- and then when I got a little famous they tacked on my jersey number."
He still couldn't guess what was going on in his teammates mind. "Was that what you wanted to talk about?"
"No…" Taka shuffled into his room further and placed a tape on his desk. "My father had a trip to Tokyo last week. He took me with him. I remembered your conversation and went to see Eyeshield 21. I recorded them during a practice match. That's the tape."
Takeru's eyes went wide. He knew that Taka nderstood the struggle to find a rival. It was hard to stay motivated to improve when you knew you were the best. What would be the point? Taka had obviously thought Takeru wanted to challenge Eyeshield 21 and finally have a rival…Taka had searched out the imposter for him. He was… touched. "Thank you…"
"He has promise… but the team will not make it to the Christmas Bowl."
Takeru looked up sharply. "They won't?"
"There's promise… but no practice or skill."
How was he supposed to crush the imposter if his team didn't get to the Christmas Bowl? It just made the whole situation worse when he thought about his brother going to see some mediocre team and thinking that it was him.
Grabbing the tape and going over to his TV, Takeru had to stop and quickly turn. Bowing slightly to his teammate, he apologised. "Forgive my rudeness. Thank you for this. I really appreciate the trouble you went through for me."
Taka nodded back. "Why is Eyeshield 21 important?"
Takeru bit his lip in thought. It wasn't that he didn't want to share his story with Taka, it's just a very personal thing. Most people would look at the situation and think it's crazy this his lost brother would be following the loose trail of his nickname. Harry probably couldn't even read kanji or speak Japanese. His belief that his brother was coming was flimsy.
"Eyeshield 21 is a name that I made famous. I have a younger brother; his name is Harry and he was the sweetest child in the whole world. The night my real parents died, we were shipped off to my mother's sister's house. While they kept Harry, they left me in an orphanage. He found me… he saw Eyeshield 21 in an English newspaper and followed it to America. He arrived after I came to Japan… it's not… It's not logical but I know that he's coming to Japan next.
"Ah…" Taka turned around and started to leave. "Why not issue a challenge in the newspaper, telling him to meet the real Eyeshield 21." The wide receiver didn't wait for a response and just left his room.
That was… a very good idea. If Harry was reading newspapers, then surely, he would see his article calling out the imposter. He would need to get on this. He should ask for his coaches and Captains permission… but then again, asking didn't exactly help him last time.
Sending off his email, Takeru started researching newspaper ad costs. He could advertise in one paper, but then he would be banking on his luck directing his brother to reading that one paper. If he advertised in multiple papers, his chances were higher. He may even need to run the ad several times to ensure that it made it to his brother, but that sounded costly and his allowance was only so big.
Pausing briefly, Takeru decided he needed to thank Taka. Maybe, if he had any pocket money left over, he would get his teammate a nice book.
He knew it was coming. He could only ignore his old friends for so long. He had managed to go a couple months without having another chat with them. Hermione had been so busy with her classes and schoolwork that she hardly had time to see her own bed, never mind having time to talk to him. Ron on the other hand, was always kept at bay by the wall that was Dean, Seamus, and Neville.
Unfortunately, he was alone today. He had been stationed in his classroom, working on his second language orb. Normally the others let him be, knowing how important his language lessons were to him. He would spend his free period there, then head back to the common room to dump his bags before dinner.
It seemed like he wouldn't be making it back to the common room before dinner tonight.
"Harry," Hermione started. She was starting to look very stressed again. Right before Christmas, Hermione looked like she was about to have a mental breakdown. She was starting to get the same crazed and stressed look about her. "We need to talk and you can't ignore us any longer!"
Ron crossed his arms tried to look intimidating. If they wanted to talk, they weren't starting off very friendly.
"How can I help you two?" He backed up a little, wanting to maintain a certain distance from his two former friends.
"We both believe this has gone on long enough! You can't keep ignoring us just because you made new friends. It's hardly fair that we get pushed aside because you found people who will let you slack off," Hermione ranted.
