A/N: At last, our first introduction to Divination and Sybil Trelawney in this vastly AU take of Harry Potter. I won't lie-I really like how my Trelawney turned out. Hopefully it will amuse and entertain you as well. As always, responses to previous chap reviews are in my forums.
Chapter Nineteen: The Inner Eye
Third year was different in many ways from Harry's first two years of school at Hogwarts. To start with, they had two new classes—Defence Against the Dark Arts and Introduction to Potions. In addition, their Wizard Studies and Muggle Studies classes were vastly reduced—Wizard Studies now only met three hours a week, and Muggle studies only ten hours, which opened up the schedule for the two optional classes.
It was still disheartening to have eight solid hours of classes each day, but Harry also realized that he would be bored without them. With the help of the Ordering potion from first year and the sheer exhilaration of learning magic, he rarely felt too put out by the long days. History was boring, of course, but then again Cuthbert Binns was almost three hundred years old and looked more like a ghost than some ghosts he had seen, but all the other professors managed to keep class interesting and challenging.
For all the changes, though, many things also stayed the same. Transfiguration was still a two hour course on Tuesdays and Thursdays like always, while Charms had two hours on Monday and Wednesday, with one final hour on Friday. The classes were roughly at the same time, in the same location, with the same teachers.
But the novelty of the new classes started immediately when they walked into the Defence classroom for the very first time, where they were met by Professor Remus Lupin yawning like crazy.
"Good morning, class," he said. "Please come in and have seat while I continue to wake myself up."
The thirteen boys of Third Year took their seats, watching Lupin expectantly. When everyone was settled, Lupin flicked his wand and the door closed. "Welcome to Defence Against the Dark Arts," he began. "Despite the name of the class, we are not here simply to learn counters to dark magic. Rather, this class is in response to a central reality of life for all witches and wizards—magic is dangerous. From the first time an Etruscan wizard priest managed to summon lighting only to die when it struck him, to the ancient Zoroastrian mages who dabbled with elixirs to grant immortality, only to create an abundance of magical creatures such as vampires, werewolves, giants, Veela and other magical human hybrids, people have been doing extraordinarily stupid things with magic. I have no doubt that time has not changed any of that by one wit."
The boys laughed uneasily. Was the professor calling them stupid?
"Now, let's get down to specifics, shall we?" Lupin stood and pointed his wand at a large, free-standing blackboard. Chalk began to write, dictating his words. "For this year, we shall concentrate on magical creatures and how to defend against them. For those taking Care of Magical Creatures, these subjects mesh well together."
The chalk wrote that down, word for word.
"In fourth year, we shall study the various sentient magical beings and how to defend against them. For instance, despite heavy regulations, if a vampire ever catches you alone in a dark alley, she will undoubtedly attempt to eat you, eventually anyway. Vampires do like to play with their food."
"What about Werewolves?" Malfoy asked, smirking.
"A good question," Lupin said. "Class, would you classify Werewolf as a sentient creature, or a magical creature?"
It was Nott who raised his hand. "Transformed werewolves are just dumb beasts."
Harry tried to understand why Lupin's magic flared in irritation despite his calm face. "To a certain extent, that is true. In the transformed state Werewolves are not conscious of their humanity, and so a transformed Werewolf is considered a magical creature, rather than a sentient one, which is why we will cover Werewolves this year.
"Now, to continue, in fifth year we will begin the basic study of magical defence against other witches and wizards. Shielding and stealth magic will be the primary focus. Then, for those who pass their OWLS and choose to continue, we will focus on offensive magic for the NEWTs years. Any questions?"
Lupin proved to be an effective lecturer, interspersing anecdotes with the lesson plans that often had the whole class laughing. After class ended, he asked Harry to stay behind. When the others were gone, walking toward the greenhouses and Herbology, Lupin regarded Harry thoughtfully for a moment.
"Mr Potter, do you read the paper?"
"No sir, not really."
With a nod, Lupin reached into his robes and removed a folded up paper. He placed it on his desk so that Harry could see the headline: SIRIUS BLACK ESCAPES! Below the headline was a picture of a gaunt man with broken eyes and long, scraggly dark hair, with a thin beard to add to his sinister appearance.
Harry felt his heart thud hard in his chest. "Isn't he the man…?"
"Who betrayed your parents? Yes, yes he is. He was also once our best friend."
Harry blinked. "What?"
