The Granger Defense
Chapter Seventeen - Private Lesson or First Date
For those of you following this tale and "Great Scott, Potter," the first few paragraphs are similar, but the two diverge significantly from there.
Pure Harry/Hermione. The tension builds.
Monday morning Harry had a Paladin visit with Shelly Fawcett, a Hufflepuff girl from his year. It was a sad visit as Shelly's only aunt had been killed by Death Eaters thatSaturday night. The visit was atypical for another reason as well; Shelly only had to restrain herself for a moment at the start of the hour together.
After that initial surge passed, Shelly asked Harry about the people he'd lost, and for the first time in his life he discussed these things with a relative stranger. Although Harry had known who she was he hadn't said more than two words to Shelly before this which was their first Paladin visit. She responded by telling him about her Aunt Theadella and then cried for a bit, which for once didn't make Harry feel uncomfortable.
Shelly thanked Harry for his understanding ear when they parted company and Harry stated quite honestly that he had enjoyed getting to know her better. Shelly was about 10 feet away when she stopped and turned to watch Harry walk around the corner and out of sight. She bit her lip and then sighed deeply, telling herself that some things were not to be.
Having discharged his duty to the Paladin program, Harry was determined to spend some significant time with the female third of the Gryffindor Three today. They'd already had to postpone meeting for their Spell Mongering study project several times. Today's appointment was not to be cancelled.
They met at the main doors to Hogwarts, and Hermione hugged him in greeting. It was a habit she'd begun in the early years of their friendship, but Harry felt his mouth go dry as he nervously returned the embrace. They'd spent a good bit of time together the day before, at Ginny's birthday party, but that was different. Now they were alone.
"Where are we going, Harry?" Hermione asked.
"I thought we'd go down to Hagrid's hut," Harry replied reaching for Hermione's trademark book bag. "He's not there today but he said I could use it any time for Spell Mongering. Dumbledore wants me to keep the mongering away from the castle until he has time for a demonstration of the process and my safety practices. I take all the prescribed Mongering precautions, so I would automatically go outside anyway if I were working on anything volatile."
Seeing Hermione's right eyebrow raise at the word "volatile," Harry explained, "Nothing volatile on our agenda today, but I'll honor the headmaster's request until he understands his restrictions are mostly unnecessary."
"I'm sure Professor Dumbledore just wants you to be safe."
Harry's eyebrows came together and his expression hardened at her reflexive defense of the headmaster. Hermione flinched inwardly as she realized Harry had reason to be offended by her unthinking remark.
"I'm sorry, Harry," she said blushing. "That sounded like I don't trust you, when I promise I do. I'm just so used to professors and adults in authority being right that I forget that you are the authority on Spell Mongering."
Hermione stopped walking and gently touched his arm. Already regretting his over reaction to her remark, Harry immediately turned to face her. Hermione was relieved to see no hint of irritation with her, but she persisted in her apology.
"I will help you break the rules and cast a critical eye at everything we've been taught about magic in light of Spell Mongery," she said. "I am sorry, Harry. I promise that I've never doubted you and--" "It's alright, Hermione," Harry said. "I know you understand. You don't need to keep apologizing."
Seeing that she still looked anxious Harry had a flash of insight.
"I think you may be experiencing the residual affects of the Acceleration potion just after a Paladin visit. You're acting like you were in third year, when you were frantic most of the year with the Time Turner. Oh, I know...."
Harry traced a square in the air with his wand and called out, "Dobby!"
"How may I help you, Harry?"
"One of the half strength Pepper-Up potions, please Dobby."
"Harry, you're not sup--" Pop!
"Here you are, Harry. Would you like a picnic lunch here at noon, sir? A little later, perhaps? Any requests?"
"About half twelve would be fine, but I may be Mongering, so you know the protocol for approaching me quietly. Also, please place the appropriate Warming and/or Cooling charms on the food in case we can't eat right away."
Anticipating the elf's next question, Harry quickly added, "Just fix whatever you like, Dobby. Everything you make is wonderful. Thank you."
"My pleasure," Dobby happily replied and he was gone with a Pop!
Hermione looked flustered. Harry smiled as he knew this particular expression well. It meant she had several questions and wanted answers to all of them at once.
"Please take this, Hermione," he said as handed her a steaming vial of potion.
"But I'm not sick," she protested. She took the flask in her hand but didn't bring it to her lips. "I know. That's only half strength and it wouldn't hurt you even if it weren't diluted. I have a theory that all of the Paladins who are still on the potions have a heightened hyperactivity for lack of a better word, right after a visit. It is designed to grow you emotionally by stretching you in those areas. I asked Poppy Pomfrey and she says the Pepper-Up potion doesn't interfere with the Acceleration potions.
"Your emotions are jumped up for a while after the visit ends and this potion at half strength should break you out of it. You trade the synthetic hyper-ness of the Acceleration potion for the more natural peppiness of the old herbal-based cure. Drink, please. I added a sprig of peppermint during brewing to improve the taste."
When Hermione started to ask another question, Harry said a little more forcefully but not unkindly, "Drink!"
She did and was pleasantly surprised when only a faint trickle of steam came out of her ears. Hermione had never cared for the blast of steam that resulted from the full-strength formulation. She licked her lips with a grin and murmured, "Tasty."
Hermione couldn't resist examining the now empty vial. After a closer look, she sniffed it. She then took a deep breath and was visibly more relaxed.
"I do feel calmer now, Harry," she said. "Thank you. I never noticed it before, but you're right; I'm usually so edgy after a visit."
Hermione returned Harry's I-told-you-so smile as she continued, "Okay, I do have several questions. May I ask them now?"
"Dobby wasn't here at Hogwarts when you called him, was he?"
Seeing Harry's slight shake of his head, she continued, "Normally an elf can only hear his master or mistress call if they are in the same building or on the same property. Is that Calling spell something you discovered or is it a spell you mongered?"
"I mongered it," Harry replied, "but it was Dobby's idea for me to create a way to call him when I'm outside the normal summoning range. The spell works by opening a small quantum hole through which I can call him. That way I can contact Dobby from anywhere. It works with Winky, too, but it only works at all because of the bonds between us. I'm still trying to figure a way to adapt this to talk with people.
"Dobby has been there listening to me and helping me as I've talked my way through most of the magic I've mongered. He actually suggested the scientific theory I used to construct that Elf Calling spell."
"He suggested the scientific theory? He mentioned a quantum hole? Hold it. His speech just now!" Hermione gasped as her mind began to grasp the implications. "Dobby wasn't speaking in third person like a typical house-elf and he wasn't using present perfect voice either."
