The next month after the return to Hogwarts went relatively quietly. Harry's friends learned Magic with wand blanks, totally fooling the teachers and the other students. Many, whom had been held back by ill-fitting wands, suddenly exploded in power as they stopped depending on the crutch. The teachers were elated, thinking they had finally found the breakthrough they were looking for.
One person whom totally missed the boat was Hermione Granger. She had been near the top her age group until Harry took out the wand epidemic. The sudden burst of success in Harry's friends relegated her to near the middle of the class, a position she just could not tolerate. Her frustration was compounded by the fact that Harry's friends were doing things that surprised their teachers: quite a few showed some capability at metamorphagus as if they were training in it, which they just knew was impossible: either you were or you were not a metamorphagus. Then, quite a few began partial transformations to animals, most selecting fur-covered species, quite shocking the teachers. To nail the shock into a pattern, a rare number of students began showing the capacity to shift shape into more than one animal, and a couple even displayed chimera capabilities! The sudden appearance of a mix of dog and human in the transfiguration class petrified Samantha Jones! It was Harry's cool and calm intervention that guided Denis Creevy back to human shape, as Samantha was too shocked to even move! When the situation got under control in the class, Hermione exploded:
"You will explain to me how you did this! Right now! What wand movement did you use? What incantation? What potion? How come you are not dead?"
Denis was frustrated by the rapid barrage of questions, and looked at Harry for support. Harry stepped forward, to be roughly pushed away by Hermione.
"You! Be gone! I will not talk to someone that displays his ugly dangly bits as if they were natural parts of the anatomy!" The wave of Magic expressed by Hermione removed Harry from the class but for only a second! He came back in a fury, and slammed Hermione Hard against the back wall with just a look.
"Bitch, if you want a test of will, I will supply it for you! Try escaping that grip, while I explain what happened to Denis! And you are lucky that intent to kill targeted me, and not one of the other students."
Silenced by the blazing eyes of harry, Hermione was forced to listen to something she just could not accept.
"Transformation of an object requires focus, and will. Transformation of one-self requires a change of focus from the outside to the inside. What Denis did was to focus his attention on himself rather than on an outside object. When you transfigure a match into a needle, you do not effectively change its mass which stays relatively close, but you change its appearance, only its appearance. The thing is, if you stay there, you have succeeded in this class, but have you really succeeded in changing the nature of the object? Test it: run the tip of the needle on sandpaper: Oh surprise, the needle bursts into flames. Transfiguration does not change the nature of the object. It is the ultimate illusion, Bitch, nothing else."
Samantha was shocked when Harry did the demonstration. That is one test she had never done before and the result surprised her. Harry resumed his explanations:
"Now, to become an animagus, you need only change how you look. You do not really become a dog, a wolf, a cat, or what not you decide to take the shape of. And hear me right: you decide what shape you take, because it is simply a transfiguration directed at a life form. You need to remember this because the first one that claims he or she killed because he or she became a panther will have to deal with me! You are in control of the animal form because you are yourself enveloped in a sophisticated transfiguration, nothing else! If an animagus was really what he or she became, it could be used to heal by simply becoming a simpler life-form that heals tons of times faster than we do."
"But, when you became a shark..."
"That was not an animagus transformation, although the looks was similar. What happened is I can copy genetic maps and retrograde them to previous forms. I could probably prograde the genetic map, but there is no certainty nature would follow my path. The past is fixed, the future is fluid. And no, Miss Jones, I will not teach that as it is too risky and a missed transformation can kill, albeit it seems I have the knack not to miss mine."
"Are you telling me there are things magic can not do?" said a furious Hermione.
"Certainly. For instance, try to create matter out of nothing! Oh, it is possible to create matter out of energy, as mundanes have shown, albeit they have not succeeded. The reverse happens to be a lot easier."
"What do you mean?" asked Draco.
"You remember the lesson on nuclear power given by our physics teacher? Guess what. It is the transformation of matter to energy either under controlled conditions or uncontrolled conditions."
"I do not give a damn about that! I want to know how that pest Denis did what he did!" thundered a flustered Hermione.
