Categories > Books > Harry Potter > I, Alone
Chapter 3– Start Of Term
Daphne Greengrass, along with everyone else within the great hall of Hogwarts, stared in shocked silence as The-Boy-Who-Lived reached up with an almost apologetic smile and removed the Sorting Hat from his head as he slipped off of the stool. So it was him atop the rail car, she thought to herself as Harry handed the hat back to Professor McGonagall. The silence in the hall made the dark haired boy's footsteps almost seem to echo as he walked the distance from the stool to his House's table. Daphne, as well all the students and a good portion of the staff were more than a little surprised to see Harry sit at the very end of the table, furthest away from everyone else, though closest to the head table where the professors were seated.
"Tracey Davis," Professor McGonagall called out after consulting the list in her hand briefly. The stunned silence which still hung within the hall made the stern professor's voice seem overly loud.
Daphne smiled upon hearing her best friend's name called and turned to watch the auburn haired witch step forward and take her seat upon the stool to have the Sorting Hat placed upon her head. When the hat called out Slytherin, Daphne clapped excitedly for her friend though her eyes were drawn once more towards the dark haired boy seated alone at the end of the Slytherin table.
Daphne watched as her friend walked past Harry, glancing at him briefly in curiosity; as she continued on to take a seat nearest her new House mates seated further down the table. It seemed to be an unwritten rule among the students to take the first available seat that was furthest from the head table. Much in the same manner that students would often leave the front seats in a classroom vacant if they could. The slender blonde witch didn't pay much attention as the next two students; a Lavender Brown and Seamus Finnigan were both sorted into Gryffindor with an accompanying round of cheering from their new House mates.
"Daphne Greengrass," Professor McGonagall called as she peered over the rim of her square glasses at the remaining first year students."Please step forward and have a seat Ms. Greengrass," the venerable witch instructed as she saw Daphne move towards the stool.
Daphne slowly slid backwards onto the seat, nervous despite having witnessed a score of others having been sorted already that evening. I mustn't appear weak in front of everyone, she told herself silently. Papa would never be seen as such before others, she reminded herself. The blonde girl's eyes darted over to the Slytherin table and she caught a wave of encouragement from Tracey, to which she smiled hesitantly. For a brief moment her eyes shifted towards Harry Potter who sat alone at the end of the table, however The-Boy-Who-Lived was intently staring at the empty golden plate before him so she could not catch his gaze or see what expression might reside upon his face.
Ah, a Greengrass, a small voice said within Daphne's head as she settled the hat atop her blonde hair. I recall your father well. A stern child even then, the hat told her with a trace of mild amusement. Now what shall I do with you? Daphne got the strangest of feelings, as if someone was lightly brushing their fingers through the hair on the top of her head. A sharp mind to be sure. You would do well in Ravenclaw, of that I have no doubt.
"Slytherin please," Daphne whispered aloud so that only the hat could hear even as once more her blue eyes found Tracey seated at that House's table.
Loyalty to ones friends, the hat murmured within her mind even as she felt the light caress upon her awareness once more. An admirable trait cherished highly by those who call Hufflepuff their home. No, not Hufflepuff either?The hat intoned, reading her thoughts and desire to be in Slytherin. There is courage and bravery here as well I see. Strength…yes most certainly, strength to stand up for your beliefs I see. You would do well within Gryffindor. It's all right here for me to see.
I…I do not have those abilities, Daphne argued silently, recalling her fear from earlier that day and her inability to merely step across from one train car to another. I do not believe I can recall a time when I was more frightened, she told the hat, hating to admit her own weakness.
None the less you did step across the platform to the other car did you not? the hat asked her rhetorically having already seen it in her mind. Not only that, you then proceeded to climb a latter and walk on top of the car. A most remarkable deed for one without courage I should think. Later still you climbed down from your lofty perch and returned to your car knowing what could be possibly waiting for you there. Few your age could boast such bravery.
Daphne swallowed quickly recalling earlier that day even as her eyes fell upon Harry. It had been frightening to climb down from atop the car but with him beneath her and his arms upon the ladder to either side of her that fear had seemed to lessen. He had taken her hand and walked her across the short platform to the other car before she had even known it. Daphne had hoped that by the time she returned to the compartment the Malfoy boy would have left but there was no certainty of it. True, he very well could have still been there waiting for me, she admitted. As for the other…I had help, was all she thought to say having already admitted to being scared.
Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to take action in the face of that fear, a trait each and every Gryffindor shares. Isee in you the potential for all these things and much more. In Gryffindor you would do well, the hat told her once again.
Please, Daphne near begged, if I have any say in the matter, please sort me to be with my friend in Slytherin. The blonde girl's eyes shifted from Harry back to Tracey with a hopeful look.
Very well then, the hat replied rather smugly. Daphne got the distinct impression that the hat had never intended to sort her into any of the previous houses it had mentioned, however she couldn't be certain of that fact. "SLYTHERIN!" the hat suddenly called out causing that House's table to cheer exuberantly.
Daphne breathed a sigh of relief as she handed the hat back to the Professor and slid off the stool. As the newest member of Slytherin turned to make her way towards her House table she saw the Malfoy boy stand, followed by the two other boys that were with him earlier and make their way over to where the Potter boy was seated. Not wishing to be anywhere near the light haired boy, Daphne quickly hurried past them and took the seat next to Tracey. After receiving a hug from her friend and well wishes from her House mates she glanced down at the end of the table and couldn't help but wonder what was going on with the four boys seated there.
