Remedial Summer Course
by Healer Pomfrey
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
While Harry slowly left the apothecary behind Hagrid, his eyes fell on a parchment that was attached to the entrance door just a little above eye level.
Remedial Summer Course
A course for everyone having problems with Potions during the school year
Finished 1st and 2nd year 9:00 a.m. till noon
Finished 3rd and 4th year 1:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m.
Fees: 10 Galleons or assisting in the potions lab from 4:00 p.m. till 6 p.m.
He remained thoughtful, while they headed out of Diagon Alley; however, when Hagrid readied himself to apparate Harry back to the Dursleys, he spoke up quickly.
"Hagrid, please don't take me back yet. There's something I'd like to do here in the city before going home. I'll take the bus later on."
"Alrigh' lad," Hagrid replied, gently, and offered to shrink Harry's luggage with a charm that would be cancelled as soon as Harry touched the small package with his wand.
An instant later, Harry found himself just on his own. 'That's it,' he decided. 'I'm not going to return to the Dursleys. Who knows what they'd do to Hedwig.' With his shrunken luggage in his jeans pocket and Hedwig's cage in his hand, he returned to the Leaky Cauldron.
"Excuse me sir," he hesitantly addressed Tom, the barkeeper. "I need a room until Hogwarts begins in one month."
Tom led him to a back chamber, where he asked in surprise, "I thought you were staying with your relatives. In fact, the whole magical world is aware of the fact. Are you not going to return home?"
"Sir please don't tell anyone," Harry replied, pleadingly. "My relatives hate me because of being magical, and I'm afraid that my owl wouldn't survive it if I returned there. I'd like to stay here until the beginning of the school year."
"All right Harry," Tom said in understanding. "I have a tiny room on the very top floor, which I could give you for just one galleon for the month."
Harry happily agreed and followed the older wizard upstairs, eyeing the small chamber in amazement. 'This is small?' he wondered in disbelief, taking in the comfortable looking bed along with a table, a chair and a bookshelf. Everything was kept in white, and Harry immediately liked the room.
"Thank you so very much," he spoke up, smiling. "This is awesome."
As soon as Tom had left after advising him about the breakfast times, Harry headed to the apothecary in Diagon Alley. He hesitantly entered the shop.
"What can I do for you?" the apothecary addressed him, giving him a sharp look.
Harry pointed to the parchment at the door. "I'd like to sign up for the Remedial Summer Course if that's still possible," he admitted, giving the older wizard a questioning look.
"Very well," the apothecary said and introduced himself as Mr. Rogers. He looked at a list and queried, "First and second year class I suppose?" When Harry replied affirmatively, he wanted to know, "Are you going to pay in Galleons, or do you prefer cleaning cauldrons?"
"Either way is fine with me," Harry answered, uncertainly. 'He looks very strict, but he's not unfriendly,' he thought, sighing in relief, when Mr. Rogers made the decision for him.
"Well then I'm going to add you to the list of students, who're going to help in the evening. Save your money," he said, smirking.
"Thank you sir," Harry replied, giving the man a grateful look.
"The course commences at nine o'clock tomorrow morning, and tardiness will not be accepted," Rogers informed him, handing him a parchment. "I need your guardians' signature."
Harry cast the apothecary a devastated look. "Mr. Rogers, my guardians are Muggles, who absolutely detest magic. Please let me attend without the signature. I'm not going to return to them during these holidays anyway."
Rogers gave him a sharp look. "Where are you staying then, boy?"
"I rented a room at the Leaky Cauldron, sir," Harry admitted in a small voice. "But please don't tell anyone, because I really don't want to return to my relatives. I love the magical world. It's awesome. I can get to eat when I want, I can sleep in a real bed in a very nice room, and I'd really like to attend this summer course. Please sir," he added, pleadingly.
Rogers sighed, understanding from the boy's words and his way of speaking that he had to be at least neglected and verbally abused. "Very well then, you may attend even without the signature. Just be very careful. If anything happens, they'll have my head."
"I will," Harry promised, thanking the apothecary profusely.
In the morning, Harry was so excited that he arrived at the apothecary thirty minutes early. Only five other students attended the course, two girls and three boys. The students introduced themselves as Fred and George Weasley from Gryffindor, who had finished their second year, Lee Jordan from Gryffindor and the same year, as well as Katie Bell from Gryffindor and Ben Wilkes from Slytherin, who had both finished their first year. Only now realising his mistake, Harry stated that he had finished his first year and was a Gryffindor, noticing that his two supposed-to-be classmates cast him surprised looks but did not give him out to the instructor.
"During the first two weeks, we're going to brew first-year potions, and during the second half of our course, it'll be second year potions, even if a bit advanced for the younger ones of our midst," Rogers explained. "Today, I'll pretend that none of you has ever taken a Potions class and just give you a review about ingredients. If we then still have time at the end of the class, I'll let you brew some fruit drops," he promised, causing the students to smile in anticipation.
Harry listened with interest and was very grateful when the apothecary explained everything that they had to know about the difference about magical and non magical ingredients and the different ways of preparing ingredients.
