Chapter 11 : Passing for Mundane
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Resisting magic became more difficult for Arthur. He found himself practicing the Lumos spell at night, just to feel what controlling that spell felt like in the hopes that it would help him with the other random things that were happening around him. Like the examination papers disappearing the morning of their test that Arthur hadnt felt ready for. Or the day he kept drawing all of the powerful cards in game Random Factors, until his friends quit in annoyance.
He wished the old textbooks of his fathers were still around. He looked in the attic for them one day when his dad was out running errands. After shutting the last trunk, which brought up a cloud of dust, he remembered Professor Snapes offer of advice. He stepped down to the ground floor and pulled out a pen and paper before giving up in disgust. If he could ask for advice, he should just tell his dad.
That night at dinner, Arthur asked, So what is magic exactly? Is there some theory to it?
Harry thought for a long time. I dont know quite how to answer that, he finally admitted.
Carefully, so as to not ruin this opening, Arthur said, Are there books on magical theory?
I think Ive seen some in the library at Hogwarts. Ill get one at the bookstore next time Im out, if you really want one.
Very casually, Arthur replied, Yeah. Im kind of curious.
A few days later, Harry presented him with a slim volume in a cloth binding. It looked like a handmade book, just as his dads old textbooks had.
Thanks, Arthur said, tucking it under his arm so as to not flip it open and read it avidly on the spot.
After dinner as his father wrote out a few letters with Pollux perched on his shoulder, Arthur pulled out the book. Magic just is, it began on the first page. Arthur rolled his eyes. It is a force like the pressure of water or gravity except that it can be redirected by those with the right predisposition. Arthur flipped ahead, looking for anything about control. In a chapter on training theory, it said, Any outlet for skills is better than none, though diversity is best. One cannot run out of magical energy as some believe but one can channel it uncontrollably if not trained properly. It will eventually find some kind of outlet in every predisposed person or creature.
Arthur set the book aside casually and picked up his handheld. His dad seemed to go days without doing anything magical and then he would do all sorts of things in the space of an hour, including replacing the wallpaper in the living room in about five minutes. The old wallpaper hadnt even needed to go in the dustbin, since it had apparently ceased to exist. His science teacher would have told him he was a nutter if he had described it to him.
Up for a little trip today? Harry asked one late November Sunday. I want to go visit an old friend and I think shed love to see you.
Who? Arthur asked as he stood up from the floor of his room where he was assembling a school science project about the galaxy.
Molly Weasley. Harry said. Oh, astronomy. I can help with that if you need it.
Arthur looked doubtful, but didnt argue. Later, maybe, he said.
In the entryway, as Arthur reached to take his coat out of the closet only to have Harry preempt him and hand him his cloak instead, Arthur pointed out, You said we were going to go visit a long time ago, didnt you?
Harry hooked his own cloak and bit his lips as he looked at the floor. I wasnt ready for it until now. I expected the last thing Molly needed was someone around who thought the whole thing had just happened. He sighed as he bent to change his shoes.
You all right, Dad? Arthur wanted to add that his dad didnt sound ready, but held back.
Yep, Harry said as he straightened up. Lets go, he said as he led him back to the hearth.
They landed hard in another hearth after rather a lot of spinning through the network. Arthur had to put his hand out on the sooty bricks to keep his balance on his stinging feet. He followed his father in ducking to get out.
Look at you! A voice of high-pitched joy said. Arthur saw just a flash of clashing flowered prints before he was wrapped up in an alarmingly tight hug. Finally, he was pushed to arms-length, surprised at the deceptive strength this woman had. My, but you take me back, she said with emotion, patting his hair back. Arthur tolerated all of this, thinking it was the least he could do.
Well, come in and have a seat, she said, gesturing at the worn lime green couch in the center of the stone-walled room.
Arthur watched his father take in the small room. He looked like he wanted to ask something, but took a seat instead. Fifteen years, he murmured to himself as he stared at a row of framed photographs on the shelf across from them. Arthur sat close beside his dad so their legs were touching. Harry leaned back and took in a slow, deep breath.
