Author's Note: Thank you for all the reviews! See, they made me write another quick chapter! And the formatting for the last one has been reparo-d. Shout-out to iowa-tarheel for finding an error in the previous chapter and saving me the blushes. It has been duly fixed. Here's a shiny new chapter for y'all. Enjoy! :)
Chapter 5: Potions and Defense
"Next to the tall kid with the red hair."
"Wearing the glasses?"
"Did you see his face?"
"Did you see his scar?"
Whispers followed Daniel from the moment he left the Transfiguration classroom. People lined up outside classrooms stood on tiptoe to get a look at him, or doubled back to pass him in the corridors again, staring. This stupid hero worship annoyed Harry who had yet to see his brother do any spectacular piece of magic. Daniel and Ron both had superior smiles and were basking in all the attention as they made their way to the Potions classroom.
"Gotta face the greasy git today," Harry heard Daniel tell Ron and Neville distastefully.
"And in a classroom full of Slytherins," Ron added making a face.
Harry quickened his steps and entered the classroom, Iris and Hermione chatting together at his side. He took a seat at the front of the class, hoping that it would keep him away from exploding cauldrons and the other disasters which were waiting to happen in the class. At least sitting at the front would keep him away from the bulk of those, unless the professor messed up, which he knowing his luck, was quite possible.
"From the look on your face I take it you don't think much of my brother?"
He looked to his side, snapping out of his musings.
"Oh, well, not exactly. But he decided that I was evil just because I said all Slytherins weren't evil on the Express. I'm sure finding out I'm a Black will reinforce his opinion. Then he tried to convince Hermione that I was evil, so yeah, not the greatest of impressions".
Iris frowned, "I'll talk to that git."
"No, that's alright", said Harry, "It doesn't affect me. It just affects my opinion of him".
Iris' frown deepened and she bit her lip, "You know he wasn't always like this…but all the media attention about the Boy-Who-Lived…" She trailed off, lost in her own thoughts. Harry didn't press and Hermione looked confused.
By then, the rest of the class had entered and Daniel and his friends took the seats in the middle of the class, while Draco took the front row on the other side of the class. It wasn't even the first day and already there were clear lines separating the Gryffindors and the Slytherins, with Harry, Hermione and Iris in a bubble of their own at the front.
"Hey Iris, why don't you leave the dirty snake and join us? You too? Hermione" shouted Daniel from the back, giving Harry a dirty look.
Harry kept his face devoid of expressions, and only his eyes flashed green with annoyance at being labelled so.
Iris gave Harry and apologetic look. "He's my friend, stop insulting him or I'll tell Dad".
"Dad would be ashamed at you for talking with dirty Slytherins," Daniel shouted back at her venomously. "Come and sit with your true family," He said, pointing at himself and the other Gryffindors.
'Family…' that comment stung at Harry however hard he tried to ignore it. If only you knew, he thought.
"Hermione tell her," Daniel said hoping she would convince his sister.
"Harry is my friend and if you continue insulting him, I will inform Professor McGonaggal that your conduct is unbecoming of one from Gryffindor house", she said sternly.
Daniel paled a little at that, remembering his earlier woes. Ronald stood up to take his side, when the doors to the classroom closed with a deep thud and a pale, hook nosed man entered the room, his black robes billowing behind him.
Snape, started the class by taking the roll call. He ignored the name Iris Potter, and his eyes narrowed as he said the name, "Harry Black" in a sharp whisper, who replied with crisply.
He paused at Daniel's name.
"Ah, yes," he said softly, "Daniel Potter. Our new — celebrity." Draco Malfoy and his friends Crabbe and Goyle sniggered behind their hands. Snape finished calling the names and looked up at the class. His eyes were black like Hagrid's, but they had none of Hagrid's warmth. They were cold and empty and made you think
of dark tunnels.
"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word — like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. "As there is little
foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. . . . I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
More silence followed this little speech.
Harry and Iris exchanged looks with raised eyebrows. Hermione Granger was on the
edge of her seat and looked desperate to start proving that she wasn't a dunderhead.
"Daniel Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
Hermione's hand shot into the air fast as a viper. Harry remained quiet.
"Perhaps the grease oil that you use as shampoo?" said Daniel with a mocking sneer.
Snape looked shocked at the cheek of the boy, and he said, "25 points from Gryffindor for insulting a professor."
Daniel gave a mock bow to his fellow Gryffindors who just looked pale and scared, and traded a high five with Ron.
Hermione looked appalled and had her hands over her mouth, shocked at his audacity. Iris had put her palm to her face again, as if it would erase the insanity of the proceedings.
Hermione stretched her right hand as high into the air as it would go without her leaving her seat, but Snape ignored her. Daniel looked at Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, who were torn between laughter at the loss of points for their rivals and fear at the casual mockery that their head of house was receiving.
