Capriccio: A quick, improvisational, spirited piece of music.
Atonal: Music that is written and performed without regard to any specific key.
Chapter Seven: A Capriccio Atonal
The first week of classes seemed to fly by and Harry was almost surprised when the weekend finally arrived.
He hadn't managed to make many friends with his housemates yet and he wasn't sure if he was honestly disappointed by that or not. It wasn't like he didn't have any friends in Hogwarts as a whole, after all.
Draco and Theo shared his DADA class, taught by the stuttering menace, Quirrell. The three had taken to reading the textbooks on their own time and using the class time to compare notes on Defense that they'd found in the library or had gained from older students. Harry was quite pleased with his two new friends and was glad that they had managed to stay on good terms even though they'd been sorted into a different house. From what he had learned from listening to the professor's gossip behind their backs, that didn't happen often.
Besides those two, Harry had struck up a friendship with Neville Longbottom from Gryffindor and Terry Boot from Ravenclaw. Terry shared his History of Magic class and also shared his outrage at the lack of any real instruction in the class. While learning about the goblin wars were all well and fine, Binns had yet to mention any of the reasons for both sides behind the wars or how the war affected the local economy or anything else but the bare minimum of facts! While the rest of the class had fallen asleep, Terry and Harry had begun discussing the difference of Binns' teaching and of the section in their textbook the covered the information. After figuring out that the two were nearly identical, the two boys had agreed to meet in the Hogwarts Library to look for more information on History so that they might actually be able to pass the class.
Neville had ended up joining them after meeting Harry in Herbology, which Hufflepuff shared with Gryffindor. Neville was extremely skilled with plants and by far one of the best in the class, though Ron Weasley could be heard wondering how that was when Neville's potions skills were nonexistent. Weren't Herbologists usually skilled when it came to potion making?
Harry felt that since Neville had only had one potion's class, the comment was rather unfair and had defended the boy. After Herbology was over and seeing as it was their last class of the day, Harry dragged Neville up to the library and brought out a few books titled Potions for Beginners and The Beginners Guide to Potions Ingredients. The next day found Neville joining him and Terry in their newly formed study group. Theo and Draco had joined them the very next day after Harry had mentioned it to them and now the four of them, two days later, could all be found in the library when not in the Great Hall or their Common Rooms.
That was how Harry made his first friend from Hufflepuff, coincidently.
They were working on their Transfiguration homework when they were approached by Cedric Diggory, a fourth year Hufflepuff that was near the top of his year and quite popular around the school. Cedric seemed to have many friends and it was rumored that he was sure to be picked as prefect for his year come next term.
"Not even the second week of term and you lot are already the talk of the school," a male voice came from behind them. The odd group startled before turning to look for the source of the voice. "A Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and two Slytherins at the same table and nobody's fighting or crying? It's a miracle!"
Harry looked at the stranger blankly as did the rest of the strange group that had formed in the Hogwarts library. "Er, is it?" he finally asked. Harry honestly hadn't paid any attention to the interactions of the other houses and now that he thought about it, most of the groups of friends that he'd seen were usually wearing the same colors.
"My father did say not to be surprised if there was a little rivalry between Houses before term began," Draco supplied, carefully. There was obviously more to it than that but the blond was being careful not to offend anyone with what was truly said. Seeing as Harry had watched the blond easily insult quite a few people without any thought whenever his mouth outran his brain, Harry was rather proud of the restraint that it must have taken to sensor whatever it was his father had really said.
"Meaning he told you that all Hufflepuffs were 'duffers and that Gryffindors were brainless morons?" the older student guessed and by Draco's flush, was spot on in his deduction. "That's how it usually is but you lot seem to be breaking every rule in the book!"
By this point, Harry was confused. While he had realized that friends between houses were rather rare, and Harry himself seemed to be the focus of most of the school population's attention, he didn't think that being friends with Draco, Neville, Theo, and Terry could possibly be against any of the school rules. "Harry's being dense again," Terry sighed, having caught his uncertain gaze.
"He's not talking about actual rules," Theo said with an exasperated groan. "He's talking about the universally excepted workings of the world."
Well that made much more sense. "I don't see the problem," Harry finally admitted. "It's not like I'm just going to shun them because they were sorted into a different house."
Cedric studied him for a moment before smiling. "Good. A lot of friendships have suffered because of house rivalries. It's about time someone broke the mold."
With that, the fourth year walked away leaving four sets of eyes trailing behind him. "I feel like I'm missing something." Neville finally spoke up, his voice only stuttering at the end of the sentence. They had been working with the timid Gryffindor on getting past that stutter for the past week but as soon as other people came along, all that hard work seemed to disappear down the drain.
At least, Harry thought to himself as they returned to their homework, he had managed to stop blowing up his cauldron because of his nerves. It seemed having three different people double checking his homework and helping him with his studying had given the blond boy a tad bit more confidence in himself.
