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The Rules of Hufflepuff

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Rule 1: Always be kind

 

Harry wasn't used to riding the train. Sure, there were times when he did, but they were rare and the last time he did so he could barely remember. Not that he minded of course. If it was important he would have surely remembered such a thing, but alas, the trip seemed like a fog had washed over a field and one could barely see their hand just inches in front of their face. He did remember his aunt and uncle being quite furious but that was everyday, so he wasn't sure if that part of the memory was particularly new. If anything, he was just rambling to himself and should focus, instead, on what was ahead.

The train was quite nice. A large, maroon train on an odd sounding platform in a busy station that was also in the middle of no where. Sure, you'd be Somewhere at the beginning, King's Cross Station, but after passing through the large barrier between Muggle and Magical, one could say that they were No Where. He was quite glad that the nice redheaded lady with her swarm of younglings were around when he was so kindly dropped off by Hagrid, or else he was sure he'd miss the train. 

Harry looked away from the window and the passing landscape when he heard the door to the compartment slide open and a familiar mop of red hair appear on the other side. He looked a bit sheepish and shy, so Harry tried to put on his friendliest smile to try and ease the other boy's worries.

"Anyone sitting there?" he asked, pointing at the open seat across from Harry. "Everywhere else is full."

"No, that's free. You're welcome to sit there, if you'd like," Harry said. He was glad he didn't put anything of his on there. He would have, though, if he had anything big enough that couldn't fit in the area above him.

"Thanks." The other redheaded boy gladly sat down, caving into the plush green seats of the train compartment. By that point a pair of twins popped up in the doorway, the same twins that helped Harry with his trunk. He wondered if they possibly forgot something.

"Hey Ron." They said. "Listen, we're going down the middle of the train -- Lee Jordan's got a giant tarantula down there."

Their brother mumbled something under his breath that Harry didn't catch, not that he was trying to. He tuned out as soon as he noticed that both of their attention was towards their youngest, so he politely turned away so that they'd have a private conversation. He only tuned back in when his name was called.

"Harry, did we introduce ourselves?" one of the twins asked. Harry shook his head. "Fred and George Weasley. And this is Ron, our brother." They showed a hand towards the boy, Ron, sitting across from him. "See you later, then."

The two redheads were off, being waved off by the two first years sitting in a nearly empty compartment, an awkward air between them. It was Ron who broke the silence.

"Are you really Harry Potter?" Ron asked, more like blurted out, to the other red head.

"Yeah, are you really Ron Weasley?" Harry asked back, raising an eyebrow, though he hit himself internally for not holding his tongue. If Uncle Vernon were here, he was sure he'd get severely punished. Maybe an hour or two in the cramped closet he called a room.

"Er, yeah... Sorry... I thought it might be one of Fred and George's jokes... And have you really got -- you know..."  Ron pointed towards his own forehead, though he looked at Harry's instead.

Harry didn't really understand the big deal with a simple head wound. Yes, he did apparently gain it after battling a big baddie when he was just a child, but he was sure it wasn't just him who did it. How could a one year old child just simply look innocently (maybe even fearful???) up at a man who was so many years older than him, and manage to defeat someone much more powerful?

But Harry allowed himself to entertain Ron Weasley, just a little, and pushed back the thick red locks that covered the gnarly scar that covered nearly all of his forehead. He could memorize each line that crossed along his skin after so many years of staring at it as a child. The many zigzags that overlapped one another, making the entire thing look like a white storm had been frozen in place on half of his forehead. He remembered getting pitying looks from parents and curious stares from children his age or younger when the unruly mop didn't nearly graze his eyes; when the scar of his past that reminded so many in this world of his parent's sacrifice wasn't covered by hair.

"So that's where You-Know-Who..."

"Yes," said Harry," but I can't remember it."

Ronald looked extremely surprised, if the wide eyed look on his face didn't prove it. "Nothing?" He seemed almost eager to here that small tiny detail about him. Harry wondered if it was because he was famous...

"Well -- I remember a lot of green light, but nothing else," Harry admitted. Ron gave an exclamation of what seemed to be admiration and starred at him for a few moments, though he seemed to realize what he was doing was making Harry uncomfortable, so he looked away as soon as possible.

"You look a lot different than I thought you'd be..." Ron said. He tugged on his own red hair, which was only a few shade's lighter than Harry's own. "You could almost pass for a Weasley. You're eyes're just a bit different..."

Harry made no comment.

"Are all your family wizards?" he asked finally. He had noticed how large of a sibling pile Ronald Weasley seemed to have, so he wondered if there was an even larger extended family as well. He knew his family had no such thing, though that didn't mean anything to other families, of course. It was always polite to ask.

"Er-- Yes, I think so. I think Mom's got a second cousin who's an accountant, but we never talk about him."

That started a conversation that was both extremely gloomy and interesting at the same time. Harry enjoyed talking to Ron, who he hoped felt the same talking to him even with the fame status that his name carried, and he hoped that the two of them would become great friends. They had talked a little about school, even after the trolley woman left with bits and pieces of her merchandise missing and the two redheads began swapping treats. 

They weren't interrupted for a while until there was another knock on their compartment door and they noticed the round-faced boy that Harry recognized when he entered the platform. He looked heartbroken, nearly in tears as he wrung his hands in front of him.

"Sorry, but have you seen a toad at all?" The boy was distraught once he saw their heads shake 'no'. "I've lost him! He keeps getting away from me!"

