AN: Quick answer to ATSoccerman23, although in the book it does say that all schools start on September 1st, however I was trying to apply a more realistic time or date of when schools in England usually start lol which for most secondary schools start around the second week of the month and some during the middle of the month. But yeah you're right. Anyway thanks for pointing that out.

Also someone else pointed out that in the last chapter Harry didn't know that he was parselmouth, of course he did but it was after all the first time he had actually used it to talk to a snake so i just thought that if i had been in that kind of situation i would have been surprised still, either way.

And as usual thanks to every one that has been reading and reviewing, really appreciate that.

Now I am going to shut up and let you guys get on with the reading. So please read, review, criticise (whatever floats your boat really :) )

Disclaimer: If pigs could fly, the book and the character would belong to me. Unfortunately it bloody well isn't possible so...

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

THE SCHOOL

The day for Harry to resume his new school had come and the whole Manor was in a frenzy of activity. The house elves were packing Harry's luggage, including books he had specially selected to continue reading when he got to the school, he didn't plan on discontinuing his private studies because he was going to school. He had wanted to take almost all the potions supplies in potions lab but his guardians had persuaded him not to, saying that the school was bound to have them, however if they didn't he could write to them so that they can send it to him.

Meanwhile, Harry was in the duelling room training with his guardians for one last time to go through everything he knows on the subject. He had persuaded his guardians to duel with him to take his mind off the fact that he was leaving his guardians and the manor for the first time since they had become a family. He felt sad to leave them even though they had promised to write almost every single day. He was also nervous and excited at the same time, he couldn't wait to start studying new things and meeting people his own age.

He had to admit that his guardians gave him a really tough work out in the training room. They certainly did not hold back at all, and after two hours of intense duel, Harry finally won the duel with a spell he had recently created, it is a shield that absorbed the enemies spells and sends it back to them.

Quite slightly bloodied up, they all came out of the room with a broad smile on their faces. After each taking a blood replenishing potion they all went up to their rooms to get ready. His guardians were allowed to accompany him to the school, they were going to get to the school using a special floo powder the school had sent them.

After changing into his school uniform, Harry ran back downstairs to wait for his guardians. While waiting, he used the time to say goodbye to his parents and grandparents portraits.

"Oh there you are, Harry...we thought you had gone off without us" Sirius joked as Harry walked into the room where his guardians were waiting in front of the fireplace.

Saying a quick goodbye to all of the house elves that had gathered to see him off, he took a pinch of the floo powder his godfather gave him, threw it into the flames and as he stepped into the fireplace, he called out his destination. It wasn't the first time, Harry had travelled by Floo powder but he still hated the experience. It felt as though he were being sucked down a giant drain. He seemed to be spinning very fast, the roaring in his ear was deafening. He tried to keep his eyes open but the whirl of green flames made him feel sick, after a few minutes, the spinning stopped. Opening his eyes, he stepped out of the stone fireplace he had ended up in, and into a large spacious room filled with both adults and children alike. All the children seemed to all be around his age, and were all dressed in their uniforms. Just then his godfather came out of the fireplace and a few seconds after, Lupin came out too.

"Crikey! Check this place out" Sirius whispered to Remus.

The room really was huge and grand. As he was trying to take in the view of the whole room, he felt someone push him from behind.

"What the…?!" he said as he whipped around to face his assailant.

"Oh no! I'm so sorry" the boy said, looking anguished. "I didn't mean to push you, it's just that when I fell out of the fireplace, I fell into you. Sorry!"

"It's ok…really it is" Harry replied, trying to appease the boy who clearly seemed troubled. "Hey, I'm Harry. Harry Potter."

"I'm Trey Smith and…" he paused as his eyes grew as wide as saucers. "Did you say that you are Harry Potter?"

"Yes" Harry replied, frowning as it began to dawn on him that he probably shouldn't have mentioned his last name.

"As in…the Harry Potter who vanquished the Dark Lord" the boy said, looking at Harry with an expression that looked like adulation.

Before Harry could snap at the boy to shut up, a woman dressed in elegant green robes walked into the room. He recognised her as the school representative that had visited the Manor when Harry had received his letter.