Harry honestly couldn't believe his ears. Was this girl being serious? She thought he didn't hang out with them anymore because he wanted to slack off? "Hermione… I didn't ignore you because I wanted to slack off in school. I started ignoring you because you wouldn't stop lecturing me about befriending other people, and my classes. I didn't drop my electives because I'm lazy. I dropped them because they weren't working for me."
"Oh Harry. We all know that you dropped them so you could spend more time playing quidditch and playing your silly games. If you took school seriously you would have stuck through them like I'm doing. You can't always quit when you want or because the class is a little too hard for you. Ron hates Divination too but he's still taking the class."
Harry rolled his eyes. He didn't miss these. The only lectures he heard nowadays were from Oliver and McGonagall. Those two could lecture him for days when they really got going. Oliver, although having never played seeker, was an expert and was always willing to tell Harry tips and tricks on seeking. McGonagall was a teacher… enough said.
"I'm taking my education seriously. I dropped those classes because they weren't relevant for my future. I don't need them. I have chosen two other courses that I enjoy more."
Hermione huffed. "Harry, you don't know what you want to do in the future, how can you possibly know what classes you need or don't."
"I know exactly what I want to do with my future. I thought long and hard about it and when I decided, I sat down with Professor McGonagall about it. She was the one that needed to approve my new electives. I take school and my future very seriously, and I don't appreciate the two of you cornering me and trying to tell me what I am doing wrong. People grow up and change. I've changed and in the process, I let our friendship fade and for that I am sorry. But just because we were once best mates, I'm not going to allow you two to push me around and tell me what to do."
"Don't lie to us Harry! I'm in every single elective class Hogwarts has to offer and you aren't in any of them!"
"Yeah, mate! You could have at least told me how you got out of class. When I asked McGonagall, she told me no." Ron decided to join the conversation.
"Oh be quiet Ronald! That's not the point. We have been through a lot together Harry. The stone in first year, the Chamber in second. Frankly I am appalled that after one summer, you would allow those boys to coerce you into acting out like this. Seamus has always been a poor student who takes nothing seriously. Neville can barely cast a spell, and Dean so desperately wants to fit in, he will let any one walk all over him. Surrounding yourself with such poor character, is-"
"I don't miss this!" Harry stopped her. He didn't care what she thought of him, but to go after his friends, that was out of line. "Hermione, you are a bully!" There he said it and it was now out in the open.
"You used to be bullied for being too smart but you bully others because they aren't what you consider perfect. You forced me and Ron to redo our essays so many times and insulted us for it. You made us feel dumb with your words and I didn't like that but I never said anything. You judge others, and then stick to that an never change your mind. Seamus is great. He's funny and a great listener. He lightens the mood just walking into a room and encourages us to try new things. Neville is smart. He's great at herbology, genius at it really. He has fifth years coming to him for help on the subject. His spell work has improved loads over the year, but you wouldn't notice because you're too busy sticking your nose in the air. Dean is not a pushover. He's a quiet, he's wise, and he's calm. When ever I get too excited or anxious he's always there to calm me down. He is the most supportive and loyal friend I have ever met!"
Hermione gasped loudly and stepped back as if she were slapped. In a way, she probably was. He just told her that Dean was a better friend than her. It was true though. Dean was willing to help with homework but he never made Harry feel dumb. When Harry needed a support system, Dean was already there waiting.
"They way you talk about them is bullying! If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all!"
Ron stepped forward, his face flushed red and his cheeks puffing. "Don't yell at her like that!" He drew his wand and continued to advance on Harry in a threating manner.
"What are you going to do? Curse me?" Harry wasn't scared. Ron could try all he wanted, but Harry wouldn't back down or apologize. Raising his empty hands to show he was unarmed, Harry stood his ground. "I won't fight you back."
Ron raised his wand and looked ready to hex him when the Red head's wand went flying from his hand.
"That's enough of that," McGonagall's voice rang down the hallway. Harry was happy to see her frankly. He was tired of the argument and while he didn't look forward to getting cursed, he refused to raise his wand to the other boy. "I am disappointed in you Mr. Weasley. Raising your wand to another student! Detention tonight and tomorrow!"
