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Chapter 3: Training Begins Again
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Chapter 3: Training Begins Again
Prongs woke Harry at four, just as they had arranged and without waking Remus he changed and left the Burrow. Harry stretched out by the garden and Prongs yawned as he watched.
Why do you have to start so early?
This is how I trained when I was first in training to become a mage. A strong body will help form a strong mind. You’re fast, no one will doubt that, but you need to make sure you can last. Tarragon won’t take it easy on us, and he heals so even though physical attacks won’t work, they’ll make it easier.
You sound like you know what you’re doing. Prongs laughed as though it were some big joke and Harry finished his stretching.
Sky explained to me the importance of a strong body when I was living with her last summer. Are you ready to go?
I am ready.
Harry let their conversation drop and he picked a direction and set off at a jog. They must have gone about one kilometer before Harry picked up the pace to a full run. Last summer his run had lasted five kilometers in one direction and he was determined to run that again. They didn’t see anyone on their way and when Harry felt it had been the full five kilometers he slowed and stopped, he was out of breath and even Prongs was panting.
This is harder than I remember.
I hope it gets easier, that felt like forever!
Harry grinned, he took a few deep breaths then turned around and started running back to the Burrow. He dropped back to a jog when he was two kilometers away, his lungs burned with every breath and his legs begged him to slow further, but he would not yield. The sun was just turning the horizon grey when they reached the garden again and Remus was there. Harry stopped in front of the man and worked to regain his breath.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“Training, I told you I would.”
“How far did you go? How long have you been up?”
“We got up at four and I went about five kilometers out.”
Harry put his hands on top of his head as his breathing finally returned to normal. Prongs was doing better as well and he sneezed in the morning mist but remained quiet.
“Five kilometers? Harry, what if you had been attacked? What if something happened to you? I would never had known!”
“Nothing happened Remus, and even if it had, I could have handled it. You promised me you wouldn’t interfere with my training.”
Remus choked down whatever he was going to say next, he had promised and he knew that whatever he said would do no good.
Harry moved a few feet away and fell down to his hands, the water on the grass fleeing when he touched the ground. He began what he hoped would be a long set of push ups.
“Harry.” Remus’s surprise was in his voice.
“I told you Remus, I’m a mage, I can do whatever I want, and moving a little water is a simple thing.”
Remus seemed to give up and he went back inside where Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were waiting.
Harry had moved on to crunches when Mrs. Weasley called out to him that breakfast was ready. He finished one more set and went inside, everyone was there, they gave him odd looks, mostly of confusion.
“I’m going to clean up first,” Harry said as he passed through the kitchen and back upstairs to the bathroom.
Mr. Weasley was on his way out the door when Harry returned downstairs. Prongs was already half way through a very large bowl of fruit and when Harry sat Mrs. Weasley put her usual large plate of food in front of him. After his morning workout he was starving and he surprised everyone when he finished everything on his plate, though it was a few more bites that he probably should have eaten.
“What were you doing out there Harry?” Ron asked.
“Training. Tarragon returns in one week and he’ll beat me into the ground if I don’t get stronger.”
“He’s going to fight you?”
“What do you mean sort of?”
“Tarragon is a mage, and a strong one.”
“Mages are children’s stories,” Ginny argued.
“No, their not. It takes a great deal of understanding into the very nature of magic and most mages are old because experience helps to come to this understanding. It’s true that there are very few mages in the world, magic is dangerous and most who try will get themselves killed. Having said that, experience isn’t required to be a mage. Tarragon’s mother is a mage, and a very strong one, he homeschooled her children and taught them to be mages from a very young age.”
“Harry, what aren’t you telling us?” Hermione asked.
“It was a lie, all of it. I didn’t spend last summer in bed recovering. I didn’t see Sirius or Remus until four days before the train ride. Instead I was with Tarragon’s half brother and foster sister, they trained me to be a mage. I don’t need a wand to do magic, I no longer have a Trace so I can do magic whenever I please, and no, I will not teach anyone about magic. It’s dangerous and it’s stupid to try. I learned because I was desperate and I was scared enough by what I had been through that I needed that strength. It’s hard, knowing what magic is and what it can do, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”
There was a heavy silence, he had just told a good part of his family that he had been lying to them for a long time.
“So… you can do all of these dishes for me?” Ron asked.
Harry grinned and then laughed and the others joined him. Leave it to Ronald Weasley to break the tension.
“Do you want me to?”
“Oh no you don’t! He’s not getting out of his chores that easy!” Mrs. Weasley scolded.
“So, if you can do whatever magic you want, why are you working out so hard?”
“A strong body is important for a strong mind. If my concentration fades when I’m doing magic, I could die. With a wand and spells designed for specific purposes, it makes magic safer, that’s why we have them, though it’s been so long the truth of it is lost. Things that I know well are easier and safer, as long as I understand it and I know exactly what I want, and I have the concentration for it, then it’s not a problem.”
“That’s why you’re still going to Hogwarts,” Hermione said, it was only half a question.
“Show us, I want to see something,” Ginny demanded.
