CoP 6

Conjoining of Paragons

Chapter 6: Settling and Unsettling

By ACI100

Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editors Athena Hope and Fezzik, as well as my betas 3CP, Luq707, Raven0900, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their work on this story.

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September 3, 1942
The Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom
10:44 AM

Harry’s mind was reeling by the time he entered the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom the morning after his first lessons in both Charms and Ancient Runes. It wasn’t actually that his mind was active out of any sense of anticipation for what was undoubtedly his favourite class. Rather, it was the fact that his mind had been left churning with the force of a vengeful sea after the lesson he had just sat through.

It had very little to do with the lesson itself, but more to do with its intrinsic oddities — as well as what had followed it.

Earlier that morning, in the Transfiguration classroom…

It felt intensely odd for Harry to walk into the Transfiguration classroom and see anyone but Professor McGonagall awaiting him. It was even more jarring to see Professor Dumbledore in a setting like this. He had become accustomed to only seeing the serene man in the settings of his ornate, eccentric office — or lounging behind the staff table in his grand, throne-like chair.

But, of course, this wasn’t actually a serene, or even a particularly old-looking Dumbledore.

He didn’t necessarily appear young, but old would have been a harsh description. He was still thin, but less so than he would be years later. He didn’t quite look athletic, but he was far closer to that sort of build than Harry was accustomed to. His face had far fewer wrinkles, though his eyes still had the air of having seen a great many things. The most jarring change was his hair; both that atop his head as well as his beard. The latter was not quite as long as in Harry’s time and they were both auburn, which was very different from the shining silver Harry was used to seeing.

“Welcome back,” Dumbledore was saying, beaming at them in a manner Harry associated with his future self’s ramblings at each welcoming feast. Even his voice sounded a touch stronger. “I hope you all enjoyed your summer as much as I did mine. I found some wonderful confections over the break that brightened my mood. I hope you all found something equally enjoyable.”

Many of the Slytherins rolled their eyes or sighed exasperatedly, but none of them took their attention off of Dumbledore. Even if he was a bit whimsical, not even the antithesis to his beloved house of the brave could argue the man wasn’t a brilliant teacher.

“Now, allow us to begin, shall we?” A general rumble of assent spread throughout the room. “I am going to assume, perhaps naively, that you all have no difficulty remembering last year’s material. That is what the summer reading is for, after all; to ensure your brains do not become too rusty and unused over those months. Fourth-year Transfiguration will be more difficult than anything you have dealt with so far. I will, of course, be working you up to that level of difficulty, and will not simply throw you to the metaphorical wolves.

“By the end of this year, it is expected that you will all have gained competence and proficiency with not only the Switching Spell, but also other spells of a similar variety. This is also the year where you will begin experimenting with cross-species transformations. The difficulty of this depends on what you’re working with, but for the scope of this class, it will be relatively simple.

“This year will begin with a large amount of time spent on the latter exploits before the former is explored a bit later. It is known to be the more difficult of the two, so I think it only best if we work our way up.

“Now, I do think it best if we start with something resembling a review. Worry not, for it shan’t be too monotonous, I don’t think.”

His eyes were twinkling in the familiar way Harry had come to know and it was almost painful for him to see and know that, in this world, those eyes did not belong to the man Harry had admired for so long. Not the exact same man, anyway.

“Today, you will all be presented with the admirable challenge of turning hedgehogs into pincushions. It hopefully isn’t the most difficult thing you have ever accomplished, but it is something I will not be giving instructions for, beyond the incantation and wand movement. It will be up to you and your own ingenuity. Think of it as a test. A test to see exactly how much you have learned over your past three years here beyond silly words and whimsical wand-waving.”

Harry had struggled some with the day’s task, though he had actually done better than most. He found that without distractions — Ron grumbling alongside him, and Hermione unintentionally overloading his brain with ‘help’ for the duration of the class — he was actually quite successful compared to his peers.

Not to say he completed the task.

What had once been his hedgehog resembled a pincushion far more than its original state by the time the bell rang to signify the end of class, but that did not at all mean he had succeeded. Dorea Black had performed about as well as he had; perhaps edging him out just slightly at the end of the class. Outside of that, it seemed as though he had done the best. They would apparently spend the first half of their first double period in the class next week finishing the task before moving onto their first bit of new material.

“Master Pavonis,” called Dumbledore as most of the students present made hasty beelines for the door. “I would be ever so grateful if you could join me alone for a moment. I will, of course, provide you with a note excusing any tardiness I may unintentionally be responsible for.”