Ron's angry flush started to crawl down his neck and disappeared under his collar. He didn't argue with McGonagall though, so at least the boy was smart that way.
"I will return your wand to you tonight but only after your detention. I will also be writing your parents about this. I do not tolerate attacking other students, especially ones that are unarmed. Miss Granger," McGonagall turned her attentions then, and Ron seemed happy. "I am disappointed in you as well. Why did you not attempt to stop Mr. Weasley from attacking? Since you did not attempt to attack Mr. Potter I will not give you detention, but 10 points from Gryffindor."
Hermione looked upset but didn't argue either. While the two seemed to have little regard for him at least they respected their Head of House.
"Now I do believe that dinner is starting soon. Mr. Potter, why don't you go on ahead while I escort these two down to the Great Hall."
Harry quickly took his leave. Honestly, he hoped he was finished with the two. He knew that they had been friends prior but looking back on it, he didn't know how he endured them for so long. Hermione always pushed them around and while she probably didn't mean to, he could see it now. She belittled their homework, made them feel stupid, and pushed her ideas on them. Ron on the other hand… he was jealous. Whenever Harry brought up money, Ron would get upset. He made snide remarks about Harry's wealth. He would talk about how great it would be to be famous and be popular. Half the time he wanted to do something on his own, Ron was there pestering him to play chess or some other game. He pushed Harry to play quidditch and bragged about it like it was his talent that got Harry on the team.
Sitting down at dinner, Harry huffed angrily.
"Everything okay, mate?" Seamus asked him.
Harry shook his head. He was still a little riled up from Hermione's words. How could she think so poorly of the Gryffindor boys? She had classes with them, she must have seen how much Neville improved at least. Every class Neville was getting more and more confident and showing every one that he was going to be a great wizard. "Ron and Hermione found me in he hallway. They said so not nice things, and then Ron tried attacking me but McGonagall showed up." He didn't want to tell his friends what Hermione said, so he tried keeping it brief.
"Don't listen to anything they say Harry. We all know Hermione likes to be in control," Dean tried to comfort him.
"Yeah, Harry. They are still upset that were all friends now. Well, better friends. Its not like we were enemies before," Neville said.
Seamus shook his head. "What did they say?"
"Just that they think I'm slacking off… that I don't take my future seriously."
Seamus scoffed but Dean was giving him a hard look. "What did they say about us?" Harry tried to deny that they said anything. He didn't want to make the conflict between them all even bigger. He just hoped that every one respected each others decisions and left it at that. "Harry, your extremely tense right now and we all know you don't care what people say about you. For you to still be this upset, they had to have said something about us."
Well… he wasn't wrong. "They… they said you were a pushover trying to fit in, they said Seamus was stupid and that Neville was almost a squib…"
Seamus started getting angry and Harry felt terrible. He was ruining his friend's dinner with this. They should be laughing not caring what Hermione said!
Dean sighed. Seamus calm down. While it is upsetting what they said, I'm sure they didn't mean it. They are hurt and upset that Harry isn't their best friend anymore and are lashing out. For two years it was the three of them and now they are finding it hard to accept the change. It happens all the time with people. Like my sisters. One day Ana decided pink was he favourite colour so no one else could have anything pink, but Jesse already had a pink dress that was her favourite and refused to stop wearing it. So Ana got angry and would tell her the dress made her look ugly, hoping that Jesse would stop wearing it. It's like Ron and Hermione, deep down they just miss Harry and hope that if they put us down enough, Harry will go back to them because we aren't good enough. Its childish and cruel, but we are all still kids."
"Dude… come on… you couldn't have picked a different story? Why do we have to be pink dresses?" Seamus asked with his nose scrunched up.
He couldn't help but laugh. Despite what Hermione had said about him and the situation in general, Seamus was most upset by being referred to as a pink dress. It was silly, and stupid, but that's what he loved about his friends. They kept things calm. Harry probably would have fumed all through dinner but Dean made a great point, and Seamus just cut through all his frustration.
