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Chapter 6 : Magazines and N.E.W.T.s and Magazines
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The rest of his classes dragged slowly on. The professors were individualizing last minute assignments to prepare students for their tests. After his demonstration his only practical work came from potions and herbology. In his other classes his focus was solely on the theory that would be required to pass. After classes he spent his evenings with Ginny or touring the castle with his Brazilian friends.
Harry and his friends wore their tan school robes around to their classes. Harry really enjoyed explaining to Draco what house Leticia and Ana Paula were in when he saw their pink and green sleeves. They all sat together for most meals but the Brazilians had each been given a bed in a different house in order to mingle with more students. Everyone was enjoying the experience and making new friends as the year wound down. It seemed only the fifth and seventh year students were feeling the stress.
Hermione had gone crazy with revision schedules and had taken Ron along with her. They spent every free minute in the library. Harry and Ginny studied but they refused to let it control their life. Ron truly envied them but he knew he couldn’t argue against his girlfriend. He had been tested by Gawain and knew he could handle the job as an auror but still needed the grades required. So with that information in his head Ron resigned himself to a weekend of studying while his best friend and sister went and did Merlin knows what.
That Saturday Harry woke up feeling excited. He was planning on sneaking out of the school with Ginny and going to Hogsmeade. They had spent a lot of time together but he wanted to spend some quality time just the two of them. He smiled constantly as he showered and started to get ready. That always happened lately when he thought about Ginny. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard Fawkes apparate into the room and then disapparate just as quickly. He saw a hastily written message lying on his bed and groaned as he read it. He knew his plans had been discovered.
Meet me in Arthur’s office immediately. Do not go anywhere else until you have. Ginny will be meeting us shortly as well.
He had no idea how anyone had found out about his plans but he was disappointed that they would have to be cancelled. After pulling on his usual tank top and shorts, he made his way to the Muggle Studies classroom and knocked on Arthur’s door.
“Come in Harry.” Arthur called. Ginny had already arrived. Molly sat across from Arthur while he sat at his desk working on papers. Ginny was leaning against the wall with her arms crossed. She knew Harry had something planned for today though he wouldn’t tell her what. Now she knew her parents were going to ruin it.
Along with Ron and Hermione, Arthur and Molly were the only ones who knew of their engagement. So far all four had been wonderful about giving them time alone, although not as much as the couple would’ve liked, and treating them as adults. Ginny still didn’t know what caused the change in her parents.
“Thank you for coming so quickly Harry. There is something you and Ginny need to see before you face the other students today.” She was very serious and her hands were covering some particularly glossy parchment.
All thoughts of them ruining his plans vanished from his mind. This was something more serious though he didn’t know what. “Show us.” Harry said softly looking Molly in the eye.
“This was delivered in the mail last night as it is every week Harry.” The glossy parchment she was covering up turned out to be a copy of Witch Weekly. The cover was a scene he would not soon forget.
The picture had been taken the previous Sunday. It was done during the magic demonstration he had put on for the students. He was wearing his blue swim trunks and had his back turned to the camera. His tattoo and back muscles were clear in the picture but the headline was the worst. “Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor!” It proclaimed loudly. “Find out which young wizard owns this inked up back and sexy bum on page 12.” It was then he noticed the picture had been blurred so you couldn’t make out his face without going to the actual article.
Ginny snatched the magazine from her mother and flipped to page 12. Harry looked over her shoulder to see other pictures included. Of course the first picture posted was a reverse of the cover. He was still wearing his swim trunks and no shirt and this time his scars were visible. He smiled appreciatively at the picture. He wasn’t happy about it but they certainly made him look good. Ginny however was scanning the article rather incredulously. She let out a snort of laughter. “What a load of bullocks.” She forced a smile as she threw the magazine down. Harry grabbed it quickly so he could read the article.