"Sirius, James, Peter Pettigrew and I used dorm together here at Hogwarts. We had a fifth roommate named Andrew Blassingham. Bless his soul, Andrew was poached his fourth year by a staunch, dark-aligned traditionalist who forced him to leave school and marry, seeking NEWT and OWL studies independently. It was quite the scandal since the Ministry discourages bonding with wizards under age fifteen.
"Anyway, this made the rest of us form a pact to protect the other from the older witches. We all vowed to finish Hogwarts whole, intact and single. Of course, that only worked until Lily snagged James in Sixth Year."
"They got married their sixth year?" Harry asked, eyes bulging.
"No," Lupin said, smiling at the memory. "Lily's parents were Muggles, and refused to allow her to marry at sixteen despite James's parents telling them it was only proper. Bonds are for life, after all, whether voluntary or incidental. Still, because of the bond they were allowed to live together their seventh year as Head Boy and Head Girl, and any trouble James had with his parents over bonding with a Muggleborn was offset by the fact that she was an Aether, and even more so with the publication of her book. You've read it, correct?"
Harry nodded. "She's a good writer.'
"She was. And she was normally a good judge of character, so when she asked me to be the secret keeper when they went into hiding, I thought that would be the end of it. However, there were some extenuating circumstances with my health that made James suspect me, and so he chose Sirius instead. "
"You were my parent's friend, though?"
Harry's lips drew into a straight line. "Why didn't I ever know about you, then, before this summer?"
"Because Albus asked me to stay away," Lupin said sadly. "Harry, I can't stress enough how powerful the wards are around your Aunt's home, wards that are based on your mother's act before she died. But they aren't perfect, and if Voldemort's followers saw a friend of your parents hanging around, they would deduce where you were, and snatch you up on your way to school. I stayed away to protect you."
"An easy way to protect," Harry said bitterly. "Where was your protection when…? Never mind." He turned to leave when Remus stopped him.
"Harry, I can't put the past right, I know that, and I shan't try. But I can help you in the future, especially because Sirius is a danger to you. He knows this school better than anyone, and we believe he is coming here to finish what he started. He's coming for you."
"Let him," Harry fairly snarled before he turned and walked out.
"Well," Lupin said when the boy was gone, "that didn't go well."
Harry walked up the tower to Divination the next morning with a great feeling of trepidation. As far as he could see, he was the only boy in the class of fourteen people, and it was making his stomach clench at the idea of being without his mates around so many staring, whispering girls.
Worse yet, the room did not have individual desks, but was rather lined with bistro tables with two chairs each, forcing everyone to pair up. He nervously took a seat next at the table with Justine Finch-Fletchley, while smiled at him. "First mixed class and you are the only boy," she said with a dry smile and a touch of disappointment in her voice.
"Yeah, sorry 'bout that. I don't think this class has a good reputation among the boys."
"That's too bad," Lavender Brown said from the table behind him she shared with Parvati Patil. "Sybil Trelawney is a confirmed, licensed seer and oracle, you know!"
"I am also an Aether, Mr Potter," a disembodied voice chimed through the class. "And I've been warned about you. Please raise your defences as I have no desire to be bonded to a thirteen-year-old."
Harry snapped his Occlumency barriers in place just as Trelawney stepped out from around a curtain. She had limp, dirty blonde hair hanging to her shoulders and huge, almost bulbous glasses that made her brown eyes look amphibian. Her professor robes were lined with odd trinkets and pieces of metal and string.
"Welcome to Divination," she said in a tremulous voice. Harry could smell alcohol coming from her, but more over he could see that same strange cloud of magic around her head, albeit it a much less dense cloud that what he saw briefly around Healer Carlisle. With his Occlumency up at full strength, he felt little more than a sense of dizziness.
"I am Sybil Trelawney, granddaughter of the great Seer Cassandra Trelawney. In this class I will teach you the different forms of divination available to you, even arithmantic forms, which is why this class is offered as an alternative to Arithmancy, since we do have some similarities in our fields of study."
She sat down on a stool in front of them, visibly swaying. In the back of the room, Gregoria Goyle, sitting at a table with Millicent Bulstrode, raised her thick, meaty hand. "Professor, are you drunk?"
"By Morgana I hope so!" Trelawney said with sudden fervour. "Or else that was a wasted four knuts a bottle! And Merlin's balls, you're ugly. Are you even a girl?"
The whole class stared in shock. Gegoria snapped back, "More woman than you are, you flat-chested harridan."
"You're more woman than Skadi with such big baps as those," Trelawney said. She sipped from her suspicious-smelling tea.
