“You didn’t mention the baby during the interview,” stated Hermione as she walked into the room. A reporter from the Daily Prophet had been invited over that morning to hear an accounting of the previous night’s events.
Harry looked up from his seat on the sofa and said, “That’s not true. I gave her all the necessary information, I even said that he looked a lot like my mum.”
“But you didn’t tell her about him.”
Harry blinked. He wondered if her mood was because she gave birth less than a day ago and was overly tired or if it was because of the baby’s condition. She didn’t seem to see that he was as emotionally raw from the situation as she was. He never understood her when she was like this. “Lily wasn’t discussed either and I don’t see you upset about that.” Seeing the look on her face he waved his hands in frustration and continued, “I don’t know what else to do, but I didn’t think that making a statement to a reporter without talking to you about it first was the way to go.”
Hermione slumped into an armchair. Arguing was not going to solve the problem and it wasn’t going to make it any less real or easier to deal with. Until the baby was older, they wouldn’t even know to what extent the curse had harmed him. He might be like Mr. Filch, able to use magical objects. The old caretaker interacted with the castle ghosts, magical creatures, and was able to bypass Muggle repelling charms without assistance, whereas, Mrs. Figg was, for all intents and purposes, a Muggle.
“No,” Hermione shook her head, “that’s probably for the best. We should tell our friends before they read about it in the paper anyway.”
“After we get out of school,” said Harry.
Seeing that she was gathering steam again, Harry quickly explained. “He’s going to be at the castle with us next year and… uh, it just seems like a good opportunity to punish us, use the baby to do it and how he is just makes it easier.”
“A baby is a baby, Harry. Most magical infants aren’t able to defend themselves. Even if… even if things hadn’t gone wrong, the amount of danger a not even one year old child is able to protect himself from isn’t any different.” She studied him shrewdly then said, “Or you just don’t want anyone to know. You don‘t want to listen to Zabini and his gang talk about your Mudblood wife who gave you a squib son.”
Harry’s head snapped up. “Don’t call yourself that and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed, Hermione.” He was quiet for several moments then frowned. “I’m heartsick. I think that’s how it’s described. Not because our baby is how he is, but because someone did this to him. Someone hated us so much that our son will pay for that every day of his life. I think it’s going to take me a long time to get use to that.”
Hermione stood and walked over to the sofa where Harry was sitting. She sat next to him, and then slowly wrapped her arms around him.
A half hour later the crystal on the table in front of them began to pulse.
“Baby’s awake,” slurred Hermione half asleep.
Harry watched her for a moment then said, “Yes he is and I’ll go up, but since he needs to be fed, you will have to come with me.”
They walked into the nursery and stopped, taking in the elderly woman sitting in the rocking chair holding their son. Fleetingly, Harry noted to himself that this was the first time he had ever seen her without her vulture hat.
“Hello, Mrs. Longbottom. I hope you are feeling better,” said Hermione.
“Much better, my dear. Hopefully the repairs won’t take more than a few days and we will be out of your hair.”
“Uh, not a problem,” said Harry. He was distracted as he looked at the Quidditch themed room. Maybe it was time to change it out for football.
“I was looking for my Neville and heard this one and thought I would see to him until you arrived.”
Hermione took the proffered infant and smiled. “Thank you. We were downstairs. I don’t know where everyone else is though.”
Mrs. Longbottom headed to the door. Once there she stopped and looked back at the young couple. It was obvious that she wanted to say something, but in the end, just smiled and left the room.
“Why don’t we head back downstairs and see if we can find everyone else.” Hermione nodded and they too left the room.
They found their parents in the lounge talking about not only the interview with the reporter, but the visit from the Minister of Magic as well.
“He seemed nice enough. What did he do before becoming minister?” asked Lily as Harry and Hermione sat. Little Lily was sitting on Jane’s lap staring intently at her grandmother’s wand lying on the table. She held out her hand and summoned it to her.