It only took a few minutes before Harry crumpled the magazine in disgust. He wanted to chuck it but needed it. Contrary to Ginny’s reaction the article was incredibly accurate. That fact hurt him more than if it was just pure junk. They had started with Harry’s history as a fighter. Mentioned in passing was the good he was doing with his vast fortune since the end of the war. Of course the brief mention still seemed to emphasize he was quite rich. They then transitioned to discuss how he was no longer pure and virtuous having enjoyed the company of multiple “steamy Latin lovers” while in Brazil. This fact led the writer to describe in rather vivid details her favorite parts of Harry’s body. This more than anything else made his stomach turn, he had no idea who the witch was but she was bound to be older and maybe even married and she was describing him like a prized piece of beef.
After making Harry as attractive as possible they moved to diminish his relationship with Ginny. She had been described as a love ‘em and leave ‘em girl. Guessing it would only be a matter of weeks before Ginny grew bored with Harry yet again and dumped him. Although she had had a few boyfriends Harry knew she was never like that. Ginny would always give an honest attempt at her relationships. But in the end her heart had always waited for Harry. Unfortunately they were able to accurately describe Ginny’s greeting Harry, as having thrown herself into his arms. Ginny was described as rather plain and not particularly attractive. “Anonymous sources” believed that she had used some sort of love potion to secure her boyfriends. George Weasley was singled out as the likely source of the potions. The article urged the Minister to have Harry tested for any signs of the potions. They added a snippet about the Weasley’s wealth which served to emphasize that Ginny needed to be desperate in order to attract someone as special as Harry.
His anger welled up inside of him and Harry walked quickly out of the office. Ginny followed behind quickly practically running to keep up with Harry’s longer strides. “Harry please wait up.”
“I’m sorry Gin.” He slowed his pace to let her catch up. He ran a hand through his hair as he thought about his next move. “I need to talk to the Mariana and find out who has been talking about my relationships in Brazil. And then we need to find Dennis Creevy.”
“Who else would’ve taken those photos Gin?” Harry sighed. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it but I need to know who gave them to this rag.”
He tried to contain his anger but when he opened the door to the great hall all eyes were on him. Almost every conversation died immediately. Mariana and his friends were talking quietly sitting at the Gryffindor table and he stalked up to the end of the table. They seemed oblivious to his anger and in fact paid no mind to him at all. He slammed his hands on the table interrupting their conversation. “Does anyone want to tell me why a magazine knows about my Brazilian relationships?”
He had used Portuguese trying to keep too many people from eavesdropping. “What are you talking about ‘Arry?” Mariana asked.
Harry pulled the magazine out of the pocket of his shorts and handed it to Mariana. “Read this.” He gave it to Mariana. Leticia leaned over her should and read the article as well. Harry’s anger abated slightly as his friends slowly read through the article. He knew it would be slow going, reading a language was a bit different than speaking it.
“So what part of this are we supposed to be responsible for?” Mariana asked more than a little put out by his attitude. However she worried what could happen if his anger turned toward them.
“Ginny is the only person in this country who knows I was with more than one girl at Amazonis. The only way the author could know it as well would be from one of you four.” Harry growled as Ana Paula and Elimar read through the article as well.
“’Arry other than Adriana who did you date?” Elimar spoke up putting the magazine down. “This is the first I’ve heard of you going with anyone else.”
“Oh Merlin you hooked up with Luciana didn’t you?” Mariana looked shocked.
“Oh there’s no way. She tried to kill him and Adriana.” Ana Paula tried to reason.
“How else do you think Luizao managed to kidnap me and two girls?” Harry blushed and ran a hand through his hair as the four studied him closely. “I was in her room and went down to try and help the girls fight the intruder. I got hit by the charms on the school.” The school defenses would ordinarily be a cause for a laugh but Harry was clearly not in the mood.
“’Arry not even I knew you had done anything with Luciana until right now. Either someone else knew and revealed the info or it was just a lucky guess.” Mariana got up from her seat. “I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to be with someone who turned out that way.” She gave him a warm sisterly hug. “Take a seat and enjoy breakfast while we fill Ginny in on the conversation. She looks confused and about ready to hex me for hugging you.”
Harry sat next to Mariana and directed Ginny to the spot across from him. She indeed look ready to hex Mariana. Ana Paula gave a quick rundown on what had been said. Ginny looked over Harry’s friends and smiled they seemed to have effectively quelled Harry’s anger. She knew it wasn’t over but Harry was at least relaxed.