"Maybe you would be interested in the question a little more if you got your nose out of books and looked at what happened in nineteen forty-five! Two towns were incinerated by what does not interest you! As for what Denis did, he simply was dreaming of a book he read about ancient Egyptian lore and became the guardian of the underworld, Anubis. The Egyptians were aces at partial transformations, and for them, to be able to do so was the mark of a God or something close to it. I am sure Denis was as shocked as anyone that he managed that chimera, and it tells me he is one powerful mage. Now, I plan to teach him the complete animagus transfiguration and how to become a complete dog. Then..."
"Then?" asked Professor Jones.
"Then it will be up to him to take on as many shapes as he wishes. He can thus explore the world as viewed by these animals. Believe me, seeing the world as a snake, a fly, a mouse, a cat, or a dog can be enlightening. But Denis, please wait for me to teach you the means to change back to human, and how to include your clothes in the illusion. After all, I doubt you would appreciate changing back from, say, a cat, to your human form to find yourself nude, as you are now, in the middle of January!"
"You are lying! I am sure you are lying! All the books I read have stated that an animagus could only take one form, the animal core!"
"Miss Granger! Remember to whom you are talking!" said a flustered Professor Jones. "He is the King of Magic!" Hermione sniffed, raising her head up defiantly.
"The fact that an animagus can bring his clothes with him, including a dead stick called a wand, is proof enough that the animagus transformation is an illusion. If it was real, the clothes would fall down into a pile as they are dead even if they are derived from what was once living matter. Remember the past tense 'was once'! Remember Flitwick and his lesson on the theory of disillusionment? He said that you did not really become invisible, but only tricked the eye of the living into believing you were so. Animagus is simply applying that disillusionment a bit further, projecting to the others the presence of an animal. Yes, they feel you as a cat, can pet you, and you can purr, you can act like a cat and they will see a cat, you can even pass where a cat passes, but the moment you break the illusion, they will either see a cat with a human head, as the Sphinx, which did inspire quite a few mages in the task of learning partial transformation, or they will see a human with a feline head, as Bestet, which was probably a partially transfigured human female for the first instance, and which stuck the populace as a god of some renown."
"Are you telling me you can do things I will never be able to do?" asked an infuriated Hermione.
"Exactly. You are not a High Elf. We gave magic to mankind, and my ancestors made quite sure that humans did not have some powers as they thought, rightly, that humans might try to abuse their gift. They also gave the gift to other animals as well."
"Other animals? We are not animals!" said a furious Hermione.
Tired of the stubbornness of Hermione, Harry stripped her of clothes from head to foot with a look.
"Let me see: You got tits, telling me you are a mammal; you got a slit rather than a dick, telling me you are a female of the genera; you have hair between the legs, but not much anywhere else, telling me you have reached sexual maturity; you even smell bad from here, telling me you have your period, therefore did not mate a few days ago when it was the time to procreate; you have not had babies as your tits have not been lactating and growing in size to supply the milk reserves a baby needs; you do have hair all over your body, albeit thin, typical of the human species; you have eyes, a nose, a loud mouth, claws, a pee hole hidden near the baby hole, a shit hole hidden between two muscles to keep you erect; you have bones, muscles, a rather strong body smell... therefore, you are an animal. I need not see you eliminate to know you do because you carry the smell of the residue which you try to eliminate and mask, not too successfully I might add. You were born, you will die: therefore you are an animal, like it or not!"
Hermione was red with shame and too furious to hide her bits. She charged at Harry, all claws extended.
"See? You are an animal: you even have the same reflexes!" said Harry as he hopped out of the way and gave her a push, sending her flying into the wall behind him.
"And your blood smells like rust as well," completed Harry, concluding his anatomy lesson.
"Where are her clothes, Mister Potter?"
"Think, Professor Jones... They are where they should be."
Professor Jones was baffled, and decided to focus on today's class and deal with another Potter mystery at a later time. Hermione, on the other hand, felt weird, very weird. She walked the venerable halls of Hogwarts wondering why everyone was pointing at her as she passed by. She felt hot, she felt cold; she could feel her clothes on her and yet not see them. She even looked at herself in a mirror and felt herself play with invisible clothes she could actually feel!!! She just could not figure out what was going on.
