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September 5, 1992, 12:30 PM, Quidditch Pitch, Hogwarts

Harry Potter

The Quidditch Pitch was a hive of activity, Harry thought as he and Ron arrived. He winced; they were late.

The Gryffindor Quidditch team had already assembled for their practice session, each member engrossed in their respective drills. While the Chasers perfected their aim and the Beaters honed their technique, Oliver Wood, Gryffindor’s current Quidditch Captain, stared up at them with a stern, but approving countenance.

He was about to say something further when he spotted Harry. Wood frowned.

“He doesn’t look pleased.” Ron murmured. “Maybe I should just go.”

“No, no. It’s okay.” Harry murmured, doing his best not to tense. “Whatever you do, don’t argue. Wood doesn’t like that.”

Wood strode purposefully towards Harry; his face was a picture of intensity and determination. Stopping in front of the young Seeker, he began to speak.

“Potter. You’re late.” Wood called out, his voice cutting through the buzz of activity around them; Harry opened his mouth to tell him why but was cut off before he could get a word in. “Doesn’t matter; good that you’re already in your uniform. It’s time to work on some special Seeker drills. I know it’s early in the year and you may be out of practice, but we’re going to need you to be razor-sharp for the tryouts.”

Harry exhaled and nodded, his emerald eyes gleaming with determination. “I won’t let you down.”

“I know.” Wood said before turning his gaze to Ron, who looked like he wanted to run away. “Come, Weasley, let’s see how you do with what I’ve got in store.”

“Um… What do you mean?” Ron said as he, Harry and Wood moved to a separate section of the pitch, leaving the rest of the team to carry on with their individual exercises for the time being.

“You want to try your hand at being… I suppose we can call you the assistant to the Captain with a focus on tactics and training, yes?”

Ron nodded, though he still didn’t look too sure of himself. Harry hoped he did well.

“So, then.” Wood said, voice sharp as he gestured towards Harry. “Here’s your first test: what should we do with this one?”

“Oh.” Ron said, gulping as he looked at his friend. “Well, Harry’s good…”


“But…” Ron said as he closed his eyes, doing his best to remember everything about Harry’s Quidditch skills. “He’s a little slow. No, that’s not the right way to put it.”

Harry pursed his lips, not sure where Ron was going with that. How can he think I’m slow? Has he not seen me on a broom?

“If he’s… Presented with a new situation, Harry takes some time to cope.” Ron said, his voice gaining a slight measure of confidence as he opened his eyes and looked up at the sky. “Not much, mind, but long enough that the enemy team can take advantage. He’s bloody fast on a broom, and fairly maneuverable, though his agility could use a lot of training.”

Ron paused and looked at Wood, wondering if he said anything wrong. Wood looked at him for a moment longer before nodding. “You’re right. Good eye, Weasley.”

Ron sighed in relief as Wood got Harry’s attention.

“Potter, you’re talented.” Wood said. “Your reflexes are good, and you’ve got great speed, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before; you’re also too predictable in how you fly, and not too maneuverable.”

Harry absorbed the words with a frown; he thought he’d done fine in last year’s Quidditch Cup.

“You’ve done quite well in your first year, admirably, even.” Wood said, seemingly reading his mind and cutting away at Harry’s frustration with his acknowledgment. “But it’s time to refine that potential of yours. Having lots of talent is important, true, but hard work— that’s the true secret to reaching the big leagues. The pros don’t just coast on their talents, you know.”

The older boy didn’t wait for Harry’s response as he turned his head towards where Fred and George were practicing. “I got a new target for you, boys!”

Fred hit the Bludger at an angle, lobbing it over to George who grabbed it with one smooth motion before the two flew over. “Oh? Are we turning Ronniekins here to a bloody pulp?”

“No, you won’t be touching our prospective tactics assistant.” Wood said before gesturing at Harry. “This is your target.”

Harry felt himself shiver even as the two boys looked between Wood and Ron. “Tactics assistant?”

“That’s right.” Wood said, nodding. “I’ll be asking him a few more questions just to make sure, of course, but so far I like what I’m seeing. Having someone specifically dedicated to tactics and plays will help us be able to train more efficiently for the tournament.”

