Author: Shadow Rebirth
Warnings: language, adult themes, spoilers
Word Count: 3,467
First Written: July 14, 2008
Last Edited: July 17, 2008
Posted: July 17, 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
Squibs, Brooms, and Midgets
Over the next few days Harry's mood slowly deteriorated more and more. Anyone would have been the same in his situation, and he didn't have much patience to begin with.
"The one where glasses."
"Did you see his face?"
"Did you see his scar?"
Harry really was at his wits end and was beginning to regret his decision to come here with every passing moment. The only upside was that no one ever approached him directly--it seemed that word about him having been adopted by Dracula had gotten around. Most of the upperclassmen didn't believe this, of course, but it terrified most of the younger years.
Harry also quickly found himself annoyed with the school itself. There were over a hundred and forty staircases and Hogwarts. One hundred and forty! And they moved around, so it was nearly impossible to remember where anything way. The worst part, however, was that they didn't give the new students any maps or anything. The school was like a bloody maze, they didn't give them maps, and yet they still expected all of them to be on time? These people truly were insane!
The classes, at least, were somewhat interesting. He still didn't see the point in transfiguring a match into a needle though, and no one seemed to have an answer for him beyond, "we have to start small". Honestly, if they were going to teach them stuff like that, the least they could do was explain properly.
Plus, the small amount of classes struck Harry as strange. What about math, science, geography, and other such subjects? When were they going to learn how to write better--they were only eleven after all--and other such basic things that were taught in Muggle secondary schools. They weren't even going to be taught about wizarding culture or laws for God's sake! They were just expected to pick it up as they went!
Harry didn't even know what wizarding children were taught before they came to Hogwarts. Were they even taught? Considering that the wizarding world seemed to be stuck in the fifteenth century, Harry wouldn't be surprised if they were all home schooled in only the basics.
Lunatics, the lot of them.
Wednesday was easily the most interesting day for Harry. This was because Hufflepuffs had Double Potions with the Ravenclaws, first thing in the morning. He half dread going and half was eager to go because Snape, the potions professor, had been throwing nasty glares his way the whole week. Harry wasn't sure what he'd done to the man, but then he didn't remember most of what he did to people.
When Harry was making his way down to the dungeons--dungeons? Why did they have dungeons in a school? Castle or not, it had apparently been built to be a school, so their existence didn't make sense--he ran into Hagrid. The massive man beamed down at him.
"'ello Harry," Hagrid greeted. "How's your week been so far?"
"Er, fine," Harry replied while trying to edge around the large man. He didn't seem to notice.
"By the way, where's Hedwig; I 'aven't seen her round here," Hagrid questioned. Harry gulped.
Contrary to popular belief, Harry wasn't a heartless bastard. He just generally didn't give a damn about what people thought about him, which caused him to come off as brusque and ruthless. Hagrid, however, had been nothing but kind to him despite his attitude and Harry wasn't entirely sure how he would react if he learnt the owl's...fate.
Plus he didn't want an enraged giant of a man chasing after him--he probably wouldn't survive.
"She, uh, flew off," Harry answered nervously, desperately hoping that Hagrid would believe him.
Hagrid's brow furrowed in confusion. "Flew off? But aren't owls trained not to-- Harry? Harry? Where'd you go?"
Far off down the hall Harry let out a relived sigh. Good, he'd managed to distract he groundskeeper enough to slip away. He'd have to be careful to not run into the man again.
Once Harry got to the potions classroom he quickly chose a seat in the back and waited for the lesson to being. Snape entered the room at the very second that the class was to begin. His black robes billowed around him as he walked, and couple with his hooked nose, greasy hair, and swallow skin, it caused him to greatly resemble a vampire. Harry wondered if he could get the professor to teach him how to do that; it would solidify his identity as Vlad Tepes.
Snape, like most other teachers, started the class by taking roll call. When he reached Harry's name he paused and a cruel smirk crossed his face before disappearing as if it'd never been.