“Um Harry can I ask you something?” Harry looked to the end of the table. Pansy was standing with what was clearly a magazine in her arm.
“I think you just did Pansy but go ahead.” Harry smiled at the girl.
“First thank you for your offer, Draco and I will both be accepting.” Pansy seemed to have been deeply touched by Harry’s offer to share his house. “And secondly would you sign this for me?” She held out a copy of the magazine he had just been discussing. “I know you’re probably less than happy about this, but given our past relationship it would mean a lot to me.”
Harry wanted to be angry but couldn’t muster the feeling. He smiled knowing how difficult it had been for her to ask the question. Their past relationship was rocky at best but Pansy really did seem to be trying to change. “Ok but don’t tell anyone else I did this for ya.” Harry took the magazine and the self-inking quill she had and scribbled a short message and his name on the inside page rather than the covers so it wasn’t immediately obvious.
She smiled as she pulled the magazine close to her chest. “Ginny don’t do anything to lose him. There are plenty of girls who are just waiting for the opportunity.” Pansy said before biting her lip and blushing like she had just revealed a deep secret. This comment seemed to put Ginny on edge.
Harry started to relax as he ate breakfast. He still wanted to take Ginny out of the school and was thinking of a plan when the morning mail arrived. He paid no attention to the owls as he spread marmalade on a slice of toast. He only looked up as the first owl landed in front of him. Before long eight others arrived.
Harry grabbed an envelope off the claw of a small barn owl. He slit it open and pulled the parchment out. As he unfolded the letter a small piece fell out and landed on the table. Harry was too distracted by the letter to notice it at first.
I was so happy to pick up this week’s copy of Witch Weekly and see that you had returned to our country. It is amazing that they chose to name you the youngest ever Bachelor of the Year. I can’t help but imagine how thrilled at the honor you are. Before long you’ll be just like Gilderoy. (Harry wanted to gag upon reading this)
Unfortunately I couldn’t help but notice that a thin young girl is trying to get her claws into you. I hope the Minister looks into the allegations of love potion. Someone as special as you needs to look out for the crazies of our world. I hope you don’t rush too quickly into a relationship. You have seen only so much of the world and what it has to offer. You should take some time and see what other interesting things may be out there. I’m hoping the little present I included will help you see what you might be missing.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Harry couldn’t say anything as he looked over the letter. He knew the rest of the owls were probably delivering similar messages. It was then he noticed the small square that had dropped out of the envelope. He picked it up instantly realizing it was a photograph and turned it over to look at the front.
Harry felt his face go red as he looked at the image. Melanie was a full figured witch with large breasts and hips. She wasn’t much older than he was and was very pretty. In the picture she was also stark naked. The figure in the image wiggled her hips seductively and blew a kiss at Harry. He had never felt so disgusted that someone would think this would somehow affect his feelings for Ginny. He folded the picture into the letter. “Ana Paula burn this.” He was deathly serious as he handed the letter across the table. Ginny quickly snatched it from his outstretched hand. “Gin don’t, you won’t like it.”
Ginny didn’t care she had a feeling what the letter was and seeing Harry blush only helped to confirm it. She scanned the letter quickly and then looked at the picture. She blushed as deeply as Harry. “Ok Ana Paula burn it.” There was more than a hint of anger in her voice.
“Mariana please sort through these other letters. I’ll read anything that isn’t some witch throwing herself at me. Anything that is like that, have Ana Paula burn.” Harry was looking over Elimar’s shoulder as he spoke. His anger returned full force after the letter. Dennis Creevy had picked the worst possible time to walk into the great hall.
Ginny turned to follow his eyes. She swore when she saw Dennis. “Harry just go and talk with him. Don’t do something that will get you expelled right before your newts.”
Harry tried to slow his breathing. He piled a plate with food and grabbed the magazine before standing up from his seat. He tucked the magazine in his pocket. It was then that Dennis saw him and turned to leave the hall. He was practically running. Harry pulled his wand out and thought quickly Accio Dennis. He didn’t know if it would work but suddenly Dennis was flying towards Harry’s hand. If Harry hadn’t been so angry he would’ve laughed at the site of the young man’s legs moving forward but his body flying backward. He grabbed the Dennis’ shirt and shoved the plate of food into his hands. “Come on Dennis we’re going for a walk. I made your breakfast so you won’t starve.”
