Changing from Within
Headmaster Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore slowly got up out of his chair, face red fury at my dismissal.
"Before you decide to kill me," I quickly squeak out, my back firmly against the door, "you did use some sort of compulsion charm to get me up here witch I'm pretty sure is illegal. Plus you legilimized me, and I'm underage so that was also illegal. Therefore I do have reason not to trust you."
"I did no such thing." Albus refutes, standing tall and proud, I regain a tiny sense of feeling - enough to feel a tendril of anger returning.
"You do bloody so!" I shout back, "I felt you’re probing and I mentioned it, half the hall recognized instantly what I meant, and the compulsion I felt as soon as you walked past me, could only have been some spell. I don't normally follow creepy old men away from witnesses."
"Alright," Dumbledore placates, hands up in a surrendering gesture, one I don't believe for a second. Albus is a powerful wizard. Not one that's going to surrender to my meagre temper tantrums. "Perhaps we started this out wrong." I snort my agreement. "How about you begin from the start?"
"That start of what?" I ask, brows raised, "your abuse if Harry? Your neglect in caring effectively for two hundred plus students?"
"Start from your beginning. You say magic doesn't exist when you’re from?" Dumbledore's tone settles down, taking on his famous grandfatherly persona.
"Magic is a thing of stories and fantasy." I inform him.
"Well how do you know what will happen? How do you know what to change if all of this is a tale?" I can tell he doesn't believe me, he's too relaxed, his eyes too sparkly.
"If it was just a tale, how would I know about Arianna?" I ask, smirking in satisfaction as he falls back into his seat, wrinkly old face almost smoothed out with how agape his mouth is. "How sweet was bullied by some neighbors for being freaky, how your father beat the boys up and went to Azkaban for it. How you were left to look after Aberforth and Arianna. How either you or Grindelwald or Aberforth cast the spell that killed Arianna."
"How dare you?" A portrait on the wall, one of a strict looking little witch shrieks at me, wagging her finger disapprovingly, "How dare you talk to your elders in such a way?"
"You really going to go there?" I ask it, "Respect is earned." I inform it, finding the courage to step away from the safety of the door.
"Respect is given to whom should have it young lady." She argues, folding her arms. For a painting, I have to admit she actually looks quite intimidating.
"And why should be respect him?" I point to the old man, his mouth has shut, thankfully, but he's still sitting blankly, stunned.
Oh shit! Did I break Dumbledore?
"He is your Headmaster," she says it in a tone of finality, like I should just accept that.
"And?" I prompt, guests ring for her to go on.
"And he is your headmaster, your senior and superior, you ungrateful girl," she shrieks, standing up from her red cushioned seat and stepping forward. I laugh at her attempt to get at me, mockingly taking a step back.
"He is a manipulative old coot who has, and will knowingly allow a young boy to live in a home where he is underfed, neglected and abused daily."
The lady blinks, stepping back, looking stunned.
"Albus?" She asks, turning to the comatose old man, who is slowly returning to us, "is this true, have you knowingly allowed a boy to be abused?" I decide to add fuel to the fire.
"You know what boy it is?" I ask, another portrait, one in pretty sure is Phineus Black, asks me who, snarling darkly, I willingly answer.
"Harry Hames Potter. Son of James and Lilly Potter, Godson of Sirius Black and Alice Longbottom, Savior of the wizarding world."
The portraits immediately turn to Albus, equal fury in their eyes at the injustice of Harry's treatment. They all doubtlessly would have known James Potter, troublemaker extraordinaire.
I take the opportunity to slip out, the door thankfully opening due to Albus' distraction. Running down the spiral staircase, I get out to the hall and head right, to the large flight of stairs down.
Taking my wand from my pocket, "tempus," the most useful spell, in my opinion, shows me the time - 08:05.
Plenty time to get lost, I shrug as I head down the stairs, getting off directly in front of the Great Hall where I walk in and head silently back over to the Slytherin table, my seat still available next to Tracy.
