Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series or any songs written by the Mountain Goats.


A/N: Eh, read the one at the end of the chapter.


A Cold Way Of Getting Warm

Chapter Three: New Monster Avenue


Birds in the frosty air, what are they doing there?

Greenhouse full of butchers' brooms,

Breezes at my back.

Sometime before the sun comes up,

The Earth is gonna crack.

I look down at my hands, like they were mirrors.

-New Monster Avenue, The Mountain Goats


Previously:

'Sort me,' Harry finally told the hat. 'Whatever house you think is best for me, that's where I'll go.'

'We'll if you're sure about that, you better go to' – "SLYTHERIN!"

The only applause coming from the audience came from the Slytherin table.

CWGW

As Harry sat down at the Slytherin table, Draco patted him on the back, congratulating him. Theodore gave him a thumbs up, and Blaise smiled slightly, a dazed look shadowing his face.

Perfectly aware of the stares and bemused expressions he was receiving Harry gave a crooked smile. "What?"

Draco just shook his head with the hint of a smile on his face while Theodore rolled his eyes. But if they had anything to say, they didn't have time to say it, as Dumbledore rose from his chair.

"Welcome to yet another year at Hogwarts," he bellowed. "Before we all settle down and enjoy the welcoming feast, I would like to say a few words. Butterwig, locustchip, glubworm, and bittletwirl. Enjoy."

Harry scrunched his eyebrows together, wondering if those words were even words. But he hadn't had too much time to dwell, for his attention was soon attracted to the silver rimed plates full of dozens of different mouth-watering food. There was lamb, pork-chops, honey-glazed hams, fried chicken, roasted turkey, and peppermint patties. Five-flavored gravies littered the tables, and at least thirty different sauces were available. Peas, carrots, broccoli, both mashed and backed potatoes…every possible vegetable known to man had to be present on a 5 foot wide platter that sat in the middle of the table.

Harry began to fill his plate.

"I've got to say it, Harry. I'm surprised." Blaise blurted out before taking a bite of the turkey. "A Potter in Slytherin! And the Other Boy Who lived to top it off."

He grimaced at the name but was saved from responding when Draco said, "We'll everyone's surprised. Harry in Slytherin, Longbottom in Ravenclaw – I mean, did you see Dumbledore's face when they were both sorted? He looked…" Draco paused, his goblet in hand, as he seemed to search for the right word.

Theodore looked at him expectantly before offering, "Angry?"

Draco snapped his fingers and held his cup up in a cheering gesture. "Yes! Thanks for that."

Blaise shook his head. "No, he looked angry throughout the whole feast. Like something was bothering him. Hey, maybe he was upset about the squid attack?" He looked at Harry. "It was a squid, right?"

Harry looked exasperated. "No, I decided to take a swim," He said sarcastically.

"Yeah, Zabini!" Theodore said, smacking Blaise on the head. "You were there. Shouldn't you know this already?"

Blaise raised his hands defensively. "I only saw Harry get tugged under water. And you know how people talk! Half of the first years are already convinced a swarm of merepeople circled our boat and kidnapped you, and you escaped by stealing one of their weapons and taking one hostage to get you back to the surface of the water safely.

Theodore snorted. "And you are apart of that half, apparently."

"I never said I believed it!" Blaise argued with a small whine in his voice. "I'm just asking what happened. It's not everyday someone gets pulled under a lake by some monster." He eyed the angry red welts along Harry's wrists and quietly asked, "Did that hurt?"

Harry shrugged as he pulled his cloak farther down his arms.

"Sorry," He said quickly. "I didn't mean to pry. I mean, I know what it's like being pestered with uncomfortable questions."

Harry looked at him questioningly.

"Harry," Theodore said. "You were probably wondering how we, you know, weren't jumping on you with questions. You see, I think everyone in the Slytherin house know what it's like to, as Blaise put it, be pestered with uncomfortable questions. The Slytherins probably have the most complex family history in the school." His voice got quiet. "I mean, I've seen my mom die. And a lot of people who associate with my family have always asked me the details about it. But I can't remember, and the memories I have are from such an earlier stage in my life, they aren't clear enough to be looked at in a pensive or anything. I don't know much about that sort of magic, though."

"Theodore-" Harry started, but was interrupted by the same person whose name he voiced.

"Harry, please, we're all Slytherins. You all call me Teddy, but only among us snakes mind you."