That night, Hermione decided to take a shower and walked in under the spray only to feel the clothes stick to her as they got wet. She had to work hard to remove the robe, the under-robe, the underclothes, her shoes and socks which she could only feel but not see... until she removed them! Once they were off, they reappeared, dripping and wet. She dropped them on the floor, disgusted.
"That Potter! I will have him walk nude!"
"I already do, Granger!" she heard, which made her yell and howl loudly in terror. She ran out of her shower stall yelling bloody murder and calling Harry every dirty name under the sky. All she heard for her effort was a laugh she had once heard listening to Frank Einstein giving life to Igor, which made her freak even more.
Suzan Bones saw her red bum disappear up in the dorm, and commented: "One more for Harry, and still zero for the know-it-all."
"Why do you say that?" Angelica Joly asked.
"Harry is busy playing with that big cat, and probably just projected some illusion to baffle her."
"Big cat? If you call a lion a big cat... That male lion is a mature one at that, at over two hundred and fifty pounds!" as she listened to the diesel purr of the feline being scratched behind an ear.
Professor Jones kept thinking about what Harry had said about transfiguration in general and animagus transformations in particular. She decided to test his comment on matches changing to needles and was surprised to see the needle do as Harry had said. Then she began extending her thinking from what the test had shown. It took her the whole night, but she had to admit there was no flaw in Harry's reasoning if the results were to be taken into account. Even transforming into a canary, her animagus form, did not disprove Harry's comments: she could look like a canary, but her brain was still fully hers, however hard she could try to disprove his assessment. After taking a well-needed nap in the crux of the night, she began thinking about the 'Hermione' issue as she called a rather bright but stubborn student.
It took her an hour to figure out that Hermione was only seen as nude, that she felt nude, but that her clothes were still there. She would see in the morning when Hermione came to breakfast.
The next morning, Hermione was up well before dawn and she took out her underwear, under-robe and robe. It took her barely a second to realize that the moment she released a piece of cloth after putting it on, it vanished! Her cry of rage woke up the entire girl dorm! The girls watched her as she started punching everything and everyone in sight!
"I will kill that pervert! I hate boys and their extra bits! I will castrate the bastard!" she kept yelling at the full power of her lungs. "Give me a butchering knife!"
"Come on, Hermione! We are all girls here! We all have the same equipment!" said Suzan Bones.
"You shut up! I was not raised as a prostitute! I was raised to wear clothes, not to display my naughty bits for all to see, especially those perverts called boys!"
"Has it ever occurred to you that it is this rage that keeps the clothes invisible?" asked Melissa. "I am sure the day you accept your body, stop raging at nudity, you will be able to wear clothes! Accept yourself, and you will be able to hide yourself! I think the message is clear for all to see, even if the message is hidden by nudity!"
"Why, thank you! I was thinking of going to the water closet!"
The girls took to the bathroom and got ready for their day a bit early, meeting with Harry, Draco, and Neville, along with three out of four boys for the morning exercises and training Harry guided.
"You are going to break Hermione, you know," said Clara Hunt to Harry. "I thought she would smash the windows and jump out at some point."
"She can always try. I made them unbreakable and impossible to open. And, however hard she tries to break a bone, the walls have been warded against such an event. She either grows up or goes nuts."
"I bet on nuts! But she might go for yours before long!"
"She can always try."
The girls and boys returned to the dorm before breakfast and took showers before readying for the day. Quickly, the girls noticed Hermione was gone from the dorm, and talked to Harry.
"Harry! Hermione is gone!" said Suzan.
"Not far," said Harry as he touched the castle wall. "She is in the library, reading on how to break illusions and especially the one I placed on her. She could read the entire restricted section on the subject and not find a clue as this is not covered until a Doctorate in transfigurations, something long lost to Mages of this day. The last Doctor in the subject was Merlin, and he took his knowledge back with him in the Elvin kingdom. He did not trust humans with that kind of power. Given Voldemort, Grindelwald, and Dumbledore in the last fifty or so years, he was right! Just imagine Grindelwald with the knowledge to trigger an uncontrollable chain reaction in, say, lithium, and produce a nuclear explosion by triggering the propagation of neutrons in the planet's crust? Do you think that nothing would have stopped them if they knew how? The three wanted power at all costs, and if it made the planet impossible to live on, they would not have cared less, as long as they proved to themselves and to the Gods they could do it. Funny thing about Hermione is, she looks too far. A simple Finite Incantatum would solve the issue, but she just can not keep it simple. She sees the result, and thinks it has to be a complicated spell to counter."
