They had Herbology first thing the next morning. Professor Sprout was one of the kinder teachers and she let it show in her cheery demeanor the entire morning.
They were working in greenhouse three for the first time, having only been allowed in greenhouse one the year before. Greenhouse three was different than the greenhouse one in that it housed the more dangerous plant. It would be their first introduction to magically sentient plants.
The Mandrake they were repotting that day did not disappoint and many of the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors found themselves sporting angry headaches and ringing ears by the end of class and only Neville Longbottom seemed to be pleased with how the class had gone that day. Harry found himself agreeing with his classmates that if he ever saw a Mandrake again, it would be too soon.
'Loud little plants,' Gabriel complained in his mind. It seemed that Gabriel was just as affected by the screams of the small plants as he, himself, was.
'At least they're repotted now,' he told them both. It was a nice thought, not having to deal with the loud baby plants ever again and Harry held onto that small fact as hard as he could and followed Ron and Hermione as they all headed up to the Transfiguration classroom for their second class of the day.
Transfiguration was the same that it had always been, although their dirty attire had gotten a disapproving sniff from Professor McGonagall as they walked into the classroom. It seemed that she was well aware of the class they had just come from because unlike any other time they had shown up looking anything other than decent, the professor didn't say anything. It seemed forgoing changing for being on time wasn't something that she wanted to discourage even if they were leaving dirt everywhere.
They were working on turning a beetle into a button and it was the first time they were working with live animals in their Transfiguration career. Harry was having a bit of difficulty recalling everything he had learned last year, what with the new influx of memories from past lives cluttering the forefront of his mind.
'Visualize,' Gabriel suggested. 'Picture a button in your head while you cast.'
His counterpart had never given him advice on performing magic before so Harry decided to listen. Visualizing a button (blue with two round holes in the middle of it) he pointed his wand at the button and said the incantation.
"Wow mate!" Ron said beside him and Harry opened his eyes to see that his beetle had indeed turned into a blue button. "How'd you change the color?" the redhead asked as he attempted to turn the spell on his own beetle. Harry wasn't all that surprised when it didn't work.
"Indeed," Professor McGonagall said from behind him, causing Harry to jump in shock. "Ten points to Gryffindor and work on changing it back for the rest of class," she told him with a smile before walking away to observe another student.
Ron and Harry both watched her in shock, having never seen her act like that to Harry before. "Weird," the redhead muttered before turning to glare at his own button.
"Picture a button," Harry suggested to him. "I was thinking about a blue one that fell off of Aunt Petunia's blouse."
Ron looked at him in contemplation before turning back to his beetle once more. By the end of class, Ron had turned the beetle into a shiny black button and Harry had ended up with a blue beetle. McGonagall's lips had quirked up in amusement at the blue beetle on the desk as the class was dismissed for lunch.
Lunch was a welcome reprieve from classes and they talked animatedly as Hermione showed them her perfect coat buttons from Transfiguration. "That's strange," Ron commented as they entered the great hall and headed to the Gryffindor table.
"What's weird?" Hermione asked, sitting across from them so she could better hear them both.
"McGonagall-" Ron was cut off before he could continue.
"Professor McGonagall," Hermione interrupted with an exasperated sigh.
"Right," Ron said, waving off the correction. "She had Harry work on changing the button back into a beetle when he got it right."
Hermione nodded. "She had me work on it too but none of my buttons seemed to go back. I think there's a trick to it that I just haven't found yet," she told them, the expression on her face showing determination to figure out what she was doing wrong.
"Really?" Harry and Ron both asked, surprised. Ron looked at Harry in contemplation. "Harry here got it back to a beetle but it was still blue," the redhead told her at her questioning look.
Hermione's face twisted in surprise before she gave him a considering look. "I wonder what we did differently?" she mused and just from looking at her face, Harry could tell that he was eventually going to be drilled on every single step that he took to get the button back to beetle form (if not beetle color). "The button I was working on turned black but I couldn't manage to make it a beetle. Maybe if we combine techniques?" she wondered aloud.
It was nice, Harry decided as they promised Ron to help him after they had figured it out, to have something in common with Hermione. The year before had mostly been Hermione nagging at them to do their homework and correcting any mistakes that they made. Harry had thought that she liked being smarter than them yet now, as she engaged him in conversation on what they had learned in Herbology, Harry could see that it wasn't being smarter that she liked but being able to help them.