"He'll turn up," said Harry, who felt bad for the boy in distress.

"Yes," said the boy miserably. "Well, if you see him..." He turned to leave, but as if a force that wasn't his own pushed Harry up, the redheaded Boy-Who-Lived quickly caught the blonde's attention.

"I'll help you look for him, if you'd like." He didn't know where any of that came from, but there was a small part of him that didn't really like the oh-so-familiar face of distress and fear on the pudgy boy's face, an expression that Harry had so often wore and was sure he'd feel better if he had someone out there who'd help him when he needed it. Probably one of the reasons why he had felt so happy being with Hagrid, who had done just that only weeks ago.

"You won't mind if I was gone for a few minutes, would you Ron? I'll come right back, I promise," Harry directed this towards his new friend, who seemed a bit annoyed but agreed and continued to nibble on some of the Bertie Bot's Beans that they had bought earlier. Harry grinned, apologizing quickly, before darting out and dragging the boy (who he quickly learned was called Neville Long-something later {his last name was a bit mumbled so he couldn't get much of it, not that it really mattered}) with him, looking for a toad along the train cars.

 

 

Chapter Text

Rule 2: Don't bend to other's expectations.

 

Harry didn't mean to spend the rest of the train ride looking for Neville's pet toad, but he did and only arrived back when it was ten minutes before they arrived. He had apologized profoundly to Ron, who looked a little miffed at the wait but he forgave him after letting Harry rant for a few minutes as he shrugged on his school robe. A prefect had alerted all the first years half an hour before they arrived about how to dress, so just wearing their school shoes and their school robe would be fine for the first day.

"I really am sorry Ron..." Harry muttered as they felt the train slow down. "I didn't know how hard it was to find a toad."

"Really, it's fine," was all that Ron said in return. It hurt Harry a little that he was shaken off so abruptly, but he didn’t say anything about it.

They stayed silent as they got off and were herded along with the rest of the first years. Harry was still feeling guilty, though it slowly ebbed away into nervousness as he realized how close he was to meeting even more people that were just like him. It didn't disappear when he shyly greeted Hagrid, who seemed about as excited as the other first years as he guided them all to a bunch of small boats bobbing up and down on a large, black lake.

" No more'n four to a boat! " Hagrid called out. Harry followed Ron into a boat and was later joined by Neville and a bushy haired girl who had helped look for Trevor, Neville's lost toad, with them only a little bit before. He couldn't remember her name nor could he remember her actually introducing himself, but he was sure that her name would show up at some point in his memory.

As the boats began to move, it appeared as if the large trees that had surrounded them opened gracefully in an arc-like motion, letting the moon and the stars shine down and give the first years even more light to see the large castle that had all windows lit and twinkling like the stars in the sky. It was an amazing view of the castle, the only castle that Harry had seen in real life, and it was even more magnificent than any Harry had seen in pictures. 

Time seemed to skip for the redheaded savior and it didn't seem long before he was standing with the rest of the first years in front of large door at the base of a small staircase. Where he remembered Hagrid had once stood now appeared a tall witch in emerald green robes. Her stern face was accentuated with her black hair tied back in a tight bun.

The witch had pulled the large doors open as soon as Hagrid began to leave and Harry wished he had time to wave the half giant goodbye before he was pulled into the entrance hall with the rest of the first years. 

The entrance hall was probably the largest hall he'd ever seen. Of course, he's never seen many or even been in one but it was still a noticeable detail. He didn't even think his relative's house could even compare in size. Like, they could fit two or three stacked on top of each other and still have some room for a sitting room.

The first years all followed behind the woman, who Harry didn't catch the name to (curse his need to zone!), until they reached another set of doors that were off in a small chamber. Harry felt a little squeezed, seeing as everyone was pressed against each other than he thought was normal, but he waved it off to the jitters he was sure everyone was feeling.

"Welcome to Hogwarts. The start of term banquet with begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses," said the professor. "The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend time in your house common room."

Harry knew he shouldn't have but he couldn't help but bring himself into his own little world as soon as she began to speak again. He remembered very clearly all four houses from a small book he had secretly purchased while he was out shopping with Hagrid. It involved four chapters in total, each chapter dedicated to each different house. It had intrigued Harry, especially after the fiasco with the little blonde boy in Madam Malkin's had mentioned both Slytherin and Hufflepuff and, while the boy hadn't necessarily been the nicest bloke in the world, he had triggered a need to learn as much about Hogwarts as he possibly could. Or, at least the houses. They seemed much more interesting than "Hogwarts: A History". 

The little booklet had been written by a former Hufflepuff who had tried as much as possibly to be non-biased when writing about all four houses. They had written the pros and cons of each house, basing it off of actual history and their own personal experiences with members of all houses. Of course, there was a small hint of pride in the chapter dedicated to Hufflepuff (which was about two extra pages longer than all the rest but who really counted?), but it was an interesting find nonetheless.

Harry had been quite interested to see what they all had in store for him.

Ravenclaw was said to be creative, original and intelligent all at the same time, but many were said to have been quite sarcastic and had a tendency to believe that smarts is all that it took to succeed in life. Not all, of course, but a surprising majority did indeed think so. The author believed it was mostly due to the fact that many Ravenclaws did indeed help with the creation of spells and potions and other magnificent creations, but she had also said that being too pompous was their ultimate downfall. They didn't take into account that Ravenclaw also had individuality and acceptance and those were also important in the rolls of the blue and bronze house.

