Harry’s second week at Hogwarts flew by as quickly as the first one had. He finished taking the potions that Healer Axecure had given him and as well as his normal classes, and the Ravenclaw tutoring groups, he had handwriting lessons every night with Takashi and etiquette lessons every lunchtime with Draco. He meditated and ran with Takashi every morning, and even managed to finish his book on wandless magic as well as the one Takashi had lent him on dark and light magic.
Takashi’s book had been fascinating and had made him even more determined than ever to find out whether or not he was a parselmouth. If he really had spoken to the snake at the zoo it meant that his magic was dark. He needed to find a snake somewhere, or transfigure one. Which meant that he needed help and Takashi was the obvious choice.
“You want me to what?” Takashi asked him in surprise after their mediation session on Friday morning.
“Transfigure a snake.” Harry answered. “Can you do it?”
“I’d need to do a bit of research first.” Takashi told him. “I don’t know the incantation.”
Harry pulled a book out of his bag and handed it to the older wizard. “Here. It’s on page fifty seven.”
“You’ve really done your research.” Takashi commented as he found the right page. “Are you going to tell me why you want me to do this?”
Harry bit his lip nervously. “I, uh, IthinkImightbeaparselmouth.”
Takashi laughed. “I’m going to need you to repeat that, slower.”
“Sorry.” Harry looked down. “I think I might be a parselmouth, but I’m not sure. I spoke to a snake a few months ago, but it was the only time I’ve ever done it.”
“Wow.” Takashi stared at him. “Really?”
“Yeah.” Harry sighed. “But I want to know for sure.”
“Understandable.” Takashi looked down the book in front of him and then pulled out his wand. “Well, here goes nothing, Serpensortia.”
Nothing happened at first, but then Takashi cast the spell again and a small green snake burst from the tip of his wand.
:What happened! Where am I?:
Harry stared at the snake and then turned to Takashi. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Takashi asked.
“No,” Takashi denied. “The only people I’ve heard talking are you and me.”
“Oh.” Harry turned back to the snake. :How do you suppose I talk in parseltongue?:
:A speaker?!” The snake slithered towards Harry and then lifted its head to study him.
“Uh, Harry, you are definitely a parselmouth.” Takashi told him. “You were just speaking in parseltongue.”
Harry turned to stare at the older boy. “Really?”
“Really.” Takashi nodded. “It sounds like hissing to me.”
:You, speaker!: The snake sounded frustrated. :Where am I?:
Harry turned his attention back to the snake. :You’re at Hogwarts. Sorry, I wanted to find out whether or not I was a parselmouth:
:Send me back!: The snake snapped.
“It wants to go back.” Harry told Takashi. “It sounds pretty angry.”
Takashi looked back down to at his book. “Okay, tell it to stay still.”
:We’re going to send you back: Harry told the snake. :But you need to stay still:
The snake hissed angrily and then disappeared at Takashi cast the spell.
“So,” Takashi said after a minute. “You’re a parselmouth. You know what that means.”
“It means my magic is dark.” Harry answered.
Takashi nodded. “Don’t tell anyone. Not unless you completely trust them not to react the wrong way.”
“You won’t tell anyone will you? Not even Jeremy?” Harry asked quickly, he was pretty sure Takashi’s friend was someone who would definitely react the wrong way.
“No.” Takashi promised.
“Thanks.” Harry grinned gratefully. “This means that I can do parselmagic!”
Takashi nodded slowly. “That’s true, though you’ll probably want to find a book or something to teach you.”
“Where would I find a book about parselmagic?”
“I don’t know.” Takashi admitted. “You won’t find one here, that’s for sure. I could write home if you like, see if my great grandparents have one in their library?”
“Your great grandparents have their own library?” Harry asked in surprise.
“Of course.” Takashi sat up straighter. “My family are the Japanese equivalent to nobility. Both the Potters and the Blacks will each have a library too. It’s possible that those libraries will have some books on Parselmagic, but, since you don’t have access to them, my family’s one is probably your best option.”
“Yes please!” Harry grinned excitedly. “I can’t believe my family has a library!”