"Ah, yes," he said softly, "Harry Potter. Our new--celebrity."
Harry twitched. '/Yes,/' he thought, '/But only so long as you people fucking make me one!/' On the outside however he only stared coldly at the dark man. What kind of a professor said a childish thing like that?
Snape moved on with the roll call and then went into a lengthy speech about how much better potions was than the rest of the classes. When the man went on about "foolish wand-waving" Harry briefly wondered whether or not he was squib.
"Potter!" Snape said suddenly. "What would I get if I added powered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood."
Harry stared blankly at his professor. "I have no idea."
Snape's lips curled into a sneer as if he'd just won some great victory. "Tut, tut--fame clearly isn't everything."
Well duh/, Harry wanted to point out to him. Fame was just people knowing who you were. How could that affect what /you knew?
"Let's try again. Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"
Once again Harry stared at Snape. He couldn't be serious about this could he? Whatever Harry had done to the man, it surely couldn't have been bad enough for him to be vindictive like this, could it?
"An Apothecary?" Harry answered, this time taking a wild stab at the question. This was a potions class after all, and most of the ingredients came from the Apothecary.
Snape snarled angrily. "5 points from Hufflepuff for your cheek, Potter!" he snapped.
Harry twitched again. What. The. Hell. All he'd done was answer the damn question!
"One last question," Snape sneered. "What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?"
"I don't know," Harry bit out between ground teeth. This man was a complete and utter bastard! How the hell had he ever become a teacher?!
"Thought you wouldn't open a book before coming, eh, Potter?"
"Why no, /Professor/," Harry finally snapped. "I'd been under the impression that I'd be learning from /teachers/, not books."
Snape positively glowered at him. At that moment Harry knew that the man would make his life miserable whenever he could. He knew that there was no way that he'd be learning much of anything in this class, and that he'd probably fail regardless of his skill.
Mentally Harry shrugged. He didn't see what was so great about potions anyway.
At that point Harry had two choices. One, he could walk out of the class right then and there and save himself the trouble of dealing with Snape. Or, two, he could stay in the class and have the time of his life tormenting Snape. As much as he'd love to do the latter, doing so would loose him a lot of points for Hufflepuff house. And while he didn't really care about the points, the rest of his peers did and Harry wanted them to leave him alone, not despise him and booby-trap his bed at night.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't realistically possible for him to spend his time annoying Snape. Harry released a sad sigh and then began to gather up his things from his desk.
Snape, meanwhile had turned beat red from anger. "Potter!" he spluttered. "Just where do you think you're going?!"
"To the library," Harry replied calmly. He shifted his book bag onto his shoulder and began to walk out of the class. "I have an essay to finish for Charms." Alright, that part was a lie, but it wasn't like anyone would know any better.
Harry walked out of the potions classroom without looking back. He left a fuming Snape and a class full of shocked first years behind.
Following his walk-out on his first potions class Harry proceeded to ditch all of the following potion lessons. And while this pissed off Snape, technically there were no rules about being required to attend classes, so the professor couldn't take points from him. Harry started to use his potions period to either explore the castle or just lounge around.
The second Thursday of the year brought something that Harry was not looking forward to. He didn't care what other people said about it, flying was not something that he wanted to partake in.
"Flying. On bloody brooms," Harry grumbled to himself as he stood with all of the other first year Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws on a smooth, flat lawn opposite the grounds of the forbidden forest. "Doesn't that sound like fun. 'Oh, yes, let's fly several hundred feet above the ground with only a thin stick of enchanted wood between us and certain death. It'll be such /fun!/' Fucking /brilliant/."
There was a circle of space around Harry, half from his mood, half from his "reputation", but the muggleborns who were close enough to here his grumblings turned slightly green. At least they, the sane ones, were able to see how utterly bloody stupid this "sport" was. Next thing you knew they'd have flying carpets too.