Harry walked with Dennis out of the great hall and onto the school grounds. He didn’t have to force the young man. After Harry had summoned him Dennis followed quickly and quietly. The pair walked to the deserted quidditch pitch and took a seat in the stands. Harry dropped the magazine in Dennis’ lap. “Ok Dennis, spill it.”
“I know I took the pictures Harry.” Dennis started while taking a piece of toast off the plate. He couldn’t even look at the magazine. “I know I developed them in my dark room in the astronomy tower. What I don’t know is how they ended up in that magazine. The last thing I remember was bringing them into the common room the evening after you returned to wait for Ginny. I wanted to give them to her since I thought she would enjoy them.” Dennis reddened a little bit and looked down at the food. “I found myself in a chair in the common room the pictures were gone and I had no memory of how I got there.”
Harry cast a warming charm on the plate to keep the food while he studied the boy. Dennis was in his O.W.L. year since he couldn’t attend school the previous year. He was a brave and loyal student whom Harry knew would never betray him on purpose. Harry couldn’t help but feel his anger slip away as he tried to find out what had happened.
“Dennis with your permission I would like to look into your memories. I think we both need to know what happened or else you will be stressed about it as well.” Harry put a hand on his friend’s shoulder and tried to smile.
“You’re right Harry. I’ve been worried about those photos and didn’t know how to bring it up to anyone.” Dennis relaxed a little. “I’m ready whenever you are.”
Harry looked Dennis in the eyes and concentrated. He had never used this magic before and had only learned it since Joao Luiz had wanted to teach him occlumency. He quietly whispered the incantation “legilimens.”
Images and emotions flowed through Harry’s mind. He could immediately sense that Dennis was not being entirely truthful about his plans for the photos. But he didn’t seem to be lying when he said he didn’t know what happened to them. He dove into deeper memories finding the one that showed Dennis the last time he had the photos. Harry’s mind probed gently to try and unlock the secret of the memory without causing unusual pain.
It was then he saw Dennis walk into the common room. He made his way toward the stairs when the memory went cloudy. Harry muttered a memory restoring charm and things cleared considerably.
“Dennis is that your batch of pictures from today.” A voice called from near the fireplace. “I’d really love to see the ones of Harry. I know you took plenty.” It was Romilda Vane. Somehow Harry was not surprised.
“They are, but they are for Ginny. I won’t be sharing them with anyone else. If she wants to share them she can.” Dennis replied staring down the older girl.
“Come on Dennis just a little peak. I promise to make it worth the effort.” Romilda growled seductively into his ear and kissed him on the cheek.
“I don’t want anything you have to offer.” Dennis replied before turning toward the stairs to his dorm.
Harry wanted to shout a warning as Romilda pulled her wand and shot a body bind curse at Dennis. It hit him square in the back left him frozen on the floor. Romilda grabbed the folder of pictures and sent a friend to her room for some potion that Harry had never heard of.
“You should’ve taken me up on my offer Dennis. It would’ve been a lot more fun than this.” Romilda whispered in his ear. She levitated Dennis to a chair near the fire. She then poured the potion down Dennis’ petrified throat. The memory started to cloud again and Harry understood the potion had been used to erase any recollection of the encounter.
Finally Harry broke the connection and studied his friend. “Thank you Dennis. You stood up for me and Ginny and that’s what friends do. I think Romilda needs a little payback but that will take time and planning. For now I’m going to spend time with Ginny. Enjoy your breakfast.”
Harry left after patting Dennis on the shoulder. He returned to the great hall and told Ginny what had happened. He noticed that there were no letters left on the table it seems they had all been burned by Ana Paula. As planned Harry spent the rest of the day with Ginny while silently plotting a prank that could get the justice that Romilda deserved. He didn’t have any definite plans but he had a few good ideas. Ginny of course repeatedly suggested a simple bat bogey hex was more than enough. Harry laughed at the simplicity but thought she deserved something more direct.
