Chapter 4: Year One, Part One

Harry awoke before his fellow Slytherin dormmates and used that to his advantage. He packed everything he'd need for the day in his rucksack and got ready for the day. He was out of the dorm before anyone else woke up.

He spent a short while in the common room, looking around the room and out the windows into the lake. He saw a few merpeople swim by though they paid him no attention.

Harry decided to leave the common room and head for the Room of Requirement. He was certain no one would notice him due to the early hour. He wanted to make sure that Ravenclaw's diadem was still in the room. He didn't plan to remove it from its location any time soon, but he needed the assurance that would be provided by seeing it.

He didn't see anyone as he climbed the stairs of the castle to reach the Room of Requirement, and he was able to get inside easily. Once inside, he saw a large volume of items that had been left behind, but he ignored it all. He was focused on finding the diadem.

The diadem was located on top of a big pile deep within the room. Harry could sense the dark magic radiating from it and knew that it was still a horcrux. Satisfied with the knowledge of where the horcrux was located, he headed back towards the entrance of the room. He paused when he passed by a large mirror with clawed feet that was adorned with an inscription written backwards.

The mirror showed Harry his parents, not his entire family as he didn't actually care about knowing the rest of his family. It also showed him a youthful, sane, and kind Tom Riddle who had an intact soul. It was obvious that the mirror showed only what one desired, not what was necessarily possible in any way. For one thing, Harry's parents had been dead for a solid decade. For another thing, Tom Riddle had never really been sane or truly kind, even when his soul was intact.

Harry didn't look at the mirror for too long. It'd be pointless to dwell on what he wanted but couldn't have.

When Harry left the room, he neared a staircase that would take him down from the seventh floor and encountered Professor Quirrell. Unlike the last time they met, the man reeked of garlic. How peculiar.

"M-Mister P-Potter what are y-you d-doing out s-s-so early and s-s-so far f-from your d-dorm?"

Harry forced himself to maintain a pleasant expression on his face. "I was just exploring the castle a bit, professor. I found myself awake too early for breakfast, and there wasn't anything else for me to do. Classes haven't started yet after all."

"And y-you s-started on this f-floor?"

"I figured I should start at the top and work my way down. I considered going outside, but I wasn't sure if that was allowed," Harry lied easily. A convenient thing about having the memories of an accomplished sociopath is that it really made it easy to lie his way out of potentially problematic situations.

Harry could tell that the professor was wavering in believing his lie, but ultimately, he seemed to accept it.

"B-Breakfast is about to s-start. Y-you sh-should head to the G-Great Hall."

"Of course, professor. I'll see you in class." Harry nodded once at the professor and headed down the stairs. Looking back, he noticed Professor Quirrell went further on the seventh floor, walking in the direction of the Room of Requirement.

By the time Harry reached the Great Hall, many students were already in the process of eating breakfast. Harry spotted Hermione and Neville at the Gryffindor table and walked over to them. "Good morning," Harry greeted the two.

"Good morning," the two replied one after the other.

"So, Harry, is everything okay?" Hermione asked.

Harry's face scrunched up in confusion as he sat down and started piling food on a plate. "Yes? Why do you ask?"

"We heard you yelling at the Slytherin table last night," Neville answered.

Harry paused in putting food on his plate. "I was yelling?"

"At Malfoy it sounded like," Neville added.

"Oh. He irritated me too much." Harry went back to putting food on his plate.

"He said something about your mother?" Hermione asked, clearly looking to get further explanation.

Harry ate a few bites of eggs and toast. "He called her a mudblood and insulted her and myself in other ways along with other students."

Neville frowned.

Hermione looked somewhat confused. "What's a mudblood?"

"It's an insult used against muggleborns. Certain purebloods believe muggleborns have dirty blood because they don't have magical parents." Neville answered. "How did you know that word, Harry? I thought you were raised by muggles."

"I didn't know exactly what it meant," Harry lied in between bites of food, "but it sounded insulting." It was wonderful just how much food he had access to now that he was at Hogwarts rather than with the Dursleys.

Hermione looked distraught. "I'm going to be looked down on because my parents are muggles? How common is that sort of thinking?"

Neville fidgeted. "Pretty common, but most witches and wizards don't care about blood status. It's probably like one in every four who have an issue with muggleborns. Most of them are purebloods."

"That's still quite a few," Hermione whispered.

"Listen, Hermione, if anyone treats you badly for being a muggleborn, I'll hex them. Okay?" Harry knew plenty of unique hexes. He silently dared anyone to test him.

Hermione smiled though it was obvious she was trying not to. "You really shouldn't go around hexing people. Besides, what hexes could you possibly know?"

