Author: Shadow Rebirth
Warnings: language, adult themes, spoilers
Word Count: 3,605
First Written: July 12, 2008
Last Edited: July 14, 2008
Posted: July 14, 2008
Summary: Owls, cauldrons, and pointed hats? Harry Potter was not amused. And he still wasn't entirely sure that his human trafficking theory had been wrong. Warning! Features a very cynical Harry. AU, no pairings.
Searching for Disaster
World of Lunatics
September 1st found a very unhappy Harry Potter standing in the middle of King's Cross train station. He had been told by Hagrid to come here to catch the Hogwarts Express. Of course Harry had instantly questioned where the train was since he'd certainly never heard of it before and Hagrid had then explained how to get onto the platform.
The reason for Harry's current disposition was that he was going to have to run through a solid brick wall to get to platform nine and three-quarters. He knew that it was the only way to get to Hogwarts, but despite this every bone in his body protested what he was going to have to do. If Hagrid had tricked him, Harry was going to hunt down the man and kill him.
Finally Harry released a breath, tightened his grip on the cart before him, and then ran at the wall. He only released his breath when he'd passed all the way through and found himself standing on another platform. Standing before him was a large red steam train with the words "Hogwarts Express" on it.
"Honestly," Harry grumbled under his breath in annoyance as he walked forward. "Who came up with that bright idea? 'Oh, I know!'" he mimicked in a high voice, "'Let's run into walls!' Bloody insane."
Harry only calmed down a bit once he was securely on the train in an empty compartment. And even then he was still in a bad mood.
"If this is a flying train, I swear I will jump off it," Harry muttered sourly to himself. Unnoticed by him, his compartment door which someone had just been starting to open clicked shut.
The wizarding platform slowly grew louder and louder and more parents and students came. Harry was disturbed a couple of times, but all of the other students left once they saw that the compartment was occupied. Finally, after over a half an hour, the train left the station.
In his compartment, Harry couldn't help but feel at least a little excited. He was going to get to learn magic after all, as absurd as that sounded. Plus, this was the perfect thing to hold over his relatives heads; just what would people think if they learnt that their nephew was into witchcraft.
Unsurprisingly, the ride to Hogwarts was quite boring--though, thankfully, the train never left the ground. Sadly, the highpoint of the trip was when an older witch came by with a food cart and asked him if he wanted anything to eat. Harry took one look at some of the "treats" offered and instantly declined. Chocolate frogs? Cockroach clusters? Seriously? How would either of those sound appetizing to anyone?
Eventually Harry drifted off to sleep, only to awake that evening when the train grounded to a halt. He'd forgotten to change into his robes earlier, but fortunately there was enough chaos outside as the students got off the train that he was easily able to do so before leaving himself.
Harry's mood--which had brightened considerably since that morning--dropped a couple of notches when he saw Hagrid wading through the crowd, calling first years to him. He knew that the large man worked at Hogwarts, but he hadn't expected to have to see him again so soon. Reluctantly Harry approached Hagrid and the other eleven year olds. He hung at the back of the group however, so the large man was unable to spot him.
"C'mon, follow me--any more firs' years?" Hagrid called. "Mind yer step, now! Firs' years follow me!"
Harry's eye began to twitch as Hagrid led them all down a steep, dark, narrow path. So wizards could perform feats of magic but they couldn't even put stairs and a couple of lights here for their first year students? Typical. And no one had explained yet where the rest of the students had gone. Was there some sort of an initiation blood ritual that first years had to go through first? At this point, Harry wouldn't be surprised.
"Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec," Hagrid called over his shoulder, "Jus' round this bend here."
There was a loud "Oooooh!" as the path opened suddenly onto the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side was a vast castle with many turrets.
Harry stared at it, entirely unimpressed. He did live in England after all, and so had see castles many times before; his relatives hadn't been able to leave him behind all the time and his primary school had taken several field trips to famous castles. Hogwarts was large, yes, but not really all that great.
"No more'n four to a boat!" Hagrid called, pointing to a fleet of little boats sittings in the water by the shore.
Harry stared at those boats with a look of horror plastered across his face. No. No. They couldn’t honestly be having groups of eleven year olds cross that massive lake in tiny boats. Were they completely insane? What would happen if one of the boats capsized? Most of these children probably couldn't swim!
"All right there, Harry?" Hagrid asked, noticing Harry's violently twitching eye.
"Fine," the dark haired boy bit out through gritted teeth. "Absolutely bloody fucking peachy."
"Er...right," Hagrid replied, looking more than a little awkward.
Harry forced himself to mechanically walk forward towards the boats. He stepped into one of them at sat at the bow where he proceeded to purposefully ignore the three other first years that joined him. As the fleet of little boats moved off on Hagrid's command, Harry glared at the water beneath him.