A little over a week later Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione sat through the theory section of their first N.E.W.T. It was transfiguration and the theory part certainly lived up to its name. All four were exhausted by the end of the three hour test and they still had the practical to go through. They all ate lunch in silence even Hermione who usually wanted to rehash all her exams. In what seemed to be no time at all the bell rang and they left to go to the transfiguration classroom one final time.
Rather than entering the classroom students were grouped up in the hall. A few students at a time were called in and then later a few more. The students would never come back out the same way. They were called in groups of four. Hermione was in one of the first few groups and Draco followed about halfway down the line. After what seemed like hours of waiting Harry was called in with a group of his peers. He smiled at Ginny as he released her hand and entered the room. The transfiguration classroom had been transformed for the test. There was a hallway running down the center of the room and two doors off to each side. Temporary walls were put in place that ran all the way to the ceiling separating the spaces from each other.
Harry was directed to enter the first door on the left while the rest of the group went into other doors. He entered the door and when he closed it all sound from outside of the room ceased immediately. The rooms were charmed for privacy. An unexpectedly young wizard was sitting in a chair on the right side of the room. He seemed to be younger than any of the professors at Hogwarts. He held a clipboard with a long piece of parchment attached, in the center of the room surprisingly stood a pensieve.
“Ah Mr. Potter.” The man smiled and stood approaching Harry and extending his hand. Harry shook it reluctantly but relaxed a little. “My name is Robert; I will be administering your transfiguration practical. This is going to be a bit of an unusual practical. Professor McGonagall explained that you demonstrated some exceptionally powerful transfigurations during a magic demonstration last week so right now we are going to go through her memory of that event so you can explain the magic you did.”
Harry smiled as the man led him to the pensieve. This was going to be an easier test than he originally thought. He dipped his head into the shallow basin and fell into the memory with the Robert landing beside him. They were standing in front of Professor McGonagall as Hagrid brought the griffin-Harry out of the cage.
“I’m not sure why she started the memory here.” Robert said a little surprised.
“I am, keep watching and I think you’ll be impressed.” Harry smiled knowing what was coming.
Robert flinched as the griffin started to maul Ron. He looked shocked and speechless until Ron stood up laughing. He was even more surprised when the griffin turned into the black haired boy who stood near him. Robert made a few notes on his parchment as the memory Harry started to speak to the assembled group.
“So what did you do here Harry?” The memory stopped as Harry’s clothes morphed into his pajamas.
“Keep the memory going there is a series of three or four changes.” Harry replied. When they got to the point where Harry stood in front of the school in his swim trunks Harry spoke again. “I did a series of switching spells with the clothes in my trunk. It was in my dorm on the third floor. That is except changing the Amazonis’ robe into a Hogwarts’ one. I don’t have any school robes so I just changed one set of the ones I did have.”
“That is very impressive work let’s continue.” Robert waved his wand and the memory continued. “Ok the tattoo is that a transfiguration or the real thing?”
Harry pulled down the top of his shirt to reveal the edge of the ink. “It’s the real deal.”
Robert smiled and made a note on his parchment as Harry conjured the quill and ink bottle. He made another check as both the items turned blue. His quill flew across the parchment as Professor Long disappeared and reappeared with the treacle tart. “Ok let’s stop it there again for another explanation.”
“Of course, as you are aware I conjured those objects and then transfigured them into portkeys.” Harry smiled thinking over things. “They were different than normal portkeys. The first one was set to activate when Professor Long touched it. The second one activated by a code word from the Professor. Of course we could also have done one that activated at a specific time but it wouldn’t have been practical for that purpose. It might be obvious but the first one took her to the kitchens and the second returned her, that is the real reason I had her bring the tart to prove she went where I intended.”
Robert smiled making yet another note. He let the memory start again and this time let it run through the rest of the transfiguration demonstration. There was nothing that really needed to be explained. Before long they were pulled out of the memory and stood back in the testing room. “Well Harry I think I’ve seen everything I need to. You will get your results about a week after the testing finishes. That way you can be ready to apply for any jobs. Do you have any questions?”
