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Chapter 7 : First Morning
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Images in Mind
Chapter 7: First Morning
Harry and Prongs returned to a four in the morning schedule, waking up and slipping out of the dorm to train before breakfast. The grounds of Hogwarts were quiet so early. Even though he didn’t have enough space to run as far as before without going into the Dark Forest, he still avoided it. Past experience told him that going into the forest at night was a bad idea, even with as strong as he was. Instead he ran a few laps around the Black Lake and finished his training out there before running back to the castle. Prongs was starting to get serious about becoming stronger, he spent most of their time leaping awkwardly into the air in an attempt to stand on it. When they returned to the dorm it was just early enough that no one had woken up yet. Both were cleaned up and waiting just as the early risers started to head down to breakfast. Hermione didn’t take too long to join Harry in waiting in the common room but they spent twenty minutes waiting on Ron.
“When did you get up Harry? You were gone before the rest of us woke up.”
“I was up at four, training by the Black Lake.”
“So you’re still doing that?” Hermione asked.
“Of course, just because I’m not expecting to Clash with anyone doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be prepared for anything.”
They let it drop and all made their way down for breakfast. Even though the post wasn’t meant to arrive for a little longer, there was a handsome barn own waiting at the Gryffindor table. It was the owl that Harry had come to associate with a letter from Sky. The handsome bird noticed Harry when he entered the hall and leapt into the air to fly to him. Once his parcel was taken, the owl flew off out the open windows.
Harry waited until they were sitting before he opened the letter.
I should have told you before but I didn’t think it mattered. You know that I have three foster brothers, Tarragon and Reiji you’ve met. Conan is our last brother, he’s a year younger than you and I and he’s a Malfoy. Unlike the rest of us, he knows his father and has lived with him on and off for several years and even though the rest of us are undecided about participating in the war, Conan has chosen to side with his father and he’s attending Hogwarts with his other half brother this year. Conan is not a mage, he was never able to understand like the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a powerful wizard. You should be careful around him Harry, a brother he may be, but Conan was never one of us.
It was one of the most somber notes he had ever gotten from Sky before. At first he was simply surprised that Malfoy had a half brother, then he felt somewhat angry. Sirius and Remus’s sons were brothers to a Malfoy, it was irritating and upsetting and he had no one to tell.
“What does it say?” Hermione asked a minute after Harry had crumpled the note.
“His name is Conan, he’s Malfoy’s half brother and has been homeschooled by his mother before now.”
“How do you know?”
“Sky knows him. He’s strong but he’s not a mage, which is good.”
“It’s still weird,” Ron mumbled through his eggs.
Harry banished the letter and pulled food onto his plate, taking one of the bowls of fruit and setting it on the floor for Prongs, who immediately dug in as though he had been starved for days. It wasn’t long before friends joined them, mostly their own classmates but some of the seventh years were nearby and Ginny wasn’t very far with her own friends. Although they all ignored it, and it was easy after years of practice, there were plenty of people through the Hall that stared and even leaned or stood to get a look at him. Having never finished a year properly the first days back were always worse than the others. It was a little worse this year, the rumors of Harry being the “Chosen One” were enough to cause a big stir.
They annoy me. Prongs huffed as he focused on his breakfast.
They stare because it’s rare to see two handsome devils like you and me.
This made the fox laugh, a hissing sound that got him odd looks from the others around them.
“Was that a laugh?” Neville questioned.
“More of a snicker I think,” Harry said between bites of egg.
“Why was he… snickering?”
“I made a joke of course.”
“I didn’t hear you say anything.”
“Harry and Prongs share thoughts,” Hermione explained as Harry took another bite.
“How is that possible?”
“Since Harry is a mage it means he has a familiar, that’s Prongs. Prongs is just as smart as Harry and even though he can only speak through Harry, Harry can just think and Prongs will hear him,” Hermione continued.
McGonagall spared Harry more questions when she arrived to pass out schedules. She put a hand on his shoulder but he smiled to reassure her that he was alright.
“I noticed that you didn’t sign up for Potions this year Harry.”
“That was before I knew that Slughorn was the potions professor, I thought I had to have an outstanding to get into the class.”
