Harry is welcomed to the 'Puffs, A staff meeting goes wrong, Harry drops divination, Harry finds the Room of Requirements and an evening stroll with Luna
A/N: I own none of this. I do not own Harry Potter or any rights to his image or personality. I do not own the moon or the stars. I do not own human genders, other than my own personal original factory equipment. Honest. Nope, not me. I most certainly do not own the rights to a billion dollar literary work.
Harry Potter and the Distaff Side
Following the Welcoming feast Harry was in the Hufflepuff dorms, unpacking. This time, everything was new, having arrived in this reality with only the clothing on his back and his wand. Orestes had helped him pick out the first (other than school uniforms)new clothing he had ever owned. When they were purchasing their books for school, Harry had made sure to quietly pick up a few of the books Orestes had been staring at longingly. His twin had given him access to the family trust, and he had used it, rationalizing that he would have done the same for her.
As he was putting the last of his things away, the door opened and a pair of his dorm mates arrived. The Tall blond approached and stuck out his hand.
"Stu Bones. Good to meet you Harry. That ginger mass of freckles is Haden Abbott."
Harry shook his hand, and then reached out to do the same with Abbott. "I guess this is pretty weird isn't it?"
"What? That an identical twin brother of the Girl who Lived is living in our dorm?" Haden Abbott looked bored. "Nah, happens all the time. Now if you were the identical twin brother of Thubani Malfoy, we might have problems with it."
"Though Haden might have to think twice before setting up his usual shrine to all things Harri this year." Bones laughed.
"It's just a couple of posters of her playing Quidditch." Haden protested. "Anyway, we were sent up here to get you. You need to get a proper welcome to the House."
"I don't know if I'd be the best person in a social situation."
Bones put his hand on Harry's shoulder. "Look mate, I can't even imagine what you've been through. When I think about the amount of crap Harri was put through last year, you must have been through something similar. Look, when you got here, you could have turned and run, but you waded into a fight that wasn't yours and saved two of ours. Harri and Cecelia are alive because of you."
"Cecelia wasn't just from Hogwarts; she was a 'Puff. We owe you Harry. 'Puffs pay their debts." He smiled. "Besides, a lot of the girls down there think you're cute."
"But we'll protect your virtue." Haden added. "Why should you get all the attention?"
"Blanch, I must protest."
The headmistress looked up from the paperwork in front of her. "Really Silvia? What might you be protesting this time, pray tell." These staff meetings were usually quite pointless, especially when Silvia and Marcus got into heated discussions over Harri Potter. Those heated discussions usually started with Silvia Snape saying "Blanch, I must protest."
"The attention you are willing to give to this supposedly male Potter."
"What would you have me do Silvia? Cast him loose to the world? He, at great risk to himself, brought two of our students back from a death trap. The Goblins accept him as a Potter. Young Harri accepts him as a Potter. He is most certainly a young man of significant power, his place is here."
"His being here will focus the Dark Lady's attention of Hogwarts." Silvia Snape snapped. "Her anger at a mere boy interfering with her duel with Harriett Potter is fearsome to behold."
"Oh yes." A booming voice came from the far side of the Staff lounge. "After all she has left us so entirely alone before, it's not like she had her agents kidnap a pair of our student is it? Really Silvia, your hatred of all things Potter is getting to be tiresome."
The Potions Mistress turned to face the Herbology Master. "When I want your opinion Sprout, I'll give it to you."
"Watch yourself Professor. Annoy the wrong person and certain courtesies extended to colleagues might be withdrawn."
"Save it Blanch. You've allowed her to whine about Miss Potter for 5 years now, and she's started in on Mr. Potter today." The big man leaned forward on the table. "Mr. Potter is a Hufflepuff. Remember that Silvia. Marcus might let you get away with your crap against his Griffs, but trying any of your usual brand of preferential treatment from here on against my 'Puffs and you might cause it to become difficult to find plant based potions ingredients. Imagine how badly impacted your retirement fund might be if you actually had to pay for your ingredients."
Snape drew her self to her full height. "You dare?"
"Gentlemen, Ladies, Silvia has my complete trust."