From the kitchen area behind the hearth, Molly said, I was so pleased to get your owl saying you were better. I feel very bad for not checking up on you at all these last few years. Amazing how fast time passes. She brought teacups for both of them and sat in a straight-backed chair beside the couch.
Dont, Harry insisted. There wasnt anything to be done.
And youve cheated time a bit too, it looks like, she admonished.
Harry grinned. Apparently. Still cant keep up with him, though, he commented, indicating Arthur.
So sorry about your mum, Arthur, Molly said with feeling. I dont think anyone knew . . . She sipped her tea. Well, but you are here now and that is what matters, she added, more upbeat.
So, fill me in a bit more on what everyone is doing, Harry said, glancing over the photos, one showing Ginny arm and arm with someone he didnt recognize.
Molly, seeing this, went and brought the photo back over. That is Hugh, but they are divorced now. She pulled down another photo of a boy so redheaded, he almost put the others to shame. Brendan, Ginnys son, Molly provided. Nine now. Very well behaved, almost eerily so for someone with Weasley blood. She put those back and brought back a photo of one of the twins leaning on a broomstick in a garden Harry didnt recognize. George is still running Tri-W as I think you know. At Harrys nod, she went on. Cant settle down though, the little rascal.
She exchanged photos again. And Bill and Iverna with Sara, whom youve met I hear. Arthur nodded along with Harry. Molly went on, Sara has her moments, but she is basically a good girl. Didnt sort into Gryffindor, though, which disappointed Bill. I thought that was a good sign, myself. She put the photographs back, her hand brushing a moment over a larger, older one of all of them. Beside that one sat a black and white wrinkled photograph of the Order that included Harrys parents and Sirius. Seeing Harrys gaze, Molly brought it over to him.
Harry held it before him. On the far right stood Dumbledore, hands clasped before him characteristically. He handed it back to her.
Lot of people to lose at once, she breathed as she examined it as well.
Arthur got a chance to get to know Sara a little, didnt you? Harry said to his son as a distraction.
Arthur nodded. Fishing for something to say, he said, I think she was disappointed when I told her I was a Muggle.
Shed get over it if she knew you better, I think, Molly said easily.
The three of them had a nice, albeit simple, lunch. Over tea afterwards, Harry and Molly fell into a long discussion about how things had changed. Bored, Arthur wandered around the small house looking at all the things on the numerous, many-times-repainted shelves.
Along one shelf were broken appliances. He pulled down a heavy steel percolator and looked it over. It had a scorch mark up the back, but he didnt know if that was from it being broken or something near it burning. He shook it a little, something inside was rattling. On the shelf below, laid out almost lovingly, were a row of tools: screwdrivers, pliers, wiring, some random plugs. Arthur selected a few tools and sat down on the floor with the silver pot.
In the other room the conversation went on. Arthur listened in idly to a discussion about Ministry policy changes. His dad seemed to be keeping up with the conversation better than he had with other magical people in the past. Arthur took the screws out of the bottom of the pot and carefully set the lid aside on the threadbare rug. The screws he lined up on the wood part of the floor where they would be easier to find. Inside it was clear what was wrong, the wires from the power plug had crossed, burning the old cloth insulation away. The small orange circuit board with a diode and a transistor that attached to the thermal switch, had darkened from the heat, but the solder looked okay and the components werent discolored. Arthur sat straight and lifted his chin to looked over the shelf again. He snatched up the small old roll of black tape from the end. With care, he separated and rewrapped the power wires coming in.
Everything else looked fine. The heating element wasnt cracked or anything. He picked up the bottom plate to screw it back on.
No wonder youve been quiet, Harry said all of a sudden from just beside the hearth.
Arthur looked up a little guiltily, thinking now that maybe he should have asked before messing with something he had just found on a shelf.
