Disclaimer: None of Harry Potter is mine.
Harry awoke early the next morning, as soon as sunlight began filtering through the net curtains. His quarters were quite small; just a bedroom, bathroom and a simple sitting room with bookshelves lining one wall and a worn sofa and chair in a corner. There was no kitchen, since teachers were expected to eat in the Great Hall. The rooms were nice, Harry supposed, with high ceilings and spectacular views of the distant grounds - they were at the top of the North Tower, near the Divination class room. They felt bare and unwelcoming though.
Throughout his time at Hogwarts and later his Quidditch career, Harry had slowly built up a collection of photos, books and objects which were important to him. Most were presents from friends, some of whom had died in the war, and reminded him of the happy memories he had shared with the people close to him. In this universe, however, he had nothing. Harry missed the comforting familiarity of his surroundings in his old house in Godric's Hollow. Looking around his new bedroom, devoid of any personal touches, Harry felt very alone. Despite his rather large inheritance and Quidditch earnings, Harry had always preferred to keep his older possessions rather than buying new ones. He supposed this was a remnant of his life with the Dursleys, who refused to buy him anything, or due to the fact that, after the fear and desperation of his fight with Voldemort, mere material possessions lost most of their importance. Harry had never felt the urge to buy expensive robes and ostentatious furnishings to show off his status. Godric's Hollow had been warm and cosy, somewhere Harry could finally call home. Photos of his parents and his time at Hogwarts hung on the walls, smiling and waving at him, while friends often dropped in for a cup of tea or a broom race.
As Harry lay in his new four-poster bed - unwilling to get up and start the day, but also unable to fall back asleep – he was struck by an overwhelming feeling of isolation.
Harry had no friends here, not even his beloved owl Hedwig, to keep him company. He did not have anything to remind him of his old life. This world was similar to his old one, but also painfully different. He had not seen any sign of Ron last night at the welcoming feast, and while he had managed to catch a glimpse of Hermione, she had seemed very different to his Hermione. She was in Gryffindor, true, but had not interacted much with her fellow students, instead dividing her time between frowning in disapproval and reading a typically thick textbook. She had not seemed confident, or happy. Harry knew Hermione had always felt that she had to prove herself in some way, but because of their close friendship as 'the Golden Trio' she had relaxed and become more comfortable in her place in the magical world. In such a world as this one, where the divide between Pureblood and Muggleborn was larger than ever, Harry could easily see Hermione become obsessed with schoolwork as the only way of reassuring herself that she was not inferior.
Harry had also been struck by how young his past year mates seemed. Due to the war the students were more serious and mature, but they were still over two years younger than Harry. Most of them, while understanding the severity of the war, had probably never fought against Deatheaters in person. Neville especially seemed surprisingly childish for the supposed Child of Prophecy. After some thought, however, Harry thought he understood why. This world's Neville Longbottom had grown up cared for and shielded by his parents. According to the many articles in the Daily Prophet, he had been attacked on quite a few occasions, but he had never been forced to fight alone. Voldemort had never infiltrated the school in order to seize the philosopher's stone, nor had the Chamber of Secret's ever been opened. The Triwizard Tournament never took place, and Neville never had to duel Voldemort in an old abandoned graveyard surrounded by Deatheaters, relying only on himself. Despite the escalating war that had stretched over two decades, Neville had grown up protected and no doubt a bit spoiled.
The Neville Harry knew was strong, and a very capable wizard. His timidity had slowly given way during fifth year, and he had become a powerful fighter and good friend. Harry had been grateful for his support during the many battles against the Dark Lord. His counterpart, however, appeared to be less prepared for a true fight.
One meal's observation was not enough to form a definite opinion, though, and in any case Harry was not responsible for the Saviour's training. Harry had already decided to interfere politically in this world, and hopefully assist the order in their skirmishes with the Dark forces, but he was still not convinced that he had to play any larger role than that. Neville had the Order and Dumbledore to advise him and ensure that he was capable of defending himself, and an unknown Divination teacher would hardly be allowed to get too close to him.
As Harry finally left the warmth of his bed and blearily stumbled into and out of the shower before haphazardly searching through his rather meagre wardrobe to find a suitable robe, he found it hard to feel much concern over Neville, or Voldemort or the war in general. For him the war had ended over a year ago, and without a direct reminder he found it hard to truly believe the situation he found himself in. Harry had never done well with theory, he was much better at hands-on practical work.
"So, class, um, why don't you all settle down so we can get started?"