Jane took it from the toddler and returned it to its resting place. “Lily, Grandmum needs her wand. When you are older, Mummy and Daddy will take you to get your own, but not until.”
The child’s big emerald eyes looked up at Jane and blinked.
“Harry,” said Hermione tiredly.
“We will do what we can and teach her how to control it when she’s older,” he replied.
Hermione looked at her husband sitting next to her and grinned. “Hopefully that will keep her from sealing anyone into a zoo exhibit.”
Harry decided to change the subject back to what they were talking about before. “Um, Kingsley was an Auror. You didn’t work with him?” he asked his mother.
“Auror training is three years, Harry; I didn’t complete the program before we had to go into hiding.”
“What I can’t believe is there is a standard procedure for invalidating a declaration of death,” said Richard. He was looking at the stack of parchment several inches thick on the table that had been left by the Minister.
“I don’t think it is all that common Richard, but there are several potions that give the appearance of death and a few charms that are capable of hiding people so after a person has been missing for so long it is possible that he or she is just in hiding. You are correct though, we are rather a strange lot,” said Lily.
“It’s pointless anyway,” interjected James while shaking his head. “I don’t understand why we need to go to the hassle of being declared alive since we have to go back to our portrait at the end of the month. It’s a waste of time.”
Hermione passed the baby to Harry and picked up the top most piece of parchment. “According to this, in 1590, a witch was actually killed during a burning in North Berwick, but because of an unfulfilled prophesy, she had what was considered unfinished business and allowed to return. Upon its completion, she continued on, but while she was back she broke several Ministry statues, so now this is the procedure.”
Something didn’t make sense to Harry. He looked at Hermione and said, “Hang on. We studied witch burnings for Binns. The book specifically said that Wendelin the Weird allowed herself to be caught forty-seven times. All she needed was a charm.”
Hermione pursed her lips. “Little good it would do her without a wand.”
Harry blinked. He’d not thought about that.
Richard looked at his watch then stood. He’d spoken with Ron the week before about looking for something to do several days a week for the rest of the summer and he in turn spoke with George. Richard was going to be working at the store filling owl order and potion work. “I need to get going; does anyone need me to pick anything up while I’m there?”
“How are you getting there?” ask Hermione concerned.
“Floo. Ron assured me that it was perfectly safe as long as I spoke clearly. If I’m late Ron is supposed to notify you immediately.”
“I don’t understand what you are going to be doing there or why you wanted to do this in the first place,” said Hermione.
Richard shook his head, “Owl order and doing the ingredient preparation for the potions. I’m getting my training today and as for why, well a little pocket money never hurt anyone and this way I don’t have to pay the conversion fees. Besides, it appears to me that this is a family business and since you and Harry are a bit busy right now, I’m pitching in whatever way I can. Now, again, does anyone need anything?”
Harry pulled out several galleons from his pocket and tossed it at his father-in-law, “I actually think we are running low on Floo powder and um, cat treats. Just, please be careful, maybe Ron’ll go on the errands with you.” Richard smiled and left the room.
Hermione turned on Harry and said, “Why did George hire him? It isn’t safe.”
Harry sighed. “Ron will be there and so will George and Verity. They are doing a huge amount of owl order business now. Ron doesn’t have the potion skills that Fred had. For whatever reason your father has an intuitive understanding when it comes to potions. I know you saw it when the two of you were doing the household potions earlier this summer. You told McGonagall yourself that it wasn't much different then Muggle chemistry, I mean once you get over the pickled lace wings and stewed beetle eyes.”
James leaned forward placing his elbows on his knees and chuckled, “I doubt that is all of it. He was looking forward to being able to play with some of the products. From listening to Ron, those two did us proud, even nicked our map from Filch.”
“They did look at Sirius a mentor in chaos.” Harry smiled at a memory then continued, “When Remus was told how they left school during our fifth year, the utter mayhem left in their wake, he said you and Sirius would have been proud. The swamp is still there.”