Plus, the fact that some Gryffindor had apparently broken his arm during a flying lesson that morning wasn't making anyone more confident.
Eventually the flying instructor, Madam Hooch, arrived. She surveyed them all with disturbing yellow eyes. Harry was beginning to wonder if everyone in this damn world had strangely colored eyes.
"Well, what are you all waiting for?" she barked. "Everyone stand by a broomstick. Come on, hurry up."
Harry glanced down at the broom lying on the ground before him. It was old and some of the twigs stuck out at odd angles. So reassuring. Harry wanted to go dig up the wizard who'd first come up with the idea of flying and shake him violently while asking what the hell was wrong with him.
On top of the danger there was also the innuendo involved with riding around on a broom. There was only one stick that he wanted between his legs, thank you very much.
"Stick out your right hand over you broom and say 'Up!'" Madam Hooch instructed from up front.
"UP!" everyone shouted. Harry couldn't help but snicker at the sight; they all sounded like a bunch of retards.
"Up," Harry repeated unenthusiastically. The broom didn't even twitch, for which he was quite glad. As a matter of fact, Harry was beginning to wonder what he was even doing there. Why hadn't he just ditched?
Harry halfheartedly attempted to get his broom to rise once more. When it didn't he shrugged, hoisted the broom onto his shoulder, and began to walk off.
"Mr. Potter!" Madam Hooch called. "What are you doing?"
"This broom's defective," Harry called over his shoulder without stopping. "I'm going to the broom shed to get another one."
Harry ignored Hooch's calls to come back as he continued on his way. Of course he wasn't actually going to get another broom, but now they couldn't say that he hadn't at least tried to come up with an excuse for his absence.
After dropping off the broom Harry headed back inside and began to make his towards the Hufflepuff common room for a much deserved--in his opinion--nap. He barely even made it past the first floor however when he ran into Draco Malfoy and the two apparently nameless Slytherins who seemed to shadow his every move like overbearing babysitters.
Harry was momentarily thankful that the Dursley had never gotten him a babysitter.
"You," Malfoy hissed upon spotting him. He glared up at Harry and the dark haired wizard was surprised to find that he was indeed at least an inch taller than Malfoy. That was rare, considering Harry's small size. "You told me that your name is Vlad Tepes the Fourth!"
Harry quickly smoothed any amusement from his face. "That's because it is."
"No, you're Harry Potter!"
"Nope, sorry, I'm not," Harry replied. "I do look scarily like him though, don't I? I wonder if he'd mind if I used his name and fame to get free stuff from Diagon Alley...The fan mail would probably be pretty annoying though."
Speaking of which, why hadn't he ever gotten fan mail? Not that he wanted any, but it seemed strange that he hadn't since he was such a big "celebrity". You'd think that there would be people offering their first born children to him for marriage left and right. Harry shuddered. Thank god that wasn't the case.
Malfoy blinked in surprise. "Er...What? You're not?"
"Nope. The next time you see Harry Potter ask him about this conversation and I'm sure he'll tell you that he doesn't remember it."
"But, but..." Malfoy spluttered. "I-- I don't remember and 'Vlad Tepes' from the Sorting Ceremony!"
"That's because I was at the very end," Harry replied while nodding wisely. "You were probably spacing out from boredom and didn't notice me."
Malfoy scowled at him, but now looked unsure of himself. Harry held back his laughter.
"Remember, ask Harry Potter about this!" Harry reminded the blonde midget while stepping around him and his two goons. He began to whistle a tune he'd heard on TV as he walked away.
Messing with people was always fun, and Harry was going to have one hell of a time pretending to be both Harry Potter and Vlad Tepes around Malfoy. He'd have to keep track out how long it'd take Malfoy to figure out the truth.
Unfortunately it was only a few hours later that Harry saw Malfoy again. This time he was walking through a deserted hallway towards the Great Hall. Malfoy was with his two babysitters again.
