Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Harry Potter or Oh My Goddess.
The start of the school year at Hogwarts had been a chaotic time for as long as anyone could remember. The introduction of a whole new class of First Years was bound to complicate matters - none of them knew the layout of the castle (or how to negotiate the slightly variable structure) and there were plenty of students who had almost no experience with the magical world at all. It all added up to students getting lost, confused and distressed on an almost constant basis.
Fortunately the staff were used to the chaos of the first week and had plenty of arrangements in place to keep things running as smoothly as possible. Prefects knew to keep an eye on their First Year students, counting them off at meal times and guiding larger groups to classes for the first time. Of course some Prefects were more helpful than others, which occasionally lead to a Head of House stepping in to make sure that no student "fell through the net."
For Harry Potter the first week of school had added complications, in the form of his fame preceding him. Whispers in corridors as he walked to class followed him, along with looks that ranged from adulation to jealousy. Harry had also had trouble with people asking for his autograph, of all things, usually on a copy of some "Boy Who Lived" book. That had ended after the second day, when his Head of House had tired of the growing mob at the Gryffindor table during breakfast. Lunch had been graced with a five minute announcement that autograph seekers would be spending their time polishing every telescope in the Astronomy Tower if they kept creating disturbances during school time. Harry had been slightly unnerved at how the Astronomy Professor had managed to convey a great deal of hidden menace without once changing the tone or volume of her voice.
Fortunately for Harry, the announcement by Professor Sinistra had put an end to the autograph seeking mobs, slowing down the demand to a trickle who approached Harry after dinner each evening. Harry was unsure as to how he should handle the fans, and ended up writing to his family to ask for advice. The best answer came from his godfather, who said that Harry should refrain from putting his autograph on anything until the legal dispute over royalties from the "Boy Who Lived" books had been sorted out. Harry had not been aware that there even was a legal dispute until he read this advice, which resulted in a further letter from Urd that explained how Remus had investigated the publishing deal and discovered that no permission from any of Harry's family members had ever been sought for the book series. Now Sirius and Remus were acting on Harry's behalf to make sure that the actual "Boy Who Lived" received his share of the revenue derived from the myth of the "Boy Who Lived."
Naturally, the publisher of the book series was reluctant to let anybody else get their hands on the lucrative series. Urd assured Harry that Remus had things well under control.
In the middle of all of this came lessons. Harry had done his best to approach these with an open mind, knowing that he would need to adjust to casting with a wand. Fortunately it had not taken much effort to start casting with his wand, though he was discovering that he now had to be very precise in wand movements and enunciating the spell.
Charms had been the easiest to adapt to, as much of the material presented by Professor Flitwick was similar to the lessons he had already had with Aunty Belldandy. Harry had learned how to "feel" his magic when casting wandlessly, recognising that different spells had different sensations associated with them. This knowledge carried over into casting with a wand, though Harry noticed that the lessons were focused on casting the actual spell rather than understanding the flow of magic behind it. This puzzled Harry until he realised that a wand made the flow of magic so easy that a true understanding was not necessary at a beginner's level. He guessed that Flitwick would get into the more in depth work later on, perhaps even in later years.
Transfiguration was actually a topic that Aunty Belldandy had not covered in a practical sense. She had discussed the theory of the field with Harry, and had provided some demonstrations, but any practice had been put off until Harry's wandless magic had been more adept. His first lesson with Professor McGonagall had therefore been something of a revelation, as the magical theory he was already familiar with had suddenly made sense as he went through the motions of turning a match into a needle. He had been one of the first in the class to manage a fully transfigured needle, much to McGonagall's delight. Harry was confident that a few weeks of lessons would give him a good practical grounding that would help cement the theory he had covered with Belldandy.