"You, Mister Potter, are terrible!"
"I know, Suzan. And that is what makes up half my charm! I want her to have an indigestion of books, and that will do it. She must stop depending on them, start to put their knowledge in doubt, and use her brain rather than her memory to think. Not all solutions are written down, and many of the simplest are overlooked by over-thinkers or, in her case, by authority lickers."
"Are you not referring to ass lickers or teachers' pets?"
"I did not say it, Suzan. You did. But then, the image is appropriate."
Hermione never did show up in any of her classes that day, and made her way to the kitchens to feed herself rather than show up in the Great Hall. In fact, she did not come out of the library for a full week, and even slept in it to keep reading, trying to find a solution to her perceived problem. She read on every and any counter-charm, counter-spell, counter-hex, but nothing came forth specific to her problem. Not a single reference to a 'nudity' spell, potion, or whatever could be found anywhere. She was desperate, but way too stubborn to ever consider showing up in the nude in any area where boys could ever find her. Her rage grew to encompass the girls, the teachers, and even the portraits and the ghosts. Finally, Professor Jones found her, unconscious, in the back of the Restricted Section of the library, after she asked the portraits and ghosts to look for her. Professor Jones carried her by Magic to the infirmary, and asked the nurse to keep her tied to the bed until she considered her mentally stable.
"You are asking for a miracle. Miss Granger has always been way too trusting in books and authority figures to think on her own. If it is not written, it can not be real, Samantha, and you know it," said Minerva McDonnagall, as she watched the young girl breath laboriously while she cried in her sleep. "Have you found what spell that little devil put on her?"
"No, but the children told me if Miss Granger learned the KISS principle, she would find the solution easily."
"The Kiss principle?"
"I think it is a simple anagram telling us how to resolve the issue. And I am not sure if we found the solution, we could actually apply it. I think Mister Potter wants a lesson to be learned not only by Miss Granger, but by all of us."
"I think I will call upon her parents to see if they have any idea as to why Hermione has become so entrenched in her know-it-all attitude..."
"And why she so believes in figures of authority and books as the solution to everything," said Madam Pomfrey as she walked into the hospital wing. "It is this attitude that has pushed everyone to hate her the most. She has made some very serious enemies in the school. For her, books are like Gods, and teachers the priests to a religion of knowledge. That Mister Potter not only knows more about magic than we do, has more power than all of us combined, and demonstrates that books are limited in scope, is anathema to her. It is like Magic for the Church! She is pushing the King of Magic to the point he will remove the gift from her if she does not change."
"You really think Harry would go that far?" asked a stunned Samantha.
"If her attitude does not change, he may not have the choice. To be a Mage requires a sense of proportion, of what constitutes a line not to cross. However, Miss Granger has been pushing at the envelope ever since she stepped foot on the train on September first. You may not be aware of this, but students talk to me in confidentiality and I learn things you would be hard put to get out of them short of doing a ligilimens spell on them. She insulted him the first time she met Harry; he told her off, but ever since then, she has tried to humiliate him at every turn, with little success. He fights back with increasing frustration, and, at some point, she will make him react beyond what I consider a simple prank, even if she does not see it that way but as abuse. She has done everything she could to hurt him by saying things, doing things, and even lying to bring a sort of retribution upon his head. Anyway, Minerva, I will go with Hagrid to collect her parents if you allow me. She will sleep for a good six hours given I placed a dreamless sleep potion within her stomach. The only thing I need to know is where her parents live."
"In Hampstead, on Heathgate street. I am sure you will feel the magic of the house as Hermione made some rather impressive spontaneous magic there when she lived there with her parents. Her parents are healers, so you should be able to communicate with them at some level."
"A profession called dentist, I believe. Muggles... err... mundanes as Harry calls them, have specialties for just about everything, including in the healing profession."
"Oh. I see. Well, off I go."
Once Madam Pomfrey made her way out of the school and the wards to port to the Granger home, Minerva walked back to her office, deep in thought.
"You seem to be preoccupied, Headmistress?"