Molly came around and stood behind Harry. Well, that also takes me back. You named him well.
Harry came over and crouched beside Arthur as his son picked up a screw and turned it back into the base. Harry picked up the rest of the screws to hold them out for him and said, Except he most likely has fixed it.
Really? Molly asked, amused and impressed sounding.
Ive never seen any machine not just work for him, Harry went on as he handed another screw over.
When it was back together, Arthur carefully set the tools back exactly as he had found them and started to put the coffee pot back on its shelf.
No, lets test it out, Harry said, taking it away. You have Muggle electricity here?
I think so. Havent tried it since the real estate agent sold me this place. She led the way to an outlet on the wall in the kitchen. Harry filled the pot from the sink and plugged it in.
Molly put her hands on her hips. Whenever my husband Arthur would do that with something hed been tinkering with, thered be this sound like a Splitting spell followed by smoke.
Harry grinned at Arthur who looked between them before taking the stool at the counter across from the sink. Minutes later, the water in the pot boiled.
Well, look at that, Molly said, pleased. Arthur Weasleyd be proud to see that.
Arthur fidgeted under her glowing gaze; he wasn't used to such a look since he hadn't seen it in over three years. He moved his gaze to the window and refused to let it make him miss his mum.
His dad shifted over to where he sat. "Ready to go?" he asked. Arthur wondered if he had given something away. Molly was giving him an even more sympathetic look, which made him angry at himself.
He forced everything down and said, "No," with an easy manner.
"Anything else you need fixed?" Harry asked Molly teasingly.
"No, I have this," she said, picking up her wand from the counter. Then, appearing to think again, she moved quickly to unplug the coffee pot and dump it out in the sink. Harry insisted upon putting it away. While he was gone, Molly said, "'S'all right being a Muggle."
Arthur couldn't tell if it was a question or not. He rubbed his neck which was stiff from bending over on the floor earlier. "I'm happy without magic," he said with certainty.
She leaned forward conspiratorily. "That's good, my boy. 'S'not good for everything anyway," she added with a wink.
Pollux woke Arthur early one cold Saturday morning by making a racket. Rubbing his eyes, Arthur padded across the cold floor in his bare feet to find the bird had knocked his water dish down. As he pulled it out to refill it, he said to the bird, I think you do that on purpose to get attention.
Pollux hooted disdainfully.
Arthur returned with the dish and remounted it and as he did so, the owl nipped playfully at him. I dont have anyone to send a letter to. Its not that I dont like you, he tried to explain. Itd be funny to send a letter to Allen using you, but then Dad would just have to memory wipe him again, and I dont want that to happen.
Deciding he was awake despite the early hour, Arthur collected his schoolbooks and sat down at the table near Pollux to look over his geometry assignment. A tapping sounded on the window. Arthur went over to it. Roger was standing there, holding up a grouse by the feet and pointing at it gleefully.
Arthur opened the window. Rogers breath steamed as he spoke in excitement, My first! Isnt it it a beaute?
Arthur thought it probably looked better alive, but he nodded anyway. Roger glanced at Pollux and gave a half-smile. No offense to your pet owl, ya know.
I know, Arthur replied with his own half-smile. Roger backed off and Arthur closed the window.
Pollux stepped nervously from one end of his perch to the other and back. Arthur opened the cage door and let him out, thinking the sight of the other dead bird may have made him nervous. The owl jumped to the edge of the door, then fluttered to the back of a chair and fluffed himself. Arthur fetched his books and sat in the same chair to work on his assignments. When he finished his math assignment, he started to grow impatient for his dad to wake up. Eventually he went to his dads room and leaned in the open doorway. His dad was awake and staring at the ceiling.
Im not sleeping in too late, if thats what youre worried about, Harry said reassuringly. Arthur tipped his head to the side, ready to deny it. I was just lying here thinking, Harry explained. He sat up and considered Arthur with a closed expression. He flattened the duvet by rubbing his hand over it a few times. Finally, sounding a little melancholy, he asked, How am I doing, Arthur?