"Who's Tom Marvalo Riddle?" She asks as soon as I take a seat, I notice the conversations around me had stopped. Thankfully, the other houses hadn't noticed my arrival.
"He's Lord Voldemort." I inform the masses, many of the students flinch, an older student hisses that I shouldn't call him that. "Your right," I agree, "I should just call him Tom."
"No, you shouldn't." The older student, a good looking second year - ew! Louise, what the heck! He's seven years younger than you! Oh my god! Not like that I mean he's a decent looking guy, he can't help his looks.
"Then what should I call him?" I ask, shuddering as I throw my thoughts to the back of my mind.
"The Dark Lord, his rightful title." Draco tells me.
"He's no Lord of mine." I gag, shuddering at the thought, "and I certainly am not going to follow someone who thinks Crucio is a way of saying hello."
"The Dark Lord-" Draco begins, puffing his chest out, oddly reminiscent of Ron earlier on.
"Is a half-blood." I finish for him, judging by his constipated look, I don't think that's what he was planning on saying. I shrug, oh well.
"He was a Pureblood," Draco immediately argues, "the rightful heir of Slytherin!"
"I thought we went over this last night," I complain, I turn to Tracy, "didn't we go over this last night? Blood can't be pure, you'd be dead!" Mutely, Tracy nods, looking wide eyed at having been called into the argument - if you can call it that.
"He was-" Draco's face is turning an interesting red, that does not go with his platinum locks. Rolling my eyes, I hold my hand up in a shushing gesture and stand up.
"Listen up!" I shout, meaning for Slytherins to pay attention, but I didn't factor that this is halfway through breakfast and there are three other full tables, not to mention the staff table.
Oh god, not again, I inwardly groan, but having all the attention on me, I have no choice but to continue.
"What, in the name of Rassilon, is a Pureblood, or a Mudblood?" Everyone stares blankly at me. "No one?" I ask, an older Ravenclaw, whom I don't recognize, answers me.
"The term 'pure-blood' refers to a family or individual without Muggle blood. The concept is generally associated with Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, whose aversion to teaching anybody of Muggle parentage eventually led to a breach with his three fellow founders, and his resignation from the school."
"Did you just quote an entire book to me?" I ask, not shaving expected that long an answer. The Ravenclaw shrugs, his pale cheeks redeeming slightly. "All right," I drag out, "what's a mudblood?"
"Mudblood is a highly derogatory term for a Muggle-born wizard or witch; that is, individuals with no wizarding relatives." He answers, a much better answer.
"Oh!" I say, making sure I sound shocked, "so it's not to do with people having mud in their veins?"
"What?" Several people sound extremely confused, I roll my eyes at their inability to link the two things together.
"Well, why?" I ask.
"Why what?" The same Ravenclaw, apparently the only person brave enough to answer me in front of the entire hall.
"Why are people being picked on for who their parents are? You can't help being the sperm that won out against the rest, and you certainly have no choice on who your sperm is coming from."
At the completely blank looks I'm receiving from the majority of the school - minus those whom I'm betting are muggle born - I shake my head in disappointment and turn to the teachers. Professor Snape is looking livid. Professor McGonagall looks contemplative, Professor Flitwick is nodding his head, apparently agreeing with me. Professor Sprout is smiling approvingly.
"Is there ANY sex-ed given in this school?" I ask, raising my eyes to look at the awesome ceiling in exasperation.
In a complete loss of control, that I would expect from a toddler, not a nineteen year old woman in an eleven year old body, I screech, stamp my foot, and storm out of the hall, all the while mumbling under my breathe.
"Stupid, prehistoric people with no idea how they're own body works! Needs a serious revamp in the education system, corrupt, idiotic teachers that shouldn't be anywhere near children, if the muggle government knew about this they'd shut the place down in a heartbeat!"
"Hey! Louise!" I cut my mumbling off to find Steph running to catch up, "you’re going the wrong way." She informs me, I frown, from half way up the stairs before realizing that I'm supposed to be going to Potions.