“Not at all, I put the class on your schedule already, as well as Mr. Weasley’s to keep him out of trouble.”
Ron groaned at the thought of potions but McGonagall ignored it and moved on.
“Oh, of course we have Potions first day, it’s going to take all afternoon!” Ron groaned.
“Only because we have a free period before it,” Harry laughed. “And look, a free period right off with Defense and then another free period. Today won’t be so bad.”
Harry had no sooner finished speaking than Hagrid came up behind him, earning a friendly chirp from Prongs and grins from the trio.
“It’s good to see you lot again, and Care of Magical creatures is first off in the morning!” He seemed so excited about it.
Harry had completely forgotten about Hagrid’s class until that moment and so did the others. Slowly, he stood and faced Hagrid.
“I’m sorry Hagrid, but we won’t be taking your class anymore. There’s just too much else for us to take care of. We are sorry.”
Hagrid’s heart fell and he sobered at once.
“Of course, should have known that. Don’t you worry, I’ll be sure to see you lot around anyway.”
“Of course you will. You’re still one of our favorite professors even if we aren’t taking your class.”
That did the trick, Hagrid smiled again and they shared a few more words before he headed up to his place at the Head Table.
“You always know what to say don’t you Harry?” Hermione asked when he sat back down. “I’d forgotten all about Hagrid’s class.”
“We all did, and yes, I always know what to say,” Harry answered with a smirk and a wink.
They finished up breakfast and while Harry and Ron were in no hurry with their upcoming free period, Hermione ran off for her Ancient Runes class. Back in the common room there were only a few seventh years hanging around, one of them was Katie Bell, the last remaining member of Harry’s original Quidditch team during his first year.
“I knew you’d get it,” she said when she spotted him.
Harry hadn’t really thought much about his appointment to Quidditch Captain, but he was sure that he would pick Katie to return to the team, she was a top notch chaser and was experienced as well.
“You’re going to come back for tryouts aren’t you? I could really use your experience this year.”
“Of course I’ll try out. Do you know when you’re holding them?”
He shook his head. “Not yet, I haven’t even gotten a list from McGonagall, but you’ll be one of the first to know.”
“Good,” she smirked and returned to whatever she was doing.
“Don’t forget to tell me, I worked pretty hard training with you, I’m going to try out again too,” Ron said. “And we should have strength training when we can’t get the pitch, I think it helps.”
“We should shouldn’t we? I guess I’ll figure it out once we find the team.”
It was a pleasant morning, there was nothing for them to do during their free hour and they showed up outside the Defense classroom early and waited outside. N.E.W.T. classes were clearly different than O.W.L. classes, before there had only been two houses in each class, now it seemed anyone taking the class was all grouped together. Hermione joined them soon enough and several other members of the D.A. showed up, all of whom were excited about their upcoming lesson. Then Malfoy showed up, and not just Draco, but Conan as well. Some were surprised, but Harry knew better, if he was trained the way that his siblings had been then this was to be expected, even if he wasn’t a mage.
Snape opened the door and allowed them all inside and they took seats.
“You won’t be needing your books!” he barked quickly, causing Hermione to quickly put hers back in her bag and shove it under her chair.
The room was a lot different than it had ever been before. Portraits of people who were clearly in pain or disfigured or any number of awful things were hung on the walls. Snape went on to talk about the Dark Arts and referenced a few pictures. He loved them, he spoke of the Dark Arts in a way that made Harry cringe. When he spoke of the inconsistent teaching, making sure to bad mouth Sirius most of all, Harry ignored him and scratched behind Prongs’ ears to calm himself.
After that he set them all to practicing nonverbal spells in partners with one person jinxing and the other shielding. For the most part people only needed a little practice to get back in the habit thanks to Sirius’ teachings on the subject. Never the less, a few people were still slow at it and one or two people ended up on the floor wiggling with a jinx they hadn’t blocked.
Ron was one such person who was still a little slow at getting his shield up. Harry hit him with a jelly legs jinx that he quickly countered when the redhead went down.
“I’ll help you practice during our free hour next,” Harry offered as he helped his friend up.
Harry felt it coming fast. He flung his hand out and redirected whatever curse it was into a wall, causing it to blast open into the next room and startling nearly everyone. Conan, Harry met the boy’s gaze and let the dust settle.