“About that, Wood…” Fred said, looking a little unsure as he hovered closer. “You really think our whole team will be able to make it through the school tryouts?”

Wood’s expression wavered; he looked like he wanted to say yes, but something stopped him.

“It’s hard to say.” Ron said, though he flinched at everyone’s looks. “Sorry.”

“No. Go on, Weasley.” Wood nodded for him to continue.

“Well…” Ron said, looking around a little nervously. “No offense to Harry, but Diggory’s a pretty good Seeker. Fred and George are the best Beaters at the school as far as I’ve seen last year, so I’m sure they’ll do well. As for Keepers, I don’t particularly consider Bletchley to be a threat to Wood, and the others are worse. Chasers, you’ve got a great combination with Alicia, Katie and Angelina; it’d be hard to break those three up and expect them to work well with another set of Chasers. It can be done, of course— that’s what all the pros do— but it’d be very difficult… Still, I think the Gryffindor Team has a good chance at making the school team with all members.”

Wood looked at Fred and George. “You see what I mean? Why didn’t you two tell me he was good at this?”

The two boys didn’t answer, instead looking at Ron like he’d grown a second head. “Erm…”

“Never mind.” Wood’s voice took on a more focused tone as he turned to Harry. “Potter, we’ll start with some speed exercises to enhance your reflexes. My Beaters will have four Bludgers to play with as opposed to the usual three, and you need to evade them with split-second timing.”

Wood glared at the two smirking boys now. “This is training for you, too— Bludger control as well as aim; if you can’t at least control your Bludgers, what chance do you have at the tournament against the other Beaters? We will be watching your aim and technique.”

“Right.” The two boys nodded, turning to Harry with a determined look on their faces.

I wish he hadn’t told them that… Harry thought as he mounted his broom, the familiar weight comforting in his hands. He positioned himself in the center of the designated area, his eyes fixed on Wood.

With a flick of his wand, Wood sent a series of sparks in the air, bidding the two Beaters start the drills. In an instant, the air was filled with the heavy woosh of four Bludgers.

As the iron balls hurtled towards him, Harry’s instincts kicked in. He flew straight up, twisting and turning away from the projectiles. Hearing the smack of a Beater’s bat, Harry veered sharply to the right, narrowly avoiding a collision with another one of the Bludgers. With quick reflexes, he dived and weaved through the air, dodging the relentless assault of the enchanted balls.

“Good start!” Wood’s voice rang out, guiding Harry through the drill. “Stay alert, Potter! React quicker, anticipate their movements! You two, stop taking it so easy, put your backs into it! Aim where he’s going to be, not where he is!”

As the minutes ticked by, Harry’s movements grew more refined, his reactions sharper. Fred and George continued to launch the Bludgers in varied patterns, challenging Harry’s ability to anticipate and avoid them. Each near-miss fueled his determination, but he would soon hit his limit.

Harry couldn’t keep this up forever.

Time continued to pass as Harry realized he was beginning to struggle. His dodges took far more effort, so he unconsciously began to move a mite more slowly— still fast by his standards, but slow enough to be able to have that slightest extra instant in which he could react.

Wood’s stern yet supportive presence loomed large throughout the drill. He scrutinized Harry’s every move, offering precise instructions and valuable insights. “Keep your focus, Potter! Don’t let their speed intimidate you. Control your breathing and trust your instincts.”

Harry’s forehead glistened with sweat, his muscles taut with exertion. Yet, he remained committed to the task at hand, driven by Wood’s unyielding instructions. The Seeker drills continued, intensifying in difficulty as Wood demanded more and more.

“You’re slowing down, but that’s the wrong thing to do! Now is the time to push yourself to the limit!”

Harry gritted his teeth and did as he was told, pushing against the burning of his muscles and regaining his original speed.

“Good!” Wood said. “One minute! You only have to maintain this for one more minute, Potter! Weasleys, unleash hell!”