Hermione Granger was confused. It wasn't a state she enjoyed being in but she was only slightly mollified in her distress by knowing that all of her House mates, if not the entire hall, were just as equally confused. It was with a creased brow that she watched The-Boy-Who-Lived make his way from the stool and slowly walk to the end of the Slytherin table and take a seat.
"Well that's a bit of a shock," Ron Weasley whispered beside her. All around them other students began to whisper at this turn of events as well. From what the bushy haired witch could overhear astonishment was pretty much the general consensuses of the entire room.
Hermione turned to look at the redhead," Why is that asurprise?" Being new to the Wizarding world there were still a great many things she did not understand. Being one of the brightest witches of her age she also realized the fact that there was a lot she did not know. Rather than being discouraged by this fact Hermione embraced it and viewed it as a personal challenge to learn more about the world she was now a part of.
"There isn't a witch or wizard that's gone bad that wasn't from Slytherin," Ron informed his new friend, recalling that she was muggle born and so wouldn't necessarily know. "Him being The-Boy-Who-Lived and all, I would have wagered he would be a Gryffindor."
"We did," Fred piped up from a short ways down the table indicating that wagers had in fact been placed.
"That we did," George confirmed sadly.
"…and lost, it would seem," Fred added as he turned and glanced towards Harry who was sitting alone.
"That we did," George reiterated as his eyes turned to regard the same boy his brother was looking at.
"We didn't get Potter," the twins chorused together.
"It just seems a bit dodgy that he'd be a snake," Ron commented as his eyes followed his twin brothers to regard the solitary boy at the end of the Slytherin House table.
"So just because he is in Slytherin you expect him to…what?" Hermione asked confused further by the exchange between the siblings.
"Mum says the whole house is rotten on account of Professor Snape being their head of House," Fred offered.
"Who's Professor Snape?" Hermione asked curiously.
Fred pointed towards the front table. "See that one there with the oily looking black hair. "That's Snape. He teaches Potions,"Fred added.
"Everyone knows it's the Defense Against the Dark Arts though that he fancies, he does," George offered.
"So just because of that all Slytherin's are evil?"Hermione enquired in an attempt to better understand something that was just confusing her more and more.
"Mum's never liked them since her time here at Hogwarts," George explained to Hermione. "No she hasn't."
"That's only because some snake from Slytherin was with me Dad before her," Fred said with a wide grin. "Even though he himself was a Gryffindor."
"Dad was with a snake?" Ron exclaimed in a squeaky voice with a look of shock on his face at the news.
"Oi, haven't you noticed that Bill looks a bit reptilian," George asked, trying to keep a straight face. "Frightful he is," the twin nodded knowingly as his other brother join in supportively, nodding his own head in agreement.
Ron sat flabbergasted for a moment as he tried to process what the twins had just imparted to him concerning their oldest brother."Wait," the youngest redhead suddenly said as he realized something,"If Bill was reptilian that would mean that Mum…" the young boys face turned red all the way up to the tips of his ears upon realizing what that would mean.
Hermione couldn't help but chuckle. "I think they are just having a go at you Ron," she said with a sympathetic look at the boy next to her. Being an only child the young witch felt a twinge of jealousy at watching the siblings' good natured interaction. There were times she had wished for a younger sister or brother, not that she would ever tell her parents of such a desire. She had learned from her father that due to medical complications during her own birth her mother could not have any additional children. Hermione had decided at a very early age to be the best daughter she could for both her parents.
Ron just nodded, having grown used to his brothers' antics over the course of his life. As the redhead watched, two more students, one with auburn hair and the other with blonde, both girls, were sorted into the Slytherin House. "Great, just what we need, more snakes!" As his eyes followed the newest member of the den of snakes he noticed the prat from earlier that was going on about how some families are better than others get up from his seat and make his way over to The-Boy-Who-Lived before seating himself once again. "Malfoy," Ron breathed aloud upon seeing the boy and his two goons that followed him over to Potter.
"Are they all really that bad, Ron?" Hermione asked noting where her friend was looking. Ron turned and looked at her as if she was daft before turning back to the front of the room. "You don't have to be so rude about it Ronald!" Hermione scolded him in a huff.
"Look, I didn't mean to be rude," Ron tried to explain as he turned to regard her once again. "We're Gryffindor's and so snakes are like our natural born enemies," he told her as if it made the most perfect of sense.
"But why?" Hermione persisted. Growing up with muggle parents who were both loving and open minded, she was a stranger to the type of prejudiced attitudes that Ron was currently exhibiting. Disliking an entire group of people strictly because of where they were from or what House they were in simply didn't fit within her world of logic and books.
Ron shrugged at her question. "Why does the fox raid the hen house?" he asked only to see her puzzled expression. "It's just the way it is," he answered his own question.
The young witch puzzled the matter for a long moment as Ron turned back to observe the rest of the sorting that was taking place. Try as she might, she just could not accept that answer. Her young mind was exceptionally well at deducing facts and working out complicated problems. Ron's answer sounded more like the easy way out rather than the actual truth of the matter to her. "Maybe he wanted to be sorted there?" she said aloud to herself.