Gryffindor housed those that had bravery and daring. The author had many friends who had definitely held those attributes but she had also said they were naive and had no backbone to do anything that didn't involve nearly killing them. The author had mentioned the unnecessary rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin, that it was recent that such a thing had arised in Hogwarts. She also noted down that many didn't realize that chivalry, courage, and nerve were apart of their traits as well.

Hufflepuff was obviously the author's favourite, as she mentioned many times that they were dedicated, belived in fair play, were kind, and loyal. She had pointed out that many were hard workers but that didn't mean anything. Plenty of Hufflepuffs were quite lazy, even going so far as procrastinating to the last minute and completely glossed over the "unafraid of toil" bit that always appeared in any song that was made about them. She had also said that many Hufflepuffs were taken by pride at the fact that they had so many good attributes that they didn't even pay attention that Hufflepuffs also needed tolerance, and that resulted in some Hufflepuffs being bullies as well.

Slytherin, in her words, "are not full of evil and bullies". They had taken resourcefulness, ambition, and cleverness as some of their traits. Many were accused of being apart of the Dark side of things, when in all actuality it's just more common to see the bad side of Slytheirn because of the media and the latest war. Many saw their self-preservation, fraternity, and cunning to be bad things, yet many of the Slytherins she had come across used those for their family and friends and the people they had cherished most and many had sacraficed a lot to be able to do those things. 

In the end, there was a small paragraph on the page behind the last chapter that explained that whatever you were sorted in didn't matter on who you are or who you could become friends with. That the only thing the hat would take into consideration would be your values and your own decision. She had mentioned that not many people knew that, and that resulted in many cases of bullying coming from all houses.

Harry was brought back to the World of Paying Attention when the professor came back and the students around him were whispering about ghosts. There had been ghosts? And he missed it? Darn it!

He didn't dwell on it too much as he followed the rest of the first years into the Great Hall, hearing the bushy haired witch whisper to another about the ceiling being enchanted "to look like the sky outside". Harry took a peak and was indeed amazed, but he was more focused on everyone watching the gaggle of first years coming down between two tables. 

There were so many faces, some looked clearly related and some were about as different as can be and it was all fascinating. 

When they had stopped, a hat was presented on top of a stool, which ripped open at the seem and began to sing a song, which Harry clearly pay attention too. Not because he was being rude or anything, but he was just that distracted. He had caught snippets here and there when he tried to focus back on the singing hat (which was true magic in itself if anything. Who sees a singing hat anymore?), but he kept looking at the table that was covered in reds and golds that held the family of red heads that belonged to Ronald Weasley. He noticed that while they didn't share the exact shades of reds in their hair they were clearly related and he wondered how many people would think he belonged in their large maroon clan? 

Well, considering that soon they'd all see him as Harry Potter it would probably take a miracle for that too happen.

Once the hat stopped singing and everyone clapped, the professor stepped forwards once again, holding a large scroll of parchment. 

"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said. "Abbott, Hannah!"

Hannah was sorted into Hufflepuff, along with Susan Bones who quickly followed soon after. Terry Boot was in Ravenclaw and so on and so forth. Harry recognized the blonde boy who was sorted into Slytherin, a Draco Malfoy, from Madam Malkin's, and he politely clapped when he pompously walked down to the table of silver and emerald. Hermione Granger, who was the bushy haired girl from before, was sorted into Gryffindor with Neville Longbottom, both looking both queasy and pleased to be with the rest of the maroon and yellow family. 

A set of twins were separated (one going to Ravenclaw, the other to Gryffindor) and Sally-Anne Perks (Hufflepuff) were sorted before Harry himself was called up to sit on the stool. He could practically feel the stares wash over him, both from the teacher's table and from the students. He could feel the anticipation and the want from all of them. He was sure they were all hoping he'd be sorted into Gryffindor, like his parents, could practically feel it in the waves they were throwing at him, but he didn't think that would happen.

The silence seemed to thicken once the Sorting Hat was gently resting over his head, covering half his vision while his red hair did the rest.

"Hmm... Interesting mind you have here, Mister Potter. Definitely interesting," a small voice said in his ear. "You could fit so well in all houses, yet there's something there. There's talent, yes, and a thirst to prove yourself... but the intriguing part is that's not just for you, no, no, definitely not just for you. " The hat paused for just a second before continuing. 

"I'm sure in another timeline I would be confident to place you in Gryffindor, a house that would definitely treasure you and hone the skills you'll need to set off to greatness, but now, well, that's certianly off the table. You don't need the courage, you seem to have that already, interesting indeed. Slytherin is still an option though, I can see it in your mind that there's an ambition that could rival even their own, but you seem to know that they wouldn't be good for you either, not now anyways...

Ravenclaw is definitely higher than I thought it would be for you, Mister Potter. A mind that's waiting to be molded through knowledge and the thirst to be your own, but that's not enough for you, is it? No, definitely not... I think I know now where to put you. You've clearly made your case quite clear, yes I do believe you have..."

"HUFFLEPUFF!"

Chapter Text

Rule 3: Be friends with as many people that are willing. Don't force it on them but also don't take any crap from those that want to be yours.

 

 

Harry absolutely adored the Hufflepuff common room. It was filled with warmth and happiness and perfection. Aunt Petunia would have certainly sniffed and turned her nose up at the decor but Harry loved it. There were plants practically hanging from every shelf and plenty of well-worn wooden tables scattered around the round room. There were plenty of bookshelves that held many books that was sure to be particular to Hufflepuff's only (he could see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander near the bottom shelf, a rather famous Hufflepuff even if he never graduated from Hogwarts). 

