July 1, 2005
The students followed the professor, Deputy Headmistress McGonagall, as she led them from the docks and up into the castle proper. Most were still giggling over Blondie's performance. McGonagall seemed pretty angry over the blonde boy's behavior. Harry was thinking while he walked, but his new girls were talking quietly amongst themselves.
"Do any of you find it odd?" asked Hermione. "How quickly he got us to agree to be his girlfriends?"
"Actually, I had worried about that a bit," admitted Susan. "I mean, I don't want to get a reputation or anything like that. Plus, I never wanted to kiss a boy before. Then here comes Harry, and we're kissing, and it is like…"
"So good!" giggled the other three girls.
"Yeah, he's a great kisser," agreed Susan.
"There's more to him than that, though," said Blaise. "I've grown up among pureblood nobles. Most of them are smooth, debonair operators. Pureblood males are trained to know their way around women. I've seen them work… felt their charm in action. Harry puts all of them to shame. He's good. He's very good."
"Tell me about it," agreed Padma. "I always thought father had a way with the ladies. After all, he has a wife and two concubines." At their looks, she added, "Hey! It's our custom. So, the idea of sharing a man isn't that unusual for me. Still, I believe that even Daddy would find Harry to be a gifted ladies man."
"The question is, can we trust Harry's motives?" asked Hermione. "Is he for real? I mean, he is rather famous… Is he with all of us just to build on that reputation, or does he really care about us?" They all stopped to think about that. "He seems sincere, but I just wonder if he is. I hope he is."
"Well, I think…" Blaise was cut off when a bunch of the other kids began to scream. The girls all turned to see a bunch of ghosts. Hermione was the only one not familiar with such quirks of the wizarding world, but after a moment to gawk at their translucent silver images; she turned back to her new friends. "As I was saying, I think he is sincere. Something just tells me that he can be trusted."
"And, he's cute," commented Susan.
"Yes, he's really cute," agreed Padma. "That messy hair, those emerald eyes…"
"Hey, do you think he's worried about us, too?" Blaise suddenly wondered.
"What do you mean?" queried Hermione.
"Well, he IS the Boy-Who-Lived you know. "It is quite possible that he could come to see us as… what's that muggle word for people who follow those… rock star people?"
"Groupies?" supplied Hermione.
"Yeah, groupies!" agreed Blaise. "What if Harry thinks we're just a bunch Potter groupies?"
"I never though about that before," admitted Susan. "I bet that there are people who would flock to him just because he is famous. People like that blonde kid who claims he's not gay."
"That was Malfoy," supplied Blaise. "My parents are friends with his. He's a pompous little git… just like his old man." McGonagall had returned, and the first years were beginning to file into the Great Hall. "It looks like it is sorting time." They began to move forward.
The girls moved up to walk behind Harry as they entered the hall. Even for the magic-born children, the sight was one to inspire awe. Hundreds of candles floated above the five great tables. Four tables ran the length of the room, and were filled with the returning students. At the far end of the enormous room, the fifth table lay perpendicular to the others on a raised platform. The teachers and staff sat at this one.
Harry noticed the magical wonders, but having spent some time in the magical world, he was less than amazed. Rather than gazing at the wonders, he was looking at all the girls around him. For some reason, his reactions puzzled Dumbledore. He noticed the headmaster's reactions almost immediately, mainly due to the rather intense gaze he had focused on the young man. Plus, there was a certain… vibe… coming off the old man. Dumbledore was very interested in Harry, and the boy in question was discomforted by said interest. He almost… felt… like Uncle Vernon would when he was looking at the new model sports cars. Creepy!
"Wow!" said Susan, drawing his attention away from the head table. "Look at the ceiling!"
"It's enchanted to look at the night sky," supplied Hermione. "I read about it in…"
"Hogwarts, a History," chorused everyone in the budding group.
"Hermione, you really need to quit with the know-it-all routine," scolded Harry. He tried to be gentle, but he had dealt with girls like her before. This would be for her own good. "We know you are a fountain of knowledge, but you shouldn't shove it in everyone's face. I'm not saying that you shouldn't answer questions or help those who ask. All I'm saying is that you shouldn't volunteer quite so much information. It can be a little bit…"
"Snobbish." They turned to look at Padma. "Well, it is. Brain snob," she teased the brunette.
"Alright, I get your point," sighed the muggleborn. Deep down, Hermione knew that her lack of people skills drove others away. She would either try too hard to impress them, or remain too far in the background to be noticed. "I'll try to restrain myself. Oh, look! I think we're starting!"
"Attention please!" called McGonagall. She stood before the teacher's table, holding a scroll of the names of the first year students, and standing besides a stool with an old hat on it. "First years! When I call your name, you will come up to me, place the sorting hat on your head, and be placed into your house. After you have been sorted, place the hat back on the stool and join your housemates at your new house table."
