Frequent Flights in Skies Above

A/N

Another one in the books for you guys here.

I'll keep this A/N short and simple, but do follow, favourite and review.

As always, your support is appreciated.

TBR

The two months of detention had been a rather dull experience. For two hours every evening (minus weekends), Harry and Charlus were left to the whims of Apollyon Pringle who, as Harry quickly discovered, was much less pleasant than Filch could ever hope to be, despite his best efforts.

Often, he would have them scrubbing toilets by hand, sometimes the stone floors around the castle. Regardless, the man was always in a foul mood, and did not shy away from showing it.

'I don't hear scrubbing!'

The boys had not been put to task and left to carry out their work. No. Mr Pringle would watch over them, his arms crossed as he looked upon them with disdain, almost as though he wanted them to make a mistake or do something he did not approve of.

He had a habit of opening and closing his fists, and Harry suspected he fantasised about punching them both, or worse.

He didn't, though there was the same malice in his eyes that he had seen within Uncle Vernon's throughout his formative years.

What a man like Pringle was doing in a castle full of children, Harry knew not.

Worse than their 'child minder' as Charlus and Harry had taken to calling him, was the presence of McLaggen in the tower.

If he wasn't hobbling around the common room leaning dramatically on a cane, and groaning, he would shoot them smug grins when no one else was paying attention to him.

He only stopped doing so when he realised that he wouldn't be able to play in the upcoming Quidditch matches if he was still injured.

Oddly enough, he had made a miraculous recovery overnight, as had Blackburn who had been swanning around in a sling, using the undoubtedly healed shoulder as an excuse to do nothing.

Not that they garnered any sympathy from their housemates.

When the other Gryffindors had discovered what they had done, the seventh years had all but become pariahs with very few willing to associate with them.

They hadn't exactly been the most popular of people, but with their actions, they were now less so whereas Harry and Charlus had earned the respect of their peers and even the other houses, for the most part.

Neither would ever be considered friends of the Slytherins, but there had been no further unpleasantness from them, not even a comment uttered out of turn.

Despite their differences and the animosity between them, the two Gryffindors had helped one of theirs in their moment of need, and that was enough to warrant a clean slate, and even civility from some.

Arcturus Black appreciated what they had done, his nods of acknowledgement whenever he came across Charlus and Harry attesting to this.

Still, little within the castle had changed other than the dedicated time to cleaning the two Gryffindors spent, and even Professor Nott had accommodated this on Harry's behalf.

Instead of arriving at 6pm and finishing at 8, he would arrive later, and they would work together until 10pm.

That suited Harry well enough.

He managed to keep on top of his homework and continue with his early morning sessions in the Room of Requirement.

Much to his relief, however, the detentions had come to an end some weeks ago, and he had been able to return to his former routine. Even though his hours spent scrubbing toilets, floors, and cauldrons occasionally had been dreary work, what he and Charlus had done for Dorea felt no less worth it.

"You in there Evans?" the voice of Tiberius broke into his thoughts.

"What do you want?" Harry asked.

"Are you going to eat that sausage or just stare at it?"

Harry shook his head amusedly at the boy and slid it onto Tiberius's plate.

"Fanks," Ogden said gratefully, having bitten off half of it.

"Degenerate," Poppy muttered, looking at Tiberius in disgust. "What's Dippet doing?"

The headmaster had stood and approached the podium. He held his hands up for silence, and many of the students looked at him in confusion.

The only time they were addressed during dinner was during welcoming feasts and if an important announcement needed to be made.

"You have my apologies for interrupting your meal, but there are two things the sixth and seventh years must be informed of," he explained. "Firstly, this Monday and Tuesday, Hogwarts will be holding a career day where representatives of the departments of Ministry of Magic, and many other organisations will set up stalls in this very room where students can gather more information about any prospective careers they are considering. As such, classes for both year groups are cancelled for those two days."

Excited whispers sounded throughout the hall, though Harry suspected it was more due to lessons being cancelled rather than the opportunity they were being given.

"Secondly," Dippet continued, calling over the din, "for sixth years, your apparation lessons will begin next Saturday. To those wishing to take part, a sign-up sheet can be found n the noticeboard in your common rooms. The cost is one galleon, and the lessons will take place in here starting at eleven am. That is all."

With his notices given, the headmaster retook his seat, and the students began talking amongst themselves once more.

"Apparation!" Augusta said excitedly.

Harry too was looking forward to those lessons, the convenience of such a method of transport much more appealing than either the floo network or the Knight Bus.

"Are you going to be apparating?" Charlus asked.