A prefect had led the eleven first years directly after the feast and after they all managed to get to know one another. Harry liked them all, even pompous Zacharias Smith who was probably trying to show off to hide something underneath that was clearly bothering him. Harry didn't ask nor wanted to and just politely smiled to the chattering blonde boy throughout most of the feast. It was annoying but bearable. Living with Aunt Petunia and her girl's day parties with the rest of the neighborhood allowed one to get used to a chatterbox.

The entirety of Hufflepuff gladly accepted the Boy-Who-Lived, some more so out of the fame rather than the boy himself, and while Harry felt happy to belong to a bigger group that would someday become another part of his growing Hogwarts family, there was still a part of him that wished he could have shared a dorm with his other friends. A smaller part of him told him he could easily just slip into their ranks and no one would know or care since he was the famous wonder boy but he chided himself at that fact.

Another prefect met them at the common room and told them the school and common room rules before sending them all down to bed. The girls went down a long spiral staircase that went deeper underground that held soft lighting while the boys went down a similar staircase on the left. Harry went down with Zacharias, Justin, Ernie, Wayne, Oliver and Roger. Their room was larger than he thought and completely boxed with no round corners in sight. A small bathroom was sectioned off that only held a toilet and a bathroom sink. Plenty of wardrobes were by each bed and the boys quickly searched for their trunks. Harry found his between Ernie McMillan and Roger Malone. 

Harry immediately went to sleep once he changed into some pajamas he bought while in Diagon Alley and happily dreamt about the possibilities of tomorrow.

 

***

 

The next day had him the first one up and ready to start the day. He had already written down an imaginary list of what he planned to do that day alongside learning about everything his relatives hated. 

The first thing was making as many friends as possible. He never really had any when he was still learning in the Muggle world. His cousin would always chase them off or bully them into bullying him so he never really had any that lasted past a week. He was sure Neville was his friend and his first year Hufflepuff buddies, but there was always room for more. He had enough heart space in his chest to give. Many adults would call that love but heart space works just as well.

The second was learning magic, of course. He knew that there would be Charms and Potions involved and skimming through his books, there were also Transfiguration, History of Magic, Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA for short as he was told by the upper years), Astronomy and Herbology. There was also Flying but that would happen only for a few weeks in October and not any time soon. 

Thirdly, he wanted to know everything about everybody. This could have also been filed under the friend category but he hardly thinks being friends with a professor at such a young age was appropriate. Plus, there were so many other students at Hogwarts he was sure he'd be forgotten after a few weeks. That was, of course, untrue considering his status, but there were so many attempts already in the past, habits would rather appear again than die away in the dark. 

Harry was sure there were more on his list but he had made it so late in the night he couldn't remember everything. So with the three he could, he left the common room with his attempt at looking like a Hogwarts student.

The Great Hall wasn't as lively in the morning as it was at night. Students were already milling about and talking with one another, grumbling into their food as many tried to wake up. Harry began to make his way over to the Hufflepuff table, which situated itself between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor, but a flash of bright blonde and green caught his eyes first. 

The boy from Madam Malkin's was sitting by himself, neat and tidy as he had been every time Harry saw him, eating something that the redheaded boy would probably never be able to name. He didn't look too lonely, despite being the only first year already up and eating. And it wasn't up to Harry to immediately go up to anyone who didn't have a smile on their face, but that would be ignoring the first priority on his list - making friends.

So putting on his "Nice to meet you, I'm Harry" face, he scurried over to the Slytherin table. If he got any looks he didn't notice, too focused on his task at hand, and he stayed so as he sat across from the blonde.

"Good morning," Harry greeted, waiting until the blonde Slytherin looked up before he smiled in his direction. "My name's Harry. I remember you at the robes shop in Diagon Alley but for the life of me I can't remember your name."

The Slytherin pulled a Petunia worthy face at the redheaded Hufflepuff. "And I'm sure you remember what I told you then too. Being in Hufflepuff must be so dreadful for you."

"It's quite relaxing, actually. I've noticed that some people with high anxiety from last night calmed down quite fast once they entered the common room. But I'm sure Slytherin must be exactly the same for you. I hope you're fitting in well." Harry was completely genuine on that. He was a little irked at the other boy's attitude but he was sure if he could get along with the Zacharias Smith, Haughty Boy of the Year, he could get this one to open up a little.

"Of course. I'm a Malfoy, we can fit in anywhere." The blonde, Malfoy, looked quite proud at that fact. If Harry didn't know any better, he would have guessed he was actually related to Smith as well. Their attitudes were almost similar.

"Ah, I don't know what to do with that information," Harry admitted. "Last names mean nothing to me, to be completely honest."

"Right, you did ask me for my name earlier. I guess I should give it to you, since you so graciously asked. My name is Malfoy, Draco Malfoy." Draco held out a hand for the redhead to shake, which he did with an even larger smile though he was sure he might have jarred Draco's arm a little too hard. Secretly he did so on purpose but he couldn't help it. 

"It's nice to meet you, Draco. I'm glad we can be friends."

"Friends... Yes... Well, I'm glad you made the right decision on who you're friends with, Potter."

"Please, call me Harry."