"Welcome to Merlin School of Sorcery for Magical Prodigies, parents and students alike. It is a pleasure to have you all here" she said, spreading her arms as if to embrace them all. "Now first year students would be taken into a hall where they will be sorted into their respective rooms, however before that everyone would be given a tour of the school and its grounds, after which parents would then leave."

"Harsh!" Harry heard Sirius whisper.

After about an hour, the tour of the enormous school came to an end. Harry looked around him as parents hugged their children before leaving also by floo powder.

"Well, Harry I guess we have to go now" Sirius said, sounding weird.

"Padfoot, you're not going to cry...are you?" his friend teased him.

"Of course not" Sirius replied, although Harry could swear that he heard him sniff.

Bending on one knee to stoop to Harry's level, they both hugged him tightly, promising to write to him as often as possible. Harry had to choke back his tears as he watched his guardians disappear in the fireplace.

"The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the hall with the older students, you will be sorted into your dormitories. Each dormitory is represented by a subject skill. So when you hear your name being called out, you are to stand next to the professor that called you" the deputy headmistress said, as she peered sternly at them.

While he waited nervously for his name to be called out, the boy that had pushed him earlier turned to face him.

"So what are you skilled at?" he asked.

"Pardon" Harry asked, confused.

"I meant in what subject are you a prodigy?"

"Why don't you tell me yours instead?" Harry countered, he knew the wanted to brag about his skills, just like every child in the room was doing. He just didn't have time for that, he was more interested in knowing how he was going to be placed in a room since he was a prodigy in more than one subject.

"I'm a prodigy in herbology" the boy replied proudly, his voice going a little higher as if to let the other people next to him know.

"Annoying hunh?" a boy standing behind Harry nudged him.

"What?" Harry asked, he had been paying attention to the names being called so he hadn't heard what the boy had said.

"I said, don't you think it is annoying how they all seem to be boasting about their skills?" the boy repeated.

"I think it's funny because let's face it, we were all unaware that we were prodigies before receiving our letters. And here they all are trying to show to off. I bet if I challenged that boy over with there...the potion prodigy to create the draught of the living death potion, he probably wouldn't be able to brew it right" Harry replied laughing.

The boy laughed back in agreement. "Hey, I'm Lucas...Lucas Thompson"

"I'm Harry..." he paused, as he was unsure whether to tell the boy his last name. He really didn't want a repeat of the whole gawking at his scar or being looked up to with adulation like the other boy did.

"Harry what?" Lucas asked expectantly.

"It's Potter...Harry Potter if you must know" Harry snapped at the boy, already expecting the annoying reaction people made when they heard his name.

The boy's eyes widened in surprised but seeing the angry look in Harry's eyes, he decided not to say whatever he had been about to say. Instead he merely said, "So what are you here for..."

Understanding and appreciating the boy's tactics of changing the subject, Harry smiled as he replied "Potions". He had decided to stick to just saying one subject so as not to look like he was showing off, and besides he didn't want to draw any more attention.

"Oh really? I'm here for DADA" the boy replied, before continuing "Although I don't understand why since I have never defended myself ever."

At that Harry shrugged in reply, as most or all the first years have little or no experience in magical studies and so it is a wonder that they were all here.

Just as the Lucas opened to mouth to say something, his name was called out. Turning to Harry, he said "So, see you later, I guess"

"Yes" Harry replied and he watched the boy make his way up to a stern looking man at the front.

After about an hour, everyone's name had been called out except Harry's and they had all been led to their assigned rooms. As he stood there wondering what was going on, the deputy headmistress walked up to him and said "Well Harry, sorry for the wait. As you have been told you are highly gifted in more than one subject and so we aren't sure which room to put you in, as this is an unusual occurrence. However you have got two choices, you could choose to have your own room or you pick out a dormitory for any of the subjects you are prodigy at. It really is up to you"

Harry's braining had been whirring at the thought of his own room, the minute the deputy headmistress had mentioned it. He would love his own room, a means to avoid the being gawked at situation and he loved his privacy. However, the only downside to it would be that he might not be around his peers as much as he would be if he chose to stay in a dormitory.