“Oh, with pleasure!” As if getting a second wind, Fred and George nearly doubled their shot speed, pelting every single Bludger in their possession at Harry in an attempt to knock him off of his broom.

Determined not to get hit, Harry delved deeper into himself, focusing on nothing but his body and the broom it held onto. He dodged and weaved through the onslaught of Bludgers, engaged in an intricate dance. One false move, and he would be down for the count.

He swerved to the left, stopped in place and dropped down before speeding up in an downward arc which let him slingshot himself away from the Bludgers on his tail.

“Aaaand… Time!” Wood said, raising his wand and Summoning the Bludgers back towards the chest, closing it with a flourish and ignoring the way it rumbled as the Bludgers attempted to leave its confines. “You all can come down.”

Harry panted as he maneuvered himself back to his original position, stepping off of the broom unsteadily.

“Easy, Potter.” Wood managed to stop him before he fell on his bottom. “Looks like you pushed yourself a little harder than you thought.”

“Yeah.” Harry breathed out as he was handed some water. “Seems that way.”

“Drink.” Wood said. “You’ll feel better.”

And so, Harry did.

“Excellent work, by the way, Potter.” Wood said, giving the boy an approving pat on the shoulders as the chest holding the bludgers began to grow still. “Your reflexes have improved significantly— have you practiced in the Summer?”

“Not for Quidditch.” Harry said, and wondered if he should say anymore. He decided he’d go with a half-truth. “I did reflex training for Dueling.”

“Huh, then maybe I should try that, too.” Wood said, scratching his chin. “I suppose practicing your reaction speed to a Quaffle or Bludger, or an incoming spell is generally the same thing— though I suppose in my case, I’d have to practice jumping towards the spell since I need to stop the enemy from scoring…”

“Yeah.” Harry said and took another draught of the water, refreshing his parched throat.

“Well, in any case… I’d say keep practicing and you’ll be unstoppable.” Wood said as his smile turned feral. “Ready for round two, Potter?”

Harry resisted the urge to groan.

It would be a long session.


Hours later, Seventh Floor, Hogwarts Castle…

“So… Why’d he ask us to come here?” Ron’s tired voice came from beside him.

“Don’t know.” Harry said as he turned a corner. He rolled his neck a few times, still feeling sore as he scanned the hallway for something. “I think I see it ahead— the painting.”

“…Me too.” Ron said and, within a few seconds, they found themselves standing in front of the portrait in question. “A wizard trying to teach a group of Trolls how to do the ballet. Barmy.”

Harry stood there as Ron shook his head.

He winced, his body still aching from the rigorous Quidditch practice session earlier in the day. The evening had settled over Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, casting long shadows along the corridor. As the golden hues of sunset began to fade, Harry’s thoughts turned to his growling stomach and the enticing aroma of dinner wafting through the castle.

Or, am I so hungry that I’m imagining the smell of food? Harry thought; he couldn’t tell. “Well, we’re here. Now what?”

“We wait, I suppose.” Ron said, though he didn’t seem to like the sound of his own words.

Harry couldn’t blame him; they’d had a long day.

Impatience tugged at Harry’s weary muscles, making him fidget as he waited for Adam and the others. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, trying to ease the discomfort that gnawed at him. His tired emerald eyes scanned the hallway, searching for any signs of his adopted brother’s arrival.

The corridor seemed to stretch endlessly before him, each passing minute stretching his patience thinner. The slight chill in the air made Harry’s sore muscles ache even more, and he longed for the warmth of the Great Hall and the comforting embrace of a hearty meal.

A sigh escaped Harry’s lips, his impatience growing more palpable. He wished his friend would hurry.

Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, the sound of approaching footsteps broke the silence, and relief washed over Harry. Adam emerged from around the corner, with Hermione, Su and Tony trailing behind him.

The ache in Harry’s body and the rumble in his stomach were momentarily forgotten as the quartet approached.

“Hey.” Adam said by way of greeting.

“You’re late.” Harry said.

“Please tell us you’ve brought us something to eat.” Ron almost pleaded as Adam walked past them, standing in front of the opposing wall. “We’re starving.”