"You'd have to be barmy to want to be in Slytherin," Ron exclaimed sharply upon overhearing her.
Hermione's retort was stopped as the table around them erupted in loud cheers and applause. Looking up the bushy haired witch saw an extremely embarrassed Neville making his way towards the Gryffindor table. Hermione waited till things had settled down once more before leaning forward so she could see Neville who was seated next to Ron. "Still have Trevor?"she asked with a large smile upon her face to show she was only teasing.
Neville reached into his pocket as he grinned at her question."He's right he..," the boys eyes grew large as his hand found only an empty pocket. There was a sudden 'croak'from his pocket on the opposite side causing Neville to sigh in relief."He's right here," Neville replied with a light pat of his other pocket.
"I guess it's true what they say," Draco said as he dropped into the seat next to Harry as Crabbe and Goyle slid into the vacant places directly across the table from them, "only the best witches and wizards are sorted into Slytherin." The light haired boy turned with agrin towards the boy with dark hair seated next to him. "Wouldn't you agree, Potter?" he asked even as his eyes followed the blonde witch that walked past on her way to sit with another girl who had been sorted just prior.
Harry groaned inwardly as the other boys seated themselves around him. When he had slid off the stool and made his way over to the Slytherin table he could already hear the whispering beginning concerning him. He wasn't used to being the center of attention and even less used was he to sitting at atable with others. More often than not the Dursleys had made him eat in the cupboard under the stairs, once he was done cooking and they had been served of course. Dudley had told his parents that it made him nauseous to eat and have to look at 'The Freak'at the same time. As there was no cupboards handy to sit in he had decided to sit as the very end of the table, away from everyone else so as not to disturb them. More than a little uncomfortable with the attention, Harry found that he missed the normal imperceptibility the Dursleys treated him with.
Harry grunted noncommittally to the boy's question. With his cousin, there were no correct answers as everything he said was wrong and just offered an excuse for Dudley to continue whatever abuse he was presently involved in. Talking only served to prolong the abuse and could mean the difference between just bruises and a black eye or worse. Silence or noncommittal noises always seemed to work best with the larger boy he had discovered.
Draco grunted at Harry's lack of response. "I see, a man of few words. I rather like that," the young Malfoy offered with a single tilting back of his head in acknowledgement before righting it once again."There are too many people here that feel the need to prattle on about everything and anything," Draco said as he glanced about him. Harry couldn't help but turn his head and stare at the boy wondering if Draco knew he had just described himself as far as Harry was concerned. "Draco Malfoy,"Draco said extending his hand towards Harry.
"Pleasure," Harry said flatly as he shook the hand once smartly before quickly releasing it. Harry self-consciously wiped his hand on his robe once it was beneath the table. "Why?" Harry asked after afew moments of silence, only to see Draco look at him in question. "Why are you sitting next to me?" Harry couldn't understand why anyone would want to sit by someone like himself. The Dursleys had done everything they could not to have to be around him and they were his family he reasoned.
Draco wasn't sure exactly what the dark haired boy meant by his question. "Come again?" he asked. Here I've gone out of my way to be cordial, Draco reasoned to himself as that was how he saw it. I don't see anyone else hurrying to be his friend. Even though this is beneath me I feel certain it is what Father would want. If we can bring The-Boy-Who-Lived to our side it will be a tremendous coupe! The fact that it would be himself, working alone, that orchestrated such a strategic move had the younger boy already dreaming about the praise his father would lavish upon him.
"You shouldn't be here," Harry replied while hating to have to explain himself. "You should be back where you came from with your friends." A life time of being told he was useless and wasn't worthy of having anything, including friends, was something he fervently wish to avoid having to explain. The day has been so wonderful I would just hate to have to end it on such a note, he reasoned. The young wizard in training was also pretty certain that Draco was not the type of friend he wanted.
The little prat thinks he's too good for me, Draco fumed, feeling insulted by the perceived flippant tone the question was asked in. I can understand not wanting to be with Crabbe or Goyle, but I'm a Malfoy! How dare he place me in the same group as them! "Think you're funny do you, Potter?You had better think about your choices. Best watch yourself, Potter!"Draco sneered as he got to his feet and nodded curtly for Crabbe and Goyle to do so as well. "You'll soon find that Hogwarts can be a bit hazardous at times if you're not careful. Come see me when you change your mind." With a final malicious laugh the light haired boy walked further down the table to reclaim his seat.
Well, at least it didn't come to blows, Harry thought to himself as he watched the three boys walk away. He was fairly certain that he could stand up to Draco if it came to that. It was the other two that he was concerned about. Both Crabbe and Goyle could give Dudley a run for his money where weight was concerned. When it came right down to it, it didn't always matter how strong or talented a person was. A fist with enough weight behind it still hurt a great deal. This he knew from firsthand experience thanks to Dudley and his friends.
Harry sat staring at the golden plate and utensils before him till the sorting was complete and an aged man with a long white beard stood and offered a few words. Harry thought the man might be a bit daft but before he could decide upon it the table before him was suddenly covered in all manner of foods.
It was more food than Harry had ever seen in one place before. It must have taken loads of time to make all of this, he thought to himself in disbelief. Try as he might he couldn't deduce the amount of time required to cook it all. Cooking was one of the few things he enjoyed doing, though he would have preferred not to have been doing it for the Dursleys for most of his life.