They were quiet as McGonagall began to read from her list. "Abbot, Hannah," was the first name on the list. She put the hat on her head, and after a moment a tear formed in the brim. It opened like a mouth, and the hat yelled out "Hufflepuff!" The next name called was "Bones, Susan."
"Here I go…" said Susan. She went up and put on the hat. This time, there was a significant pause before the 'mouth' opened and called out "Hufflepuff!" As with Hannah, the farthest right table began to cheer as Susan walked over to join her new house.
There were more sortings, most of which the four remaining companions ignored. Well, that wasn't exactly true. They noted names and houses, but since these were students they didn't yet know, there was not reason to focus on them.
Then the professor called, "Granger, Hermione!" The brainy girl went into Gryffindor after a long pause, much like what had happened with Susan. Shortly afterwards, Harry's pal blondie went up after "Malfoy, Draco!" was called. The hat didn't even touch his head before it called out "Slytherin!" Somehow, no one was surprised by that decision. A few more people were called, and then she read out "Patil, Padma!"
The first Patil twin went into Ravenclaw after a lengthy pause. The second twin, Pavarti, went into Gryffindor almost immediately. And then she called out "Potter, Harry!"
Suddenly, all the students were muttering. As he walked up to the stool, he could hear students muttering "Potter?" "THE Harry Potter?" "Harry Potter's come to Hogwarts?" Dumbledore was once again giving Harry that creepy, intense look. What was with that man? Most of the observers grew silent as the hat descended upon his head.
'Ah, another difficult one!' he heard in his head. 'So you are the one influencing all those girls, with their remarkable minds. I think you will stir things up a bit. You are not quite what He has expected. You will disrupt a great many of His plans. Quite a past you have there, Potter.'
'Thanks, I think,' he thought back. 'Whose plans will I be disrupting? Voldemort's?'
'Oh, his plans will be disrupted, too,' chuckled the hat. 'You will be rather difficult to place, Mr. Potter, especially now that you know about your rather unique heritage. He had planned to keep you ignorant of that, until you were much older. Now, any of the houses would do well for you, but which would be the best I wonder?' thought the hat. 'You can be incredibly loyal to your chosen friends, but you also have an outstanding drive to learn. There's bravery here… Oh my, yes, but also cunning, and a thirst to prove yourself. But, where to put you?'
'Where does the old man want me?' thought Harry, picturing Dumbledore as the placer. 'I've noticed the looks he's been giving me ever since I entered the hall. He's a meddler, I can tell. The headmaster is the other 'He' you mentioned. Am I correct?'
'The Headmaster?' asked the hat, the capital letter clearly heard in his mind voice. 'He cannot influence my decisions! But I do know how he would like to influence my sorting. He hopes to have you in Gryffindor at best, and out of Slytherin at worst.'
'I'm almost tempted to say put me in Slytherin just to piss him off.' The hat chuckled. 'Creepy old man is starting to annoy me… particularly if he will meddle as much as you say. However, he will better underestimate me if I am placed according to his plan. I won't be his pawn, but he doesn't need to know that right now. So, I suppose you should just put me in where he wants me to be.'
'If you're sure?' asked the hat. 'Well then it better be…', "GRYFFINDOR!"
The Gryffindor table erupted into a chorus of cheers. The Weasley twins started doing a silly little dance, chanting, "We got Potter! We got Potter!" Dumbledore looked like Dudley on his birthday. The other tables looked a bit disappointed, and the Slytherins seemed a bit angry. Funniest of all, Blondie appeared to have swallowed a bug.
A little while later, she called up "Weasley, Ronald!" who joined his brothers with the lions. Finally, the sorting ended with the last of Harry's new girls, "Zabini, Blaise!" who went to Slytherin. Harry had a girl in each house. Was fate messing with him, or did his unique heritage just draw him to the qualities of each house? He would have to think about that further.
With the last student
sorted, the Headmaster rose to speak. "Welcome to all our new
students, and welcome back to all our returning students. I know
that you are all hungry, so I will hold all announcements until after
the feast. Let me just
say a few words for now. And they are, nitwit, blubber, oddment, and tweak! Now, tuck in."
The meal was excellent, from the moment the food first appeared at the tables, until the moment when the remains all vanished. Harry sat next to Hermione (his Gryffindor girl), and they wound up holding hands for most of the feast. Some of the other children made ventures to talk with him, but the ones who were seeking the Boy-Who-Lived legend were pushed aside. Most were content to stare and whisper amongst themselves.
He was able to meet his fellow first years (other than Hermione) in the house of red. There were two other girls that he met that night: Lavender Brown and Pavarti Patil – Padma's twin sister. Then there were the boys. There were four other boys in his year: Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas, and Ronald Weasley. Pavarti and Lavender were the typical popular clique type (i.e., pretty, bubbly, and a bit shallow. Your basic pre-teen girls). Neville was somewhat shy and clumsy, but Seamus and Dean were more normal. Then there was Ronald.
