Harold happily dug in to the food presented as the feast appeared on platters across the tables, taking whatever looked good and adding it to his plate without taking too much. The 'late lunch' aboard the train had been quite filling, so he wasn't that hungry just now. Instead, he focused on what was going on around him while he nibbled, taking in everything. He could see that ancient magic was steeped into every stone of the castle, giving it almost a life of its own, and the enchantments scattered throughout supported by that magical life. The way they interacted was quite beautiful, though he could see a few places where time was beginning to weigh on the structure. A bit of mana infusion here or there was probably called for, he'd let Uncle Rubeus know what to look for.

"That does look good," a voice said from his elbow.

Glancing over, Harold spotted the ghost that had been addressed as 'Sir Nicholas' earlier. "Have a bite?" Harold offered, grabbing a spare fork, stabbing a mouthful, and holding it up.

The ghost chuckled indulgently. "Oh, I don't need to eat anymore," he hastened to assure him. "Can't, actually. One does miss such things..." His voice trailed off as he noticed Harold's eyes glowing before he felt a shiver in the air. "What did you-" His words were cut off as Harold shoved the fork into his mouth and he tasted it!

"Good, isn't it?" Harold asked as he returned to his eating. "Help yourself, why don't you?"

Sir Nicholas stared at him in stunned amazement. "H...how did you do that?" he asked desperately, mightily resisting the urge to dive on the food and devour it. He did reach over and find he was able to grab the fork, and he quickly began to eat. Other ghosts around the Hall noticed and attempted to mirror his actions at the other tables...and found to their delight that they could.

"Just a little bit of Family Magic," Harold explained readily. "It's not being a good host if all the dinner guests aren't enjoying themselves, after all." He chuckled as several around marveled at that, and waved Hermione off as she started trying to barrage him with questions. "Not over dinner," he insisted. "Save that for when we don't have as many distractions." A brief glance at the Slytherin table and he saw Draco sitting with Vincent, Gregory, and a ghost that appeared to be covered in silvery blood. He idly wondered what they were talking about.


Draco had begun networking as soon as he sat down at the table, immediately sounding out who was who, what families they belonged to, how closely they were allied to his own, and - most importantly - how strong their personal agreement was with the family dogma. Vincent and Gregory were especially helpful in that regard, as no one expected them to be too smart and so they could react in various ways to mentioned bits of dogma, and how those around reacted to them said a lot about how they really felt. Reading people was a lesson Lucius had drilled into Draco, and while he'd never given it much thought - and Lucius had considered his lack of demonstrated skill there previously to be a dissappointment - he was surprisingly good at it. Perhaps what had been lacking was a genuine motivation, a personal desire to put the skills to use.

"Well, isn't this interesting," a dry, whispery voice stated at his elbow, echoing with power as the temperature seemed to drop.

Suppressing a shiver, Draco turned to the source of the voice and found himself eye to eye with a ghost. Covered in silvery blood, the ghost still had a powerful face and build, speaking of someone who knew what it meant to wield power of many sorts and was disdainful of those who envied it without truly understanding what it meant. Draco knew exactly who this was from his Father's lessons. This was the Slytherin ghost, the Bloody Baron. "Something intrigues you, Your Lordship?" he asked diffidently.

The Baron looked at him for a time, and an unsettling smirk crossed his normally passive features. "You aren't what was expected," he breathed - if it could be called that coming from one who had no lungs - with a hint of excitement. "There's more to you. Good. Salazar would be pleased."

Draco felt his eyes widen. The Bloody Baron had known Salazar Slytherin in life? That was a surprise. However, he already knew the Baron disdained and ignored any questions regarding his past, and that trying to ask directly would be futile at best, and alienate the specter at worst. "I'm honored by such praise," he offered instead. "I hope to continue to live up to such high expectations." He felt his ego trying to grow in response to the praise, but firmly kept it in check. It wouldn't do to become blinded by the first few good signs only to lose the war. He was going against quite a bit more than just average schooling or trying to befriend a powerful potential ally. He was secretly trying to undermine parts of long held family views for the sake of one who was supposed to be so far beneath him as to not matter, according to those views. The slightest mistake, one wrong word in the wrong place or time, and everything could come crashing down with unknowable consequences. ...why did that excite him so?

The Baron's smirk widened. "Definitely not what was expected," he purred softly. "I look forward to seeing what you accomplish-" A shiver passed through the air of the Great Hall, and the Baron glanced towards the source in time to see Harold feed Sir Nicholas. Raising an eyebrow, the Baron reached forward and picked up a peppermint humbug from the table. Surprised to discover he could do so, he placed it in his mouth...and seemed to sag into himself. "These next seven years will be very interesting," he purred eagerly.


Sometime during dessert, his fellow Gryffindors got up the courage to ask Harold a few questions about what it was like to be an Addams, only for him to counter by stating he'd never been anything else and asking to hear about their families for comparison. As the dialogue went on and Harold provided a few snippits about the sort of things that went on at Addams' Manor, one fellow student actually had the temerity to ask, "You mean all those rumors about the Addams are true?"

"I wouldn't know," Harold allowed with an amused smirk. "I haven't heard all the rumors."

It wasn't long after that interchange that Harold glanced towards the High Table where the teachers sat. Professor Snape was talking to a cringing waif of a man wearing a heavy purple turban. The back of the man's head was towards Harold...and Harold felt a twinge in his scar, a reaction from the soul fragment caged within.

Well now, he thought curiously. That's certainly something to investigate at some point...

Not long after that, the desserts vanished after the rest of the feast, and Professor Dumbledore stood up to get everyone's attention. "Ahem," he began, gently clearing his throat as his voice projected over the crowd. "Just a few more words now that we've been fed and watered. I have a few start of term notices to give you. First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils." His eyes twinkled as he sent a smirk towards a few students in particular, though it was hard to tell who. "And a few of our older students would do well to remember that, too." He smoothed his beard for a moment before continuing. "I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors."

"So before or after classes or anywhere other than the corridors is fine, then?" Harold asked quietly, causing Ron and Neville to snicker, Hermione to widen her eyes in surprise, and Sir Nicholas to chuckle indulgently.

"Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term," Dumbledore continued. "Anyone interested in playing for their House teams should contact Madam Hooch."

Harold frowned, wondering what 'Quidditch' was. Ron looked rather excited at the mention of it, so he supposed he would ask him.

"And finally, I must tell you all that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand-side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death," Dumbledore concluded.

As many shivered at that announcement, Harold's eyes lit up. Now didn't that sound like a good time!

Dumbledore paused, noticing Harold's excitement. "I hate singling out students like this, but for the sake of our sanity, would Harold James Addams please not take that as an invitation?" he pleaded gently. Harold hid a pout as several bursts of laughter were released around the Great Hall. As a smile returned to Dumbledore's face, he continued, "And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!" With a flick of his wand, a long golden ribbon snaked out of the tip to form words in the air above the High Table where everyone could see them. "Everyone pick your favorite tune-"

Harold's eyes widened in terror.

"-and off we go!"

Before the first syllable left anyone's lips, Harold vanished, having firmly decided to be elsewhere as long as that particular 'musical' monstrosity was going on. Uncle Rubeus would let him know when it was safe to step back in.