Defence Against the Dark Arts had been a disappointment. Harry was used to training with Monkey, which was mostly martial arts with magic thrown in to balance it out. Professor Quirrell was not nearly as good a teacher as Sun Wukong, and seemed to be more interested in lecturing the students about magical creatures that may or may not be a threat. He also stuttered quite badly, which made it quite difficult to follow the lesson as Quirrell did not have a particularly strong voice to begin with. Harry had noticed a tingling from his scar during the class, but was unable to figure out just what was going on. He resolved to ask his family about it later.
Today would be more of a challenge. His first Potions lesson at Hogwarts was scheduled, a topic that he had enjoyed greatly when he worked with Urd. He had been warned, however, by older Gryffindor students that Professor Snape was a particularly strict teacher with a past history of cracking down hard on non-Slytherins. Combined with what he had heard from Sirius and Remus regarding the past history of Snape and Harry's father, it did not paint a good picture of how things might go. Harry was determined, though, as he had actually been quite good at Potions when he was learning with Urd and had made sure that he was on top of his textbooks. He would just have to make sure that he stayed alert.
Sirius Black sat in a stoic silence as the Wizengamot ran through the pomp and ceremony of formally admitting a new member. Once this was over he would have the family seat in the Wizengamot that the Blacks had claimed for centuries.
There had once been a time when he would have laughed at anybody who suggested that he, the Black Family's disgrace, would one day actively seek out a place in the Wizengamot. His youthful rebellion against everything his family had stood for meant that he had dismissed the Wizengamot as nothing but a bunch of corrupt purebloods arguing over the most pointless subjects.
Age had not changed that perception, but his view on the importance of the Black Family seat had. Now it was a ticket to having some real influence on the future course of Britain's magical community. Admittedly it was not much influence, particularly as the Ministry itself had usurped many of the Wizengamot's prerogatives, but it was more influence than he would have had outside the chamber.
Getting the seat had been a little difficult, as it had been Lucius Malfoy's by default thanks to Narcissa being the last competent adult member of the Black Family not cast out or imprisoned. Malfoy had not been willing to lose the one and only vote that he could directly control in the Wizengamot, even if the man would never have been allowed to actually sit in the seat himself. Fortunately for Sirius, there was enough sympathy lingering over the so-called Black Scandal that Malfoy's attempts to block Sirius' progress had been ineffectual.
So, now he was watching as some old fart went through the motions of something that possibly had real meaning a few centuries ago but was now just window dressing on a ceremony that existed mostly out of the inertia of "tradition."
Sirius just hoped that the end result would be worth the mind-numbing boredom. Right now he was almost willing to try his chances with the Dementors again rather than put up with more of this rubbish.
Harry approached his first Potions lesson with a feeling of anticipation moderated by caution. On the one hand, his lessons with Aunty Urd had been a lot of fun and he had learned a lot from her. On the other hand, he had been warned by Sirius and Remus about the Hogwarts Potions Master.
The fact that the Potions classroom was in the dungeons did not help things in any way. It was colder than the rest of the castle and the decoration seemed to have been taken out of a cheap horror movie.
Professor Severus Snape started by taking the roll, something most of the staff seemed intent on. He paused at Harry's name.
"Ah, Yes," he said softly, "Harry Potter. Our new - celebrity."
Harry doggedly ignored the giggles he could hear from the Slytherin students. Professor Snape finished calling out the roll and glared at the students for a moment.
"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making," he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word.
"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.
"Potter!" said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
Harry was briefly taken aback, as he had not expected any questions this early.
"A potent sleeping potion known as the Draught of Living Death." He answered, thankful that Aunty Urd had spent an entire lesson on the potion. She had pointed it out as a potentially dangerous potion that was actually fairly simple to brew.
"Swotting up in advance, Potter? Well then, let's see how much you retained in that head of yours. Where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"
"Bezoars are traditionally found in the stomachs of goats, and can be used as a cure for many poisons." Harry replied calmly. Aunty Urd had covered these early, as she always kept a number of potential antidotes to hand at all times during his lessons. She had made sure that he understood them all and when to use them.
"What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?" Snape barked out.
