Chapter 11 : Gryffindor Is Back In Business
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Harry slipped into his Gryffindor dorm room, not wanting to awake any of his school mates. Neville, Ron, Seamus and Dean were all snoring like dragons. On second thought, he was confident he could have made all the ruckas he wanted and they wouldn’t bat an eye. Even though it felt great to be back, his life felt so distorted and on such a different level that school seemed like a lifetime behind him, even though it was only a few months since he left Hogwarts.
His trunk was here, and it brought a twinge of remorse that he knew this snippet of happiness was short lived. Those hunters were still out there, and Harry doubted he would live 'happily ever after 'now that he was back at Hogwarts. Determined not to get into another bed after he was out of it for so long he folded himself in the crook of the window sill. He smiled in reminiscence; he used come here and contemplate about things when he was younger. He was much bigger now, and had to settle by just leaning against the window, his forehead pressed against the cool glass pane. He sat there until he saw the sun creep over the horizon, the early morning light dissipating the shadows of the night. Feeling for some more time to himself, he pulled a jersey Hermione had bought him over his bare back, picked up his trusty Firebolt, and stalked out into the deserted halls, his footsteps echoing along the wide corridors.
Hermione was still awake, a bit torn between behind so happy to have her boyfriend back and inadvertently pissing him off on his first night back. She should have known better that he was sensitive to people consistently harassing him and looking at him strangely, after all, it had been like this for five years. Half a decade, it felt like a lifetime ago. All that they’ve been through, all the abuse and prejudice against him, no wonder he felt soured by the fact that there would be a lot of people wanting to ask him questions: these strange abilities, Voldemort, everything. When dawn broke she got ready before everyone else and put on something casual yet pretty to greet him on this beautiful Saturday morning. She rushed down the stairs and sat in her favourite chair, using the time before he came down to catch up on Arithmency NEWT Levels: Formulae Beyond Difficulty. She sat there for nearly half an hour before the first boy came down from the room. It was Neville, he was rubbing his eyes sleepily, his hair sticking up all over the place.
“Morning, Hermione...” he mumbled, spotting her. Hermione looked at him closely, there was no change to his manner that she could see, she thought he would be at remotely enthused about Harry being awake...wouldn’t he?
Neville paused, why was she watching him so closely? “What?” he asked, curious.
“Uh, nothing. You’re hair looks funny, that’s all,” she lied, nodding at his messy hair. The girls all filed down soon after. Lavender and Padma Patil were talking about anything from hairstyling charms to the latest Witches Weeklyand other such fluff. The girls briefly said hello to the both of them and went out of the common room for breakfast.
“Oh, yeah. It’s Saturday...I never remember to comb my hair on weekends. Granny keeps hounding me over the summer every Saturday and Sunday, you’d think I’d learn by now,” he explained with a smile, totally overlooking that his hair was in a state as he headed downstairs for breakfast. The students from the other years were also awaking and soon the common room was full of traffic. The six year boy’s room door opened again and Hermione’s eyes shot up, but it was Dean who came down shortly after, hustling to the library, a pile of books under his arm.
“Hi Hermione. Bye Hermione,” he said in one breath, hustling out of the portrait. Finnigan came down with a sleepy looking Ron; explaining something to him in an excited manner. Ron spotted Hermione anxiously looking up at the male dormitory and interrupted his roommate.
“Hold on, some thing's troubling her. I’ll talk to you later, okay?” said Ron. Seamus grunted and waved off. Ron met Hermione halfway as she got out of her chair.
“Harry’s still sleeping?” she asked anxiously, glancing over his shoulder to their room.
“You tell me, I left you with him last night,” Ron replied, and eyebrow raising.
“No! I meant: is he still sleeping upstairs in his bed!?” she said.
“What are you talking about, no one has been sleeping there, Harry’s still in the hospital wing as far as I know,” said Ron, his expression clueless. “Hermione, I think you need to get some rest- I'm seriously contemplating calling a witch doctor...” he mocked, opening his eyes widely in a frightening manner. At her expression, he knew his muggle joke was of bad taste.
“AarrGH!!” she moaned in frustration. “Harry was upstairs early this morning!! He’s awake!! And both of us came back here!! WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE’S NOT THERE??!” she ranted at him.
She brushed past Ron and stormed up to the bedroom, flinging the door open with ferocity. Harry’s bed was immaculately made, there was never a crease in the sheets when the house elves prepared the room for the evening. She watched the empty bed, and froze, her heart coming to a near standstill.
No, he’s not gone, he couldn’t have, he would not dare do that to me again!
She pivoted on the spot, her eyes darting at all the corners of the room, somehow thinking that he could be just in the corner somewhere, no matter how ludicrous the notion seemed.