Harry nodded enthusiastically.

"I will be the most useful thing I've done in a while," he replied. "What about the career thing? Are you going?"

"I am," Charlus answered with a frown. "I have no idea what I want to do, so hopefully I'll get some ideas there. Ogden?"

"I'll have a look," the boy said with a shrug. "I suppose my father will want me to work at the distillery though, and attend Wizengamot meetings," he added with a grimace.

"Having unlimited access to whiskey and being a politician. There's a recipe for developing a drinking problem," Poppy commented.

Tiberius shook his head.

"I watched my uncle drink himself to death. You'll never see me touch the stuff," he declared.

"I didn't know that," Poppy replied apologetically.

Ogden shrugged.

"It happened years ago. My father was more pissed off that he didn't like any of our products. He killed himself drinking mead. If it wasn't so tragic, it would be funny."

"Bloody hell, can we change the subject?" Charlus questioned. "What about you Minnie? Are you going to the career stalls?"

The girl nodded sheepishly.

"I'll take a look," she replied, though did not comment any further on it. "What are you thinking of pursuing when you've finished, Harry?" she asked curiously, moving the attention of the group away from her.

Harry had no idea.

He thought that he would perhaps like to be an auror but having witnessed how those draped in red robes had conducted themselves whilst attempting to arrest Dumbledore, he was having second thoughts.

He did not want to find himself beholden to the whims of an incompetent Minister of Magic.

No, he would need to rethink that plan.

"I don't know," he answered honestly. "Maybe I'll find something that appeals to me on Monday."

(Break)

Arcturus had received no word from his father since that fateful letter from the man had arrived shortly after the Christmas break. This wasn't an unusual occurrence, but with what the head of his family intended to do, the silence was not welcome.

As expected, neither Perseus or Cassie had written either and hadn't since they had left Grimmauld place almost five-years-ago.

As far was Arcturus was concerned, they were no longer family. They had thrown their lot in with Grindelwald and cared only for the interests of the man and their own selfish ambitions.

If they had any care left for the family, they would not have allowed their father to be dragged into the impending mess.

He released a deep breath as he watched Dorea scratching away with her quill on the other side of the common room.

Ever since she had been set upon by the Gryffindors, she seldom left his sight, and did not venture to the library anymore.

Arcturus would get them.

He would wait until they least expected any reprisals, but he would exact his vengeance upon them.

Even though Potter and Evans had done so already, the Black heir was not content.

Day in and day out when he looked upon his nervous sister, he was reminded of what they had tried to do to her, and it made his blood boil.

He never showed Dorea that. She was a kind soul that would have him leave it be, but he couldn't.

He would have his pound of flesh from each of the Gryffindors before they left the castle.

"What are you thinking about?" Dorea asked, catching him staring.

"Father," he lied.

Dorea's expression morphed into one of apprehension.

She hadn't said as much, but she was as worried as he was, though she needn't be. He would not allow anything to happen to her, and if it cost him his life to keep her safe, then so be it.

He had made that promise over the grave of his mother, and he would not break it.

To him, his little sister was his world, and he would bring any to their knees that dared threaten her.

"Don't let it anger you, Arcturus. You're already a better man than he will ever be."

The words warmed him, and he gave the girl a genuine smile.

"You keep telling yourself that when you find someone you want to marry," he quipped. "You'll struggle to find anyone I deem worthy."

Although it was said in jest, he meant it.

There was none he could think of that would be worthy of Dorea. She was as beautiful as she was pure and he would not allow just anyone to have her hand, though their father may have something to say about it.

Arcturus shook his head.

He would not allow her to be married off to just anyone, and certainly not someone of their father's choosing.

"I know," Dorea agreed, blushing slightly causing Arcturus to narrow his eyes at her.

He didn't point out her reaction, that conversation not one he was ready for.

Evidently, someone had caught his sister's eye and he felt the instinct to protect her stir within him, but he ignored it.

Marriage for Dorea was so far on the horizon that a little crush she may have was not worth dwelling on, not when so many things were already occupying his mind.

(Break)

The Great Hall had been transformed. The house table had been moved to the sides and stacked on top of one another, and the house banners had been replaced by logos of the companies and Ministry departments that were in attendance.

"Bloody hell, you'd think these places were desperate for workers," Charlus muttered.

"They probably are," Tiberius replied with a shrug. "There have been fewer muggleborn wizards here in the last seventeen years since that muggle war ended. Lost generation or something."

Charlus looked at the boy incredulously.

Despite his penchant for landing himself in trouble with his words, Tiberius was quite the historian.