Trelawney leaned forward with a lopsided smile. "So, every year I get the same questions, so let me tell you a secret about the future, children. Real divination hurts like bloody hell. The last true prophecy I delivered left me in the hospital wing for two days. The gods take no pity on those they choose to speak through—their power is cruel and painful. While some of the means that I teach can be used by anyone, there is always a price to be paid, usually in the form of small sacrifices. But for those of us cursed with the vision, or with being an oracle, the price is paid with pain and blood."
Harry, thinking of his summer, began to shake when she turned her magnified eyes and stared at Harry. "And it is a high price indeed," she said, speaking directly to him. She broke the spell and straightened. "Knowledge of the future is terribly expensive. Because of the fact I actually teach you and have to perform these magics so often…well, the Headmaster is fully aware of how I self-medicate. Some oracles use potions, some use firewhiskey. I prefer Muggle sherry, myself. No worries, though, I am quite a high functioning alcoholic if I say so myself."
Hesitantly, Harry raised his hand. "Professor, do all oracles have to…medicate?"
"Only those forced by magic or circumstances to employ their gifts often," she said, for the first time smiling sadly at him. "My counterparts in Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are both drunkards as well, while Salem's Witches Institute has three teachers for divination to divide up their exposure, and a productive marijuana farm on their grounds. There is hope, at least, I suppose."
She slid off her stool and walked to a chalk board. Where Lupin cast a spell, Trelawney wrote with an unsteady hand. "In your book, you will find a list of all one hundred and sixty three accepted forms of divination, ranging from the well-known, such as Arithmancy, to the obscure, such as Zoomancy, which is literally using the motions and behaviour of animals to gauge future events. This class is not designed to teach you to be a seer, an oracle or a prophet. It is simply to teach out how these different forms of divination work."
The hour passed surprisingly quickly. Trelawney was not a nice woman; her comments ranged from snide to downright hateful, and yet at the same time she was bitingly funny when she was talking about the nature of seers. "Matilda of Malaga, for instance, regularly had visions about what her brother would have for dinner, nearly every night, while her daughter Maria had visions of her mother's rather adventurous love life in the brothels. There is nothing that says prophecy is important or earth shattering. Divination is literally expressions of probability through magic. For instance, this morning I saw that one of you would bring a copy of my last book. Who was it?"
Lavender raised her hand, eyes wide. "I was hoping you would sign it," she confessed.
"After class dear," Trelawney said with a dismissive wave of her heavily bejewelled hand. "I saw that in my tea leaves this morning. In case you weren't paying attention, that is Tasseomancy—divination using tea leaves. I would have also accepted Tasseographcy or Kypomancy. The point being—this knowledge was not profound in any way, and in fact since it happens nearly every year, could have been obtained through common sense. Instead, I saw it in my tea leaves and paid for this precious knowledge with a headache. I cannot promise you any soul-shaking revelations in the class. But it can be interesting."
Harry waited the whole class for her to send him a note or otherwise ask him to stay, but she didn't. In fact, as soon as class was over she was out of the door, faster in fact than any of the students.
"So, Harry," Lavender said, smiling widely. "Want to walk me to Transfiguration?"
Harry stared blankly at her, trying to figure out why she would be going to Transfiguration before lunch, until he remembered boys and girls had a different schedule. "Oh, right. Er, actually, can't do that. Have to get to history, you know. Er, bye."
"Slag," he heard Parvati say as he almost ran out of the room himself.
"I'm sorry, Mr Potter, but the Ministry feels that you may be in danger from Sirius Black," Professor McGonagall said. "No, I'm afraid you can't go to Hogsmeade this weekend."
Harry pursed his lips angrily, but didn't say anything. Beside him, Ron and Neville looked as if their souls had been crushed, and he knew it was because they thought they would have to stay with him. "Er, guys, would you mind maybe picking me up some sugar quills?" He pulled out a few Knuts from his pocket.
"Are you sure, Harry?" Neville asked.
"Yeah, it'll be okay, go on."
Both relieved and guilty about feeling relieved, the two thanked him, promised him treats, and moved on. Seamus, Harry noted, tagged along with Lee Jordan and the Weasley twins.
With a bitter sigh, Harry separated from the group and instead made his way slowly to Hagrid's hut. It was a bright, chilly day, and was just too damned beautiful to waste in the castle. Given how nice a day it was, he wasn't surprised to see Hagrid out working in the pumpkin patch, bare-chested in the cool air.