Harry beckoned for Elena to go ahead to Defence whilst he waited for the room to clear and then made his way before Dumbledore.

Merlin, this felt so wrong…

Standing before Dumbledore not in the Headmaster’s office, but in a normal classroom. Looking at him not across an immaculate desk, but an ordinary, unremarkable one.

Everything about it just felt so off.

“I am told you were educated at Ilvermorny?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry responded, answering more so on reflex than anything else.

“Hmm, most curious.”

Harry frowned. “How so, Professor?”

“Well, Ilvermorny — whilst a remarkable institution without doubt — is not known for its Transfiguration program. It is the school’s weakest subject, if one puts stock in academic records. No, where the American curriculum truly shines is in Charms. From what Horace has said about your prowess in defensive magic, I thought you might favour that branch of magic. I have been told by your Charms professor that you did well but not outstandingly so in his class. I, on the other hand, find myself quite impressed by your performance. Miss Black is the best Transfiguration student in your year, and yet you kept pace with her just fine. It is true she is not nearly as gifted in the subject as her older brother, Arcturus, and that she has a greater penchant for charms, but the Blacks have always had an odd affinity for transfiguration. I find it most interesting that you could keep pace with her despite your lack of high-level teaching in the subject.”

Harry really did forget just how brilliant Dumbledore was at times.


Had he already been found out or exposed? Did Dumbledore already suspect something fishy about the backstory Slughorn had concocted for him? Was he really going to need to put extra time into Charms?

Well, he knew the answer to that last one. He wanted to get better at the subject already; if Dumbledore had noticed the trend, who was to say others wouldn’t.

One student in particular poking holes in his cover story scared him more than he would ever care to admit, and if she was at all like her male counterpart in his time, ammunition was the last thing she needed.

“What are you saying, sir?”

“I am saying you have an admirable talent for my art.” Harry could have sighed in relief. Dumbledore didn’t think he was a liar; just naturally talented. “Your affinity is clearly impressive. I did notice that you seemed to struggle with some of the more subtle facets of Transfiguration.”

Harry clearly looked puzzled because Dumbledore’s lips twitched with obvious amusement before he elaborated upon his previous claim.

“I am speaking particularly of the visualization aspects of my class, Master Pavonis. You see, there are many ways to transfigure objects. Some ways work best for some than others. In my many travels, I have not found a single method that works best for everyone. What I saw today was obvious talent, but you failed to make any real changes to the more detailed components of the transfiguration. In my humble yet professional opinion, this indicates a flawed approach in regards to visualization.” Dumbledore paused to think for a moment. “What is it that you are imagining when going about your transfigurations?”

Harry blinked. He was imagining exactly what Professor McGonagall had always told him to imagine.

“The finished transfiguration, sir.”

Dumbledore frowned. “That is the most common approach, yes. Many instructors all over the world are even beginning to make it a standard practice. I fear that, in time, it may become more and more standardized. This has its benefits, of course. It is likely to produce a much higher percentage of competent users of the art, but few true masters, I am afraid. Least of all when some will struggle with such a uniform approach.

“But I digress. My advice to you is to not imagine the finished product at all.”

“What should I imagine then, sir?”

“You are asking the right questions, though to answer it is more difficult. I could give you examples, but I think it best if you find out for yourself. Try a number of things while practicing simple transfigurations and reading up on the one I have assigned. Experimentation will be your best option. I could give you examples, but self-discovery is something I think valuable. It is my honest belief that by discovering one’s optimal method themself, they best attune themself to that method and will therefore get the most out of it in the end.” His eyes were twinkling like mad now. “Take this as a chance to prove my hypothesis. If you are struggling with this and it is taking too much time out of your studies, do come to me and I will guide you through it more directly.”

Back in the present…

Seeing Dumbledore this way had been an experience, but Harry’s mind was as fixated on his advice pertaining to Transfiguration as it was about him. Could it be possible that he had been performing transfigurations in a way that was less than ideal for him? Could it be that one simple — or potentially not so simple — change could drastically alter his ability in the subject? It seemed too easy, but Dumbledore had mentioned that he might struggle. It was just such an odd thought, especially considering Professor McGonagall had notoriously been one of the best teachers the Hogwarts of his time had to offer.