"My father had to up the wages of the workers to get them to stay," Ogden added. "Everyone needs workers at the moment."

Charlus nodded appreciatively at the knowledge.

"So, where do we start?" he asked.

"I'm not working for the Ministry," Harry said firmly.

"You got something against them, Evans?" Augusta asked.

"A group of people who are at the whim of a Minister who could be useless doesn't appeal to me."

"My great uncle Hector is a great Minister," Augusta defended.

"But he won't be in office forever," Harry pointed out, remembering all to well the calibre of man that had the post during his own time.

"True," the girl conceded, "then who will you work for?"

"Myself hopefully," Harry answered, remembering the money he had steadily coming in from the sale of the basilisk venom.

"And you have a money-making scheme up your sleeve?" Charlus asked with a grin.

"Not exactly," Harry admitted, "but that's why I'm here, to see if there's anything I can do."

"Fair enough," Charlus chuckled as the group began working their way around the stalls.

"What about being a Hippogriff farmer?" Ogden asked, pointing towards a stall where a large man was stood, dressed in stained overalls.

Harry shook his head.

"I don't want a job where someone can smell me from a mile away."

"Is that what that is?" Charlus questioned, wrinkling his nose. "I thought that was Tiberius."

"Up yours," the boy replied indignantly.

The others laughed, but Harry's attention had been caught by a wizard wearing a muggle suit.

"What's a hit-wizard?" he asked.

"You don't want anything to do with that, Harry," Charlus replied severely. "Hit-wizards are the ones who hunt for wanted criminals, the ones that the aurors don't have time to look for or are too dangerous to risk. The gold is good, but with reason. The life of a hit-wizard isn't usually a long one."

Harry hummed thoughtfully, the description Charlus had given failing to deter him. If anything, it sounded rather appealing.

How many wizards out there could be as dangerous as Voldemort?

He shook his head, wondering where that trail of thoughts had come from.

Did he secretly crave something dangerous?

Ever since he had ridden his first broom, he had found he enjoyed the risk it presented, but this was something else.

But why did he find himself approaching the stall?

"Are you interested in a career as a hit-wizard, young man?" he asked.

"Maybe," Harry answered with a shrug. "What would I have to do to become one?"

"It's not easy," the man sighed. "You will first need to obtain a licence, and the type of licence you carry will depend on where you can pursue wanted criminals. A standard licence requires a written exam, and three practicals where you demonstrate your capability to apprehend hostile targets."

Harry nodded his understanding.

"What about the other licences?"

"Well, the other one is a little more difficult to obtain but will allow you to seek work in almost any country," the man explained. "This one requires a series of assessments, both theoretical and practical, and a list of other skills you can find in this leaflet."

Harry accepted the rather thick wad of parchment.

"If you'd like to see the world and have more options for work, the second is your best bet, lad, but it isn't easy. Not many stay in the job long, and it's dangerous. Your best bet is to attach yourself to an established group and share the gold. You'll make less, but there's more of a chance you'll survive. You'll want to think long and hard about it, but if you decide it's what you want to do, you can start applying six months before you turn seventeen."

"Thank you," Harry replied, having glanced over what would be required of him.

The process was long, but neither option was unreachable.

"No worries, lad. Stay safe."

Harry nodded gratefully as he walked back towards the rest of the Gryffindors that had kept their distance from the stall.

"You're not seriously considering it?" Charlus asked disbelievingly.

"Why not?"

Charlus released a deep breath.

"Harry, that's a job for people who don't have any other choice. You do. You could be an auror or work any job you'd like in the Ministry."

"But that's not who I am," Harry sighed. "It's different for me. You all have families waiting at home for you, or careers that you've been working towards for years," he added looking towards Poppy. "Let's face it, most of you come from wealth and don't ever have to work unless you choose to. That's not my life. I will have to work, and this would probably be something that I'd be good at," he finished with a chuckle.

Charlus offered him a sad smile.

"I know," he agreed, "but you still have a lot of people that care for you. Mum and Dad would have a fit if they knew you were considering this."

Harry returned the gesture of the boy.

"They're your mum and dad, Charlus, not mine."

He wasn't looking for pity, but for understanding. He couldn't imagine a life where he would spend his working day in a stuffy office or working for the Ministry in any capacity.

As a hit-wizard, he would work for himself and could make a difference in the world.

"Anyway, that's not something I have to worry about right now. I have another year of school to think about what I want to do."

Charlus nodded and dropped the subject, though the rest of the group didn't seem happy to do so.

Once more, only a little subdued and less enthusiastic, they began making there way around the stalls, but Harry saw nothing else that appealed, much of the hall having been taken up by representatives of the Ministry.