"Then you're blind Blanch. "Filia Flitwick manipulated a rune cluster and a graph shimmered into existence over the table. "This shows the house point system for last year. If this isn't enough, I have the breakdown for every year since Silvia started here. Amazingly Silvia is responsible for the removal of the majority of all house points from every house except one. Guess which one?" She removed her glasses and cleaned them on the hem of her robes. "By what I am sure is a sheer co-incidence, what ever house is in the lead for the house cup suddenly has a rash of large point reductions, unless of course that house is Slytherin. Silvia is responsible for awarding 53 percent and docks 2 percent of the Slytherin points. I award 34 percent and dock 39 percent of the Ravenclaw points, Phaleon awards 28 percent and docks 31 percent of the Hufflepuff points. Marcus awards 19 percent and docks 43 percent of the Gryffindor points."
"Since Silvia became the head of Slytherin, Hufflepuff hasn't come close in the House Cup. Odd, given the amount of cooperation and school spirit my house has." Phaleon Sprout terminated the rune display. "Ravenclaw has only managed it once, and that was the year when Slytherin was actually caught in their Quidditch cheating scandal. We've asked time and again for you to do something Blanch, you always tell us that Silvia has your confidence and you create another year of cheaters, liars and thieves. Filia and I are sick of it, if you won't do anything about it, we will."
"What are you saying?"
"Aren't you paying attention Silvia? Filia and I spoke at length over the summer. We are going to hold your students to the same standards to which you hold ours. We will be monitoring each and every point addition and subtraction, and if in our view those points were awarded or deducted unfairly, well let's see how well your arrogant children survive without the advantage of your coddling. This is a competition you cannot win, because you couldn't possibly be a bigger bitch to our House members while coddling your own. Simply put, Blanch isn't going to protect you and your blatant favoritism any more, unless she wants to fire several of us... Headmistress?"
"Phaleon, Filia, please. You don't understand the careful grooming that those sorted into Slytherin require."
"As Phaleon said Blanch that is the attitude that has resulted in a Slytherin house that believes cheating to win is perfectly acceptable." Argo Sinistra spoke up. "It wasn't that way in my day. In fact, I specifically recall you getting some personal instruction from a few fifth years when you were caught cheating in your first year Silvia. In my day honor was a cornerstone of the house ethos."
"Since we cannot trust the Headmistress to be fair in this, several of us have decided to match you grade for grade, detention for detention, point for point. If that is what it takes to level the playing field, so be it. These children deserve a level playing field."
With that comment from Filia Flitwick, the staff meeting effectively ended. Blanch Dumbledore was getting the first clue that she was losing control of the situation. Looking back on it later, she would realize that it had all started with the male Potter.
As requested Harry reported to the office of his new Head of House. Hoping that he hadn't managed to get into trouble already, he knocked hesitantly on the door.
Harry entered the office. It was full of plants of every time, including a few roaming vines that inched their way up and down the walls as if they were in search of something.
"Ah, Mr. Potter. As I said last night, welcome to Hufflepuff House. It's a little odd to be welcoming a fifth year to the house. You were in Gryffindor the first time around were you not?"
"Might I ask why the Hat chose Hufflepuff for you this time?"
"The Hat wanted to put me into Slytherin, but I find their values repulsive. It said I would do well in any of the houses. It knew that I didn't want to come into conflict with Harri, and that I doubted I had the drive to do well in Ravenclaw, despite wanting to get to know a Ravenclaw Witch better. The Hat said that I had the loyalty needed to do well in Hufflepuff, and it was the only house I didn't have a reason not to go to."
"So Hufflepuff was your last choice?"
"No Professor, Hufflepuff was the only house I didn't have a good reason not to be in. Not the same thing at all."
The man laughed. "Don't worry Harry, just playing with you. The Hat wanted to put me into Gryffindor, but I couldn't see myself as being as reckless enough to be a Gryff. As I recall you wanted to speak with me about your schedule."
"Yes. I was hoping to drop Divination, and pick up something a bit less 'fuzzy'."
"I believe the Muggle Studies course is still open."
"No offense Professor, but I suspect I could ace the Muggle Studies N.E.W.T. the first day I set foot in Hogwarts. In my home dimension, I've had some disappointing conversations with the Muggle Studies Professor; she thought a spanner was some sort of jewelry. I've also wondered at the wisdom of having a pureblood teach Muggle Studies, the text is more than 60 years out of date, and was simplistic even for then. From what I heard from others raised in the Muggle world, the text and the instructor were completely unaware that Muggles had been to the moon, and that their robots had explored significant portions of the Solar System."
