'"I don't know how to tell you this, mate, but you're a homicidal, insane teenager with magical powers that make Dumbledore jealous." - Seamus Finnigan.' In which Harry's mental state is discussed....
A Pointless Story in Four Parts
/Part the First - In Which Harry's Mental State Is Discussed/
Introduction - The Media Obsession With Hogwarts' Asylum Status
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had been called many, many things in her thousand plus years of existence, some names used more often than others.
However, only three times had it been referred to as an asylum for the mentally unstable (yes, in that exact wording).
The first time, right after Albus Dumbledore first become Headmaster, he instituted the short-lived rule of always having to wear one's socks over one's shoes. This resulted in students and professors alike carrying several pairs of socks with them in case of a frequent need to change into a clean pair. Thankfully, the complaints of cruelty, overwork and peg costs from the house-elves who had to clean the socks quickly won though, and the rule was abolished. This was not, however, abolished in time to avoid media coverage, and to this day Albus Dumbledore is suspected of insanity and sock obsession.
The second time Hogwarts was deemed an asylum for the mentally unstable was little known, and had been back when Lily Evans had been in her second year and therefore still adjusting to the magical world. The rather outlandish prank plans of James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew (in particular the one involving a blue chicken, the one that cannot be discussed in a public forum or in front of anyone not aged between 12 and 37, and the one that left Lily glowing radioactive green for six weeks) were the last straw for poor Lily, who ranted for two hours straight before giving all four of them pink hair and foot long noses and going to bed. Again, this gained the attention of the media.
The third time had been just last week.
Somehow - the sixth year Gryffindor boys hadn't yet worked out how - but somehow, someone had overheard a conversation between the five of them concerning their best kept secret - Harry Potter's mental state.
Of course, since Cornelius Fudge and more publicly Rita Skeeter had denounced Harry's sanity and credulity, people had been speculating that the Boy Who Lived was as mad as a hatter, but it was one thing for them to say that, and another thing entirely for Dean Thomas to declare that Harry was madder than the hatter and his talking octopus as well. (That little comment might have called Dean's own sanity into question if, like Harry, he was constantly in the public eye. Luckily for Dean, he wasn't.)
The controversial conversation was one of a great many that Harry and his dorm mates held on a regular basis. The five of them were the only people in the entire world who actually knew the truth about Harry's sanity...
Hermione's Encounter - Make No Assumptions
Hermione Granger had a tendency to completely ignore rules when it suited her. And the rules about running unannounced into the boys' dorms were rules she found it suited her down to the ground to pretend didn't exist (as any teenage girl whose best friends were both male and attractive is inclined to do).
As such, she hurried in on a Monday morning to tell the boys to get moving so they had time to eat breakfast before heading to class, and found herself laying eyes on quite possibly the strangest scene she had ever witnessed...and when one considered Hermione's track record, its obvious how very strange this scene must have been.
All five boys were on Harry's bed. Harry, as far as she could see, was lying down. Dean was sitting on his legs. Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom were holding his arms down to the mattress, and Seamus Finnigan was straddling Harry's waist.
Had Hermione been the sort of person to look once and make assumptions (and then run screaming about being scarred for life), she would have gotten a very wrong idea about the activities within the room.
However, Hermione was not that sort of person, and much preferred to analyse a situation before drawing conclusions. As such, she stood in the doorway and stared in abject shock.
It soon became apparent that no, the boys were not engaging in some kinky before-class fun. In fact, as far as Hermione could tell, they weren't finding their chosen tasks especially fun at all.
Finally finding her voice, she cleared her throat, at the same time regretting that she hadn't been able to hear whatever it was that Seamus seemed to have been telling Harry.
The boys all looked over and saw her. They stared for a few seconds, frozen in shock, before flinging themselves off Harry and onto the floor.
Except for Seamus.
Ginny's Confusion - Don't Worry, There is An Explanation For The Last Section's Activities (But This Isn't It)
It was as well known fact at Hogwarts that the sixth year Gryffindors were a tight-knit secret keeping group, and Ginny Weasley was more aware of this fact than anyone else.
This was because, as Hermione's closest female friend, Ron's sister and Harry's partner-in-crime, Ginny was in on the majority of secrets that her older housemates kept.
On this particular morning Ginny was sitting in the Common Room with Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil waiting from Hermione to return from her bi-weekly task of rousing the boys, who the girls were almost certain were allergic to mornings.
The fact was, Ginny had to admit; there were still some aspects of the older students' lives and secrets that she wasn't in on. This didn't actually bother her, though. She understood that some things you just had to be there for, and some things couldn't be discussed.
However, Ginny was just about to discover something that she was positive wasn't possible: That the boys were keeping something from the girls.
She didn't even have the luck to know what that something actually was.
Ron, Dean and Neville entered the Common Room, an utterly baffled looking Hermione on their heels.
"Are you going to explain? I don't get it, what the hell were you all doing? Are Harry and Seamus even coming down? What the fuck is going on?"
All three girls, who had been watching anyway, were more than a little shocked as Hermione swore. As Prefect and prospective (not to mention probable) Head Girl, and also as a polite individual, Hermione was heavily against swearing. And for her to do so, especially so early in the morning...well, it was unheard of.
The boys were just as astounded as the girls, and found themselves unable to answer.
Thankfully for Hermione, Seamus and Harry appeared at the top of the stairs.
"Don't worry, Hermione," the blond boy assured her. "We'll explain everything to you later...after lunch, maybe?"
Hermione nodded her reluctant acquiescence. "Very well. But I expect a full explanation."
"All right," Harry allowed, an odd look in his eyes. "Full explanation, for you, Lav and Parv. Sorry Gin, we can't let you in on this one."
"That's fine, Harry," she told him. "I've got class when you lot have your free anyway."