"What's that?" Ogden asked, pointing to a small stall tucked away near the entrance.

"Oh, that's an investor," Charlus replied. "That's about as risky as being a hit-wizard."

"An investor?" Harry asked.

"Someone who invests in other people's business ideas hoping that they become rich from them, and they can receive some of the profit in return," Augusta," explained. "My father dabbled in it but made nothing. Like Charlus said, it's very risky and rarely pays off."

Harry nodded thoughtfully.

He had a distinct advantage over most, knowing what business names to look out for from his own time.

"How does it work?"

"Well, sometimes, people will put and advert in the finance section of The Daily Prophet," Augusta informed him. "They will give a brief explanation of their proposal, and how much investment they need. If you want to fund the venture, you send the person an owl and arrange a meeting to discuss it further."

Harry smirked internally as he grabbed the morning's edition of the newspaper one of the Ministry workers had brought with them and flipped to the indicated section before scanning the page.

There were two companies he recognised the name of: Dr Filibuster's -no-heat-wet-start fireworks, and Drooble's Best Blowing Gum.

Two exceedingly popular products.

He felt himself filled with a sense of excitement.

If he was to invest in these businesses, he could make a much more than the twenty and 45 galleons the creators were asking for respectively.

"You're not thinking about investing, are you?" Poppy asked.

"Of course, he is," Charlus huffed. "He has a death wish, but he wants to lose all his money first."

"I won't lose anything," Harry assured the boy, already taking up some parchment, a quill, and some ink, his mind made up.

"Harry, these things never work out," Augusta broke in. "Trust me, my father learned the hard way."

"I appreciate the concern, I do," Harry replied, "but this will work."

With his notes written, he took his leave of the Great Hall and headed towards the owlery.

"Are you sure about this?"

Minerva had followed him, and she hurried to catch him up.

"Both of these companies were huge where I came from," he whispered to the girl whose eyes widened in realisation.

"You know these businesses?"

Harry nodded.

"The fireworks are good, and the gum even better," he replied. "They will both make me a lot of money."

"That's brilliant!" the girl said excitedly. "I didn't even think of anything like this."

"Neither did I until now," Harry admitted. "Is it wrong?"

Minerva frowned before shaking her head.

"No. If these companies are going to be successful, what's the harm in you sharing in it? If it's not you, it will be some already bloated, bored pureblood who will invest and just add to their wealth. Why not use it to your advantage?"

Harry grinned, having expected the girl to give him a lecture on the moral implications of what he was going to do.

"Then I'll do it," he declared as they entered the owlery. "Theseus!"

The majestic owl swooped down from where he had been resting, and Harry marvelled at the uncanny resemblance between his new companion and Hedwig.

Theseus was slightly bigger, and he had some darker markings around his eyes, but other than that, they were almost the same.

A sense of sadness washed over Harry whenever he visited the bird, but treated Theseus the same way he had Hedwig, and he was always greeted warmly.

"Could you take both of these boy?"

Theseus barked almost irritably, and Harry scratched the feathers on his chest the way the owl liked it before sending him on his way.

"Now what?" Minerva asked.

"Now I wait, I suppose," he replied, leaving the owlery. "What about you? You haven't mentioned once what you plan on doing."

Minerva shook her head.

"It's a silly idea," she sighed. "It won't happen until I'm a very old woman."

"What won't?"

Minerva paused and looked at him, her expression one of vulnerability.

"I want to stay here, Harry," she explained. "I want to be at Hogwarts and teach transfiguration."

"And why won't that happen?" Harry asked.

"Professor Dumbledore won't ever leave the post, and he's not old," she pointed out. "I won't get to take over for years."

"You don't know that," Harry countered, the urge to tell her to follow her dreams almost becoming too much. "Trust me, I'm sure it will work out for you, if it is what you want."

Minerva eyed him suspiciously.

"You know something," she accused.

Harry shook his head.

"Honestly, I don't know anything for certain anymore, but if you want to be a transfiguration professor at Hogwarts, then you shouldn't give up on it."

Minerva hummed, her glare boring into him for a moment before it softened.

"I sometimes forget about what happened to you," she sighed, "and then you say things that remind me you know what's coming in the future."

"I don't," Harry assured her. "With me here, some things will be different, but it doesn't all have to be. Do what you want to do, and it might just work out for you."

It did before.

(Break)

With the end of the school year looming, Armando already found much of his time taken up with arranging the upcoming OWL and NEWT examinations, and the end of year assessments for the other years. Along with this, there was still the menial day to day work that required his attention, and as such, he had little time to gather his thoughts let alone think of much else beyond his duties.

