AN: I do not own Harry Potter, I'm just playing in Rowling's sandbox.
The ratings mainly incase I need to use swear words (angry Harry) and the fact that there's a fair bit of violence in Harry's life.
Sometimes I will mentions things that happen in the books, a conversation mainly, but I'm not going to copy or paraphrase JKR words. There's only one exception:
This story has an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in the beginning so that the readers understand where this story alters from cannon.
"Harry, Ron, and Hermione descended Professor Trelawney's ladder and the winding stair in silence, then set off for Professor McGonagall's Transfiguration lesson. It took them so long to find her classroom that, early as they had left Divination, they were only just in time. Harry chose a seat right at the back of the room, feeling as though he were sitting in a very bright spotlight; the rest of the class kept shooting furtive glances at him, as though he were about to drop dead at any moment.
He hardly heard what Professor McGonagall was telling them about Animagi (wizards who could transform at will into animals), and wasn't even watching when she transformed herself in front of their eyes into a tabby cat with spectacle markings around her eyes.
"Really, what has got into you all today?" said Professor McGonagall, turning back into herself with a faint pop, and staring around at them all. "Not that it matters, but that's the first time my transformation's not got applause from a class."
"Everybody's heads turned toward Harry again, but nobody spoke. Then Hermione raised her hand.
"Please, Professor, we've just had our first Divination class, and we were reading the tea leaves, and —"
"Ah, of course," said Professor McGonagall, suddenly frowning. "There is no need to say any more, Miss Granger. Tell me, which of you will be dying this year?"
Everyone stared at her.
"Me," said Harry, finally.
"I see," said Professor McGonagall, fixing Harry with her beady eyes. "Then you should know, Potter, that Sybill Trelawney has predicted the death of one student a year since she arrived at this school. None of them has died yet. Seeing death omens is her favourite way of greeting a new class."
If it were not for the fact that I never speak ill of my colleagues —" Professor McGonagall broke off, and they saw that her nostrils had gone white. She went on, more calmly,
"Divination is one of the most imprecise branches of magic. I shall not conceal from you that I have very little patience with it. True Seers are very rare, and Professor Trelawney…"
"She stopped again, and then said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, "You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in."
"Hermione laughed. Harry felt a bit better. It was harder to feel scared of a lump of tealeaves away from the dim red light and befuddling perfume of Professor Trelawney's classroom. Not everyone was convinced, however. Ron still looked worried, and Lavender whispered, "But what about Neville's cup?"
Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkanban, chapter 6.
Harry nodded at Professor McGonagall after she dismissed Professor Trelawney's prediction. He did feel reassured but at the same time he wondered. He knew he wasn't as clever as Hermione but did he really want to stay in class with a teacher with a preference to predict his death? Wouldn't it just become a class he loathed just as much as potions, albeit for slightly different reason?
But he had already chosen his elective surely he wouldn't be able to change now? Perhaps, Harry thought, he could ask Professor McGonagall if he could change his elective. After all Professor McGonagall didn't seem to be too fond of the Divinations Professor. Harry distractedly picked up his things and followed Ron and Hermione out of the classroom. He stopped however and let them continue on as they bickered of the divination lesson. Instead Harry turned to Professor McGonagall who looked at him curiously.
"Is there anything in particular I could help you with Mr. Potter?" Harry swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. He never really trusted most adults. After all, none of the teachers questioned the fact that his grades suddenly slipped dramatically after he brought home a report card that for once was looked at. The difference between his and Dursley's and the subsequent accusations of cheating had earned him a trashing and a week in the cupboard. The teacher never asked about his bruises or why he was so tiny and Dudley so large. Harry took a deep breath and steeled himself.
"Is there a possibility to change electives?" Harry swore he could almost see McGonagall smile.
"It depends if the new teacher accepts the transfer and how many lessons have been missed. Now I assume this discussion is due to your divination lesson?"
"Yes Professor. Muggle studies should be pointless for me but perhaps the Ancient Runes or Arithmancy Professor would let me join?" McGonagall nodded and Harry could swear she had that small smile on her lips again.
"I will discuss this with them and you should receive a reply within a day. The first arithmancy lesson is tomorrow and ancient runes held its first lesson today. Perhaps Mr. Potter if the teachers are inclined to agree, you could attend both classes and decide which course you wish to pursue or perhaps even if you wish to attend both courses." Professor McGonagall halted and peered at Harry.