"I would like to have my own room please" he said, deciding that the pros of his choice outweighed the cons.

"Very well, follow me" she said as she turned on her heels. And as she led Harry to god knows where, she pointed out the hall where all the older students were already sat in. He could hear a loud buzz of noise coming from the hall but before he could peer in, the deputy headmistress was already walking on, so he hurried up to catch up with her.

They kept walking until they were in a dimly lit hall, and suddenly she stopped in front of a blank wall that only the portrait of…Harry gasped as he realised who was in the portrait.

"Ha! We finally meet…Harry Potter" the man in the portrait said with a slight bow.

"Y-you are Merlin" Harry blurted out. He was too stunned to say anything else. The man was his idol, one of the greatest and most powerful wizards of all time actually knew his name. He was dumbfounded!

"Surely, your guardians had taught you better than to just gape at people" the portrait said, his eyes twinkling in amusement.

"Oh, I'm sorry, it is really an honour…nice to meet you" Harry said, chagrined at having been told off. He had just been too stunned and star struck if he had to be honest.

The deputy headmistress who had been quiet during Harry's exchange with Merlin's portrait smiled at the boy and said "Harry, behind this portrait is your room. It had only ever been occupied by one person. As you have guessed, this was Merlin's room when this school was founded before he decided to move to a bigger room"

She smiled at the shocked expression on the child's face.

"He ordered that should you have agreed to attend the school, you should be put in this room"

"But why…why me?" Harry asked, rather confused.

With a shrug, she replied "I really don't know Harry, he seems to think that you are special and not just for the reason that you think" she said as she saw confusion in the child's usually carefully guarded expression. "Not because you were the reason the Dark Lord is gone"

"But…but how?" Harry stuttered, still really confused.

"With time Harry, you'd understand" was the only reply he got.

She then took his hand, palm facing the wall and placed it on the middle of the wall. Harry winced slightly as he felt unknown but powerful magic rush through his veins and connect with his. As that happened, a door that hadn't been there before appeared in front of them. Harry looked at the professor in askance.

"Go on, only you have access to the room, no one else can get in…not even me" she replied with a smile.

Harry looked suspiciously at the door for a few minutes before curiosity got the better of him. As he entered the room, the professor said from behind him "Harry, you are expected in the hall in ten minutes" and with that she left.

Harry gasped as he took in his surroundings, the room was enormous. The walls were a deep shade of turquoise green and scattered around the room were various cushions of different shapes and sizes, all strategically placed to face a big fireplace which was currently lit.

As he advanced on to the next room, he came across a huge bedroom with a view of the school's magnificent grounds.

Not wanting to be late, he regretfully had to leave his bedroom before he could explore some more. Not knowing the way back to the hall, he decided that if he began to search for it he could get lost or if he does eventually find it, he might end up getting there late, and so with that he decided to apparate to his destination. Luckily apparition is allowed, if only inside the school's grounds.

He swore under his breath as he realised that he had apparated right into the hall, eliciting loud gasps and whispers from both teachers and students alike. He had intended to apparate to the door and then walk in.

"At least, I'm on time" he thought as he walked towards the nearest table to sit.


Meanwhile back at Hogwarts…

After the eventful start of the term banquets, rumours had begun flying around about the whereabouts of the boy-who-lived. Even the teachers were whispering amongst each other trying to find out why Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived had decided not to attend Hogwarts. It did eventually die down after a few weeks, however there was one person that never forgot about it.

He knew that he would eventually need Harry Potter for his plan to work and he was working on getting close to the boy, but he needed to find a replacement until that could happen. His replacement would have to be from Gryffindor, the house of the brave. All he had to do now was lay a trap or test and see who would be brave enough to fall into the trap.

He smiled to himself as he thought out the plan. However there was something he needed to do before he began his test.

Summoning a quill and a parchment, he set about writing the letter and made sure to vent out his anger and frustration into his writing.

He was in the middle of writing the letter when Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt flooed into his office.

"Ha, Kingsley, welcome…here have a lemon drop" he said as he saw who had entered his office.

