Ooooh, Harry's first day of classes!

Also, I am going on a week-long trip next week, so PROBABLY don't expect an update until some time after the 7th. You never know, though. It depends on whether or not it's possible to update from my phone. :o


About a Boy – Chapter 4

The next morning, Harry took a seat beside Draco at breakfast, piling food up onto his plate as if it were to be the only meal of the deal. Draco took notice of this and choked back a laugh, shoveling his own breakfast down his throat.

Halfway through their meal, they found a large shadow looming over them. Harry glanced up and found Snape staring down at him, a disapproving frown plastered on his stern face.

"Mr. Potter, Mr. Malfoy," he greeted sharply, finally looking away from Harry when the boy slowed down his eating to a more respectable pace. Snape pulled out his wand and tapped it against two crisp pieces of parchment. Ink bled from the tip of his wand to form words on the page. Snape handed them the papers, stowing his wand within his sleeve. "These are your timetables. Do make an effort to be on time to class." With those words, he moved on to the next group of students seated at the Slytherin table.

Harry and Draco looked down at their schedules excitedly.

"Look! We've got all our classes with the Gryffindors! We'll be with Hermione and Ron!" Harry pointed out happily. Draco scowled at the mention of the youngest male Weasley, but remained silent.

"Double Potions first thing this morning," Draco murmured, a teasing note present in his smooth tone. "If you blow up a potion after a year with Uncle Sev" – Snape passed by and shot him a pointed look – "I mean, Professor Snape, I'll never let you live it down!"

oOoOo

Harry showed up to Potions early – his book clutched in his arms – and pushed the door open with his shoulder. He found Snape seated at the desk, looking over several papers.

"Yes?" Snape asked, slowly tearing his eyes from the page. "Good morning, Harry. Did you sleep well in the dormitories last night?"

Harry toed the stone floor, setting his book on one of the black work tables and dropping his bookbag at the base of the chair.

"Not really," he answered truthfully. "It's the first time I've ever really been away from you overnight, and I-I couldn't sleep."

"Harry, why didn't you come down to my quarters? The door is always open to you, not to mention the fact that I am in need of a child to occupy a certain extra bedroom every once in a while." Harry nodded, grinning, and Snape continued, "It is necessary for you to stay in your dormitory with the rest of your classmates, but I believe it can be arranged for you to stay with me one or two nights a week. I am your Head of House, after all." A small smirk crossed the Potions Master's face, but quickly faded when he looked around and noted the absence of a certain blond Slytherin. "Where is Draco?"

Harry sat down in the chair at his worktable and replied, "Oh, he just went back to get his book. His trunk was so disorganized that he couldn't find it! He lost his textbook in his own trunk!" Harry's quiet laugh permeated the quiet of the classroom.

Suddenly, the door banged open. "That's not true!" Draco protested indignantly. "I didn't lose my book; I just temporarily forgot where I placed it!"

"Because it was buried under loads of fancy robes and old socks!"

"Regardless," Snape's voice cut in silkily, "I trust that you have your book now?"

"Of course!" Draco pulled his book from his back and set it on the table, taking a seat beside Harry.

Snape exited the classroom quickly and unnoticeably as the rest of the students filed in and took places at the rest of the tables. Harry distinctly heard the mutterings about him and stared at the blackboard before him, jaw clenched, as Hermione and Ron took the table to the left of him.

The door to Snape's office snapped open, hitting the stone wall with a bang and bouncing back, effectively scaring the students half out of their wits. A small Gryffindor girl in the back of the classroom muffled a scream, and several Slytherins snickered.

Snape smirked wickedly and let his eyes scan the classroom. Harry felt nervousness gently wrap its thin fingers around the base of his spine and fought back a shiver. He had never seen the man quite like this before.

With a wave of his wand, a sheet of paper flew to Snape's thin fingers, and he began to take roll call. With the way Snape had talked about him in public in Diagon Alley, Harry had already been expecting a negative comment when the man reached his name, but he was wrong; Snape merely called the name and continued, his jaw clenching briefly at the whispers that floated up at the name of the Boy-Who-Lived.

Once finished, Snape looked up and began to speak again. "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."

Harry ducked his head at the last comment, biting back a giggle. Snape, of course, noticed.

"And just what do you find so funny, Potter?" the Potions Master spat, and Harry shuddered at the contempt in the man's voice. He knew it was an act, but it all sounded so real.

"Nothing, sir," Harry mumbled, staring at his hands.

"If Potions is such a joke to you, then why don't you tell me what I would get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

Harry's eyes shot up to meet his father's. That was one of the first questions he had asked about potion-making, one of the first things he had ever learned.