"They are common names for the same plant, also known as aconite." Harry answered as steadily as he could. That piece of information had come about after Harry had been confused by some recipes using different names for the ingredients. Aunty Urd had taken some time to cover the most common potions ingredients that had multiple names.
Professor Snape looked unimpressed. "Thought you'd be the darling of the class by memorising the text book in advance, Potter? You'll find that in this classroom you need to demonstrate that you can put that information to proper use."
With that the dour man turned towards a blackboard and gestured at it with his wand. It suddenly filled with writing.
"Those are the instructions for a simple potion that will remove boils. You are to brew this with a partner. You may begin."
Harry turned to Neville who was sitting next to him. "Care to work together?" He asked. Neville just nodded nervously. Harry pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill. "First of all, let's copy down the instructions carefully so we have an easy reference at hand."
"OK," Neville said as he reached for his own writing materials. Harry was already copying as quickly as he could, grateful that he had acquired a self-inking quill in Diagon Alley.
Taking the time to write the instructions down seemed to calm Neville, though it took the boy longer than Harry to finish. Harry started to lay out the ingredients in the order that they would be needed as Neville was finishing.
"Still not started, Potter? This is a Potions lesson, not an essay writing competition." Professor Snape said as he walked by. Harry refused to look up, concentrating on starting to prepare the ingredients as Neville's nervousness seemed to increase.
"Just relax, Neville," Harry muttered under his breath, "just stay calm and follow the instructions carefully. We'll be OK."
Neville nodded as he put their shared cauldron on the flame.
The pair worked steadily at the potion, with Harry stopping Neville at several points in the process to prevent mistakes. Eventually they were on the last step when Professor Snape loomed over them again.
"Are you still not finished, Potter? You may feel that your fame entitles you to a timetable of your own, but in this class I expect you to work to the clock." The Potions Professor said condescendingly.
Harry glanced up briefly but said nothing, instead taking a moment to bottle several samples of the finished potion. He quickly glanced around the classroom and noted that everybody else had finished and were now cleaning up, though there was one destroyed cauldron on the Slytherin side of the classroom that suggested that not all had gone well.
As he handed the finished potion to Professor Snape, the teacher looked on with disdain. "One point from Gryffindor for wasting time in my class, Potter. In future you need to actually apply yourself and get your work done on time."
As Professor Snape turned away, Harry glanced at his watch before he turned to Neville. The other boy looked puzzled.
"We've got five minutes to go before the end of the class," Harry whispered, "what did we do wrong?"
"No idea," Neville whispered back, "let's talk to one of the Prefects about this, see if they know anything."
In the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore leaned back in his chair and massaged his wrist for a few moments. He had just finished the most recent pile of paperwork, which had involved the usual number of signatures that always left his hand aching.
Sometimes the pile of parchment that appeared in his in-tray made him wonder if it was all worth the effort, as most of it was truly tedious drivel of almost no importance. Such was the burden of being both the Supreme Mugwump and Chief Warlock as well as Headmaster. It was only the fact that these positions were extremely useful in his ongoing efforts to finally put an end to Tom Riddle that kept him from retirement.
His latest move in that long-term game of wits was coming along nicely. The fake Philosopher's Stone was now safely in his possession and the security gauntlet was almost complete. He just had to wait for Quirrell to secure a troll and work out how to place the Stone in the Mirror of Erised.
Once that was done, he would then have to arrange to have something appear to threaten the security of the Stone such that Potter would find out. He was thinking of having Professor Snape pretend to try and steal it, but that might jeopardise his role as a spy within the ranks of the Death Eaters. Dumbledore resolved to discuss the matter with Severus later.
Quirrell's actions were a little out of the ordinary lately, though. Maybe he had designs on the Stone himself? Could he be an agent for Riddle? Or was he working for somebody else? There were certainly enough rich wizards and witches in Europe willing to pay handsomely for Flamel's famous Stone.
Dumbledore decided that Quirrell could do with some closer supervision. That would be another matter to discuss with Severus.