Harry gave an amused look but still said, "I'm sorry that happened."

"Don't be," Teddy smiled. "I never knew her. I was two when it happened."

"The point is," Draco drawled, "We don't know how you feel, and we don't think we know how you feel. Growing up with families like ours makes us like that."

"Which makes us completely awesome," Blaise gave a toothy smile.

"Which makes us mature," Draco stated with his chin slightly raised, causing the other first year boys around him to snort and cover there nose to try and stop pumpkin juice form coming out of their nose.

Rolling his eyes at them, Draco stated, "And that's just another reason that you belong here with us. But let's get off this topic. It's a bit too bleak for the first feast at Hogwarts."

With murmurs of agreements passed around the table, Harry ignored his slight curiosity about what the others were hiding from their past and asked, "Okay, well, how about the professors? I know about McGonagall, Flitwick, and Snape – oh, and Binns as well. But that's it. Who else is there?"

"Hmm…well, I think it's Professor Sprot-"

"Sprout!" Teddy piped up.

"Fine then! Professor Sprout is teaching Herbology. There she is up there, to the right of Flitwick." Draco motioned with his head to the Head Table. "A bit plump and rosy cheeks. She's supposed to be good, but she tends to favor her own house. Like that isn't new."

So now Harry knew the professors for Transfiguration, Potions, herbology, History of Magic, and Charms. What else was there? "Hmm…So what about Defense?"

"That would be Quirrell," Blaise snorted. "And what a joke he is, too. Afraid of everything, including us. And his stutter is enough to give anyone a bad headache."

"Well he must know what he's talking about, even if he's frightened of it." Harry reasoned, taking a swig of his pumpkin juice.

Blaise shrugged. "Maybe, but if he does know anything on his subject, he's afraid to say it out loud. I mean, I met him in the middle of the Summer at a gathering for the School Board Committee meeting. Someone was asking about Boggarts, you know about them right?" Harry nodded. Anyone who grew up in a magical household ran into a Bogart problem at sometime or another when Spring Cleaning came around. "Yeah, well, anyway, maybe his Bogart is to frightening, but he couldn't even tell this person how to get rid of one!"

That did sound rather odd. Even Harry at least knew that it was laughter that got rid of Boggarts. He was only a first-year, and wasn't sure of the right incantation, but Quirrell was a trained teacher! Was he really that clueless own his own subject? "So why was he even hired?" Harry asked.

"Well, he's taught here before, or so father says," Draco stated. "He left for a year to go to the Amazon to get a first-hand experience of what is was like to face dark creatures. That's a fact. But the rumor starts with after he arrived there, because no one really knows what happened."

Intrigued Harry pressed, "So what's the rumor? How believable is it?"

"Well, the rumor is he ran into some vampires," Draco said with a raised eyebrow. "Had a nasty encounter with them, they say. He even thinks this one vampire will come for him, which is why, supposedly, he wears the turban. Quirrell claims the turban was given to him by some tribe to repel the vamp. But everyone else says he keeps garlic in it because he has too much class to wear necklaces of it."

"The smell coming from that turban is enough to make you believe the tale," Theodore said. "Wait until you get a whiff of it in class tomorrow. It smells horrible."

A girl that was next to Teddy suddenly turned around. She had thick black hair and a square face. "Are you guys talking about Quirrell's turban?"

Theodore laughed and nudged Harry with his elbow. "See Harry? Anyone who's been near that thing automatically thinks of it when they hear that something smells."

"But it doesn't just smell," Blaise said. "Really. It seems likes he's hiding something in there, and I'm not talking about garlic."

The girl wrinkled her nose. "His turban smells fishy. And I don't just mean metaphorically. It actually smells like rotten fish!" She shivered, before smiling and holding her hand out. "I'm Pansy by the way."

"Harry," He told her. "Nice to meet you." He took her hand, which he awkwardly shook with his arm bent trying to avoid the stacked peppermint hamburgers. She soon turned away with, joining in on her own conversation once more. Harry looked at Blaise. "Why do you think Quirrell's hiding something?"

Blaise shrugged. "Just a feeling."

Harry felt his neck hairs prickle and his voice lowered, the loud chattering in the Great Hall seeming no more significant or louder than a quiet hum. "What do you think he's hiding?"

"I don't know." He sighed. "But he is hiding something.

Looking up at the professor Harry couldn't help but feel that he was right.