Perhaps Dumbledore was correct, as he had often been decades in the future. Perhaps more diverse ways of teaching really had just been phased out as time stretched on. If that was the case, Harry supposed he really shouldn’t blame Professor McGonagall so much as the magical world at large. It was just one of so many illogical things about this mystical world of magic. A stark reminder that for all of its attractions — and despite how superior Harry thought it was to the muggle world — it was not without its own crippling problems.

He entered the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom a few minutes late, but class hadn’t truly begun. Professor Merrythought, an older woman with shortish brown hair that was beginning to grey, had been taking the attendance.

“Ah, so you’re the transfer,” she said when Harry walked through the door.

He shuffled uncomfortably under her stare. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Do you have a reason for being late?”

“I have a note from Professor Dumbledore.”

Her eyebrows knit together. “Give it here, then.” Harry marched to the front of the class and handed it over. The professor’s dark brown eyes swept over the note quickly and intently. “Very well then,” she said. “Go and take one of the available seats. Do try to ask Professor Dumbledore to wait for a better time in the future. I understand it was by his request, but I do not permit students to show up late to my class.”

“Yes. Sorry, ma’am.”

Harry took a seat beside Elena. She shot him a sympathetic look before Merrythought reached Harry’s name on the register.

“Pavonis,” she called.

“Present,” Harry responded, and she nodded curtly before continuing down the list. Her mouth was set in a firm line that would have made Professor McGonagall blush; Harry could tell she was not at all fond of him.

When she completed the register, she tucked it away, cleared her throat, and addressed the class at large.

“Welcome back to Hogwarts and Defence Against the Dark Arts. I’m not going to waste any time. You are not eleven-year-old children, and you know what is expected of you — whether you have been in my class before or not.” Harry felt a trace of pink rise in his cheeks, but he tried to ignore it and kept looking straight forward.

“This first day is going to be more of a review period than anything else, but we won’t waste it with you slaving away over textbooks. It’s practical experience that will make or break a witch or wizard when defending yourself. Memorizing as many spells as Merlin created might make you feel all smug and superior, but doing so is of little use in the field of battle. What will keep you safe is knowing how to use and apply those spells, and that is what I want to make sure you all haven’t lost the ability to do over the summer.

“Who can tell me what the main focus of the third-year Defence Against the Dark Arts curriculum was?” Elena’s hand shot into the air, and it was her who the professor indicated.

“To learn how to defend yourself against common magical creatures that we might encounter in the future.”

“Correct, take three points for Slytherin. Yes, we covered a number of creatures last year, but defending against most of them is laughably simple so long as you aren’t completely inept. Luckily, none of you — at least the ones I’ve taught — fall into that unfortunate group of individuals.

“I say most creatures because several of you struggled with one particular creature.” Harry couldn’t help but notice how several students all around the room shuddered at that. If the curriculum in 1942 was anything like what it was in his own time, he had a sneaking suspicion he knew which creature Professor Merrythought was referring to. “That is the creature we will be reviewing today. I managed to acquire one, so we will be having a practical lesson. Everyone, to your feet with your wands out; form a single-file line. You will combat the boggart one after the other.”

So it was the boggart…

Merlin, this was not going to be at all fun. Fighting the dementor had never been easy for Harry. How could it be, with the sounds of his parents’ dying voices echoing inside his skull? He wondered if that might even be worse now that he had heard them in person; spoken to them, even.

That raised a thought that was altogether even more terrifying.

Would his boggart even be a dementor anymore?

He thought it would, at least in some shape, but he was slightly worried it might take a more complex form. If that was even possible, he supposed. He hadn’t seen a boggart take on a particularly complex form before, but he didn’t see why it wouldn’t be capable of it if sufficiently motivated.

“Pavonis!” barked Merrythought. “Back of the line. I’m not sure whether or not you’ve dealt with boggarts before, so it’s best you watch the others go to get an idea of exactly what it is you’re going to have to do.”

This woman was really starting to get on Harry’s nerves.

There was just something about her. Her immediate dislike and casual dismissance of him… it reminded him far too strongly of Snape. That was a bastard who he was all too happy to escape. It was one of the very few things he was happy for when being thrown fifty years back in time. If he had to deal with someone like that again… Merlin, give him patience.

“Have you dealt with a boggart before?” asked Elena. Harry nodded curtly and she opened her mouth to respond, but Merrythought was calling her name before she could.

“Fawley! To the front. Lead us off with a strong performance.”

