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Harry Potter and the Time of Second Chances by Neville James
Chapter 14 : Familiar Faces
 
Rating: 12+Chapter Reviews: 16


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Chapter 14: Familiar Faces


The next morning, Harry opened his eyes feeling very well rested and did not remember a single dream from the night before. Apparently his practice with Dumbledore had really cleared his mind. He walked over to Ron’s bed and pulled the corner of the hangings open. Ron’s bed lay perfectly, his pillow still as uncreased as it had been the night before. Harry wasn’t sure what to do. Was Ron alright, or could he have wandered into the forest during the night? He walked over to the window and peered toward the gloomy wall of trees across the grounds. The sun was shining brightly this morning as it crept it’s way above the dark forest. Only a couple of clouds blotched the bright blue sky; something lost on Harry as he was too concerned for his best friend. Turning around to go after him, Harry’s heart jumped into his throat when he ran smack into Ron.

‘You should watch where you’re going, Harry,’ Ron said teasingly with a smile on his face. Harry was about to retort with a nasty comment regarding his lack of consideration, when he realised that Ron was smiling.

‘Why do you look so happy?’ Harry said raising an eyebrow in suspicion.

‘No reason. We should go to breakfast,’ Ron said, dismissing the question and offered Harry a hand off the floor.

When all of the sixth year boys were ready to go they headed out to meet up with the others in the common room. He followed his friends to the armchairs in front of the Gryffindor fire and was lost in musings about where Ron could have been all night, until Ginny’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

‘What did you say?’ he asked her.

‘I said today would be the perfect day for flying. We should hold try-outs.’

At once, Harry grinned from ear to ear remembering what he still had yet to tell the youngest Weasley boy.

‘Actually that would be great,’ Ron agreed.

‘Yeah it would,’ Harry started, noticing all of the eager Gryffindors listening to him, ‘but try-outs are already set for sometime on Friday.’

‘What are you talking about?’ Katie asked, having just walked into the room from her dormitory, pinning her Head Girl badge to the front of her robes and looking puzzled. ‘By whom?’

‘McGonagall told me last night.’

‘Great!’ Katie shouted excitedly, ‘And I assume she’ll announce the new captain after she holds the try-outs.’

‘Actually, the new captain will be the one scheduling and running the try-out,’ he answered knowingly, trying his best not to grin.

Ron thumped him on the back. ‘Way to go Harry, you’ll do great.’

‘Thanks Ron, but I can’t do anything until you tell us when we’re having try-outs.’

A moment of confused silence followed Harry’s statement, and then Ron was buried under his friends, all of them shouting their congratulations. When people finally backed away, Harry could see an embarrassed look on his red face. Then Harry noticed that Hermione was hanging around his neck in a tight hug.

‘Way to go Ron, you deserve it!’ Harry slung an arm around his shoulders.

‘Thanks mate, but I was sure it would be you.’

‘Nah, you’re the one who knows quidditch inside and out. All I know is Seeking.’

‘You’ll be great,’ Katie agreed, ‘but if you turn into Oliver, I swear you won’t live until the first match.’

Everyone laughed as they made their way out of the common room and down to the Great Hall, while Ron spoke of what new plays he might include for the season. The Gryffindors all sat down at their table, most of them still speaking excitedly about the good news when the post owls began to swoop into the hall.

Harry ate a huge breakfast of bacon and eggs and watched in surprise as, for the second time since they had been at Hogwarts, Ron barely ate a thing. The first time was of course the morning before his first quidditch match. Today he was too busy planning out his first day as team captain and what he would have the new players do at try-outs to prove themselves. Harry just laughed to himself as he ate.

He was surprised when halfway through the meal he was tapped on the shoulder by Lavender Brown. ‘Here, Harry, this came for you with a letter from my cousin. I didn’t know you two were friends?’ she said curiously before walking back to her seat next to Parvati, who this morning was looking slightly less upset.

At first Harry was confused, but then remembered that her cousin was Maria. He tore open the simple Muggle envelope to find a short letter from his cousin written in ballpoint pen.

