-~-~- Altair -~-~-
-~-~-by Still waters are deep-~-~-
#"the brightest star in the constellation Aquila and the twelfth brightest star in the night sky. In astrology, the star Altair was ill-omened, portending danger from reptiles" (Wikipedia)
# here: In honour of Professor Altair Black who initiated the offering of taking different kinds of sexual magic at Hogwarts, the ceremony where the Hogwarts students are made aware of this choice was named "Altair". It sounds similar to the verb "Alter"(Changing) which suits the event because it has the possibility to alter your life.
-~-~- prologue – the Altair celebration -~-~-
It is a tradition in Hogwarts that on the night of the Leaving Feast the current sixth-year students are invited by the seventh-year students to come up to their dorms for a special event. This event is rumoured to be as life altering as the Sorting Ceremony in first year. Its name, Altair, was named after Professor Altair Black who introduced this event some hundred years ago.
And so, it happened that on the morning of the day of the Leaving Feast when the owls came with the morning mail, Hermione was not the only one of the Golden Trio to receive an owl. After she had paid the owl for the Prophet, she looked over at the two boys, sitting across from her at the Gryffindor table, whose owls, Hedwig and Pig, had delivered a package to each of their owners.
"Who would send us a package when we are going home tomorrow anyway?" Ron asked.
"It must be from the twins. They said something about wanting to send the two of you some fashionable clothes for the Altair tonight," Ginny answered her brother's question from across the table, hoping that the twins also went through with the prank on Ron mentioned in the same letter.
When Ron opened his package, it seemed that they'd held their word because atop of a maroon button-up shirt lay a card from the twins saying:
~Since people always say that mothers know what it best for their kids, we decided to go with Mum's colour scheme for your outfit.
Have fun tonight!
Fred and George, your best brothers ever!~
"Argh," Ron groaned. "Why did they have to send me such an awful colour?"
Ginny only giggled silently.
"Come on, Ron, it could be a lot worse. Remember the robe from the Yule ball? At least the shirt isn't from the last century. And I am sure that underneath the shirt there is a pair of better looking jeans for you," Harry tried to reassure Ron while he went through his own package from the twins that contained a pair of black skinny jeans, a simple black t-shirt and a pale violet sleeveless silk shirt.
When Ron looked over, he groaned even more, complaining about the unfairness of it all, especially since Harry's card from the twins read:
~What best brothers ever would we be if we let our honorary brother show up at such a life altering event as the Altair with unfashionable clothes?
Have fun, make us proud and make sure to not break too many hearts tonight ;)
George and Fred ~
"Stop complaining, Ron! Be happy that they didn't send you one of the eye-blinding shirts they wear," Hermione reprimanded.
Ron only hmmed, but at least he stopped ranting in favour of eating some more sausages and scrambled eggs. After all of them were finished with breakfast Ginny finally showed Ron some mercy and told him to move his wand in a circular motion over his new shirt while saying "The twins are the best brothers ever!".
"Why should I do such a thing, Ginny?"
"Simply do it, Ron."
And when he still did not comply after some moments, Hermione further encouraged him with a, "Come on. It won't hurt you to do as Ginny said". Eventually, he finally gave in while muttering some more complaints under his breath. After Ron said the word "ever", to his surprise the shirt's colour changed from maroon to a dark green which would go well with his red hair.
"Why can't they stop pulling those pranks on their siblings? And why did it have to turn into Slytherin green?" Ron further complained, obviously still not satisfied with the colour of his shirt.
"And why can you not stop complaining for once? The two of them own a joke shop so why shouldn't they play a prank or two?" Ginny answered back, annoyed by his constant complains.
"Says the one who was in on it! And Hermione had to know about it too, or why else would she encourage me to do as Ginny said?" With that said, Ron got up and left the Great Hall together with his clothing package, annoyed that the girls approved of the twins' prank and also because after the shirt changed colour it had to turn Slytherin green of all things.