Grinning, Hermione said, “It smells horrible on a warm day.” Her face was serious again after smiling at Fred’s memory. “Harry, did you talk to Andromeda after the last full moon?”
“He doesn’t actually change over, she watches him.”
“Moony’s boy?” asked James
“Yeah, he’s a Metamorphmagus like his mother,” explained Harry, “but we’ve been concerned since the beginning that he would change at the full moon.”
“He isn’t turning into a full werewolf,” said Hermione, “but he still has a bit of a rough time of it. He’s moody, irritable, doesn’t sleep, won’t eat, difficult for her to handle and he’s only a few months old. The question is if he really just doesn’t change over or if it is his Metamorphmagus traits that prevent him from turning. As long as he doesn’t erupt teeth he doesn’t have to register.” Sighing she continued, “Ron's eldest brother, Bill, he was bit by Fenrir Greyback the night Dumbledore died, but it wasn't a full moon so we were unsure for a while just what would happen to him. He doesn’t change either, but full moons are hard on him. Bill’s an adult and takes it in stride.”
“Well that and his wife is part Veela, so that does help keep him under control,” added Harry.
James snorted and said, “I can see how that might help.” Lily just shook her head at her husband.
Hermione bit her lip and looked at Lily. She had seen the journal entries and knew that the potion was developed just after Harry’s parents had finished Hogwarts and Lily had made it successfully several times. “There were children attacked like Bill, and they have been experimenting with giving them the Wolfsbane potion, it helps most of them, it has the same lycan binding effect as it does in the full werewolves. None of them are as young as Teddy, but I can’t help but think that it would help him. I mean it’s worth a try anyway.”
Harry, ever willing to do something for his godson, said, “Okay what’s the problem, there must be one or you wouldn’t be so pensive about it.”
Hermione smiled feebly, “A couple things. It is the most difficult potion to make.”
“Can you do it?” She shook her head. “You made Polyjuice the beginning of our second year. It’s an N.E.W.T. standard,” Harry pointed out.
“I don’t understand some of the procedures used and I have no idea what a couple of the ingredients are. For someone to even attempt it he or she would need to be taught by a recognized potions master, it is rare nowadays for someone to exceed N.E.W.T. levels. In our year there were eight of us in the N.E.W.T. class and realistically only Malfoy and I were going to get an O in potions.”
Harry nodded, “I see Malfoy doing a mastery study. Well, if he wasn’t destined for a life in prison once they catch him.”
Hermione shook her head, “But not making Wolfsbane for the benefit of society. There isn’t any glory or gold in it, Harry. Because of the ministry restrictions and the prejudices, it is not a group of individuals that have very much gold to spend on anything other than basic necessities. We both know that Tonks was supporting them.” She sighed then continued, “Most potions masters won’t do it. I’ve never seen anything like it, Harry. I checked into it after we saw watched Teddy a couple weeks ago and there are only four people in the country able to do it. That is compounded by Thicknesse outlawing the potion. It’s in the process of being repealed by the Wizengamot and no one is about to be prosecuted for brewing it, but with the increased number of those needing it, unless you know someone you are unlikely to get it.”
“So you are saying that I need to donate a pile of gold to St. Mungo’s and then ask to obtain the potion for my godson while not so subtly reminding them that I am Harry Potter or am I going to have to go bat my green eyes at Slughorn.”
Shaking her head Hermione said, “Slughorn can’t do it. No one’s supposed to know that though, it would look bad for him if it got out. Remus told me sixth year when I asked why he wasn't taking any potion. The ‘I am Harry Potter’ method had occurred to me and I was thinking about talking to you about it, but, well another option has recently presented itself. I think there might be someone who can teach me how to make it.”
Lily raised her eyebrow and looked at Hermione. She had known for a while where this was going. “I want all the new information and to speak with the researching healers before we begin anything. Do you know who the potion master is?”