As had become his habit, Harry ate his lunch quickly before leaving to meet Draco in an empty classroom for his etiquette lesson.
Draco arrived a few minutes after him and bowed to Harry in greeting, before nodding in approval at Harry’s nod of acknowledgement.
“Takashi says my family will have a library!” Harry told him excitedly.
Draco rolled his eyes. “Of course they do. The Blacks and the Potters have been collecting books for centuries, where did you think they had all gone?”
Harry shrugged. “I hadn’t really considered it.”
“Don’t shrug.” Draco snapped. “It’s unbecoming.”
“Then what am I supposed to do?” Harry sighed. “I don’t want to walk around as stiff as cardboard all the time.”
“Do I look as stiff as cardboard?” Draco asked haughtily.
“And I never shrug.” Draco told him. “There are better ways to express yourself than shrugging. A shrug is so uncouth, besides, it admits a lack of knowledge – something that you should only do around people you trust.”
“I’m eleven.” Harry pointed out. “I can’t pretend I know everything, I’d sound like a prat.”
“There is difference between not admitting defeat and being a know-it-all, like that muggleborn Granger.” Draco sneered.
“What’s wrong with Granger?” Harry asked. “Sure she’s a bit annoying, but she’s not as bad as Weasley. He keeps trying to talk to me.”
“She’s a muggleborn.” Draco’s sneer deepened.
“So?” Harry persisted. “I still don’t see what’s wrong about being a muggleborn.”
“She doesn’t know anything about our world.” Draco snapped. “Muggleborns are all the same, they come in thinking that the muggle world is better than our one and try to change it. They don’t respect our traditions!”
“A lot of purebloods don’t respect the traditions either.” Harry argued. “The Weasley’s don’t.”
“The Weasleys are blood traitors!”
“What does that mean?” Harry asked curiously.
“It means that they act like muggleborns.” Draco answered him with a scowl. “My Dad says that Mr. Weasley is obsessed with muggles.”
“So are all wizards who don’t follow the traditions blood traitors? Or just the ones who are obsessed with muggles? Is Shacklebolt, the head boy, a blood traitor?”
Draco frowned slightly. “I think so.”
“And, besides, isn’t it possible that we could learn some things from the muggles?” Harry asked tentatively.
“No!” Draco snapped. “They’re primitive creatures compared to us!”
Harry frowned. “Have you actually been to the muggle world?”
“Of course not!” Draco sounded scandalised.
“Then you don’t actually know what they’re like.” Harry reasoned. “They’re actually quite advanced.”
Draco was staring at Harry in obvious horror.
“I’m not saying we should be exactly like them.” Harry tried to reassure him. “But what if they have some cool ideas that we could use? Should we just ignore them because muggles came up with them?”
“Muggles are incapable of coming up with anything useful.” Draco retorted.
Harry sighed, their conversation was going nowhere. “So what are you teaching me today?”
Draco stared at Harry suspiciously for a while before answering Harry’s question. “Mother said I should teach you about wand care.”
Terry frowned disapprovingly as Harry sat down beside him in Charms class. “You weren’t hanging out with Malfoy again were you?”
“I hang out with him every lunch time.” Harry reminded his friend. “He’s my cousin.”
“Your evil cousin.” Terry muttered under his breath.
“Hey!” Harry scowled at his friend. “You don’t even know him.”
“I don’t need to know him.” Terry returned. “He’s a Malfoy!”
“He’s my family.” Harry snapped. “And my friend. You don’t have to like him, but you don’t have to insult him in front of me.”
Terry looked shamefaced. “Sorry.”
“You could hang out with us sometimes.” Harry suggested. “He’s really not as bad as you seem to think he is.”
“Or not.” Harry added with a sigh.
“You should spend more time with us.” Terry grumbled. “You never play games with us, the other guys are starting to talk. They think you consider yourself too good to hang out with us.”
Harry stared at him. “What? Why would they think that?”
“Cos you only ever hang out with Nado, Stratton and Malfoy.” Terry answered, practically spitting Malfoy’s name.
“I hang out with the Weasley twins sometimes too.” Harry argued. “And I sit next to you in all my classes. And sometimes I talk to Dippet.”