“Harry’s up? And he did not check me? I’m gonna kill him!” Ron fumed, feeling a bit betrayed. Hermione said noting, her adrenaline kicking in and her breathing becoming a bit desperate. Ron looked at her, and noticed she was beginning to hyperventilate. “Hermione, you okay?” She looked at him with absolute panic in her face, her eyes wide with dread.
‘No.. he couldn’t, he.. has to be.. he won’t do this to me!” she shrieked, her hands trembling.
“Hey, no he won’t, he’s here, maybe just downstairs..or something, calm down Hermione!” Ron countered, not believing it himself.
“You don’t understand. I can feel if he’s near, and right now he’s not around!!” she was really in a state, pacing up and down, her hands pulling at her hair.
“C’mon, I’m sure he’s still about somewhere, let’s look for him.” Ron pulled his agitated friend out of the room and they both went out in search for him.
Harry was high over the quidditch pitch, feeling the cool wind whip his hair about his face. This felt glorious, he could not describe how much he missed flying. This was his element, and Quidditch was part of his soul. He was flying straight up, feeling the G forces acting on him the higher he went and the faster he flew. He grinned broadly, relishing the pressure acting on him. After he felt that he could go no higher, he let the broom fall back down to the earth, accelerating to incredible speed as he dove headfirst to the pitch far far below.
“WWOOOOOO!!” he screamed, how could he have gone months without this? He never even got to try a full Wronski feint, nd the stunt he was pulling here was taking it to an even more dangerous level. Accelerating towards the ground from that sort of altitude was certainly a suicide run, but Harry knew that he could do it, eve though the earth was speeding up o him at a deadly pace. The trick was to corkscrew a full 360 degrees then half barrel roll before the final pull out the descent, adding extra boost to airslide out of the dive. He spiraled just fifty feet above ground, feeling the Firebolt tremble slightly to the change of thrust and when the propulsion charm responded to the updraft, the nose of the broom swerved counterclockwise to his spiral and up, naturally taking him out the dive. He was now upside down a few feet over the pitch, his technique perfect. Completing the half barrel roll he righted himself, the broom picking up stray leaves as he skimmed low over the grass
Krum, eat your heart out....
That was exhilarating, he never tried that from that sort of height and speed before. He was grinning broadly, he wished someone had saw that-
“Bravo, Harry! We missed you in that Bulgaria friendly, where the fuck were you mate?” a familiar voice boomed from the pitch. Harry spun around, and squinted to make out the two tall figures on the pitch. No, that couldn’t be.. he zoomed over to them and his face split in his widest grin. This was too good to be true.
“FRED!! GEORGE!!” he yelled, jumping off his broom at an incredible speed. It shot off and circled around while Harry landed at a jog in front of the twins.
“Wha, even your dismount is impressive. How the hell are you mate?” Fred grabbed his hand and pulled him in a rough hug. “Good to see you, Potter. Right scare you gave us,” George chipped in, clapping Harry hard on his shoulder. He felt a spike of pain, but Harry was so happy to see them that he brushed off the niggling injury.
“I’m good, I’m good. What are you two up to, being here and all?”
“We believe that education is the most important factor in our life right now, isn’t that right Fred?” he declared, winking at his brother.
“HA! Yeah, right....” Harry beamed, these two could be full of it sometimes.
“Hell yeah.” Fred added, “C’mon, bloody hell; aren’t you hungry? I’m starving,” he continued, putting his arm around Harry’s shoulders as they walked back to the main halls; yapping away all the crazy shit he’s seen happen to customers at the shop.
“Leave me.. Alone!” Jaina Walken shrieked, pulling out her wand, brandishing it against Draco Malfoy and his cronies Crabbe and Goyle.
“Since you declined to ..ah..step down from the team, I must confess that I usually have nothing against pure-bloods, but for you we would make an exception,” Draco Malfoy sneered.
“So the three of you against me is what it boils down to does it?” she snarled, backing away as the three sixth year boys advanced on her. “Come on then, I’m not scared!” she said bravely, but her trembling wand hand gave her away. Angry red sparks were flying out of it, but Malfoy and his goons just smiled.
“Ah,” Draco smirked. “Boys, allow me.” They stepped back and Draco advanced on her, standing in front of her with his hands arrogantly on his hips. “Well dwarf, I’m giving you the first shot,” he goaded her.
“I am NOT a dwarf! Stupefy!” she screamed, and a stunner shot straight at Draco. Draco simply twisted and the red bolt sizzled past. He watched the small hole it made in the wooden door to the classroom they were inside and nodded appreciatively.