NMA

The rest of the meal consisted of jokes, predications of what classes would be like, and the very delicious treacle tart that Harry couldn't get enough of. But as the desert dishes cleared, and not even the smallest crumb was left on the table, he remembered he had to go to Madam Pomfrey to be checked up on. Harry felt it was completely unnecessary considering he felt perfectly fine. But considering the consequences he reasoned the smartest option was to go.

"Er, who's the prefect?" Harry asked to no one in particular, thinking maybe one of the prefects could come with him and show him where the Slytherin Common Rooms were after the check-up.

"I don't know," Draco answered with a shrug. "Why?"

"Madam Pomfrey wanted me to go back to the Hospital Wing after the feast." He told him with a defeated voice. "But the problem is, I don't know where the Slytherin Common rooms are. I wouldn't know where to go afterwards."

"Well, there's two prefects," Draco said.

"And that information isn't very helpful unless you say which two," Harry mocked.

"He's got a point there," Theodore chuckled, hitting Draco playfully on the arm. He turned his head down the table and called, "Oye!" An older Slytherin turned to look at him. "Who's the prefect?"

"Just see Marcus Flint," She told them. "Right at the end of the table, see? The girl next to him is a prefect too," she rolled her eyes. "You see them, right? The people wearing those silver prefect badges on their robes?"

"Well," Teddy said exasperated as he turned back to the other first years. "Isn't she nice?"

Harry ignored them, looking down the table, trying to see who the girl was talking about over dozens of heads and piles of stacked food. He was about to get up and Marcus Flint when the Headmaster stood up and cleared his throat. Everyone immediately silenced.

"Now, before we all get a much deserved sleep, we must quickly review a few elementary rules. First, may I remind previous students, and warn the new ones, that the Forbidden Forest is forbidden for a reason. Also, Mr. Filch has asked me to remind you all that magic is to be used in the classrooms, and only the classrooms during the day. And finally, the third floor corridor is strictly off limits." This seemed to be the one statement that made his eyes loose that famous twinkle, but it was back very soon as everyone sung the school song. Shortly after that he dismissed the students.

With an odd feeling turning in his stomach, Harry glanced away from the Headmaster, and suddenly found his empty plate very fascinating. Something about Dumbledore made his skin crawl, but he wasn't sure what. Dumbledore was, after all, angry about his near-death experience, and he was now looking very sincere and kind. But there was still something that made Harry want to edge further down the table, away from the man.

"Hel-lo? Harry?" Draco's voice caught his attention. Harry looked up. "Don't you need to go to the hospital wing?"

That was right, Harry remembered, glad to have something new on his mind. He quickly got up, and started scanning the rows of people, looking for the silver prefect badge. He finally found the badge, but it was on the robes of a very rough, muscular student whose looks would intimidate any eleven year old.

"Excuse me, Prefect Flint?" Harry asked a little timidly. "I was told to return to the Hospital Wing by Madam Pomfrey after the feast. I know where the Hospital is, but I don't know where the Slytherin Common rooms are."

The prefect nodded. "Very well," he answered, standing. He turned to the other prefect. "Charlotte, would you inform the professor about this?"

She reassured she would. Harry and Flint walked in silence to the Hospital Wing.

NMA

The walk coming back from the Hospital Wing was as silent as the walk going towards the Wing. Harry had to admit, at least now he had become some sort of expert on the area in-between the hospital and the great hall. He knew exactly which steps to skip on the staircase, and he had memorized the doors he had passed.

Once they were back on the ground floor Flint lead him past the doors to the Great Hall, to a smaller set of doors leading downwards. As he walked down the steps he could feel the jar of balm Madam Pomfrey had given him for the welts during his first visit to her. He had to use it before bed each day so there wouldn't be any risk of infection. But, as she explained only minutes ago, since the wound was caused by a magical creature, she couldn't give him anything to actually hide the scars of the welts. The only thing that would make them disappear would be time. Her previous statement about his wrists being "good as new" meant no pain and no risks of getting any worse.

After explaining that in full detail, she determined that Harry needed another does of the Skin Refurbish, in potion form. After chugging down the revolting liquid, Flint and Harry thanked her and left.

Flint stopped him as they came off the stairs, and paused, looking as if he were listening for something. Harry perked his ears, and also, heard very faint whispering coming from the top of the stairs.

