Hey, guys! Yeah, this chapter's a bit short and that's because my time's being consumed by tests! I hope you like this. :P
RedRangerBelt – You'll learn more about Neville's Core later. The other questions are answered here.
Rinneko Tsukinomori – They're one of a kind, trust me. Trouble come to them waiting for a hug.
xXDaughterOfAthenaXx – Hah! That made my day! Sure!
Weird'smyname – Thank you so much! I already PM'd you, but seriously! I stared at the screen like an idiot! Ten reviews! Whooo!
Disclaimer: I have no rights to The Harry Potter series. They belong to JK Rowling and I am not JK Rowling.
Words – 4160
"Seeker?! But…but you've got to be the youngest one –"
"In the past century. McGonagall told me. I wasn't sure to take it at first but then thought that since there was no other sport, I might as well get some fresh air and exercise." Harry said taking his scrambled egg.
Ron just stared at him and then shook his head, "I don't blame her for wanting you in the team. You were amazing! You just avoided the wall, you know? I thought you and Nev were pancakes!"
"I thought we had agreed never to talk about it ever." Neville muttered and Ron looked sheepish, "Sorry, Nev."
"But you're right. You've have skill!" Seamus said excitedly nearly choking on his lunch.
Fred and George entered the Hall and spotted the knot of Gryffindor years. They went close to Harry and whispered, "Well done, Harry. The way Wood was talking, Gryffindor might bag the Quidditch Cup this year. You must be real good. I've never actually heard a bloke's voice go all squeaky."
Ron snorted and Harry thumped him on the back, "If you think Oliver went nuts, you should have seen McGonagall."
"What did she do?!" George asked, his eyes going wide at the thought of their strict, no-nonsense Transfiguration teacher jumping like a giddy little school girl.
"That's for me to know and you to find out." Harry said unhelpfully and twins said, "We're on it!"
Harry turned back to see Hermione frowning at him. He stared back at her and she shuffled towards her Charms text book.
"We have double potions with the Slytherins." Harry said pushing away his empty plate which disappeared. Ron groaned.
"I think we will be doing what we discussed yesterday. The potion for curing boils. It's quite easy." Harry said hoping to cheer him up, but to no avail.
"The Redfir leaves are only to lessen the irritation. Two leaves with one stalk are enough. Anymore and the potion is simply ineffective. Which I'm sure the half of you will produce today." Snape called as he looked over the Gryffindors.
Harry was really starting to dislike his comments. Besides Redfir leaves left a slightly foul odour. He decided to add a drop of water along with the leaves to dilute the smell. The water wouldn't change the composition of a simple potion like this.
His potion turned light brown with floating mass of mist like substance within it. Okay, maybe he shouldn't have added the water drop.
He looked back at his book and wrote, 'No water drop. Causes suspension of liquid.'
He stirred the potion, but the suspension didn't dissolve. He stirred it counter clockwise and the colour lightened. This was better. Between every three clock-wise stirs, one anti-clockwise mix seemed to balance the potion.
Harry noted this down too and then put some of it in a vial. The smell was almost undetectable. He cut out his first sentence and wrote, 'One water drop with leaves and stir sequence.'
Harry looked up to see everyone still at work. Hermione was at the last step and her potion was a faint brown like his. Ron's was a bit darker but that only meant that it would take a longer time for the boil to heal.
He looked to his left to see Neville sweating as he stirred his thick solution. Harry sneaked a peak to look at Snape correcting Malfoy.
"Add the Croson sol, before the last four stirs, Neville." Harry whispered. Neville shot a panicked look at him and with shaky hands did so. The potion turned into a much better consistence than before.
Harry looked up to see Snape inspecting his potion with a sour look.
"What is this?"
"How have you finished it so soon?" Snape asked with a dangerous tone in his voice.
"I started early." It was true. When the others were reading the instructions, Harry had already gone to take all the ingredients to start.
"Is it supposed to be like this?"
"Is it supposed to smell like this?"
"No, it's supposed to have a sulfurous odour. I just tweaked it." Harry wasn't sure he should have said it like that because Snape made an angry purple Uncle Vernon look like a little kitten with a bow tie.