The deep voice of the magical Royal Marine Commander took Minerva out of her thoughts and she almost fell on the tiles, until the man caught her with a quick levicorpus spell.
"You have good reflexes!"
"We train under the worst task master I ever met. He beats our mundane training sergeant by a long shot."
"Our lord, Harry James Potter, King of Magic. Those that follow his lead have learned the importance of being fit and quick on their toes. The children would have given us a run for our money had we confronted them when we graduated from this school. Yes, Headmistress, I am one such graduate, in what was once House Hufflepuff. I was below the radar, as muggles, as you called my parents, say."
"Below the radar?"
"A muggle expression saying I was invisible to those who thought so little of us. It refers to the fact that muggle detection of flying planes can be countered by flying at very low altitude, as the ground masks their return signal with a layer of noise. It is risky to do so given that a plane requires a rather high speed to stay up in the air, exception made of helicopters that can hover, or of Harrier jets that can do so as well. I figure you need to get out of the school and visit the world you live in a little more than to collect students, headmistress."
"I see... Are there many such expressions?"
"Yes. I am sure the mundane-born use them freely to confuse pure-bloods, both students and teachers."
"I am wondering... Do you, by any chance, know of... the meaning..." by then Minerva was redder than an apple candy, "... of the expression 'kiss'?"
"Given how you ask the question, headmistress, I gather a student or two used the expression in a context you did not expect..."
"It was Professor Jones that said her students said something along the line that there was a kiss principle. We are baffled by that reference to an intimate act in the context it was used."
The Commander began laughing and leaned on the wall to keep standing. After getting a murderous look from Minerva, he relented and explained.
"The kiss principle, capital letters, is a mundane expression meaning 'Keep It Simple, Stupid!', meaning the solution to the problem in which the expression is used is simple. To keep things simple. May I ask in what context it was used?"
"One of our student has been hit by a jinx we have yet to find the solution to. The mundanes told us to use the... kiss principle... to find the solution, but they never did tell us what the solution was."
"Ah, I see. I surmise that the one that threw the jinx is one Lord Harry James Potter, and he wants you to think things out. It is a good indication that the solution must indeed be simple."
"And I will not tell you the solution, no use looking at me with the eyes of a fish out of the water!"
"Another mundane expression, I would wager?"
"Yes, and this one is rather easy to explain: your eyes just doubled in size when I refused to give away a direct answer to a simple test of your wits, Headmistress. I am sure I have given you enough to guide you in terminating the spell."
Minerva walked into the escalator leading to her office, feathers a bit ruffled, sat down, and began thinking. What would be the simplest way to finish a spell? Finally, after an hour, Minerva remembered the first counter-jinx spell she had learned all those years ago, in her first Defense Against the Dark Arts class: the finite Incantatem spell! It could not be that simple, could it? She literally ran out of her office to the teachers' hall, and called in everyone's attention: "I think I found it!"
"Found what?" asked Madam Sprout.
"The counter to the jinx that has kept Miss Granger stuck in the library day and night for the last week, to the point she landed in the hospital wing!"
"And what is that difficult spell that has kept our bookworm stumped for a whole week, not to mention the entire school staff?"
"What is the first DADA spell you learned, Professor Slughorn?"
"Finite Incantatem, but it could not be that simple, could it?"
"And why not? Everyone has been looking for a complex answer where a simple one would suffice, I am sure of it!"
"If that is so, Minerva, Mister Potter has beaten the Marauders flat out and ridiculed the Weasley twins to the point they should hide under a rock!"
"Flitwick! Do not encourage a prank war! We have had enough issues this year to last me a life-time!"
The high-pitched laughter of the half-goblin grated on Minerva's nerves badly, but she had to admit the situation did have its funny side... to herself only, that is!
"So, when are you going to cast that spell, Minerva?"
"After the Grangers have arrived. We must use this occasion to regain control of Hermione, before Mister Potter goes much further."
"There, I agree, wholeheartedly!" said Hagrid. "She almost got herself killed at the edge of the Forbidden forest when she acted rashly with bowtruckles. She reacted rashly by attacking a nest of the insect-eaters charged with protecting a magical fir. Her expression of disgust and rejection was similar to Mister Ronald Weasley when we walked under a tree that harbored a few hundred spiders."