“So why don’t you hang out with us?” Terry angrily. “We’re your dorm mates.”
Harry looked down in shame. “I don’t know how to play any of the games you play.”
“You would if you’d let us teach you!”
“Anthony always looks angry when you offer to teach me.” Harry told him friend. “And I don’t want to upset him. Besides, I’ve heard them talking about me. They all think I’m weird.”
“Because you never talk to us.” Terry snapped exasperatedly.
“They thought I was weird the first night.” Harry snapped back, his feelings still hurt from the first time he’d heard them call him weird. “It’s not my fault they don’t like me.”
“You are weird, Harry!” Terry said harshly. “That doesn’t mean we don’t want to get to know you.”
Harry could feel tears stinging at his eyes as he grabbed his bag and stood up. He looked around the room for an empty seat and, finding one near the bag of the room, moved to sit there instead. He’d spent his entire life being called a freak and a weirdo, but it still hurt! He’d thought Terry was different from all the muggle kids he’d gone to school with, he’d thought Terry had liked him. It was horrible to realise that he’d been wrong.
“M-merry m-meet.” The boy he’d sat down next to stood up and bowed nervously.
“Merry meet.” Harry said, nodding in acknowledgement before pulling out his writing supplies in preparation for the class to start.
“I’m N-neville.” The boy introduced himself.
“Harry Potter.” Harry replied sadly. What was even the point of introducing himself to people? Neville would probably think he was weird too. Everyone did eventually.
“I know.” Neville said before falling into awkward silence.
“You’re the Longbottom heir, right?” Harry asked after a minute.
“Yes.” Neville nodded awkwardly.
“Cool.” Harry smiled weakly.
“Merry meet!” Professor Flitwick called from the front and Harry sighed in relief as he turned his attention to the teacher. He just wanted the day to be over.
When the bell rang signalling the end of Charms class, Harry was the first one out the door.
“Harry!” Terry called after him, but Harry ignored him as he walked quickly towards the Transfiguration classroom.
“Come on, Harry.” Terry said pleadingly as he ran to catch up with Harry before slowing down. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything bad by it. There’s nothing wrong with being weird. My sister reckons everyone’s a bit weird in their own way.”
Harry continued to ignore him as best he could.
“Harry.” Terry’s tone was pleading. “Please, you’re my friend. I didn’t mean to upset you. I just want you to hang out with us more.”
Harry turned his head to look at the other boy who appeared genuinely upset. “Friends don’t call their friends weird.”
“Sure they do.” Terry argued. “My sister and I call each other weird all the time. So do me and Michael. I didn’t mean it in a bad way.”
Harry slowed down. Maybe Terry was right. It wasn’t as though Harry had had any experience with friends before Hogwarts.
“I don’t like being called weird.” Harry said after a while.
“Yeah, I got that.” Terry said with a relieved smile. “I’ll try not to do it again.”
“I don’t like being called freak either.” Harry added, just to make sure they didn’t have a similar incident.
“Nobody likes being called a freak.” Terry told him. “I would never call you that.”
“Okay,” Harry smiled weakly. “So what game do you think I should learn first?”
Terry grinned at him. “Definitely Exploding Snap. It’s brilliant!”
“Maybe I could take a break from my handwriting practise tonight and you could teach me?” Harry suggested nervously. “As long as Anthony doesn’t mind.”
“Who cares about Anthony?” Terry told him. “He doesn’t have to play if he had a problem with it. I like you better than him anyway.”
Harry stared at his friend as they entered the Transfiguration classroom. “Really?”
“Duh!” Terry rolled his eyes. “I sit next to you in every class don’t I?”
Harry grinned happily as he sat down next to the other boy. “Thanks, I like you better than Anthony too.”
“Who wouldn’t?” Terry replied pompously before laughing.
“I think I’ll sit with Neville sometimes though.” Harry commented. “He always seems to be sitting by himself.”
“We could always choose one of groups of three desks.” Terry pointed out.
Harry grinned. “Brilliant! Can we do that now?”
“Sure.” Terry stood up and moved to one of the aforementioned desks as the rest of their classmates flooded into the class. “You walk fast, Harry. We were ages in front of them.”