"No thanks, but Dumbledore I have bad news" the auror said tentatively.

His smiled faltered slightly as he saw the uncertainty in the auror's eyes.

"What happened Kingsley…did you find it?" he said, as his gaze hardened.

The auror swallowed slightly as the headmaster's demeanour changed. "I checked every magical school in Europe and outside of Europe, Harry Potter isn't registered in any."

"But that's impossible…he is bound to be in one of them. Are you sure you checked every school?" the headmaster asked, as it dawned on him that Harry Potter had unwittingly slipped from his grasp again.

"He isn't Dumbledore…however I have a theory"

"What is it?" the headmaster snapped impatiently.

Ignoring the tone the headmaster was now using to talk to him, the auror continued, "Maybe, his guardians decided to get him home schooled. I mean it is pretty common for some Wizarding families to have their children home schooled should they decide not to send them off to school."

The headmaster paused in his pacing as he considered the possibility. It did seem very likely that Sirius Black and Lupin would want to have Harry home school, especially when they are trying to keep the child away from him. Between those two, teaching the child wouldn't be that much of a problem. Lupin and Sirius had been top students when they had attended Hogwarts and Black had gone on to become an Auror before the unfortunate events that happened landed him in Azkaban.

If that was the case, then his plan to get Harry seemed really unlikely now. He really needed to move on to his Plan B now. However he wouldn't stop trying to get to Harry Potter as the child was really essential for his plan for the Greater Good.

"Thank you, Kingsley…that will be all" he turned to the auror effectively dismissing him.


Classes for first year students had begun and Harry had to say that so far he hadn't been impressed with the syllabus. However he figured that's because he had been studying for almost two years ahead, and besides compared to Hogwarts syllabus, he had to admit that the school was good. The first years were being taught Hogwarts 1st and 2nd year syllabus together.

Impressive!

Even his teachers had quickly noticed that the green eyed youngster that had shocked everyone on the first day of school by apparating into the hall, a feat that was accomplished that very few 7th year students, was way ahead in his studies.

Even the special classes each student had been placed in to work on his or her prodigy skill, Harry was breezing right through them. On the first day of classes, he had gone to his class for defence prodigies and he had stunned even his professor who had turned out to be the deputy headmistress, Professor Dresden.

She had brought in 7th year defence student to demonstrate some defence skills and when the older student proceeded to demonstrate his skills, the boy had piped up from where he had been sitting at the back of the class, not participating by asking if they could practise a few defence spells with the older student.

She glanced at the older student in askance, "Would you like to duel with them, John…just a little demonstration"

"Sure Professor, I would go easy on them" the older student replied, smiling.

"This would be a piece of cake" he thought. He was after all, the best defence prodigy in the school, most students were scared to duel with him.

"Who would like to try a little duel with John" the professor asked, looking around the class.

The would-be first year defence prodigies, all glanced at each other cajoling their mates to try.

"I would like to try…after all I was the one that asked for it" Harry said, as he walked to the front of the class where the older student was standing.

"Very well" the professor replied, glancing at Harry before turning to the older student, "Now, John like I said earlier, go easy on him. This is his first class…I'm sure he is just trying to see how it is done."

The older student nodded, before turning to the dark haired boy in front of him.

"Don't worry I'd go easy on you, little boy" he said smiling smugly at Harry.

"Really? I'd advise you not to…bad idea mate" the dark haired boy replied, his expression still carefully blank, although he did frown at the condescending tone the older boy was using to talk to him.

He didn't even look scared, in fact truth be told, the boy looked too confident. "Doesn't he know who I am…he needs to be taken down a peg or two", John thought to himself.

As they both turned to face each other, the professor who now stood at a corner to give them enough space, was now commenting.

"As you can see, they are holding their wands in the accepted combative position, the way I taught you all to," she told the silent crowd. "On the count of three, you will both cast your first spells."

"One… two …three …"

Both of them swung their wands above their heads and pointed them at their opponent; Harry deciding to start lightly, cried out "Expelliarmus!" before the older student could even open his mouth to cast a spell. There was a dazzling flash of scarlet light and John was blasted off his feet. He flew backward off the stage, smashed into the wall, and slid down it to sprawl on the floor.