“Yes,” Hermione confirmed, “I spoke with her at the ball for a bit before I knew about her involvement with the study, Paulina Granger.”
Lily frowned in thought then nodded, “I know Paulina well enough. I did a potions study with her just after I left Hogwarts. We will need to let the dust settle a bit from the Prophet article tomorrow before we call on her, but do you think that she will remember you enough from the ball to take a meeting? If not, I know her mother and given the situation, we might be able to get in to see her that way, but they don’t... well it isn’t a good relationship.”
Hermione smiled, “I’m Hermione Potter. I can get a meeting with anyone.”
“We will strike while the iron is hot then,” the older witch chuckled. She made eye contact with James and he nodded at her. “Where is your potions lab right now?”
“London, Grimmauld Place, but I only have standard ingredients and I don’t have a size four platinum cauldron.”
“What do you have?” asked Lily.
Hermione thought for a moment then said, “Sizes two and four pewter, four and ten cast iron and two gold. We were having an issue with imported cauldrons a few years back, the bottoms weren’t thick enough. It was a whole mess and Percy Weasley challenged the largest international manufacturer to a duel. He was so insulted that he’s refusing to import cauldrons into Britain, so domestic is the only thing available for now.”
Lily nodded again, “I wonder where my cauldron went. Was it put in the vault with my wand?”
“I didn’t have access to anything other than my trust vault until I was seventeen, but two days later the ministry fell and we went into hiding. Last month was the first time we contacted Gringotts since then,” said Harry. “If your cauldron is in there, it wasn't up front.”
“Well platinum won’t weather so if it wasn't collected from the house, you are probably in good shape. Did you have it with you in Godric’s Hollow?” asked Jane.
“Yes, I had a small area set up in the basement. Are all my notebooks in the study?”
“Yes, on the adjacent shelf in order by date of first entry,” replied Hermione.
“Are any of my potions books here?”
“I haven’t seen any,” responded Hermione shaking her head in the negative.
Lily stood and picked Little Lily up off the floor where she had been playing, “Come help Grandmum look for something then I will give you your first potions lesson. Perhaps we can get you better at potions then Daddy.”
“That wouldn’t be difficult,” muttered Hermione.
“Hey,” protested Harry. “I had an E on my potions OWL.”
“And the only reason that you were passing in sixth year was because of your green eyes.”
“That’s not fair.”
“You’re right,” snapped Hermione. “I forgot and you were cheating with Snape’s book.”
“I was not cheating!” retorted Harry. “You were just jealous because I was getting higher marks then you.”
Hermione frowned and shook her head. “That’s not the issue, Harry. You get higher marks then me in Defense and it doesn’t bother me because I know that it is your own work. You didn’t study and you took the easy way out. You didn’t earn your potions grade and once you couldn‘t rely on that book anymore you weren‘t even passing the class. You do Muggle cooking well enough, you have an innate sense of what should go together, how things should be, that should carry over to your potions as well,” her voice was starting to rise. The baby began to fuss and Hermione stood and began to pace with him.
“If we had a teacher who actually taught instead of blaming me for existing or committing the grievous sin of looking like my father then I might have learned something, instead we have a greasy git who was in love with my mother and couldn’t stand the guilt after he told Voldemort the prophesy which caused her to die in the first place. You just need to get over it, Hermione,” Harry shouted back from his seat on the sofa.
Hermione stopped her pacing and looked directly at Harry. “There’s nothing to get over. You blame Snape for your potions grade, and while I will give you that he didn’t help matters, your anger and hatred of him prevented you from putting forth any effort in the class. If McGonagall hadn’t tutored you fifth year would you have gotten the E? I only get angry because I know what you are capable of. I’ve never been upset with Neville about his potions grade and other then giving Ron a what for about his homework, I’ve not been upset with him for his class work either, because they aren’t capable of doing better, well Ron might be able to improve a bit, but not much. You could be good, but you never tried.” Hermione blinked at Lily who was watching the disagreement somewhat openmouthed. Quite a bit of information had been revealed in that little argument. “I think that if you had been as good as your mum he would have forgiven you for being James Potter’s son.”
