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"What electives are you going to choose? They all look so fascinating, I wish I could so them all," Hermione asked enthusiastically at breakfast the day their choices were due in.
"He's gonna do the same electives as me, aren't you mate," Ron said between shovelling in mouthfuls of food.
"Harry you can't just choose what your best friend chooses. The classes you choose now will affect your whole future career options. You need to make the best decision. You haven't even asked for advice," Hermione started to lecture without even listening for Harry to speak for himself.
Harry made the mistake of looking up at Ron when he spoke with his mouth full, and grimaced and pushed his plate away. He knew he should eat more but his appetite had vanished. Further up the table Dean saw this and frowned, wrapping up some toast and pocketing a couple of pieces of fruit in the hope he could pass one to Harry on their way to class.
"Hermione, stop lecturing, I have never said or hinted that I would let Ron choose my electives for me. Just because I didn't ask you about the electives doesn't mean I haven't asked and read up about them. I already know what subjects I want to do. Ancient Runes, Arithmancy and Care of Magical Creatures," Harry said irritated by her attitude.
"Why in Merlin's name would you want to do three extra subjects when you only have to pick two. You've picked the hardest ones too mate. I'm going to do Care of Magical Creatures and Divination. Charlie made Care sound amazing and the twins told me Divination is dead easy, almost no homework, you should do that with me," Ron said grinning.
"But Runes and Arithmancy sound more interesting than Divination, and more useful too unless I have a gift for prophecy or divination, and I'm pretty sure I don't," Harry replied. "I still don't know what I want to do when I graduate so I want to keep my options open."
"Harry's right, they do sound fascinating, and Harry will have plenty of time to spare to do three electives next year if he drops his muggle courses," Hermione said. "I just can't decide what I want to do. I want to do all of them. I'm going to ask Professor McGonagall if I can, there must be a way. Mrs Weasley said that Bill took all twelve OWLS."
"Hermione you're muggleborn, why on earth would you need to do Muggle Studies?" Harry asked frowning. "You know that most wizards don't seem to know a thing about muggles. If you wanted to study muggle stuff you should've done a correspondence course like me."
"You're not going to get an OWL from your silly correspondence studies and really what difference does it make if you finished your muggle schooling at the end of Year Seven instead of Year Six?" Hermione said dismissively.
"Maybe it doesn't matter to you, Hermione but I want decent education in that world as well and I'll have you know that I finished year seven last summer and started year eight this year and I hope to finish year eight and start year nine this summer and hopefully be ready for year ten by the end of the summer after that, and then study for my GCSE's. That will make a big difference if I ever want to work in the nonmagical world where people don't stare at me like I'm a freak or suddenly decide I'm evil for no good reason, which is far mor important to me than taking a subject where I'm not going to learn anything useful," Harry retorted. "The point I was making was that you're not going to learn anything that isn't biased and incorrect interpretations of the muggle world through muggle studies. What good will it do you?"
"You go to school all summer?" Ron asked in horror, distracting Hermione before she could argue with him about the value of muggle studies from a wizarding point of view.
"Yeah, well not the two weeks I spent with you but the rest of it. Going to classes gets me out of the house and away from Dudley and his gang and guarantees me five decent lunches every week, why wouldn't I want to go to summer school. Besides it's not like I can play quidditch or do anything else fun and I don't have friends at home to hang out with, if I'm not in school I'm locked in my room unless Vernon could only find me even more chores to do," Harry lied. it was true that if he had been stuck at the Dursleys he would have asked someone to enrol him in summer school, one of his friends from the restaurant probably would've even if the Dursleys wouldn't. He thought that his relatives would be willing to let him go to summer school if he made it seem he'd be giving up magic as soon as he was allowed. Of course, that would depend on whether they could make him attending summer school fit with whatever stories they were spreading around the neighbourhood about his absence during the school year.
"Does Dumbledore know you go to muggle summer school?" Hermione asked.
"I have no idea, why would he? It is really none of his business. But I will tell you one thing. If he comes up to me before the end of term and tries to stop me going to school this summer or tries to stop me taking correspondence courses next year then I will know who told him and our friendship will be over. I will never talk to either of you ever again," Harry said fiercely.
Hermione looked upset, but Harry interrupted her when she went to speak. "I mean it Hermione. It isn't any of his business what I do with my time over the summer and my correspondence courses aren't any of his business either as long as my Hogwarts grades aren't suffering and they're not. I'm in the top five students in every subject except potions and you know that has nothing to do with the quality of my homework." He didn't bother to point out that he was beating her in DADA and Herbology and equal first with her in Charms, just because he didn't draw attention to himself in class didn't mean he didn't know the work, it just mattered so much more to her than it did to him that she be the first to get each charm and spell so he let her even though most of the time he would have got the spell first try even in transfiguration if he didn't try to do it without moving his fake wand first instead of casting it the way they were taught.
"You ought to tell him!" Hermione insisted.
"Why? Do you tell him about everything you plan to do over the summer? He's my headmaster during term time. He doesn't have the right to dictate how I spend my summer. Besides, he's the one who wants me to spend summer in the muggle world so he should be glad I'm spending time mixing with other muggles," Harry said rationally.
"You still should tell him. How can he protect you over the summer if he doesn't know where you are if something happens," Hermione insisted.
"He doesn't check up on me when I'm in Little Whinging, he never has. I tried to tell him last year he didn't want to listen, nor did he offer to provide me any meals to make up for the ones I wouldn't get if I didn't go to school," Harry retorted. He was referring to the starvation and abuse but if Hermione wanted to think he'd told him about his muggle schooling he wasn't going to enlighten her.
Hermione let the subject drop, happy with her misunderstanding that Harry was exaggerating his lack of food at the Dursleys and that Dumbledore knew about Harry's summer schooling.
Harry let it drop too knowing that arguing with her was pointless. If he ended up back here next year and the headmaster tried to prevent him from attending summer school or completing his correspondence courses because of Hermione telling tales she would find out he'd been serious in his threats not to speak with them again. Though he probably wouldn't anyway, he had no intention of contacting her or Ron if he managed to get out of returning to Hogwarts and if he did get caught leaving and forced to come back to Hogwarts next year, and if Ron her Hermione's blabbing to the headmaster about summer school was the reason he wasn't able to disappear, him refusing to speak with them would be the least of their problems. The attacks on him over the year had inadvertently taught him some rather nasty hexes and how to cast them without being seen by those around him.
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