'Thank God he explained that, otherwise I'd be the only one knowing nothing about this,' Harry mused, when he gathered his ingredients in order to brew blueberry fruit drops towards the end of the class.
Apparently sensing that he didn't know anyone, the red-headed twins cornered him and invited him to sit between them, and Harry soon found out that they were very funny. Unfortunately, he did not have much chance to speak with them, as he had to concentrate on properly preparing the ingredients and inserting them in the correct order; however, at the end of the class they told him that they were going to come back in the afternoon to assist in the lab or clean cauldrons, and Harry happily informed them that he was going to be there too. 'This was so much fun,' Harry mused, eyeing his fruit drops, which had to stay in a form until the next morning, in amazement. 'It's like cooking, although a bit different.'
'Okay, now I have four hours before I'll have to be back,' he thought, when he left the apothecary, deciding to have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron and then study his first year Potions book.
"Our little brother Ron's going to become a first year, too..."
"... and he said he can't wait to meet you..."
"... but he's too lazy to attend a Potions class during the holidays," the red-haired twins told him in a funny sing song, when they met again later on.
Harry and the twins were the only students, who had decided to return to the apothecary in the afternoon to clean cauldrons or help in the lab. 'That's great, I really like them best, and I'm having much fun with them,' Harry thought, feeling very comfortable, as he helped the twins, who seemed to exactly know what to do.
Finally, all cauldrons were cleaned, partly with magic, which the twins unobtrusively taught him, and partly with Muggle means to clean the worst dirt. Mr. Rogers commended them for their work and invited them to prepare ingredients for several potions, which he had to brew during the evening.
Harry thoroughly enjoyed himself, especially since the twins took care of him and patiently showed him how to prepare the ingredients when he needed help, careful to not alert the apothecary to the fact that Harry hadn't even begun his first Hogwarts year.
By the end of the first week, Harry had read through the first and second year Potions books, which helped him immensely to follow Mr. Rogers' explanations about the potions, which he expected them to brew. Harry realised that he really enjoyed brewing potions, which was especially fun, since the twins continued making him sit between them during class. 'It must be like this to have friends,' he thought. 'I wonder if they are my friends. It would be so awesome.'
When the three boys were still helping in the lab on Friday evening, almost two hours after Mr. Rogers had told them that they were dismissed for the day, the apothecary addressed them again, sounding thoughtful.
"Is my assumption correct that the three of you are not here because of any problems you might have had in your Potions classes but, rather the opposite, because you love to brew?" He quirked an eyebrow at Harry and the twins.
"Yes, that's true," Fred and George admitted, simultaneously.
"Yes sir, sorry sir, I love to brew," Harry added, eagerly.
Mr. Rogers smirked. "Very well, then I'd like to suggest something to you. You're doing an awesome job helping here and all three of you seem to be very adept at brewing. Therefore, if you'd like to attend the afternoon classes for the third and fourth year in addition to your own class, you're welcome to do so."
Harry stared at the older wizard with a combination of disbelief and delight. "Oh yes sir, that would be awesome," he blurted out, causing the twins to chuckle.
"If our mother lets us go..."
"... we'd rather brew some more..."
"... than to spend our time degnoming the garden," the twins replied in their usual sing-song, making Harry look at them in amusement.
"Shall we go and buy our third year Potions books?" Harry queried when they passed in front of Flourish & Blotts on the way back to the Leaky Cauldron, from where the twins used to floo home.
"Do you have money?" Fred and George blurted out, simultaneously, staring at him in surprise.
"Yes," Harry replied, chuckling. "Come." He led the twins into the bookshop and bought three copies of the book, which they'd need in order to properly follow the advanced class.
As they continued their walk through the alley, which was fairly crowded on this Friday evening, the twins looked at their new books in amazement.
"New ones," Fred mouthed, glancing at his brother, who nodded, happily.
"... you know you didn't have to do that..."
"... We're your friends anyway..."
"... without receiving any gift..."
"... But we're still very happy..."
"... to have completely new books for once," the twins told Harry, who returned a truly happy smile.
'They're my friends,' he mused, barely able to believe his luck.
"Thank you so much for being my friends," he replied quietly, adding in a barely audible voice, "the first friends I ever had."
From that time onwards, Harry and his friends spent the whole day at the apothecary, thoroughly enjoying themselves. When Mr. Rogers informed them that the following day would be the last, since Hogwarts was going to commence in two days' time, Harry was almost disappointed.
'Well, I'm looking forward to going to Hogwarts,' he thought. 'This month was a lot of fun though, and I'm going to miss brewing the whole day. But the twins will be at Hogwarts too, and everyone there will be freaks like myself, so it'll probably be great.'
On the last day, Mr. Rogers allowed the five first and second years to brew a harmless prank potion, which they were allowed to bottle and take with them to use at the school, and once again Harry enjoyed himself greatly.
However, in the afternoon, when Mr. Rogers made the third and fourth years brew an equally harmless but more complicated joke potion, something happened, which Harry would remember forever, whenever he thought of his first time at Hogwarts.