Harry met with Dawn and Hermione when they were returning to Gryffindor tower for lunch. “So how’d it go with Snape?” he asked.
“He glowered, glared, and grumbled a lot,” said Hermione. “We did the Draught of Peace today, and I think Dawn got it perfect. He even drank some of it.”
“And now he wants thirty-six inches on Polyjuice Potion,” said Dawn.
“Oh, we can help you with that!” said Harry. “We made it—well it was mostly Hermione while Ron and I watched—second year.”
“And I wound up spending a month in hospital with fur on my face, and a tail,” said Hermione. “It seems I spent half of second year in hospital, between the Polyjuice Potion, and the Basilisk.”
They entered the common room and Dawn dumped her Potions stuff by the table. She flopped down into a chair. “One more Potions to go!”
“And I don’t have to go to it,” said Hermione.
“What?” asked Harry.
“Snape wants Dawn to go alone on Friday,” said Hermione. “He told me stay away.”
“Ah…he’s finally going to poison her, and doesn’t want any witnesses.”
Dawn grimaced. “At this point, I’m almost ready to thank him if he does.”
“Thank who?” asked Buffy as she came in the door.
“Professor Snape, if he poisons me.”
“I really don’t think he’ll do that,” said Giles.
“Don’t be so sure,” said Harry. “He threatened to poison me once during fourth year to test out the antidotes the class had made.”
Winky arrived hovering a large tray with their lunch over her head. She placed it on the table and asked if anyone wanted anything else, the way she always did. Everyone thanked her, and told her that the meal was fine and they didn’t want anything else, the way they always did. Winky left and they all started to eat.
The meal was interrupted by the arrival of a tiny grey owl. It landed hard on the table and rolled to a stop in front of Harry. It had a letter attached to each leg.
“Hello Pig!” said Harry. “It’s Ron’s owl Pigwidgeon,” he explained to Buffy, Giles and Dawn. He detached the letters from each leg, and after a glance at the envelopes handed one to Buffy. “This one’s for you.” He fed Pig a couple of the owl treats he kept for Hedwig, and sent him off to the Owlery. He opened the letter Ron had sent him. “Ron got his OWLs this morning too… Looks like he passed everything… No wonder Snape was in such a state. He didn’t manage to get rid of any of us.” He looked at Buffy. “What did you get?”
Buffy smiled. “It’s from Ginny. She says ‘maybe.’” She looked at Dawn. “Have you made up your mind yet?”
“You think I’d be working this hard if I wasn’t planning to come here?” asked Dawn.
“Never know,” said Buffy. “You might just have decided you really wanted to learn how to poison me.”
“Oh, I learned that the second day. Any more from Ginny than ‘maybe’?”
“Oh, just that she’s really excited, and looking forward to learning more about being a Slayer, and stuff like that, and that she’s going shopping for school stuff in Diagon Alley next Wednesday, and wants to know if there’s anything special she’ll need to get.”
“Is there anything special she’ll need to get?” asked Hermione.
“I’ve noticed that this school doesn’t have much in the way of athletics, other than Quidditch,” said Buffy. “We’ll probably need to make sure she has the right sort of exercise clothes, a good pair of shoes, stuff like that. Dawn and I will take her shopping when we go back. Dawn’s going to have to get some of that stuff too.”
“I am?” asked Dawn.
“Yeah, you still want to be Junior Watcher, right?” asked Buffy. “You’re going to be Professor Lupin’s assistant, and since he really doesn’t have any training in the physical side of things, I figured you’d actually be taking the lead in that part of Ginny’s training.”
“Me?” asked Dawn. “But I—”
“You have more experience and training than just about anyone else,” said Giles. “I am the only living person who has spent more time sparring with a Slayer than you, and you were very good working with all the Potentials last year.”
“Okay, but what would you have done if I hadn’t decided to come here for school?”
“Giles and I are going to be dropping in from time to time,” said Buffy, “and Willow’s probably going to be spending some time here too. Kennedy will no doubt be with her. We don’t really plan on starting intensive combat training until Ginny’s eighteen anyway.”
“Kennedy?” asked Hermione.
“Willow’s girlfriend, and a Slayer,” said Dawn. “One who’d gotten years of training before she was called. Ginny should be thankful she’s going to have me. Kennedy…takes a little getting used to.”
“Just a minute,” said Harry. “Did you say ‘Willow’s girlfriend’?”
“Yeah, you have a problem with that?” asked Dawn.
“Er, no, just making sure I heard you right.”
Dawn saw a smirk cross Harry’s face, that he quickly tried to hide. She looked at her sister. “Boys!”
“Will be boys,” said Buffy. “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Dawn arrived at her last Potions class at eight on the dot. The dungeon looked a little different today. Instead of ingredients and apparatus on her usual bench, there was a stack of books. Professor Snape wasn’t there yet. Dawn placed her four page report on Polyjuice Potion on his desk and went to take her seat at her bench. She checked the titles of the books, and saw that they were the standard potions reference volumes that she’d consulted most often over the past two weeks.