Harry stood and walked over to where she was standing. He enveloped her in his arms and held the two of them for a while. Finally Harry said sadly, “No he wouldn’t have Hermione. He owed my father a life debt and tried to right it first year and the other is pure guilt.” He was being held firmly by his wife. They were both contemplative for a while. “Is it time to remind Ginny that she owes me, time to remind Molly that Arthur does?”
Hermione sighed, “Let’s hope that it doesn’t come to that.”
“Where do we stand with Ron?” asked Harry.
“Um,” Hermione began to chew on her bottom lip in deep thought. “Well, you very clearly saved his life sixth year, but he jumped into that frozen pool to save you in December. I don’t believe that Lily’s life was truly at risk last month, plus I’m the one that used the lectern. So we are good there. He followed you into the bathroom and you jumped onto the troll, it was you, not him. Besides it was his fault that I was there in the first place. So, I think we are even. Then there is the whole vanquishing a dark lord thing, I don’t really know how all of that works,” she shrugged.
They were both on edge. Getting no sleep the night before and then the emotional toll of learning of their son’s situation had them sniping at each other. Looking at Harry’s expression, she knew he needed to get rid of his excess energy and frustration. Eighteen hours after giving birth, Hermione knew is wasn't going to be several rounds of lovemaking, but there was another option, “You need to stay below the tree line until we make sure you can’t be seen. The last thing we need is try to convince a bunch of Muggles that you were a big bird and not a wizard on a broom.”
He grinned broadly and kissed her before he all but ran out of the room leaving her to deal with the consequences of their conversation. Deciding that she needed to take care of her children first, she collected the baby‘s things, left Lily with Lily and headed up the stairs. Jane being privy to most of the information, headed off to check on Emma who was just about finished with the revised edition of Hogwarts, A History.
A half hour later found Hermione in the study reviewing Remus’ old class outlines and skimming the textbooks. The headmistress already sent book lists out, so they were locked into using what was on the list. She just required the same as Lupin had their third year. As Hermione reviewed the stack in front of her she realized that his choices were different than any of the professors that they had and were far superior books.
Hermione saw two shadows enter the room and knew her time was up. She swiveled in her desk chair to face them and gestured to the two arms chairs across the room. “I don’t know how we are going to do this next year. Harry has his own classes plus all seven levels of Defense, the children, head boy duties, and he promised to work with Madam Hooch about setting up a recreational Quidditch league.”
“Why is he doing all seven levels? Surely there is someone else,” said James looking at Lily with concern.
“There isn’t really. Me maybe, but he’s better and I’m not sure I have the time for the four classes I’ll be teaching. Professor McGonagall really shouldn’t be taking any of them, but she knew better then to ask me to. There just isn’t anyone else left remotely qualified. They were all killed or left the country.” Hermione sighed then continued, “Not only is Harry a natural teacher you‘d be hard pressed to find someone as gifted as he is at the subject.”
“I think it’s time we know,” said Lily.
“Some of it isn’t my place to tell you.”
“Just tell us what you can,” replied James.
“I don’t think that the Dursleys beat him, Dudley beat on him, but not Petunia or Vernon. Don’t get me wrong though, they hit him, Vernon in particular and they were emotionally abusive and cruel. Are you familiar with their house?” They both nodded, “The cupboard under the stairs is where he lived. They locked him in it at night or if he misbehaved. The goal was to knock the freakishness out of him. There was one summer that he was locked up and given only one tin of soup a day and it was through a cat flap.” Hermione’s voice had become a whisper as she remembered everything her husband had suffered. She was quiet for several moments sitting with her eyes closed thinking back to conversations they had over the years. “He never had a birthday party, that’s why it was important to me that yesterday was going to be about Harry. They didn’t acknowledge it. No Christmas presents either. One year while he was at school I think they sent him a tissue. He didn’t even know his own name until he was five, he was either called ‘boy’ or ‘freak‘, even after he learned his name. He was told you two died in a car crash and were drunks and unemployed. Vernon panicked when Harry got his Hogwarts letter. You should ask him for a pensive memory of it. I think it would help you understand.”