Some of the first year students cheered out loudly.

John quickly got unsteadily back to his feet. His eyes flashing wildly now, he fired a stunning spell at the boy, who merely side stepped it. Before he could fire another spell, he felt himself being lifted off his feet and as he looked down shocked, the dark haired boy had his wand pointed at him. His green eyes glinted wickedly as he muttered something under his breathe and John felt himself being spun dangerously in mid-air before being flung into a wall.

He felt his breathe leave his body in a whoosh!

He quickly staggered back to his feet, his reputation was at stake here. If word got out that a mere first year at beaten him in a duel, he would never hear the end of it.

He looked up to see the boy standing nonchalantly a few feet away from him, casually twirling his wand. He was really quick with his spells, he had to give him that.

"Well not anymore" he thought angrily to himself as he drew himself up to a standing position.

As if the professor sensed that he was starting to take the duel seriously she yelled at him. "John, don't…go easy on him".

Ignoring the professor now, he smiled wickedly as he drew out his wand again and yelled out "Confringo!"

His smile vanished instantly when the boy created a shield that merely absorbed the spell. Angrily he began firing every spell at the boy, who either side stepped it or merely absorbed the spell with the shield. He was beginning to realise that the child was trying to tire him out, however just when he thought he had figured out his tactic, the boy looked up at him.

His green eyes glinted wickedly as a faint hint of a smile crossed his lips and with a rather complicated and intricate wave of his wand, he procured a ball of glowing crimson red light and before John knew what was happening, the ball of light had been sent his way.

Everyone including the professor had gone extremely quiet when Harry procured the ball of light, and with bated and shocked breathe, they watched as he grabbed the ball of light in his hand and threw it towards the older student who stood there stunned.

There was a collective gasp of shock from the watching crowd as the ball of light hit the student, throwing him through the wall and into the next room.

The professor quickly ran over to the older student who laid there unmoving, and as she checked his vitals, she let out a breathe she didn't even know she had been holding when she felt him breathing.

"No one panic, he is still alive…just unconscious" she heard a calm and steady voice behind her say.

Turning around to face the reason for the unconscious student, she opened her mouth to yell at him, but before she could even say a word, the child had moved towards the unconscious student sprawled on the floor.

He drew out his wand and procured a stretcher out of mid-air, and then proceeded to move the unconscious student onto the stretcher.

Briefly glancing at the teacher who still stood there looking shocked, he said "You might want to take him to the infirmary…he's going to be out of it for a while"

"How long?" she managed to croak, still too shocked to say anything else. The unconscious student was her top priority now.

"Not for long, the spell I hit him with wasn't powerful enough to kill him…it was only intended to knock him out for about a day at least. But not to worry, he'd be fine" the child replied, after briefly glancing at the unconscious student on the stretcher, and with that said he merely walked out of the class.

He had seen the stunned expressions on the students' faces. He really hadn't done anything serious, he had been holding back but they didn't know.

Stories of Harry's duel with John had spread like wildfire, it had spread so much that there were different versions being told. Not only that, people were beginning to look at him differently. It was bad enough that he had been getting a lot of attention because he was the boy-who-lived but then it had been with looks of respect, adoration but now it was mostly with looks of fear from the first years and looks of anger from the older students. He didn't understand why though, he is supposed to be a prodigy in Defence so it should be expected of him to be good at it, why get angry over that.

Despite all of the animosity, Harry was enjoying life at the school, years of being verbally abused and ignored by the Dursleys had taught him not to care about what people thought of him.

In spite of the fact that they had classes, including the special classes for their prodigy skills, they were also given time for independent studies. Each student was given a special room to practice his/her special skills. For Harry, his study room had been combined to include a room for duelling with a dummy for practice, a lab for potions, a room for transfiguration and charms. All he had to do was think of the one he wanted, and the room switched to it.

He loved it!

He still wrote to his guardians at least once a week, updating them on everything that happens with him. Sirius had been really proud when he had written to tell them that he had won a duel against an older student. Even Remus had been proud too but had then gone on to reprimand him for holding back.