There was something he found both challenging as well as satisfyingly rewarding in combining ingredients as well as different seasoning to create something that was uniquely original and yet still tasted good. Perhaps it was due to this that he had taken a liking to his Magical Draft and Potionsbook and was looking forward to his first potions class. The prospect of combining all manner of things to create something magical held a very strong allure to him which his young heart just couldn't resist. Tuesday's afternoon potions class couldn't get there soon enough for his liking.
Although there was an overabundance of food, Harry still only served himself the smallest of portions. With a small smile the undernourished boy began to eat the food which filled less than half his plate. The fact that he actually had a small piece of meat on his plate made it feel like a holiday to him. With the Dursleys it was a very rare occurrence when they allowed him to have meat, usually only on holidays or if his uncle Vernon had received asizable bonus and was feeling exceptionally charitable. I think I could get used to this, he thought with a slight smile which he quickly hid fearful someone might see it and take the food away from him should he be enjoying it too much.
Harry finished long before any of the other students and remained sitting at the table staring at his plate with his hands in his lap waiting for the others to finish as well. At home he had always had to wait for the Dursleys to finish and leave the table before he could come out and collect the dishes for washing. He had glanced about once to see if he could spot a sink or someplace to wash his plate and utensils but had failed to see anything that could possibly be used as such. Not certain what to do, he decided to wait and see where everyone else took their plates to be cleaned.
Perhaps I can find the sinks before the plates are piled too high, he thought. Harry had plenty of time on the train ride to Hogwarts to ponder just how his schooling was being paid for. While he knew of the vault at Gringotts, there had never been mention of withdrawing enough galleons to pay for anything other than school supplies. He couldn't see his uncle Vernon paying for anything on his behalf either. Maybe they'll expect me to work in the kitchen to help pay for classes? I should tell them I can assist with the grounds work as well," he realized, recalling all the time he had spent tending his aunt's flower beds.
The great hall nearly vibrated with the volume of conversation that went on around him. There was much laughter and good natured teasing between the new students as well as those in higher years. In time the food was replaced with an array of desserts that made Harry's mouth water just looking at them. As badly as he wanted one, a life time of conditioning being denied any desserts was not to be forgotten in a single night. Harry dropped his hand to his pocket and felt the contour of the biscuit he had hid away there for later. It would make for a far better dessert than he had ever had while at his aunt and uncle's.
The elderly man that had spoken previously eventual stood and the hall grew silent. Harry nervously scanned the teachers' table when he felt asudden pain in the scar upon his forehead. Stifling a gasp of pain he hastily raised one hand to massage the scar upon his brow. Once again his eyes returned to the teachers table only to land upon a pair of instructors that were chatting in earnest. One had dark hair and was dressed all in black while the other he recognized as Professor Quirrell whom he had met with Hagrid at the Leaky Cauldron.
"Ahem….just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered," the aged wizard said into the silence of the hall. Harry heard one of the students sitting near elbow another student and advise them to remain silent while Professor Dumbledore was speaking. It was in this manner that Harry learned who the wizard was. "I have a few start-of-term notices to give you," his kind eyes sweeping across all the eager faces below him. They look younger and younger every year, the Headmaster thought to himself.
"First year students should note that the forest located on the grounds is strictly off limits." Dumbledore's eyes seemed to twinkle as he pointed looked towards the Gryffindor table as he added, "A fact some of our older student would do wise to remember." The Weasley twins both seemed to hunch lower in their seats in a vain attempt to become invisible.
"Quidditch trials will be held during the second week of term, should you be so inclined to try out for your House's team. Mr. Filch, our caretaker, has asked that I remind everyone that magic is not to be used in the corridors between classes," the Headmaster stated with a small grin."Lastly," the elder wizard offered as the smile slipped from his face to be replaced by the most serious of expressions, "for this year the third floor corridor on the right is off limits to anyone who does not want to die a most gruesome death." There was a wave of low murmuring within the hall upon hearing this announcement.
The Headmaster suddenly slipped his wand out, or it may have just appeared in his hand, Harry couldn't tell. "Now before we call it a night lets us all sing the school song," he proclaimed loudly. Harry, sitting where he was and staring at the teachers table couldn't help but noticed that several of them seemed to have affixed smiles on their faces upon hearing the Headmasters words.
Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling,
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.
Everyone in the hall had finished singing but the Weasley twins who continued on for several lines in the darkest of funeral dirges which only seemed to delight the aged Headmaster to no end. Harry couldn't help but smile along with everyone else in the hall.
Once the song had finished there was a loud round of cheering which went on for what seemed like several minutes. Eventually the Headmaster raised his hands and signaled for quiet once more. "Now, if the House Prefects would be so kind as to escort the members of your Houses to their common rooms I believe we shall call it an evening. Classes will begin bright and early in the morning," Dumbledore told the entire student body.
"First years," a voice near at hand called, drawing Harry's attention from the Headmaster and to his own House's table. "I am Gemma Farley, one of the Prefects for Slytherin. Stay close to me as it wouldn't do to lose one or two of you before we make it to the commons,"the older girl told them with a barely hidden sneer. Harry got the impression that the loss of one or two of them wouldn't have bothered the older girl in the least.