Harry shook his head and left the room. He was the first of the group of four to finish and was directed out a back door. He was instructed to return to his common room and not speak to anyone about the details of the test. Harry took the long way back to the third floor and was ambushed by Hermione as soon as he entered the common room.
“I can’t tell you about it Hermione.” Harry tried to brush her away. “Not until after all the testing.” Hermione could tell that Harry’s test hadn’t exactly been normal but her desire to revise for her next test overwhelmed her curiosity.
The rest of the week passed similar to Monday. In fact Harry had an almost identical practical exam for both charms and defense. He again dove into the pensieve to show what he had demonstrated. His charms’ tester admired how Harry had used multiple complicated charms together to prank the entire school. Although she required he demonstrate a few additional charms once they returned to the classroom. Robert was again his administrator for his defense practical and had Harry demonstrate the ability of his bracelet after seeing Harry stun both his Professor Woodbridge and Gawain.
In all only Tuesday’s potions practical gave him difficulty. His Herbology practical had been fairly straightforward. He was pretty sure he aced his Care of Magical Creatures test as well. The testers had taken the three students as a group and had them work with very dangerous and unpredictable creatures. Nobody got hurt although Harry narrowly missed having half his hair singed off.
By the end of the week he and the rest of his classmates were mentally exhausted. They had partied the Friday night to celebrate the end of their exams. Harry had shared one of the bottles of beija he had brought from Brazil and more than a couple bottles of firewhisky were enjoyed. Even Hermione had a couple drinks as she realized she was at the end of her academic career. Shortly before the party broke up three owls arrived delivering packages to Ginny, Ron and Harry. They hid the packages explaining to their classmates that they would see what was delivered in the morning.
Harry woke late Saturday morning but was absent the headache he thought a few of his friends were experiencing. Ron and Draco both swore as they were crawling out of bed. Ron had to use Harry’s bed for support as he made his way to the shower. Harry smiled as he pulled the package he had received the night before out of his night stand.
Harry knew what to expect but had kept it quiet from everyone including Hermione. He Ron and Ginny along with a few others were on the cover of Quidditch Monthly. The cover photo had been taken at the quidditch pitch the previous Sunday afternoon. Hogwarts stood in the background of the photo. The headline proclaimed “Hogwarts a Quidditch Factory? Madam Hooch has produced seven world quality quidditch stars in the past ten years.” Madam Hooch stood in the center wearing her referee robes. She was surrounded by seven robed figures.
Ginny sat on the box that held the quidditch balls dressed in the dark green robes of the Harpies. She held a quaffle in her hands. The article emphasized that Ginny was not yet a permanent member of the team but sources inside the Harpies’ had told the reporter that Gwenog had the highest hopes for the young chaser. Harry stood immediately to the left of Madam Hooch and Ron on her right both wearing the bright orange robes of Chudley. Next to Ron stood Charlie and then Oliver Wood, Charlie wore his English robes from the Quidditch World Cup. Wood had his Puddlemere United robes on. Next to Harry stood Aaron and Justin Ford both wearing the emerald robes of the Kenmare Kestrals.
Harry was pleased with how the cover had turned out. He had spoken with the article’s author, who turned out to be Lee Jordan, and suggested the picture for the cover. In the lower right hand corner was a blurb for an article he had agreed to as well. “Harry Potter announces his intention to play for Chudley.” He had already been sent a write up about the article and approved the story. Lee had done a great job with both articles and Harry was relieved that it was a friend writing the story and not someone who would twist the facts.
Dean was first to leave the showers and Harry handed his friend the magazine. He kept his promise to let his friends know what was going on. While Dean looked over the articles Harry took a shower as well. He dressed casually and for the first time pinned the Cannons’ badge to his shirt. He had signed his rookie contract the previous Sunday as well but had Jason had kept it a secret until Harry’s article appeared in the magazine.
“So Harry you’re really not going to be an auror but instead play quidditch?” Neville asked a little surprised.
“Yea Neville I am. I don’t want to fight for the rest of my life. For now I just want to live the life we fought so hard for. What about you?” Neville had never really talked about it his plans so it made Harry curious.
