When Harry first stepped up to the doors to the great hall, he felt like he was 11 years old again, walking into Hogwarts fo
Hello and welcome to the first chapter of How to Survive College (and Even Fall in Love). Much of this story is based on either personal experience or my fears of what it would be like to live with a roommate. However, I do want to mention that all of the roommates that I have had have all been incredibly sweet, so if you are going off to college, don't let this story scare you.
I will attempt to update every Friday, but I am in college, so the updates might lag a bit around midterms and especially finals. Also, I would like to thank SaKuRaMiNa for being such an awesome beta, roommate, and friend. Without her support and assistance, I never would have been able to write this.
When Harry first stepped up to the doors to the great hall, he felt like he was 11 years old again, walking into Hogwarts for the first time. Two large doors would soon open to reveal a large room that was already filled with students seated at tables. He stood among a large group of new students, entering the wizarding college for the first time. Chatnoir was considered to be one of the finest schools, everyone insisted that he was lucky to have gotten into it. Now that he was here, he wasn't so certain.
Once again, he was alone in a new school. He, Hermione, and Ron had spent all summer taking remedial classes, trying as hard as they could to pass with high enough grades to get into a good college. Hermione bugged Ron to study every single day, but the redhead hadn't listened, he would be spending another year at Hogwarts. It was true that he and Hermione would be in the same school, but he knew her better than to think that she would ever peek her nose out of the library for at least the first six months. Looking across the crowd of new students, the only other person he recognized was Neville Longbottom.
"Welcome, new students," A booming voice said as the two large doors began to swing open, "Welcome to Chatnoir!"
Behind the doors was a great hall, the room filled with more light than the sparse amount of candles could account for. Four long tables stretched up towards the head of the room where one man stood at a podium, arms open in welcome. It was so similar to Hogwarts that Harry half expected to see the house banners hanging over the tables.
Instead, the banners that hung over the tables were strikingly similar to each other, though there were clearly differences between them. All the way on the right, a great black jaguar prowled it's territory. On the second banner, a cat with several tails purred, casually slapping at the tassel just outside of it's reach. It's coat shone like obsidian, jade eyes flashing dangerously. On the left hand side sat another black cat, though this one appeared to be a regular house cat, sitting dignified in it's Egyptian collar. And then, above the empty table all the way to the left, one tiny black puff ball of a kitten rolled with a ball of yarn.
"That's a Nekomata," Hermione explained, pointing at the cat with many tails. "It's a Japanese cat, known for it's ability to shapeshift. They're very dangerous."
"It's a wonder Hagrid didn't have one," Harry chuckled, trying to look more comfortable than he felt.
"Come, come in my new kittens, have a seat so we can begin!" The man at the front of the room called out, followed by rounds of laugher from the other three tables. The new students began shuffling towards the empty table, quick to find a seat.
"I want to officially welcome everyone to another year at Chatnoir. I am Chancellor Salis, and if this is your first year, you will soon be hearing many stories about me from the older students. Many of those stories are true, and many are not. Before we begin, I do want to go over some basic rules."
Harry couldn't help but to smile at the familiarity of it all. Minus the sorting, it was so similar to the greeting at Hogwarts, complete with the rules. He began to feel himself relax as the chancellor went over the restrictions. There were fewer than at Hogwarts, mostly it was concerning drinking on campus and rules about noise. Overall, it was nothing that he hadn't expected.
"As you all know, all incoming students are required to spend their first year living on campus. At the end of dinner, everyone will receive their dorm assignments and a key to their room. Should you have difficulty finding your dorm, you may ask one of the older students for directions. We have taken special caution this year to insure that they do not send students to the wrong end of campus on purpose. The resident directors will meet with you in the common room before you head up to your individual rooms. Also, new this year, due to the increasing awareness in muggle-wizard relations, all incoming students who are not of muggle birth must take a muggle studies class. With that, let us begin our feast!"