“Care to try again?” he teased. Her face flushed red and and she pointed her wand again and screamed with more ferocity.
“Assimiliar incante,” Draco said lazily, flicking his wand at her. The stunner zoomed directly to his own wand, making the tip glow a bright red. Draco brought his wand to his face, examined it contemptuously and muttered, “ Incante dissipartium.” The blazing red faded, leaving a trail of smoke twirling up form his wand. He blew it out like he would smoking gun, and smiled.
“Is that the best you got?” he sneered.
“Expelliarmus!” She shouted, but Draco simply kept a firm grip on his wand. He took a step forward and grabbed the wand out of her hand, and with a swift reverse movement backhanded her across the face. She creamed in protest, her head rocking back with the force. She stumbled, toppling over a lecturing podium.
“Now, do you agree to withdraw from the squad or do things have to get ugly?” he threatened.
“Malfoy! Y-you snot-eating wanker, taking advantage of my new beater!” Ron Weasley bellowed from behind them, his face as red as his hair. Draco turned at the words, his face serious.
“What did you just say ?” he asked dangerously.
“You heard me.” Ron threatened, drawing his wand. Draco flashed his wand at him. “STUPEFY!” but Ron was too good to get caught by that.
“Protego!” He countered the Stunning spell and attacked, “Petrificus Totalus!” Crabbe got in the way and froze solid, keeling over to the side. Goyle watched his comrade fall to the floor and exploded in a rage. He jumped between Malfoy and Ron and screamed:
A huge bouquet of beautiful pink and yellow flowers shot out of his wand and fell dangerously at Ron’s feet. Ron looked down, then back at Goyle with a sigh of exasperation. He pointed his wand at him muttering almost half-heartedly.
“Stupefy.” Goyle pitched back with the force of Ron’s lazy stunner and was knocked out cold. Draco took his opening and attacked without hesitation.
“Everte Statum!” Ron flew bodily out of the room, bawling loudly as he soared out into the main corridor. He hit the tiles painfully and slid down the smooth surface on his back.
“Ow...” said Ron. He was panting on the ground, feeling quite dizzy. He heard Draco enervate Goyle and unpetrify Goyle. There was the unmistakable sound of shuffling feet and the struggles of two large bodies trying to fit through one normal doorway.
“Get him!” Draco ordered, and the three of them rushed out into the corridor. Ron was already struggling to his feet, while numerous students who heard him scream were bending the corner. Now this didn't happen every Saturday. Sixth years fighting? The crowd congregated and began to chant.
Goyle and Crabbe were shooting inaccurate stunners at Ron who was jumping and half rolling, half crawling on the ground to avoid the sizzling bolts. He got up a shield charm just in time to block one of them but it was still powerful enough to throw him back to the ground. It was three against one, and he needed to get on an even footing , so to speak.
“Ingreasium!” he shouted, and the corridor in front of him was instantly covered in grease, all three of the Slytherins falling haphazardly in a heap. Draco was up first and with Jaina’s wand he incanted Scourgify!. The hall was clean again in the blink of an eye and with the next breath he shouted “Expelliarmus!” Ron was caught off guard and his wand flew out of his hand and neatly into Draco’s palm. Ron saw he was in a lose lose situation, if he ran, he would be a coward to all these witnesses, but if he fought, he would get his ass kicked. He made a split second decision.
What the fuck. Gryffindors never back down.
“AAAAARRRRRRHHHHH!!” He charged Malfoy head on, sprinting down at him with full force. Draco laughed and used a simple tripping jinx, pointing lazily at Ron’s feet. Ron tripped spectacularly, diving head first along the smooth polished hallway. The crowd laughed as he slid all the way to Draco’s feet. Malfoy kicked him in the head for good measure.
“Loser.” He kicked him again while he was down, painfully in the ribs. Crabbe and Goyle were guffawing stupidly behind Draco, holding their stomachs in mirth. Ron coughed on the ground, feeling winded by that kick to the gut. “No sibling around to save anyone now ,is there?” Draco reminded him, remembering Kenna’s badly timed intervention the last time. Suddenly there were two dull thwacks behind him and the raucous laughter from Crabbe and Goyle stopped. Ron turned over unto his back, smiling weakly.
“I’m not too sure about that ...” pointing behind Malfoy. Fred and George were standing above the two whimpering cronies on the ground, rubbing their aching fists.
“Hey, remember us?” George asked sweetly. They advanced on him, drawing their wands.
“Joy. More of the Weasel bunch...” Malfoy muttered. Fred and George brought their wands to bear on him, and Malfoy knew he couldn’t handle both of them using normal spells alone. Just as the twins were about to stun him into oblivion Draco’s eyes glowed and he chanted in a deep voice.