Hagrid's hut was well away from the path leading to Hogsmeade, and so he obviously was not expecting company. Otherwise, he probably would have covered up a little, given how incredibly hairy his otherwise pale torso was. He picked up a pumpkin easily as large as a golf cart and placed it on a thestral-drawn wagon without any visible show of effort.
"Hello, Hagrid," Harry called so as not to startle his large, somewhat slow friend.
Hagrid stood and looked around in confusion, facing the wrong way. "Behind you!" Harry called.
Hagrid turned and his whole face lit up with a smile. "Why it's 'ittle 'Arry! What're yer doing here? Shouldn't yer be at Hogsmeade with all 'dem pretty witches and summat?"
"They wouldn't let me go," Harry said dejectedly. "Said I was in danger because of Sirius Black."
"Oi, Black, bad business that were. Bad business. Well, yer can always help me feed Montrose there." He nodded to the black, reptilian beast hooked to the wagon.
With a nod Harry walked over to the horse-shaped, skeletal thestral and ran a hand along its flanks. The thestral, and in fact all the magical creatures he'd seen so far in Care of Magical Creatures, had a certain similarity with Hagrid himself. All of them were infused with magic, but not in a core like human wizards had. Hagrid had a core, of course, but it was tiny in comparison to a wizard, especially when taking into account his size. However, he had magic just like the thestral, it was simply diffused throughout his body and skin.
In the thestral's case, the magic coated its hide and wings, giving it an oddly soothing, deep blue glow. "Hello, girl," he whispered, running his hands down its neck. The beast leaned into his touch, and he could feel its magic reacting to his. It wasn't a bond or link, simply a gentle recognition.
After a moment he saw Hagrid staring at him with his small, dark eyes. "Blimey," he said, "t'ain't never seen her take to a wizard so fast."
"That she is, lad," Hagrid said, before beaming brightly. "Wanna feed 'er then?" He reached down and lifted a bucket of raw, bloody meat.
Montrose nickered, but it didn't sound like a horse. Rather, it was a high-pitched, almost human like cry, like a baby. However, Harry understood her easily enough—she was greeting him as an equal, and letting him know that she was hungry. Smiling, Harry grabbed a piece of meat the size of his foot and tossed it to the Thestral, somehow knowing not to hand it to the creature directly.
The thestral's similarity to a horse ended when the whole front half of its head split into four even quarters lined with sharp, dagger-like teeth and a long, snake-like tongue and snatched the meat right out of the air. "Thestral 'r carrion eaters, yer see," Hagrid explained. "They like to eat dead giants, dragons, kneazles, what 'ave yer. Been known to eat the occasional dead witch 'r wizard too. Bad r'putation and all, but right gentle creatures they 'er."
Sometimes it was hard to follow Hagrid. Not only did he have a thick accent, he sometimes tripped over his words. "Big tongue, see," he said when Harry asked about it the previous year. He then stuck out a tongue that hung down almost to the tip of his beard.
Still, Harry had grown to understand the gentle man easily enough. "So what is this meat?"
"Dragon," Hagrid said. "Dragon meat don't taste no good to wizards, so when an old buck or dame dies, they 'arvest it fer potions and such, and send the meat to magic preserves. One dragon can feed all the thestral preserves in the kingdom fer a month."
"What is this?" a high-pitched voice demanded.
Harry, his hands still dripping with dragon's blood, closed his eyes and tried his best to summon patience before he turned to see Draco Malfoy with Nott and Crab standing by his side. "I thought you were a pitiful wizard before, Potter, but slumming with mongrels? Really?"
Nott barked laughter. "Is It teaching you how to bugger the beasties, Potter?"
Harry waited for Hagrid to say something; anything. Instead, the giant man hunched over to make himself seem smaller while casting his beady eyes about in fear.
"I mean, for Merlin's sake look at the beast," Malfoy said, looking at Hagrid with contempt. "Look at all that disgusting hair. And how does a half-giant even exist? How could any true wizard want to rut with a giantess?"
"How could a wizard rut with a giantess?" Nott asked. "And enlarging charm, maybe?"
"And the smell," Malfoy continued. "If Hagrid is bad, imagine what his mum must smell like."
"Shut it, Malfoy," Harry said, rising at last to what he knew was bait. "Leave Hagrid alone. He hasn't done anything to you."
"He exists," Draco said, his laugh dropping down to a low sneer. "His kind are disgusting—mongrel half-breeds. His father was executed for crimes against magic—he said he would rather live with the giants than take a witch to wife. Disgusting abomination. His mongrel offspring should have been killed at…"
Harry's stinging hex hit Malfoy right in the face, causing his features to swell. "That's done it!" Nott said. He and Crabbe whipped out their wands and started casting hexes as well. Harry ducked Crabbe's poorly aimed one, but Nott's hit his arm and immediately caused it to throb with pain.