Harry waved his hand dismissively, which got a light amount of laughter from his friends. They didn't need to know that he knew far more than they could imagine.

The trio continued eating breakfast and talked about lighter matters. Harry described the Slytherin dungeons to Hermione and Neville, and they described the Gryffindor tower to him.

Professor McGonagall passed out schedules to students at the Gryffindor table and looked at Harry curiously when she saw him. "Mr. Potter, I'm surprised to see you over here and not with members of your House."

"I have friends here," Harry answered simply.

"Understand that you will be expected to sit with your Housemates for dinner. It isn't a problem for students to sit at other Houses' tables for breakfast or lunch, but dinner is a different matter due to the number of students eating at the same time."

"I understand."

"Now, I suggest you go over to the Slytherin table. Professor Snape is handing out schedules to the first-year Slytherins."

"I will. Thank you, professor." Harry finished his breakfast before walking over to Professor Snape.

Professor Snape raised an eyebrow when he noticed the direction Harry came from. "Why were you at the Gryffindor table?"

"I have friends over there, and honestly, I didn't want to deal with Draco first thing this morning." Harry was certain at this point that the professor would have overheard him yelling at Draco the previous night, considering his friends had managed to pick up pieces all the way over at the Gryffindor table. Also, since Severus had been close with his mother, he didn't think Draco would manage to avoid a scolding from the professor, especially since said professor happened to be the boy's godfather.

The professor scowled. "I'll be having a conversation with Mr. Malfoy about his manners."

Harry nodded.

Professor Snape handed over Harry's schedule. "Do make sure to be on time to your classes, and do expect to be questioned in class."

Harry knew that was the professor's way of telling him that he needed to be the perfect student in his class. He didn't expect to have any issue accomplishing that.

The first week of classes passed by without a lot of fanfare. No spellcasting occurred as professors were focused on introducing the subjects to the students.

In each of his classes, Harry had to explain why he was using pens and notebooks for notetaking instead of using a quill, ink, and parchment. For the most part, the professors and students raised in the wizarding world were curious while the muggleborn students were shocked and a little upset that they hadn't done the same. They were struggling to use quills and ink and attempting to write in straight lines on blank parchment when they could have had things easier. Multiple students murmured about how they were going to ask their parents to send them muggle school supplies as soon as possible. Harry only just prevented himself from smirking.

Regarding the actual classes themselves, Harry got to see demonstrations of magic that he understood perfectly but was still entertained by. In Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry found himself doing his best to ignore the professor, choosing to use the time to work on a biography about Tom Riddle. He had wanted to write about the dark wizard for years, and the most convenient time to do so would be in classes where he didn't want to pay attention while students were taking notes. He worked on the biography in History of Magic as well. In Potions, Professor Snape questioned Harry, and Harry answered the questions correctly and with ease.

Friday morning, Harry received a note from Hagrid. It said that he had known Harry's parents and would like to invite him over for tea that afternoon. Harry accepted the invitation. Based on what he knew about Hagrid, the half-giant was someone who had good intentions even if he enjoyed having dangerous creatures for pets. Harry did not approve of Tom framing him as Slytherin's heir and the one controlling Slytherin's monster. It was ridiculous that people had even believed that. Everything about Salazar Slytherin was related to serpents. Why would anyone think an acromantula would be Slytherin's monster instead of a giant snake? It was also highly unlikely that a half-giant would be concerned about blood purity. The blood purists looked down on beings like half-giants! To say that Harry was disappointed with the stupidity of wizards would be an understatement.

Harry found that afternoon that Hagrid was pleasant company. He couldn't bake properly by any means, but he was kind and had plenty to tell Harry about his parents. He even gave Harry a late birthday present, a cake with pink frosting with the words "Happy Birthday Harry" written in green frosting. Honestly, the cake was hideous and hard to eat, but nonetheless, Harry was happy. No one had ever gotten him a real birthday present before. Even Severus hadn't seemed to remember his birthday, despite picking him up from the Dursleys on the very day. Before curfew, Harry headed back inside the castle to the Slytherin dungeons.

He spent Saturday in the library with Hermione and Neville as they all worked on their homework. Harry completed his work before the other two, so he decided to seek out some newspapers dating around the time Voldemort had killed his parents. He was largely aware of events leading up to that point, but he didn't know what happened after that Halloween night. The most recent memories he had from Voldemort were of that night.