"Pomfrey should be back shortly... Could you meet them at the gates, Hagrid, and escort them to this room? Ask the Security commander to be present as well. Maybe the presence of a member of the Royal Marines will reassure them."
Hagrid left quickly, and once the door closed, Professor Jones took a deep breath. "I always feel like I am going to run out of air when Hagrid is in the same room as I. It is like he takes all the air out of a room at each breath. Yet he is a gentle giant..."
"If you want cut hairs lengthwise, Septima, feel free! And I understand Samantha. I do understand Hagrid is gentle, but his size is all the more impressive given his gentleness. It is a miracle he never even hurt anyone with those meat-beaters he calls hands!"
"I think we all need a refresher in mundane speech... I again lost track of the meaning of another expression... Next summer, we spend our time between preparing for the next changes in the school curriculum and our personal pursuits updating our knowledge of modern English."
The Grangers were side-along apparated and threw up their last meal on landing. Mister Granger could not help but quip:
"Teleportation is so much more comfortable! If it does not work, you just do not materialize and end up dispersed, but if it works, you are never sick!"
The comment left Hagrid and Pomfrey totally stunned: Muggles had found a way to apparate? Oh shock! They missed the ironic look of Madam Granger, who knew Mister Granger was an unconditional of Star Trek.
"How far does that work?" asked a curious Hagrid.
"Let me see, to the Moon (two hundred thirty-eight thousand eight hundred and fifty-six miles), and L4 and L5 Lagrange points of the Earth-Moon system are on the same orbit as the Moon, thus at the same distance..."
Those numbers shocked the Mages to total silence. They knew it was next to impossible to apparate over vast distances as it took too much energy. Crossing the Channel was at the limit of the average Mage, but crossing the Mediterranean Sea in a single hop was impossible, and let us forget the Atlantic! And here was that muggle saying they could port at distances 80 times wider the Atlantic Ocean! Hagrid caught Madam Pomfrey as she fainted.
"Is she sick?" asked Madam Granger, as she pulled out a needle and quickly shot a stimulant into Madam Pomfrey.
"In shock, I would say. What did you do?"
"I gave her a stimulant against shock, as I figured it was the issue."
"Okay. We are almost to the entrance as you can see. Follow me. I will get you to your destination and the Potion teacher will complete your work."
Hagrid began walking at a quick pace, forcing the two mundanes to almost run behind him. The smirk Mister Granger was displaying initially had grown to a full-blown smile.
"You, mister, will sleep on the couch tonight!"
"It is worth it."
The arrival of Madam Pomfrey in Hagrid's arms took the teaching staff by surprise. The potion teacher immediately stepped forth and examined her.
"She is in shock," said madam Granger. "She should be out of it in a few minutes as I gave her a shot of a mild stimulant to counter the shock."
Just as the potion master was getting ready to drill a new hole in Doctor Granger, Madam Pomfrey came to and opened her eyes, which took the attention back to her.
"How are you, Poppy?" asked Minerva.
"Dizzy, where am I?"
"In the staff room. What happened? Did you almost miss the apparation?"
"No, that went well... I was talking to Doctor Granger and he said something that made me feel so out of touch... Minerva! Did you know the muggles can apparate? To the Moon no less? And that the Moon is 80 times further than the width of the Atlantic? We are so outdated Magic is now a weakness!" With that, Madam Pomfrey began crying hard.
Madam Granger looked at her husband murderously. "Happy now? You are sleeping on the couch for a month!" With that, Madam Granger sat by Madam Pomfrey and hugged her, trying to console her to the best of her capabilities.
Hermione's dad raised his shoulders and turned to Minerva.
"Hagrid told us there was an issue with Hermione?"
"Well, yes. She has been acting strange ever since she stepped foot on the train in September."
"The first thing she did was verbally assault the King of Magic, Harry James Potter, whom was escorting two hundred and fifty students back to school. He simply told her off, and that set the stage for repeated confrontations. I must say I was shocked by Harry myself, but given he never had any parents whatsoever and was raised by nature itself, his social skills are, let us say, more attuned, to nature than to socialites. He..."
"Hold it! What do you mean, he got raised by nature?"