"You could have killed us all, insolent boy! What if the potion had become unstable? What if the heat had made it burn through the cauldron? What if it could have exploded? Ten points from Gryffindor! Detention! Tonight at eight! If I ever catch you 'tweaking' a potion again… you will sorely regret it, Potter!"
Harry stared as Snape 'vanished' his potion with a flick of his wand.
"What spell was that?" Harry asked, interested. Snape glared at him and shouted, "Everyone submit a sample of your potions with your names, on my desk, NOW!"
There was scrambling of bags and benches as the students hurried to place their vials in a holder box. Harry gave his vial to Ron and took his bag.
As they left the class, Ron started in another Snape rant, "That was seriously over-rated! A first year potion can't just explode, can it?"
"I checked the syllabus. First and second year potions can't explode. But some of them can melt cauldrons." Harry said nonchalantly. He was still wondering why Snape had been limping he whole time. His movements were subtle because of his billowing robes, but Harry could easily see the out-of-rhythm walk. "Why do you think he gave me detention?"
"You're not scared?"
"No. Should I be?" Harry asked curiously. Ron just gaped at him and said, "I think Snape has met his match! You were as cool as a…a…"
"Yeah! I'd have been shaking in my knees if he glared at me like that."
"I've seen worse." Harry said shrugging remembering when Sally would sometimes glower at Gabe's back or at the Dursleys. There was nothing scarier than that.
"Snape was angry." Hermione said unexpectedly behind their backs.
Ron turned around and walked backwards, "Really?! What was your first clue?"
Hermione glared at him, "What I meant was that Snape was angry because Harry is now in the Gryffindor Quidditch team. First years aren't allowed and since Dumbledore bent the rule to let you, that didn't go well with him. Lots of people are jealous only because they think that Dumbledore favours you. Being related makes you his first priority."
"Well, they're wrong. Dumbledore and I haven't had a face-to face conversation. He gave the permission after he saw me fly around the pitch along with the staff and Oliver. Plus, Gryffindor doesn't have a seeker. No one was good enough for the trials." Harry reasoned and Hermione looked a little stunned.
"Wait, the Quidditch trials are already done?!" Ron cried out. Harry nodded, "Oliver wanted it early."
"I wanted to watch it." He mumbled as they entered the Great Hall. They set their bags down and Harry took out a new parchment roll for the MAGiC topic they were covering today – Shields.
Snape stepped forwards to start the topic.
"The doors of Cores are called Shields. Every magical person has a different type of Core but the Shields work in relatively the same way. I assume many of you to have reached out to your Core already."
A few nodded but some looked a little ashamed. Harry saw Hermione duck her head to look at her parchment intensely. He would have thought that she would already know what her Core was. Bolt confirmed that it was a powerful one. But not Psychological.
"For those fumbling idio –"
McGonagall elbowed past Snape and said, "Those of which have not discovered their magic source, I wish for them to stay back. It is of nothing to be ashamed. Several famous and powerful wizards have discovered their Cores much later. We will give you simple techniques to help you isolate your power. For now, who can tell me what the difference between true shields and pseudo-shields is?"
Few raised their hands but no one had enough enthusiasm to rival Hermione's. Ron coughed.
"True shields are those which stop our Core from being over-worked in ways like being used for too long or being contacted by magical disturbances in the area. They are used through one's inner magic alone and the longer the shield is in place the more tired the person becomes.
"Pseudo-shields are those which are cast by wands. They can be used to repel a mind invader or to prevent a physical being or object to come close. There is no direct connection to the Core."
"5 points to Gryffindor. You'll learn more about pseudo-shields in your second year. Does everyone have a copy of the 'Depths of the Core'?"
There were positive remarks and Professor Sprout instructed everyone to take the chapter, 'Protecting one's Magic.'
Harry rolled up his parchment on the Herbology essay and packed it in his bag. He leaned back against his bed post and wished that he didn't have detention. He really wanted to pluck a few strings. He had some difficulty in changing from F minor to A major. He was supposed to practice that tonight, but Snape was, as Ron had put it, 'A greasy bat that sucks the fun out of everything.'
It was about 7:50 and he decided to leave for the dungeons. Not knowing what he was supposed to take, he packed his bag with all the Potions books, two quills, an ink bottle, and enough parchments. He left the tower with a good bye to Ron and Neville.