Professor Snape arrived and he placed a roll of parchment on the bench in front of her. “This is a standard OWL Potions test Miss Summers. Normally reference materials are not allowed for an OWL, but due to the rushed nature of your education I will allow them for this test. You have two hours to complete it. You may begin.”
Professor Snape returned to his desk and flipped over a large hourglass. He sat in his chair and began to read her Polyjuice essay.
Dawn read through the test questions, prioritizing them. First do the questions she knew she could complete quickly, without having to resort to the reference books much. Save the difficult questions till the end. She remembered one test back at Sunnydale High where the teacher had told the students to read the entire test paper carefully before beginning, and at the bottom of the last page had added an instruction to only do the odd numbered questions. Snape hadn’t done anything like that with this test.
She went back to the first problem:
Describe in detail the use of Moonstone in the preparation of the Draught of Peace. Why is this ingredient essential to the preparation of this potion? What are the effects of using too much, too little, or improperly stirring the mixture?
Dawn smiled to herself. They’d just done that on Wednesday. She started writing.
Dawn completed about half the questions without having to resort to the reference books for anything other than looking up specific properties of certain substances in the standard tables. She glanced at the hourglass on Snape’s desk and saw that its sand was about half gone. She started in on the questions that she’d have to do a little more research on.
Dawn figured that she had about three quarters of the test completed when Snape told her to put her pen down. She sat up, pushed her hair back behind her ears, and shook her hand, which had started to cramp from all the writing.
Professor Snape flicked his wand. “Accio!” Dawn’s test paper went flying to him. He slapped his wand back against the blackboard behind him. “You now have two hours to complete these procedures. You know where to find everything you will need. Begin.” He flipped over the hourglass again.
Dawn read the four procedures on the blackboard, and nearly laughed when she got to the last one. It was the one he had asked her to do the first day. She went to the supply cupboard and started to collect ingredients. “Um, Professor Snape, you didn’t try to rig this test did you?” she asked.
Snape glared at her. “Why would you think I would do something like that?” He seemed genuinely angry.
“Um, procedure four sir,” said Dawn.
Snape looked back at the board. Dawn heard a very strange sound. It might have been some sort of laugh. She couldn’t imagine such a noise coming from Professor Snape, and he was glowering again when he turned back to her. “If anyone is attempting to rig this examination, it is not me. I asked Professor Dumbledore to prepare this test, and I had not kept him apprised of the details of exactly which potions we had covered.
“I set that problem for you on the first day, because that particular potion blew up in my face during my Potions OWL examination. It seems that Professor Dumbledore remembered the incident, and I would appreciate it if you did not tell anyone else. You are wasting time Summers.”
“Yes sir.” Dawn took everything she’d need for the first procedure back to her bench and went to work.
Dawn set the final flask, with the final potion on Snape’s desk with five minutes to spare. She was thinking she’d done pretty well. She suspected that potion one was a little off, and number three was a disaster, but she was pretty sure that potion two had come out perfectly, and number four hadn’t blown up in her face. She was a little surprised that she now understood exactly what Hermione had said about that potion too. She understood the effects of each step, and why they all cancelled each other out.
“So how’d I do?” she asked.
Snape looked up from the third flask of her potions that he had been examining. “How do you think you did?”
“I’d say about 66% but I don’t know how that translates into grades.”
“That, Summers, would translate into an ‘Acceptable.’ Congratulations. You passed. You may now join my sixth year Potions class.”
“Despite everyone else in it having scored an ‘Outstanding.’”
“Everyone else had five years to master what you have done in two weeks. By any rational evaluation, that counts as ‘Outstanding.’ I expect to see you again at the start of term. Good day.” With that Snape turned and swept away into his office.
Dawn gave everyone the news about her Potions test over lunch. She wasn’t sure whether it qualified as good news though. “With everyone else in the class having scored ‘Outstanding’ I’m probably going to have to work twice as hard just to keep up.”
“Yeah, but that’s still half as hard as you’ve been working for the last two weeks,” said Harry. “It should be a snap.”
Dawn didn’t have afternoon classes that day. Instead she and Buffy had a meeting with Professor Dumbledore to discuss what was going to happen next. Harry had told them the password to get past the gargoyle so they soon found themselves back in his office.
Professor McGonagall was there too. “Miss Summers, I have to tell you that all of your teachers have been most impressed with how hard you have worked over the past two weeks, and with how much progress you have made. It is a rare pleasure to have a student with such diligence, and talent.”
“Thank you, Professor,” said Dawn.
“I, and your other teachers have evaluated your work, and we feel that you will be able to join in fourth year classes, in most subjects,” said McGonagall. “Specifically, fourth year Transfiguration, Charms, Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology.”