"I thought you'd find that interesting," Harry said with a smile. "Last night, I was exercising and I overheard Winky and Dobby talking. They thought I couldn't hear them, but as I rode my stationary bicycle I was playing around with Acoustical spells. It seems that when I've said house-elves are smarter than we think, I didn't know the half of it.
"House-elves learn to speak the language of the householder they're bonded to. The Malfoys and Crouchs spoke proper English with an arrogant tone, and that's how Dobby and Winky speak, although the arrogance converts in those two to something like the high-class servants I heard on the Dursleys' telly. Dobby and Winky probably speak better English than I do, come to think of it."
Anticipating her next questions, Harry continued, "House-elves only speak that butchered English because it's expected of them. Telemachus Grind's journal includes a bit about the relationship between the first elves and masters. For the last few centuries at least, humans haven't thought too highly of the elves' intelligence, and the house-elves have intentionally done nothing to discourage that view. They say it allows them to do what they think is best for the family. They feel it works well, and they can serve their houses more effectively. The Malfoys are a cruel and dysfunctional family, so it still went badly for Dobby, and that was your first impression of wizard-elf relationships, Hermione. But most elves have good reason to be faithful to their families.
"Your second look into the wizard-elf relationship was Winky and Barty Crouch Sr., but he was trying to avoid time in Azkaban for helping his son escape. I'm not excusing his cruelty to Winky, but I can't really blame him either. Winky explained it to me and she holds no ill will against him. House-elves can be very gracious--magnanimous even."
Hermione couldn't resist teasing him. "Ooo, Mr. Potter," she said with a grin. "Your vocabulary's really improved this summer."
They laughed and paused to look out over the nearby paddock. They stood there in easy silence for a few moments before Harry sighed, removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
"Harry, are you angry at me about the S.P.E.W. business?" Hermione asked quietly.
Startled by how much she had misunderstood his sigh, Harry quickly replaced his glasses and turned to give Hermione his full attention. Holding her gaze he paused briefly as he considered how to explain it.
"No, I'm not upset with you, Hermione, You only did what you thought was right, but all you saw was from the outside. I thought you were right, too, until Dobby bonded with me. Now I understand Dobby and Winky's perspectives and I have to disagree with your original goals of S.P.E.W. Slavery is wrong, but symbiotic relationships have to have both parties. While we wizards don't exactly need house-elves, I now know that the elves need a bonded family or house, or at least someone they feel bonded to."
Harry had taken Hermione's hand during this, and it felt so right, that he didn't even consider letting go.
"Dobby told me that from the moment Lucius Malfoy gave him clothes he always felt that he was bonded to me in his heart" Harry continued. "Dobby is a very strong house-elf. Did you know that elves are just like us; some are only marginally powerful, whereas others are very strong? Well, when elves are unbonded, they slowly decrease in power. Dobby said that thinking I was his master in his heart helped him keep his strength. That's why he was so delighted to see me whenever I went down to the kitchens. I guess you might say that he received a power recharge from those visits. It was like an adrenalin surge and Happiness potion all rolled into one. Working for Hogwarts also helped. The castle itself strengthens the elves, but it's not the same. Winky had to really struggle to maintain her magical powers without being bonded to a master or mistress. The other elves helped her tap into Hogwarts, but Dobby didn't need that because he had me."
Harry had stopped talking but he had not loosened his hold on Hermione's hand. He couldn't resist leaning toward her as he confessed, "I've been worried about telling you all of this--afraid you'd be angry with me, but I hate secrets being kept from me, so I'm telling you now. I'm still concerned with stopping cruelty to house-elves even though I own elves now. "However, as far as Dobby and Winky are concerned," he continued, "they told me that even if a cure, so to speak, for their dependency on being bonded to me is developed, they never intend to take it--and I don't intend to force them. I don't want them out of my life, Hermione. I think I'm bonded to them as much as they are to me. Malfoy and to a slightly lesser degree Crouch didn't seem affected by giving the two of them clothes. It was merely an economic loss for them. I'm, well--"
Harry reluctantly released her hand so that he could turn to gaze back out over the paddock before continuing. When he did his voice was just above a whisper.
"Hermione, I'm dependent on them," he confessed. "I feel a little sick to my stomach right now just mentioning the possibility of losing them. Sometimes I wonder if they don't own me," he muttered with a smile.
Hermione reached out and wrapped her arms around Harry pulling him towards her. It was only a moment before his arms went around her in response. They stood there in silence holding one another for a moment before Hermione found her voice.
"I was wrong, Harry," she confessed looking up at him. Hermione's voice wavered but her smile did not as she continued, "As much as you know I hate to admit not knowing everything, I was wrong about the house-elves."
Harry smiled in response and Hermione tingled with pleasure when she felt his arms tighten around her. Although she could have let it drop there, Hermione wanted to be as honest with Harry as he had been with her.
"I knew that even before today, Harry," she went on. "I've been at Grimmauld Place all summer and Order members are in and out of there all the time. I made a fool of myself and insulted Emmeline Vance when she mentioned her house-elf one day. My father not only insisted I apologize. He also asked Emmeline if she'd teach me about house-elves from her perspective. I managed to shut up and listen--believe it or not, Mr. Potter."
Hermione could not help grinning in response to Harry's widening smile.
"Hey, I didn't say a word," Harry laughingly protested.
"No, you didn't," Hermione replied giving him a slight squeeze, "and you do deserve some credit for that restraint. It must be another of your new tricks. Anyway, after Emmeline got over being angry at me, she really did help me to understand. Her explanation was a lot like yours, even though she doesn't care for her elf the way you do for Dobby and Winky."
Harry's expression reflected his personal distaste for Emmeline Vance, as he replied, "Well, that's certainly not a big surprise."
"No, it's not," Hermione agreed with a grin, "but it's still true that Emmeline does care for Daffy, her elf, and Daffy adores Emmeline."
"Emmeline Vance has a house-elf named Daffy?" Harry asked with a chuckle. "How were you able to keep a straight face with her talking about Daffy?"
They both laughed as they reluctantly stepped apart. It flitted across Harry's mind that he wished she was still in his arms, but this was Hermione-- He was determined that he wouldn't do anything that might wreck their friendship. Besides, there was always Voldemort....Hermione managed to continue in a fairly normal tone of voice.
"I was wrong about most of it," she said with a sigh. "I'm still concerned as about the abuse of house-elves, but I've finally laid S.P.E.W. to rest."
Harry relief was genuine as he said, "I'm glad we aren't going to fight over Dobby and Winky. I know we both want what's best for them and all elves, but--"
"We can both be such 'strong-willed' persons?" she finished his thought.