Harry stood up and then glanced back down at his dirty plate only to see that it, as well as all the others on the table were as spotless as when he had first taken his seat at the table. Magic is brilliantly wonderful, he thought to himself recalling all the time he had spent at the Dursleys washing dishes over the years. It would help loads if I could do that when I get home for summer break, Harry realized, before recalling his uncle's reaction to Hagrid and all things magical. Thinking of his uncle made him realize that he wouldn't be washing dishes to pay for his stay at Hogwarts. Suddenly magic didn't seem as nearly brilliant as had just a moment before as he wondered what would be expected of him in way of payment for his schooling.
Following the rest of the first years, who in turn followed Gemma, they made their way down into the dungeons of the castle. The Slytherin Prefect paused before a blank wall and spoke the password 'Salazar'. A hidden doorway appeared which she then opened and stepped through, motioning for everyone to follow her.
Harry stepped through the door and found himself standing at the top of a wide stairway that emptied out into a grand room. The room itself was decorated in tapestries and old paintings with green chandeliers suspended from the vaulted ceiling shedding lighting over the entire room. There were large windows across the room depicting nothing but darkness as far as he could tell, though he attributed this to it being dark outside currently.
As he slowly walked down the widening steps he could see that the common room of Slytherin had several large plush black leather couches, two of which were positioned before the enormous fireplace which dominated one wall. Acharm must have been placed on it as the flames burned brightly with several different shades of green rather than their typical merry yellow, orange and red. There was also a large round dark wooden table that could easily seat adozen students around its circumference. There were other tables, chairs and couches situated about the room where smaller groups or individuals might relax or pursue their studies. There was even a small chess set placed upon a table off to one side where the game pieces were emerald and black.
Harry hastily looked about, noticing that the pictures and tapestries were all images of past Slytherin's depicted in heroic scenes. He liked the room save for one thing; it was frightfully cold despite the massive blazing fire. Harry unconsciously pulled his robes tightly about himself in an effort to ward off the chill he felt.
"Right then, Firsties," Prefect Fraley said gathering everyone attention to her. "Through that arch over there are the dormitories," she told them as she pointed to a large ornately carved stone archway. "Boys are to the left, girls to the right. If any of you boys should happen to wander into the wrong one there is a caterwauling charm placed upon the girl's doorway. Professor Snape, our Head of House, doesn't take kindly to those getting caught by it," the girl informed them."You'll find facilities for bathing and what not in your room."
Harry heard several students that were older and who had stayed to listen to the Prefect, snicker at her words. Listening to their hushed comments he was surprised to hear them talking about how it was alright to sneak into the girl's dormitory so long as you were careful enough not to get caught. Thinking back to what Gemma had stated, their Head of House was apparently only bothered by those that got caught.
"Breakfast in the great hall starts at 7 o'clock," Gemma told the first years gathered about her. "Your first class begins promptly at 8 o'clock so don't be late," she warned in a tone that left no room for argument. "Being late to class can cost your House points if the Professor instructing the class is so inclined. If you start costing our House points you'll soon find yourself having a very unpleasant time." The older girl's eyes swept over the first year students in what was a clear and evident threat.
"Now your first class tomorrow will be," she paused to regard a scroll she had in one hand, "Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall and her House, Gryffindor. I would advise you all to be on time as the head of Gryffindor House would love to deduct points from Slytherin to aide her own House. If any of you do not know how to set your wand to wake you up, stick around and I'll show you. The rest, off to bed with you," she instructed them.
Harry hung back along with about two thirds of the first year students. He watched as the Prefect explained how to set an alarm using their wands. You only needed to speak the word 'evigilabit' and the time you wished to be awakened. The Slytherin Prefect explained that the time was set in twenty-four increments which meant that 1 o'clock in the afternoon needed to be stated as 13 o'clock.
Harry walked through the archway and turned left to find astairway that went down. Following the spiral staircase he came to a door that read 'First Years' in dark green lettering upon a gold name plate. Opening the door he found himself in a dormitory which was large enough to hold all the new first year students that were boys.
There were large dark wooden four poster canopied beds with heavy dark green curtains pinned back at each corner. One need only close the curtains to gain a measure of privacy. On one side of the bed was a chest of drawers and a nightstand while on the other side of the bed was a desk with awooden chair situated before it. Next to the desk was the next person's chest of drawers and so it continued about the room. At the foot of one of the beds Harry spied his trunk with a relieved sigh and quickly made his way over to it.
It had been a long and eventful day and he, along with his House mates, quickly changed into their sleeping attire before climbing into bed and pulling the covers up to his chin. An older boy, whom Harry took to be the male Prefect, stuck his head in the door and told them it was lights out time. The Prefect waved his wand and all the lights in the room dimmed and went out save one near the door.
As Harry lay for the first time in a real bed, he caught the faintest of sounds. As he strained to hear it better he suddenly realized it was the sound of water or more correctly what sounded to be the gentle lapping of waves. We must be near the lake, he thought to himself. Setting his wand on the nightstand beside his bed he set his alarm for 6:30 in the morning before removing his glasses and setting them next to his wand. Laying there in the darkness he slowly slipped off to sleep to the soothing sound of the Black Lake.