Harry cursed his stumbling words and the clearly uncertain tone present in his voice. Early on in his seven years education at Hogwarts he had become familiar with the different approaches the Professors had to teaching. McGonagall used a stern and no-nonsense approach to maintain order during her classes, whereas Snape used the more offensive tactics of sarcasm and intimidation to terrorize his students into submission. Flitwick was so infectiously good-natured that he seemed to exude a permanent Cheering Charm, and his subject was sufficiently interesting as to capture the attention of even the most disruptive Gryffindor or Slytherin. Hagrid's likable nature endeared him to many students, while the rest were too busy evading the lethal claws or fangs or random magical abilities of the invariably dangerous creatures they were studying. Trelawney deviously drugged her students with incense to ensure, if not their interest and cooperation, then at least their inability to care enough to create a disturbance, while Binns had remained oblivious and simply bored the class into a mindless stupor.
Harry knew all this, and could not deny the effectiveness of the different techniques. He found himself unable, however, to put these observations to good use, and could not prevent himself from retreating to a tentative manner of speaking. Confronted with the fourteen-year-old Hufflepuff students who were either ominously giggling and shooting glances at him, or were desperately scribbling answers to homework they should have finished weeks ago, Harry wondered why in the name of Merlin and Morgana he had thought himself qualified to teach his worst subject to a bunch of teenagers. The familiar dear-in-the-headlights sensation he normally only felt when faced with a particularly forceful fan-girl, was slowly threatening to overwhelm him.
He cleared his throat once more before repeating his earlier suggestion in a slightly more definite tone of voice.
Surprisingly, the students all looked up and blinked inquisitively at him. Apparently the interest generated by a new teacher was enough to dampen the need of the average teenager to wreak havoc as soon as they sensed weakness. Harry smiled nervously, before picking up a role of parchment from his desk.
"Right, I need to call the register before we start the lesson."
Harry thankfully went through the simple motions of reading the list of names, only occasionally struggling with pronunciation.
"Here," replied a rather sullen looking boy seated at a table in the back. Harry supposed he was fed-up with the evident lack of imagination displayed by his parents. He looked down at the next name on the list, raising an eyebrow in bemusement.
"Margaret Andromache Nigel Persephone Gwendolyn Catherine Cuthbert," Harry called out in one breath.
"It's just Maggie," replied a pig-tailed girl in the front row at once. The class tittered appreciatively.
"It's tradition in my family to name a baby after a relative," little Maggie continued defensively, seeming to feel the need to explain herself, "but after Auntie Annie accidentally pushed Grandpa Nigel out the window during a fight over who got to be my namesake, Mum just decided to name me after all our female relatives. Plus Grandpa," she added after a short pause, "to cheer him up, cos he broke his leg."
"Oh," Harry said, somewhat at a loss. He decided to forgo a more eloquent answer, and instead continued valiantly on. Luckily the next few names were less unusual, at least for purebloods. He vaguely recognised Frederick Finch-Fletchley as the younger brother of an old schoolmate, Justin, while another boy closely resembled a Slytherin, Lucas de Lusignan, who had been in the year above Harry. Harry wondered if the Slytherin, who had joined Voldemort immediately after finishing school, existed in this universe - and if so, how the rather vicious boy felt about his brother being an innocent young Hufflepuff.
Harry almost gave up at the Irish "Roisin Ni Ciomh," but the girl seemed used to her name being mangled beyond recognition and simply called out "Present" as soon as he had hesitantly intoned the first few syllables as "Roy-sin". The end was soon in sight, and the list finished with "Eilidh Urquhart" and "Reginald Tiberius Vandal".
By the time Harry had discarded the parchment on his already cluttered desk, he felt a lot calmer as he regarded the small sea of faces in front of him. He was grateful that McGonagall, who was in charge of drawing up the timetables, had been merciful enough to give him Hufflepuffs as a first class. Loyal and hardworking, they were also as a rule the friendliest students. Or the puny pushovers, as not-so-friendly members of other Houses declared them to be. As Harry stood before the good-natured and attentive class, he regretted every derogatory remark he had ever uttered against their House.
"Okay, we'll first start with a short revision of what you should have covered last year," Harry said briskly, feeling his confidence returning to him. "First the most basic question; what is the difference between Seeing and Divining?"
Harry looked hopefully around the classroom, but all the students seemed to have developed an absorbing interest in their wooden desks, the ceiling, or the view of the distant lake from the tower window.
The fourth years continued to studiously avoid his gaze.
"Surely you couldn't have forgotten everything you learnt last year," he asked desperately. Even Ron, with whom he had often spent happy hours predicting his gruesome death by a rampaging flobberworm or abduction by aliens from outer space, knew the difference between the two techniques. Trelawney had, at least, taught them that much. "Miss Cuthbert, would you care to make an educated guess?"
The hapless Hufflepuff shifted in her seat, shooting glances at her neighbours in the hope of inspiration. Finding none, she was forced to hesitantly formulate an answer herself.