Sprout laughed again. "I know what you mean; I got an O in Muggle Studies myself, with the help of Muggle born friends. Well how about Ancient Runes then?"
"Runes would be good. Thank you Professor. I took a chance and got the text to be on the safe side. Orestes Granger has been helping me catch up over the summer."
A few signatures later, Harry Potter had left Sprouts office. The Professor stood and threw a pinch of flu powder into the fire place. "Prissy Luton"
"Could you tell me what a spanner is?" Sprout asked the Muggle Studies Professor.
"It's an article of Muggle jewelry."
"That's what I thought, but I just had an interview with a Muggle Raised student who told me that it was not in any way jewelry."
"Seriously? I'll have to research that."
Sprout refrained from suggesting that said research could probably be done by asking a few of the many Muggle born students in the castle.
"Miss Thomas." Harry looked up from the remains of his dinner into the dancing brown eyes of Deidre Thomas.
"How's Hogwarts treating you Harry?"
"Getting along, I guess. How about you?"
She smiled again, and crossed her arms under her breasts practically pushing them into his face. "Oh, I'm fine. I was kind of looking forward to getting to know you a bit better Harry."
Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. "Deidre, that can't really happen."
She reached across the table and took hold of his hand. "I think I might be able to convince you otherwise Harry."
He pulled away from her. "Deidre, you know my story. I spent four years in a dorm with a guy named Dean Thomas, crazy for football, crazy for girls."
"Sounds like my kind of guy."
"Yeah, but I know all about him. I know what foods give him gas; I know how hilarious we all found that. I know that he talks in his sleep, calling football games actually. I know that he's a top flight wizard, but has no intention of taking a magical occupation after leaving Hogwarts; he intends to be an artist. But more importantly I know that I accidentally walked in on him and Lavender Brown in the 4thyear bath last year. He had her against the wall, and they were going at it like large naked bunnies. I couldn't look him in the eye for a week, and I never did manage to talk to Lavender again."
"Deidre, in every way that counts, you are Dean Thomas to me. You have his face, you have his attitude, you have his mannerisms, and you have his voice inflections. I will ever be able to look at you without seeing Dean with Lavender and the noises she was making."
"Good with the ladies was he?"
"Oh god yes. Dean was the first of us with a girl friend, the first to touch breasts, the first to have sex. We called him a hound. It was a compliment."
"Well that's the most original rejection I've ever gotten. I can't imagine being male, but you've convinced me." She leaned across the table and kissed him on his cheek. "Your loss." She stood and walked away. Harry forced himself to not stare at her receding rear end, and not to touch his cheek where she had kissed him. He needed to get hold of himself. He couldn't keep reacting this way.
After a bit of exploring, Harry finally found an unused classroom that obviously wasn't routinely used for romantic rendezvous. He stood in the center of the room trying to focus on what he wanted to do.
He had to face facts. The constant looks and whispers were getting to him. It was so much worse than even last year when everyone thought that he had somehow defeated Dumbledore's security and gotten his name into the Goblet of Fire. Then he was stared at and whispered about for being a liar and a cheat. Now they were staring at him and whispering because he was a freak of nature. His every move was analyzed and cataloged in an attempt to figure out what weird thing he was likely to do next. It was getting to him.
Harry had to find a way to blow off some steam. He needed to use his magic in dramatic and destructive ways, and he really wanted to do it in a way that didn't attention to himself. To find that he needed help. At Hogwarts if you wanted help, and you wanted it quietly, there was only one person to call.
"Dobby?" He said experimentally. Was Dobby named Dobby here? Everything else was changed, even Crookshanks was a female named Brunhilda. Should he be calling 'Debby?"
There was a pop and a small house elf was suddenly in the room with him.
"Yes Harriett Potter Miss?" The elf was taken aback when he saw just who had called him. "You is not Harriett Potter Miss. But you is using her magic. But you is not Harriett Potter Miss."
"I'm Harry Potter Dobby. I'm... I'm sort of Harriett's brother."
The elf reached out as if touching the air a few inches from Harry's body. "You magic is almost same as Harriett Potter Miss. You is Harry Potter?"
"Yes I am Dobby." He sat on the floor to put himself eye level with the elf. "I was hoping I could ask a favor of you Dobby."