Albus Dumbledore stood beside the large perch upon which Fawkes rested and smiled contentedly at the look of pure pleasure upon the Phoenix's expressive face. "I really should know better than to spoil you like this, my friend," the Headmaster spoke softly as he continued to scratch the feathers along the underside of the beak of the legendary bird. A purposeful knock upon the door to his office intruded upon the two friends."Enter," the Headmaster called out, knowing who it was already due to the notification charm placed upon the gargoyle statue at the bottom of the stairs leading to his office.
"Good Evening, Headmaster," Minerva McGonagall offered in greeting after she stepped through the door and closed it behind her."Good Eve to you as well Fawkes. You're looking exceptionally beautiful this evening," the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts offered to the crooning phoenix who stretched his head forward in an attempt to garnish further attention from the one scratching his feathers.
"A very good evening it has been, Minerva," Dumbledore replied with a twinkle in his eyes and a soft smile towards Fawkes and his antics. "Please do not encourage him, Minerva. He already believes himself to be the most beautiful bird in all of Britannia."
"I would say that he is unless there is another phoenix about that we don't know about?" the witch replied eliciting a cooing of appreciation from Fawkes at her compliment. "Are you so certain it was agood evening, Albus?" McGonagall enquired as she moved closer to the two of them. The stern head of Gryffindor House glanced sharply at the Sorting Hat which was once more resting in its place upon the top of the cabinet behind the Headmaster's desk.
"Bee in your bonnet, McGonagall?" the Sorting Hat enquired reproachfully, taking notice of the stares the Transfiguration Professor had shot at it upon entering.
"I thought Potter was to go to Gryffindor?" Minerva stated looking towards the Headmaster questioningly. "I fail to see how he could be sorted anywhere else."
Albus reluctantly dropped his hand from beneath the phoenix's chin only to receive a look of extreme reproach from the bird for having ceased with the attention. "The only certainty," the Headmaster replied as he stepped past the perch and walked to his desk, "was that Harry would attend Hogwarts." Albus lifted a porcelain bowl from his desk, removing the lid from it carefully before presenting it to the Transfiguration Professor who had followed him over. "Lemon drop?"
The witch declined with a short shake of her head before watching as the Headmaster availed himself of one before replacing the bowl and lid upon his desk. "Yes. I know that it would have been dangerous for him to attend school anywhere else," she stated to show she understood the matter. They had talked about it at great length that night nearly ten years ago. "But Slytherin?" McGonagall asked in exasperated disbelief.
"For Harry to be anywhere else other than Hogwarts would be nothing short of disastrous, Minerva," Dumbledore affirmed in his typically soft tone. "I do not believe it matters which house he resides in so long as he is within these walls."
"The boy will do well in Slytherin," The Sorting Hat said defensively before the Headmaster could continue. "Many great wizards and witches have come from Slytherin. Nearly as many as have been born from Gryffindor!"
"I don't deny that Slytherin has produced great wizards and witches," McGonagall said with a note of anger in her voice."Gryffindor has repeatedly had to produce the equivalent number of great witches and wizards or there would be no one to stand against those from that House when they made their bid for power!"
"Let us not forget," the Headmaster interjected in asoothingly calm voice, "that we are among friends here and want only the best for Harry. No one can deny that all the Houses here have had their fair share of talented witches and wizards," Dumbledore offered in an effort to placate them both.
"Potter has the potential to do great and wonderful things," The Sorting Hat told the both of them. "It is all right there in his head. I have not seen such promise since the young boy Riddle sat beneath my brim."
"Yes and we all know how he turned out," McGonagall snapped testily.
"Riddle did many great things," the Hat insisted adamantly, "great and terrible things…yet they were still great. Potter is in Slytherin because he requested to be there. I stand by my decision for sorting him as such." The old hat settled down into its usual position, aclear indicator that it was done discussing the matter.
McGonagall turned away from the hat to stare at the Headmaster pleadingly. "Potter has been through enough already. He's lost his parents and then to be raised by those Muggles! I've watched them and they are the worst sort of Muggles! It was a mistake to have ever left him there, Albus!You'll recall that I was against it in the first place."
"Dutifully noted. Harry seems to have grown into a bright young boy despite everything," the Headmaster replied with as he sucked upon his lemon drop. "Affording him a chance to grow up and have a normal childhood was something I felt was essential. Leaving him with his aunt was the safest means to insure that he lived and wasn't found by one of Voldemort's followers. Were that to happen we would be facing dark times in deed I fear. Only through the wards placed about that house, thanks in part to the blood relation found in Mrs. Dursley, were we able to ensure his safety,"Dumbledore reminded her.
Minerva McGonagall sighed more in frustration and concern than anything else. "Do you truly believe he will do well in Slytherin, Albus?" she asked only to see the aged wizard nod that he did. "I can't help but feel he won't find any friends within that house. Is there truly nothing you can do for the boy?"
Dumbledore raised his hands and made a placating gesture towards his friend and Transfiguration Professor. "Unfortunate though it may be, Harry has already been sorted. We shall leave him in the capable hands of our potions master, Severus, till such time as there is a need to do otherwise."
"Very well," the witch replied with extreme reluctance clearly evident in each and every word. "I will keep a close watch on him though. I couldn't help but notice how he sat by himself after he was sorted. He barely spoke a word the entire evening." The witch recalled seeing the Malfoy boy sitting next to Harry for a short while before leaving in a huff. I do not believe that Draco Malfoy is the sort of friend we want Mr. Potter to be making whilst here. Especially if the heir to the Malfoy line is anything like his father!