Homework had never really mattered to him before; the Dursley's didn't care about how well he did, only if he did better than Dudley. He'd learned early on that doing well in school only got him accused of cheating and thrown into the cupboard. It didn't even occur to him that now that he was at Hogwarts, he didn't need to stunt his own work. He had carried over the habit from his primary school to Hogwarts with him without even realizing it.
'Stupid bastards!' Gabriel growled in his head. 'When we get back to full power, I smell retribution in their futures!'
Harry didn't argue.
"So what do we have next?" Ron asked around a mouthful of food.
"Defense Against the Dark Arts," Hermione said at once, not even glancing at the schedule she had on top of her school things.
"Why," Ron asked, seizing her schedule., "have you outlined Lockhart's class in little hearts?"
Hermione blushed and Harry felt his eyes narrow at the schedule. 'He tries anything and we smite him,' Gabriel snarled in his head and Harry felt foreign power just underneath his skin. It began to burn before it was quickly snatched back.
'Sorry,' Gabriel told him sheepishly. 'Our body can't handle that kind of Grace just yet. I'll have to better control it when our tempers rise.'
Harry had indeed reacted with just as much anger as his counterpart and he assumed that was why the 'Grace', as Gabriel called it, had acted up. 'I'll try not to loose my temper as much,' he said by way of an apology. It was just as much his fault that the Grace had reacted as it was his counterparts.
Either way, Lockhart better stay away from Hermione if he knew what was good for him.
The class filed into the defense room in a noise of mutterings and laughter, all looking forward to seeing how the new Defense teacher would be handling this class after having had to deal with Quirrell the year before. Once the whole class was seated, Lockhart cleared his throat to gather their attention.
Harry's first impression of Gilderoy Lockhart was that the man was full of himself. The entire defense room was decorated with different pictures of himself and Lockhart was actually winking at them! "Me," he said, pointing a portrait, winking once more. "Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, third class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five time winner of Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award-but I don't talk about that."
'Wasn't he just talking about it?!' Gabriel asked in disbelief. 'Just who hired this guy?!'
'Professor Dumbledore did,' Harry answered glumly. They were going to have to deal with this guy the entire year? What was their Headmaster thinking?
"You have thirty minutes! Start-Now!" the wannabe Professor told them happily. Harry blinked and looked down to see a quiz in front of him.
'He's joking, right?' Harry asked Gabriel as he read the first question.
1. What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favorite color?
'I don't think he is,' Gabriel said with a groan. 'Just guess and get this over with!'
Harry did just that, writing down the first answer that popped into his mind before turning the test over as quickly as he could. Ron seemed to have done much the same as the redhead was already glaring evilly at the paper as if it had done something unforgivable.
Soon all the test were being picked up by the pounce (he didn't deserve the title of 'Professor') and Lockhart began talking again.
For his own continued sanity, Harry tuned the man out and focused on the prattling of Gabriel instead. It seemed that Gabriel had decided to list everything that was wrong with the man to entertain them while this class progressed. Harry was already mentally promising to check out a defense book from the library to read during this class because he honestly didn't trust himself to keep from calling the man a fraud to his face if he was forced to deal with him weekly.
He really should have been paying attention. It was sheer luck that he'd only taken out a quill and ink bottle from his bag because while he had been listening to Gabriel and trying to figure out which defense book to read during this class, Lockhart had pulled out a covered cage and had started talking again.
And in the most stupid of all moves, the idiot, as he would now be forever known as, released a full cage of cornish pixies on the unsuspecting students.
Chaos didn't describe the amount of damage and carnage that filled the room. Harry took one look at the rather unhappy pixies (not that he blamed them, after having been locked in a cage for who knew how long), grabbed his bag, and darted for the door with Ron on his heels.
Hermione, bless her, stayed behind to help re-cage the chaotic pixies. Harry didn't envy her one bit and it wasn't until they were halfway to Gryffindor Tower that Ron noticed something off with his friend.
"Mate," Ron began, stopping Harry dead in his tracks. "I think you've got some passengers.." He sounded vaguely horrified and looked a bit pale as he looked at a spot on Harry's robes.