He probably wouldn't ever be great friends with Ron and Hermione anymore, but he also wasn't going to be mad at them. They were upset, but he hoped soon they would see that he didn't just ditch them. People grow apart, their interests change, their personalities mature, and soon the people you hung out with one day, aren't the ones you see yourself being with the next. It was just the way of things. He hoped soon they would understand this and stop being so hurt. Harry didn't want to hurt them but… he had new interests now and when he tried to include them they shut him down and ignored his efforts.
But… maybe one day, they could all get along.
He thought about it for awhile. Like a week and a half. In that that time, Harry didn't speak to Ron or Hermione, but he seriously considered it. They were great friends to him at one point. When he first arrived in the wizarding world, they were what he needed.
Ron was a pureblood who had a large welcoming family that thought him things you could only learn growing up in a magical family. His family welcomed Harry with open arms and showed what a truly loving family felt like. Of course, Ron complained about his siblings and lack or wealth, but Harry could see that despite that, he was happy. He had a mother and father to go home to that would love and care for him. Harry learned that not all families needed money to be happy, and that he could be loved in a small way.
Hermione had been his educational guide. While he did get upset wit her abrasive way of helping, it also taught him to study. The Dursley's never really let him aim high in class. He was meant to get average grades, and not stand out. Hermione showed him to strive for knowledge, to organize an essay, to not fear books. Even now, some of the tips and tricks she showed him, he still employed during self study.
The problem he saw was that he changed and they hadn't. He was more confident not only in himself, but in his beliefs. He didn't need them to hold his hand and tell him where to go anymore. But they thought he did. If he had tried a little harder to reconnect with Hermione when she was unpetrified, she may have seen his evolution while she was down and out. If he had notified Ron that he was gaining an interest in muggle sports, that it was something he wished to pursue with as much fervour as quidditch, his best mate at the time probably would have been more supportive.
But he didn't tell them. He didn't put in that effort, and instead of telling them about his brother right away, something that would have stuck them together like glue again, he didn't. Now they had drifted, well more like splintered, away from each other. Did he regret it? No.
He didn't like that he lost two friends. But he didn't regret it. Because of how things played out, he got to discover more about himself. He learned to truly love quidditch without Ron there to shout in his ear that he had to love it. He discovered a new class that he wanted to take and that he could learn on his own, without Hermione telling him the right way was her way. He finally got to know Dean, Seamus, and Neville. Knowing that he could befriend others helped his friendship grow with others like Oliver and the girls on his team. He was starting to talk to others outside of his house.
The distance helped him, and he hoped it would help them too. They deserved a chance o be recognized for their own talents and not just because they were his friends. Hermione was brilliant and if the wizarding world had their own version of University Challenge, Harry was positive she would win it for Hogwarts.
Ron was often overshadowed by his brothers. It was hard not to be when he had so many. Harry bet that you could talk to anyone in Hogwarts and they would have interacted with a Weasley at some point. Without him around, Ron could show there was more to him than just 'Harry Potter's Friend'. If they could organize a school wide chess tournament, Ron would win first.
Even though he wanted them to grow and succeed without him, Harry didn't want to cut them out of his life completely. He had decided to approach them on his own and have a nice quiet civil conversation. He would explain his actions, his thoughts on everything happening between them, and then express his sincere hope that they could remain friends.
Knowing that Ron and Hermione would be in the library, Harry set out on a mission. They would resolve this today. No more fighting between them, no more fighting between Seamus and Hermione, no more fighting between Neville and Ron… now that he thought about it, Dean was the only calm one among them. He never resorted to bickering.
Turning a corner, Harry ran right into a much bigger person. It was no surprise that he ended up on the ground. Looking up, Harry was startled to see that he ran into a professor.
"I'm sorry Professor Lupin. I wasn't looking where I was going," Harry apologized right away.
The tired looking man shook his head. "It's as much my fault as yours. I had my head stuck in a book and wasn't paying attention."
Harry got up and brushed himself off, a little embarrassed that while he full on bounced off the man and fell, the Professor's robes hadn't even been disturbed. "It must be a good book then," he threw out. This was awkward. He was pretty sure it was awkward… he felt awkward.
Lupin laughed a little. "Well it's not so much a book really. I was feeling a touch nostalgic tonight and I took my graduating yearbook out of storage."