"Learning to make friends is part of growing up," Dumbledore answered with, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, "though I dare say I don't recall having been as young as our first year students are."
"Remember it or not, we were all young once," Minerva replied with a small wistful smile of her own, "I think." The dark haired witch turned and walked towards the door, pausing only as she neared the wooden barrier. "Good night, Headmaster," she offered with a slight bow of respect.
"Good night, Professor McGonagall," Dumbledore responded with as he took a seat in his chair. "May your dreams be pleasant,"he added just before his Deputy Headmistress left his office. Several minutes passed before there was another knock upon his door. "Come," he called out loud enough for the person to hear him.
"You called for me, Headmaster?" Severus Snape asked upon entering the room and closing the door behind him.
"Yes, yes, Severus," the Headmaster replied waving the potions professor over. "I would like to speak to you about one of your first year students, Harry Potter," he said as he reached for the bowl on his desk, removing the lid before offering, "Lemon drop?"
Harry cursed himself, and not for the first time that morning. He had awakened before his alarm had gone off and so had reached over and grasping the wand, canceled the charm to wake him. It was when he set the wand down and leaned back into his bed that he suddenly realized he didn't have anything to do this morning. He knew he had classes, however for the first time that he could remember; he didn't have hurry to the kitchen and prepare breakfast for the Dursleys. This is even better than a holiday, he thought to himself as even on holidays he was still required to get up and cook for his relatives.
Harry had learned, shortly after taking over the cooking responsibilities from his aunt Petunia, that if his uncle didn't awake to the smell of bacon or some other frying meat there would be trouble. He didn't even want to think about not having tea ready for the both of them. The first time he had mistakenly forgotten their tea it had been most of the day before he could sit on his bum without feeling pain and nearly a week before the welts and marks went away. It was a lesson he made certain never to forget.
Realizing that he didn't have to cater to the Dursleys this morning, Harry folded his hands behind his head and leaned back into his pillow and closed his eyes. Releasing a contented sigh at the sheer pleasure of being at Hogwarts he nodded off again. It was only the noise of his House mates getting ready for breakfast that saved him from sleeping in and missing the first class of the day.
The young boy of eleven rushed to get dressed, foregoing the shower he had wanted to take in favor of washing his face due to the time constraints. Glancing in the mirror hanging on the wall, he sighed heavily upon noticing the state of his unruly hair. He tried running his fingers through it to make it more presentable however the dark strands were having none of it today it seemed. "Hopefully they don't doc points for messy hair," he said aloud to the now empty room.
Grabbing his transfiguration book as well as the other school supplies he would need such as quill, ink and parchment, he ran from the Slytherin common room and made his way to the great hall where he managed to grab piece of toast. A few bites later a small glass of orange juice followed the toast into his stomach before he ran from the hall, one of the last students to leave.
Harry ran through the hallways, glad that the Transfiguration classroom was on the ground floor and not the seventh. There's no telling how long it would take to make it up all those stairs, he thought to himself upon recalling the stairways that loved to change places. As the young Slytherin turned the corner he nearly ran into a red headed boy. He's the one that spoke up in defense of the boy with the toad, Harry recalled. "Sorry," Harry offered as he skidded to a halt, barely missing the Gryffindor member.
The red head, who Harry remembered be called Ronald Weasley, seemed to suddenly notice the Slytherin House crest on Harry's robes."Best be careful, snake," Ron spat at him displeasingly while puffing out his chest. The two boys eyed one another for a long moment before they both turned and sprinted to the end of the hallway and the classroom door.
Harry reached the door first, being the quickest of the pair, and opened it only to be shouldered aside by the Gryffindor student. "Blimey that was close. Made it here before McGonagall though," Ron said aloud before breathing a sigh of relief upon not seeing his Head of House there yet. Ron's expression turned to one of surprise as the tabby cat which had been seated upon the desk at the front of the class suddenly leaped off and transform into the very Professor he had mentioned.
"Not quite, Mr. Weasley," the witch told him as she stopped and gave him a stern look that nearly had the young boy quaking in his shoes. "That will be five points from-"
"I'm sorry Professor," Harry suddenly spoke up drawing the Professor's, as well as everyone else's, eyes to him. It was hard not to squirm under all the attention his words brought to him. Harry racked his brain furiously to try and think of what to say. "Ronald is late because of me," he told her, blurting out the first thing that came to mind.
McGonagall arched a brow slightly and peered over the top edge of her square glass. "Just how may that be, Mr. Potter?" No stranger to students and their excuses for being tardy she was certain that whatever the young wizard came up with she would have heard before.
"H…he was looking for the classroom," Harry stammered trying to make up a convincing enough story, "when he bumped into me. Ithought I knew the way and offered to guide him," Harry explained nervously licking his lips. "All I did was manage to get us both properly lost. So it's my fault that we're both late to class."
"Is that correct, Mr. Weasley?" Professor McGonagall asked turning her gaze upon the gobsmacked red head.
Ron didn't know what to say. If someone would have told him that aSlytherin would be taking the blame to save him from costing his house points he would surely have thought them mental. The youngest Weasley at Hogwarts couldn't even find the words to say anything he was so surprised. The best he could do was nod to his Head of House.