Harry blinked and looked at his robe pocket, where Ron's eyes were currently focused. Sure enough, two small heads turned up to look at him, large blues eyes standing out against their pale blue skin. It seemed that he hadn't escaped quickly enough from the classroom and two pixies had decided that his pocket would make a wonderful resting place.
'They're cute,' Gabriel noted in surprise.
'They just destroyed a classroom!' Harry replied in disbelief.
Gabriel was silent for a moment. 'Like I said,' Harry could hear the smirk. 'Cute.'
"You can stay," he said, addressing both pixies as Gabriel asked a vague 'Can we keep them?' in the back of his head. "If you promise not to destroy anything in the Tower."
Two devilish grins answered his stipulation and Harry shrugged at Ron's 'are you crazy?!' look.
That was how Harry ended up with two pixies living in his pockets and Gilderoy Lockhart became his least favorite person in the world. Whoever said first days were boring had never gone to Hogwarts, Harry thought with a sigh.
The next few days were spent going to classes and dodging Lockhart whenever he appeared in the hallways. The man had gotten it into his head that Harry, being the Boy-Who-Lived ('Who came up with that name?' Gabriel complained in disgust) would be the perfect apprentice for the blond hair pompous ass.
He'd even hidden behind a shocked Draco Malfoy when he saw the man coming once. The blond Malfoy had turned on him as soon as the Professor was out of sight in glee.
"Hiding from teachers, now Potter? What did you do?" the pounce asked gleefully.
Harry looked at the fellow second year who had attempted to make his life hell last year and responded, "Lived," before walking away quickly, leaving the stunned Slytherin behind.
Quite frankly, after Voldemort appearing at the end of last year. Draco Malfoy wasn't nearly as much as an annoyance as he was earlier in the year before. It just wasn't worth it to keep up the childish rivalry. It struck Harry, as he thought about it, that just a few months before Harry would have sooner cut off his hand then hide behind Malfoy for anything.
'It's the returning memories,' Gabriel explained as he listened to Harry's thoughts. 'You now have the complete memories of a twenty year old wizard and are starting the memories of a forty year old police officer; your mind has begun to mature to deal with all of the information.'
Putting it that way made sense, Harry thought as he headed to Charms.
The turning point of the week was when he was woken up from a rather boring dream (apparently patrolling was more dull than one would think)by Oliver Wood, early on a Saturday morning.
"Whassamatter?" he mumbled half coherently. Gabriel grumbled in the back of their mind, upset at having been awoken far too early.
"Quidditch practice!" Wood told him. "Come on!"
Harry looked at the window and saw that there was only a faint glow coming from the outside world as the sun strained to rise for another day. Gabriel let out a mix between a growl and a moan at the realization of what time it must be. "Oliver," Harry moaned from his pillow. "It's the crack of dawn!"
"Exactly!" Oliver responded. Harry considered Gabriel's suggestion of strangling the oblivious Quidditch captain for a moment. "It's part of our new training program. Come on, grab your broom and let's go. None of the other teams have started training yet; we're going to be first off the mark this year-"
Hitting Oliver in the face with a pillow before beginning to search quietly for his Quidditch gear was much more satisfying than he had thought it would be.
"Good man," Oliver told him, enthusiastically. "Can't be spouting off our plans just anywhere!"
'Are you sure that he's not crazy?' Gabriel wondered.
'Nope.' Harry didn't even have to hesitate before responding. Really, who gets up at dawn to train for Quidditch?
His question was answered as he got downstairs and saw everyone from the Quidditch team already up and dressed, brooms in hand and glares centered on Oliver. Surprisingly, the Gryffindor team wasn't the only ones awake; sitting happily on one of the common room chairs was a first year that he'd seen in the hallways a few time.
"Hi!" the first year chirped at the sight of him. "I'm Colin Creevey and of course, everyone knows who you are! Do you mind if I take a picture? Da's a milkman and he was ever so surprised when I got my letter so I promised to take pictures of everything important while I was here and send them to him-"
The introduction went on and on and on until Harry was left blinded by the bright flash of a camera. Blinking spots out of his eyes, he watched as the first year babbled a thank you before disappearing off to the dorm.
"That was...odd," Harry decided and the rest of the Quidditch team, also blinded by the flash, nodded in agreement.