“It’s probably all my running.” Harry pointed out. “You should come sometimes.”
Terry shuddered. “Never!”
“Neville!” Harry waved at the pudgy boy as he came through the door. “Over here, we saved you a seat.”
Neville looked confused for a moment, before nervously making his way towards them.
“You don’t have to sit with us if you don’t want to.” Harry tried to reassure the other boy. “I just thought that…”
“N-no, I want to.” Neville interrupted quickly. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Harry grinned at him. “This is Terry Boot. Terry, this Neville Longbottom, Heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom.”
Terry stood up and bowed to Neville. “Merry meet.”
“M-merry meet.” Neville returned, his nod of acknowledgement just as awkward as Harry’s had ever been.
The rest of September was wonderful for Harry, having friends was a novel experience for him and he was loving every minute of it. He took Terry’s advice and started spending more time with his dorm mates – playing a game with them at least every couple of days. Anthony was definitely a prat, but the other boys were cool and even the girls were sometimes fun to hang out with.
Harry had also started spending time with Neville. The Gryffindor was very shy, but Harry had discovered that he was brilliant at Herbology and was actually pretty cool to talk to. Unfortunately Neville seemed just as opposed to Draco as Terry was, but Harry mostly just ignored the scared glares his new friend kept sending his cousin.
By the end of September, Harry had finished all the books he had bought and had started to read books from the Ravenclaw Library. Harry’s own books had been added to the Ravenclaw Library with the help Takashi and Harry had heard some of the older students talking about how much they were enjoying some of them.
October went about the same as September, though thankfully the Weasley twins’ younger brother had finally given up trying to talk to him. It wasn’t that Harry had a problem with Weasley, it was just that he didn’t even know the boy and hadn’t seen anything about him that made him want to get to know him better.
Soon Halloween was approaching and Draco started grumbling about it every time Harry saw him. The first time Draco had mentioned it had been on the way back from Herbology and Harry had made the mistake of asking what was so wrong with Halloween.
“It’s Hallows Eve!” Draco scowled. “Halloween is a muggle tradition. Hallows Eve is about communing with our magic. Halloween is about pumpkins and lollies.”
Draco’s rant had lasted all the way to the Great Hall and by the time Harry left them to sit at the Ravenclaw table the rest of the first year Slytherins had been glaring daggers at Harry. Harry hadn’t asked any more questions about Halloween after that.
The Halloween feast was exactly how Draco had predicted it would be, centred on pumpkins and lollies. The most exciting part of the feast Quirrell warning them all about the troll and fainting. After that Harry and his dorm mates spent the rest of the evening playing Exploding Snap in their room.
“Did you hear?” Draco asked Harry excitedly when he met Harry the day after Halloween.
“That muggleborn, Granger, got her arm broken last night.” Draco grinned.
Harry frowned. “Why are you so happy about it?”
“She’s a mudblood!” Draco rolled his eyes.
“A what?” Harry stared at his cousin.
“You know a mudblood, a muggleborn.” Draco replied airily.
Harry narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Why do you call them mudbloods?”
“Because their parents are muggles.” Draco answered as though it was obvious. “They have dirty blood.”
Harry scowled. “Are you saying my mother had dirty blood?”
Draco looked slightly taken aback. “Uh…”
“And what does it matter who Granger’s parents are?” Harry continued growing increasingly angry. “Magic obviously doesn’t care who her parents are, otherwise she wouldn’t be a witch.”
“Her parents are muggles.” Draco said firmly.
“So?” Harry growled. “Just because muggles are different doesn’t make them dirty! Just like you being a dark wizard doesn’t make you evil.”
Draco opened his mouth and then shut it again.
“I can’t believe you’re happy that girl got hurt!” Harry continued. “What if it had been you?”
“It would have never happened to me.” Draco said arrogantly. “I’m a pureblood.”
“So?” Harry threw his hands in the air in frustration. “Draco, Granger is one of the top students in our class! Yesterday she was the first person in our class to manage the Wingardium Leviosa spell. She managed it after practising for five minutes.”
Draco scowled at him. “I wouldn’t have been stupid enough to be caught by a troll!”