'If he tries anything across the line, he won't have a hand. Don't worry, Harry.' Bolt reassured him.
'Thank you, Bolt.'
'I still think that you should have had your dinner before leaving for the dungeons. Who know how long he's gonna keep you there?'
'He does. Besides, I'll just have a late supper.' Harry pointed out.
From the ground floor corridor, he could hear near to loud conversations of the students in the Great Hall. He could also get the smell of the dinner and he hoped that detention wouldn't take too long.
Harry reached the door with silent steps and saw it was slightly open. He was about to knock when he heard voices from inside.
Mum had always said that eavesdropping was a bad habit but when Harry heard the word 'Fluffy' in Snape's voice, his Mum's words disappeared for a few seconds.
"…blasted dog. How are you supposed to keep your eyes on all three heads at once?" Snape asked and Argus Filch's voice came as a grunt.
Filch was the caretaker of the school and hated every living thing under the age of nineteen. And every living thing under the age of nineteen hated him back.
Harry slowly walked backwards. Evidently, Snape had forgotten about the detention. He wanted to hear more about Fluffy, the three headed dog, but felt that he was asking for trouble.
He reached the top of the stairs and then walked back down as noisily as he could. Dragging his feet over each step and whistling.
He went right down to the door and knocked loudly, "Professor Snape!"
Percy was really engraved into his head, because it was kind of thing that the younger boy would have done. But he knew that if it really was Percy in his stead, the boy would have skipped happily and called Snape's name in a sing-song voice.
Harry opened the door and stepped aside to let Filch pass through, who was holding a box close to him. The caretaker shot a dark look at Harry and left the room with his cat, Mrs. Norris following him.
'Can I say 'hi' to her?' Bolt asked.
"You're late, Potter." Snape said looking down at the first year. Harry took a look at his watch and said, "Only by a minute…sir." Harry added, after a second thought.
"That's not an excuse."
"I know that, professor. Shall we get started?"
Snape glared at him and said, "Do you know why detentions are given?"
"To correct what the wrong-doer has done in class, intentionally."
"And so, you will write a two foot essay on the how you could have gone wrong with that botched up potion."
"It wasn't botched up. If you have seen it, you would know that it was up to the mark. Decreasing the smell does not make it blast and by the way, the potions in our syllabus does not detonate however we tamper it because all of its ingredients are under-ministry regulation of batch C which means it's not acidic or basic enough to react explosively."
Snape looked right into Harry's eyes and the latter felt a slight headache. The cold, black eyes didn't have any light and Harry felt like he was in a dark tunnel.
"Do what I say." Snape said shortly and turned to sit at his desk. Harry noticed that he was limping less.
Harry could have written in a short paragraph but decided not to argue. The faster he wrote, faster he could leave.
It was just past nine. Snape had not been satisfied with the first four of Harry's essays and Harry had to rewrite them with a different approach to the topic of safety.
Bolt had been incredibly vocal about this and Harry was distracted by her announcements of killing bats in the dead of the night. But Harry's accomplishment was that Snape was still frustrated about how suave Harry's demeanor had been throughout the entire time.
The Great Hall wasn't empty at all. There were a few older students who had a late curfew and Harry just grabbed a few bites of his dinner before leaving. He didn't need another detention.
Harry entered the Common Room and saw Hermione writing her Herbology homework. Harry peered into her notes and said, "It's 'wolfsbane', not 'wolvesbane'."
Hermione stopped writing and stared at the word. She blushed and said, "Thanks."
He stared at her essay and asked, "It's longer than what Sprout told us to write."
"I didn't feel like leaving any points."
"She wanted us to write the main points. You can't write both uses of aconite. You have to write the most crucial one." Harry said sitting down on the ground, next to the fire-place.
Hermione frowned, "There's no harm in writing extra things."
Harry raised an eyebrow, "You don't know which the important use is, do you?"
"Of course I do! Aconite can be used as a poison –"
"Medicinal value, Hermione! That's the main one. Sprout told us in the passing. We're supposed to write about the herb qualities."
"She told us to write about the 'uses', Harry. Not 'use'." Hermione stressed but Harry shook his head.