Harry and Neville had approached Percy Weasley after dinner to ask about the point deduction Professor Snape had given them during their Potions class. Percy had listened carefully to the First Years' account, and seemed to be thinking it over as they finished. Finally the Fifth Year Prefect spoke up.
"There isn't much that I can do as a Prefect," he began, "point deductions by staff are entirely up to them. What I can do is refer you to Professor Sinistra. As our Head of House, any protests over disciplinary measures should go to her first. Do you know the way to her office?"
Harry glanced at Neville, who shook his head. Harry turned back to Percy. "Um, not really. We haven't had to go there yet."
Percy nodded understandingly. "OK, let me show you the way. She should be available for student consultation right now, so let us go."
Percy led the two boys to Professor Sinistra's office, which was in the base of the Astronomy Tower. After consulting a list of consultation times stuck to the wall next to the door, Percy knocked briskly. The door opened almost immediately.
"Prefect Weasley? Is there a problem?" Professor Sinistra asked from behind her desk.
"These two students wish to discuss a matter regarding school discipline," Percy explained, "it is outside of my powers as a Prefect."
"Very well, you two come in and have a seat," the Professor said, "do you have a patrol to get to Mr Weasley?"
Percy glanced at the clock on the wall in Professor Sinistra's office. "Yes, I'm due in ten minutes. I better get to it."
"Very well, I'll escort these two back to the Gryffindor Dormitories once we're done." Professor Sinistra said as she waved the Prefect off. Percy nodded and left.
"OK, boys, what's the problem?" Professor Sinistra asked as Harry and Neville seated themselves in front of her desk. Harry swallowed nervously before he began.
Professor Sinistra listened carefully as Harry gave her an account of their Potions lesson, starting with the questions Professor Snape had asked at the start of the class and concluding with the point deduction for "wasting time."
"You say you finished on time?" The Gryffindor Head of House asked.
"Yes, Professor, we handed the potion in at least five minutes before the end of class." Harry answered.
"What about cleaning up after yourselves?" The Professor went on.
"I took care of that while Harry handed the potion in," Neville explained, "I was done before the class ended."
Professor Sinistra put her elbows on her desk and steepled her hands in front of her face as she looked at the two students in front of her. "I'm afraid I'll have to take this up with Professor Snape directly," she said at length, "from what you've said he had no reason to take any points off and it sounds like he was being antagonistic. I can't do anything about it right now, but rest assured that I will discuss this with him as soon as I can."
She stood abruptly. "Come on, I'll escort you back to your dormitory. You two should be thinking about getting to bed soon."
It looks like Snape is reverting to type, Aurora thought to herself as she led her students back to the Gryffindor Common Room, I should let McGonagall know about this.
At the old Black Family residence that Sirius had moved into, Remus Lupin finished writing the letter that he hoped would finally put the matter regarding the "Boy Who Lived" franchise to bed. Frankly it was fast going from the sublime to the ridiculous - at first the publisher had disputed that Sirius Black and Belldandy had any right to act on Harry's behalf to begin with. After that argument had been demolished with verified copies of Belldandy's guardianship forms, the publisher had then tried to argue that there was some sort of statute of limitations on the claiming of royalties and that Harry should have tried when the books were first published. A quick consultation with Sirius' solicitor had fixed that one rapidly. Now the dispute had descended into endless arguments regarding the actual percentage that Harry should receive - the first offer had been 0.5%, which had caused Sirius to laugh himself sick. Subsequent negotiations had not seen much improvement in the matter, which had led to the latest letter.
"Finished then, Moony?" Sirius asked from the doorway where he was leaning on the frame. Remus nodded.
"Yes, all done. We just have to get your solicitor to look it over and then it'll be off to that damn idiot. Hopefully this will make him see sense."
Sirius grinned knowingly. "Sense? From that fool? Some hopes. I'm just hoping that hitting his vault like this will force him to at least pretend to be an adult."