How am I doing? Then after a pause, he added, With you.
It seemed a very serious question. Arthur shifted where he leaned on the doorframe to stand just inside the room. He shrugged. Okay, I guess. I dont know. When his father fell thoughtful, he added, Dads dont usually ask that, I dont think.
Harry made a small noise like a laugh. I dont always feel like a dad, especially when Im using you as an anchor to keep me steady."
Arthur looked at the floor, uneasy with this conversation. If his dad was using him to remain steady, then they were both in serious trouble. Harry stood then, came over, and put a hand on the top of Arthur's head, further ruffling his still uncombed hair. "Nevermind. Time for breakfast, I think."
Later that morning, when the Muggle post arrived, Arthur went and collected it. He returned to the table, frowning at the letter from Kent with the Dursleys name on the return address.
You remember your aunt and uncle? Arthur asked.
Only too well, Harry replied darkly, as he ate a bisquit with tea.
Well, despite moving away five years ago, they apparently remember you as well.
Harry looked up and Arthur handed over the letter. With a frown he tore it open. It was a Christmas card of all things. A little early, I should think, although it is December, Harry commented. It was signed by Petunia as From the family. Do they usually send one? Harry asked.
I dont know, Arthur replied. They used to call until Mum accused them of gloating and threw them out forcefully enough that they got the message. They moved some time later. Sent a picture of their new digs, really nice place on a big property. I doubt the photo is around anymore.
Harry flipped the card open again, apparently trying to understand something. I suppose I could ring them, but I honestly dont want to. If you really wanted to get to know your relatives I could probably force myself to.
I dont feel the need, Arthur said returning to his own snack. The card reminded him that he wanted to get his dad something really nice for Christmas, but he had no idea what it should be.
I really can help with your final astronomy project, Harry said as he stood in the doorway to Arthurs room.
Arthur looked up from his television screen which he had hooked up to use as a monitor since it was larger than the one on his laptop. His dad stepped in and dubiously eyed the complicated wiring and converters hanging between the devices before appearing to disregard the setup. Arthur did need help, the end of term was less than a week away, but he said, I think I can work it out.
On the screen was a star chart, one of many star charts he had found on the web in an attempt to speed the project along.
Whats the assignment? Harry asked persistently.
I need to make an astrolabe, Arthur said dismissively as he tabbed through the images he had downloaded.
A quadrant or a whole one? Harry asked.
Arthur straightened from the hunched posture he had been sitting in. Either, he answered, rethinking his assumption. But I dont get how it works.
His dad grinned lightly and said, Arthur, thats because it was something people used before computers. Remember Hogwarts? Did you see any computers there?
No. You said my handheld would break if I brought it. Arthur pulled his wrinkled assignment sheet out of the pile beside his chair and handed it over. You really think you can help?
Harry read the sheet over. We used astrolabes all the time in Astronomy class, Arthur. Whole ones are much easier to use but harder to make. Do you have to demonstrate that you know how to use it? At Arthurs nod, Harry said, Lets make a whole one then.
The next few days of working with his dad on his project were the best Arthur could remember. His dad knew all kinds of odd things, like how to make a potion to etch glass. They found an old glass lampshade at a junk shop and started with that to make his astrolabe. Harry cheated on cutting the lamp apart with some kind of laser-like spell, but other than that it seemed all legitimate. They worked out the projections together, with a little help from Hermione via owl, and Harry kept him from making a major mistake in laying out the degrees along the metal edge.
When it was finished, it sat on the Prophet-covered dining room table, scented with the etching compound they had used to add the star charts to the glass. Arthur could see where he had started because his star icons and labels had gotten much better as he went.
"Its going to be the best one," Arthur said proudly. He reached out a hand to pat his dad's arm and got pulled into a hug.
"Glad I could help you with something," Harry said in a quieter than normal voice.