Groaning, I stomp back down the stairs, joining Steph as we start to head down to the Dungeons.
"How's Slytherin?" She asks once we breach the stairs heading to the chilly basement of the humungous castle.
"It's actually alright," I answer her, getting a surprised "oh," from her. "Yup, we had a huge twenty minute introduction speech before being sent to our beds, which we've been given permission to ward!"
"Sweet," Steph answers, turning to the right, towards my common room. "We didn't get anything like that. Just got told where our bedrooms are."
"Haha," I smirk, before laughing outright at her offended look, "We’re loved more." I sing song, grinning as she reaches over to smack me, to which I jump out of the way.
Laughing, we continue down the corridor, searching for room 00E14. Taking the advice from last night, I inform Steph of GLouise's tip.
"That makes a lot more sense, I have to admit." Steph decides as we pass classroom ten.
"You do realize we're like super early?" I confirm as we reach the door.
Steph shrugs and steps forward, trying the handle which rattles uselessly.
"What's the Slytherin dorm like?" She asks as we lean back against the wall, preparing for the long wait.
"It's actually kind of cool," I admit, to which I receive a stunned look. "It is!" I defend, "we're under the lake and you should see the view!" I trail off, realizing I hadn't actually spent much attention to the view last night, for all I know, the water could be horribly muggy and impossible to see through.
But Steph doesn't need to know that.
"And we literally fall asleep to the sound of the waves slapping against the window, it's like falling asleep in a boat!" I finish, smiling in pleasure at my good fortune.
"No loud breathers?"
"I don't know, I either fell asleep too fast last night, or the curtains might be warded." I shrug, "well at least I know the silencing charms."
"Point." Steph concedes."
"What's Gryffindor like?" I ask after a small lapse in talk.
"Cozy." Steph informs me vaguely, I narrow my eyes in annoyance.
"After all I told you, all I get is 'cozy'?"
"Well you've seen Gryffindor from the movies, it's just like that."
"Oh." I pout, disappointed.
"What we're the Slytherins like last night?" Steph quickly, and effectively, changes the subject.
"You heard me this morning," I tell her with a smirk, "I gave them a brief sex-Ed lesson."
To my horror, Steph falls down, sliding into the floor, clutching her chest laughing.
"Uh, thanks for the support?" I stay where I am, as Steph's eyes water from her laughing for. "Oh come on!" I exclaim as I hear footsteps from the other side of the hall, "it's not that bloody funny!"
Thankfully, Steph sobers up. Whether it's due to my exasperation or the approaching people, I may never know. But she stands back up, panting and wiping her eyes. As the first footsteps come around the corridor, I realize Steph doesn't yet know our story.
"Steph, listen." I order, she turns to me, deadly serious as the form of Hermione Granger appears heading towards us. "Our parents died in an explosion when we were babies, we were put in an orphanage where our 'dad'" I lift my fingers to the air quote, "recognized our magic and adopted us, he's a squib."
"An orphanage?" Steph whispers, eyebrows raised as Hermione gets within hearing distance.
"Hey," I defend myself with a shrug, "wizards are stupid. They'll buy it."
"Hi, Hermione, is it?" I ask as the young girl nears us, potion text book clutched to her chest, her head down.
"Yes, you're Louise from the train, aren't you?" She asks, looking up hopefully.
"The one and only." I beam back, my self-awesome tirade is cut short by a quiet click from the door next to me.
Slowly reaching over, I cup my hand over the cold, silver handle and turn, it freely moves with my hand. Pushing forward, the door opens, revealing a stuffy, over empowering stench in its wake.
Nervously, I step forward, into the stuffiness to find an empty classroom.
"Ominous." I inform the two girl behind me as we all enter and study our first classroom of our Hogwarts career.
There are three rows of tasks, each with two tables sat next to each other, a total of thirty seats. Towards the front of the classroom is a raised platform with a large teacher’s desk with a high backed, black leather seat glaring down.