Remus grinned back. The final threat was to effectively seize all rights to the "Boy Who Lived" franchise from the publisher outright, leaving the entire series as Harry's intellectual property. That, combined with threats to sue for all income derived from the series in the past, should be enough to scare the publisher into cooperating.
"How did it go at the Wizengamot?" Remus asked as he put the letter into an envelope, ready to go to Sirius' solicitor.
Sirius groaned at put a hand over his eyes. "About as well as you can expect. Every man and his dog wants a piece of me now that I have control over the Black Estates. I've already got offers for a whole bunch of business activities which we'll have to go over together later."
Remus looked at his friend with sympathy. While it was necessary that they shore up the Black Family finances, dealing with the leeches in the Wizengamot was enough to exhaust the patience of a saint.
"Are you absolutely sure that we need to go this quickly, Sirius?" Remus asked as he stood up.
Sirius looked up at where his fellow Marauder stood. "Yes. Now that Harry is at Hogwarts, we'll need all the political and economic capital we can get. You just know that those so-called 'innocent' Death Eaters won't be able to leave him alone. We're going to need a war chest and the connections required to fight somebody like Malfoy in the court of public opinion. That means influence in the Ministry and a big budget."
Remus nodded with a look of regret. "I'm afraid that you're probably right. Particularly when you look at how Malfoy has been going around shoring up his business interests recently. This isn't the life we thought we'd have when we left Hogwarts, you know."
Sirius laughed for a moment. "I'll say. You wanted to go into spell research, James wanted to be an Auror, I wanted a career as a professional prank artist and Lily wanted to be a teacher at Hogwarts when her children were old enough. Such a shame that our plans were ruined by a bunch of old fools, eh?"
"Too true," Remus replied as he walked over to join his friend in the doorway. "But for now, it is time to get something to eat."
"Damn right!" Sirius said as he stepped into the corridor outside Remus' office.
Dumbledore sighed as he looked at the people in front of his desk. He had an intense feeling of déjà vu.
"The brat is lying," Professor Snape said, "he's just complaining because I won't coddle him like everyone else."
"Nobody here at Hogwarts is coddling Mr Potter," Professor McGonagall said icily, "he has been quiet and attentive in all of the classes he has attended so far. The fact that your first class with Mr Potter has caused him to approach his Head of House says more about you than it does about him."
"Just because I enforce high standards during my classes..." Snape began before he was cut off by a visibly annoyed Astronomy Professor.
"There's having a high standard, Snape, and then there's bullying." Sinistra said firmly. "You started by asking Mr Potter three questions that were all beyond what a First Year student could be reasonably expected to answer in their first lesson, and then penalised him for 'wasting time' even though he finished on time."
"And you'll take that brat's word over mine?" Snape replied, sneering.
"I'll take his word and the word of several of his fellow students who were in the same class," McGonagall put in, "unless you're willing to accuse them all of lying, Severus?"
Snape just scowled, unwilling to confront the Deputy Headmistress.
"I want the point deduction cancelled," Sinistra said, looking at McGonagall, "and I want a guarantee that Professor Snape won't victimise Mr Potter and Mr Longbottom in class."
"That's fair enough," McGonagall said before Dumbledore could interrupt, "and I so rule. Severus, be warned that any further bullying of Mr Potter or Mr Longbottom - or their friends - will see you put on probation."
Snape turned his attention to Dumbledore. The Headmaster sighed again. "There isn't anything I can do, Severus, your actions have brought this on you. Please try to put your history with Mr Potter's parents behind you and don't let it poison your relationship with him."
The tight look on the Potions Professor's face did not give Dumbledore much hope.
The day after their first Potions class, Harry received a letter from Draco Malfoy inviting him and Neville Longbottom to a meeting in one of the classrooms on the second floor. At the appointed hour, Harry and Neville went along to find Draco waiting for them with Crabbe and Goyle.
"Hello, good to see you here." Draco said, standing as the two Gryffindor students entered.