Arthur hugged his dad back a bit more. "You always help, Dad," he stated with certainty. Harry held him a bit tighter as well, making Arthur wonder who was clinging to whom harder. Looking for a distraction, Arthur said, "I'll have to pack it well to take it tomorrow."
Harry released him. Ill do that. I suspect you have other revising, Harry said with that understanding, bordering on teasing, tone he used sometimes.
"Just a bit," he admitted. He left Harry to take care of his project and went to his room to work on his essay on the hundred-years war.
Christmas eve came upon Arthur faster than he imagined it would. Having end of term examinations looming probably had something to do with the speed of time passing. He closed the door of his room and took out the things he had bought. He had actually managed a trip to Diagon Alley two days before on the way home from school. But all he could decide on was a nice box of colored parchments. With a disappointed sigh he wrapped them up. They were very nice colors and it was something he would want if he used parchment as much as his dad did. At Marks and Sparks he had bought a nice black jumper with silver threads running through it. It would look good on his dad with his dark hair. He folded it carefully back into the box and wrapped it as well.
His dad had put up a tree earlier in the week, although it only had tinsel on it. It had three presents under it, one for himself and one for each of his friends. Arthur carried his packages out and put them under it as well. Looking at the tree made him wish his mum were here. Harry came through at that moment.
Ah ha, he said playfully. He shook the larger one. Hm, he said at the soft sound. It was kind of obvious what was inside. The other he shook and made a more curious face. He set it back under and said, Want to help make dinner?
Sure, Ill be right there, Arthur said.
His dad gave him a close look before leaving him alone. Arthur sighed as he spread out the foil tinsel a little better on the branches and considered with an empty heart that he was alone in missing his mum. She seemed more absent now for some reason, maybe because there were no presents for her. Quickly wiping his eyes, he went to the kitchen.
A duck was laid out in a roasting pan, its long neck turn around on itself. Cut up some onion and carrots for the pan, will you? Harry asked him.
Arthur nodded, glad for something easy to do. He sat at the table and took paring knife and carrot in hand that were laid out on a worn cutting board. Harry dried his hands on a towel and stepped over as he worked at making somewhat regular slices. Harry lifted his chin with his finger and said, "You haven't started on the onions yet, so I'm assuming something else is bothering you."
Arthur shrugged and waited for his dad to release him, which Harry eventually did. Arthur returned to chopping.
"I'm sorry I don't remember your mum," he said. Arthur stopped chopping in confusion over his dad guessing what was on his mind. "Not hard to guess, really, Arthur," Harry said. "I should have realized sooner, in fact." He took the two chopped carrots to the pan and came back. "Want to talk about her?"
Arthur shook his head and started chopping the onion, not doing a very good job of it. Harry waited for the onion pieces, added them to the pan and returned to intercept Arthur as he stood up. "It's all right," Arthur insisted when his dad pulled him into a hug.
"No. It isn't," Harry countered. He fell silent before saying, "How about this? How about I ask all of our old friends about your mum, how we met, what they remember about her, any stories they have." He paused again. "Then you and I can reminisce about her."
Arthur couldn't have imagined his father ever knowing things about his mother that he didn't. It hadn't occurred to him as possible. "I'd like that," he said, feeling sad and happy about it at the same time.
"We'll do that, then." Harry held him a little tighter and Arthur was pretty sure his dad was clinging to him this time.
After a long impatient wait for the bird to cook they sat down to dinner. Harry had lit candles and turned the main light out. He pulled out his wand and ignited a fire in the hearth. Serve yourself, Arthur, Harry urged him.
After dinner, they played games. Arthur taught Harry the basics of Magic: The Gathering and was promptly beaten soundly with the handheld standing in for a third person. Youre too good at this, Arthur complained.
Lets play something else then, Harry said, grinning.
Arthur went to the closet and pulled out Go. Do you know this one? he asked. When Harry shook his head, Arthur said, Good, as he set it down.