Life at the Manor was boring his guardians had informed him but apparently Sirius and his muggle girlfriend had broken up, and he had moved on to dating a witch he had met when he gone to the ministry for some documents regarding his family. Also Remus had started searching for a job again, now that he had no one to teach at the Manor since Harry had gone off to school, and Sirius was contemplating taking back his old job as an Auror, which Harry had encouraged him to do.

Despite all the excitement, he missed them every day and he really couldn't wait to go home. He missed Sirius, Remus and even the house elves. He missed his potions lab, the training room, the portraits of his family, his bedroom.

He missed the Manor.


Harry had been in the school for over a month, but he keeps to himself. He is always either in his room, his study room or at the library. He had also started flying more often when he felt the need to loosen up, which was often. He even kept to himself in class, to avoid all the looks and whispers that seemed to come to life every time he walked into a room.

One evening, Harry had gone into the library to study when he felt someone sit next to him. Ignoring the person, he turned back to his books, taking notes for his Latin class when he felt the person nudge him with a bony elbow.

"Would you stop that?" he said exasperated. He really didn't want to hex anyone but the person was really asking for it.

"Hey Harry, it's me Lucas" the boy smiled.

Harry turned to face the boy, it was the same boy he had met on the day they had arrived at the school. He had seen him a few times in his potions prodigy class but as usual he had ignored him like he did with everyone.

"I had no idea you were a prodigy in Defence too…and you told me you were just here for Potions" the boy said, playfully nudging him again.

"Yeah well, I'm both" Harry said surly. "Now what do you want?"

The boy's face fell at Harry's harsh words. "S-sorry I didn't mean to bother you"

The hurt expression on the boy's face made Harry feel slightly ashamed of himself, he was after all only trying to be nice. He didn't even have the scared expression the other students had whenever they looked at him

"Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude…it's just with the way everyone's been acting around me, I'm always on edge" Harry explained apologetically.

"Oh, no problem. They really are just jealous, you know. I thought it was bloody brilliant!" the boy replied, his eyes bright with excitement.

"Thanks" Harry replied smiling at the boy.

"So how come you are that good…I mean sure you are supposed to be a prodigy in that subject and all but most of us didn't know how to do anything until we came here" Lucas asked, eyeing Harry curiously.

"I trained a lot before I came here" Harry replied with a shrug.

"You are also good in Potions…like really good. I overheard Professor the other day talking about how you were already brewing advanced potions and all" the boy said.

"I practice" Harry replied indifferently.

The boy nodded in reply, and went silent gazing dispassionately at the book in front of him. He looked like he was deep in thought.

Frowning slightly, he looked at Harry who was trying to get back to his studies.

"There are rumours going around school that you are not just a prodigy in just Potions and Defence".

It wasn't a question and so Harry didn't reply. He just stared at the boy impassively. His green eyes carefully blank, not betraying anything.

"I have seen you in Transfiguration class, you are really good at it. I remember seeing you performing a vanishing spell the other day. Also Neil, a Charms prodigy said he's seen you in his Charms prodigy class" he paused, waiting for Harry to say something.

When he didn't reply, he sighed and asked, "How many subjects are you prodigy at, anyway?"

Harry merely shrugged. He still didn't trust the boy, he might have people he was reporting to.

The boy sighed after realising that Harry wasn't going to give him a reply.

"Are you always like this?" he asked after a few minutes of silence.

Taken aback by the question, Harry looked up from the book he was reading.

"What do you mean?" he asked after staring at the boy for a few seconds.

"Well, you are kind of aloof" was the replied he got.

He guessed he kind of deserved that, since he had been keeping to himself since he had the whole duel incident.

"I'm sorry if I acted aloof towards you, it's just that with everything that has happened…" he broke off. He really did feel bad that he had acted rudely towards Lucas, especially since the boy was just being friendly. "Look, I really am sorry. Let's start over, hi I'm Harry Potter" he said, smiling as he held out a hand.

The boy smiled back as he shook his hand, replying "Hi, I'm Lucas Thompson…really nice to meet you"

And right there Harry had a friend for the first time ever.