“Why was he with Petunia?” asked Lily.
Hermione swallowed then looked up. “You died. You were dead and you used the spell. You, Lily, sacrificed your life, your blood for Harry.”
“Blood wards,” she gasped.
Hermione nodded. “And they worked, sort of. I don’t think that they were as strong as Dumbledore thought. The summer between fourth and fifth year Fudge’s undersecretary sent a pair of Dementors after Harry and his cousin. Oh, that was a nightmare.” Hermione shrugged. “I think that was when Dumbledore realized that they weren’t what they should have been.”
“As long as he considered it home,” Lily protested shaking her head, “there shouldn’t have been any issues.”
Smiling sadly, Hermione said, “That’s the thing, he never did. It was just the place he lived and then once he left for Hogwarts the first time he didn’t even consider it that.”
James took his wife’s hand in his and said, “So he went to you after Sirius died.”
“Yes,” Hermione nodded. “He couldn’t after sixth year; it was too big a risk after Dumbledore died and with me being pregnant. At that point they were just standard defense wards. Maybe just a bit more, but not much. The thing of it is, Voldemort thought they were still active blood wards, and that was all we needed. We collected him a week before his birthday and met up at the Burrow. That was how George lost his ear and Mad-Eye was killed.”
Lily frowned. Realizing what her daughter-in-law was saying, she said, “He feels guilty.”
“He takes the weight of the world on his shoulders. It took everything we had to keep him there that night. He was ready to leave. I think the only thing that kept him there was me telling him that I just sent our baby off to the other side of the world and I had nothing left if he was gone too.”
Hermione stood and began to pace a bit. “Looking back, I don’t understand why Dumbledore left him there. His aunt and uncle didn’t teach him compassion, understanding, love, or any of the childhood lessons most of us are given. With as powerful of a wizard as he is, if he had chosen hate instead of love, he would have been worse than Riddle. Harry is impulsive and when he loses his temper it burns white hot. Sending him back to Privet Drive to stew the summer after Sirius died, when he thought he had nothing, no one to love him, would have been bad. To them he was a waste of space and the entire wizarding community spent our fifth year ridiculing him. The then Minister, Cornelius Fudge, convinced everyone he was a self-aggrandizing prat, a spoilt attention-seeking child. To make matters worse, Dumbledore chose to tell him the prophesy while I was unconscious in the hospital wing. Harry trashed Dumbledore’s office and came within a hair’s breadth of jumping across the desk and killing Dumbledore himself for allowing the situation to happen in the first place.”
“So Harry could have easily become a dark wizard,” said James uneasily.
Hermione returned to her chair and nodded. “He would have killed Voldemort then been worse. I’m not sure he could have been stopped at that point.” With a mirthless chuckle she asked, “Who do you think would have had to kill him? That would have been my job. Even if I was powerful enough, I doubt that I would ever have been emotionally strong enough to do it. I might have even joined him,” Hermione shrugged and looked at her baby sleeping against her chest. “I probably would have and Dumbledore knew it, and recognized it, so he sent him to me.”
The room was quiet for several minutes except for the chatter of the toddler that had escaped from her grandmother‘s hold and was digging through her toy basket next to her mother‘s desk. Finding what she was looking for, the little girl ran back over to her grandmother and presented her with a stuffed phoenix.
“What can you tell me about Severus?” Lily asked eventually.
“Do you have an Animagus form, Lily?” asked Hermione.