The Professor eyed them both for a long moment. "Very well then. There is a map within the student handbook. I highly suggest you both study it tonight…in great detail. You may take your seats," she told them with a wave of her hand and she walked back towards the front of the class room. "Five points for Slytherin…for going out of their way for a member of another House," McGonagall intoned to the surprise of everyone in the room.
Harry took the only open seat at a workbench next to a dark skinned boy from Slytherin. Once he had his book opened as well as his parchment and quill ready he hazard a glance towards Ron, only to see the Gryffindor shoot aglare in his direction. The redhead's actions completely confused Harry. Did I do something to offend him, he wondered. He didn't think he had but being new to the Wizarding world he realized he really had no clear understand of what was considered offensive and what wasn't.
"Nicely played, Potter," the boy next to him whispered as the Professor began her lecture. "Not only did you gain us points but the little lion now owes you for saving his hide. Judging by the looks he's been shooting you he realizes it as well. I guess you're smarter than Malfoy would have everyone believe."
Harry couldn't help but wonder what the blonde boy had been saying about him behind his back. He was fairly certain it was nothing flattering. His curiosity must have shown on his face he realized as the boy leaned over closer so that others wouldn't be able to hear him.
"Malfoy was busy trying last night and this morning to convince everyone that it would be in their best interest to keep as far away from you as possible. He was telling everyone that you were a prat and 'excessively full of yourself'as he put it," the boy explained. "By the way names Blaise, Blaise Zabini," he added offering a hand towards Harry.
Harry took the hand and shook it once, "Harry," he said flatly.
"Harry, really? I would never have guessed," Blaise replied with, an infectious grin upon his features that caused Harry to smile as well after he realized that everyone in the school must already know his name. "The whole Boy-Who-Lived thing kind of gives it away," Blaise added.
"Can't get anything past you can I?" Harry retorted with in a hushed whisper cause the boy next to him to grin all the more. Glancing about the room his emerald eyes alighted upon Draco and his brow creased in worry. I've still no clue what I did to offend him last night.
Blaise followed Harry's line of sight and then leaned in before whispering, "Don't worry about Malfoy. He's usually high strung and overly sensitive. Best thing you can do is ignore him," Blaise advised.
"I know his type all too well," Harry whispered back, thinking of his cousin Dudley. "Sometimes they won't let you ignore them."
"Well for now he just wants to isolate you. If that's all it is then I would say count your blessings, mate." Seeing the confused look on Harry's face the dark boy explained. "The alternative is being friends with the little git."
"Wo…won't you get," Harry nodded towards Malfoy slightly before continuing, "you know…harassed for talking to me?"
"I don't play Malfoy's types of games," Blaise told him in a firm tone. "I also don't take kindly to anyone telling me what to do."Harry admired his resolve to be the way he wanted to be and wished he could do the same. "He likes to use his family's name, wealth and connections to get his way," Blaise told Harry in a disgusted tone of voice. "A prime example of a Pureblood if ever there was one."
"I have a cousin like him only he uses his size and the fact that he's older to his advantage. Call it what you will but it amounts to the same thing," Harry replied quietly, "Bullying."
Blaise nodded in agreement, "A bully will always bully you till you stand up to them. That's something my father taught me. All it took was standing up to him once and he's left me alone since then."
"You knew Malfoy prior to Hogwarts?" Harry asked curiously.
"Our families travel in the same circles," the dark boy replied. "Most Pureblood families do. Draco is cut from the same cloth as his father though so I guess he can't help being a prat. It's no doubt been breed into him since he was knee high."
"That's no excuse for being that way," Harry hissed.
"True enough," Blaise agreed readily, "however when it's your folks telling you that it's the proper way to be it's hard to argue with." There was not much Harry could say to that.
Both boys turned and started paying attention as Professor McGonagall started to go over the day's exercise of turning matchsticks into pins. There's more to magic than waving a wand and saying some silly words, Harry sighed mentally as he had as yet to produce a pin after fifteen minutes of trying. It was small consolation that Blaise was have just as much or as little, depending on how you wanted to look at it, trouble as he was.
A small explosion on the Gryffindor side of the room caused all eyes to turn and look at the boy s with a blackened face who was seated next to Ron Weasley. Professor McGonagall looked over before commenting, "Mr. Finnigan, please come up and get another match," she told the slightly stunned and embarrassed Gryffindor member. "Perhaps you should take acouple…just in case?" With a mute nod of agreement Seamus Finnigan did as instructed before returning to his seat.
It was a bushy haired witch who was first to transfigure the match to a pin. Harry seemed to recall that her name was Granger or something of the sort. Shortly thereafter a blonde Slytherin girl seated near the back of the class completed the assignment as well. Try as he might Harry could not get the transfiguration to work by the time class was over.
"Well done Ms. Granger and Ms. Greengrass," Professor McGonagall said loudly for all to hear. "Five point to both your Houses for being the only ones able to complete the assignment in class. For the rest of you, I want you to practice and we will give it a try once more at the beginning of our next class."
Professor McGonagall sat at her desk and watched the students filter out through the single door. Her eyes alighted upon Harry as he walked beside Blaise, the two chatting softly with each other. She hadn't missed their hushed discussion during class either. Where normally she would have called them out for it she hadn't in the hopes that the dark haired boy might make at least one friend.
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