"Teachers a bit full of himself, isn't he?" I ask as I choose a table nearest the door, the escape. Steph seats next to me whilst Hermione takes the table in front, I catch her gazing longingly at the tables up front, closest to the evil looking chair.
"Hermione," I start, she turns to me, her cauldron half way out of her bag, "you don't want to sit next to a teacher like that, trust me." Instead of fighting me about it, like I had expected from the know-it-all eleven year old, she glances over at Steph and nods her agreement, before continuing to remove her things from her bag.
Before I am able to ask Steph what the look was about, the rest of the class begins to filter in, Draco and the two idiots - but idiots with potential apparently - at the front, scoffing at me for sitting with Gryffindor’s before heading over to take the far seats, farthest from the door and closest to the raised platform.
"Teachers pet." I sing under my breath, glaring at the fools, next to me Steph snickers. The rest of the class slowly trickles in as Steph and I set up our work bench.
Snape comes billowing in the classroom, shutting the door behind him just as I turn to start conversing with Steph.
"Settle down," he smirks, walking to the front of the class and glaring at us all. That is an amazing feat that, I think, looking in wonder at Snape’s' odd facial expression, to both smirk and glare at the same time.
I decide to try.
The result; Steph shoving her wrist down her throat to stop giggling. I mock weep at her, mouthing that I shall never be as boss as Severus Snape. A snort escapes past her wrist causing Mr. Bossman to turn our way. He freezes for a second, whether it's due to seeing Steph in her odd position, or a Slytherin sitting among Gryffindor’s, I don't know, before smirking once more.
"I fear if eating your hand is more important than learning about potions Miss Brown, then I shall have to remove you from my sight."
Steph immediately sobers and removes her hand.
"Sorry sir, it won't happen again." She says meekly, glaring at me as she does.
"Indeed it shall not." He says, but we all hear the warning in his voice. Snape continues into the registrar, slowly going over the names. When he reaches Harry's, as he does in the book and films, he sneers and glares up at him, "ah, yes, Harry Potter. Our new -celebrity."
Across from us, Draco and his two goons-with-potential snigger at the lame-ass cruelty. Snape finishes the register without further incident and looks up at the class, pausing slightly at the sight of my next to Steph.
"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact are of potion-making," he begins, his voice quiet, but we are perfectly able to hear him in the silent classroom. "As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its simmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses ... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death - if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
I raise an eyebrow at Steph and make a heart with my hands, smirking at Snape.
"Potter," I jump at the sudden change in volume, "what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" I remember that! I slowly raise my hand, not quite as eager as Hermione, but still up there.
"I don't know, sir," Harry answers, face blank. Snape sneers in pleasure, I feel the familiar heat in my chest at the injustice of how he treats his apparent 'loves' only son.
"Tut, tut - fame clearly isn't everything." He ignores Hermione and my hands, concentrating on Harry. I bite my lip, hard enough to draw blood in an attempt to keep my retort back.
Its all well and good reading and watching characters being treated like this. But when it's real life people standing not three meters in front of me, I can't help the need to stand up and defend the abused eleven year old boy.
"Let's try again. Potter, where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?" Hermione stays still, something o distinctly remember didn't happen in the movies. I glance over at Steph as I keep my hand in the air, the bezoar is the thing from a goat that saves Ron from being poisoned in a couple years.
"I don't know, sir."
"Thought you wouldn't open a book before coming. Eh, Potter?" I feel myself bristling and tensing as Harry sits up straighter, defiance entering his previously meek frame.
"What is the difference, Potter, between monks wood and wolfs name?" I pull my hand down, I'm pretty sure the answer has something to do with monks wood, but I'm not sure enough to answer.
"I don't know," Harry repeats, I can almost hear the glare in his tone, "I think Hermione does, though, why don't you try her?" I smirk at his defiance as Snape scowls down at him.
"For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for Monkwood and Wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite." Snape stops and peers around at us. "Well?" He snaps, "Why aren't you all copying that down."