Harry had an interest in his younger sister, Ginny, whom he had met at the train station. He had three older brothers still at school… fifth year that was the male prefect, and a set of twins who were the resident pranksters. Ronald, however, had a boat load of issues to deal with. Almost immediately, he had ogled Harry like he was a two headed goat. With eyes as round as a kid at a freak show, he had asked to see the famous scar. When Harry refused, he got all prissy and started pouting. Soon after, he began making snide remarks about wizards riding on their fame.
Harry was guessing that ickle Ronnie had a plethora of jealousies, most involving his elder siblings. When he asked the twins, he found out that they had two brothers out of school – one had been head boy, the other quidditch captain. As the youngest male child, Ronald received all the hand-me-downs at the end of the hand-me-down line. Since the family wasn't financially solvent, everything he owned was a hand-me-down. So, like he thought before, young Ronald had many issues.
Afterwards, the Headmaster made some announcements, which included a list of prohibited items (mostly pranks), several general restrictions, and a warning about a certain third floor corridor that contained a horrible, painful death for all trespassers. A few students laughed, but most took his words very seriously. Harry was beginning to wonder about the sanity of witches and wizards. This was a school for heaven's sake!
Why was there a hallway that could dish out a painful death to trespassers? In a school with eleven year old children no less! What, exactly, was wrong with these people? You cannot just tell children not to go somewhere! At least a few of them would push the envelope. He had practically guaranteed that someone would sneak in, just to break the rule! The Headmaster was starting to worry him. Hell, the wizarding world was starting to worry him!
Just before the children were dismissed, he heard a voice whispering, "Pssst! Harry!" He turned to find Blaise waving him over.
"Let's go see what she wants," said Hermione. They moved over towards the Slytherin table, to find that Padma and Susan had come over to join them. "So, what's up?"
"Can we all come down early for breakfast?" asked Blaise. "It will give us time to talk and stuff before the others come down. We can have a little alone time with our boyfriend."
"That's an excellent idea!" Susan grinned. "And during the day, we should all keep an eye out for places where we can hang out."
"Oh! I hear that the library is rather extensive," said Hermione. "We could meet there!"
"There are also the grounds," countered Padma. "They might be pleasant during the fall and spring months."
"First years!" came the call. "Follow your prefects to the dormitories!" ordered the Headmaster.
"Hurry up and give me a kiss!" squealed Blaise.
"Me too!" said Susan.
"And me!" agreed Padma.
"I can wait until we get to the dormitories," said Hermione, looking smug. "Ha! I get extra Harry time!"
"We know," growled Blaise. "Don't rub it in. Now, kiss me!" She grabbed Harry by the shirt and pulled him into a hot kiss. Well, hot for an eleven year old girl. Some of the older students began to giggle at the display, and it only got worse after Susan and Padma snogged him before dashing off to join follow their prefects and housemates.
"Come on, Harry! Time to go!" she said, grabbing his hand and racing off after the Gryffindor prefect… who just happened to be another Weasley. Hopefully, this one was less like Ron and more like the twins. Harry liked the twins. They were funny, laid-back, and believed that the school rules were more of a set of general guidelines than absolute truths.
The Weasley prefect, Percy, led them through the school, up stairways, and past the moving portraits. Looking around as they walked, Harry marveled at the somewhat frivolous uses magic was put to by the magical community. Moving, talking portraits were all well and good, but why in the world did the staircases move? Not escalator moving, but more of a random swinging from one place to another. If it was upon command, he could see it – but random movements? Why? Then there were the trick stairs, doors requiring passwords (or touches in the right places), and even patches of wall that just pretended to be doorways.
Just because a person could do something, it wasn't a reason to do it. Magic folk seemed to worry more about whether or not it can be done, and less about why anyone would bother in the first place. Hogwarts was so weird!
Eventually, they reached a portrait of a somewhat overweight woman in a pink dress. Percy stopped in front of her, and she calmly asked, "Password, please?" Well, apparently there were practical uses for talking portraits.
"Caput Draconis," replied Percy, to which the woman bowed. The painting then swung out from the wall like a door, revealing a hole in the wall. Apparently, this was the entrance to Gryffindor tower, and the painting was their gatekeeper. The students filed in, and encountered a veritable ocean of crimson and gold.
"Hey, Ne," chuckled Harry, "you ever see that Nicholson move, the Shining?"
Students near them jumped back when she snorted out in laughter. "Well, the color scheme's here, and we have a set of twins who can talk in unison…"
"Did someone mention us?" chorused the Weasley twins.
"See what I mean?" she said. Both she and Harry laughed some more.