Dobby started to hop about in an almost demented dance, while tears ran from his eyes. "You is like Harriett Potter Miss, you ask just like she. Wizards never ask elves. Wizards tell. Except for Harriett Potter Miss, and Harriett Potter Miss'es Grangy. What can Dobby do for Harry Potter?"
"I need to find a place where I can practice Defense against the Dark Arts without being seen by others. I need a place to practice, where the noise and destruction won't be noticed."
He half expected the elf's smile to vanish, his ears to droop; he expected him to say it was impossible, or that Dobby would try to find somewhere. What he had not expected was for Dobby to give a little hop of excitement, his ears waggling cheerfully, clapping his hands together.
"Dobby knows the perfect place, sir!" The elf said happily. "Dobby heard of it from the other elves when he came to Hogwarts, Harry Potter sir. It is known by us as the Come and Go Room, Harry Potter sir, or else as the Room of Requirement!"
"Why?"said Harry curiously.
"Because it is a room that a person can only enter," said Dobby seriously, "when they have need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always has what the needer needs. Mr. Filch has found extra cleaning supplies there when he has run short, sir, and -"
"And if you really needed a bathroom," said Harry, suddenly remembering something his Dumbledore had said at the Yule Ball the previous Christmas, "would it fill itself with chamber pots?"
"Dobby expects so, Harry Potter sir," said Dobby, nodding earnestly. "It is a most wonderful room, Harry Potter sir."
"How many people know about it?" said Harry.
"Very few, Harry Potter sir. Mostly peoples stumble across it when they needs it, Harry Potter sir, but often they never finds it again, for they do not know that it is always there waiting to be called into service, Harry Potter sir."
"It sounds brilliant," said Harry, his heart racing. "It sounds perfect, Dobby. Can you tell me where it is and how to use it?"
Okay, said Harry to himself, pausing for a moment to watch Barnabas the Barmy being clubbed to death once again by the members of his All Troll Ballet troop. Dobby said to walk past this bit of wall three times, concentrating hard on what I need.
He did so, turning sharply at the window just past the blank stretch of wall, then at the man-sized vase on its other side. Harry's fists were clenched as he stared ahead of him.
I need somewhere to learn to fight... he thought. Just give me a place to practice... somewhere no one can find me...
A highly polished door had appeared in the wall. Harry reached out, taking hold of the brass handle, and pulled the door open, stepping into a spacious room lit with flickering torches like those that illuminated the dungeons. The walls were lined with bookcases and rather than chairs there were large fabric cushions on the floor. A set of shelves at the far end of the room carried a range of targets and automatons for use in practice duels.
Harry approached the bookshelves and ran his finger along the spines of the large leather-bound tomes. A Compendium of Common Curses and their Counter-Actions... The Dark Arts Outwitted... Self-Defensive Hexes made Easy...
This place was exactly what he needed, both to learn and to work off his frustrations. He closed his eyes and concentrated on having the room activate the dueling targets. Opening his eyes, he drew his wand and began to work off the anger of the last four days.
"Luna!" Harry caught himself before he screeched her name like an idiot on one of Dudley's sitcoms. "I haven't had a chance to speak with you since the train. How are you?"
"Still quite Loony thank you. Now that we've both finished dinner, I was wondering if you'd like to go for a walk around the lake, perhaps we'll see some Slortles."
"That would be nice. Thank you."
Harry had no idea what he was doing, but he stood from the table, and walked with Luna from the Great Hall, very close, but neither touching the other.
It wasn't until they were out in the brisk September evening air that he asked the question. "So what's a 'Slortle'?"
"It's a magical hybrid of a turtle and a slug. They leave the most spectacular slime trails."
"Ah, yes I guess they would." Harry wasn't sure if she was having him on or not. He had to get to know this blonde witch; he needed to earn her trust so that he could find out for sure if the whole 'loony' thing was an act or not.
They strolled for more than an hour, discussing things of no consequence. He told her of growing up not knowing about magic or having friends, she told him of growing up with her loving parents, until her father died in a spell creation accident when Luna was nine. The sun set and the stars burned in the moonless sky.
Luna stopped in the shadow of a close of trees and lightly kissed Harry. Once again, she was all he could think of. He stood stock still as she danced away toward the castle. "See you tomorrow Harry?"
"Yes, certainly. Yes." As she disappeared into the castle he started to hit himself on the head. Stupid stupid stupid stupid.