However, there was one pressing matter that he needed to discuss with one of his students, and that was just what Harry intended to do for the summer months when the castle would be almost empty.

He had spoken with the boy much recently, not since he'd had to discipline him and Charlus Potter for their actions against their fellow housemates.

That had not been a pleasant exchange of words, and Armando was under no illusion that either of the boys felt any remorse for what they had done. If truth be told, he found it hard to have any sympathy for their fellow Gryffindors that had accosted Dorea Black.

Four seventh years attacking a quiet, but brilliant fifth year girl?

He shook his head.

He could understand why Potter and Harry had reacted the way they had, but he had to be seen doing something about it. As much as McLaggen and his cohorts had deserved what happened, he could not allow the transgression of the boys go unpunished.

Surely Harry understood that?

McLaggen and Blackburn could have been seriously injured, and though they had claimed to have been, they were not. Both had milked the situation down to the very last drop, reaping very little from their malingering ways.

Still, some good had come of it.

The re-emerging rivalry between the Gryffindors and Slytherins had been nipped in the bud before it could escalate, so in that way at least, it was better that Harry and Charlus had been the ones to come to the aide of Miss Black.

Armando did not want to consider the fallout if they hadn't.

"Come in, Harry," he called as a knock at the door sounded.

The boy entered, and the headmaster moved the stack of parchment he had been working his way through to the side. It could wait until after he had spoken to the teen.

"You asked to see me, Professor?"

His tone was polite, and it appeared that Harry did not harbour any ill-will towards him for the punishment he had received.

"I do," he confirmed, "please, take a seat."

He did so and waited for Armando to speak.

"I merely wished to discuss what plans you have made for the summer."

Harry frowned.

"I hadn't really thought of that," he sighed.

"No matter," Armando replied with a smile. "I was under the impression that you would wish to remain here, unless you had made other arrangements of course."

"No, I haven't," Harry explained. "I'd like to stay here, if that's not a problem."

"You are more than welcome. I'm sure there is much that can occupy your time."

Harry nodded.

"There's always things for me to work on. Without lessons, I'll have all the time I'd like to do that."

"Then it is settled," Armando declared, pleased the boy would be remaining. "Of course, I am at your disposal should you need me, though I do not believe you will require the tutoring sessions we held last year. You have proven yourself a capable student. Professor Nott is most impressed with your progress."

"She has been working me hard," Harry chuckled.

"That I do not doubt. Between you and me, Rosalina has high expectations of her students, and you in particular. She believes that you have considerable potential."

"I still can't beat her in a duel," Harry pointed out.

"And I would be most surprised if you could," Armando returned. "Rosalina Nott is an exceptional witch when it comes to the art of duelling and there are very few that I would put galleons on to beat her. Professor Dumbledore, and perhaps myself on a good day, but not many others."

Harry nodded his understanding.

"What would you suggest I do to win?" he asked with a smirk.

Armando shook his head amusedly.

"You wouldn't be trying to seize an advantage, would you Harry?"

"I am," Harry answered unashamedly, eliciting a chuckle from the headmaster.

"Well, albeit for me to involve myself in your education, I would suggest doing something that would take her by surprise, something that she would not expect from you. You must remember, Harry, that Rosalina is the one teaching you and pays attention to everything that you do. Break the mould she is putting you in, and you may just succeed."

"That's not bad advice," Harry replied.

"I do have my moments," Armando declared. "Now, if there is nothing else?"

It was as though the sun set on Harry's expression as it changed from one of benevolence to something much darker, his eyes narrowed, and his posture having stiffened.

"There is one thing that I must discuss with you."

"Judging by your demeanour, can I assume that it is something rather troubling?"

The boy nodded.

"The man who murdered my parents will be coming to Hogwarts soon. I don't know if it is this year or next, but he is coming."

"That is troublesome," Armando sighed.

"You have no idea, headmaster," Harry said severely. "He is dangerous and will become something that you cannot even comprehend."

"Considering that he created horcruxes, Harry, I can take a guess," Armando replied. "What is his name? I have the list of students we are expecting to attend their first year starting in September."

"Tom Riddle."

Armando frowned as he consulted the parchment and shook his head.

"No, he is not due to begin this year, and I am relieved for it. Even though he is just a boy, I cannot fathom how you would cope with him within these walls."

"I wouldn't," Harry replied honestly. "One day, I will kill him for what he has done to me, and there is nothing that will stop that, but I will not become him. I will not murder a child no matter how deserving it is."