"Strong-willed is a very polite way to put it, but it will do nicely."
"Yes. You and I aren't like Ron and me," Hermione said, "fighting just because we know how. You and I really shouldn't row, Harry. When we do, it unnerves people, and it hurts me a lot. We have to learn how to disagree without fighting. It's sort of a disgusting hobby for Ron and me."
"Most people have assumed that fighting is just a form of flirting for you and Ron," Harry said in an attempt to draw further information out of her about exactly what had happened with Ron.
"Lavender and Parvati always said that. Knowing that was the general opinion even made me more open to dating him earlier this summer. Ron and I discussed the possibility of something romantic between us during those first few days after my family and I moved into Grimmauld Place."
Hermione took a deep breath before plunging on. "Ron even kissed me a couple of times, Harry. That's what really showed us both that it is not to be. We're good friends, but nothing more. Ron was actually very understanding about the whole thing. I was the prickly one. I know I'm not the easiest person to get on with."
"I get on with you just fine, Hermione," Harry said. He was eager to reassure her as she had just taken a tremendous load off of his mind.
"You do know that you're the pin-up girl for Ravenclaw, don't you?" he teased her. "You can imagine how much your being first in the class appeals to them. Terry Boot went on and on about the Protean charm you used last year on the DA Galleons."
The conversation had taken an odd turn. Although Hermione's explanation of things between her and Ron had answered significant questions for Harry, it had also raised the unspoken question of what really existed between himself and her; and neither of them knew where to take it. Harry decided it was best to return to familiar ground and discuss Spell Mongering. At least he knew what he wanted to say to Hermione about that.
He murmured something half intelligible about Spell Mongering and Hermione quickly followed his lead. She didn't know if she was primarily relieved or distressed that nothing had been said addressing where her relationship with Harry was going, but Hermione uncharacteristically decided to enjoy what was, even if she hadn't been able to define it yet.
"All this discussion really started from my questions about how you called Dobby." she said with a smile. "That's pretty advanced magic. There is no means of direct connection communications in the magical world, except for the magical mirrors like Sirius and your dad had. And those seem to be unreliable. Do you really think that spell of yours could be made to work without the bond?"
Harry returned her smile and said, "I have several theories, but it's all pretty advanced so we need to wait on that. Today I want to bring you up to speed about Mongering. That's essential before we start our formal studies. There might be a Mastery in it for us, as I mentioned, but we have a long way to go before we can explore Communication spells. There's a big gap between communicating with a bonded being and just anyone. I have several theories, but I don't want to research them without you, and we have too much else to explore first.
"I know I told you about my interest in Quantum Mechanics."
Hermione simply nodded and Harry shifted into teacher mode.
"I've thought long and hard about how to introduce this to you Hermione. You like to believe in rules and I can't fault you for that. It's just that Spell Mongering breaks certain rules of magic that we've been taught here at Hogwarts. Similarly, Quantum Mechanics breaks a few rules in the existing Muggle scientific world from time to time. For example, on a quantum level an object can go in two different directions at the same time at different speeds. Basic quanta can have mass and also be photons which don't have mass.
"It's not logical, but I figured that if I tried to understand it, I'd just melt my brain down. Instead, I not only embraced it, I embraced the illogic of it. I decided the contradictory factors on the quantum level are the reason magic works. I really like the way the quantum physicists explain certain things. Did you know they are working on quantum transportation, sort of like our Apparation? They plan on transporting miniscule inanimate objects at first from one place to another. Anyway, and I find this very interesting, one of the scientists was asked by an interviewer why something couldn't appear embedded inside something else. The answer was, "It just won't." That was the sum total of his answer. Somehow it's not in the nature of the Quantum world for that to occur, therefore, that is considered a scientific explanation. I just love it!"
"Have you read up on Apparation, yet?" Harry asked. He then laughed aloud as he answered your question. "Of course you did, just as soon as you read in Hogwarts: A History that it's impossible to Apparate on the school grounds."
Hermione blushed and playfully swatted his arm as she defended her beloved book. "See, there's more than just school history to be learned from that book." Harry smiled and his enthusiasm was obvious as he continued, "Well, then you know the physicist's answer, "It just won't," is same answer given for why a person can't Apparate into someone else or into a brick wall. We're told you just can't. Oh, we can splinch ourselves, just like the Muggle scientists talk about transcription errors where transported objects are reassembled wrong or whatever. It's the same thing as far as I'm concerned.
"I don't know if you've ever tried to apply the scientific logic we learned in primary school to magic, but it simply doesn't work. So you and I and everyone else who's Muggleborn or Muggle raised have to basically forget science to accept magic. And we've done it. But now we don't have to, or at least we can embrace Quantum Mechanics, which in my opinion allows us to synchronize magic and science to a degree."
Harry's delight in this realization was plain to see. Hermione looked at him for several long moments, and he saw her face go through many of the various looks of concentration he'd seen over the years. When she had completely processed his explanation, Hermione's face lit up.
"I understand!" she cried. "I can see what you're saying. This, this is remarkable, Harry. I did sort of give up on science, which bothered me a bit, but I needed magic to be true to answer a number of personal questions. Magic explained all the strangeness in my life. If I hadn't experienced my own accidental magical outbursts, I don't think it would have been so easy to reject science and accept the reality of magic. But Professor McGonagall arrived with my Hogwarts letter. Her demonstration proved that magic truely existed right away, and I gave up on science to accept magic instead."
Harry had simply accepted the reality of magic when Hagrid first explained it to him. The abandonment of science had been a subconscious byproduct of his Hogwart's education, not a conscious choice. Until that moment he had never considered the very real intellectual dilemma someone like Hermione would have faced to accept magic. It only increased his admiration for her.
"I'm sure that no one has ever made such a connection between magic and Muggle science before," Hermione continued eagerly, "because I've looked for it. Oh, there an obvious correspondence between potions and natural medicines, and the link between potions and chemistry is logical, after all, chemistry came out of alchemy."
Harry was pleased by her enthusiasm, but he found himself distracted from the subject of Quantum Physics by the simple motion of Hermione's hand as she tucked several stray strands of hair behind her ear. A slight breeze had been blowing the hair across her face before Hermione pushed it back. She was glowing with excitement over Harry's discovery and the motion of her hand brought to Harry's mind the memory of holding it just a little while ago. Hermione's voice brought him quickly back to the present.
"I did read an article about Quantum Physics in a science magazine, Harry. It was all I could find in the small Muggle book shop not too far from Grimmauld place. Should I read more on that subject, or do you suggest something different?"