After midnight, they were both too tired to continue. Harry extinguished the fire with a wave of his wand and closed the flue. Good night, he said to Arthur as he gave him a quick one-armed hug. Merry Christmas.
You too, Dad.
The next morning as Arthur padded back from the toilet, yawning broadly, he glanced into the living room and froze. The tree was much brighter. Rubbing his eyes he stepped over to it. It sparkled strangely because it was covered in little glowing white fairies. One of them fluttered up to sit beside another one and they both blinked at Arthur curiously. One of them appeared to giggle at him. Some of them were asleep, tiny heads resting on tiny folded hands. He stepped back, stunned by the notion of thirty or so of the little people hanging out in the their tree. He also noticed that there were many more presents under it now as well.
Curious, he sat down on the rug beside the pile. His presents to his dad were on the right beside the two to his friends. The rest were in a neat ring around the other side. The all had his name in curling, glowing ink. He picked one up and shook it. It didnt make a sound, although it had weight.
Good morning, his father said from the hallway. He disappeared and returned a moment later with a cup of tea. He joined Arthur on the floor.
This is a lot of presents, Arthur commented.
I couldnt remember ever giving you any, so I thought I had thirteen years to make up for.
Arthur counted with his eyes. There were thirteen. Wow, he said, picking up another and shaking it. Both his mum and Elsa had been stingy with gifts under the excuse of character building.
Open this one, Harry said, picking up a small one off the pile.
You first, Arthur said, handing over the large box for him.
Harry obliged by opening it. Very nice, he said, holding the jumper up to his shoulders. Thank you.
Arthur opened his. It was a pocket watch, sort of. It had two hands but on them were little faces, his and his dads and the dial had little locations like home, Ministry, Diagon Alley. You know, Arthur said, If you carried a mobile, Id already know where you were. He kept turning it, reading now lunch, hospital, gaol, mortal peril. Both of the faces pointed at home. Does this really work?
It should, Harry said.
So, if I turn down Knockturn Alley and look at the watch and it doesnt say mortal peril, can I keep going?
Harry thought a moment. I dont know. But dont test it if Im not behind you, please. He handed him the next one.
Many presents later, Harry handed him the last one. It was heavier than the others. I hope I got it right, he said.
Youre doing really well, Arthur insisted, gesturing at the pile of game cartridges, the box of real butane refill canisters, the Gathering expansion packs. Wait, open my other one.
Harry did so. Very nice, he said, flipping through the mutely colored sheets. I got a letter on a lavender one just the other day and was admiring it. Im especially impressed that I suspect you had to go to Diagon Alley to get it.
It was okay, Arthur said. It had been; the doorway to the Leaky Cauldron had been very visible this time and he hadnt had to wait for someone else to go in or out. He had been avoiding going down there with his father except by Floo so he wouldnt have to pretend to be too stupid to see it.
Harry urged the last box on him. Arthur opened it. The box inside was ordinary brown cardboard. He opened it and blinked. How did you get a version three? he asked in amazement. Inside was a peach-colored metallic handheld complete with goggle port.
I asked around. Amazing what people will do for me given the opportunity.
It isnt due out until February, Arthur said, powering it up.
I was warned that it is most likely buggy. I assume that makes sense to you.
Its out of alpha though, Arthur commented, intent on the screen. It is so fast because everything is in crystal ROM. He looked up. Thank you, Dad, he said giving him a hug.
Harry, once released, stood up. Ill leave you to it and make breakfast.
Arthur looked up from the built-in games list. Harry, seeing his expression, hesitated. He retied his dressing gown and asked, Everything all right?
Arthur nodded, then said, No.
Harry turned and stopped.
I cant believe you got a hold of this, he breathed. Only the reviewers would have them at this point.
Im just glad you like it. Merry Christmas, Arthur. Harry stepped away.
A quarter of an hour later, Harry returned to the living room. Arthur was still sitting on the couch staring at his new handheld, flipping through the menus idly.
