15 Chapter 15: First Days

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2 September 1991, Hogwarts

He found his trunk next to a bed that he assumed was his, and Hedwig was waiting for him on top of it. He opened his trunk to grab a change of clothes and went to bed.

"Goodnight, Hedwig," Harry said to his faithful owl, who hooted back at him. In the end, Harry grabbed his book and kept reading until he fell asleep, excited for his magical education to truly begin.

Harry woke up, after what felt like the best night's sleep he ever had in his life. The bed was very comfortable. Well, anything would be more comfortable than the cheap thin mattress the Dursleys had given him, but this bed was even better than the one he had in the Leaky Cauldron.

He looked at the clock and it was half past six, meaning that he had half an hour to ready himself before the prefects came to get them and lead them to the great hall to eat their breakfast, and get their schedule.

The young wizard was always an early riser. He had to be. Petunia had the tendency to leave without him to school and force him to walk to school. Needless to say, his body was practically conditioned to wake up early.

Harry chose to use this extra time to clean himself, put his clothes in the small closet awarded to him, and take a small shower. As he readied himself, he thought back to what happened the previous day. He was now officially a Hogwarts student; he will start his classes later in the day. He was also sorted in Slytherin, to the obvious shock and disappointment of McGonagall, Snape, and Dumbledore.

Considering that he was technically a candidate for the prophecy – according to the stories, at least. Neville Longbottom, the only other candidate was attacked by Voldemort, and the Potters were attacked by the Lestranges later. That meant that it was very likely that Harry could be the second candidate for the Prophecy, Dumbledore's backup plan if Longbottom fails, and wasn't that a disturbing notion?

In a way, Harry's sorting in Slytherin was a boon. Because like it or not, it was very unlikely that he would develop with Longbottom since Harry was in the house of Death Eater. In a way, he should be far away from Dumbledore's and Voldemort's machinations, at least he shouldn't be more than an afterthought, a lost opportunity, for the headmaster.

With his preparations done, Harry grabbed the expanded backpacks he bought in Diagon Alley, put enough parchment for a day, a few self-inking quills, and his schoolbooks. He didn't know what classes he had that day, and it didn't hurt to be prepared.

Still, he had enough time and chose to simply get down to the common room, sit on one of the absurdly comfortable chairs and continue reading his book.

He was so lost in his reading that he sprang up when the familiar voice of Gemma Farley spoke up, "You're up early!"

"It's a habit," he simply replied.

The older girl looked at the book in his hands and smirked, "Devouring your schoolbooks already?"

Harry simply shrugged, "It's a fiction book, about the adventures of a curse breaker, not a schoolbook. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't read it just for the fun of it. I'll wait until I know the basics before reading ahead at my leisure."

Harry must have surprised the girl because she froze for a few seconds or so before taking a closer look at the cover of the book Harry was holding, "I think one of my friends told me about it. Is it an interesting read?"

Harry simply shrugged, "It depends. The plot is average, to be honest, the love interest is obviously forced, but I guess it can be called interesting. I would have stopped reading it if it was horrible."

Their conversation was interrupted by the rest of the first years going down the stairs. Blaise walked towards him with a small frown on his face.

"Where were you?" the dark-skinned boy demanded.

"Here, I woke up early," Harry said while shrugging.

Gemma then clapped her hand and started speaking, "Well, welcome to your first day as Hogwarts students, and your main challenge in the first few weeks will be to navigate the castle. Now, actually mapping down the castle is impossible. There are too many spacial manipulating charms, secret rooms, and random changes at any time. By the time you map down the castle, it would end up being different.

"What can be done, however, is to map down certain locations in Hogwarts that are known for not changing. Professor Snape has graciously given you the start of a map that only includes the location of your common room, the great hall, the hospital wing, and the location of each of your classes. The roads outlined between these locations are also unchangeable, but they are not the faster routes to your destination. You will need to discover these on your own. Hogwarts is full of secret passages, hidden rooms, and trick staircases. Remember, if you ever get lost, asking for portrait should be your first reflex. You are expected to get lost, so, take that into account to not be late for any of your classes. Is anyone confused with what I just said?"

The first years shook their heads and the older witch nodded to them, "Alright, everyone, take a map and we'll start navigating the castle towards the great hall. Remember, do not lose the maps; there will not be any replacements. If you destroy someone else's map, I will be severely displeased."

Each of Harry's new classmates walked towards the pile of parchment, and Harry took one of his own. It was a map of the castle, that was divided into each of the seven floors and the dungeons. It was mostly just the staircases and corridors, except for the few rooms that were coloured. There was nothing magical about the piece of parchment. It was just a simple map. Even the Library wasn't on the damn map.

After scrambling about, the Slytherin first years followed Gemma, with their maps in their hands, and walked towards the Great Hall.