“…Yeah.” Adam said, smiling to himself as he threw a glance at the wall behind him. Harry followed the boy’s glance, wondering what exactly he was doing.

What’s he looking at? Harry thought as Adam stood before a seemingly ordinary stretch of wall, his gaze fixed upon its blank surface. 

Harry scanned the area, searching for any signs of whatever it is Adam was focused on. And then he saw it— ethereal wisps of shimmering energy glimmered in the dim light, dancing along the edges of the wall before them. He could almost feel the pulsating aura, as if the wall itself held the secret to a hidden world.

How had I not seen it before? Harry wondered as he took a step further, ignoring Ron’s annoyed mutterings for the time being.

A sense of curiosity mingled with trepidation, causing Harry’s heart to quicken its pace. He took a step closer, his hand involuntarily reaching out, as if to touch the elusive magic that beckoned him forward.

Adam’s hand stopped him short. The boy looked a little shocked, as if he’d confirmed something to himself. “You can see it, then?”

“…” Harry looked between Adam and the shimmering energy against the wall. “Yes.”

“See what?” Ron said, taking the two boys’ attention. “Are you two all right?”

“Adam.” Harry said, ignoring Ron for the time being. “What is this?”

“You said you wanted to eat, right?” Adam replied, to which Harry nodded, before he stepped back towards the portrait, beckoning the others to follow. “Well I want you to walk in front of that wall three times while thinking about having a place to eat.”

“What?” Harry asked, confused.

“Just do it.” Adam said, and so Harry decided to play along. He passed the stretch of wall once, focusing his mind on thoughts of food and rest.

“What are we doing?” Hermione asked Adam on his second pass.

“Just watch.” Adam said, and her words fell away as the wall began to shift and transform with a quiet rumble.

The outlines of a light brown doorway emerged from the stone, bathed in a soft, inviting glow. The sight sent a thrill of excitement through Harry’s exhausted body, momentarily overshadowing his weariness.

A door?

The corridor stood still and silent, allowing Harry’s imagination to run wild. Just what is this? He turned his head towards Adam, giving him a quizzical look.

“I said I would tell you where it was that I was disappearing off to.” Adam said and gestured for Harry to open the door.

Filled with a mix of determination and apprehension, Harry steeled himself and took a final step toward the concealed entrance. His hand pressed against the smooth wooden surface, resting over the knob, which he turned.

The door swung open, and everyone but Adam gaped.

Harry stepped inside, his heart beating with excitement as he found himself enveloped in a scene straight from his daydreams.

It was a magnificent dining room, bathed in the warm glow of candlelight. The air carried the mouthwatering aroma of freshly cooked meals, enticing him with promises of comfort and nourishment.

It’s exactly what I was picturing in my mind… Harry thought, beyond astonished.

The walls were adorned with elegant tapestries, depicting scenes of mirth and celebration. Soft, plush carpets adorned the floor, cushioning each step and providing a sense of luxury and comfort. A long, polished wooden table stretched out before him, adorned with fine china and silverware, glinting in the soft glow of the flickering candles.

“Adam?” Tony’s voice broke through Harry’s reverie. “What is this place?”

“What he said.” Ron said, barely able to take his eyes off of the plates of steaming food. “Never heard any of my brothers talk about anything like this. A special dining room?”

“It’s not a dining room.” Adam said, drawing everyone’s attention.

Harry frowned, gesturing at the food at the table. “If it’s not that, then…”

“Think about it. What did I ask you to do?” Adam said in amusement as he walked past Harry, taking a seat. “Oh, this is comfortable. Good job, Harry.”

“Erm…” Harry said, slowly catching on. “I was thinking about a comfortable place to eat.”

“Of course!” Hermione blurted. “This place gives you exactly what you need!”

“Something like that.” Adam said, gesturing for everyone to sit. “Go on. I’ll answer any question you have after we eat.”

Harry wanted to say more, but he could not ignore the beckoning of the cushioned chairs, their plush upholstery offering respite from the weariness of the day. Soft music began to play in the background, its soothing melodies adding to the enchantment of the space.