"Up your arse, maybe? That's the only way you must have managed to survive after your Master fell," said Daniel with a mocking smile.
Iris groaned besides Harry, while Hermione had clamped her left hand on her mouth, the insult shocking her even more than the previous one.
"50 points from Gryffindor and a weeks of detentions for you, Potter. Clearly fame isn't everything. I will also be speaking to your Head of House about your conduct," sneered Snape.
"What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?" At this, Hermione stood up, her hand stretching toward the dungeon ceiling.
"A monk's hood won't look good on a wolf's head? Much like a Death Eater doesn't look good in Hogwarts", said Daniel with a cruel smirk. Most of the students were shocked at this, and Hermione landed back on her seat with a thump. Iris buried her head in her book, trying to wipe the world away. Harry's eyes widened at that, but otherwise he showed no outward signs of surprise.
Both the Slytherins and Gryffindors looked scared and shocked and were awaiting Snape's response.
They were even more shocked when he did not utter a single word in anger, merely said coldly, "50 more points from Gryffindor and one more week's detention for insulting a professor, lack of respect and manners. Is this how the Head of the Auror department's son behaves?"
Daniel was on his feet at the last sentence and was about to reply with a rant when Iris screamed at him, "Will you stop this stupidity. Gryffindor will be in negative points by the end of the day if you keep going on."
Daniel's words ended on his lips at the anger on his sister's face and irritation n Hermione's face. The other Gryffindors were caught between anger at him losing so many points and awe that anyone would talk to the feared Potions Master in such a way. The Death Eater part had scared most of the class as well.
"Take note from your sister's book, Daniel. 5 points to Gryffindor for showing some sense", said Snape.
"For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"
There was a sudden rummaging for quills and parchment.
Things didn't improve for the Gryffindors as the Potions lesson continued. Snape put them all into pairs and set them to mixing up a simple potion to cure boils. He swept around in his long black cloak, watching them weigh dried nettles and crush snake fangs,
criticizing almost everyone except Malfoy, whom he seemed to like. He was just telling everyone to look at the perfect way Malfoy had stewed his horned slugs when clouds of acid green smoke and a loud hissing filled the dungeon.
Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus's cauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor, burning holes in people's shoes. Within seconds, the whole class was standing on their stools while Neville, who had been drenched in the potion when the cauldron collapsed, moaned in pain as angry red boils sprang up all over his arms and legs.
"Idiot boy!" snarled Snape, clearing the spilled potion away with one wave of his wand. "I suppose you added the porcupine quills before taking the cauldron off the fire?"
Neville whimpered as boils started to pop up all over his nose.
"Take him up to the hospital wing," Snape spat at Daniel. "Useless dunderhead".
With Daniel's departure, the class got quieter, with Ron setting his robes on fire being the only other thing of note. The fumes had made the atmosphere unsuitable for Potions and class had to be ended early.
"I'll see you guys later. I need to talk to Daniel about his idiocy in the Potions classroom", she said grimly and dashed to the Hospital Wing.
Hermione looked angry, though whether it was because of the loss of points or the Professor not asking to answer the questions, Harry did not know. So he deigned to stay quiet as they quietly made their way to the Defense against the Dark Arts classroom.
The DADA classroom was dimly lit and smelled of staleness and decay. There was a hint of garlics in the air and it all had a feeling of general mustiness. The professor Quirrel stood wearing purple robes and a weird turban. He spoke with a stutter and it made deciphering his words a difficult task for the students.
The professor appeared confused for a few seconds when he saw Harry, almost as if he was surprised to see him. He called out the names of students much like the other professors and the slightest hint of a frown was seen on his face on seeing no reply from either of the Potters.
"They've gone to the Hospital Wing due to a mishap in Potions," Ron said when the class was asked about their absence.
But most curious was the slight double take he did on seeing the prominent green eyes of Harry Black and the expressionless face of the young Slytherin who stared back at him. Quirrel stuttered quite a bit more after that before droning on with his lesson. Harry had the beginnings of a headache whenever he looked at Quirrel and if he continued staring at him, the pain would grow until he felt a dull throbbing in his head, as if someone were taking a jackhammer and cracking it open from the inside.
Hermione looked a little concerned at Harry's sudden winces of pain, but refrained from questioning when he answered with a hushed, "later".
"Well, that was an utterly useless lesson," said Harry, catching his head once the class was over and he was a few corridors and floors away from it.
Before he could say anything else, Hermione grabbed his hands and dragged him into an empty broom closet.
She shut it and whispered a locking charm and looked at Harry. "Explain," She demanded.
Harry, who in his surprise had let her drag him away was only just regaining his bearings when she spoke the single word like a command.