 

***

 

Harry left Draco to finish eating after a few more minutes of conversation. The Hufflepuff was getting a little hungry himself and he quickly excused himself to sit down at his own table to eat something before getting up and going to another table. This time he went to Gryffindor, where Hermione and Neville were sitting together. The bushy haired girl was already ahead with the curriculum, with how deep into her Transfiguration book she was in, and Neville looked ready to puke right then and there if it would get him out of going to classes.

"Good morning!"

"Good morning Harry," Hermione greeted. She gave a quick, forced smile on her face before continuing to read the long paragraphs of her school book. Neville muttered a shy greeting to the redhead before looking back down at his lap, still looking quite queasy.

"What are you doing here?" a new voice asked. A few people down sat Ronald Weasley, who looked a bit put out with Harry being near, which sent a guilty and hurtful sting to the heart space within his chest. He knew that he probably wouldn't get very far on friendship with the youngest Weasley boy so he didn't push it much further than it already was. It seemed the truly wasn't okay with Harry leaving him by himself for that long while looking for an out-of-style toad.

"Well, Ronnikins," a twin popped up besides his brother.

"Clearly, our little savior has graced us with his presence." The other showed up in mere seconds. They both slung an arm around their youngest.

"We should feel honored."

"Be weeping at his feet."

"Making sure our lord is feeling alright being around a bunch of no-namers."

"Like ourselves, of course, but we know our names."

"Correct."

"Indeed we do."

"Yessiree we do indeed."

Harry couldn't help but laugh at the twins antics. He always enjoyed twins, especially if they were comfortable enough to do something like this. It just meant that they were the friendliest bunch, even if they also turned out to be the most mischievous.

"I was just saying good morning, no need to worry," he said, trying to sound as nice as possible, but it apparently didn't come across so. Ron's face seemed to darken a shade and Harry quickly said a goodbye to his other two friends (or he hoped were his friends) and left before a negative mood was passed around. 

He heard the twins start berating Ron, though it was all in serious jest (was that an oxy-moron?) and Harry just shook his head and continued on forwards. He still had his list to do and it wasn't even halfway through breakfast.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Rule 4: Try your hardest. If you don't like how it turns out, try again until it does. Don't stop until you're 100 percent satisfied with the results. Procrastinating it is okay as long as your still satisfied with your work.

 

Harry had the best week at school ever. He really didn't have any other week to compare it to, considering the fact that they usually tolerated him due to his less than excellent grades. Of course, Harry could remember the one or two teachers that absolutely tried their best to understand the odd little red haired boy who sat in the front of the class, but in the end they usually gave up and continued to treat him like any other teacher. Harry didn't mind, for he was used to the fact that they didn't know that he accurately stabled his grades to be only a small percentage behind his cousin. Harry wasn't stupid; he just had a different outlook on things.

What really made his week was his first potions lesson. It wasn't entirely the best but he did manage to get through it without a mess. Professor Snape wasn't the nicest, for after his opening tirade he thought it was alright to bully Harry on his first day. Some of the Ravenclaw first years, probably Muggleborns who're excited to experience a new world, actually waved their hands back and forth through the entire ordeal and he was sure a couple of his housemates were a little miffed at the loss of house points. But Harry didn't crack open his books long enough to thoroughly read everything. He merely skimmed the first few chapters before he continued to take care of Hedwig, his companion.

But Harry felt truly sorry for Neville, who had an even worse experience during the Gryffindor-Slytherin potions lesson. He had melted a yearmates cauldron and was covered in boils and out of commission for half the day. Harry had eaten lunch as quickly as possible so he could head to the Hospital Wing to check up on the blonde boy. His welts, according to another poor sap who landed in the wing from a charm mishap, had gone down considerably but Neville still had to stay to make sure they went down long enough that they didn't suddenly show up, twice as bad. 

"Don't worry about me too much, Harry," Neville had said, trying his best to look apologetic despite the harsh red boils still littering his face. "I'll be fine. You didn't have to come check up on me."

"Nonsense, Nev," he retaliated. "You're my friend. It'd be mean of me not to check up on you. Should I let Hermione know you're doing okay?"

Neville quickly shook his head, stuttering something Harry couldn't make out but acknowledged Neville's dismissal. He spent a couple of more minutes at his bedside before he had to head to his next class. 

Now it was Saturday and Harry woke up feeling refreshed. He knew he was the only one awake at the moment, his dormmates sleeping in after a long week of hard work. He didn't have to look to his left to see Zacharias Smith sprawled out on his back, losing his usual poised look as soon as he let out a rather loud snort. On his right, Justin was curled up amongst his blankets and Ernie he couldn't very well see, for his curtains had been closed tight the night before with a small warning of a hex being thrown at the other boys if they woke him up too early. The other three - Wayne, Oliver and Roger - were too far away to really see clearly but he noticed boy sized lumps in each one.

The redhead began wondering what he'd be up to that day. He had no classes but he had no plans. He was sure that it would be beneficial to go to the library and find a nice place to work on homework but he didn't particularly feel up to doing any of it today. Sunday, while only a day before the new school week, was always a good day to work on homework. 

Harry quietly got out of bed, opening his trunk and grabbing a couple of new clothes he had bought while he was still out in London with Hagrid, and padded his way up to the bathrooms so he could change and get ready for the day. Once he adjusted the maroon sleeves to his long sleeved shirt, he left and went back down to the first year dorms.