"I'll get Dobby to open a special account for you with Flourish and Blotts so that you can also access W. H. Audens booksellers. That will give you easy access to any materials you need."
"I have an Owl post account with the magical bookseller," Hermione said, "but I didn't know I could access Muggle sources though them."
"Yes, but let me have Dobby take care of it for you. He's not that busy during the day and sometimes whines about having nothing to do. I also think house-elves are sort of like sharks. You know a shark has to keep moving or it can't run enough water through its gills to extract sufficient oxygen to stay alive. I think a house-elf has to do a minimum amount of work or they'll spontaneously combust or something." Harry chuckled and Hermione joined him a second later.
Returning to her question Harry said, "No, I don't think you need to read more about Physics, at least not for now. I have a simple introductory book you can borrow, if you want. What am I saying? Of course you want to read it. Well, it's old and some what out of date. I used it to learn the basics, and I don't really consult it any more. It's sort of important to not go too deep into Quantum Mechanics at this point. I don't want their rules to hinder us anymore than traditional magical theory will at this point. I know it's not in your nature to stop at one book on a subject, but just read this one. Use the W. H. Auden account for anything else."
Harry waited for her nod of agreement before he continued, "Here's the simple revelation regarding magic that I gleaned from reading that book. Just about anything is possible given enough energy, enough imagination, and enough faith or belief. Oh, and of course a certain degree of knowledge or understanding.
"Now, the Muggle scientists have to go to all sorts of lengths to create experiments to prove even some of their simpler ideas, but I can prove the magical theories that I derive from Quantum Mechanics pretty easily. I just monger a spell together and it works or it doesn't. But those four points--enough power, enough imagination, enough faith or belief, and some knowledge or understanding--those are the keys. "
Hermione pondered this and she still looked a little perplexed when she said, "Harry, I can see the need for energy or power. Powerful witches and wizards can do more than others. Also, we can do a whole lot more now than we could at the end of school because of our physical and magical maturation from the Acceleration potions and our exercising.
"I can even see the need for imagination. You have to be creative to come up with ideas for spells. Don't you ever tell Fred and George," she said with a smile, "but I have to say they are very imaginative and have created some of the most original combinations of existing spells and charms mixed with potions to work in their pranks. I'm afraid to imagine what they could do with Spell Mongery."
"It would be like giving atom splitters to preschoolers, Hermione."
"And that would be on a good day," she replied with a grin.
They both guffawed at the notion.
"So, what do you mean about faith or belief, Harry? Religion?"
"It could be, but that's not been your experience here in the magical world, or mine."
They walked up onto Hagrid's porch. Harry shot his wand out of his holster and used a wordless swipe to clean the two old dilapidated chairs. He waved his wand again and they seemed to cobble together more securely. He snapped his wand down and two cushions appeared in the chair seats and two more at their backs. All done in short order and without a word.
"Impressive, kind sir."
"Anything for milady."
"Thirsty?" Harry asked as they sat. "Dobby won't be here for another hour and a half, but..."
"Oh, let me!" Hermione drew her wand. "I must buy one of those wand holsters." She incanted several spells and soon they had a pitcher of ice cold water and two large paper cups.
"The water's real," she explained, "so we will benefit from drinking it. The pitcher and cups will disappear in fifteen to twenty minutes. I'm still working on my conjuration permanence, but it's not easy." "I know," Harry agreed. "Most of what I do in sheer out-of-the-air conjuration has little permanence past about five minutes. It can be impressive for a moment, but the best I can do has little long-term solidity."
"For example?" she asked.
Harry extended his wand and cast the Boulder Bomb Spell. Hermione jumped when a boulder about five feet high and roughly seven feet in diameter fell from the sky from about ten or twelve feet. The ground shook enough to feel it, and there was a substantial thud.
Hermione rose and Harry did also. She stepped down to the boulder and tapped it. Then she ran several general magical diagnostic spells over it.
"It seems the weight and consistency of a genuine boulder of one of the lighter igneous rocks, still heavy enough though."
"Wait just a minute, Hermione." Harry was looking at his watch. "It's been two minutes... now! Recast your Analytical spell."
"It's already losing mass." They walked back up on the porch and sat down. She asked, "That came out of the air. How long does your version of the Battle Barrier spell last since it comes out of the ground?"
"You know, very few people make that connection," Harry said admiring her quickness. "That boulder draws its substance from the air and doesn't last long, but the battle barrier starts with solid matter from the earth, or a floor even. Actually, the boulder draws from the energy in the air, not from the mass of the air. If I drew the matter from the air itself there would be a sonic boom from the vacuum created by compressing that much of the atmosphere, so quickly.
"The Ministry's attempt to create a weapon like my Boulder Bomb drew from the mass of the air. That's why the spell they created has never been actually used in battle. It simply draws too much energy from the caster. The few who could cast it at all would be so drained they'd probably lose consciousness--not a good thing when you're in the middle of a fight."
"Harry, that alone revolutionizes Arithmantic Spell Crafting. You could tell the Ministry about that--"
"And they would steal my discovery and take it for their own. Then Fudge would show up with a freshly-minted law to tell me I can't use it. I don't know if there's a patent office in the Ministry of Magic, but he'd invent one to keep me from using this and make himself look like he's brought something great to our world."
After a moment's consideration Hermione said, "You're absolutely right, Harry. He'd do that and more. Is there a way to hide your discovery?"
"I've put a false element in the particular spells I've created that use quantum energy sources. It tells the Spell Crafters I use the mass from objects around me, convert it to energy, and then do what I do. Doing it that way is very inefficient, so they won't be trying to dissect my spells further. They'll just assume I'm really powerful to be able to cast these spells, and that misdirection can't hurt me too much."
"No, I don't suppose so."
At that moment his boulder fell apart, creating a pile of sand, rocks, and rubble where it once stood.
"After my boulders fall apart someone can analyze my spell work to their heart's content, and all you'll see is spell debris as well as broken up rock material." He looked at his wristwatch. "Just over six minutes. They're lasting a little longer, but, well, that's all I need that boulder to do - fall on someone. It can also be a temporary shelter from spell fire. I can cast those all day without taxing my power until, oh about the fiftieth one or so. No battle should last that long."
They sat and drank their water in silence for a moment. Harry was trying to guess where Hermione's mind was racing now. He didn't have to wonder long.
"So, Harry, back to the energy, imagination, knowledge, and faith or belief. You said it can be like religious faith, but you and I didn't use that type of faith. What do you mean?"
"Right, well, you and I were magical but didn't know it. When we did accidental magic those episodes just upset and confused us and everyone around us. Then we came to believe in magic when we were told about it, and we so wanted it to be true that we applied our belief to the knowledge we gained and our willpower helped us along."
