Chapter 2: Hogwarts Again
Rays of sunlight scattered across the room, idly caressing the contents
of the place with golden fingers. Harry lay awake watching the gentle
beams play around this tower room he had grown to love. This was home,
like no other place had ever been to him in his life, and he felt contentment
surge through his veins as he lay, sunk deeply into the warmth of his
bed. His mind drifted carelessly over memories of the past few days.
"Now I want you boys to look after Ginny," Mrs Weasley had said, fixing
her three sons and Harry with a beady stare. "You know I’m going to worry
about her, and I want you to promise me to send regular owls so I know
you’re all alive and not in too much trouble." That last comment was clearly
directed at Fred and George, who even though they were now almost 18 and
in their final year at school, had writhed uncomfortably under their mother’s
gaze. Harry smiled sleepily at the thought. It was nice to be included
as one of the family he reflected, and it was even better that Ginny’s
nightmares seemed to be fading. Maybe working on the Imperius curse would
get rid of them altogether.
He shifted onto his side, looking in the direction of Ron’s bed, but
the curtains were closed around him. Ron and Hermione seemed to have come
to an unspoken decision not to talk about Krum, but there was still a
certain tension between them. Harry hoped it would sort itself out soon.
The two of them had bickered their way through the last 4 years of school,
but it did make things awkward sometimes when he got sandwiched in the
middle of one of their rows. Having said that, it was unusual for one
of their arguments to last so long. Even when Ron had accused Crookshanks
of eating Scabbers they had sorted out their differences faster than this.
Harry shrugged to himself. "Best not get involved," he reflected silently.
The Great Hall was alive, ringing with the noise and clatter of hundreds
of students catching up with news from across the summer. The enchanted
ceiling was a clear blue with wispy cotton-wool clouds drifting idly across
it, the perfect day for...
"Quidditch practise," announced George loudly as Harry sat down at the
table and helped himself to toast. "Tonight. Need to find a new keeper
and sort out who’s going to be captain this year. Got to get an early
start on training if we’re to get up to speed fast enough."
"Yeah," agreed Fred emphatically. "Can’t have those Slytherins beating
us. Slimy lot!"
There was a murmur of consensus around the Gryffindor table and taking
advantage of the lull in conversation, Lee Jordan began telling a joke
he’d heard over the summer about a banshee and a vampire, causing much
hilarity in those around him.
"You know, Harry," said Ron thoughtfully, sitting down opposite his friend.
"I might just try out for the keeper on the team. What do you think?"
"Great idea," said Harry enthusiastically through a mouthful of hot buttered
toast. "Which broom have you got here?"
"Comet 360." Ron pulled a disparaging face, "It’s Percy’s. Still, it’s
good enough to get round the goal posts at a fair turn of speed and better
than my Shooting Star. Most things are though. Wonder what Percy’ll say
when he discovers I’ve ‘borrowed’ it." Showing complete unconcern about
his brother’s feelings he poured himself an orange juice and looked around.
"Hermione and Ginny are going to be late if they don’t get a move on."
It seemed that Ginny and Hermione were going to be late as Ron
and Harry had got round to consulting their timetables before they finally
"Oh no!" Harry groaned.
"That’s nice!" teased Hermione. "I’d have thought you’d have been happier
to see us than that."
"Double Divination," came Ron’s appalled tones. "First lesson back as
Hermione snorted scornfully. Her opinions of Professor Trelawney obviously
hadn’t changed over the holiday.
"Wonder how I’ll be dying today," said Harry in mock horror. "Rampaging
They were laughing at the ridiculous idea of being trampled to death
by such tiny creatures, when Ron suddenly turned to Hermione.
"Where have you two been anyway?"
"Needed to see Professor McGonagall," she replied airily, wearing an
enigmatic smile and deliberately refusing to elaborate further. Ron raised
"And are you going to tell us why?" he enquired.
Hermione didn’t answer.
"Going to be late for Arithmancy," she said, grabbing some toast in her
hand and grinning at him cheerfully. "See you all later." And with that,
she was gone.
"What was all that about?" asked Ron, perplexed.