About half way through the trip the water near the center of the lake shifted. At first it seemed to have just been the wind disturbing the water, but after a moment a long tentacle at least as thick as a tree trunk broke the surface and rose at least fifteen feet in the air before slithering back down into the depths.
Several of the children screamed fearfully at this sight but Hagrid was quick to calm them down. "It's alright," the large man chuckled. "That's jus' the giant squid that lives in the lake."
The tic in Harry's eye returned as stared at the inky black surface of the lake. Oh yes, "just" the giant squid that lived in the lake. Just the giant squid that lived in the lake next to a school. Just the giant squid that lived in the lake that several dozen first years were crossing in rickety wooden boats that could capsize at any moment.
That was it, this was officially a world filled with lunatics. Did they have to regard whatsoever for their students' safety? Even assuming that the squid was trained or something, it was still a wild animal.
Harry's gaze turned thoughtful. Speaking of which, weren't giant squids salt water animals? How could it even survive here? And surely the lake was too small for a creature of its size--it must need more space than that to swim around in. Plus Harry was pretty sure that squid lived only in deep ocean waters; wouldn't this be far to shallow, as well as small?
This place was just getting stranger and stranger and Harry didn't like it at all.
Eventually the students got to the castle and were led out of the boats and into the lower levels of the castle. They stopped before a huge, oak front door which Hagrid promptly knocked on. Harry was honestly surprised when the door didn't tremble beneath his strength.
The door swung open at once, revealing Professor McGonagall. Harry eyed her strangely; had she been just standing there on the other side, waiting for them? It seemed to Harry that she, like everyone else here, liked to make a grand entrance. God, he hoped that the whole wizarding world wasn't like that, but after everything he'd seen already he didn't want to get his hopes up.
McGonagall led the first years through the massive entrance hall of the castle and then into a small chamber off the main hall. Harry had to stare strangely at her again. They had that huge room right outside, but they had to wait here? What if some of them were claustrophobic? Damn crazy wizards.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," Professor McGonagall said as the first years shifted nervously. She then launched into a lengthy speech that Harry stopped listening to after the first few lines. He instead stared off into space, waiting for this "Sorting Ceremony" that she'd mentioned.
Once McGonagall left the students began whispering nervously amongst themselves, wondering what the ceremony would be. One kid even mentioned something about wrestling a troll, which gave Harry pause. Normally he'd instantly dismiss such a notion as being completely and utterly ridiculous, but considering what he'd seen so far...
Harry was only broken from his thoughts when a rather short boy with platinum blonde hair swaggered up to him. Or at least Harry thought the boy was attempting to imitate a swagger. In reality he just looked like he was drunk.
"So," the boy said in an arrogant tone that greatly reminded Harry of his cousin, "I've heard that Harry Potter is here this year. You're him, right?" Immediately the voices around them hushed as people leaned in, eager to learn whether or not this was their "savior".
"No," Harry replied with a completely straight face. "I'm Vlad Tepes the Fourth. Son of Count Vlad Tepes the Third."
The blonde hesitated, suddenly looking awkward. "Oh, er, sorry," he stuttered. He quickly regained his composure. "Well then, it's honor meet you, Tepes. I am Draco Malfoy, of the Malfoys"
Before Harry could reply a girl with bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth pushed her way to the front of the first years. She glanced between Harry and Draco before here eyes settled on Harry.
"Vlad Tepes the Third?" she questioned. "Isn't that the historical name for Count Dracula?"
Instantaneously all of the first years around them drew back while staring at Harry in shock and not a small amount of fear. Harry, meanwhile, was torn between being pissed at the nosy girl for ruining his private joke and thanking her for telling everything. Hopefully no one would bother him any more, now that they believed him to be the son of Dracula. It was too bad that only children were this gullible.
Unfortunately--or fortunately, depending on how you look at it--McGonagall returned before Harry had a chance to decide how he felt about the bushy haired girl's intervention. "From a line," she told the first years, "And follow me."
They first years dutifully did so and Harry found himself, thankfully, at the back of the line. At least this way no one would try to talk to him. The line was lead back through the entrance hall and into the Great Hall.
The Great Hall was lit by thousands of candles that were floating in midair above five long tables--four for the students and one for the teachers. Above them Harry was able to see a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. For a moment he gaped in shock, believing that the castle had an open ceiling, until he heard someone whisper that it was just bewitched to look like the sky outside.
Grudgingly Harry had to admit that the bewitched ceiling was pretty cool. He still thought that it could be impractical though; for example, what about the students who were afraid of lightning? Wouldn't the ceiling only make their fear worse since it'd look as though there was nothing between the hall and the sky?