Harry looked at Hermione's uncomprehending face.
"I'm not making this too clear, am I? Let's see. First of all you had great support from your parents when you were growing up. Then your teachers were a wonderful source of comfort for you when you were shunned by the other kids in primary school. Your parents and teachers expanded the world of knowledge for you, which is fundamentally important to who you are as a person. So, overall you had great adult support and encouragement. Add to that your abiding love for books.
"Then McGonagall shows up with your Hogwarts letter and it answered so many questions. You and your parents wanted it to be true to explain things in your life. The icing on the cake is that she's an impressive authority figure you could readily identify with and trust. She showed you several feats of Transfiguration, her subject, and I bet you ran your parents mad until they took you to Diagon Alley for your supplies, and a towering pile of books. I bet the first one you read was A Beginners' Guide to Transfiguration followed closely after by The Standard Book of Spells, am I right?"
"Followed by Hogwarts, A History. How'd you guess?" Hermione asked with a delighted grin.
"It's not hard to see you doing that, Hermione. When any subject arises, you go to the bookshelves and study it."
She knit her eyebrows together and he held up his hand to forestall any protest.
"Wait, remember I'm with you now. I've read or at least skimmed almost three hundred books, booklets, and scrolls this summer. I'm only saying that you had an established learning system in place on day one of your introduction to the magic, one that translated easily into the magical world. That system or method of learning has served you very well. So, you had faith in--and believed in--your teachers and books," he concluded, "and wonderful parents. I had none of those."
Harry immediately regretted sounding so melodramatic, because he knew Hermione would feel badly about it.
Harry again raised his hand--this time to stave off her sympathy.
"That was way too maudlin of me, Hermione," he said. "I'm no sympathy seeker, though I sure sounded like it just now. I only meant to state the facts. You know the Dursleys severely discouraged me from doing better than Dudley at school. Vernon made fun of readers, calling them 'nancy boys.' The few teachers that took an interest in me back then-- well, my aunt and uncle made trouble for them with the Principal. They were friends with him, somehow, but enough of the dramatic life of the pre-Hogwarts Harry Potter."
Hermione chuckled at this and Harry knew he could go on.
"All this is to say that my primary faith or belief came from a different source. All my life I'd been told my parents were drunken wastrels. Hagrid arrived on that island with my letter, told me about magic, and stated Mum and Dad were a terrific witch and wizard.
"I instantly needed magic to be true to make them the heroic figures I'd always hoped they were in my dreams. I had dreamed they weren't dead, and would come one day and rescue me. Well, they were dead, but because of them magic came and rescued me from the Dursleys, and I'm magical because of them, so in a sense they did rescue me. I placed my faith and belief in magic to resurrect their image in my eyes, and I've believed in magic ever since. I don't mean religious faith, which means a lot to me, but that's different. I just mean faith like we have faith in people or I have faith in my broom working properly."
Harry's smile waned a bit as he continued, "I've spent much of my time here at Hogwarts living up to what the Dursleys wanted from me, a substandard performance. Oh, it was all subconscious, but there were only two reasons I did as well as I did before this summer. Partly I did well whenever I had to. I had to learn the Patronus charm and I had to learn different spells to survive the Triwizard Tournament. But mostly I did well because you helped me along. Ron called it nagging, and I never said different, but I want you to know I appreciate it."
Harry smiled at her and Hermione beamed back at him, as he said, "Be it nagging, encouraging, or holding my feet to the fire, I hope my work ethic is set now so you don't have to do it again, but you have the right--and my permission--to prod me along whenever you feel it's necessary."
They smiled at one another, and Hermione nodded to the debris from Harry's Boulder Bomb.
"Will that debris ever vanish completely?"
"Some will, but about two-thirds of what you now see seems to be permanent. It will banish easily though. Permanence in Conjuration is the part of Transfiguration I most want to understand. I want us to work on it as our first big project after we go through the basics of Spell Mongery."
Hermione suddenly stiffened.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked.
Her eyes remained steadfastly fixed on her own hands in her lap, but Hermione eventually answered, "It's the moment of truth, Harry. I'm afraid I won't be able to see you Spell Mongering. And if I'm right about that, I'll be useless to you. Ginny told me that Hagrid saw everything right away. She could see things in a haze, and you said that's probably a matter of her age as a degree of magical maturity is needed to see. Remus Lupin, a man I consider quite intelligent and analytical, couldn't see it at all. I'm afraid my critical brain will cause me to think myself out of seeing it, and I can't imagine my nervousness is helping matters." Hermione slowly raised her eyes to meet Harry's as she asked, "Is that why you talked to me about faith and belief earlier?"
"Not really, Hermione," Harry honestly answered her. "I only brought that up because it is part of the four things needed to Monger, and perform any advanced magic where the person's will is responsible for a part of the outcome of the spell: belief, power, imagination, and knowledge or understanding.
"I, too, have wondered if you will be able to see Spell Mongery," Harry admitted with a smile, "and I've thought of a way to ease you into it. Do you know the Arithmantic Spell Crafter's Spell Dissection Charm?"
"We talked about it in Arithmancy last year. I asked Professor Vector how to cast the charm, but she refused to tell me the incantation." A now blushing Hermione bit her lip and looked down.
"So," Harry said smiling, "you went to the library, found it, and mastered it anyway. But you feel guilty."
Hermione raised her eyes to meet his as she nodded and Harry continued, "I'm sure it wasn't hard to learn, particularly for a brilliant witch like you. The Arithmantic Spell Crafter's Guild, oh--"
Harry harrumphed. "They insist on using the whole name, but it's too much. I'm going to call them Crafters and I'm a Monger. Now, Professor Vector has applied several times to join the Crafter's Guild at the Ministry and has been turned down each time. She really wants to be one, so she makes everything so special and wouldn't ever consider breaking any of their rules. They state no one can be trained in the use of their Analysis Tool until the end of their seventh year, and even then the training is sparse.
"I say, within reason, let anyone learn what they can once they've mastered the basics, done their homework, and can be trusted with the power and consequences of the magic in question. You obviously can be trusted with such a tool. But let me jump off of my soapbox.
"Here, you've worked on the Inanimate Object Conjuring spell, concentrating on it to produce boulders, haven't you?"
Hermione nodded as she said, "But how would you--"
"I figured you would when you heard I used boulders in the fight," Harry explained with a shrug. "Well, conjure the biggest solid one you can."
Hermione thought about it for a minute, and then conjured a small boulder out of the ground. It was round, more or less, and about two feet in diameter. She took a deep breath after doing so.