"What did we do?" asked the twins.
"Hermione here was just making an observation, comparing the common room to a muggle movie," explained Harry. "In the movie, there was a scene were doors opened to release a surge of blood, and there were these twins who appeared and talked in unison."
"Muggles watch these… movies… for fun, right?" asked one of them.
"What kind of people would watch one about blood?" asked the other.
"It was a horror movie," stated Hermione. "Something we watch to scare us. It's a thrill sort of thing."
"Muggles are" "so weird," said the twins.
"Oh, and walls that pretend to be doors and moving staircases make perfect sense," retorted Harry.
"Well, no," "but they are fun," they replied.
"Harry," said Hermione, "I'm going to go check out my dorm, maybe find a book to read. Meet you back down here in about half an hour?" she asked.
"Sure thing, Ne."
Harry went up the stairs to the boys dormitories, and found the room for first years at the very top of the tower. Inside were five beds, four of which already had trunks in front of them. Taking a wild guess, he claimed the fifth bed for himself. Standing by the foot of the four poster bed, he retrieved his trunk from his pocket and enlarged it. Once he placed his hand on the scanning plate, the trunk's security features verified his access rights and he began to unpack the 'public' items.
He filled the wardrobe with his school clothes and robes. Shoes were placed under the bed; along with a set of dumbbells he used exercise. As a final touch to his decorating scheme, he placed pictures of each of the squib girls up around his bed. As soon as possible, he had to get pictures of the four new girls to add to the collection. Just as he was finishing up, some of the other boys came up to the room.
"Hi Harry," greeted one of them… an Irish lad named Seamus. "Those pictures of your family?"
"Not really. They're my girls," he replied proudly. "We're not related, but were kind of a family."
"So, they're all your girlfriends?" asked another roommate… Dean, if memory served. "How do you manage to juggle that many girls?" he asked.
"Oh, they all know about each other. It's so much easier to have them share."
"Bloody hell," uttered his third roommate, Neville.
"Well, what would you expect from the great Harry Potter?" snorted the final roommate, Ronald Weasley. This particular Weasley brother had been giving Harry dirty looks all throughout the welcoming feast. Well, not from the start. First, he had asked to see the famous scar, but after Harry refused – he didn't want to become the local freak show – Ronald had gotten all teed off about it. Now, to Harry's utter joy, the bit dumb prat was in what appeared to be a jealous rage. More accurately, another jealous rage in what was sure to be a long history of jealous rages.
"What's your damage, Weasley?" demanded Harry.
"Oh, pardon me. Far be it for me to question the great Harry Potter." With that, Ronald stormed off to the bathroom.
"Man, what a prat!" exclaimed Seamus.
"That boy has problems," agreed Dean.
"H-he's just… just jealous," stuttered Neville. "Wanker."
"Yes, but jealous of what?" wondered Harry. "He hasn't even know me for five hours yet. How can he be jealous already?"
"Oh, there you are," greeted Hermione, when Harry came back down from his room. She was sitting on one of the 'Shining' couches, dressed in a nightgown and her robe. Sitting in her lap was a rather large book on charms. "Sit with me?"
"Of course," he replied, sitting besides her. He had also changed into his pajamas and donned a robe. "What are you reading?" He looked at her book. "Mmm… that's a good one. As luck would have it, the volume I brought down for you is also on charms. Here." What he handed her was the slim volume on Charms, which he had compiled through his work with the squib girls. Hermione eagerly began to read it.
"This is a very good book, Harry!" she enthused. "It really explains how everything works. I'm surprised the school doesn't use it to teach us. Where did you find it?"
"Read the cover," he replied softly.
Hermione flipped the book closed, taking note of the title, 'A Guide to Charms, by Harry Potter and the Squib Squad'. "Wow, you actually wrote this? I'm impressed."
"Well, it was a collaboration of effort, really. I couldn't have done it without my girls. Over the summer, we went over thousands of books, on a variety of subjects. This volume is our interpretation of the magical theory behind basic and intermediate Charms casting."
"If your other interpretations are as good as this one, then I think I'll have a real advantage over the other students! We have to get copies of your works to the others as soon as possible!"
"I'll drop a note to the squib girls tonight, and ask them to copy our compiled works for each of you."
"Thanks, Harry! You're the best boyfriend ever," she giggled. He finally got his goodnight kiss from Hermione.
To my readers:
Sorry about the delay in posting. I've been working on some of my other story ideas, trying to get them to the point where I can start posting. I've also been struggling with a few points in this story, which I just couldn't get to come out right in the first 100 revisions.
Several people have asked if I have stories posted elsewhere. The answer is no. is my first experience in posting stories. Other than here, these stories only exist in my notebooks and in my mind. I hope to have the start of some additional stories ready to post in the near future.