Elena stepped forward with visible reluctance. Harry couldn’t help but notice the way her legs shook on the way to the front of the class.

The professor had waved her wand and floated an old, battered-looking cabinet in front of Elena, inside of which was obviously the boggart they would all be tackling.

“You remember the spell and theory?” asked Merrythought. When Elena nodded, Merrythought turned to the cabinet, stepped out of the way, and waved her wand.

The cabinet’s door practically rocketed open and out of it lunged a massive serpent with venom dripping from its fangs, which were bared and ready to strike as it neared ever closer to Elena’s chest…



The snake’s muscle-bound form quickly broke down and elongated until it was nothing but a loose line of string draped around Elena’s finger, so close it had come to actually making contact with her.

That was an interesting thought, actually. Could a boggart really cause physical damage to a person? Harry had never seen one do so before, but he supposed there was no reason it wasn’t possible.

Elena sent the string to the floor as she stepped back, allowing the next person — Damien Carrow — to step forward.

“You okay?” Harry asked when Elena chose to stand beside him whilst he waited for his own duel with the boggart.

She nodded. “I’m fine; I just don’t like snakes. That’s all.”

“You did well.” It was a weak sentiment, but it was all Harry could offer. His palms were sweating, his knees were shaking, and his heart was racing.

Elena smiled. “I’m sure you’ll do just as well.”

The line thinned out in front of him faster than Harry would have liked. Nobody had thus far failed to banish the boggart and he was still stuck making plans. How would one make a dementor look comical? And what if it wasn’t even a dementor? Harry actually thought the latter prospect was a distinct possibility, so it was one that needed at least a degree of consideration.

“Pavonis!” barked Merrythought. “You’re up!”

Harry stepped forward with a stony expression and a grip so tight on his wand that his fingers were numb. He hoped above all things he wouldn’t see Hermione, nor Sirius, but he didn’t want to see a dementor either…

He saw the latter, just as it had always been, rising from the floor, draped in its impenetrable cloak of darkness, and taking long, gasping breaths. With every intake of that horrid breath, it seemed to pull not just air into its maw but all light and happiness that existed in this suddenly dark and desolate place.

Many around the room had begun shaking and Harry could even hear the sounds of at least one person behind him collapsing, but his attention was frozen on the dementor before him as it glided ever so slowly forward.

He had nothing.

He had no idea how one was supposed to make a dementor look comical and by now, he had spent far too much time thinking. His brain practically viewed the thing as a dementor now; he could hear his mother’s pleading screams echoing agonizingly through his mind, taunting him now more than ever that he had seen her in person.

He needed to stop it; he needed to defend himself, and he knew but one defence against such pure, unadulterated evil.


He thought about all that had been good in his past reality as he spoke the words, mixed with all that was good about this new one and, above all else, the overwhelming warmth and certainty he had felt when his patronus had driven off the hordes of dementors before the horrible truth of the moment had made itself known.

A halo of silver light burst forth from the tip of Harry’s wand, surging towards the dementor as a singular mass before, about halfway, it contorted and coalesced into the brilliant shape of the stag which Harry had come to associate with his father.

The stag reared up and drove its front legs into the dementor’s chest, sending it staggering back. Only now that the oppressive weight of the dementor’s power had been lifted did Harry know exactly what he was fighting and he could think of just one thing that could make a dementor less terrifying.



There was a blinding flash of blue light so bright that the only thing that had been discernible through the light had been the still shining form of Harry’s stag patronus. When the light cleared, the dementor’s cloak was ablaze and it was rolling feebly on the floor for a moment before, with a great wail, the thing burst into black, acrid smoke and was gone.

The silence in the classroom was so absolute it may as well have been deafening. Harry’s patronus looked around with wide, innocent eyes before traipsing over towards its master and peering up at him expectantly. Harry smiled down at it with genuine gratitude before he banished the creature with a flick of his wand; granting it the release it had so desperately wanted in the process.

Harry then took the time to look around for the first time since the boggart had appeared. He quickly came to the sharp and sudden realization that every single person in the room — including the professor — was staring at him with a look akin to that of a deer caught in the bright headlights of an oncoming semi-truck.

“Pavonis,” Merrythought asked slowly. “Are you aware that the Patronus Charm is magic far beyond N.E.W.T. level?”

“No, ma’am.” Harry knew it was very advanced, but he honestly hadn’t known it was that advanced.