“I would think that you of all people should know better than to try it Conan.”
“I had to be sure. You’re too much like my dear foster sister.”
“Potter!” Snape swooped in on him, waving his wand to clear what remained of the dust.
“What do you think you’re doing blasting holes in the walls of Hogwarts?” he was furious.
Harry turned his attention to the wall and held out a hand. The broken stones sealed themselves and found their former places as the wall sealed itself back up.
“I don’t see any holes in the wall Professor.”
He was as stunned by Harry’s wandless magic as almost everyone else in the room and couldn’t seem to speak. Prongs reached Harry’s side before the man recovered.
This seemed to draw him back. “Yes sir.”
“You don’t have to call me sir, Professor.”
“Detention, Saturday night,” he growled before swooping away.
Several of Harrys friends had held in their laughter but they smiled at him when he looked around. It seemed his wandless magic had been surprising, but it wasn’t causing quite as much of a stir as he had thought it would, which was a bit of a relief, he had been nervous about revealing it.
That went surprisingly well.
Better than I had hoped for. But I think it’s too soon to say we’re out of the spotlight yet. Harry scratched Prongs’ ears, he was tall enough now that Harry didn’t have to bend over to do so.
There wasn’t much left of class, Harry let Ron practice the offensive for the last bit and they grabbed their bags and met Hermione at the door.
“At least you’re consistent,” Hermione said in a reprimanding tone.
“You’ve never made it through the first week of class without landing yourself in detention.”
“I did pretty well about it my third year.”
“Then that’s the exception, every other year you’ve gotten more than almost everyone, Fred and George are the only ones with a worse record!”
“Relax Hermione, you know I don’t care about Detentions anymore.”
Harry paused and turned around even before he heard his name to see a younger Gryffindor he couldn’t remember the name of.
The boy, a fourth year, stopped and panted in front of Harry as he handed over the little scroll with the slanted writing.
Harry didn’t wait around to talk to the boy, he continued on his way with Ron and Hermione and opened the scroll. It seemed his first lesson with Dumbledore would be Saturday night.
“Snape’s not going to like that,” Ron laughed.
“It won’t matter, he’ll find another time to give it to me I’m sure.”
Harry tucked the note into his pocket and led the way up to the seventh floor corridor where he paced in front of the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy until a door appeared on the blank wall across from it.
“What are we doing here Harry?” Hermione asked, she was a bit confused.
“I told Ron I’d help him improve his nonverbal magic during our free hour and this is the best place.”
They entered to a relatively blank room with a few pillows on the floor and Hermione settled onto some and opened her books while Harry helped Ron practice for an hour.
“How are we going to take Potions this year if we don’t have the book or any supplies?” Ron asked as they headed down to lunch.
“I’m sure there are extra books around that Slughorn can loan us. And the potions room usually has a stock of ingredients that we can use.” Harry pulled food onto his plate and took a usual bowl off the table for Prongs, who was still seemed to be in the middle of a growth spurt.
You’re going to have to stop growing soon, otherwise you’ll be full gown in no time. Harry teased.
I cannot help how fast I grow. Prongs’ tail swished in irritation but he didn’t pause his meal.
Harry smiled but left the fox to eat as he talked with Hermione and Ron, who were arguing over what Dumbledore would teach him. Once Prongs had finished his bowl he sat back but got up a minute later and traveled down the table. He found Ginny and sat at her side until she passed him more fruit and then moved on to Katie even further down the table until she did the same.
“Prongs!” Harry called. People were already laughing along the Gryffindor and even the Ravenclaw tables at the fox’s antics. He was too big to ignore and he no longer stayed only with Harry. When the fox returned to Harry’s side he gave an almost sigh like sound and set to pouting. “You’re a lot braver than you used to be.”
I am not the pup that I used to be, I’m stronger now.
That’s true of both of us I think.
If it is true of me then it was true of you first. That is how I grow, when you grow I follow.
Harry scratched behind Prongs’ ears and returned to listening to Ron and Hermione bicker. In a few minutes he would head to his first potions class without Snape, and that was guaranteed to be interesting.
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