"Likewise, Malfoy." Neville replied as he closed the door.
"What did you want to talk to me about?" Harry asked as he approached the Slytherin students.
Draco gestured to some chairs close to where he and his fellow students were. "Take a seat, this might take a while. I wanted to talk to you about the wider Wizarding society and where people like us fit into it."
"People like us?" Harry asked as he sat down, Neville taking a seat next to him.
"Yes. We three are all heirs to Noble Families, as such we have a number of rights and responsibilities."
Harry nodded. "OK, so what in particular do you want to talk about?"
"As members of important families," Draco began, "we are in positions of great influence in our society."
"True," Neville put in, "we will have access to seats in the Wizengamot as well as a certain amount of financial power."
Draco nodded. "Longbottom is correct. One day we will be leaders in society, both politically and economically."
"I'm with you so far," Harry replied.
"Our positions mean that we have a responsibility to protect our society and preserve our ways." Draco continued. "There are many forces that could disrupt our way of life, and we will be in a position to protect our fellow wizards from them."
"What kind of forces?" Harry asked.
"I take it you are talking about the Muggleborn?" Neville asked with narrowed eyes. Draco bristled slightly.
"They are one of the things I was talking about," he said with a little acid, "but not exclusively. There are also those from other nations who would seek to impose their ways on us."
"What is the problem with the Muggleborn?" Harry asked with some confusion, "What threat do they pose?"
Draco sat up slightly straighter. "The Muggleborn have no knowledge of our customs and society, and generally seek to change our ways to something closer to the muggles ways of doing things."
"Well, it makes sense that they don't know anything about magical Britain," Neville replied, "the Statute of Secrecy means they won't know about it until they get their Hogwarts letter."
"So they arrive in what is, basically, an alien society to them," Harry said thoughtfully, "and try to bring a bit of their own society with them."
"That is exactly it." Draco said triumphantly.
"Is that such a bad thing?" Harry asked. The other boys looked at him oddly.
"I'm sorry?" Draco asked.
"My adopted parents come from two completely different cultures," Harry explained, "my adopted mother is from Norway while my adopted father is from Japan. The two countries have very different societies and cultures, but they've managed to make a life together that mixes the two very nicely. Now that they're in Britain they're adopting some of the local traditions as well. Mixing cultures can produce great results, I've seen it in my own family."
"The problem is that it disrupts things and causes trouble," Draco explained patiently, "the Muggleborn want to rush things and overturn centuries of tradition without respecting it."
Harry nodded. "I can see how that would create problems, but that doesn't mean we can't let our society adopt new ideas."
Draco shook his head. "Our society has lasted for centuries," he argued, "it is a proven system that has kept us safe. Changing it will only threaten our way of life."
"It could also improve it," Harry countered, "sometimes new ideas can make things better than they were before. I'm not saying that we should change everything overnight, but we should at least keep an open mind."
Draco was looking frustrated, but Neville inserted himself back into the conversation before the blond boy could say anything.
"I think that while we may disagree on some points, there is some merit to both positions," the Longbottom Heir said, "how about we all go away and think on things for now? We can continue this discussion later, and maybe bring fresh arguments with us."
Draco swallowed heavily, before he nodded. "Good idea. Shall we meet here again, the same time next week?"
Harry nodded as he stood up. "I think I'd like that. It was nice meeting you again, Malfoy."
As Draco stood up, Harry offered his hand. Draco looked surprised, before he extended his own. The two boys shook hands, before they headed for the door.
"You'll see that I'm right, Potter. I just have to persuade you." Draco said as they reached the door. Harry just grinned.
"Or maybe I'll bring you around to my way of thinking," he said as he opened the door, "after you?"
Yeah, it has been a while between chapters. Sorry about that. I had a hard time writing Draco's meeting with Harry - I didn't want it to end in a shouting match, which is what you'd get from canon!Draco's views on "mudbloods."
Next time, the Giant Squid gets nervous after Hagrid has a dream about calamari.