Harry,
How are things? Things are great here. Maria and I are going on a date Friday night. I kept running after I left you know where, and now one of the teachers at the school is letting me run around the grounds in the morning before classes. There’s a whole bunch of us doing it now. Well, better keep this short so, I’ll talk to you again soon. Hope that Malfoy’s remembering what I said!
Dudley


Harry put the letter away in his pocket and smiled. He had forgotten that he was to write to Dudley. At least if anything important occurred, he knew that Dudley could reach him using Lavender’s owl. He wondered how often she wrote to Maria.

His thoughts were interrupted when the Headmaster stood to make an announcement and silence fell over the entire hall. Everyone watched as, curiously, Professor McGonagall emerged from the antechamber behind the staff table once again carrying an old wooden stool bearing the worn and tattered sorting hat. A hushed whisper raced around the hall. This was new. Hogwarts had never received new students after the term had begun, and they were all curious as to why it would now.

‘A brief announcement,’ Dumbledore began. ‘ I am happy to announce that our Care of Magical Creatures professor has returned and that we will be gaining both a new first year student and a new assistant professor.’

Everyone began to whisper again, this time more loudly than before.

‘Our new student will be joining us late from Europe and our new professor as well. I am sure you will all greet them warmly and ensure they feel welcome in the castle.’

The hall doors swung open and the students watched as Hagrid loomed in, looking happier than they had ever seen him. He waved over at the Gryffindor table as he passed it, and it was not until he reached the front of the room that everyone noticed there was a small girl walking behind him. There were several gasps from the house tables when they saw her.

She stood quietly next to the staff table, her straight white blonde hair flowing down her back and her chin held high. Harry couldn’t help but stare at the young girl as though he had met her before. He also noticed several of the other males in the room watching her intently, as though unable to look away. He continued to stare until her piercing blue eyes met his and she smiled and waved excitedly at him. He waved back at the young girl, trying to recall where they would have met, but was pulled away from his thoughts as the new professor joined the room.

A taller girl, looking no older than twenty walked into the room gracefully, pulling down her hood and letting her long blonde hair spill gracefully onto her shining silver robes. If every male was not staring at the tiny girl, they were most definitely gawking at the older version now walking between the tables. Halfway through the room she turned to the Gryffindor table and waved, ‘allo ‘arry,’ before continuing to the staff table and taking a new seat between Professors Sprout and Flitwick.

‘This is Professor Flitwick’s new assistant professor. Many of our older students may remember her as one of the tri-wizard tournament champions two years ago. A warm hand for Professor Fleur Delacour.’ Everyone applauded loudly for the young woman in front of them. ‘And now we will sort our new student,’ he said before sitting back down.

‘Delacour, Gabrielle,’ McGonagall said loudly and waited for the young girl to take her seat on the bench.

The sorting hat was placed on her head and everyone watched, waiting to hear what house she would join. A moment later the hat’s voice filled the air with ‘Gryffindor!’ and the table exploded with cheers as the tiny girl rushed over to join her new housemates. She plopped right down next to Harry and smiled warmly before giving him a small hug.

‘‘How are you ‘arry?’ she said still smiling.

‘I’m great thanks,’ he answered, smiling back at the small girl that he had rescued from the Merpeople in the lake two years earlier. ‘You’ve grown so much,’ he added, ‘I barely recognized you on dry land,’ he joked.

‘Oh. I recognised you right away,’ she replied blushing and turning to Hermione to say hello.

Hermione, having also been rescued during the tri-wizard tournament, remembered Gabrielle and instantly started asking her questions about where she lived and why she wasn’t attending Beauxbatons like her sister had. Gabrielle told them all about her life in France, but every time Hermione mentioned Beauxbatons she evaded the question and changed the topic.

The day flew by, as first they attended their first lesson with Fleur and learned some of the Charms taught in Beauxbatons style, before going on to Transfiguration, Potions, and Care of Magical Creatures. Even Defence was relatively uneventful, provided Professor Black destroying and reassigning Harry’s essay was not an event. Snape was also unusually civil toward him, placing Harry on edge for the rest of day.

Gabrielle seemed to be fitting in well with the other first year girls and Marc had reappeared that day after lunch. When questioned about his whereabouts he simply told them that he had visited with his aunt in St. Mungos and Harry felt foolish for thinking that there was more to it. It looked like things were finally approaching normal at Hogwarts.

* * *


The next day was very much the same, speeding by and leaving Harry with yet another essay to write. At this rate, he would know about the entire world’s unforgivables within a week.