"Very good, Hermione," Harry encouraged her. "That's a tough spell for solid rock, even out of the ground."
"I bet you could conjure one much bigger."
"Perhaps," Harry mused, "but I doubt it--not with that spell. It's so complex I never learned to use it very well. You know that I have to really work on a spell to get it. I abandoned that one after I looked at it to see how it's constructed. We'll do that in a minute. But cast the Crafter's Analysis Tool on your boulder and tell me about everything it shows us."
She did so, and a semi-transparent screen came up, not unlike a Muggle heads-up display.
Hermione explained, "This number shows the weight on the stone scale, and this one shows its density using the Flamel Density Scale, comparing it to the density of Scottish west coast granite. This identifies the spell I cast, and this shows how much energy it took based on the Flamel Penetration Scale."
"That's everything I read about, Hermione, in terms of that tool's capabilities. Here, watch this."
Harry cast the Spell Monger's Spell Scrutinizer, which he usually called the Scrutinizer, on her boulder.
"This shows the weight in pounds, and these two show the density and power readings using Flamel's scales."
"But, Harry, the last Spell Monger died before Nicholas Flamel was born, and before the pound weight system was created. How does it--?"
"I modified it, Hermione. Mongers always mess with the spells of other Mongers. I can use any Monger's tool and any spell a past Monger has made. I can also modify it for different usage or improve it. So I just cut out the old pieces like its weight system and added the newer ones. I considered going metric, but I thought that would disturb too many witches and wizards. But I could add them in about thirty or forty minutes' work.
"But look here. This shows not only the name of the spell. But here's the base slug of magic the spell is created on. Here's the Arithmantic designates in the spell, and here's the runes set headers, but not all the maths or runic expressions. See how many complex equations and different runic headers there are. No wonder this spell takes so much out of anyone when they cast it."
The boulder went semi-transparent, and then disappeared. Harry looked at his watch. "Not quite three minutes, Hermione. I'm impressed."
"But my boulder not only came out of the ground, it lasted less than half the time of yours, Harry. And it was much smaller than yours."
"That's not why I'm impressed. Here, can you cast the Crafter's Tool again so soon?" The Crafter's Tool actually took a good bit of power to cast. She nodded and Harry conjured another Boulder Bomb from the air. It was round-ish also and about five feet in diameter. She cast her examining charm on his boulder.
"Ignore the weight and density, and ignore the fact it can't give my spell a name. Look at the power indicators."
Hermione opened her mouth in shock and turned to Harry. "But that can't be right. You used only about sixty percent of the power I did for my much smaller boulder."
"I told you mongered spells are more efficient. But also look. The size of the base slug of magic is about three-quarter's the size of the base slug used for the Crafter's spell, and notice there is much less Arithmancy and fewer runes sets used. Now, let's analyze the spells themselves. Cast the Crafter Tool and then I'll cast the Crafter's Boulder spell into it. No need for much power for looking at it."
They did so, and Hermione observed, "But this doesn't tell us any more than we saw before. There's just the Arithmantic designates and runic headers. We can't see how the spell really works."
"True, but look here." Harry cast the Monger's Scrutinizer and he also recast the Crafter's Boulder spell. "I can cast them both myself. Look. There's the same base slug of magic, and here, let me open the Arithmantic designates." Hundreds of numbers rolled out expressing complex formulas and variables.
He closed that and touched the runic headers. "And look, here are all the runes used for this spell." The number and combinations of runes was huge. Harry shut the tool down after Hermione looked back at him.
She said, "It's complex magic requiring convoluted equations and expressions."
Harry looked at her. "True, now look at my Boulder Bomb spell." In moments he displayed it.
"Here's the base slug of magic, and look at the maths." He touched the Arithmancy designates and less than twenty percent of the total number of equations and numbers appeared as compared to the Spell Crafters-designed spell. "And look at the runes." There were only two rune sets.
"They look like the basic x, y, and, z coordinates for three dimensional placement of an object in space." Hermione said, "Those aren't runes, Harry."
"True in one sense," Harry stated. "There is no need for traditional runes at all to conjure a boulder in front of you. The Proximity Law states that if a location isn't otherwise given, conjured items appear right in front of you, separated by no more than two feet for items less than ten pounds, and by no more than five to ten feet for progressively larger items. So, if I just wanted a boulder to appear before me I'd need no runes at all. The Spell Crafters waste power on useless runes in that spell."
Her earnest learning gaze turned into a grin. "I never thought of it that way. The runes in that spell are useless, it's just a mental exercise."
"But I created my spell to be a weapon," Harry continued. "Therefore I have to have the boulder drop from the sky and land on a certain point. I needed a starting point and landing point. I actually only need a starting point. I cause the boulder to manifest at a point in the air right over my target. Gravity ensures that the product of my Mongering hits whatever is below it.
"The coordinates in the second runes set connect to my eyes. That's how I tell my spell where to manifest the boulder. When I point my wand, I'm indicating at an exact coordinate along the axis that my wand is pointing - five feet out, fifty feet out, or five miles away. My line of sight meets the axis of my pointing wand and the boulder appears there."
Harry smiled at Hermione and asked, "Here's my next question. You recognized my basic x, y, and, z coordinates. Why aren't they runes?"
"Well," Hermione hesitated, "They're not part of any established or recognized set of runes used in magic. They're written with English characters and numbers."
Harry's grin increased as he said, "Here's where we're going to upset some people. I hope Professor Ogham has an open mind. There is nothing in an ancient runic character set that makes the actual symbol or character magical. Your mum or dad could draw any runic symbol from any magical language and it would have no power to it. Most runic characters and symbols come from the ancient language written by the people of the land where the runes were created.
"So, rather than having to learn those characters, which is hard for me since they don't mean anything to me like English characters and our mathematic symbols do, I just imbue magical characteristics into symbols, numbers, and letters that I do know. The Spell Crafters will tell you I can't do that, but I just did, Hermione, and that's not the only spell or charm where I've done it. So far, all I've done are coordinates and anchors for Arithmantic calculations.
"That's the big project I have for us, Hermione. We need to figure out how to use English runes I call them, to imbed permanence in conjured items. Conjuration permanence now is a function of the power of the wizard or witch conjuring. You have to be really powerful to make things last. You've seen all the overkill in that Crafter's spell we analyzed. Their spells waste a lot of power and leave little energy for permanence. If we can use my simple English runes idea on conjuring spells, permanence will be easier for more folks to achieve."