The interesting thing about the Hufflepuff dorms were the order. He had learned from Hermione and Neville that the Gryffindor dorms went up, with the first years closer to the common rooms, the second years above them and so on and so forth. He guessed Ravenclaw, since they were also in one of the Hogwarts towers, were similar. Slytherin might be just like Hufflepuff, being in the dungeons, but Harry guessed that it was maybe slightly deeper but more flat than anything. As for Hufflepuff, with Harry now back on his original thought, they went further underground with first years above everyone else. Harry was sure it would be claustrophobic but the openness to everything in Hufflepuff seemed to be extremely open.

The other boys were still asleep when Harry returned but Justin had uncurled slightly and a part of Roger's leg could be seen hanging off his bed. Harry felt a fuzzy warm feeling, something akin to affection, stir in his chest. He didn't love them, not like what he guessed would be love in a family, but he knew it was getting there. It was hard sharing a room with five other boys but they had become closer over the last six nights. They could be considered new friends.

Harry didn't stay long in the dorms, only getting his shoes and wand before he was heading back up. This time he entered the dorms and saw that he wasn't the only one awake. Plenty of the upperclassmen were up and about and when he managed to get one to pay attention to him, he learned that it was nearing nine o'clock.

"Whatcher gonna do so early, Harry?" Heidi Macavoy, one of Hufflepuff's chasers, asked. She was reading one of the many books that were on the bookshelf besides her, a small smile on her face. "There's not much a first year can do so early in the year, ya know."

"I dunno yet. I figured I'd go walk around until something happens." Heidi smiled wider at that answer, untamed Harry's already messy hair even further, and sent him off with well wishes and a farewell before she returned to her book. A couple of the other students, a third year and two fifth years, waved him goodbye and told him to be safe as he left.

Harry was sure he should get breakfast before anything. He didn't know if Hermione, Neville or Draco were up and about but he guessed checking the Great Hall would be the best choice to check out first. 

The Great Hall was busy as always, students mingling about. Harry noticed that a couple of Ravenclaw students were sitting at the Hufflepuff table, as a Slytherin or two managed to blend in with the Gryffindors and vice versa. Among them all he found the Weasley family, or what was left of them that still attended Hogwarts. He noticed that there was a strict faced one he could barely remember being at the platform with them, reading a book with a pair of spectacles resting on the bridge of his nose. Harry made his way over, though, mostly for the twins. He was curious.

"Good morning," he greeted. The twins greeted back in unison and the other one, the older one he guessed, nodded respectfully before he continued on with his book. Not being one to ruse another reader from their new world, he didn't pursue a conversation with the older Weasley. Ron didn't greet him, shoveling a pancake in his mouth.

"Do you mind if I have breakfast with you this morning? It seems that I'm the only one awake out of my yearmates in my own house."

"Of course."

"Do please."

"Grace us with your magnificent presence."

"We would be so grateful!"

The twins, of course, spoke just like last time. Harry smiled and sat next to the one reading, seeing as Ron and the Twins were on the other side of the table. 

"You're third years, right?" Harry asked again, taking a piece of bacon from one of the many plates that were situated in the middle of the table. When the twins nodded, the one on the right slightly lower than the other, he continued. "That means you know what a first year could do on a Saturday! Do you have any suggestions?"

"The Great Harry Potter is asking us for help, Fred!" the one on the left said, continuing the act.

"Indeed he did, George. Surely we can't be of service to our lord?" the one on the right agreed. Equal smirks of mischief were on their faces.

"Don't you two dare." The boy besides him had snapped his book shut and gave the two a glare worthy of an angry mother. "He's just a poor first year, no matter how famous he may be, so you don't go making him do anything that could get him in trouble. If he loses points for his house, I have no doubt that he'd tell his house the reasoning as to why and we'll be the ones to get in trouble."

"Oh come on Percy!" Fred, the one on the right, pleaded.

"Don't be such a spoil sport!" George, the one on the other side, whined.

Percy didn't drop his stern look and turned to Harry. "As a first year you really don't have many options. I would suggest going to the library to finish homework but I doubt you'd consider it. Try exploring the castle or the grounds. Or go outside and enjoy the last of the summer sun. And don't take anything the twins say as a suggestion for anything. They're pranksters." He gave a stronger stern look towards his younger brothers at the end. They merely shrugged and didn't look at all guilty to whatever they probably had planned to get Harry to do.

"I heard there's a squid in the black lake," Harry said, his full attention on the boy, Percy, besides him. "Is that true?"

"A giant squid, yes. It's not malicious, in case you're worried about that."

"No, not at all. I once held a poisonous snake that happened to wander in my Aunt's rose bushes. She didn't like that, though." Harry smiled a bit at the memory. The snake had been beautiful and adorable at the same time, but he lost it once Petunia entered and screamed her head off.

"A snake?"

"Yeah. She wasn't too mean, just looking for a nice place to rest. I put her behind the garden shed, in the sun. She was gone later so I hope she was okay and just left to go somewhere else."

This lead to a conversation between Harry and the twins with Percy occasionally putting his two cents in before Hermione came down from the library. She greeted Harry happily, placing a rather thick book down besides her on the bench. She had apparently been awake since seven that morning and spent most of it in the library until she was told to go to breakfast by Madam Pince.

"Well I'm glad you did. I was about to go exploring. Did you want to go with me?" Harry said. He hoped she would say yes. It would be a great bonding experience.