Harry nodded and they all stood to head for breakfast.
Ginny was bringing up the rear behind Harry and Dean.
"Are you up for breakfast and class, Har?"
The other boy shrugged. "Hopefully. If not, we'll find out soon. We've got Potions, and you know Snape and Malfoy. If I lose it, well, they'll be the first to find out."
Ginny frowned in confusion. What on Earth were they talking about?
Blaise's Musing - Not Everyone Is As Oblivious As The Gryffindor Girls
Breakfast had gone relatively smoothly (at least, no one had died or thrown food), and the Gryffindors and Slytherins were now sitting in Snape's oh so wonderful dungeon classroom.
Blaise Zabini found himself carefully watching the Gryffindor boys - something didn't seem right.
It didn't take him too long to spot it.
He had been fairly sure for quite some time now that Harry Potter was, to put it nicely, somewhat mentally unstable. This was not an opinion formed after reading an article by Rita Skeeter; in fact, Blaise had made his decision that Harry was insane before Skeeter even considered it a possibility.
It was doubtful that anyone could live Harry's life and come out of it mentally unscathed, and Harry hadn't. It wasn't an obvious thing, and he was not what some people would call insane.
He was, however, definitely unstable. But somehow, the boys he shared a dorm with were keeping him from actually causing any harm that could get him a) expelled, b) arrested or c) killed. This was a good thing.
But today, as Blaise had immediately noticed, the boys had not been able to complete whatever it was they did, and Blaise could tell by the look in Harry's eyes that anyone who got on the wrong side of him today would definitely come off the worst for it.
It just had to be a Monday, didn't it? Double Potions, first thing. If Draco managed to control his impulses to torment the Gryffindors, then Pansy probably wouldn't, and even if all the Slytherins left them alone, Snape could be counted on to make life miserable for each and every member of Gryffindor House at any given moment - especially when it came to this particular class.
Blaise was aware that he should really do something about this. He had several options. He could, quite easily, draw Snape's attention to himself for a good portion of the lesson by completely decimating his potion for the day. But of course, Longbottom would probably manage to do the same thing, and given his track record, he would do it in a more spectacular method.
And of course, when Snape started in on Longbottom for that, Harry would lose it.
Blaise sighed. Well, he would just have to wing it and hope that nothing too bad happened.
Severus's Class - In Which Explosions Will Probably Occur
Severus Snape was not as stupid or oblivious as his students believed, and the moment the Gryffindors walked into his classroom he knew, just knew that something was wrong.
It only took a few minutes of observation to end at the same conclusions that Blaise had only moments before.
He half considered dismissing the class and retreating to his office to hide until the day was over. However, he knew perfectly well that Albus Dumbledore, as the world champion stickybeak and meddler, would arrive not long after to 'politely ask' (read; demand to know) why he had decided not to teach a class for the first time in his teaching career.
No, that course of action would lead to nothing but trouble.
Instead, Severus quickly assigned the class to brew a potion he knew they all (even Longbottom) could, and sat behind his desk, attempting to grade essays written by the first year Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws.
Every few minutes, however, he glanced up to make sure that nothing was going terribly wrong, and that none of the students were risking Potter's...wrath.
Doing so, he soon realised that he was not the only one to be keeping an eye on proceedings.
Blaise Zabini was making his potion rather slowly, and was constantly looking at both his Slytherin housemates and the Gryffindor boys. No, Severus corrected himself; Blaise was watching only two of the Gryffindor boys - Potter and Longbottom.
Luckily for all, no one's potion exploded, and the Slytherins and Gryffindors seemed to be ignoring the fact of each other's existence.
Relieved, Severus dismissed them ten minutes early.
Albus's Lunch - Could it Be That There is Something Our Dear Headmaster is Not Aware of?
Albus Dumbledore was quite secure in the knowledge that he knew nearly everything that happened within his school, and he also knew the habits of his teaching staff.
He was, therefore, quite shocked when the Gryffindor and Slytherin sixth years were the first to enter the Great Hall for lunch that Monday morning, when he knew for a fact that they had just had Double Potions with Severus Snape, who was quite infamous for never letting a class out early unless it was absolutely necessary.
On that note, Albus inspected the students carefully. Not only were there no signs of injury or even stress, but also every single student in the class was there.
Albus was tempted to run down to the dungeons to make sure that Severus was still alive and well. He had never willingly dismissed his class early in his entire teaching career, let alone this class, which contained his two least favourite students.
And they had entered the Hall ten minutes before the end of class, too! That was at least twelve minutes earlier than normal.
Keeping all this in mind, Albus began a more thorough examination of the class, particularly the Gryffindor half of it.
Despite that, the first thing he noticed was the way Blaise Zabini was eyeing the Gryffindors.
Albus shifted his gaze to follow the Slytherin's, wondering what at the Gryffindor Table was occupying the boy's attention so.
At first glance, everything seemed normal.
After a few moments, it remained so.
Hermione Granger, he realised, kept glancing oddly at the boys. Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil were as well, but it was Hermione's glances that intrigued the Headmaster. Especially as the majority of them landed on her best friend, Harry Potter.
The boys, too, were keeping an eye on Harry. Mostly, Albus noticed, it was Seamus Finnigan who was looking at Harry.
At first, Albus expected Harry to be oblivious to the way his friends were watching him. However, he soon realised that it wasn't so.
Harry was completely aware that his housemates were keeping an eye on him, and, Albus realised with a start, he was also aware of Blaise's scrutiny.
And yet he did nothing about it. This quite confused Albus, who normally would have expected the boy to, at the very least, tell his friends to stop worrying about him and quit staring.
Albus, who normally knew what was going on, had to admit that these events were leaving him utterly baffled.