Food appeared on the table in front of them, soon followed by individual place settings. Harry loaded his plate, but was disappointed to find that the food seemed bland and tasteless compared to the food at Hogwarts. How could this place ever compare? Hogwarts was his home, his sanctuary. This place, Chatnoir, was an alien land where nothing was the same.
"So, Harry, what are you majoring in?" Neville asked. He had managed to find Harry in the crowd and had sat down across from Harry and Hermione.
"Defense against the dark arts," Harry said with a shrug. He hadn't really put much thought into it, it was simply assumed that he would study to become an Auror.
"I'm going for Herbology, it's the only thing I'm really good at." Neville blushed a bit, as if he hadn't spent his seventh year leading a charge against the tyranny of the death eaters. "What about you, Hermione?"
"Advanced charms." She said with pride. "I got into the honors program."
"Congratulations!" Neville cheered.
Harry spent the rest of dinner talking to Neville and Hermione, reminiscing about Hogwarts and talking about how they had spent their summer. Now that they were distracted by food, the other students had stopped staring at the new students. Harry began to relax some, starting to feel more at home. He began to think that maybe he could actually get used to it.
"Hey, did you see whose at the other end of the table?" Hermione asked, leaning forward to peer around Harry.
"I hope he doesn't come over here," Neville bit his lip.
Harry leaned out to see who they were talking about. He was not the least bit surprised to see Draco Malfoy sitting across from Blaise Zambini. From the looks of it, they were the only Slytherins that had made it into Chatnoir. The two of them, along with the three Gryffindors, appeared to be the only Hogwarts students at the school. He recognized some of the older students from the Triwizard Tournament, though he didn't know any of them well enough to remember their name. The other students, Hermione explained, were most likely from private schools.
As the last of the food disappeared, the plates vanished with them. In their place, a piece of parchment with a key appeared in it's place. The letter had Harry's name at the top of it and a letter beneath his name.
Due to the large number of students entering this year, all student requests for private rooms have been denied. Your dorm assignment for this year is room 213 in Bengal Hall, which is located in the north western corner of the campus. On the opposite side of this paper is a map which will direct you there. I hope you enjoy your stay.
Mrs. Anne Sparrows, housing department.
Harry nodded, flipping the paper over. From what it looked like, he wanted to go up and then left after leaving the great hall. Hermione's dorm was in the north east corner, right next to the library. Neville's dorm was in the south east, which was nowhere near the greenhouse. From looking over the names of his friends dorms, Harry was relatively certain that all of the dorms had the names of different types of cats. This place, he decided, was rather obsessed.
He waved good bye to his friends, setting off to find his new home for the school year. In the back of his mind, he wondered how it would compare to the previous dorms. It clearly was divided into rooms, so he would only have one room mate compared to the large number he had had at Hogwarts. That had to be a plus. If nothing else, it was less likely that he would be kept up by snoring. Unfortunately, the room would also be smaller. While Harry was far from being claustrophobic, he did enjoy having enough space to really stretch out and not feel confined. Living under the stairs for so many years had taught him the true value of space.
As he came up on the hall. He was surprised by it. It looked older than he had expected, and not in the grand way that Hogwarts was old. Hogwarts was ancient, and it seemed to hold the wisdom of so many years. This place, though not as old, seemed to hold the depression of so many years.
There were no obvious signs of dilapidation. There were no windows broken, no bricks missing from the wall, but it just did not seem so well taken care of. A thin layer of grime spread around the entire building. Landscaping, what little they had bothered with, had been done in a hurry. Scraps of ivy still clung to the building, ignoring all attempts to remove it. Scraggly trees stretched out with their bare limbs, seeming to grasp at the students who were walking past them. Then again, after his experience with the Whomping Willow, Harry would not have been surprised to find out that the trees actually were reaching for the students.
"Welcome everyone!" A voice called out from just inside the building. "Come on in, we'll be getting started soon enough!