"No thank you. I appreciate it but I just started a rather exciting book. Maybe you should ask Neville or another friend of yours. I'm sure they'd enjoy it." Harry nodded, slightly sad but accepted her reasoning. He was sure Neville was resting and recharging. He didn't seem to be a social butterfly and Harry didn't want to pressure him. So instead he looked to the Slytherin table.

Draco Malfoy, the boy he was slowly warming up to, wasn't there. Instead there were his other housemates. A rather shot haired girl with an upturned nose and squished looking face was sitting next to a dark skinned boy and a rather skinny blonde. He couldn't remember her name but the other two he did. Draco had mentioned them briefly in passing and he was partnered with the blonde in Herbology on Tuesday and Thursday. So gathering whatever courage he had, he got up and headed to the Slytherin table.

When he got there, he was sure he had everyone's eyes on his back but he ignored them, instead focusing on his task.

"Excuse me, Theodore?" he spoke up, giving a light tap to the blonde. He turned and looked up, questions clearly running through his eyes but he didn't voice them.

"Would you like to explore the castle with me? I figured it would be beneficial to the both of us. Plus we can get to know each other more and become even better friends." Harry was hopeful. He knew a little bit about Theodore Nott, like the fact that he wished he could see a unicorn at least once in his life or the fact that he was one of the few that had a cat instead of a toad or an owl as his familiar. He had even offered to Harry that he could meet Natalia, his grey tabby, at some point in the year.

"Sure. Why not? I was done eating anyways." Theo got up from his table, nodded a farewell to the other boy and the squished face girl and started to walk out of the Great Hall. Harry quickly scurried after him, his legs shorter than the other boys, but a large smile on his face. 

Success!

 

 

Chapter Text

Rule 5: Adventure is good for the soul. It takes great companions to make the bad ones good and the good ones better.

 

 

Theodore Nott was possibly one of the kindest Slytherins Harry had ever met. For one, he had an adorable cat, whom Harry got to meet only minutes after the two left the Great Hall, and Natalia the Grey Tabby was an absolute angel. Theo was also one who rarely followed Draco's rambled orders, though was still a follower in someways. Like the fact that if it wasn't too harmful Theo would do it but if it required actual effort, well, he'd ignore it and blame it on someone else. Which Harry thought wasn't the nicest but he let it slide, slightly. Lastly, he was willing to listen. Not the pretend kind, where they nodded every once in a while and gave small "u-huh"s in confirmation if a question was involved. 

"And so then Hedwig brought me a mouse, which I guess was nice of her, but it wasn't necessary. I think she thought I was a terrible hunter or something, like, she was trying to be motherly even though I'm pretty sure she's only just reached adulthood in owl years," he finished. He and Theo had been wandering aimlessly, after exploring enough of the castle to satisfy both their needs. They even passed Neville, who looked calm enough to be social with everyone else but didn't join them in their adventure. 

"I'm sure she thought you were a little hungry, after all you've told me about your family," Theo responded quietly. Only an hour ago Harry revealed his treatment at the Dursleys; missed meals, occasional bruises caused by hands gripping too tightly or Dudley himself, and his cupboard. He said it so nonchalantly, scaring Theo slightly at the fact that Harry wasn't even a little perturbed but Theo felt honored that Harry was opening up to him. He had questioned why Harry didn't seem all that upset when Harry revealed that he had already told his other friends, who he had broken down enough to receive a cuddle pile in return. So Harry must had been a little numb at telling it for a second or third time.

"Maybe. I just thanked her for being thoughtful and told her she should have it." Harry smiled at the memory, swinging his arms at his side. "She's real sweet. I can't wait until you get the chance to meet her."

"I've definitely seen her, that's for sure," Theo responded. He remembers seeing the only bright snow owl flying in every morning, bringing in the post for her master, though seeing how close the two of them seemed to be, they were more like friends than master and owl.  

Harry hummed in response, waving every once in a while to a portrait that would smile and wave in return, if they were polite enough at least. Theo didn't mind the silence that was between them. They didn't have much in common, but that didn't mean that they didn't mind each other's presence. The fact that they're friends now meant that they had the next six years to make similarities. At least, that what Harry had said when they reached the point where familiar hobbies stopped being alike. 

Suddenly Harry stopped, causing Theodore, as well, to halt besides him as he looked at him in confusion. The redhead twirled around, a bright smile slapped on his face as he grabbed at the skinny blonde's hands.

"You want to see something real cool?"

 

***

 

Theo was unsure of where exactly they were going. Well, not until he recognized the third corridor. The same corridor that held the wing that was clearly forbidden, as told to them only a week ago. 

"Harry, we can't be down here. We'll get in trouble!" the Slytherin hissed, trying to pull the smaller Hufflepuff away from their impending doom. Surely there were teachers and even Filch roaming around the third floor, making sure no students weren't coloring out of their lines.

Harry laughed, a laugh that seemed to echo like bells against the cobblestone of Hogwarts. It seemed almost angelic, pure, and Theo hoped that he could pull off the innocent act if they were caught. 

"Don't worry too much, Theo! I've been down here three times already and haven't been caught! Besides, where we're going, he wouldn't mind."

"He?"

At that point they reached a door, which appeared locked until Harry reached for his wand, whispered a spell a couple of times before they heard a click, and then reached for the door knob. Twisting it, the old wooden door creaked open ominously, which caused a shiver to spike down Theo's spine. A growl resounded and for a second Theo thought it was his stomach. 

"I don't know his name, but he's a real sweetheart. Just, be mindful. He drools." 