As soon as they all were seated, the ceiling above transformed into a starry night sky, its twinkling lights casting a mesmerizing glow.

“Amazing.” Su said in wonder. “Just like in the Great Hall!”

But Harry was more concerned with all of the food before him. Without waiting for anyone’s permission, he piled everything he could on his plate and began his frenzy, surprising even Ron with his voracious appetite.

Some time passed before he was sated, and he leaned back in his chair. “That was… Perfect.”

“You liked it, then?” Adam asked, smiling slightly as he toyed with a bit of mashed potato.

“Yes.” Harry said. “This room is a pretty good cook— just as good as the elves.”

But Adam shook his head. “No; this is the elves’ cooking. It can transport food from the kitchens to here.”

“Oh.” Harry said.

“How can a room do that?” Hermione asked, pursing her lips for some reason Harry couldn’t place.


Harry resisted the urge to shake his head; that was Adam’s favorite response to just about anything.

“That’s not funny, Adam.”

“It’s a little funny. Come on.”

“Adam.” Tony got the boy’s attention. “How long have you known about this place?”

Everyone turned their eyes to the boy in question.

“Um… I’d say near the start of last year?” Adam said, trying to put a number to the date and failing. “It was around the time Boot and I had our little drama.”

“And you kept it a secret the entire time?” Hermione couldn’t help but ask, looking a little hurt and put off.

Adam only shrugged. “Didn’t seem important to share at the time; I had my special spot to relax. I imagine you all have places you go to so you can ‘get away’, so to speak? You don’t see me asking about those.”

There was a moment of awkward silence before Harry popped the question everyone wanted to ask him. “Why now?”

Adam took another bite of his food before setting his fork down and leaning back in his chair. “Why now… Well, after what happened at the end of last year, and the conversations we had… I thought about it a lot in the summer, and that was before the attack happened…”

He paused for a long moment, trying to make sense of his own thoughts.

“See, this room isn’t just a dining room.” Adam said, gesturing towards the right. To the group’s amazement, the room began to expand. The walls parted, revealing a fully fledged Dueling arena. “It does what you require it to. That’s why the elves sometimes call it the Room of Requirement.”

“The Room of Requirement.” Su said, getting a feel for the words. “And you pace in front of the entrance a few times while thinking about what you want?”

“Yes.” Adam said, nodding. “Three times— don’t ask me why, that’s just how it is.”

“You’ve been using this place to train.” Harry said, understanding.

“That’s right.”

“How’d you find it?” Ron asked.

“Completely by accident.” Adam said, and Harry saw that same yellow spark floating around his head. Adam’s eyes shifted minutely in its direction, but otherwise didn’t acknowledge its presence.

He can see it. Harry thought as he made eye contact with the boy, who only shook his head as if to say ‘some other time’. Harry gave him a nod, accepting that for the time being.

Still keeping some secrets to yourself? Harry thought, both annoyed and intrigued by the boy. There was always something going on with him. It was like he couldn’t just rest.

“Was it when you were trying to get away from Boot?” Tony asked, latching onto a memory. “I remember you said something about giving them the slip in a hidden room.”

“Yeah.” Adam said, smiling a little. “This is that room— though, at the time, it gave me a very small, confined space to hide in. Almost thought I’d be stuck there until I died.”

“Right.” Tony said, leaving them all in a silence.

“Last year, we got our asses handed to us.” Adam said, getting back on topic. “You guys weren’t ready for that sort of thing, and I wasn’t either. Still, we managed to pull through with sheer luck— some of it was skill, but let’s be honest, it was mostly luck.”

Harry tilted his head, not sure where he was going with this.

“Harry and I have practiced over the Summer, and I plan on keeping that up here.” Adam said, gesturing towards the Dueling arena, and Harry finally understood. “You’re all welcome to join me.”

“Is this because of our talk?” Hermione asked, smiling as she moved around the table to give the boy a pat on the shoulder.

“Yeah.” Adam said and then looked like he was debating something to himself. “And… I also plan on entering the Tournament.”


Now, that— Harry had not expected.

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