-~-~-~-~-~-~-Altair-a life changing event-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Luckily for Harry, the row Hermione and Ron had at breakfast was over by dinnertime. It could have had something to do with Hermione having commented to Ginny that she thought Ron looks rather handsome in green, which Ron overheard.
So with this problem solved, the sixth-year Gryffindors were getting ready for the Altair that would start in half an hour.
"Come on, guys, I don't want to be scolded by Hermione for being late," Ron announced to his roommates.
"More like wanting to impress her with the new shirt of yours because she said earlier that green looks sexy on you," Dean replied. "Maybe you better leave without us. I'm sure when Hermione sees Harry, she will forget all about you and will go for Harry over here instead. The dark colours really do suit him. And what girl doesn't appreciate looking at a fit Quidditch player. If Harry didn't have to wear his glasses, you wouldn't have a chance at all."
"Too bad that the twins also included a pair of Muggle contact lenses in the package. But do not worry, Ron. Hermione is so much in love with you, she won't even spare Harry a glance. The rest of the female population, on the other hand ..." Seamus added after he saw Harry putting in said contacts.
"You really are great friends," Ron said sarcastically to his two dorm mates.
"But seriously, guys, I don't think that I look that great," Harry said, having low self-esteem regarding his looks. It wasn’t too surprising taking into account that all his life, school-robes aside, he had to wear Dudley's old and far too big hand me downs. Add in being called freak all the time he was in Surrey to the mix, it was no wonder that Harry did not believe he was a rather good looking young man.
"You really do look good in these clothes, Harry. Especially since they fit for a change, and the violet colour of your shirt gives you a mystic aura while enchanting the vibrant green colour of your eyes at the same time," Neville tried to reassure his friend.
Harry got a light blush from those words and mumbled, "If you say so," under his breath, not fully believing his friends' words.
"Does anyone know how we are getting to the place where the Altair is held? I have never seen any of the previous sixth-years leaving the dorms after they went up the stairs to meet with the seventh-years," Neville asked his roommates.
"I am not sure, but Hermione has a theory. She thinks that it is possible that the Headmaster takes down the Anti-Apparition-wards in their dorm so that they can Side-Along-Apparate us to the location," Harry answered while taking another look at the mirror and trying to see what Neville, Seamus and Dean found so handsome about him but not finding anything.
"Come on, you lot. It is time to go," Ron called from the dorm entrance, still eager to leave so that he could impress his Hermione.
And so, the five boys went up the staircase to go to the seventh-year boys' dorm entrance from where they would be led by the seventh-year prefect to the place where the Altair was going to be held tonight.
The current seventh-year prefect was waiting for them at the entrance of his dorm and greeted them with a, "Welcome to the Altair," before opening the door to the dorm and letting them enter the room before him.
To their surprise, instead of entering another ordinary dorm, they ended up in a common room of sorts. Instead of the four-posters and the Gryffindor colour scheme, they saw couches, loveseats and armchairs in black and browns inside a big circular room which in general was decorated in earth colours.
"Nice dorm," Seamus commented.
Looking around Harry saw a big fireplace around which the majority of the sofas and loveseats were located. Across from the fireplace, on the other side of the room, there was a big staircase leading to a balcony of sorts which went around three-quarters of the room, granting access to the rooms upstairs. Tables and other seating accommodation were scattered around the rest of the room.
Behind the staircase was a door with the Hogwarts symbol on it, and to the right and left of the door were four other doors, each of them having the symbol of one of the Hogwarts Houses on it. Harry was currently standing with Ron to the left of the staircase before the door showing the Gryffindor lion.
Looking around, Harry not only saw Hermione standing with the other girls from Gryffindor near a table to the left of the fireplace but also sixth- and seventh-year students from all the other Hogwarts Houses. "Look, Ron, Hermione is standing over there."