"His parents were killed when he was one, and his muggle uncle tried to kill him by drowning him in a river. He escaped by becoming a fish, a Megalodon shark, and shredding the man's hands. No one ever managed to catch him ever since, which, given a price was on his head by a terrorist group, is not a bad thing."
"And how come he showed up?"
"Somehow, he became friends with one of our potential students and paid him regular visits. He managed to learn how to read and write on his own, and has enough power to not only face but defeat the terrorist organization. He rescued the two hundred and fifty children last summer and has decided to come to school with them to make sure they would be safe. So far, he has held his promise to them to the T. I learned this morning he is teaching them Magic as well, and has extended his group of friends to encompass most of the students of the school, from first to seventh year. His knowledge of Magic is such that he has even us, the teaching staff, floored. And he has a knowledge of muggle science that far outstrips even the scientists that teach here those specialties such as biology, chemistry and physics. It is as if he had access to a knowledge pool that is all-encompassing. This is whom your little girl has been antagonizing every time she meets him, and she definitely tries to do so as often as possible."
Mister Granger looked at his wife, a bit lost.
"Is that all?"
"Well, is that not enough? The other aspect is she values books above all, and considers us, however limited our real knowledge is compared to Mister Potter's, as priests of the tree of knowledge. She refuses to admit that books are limited in scope. I wish Poppy was feeling better. I am sure she could give you a more complete portrait of the situation as students regularly confide to her about personal issues. I will give you just one example I heard, and Poppy probably knows more: during the train ride, Hermione walked in on the section where the King was protecting his charges. He did not say anything, but she sure did. She verbally attacked him for being nude. Now, I understand that, like most of the Magical Adults, you are not used to nudity, but for Mister Potter, this is how nature made us and wearing dead material to cover our body is ridiculous. Your daughter verbally assaulted him, calling his physical attributes a medical deformation. He drilled her a new hole for that comment, calling to her attention that her dolls were not properly made and did not have her attributes, and that his dangling bits were used to produce seed to fertilize eggs. She defended the position that babies were bought at the hospital, Doctor Granger. Harry stated he had seen nature at work up close and that if her books did not explain things in detail, it was not the fault of nature, but of hypocrites that shame a natural process and want to protect children against what is after all the goal of all life: Reproduction! If that is the type of sexual education you give your children, it is no surprise muggles reproduce like flies!"
To say that the Grangers were shocked by Minerva's speech would be an understatement. They thought they had given their little girl all the knowledge she could tolerate, but from what they were learning, she had given little thought to updating her knowledge base on that essential subject since she was three years old! But then Mister Granger ticked on one aspect of Minerva's speech. His little angel had seen a nude boy! Horror!
"What do you mean that little pervert was nude?!"
"He is nude. He considers clothes useless. When he is cold, he just adds fur by changing shape. From what I understand, it is not an animagus transformation but the expression of the genetic map of one animal or other. He apparently grades his expression to keep his human intellect but can become just about any animal he has the genetic map of. How he does it outstrips our knowledge. We do have the animagus transformation, which, as Harry has so clearly explained to us, is a simple disillusionment that hides us in the appearance of an animal. Otherwise, as he said, our clothes would fall on the ground as they are dead. He does not have clothes, and when he does, they tear to shreds rather than follow his transformation, as he demonstrated to students. None of us is able to do what he does. And that too has infuriated your daughter. She refused to admit there are things he can do naturally which she will be hard put to ever approach. I think that this capacity may be related to the fact that Mister Potter is a High Elf, their King for that matter. For her, humans are the pinnacle of evolution; she has yet to understand that humans are the pinnacle of the human branch of evolution, not of evolution per se. That too is something Mister Potter has drilled into the student body and into us. Before he came, we thought we represented the top of the tree. We are far from there! Very far! As for your little girl, she has refused to listen to his lessons with a stubbornness that fringes on fanatic. We are now aware our books are limited in scope, but she refuses to see these limits. If it is written, it must be true; a book must be complete. And we are servants of the books, not the other way around. As for being a pervert, I doubt he considers this lack of dressing a perversion but rather the expression of how nature made us."
"Can we see our daughter and talk to her?" asked Madam Granger.
"Sure. We will go to the hospital wing. She is not hurt, except in her modesty, so do not freak out."