Finally, Friday’s lessons were done for the day and Harry could not wait to get to the quidditch pitch. Ron had decided on four o’clock for the try-outs and had posted a sign-up sheet on the Gryffindor notice board. Harry ran up to his dormitory to get his Firebolt before meeting Ginny and Katie in the entrance hall, both of them also carrying brooms.

‘It’s a great day for flying,’ Katie commented as they made their way across the grounds to meet their captain. Ginny agreed, tilting her head up to the sky to feel the sun on her face. ‘How long has Ron been out here?’ Katie asked Harry, knowing that he would know.

‘An hour and a half. McGonagall gave him a note to excuse him half an hour early. I guess she really wants a great team this year.’ They all laughed as they walked onto the freshly cut grass below the spectator stands and toward Ron, who was now dragging the quidditch trunk across the field toward them.

‘Are you guys ready?’ he asked them as soon as they were within hearing distance.

‘Of course,’ Harry answered and grinned at his excited best friend.

‘Well, there are nine people coming for tryouts, so they should be here soon.’

Over the next few minutes, groups of students started to make their way to the side of the pitch, some of them there to tryout and others there to offer support or simply for something to do.

Finally, Ron stepped forward to start the tryout. ‘Alright. Welcome to everyone who showed up to tryout for the Gryffindor team. Unfortunately I won’t be able to take you all, so good luck to each of you.’ He spoke loudly and clearly, and Harry could hardly tell that he was nervous. ‘We will be doing air sessions by tryout groups. We’ll start with the beaters and then go on to the chasers. As I am keeper, Harry is seeker and Katie and Ginny are chasers, we will only require two beaters and a chaser to complete the team. So beaters first, Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan mount your brooms.’

Ron explained to the boys that they were to try and stop Katie and Ginny from scoring. Within moments of the duo taking to the air it was evident that just as in the previous year’s tryouts, Dean was quite abysmal, but that Seamus had improved significantly. Parvati and Lavender cheered them on from the sidelines and waited for them to finish. It appeared that Parvati had forgiven Dean.

After nearly ten minutes of hit and miss between the pair, and after seven attempts at a goal, all saved by Ron, the team set back down on the ground for the next set. This time it was Dennis Creevey and Marc Evans. Just like the pair before them, Dennis was quite incapable of hitting anything in the direction he wanted it to go, resulting in several moments of confusion when the bludgers would disappear from the pitch. Marc on the other hand was excellent, and Harry wondered if he had perhaps played at Durmstrang.

Next, a pair of second years went and both were even worse than Dennis Creevey, a feat Harry thought impossible to accomplish. Parvati and Lavender were now both sniggering in their seats rudely. Ron, seeing this, asked the girls if they could do any better.

‘You wouldn’t catch me dead playing quidditch, Ronald,’ Lavender said haughtily before giggling with Parvati.

Ron told the students that he would have to discuss what he had seen with his teammates before making any decisions. They all agreed that Seamus and Marc were clearly the best choice but that they would need to see them in the air together. Ron had them go up and just as they had expected, the pair worked wonderfully together. Harry decided that it was probably the only thing that Dean and Seamus were better at apart.

Ron next announced the chaser tryouts and first to fly with Ginny and Katie was Dean’s sister Jamaica. Her chaser abilities made Dean look like a professional quidditch player, and that was saying a lot. Next up was Collin Creevey, who admittedly was better than his brother, but that was not saying much.

Finally, the last student, a rather large fourth year, mounted his broom and raced up for his turn. Unfortunately, he dropped the quaffle seven of the ten times it was passed to him and then on his way back down to the pitch he fell off his broom before landing. Ron groaned and discussed his options with the team.

‘What can I do? We have to pick one of them, or the team will forfeit for the year and I refuse to sit back and watch Slytherin take the cup.’

‘Well, I think Colin was the best,’ Ginny offered her fellow Prefect’s name honestly. ‘We’ll just have to practice a lot.’

‘I suppose you’re right,’ Ron agreed glumly, and they all walked back to the small group awaiting their decision.

‘It was a very difficult decision to make, and I would like to-’

‘Of course it was difficult,’ Parvati interrupted him rudely. ‘You had to decide which terrible player would help you give the cup to Slytherin.’ She and Lavender both laughed loudly at this. Everyone around them gave murderous glares, but no one worse than Ron.