“How? Are you a seer now?” Harry asked sarcastically. “Do you get forewarning when a troll is going to attack you in the loo?”
Draco sneered at him. “You wouldn’t understand. You’re just a dirty halfblood!”
Harry bit his tongue to try and keep his eyes from tearing up and he turned around and quickly walked out of room. So what if Draco was a jerk? It wasn’t as though he wasn’t used to his family thinking he was worthless. The Dursley’s thought he was freak and Draco thought his blood was dirty. He didn’t need a family anyway.
Harry managed to avoid Draco for two days, but on the third day he had Herbology class. Harry had tried to convince one of his fellow Ravenclaws to swap seats with him so he could continue ignoring his cousin, but none of them were willing to annoy the Malfoy heir.
“Merry meet.” Draco and the other Slytherins bowed to Harry when they entered the greenhouse and Harry gave them angry nod in return.
Draco sat down beside him and sighed. “You’re not still angry at me, are you?”
Harry scowled at the desk in front of him.
Draco’s face twisted in discomfort and his voice dropped to a whisper. “I’m sorry, alright?”
“Sorry you said it you mean!” Harry spat.
“Well, yeah.” Draco admitted. “But it’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with you. I was just angry.”
“But you think there was something wrong with my mother!” Harry growled.
Draco scowled. “It’s not that I think she was worthless or anything.”
“No you just think she was a mudblood.” Harry whispered furiously. “You just think my grandparents had dirty blood.”
“Well, not dirty as in actually muddy or anything.” Draco told him. “Just, you know, not magical.”
“So?” Harry asked, feeling himself getting angry again.
Draco took a deep breath. “So I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Listen, Harry.” Draco started earnestly. “I get that you disagree with me, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”
Harry considered that. “You’re still a prat.”
Draco’s face twisted angrily. “So are you!”
“I wasn’t finished.” Harry said angrily. “You’re still a prat, but you’re not entirely a prat.”
Draco looked slightly relieved.
“So we can still be friends.” Harry told him. “But no more insulting muggleborns in front of me.”
Draco nodded. “Okay, fine.”
“Fine.” Harry agreed. “You know you really should go to the muggle world sometime. I don’t think they’re anything like you think they are.”
“If I’m not allowed to insult muggleborns, you’re not allowed to compliment muggles.” Draco said with a scowl.
Harry sighed. “Alright fine, but this isn’t over.”
Draco didn’t disagree.
Christmas break arrived before Harry knew it and he got a whole two weeks to himself. His friends, all of whom were going home for the holidays, has been horrified at the idea of Harry staying at Hogwarts over Christmas, but Harry had been looking forward to the opportunity spend more time reading, mediating and flying. Madame Hooch had decided that she would let first years borrow a school broom anytime during the holidays as long as they had an older student supervising them. Luckily for Harry, the Weasley twins were staying at Hogwarts and had agreed to take him flying every day. The only down side was that their younger brother always tagged along and spent the time staring at Harry.
There were only five other Ravenclaws staying at Hogwarts, which meant that the common room was always quiet and there were always comfy seats available for him to read in. Harry sat with the Weasley twins during meal times and enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them better. They were brilliant!
He woke up on Christmas morning and stared in shock at the pile of presents on the foot of his bed. There were so many! He forced himself to ignore them while he completed his morning meditation before studying the pile closely. Which would he open first?
Deciding to simply start with the closest one, Harry carefully unwrapped the paper and grinned when he saw a fancy writing set with a quill, inkpot and parchment with the Potter and Black Coats of Arms embossed on it. There was a note.
Draconus mentioned that your penmanship is improving, but that you were in need of a writing set. I hope this meets your needs.
Wishing you a merry Christmas,
Lady Narcissa Malfoy’
Harry knew he was probably grinning like a fool, but it was the first time he had ever gotten a proper Christmas present.
The next five presents Harry opened were books from his Ravenclaw friends, Harry was most interested in the book on dark magic from Takashi. The book looked really interesting, but the most exciting part of it was Takashi’s note. Apparently the older boy had found a book on Parselmagic and would be bringing it back to Hogwarts with him for Harry to read.