"In her modesty?"
"She is nude, Madam. From what I gather, she has clothes on, but they are invisible. I think Harry wants her to learn two things here: that she is no different than others; and second, that books do not always contain all the answer and that she has to learn to think on her own. I admit I too needed that lesson, and all of us needed it badly. Physically, she is in relatively good shape... for someone whom refuses to do any physical exercise. That is also something that Mister Potter has introduced in our curriculum as physical fitness improves spell-casting, power, precision, and motor control. The presence of the Royal Marines, that do physical drills on a daily basis, had proven to us even further that we really needed to upgrade that aspect. The children get up at six in the morning and do an hour of physical fitness under Harry's guidance. He is an exacting task-master, but the students want to please him and will follow his lead to hell and back. Even the seventh grade students, mostly adults, follow Harry's lead, and his lessons on the theory of Magic is the most sought-after class, although he probably does not see it that way. By the way, the Marines are also following his lead when it comes to physical exercises. The Commander says he would do a top-notch drill sergeant, whatever that is."
"She balks, refuses to get up, pisses off every student, yells if she hears a peep as they prepare to leave or when they come back for a shower before breakfast. We have never seen a student so refuse to integrate in the school... even Voldemort, the last terrorist, managed to get by and be an unassuming leader, thus passing 'under the radar' if my understanding of that muggle expression is correct. Ah, here we are. Hagrid, put Poppy on a bed. Slughorn, take care of her. Your daughter is behind those drapes. We placed them there more for her comfort than anything. Everyone now knows how she looks nude, as she is no different than any other girl of her age."
The Grangers walked in the infirmary and progressed to where the bed of their daughter lay hidden. Barely had Mister Granger walked in that a shriek of horror came through the blanket, clearly demonstrating that Hermione was awake. The yells increased to the point they were painful to the ears due to their intensity and high frequencies, until a loud smack was heard.
"You will get a hold of yourself, Hermione, or else!" thundered Mister Granger. "I washed your ass for five or six years, and you never were that obsessed with your modesty! I am beginning to believe we pushed the wrong button by calling your attention to physical differences rather than let you explore them on your own! And what is it I hear? Even after we called your attention to the facts of life, you act like a three-year old and believe the grain of sand image given by some books to explain the need to seed the egg to be the whole story rather than a simplification addressed to children? Grow up! Children's books are just that! Children's books! They give a truncated view of reality because children do not understand the whole process, but damn it! I never thought you would stay stuck with these short views!"
"But I am nude!" said a hysterical Hermione.
"Be it as it may, I have seen all I needed to see already! And what do you expect happens behind closed doors at home when your mother and I share a bed? That we wear long sleeves and armor?"
Hermione puked at the image this statement revealed, earning herself another hard slap.
"Enough! I think you need psychiatric treatment. I will ask them if they have something of the sort available..."
"We do!" called Madam Pomfrey from her bed. "I will call upon a mind healer from St-Murgo's."
"... and you will begin to learn logical thinking. We are, your mother and I, doctors of science, and we will put an end to your lack of critical thinking, by any means necessary! Books are not gods, but views expressed by men, and of limited scope. Get over the adoration of the printed word! They are only static thoughts, nothing dynamic, adaptive, or changing, which life is!"
Hermione began crying in earnest.
"What is it, Hermione?" asked a concerned mother.
"I do not know what is right and what is wrong! Books are my guides, my anchors, my security net. If they can not be trusted, who can I trust?"
"Yourself, Hermione. You need to understand that books only are the views of other men or women of different times on how they saw things, not a reality, not even an image of reality. Even your teachers reflect their own upbringings, as we do. That things change and are continuously doing so must be the core of your attention. Nothing is immobile, not even a mountain. If you do not notice changes or feel threatened by them, you will be left behind or miss the next curve. Do not drive your life by looking behind you for guidance, which books are. And, for God's sake, do not think if you decide to write a book it is gospel!"
"What about my nudity? I feel so ashamed!"
This time, it was Minerva that intervened from across the blanket.
"You over-think things, Hermione. The solution is simple, but you refuse to take the simple road and hope to find a written proof of the solution rather than take it at face value by testing its validity. Until you refuse to trust yourself, magic will stop being possible for you."