“I’m going to apprentice with Professor Sprout. I think she wants me to take her job before long.” Neville responded handing the magazine to Harry now that everyone had read it.
“That’s great Neville. You’ll do well for sure. How about you Dean?”
“Actually Harry I wanted to ask you if you could direct me to the wizard that did your back?” Dean said rather nervously.
“So you want a tattoo of your own? Shouldn’t you have bigger life goals?” Ron asked sarcastically.
“More like he wants to use his artistic abilities and open his own shop, isn’t that right?” Harry guessed and Dean nodded. Seeing Harry’s tattoo was the first time Dean thought of a career that he could use his artistic ability in an enjoyable way. “Brilliant, I’ll let Guillermo know to expect you sometime after school is out.” Harry gave a look toward Seamus to continue the conversation but he just shrugged his shoulders.
“Thanks Harry that means a lot to me.” Dean smiled saving Seamus from having to admit his indecision. “How about it Draco, do you have any grand plans?”
“I doubt anybody will hire me with my parent’s past.” Draco sat on his bed. Nobody had really thought about how the wider wizarding community would view Draco. “And my grades have never been particularly outstanding.” Draco shook his arm adjusting the sleeve of his dress shirt.
Harry instinctively twitched his arm toward his forehead but caught himself before anyone else noticed. He swore he felt a twinge in his scar, but it was gone just as quickly. “Draco I’ll vouch for you if it will help. I’m sure Ron and Hermione will too.” Harry tried to reassure the Slytherin. He couldn’t help but feel sympathetic to his plight.
“I’m not sure how much good it would do and I’d rather make it on my own.”
“Why don’t you talk to George then?” Ron said excitedly. “He’s expanding overseas soon and is going to need competent businessmen to run his stores. If there’s one thing you do know it’s the ins and outs of business. And maybe getting out of the country would be a change of pace you could benefit from like Harry.”
Draco got a sly smile. “That might be a plan. Even if you did make it sound as horrible as possible.” Ron’s smile disappeared but Draco patted him on the shoulder. “I will keep that in mind. I do get on well with George. I’m ready for breakfast though, are you and Harry ready to face your adoring crowd?”
Harry rolled his eyes and made his way toward the door. He was meeting Ginny near the great hall. In truth they were both rather nervous about the reaction of the students. Quidditch was the main sport in the wizarding world and professional players were extremely popular. As the group left their dorm Hermione met them in their common room. It was a cozy space with a fireplace and newer furniture than in any of the others. There were a few couches some comfortable armchairs and a pair of long wooden tables that could be used for studying. Everything was a mixture of colors since all the houses were represented.
Ron gave his copy of the magazine to Hermione who read over it as they walked toward the great hall. “Wow Harry, Lee did a great job on this.”
“I know Hermione. I was so glad to find out he was the author.” Harry smiled as they got closer to the hall. His nerves were fading knowing that no matter what he had his friend’s support. His smile widened as he saw Ginny waiting.
She looked beautiful; of course Harry was biased in his thinking, but rather anxious. Most every witch dreamed of playing for the Harpies at one point in time and now she had that opportunity. She was worried that her friends would be jealous or worse that she would let them down. She had pinned her Harpies badge on the right side of her shirt.
Harry gave her a hug and a quick kiss as she started to breathe a little heavier. “It’ll be ok Gin. We know you’re good enough to make it.” He kissed her left hand where the ring was disillusioned. Hermione had helped with localizing the spell so that Ginny could wear the ring but nobody else would see it. She smiled lightly as the group entered the great hall.
It took a few moments for the students to realize who had walked in for breakfast. Once they had the noise was deafening. Everyone cheered and was standing to get a better look at Harry, Ron and Ginny. Harry continued walking to his normal spot at the Gryffindor table but Ron and Ginny stood stone still. Neither of them could really believe the reaction at first but soon Ron was waving to students and taking a bow before walking on. Ginny however blushed mightily and practically ran to sit next to Harry who laughed at her reaction. Soon students were coming over to talk to the three of them directly.