"Harry Potter?" Malfoy asked somewhat hesitantly.
Harry titled his head to the side and pasted a confused look on his face. "Yes?"
Once he'd confirmed that he had the "right" person, Malfoy's sneer came back in full force. "I'm Draco Malfoy," he said pompously.
"Great to meet ya, I'm sure," Harry said distractedly. "Now if you'll excuse me, Midget, I need to get going."
Instantly Malfoy went beet red and began spluttering indignantly. "E-excuse me?!"
"What?" Harry asked while giving him a strange look. "You're even shorter than me which is really saying something."
"I-- I-- You...!"
Harry gave the blonde a mock solute and began to walk off, towards the Great Hall. He'd only made it a few feet past him however, when Malfoy suddenly spun around.
"Duel me!" he exclaimed loudly. He was breathing heavily from all of the frustration coursing through him.
Harry paused, surprised. He glanced back over his shoulder while blinking in confusion.
"A wizard's duel," Malfoy continued as he calmed down and recomposed himself. "Wands only--no contact. How about tonight? Around, say, midnight? In the trophy room; that's always unlocked."
Harry stared blankly at the blonde. "Er, right, sure," he said before turning back around and continuing on his way. Like hell he was going to duel anyone; he didn't even know a single curse yet! Plus, if he knew Malfoy, the midget probably wouldn't even show.
Hmm, where was the trophy room anyway?
Before Harry knew that days were flying by and fall was in full swing. He eventually found himself, dare he say it, actually getting used to being around lunatic magicians. It was amusing, at the very least, but often quite creepy as well. Such as the singing suits of armor, for one...
Indeed by the time Halloween rolled around, he was almost starting to enjoy Hogwarts. But then again, that might just be because he got a laugh every time one of the Hufflepuffs jumped around him, and that was happening more and more since he'd recently perfected Snape's patented "billowing cape technique". The man had snarled at him for that and taken points for mocking a teacher. Harry had just smirked.
"Now don't forget that nice wrist movement we've been practicing!" Professor Flitwick squeaked. "Swish and flick, remember, swish and flick."
Harry sighed as various shouts of "/Wingardium Leviosa!/" came from around the classroom. They were all trying to make the feathers before them float, but most were failing horribly. Harry, honestly, couldn't understand why. They'd been shown the wand movements and how to say the incantation, but these kids were completely and utterly butchering the spell!
Harry repressed a second sigh, flicked his wand, and said the incantation /properly/. The feather floated half a foot into the air and then back onto the desk.
"Well done, Mr. Potter!" Flitwick squeaked. "10 points to Hufflepuff for being the first to get this difficult charm!"
"Er, sir, it's really not that hard," Harry replied expressionlessly. "It's just that most people have difficulty pronouncing the spell. Why aren't students here taught Latin so that they can perform spells better?"
Flitwick froze, surprised. "Er, well, I'm not entirely sure why," the diminutive professor answered honestly. "Hmm, that’s an interesting idea though..." He wandered back to his desk while mumbling to himself
The rest of the day passed by pretty quickly and before Harry knew it he was on his way to the Great Hall for the Halloween feast. Before he managed to make it there however, he was intercepted by a bushy haired first year girl.
"I heard that you managed to perform the levitation charm!" the girl said. She was practically bouncing up and down from excitement. "I did too. How'd you like to go over notes later on how to--"
"Woah, woah, woah," Harry said, quickly stopping the girl. She was a Ravenclaw, he noted from the badge on her robes. "Go over notes? What the hell are you talking about?"
The girl blinked. "Well, go over the notes to see how they compare. To see how we both performed the complicated spell."
Harry rubbed one of his temples as he felt annoyance begin to course through him. "It's not a complicated spell," he bit out fro the second time that day. "It's actually really easy, as you should know. You just pronounce the incantation and wave your wand. It's literally just mimicking the teacher. The only reason so many people have trouble with it is because they have no idea how to pronounce Latin."