Armando felt the truth in Harry's words, the disdain he felt understandable, and he could find no fault in him.

"Then you are already a better person than he could ever hope to be," he replied sadly.

"I've been tempted, and still am," Harry admitted. "I've thought about how easy it would be to find him and put an end to him before he can purchase his wand. I dream about it sometimes."

"I will keep a very close eye on him," Armando assured him.

Harry nodded as he stood.

"Although it won't be enough to stop him becoming what he will, I have taken steps already, and will do what else I can, but I cannot stress just how dangerous this boy will be. When I say that he ruined many lives and changed wizarding Britain for the worst, I am not doing so lightly. He is a monster in every sense of the word, and prophecy or not, he and I will meet, and I will kill him."

"I will watch him," the headmaster promised.

Harry nodded, once more before leaving the office, and Armando could not help but think there was much more the boy wanted to tell him, but for his own reasons, he hadn't.

He may not have said as much, but Harry had plans for what he would do, and why wouldn't he?

This man had killed his parents some fifteen-years-ago. It was only natural that he would have pondered what he would do with him, and Dippet felt a chill fill his veins.

Harry was not an evil boy, but he was vengeful, and Armando did not wish to even consider what he would be capable of in only a few short years.

He had the potential to be an excellent wizard, yet he could also be dangerous to those he deemed to be an enemy.

Still, despite the duty of care he would have towards the boy that would grow into the monster that murdered Harry's parents, Armando felt the same way as he did for what had happened to McLaggen and his ilk.

There was no sympathy to be found, and even if there was, he had promised Harry that he would not stand in his way when it came to the choices he made.

After all, as he himself had said, there was only one person Harry would need to answer to, and that was himself.

(Break)

It was the following Saturday morning that Harry found himself stood in a circle that had been marked in the floor of the Great Hall with his fellow sixth years that had also opted to take the apparation lessons. In all, it appeared that everyone in the year had signed up for them, and the instructor, a tall, willowy man and the few professors that had volunteered to assist him had their hands full.

"Remember the three D's, and you will be fine," the Ministry representative reiterated for the umpteenth time. "On my command, you will attempt to apparate from the hoop you are standing within, to the one directly opposite."

Harry braced himself, remembering the sensation of apparating under the guidance of Nicholas, the familiarity of the magic washing over him.

"GO!"

Focusing on that familiarity, he turned purposely on the spot, picturing himself landing in the appointed circle.

The crack that sounded was almost deafening, but not as much as the silence that met him when the room came back into view.

The eyes of the students, the professors, and instructor were on him, the latter nodding, impressed.

Harry looked down to find that he had landed where he'd intended, as though he had done this a thousand times before.

A part of him had, though he shook his head of those thoughts.

"Well done young man," the instructor praised. "It is not often apparation is achieved on the first attempt. Now, let us all try again, shall we?"

"Of course, you did it first time," Charlus snorted as Harry passed him.

Harry offered him a grin whilst he took his place in his circle once more and repeated the feat.

"Well, you seem to have the basics down," the instructor acknowledged as he approached, "so we can safely say that it wasn't a fluke. As long as you're careful, I don't see why you can't try apparating to different points of the room. And do try to dampen the crack. It is considered rude to arrive anywhere so noisily."

"Yeah, Evans, your crack is too loud," Ogden commented, looking rather proud of himself for his quip.

"You might want to watch out, Tiberius, or I might arrange for Poppy to have a look at yours."

The boy paled and Poppy grimaced at the thought.

"I think Ogden would need a magizoologist to look at his. I don't deal with animals," the girl commented.

Tiberius simply shook his head, and Harry set back to work.

For the next hour or so, he apparated around the Great Hall, working on quieting the noise he made.

He couldn't be certain, but by the time the session was ended, he felt that the noise had lessened with how much more confident he grew.

"How're you feeling Ogden?" Charlus asked as they left the Great Hall.

"My toe is numb," the boy huffed.

He had managed to apparate but had left one of the digits behind.

"Well, you did it. That's more than I can say for me."

"I did," Ogden acknowledged, his expression brightening. "Aren't you mad that you didn't?"

Charlus shook his head.

"Apparation is not the easiest thing to do. Other than you and Harry, no one else got there today. That's why it is done over several weeks. It takes time to master it. Anyway, it's nice today, shall we spend some of it outside?"

"A pick-up game of Quidditch?" Tiberius suggested.

Charlus nodded.

"I could do with a fly. Minnie?"

"Why are you even asking her," Poppy huffed.

"Well, what about you?" Charlus returned.