"Mr. Potter I believe you are quite bright and you do well on tests, both practical and theoretical, even if you practical most often is better. However you rarely perform any research into spells or homework above the minimum required which is notable on your essays. I believe you can do much better. Perhaps you should see this next week as your chance to embrace your intelligence. You're not lazy mind you, but you seem to hold back from your potential. I will send you a note if one or both of the teachers agree to let you consider a change. The student welcomed with Sibyll's death prediction usually does switch classes Mr. Potter so you need not worry." And with that Harry felt he was dismissed and ran to catch up with Ron and Hermione before they reached the great hall for lunch. He felt like a weight in his stomach was gone, but butterflies had replaced it.
When Harry did find his friends they were so heatedly discussing the grim that they didn't even seem to realise Harry had been gone. Harry let them continue their debate as he felt that he just rather forget about it. Hopefully he would at the end of the day no longer be in that class.
"Hermione, she saw the Grim! She's a professor and that omen always means death!" Hermione huffed.
"Hardly, it seems to be as reliable as astrology in the muggle world which means that it's nonsense!" Harry tuned them out as the argument continued all the way trough lunch.
The rest of the day unfortunately wasn't as easy as Harry's discussion with McGonagall had turned out to be. He had already bowed to Buckbeak once that day and had already made contact with the majestic but terrifying beast when Malfoy decided to be foolish and insult the proud animals, precisely what Hagrid had warned them about. The resulting turmoil and trouble for Hagrid meant that Hermione spent the evening busy with rants at anyone who would listen. Harry was just as worried about Hagrid and Buckbeak, but felt that there was unfortunately nothing to do about it tonight so Harry had no problem with being dragged away by Percy briefly.
"Harry, my boy I am glad that you have decided to pursue a harder academic path. Divination does have it uses, but I am sure that the challenge of the prestigious subjects of arithmancy and runes will be to you liking. Both teachers accepted due to Professor Trelawney prediction apparently, according to Professor McGonagall. These books are for the courses, you will be able to lend them from the library until your own books have been delivered after your decision. I suggest that you read the first chapter before the arithmancy lesson tomorrow and the first two before your ancient runes lesson the day after tomorrow." Percy nodded magnanimously to Harry and shook his hand just like he had in the Leaky Cauldron.
Harry never really got to tell his friends about the change during the evening as Ron sulked while Hermione spent a little time on homework between her rants. The next day as Ron enjoyed his morning of sleeping in Harry hurried to breakfast to avoid Hermione as he didn't wish to begin the day with a lecture on why he hadn't told them about the change. Harry did love Hermione as a sister, he guessed since he didn't have one, but she had a tendency to forget that someone else could make choices for themselves without her input. She generally unconsciously looked down on anyone who didn't have the same discipline, grades and enthusiasm for academics. Harry knew he wasn't perfect as well so he didn't really feel the need to argue about it as much as Ron, but it still annoyed him.
In the end Harry made it to the classroom before Hermione and continued reading the book. Harry liked math, the Dursley's hadn't considered it an important subject so no one cared about his grade. The basis of arithmancy seemed to be about math and different applications before the really difficult applications begun. Hermione came in into the room with her head in the book and took a seat in the front and never discovered that Harry was seated three rows further back. The rest of the class consisted of mainly Ravenclaws but also with quite a few Hufflepuffs and Slytherins. Harry and Hermione were the only Gryffindors. Harry was pleased to see that Malfoy didn't attend this class. According to Susan Bones, sitting to Harry's left talking to Terry Boot this was apparently the norm for this class.
"Nice to see you here Harry! It's good to have some more mixture. The upper years told me that this class has pretty much no Gryffindors, with a few more in ancient runes." Harry smiled at her.
"Really? Well I switched from divination, it seems she liked to predict a student's death every year and I was chosen this year." Susan and Terry grimaced in sympathy.
"How is it with Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff for those classes, then?" Terry briefly looked at the professor before deciding that they had time.
"Almost all of the students from the other houses go in ancient runes, it one of the most popular electives. Traditionally ancient runes and care of magical creatures have been the most popular. In this class about half to seventy five percent takes it from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw I guess." Harry nodded and they all turned their attention to the teacher.
The teacher Professor Vector was a woman who had some semblance to Professor McGonagall in her teaching style, but with a propensity of getting of subject and discussing some aspect of arithmancy, began with an introduction and explanation.