"The uses of the most important application of aconite."
Hermione hesitated, "But, it doesn't matter."
"Medicinal field requires aconite mainly in the Wolfsbane potion."
"Hermione huffed, "I've included that!"
"That and the entire chapter. Anyway, Sprout will certainly give this essay the top grade; I'm just pointing out how to make it short and to the point." Harry said and got up to leave. His guitar was waiting.
Up, up, down, down, up, down. Up, up, down, down, up…
Harry had a slight frown as he continued the sequence of striking the strings. If he wanted to get the chorus of one of Lily Potter's songs, he had to get this right.
His fingers fumbled when a voice said, "That's really good, you know?"
Dean hadn't slept yet. Harry stared and had a strange feeling of pride. He focused himself on the situation and said, "Thank you, but please don't do that."
Dean sighed. Harry empathized with him. Years ago, it was hard to handle his core. Dean's was amazing, "It's a bit hard. I've only just realized a few days before I got my letter."
"Oh. Sorry, but it's really powerful. You just need practice." Harry said nodding and then asked, "Why aren't you asleep?"
"I could ask you the same question." Dean said smartly.
"And you have. But you haven't answered mine." Harry pointed out. Dean laughed. Seamus muttered something and tossed in his bed.
"I just sent an owl to my family. I was going to send one over the weekend, but I couldn't wait for it."
Harry nodded, "Must have been one long letter."
"Yeah. Probably longer than Hermione Granger's history essay." Dean said chortling.
Harry shrugged, "I'll give you that, mate."
History essays were the worst because the teacher, Professor Binns, didn't understand the concept of an aching wrist. Harry was pretty sure that Binns had no idea that he had students in his class. He'd just come and go through the walls for teaching all seven years of students. Oh, and he was a ghost.
"It's nearing eleven, though. Get some shut eye." Harry said putting his striker into the small pouch. He packed the old book and guitar into its trunk had shrunk it by touching the tip of his wand to a green dot near the lock. Self-applied charm. Just add magic!
"G'night." Dean mumbled and Harry replied back. Bolt gave a small yawn and jumped out to rest on Harry's pillow. He stared at her for some time. She was actually very cute to look at with her drooped ears, soft fur, snarky attitude and large light brown eyes. Actually, they were closer to a hazel shade.
'Yeah, you're gorgeous as well, get some winks.' She said and Harry closed his eyes and dreamt about shadows and ocean.
"No Potions today!" Ron declared happily as Errol left three letters, the Daily Prophet and a messy table.
Hedwig was a bit more graceful as she landed on Harry's shoulder and dropped a letter in his cereal. Thankfully, he hadn't added the milk yet.
"Thanks girl." He took the letter expecting it to be Daniel's but was pleasantly surprised to see an untidy scrawl.
Hagrid had invited them to tea again.
Bolt shot up at that and could barely stop herself from peeking out of his robe pocket. 'Can we? I want to meet Fang. He was much too involved with Neville and you.'
"Hey Ron, you want to meet Hagrid after school today?"
Ron shrugged and said, "Phof, fy nof."
"Ron, that is disgusting." Hermione said, wrinkling her nose. Ron glared at her and swallowed a mouthful of porridge.
"Yeah, let's go, unless we won't have to drink that cake again. Nev you want to come along?"
Neville looked up apologetically and said, "Can't. I have some questions to ask about my magic to Professor McGonagall."
"We could wait for you." Harry suggested but Neville shook his head, "It'll take a long time. I'll come next week."
The day went by smoothly, although, Quirrell was really beginning to irk Harry. The stuttering professor would sometimes watch him quietly but would immediately look away when Harry looked up. Plus, the smell from the turban was nearly as bad as the potion they had made the day before. Sulpfurous.
"Professor!" Harry as they were all seated. He had planned to see how much he could push Quirrell to the edge. He wasn't sure why he had wanted to do this, but he always had felt angry in the person's vicinity.
"Yes, Potter?" Quirrell asked politely and Harry was relieved that he didn't stammer.
"Forgive me, but I am a bit curious. From where did you get that turban? The material looks custom-made with magic."
The class stared at the turban and Quirrell's faced twitched before giving a small smile.