Merrythought’s eyes narrowed. “Are you aware then, Pavonis, that not even aurors are mandated to know the Patronus Charm to serve? Largely due to its notorious difficulty?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Well then, perhaps you could tell me how you learned of this charm and when you first achieved it?”

“I… had a professor teach it to me at Ilvermorny. They’re noted for their charms and I had read about it in one of the school’s books. He was a friend of my father’s, so he agreed. I think the first time I cast it perfectly was last spring.”

Deafening silence followed that proclamation.

“Twenty-five points to Slytherin,” Merrythought said slowly and deliberately. “For a magical feat the likes of which I have never seen at this institution. Why, I wonder if even Emily…” her voice trailed off. “Continue to study, Pavonis. My door is always open for any of your questions or concerns.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

As Harry made his way back towards a shocked-looking Elena, he came to what was undoubtedly the most bitter revelation he’d come to since arriving fifty years in the past.

He had not escaped the undivided attention of the school after all. Apparently, he didn’t need to be the Boy-Who-Lived to set off what he knew to be a publicity bomb.

That night, in the Great Hall…

Emily could tell something was different the moment she strolled into the Great Hall. There was chatter sweeping through the hall like a whispering wind, and certain pockets of the Slytherin table were animated to the point that Emily knew at once it was one of them who had sparked all of this disarray.

She focused her attention on those who she had cultivated and reached out with her Legilimency senses. It didn’t take her long to ascertain the most affected parties of her group.

Some of her friends — fourth years Blake Selwyn and Derrick Avery — were waiting for her at the centre of the table where she and her friends always sat. It was clear to her almost at once that the two of them were agitated in one way or another.

“How was everyone’s day?” Emily asked when they all had settled in. Many of them murmured general comments, but she couldn’t help but believe, once more, the two fourth years had more to say. “Is something on your mind, Avery?” He was the less confident and more loyal of the two of them and of the pair, he was far less subtle.

“We… had an interesting lesson with Merrythought.”


“We went over boggarts from the third-year curriculum and the new kid… he was impressive.”

Emily’s eyes gleamed. “Impressive in what way, exactly?” The boys exchanged glances and Emily hummed. “What was his boggart exactly, while we’re on the topic?”

“A dementor,” answered Selwyn. “It… wasn’t the most pleasant experience, but the newbie didn’t flinch.”

“I’m taking it he had a creative application of the Riddikulus Charm?”

The two boys exchanged glances. “He… didn’t actually use that charm first.”


“He cast a patronus to defend himself before he actually used the Riddikulus Charm,” said Selwyn. “I’m guessing he needed some clarity, but it was a fully corporeal patronus; a deer or something similar.”

“A stag, I think,” Avery put in.

This… was interesting.

Emily knew of the Patronus Charm, of course, but it wasn’t one she had spent any great amount of time on. She had tried it a few times to no success before moving on. Finding any information about esoteric magic at Hogwarts was extremely difficult as most things pertaining to that specific area loomed in the castle’s darker side of the library.

She had no doubt she could cast the charm today if she had the proper instructions, but it was still interesting. Not every day did somebody new show up at Hogwarts and cast a charm she herself had never performed. Least of all an oddly suspicious transfer student who was a year younger than her.

And there was something about him…

Something that was difficult to describe. His state while around her… it was unnatural and there was a cause; a cause he wanted to hide from her more than anything else.

If he knew the Patronus Charm and could potentially be valuable on top of all the rest… well, she was hardly going to complain about gaining an excuse to solve a puzzle that interested her more than it had any right to.

September 4, 1942
The Potions Classroom
11:58 AM

Class was coming to an end and Harry was surprisingly happy with its results.

Horace had announced at its beginning that he would be assigning them all partners this year. Harry had been hopeful he would end up with Elena. They got on well and Horace had willingly sent him to live with the Fawleys over the summer, so it made a degree of sense to Harry.

But it wasn’t to be.

Harry was instead paired with Dorea Black, which was… interesting.

He hadn’t been opposed to the idea. He was starting to get the feeling she might have been his year’s equivalent of Hermione; not to the same extent, by the looks of it, but perhaps the top student in their year. She also seemed quiet more often than not, which was fine by Harry.

It was just the fact that every time he looked at her, he felt as though he was back in that room after first receiving the cloak of invisibility that he missed so dearly, peering into the depths of an enchanted mirror.

It reminded him painfully of not only the images, but of Professor Dumbledore’s words. Words that could really be applied to many things, and words that he had found himself thinking of with disturbing frequency since being thrown back in time.