‘That is it!’ he shouted at her, pushing past Harry toward her. ‘You Parvati, are the most self-absorbed and rudest person I have ever met. Not only did you completely embarrass me in front of the entire Gryffindor common room the other night, but you didn’t even apologise! Now, you’re poking fun at a game that you don’t even have the guts to try, and worse, you’re insulting the people that do. Why don’t you just leave!’ he shouted louder than ever, then turned his back on her and walked back to his team.

‘You know what, Ron?’ Parvati called, standing up stiffly. ‘Let’s go. Right now, you and me in the air.’

‘What?’ Ron said confused. ‘You don’t even have a broom.’

‘Accio broom!’ she flicked her wand and Harry’s Firebolt whipped out of his hand and into her tight grasp. Before he could protest she had swung her leg over the edge and kicked off hard. Ron, completely taken aback, kicked off as well and watched as Katie followed them up with the quaffle.

Ron hovered in front of the central hoop and waited for Parvati to undoubtedly drop the quaffle when it was passed to her. Katie threw the ball toward the dark-haired girl and everyone watched in surprise as she lunged forward to meet it and rushed toward the keeper. She flew low and circled the hoops quickly before coming up on Ron’s left and threw the quaffle half-heartedly toward the right hoop. Ron gave a small laugh at the attempt and reached a hand out for it, but before he could Parvati had burst forward and snatched it back again. She looped quickly around him and sent it sailing trough the middle hoop.

Everyone on the pitch below stood silently gaping at what they had just seen. The only person to be heard was Lavender, who was cheering for her best friend as she flew down and dismounted the Firebolt.

‘Thanks, Harry,’ she said and smiled as she handed him his broom back. ‘Good game, Weasley. Now let’s go Lavender, I have to fix my hair.’

The whole team watched in silence as Parvati and Lavender walked back up to the castle discussing how they would do their hair, as though one of them had not just made a phenomenal shot in quidditch moments before.

* * *


Students gathered around the common room notice board the next morning to see who had made the team. The first to reach it were Dean and Seamus. Seamus gave a loud whoop of excitement before noticing that his best friend had not been placed as his fellow beater, or anywhere for that matter. Dean looked as though his owl had died.

‘Sorry mate, but Evans out-flew you,’ Ron said to him consolingly and placed a hand on his shoulder, ‘but we’re still good, right?’

‘Of course,’ Dean answered him with a grin, ‘but I had to at least make you feel guilty.’ He ducked to avoid Ron’s swing. The two continued to wrestle around while Marc came down to check and find his name under the other beater slot.

The students all started to go down for breakfast when Hermione, Ginny, Lavender, and Parvati came strolling down the stairs to join them. Parvati glanced at the boys for a moment, each of whom were staring expectantly at her.

‘Are we going to eat or not? I’m sorry I embarrassed you on the pitch yesterday, Weasley. Now will you let it go.’ Ron stared incredulous at her.

‘Are you even going to look at the try-out results?’ he cried at her.

‘What does it matter? Everyone who tried out played miserably.’

‘Not everyone,’ Ginny said quietly.

Parvati walked across the round room and stared at Ron’s notice for a moment before laughing loudly and starting toward the exit. ‘Good one, Weasley, very funny! Come on, Lavender, I’m starving.’ They started to walk out of the common room when Ron blocked the porthole.

‘It’s not a joke. You’re our new chaser. Those were some great moves out there yesterday,’ he forced himself to say through gritted teeth, while Parvati smirked at his effort.

‘Either way, I don’t do sport. You’ll have to find someone else.’

Ron sighed deeply. ‘There is no one else. We need you, Parvati, I need you ... on the team.’ He blushed at what he had said.

‘I’ll think about it,’ Parvati responded before turning to Lavender so they could go.

‘I think you should do it,’ Lavender said unexpectedly. ‘Remember what Professor Trelawney said, ‘Your Hogwarts experience will reach new heights’. Maybe this is what she meant.’

Hermione snorted in the background, but sobered up when Harry gave her a warning glance. Parvati looked around at all of the expectant faces before sighing and giving in.

‘Alright, but if I don’t like it I’m quitting.’

‘Great!’ Ron said and moved out of the way so that the girls could go down to breakfast.