"Well, Seeing is where you, um see things..." she trailed off, realising the pointlessness of this statement, before heroically continuing. "Divining is more like guesswork, I guess."
She finally gave up, relapsing into embarrassed silence.
Harry felt the beginnings of a headache come on.
"What, exactly, did you learn last year?" he inquired of the class in general.
Aaron Aran half-heartedly raised his hand in the air before answering.
"We read our book," he said, helpfully gesturing to 'Unfogging the Future' that lay in front of him. "And we drank a lot of tea."
"So you learnt how to tell the future by reading tea-leaves," Harry clarified.
"Well, no," replied a dark-haired boy sitting on the right. "We just drank the tea."
"Well, what else did you do," demanded Harry impatiently.
The students shared glances before de Lusignan took it upon himself to answer.
"Trelawney... I mean Professor Trelawney, described her séance with the Fates and the use of her mystic powers, which enlightened her Inner Eye and allowed her to intone the Prophecy which will decide the outcome of the fearsome battle between Light and Dark," he recited, as if rehearsed.
"No," disagreed another student. "She clearly told us about her struggle with her spiritual magic, and her heroic achievement of bringing hope to the Light."
"Same thing," shrugged de Lusignan.
"Didn't she mention something about wandering the Underworld? I'm sure she mentioned the ancient god Hades at some point. Or was it Zeus?" said a red-haired girl who was probably called Anne Harroway.
"No, it was the Spirit of Merlin, I'm sure," argued Aran.
Harry watched in consternation as the class described ever more fanciful and conflicting stories. It seemed that Trelawney had a very different approach to teaching in this world, or else the Hufflepuffs were being uncharacteristically devious and were lying through their teeth.
"Exactly what prophecy are you talking about?" asked Harry, raising his voice over the babble. Silence fell immediately, as they all stared at him in astonishment.
"The Prophecy about the defeat of the Dark Lord, of course," said Maggie Cuthbert as if it were completely obvious.
"Yeah, the one that says that Neville Longbottom is Saviour of the Magical World," said de Lusignan. "And the muggle world," he added as an afterthought.
Harry finally understood. It seemed that in this world, not only was the Prophecy made public, but also the identity of the Seer. Considering the delusional behaviour of Trelawney even when she had never knowingly made an accurate prediction, it followed that she would cling to the one Prophecy that the whole world believed in, and her teaching would become even more outrageous as a result.
"Right, well I think you'll find my style of teaching rather different. Quills and parchment out everyone. Take notes, as this will most definitely turn up in your OWL exams."
Harry paused for the usual grumbling complaints and rustling of bags before continuing, glancing down at his own note on the desk in front of him.
"There are many different methods of foretelling the future. Sight, Divination and Prophecy are the most important."
"There's a difference?" interrupted Maggie Cuthbert in obvious surprise.
"Yes," Harry affirmed. "The term Seeing is used when one consciously receives a clear vision of the future. A medium, such as a crystal ball, is often involved but with a clear enough Inner Eye none is needed. The images received by a Seer always come to pass, but often in unexpected ways. Very few wizards and witches are gifted with the Sight, and it takes a lot of skill to correctly interpret what one Sees.
"Divining is a form of skilful guesswork. Through mediums such as tarot cards and tea leaves one receives a vague impression or symbol of the future, which can be interpreted by practise and knowledge of the different methods. Palmistry, dream interpretation and astrology also fall under this category. Since it is so imprecise and difficult to properly predict the future, Divination is often referred to as an Art. Most wizards are capable of divining the near and personal future, and therefore it is this method that we will be focusing on in these lessons. Only those of you who are very talented, however, will be able to divine events many years in the future. Most of you will be limited to small, personal things such as meeting a stranger or losing a possession.
"As for Prophecy; well, not much is known on this subject. One can be a true Seer without ever becoming a Prophet, and vice versa; a Prophet does not always have the gift of the Inner Eye. From what little evidence there is, it can be deduced that prophecies come unbidden and often the Seer is unaware that they have spoken one. Some claim that prophets are chosen by the Fates to deliver a warning of the future; a mere mouthpiece, if you will, and no skill is required at all. The most famous Prophet in history, Cassandra of Troy, was rumoured to be able to prophesise on demand but otherwise Prophets seem to have no control over their powers. Other well known Prophets, or Visionaries, are Joan of Arc and the Oracle of Delphi. Prophecies detail an important event that will decide the future of the world. In fact, they could be said to directly influence the course of the future since once a prophecy is heard the actions of those involved often change."