Besides the strange encounter with the younger Gryffindor, Quidditch practice went as well as it could have gone, being at the crack of dawn. Harry ended up joined Fred in dreamland halfway through the explanation of diagrams that Wood was giving.
Being shaken awake by Angelina, who looked more amused than annoyed at being the pillow of two of her teammates, Harry noted that Oliver was giving an impassioned speech about winning the Quidditch cup this year. Gabriel seemed fascinated by the speech and the emphasis that Oliver was putting on the strategy and hopeful victory of a game. 'I've seen wars fought with less strategy than this!' Gabriel marveled in disbelief. 'Has anyone ever told this guy that this is a game?'
'I don't think he cares,' Harry told the irate...ugh, he really needed to get around to asking Gabriel just exactly what he was. Harry didn't think he could keep calling 'the counterpart' or 'the insane voice in his head' for all the much longer.
Harry readied his Nimbus for takeoff as the Gryffindor team soared into the sky. Ron and Hermione were sitting in the stands of the pitch, one reading and the other looking disbelieving that they were still going, breakfast in one hand. Harry's stomach growled in jealousy at the delicious looking food and the first thing he was going to do after taking a nice shower and changing was grill Fred and George for the location of the kitchen.
They'd barely just started practice when the Slytherin's showed up in full gear, smirking at them. He was honestly afraid that Oliver was going to murder Flint as the irate Gryffindor Quidditch Captain began shouting at the smirking Slytherin.
Harry was just tuning it out until he caught the reason for the pitch take over. 'Snape's a bastard,' Gabriel grumbled. 'I can't believe they let someone like that teach here!'
Harry didn't argue with Gabriel's assessment and began scanning to crowd for the so called 'new seeker'. With the way that the Slytherin's were holding the new brooms, Harry wasn't all that surprised to see that Draco Malfoy sneering and preening in new Quidditch gear. Gabriel was even less surprised and only muttered under his breath about bribery and petty twelve year olds.
Hermione and Ron had made their way down from the stands to see what the fighting was and Draco took that as a sign to begin rubbing in the fact that Slytherin had new brooms as well as how he had made seeker. That was when the trouble really started.
"Well at least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in," Hermione finally interject angrily. Harry was surprised as his muggleborn friend wasn't usually one for getting involved in confrontations. "They got in on pure talent!"
Draco's face turned a faint red. "No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood!" he spat at her and all around him the Gryffindor team erupted into violence.
Harry didn't know what 'mudblood' meant but he did know that it must have been horrible with the way Fred and George were both trying to attack the blond ferret. Any feeling of apathy that Harry had felt when encountering the blond earlier faded away and Gabriel was hissing and spitting like an offended cat in his head.
Anger boiled in his mind and the next thing he knew, Draco was flying backwards across the pitch. Silence encompassed the two teams as they turned to stare at the downed blond in shock, no one having drawn any wands, having left them with their clothes in the dressing room so they wouldn't chance getting them broken.
"Oops," Harry muttered, blinking and drew the attention of the surrounding people, blushing at Hermione's uncertain grateful look. Fred and George looked at him incredulously before they began roaring in laughter but Oliver looked concerned.
"How did you do that?" the Quidditch Captain asked as the Slytherin's went to help Draco up.
Harry knew for a fact that Gabriel had kept their Grace back and the presence under his skin hadn't felt the same as the burning power of Grace did. He shrugged, confused as to how he had managed to send Malfoy flying just as much as everyone else was. "I was angry?" he asked, hesitant to say anything concrete on the matter as, besides knowing that he had caused it, Harry was in the dark about the 'how' involved with sending Malfoy flying.
"Accidental magic?" Oliver mumbled as the team began to trudge back to the dressing room. It was pointless to keep arguing and Oliver already planned to send a complaint to Professor McGonagall about the Slytherin's and Malfoy's foul language. "I didn't think that you could do that after first year. Best talk to Professor McGonagall when we get back up to the school," he advised. "I'll go with you. No doubt the Slytherin's are going to spin some tale to feed back to Snape and I for one want McGonagall on our side when he tries anything."
Harry didn't argue. 'The look on his face was priceless!' Gabriel cackled in the back of Harry's mind.
The twelve year old once again didn't argue, smirking slightly as he remembered.
Perhaps getting up at dawn had its perks after all.