“May I see it?”
Lily nodded. She passed little Lily to James then transformed herself into a doe.
Hermione smiled sadly at the animal then nodded. As soon as she transformed back, Hermione said, “You were his first friend. His father, as you know, was a Muggle and he didn’t take too kindly to his wife being a witch. They were poor and things were hard at home.”
“How did you learn about all of this?” asked Lily.
“There is a memory. He gave it to Harry right before he died. We can’t show it to you without discussing it with his portrait first, it is very personal.”
“He was never more to me then a friend, my best friend for a while.”
“You were his first and only love,” said Hermione.
James looked skeptical at Hermione's statement. “You mean after all that time he never got over her? That is a bit farfetched.”
“Dumbledore asked him the same thing. He just sent his Patronus out the window with a message for Harry. Did you ever see it?”
“No,” said Lily.
“It was you.”
Lily frowned, but nodded in acceptance. “He’s gone?”
Nodding Hermione said, “He was headmaster last year so there is a small portrait of him in the heads office. I had planned on talking to him about the Wolfsbane for Teddy. He brewed Remus’ for a while.”
“There is an issue with Horace?” asked James.
“You know how he likes to collect students?” asked Hermione. She watched both James and Lily nod. “He had his sights set on Harry being the prize of his collection.”
“But why, because of Lily?”
Hermione shook her head. It was foreign to her that they didn‘t automatically know. “I guess what you don’t understand is that Lily’s charm guaranteed Harry’s survival. No one lives after being hit with a killing curse, but Harry did. The Prophet immediately began calling himThe-Boy-Who-Lived. Loads of ridiculous stories were told of how he did it and what happened.
“There are thirty-four books written to this date about what happened that night, I’ve read them all and none of them are even remotely accurate.”
The older couple looked at each other then James asked, “He remembers?”
Kissing her baby on the top of the head then cuddling him close to her, Hermione nodded, “He remembers.”
Lily cleared her throat then said, “Jane said he had some pretty terrible nightmares.”
“They were of two varieties. The first are just regular nightmares, but considering how much horror and devastation he has witnessed and what he has been through, it is no wonder. Sometimes I find it amazing that we are as sane as we are. The second was there was a connection with Voldemort because of his scar, because of the Horcrux in Harry. He could see and feel through him. Harry would see him torturing and killing, but back to your other question, because Harry lived and Voldemort was bounced into whatever it was that he became, Harry was an instant celebrity. Not much different than he is now. Children were taught to idolize him. There is even a children’s book series. That is part of Ginny’s issue. She is in love with the hero, the Boy-Who-Lived, not just Harry. Then once the connection to a prophecy that was about Harry and Voldemort was leaked to the press, he became The Chosen One. Take all of that celebrity in a sixteen year old boy and dangle it in front of Horace Slughorn, he was salivating.”
Hermione waved one of her hands about the room. “Professor Slughorn passed him in potions because he was your son, not because he really deserved it. He was also using Snape’s old potions book. It had non standard brewing methods in it and so he was able to achieve high marks without ever having to learn the concepts.
“The thing is, I know he could be good, much better than me, really. I’m not an intuitive person. I like logic, I like puzzles. I could never be a potions master. I’ll get an O on my N.E.W.T. and I have no doubt with further study I could make any potion in existence, but I will never make them better than they are right now, I can’t see how a small substitution or crushing instead of chopping will make it better. I prefer Transfiguration and Arithmancy. Harry’s magic is mostly instinct. Wand movements and incantations are not his strong suit. He could do better in potions, but he had no interest in the class while we were learning the basics. If he had known about your interest in potions when we were first or second years, he might have tried harder. So Professor Slughorn forgives him of all his shortcomings strictly because he has his mother’s eyes.”
Lily and James nodded to Hermione. The teen collected both of her children, the book she was reading, and then left the room. They would need time alone to discuss what she had told them and she had some research to do too.
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