Ah, he'd stalled for as long as possible, and she looked determined. Better to answer as much as possible before moving to a more secure location.
"Alright, I'll tell you some of it, but not all. Meet me tonight after curfew and I'll fill you in the rest of the details".
"I've already had a crazy first day here, why do you want to get into trouble by meeting after curfew? If someone finds us, we'll be in a lot of trouble and Gryffindor has already lost a lot of points!"
"What I have to say can only be shared in a secure location, and a broom cupboard is not one of those. So if you want to know more, you'll have to risk it".
Hermione appeared conflicted at the idea of rule breaking, but she did want to know what exactly was going on here with her first friend.
Harry saw her confusion and tried to reason with her. "Don't worry, I promise we won't get caught. Please?" He even gave her his best puppy eyes expression, which finally made her wilt.
"Alright, Black, but you better start explaining some of it now," she said in a huff.
Harry smiled brightly at her and sat on an upturned bucket. Hermione arched an eyebrow at his behaviour but remained standing.
Harry sighed, ran a hand through his untidy, black hair, and asked her, "What do you want to know?"
"I have a list of questions ready. I haven't written it down, obviously, but I have them all thought out", she spoke in a hurried tone.
"Why am I not surprised?" Harry winked at her.
"Prat", Hermione said, giving him a mock punch.
"Shoot", Harry said.
"Okay..." Hermione began.
"Why do you dislike Daniel Potter? I mean other than the obvious reasons, there seems to be more than that. The way you eye him with distaste, it's clear that there's some animosity you hold with him. Do you know him?"
Harry was surprised with this question. He had expected something along the lines of how was he able to do such an advanced Transfiguration to begin with. Hermione sure didn't believe in beating around the bush.
"Wow…alright, that's a tough one. See, I don't dislike him per say, there's just a lot going on here which I can't explain properly. At least not in a musty broom closet".
"Can't or won't?" asked an irate Hermione.
"Both," said Harry, moving a hand through his hair, a tense expression on his face. "I'll try to explain some of it tonight if you meet me after curfew in a secure place. There are things which I wouldn't want to explain unless I'm sure that we are warded from prying eyes and ears".
Hermione gave him an annoyed glance and spoke, "I'll hold you to that".
Harry nodded solemnly.
"Now, what happened with Professor Snape in the morning? The surprise when he heard the name Black? And Malfoy's reaction to it as well, as if he'd seen a ghost…well he'd have been less shocked on seeing a ghost since Hogwarts is stacked with them, but you get my point," She asked in a fast rant in a single breath.
"You ask difficult questions, Hermione", he said. He hadn't expected anyone to catch the slight widening of Snape's eyes in surprise at the name. Hermioen Granger was truly a perceptive girl to discern so much from the smallest of actions.
"The Black's have been a dark family," he said. "Hell, they were known as the darkest of families and their enemies usually suffered grisly and violent ends. Barring Sirius Black, I don't think there is any Black who could be called as anything less than a sociopath. This reputation has been well earned and there were rumours that almost all of them were in league with Voldemort. But truly, the Black's association with Dark Magic goes back centuries, long before the origin of Voldemort. So I suppose its expected that people will be giving me a wide berth once they find out that I'm a Black. That's why Malfoy looked so scared in the morning, he must have thought that Sirius was the last of the Black line. The news of a Black heir will spread fast and that's why I wanted to keep it quiet. They had enemies, many enemies. Some who wouldn't mind killing me for some centuries old blood feud which no one even remembers now. Hell, even most light aligned families would look the other way if it happened, that's the amount of hatred the Black name has gathered over the decades. And that's why Daniel thinks I'm dark as well" Harry finished speaking with a heavy sigh, though the last was said with a derisive snort.
Hermione had her hand's clamped over her mouth on hearing the horrific deeds of the family and that people wouldn't mind killing Harry for some twisted notion of vengeance.
"Oh Harry…" was all she managed to say before engulfing him a fierce hug. "Nothing will happen to you. And I'll stand by you no matter what," she said, grabbing him tightly.
Harry was surprised by her sudden actions but welcome the warmth of it. "Thank you, Hermione," He managed to whisper in her ear, overcome with emotion. He hadn't expected such a strong reaction from her. A part of him had expected that she would run away on hearing what he had to say, but the fierceness of her embrace and emotions drove all such notions from his mind.
Hermione Granger was a truly special person. As she held him tight, he let all the emotions he usually held at distance wash over him, and for the first time in a long time, Harry truly felt.
Author's Note: Read and review, please. It'll make me write even faster.
Question- Would you be interested in reading an original story written by me? Answer via message or review. Thanks!
Oh, and things are about to get hairy for Harry in the coming years. *Gets coat and flees*
Have a good one, folks!