Harry grabbed for a blank piece of parchment and began writing.
Dear Dudley, Denis, and Piers,
The classes here are amazing. My transfiguration Professor, Professor McGonagall, can turned herself into a cat! She even turned her desk into a pig on the first day! I can't wait to be able to do that but we're stuck turning matches into needles and back again for now. It's rather boring really yet, kind of like learning the basics of music before being able to play the song. I bet that the hard work will be worth it in the end, though.
Charms is the same, though we seem to be stuck on theory for the moment instead of practical work. Professor Flitwick is a fun teacher, so a least class isn't boring. Unlike History of Magic. Professor Binns is an actual ghost and I don't think that's a good thing. There's a current theory going around that he bored himself to death and if I hadn't watched him put an entire class to sleep within five minutes, I wouldn't have believed it. The guy is practically hypnotic in the way he teaches, if you can call it that. I have to wonder if he even knows any of the content he's teaching.
Professor Quirrell is nearly just as bad. The man can't teach without his entire sentence coming out like one giant stutter and he always smells horribly like garlic. Every time his class ends, I have the worse headache from trying to decipher what he was saying and from the garlic smell that seems to coat the room. It doesn't help that he barely lights the room up at all. Even Professor Snape had more light in his classroom and he's in the dungeons!
Professor Snape is a hard teacher. I did some research on Potion's in the library with a few of the friends I've made and I found out that he's the youngest Potion's Master to date. He's a bit impatient in classes but I think that's because most of the other houses besides Slytherin don't listen to what he's saying. Draco and Theo say that's because he was a spy during the last war and most of the other houses think that he lied to get out of Azkaban. Really, as if the Headmaster of the school would let a real war criminal teach here.
Astronomy is really dull. The class it held at midnight but the Wizarding World seems to be behind most muggles in knowledge. The class is mostly like a review from primary school when we were learning the different phases of the moon in science. The hardest part is remembering all the names of the stars.
I've made some friends already, beside's Draco and Theo. Neville's a Gryffindor and he has a bad stutter around most people. He's not nearly as bad as Quirrell, which I think even he's grateful for. We're working on it with him but he still stutters rather badly around other people. Terry's a Ravenclaw and he's rather smart. It's a bit scary how quickly he picks things up from books but not nearly as scary as that Gryffindor girl in our year, Granger. I think she has an eidetic memory. Sometimes she directly quotes our books in classes when the teachers call on her. Terry's rather jealous of her memory sometimes.
I got an upper year to take some photos of the castle during Hogsmeade weekend for you guy! It's really amazing to look at! I also took some photos of my common room and the Great Hall as well as some of the ghosts. Most of them were rather pleased to pose for me. The names are on the back.
Write back soon! I want to hear how your classes are going!
Dudley was bouncing excitedly in his seat that morning, Petunia noticed absently as she made breakfast. It wasn't until she heard the distinct bark of a snowy owl that she realized why. "What did Harry have to say, dear?"
Dudley looked up at her, his eyes alight as he pulled out a rather large stack of photographs. "He took pictures of everything," Dudley gushed and rummaged through the pile. Petunia noted that a few of the photos included see-through moving people that she assumed were the ghosts that Lily had always prattled on about. These didn't seem to be the pictures that Dudley was intending to show her, however, and she gasped as he shoved a picture into her hands.
It was of the most beautiful castle that she had ever seen, standing proudly in the valley that was surrounded by forest. The castle seemed to glow with an unearthly light in the sunset and Petunia found that all of her expectations of Hogwarts were nothing compared to seeing the real thing. Lily had never thought to show her any pictures of her school before.
Yet Harry wasn't Lily. Petunia had trouble remembering that now that he wasn't here and staring her in the face. He was much more polite than Lily had ever been and he could be rather thoughtful if he wanted to. Perhaps it was because he wasn't Lily that she still couldn't find it in herself to think of him as family.
Dudley was prattling on about Harry's classes and the professor's her nephew had while Petunia began looking inwards and studying the revelation that she'd just had. She had always known that she'd never be able to repair the relationship with her nephew, as Vernon knew he couldn't take back what he had allowed happen to the toddler, but she had never thought to analyze her current feelings on the boy.
He was Dudley's friend, Petunia mused silently, pretending to smile and nod at Dudley's babbling. That was all. He was Dudley's friend. Not her sister's son that she had abused as a young child, but her baby boy's best friend. In her head she knew that he was her nephew and Dudley's cousin yet her heart didn't recognize him as such. It likely never would.
She had loved her sister and hated her sister yet Lily had always remained her sister. Petunia didn't know why she couldn't think of Harry as her nephew and she promised herself to ask her therapist next time she saw him. The man usually knew exactly why she thought the way she did and she credited him for the improvements her life and the life of her family, to him.