After a brief moment of silence – in which Snape sneered horribly at him, Harry answered, "The Draught of Living Death, sir, which is one of the most powerful sleeping potions in existence."

The man's face twisted into a scowl. "Surely – since our precious celebrity knows so much – you can tell me where a bezoar is found?"

Harry had a brief flashback of a younger him standing at Snape's desk, holding a small, shriveled stone in his hand while Snape quietly explained the function and location of a bezoar.

Snape was asking questions he was aware Harry knew the answers to.

"In the stomach of a goat, sir."

"And what is it useful for?" Snape snapped irritably.

"It counteracts most poisons, sir," Harry answered quietly, looking to where Hermione was sitting with her hand straight up toward the ceiling.

"Well, if you truly have opened your book before your arrival, you will be able to tell me the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane."

Harry answered without hesitation. "Of course, sir. They are the same plant - also known as aconite - and highly toxic, Professor."

Snape looked furious for several moments before his face smoothed out, but that was all it took for Harry to shrink back into his chair, tears beginning to prickle at the back of his eyes. A hand grabbed his forearm gently, and Harry looked up, startled, to find Draco looking at him in concern.

"He doesn't mean it, Harry. You know that." The boy offered a reassuring smile, and Harry relaxed a bit, focusing his eyes back on the front of the classroom.

Harry was relieved when Snape finally set them to the task of brewing a Boil Cure Potion, one which Harry had brewed many times. He and Draco worked together on it, the latter unable to contain his excitement at his first attempt at brewing.

"Calm down," Harry whispered out of the corner of his mouth. "Dad always says that emotions and potions brew nothing but disaster."

Draco took a deep breath before running off to collect the ingredients. Harry heated the cauldron and waited for Draco return with the necessary items. Upon the boy's arrival, he began crushing the snake fangs into a fine powder. As he handed the crushed snake fangs to Draco to pour into the cauldron, Snape arrived, passing neatly over Harry and taking the ingredient from the blond boy's hand.

"An excellent example of perfectly crushed snake fangs," Snape announced to the class, holding the powder up for all to see. "Ten points to Slytherin, Mr. Malfoy." Snape's eyes connected with Harry's and for one moment, the familiar warmth was in them, but it was gone before he could say something.

At the end of the class, Harry and Draco had managed to brew what was – in their opinion – the finest Boil Cure Potion in all of magical Britain. They set the blue potion on Snape's desk proudly before returning to their worktable to clean up.

"A moment, if you would, Potter," Snape called as they moved to leave.

Draco smiled and walked out of the classroom. "I'll see you in Transfiguration, Harry."

As soon as he was gone, Harry threw himself into Snape's arms, suddenly finding it difficult to hold back tears. The man caught him easily and pulled him to his chest.

"I can't do it, Dad. I can't do this – it's too hard. It all seemed so real – everything you said – and you seemed so angry with me," Harry whispered quietly into his father's chest, and felt Snape's arms tighten instinctively around him.

"I'm sorry, child. I'm so sorry for that. It's all to keep you safe – to keep us both safe – I promise. I know you knew the answers to those questions, and of course I knew that you were the one to crush those snake fangs – I watched you. And they were excellent, I assure you – I have not seen finer crushed snake fangs anywhere," Snape murmured, and Harry snorted indelicately. "But of course, I could not give points to you, not when I had been criticizing you all morning."

"And the potion?"

"Full marks, of course. I would expect nothing less from the son of a Potions Master."

oOoOo

When Harry rejoined Draco in McGonagall's class, he nudged the blond boy, who was watching the professor transform herself into a cat and perch on the corner of her desk.

"Full marks for our potion."

Draco grinned widely, turning away from the demonstration to look at Harry. "Knew it. We're brilliant. Potions Master Draco Malfoy and his assistant, the bespectacled Harry Potter!" He gestured to the boy beside him. Harry merely scoffed and pulled out a piece of parchment to take notes on. "You're taking notes? Should I say my boring assistant?"

Harry scoffed and inked his quill as McGonagall began talking about changing a toothpick into a needle, trying to ignore Draco for the time being.

"Well, then how about my note-taking assistant?"

"Shut up, Draco. I'm serious." Harry's voice held a low warning as he focused his eyes on the parchment before him, noting the wand movement and incantation for the spell.

"Hey, are you okay?" Draco's voice took on a genuinely concerned tone. "Professor Snape didn't get to you, did he? You know he's not really like that."

"I'm fine," Harry replied, rubbing his face wearily. "I'm just a little tired. This is a lot to take in."

"It gets easier as you go. Father says the first few weeks are always the hardest because you have to get used to channeling your magic through your wand. Let's try the spell though. Maybe we'll be prodigies – just like in Potions!"