The Ravenclaw's mouth opened and closed soundlessly several times as she gaped at Harry at shock. Yeah, Harry was good at leaving people speechless, and he was proud of that ability. The dark haired wizard left the girl there in the middle of the corridor and continued on to the feast.
To Harry's great relief his peers had long since learned that he preferred to be left alone. In fact he had a rather large space between him and the rest of the Hufflepuffs at the table in the Great Hall. The Gryffindors and Slytherins thought this was strange. The Ravenclaws, who often had classes with the Hufflepuffs, knew better.
The Halloween feast passed by just as normally as all other meals. Or at least it did until Professor Quirrel came sprinting into the hall, his turban askew and terror on his face. Everyone, Harry included, stared as he reached Professor Dumbledore's chair, slumped again the table, and gasped, "Troll--in the dungeons--thought you ought to know." He then sank to the floor in a dead faint.
After a moment several purple firecrackers exploded in the air, bringing silence back to the room. "Prefects," Dumbledore rumbled, "Lead your Houses back to the dormitories immediately!"
Harry once again found himself staring dumbly at Dumbledore. He wasn't entirely positive, but he thought that the Slytherin dorms were in the dungeons. Which was where the troll supposedly was. Judging from Snape's rolling eyes, this had occurred to the man as well.
Harry shrugged his shoulders and followed the rest of the Hufflepuffs out of the Great Hall. In his opinion it'd be much smarter for all of the students to stay in one place, where they could be safely guarded, but who was he to argue with the "greatest wizard of the age".
And if someone got hurt because of the old man's stupidity, well, that was his problem, wasn't it.
A/N: Oops. I think I just killed Hedwig in this chapter. Oh well. And yes, I'm making Malfoy short and I don't give a damn about whether or not it's canon. You see that note in the summary that says this story is AU? That means that I can do what ever the hell I want. ...Hmm, I wonder what would happen if I made Ron half centaur...
Anyways, thanks for all the reviews for the last chapter. They've given me a lot to consider on who Harry will eventually get along with, and some of those people will appear in the next chapter. He'll never have any close friends though, particularly because just about everything Harry does--from not picking on Snape to detesting brooms--is geared toward survival. Just about every action he makes will have that kind of a motive backing it. And yeah, that does basically make him a selfish bastard personality wise, but it makes sense considering how he was brought up.
Oh, and this is completely random, but have any of you ever heard the song "Hero" by Pop Evil? The lyrics fit Harry so perfectly it's kind of creepy. Or at least they fit an Independent!Harry talking to Dumbledore. "Actions and Motives" by Ten Years is kind of like that too...Look up the lyrics and you'll see what I mean.
And, lastly, I unfortunately will be away for a week and won't be able to update this fic during that time. I'll try to update as soon as I get back though. Please review.
Rant #2: I'm sure that we've all noticed quite a few inconsistencies in the HP canon. One that stands out in my mind is how much the pureblood wizards know about the muggle world.
In the beginning of the first book there is a scene before the flying lesson where Malfoy is telling stories that "always seemed to end with him being chased by muggle helicopters". He knows that much--and has no problem knowing it--then why does he look down upon knowing even the slightest thing about muggles later on in the books? How is it that Malfoy can know about muggle helicopters, but Mr. Weasley doesn't even understand what a rubber duck is? It just doesn't match up.
Also, in the very beginning of the first HP book, Rowling mentions how Harry often saw and was greeted by witches and wizards on the streets. This makes it seem that wizards are often in contact with the muggle world (Which would make sense, as there's no way to avoid it completely. Since Hogsmeade is apparently the only fully wizarding settlement in Britain, then the thousands of other wizards live hidden in the muggle world.), but in later books wizards are portrayed as knowing nothing about the muggle world, not even how they dress. Again, that doesn't match up, especially since wizards do live in close proximity to muggles, and thus would at least see how they dress!