Draco had sent him a wrist holder for his wand. In his note he informed Harry that carrying a wand around in your pocket was uncouth.
The last present was a weird silky silver cloak that came without any indication of who had given it. Harry got off his bed and held the cloak in front of him, he couldn’t imagine wearing it – unless he went to a costume party of something.
Harry put his presents in his trunk and sat down in his pyjamas to write thank you notes on his new parchment.
The Christmas holidays passed quickly and when everyone arrived back Harry was proud to be able to tell them that he had read fourteen books – one for each day. The Ravenclaws had been impressed and jealous; Draco had just laughed at him and called him a bookworm.
It was great to be back in classes and Harry was delight to get his marks back from his latest assignments and to see that, not only had he gotten an O for each of them, but half his professors had commented on how much his handwriting was improving.
A couple of weeks after the Christmas break, Harry received a letter from Healer Axecure instructing him to meet her in Flitwick’s office again that night. Apparently she had made some progress in her research about his scar.
So, at seven o’clock that evening, Harry knocked on the Professor’s door – feeling just as nervous as he had the last time he had done this, four months earlier.
“Merry meet, Mr. Potter.” Flitwick opened the door and let him in before leaving.
“Mr. Potter.” Healer Axecure greeted him from the same chair as she had the last time.
“Healer Axecure.” Harry smiled nervously. “What did you find out?”
“Sit down.” Healer Axecure instructed him, she waited until he had obeyed before continuing. “There seems to be something embedded in your scar.”
“What?” Harry rubbed his scar with his right hand. “Are you sure? What kind of something?”
“I am most definitely sure.” Healer Axecure told him firmly. “But I do not know what exactly.”
“So you need to do more tests?” Harry asked anxiously. “Do you think it’s dangerous?”
Healer Axecure’s eyes seemed to soften slightly. “I do not know whether or not it is dangerous. This is unprecedented. No wizard has ever survived what you did.”
“Right.” Harry nodded slowly. “So what does that mean?”
“It means that you need to be careful.” Healer Axecure told him. “You need to tell me about everything even slightly unusual that happens: pain, weird thoughts, nightmares…”
“Nightmares?” Harry interrupted.
Healer Axecure leaned forward. “Have you been having nightmares, Mr. Potter?”
“Yeah.” Harry shrugged uncomfortably. “For about two weeks now.”
“And what happens in your nightmares?”
“I see my parents dying.” Harry admitted. “At least I think they’re my parents. I see them dying in flash of green light and there’s somebody laughing.”
“I see.” Healer Axecure considered that. “And do you feel anything from your scar when this happens?”
Harry shook his head. “No, nothing.”
“Very well.” Healer Axecure said briskly. “Owl me if the nightmares change, or if anything else happens that is out of the ordinary.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Harry nodded.
“I will be expecting to see you at Gringotts during the Summer Holidays.” Healer Axecure told him, standing. “There are more tests I need to run, but I can’t do them here.”
“The holidays are in six months!” Harry told her in surprise. “That’s ages away!”
“I am well aware, Mr. Potter.” She told him briskly showing him to the door. “Merry part.”
The book on Parselmagic that Takashi had brought back from Christmas break was incredible. Apparently it was actually written in Parselscript, which according to Takashi looked like a bunch of wiggly lines, but to Harry it just looked like English. The book didn’t have much theory in it, which was disappointing, but it had a lot of different spells in it. Harry hadn’t actually managed to cast any of the spells yet, mostly because he hadn’t managed to speak in Parseltongue since Takashi had summoned the snake. No matter how hard Harry tried, his words always came out in English.
Takashi had offered to summon another snake, but Harry felt bad about the idea. The first snake had obviously been very upset to be summoned and it didn’t seem fair to do that to a creature just so he could practise his spells.
Draco was still being a prat about muggleborns, though not as obviously, and Harry had made it his mission to convince his cousin how wrong he was. So, Harry had been reading every book he could find about the muggleborn, pureblood divide. He’d read some pretty good arguments for both sides, though most of the pureblood ones were really stupid, but he still hadn’t found an argument he thought was strong enough to convince Draco that muggleborns were just as good as purebloods.