"What else did Harry have to say?" she asked her son, inner turmoil dealt with for now. Dudley practically beamed at her before he began informing her of ever little detail Harry had written to him.
Hopefully Dudley wouldn't turn out nearly as damaged as she had.
The response from Dudley came later the day after Harry had sent it. It included response from both Piers and Denis as well and Harry grinned as he learned what he friends had been up to while he was gone.
"Who are you writing?" Harry startled at the voice and turned to see his year mate, Justin Finch-Fletchley. It was the first time Harry had spoken to one of his fellow Hufflepuffs (at least those that were in the same year with him) and Harry found himself studying the other boy's face.
"My friends from back home," Harry told him easily. "Along with my cousin."
The boy's face remained the same, a curious expression. "You live with muggles, right?"
Harry felt his guard go up. He had learned about the views the magical world had on muggleborns and muggles from Draco and Theo. The other two were uncertain of their own views, having only ever experienced one muggle movie in their life and having never met a muggle before but their parents had been clear on the fact that muggles were nothing more than scum. Harry had made it his goal to convince them otherwise by the end of the year.
None of this explained why Justin was suddenly interested in him. "My mother's sister's family," Harry said, nodding. "My aunt told my cousin about magic when I got my letter." He knew better to say that he had learned about it at the same time.
Justin grinned suddenly. "So you and your cousin get along then?" Was that relief in the other boy's voice?
Harry's suspicions doubled two-fold. "Yeah. He's one of my best friends, along with Denis and Piers." Harry chose his words carefully. "Piers and Denis think I'm off at a music school for the gifted." Reading up on the Wizarding World had taught him that Wizards didn't like muggles not related by blood knowing about them.
"It's hard not telling your friends," Justin nodded easily. Harry suddenly remembered that Justin was a muggleborn. 'Oops,' he thought, suspicions discarded. "I'm surprised that you keep in contact with them, though."
Nevermind. Suspicions back. "What do you mean?"
"Well," Justin shifted uncomfortably. "You hang out with those Slytherin friends of yours so I thought…"
So that was the problem. Harry had wondered why the rest of his year in Hufflepuff seemed to avoid him. "So?" He asked, voice containing just a hint of venom. "Draco and Theo don't care who my other friends are." And they didn't. Not after befriending Terry and learning that he was a muggleborn long afterwards.
Justin looked uncomfortable now. "The others were saying that it was surprising you would keep in contact with your family since their muggles. Everyone knows that Slytherins are-" He was cut off by an irate Harry.
"Yes well everyone also knows that Hufflepuff is full of useless, talentless, duffers," Harry practically snarled at him. It always bugged him when people couldn't see past prejudice, possibly due to his own first six years with his relatives. Justin was one of the worst kind of people, those who blindly followed the opinions of others because 'everyone knows'. "Yet one of the most talented fourth year students is a Hufflepuff. I guess what everyone know wasn't all that factual, was it?"
He didn't bother to wait for a response as he gathered up his stuff and practically stormed away, heading to the Slytherin table where Draco and Theo were looking at him worriedly. He sat between them and positively glowered at a stunned Justin.
So much for having a good dinner.
This chapter was shorter than my other ones, sorry about that, but I've written this about nine times at this point. Those of you that've read On the Wings of an Angel know that I've been having internet problems. That's been fixed but now my laptop has decided it wants to go on the fritz and since I take online classes, that's leaves me with less free time than I'm used to. The library has, once again, become my friend and I'm working (slowly) on getting all my documents too my Google Drive account so I can work on them from other computers while I figure out how to get my laptop fixed.
This chapter was quite a bit longer with a lot more going on in it but I just didn't have the heart to rewrite it all once again. A lot of plot and character development was lost and I was actually disheartened quite a bit by that so I put this on the backburner for a while so I could plan out a few new scenarios (thank god that I decided to keep all my planning on paper and not my laptop). So the chapter will hopefully be longer again by my next update but I wouldn't get my hopes up. *shrugs*
On a side note...
So a lot of you were wondering what was up with the Hufflepuffs in Harry's year. Most of you forget that prejudice isn't only against the muggleborn's and muggles in the magical world. Slytherin is, as a whole, viewed as a breeding ground for Death Eaters with most ignoring the fact that a lot of Death Eater's came from other houses as well (hello, Sirius, while innocent, was a Gryffindor and so was Pettigrew, the real traitor!). Hufflepuff might have a reputation for being fair and loyal but they were just as quick to turn against Harry in the books as the rest of the school. Reputation isn't everything and I plan on addressing some of the problems and mentalities that most ignore from the books.
There's a method to my madness! (No really, there is!) Between homework, school, online classes and life in general, I will try to get more chapters out for most of my stories and finish reworking others. Most of the responses to the pole have let me know that you want to original documents to stay up so I will be posting the reworked versions under new names and post a chapter letting you all know that the reworked versions are up.
You're all amazing!