Chapter 67 - Preparations

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Harry did his very best not to roll his eyes as one of his second year group sent a bludger straight at a member of his own team. Since the girl was looking in completely the wrong direction to know what was coming, Harry reached out to the balls magic and gave it a nudge so it missed.

"Sorry," the second year called out, "it wasn't supposed to go that way."

"Just be a little more careful," Harry called back.

Never had he thought teaching people how to play Quidditch would be so hard. Most of these were not students ever likely to be on their house teams, but it had reached him through the school grapevine that there were students who wanted to play nevertheless. Since the only thing Harry loved above Quidditch was Draco, he'd jumped at the chance to encourage others in the sport.

Most Wizards and Witches enjoyed watching Quidditch, but, as Harry had learned very quickly, not all of them understood the game. At least those who turned up to these extra session were always enthusiastic though. When he had suggested he give them up because of all the other preparations that were going on, Draco had point blank told him he wasn't allowed to talk such nonsense.

"Let's try the formation again," Harry called out from where he was hovering to the left of his players.

He never tried to instil much Quidditch theory, but he liked to put in a little bit as well as letting them just have at it. Things were proceeding with their plans and at least teaching second years about his favourite game gave him something else to think about.

"Kettering duck!" he yelled, because it was, of course, chaos.

However, he was distracted from the disaster of his second years by a small bird flying right up to him and perching on his broomstick. When it froze he reached out to touch it. As soon as he did it vanished in a puff of smoke to be replaced by a piece of paper. Unfolding it he recognised Dumbledore's handwriting.

My Dear Boy,

events have moved on far sooner than expected. If you would be so kind as to come to my office I would be most grateful.



As soon as he had read it the paper went up in a small burst of purple flame. Dumbledore was definitely getting more creative with his messages.

There was only one thing the headmaster could have been referring to and Harry did not delay.

"Everyone," he called, making his voice magically louder, "I have to go and see the headmaster for a few minutes. Please don't kill each other until I get back. Practice your passing and I won't be long."

At least he hoped he wouldn't be long. It all depended really, but the idea was to keep everything as ordinary for the pupils as possible.

"Lamil," he added, "you're in charge."

Lamil reminded him of Hermione at the same age, except the girl was into sports as well as books. If anyone could stop a riot it was her. Hoping against hope, he turned his broom and headed for the castle.

* * *

For once Snape didn't look as if he'd been through hell after being to see Voldemort.

"Did he believe you?" Harry asked, unable to help himself.

After all, if Voldemort did not take the bait everything was pointless.

"Yes," Snape replied, "and he found the memory we created most illuminating."

They had wanted to give Snape something concrete to show Voldemort so just before Snape had sent word he wished to see the Dark Lord they had set up a small scene between Harry, Draco and Dumbledore. Harry had put everything he had into pretending to be irate at the suggestion he be sent away, while Dumbledore had patiently explained that with his new wand Harry had little chance of defeating Voldemort in single combat. It had been perfectly orchestrated with Draco siding with Albus and Harry storming off.

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