Harry grinned, at first they had been confused and a little offended that he had kept the secret, but they were starting to accept it and that’s what he needed them to do. He held out his hand, palm up.
“Lumos.” A bright ball of light appeared and drew them in. Harry tossed it across the kitchen like any toy ball and kept a finger pointed at it. With a little wiggle he had it doing loops and he drew it back into his hand after a few of those. “Nox.”
“That’s just first year stuff,” Ron complained.
Harry knew full well he was being challenged but he obliged. Hands in view of everyone, his features shifted and his body changed and after just one short minute he was Ron’s double.
“It’s not first year stuff,” he countered with Ron’s voice. He didn’t keep the appearance for long and lifted the changes a second later.
“That’s just like Tonks!” Ginny cheered as she laughed.
“Like I said, if I now what I’m doing then it’s not a problem.”
“What if you make it up. What if you don’t know the spell for something?” Remus asked, he was concerned, just as he had been all morning.
“Then I try to avoid it. Making things up without thinking them through can backfire, just like with any spell. Think Seamus learning a new charm but far worse.”
Ginny, Ron and Hermione laughed. Their friend had made several things explode in his attempts at unfamiliar magic, often resulting is several weeks of re-growing his eyebrows.
“So you could die?” Remus asked, he was familiar with Seamus’ exploits too.
“Yes. I told you, most people die trying to learn what it takes to be a mage, they don’t have the concentration or they’re reckless and their magic fails them.”
“And your concentration will never fail you?” Remus challenged.
“No, it won’t.” Harry was getting annoyed with the man, he knew Remus was only concerned, he just lost his best friend, to risk losing Harry was a hard thought for him to accept. Never the less, he wasn’t fond of being doubted.
Calm yourself, he has good intentions.
Harry reached over and scratched behind Prongs’ ears as he calmed down.
“Thank you for breakfast Mrs. Weasley, but I should get back to training.” He picked up his dishes and moved them to the sink. Despite his muscles already stiffening from his first workout, he wasn’t going to let himself stop so easily. He had ignored his martial arts training on and off for most of his year at Hogwarts, he hadn’t been able to find the right time for it. With Tarragon challenging him, he was going to have to brush up on his fighting skills and he was going to have to do it fast.
Harry protected a tree out by the garden so that he didn’t chip away at it. Inside he could sense Ron rushing through the dishes and Hermione and Ginny sat outside just near the house, most likely gossiping as they watched him. As soon as Ron was done he ran out to where Harry attacked the tree.
“Harry, I need a favor.”
He paused and caught his breath. “What kind of favor?”
“I want to train with you.”
“Quidditch. I want to try out for the team again and I want to be the only choice. If I train with you, then I can be better right?”
Harry grinned. “Sure, I’d love to help you. But you’d have to train on my time. Starting at four in the morning.”
“Four? In the morning?”
“That’s right, a long run, some standard exercises, breakfast, then combat training until lunch. After that there’s time to finish summer homework.”
Ron groaned, though Harry thought it was mostly at the last part. “If that’s what it takes, then alright.”
Harry grinned and spent what was left of the morning teaching Ron the basics of martial arts the way he had learned them from Tarragon’s older brother Reiji.
The week went fast, it was nothing compared to the two months that he had spent learning the first time. Ron’s first day was the worst, Harry ran the whole way as he had done the day before, it hurt worse that before because he was sore. However, Ron struggled to make it even half way but Prongs stayed at his side and Harry kept tabs on him. When Harry reached him on his way back Ron just turned around with him, which wasn’t a problem, he wasn’t strong enough to finish yet. Once they got back Harry took only a minute or two before he set to his push ups again, but Ron gasped for air for almost ten minutes before he rolled over and started his own set up push ups. When Harry turned to crunches, so did Ron and they both continued until Mrs. Weasley called them in to breakfast, though Ron was much slower. They cleaned up, ate their breakfast and Harry taught Ron more martial arts, letting him practice alone after a while as he went back to the tree. Harry’s third day became easier, but Ron suffered the same problem Harry had the day before, though he pushed himself to match what he had done before. Like Harry though, he did better after that, and by the end of the week he was running the full ten kilometers. Though he always complained that he was going to die by the end and he took forever to recover after the run.
“Are you going to keep training after Tarragon comes back?”
“I think so, it’s certainly not a bad idea.”
“When we finish all this homework can we practice Quidditch in the afternoons instead?”
“Yeah, I’d be happy to help you practice. It would be great to have you on the team again.”
“If you’re going to practice Quidditch then I’m joining in,” Ginny chimed in.
They had all been spread out with their homework on the living room floor, just like they had been all week. Though Hermione mostly supervised, she had finished her homework before Harry had even arrived at the Burrow. Remus looked in on them from time to time and Harry always gave him a smile. The man always worried when he was gone in the mornings but he was feeling better now that Harry wasn’t sulking so much. He hadn’t argued Harry’s training anymore either, he knew he would never win that battle. Mrs. Weasley had yelled at Ron for several days for joining Harry but she too got over it in the end.