That slowed him down enough for Crabbe to land his stinger to Harry's stomach, followed by as second from Nott. His whole body started to throb with pain. Malfoy picked himself up off the ground and flicked his wand—because of his swollen face Harry couldn't quite make out the incantation, but he saw clearly the massive black snake that shot out of his wand and startled hurtling toward Harry.
"That's not right!" Hagrid roared. "Bad business, that!" He started rumbling forward, but was too far away to stop the fast moving snake.
Shaking from the stinging hexes, Harry said, "Stop!" voicing it as an unlikely prayer.
Surprisingly, the snake came to a stop. Why should I? Master wishes me to bite you. I feel him.
Blinking in shock, Harry said, "Your master is a bad man. He hurts others for no reason. If you must bite someone, bite him and his friends!"
Very well, the snake said, before turning and slithering quickly toward the three staring, gaping Slytherins. As the snake grew closer, Draco cried like a five year old girl and turned to lead the way, only to run right into Remus Lupin.
"Professor, Potter's magicked a snake on us with Parseltongue!" Nott said in a rush.
"A snake Mr Malfoy conjured," Lupin said coolly. Over their heads, he flicked his wand and easily banished the serpent. "Now, I understand why Harry was not at Hogsmeade, what I don't understand is what you three are doing here."
"None of your business, mongrel," Draco said, though with his swollen face it came out as "Oon of ooor buzzesss, ongrl".
Fortunately Professor Lupin understood easily enough. "I see. Well then, for fighting three on one, I deduct twenty house points for each of you, including you, Mr Potter. However, given than there was only one Gryffindor, and three Slytherins—well, I'm sure even you can do simple addition, Mr Malfoy. That will also be a week's detention starting tonight for all of you. You three can serve with Professor Snape. Get to the castle, now."
Glaring through his swollen features, Malfoy walked angrily back to the castle.
"Alright there, Hagrid?"
"Er, okay, 'suppose, 'Fessor," Hagrid said.
"All right?" Harry said, his anger at Malfoy searching for another target. "How could you just stand there and let them talk to you like that, Hagrid?"
"Oh, they didn't mean nuthin' by it," the half-giant said in a small voice.
"But they did, Hagrid, and it was awful. You should have done something!"
"Like what, Harry?" Professor Lupin demanded sharply. "What could Hagrid have done? He's not a professor so he can't assign points or detentions. He could not physically try to force Mr Malfoy to do anything because as a half-giant he is denied any civil rights under our law and he cannot perform wand magic. He is classified as a magical sentient, Harry, not a wizard."
Harry sputtered. "But…he's a person!"
"He is," Lupin agreed. "And he deserves to be treated better. He is my friend too."
Hagrid blushed from his belly-button up and kicked a rock as large as man's head. "Er, Gosh, 'Fessor. Yer m' friend too."
Lupin smiled, but there was sadness in the expression. "Harry, if Hagrid had done anything, Draco's father would have had him detained and killed like an animal—no trial, no appeal. Hagrid doing nothing was the smartest thing he could do, and you rising to Draco's taunts was the least smart thing you could do. He followed you out here to get a rise out of the two of you. And the half-giant with a third your IQ figured that out faster than you."
"Are you saying Hagrid is dumb?" Harry said, eyes bulging in shock.
"Dumber 'n a post!" Hagrid said with a sudden smile, slapping his chest. "And twice as hard!"
"Hagrid makes the most of what he has, and what he is," Lupin explained. "I and my friends visited him often, and I do still come down for tea, which is why I saw you being followed. He is the kindest person I have ever met. I understand you wanting to defend him, but I assure you he was in no danger."
"They could have hurt him with magic!"
Without warning Lupin shot a powerful stinging hex at Hagrid. Harry watched as the purple magic struck the reddish-brown magic in Hagrid's skin and just slid off it, dissipating into the air. "Didn't even feel it!" Hagrid said proudly.
"Oh." Harry's shoulders slumped. "Right."
"No worries, lad!" Hagrid said. "'Ow bout we have a cuppa! That'll make things right!"
"Sounds splendid," Remus said. Then he looked at the slumping-shouldered third-year. "Coming, Harry?"
"Yeah, sure," Harry said sullenly.
Author's Note: Very special thanks as always to Teufel1987, JR and Miles for beta reading.