“Fourth year, that’s like fourteen year olds, right?” asked Dawn.
“That is correct, Miss Summers, and I must warn you that for the most part they will be fourteen year olds who are still considerably more advanced in their educations than you currently are. You may find yourself having to put up with some ridicule at first. I expect that will not last long however. You will be surpassing most of your classmates by Christmas.”
“I guess I can put up with a little ridicule,” said Dawn.
“You will also be able to join sixth year classes in Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Muggle Studies, and Arithmancy.” said McGonagall. “Your classmates in those subjects will only be a year younger than yourself, but again they will, for the most part, be starting out with a considerable advantage over you.”
“I haven’t taken any Muggle Studies classes,” said Dawn. “I didn’t even get evaluated in Muggle Studies.”
“Yes, but you have been living among them, and studying them your entire life,” said Professor Dumbledore.
“So why should I take Muggle Studies?” asked Dawn.
Dumbledore smiled. “I expect it to teach you about wizards. Seeing how we look at Muggles teaches much more about us, than it teaches about them.”
“If you wish to enrol in other courses, Divination, Astronomy or Ancient Runes,” said McGonagall. “You would have to enter at a third year level, but you would also be entering Divination and Ancient Runes on an even footing with the other students, since those subjects are not taught earlier.”
“What do they teach in Ancient Runes?” asked Dawn. “Because I’m really good with languages. I can read Latin, and Ancient Greek. My Sumerian needs a bit of work, and I’m starting in on Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Giles was going to introduce me to a friend at the British Museum who could help me with that, but that kinda got side-tracked after we met Harry.”
McGonagall and Dumbledore exchanged a surprised look. “Given your background, I shouldn’t find that surprising,” said Dumbledore. “Perhaps, when you return, you could audit a couple of sixth year Runes classes with Miss Granger. Find out how they appeal to you. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We still haven’t heard your decision. Do you wish to join us in Hogwarts this year?”
“Yes!” said Dawn. “Right now, I think you’d have to beat me away with a stick to keep my out!”
“We would never dream of doing such a thing,” said Dumbledore. “Now you must decide which classes you are actually going to take. Muggle Studies, Arithmancy, Divination and Ancient Runes are all elective courses, of which our students usually only take one each year. Miss Granger is the only student currently attending the school who has attempted to take all of them. Astronomy is usually a required subject, but after some consideration we are also making it an elective for you. You will have to pick which courses you would like to take, and inform Professor McGonagall of your choices. Minerva, do you have the list of supplies that Miss Summers will be needing?”
“Yes Professor.” McGonagall withdrew a roll of parchment from a pocket of her robes, and handed it to Dawn. “Here is what you will require.”
Dawn read over the list. It contained a lot of books. The ones she had been using so far had come from the school library, and now she needed to get her own copies…six years worth of Potions and DADA books for one thing. It was going to be quite the pile. She looked at her sister. “I’m going to need you along just to carry all this stuff.”
“That’s all I am to you isn’t it?” asked Buffy. “Your pack mule.”
“You got it.” Dawn read farther down the list. “Wait a minute: ‘School Robes’?”
Professor McGonagall smiled. “We relax the dress code over the summer, but once term starts, all students are required to wear robes to classes. How you dress on your free time is still up to you…within reason.” She gave Dawn an appraising look. She was wearing a light mini t-shirt and jeans that left a couple of inches of exposed skin around her waist. “You might wish to acquire some warmer clothes. It gets quite cold here in the winter. Much colder than you would be used to in California. And Professor Snape in particular likes to keep his dungeon…cool.”
“Thank you, Minerva,” said Professor Dumbledore. “You may leave us now. There are a couple of other matters that I wish to discuss with Buffy and Dawn.”
Professor McGonagall inclined her head slightly to the headmaster, and Dawn could see that she was curious about just what Professor Dumbledore wanted to speak to them privately about, but she kept her questions to herself, and quickly exited the office.
“Now, Buffy, you expressed an interest in finding an appropriate room for some of Miss Weasley’s physical training.”
“Yes,” said Buffy. “It’s a big castle. There must be some place in it we could set up a training room for Ginny.”
“Have Harry show you the Room of Requirement,” said Dumbledore. “It should satisfy your needs. Was there anything else?”
“I don’t want to impose, but I was wondering if we might be able to have some of the other Slayers spend some time here,” said Buffy. “It would certainly be a useful addition to their education.”
Dumbledore considered that for a moment. “I am not sure I’m ready to add ‘and Slayer Academy’ to the name of the school. Let us take things slowly. See how things turn out with Miss Weasley. Miss Rosenberg may bring her friend when she comes to visit us as well.”
“Okay, sounds good,” said Buffy. “Thank you.”