Meanwhile, Gemma started telling them about the basics of Hogwarts, common mistakes, and interesting locations. Apparently, Peeves, the poltergeist, tended to avoid messing with Slytherin students because of the Bloody Baron. Although, the house ghost himself rarely ever spoke to living students. She also warned them from entering the Forbidden Forest, saying that it was full of dangerous creatures, and many older students were permanently injured because of it.

Another thing she warned them about was Argus Filch, the caretaker. Apparently, he was a loathsome sadistic squib that hated children and can be very unreasonable if a school rule was broken. His familiar, a cat called Mrs Norris, tended to patrol the castle as well and was smart enough to bring any rule breaking to her master's attention if she saw them.

By the end of what seemed like a small lecture about the general workings of Hogwarts, they arrived in the Great Hall and walked to the Slytherin table. The breakfast wasn't as extravagant as the feast, but it held everything a growing boy needed in the morning.

Harry sat down next to Blaise and started eating some eggs and bacon, before complaining slightly, "Oh, what I would do for a cup of coffee."

As soon as he finished speaking, a cup of glorious coffee appeared next to him. Harry blinked in amazement, took a small sip and sighed, "Oh, this is delightful. Thank you."

Blaise gave him a weird look, "The house elves. Food can't be conjured, it's one of the fundamental laws of transfiguration. House elves just make things down in the kitchen and move them to the hall, not the other way around."

"How do you know that?" Malfoy asked.

"It's not a secret that Hogwarts has the largest concentration of house elves in Britain," Harry drawled back.

The boy flushed slightly before looking away. Harry didn't care if the blonde boy was accidentally offended; he was perfectly happy just sipping his morning coffee. Although he wondered if it was possible for him to ask an elf to constantly give him cups of coffee over the course of the day.

When Gemma finally gave them their schedules, they realized that they had Transfiguration as their first lesson. Honestly, Harry was eager to learn it. The theory was fascinating if a little simplistic.

Well, it was natural; they were written for the average eleven-year-old child to understand. Harry was many things, but a normal child, he is not. It was easy to get bored with the instructions when in a past life, he had learnt to understand published academic papers. Still, it was where the basics of the theory were explained, and while slightly tedious in their repetition, the recommended books were informative.

Harry followed his classmates to the transfiguration classroom and stifled a smirk when he saw a tabby cat on the Professor's desk. The cat was too aware for it to be a normal animal and was observing them too carefully. When the cat met Harry's eyes, its stare felt piercing and just too human. He knew without a doubt that this cat was an Animagus, that it was Professor McGonagall.

Harry stifled a groan when he realized that the rest of the class was filled with Gryffindor, meaning that they will share the class with the house of the lions for the rest of the year.

When the bell rang, there were still a few missing students, but the Professors didn't seem to care and just turned back into her human form. The class gasped; even Harry did when he actually knew that the cat was their professor in disguise. The magic was that impressive.

The transfiguration seemed nonsensical. The brain of a cat was less complex than that of a human. So, how was McGonagall able to think normally while in her animal form? Well, that was probably an extra trip to the library. He seemed to need the library even more.

Still, the severe looking woman started her lesson with a severe warning, "Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts," she said. "Anyone messing around in my class will leave and not come back. You have been warned."

She then changed her desk into a pig and back, and everyone was suitably interested in the field. That was until she continued explaining, "You will not start by doing something this complex in your first year, let alone your first day of attending Hogwarts. Instead, you will focus on the basics. Transfiguration is a school of magical change. In this first year, we will focus on inanimate-to-inanimate transfiguration. This type of transfiguration has countless applications and methods, where a physically inert object is turned into another. This field of magic is mostly based on two spells that you will need to master possible before you can even cast a single spell. The alteration spell, and the material transformation spell. It's this combination of those two spells that every single transfiguration spell is crafted."

"You will learn to master the two spells during this simple assignment. The alteration spell has the incantation Verto and a triangle as wand movement. Start from the top and do it clockwise. This allows you to transform the shape of an object. The spell is anchored to your intent and imagination, you will need to picture the result of the spell before casting it."

Professor McGonagall then waved her arms and the name of the spell, and its incantation was written on the board. Even the wand movements were drawn.

The deputy headmistress then continued, "The mutation spell has the incantation Muto which transforms the physical matter into another. Like turning wood into metal without changing its shape. The wand movement is a counterclockwise circle with a swish to the right."

She swished her wand and the information on the mutation spell was displayed.

The witch then gave them a severe frown, "I will provide each of you with a match. Using the information, I just gave you, you have until the rest of the class to transform them into needles. The first to accomplish such a task will gain a personal lesson from me, on any transfiguration topic you want, that is valid until the end of your schooling. If you don't realize it, it is not an opportunity I grant easily. Now, get on with it. Let's see what you can do."


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Thank you guys for your support in these hard times.

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