"This is a w…wond…derful pr…present from the state of Za…Zambia. I helpe…d them g…get rid of a…a…zombie. The Prince w…was most d…del…delighted!"
"How did you do that?" Harry asked over the mutterings of the entire class of Gryffindors and Ravenclaws.
"Oh…ah… that is a se…seemingly long st…tory for which we d…d…do not have the ti…t…time for. Oh! Wou…would you l…look at that?! There aren't an…any clouds!"
Quirrell said staring out of the window and the class followed suit but Harry frowned.
'Was it just me, or did that last sentence sound like he forced himself to talk like that?' Bolt asked and Harry nodded subtly.
"Well…we wi…will now open…open our bo…books to the topic of…of… er… wand magic!"
The double period was spent making sure that Quirrell would be absolutely wary of The Boy-Who-Lived. Harry kept interrupting him to ask doubts about rather out-of-topic points.
"Sir! What is the true origin of the connections between wand and words?"
"Professor? Why are there different wand movements for different spells even though some fall under a certain topic?"
"What is the point of using wands if we can enhance our Core through us with our minds alone? Shouldn't that be one of the subjects here?...Sir."
The class ended with an irritated stuttering Professor nearly slamming the door after they left.
"Why did you do that? I'm sure that we will learn more about everything in the coming years. You didn't have to grill him!" Hermione hissed standing in front of Harry, cutting of his path.
Harry shrugged, "We have to learn them somehow. And you would think that he would have told me about learning them in the future but he didn't. He let himself get angry as if he didn't know what to do. He was overwhelmed by the onslaught of questions that he let me waste his time and all ours."
"Exactly!" She cried. Harry sighed and walked around her. Ron and Hermione jogged to keep up with him.
"My point is that he didn't behave like a teacher. What he should've done was to tell me to talk to him after class or reprimand me during class or threaten to take points or give me detention. But he did neither of those. Which means he had something else on his mind. Something much more important than trying to answer the questions. And I intend to find out what."
Charms had been charming. They learnt about using a swishing wave of the wand to pull small objects towards them across the table. They used a long feather and had to concentrate on it.
"A small swish. And then imagine that your wand is connected to the end of the feather with a string. Slowly bring the wand in your direction and you should see the feather being dragged across the table." Flitwick said and walked around with the tip of his tall hat, the only thing in sight for the students in the tall benches.
"It's like there's a strand of spider web." Harry muttered as he watched his feather being pulled along with his wand. Ron let out a nonsensical sound and Harry stared up at him, his concentration fading away.
"Hate spiders." Ron muttered.
Harry nodded, not wanting to push into the topic. He saw Neville smile to himself before wiping it away when he caught Harry's gaze.
Transfiguration was rather uneventful as they had to write a summary of the basics of the subject in class. Ron was on Harry's left while a boy who introduced himself as Ernie MacMillian sat on the other side.
He had been a bit shocked when Harry had sat beside him. Ernie looked at the scar, or tied to look at it through Harry's fringe, in vain. He immediately cast his eyes down as he wrote as fast as he could, making mistakes on different spots in the parchment.
The class ended with McGonagall calling out Harry's name as the rest left. Harry gestured Ron to go and walked up to the teacher's table.
"Professor Snape has been telling how disrespectful you were in Potions." She said this like she didn't believe Snape entirely and this made Harry like her.
"I told him a slightly faster way of completing the potion instead following the book. He had a short temper. It blew up."
McGonagall looked confused, "When you say, it blew up…"
"I meant Professor Snape's temper and not my potion." Harry specified. McGonagall nodded and said, "Potter, how much ever you do know about the properties, I really think you should be more careful. I'm not saying that Professor Snape was absolutely right. I want you to make sure that you do not do it again under his gaze."
Harry really did like her.
"Good. And I'm happy to say that you are showing talent in every subject. The teachers have nothing but high respect for you. Do not bring it down with rash and unstable experiments at this age, Potter."
"Yes, Ma'am. Thank you."
"You may leave." She turned back to her papers and Harry almost hesitated to ask whether Dumbledore shared this opinion as well. But then he thought better of it and left the room.
Not much action? Well, wait for a few days and you'll get some!
Stay tuned for the next update within a week. After Sunday, though.