"Oh Ron! Use your eyes for a change," laughed Ginny. "It’s obvious!"
The three of them strolled back into the entrance hall, which was basking
in the mellow shafts of light from the fine September morning. They were
just about to separate up the fine marble staircase for lessons when Ginny
looked at Harry, flushed pink and suddenly blurted out,
"I asked Professor McGonagall about working on deflecting the Imperius
"She said it was fine, and we should use the Transfiguration classroom
near her office so she can keep an eye on us. It was easier than I expected.
To be honest, I thought she was going to say no."
"Well, there’s Quidditch practise tonight, but there shouldn’t be a lot
"Unless we’re late for Divination," warned Ron, heading rapidly up the
stairs towards North Tower.
"After Quidditch then," said Ginny, in a more determined voice than Harry
had ever heard her use before. "I want to do this."
The day passed quickly, the sickly sweet heady fumes of Divination gave
way to the slumber of History of Magic, which in turn became the study
of Transfiguration. Professor McGonagall had been demonstrating changing
mice into toadstools, and as the class filed out at the end of her lesson,
she said crisply,
"Potter, a word please."
Harry exchanged glances with Ron and Hermione. He was certain he knew
what this was going to be about and his heart sank. He saw them both looking
at him sympathetically as they left the room. Harry slowly approached
Professor McGonagall’s desk and waited.
"Potter, Miss Weasley came to me this morning, with a rather unusual
request regarding the Imperius curse. I’ve spoken with the headmaster
about it, and given the circumstances and events last term, we agree it
is wise for her, and for her peace of mind, to learn to throw off the
curse if she can." She looked at him sternly through her glasses. "What
I was wondering was, have you considered the implications of putting such
an unforgivable curse on someone? After all, you will have complete control
over her, for a time."
Harry squirmed uncomfortably inside.
"I don’t want to control Ginny," he said awkwardly. "I want to do something
help her. If you’d heard those nightmares of hers in the summer…" He fidgeted
with his bag. "Really Professor, I promised Mrs Weasley I’d look out for
her. You know I’d not hurt her."
He lifted his head and looked straight at Professor McGonagall as he
said this and was relieved to see her stern face relaxing into a small
"Very well Potter. Just be careful."
The Gryffindor Quidditch team had gathered together in the changing rooms
after practise. The sun was sinking low over the horizon, and stars were
beginning to blink themselves awake and twinkle gently through the spectrum
of violet hues that made the evening sky. Even without Wood, and a whole
year of no matches, their play had been good, and Harry felt the exhilaration
of the wind swooping past him, doing the thing he loved most in the world.
The team had made two unanimous decisions that had both surprised and
delighted Harry; the first was that Ron was to be their new keeper. Harry
suspected it was a combination of long arms, and uncannily accurate guesswork
of where the quaffle was going that had made his friend so good in the
position. The second decision had made him go bright red, to the very
roots of his hair.
"Oh there’s no question," said Angelina. "Harry should captain the team.
He’s a fantastic seeker, and the rest of us have all got our NEWTs coming
up this year. We just won’t have the time. It makes sense for him to take
over now anyway, because he’s going to lose most of us in the summer and
it’ll give him experience to get the new Gryffindor team off the ground
There was absolute agreement, and consequently Harry was walking back
to the castle with Ron, Firebolt over his shoulder, feeling the happiest
he had in a long time.
Ron shot him a furtive glance as they climbed the steps into the entrance
"Harry, are you seriously going to use the Imperius curse on Ginny?"
"I’m going to have to," he replied hesitantly. Seeing the concern on
Ron’s face he swiftly added, "Better me than Voldemort."
Ron flinched at the sound of the name.
"I suppose. Just… don’t ask her to do anything she’d hate. I know I tease
her and stuff but…she’s still my little sister." Suddenly Ron’s furrowed
brow cleared and he nudged Harry. "Hey you be careful. Spending time alone
with her might cause the Harry Potter fan club to start up again."
Harry groaned, and trudged up the stairs towards the Transfiguration
classroom and a waiting Ginny.