"Hey, Hermione, it seems like your theory of Apparating in here was wrong, or did you not enter through the dormitory door like us?" Harry greeted his best friend.
"I can't be right all the times, can I?" Hermione answered grudgingly. "But this is by far more interesting than simply Apparating. It must be very advanced space-travel-magic, even more complex than the enchantment on the ceiling in the Great Hall. I am surprised that it wasn't mentioned in 'Hogwarts: A History'."
"If someone would know this, it would be you, Hermione," Ron commented while laying an arm around Hermione's waist and giving her a kiss on the cheek. "By the way, you look good in your new summer dress."
"You look rather handsome yourself, the both of you do," Hermione answered him while leaning back against Ron's chest. "The twins really did a good job picking those clothes. Who would have thought that contacts and tighter clothes would make such a huge difference in Harry's appearance? You better try to avoid Cho tonight if you don't want to have her clinging to you all night. Or better yet, avoid the whole female population to be on the safe side."
Not far away from Hermione, Draco Malfoy was lounging in one of the couches near the fireplace, listening in on the conversation between the friends. Hearing Granger praising Potter's appearance, he looked up from his position on the couch and looked over to the trio. Granger isn't exaggerating. Potter really does look hot tonight. Those fitting clothes do suit his lean figure rather well. Let's hope that he will continue wearing clothes that fit his body instead of the rags he usually wears. Who would have thought that without his glasses his green eyes seem even brighter? Or is this because of the pale violet colour of his sleeveless shirt?
"You're not the first one today to tell him that. The other guys in our dorm have already said something like that, but Harry here didn't want to believe them earlier. But when you say it, he has to finally believe that it is the truth, don't you, Harry?" Ron asked trying to increase his friend's self-esteem.
"Yeah," Harry answered shyly while messing up his hair with his left hand.
At 8 pm sharp, the middle door with the Hogwarts crest opened and Headmaster Dumbledore entered the room together with the four Heads of House.
"Welcome to the seventh-year dorm, my dears," Dumbledore greeted the students. "I am sure that most of our sixth-year students are surprised to have ended up in a common room instead of the expected usual dorms. The reason for this is quite simple, since all of you will be seventeen and with that of age next term, you will be able to take up new elective subjects, the Altair electives, which require special living arrangements without the boundaries of the House System. That is why the rooms upstairs were created together with the Altair common room here so that students of all Houses can live together. Professor Snape will now further explain to you what those wonderful new classes are about." Dumbledore took a seat on an armchair and began eating some lemon drops.
"Since you all technically will be adults next school year, you will be free to choose new, more sensitive subjects which underage pupils aren't allowed to take because the magic involved requires intercourse of one kind or another. That is why they are summarised as sexual magic." With this some faces turned red. Snape only smirked evilly and went on.
"The students who choose to participate in those classes will be paired into groups of two. Your partner will be chosen by compatibility of magic, body and classes, regardless of gender or House affiliation. So, be prepared to be partnered with someone from the same sex and an opposite House, since you won't be able to change your partner once they are assigned. You will share a room with your partner so that you will have a private place to practice the sexual magic you choose to take up. The rooms are up the stairs and consist of two separate rooms and a hallway. For those who decided to practice sexual magic one of the rooms will change into something appropriative for your chosen subject while the other room will turn into a regular sleeping quarter with some desks for schoolwork. Furthermore, the students who don't choose any sexual magic classes will also be paired according to their classes to make sure that no one knows who took up sexual magic lessons. The regular students will have a regular room each."
After Professor Snape had finished, Dumbledore stood up with a twinkle in his blue eyes. "Thank you for the short explanation, Severus. Further information about those classes will be owled to you during the holidays, or as soon as you turn seventeen. Also, there is a spell in place which makes sure that only people over sixteen are able to speak about this event to assure that underage children don't know of this rather sensitive topic before they can develop a necessary respect for this part of magic. But, for now, let us enjoy the Altair."