Harry half-smiled and pointed his wand at the slender toothpick on the desk before him.

"Ligneum acu."

Nothing happened.

He repeated the spell several times, only to receive the same result. After a while, Harry flopped back into to seat and watched Draco attempt the magic fruitlessly as well. He peeked sideways at Hermione to find her hair slightly frizzier than normal as she waved her wand; her toothpick lengthened and sharpened slightly.

Sighing, Harry stood again and tried the incantation once more. Once again, his toothpick stayed dull and wooden, and the boy groaned in defeat.

McGonagall's voice traveled from the front of the classroom. "Remember, focus on your magic moving down your arm, through your wand, and into the toothpick. Focus on transfiguring the toothpick to a needle!"

Harry focused, imagining he was seeing his magic pulse down his arm and through his wand.

"Ligneum acu!"

The toothpick turned a shiny shade of silver. Harry couldn't keep the grin off his face as he picked up the partially-transfigured item, examining it closely.

Draco looked jealous. "Hey, how'd you do that?"

"Magic, Draco," Harry answered bluntly, waving his wand in the air. Silver sparks flew from the end and rained down on them.

"Mr. Potter! Mr. Malfoy!" Professor McGonagall exclaimed, rushing over to them. "Is everything all right?" She caught sight of his shiny, silver toothpick and held it up for all to see. "Oh, excellent! Excellent! And Miss Granger! You two are nearly there!" She showed off Hermione's toothpick; it was pointy and silver but had a strange wooden grain to it. The professor smiled at the two of them as she handed them their toothpicks again.

Harry grinned back genuinely and set back to practicing, giving Draco small pointers here and there to help.

oOoOo

History of Magic and Herbology passed quickly and without incident. Before they knew it, Harry and Draco found themselves sitting at the Slytherin table for dinner, piling large helpings of roast beef on their plates.

Draco began shoveling his dinner into his mouth as Anthony through the window and landed in front of Harry. He stroked the tawny owl lightly as he detached the tightly-furled bit of parchment attached to its foot. After nibbling on a piece of carrot from Harry's plate, it flew off, heading back to the Owlery.

Harry started on his dinner, opening the letter and scanning the familiar script.

If you are free, would you kindly come to my quarters tonight after dinner? I would like to hear about your first day of classes.

It was unsigned, but Harry would recognize the slanting hand and formal diction anywhere. He grinned to himself before continuing to eat.

oOoOo

The evening found Harry seated on his father's couch with his knees to his chest and a cup of tea in his hand.

"Aside from my class, how were your others? I believe you had Transfiguration immediately after?"

Harry nodded excitedly. "Yeah, and me and Hermione – "

" – Hermione and I – " Snape interrupted smoothly.

"Right. Hermione and I were the only ones who came close to transfiguring our toothpicks into needles! Mine was all silvery! It wasn't really pointy, but still!" Harry babbled.

An amused smirk found its way onto Snape's face. "Excellent job, Harry. I still expect you to practice until you have mastered the spell."

Harry nodded, nearly bouncing in his happiness. "Yeah, 'course. So then in Herbology we learned about these new plants and they strangle you if you come too close! I can't remember what it's called though. . . ."

"Devil's Snare," Snape supplied helpfully.

"Yeah, that's it!" Harry continued, undeterred. "But it really doesn't like sunlight, so if you ever get caught by it – "

"Hope that you don't."

"Yeah, but if I did, all I would have to do is use sunlight to get away! Professor Sprout wouldn't show it to us though – only pictures; she said it was too dangerous."

"Yes, tell me, Harry – do you know how to produce sunlight?"

"Well, no."

"And that would be why Professor Sprout kept you away. Besides, that plant is too dangerous for first years to be trusted with," the man finished. Harry scowled briefly before brightening again.

"And – did you know – Professor Binns is a ghost!" the boy exclaimed.

"So I've been told, child," Snape replied, smiling at his son.

"And he told us all about goblins and how they fought in these wars! It was awesome!"

"I take it you enjoyed your first day at Hogwarts, Harry?" Snape pressed his lips together in amusement.

"Yeah! It was so cool! It's magical!" Silence prevailed for a few moments before Harry snorted and added, "Literally."

Snape rolled his eyes before glancing toward the clock and standing up from his seat in the armchair.

"Alright, child. It is nearly curfew, and I do not wish for you to be caught out on your first day. To bed with you!"

Harry threw himself at the man and embraced him in a tight hug before running out the door, calling "Good night, Dad!" over his shoulder as he went.


Snape's speech is taken directly from p. 136-137 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It's just too good to cut out! :D

Review with how you liked it? Suggest ideas? I've got some key points solidified, but who knows - if I like an idea, I just might put it in! ;)