Harry continued to lecture, often glancing down at his own notes to reassure himself that he was not talking nonsense. The Hufflepuffs dutifully wrote down the main facts, and appeared to be quite interested in the definitions, as this was supposedly the first proper lesson they'd ever had concerning the subject. Once the bell signalling the end of class rang, Harry had covered a sufficient amount and answered enough relatively intelligent questions to feel quite confident in his teaching abilities. Once the loudly chattering and inattentive Gryffindor third-years arrived, however, Harry quickly revised this opinion.
"Merlin, spare me," groaned Harry as he collapsed in the staff room after his first morning of teaching. The few professors who had managed to retreat to the safety of the room after the usual chaos of the beginning of school looked up from their various activities, which seemed to involve an impromptu picnic while haphazardly marking summer homework.
"Bad first day?" sympathised Vera Hooch, putting aside her quidditch magazine. As the flight instructor she was one of the few teachers who never had any marking to do, something that she seemed to delight in reminding the other teachers of at every opportunity.
"Dreadful," moaned Harry, gratefully accepting a glass of pumpkin juice from McGonagall. "The third years are hopeless and the fourth years don't even have a basic knowledge of the Art."
"So they don't have the Inner Eye," said Remus with a slight smirk.
"The Gryffindors wouldn't stop giggling," complained Harry, ignoring the older man. "And one girl professed herself to be a Seer, but her so-called Vision was iffy at best."
"Well, Seeing does involve a lot of guesswork," pointed out Sinistra reasonably.
"Not true Sight," said Harry firmly. "It's only in Divination when you start using tarot cards and candle flames that it starts becoming pure imagination."
"Don't know much about it myself," shrugged Hooch, sipping a cup of coffee.
"Well, their former teacher must have been useless. The Ravenclaw fifth years knew more than any of the other classes, but that's not saying much. They all babbled on about Mars meaning they'll fight with their best friend, and a funny shaped blob in a teacup apparently means the Apocalypse is coming."
"Professor Trelawney was…eccentric," grinned Sinistra.
"But I thought they were the standard methods of Divination," said Hooch curiously.
"Yes, but they've got it all mixed up," explained Harry, who had done a lot of reading on the subject and remembered his own lessons with Firenze. "The planets do not reveal petty, everyday details, and coffee dregs will only ever show you who you personally will meet next week, to take one example. Mars being bright means that an important war is either imminent or in the process of being fought. Any centaur will tell you that if they stop talking in riddles for five seconds."
"Yeah, they're never much help, are they?" agreed Sinistra, conjuring up some cake for herself. "Who did you learn from?"
"My grandmother," lied Harry. "She was a seer herself; not a very strong one though."
"What school did you go to?" asked Remus politely, setting aside a ragged piece of parchment covered in red corrections.
"Can't tell you, sorry," said Harry apologetically. "My family is in hiding, completely underground."
"I'm surprised you wanted to leave then," remarked Hooch. "You must have been quite safe."
"Yes, it was difficult getting everyone to consent to let me come," agreed Harry. "I even pretended to have a vision saying that I would come to no harm, but I don't think they bought it. I'll have to roll my eyes a bit more next time."
Harry grinned. Making up an alter ego was fun.
"Yes, but why did you leave and come to Hogwarts of all places," Remus persisted.
"I have visions that are mostly fixated on Voldemort," explained Harry, sighing. "Hogwarts is the only place where I can notify people of them and still be protected from the wrath of the Dark Lord."
Harry wasn't sure if he was still connected with Voldemort in this universe, but decided to use his previous experiences as an excuse for his presence anyway. A good lie often had a basis in truth. And this way he could use his knowledge of his old world to advise the Order of the Phoenix without too much suspicion cast on him.
"Oh," was all Remus could say in return, obviously unsure of how to take this unexpected declaration.
"Well," said Harry cheerfully, standing up. "I'm off to my next class; hopefully they won't be quite so obnoxious."
"Good luck," offered Hooch.
"Thanks, I'll need it."
"I must admit," McGonagall said once he'd left. "He's not what I expected."
"No," nodded Sinistra. "He actually seems to possess the Sight."
"Maybe," frowned McGonagall, which for her was a huge concession.
A/N I hope this will please the people who wanted to see more of Harry. As for those who want more action, and want it now, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. This will not be a very action-packed fic. While the war will be fought it is not the aspect I will be focusing on for the next few chapters. Instead I am trying to explore this alternative universe where I can play around with characters and politics.
Edit: THIS FIC IS DISCONTINUED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
My apologies to everyone reading this fic, since I know how annoying it is when authors leave stories unfinished. Unfortunately, while I have a vague idea where this fic is going, I've lost interest in actually writing it. For now I'm focusing on my other story, 'A Necessary Gift'. When that one's finished (which will take ages) I might come back to 'Magic Knows No Boundaries', but at this point I can't promise anything. Again, I'm very sorry. I hope you all find many wonderful and complete fics to read instead.