Do you want some breakfast? Harry asked him.
Arthur looked up at his father, who immediately looked concerned and sat beside him. Whats wrong?
Arthur fidgeted with the device and dropped his eyes in shame. Im sorry, he said.
For what? Doesnt look like youve managed to break it already." He leaned over to look at the screen.
Ive been lying to you. He swallowed hard. But I didnt want to be sent away--I just got you back.
Arthur, Harry admonished. He took the device away and set it on the shelf above the couch back. What is it? Why in the world would you think Id send you away?
Arthur scrubbed his face with this hands, trying to control the ominous tingling in his limbs. Because of this, he said in an upset voice. He held out his hand, thumb and index pointed at each other and whispered, Lumos. The glow came on between his digits the way it always did.
Arthur, Harry breathed in total surprise. He cut off whatever he was going to say and rubbed his hair back. All right, he said, how long has this been going on?
Arthur shook the light out and took a deep breath. Since the visit to Hogwarts.
Harry huffed in frustration. You couldnt even see the castle, could you?
No. And until this visit, I couldnt see the door to the Leaky Cauldron. Headmistress McGonagall said-
McGonagall knows! Harry demanded sharply.
It was her fault, Arthur insisted. Then at his dads doubtful look he explained about her magic tests and her giving him one spell.
Wait, so this is the only spell you have?
Um. No. Arthur pointed at one of the game cartridges on the floor and Accioed it.
Harry took it from him. Arthur, you are doing that without a wand!
I dont have one, he retorted.
Thats not the point.
Concerned, Arthur said, Am I not supposed to?
Harry put his hand on his forehead. Well cover that later, he said. I cant believe Minerva didnt tell me, Harry breathed, staring at the game cartridge in his hand.
She agreed youd send me to school and I didnt want to go. Some of his mothers old comments about ghouls and freaks rose to his distressed mind, but he bit his tongue on them.
She was actually going to let you in that late? At Arthurs nod, he commented, Starting in at Third Year would be rough. Something has to happen though. I can teach you a few things, but I think well need to get you a tutor. And a wand.
Cant I just use yours, if I need it? Arthur pleaded.
Harry looked him over and gave in. Sure, for now. Come and have breakfast, he commanded as he stood up.
In the dining room Arthur sighed as he sat down with Harry across from him. Talk to me a bit here, Arthur. Dont just make noises like that.
Ive been messing things up at school, he said. At his fathers questioning look, he went on, The examination papers all disappeared once.
How do you know that was you?
They had turned into playbills for the show Hedwig and the Angry Inch that Id seen the other day on the closed DVD shop window. It caught my eye because it reminded me of your old owl. Arthur looked up at his father, who was trying not to grin. So here the teacher was with these playbills stapled in groups of five instead of copies of the examination. He was very confused.
No one can blame you though, Harry pointed out, still smiling faintly.
Another time, Will and David, these two guys who are always picking on Roger were coming down the hallway at us and suddenly the floor was really polished up and they couldnt walk. It was like ice instead of tile. They were really angry, but they didnt know who to yell at. His dad didnt look at all upset. Its kind of funny but Im tired of it. Im antsy all the time wondering what is going to happen next.
Well see if you can do school half day for a while and Ill get you a tutor, all right?
Arthur brightened. There are a few other students who do that. The diplomats daughters and an Indian businessmans son. They have private tutors part of the time. He nibbled at his toast. Im sorry I didnt say anything sooner.
Harry gave him a sad look. You told me now. I can live with that. Well start some simple spells right away. Weve got just under two weeks before we are invited back to Hogwarts.
Am I going with you again? Arthur asked in alarm.
I promise not to leave you there, Harry said, attempting lightness.
Maybe I can stay home this time? Arthur suggested.
Im teaching a section on Defense. You dont want to go and watch Snape suffer with me?
Dont duel him again; Im sure hes been working on that.
Harry grinned. Im sure he has, too.
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