Harry was beaming by now. "That's where you come in. I need someone to help me brainstorm and to pick holes in my ideas as I go forward with my Spell Mongering, specifically to improve permanence in conjuration. After that, we should be able to apply the same concepts to warding and make it so that average witches and wizards can have real security around their homes and family. That's what's really driving me."
Harry finished, breathing just a little rapidly in his excitement. Hermione looked enthralled by his words and was literally speechless.
After a moment she said, "I've said that you have a 'saving people thing,' but you're going to try to do just that, aren't you?"
Harry wasn't sure exactly how she meant that, but remembering past disagreements over his "saving people thing" he was far from comfortable. Hermione realized her mistake when she saw the smile fade from his eyes.
"Oh, Harry, that didn't come out right at all. What I mean is that this is absolutely wonderful," she hastened to reassure him, "brilliant, masterful even. If you can do this, you'll... you'll be famous. Well, you're already famous. You'll, well, you'll be famous for something not having to do with fighting Death Eaters or Voldemort. Famous for something that makes a contribution to Wizarding welfare, not just public safety. You're a genius, Harry. I'm so proud of you."
With this, Hermione flung herself into his arms. She pulled Harry's head down to kiss him, but at the last minute she lost her nerve and swerved to kiss his cheek.
When Harry pulled back after giving her a gentle squeeze, Hermione blushed furiously. She opened and closed her mouth several times at a loss for words.
Not missing a beat Harry grinned at her mischievously and said, "Let's Monger something."
Hermione's blush faded as she squared her shoulders as if preparing to face a firing squad. Her tone was grave as she said, "Okay, Harry. I'm as prepared as I can be to find out if I can really see a spell being mongered. I won't be disappointed if I can't. Well, I will, but we'll work it out. Ginny can help you, I'm sure, with the actual mongering and I'll take notes and do research."
"There's no need to test you, Hermione."
"Then you've already decided I'm impossible?"
"No. I knew you'd be so nervous you might talk yourself out of seeing it," Harry said with a smile, "but I knew you wouldn't have any qualms about using a spell analysis tool. When you saw the base slug of magic using the Monger's Scrutinizer, you saw the one thing most people can't see. If you can see a base slug of magic, you can see everything else having to do with Spell Mongery. That's all there is to it."
Harry smiled as he reached out to envelope her in another hug.
"Congratulations, Hermione, it appears that you can study Spell Mongery with me."
She hesitated only a moment before hugging him back.
"That's it? I can see the base slug of magic? This is wonderful. Thank you, Harry."
They both laughed--Hermione, with relief and Harry, from sheer delight in her happiness. Hermione eagerly asked, "So what are we going to make, er, that is, what am I going to watch you make? I know it's an apprentice learning process, so I'll just watch and assist as you think I can, which will be little. Oh!" Hermione clasped her hand over her mouth in concern. She had already said the wrong thing several times today and now-- Harry for his part was looking at her in confusion until Hermione's attempted apology explained her alarm.
"Oh, Harry, I'm not assuming I'm your apprentice. That's way too much to ask, I'm just--"
Harry stopped her by placing a finger gently to her lips. "It is an apprentice learning process, and if I'm ever to the point of being a master and can take an apprentice, I'd like nothing better than to have you join me. But by then, you'll have helped me so much, your apprenticeship will probably last ten minutes. As we go forward in this you and I are partners. It's just that I'm the senior partner so to speak, at least for a while until you catch up.
"I've read about how as a teenager Telemachus Grind learned a lot about Mongering from an older neighbor who had failed his Monger's apprenticeship. Once Grind officially became an apprentice it went by in a third of the usual time, and he felt that half of that was wasted in doing meaningless work with the other beginner apprentice. So I'm a bit like Grind. I'm not learning in an apprenticeship, but I am learning from someone who's been there before. Here."
Harry pushed his open cloak aside and reached for what looked like a small pouch on the side. Hermione could see when he opened it that the pouch was much bigger on the inside than it's outward appearance indicated and Harry drew out an old codex, a modern journal, a small pamphlet, several scrolls of unused parchment, several sheets of Muggle photocopied paper, and a copy of Hogwarts, A History.
"Your favorite book, Hermione." "You've read it?"
"Parts of it," Harry said. "I have no purpose for reading the whole thing. I don't have much time for recreational reading, and in what little time I do have, I try to read great British authors - a little Kipling, a little Shakespeare. I'm reading Austen right now."
"You're reading Jane Austen?"
"I give myself about thirty pages a night just before going to sleep. Great dialogue. I love Elizabeth Bennet. Are all of Austen's heroines the strong, brilliant type? Sort of like you?"
"Thank you, Harry. They are, pretty much," she said blushing, "but very different, each one of them."
He showed her the old codex. "Can you read these characters on the cover?"
Hermione scrunched her nose in the cute way Harry loved that indicated she was thinking hard. She finally shook her head and said, "No, and they don't look like any runes I've ever seen. Maybe Professor Ogham can help."
"No," Harry said with a definite shake of his head, "we don't need the professor's help for this. It's Telemachus Grind's Spell Mongering journal. He wrote it in house-elvish. Dobby says I'm the only human that can read it since I'm Grind's last heir. Reading it is sort of like Slytherin's heirs understanding Parseltongue, I guess. I was just curious to see if you could make anything of it, but I didn't expect it. Dobby thought it foolish to try, but said that I'm the master."
They'd walked to the same workbench where Harry had mongered Thunderfire. He put the books and papers down and said, "My problem about Hogwarts, A History is that it has no index so that I can look for specific items. You've made the same complaint before."
"I know. There's no Indexing spell," Hermione said, "and wizard publishers usually won't pay for someone to go through and make an index."
Harry smiled. "Have you ever used a computer, Hermione?"
"Of course. Dad and Mum have them for work, and we have one at home for family use."
Harry held up the photocopies. "Great things, computers. This is the computer formula for creating an index. These are the actual instructions in English that programmers use to code the programs that create an index."
Hermione's eyes went wide with delight. "Oh, Harry," Hermione moaned. "Are we going to Monger a Book Indexing charm?"
Harry laughed as Hermione launched herself at him again for another hug.
Just over two and a half hours later their indexing spell was complete. It had taken longer than Harry had expected to finish it. The actual Indexing spell was not difficult to Monger or to cast, but the time required for the spell to actually construct the index was proportional to the length and complexity of the text being indexed. Harry's initial version of the spell took thirty-five minutes to fully index the twenty-four-page booklet Harry had brought along to use in testing, and its pages were less than half the size of the typical text book page. After considerable analysis and refinement the spell took two and a half minutes to index the same booklet. Harry and Hermione agreed that was acceptable as they had already decided they would need to increase the complexity of the spell so that once a book was indexed the index would become a permanent part of it. That necessitated additions to the spell that would save the index once it was constructed as well as add new pages to the volume that the index could be magically tied to. Harry also had to Monger smaller spells for accessing a previously created index and searching a complex index.