"Great, students already trying to cause trouble," He murmured. He turned towards Harry, and talked in a quiet voice. "I need to go take care of that," Prefect Flint told him, looking at the staircase with an annoyed expression. "Just head straight down the passage and when you come to the turns take three rights and a left. After that say the password, which is 'the Porlock guards Salazar's horse.' You got that?"

"Take two rights, one left, the Porlock guards Salazar's horse," Harry recited back in the same hushed tone.

"Okay, hurry then," He told Harry. Flint started to climb the staircase, and the last Harry heard of him was him muttering, "Probably those damn twins again…"

Harry began to walk down the corridor in the same direction that Flint pointed him towards. But by the time he had taken his second turn and was far from Flint, Harry had found that he had less than half the confidence he had started with. He began questioning his memory, and doubting the directions he was given were even right.

Harry sighed. Hogwarts was beginning to offer more than he could handle.

Harry took yet another turn, this time walking down the more menacing corridor against his better judgment. Flint had better have told me the right pathway to the common room, Harry thought once more, resisting the urge to shiver as the thick atmosphere clogged up his lunges.

But he had had at least a small bit of hope that he had been going in the right direction until he came across a three-way split the hallway took. This was supposed to be his last turn, and that turn was suppose to be a left. He had absolutely no idea at which passage to take; the middle, or the far left? The middle might have been wrong, but the far left passage could be too left. So Harry decided to let his instincts guide him right down the middle section.

Ten minutes passed, and Harry was in extreme trepidation…and annoyance, but he was mainly feeling uneasy, his stomach clenching in nerves. By now he couldn't even retrace his steps if he tried. The dungeons were unpleasant and unfamiliar, and for an eleven year old accustomed to staying locked in his room, they seemed as big as the world. And although he knew no defensive spells (or at least the correct incantations), Harry had a constant grip on his wand as he stalked further into the shadows of the unknown, as an odd feeling of vulnerability lingered around his persona.

He continued walking, lost in his thoughts, when he suddenly stumbled, running face to face into…a wall.

He felt his cheeks grow hot, and not just because of the impact with the wall. How could he have been so foolish as to run into a wall? He had looked up only seconds ago, and he could have sworn the hallway had continued much farther…

His hands reached out to examine the dead-end. The stone was rough, and nipped the tip of his finger, staining the rock with a small smear of blood.

Perhaps the shadows had cast an illusion-

"Mr. Potter!"

Harry jumped, and turned, not seeing anything but darkness.

"Mr. Potter!" He heard again, coming from down the hallway. He quickly followed the echoes, taking two turns he had not remembered taking, when he found Flint.

"Did you even think to listen to the directions I gave you?" He grabbed Harry's shoulder and motioned him forward with a fast pace. "Just take three rights and a left. How hard is that?"

Harry gulped. "I did that. Only there was a three-way split with the last turn…"

"What are you going on about?" The prefect asked. "A three-way split? That potion must be messing with your head." He sighed, his tone slightly lightening. "I suppose I should have taken it in account that the potion could clog your thoughts up. Come now, everyone will already by unpacked and in bed. And you of all people should be getting your rest."

They walked the rest of the way in silence, Harry's mind wrapped around that mysterious wall and three-way split in the hallway. He wasn't having hallucinations, there wasn't anything wrong with his head, he knew what he had seen…and it was defiantly as foul as the smell on the back of Quirrell's turban. It was improbable to think they were connected, really, what was the chance?

Hogwarts just had an abundance of mysterious, which would hopefully revel themselves in the future.

Surprisingly, Harry and Flint soon arrived what must have been the entrance to the Slytherin common room. Of course, Harry was rather doubtful. All he saw was the slightly damp, blank wall of the dungeon…which he was frankly sick of seeing. But Flint was obviously thinking different thoughts. And, of course, Harry was in Hogwarts. Anything was possible.

"You remember the password don't you?"

"Er, the Porlock guards Salazar's horse?" Harry responded.

He watched as the wall seemed to compress in a single spot, a rectangular hole forming that had to be at least seven feet high.

As he entered he felt a comforting sensation overwhelm his body. Of course, this could have been the result of being trapped in the pits of the dungeons, but the "why" didn't mater at this moment. So Harry just had the ghost of a smile on his face as he took in the sight, and positive atmosphere.