Harry's attention back brought back to the ground when McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first years. On top of the stool sat a dirty and frayed pointed wizard's hat. Harry silently sighed. It figured that something as inane as this would be the test. Granted, he still wasn't quite sure what the test was yet.
For a few seconds there was complete silence has everyone stared at the hat, waiting. Then the hat twitched. A rip near the brim opened wide like and mouth and the hat began to sing.
Throughout the long, drawn-out song Harry had to fight to keep from bursting out in laughter. A singing hat. They had a singing hat. He'd thought that magicians pulling rabbits from top hats had been hilarious, but this really took the cake.
The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished it's song. Harry didn't join in. McGonagall then stepped forward with a long roll of parchment--seriously? They were using parchment to write on? Harry desperately hoped that they didn't expect students to use it; having to use quills to write with was bad enough as it was--and instructed them to come up and put on the hat when she called their names.
Harry completely tuned out the sorting and instead allowed his eyes to roam over the teacher's table. There were several relatively normal-looking witches and wizards among them, but a large amount were quite odd as well.
'/A woman with bug-eyed glasses,/' Harry thought with a mental sneer. '/Wonderful. A midget. What does he teach? Considering as it looks as though he's been hit with a shrinking charm, I really hope it's not charms. A man with a turban...Jumpy, too, it appears. Heh, he kind of reminds me of a squirrel. A woman with...Are those vines on here hat? What the hell? ...A man with a hooked nose. Well doesn't he just look like bloody sunshine and daisies. But knowing this world he'll be the resident doctor or something./
'/Let's see, who else...A strange old man with even stranger robes. That must be the headmaster and stalker extraordinaire. Damn, he looks like one creepy old man, especially with those weird twinkling eyes. He really must be a stalker. That's it, if he ever uses one single endearment on me I'm out of this place as quickly as possible. After all, you hear stories about those sorts of sicko teachers on the news all the time./'
Harry was so deep into his musing that he didn't hear his name the first time it was called. People began to whisper and look around, as if wondering if he was missing.
"/Potter/, Harry!" McGonagall called a little louder. She was staring straight at Harry.
The young wizard blinked in surprise and then shrugged. Nonplussed, he walked up to the stool, sat down, and placed the hat onto his head. His last his thought before his view of the Great Hall disappeared completely was, '/I hope none of the kids before me had lice./'
"/I don't have lice,/" a voice said dryly in his mind. For a moment Harry wondered if he'd finally snapped and gone insane before he remembered the hat on his head was a talking hat.
'/...Right,/' Harry replied instead. '/But how can you be sure. You can't, erm, look inside yourself, right?/'
The hat paused, considering Harry's words. "/True, but I think I'd notice if bugs were crawling all over me./"
'/Feel? You can feel, as in physically? Do you have nerve endings or something? 'Cause otherwise there's no way for yo--/'
"/Alright, alright,/" the sorting hat interrupted grouchily. "/Let's just get to the sorting instead of debating my state of existence, shall we? Now let's see...Hmm...You've got quite an, er, interesting mind. I'm not entirely sure where to put you.../
"/Ravenclaw is entirely out of the picture as you have no interest in the pursuit of knowledge. You're not Gryffindor either. Though you can be quite brave, it's only when it suits you. You also wouldn't fit in Slytherin as you prefer bluntness to being wily and have no real ambition beyond survival. As for Hufflepuff, well, I shudder to see you in the house of those who are honest and patient. You will doubtless terrify all the younger years, piss off the older ones, and cause no small amount of chaos/
"/...Unfortunately, however, being a hard worker is the only quality that you have in spades and none of the other houses would fit you at all. I-- I hate to say this, and most certainly fear the repercussions, but it would seem there is only one house in which I can place you. Better be/ HUFFLEPUFF!"
The hat shouted the last word to the entire hall. Harry took off the rather annoying hat and strode confidently over to the cheering Hufflepuff table while quietly pondering the hat's words. Chaos, hmm? Well he certainly didn't mind chaos.
Harry almost immediately noticed that several people were reaching out to try to shake his hand as he walked by. Harry skirted around them all and took a seat at the very end of the table. Honestly, what was it with these people? Boy-Who-Lived or not, he was still just an eleven year old kid.
As soon as the sorting had finished Albus Dumbledore got to his feet. He beamed down at the students, his arms opened wide, as if nothing could have please him more than to see them all. This, frankly, was quite creepy. He was an old man, after all, and they were a bunch of kids.
"Welcome!" said Dumbledore. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts. Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"
He sat back down and everybody clapped and cheered. Harry just stared, openmouthed. This was their headmaster? Not only was he creepy but he was completely insane! Not that that was out of the ordinary in this world, apparently.
Harry was almost beginning to wish that he'd run away from the Dursleys at the first sight of that weird letter.