Harry sat at a different table from his friends as he looked over the newspapers. Not too long after Voldemort had been defeated, his godfather, Sirius Black, had gone after Peter Pettigrew, killing him and about a dozen muggles with an explosion. All that was left of Pettigrew was a finger. Black was arrested and not too long after put into Azkaban. It was believed that Black had been a Death Eater and had betrayed the Potters. However, Harry knew that it was, in fact, Pettigrew who was a Death Eater and who had betrayed the Potters. It seemed Black had been thrown into Azkaban without even receiving a trial.

Since Harry had been stuck with the Dursleys for all this time, he knew it meant Black was still in Azkaban. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do to prove that Pettigrew had been a Death Eater, and if Black had killed him and several muggles nearby, he was still guilty of killing several people. It was a shame really.

As he suspected, many suspected Death Eaters claimed they'd been under the Imperius Curse during the war, including one Lucius Malfoy, and managed to avoid getting sent to Azkaban. Meanwhile, other Death Eaters did get sent to Azkaban. Bellatrix Lestrange had been sent there, along with her husband, his brother, and Barty Crouch Jr., but it was after they had kidnapped and tortured Frank and Alice Longbottom to the point where they lost their minds. The four Death Eaters had believed the Longbottoms would know of the whereabouts of Voldemort. Harry suspected it was because Voldemort had considered the possibility of the prophesy applying to their child. The Longbottoms had been living in a home that was under the Fidelius Charm, but they had ended it once news had come out about Voldemort's defeat. It was the worst mistake they ever made.

Someday, Harry would get his own home, and he would make sure that it was placed under the Fidelius Charm and that he was the secret keeper. It may have been paranoid thinking on his part, but it seemed the problem was trust. A lack of trust was needed for survival.

After learning the news about the Longbottoms, Harry decided to not read any more newspapers for the day. It was already a lot to take in. Harry hoped that Neville hadn't witnessed any of the harm that befell his parents. The newspapers didn't make it sound like he was around, thankfully.

Harry's second week at Hogwarts went much like the first, except there were flying lessons for the first-year students. He felt excited over the idea of flying. He might've been somewhat nervous if he didn't already know that he'd likely be capable of unassisted flight if he did happen to fall off. It helped that the first time he said "Up" the broom leapt into his hand eagerly.

Neville's broom didn't appear to want to cooperate with him, and the moment the students mounted their brooms, his took off, flying wildly about the place. The incident ended with Neville breaking his wrist and Madam Hooch escorting him to the Hospital Wing. This would be the first of many instances of Neville needing to visit the Hospital Wing for injuries incurred during classes.

Draco picked up Neville's Remembrall, which the boy had received that morning from his grandmother, from the ground and made a couple of rude comments that caused a couple of the Slytherin students to snicker. At first, Harry didn't do anything, but then Hermione gave him a pointed look. Harry sighed and decided the best way to handle the situation would be to convince Draco to give the Remembrall to him. "Give it here, Draco."

Draco tossed the Remembrall up in the air and caught it. "I think I'll keep it."

Harry used a low-level, wandless, nonverbal compulsion charm on Draco. He figured that no one would notice anything out of the ordinary. "Trust me. You don't want that rubbish. Give it to me." He stretched out his hand.

Draco's eyes got a glossy look, and he handed over the Remembrall as he said "You're right. I don't want this rubbish."

Once the Remembrall was safely in Harry's pocket, Draco's eyes grew clear again although he looked a bit confused. Draco sneered and gestured towards the Remembrall. "Perhaps you'll remember who your betters are in the future, Potter."

Harry didn't rise to the bait. He kept a calm, blank look on his face. It only seemed to irritate Draco more, but there wasn't anything for him to do or say to Harry at this time.

Harry noticed Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini looking at him with shrewdness and curiosity in their eyes. Perhaps not all of the children were as unobservant as he thought. From what he could tell, Theodore and Blaise largely kept to themselves, only occasionally interacting with their Housemates. Theodore's father was a long-term Death Eater, one of the early Death Eaters at that. Meanwhile, Harry didn't know anything about the Zabini family, which suggested that the boy didn't have any connection to the Death Eaters. Both boys would be worth getting to know if just to prevent the two from becoming Death Eaters someday.

Over the next few weeks, Harry partnered up with Theodore and Blaise in different classes for their in-class assignments. Both of them were quiet types but for different reasons. Theodore was shy while Blaise was arrogant. Theodore didn't know how he should interact with others and had to be careful with who he interacted with and how. He found Draco's pompous personality and quips amusing at times, but he also didn't feel a desire to get close to him as Draco was a bit too openly arrogant for his taste. Blaise simply felt he was better than just about everyone else but didn't feel a need to make it openly known. Blaise, too, found Draco amusing at times, but he also got annoyed with how loudly and openly arrogant the boy was.