Poppy shrugged.

"I'll play. Augusta?"

"I can ask Frank if his lot want to come," she replied. "We can't play with only six of us."

"Sounds good," Charlus agreed. "Go and get him and we'll meet you on the pitch."

Augusta nodded and left to do so.

"And Evans here can play seeker for us," Ogden chimed in. "Since he is such an expert," he added with a smirk.

Harry shrugged indifferently.

"It had been so long since he had flown on a broom, let alone played Quidditch, and it was a nice day for it.

"Are you sure about this?" Minerva whispered.

"I'll be fine," Harry assured her. "I just need a broom."

Minerva looked at him uncertainly, and Charlus led him towards the broom shed.

The Potter heir watched him carefully as Harry inspected what was on offer and finally settled on one that seemingly didn't even have a name but felt good in his hands.

"Quidditch can be quite rough," Charlus commented. "Are you ready for this."

Harry nodded, realising that he hadn't spoken much about the sport with any here other than Minerva, and the others during games.

His fellow Gryffindors didn't even know if he could fly.

"Come on then. I'm sure Poppy will piece you back together if needed," he chuckled. "Oh bugger."

Harry frowned in confusion until he caught sight of the Hufflepuff seeker amongst Frank's group.

"Come on, you can't expect Harry to go up against him," Ogden protested.

"You've got McGonagall and Potter," Frank pointed out. "We only have one team member here."

"It's fine," Harry interjected as he and Charlus approached. "I'll be fine."

"See, Evans doesn't care, for now," Frank pointed out. "So, we have six on six. We can play with one beater each and just use a single bludger."

"That works," Charlus said thoughtfully.

"Warm up first?"

"Well, Ogden's toe is numb, so he'll probably need it."

Frank snorted as he joined his teammates.

"Alright, so me, Minnie, and Augusta will chase. Tiberius, you can play beater…"

"And Poppy can play keeper. Nothing gets past her," Ogden finished with a winning smile.

Poppy huffed but was cut off by Charlus before she could exact some retribution upon the boy.

"Come on, let's get up there then."

For the first time in almost a year, Harry took to the sky, and though it wasn't the familiar feeling of his firebolt rocketing him towards the clouds, this was no less exhilarating.

He'd missed flying, and he hadn't realised how much until he found himself in the air.

"Are you okay?" Minerva called to him, watching him closely.

He nodded and began flying around the pitch at a sedate pace, getting a feel for how the broom handled, how responsive it was and eventually how quickly it could go.

The manoeuvrability was better than he'd expected, and the speed rather disappointing, but anything would be compared to his former broom.

"Just try your best to catch the Snitch," Charlus encouraged.

A part of Harry felt as though he was being patronised, an irrational thought with how well he had come to know Charlus, but it ignited that competitive streak within him.

He would never say such a thing aloud, but he had never met anyone that could outfly him on a broom. Viktor Krum perhaps, but no other.

He took up his position, determined to prove himself, and waited for one of the Hufflepuffs that would be spectating to release the balls.

As always, the Snitch was first, followed soon by the bludgers and quaffle, the first having vanished from sight long before the chasers began their scramble for the last.

Harry left them to it as he circled above the pitch whilst the Hufflepuff seeker showed no urgency to mark him. Something he would learn to be a mistake if Harry were to spot the Snitch before him.

The Gryffindor had the advantage of having seen his opponent play, and though he was a competent flyer, he was not particularly skilled as a seeker, and that would make all the difference when it mattered.

With the established chemistry between Minerva and Charlus, the Hufflepuffs struggled to mount any kind of offense, and spent most of the game assisting their keeper with defending the hoops.

The seeker, however, paid no attention to the plight of his teammates as he suddenly tore after an unseen, golden ball, and Harry felt his stomach sink briefly before he realised that he was being baited.

Instead of chasing the Hufflepuff as the boy expected, he raced in the opposite direction, gaining altitude as he did so.

"You sure you want to be this high up, Evans?" the Hufflepuff called, having abandoned his attempt to lure Harry into his trap.

His words were ignored as Harry glanced at the pitch far below, the adrenaline of what he was about to do pumping through his veins.

He dived.

Almost vertically, he plummeted towards the ground, his eyes watering from the wind rushing by him.

He could feel the other chaser following and he readied himself, aware that the broom he was mounting was not his firebolt.

Nonetheless, he committed himself to his manoeuvre, several screams sounding in the distance as he pulled out of the dive, breathing a sigh of relief as the broom stopped in time.

His opponent had pulled out sooner, but not soon enough, and the Hufflepuff thudded into the dirt eliciting a gasp from the students that had gathered to watch the impromptu match.