When Harry looked back down at the table, he found himself once again surprised: The dishes were now piled with food. When had that happened? He was really going to need to get used to this magic stuff before all these surprises gave him a heart attack. Did this school have no concern for its so-called "muggle-born" students?
Finally Harry just shrugged and began to pile his plate with food. There was no use getting upset over things and if there was one thing that Harry had always been really good at, it was adapting. Or at least, adapting when he felt like adapting.
To Harry's great annoyance the people around him immediately began to try to talk to him. He'd have thought that him choosing a seat at the end of the table would have been enough of a hint that he didn't want to socialize, but apparently not.
"Didn't you say that your name was Vlad Tepes the Fourth before?" the first year girl across from him asked in confusion. The older students around them looked on curiously, clearly recognizing the name.
Harry had to repressed a vicious smirk; now here was the perfect opportunity to get all these children off his back. The young wizard straightened up in the seat and began to eat somewhat pompously, like he'd once seen in a movie.
"That's because it is my name," Harry replied seriously. "Didn't you know? I was adopted into the Tepes family."
The Hufflepuffs around him gulped and glanced at each other nervously. Harry only just barely stopped himself from snickering. Suckers.
"But-- but, you--" an older student stuttered. Harry turned his flat gaze on him and the boy began to fidget. "I mean--...Vampires...You're not...?"
Harry smirked, but not widely enough to show his canine teeth. Keeping them guessing would be so much more amusing--for him. Offhandedly Harry wondered how long he could keep this charade up before they all realized that he was bluffing. They'd probably be pretty pissed when they found out too.
Harry would have continued tormenting his peers had he not caught sight of someone walking by their table. Or rather, floating by. A tic developed in his eye once more and Harry turned his gaze back to his meal.
Ghosts. They had ghosts here. This time he wasn't going to even comment.
Once he finally got the other Hufflepuffs to leave him alone, Harry allowed his eyes to sweep over the Great Hall. Eventually they landed on the teachers' table, where the professors were amiably chatting amongst themselves.
Then something happened quite suddenly--a sharp, hot pain shot across the scar on his forehead. Harry flinched and then rubbed his forehead. Damn, all this noise was starting to give him a headache.
At last, when the desserts had disappeared from the table, Professor Dumbledore got to his feet again. The entire hall fell silent and the older man began a long speech about all the rules of the school, which Harry then promptly ignored. The young wizard's eyes narrowed, however, when the headmaster mentioned that the third-floor corridor was restricted to "everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death". He didn't doubt for a moment that this was true; leave it to this wacky school to have something that could kill people within its walls. Harry made a mental note to avoid that corridor at all costs.
"And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!" cried Dumbledore. Harry noticed that the other teachers' smiled had become rather fixed and he once again felt foreboding well up within him.
Just what had he gotten himself into?
A/N: Eh, I got this out quicker than I'd expected. But then, I'm having a lot of fun writing this story since I'm basically giving my sarcastic side free reign in writing it. Thanks for all the review for the last chapter! It was interesting to read your thoughts on the different houses. In the end I chose Hufflepuff for the reasons that the hat mentioned--particularly because it'll cause the most chaos. It seemed as though most of you agreed with a Hufflepuff as well though.
For those of you who believed that Harry would have done well in Ravenclaw, let me just say that I agree with you. The problem is that, while Harry is intelligent, he has no real interest in actively seeking knowledge. He'll do so if he feels like it, but other than that he could care less. That's why his grades aren't all that great, but aren’t horrible either, although that stems more from him just not giving a damn about what others think.
And if you haven't noticed yet, why yes, I am going to be using this story to pick at the HP canon's many, many plot holes. The giant squid is just one example of this (seriously, that doesn't whole situation make any sense even if you add magic into the equation). As I'm been writing this story I've been using the HP book as a reference and this has caused me to come to one unavoidable conclusion: HP is riddled with plot holes. I mean, I already knew that there were a ton, but I'm literally finding different stuff in every. Single. Chapter. It's sad, really.
Oh, and one last thing: Which canon characters do you think would get along with this Harry? Ron and Hermione are just about completely out of the picture because I still can't understand how they could be friends with the canon Harry, let alone this more cynical version.
Please review to give me feedback!
Rant: One thing that's always bothered me is the part of canon when, during the feast Harry's scar hurts and then Harry immediately suspects that Snape had something to do with it. Seriously? Yes, he had been looking into Snape's eyes at the time, but magical world or not, that not realistically going to be your first thought. You'd probably think that it was a headache or a muscle twinge or something, unless it was reoccurring. Instantly suspecting that someone's causing it is like suspecting that someone has a voodoo doll of you every time you get a cramp. Completely and utterly fucking unrealistic.