Both Theodore and Blaise inquired about Harry's friendship with Hermione and Neville. Surprisingly, Blaise had a greater issue with Harry befriending a muggleborn than Theodore did. Neither was entirely put off by this though they did inform Harry that they wouldn't be seen hanging around Hermione.

It wasn't long before Harry was able to consider Theodore and Blaise to be friendly acquaintances. He was glad that he had Housemates he could have decent interactions with whenever he was with the Slytherins.

Most of the negative attention Hermione received wasn't actually related to her being a muggleborn at all, Harry found. The girl was considered a know-it-all, and apparently, Gryffindors in particular didn't like smart girls who could earn them a bunch of points in classes. The most vocal complainer was Ronald Weasley.

When the students practiced the levitation charm in Charms, Hermione helpfully corrected Ronald's pronunciation and gave a flawless demonstration, earning applause from Professor Flitwick and five points for Gryffindor. The boy didn't appreciate it at all and mockingly imitated her while walking from class with Seamus Finnigan, a boy who had somehow blown up his feather, and Dean Thomas. Hermione overheard and walked away crying because it was yet another instance of her getting insulted and mocked by her peers. Harry learned all of this from Neville a little while later at lunch.

When it became obvious that Hermione wasn't going to come to lunch, Harry gathered a sandwich and an apple to take to her. He and Neville then went looking for her. Lavender Brown, a girl whose tendency to gossip was useful in this instance, informed them that Hermione was crying in the girls' bathroom on the second floor.

Once the two boys reached the bathroom, without entering, Harry opened the door slightly and called out "Hermione?" He heard sniffling but got no response. "Hermione, this is Harry. Neville's with me. He told me what happened. Ronald's a git. He's not worth listening to. If he can't appreciate your help, that says more about him than it does about you. Neville and I brought you some food since you missed lunch. Now, will you please come out?"

Harry heard one of the stall doors open, and briefly afterwards, Hermione exited the bathroom. Harry handed her the sandwich and the apple. "Thank you," Hermione said quietly.

The students went off to their afternoon classes, and when the time came for the Halloween feast, Hermione sat with Neville at the Gryffindor table.

Harry attended the feast just for enough time to eat dinner before he left. While most students were excited over the Halloween festivities, Harry wasn't. This was the anniversary of his parents' deaths. He felt like mourning them. He was only a little surprised that the holiday hadn't been renamed Harry Potter Day or something like it since he did "defeat" the dark lord and end the war on this day all those years ago.

While on his way to the Slytherin dungeons, Harry smelled an incredibly foul, rotting stench that was followed up by the sound of large, thumping steps. Then the source came into view. There was a troll in the castle. He covered his nose with his sleeve. The stench made him want to vomit up his dinner, and that wouldn't be good at all. He pressed himself into a corner concealed by shadows, hoping the troll wouldn't notice him. It didn't. However, that led to a new problem. Did anyone know there was a troll in the castle? Harry needed to let someone know.

The troll appeared to be heading towards the Great Hall at first, but strangely enough, it took the stairs instead. What a stupid beast. It couldn't even properly head towards the food (humans) it desired to consume. It was an odd sight, seeing a troll walk up stairs. Harry debated following the troll versus entering the Great Hall and informing the professors. He decided it'd be better to inform the professors. There was no point in risking his own life.

When Harry entered the Great Hall, he made a beeline for Headmaster Dumbledore. The headmaster looked surprised, but before he could speak, Harry stated, "There's a troll in the castle. It's heading up the stairs."

Dumbledore was about to stand up when Professor Quirrell entered the Great Hall, screaming "Troll! Troll in the dungeon!" and pathetically ending with "Thought you ought to know" before falling to the ground in the fakest-looking faint that Harry had ever seen. While he personally didn't have experience with observing people faint, Voldemort had seen plenty of people faint from fear, which really was always very unfortunate for those individuals. It made their capture and deaths all the easier.

Harry felt very suspicious about the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor right then. First of all, normally, the man stuttered in just about every sentence he uttered, yet now he didn't? Secondly, he was the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. Why was he so afraid of a troll that it caused him to faint? It didn't make any sense. Thirdly, did the professor even actually faint? It didn't look authentic at all. If the professor didn't break his jaw or at least smash out a few teeth on the floor with the angle at which he fell, that faint was not real. If the faint wasn't real, then what was the professor hoping to accomplish with the stunt? Realization dawned on Harry. Did the professor let the troll into the castle? And if so, why? While Harry was pondering all of this, Dumbledore was directing the students where to go.