"Because you didn't tell us to." I complain out loud as I pick up my quill, Snape glares at me but doesn't comment. Huh. Maybe being in Slytherin could be a good thing.
I attempt to figure out how to write with the stupid quill as Snape stalks around the class, sneering at everyone.
My Denny decipherable notes complete -what with smaller, unpracticed hands and a stupid unusable quill - I look back up for the rest of the lesson.
On the blackboard at the front of the class, Snape has written up the instructions for the 'boil cure' I quickly take it down, and then look for it in my book so I will still be able to read it when my glasses start to fog up. I find it easily in the beginning of our book.
Add 6 snake fangs to the mortar.
Crush into a fine powder using the pestle.
Add 4 measures of the crushed fangs to your cauldron.
Heat the mixture to 250 for 10 seconds.
Wave your wand.
Leave to brew and return in 33-45 minutes.
Add 4 horned slugs to your cauldron.
Take the cauldron off the fire before adding the next ingredient.
Add 2 porcupine quills to your cauldron.
Stir 5 times, clockwise.
Wave your wand to complete the potion.
Having the instructions set up, I look to the top for the ingredients and start to pull them out. I end up with dried nettles, six snake fangs, four horned slugs (bleurgh) two porcupine quills, pungous onions (oh my god the stench!) flobberworm mucus (bogies. Really!? Bogies?) Ginger root (oh that smells nice) and shrake spines.
I happily set to my work, fairly enjoying the monotonous following instructions and creating a thing, it's much like cooking. Next to me, Steph is getting muddled up, so I set her to cutting ingredients up properly as I deal with the stirring and adding ingredients.
Finishing the first part, Steph and I set back, I cast a tempus to keep track of how long we have to wait.
"What did you say to Hermione?" I ask Steph as we sit back, watching the chaos around us.
"I just told her she won't get many friends if she is like she is, she needs to tone down and let others earn as well."
"And how did you do that without having a lesson with her?" I ask as Hermione sets down, Lavender sitting happily next to her.
"I said I used to be the type, now I have loads of friends cause I take a step back."
"Oh," is all I can say. Noticing Seamus and Neville, in front of Harry and Ron, have finished, I wait until Snape comes around our end, sneering down at our potion. "Professor?" I ask just as he stops, he pauses, keeping his face carefully blank as he catches my eye. "What would happen if you didn't remove the Cauldron before putting the quills in? It says here you have to, but sit doesn't say why."
I keep myself carefully calm, as I grin inside, Neville, who is going to make such a mistake in around twenty minutes, is listening intently.
"The Quills will react with the heat and cause an explosion." Snape answers shortly, I genuinely smile up at him at having unexpectedly received a proper answer.
"Shouldn't there be some sort of warning, though, for those that might not have read all the lines in the instructions?" I continue, tending slightly at the risky question.
"People who cannot read should not be in this class." Snape answers shortly.
"Well did you check before setting the potentially exploding potion to a bunch of first years?" I immediately ask, Snape glares and steps away.
"You should be perfectly capable of reading by eleven years old." He answers, a glare from Steph cuts off my immediate reply.
"You've done enough," she whispers quickly, "you've saved Neville. Don't provoke him." Sighing in agreement, I settle down, fifteen minutes until we can continue.
The rest of the lesson goes smoothly, our potions turns out the right colour - a deep shade of blue giving off pink fumes. I ignore the impossibility of that, instead gloating to Steph that I am actually good at something.
We are set to write a report of the potion we just made, what we did well and what we did wrong. And then we are to write about the uses of the Boil cute potion.
Having an hour still left of class, Steph and I manage to finish our work without incident - my quill writing even begins to improve.
Snape then sends us on our way to lunch, assigning what hasn't been finished for homework.
"Whys it called homework when we won’t be going home till summer?" I ask Steph as we head out, going up the stairs to the hall.
Instead of replying, Steph rolls her eyes, shaking her head at me.