“ Inciendo Protego ar Jansitar!”
A huge wall of flame shot straight up to the ceiling between him and the twins, effectively cutting them off. The students who watched on gasped in fright and some stood stock still in awe, never having witnessed anything like that. By that time nearly the whole school was packed into the large hallway, watching the commotion. There were gasps of shock and awe as everyone was brightly illuminated by the ceiling high blaze. Draco was enjoying the attention, and smiled wickedly, gloating.
“HA! What you two got now you twin dolts!” Draco cackled like a maniac, until he felt the slight twinge of power in the medallion that hung around his neck.
He shut up abruptly, his jaw dropping.
Harry Potter walked calmly through the wall of fire, his clothing unscathed. There was a dead quiet as he appeared, no one knew he was up, and this was some entrance.
“What in the bloody hell...” an anonymous voice in the crowd muttered in the utter silence. His eyes glowed blue, and his face was beyond furious.
“Oh..shit!..” Draco muttered.. his face going pale. He tried to back off but he barely moved an inch when Harry had him in a one-handed grip at his collar, bodily manhandling him. With his free hand he clenched his fist…
Draco was sent flying through the air with the blow, landing with a loud thud on the ground right in front of the onlookers. He clutched the left side of his face, stars swimming in front of his eyes. Harry turned around, and nonchalantly waved his hand. The huge pillar of fire extinguished itself, and he extended a hand to lift Ron from the floor. Ron grinned, and took it, not really needing the assistance, but glad that his mate was there. There was a cheer from the crowd, and Ron patted Harry on the shoulder.
“Glad you’re back and kicking ass,” he said to Harry, grinning like an idiot.
“Yeah. It’s great to be back,” He grinned back just as stupidly.
Ron pulled him into a brotherly hug and laughed loudly. “You damn nutter, you know how to give people a scare you know that don’t you?” he held him at arms length and laughed again. “Now here you are back the first day and dishing it out to Malfoy. Just fucking classic.”
Harry glanced at the onlookers crowded in the hallway, and caught a glimpse of Hermione. Her face was set, and she was watching him with fire in her eyes. She shook her head in annoyance, and pushed her way back out of the crowd, heading away from the whole scene. Harry’s smile faded, and he stared at Hermione’s retreating head, his eyebrows creased in consternation.
“What’s up with Hermione?” Ron asked. Harry pursed his lips and set off to catch her, but some huge seventh year Slytherins stood in his path, blocking him. He pulled up short, and looked up into a vaguely familiar face.
“What?” he asked irritably.
“You don't expect to do that to Draco and walk away, now do you?” the biggest one threatened, putting a meaty hand on Harry’s shoulder. Harry looked down at the hand on his shoulder then stared back at the four guys blocking him, his temper boiling. Fred, George, Ron, Neville, Seamus, Dean, Michael, Ernie, Ginny, Colin, Cho, Luna, Jaina, Parvati, Padma, Zacharius, Terry, and even little Dennis Creevy covertly surrounded the four of them.
George tapped Jonathon Hargreaves on his shoulder lightly. “Excuse me.”
The four boys who surrounded Harry looked at Fred and George, who were smiling wickedly. “You sure about this?” he asked politely, glancing over the taller bloke’s shoulder at the much larger ring of people surrounding Potter. Kyle Hutchinson nudged his friend closet to him, looking around nervously. Ringo Freund got the hint, and passed on the nudge to his Finnish mate, Jari Esnaider. He looked around him in shock, and nudged Hargeaves in the back.
Hargreaves did not notice what was happening, and still wanted to instigate a fight. “What?” he barked in annoyance, his eyes defiantly boring into George's.
“Uhh.. maybe we shouldn’t...”
“What are you talking about..?” Hargreaves looked around and it finally hit him the situation they were in. Gulping visibly, he quickly let go of Harry, who was standing quite calm in the center of everything. “Uhh- hey, we don’t want no trouble,” he stammered, backing into his mates.
“That’s what I thought,” Fred said, glaring at him and his mates. Harry walked straight through the four of them, each of them making a big space to let him pass. He paused by Hargreaves, and glared at him, then nonchalantly dusted off where he had touched him on the shoulder.
“Lucky thing George was around to save your ass, Hargreaves.” Harry stormed off through the crowd, he really was in bad mood now. The first day he’s back and Malfoy and Ron are fighting, Hermione’s pissed at him for God knows what, and these stupid muscle heads wanted to start something. Like he was just a magnet for trouble, and Mr. Granger’s accusations haunted him all over again. If this was the only first day, he couldn’t wait for the rest of the year.
Where did she go now?
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