The room was very long, with two fireplaces at each end. A fire was burning in both stone fireplaces, and around both there were dark green chairs, with cotton matching pillows placed on top them. There were various tables and desks set around the room along the walls, with clusters of oak chairs surrounding them, which Harry could only assume were for study groups. A silver and green oriental rug stretched almost across the entire room, and was centered, so that one could see the dark, mahogany wood of the floor, where the floor meet the walls. Candles hung in the air, scattered across the ceiling, resembling the floating candles in the Great Hall. The only difference was that the ceiling itself didn't reflect the weather outside, instead it was just a blank abyss of blackness, and yet the charm didn't fool one into thinking the ceiling was hundreds of feet higher than it actually was.

But most importantly the room felt comfortable.

"The boys dormitories will be on the right side of the room," Flint told him and gestured towards a door, opening it when they got close enough. "Just go down the staircase."

He descended the stairs, and walked along the hallway until he reached the first year dormitory room, which was the first door he came across.

"Finally made it, did you?" Blaise asked as he hopped into bed.

"Er, yeah," Harry agreed, spotting the empty bed by the door with his trunk lying at the foot. "Did I miss anything important?"

"Not really," Teddy causally shrugged. "Snape said a few things, but he probably just wanted to look important. It was mainly just respect your other dorm mates and all that junk."

Harry tensed as soon as he heard Snape's name. How could he have been so stupid as to not even give a thought to who his Head of House was?

It was just his luck. His mom had always had a bit of a cold shoulder when Snape's name was mentioned to her in conversation. And her stories about James and her childhood school years usually involved some conflict Harry's dad was having with "Snivellus" as James had called him.

And now the so called "enemy" of his father was now his head of house, his "mentor". And, without a doubt, he already hated Harry. How could he not? Snape already had a bad history with his family, and then Harry wasn't even present for Snape's first speech, which probably ticked the man off even more.

Draco rolled his eyes looking slightly more serious than Theodore. "There was also the ten minute lecture he gave on how important our studies were. And if we started to get anything below an Acceptable he would personally see that we make or join a study group."

"Anything else?" Harry prodded, completely worried that if he broke even the smallest rule he would get detention for a month.

"Just don't sneak out during the night, come back to the dormitories before curfew, that sort of stuff. Don't worry about it," Teddy shrugged as he slipped into his night clothes.

Considering Draco didn't add anything else either, Harry decided to let the subject drop. He walked over to his trunk and observed his bed. It had white sheets and a thicker green comforter on top, and there were two pillows resting against a headboard, which stretched towards the ceiling and outlined the bed in curtains. He unpacked all his clothes and under garments, putting them all in the small drawer which doubled as a nightstand by his bed. There was also a small closet, which each boy had, and Harry saw that there were already ties, scarves, and robes with the Slytherin crest in there.

After finishing packing and getting ready for sleep, Harry hoped into bed, turned his light off darkening the room, put his wand under one of the pillows, and drew the curtains. Sleeping with his wand so close to him was a habit Harry had developed the first day of obtaining the wand. He felt connected to it, and was honestly more comfortable with it in a place a person couldn't easily steal it. The wand was made of black ebony wood, with a thestrals hair as its core…and Harry loved it. It seemed perfect for him. He couldn't imagine having to use another wand.

As Harry laid in bed his thoughts soon drifted to other thoughts. He thought of his mom, Remus, classes the next day, his new friends, all the questions and dangerous things that seemed to attract to him that day…

He yawned, his exhaustion kicking in thinking that hopefully trouble would stay out of his way tomorrow.

And with that final thought he closed his eyes, absolutely positive that nothing could possibly surprise him tomorrow, after all he'd been through today.

One by one the boys fell into silent slumber.


A/N: I am lazy. That's the only explanation I'm giving for my long update. It's not the whole story of my life, but it is true, and I'm sure you all are tired of hearing excuses from this story, and other stories you've been reading since I'm sure as hell I'm not the only one on this site that procrastinates. I really am trying harder to update quicker with my fanfiction, so don't worry! Thank you to all of you who staid and kept reading this story. The plot shall continue to thicken! (And expect to see this same exact message up in my other fanficion stories for when I finally update them, because I am lazy after all.)

But I want to stress it yet again, Harry will be dark! He isn't so much yet because he's young, and surrounded by other young kids. But trust me! I know what's coming! He'll be a badass in no time.

But I have a question: Do you think I'm writing a well-toned voice for Harry in this story? I don't know if it's because I wrote it, but it seems like he doesn't have much of a character. Tell me what you think, and I'll make sure to emphasize on his personality in the next few chapters.