"Arithmancy is a complicated field of magic that demands much of a student. You not only need magic, but also logic and problem solving. Those of you who have studied mathematics will have an easier time until NEWT level. After your OWLS everything will become very abstract and the mathematics will be very different. In the beginning equations and calculations will form a larger part of the curriculum as well as the theories of arithmancy. Therefore we will begin with a small test. After that test I will recommend supplementary reading for all of you and those of you in need of mathematical review will receive extra work to that end. Your will receive your results tomorrow at breakfast. When you are done you may leave the class. Understood? Good." The test was surprisingly easy since Harry hadn't had a math lesson for years. The calculations were easy enough, Harry had never had the luxury of a calculator. The equations took more time, but while Harry was sure that he would have some wrong answers he didn't think he would have too many faults. Harry was among the first in the class to leave while Hermione sat and double checked her answers.
Harry decided since he had finished the chapter on arithmancy and the first in ancient runes to read a bit of the potions before the lesson. Snape would never stop hating Harry, but perhaps he could minimise the point damage. The lesson did indeed go decently until Malfoy came in and apparently wasn't satisfied with only messing up Ron's potion but also wanted to try and rattle Harry. Harry knew that Malfoy would never want him well so Harry did his best to ignore the taunts about Black and that Harry should want to hunt him. The taunt's about Harry's ignorance was tuned out as well. After all who would want to hunt a man trying to kill you? Harry would rather spend his time imagining Malfoy fall prey to a series of pranks or clumsiness rather than plot how to meet and find out something about a deranged mass murderer.
It wasn't until after the lessons and Snape's thwarted threat to poison Neville and his toad as well Hermione's disappearing act that Ron turned to Harry with a confused expression.
"Mate, why didn't you sleep in? What's the point in going up hours before class?" Harry wanted to sigh as Harry always was up hours before Ron wanted to be up, but then again Ron had always woken up to breakfast, Harry had made breakfast. Harry looked at Ron and shrugged.
"I'm switching subject. I don't want to be in Trelawney's class if she's gonna predict my death all the time. I'm deciding between runes and arithmancy, the first arithmancy lesson was today and it seemed alright." Ron gaped at him but shrugged.
"Well it you who have to do the work, mate." And with that Ron grudgingly accepted it. Hermione however had quite a different reaction after their defence lesson when she found out. Harry had at the time been busy figuring out why Professor Lupin hadn't let him have a go at the boggart when Hermione practically rammed into him.
"Harry why didn't you tell me! We could have gone to the lesson together and why didn't you talk with me before McGonagall." Harry interrupted Hermione before she continued, not wanting to have a lecture directed at him all way through lunch.
"Hermione it was my decision. Apparently pretty much everyone Trelawney predicts death to change courses. Yesterday with everything with Hagrid and Malfoy I never got the chance." Hermione seemed to grudgingly accept that explanation and after the day's lesson they were all somewhat dragged by Hermione to the library. Seated at a desk and starting on his transfiguration essay Harry recalled McGonagall's words. After all he did acknowledge that he was quite good at math which he had been allowed to be good at by the Dursley's. Perhaps he was letting himself down. He did like to read after all. The books usually were interesting or at least the information they held. He would never be like Hermione who always wrote the twice the requirements on her essays and who took it as an affront if she didn't know something. Harry knew Hermione well enough to see that it was a defence to prove herself but he got annoyed by it at once a week at least.
Ron was the complete opposite only doing what he must. Harry guessed that Ron felt he could never be as good as his brothers so why bother. Ron wasn't without intelligence or the logic that Hermione mentioned that wizard seldom used. After all strategy was something Ron excelled at. However he never exerted himself. Since Harry had gotten to know Ron first and didn't want to live in the library on top on the practises with Wood and the rest of the team he had joined Ron in his approach, but why did he need to do his schoolwork like one of his friends? Perhaps he could try a bit more? With this new resolve Harry got on with the homework.
On they way back to the common room it was Hermione that came with the next surprise.
"You know Harry, we get extra credit if we take voluntary language courses in Ancient Runes. It can save your grade if you're in trouble. Here, take this it's all the language options." And with that Hermione swished up into the girls dormitories as Harry and Ron climbed up to their dormitory. While Ron's snores started to fill up the room Harry looked at the list. If he was going to study a language he wanted to be able to use it. His school had been part of an optional language trial and those who wanted had been able to take a language course so Harry already knew some Spanish. French could also be good and those study groups were back to back on Mondays, a day he didn't have practise on. He signed up; think that at least this he got more out of rather than another lecture on goblin rebellions or the position of Jupiter's different moons.
AN: I hope you liked it! Please leave a review.