He would be fine.

Perhaps a little bruised and tender for a few days, but Harry had seen worse. Had the boy shown the same commitment as him, he may have broken a bone or two.

There had been no indication he had done so, and he pushed himself to his feet, his legs wobbling.

Harry took that as his cue to search for the snitch, and by the time he had spotted it, the Hufflepuff was back on his broom and trailing him, though not as closely as he had, his lesson having been learned.

It wasn't until the boy noticed that Harry was chasing the snitch that he dared come any closer, and he closed the distance between them, his broom evidently faster than the one Harry was using.

Still, Harry was not Blackburn, and did not attempt to match to Hufflepuff in brute strength. Instead, he invited the aggressive approach, allowed his opponent to attempt to unseat him, or knock him off course.

He braced himself against the first and second blow of the shoulder as it was rammed into his own, and on the third, he rolled smoothly under his broom, kicking the bottom of his opponent's as he passed above him and turning his own tactic against the boy.

With the Hufflepuff having to right himself, and Harry remaining upside-down, the Gryffindor did what he could in that moment, knowing that his time to make the catch was limited.

Had he taken the time to situate himself atop his broom, he would have missed the opportunity to do so, his opponent swearing in his ear as Harry's hand closed over the snitch and he held it aloft triumphantly.

By the time he had manged to shuffle himself so that he was mounting his broom, his teammates had landed and were walking towards him shaking their heads.

"What the bloody hell was that, Evans?" Tiberius demanded. "You could have killed yourself!"

Both Charlus and Minerva were in shock and Poppy flicked him on the earlobe.

"You know, I had wondered if you were insane, now I know for sure you are. I nearly had a heart attack."

Harry merely grinned at the girl, unfazed by her shock.

He had done much more dangerous things on a broom.

"Why didn't you tell us you could play?" Charlus questioned.

"No one ever asked," Harry replied with a shrug.

If truth be told, he hadn't thought much about Quidditch, his mind having been occupied with everything else happening around him. He had missed the sport, had missed being on his broom, but it was no longer a priority.

"Well, you've attracted quite a bit of attention," Tiberius pointed out, nodding towards the stands that were not full, but had more than enough students in them that his performance would be the talk of the school. "Come on, let's leave before people start asking for your autograph."

Harry grimaced at the thought and followed his housemates as they left the pitch.

"You play Quidditch." Minerva stated, seemingly having recovered from her shock.

"Since first year," he confirmed.

"First year?"

"I was the youngest seeker in a century, apparently," Harry clarified.

Minerva shook her head.

"What kind of idiot lets an eleven-year-old play on the house team?"

Harry laughed heartily, and Minerva looked at him pointedly.

"Only the best kind," he answered cryptically.

"Unbelievable. That wouldn't happen now."

"Times change," Harry returned morosely.

How they changed indeed.

"Are you okay?" Minerva asked worriedly.

Harry nodded.

"I'm just sometimes reminded of things," he explained. "I haven't played Quidditch since before everything changed as they did. There's just a lot of memories."

"Good ones?"

"And bad," Harry snorted, his mind shifting towards the little elf that had tried to save his life and the Azkaban guards that had once invaded the pitch. "Anyway, it's not worth focusing on it too much. It's been almost a year already."

"It has," Minerva acknowledged, "but that doesn't mean you can't think about things and miss them."

"I know, but dwelling on it won't do me much good," Harry sighed. "I'm here now, and this is my life. Just one more year of Hogwarts. At least here, its easier. The castle is still the same."

"Will you be here for the summer?" Minerva asked.

Harry nodded.

"I will be."

"Then it will be just the two of us again," Minerva replied with a smile. "No more McLaggen, or the Slytherins."

"There is that," Harry mused aloud. "I suppose it could be worse."

"Are you saying that my company is poor?"

"No," Harry denied, "it will be quite nice to have an empty tower to ourselves again, even if there is an excess amount of cat hair on the furniture when neither of us own a cat."

Minerva blushed.

"I don't even know how to begin explaining," she said embarrassedly.

"You don't have to," Harry chuckled. "I'm sure whatever you're working on with Dumbledore will happen soon enough, but if I find any hair on my stuff, you'll be in trouble, cat or not."

Minerva looked at him in surprise for a moment before smiling.

"I can't make any promises. You'll just have to get used to it."

Harry hummed as Minerva looked at him challengingly before they both laughed.

He'd always dreaded the summer months since he had come to Hogwarts, but this year, he had a feeling that it wouldn't be so bad.