Hermione could barely restrain her excitement as she watched the spell evolve. She found the entire Mongery process thrilling from start to finish. It made everything else she had learned in her magical training dull by comparison. This was an unusual case in which Harry's standards were far more exacting than hers. Hermione thought his first version of the indexing spell was marvelous, but she learned a lot as she observed Harry's process of reviewing the spell and making numerous small changes. Each change from the original version of the spell was small by itself, but the end result of all Harry's refinements was a significant reduction in the amount of magical energy required to cast the spell and an equally significant reduction in the amount of time the spell took to construct an index.
While they were eating the feast that was Dobby's idea of a proper picnic, Hermione asked Harry if he'd take over her knife-fighting training. Her father had helped her just enough to convince Hermione that she had some aptitude, but not enough for her to continue training on her own. Now, with Ted Granger gone for an indeterminate amount of time, she felt she was losing what little she'd gained. He readily agreed, it was decided that they would meet at the same 5:00 AM time he and her father had used.
Both secretly delighted in the prospect of seeing each other at a set time each day that no one could easily interfere with.
As they finished their late lunch, Hermione once again asked Harry what she could do to thank him for Mongering the Indexing spell. Harry had compacted and packaged the spell. Being a Mongered spell, he had to sell it to her, but he only charged her a Knut.
Harry smiled. "There is one thing I've wanted to do with you for several years, Hermione. It's simple and safe, and it would really mean a lot to me if you would work with me on it."
Perplexed Hermione asked, "What is it, Harry?"
Harry looked away for a moment. "I think this is important, Hermione. This is not a joke. I want you to let me teach you how ride a broom."
The look on Hermione's face told Harry she hadn't expected that. The fear in her eyes told him something else. "You're afraid, Hermione, I can see it. Think about it. Are you afraid of heights in general, or are you afraid of falling from the broom? You were afraid on the back of Buckbeak, in third year, but there wasn't anything to hold on to. With the brooms we learned on you had the handle, but it was up to you and your own strength and balance to keep from falling. There was no safety belt. You're not afraid up on the Astronomy Tower, are you? Or looking out from the Gryffindor Tower windows?"
Hermione stopped looking afraid and thought for a few seconds. "No, I'm not afraid of heights. It's falling, but brooms are so unstable."
"Have you been on a broom since the school brooms in first year?"
"Those things are terrible, Hermione. I've talked to Madam Hooch. I'm thinking about buying the school all new training brooms. She told me she threw out a quarter of the brooms after our first year, and then begged many of the older wizarding families for their old brooms as replacements. I think I've worked out a deal with Cleansweep and Nimbus. They're selling the school thirty each of their base models at cost. I'll pay for them.
"The thing is, Hermione, you probably had a bad broom in most of your classes. Take your first class for instance. You're a powerful witch. It should have shot into your hands after one or two calls. That blew your confidence. Seeing Neville's broom go mad and him get hurt scared you something fierce. Also, you were a typical female at that age and didn't have that much upper body strength.
"Finally, you saw me do all my death-defying broom stunts in Quidditch and you also saw me hurt on several occasions. None of that helped you overcome your fear of flying."
"I really want to do this, Hermione," he said, looking into her eyes.
She looked away for a moment as if considering what he had said. Finally she turned back to him and and said, "It's all true, Harry, but I don't think I want to learn to fly."
He smiled at her as he gently persisted, "Well, let me give you two good reasons to learn. First, a broom is a very handy means of escape when you can't Apparate or use a Portkey to get away."
She ceded Harry's point with a nod and a weak grin.
"The second reason," Harry continued, "is that I love flying and I want to share it with you. Not the wild gyrations or death-defying stunts, but the beauty of the sky and feel of the wind even at what I consider slower speeds. You'll love the view, the sense of freedom.
"And, when you realize that the charms on a good broom help you stay seated and that your upper body strength from all your exercises will help with your control, you'll find you're in no real danger of falling unless you do something very, very foolish. You saw the work I did on the special Keeper's rig for Ron to help him block Quaffles. Well, I found in the broom repair books a specialized Sticking charm to help you stay glued to the broom while you're starting out.
"But the first thing I want to do is take you up with me on my broom and slowly and carefully take you around so you can get the feel of flying. Then I'll put you in front of me and let you steer, but I'll be right there where I can guide you and take control if you want.
"How's that sound?"
They spent the next two hours riding together on Harry's Firebolt. Hermione rode behind him for the first hour with her own sticking charm gluing her to Harry in addition to the spells Harry cast to keep her on the broom. The next hour she steered as Harry directed her. Soon she was swooping and diving, sedately for Harry, but quite bravely for Hermione.
Then Harry took a Cleansweep Six out of his pouch and expanded it. It was the model the school would get soon. Harry had her control it slowly and no more than five feet off of the ground with him right beside her. He had her do a number of swerves back and forth to get the feel of turning. Then, standing beside her he had her turn upside down and see that she could easily hold on with her newly earned strength. Finally he showed her the simple maneuver that would cause all modern brooms to help right the rider back up on the Seat Cushioning charm.
"Harry, those old school brooms were horrendous. Why, I'd have felt ever so much better if I'd have had the Self-Righting and Sticking Charms on my first broom."
They spent the next hour sailing along about two hundred feet above the ground all over the school and even over the Forbidden Forest.
In the end, Hermione declared that she liked riding a broom, and though she never intended to play a second of Quidditch, she'd love to go for a ride with Harry whenever he wanted.
Harry was proud of her for conquering her fear and he said as much. As for his part, while he was glad Hermione was now a fairly confident flyer, Harry hoped she was thinking of the two of them together on his Firebolt when she referred to future broom rides. That had certainly been his favorite part of the lesson.
Author's Notes -
Help Me Name Clarinda's Shop - We need a name for Clarinda Jordan's fashion shop. It's more than a dress shop because there will be men's fashions too. She'll sell more than robes, so robe shop is out also. I've also ruled out CJDA for Clarinda Jordan Diagon Alley like DKNY - entirely too Muggle. Special mention in future chapters for the reader who creates the name I choose. Please leave your suggestions in a review.
My writing coach, *Pamela St Vines - As you might guess, Pamela St Vines is Mrs. St Vines, my wife. She has been my writing coach all along, using the name ebdarcy. Now she's posting her Jane Austen fanfiction as a subsection to my website here at FanficAuthors.net.
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