Harry walked inside, wondering why everyone was constantly welcoming them to such an unwelcoming campus. The building's inside was much like it's outside, no obvious signs of disrepair, but just an overall apathy towards making it look nice. The paint on the walls was chipped in several small areas, but not enough to require a re-painting apparently. In the areas where it was chipped, old paint showed through, showing that over the years the room had been varying shades of white. The floor were white linoleum with little grey flecks that made it look filthy even when it was clean. The lighting was dim, possibly dim enough to disguise any bit of filth that clung to the building.
"My name is Toby Williams, I am the resident director for Bengal Hall." The man who had welcomed everyone in said. "I want to start off by apologizing for the state of the dorm. Due to the whole dark lord scare, so many students did not go to college, but now that that's over, it seems like everyone wants to go, so I guess we have backlog or something. Anyway, Bengal Hall is not normally used for student housing, it has been a storage building for several years. We will be making improvements to it throughout the year. Students studying magical decorating will working on fixing the paint, herbology majors will be doing the landscaping outside. Hopefully by the end of the year, we will have the most impressive building on campus!"
Harry nodded, wishing that he hadn't gotten Bengal Hall. Still, he did try to remain hopeful. It was true that he wouldn't get to see any of his friends from Hogwarts, but he was certain to make new friends. While Toby Williams rattled on about the obvious rules (no smoking, no being loud at night, no destroying school property…), Harry looked around the group of students to see who he might be paired with.
He was disappointed to find only one familiar face in the crowd. A bolt of ice shot through his heart as he realized that there was a chance that he could be placed in the same room as Malfoy. The blonde Slytherin was standing on the opposite side of the room, looking just as disgusted as Harry was at the state of the hall.
'No,' he told himself mentally, 'I'm not going to end up in the same dorm room as him, it's impossible!' There were so many other students in that hall, it was unlikely that he would ever even see Malfoy.
"Alright, and with that, you may go find your dorm room!" Williams announced, moving away from the middle of the room.
In an instant, everyone seemed to rush towards the stairs. Harry soon discovered that there seemed to be some confusion over what floor the rooms were on. There were no rooms on the ground floor, so the rooms beginning with 100 were on the second floor. That meant that his own room was on the third floor. He couldn't be happier. After so many years of going up all of those steps at Hogwarts, he was overjoyed not to have walk up approximately eight million stairs just to go to bed.
When he did find his room, he was disappointed to see that his roommate was not already there. Two piles of luggage sat in the middle of the room, if one could truly call it a room. The tiny thing was more like a prison cell. There was enough room for the furniture in it and not much room for anything else. Each roommate had their own bed, desk, and dresser, but it seemed that they were expected to share a closet. The walls, as with the walls downstairs, were painted white. The floor had the same filthy looking linoleum as well. Harry tried to remind himself of the good points. He still didn't have to go up so many steps to get there. He focused on that.
Not wanting to begin claiming a bed and dresser for himself until his roommate got there, Harry took to examining the luggage before him. The pile was slightly larger than his own, but not by enough to make his own collection look pitiful. The trunk was covered in a fine leather, embossed metal strips covered the corners to prevent ware. Every bit of it seemed to call out that the owner had the money to afford the good things in life, no matter how much they cost. While Harry was not overjoyed to discover this, he did have to admit that having a rich roommate could have it's advantages.
He began to wonder just who his roommate could be. Possibly one of the students from the private schools that Hermione had mentioned. Maybe he would be muggle born, the wizarding student of a rich family. More likely, he admitted, he would be a pureblood, brought up with everything he could possibly desire just handed to him. That sort of person always sickened Harry to the core. He prayed that he didn't end up with someone like that.
Harry's mind was snapped out of it's wanderings by the sound of a key in the door. Harry moved away from the luggage, not wanting to appear to be snooping around for clues to his roommate's identity. The door swung open slowly and Harry's jaw dropped in shock. In all of his worst nightmares he had never imagined that he would ever be forced to deal with this.
"Potter," A voice sneered at him.
"Malfoy," Harry sneered back.
Check back next Friday for an update. Until then, feel free to review. Both comments and criticism are welcome. Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed it.