Seeing the golden 1978 splashed across the cover, Harry couldn't help but wonder. He didn't know the exact year his parents graduated. He knew they were in the same year, and they had to have been in Hogwarts a little before or after '78. Biting his lip in hesitation, Harry struggled with himself. Would it be weird to ask to see the book? What if Lupin thought he was overly nosy?
"IS there something you want to ask, Mr. Potter?"
Well… that was permission, right? "Are my parents in there?" He had photo's from Hagrid but… he still wanted to see more.
Lupin's face softened at his words. "They are. We were in the same year. Here, I can show you a few." Lupin easily flipped through the book and showed Harry some photographs. There was several of his father on a broom, racing around the pitch and tossing a quaffle around. Most photo's of him mother was her in the library or sitting with friends. One picture caught his attention though. It was a group of young men, all looking serious and brandishing their wands about in complicated patterns. His father was in the middle, and even with the stern look on his face you could see the hint of mischief running through his eyes. The face that caught his eye thought was a man near the edge of the group. He was all, had dark skin, and a very familiar face.
"Professor, who is that man?" Harry pointed him out.
Lupin turned the book to get a better look. He frowned for a moment before his face fell. "I remember now… that was a boy named Dene Shacklebolt. He was in the dueling club with your father. I believe he was a Ravenclaw…
Harry couldn't stop staring at his face. He saw a younger version of it everyday. "Sir… do you mind if I borrow this book for awhile? I want to show my friends it." Harry normally would have been scared to ask such a thing but… he needed to get this book to Dean.
"I don't see why not. Please, just take good care of it and return it to me soon, alright?" Lupin was very giving.
Harry promised, and then quickly took off. His talk with Ron and Hermione could wait until later. Unless they up and left Hogwarts tonight, Harry didn't see why they couldn't discuss things tomorrow.
Racing back to the common room, Harry's mind went wild. Dean said his father's name was Rory B-something, but there was a real possibility that he had given a false name in the muggle world. If he was hiding from someone or something, then he may have taken a fake name to hide better. Plus, he hoped he was right because they couldn't find anything about Dean's father so far.
Harry spotted Dean the second he got back to Gryffindor. His friend was sitting near the fire working on an essay. Grabbing his arm, Harry dragged his friend up to their dorm.
"Woah Harry, where's the fire?" Dean asked as he allowed himself to be dragged.
"I… Dean… do you have any photo's of your father?"
Dean gave him a weird look. "At home. My mom kept a few…"
Harry bit his lip again. Opening the book and turning to the right page, Harry pointed to the man he hoped was his friends father. "Is this him?"
Dean squinted a little as he looked at the small old photograph. It only took a moment for his eyes to be blown wide he as he fully took in the man Harry pointed out. "T-that's him! I swear, he's looks exactly the same in my mom's pictures." Dean had an amazed look on his face. "How did you find this?"
"Professor Lupin had it, he explained. "But his name… it's Dene Shacklebolt! He went to school with my parents."
Dean gently took the book from his hands and sat down on the nearest bed. "He was really a wizard…"
Harry wasn't sure what to do next. Dean was clearly having a big moment. He remembered how he felt when he discovered his parents with magical. Well that was a little different. First he was blown away that magic was real, then angry that his Aunt lied to him about how his parents died, then sad… then anxious, then happy… the very very confused and lost for like a month. Even to this day he still felt a little confused with the world around him, but he loved it. Mainly, he was happy and sad to learn things about his parents. Happy they weren't drunks and sad that he would never get to personally meet and know the great people they were.
When a sniffle reached his ears, Harry shuffled over and hugged his friend. He wouldn't say anything, but he would offer his support.
It's what Dean would do if the situation was reversed.
Fun Football Fact
In college, the Notre Dame sports information director convinced future Washington Redskins quarterback and NFL MVP Joe Theismann to change the pronunciation of his name from "THEEZ-min" to "THIGHS-min" so it would rhyme with Heisman. The new Mr. Thighsman would not win his Heisman, finishing second to Jim Plunkett.