The rest of the day sped by, filled with laughter and general happiness as the Gryffindors relaxed in the common room playing whatever games tickled their fancies. Ron and Harry had brought a couple of third years with them to collect treats from the kitchen, all of which were gladly handed over by the house elves. Hermione of course did not participate in the festivities, but rather read ahead in her Ancient Runes textbook and gave haughty sighs and pointed glares at anyone who deigned interrupt her.

‘Just because you have a new quidditch team does not mean you can ignore your studies, Ron,’ she said from behind a large stack of texts and parchments. ‘You’ll actually have to work even harder to balance your schedule now, what with practices and our weekly prefect’s meeting.’

‘Prefect’s meeting!’ Ron suddenly looked up from his chess game with Neville. ‘Dumbledore didn’t say anything about meetings.’

‘It was in your Hogwarts letter, Ron, and you would have seen it if you bothered to read it instead of just tearing out the booklist,’ she chided him with a disapproving face. ‘The first one is Sunday at lunch time,’ she added before returning to her text.

‘Was that in the letter too?’ Ron said sarcastically and took a sip of pumpkin juice that had come upstairs along with the other treats.

‘No, Katie told me this morning before classes,’ she said coldly, ‘and then Roger reminded me this afternoon,’ she added quietly.

‘Roger?’ Ron repeated loudly, slurping juice down the front of his robes. Harry and a few people around them laughed at him, and Ron tried to pretend he hadn’t just embarrassed himself. ‘So, you were with Roger today then?’ he asked nonchalantly, not looking toward Hermione, but instead inspecting the chess board with what looked like great curiosity.

‘No,’ she replied just as casually, ‘I ran into him in the hallway. Is that alright with you, Ron?’ she asked him with a tone as though daring him to question her further.

‘Absolutely, Hermione. Why would I care who you run into?’ With that, Ron stood and started toward the staircase to the dormitories. ‘I have a big day of planning for our next couple of practices so I’m going to turn in.’ He said goodnight to all those sitting around him but made a point to not look at Hermione.

‘Good night, Ron,’ Harry said and shook his head as his friend went up the stairs noisily, mumbling under his breath about the pompous Head Boy. ‘Here they go again,’ he whispered to himself and started to clean up the game.

That night in bed, Harry lay awake, unable to clear his mind of all the new events that would take place this year. In three weeks would be the first quidditch match, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw, and Harry wasn’t looking forward to playing against their seeker. He still felt badly about the way things had gone with Cho, but it seemed from his encounter with her on the first night of term, she may have already moved on.

His thoughts then changed to his animagus training, which, after a second session, was finally getting interesting, and then suddenly to his Occlumency lesson with Dumbledore. It had been such a close call. If Dumbledore had seen what Harry had done in that nightmare, he might have been expelled from Hogwarts and possibly put on trial once more. He couldn’t let that happen again.

Harry’s eyes finally drifted closed as his mind changed gears and found itself focusing on Ginny Weasley.

He watched from behind closed lids as Ginny flew through the air on her broomstick, passing the quaffle back and forth with the other members of the Gryffindor team. He hovered above, meant to be looking for the snitch. She smiled and laughed as the practice went on and Harry decided that there was no more denying it; he thought Ginny could be more than a friend.

The practice came to an end and everyone made their way back to the common room. Harry followed from the rear and noticed that Ginny left the pack and headed down toward the dungeons. Interested by her strange route, he followed her through the shady passageways until he saw her disappear into one of the old dungeons no longer used in the castle. Harry walked up to the door but stopped abruptly when he heard a girl’s voice talking to a familiar sounding male.

‘You’ll need help with that potion then, won’t you?’

‘I think I can manage,’ the male responded shortly. ‘And if I did need help, I wouldn’t ask a Gryffindor.’

He listened in on their conversation about a particular growth potion when it hit him to whom the voice belonged. Looking around the corner to verify his prediction, Harry almost cried out when he saw the red-haired girl talking to Snape.

The only problem was that Ginny was no longer Ginny, but Lily Evans, and Snape was not Professor Snape, but sixteen-year-old Severus Snape. Harry’s mind started to spin as he leaned back on the wall to try and understand what was happening, the cold feeling of the stones on his back somewhat soothing. Did Lily need help? Would Snape jinx her or harm her at all?

Taking a deep breath he peered back into the room and found to his shock that his mother was not being insulted by the greasy Slytherin, but hugged.



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