Many of the students wanted autographs from all three of them. A few just wanted to ask opinions on the rest of the Quidditch League and other teams. Ron was happy to oblige and give his opinion, at least until Hermione reminded him that all of his opinions could get printed and seen by other teams. Ginny relaxed a bit as the young girls told her how excited they were to know her. They didn’t care if she wasn’t officially on the team the fact that she was trying out and was given the opportunity made them believe they could do anything. Everybody wished her luck as Harry and Ron started to talk with Hermione about careers. Hermione had received offers from most departments in the Ministry and was sorting through them.
Many of the girls graduating with them seemed to be in the same boat as Seamus. Hannah was planning on working with her uncle at the Leaky Cauldron. The Patil twins had been talking about working for their parents who owned an import business specializing in magical items from Asia and the Middle East. Beyond that most of the students who would soon be graduating seemed to be drifting without a definitive direction. Hermione silently hoped that N.E.W.T. grades and her friend’s decisions would prompt others to start seriously contemplating their options.
The mail arrived and only one letter came for Harry. He smiled as he looked over it. The letter was nearly three pages long and was not from an adoring fan. He tucked it into the pocket of his shorts while he enjoyed seconds on breakfast.
Nobody noticed when breakfast ended. Students were still lined up to talk to Harry Ron and Ginny. In fact they didn’t leave their table most of the day. Once the younger students left, their close friends had questions they wanted to ask. Ana Paula in particular spent a lot of time talking with Ginny about the tryouts. She had embraced the idea that she may be in the same situation next year.
By the time dinner came around the students started to cramp. They had been sitting literally the entire day. None of them really minded they had hardly ever had a day where they could sit and talk about anything that came up. Harry walked around the great hall talking with various students who caught his attention as they ate dinner. He took a few minutes and sat at the Ravenclaw table with the D.A. members. He talked with some of the young Slytherins and was surprised to find out there were three muggle-born students sorted into the house this year. His hope for a Hogwarts’ whose houses interacted more like those at Amazonis had been pushed ahead by these revelations.
Harry returned to his spot at the Gryffindor table about the time Professor McGonagall arrived. “Mr. Potter are you ready to meet your friends tomorrow?” She asked kindly as Harry sat with his friends.
“Which friends are those Professor, the ones arriving before lunch or the ones arriving late afternoon?” Harry smiled at her shocked look. “Fleur told me.” He smiled.
“What did Fleur tell you Harry?” Ginny asked surprised that she was just hearing about it. She had spent most of the day talking to the girls of the school and just now realized it was the evening.
Harry glanced at Professor McGonagall before explaining. “Well apparently word of our graduation party reached Beauxbatons. I think Fleur mentioned it to Gabrielle. Well Madam Maxine asked if her sixth and seventh years could join and of course Professor McGonagall accepted. Gabrielle complained to Fleur since she is too young to attend and she let the secret slip that the Beauxbatons students would be arriving tomorrow.” He explained. “Fleur and Bill will also be helping chaperone since they speak French. I hope that doesn’t upset anyone.” Ron and Ginny looked like they were about to protest. “Of course your parents will be giving them the night off from watching Victoire.”
Professor McGonagall smiled and left the table. Harry had dropped the bomb that she hadn’t wanted to mention to Ron and Ginny. She feared their reaction even though Arthur and Molly had been there the entire year. Surprisingly the two teenage Weasleys took the news in stride both of them knew they would be graduating soon and would be on their own. They didn’t worry about one final evening.
“Come on Ginny, let’s go enjoy the evening. I think we are going to have a long day tomorrow.” Harry stood and took Ginny’s hand. He couldn’t help but smile as he saw Ana Paula, Leticia and Elimar start to get excited because their significant others would be joining them soon. Ginny couldn’t help but notice Mariana didn’t share in their enthusiastic conversation and wondered why she was single.
A/N: This chapter took longer to post then I hoped. I needed things to flow a little bit and I had to revise quite a bit. Chapter 7 is going to be a change, it will be the first time an entire chapter is done from Ginny's perspective rather than Harry's. With the way the story is planned more of these chapters are coming down the pipe so we have to start somewhere.
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