Harry and Hermione were playing wizard chess in the common room when Professor McGonagall entered it. “There is something we need to discuss, Potter.”
Harry looked up at her. “What is it Professor?”
“I don’t know if it has occurred to you yet, but you are now the senior member of our Quidditch team.”
“What?” asked Harry.
“Johnson, Bell and Spinnet all completed their Hogwarts educations last year, and while they didn’t exactly complete their year, Fred and George are both gone too. You are now the senior member of the team, and our new team Captain.”
“Congratulations Harry!” said Hermione.
“Thanks!” Harry was looking a little stunned. “But I don’t know how to Captain!”
“Of course you do!” said McGonagall. “You, Potter are a natural leader, and you have seen how Wood and Johnson led the team. I expect you to do at least as well. Now, we do have a bit of a problem, with three vacancies to fill for the team Chasers.”
“Two,” said Harry absently. “Ginny’s going to be one of them.”
McGonagall frowned. “One thing you must learn as the team Captain, Potter, is not to show favouritism to your friends. Miss Weasley performed admirably as our Seeker last year, but that does not automatically give her a Chaser spot on the team. The good of the team comes before any individual player. She will have to try out with the rest. I have little doubt however that one of the positions will go to her.
“We need to build more depth in our team as well. We need to have a cadre of reserve players in all positions who are ready to come in and take over if anyone is injured, or unable to play for any other reason. You don’t want to have to scramble for replacements the way Johnson did last year.”
“Okay, Professor. Tryouts for reserves in all positions, as well as three new Chasers.”
“Very well, Potter.” McGonagall turned and left the common room. Harry turned his attention back to the chess board, and after a little thought, he resigned. Hermione had him beat this time.
Buffy and Dawn had passed McGonagall as she was leaving. “Hi Harry,” said Buffy. “Professor Dumbledore suggested that you show us the Room of Requirement. He thinks it would be a good place for us to set up a training room for Ginny.”
“Yeah, that would work out.” Harry got up out of his seat. “It’s on this floor, opposite side of the castle.” He headed for the door. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
Harry led them all down the corridor, Hermione had come along too, and they stopped at the far end, past the last staircase. Buffy looked for a moment at a tapestry of some trolls in tutus beating on a wizard, named Barnabus the Barmy according to the title. “Is this another one of those doors behind a painting deals?”
“Nope, it’s on the other side of the hall,” said Harry.
Buffy turned and looked at a stretch of blank wall between a large vase and a window. “Okay, its a hidden door. Is there a password, or a secret knock or something?”
“Better than that,” said Harry. “Walk back and forth, between the vase and the window a few times, thinking about what sort of training room you want. Really try to concentrate on exactly what you need.”
Buffy gave him a dubious look, but did as she was told. She paced back and forth, thinking about the things she wanted for Ginny’s training room. On her third pass a polished wooden door appeared.
“Whoa!” said Dawn.
“You haven’t seen the best part yet,” said Harry. “Go ahead. Open it.”
Buffy grasped the brass handle and pulled the door open. She stepped through…and found herself in a room she knew very well.
Dawn had stepped through right after her. “Wow! Talk about deja-vu all over again!”
Buffy looked back at Harry and Hermione, who had followed them into the room and were looking around curiously. “How did you do that?”
“I take it this is some place you’ve been before,” said Harry.
“This is my training room!” said Buffy. She looked around. Everything was nearly exactly the way she remembered it from her room in the back of the Magic Box: the brick walls, the green naugahyde sofa with a stack of floor mats beside it, her pommel horse and punching bag, the dummy Xander had made, the racks of weapons on the walls. “Before it got blown up anyway. How’d you do that?”
“Not me,” said Harry. “You were thinking about this room when you were walking back and forth weren’t you?”
“Yeah. It was my favourite place, of all the places I’ve ever trained.”
“That’s what the Room of Requirement does,” said Harry. “It becomes the room you need, when you need it. If you’d been thinking that you really needed to pee while you were walking back and forth, we might be in a room full of chamber pots right now…at least that’s what happened to Professor Dumbledore a couple of years ago.”
“So this room just goes away when we leave?” asked Dawn.
“Don’t know what happens to it,” said Hermione. “You can leave stuff in here, and it will still be here when you come back, even if someone else has called up some different room between your visits. You can take stuff out, too. Now that you’ve created this room, any of us here can recall it, and you can make modifications too, if there’s something special you need for just one session, you just have to think about that item when you’re calling up the room.”
“You’d think this would be a pretty popular spot,” said Dawn, “Students coming up here all the time.”
“Most students don’t know about it,” said Harry. “Only about twenty or so, and most of them just think it’s one of the usual hidden rooms. They don’t know it can change. I found out about it from Dobby last year. The house-elves all know about it. They call it the Come and Go Room.”
|Chapter 16: Inheritance||Contents||Chapter 18: Scrubbing Bubbles|