“This mirror will give us neither knowledge nor truth, Harry. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible. The mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, and I ask you not to go looking for it. If you ever do come across it again, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. Remember that.”

Remember that he had, particularly the last bit of advice the venerable Headmaster had imparted.

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

He’d found himself doing that a lot after first landing in the past, but he had slowly begun curbing the habit. Now, faced with a member of his family who had been dead in his time, it became exponentially more difficult.

Which was why it really was a miracle the class had gone as well as it had.

Dorea Black was more gifted in the art of potion-making than she had been in Transfiguration. Despite the fact Harry found himself spacing out due to thoughts he would rather not be having, she managed to keep them on track. They were even the first pair to hand in their completed potion, though she had basically carried him through brewing single-handedly.

“Hey,” he said just as the class was about to end. “I know I was a bit rubbish today, so thanks for helping and not just snapping at me. Plenty would have, and I wouldn’t really have blamed them.”

“You really weren’t that bad. Not as present as I might have liked, but you at least listened and followed instructions. It’s clear you know what you’re doing; you just don’t always seem to make the best decisions when it actually comes down to it. Just something to work on, I suppose.”

“I’ll try,” he swore. “I won’t be so rubbish the whole year. I just… have a lot on my mind.”

“You’re the transfer student, right?” He nodded. “It’s no surprise then. I’m shocked you’re actually doing as well as you are. You have nothing to apologize for…” she trailed off, seeming to grasp the air in hopes of pulling his name from nowhere.

“Harry,” he supplied.

“Harry, then. Again, nothing to apologize for; just a lot of stress.”

“Thank you,” he said genuinely. He might have said more, but he became distracted not a second later.

“Harry, m’boy!” called Slughorn. “Do stay behind for a moment, please. I know lunch is next, so I won’t take too much of your time.” He chortled as the rest left the class and Harry strode to the front, looking cautiously up at the man who had come to be something of a mentor to him.

“I’ve arranged a little tour for you tonight,” said Slughorn. “Nothing to worry about, of course. Just something to help you settle in is all. Become more comfortable in your new surroundings.”

This was, of course, completely unnecessary. Harry had known the castle better than most in his time; with the Marauder’s Map having been in his possession, it would have been hard not to.

He didn’t say any of this to Slughorn though. He knew the man well enough by now to be sure he was planning something and that this… tour he had set up played into that larger plan.

“What time is it at?” asked Harry. “And who’s going to be showing me around? Elena? Dorea?”

“Not quite,” Slughorn said with a small smile. “I thought it best if you did it a bit later in the night. Fewer people mucking about and more time for you to… take everything in. As for your tour guide, one of the prefects volunteered. We spoke with her on the train, if you’ll remember.” Harry felt an odd sense of dread close around his heart, but he said nothing and did his best to show no visible reaction. “You’ll be meeting Miss Riddle at the top of the stairs leading down to the dungeons at ten o’clock sharp. She has her prefect rounds to take care of and she volunteered to let you come with her.”

He smiled in a way that spoke of exactly how satisfied he was by the whole thing. Harry just couldn’t figure out this man’s angle. He looked as though he had just given Harry a priceless gift that would stand the test of time. “Does that all sound agreeable to you?”

“Yeah, it’s… that works for me.”

“Excellent! Well, I won’t keep you for too long. I’m sure you’re as famished as I am, and lunch awaits.” The man gave another chortle as he gestured for Harry to leave the classroom while he cleaned up.

As Harry did so, his mind churning and racing in all sorts of disturbing ways, one odd thought made itself present and he wasn’t sure why he found it so morbidly amusing.

Contrary to what Horace had just suggested, he suddenly found himself suffering from a distinct lack of anything even resembling an appetite.

Author’s Endnote:

Definitely a transitional chapter by my own admission, but a necessary one. I don’t plan on these school years being too long, so the pace will pick up soon. There’s just some groundwork that needs to be laid out first.

Also, Dumbledore’s advice isn’t about to make Harry a master at Transfiguration. This isn’t going to be an instant power-up kind of story, even though he will improve quite quickly once approaching events come to pass.

Please read and review.

Thank you as always to my lovely Discord Editors Asmodeus Stahl; The Darkling; and Well, it’s a name for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.

PS: The next chapter is available right now to anyone who joins my Discord server. Those who sign up to my Patreon page will gain immediate access to the next two.

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