And in they stepped into the room, where only two large windows were letting sunlight pool onto the floor, hitting large black paws. Theo gulped, quaking, as his blue eyes glancing up to see the three sets of snarling teeth hanging above the two boys, globs of drool gathering and dripping from the sides of their lips. 

"T-Th-That's a Cerberus!" Theo gasped, clutching tightly onto Harry's arm, hiding behind the redhead. "The heck's a Cerberus doing here?! Why are we here?!"

"I dunno. He's been sitting on top of this doorway that he won't let me enter," Harry replied. He pointed to where a giant paw rested on the wooden door, a brass looped handle partially covered. "I think he's guarding something."

"How did you find this beast?!" Theo hissed. He completely ignored what Harry said, his focus still on the growling creature in front of them. He could only keep his attention on one head at a time so he made sure that they got a second each, in case they suddenly wanted to chow on some first year heads.

"By accident, really. I got lost, dodged Mr. Filch out of fear, somehow managed to unlock the door and spent the next hour or so with the cute, adorable puppy!" Harry said. 

The redheaded boy stepped forwards, dragging Theo along with him as he rushed to give the dog a cuddle. It seemed to be the right thing to do as the Cerberus calmed down and began to lick the two boys. It seemed that they accepted Theo as apart of Harry for they no longer deemed the blonde boy a threat, which he was thankful for because now it meant he wasn't going to be their new chew toy for a little while longer.

It was after they were nearly soaked with slobber that Harry began to try and teach the large dog a few Muggle tricks, which Theo, being raised in the wizarding world and never really having any pets, found to be a bit amusing once he stopped jumping at everything the Cerberus did. The room they were in, while large as it was, wasn't big enough to completely give the dog room to do anything too drastic.

By the time the two of them left (now soaked with drool which plastered their hair to their heads, thickly), the three headed dog knew how to sit, high-five, and play dead. The last caused multiple disasters at each try but it was fun too. Harry and Theo only worried, slightly, that the furry beast's heavy drops to the ground would alert someone to come, but in the two hours they were there, there wasn't a disturbance.

"I guess I'll let you go so we can change and head to lunch, haha," Harry laughed, using his soaked shirt to wipe his face to the best of his abilities. 

"If anyone asks, I'll let them know we got lost and fell into a pool that appeared suddenly. From what I've heard, that's actually possible," Theo smiled. 

"Got it. I'll be sure to say that too, so we get our story right. We don't want everyone to know about Archie," the redhead agreed. The two had decided to name the three headed dog, finding it difficult not to, so they settled on a name. It was difficult but Blackie was too Muggle and Alcott was too stuffy for a dog ("No, I don't wan to name him Sean. Even if it is a nice name, he deserves something with more class." "Then we aren't naming him Fulbright, Theo!"). They settled on Archibald, or Archie for short.

"Yeah, someone might tell Professor Dumbledore and then he'll be taken away."

"Don't forget someone might take whatever Archie's guarding. It might be very important, like a family heirloom."

They parted ways when it came clear that their houses were in different directions, waving as they went their separate ways, Harry to Hufflepuff and Theo to Slytherin. They promised to meet each other before they ate lunch and then they'd find something else to do.

Maybe Neville or Hermione could join them this time?

Chapter Text

Rule 6: Stand up for those who are being put down by others. It may be scary but it's the right thing to do. No one should be bullied for who they are and what they're meant to be.

 

 

The next few weeks that passed were surely an interesting experience. Harry and Theo had introduced Hermione and Neville to Archibald the weekend after, which was a disastor in itself. Hermione had wanted to storm up to the Headmaster's office and tattle on not only the boys for going to the third floor corridor that was forbidden ("Harry, it was clearly stated by Dumbledore himself that no one was allowed in this corridor!" "Hermione, pleeeeeeease?!") but also for the fact that it must have been illegal to house a giant hellhound in a school without alerting the students, staff and parents beforehand.

Thankfully, Neville managed to (somehow) convince Hermione not to. The shy boy was actually surprised himself with how easy it was. The stubborn witch was exactly that, stubborn. Despite not making a lot of friends in her own year, she had opened up well enough with Harry and Neville to show that she absolutely did not like going against the rules or following up with homework and other things. She had a set strict command in their little trio that they expected to put in more effort when it came to changing her mind. 

Harry, though, guessed that she was slightly enamoured with Archie. The massive hound, despite looking quite intimidating with their large, drooly heads hanging over their small eleven year-old, was a big ol' softy. When Hermione had hesitantly held out a hand to the head on the left, she gave a small squeak when it's massive nose pushed and sniffed at it before giving a small lick. The redheaded boy-who-lived noticed that she seemed to be more confident in giving affection to the large dog, despite looking like someone dropped a stink bomb in the room at the fact that she couldn't alert any authority about their rule-breaking.

The thought of getting her a pet for next year or for Christmas crossed his mind before he was distracted by the head in the middle nudging his nose against his side.

They made regular visits to the puppy after that, though Hermione never went by herself and always made sure that someone was with her, usually Harry. Sometimes they noticed that the door was locked, though the brightest witch of their year so far used the unlocking charm each time just so they could visit without being disappointed and heading back to their common rooms. 

After that, near the beginning of October, all the first years had their very first flying lesson. It was unfair, in Harry's mind, for Slytherin and Gryffindor having theirs together. He knew that that day Neville had just gotten a bauble from his grandmother, something that his number one tormentor Draco Malfoy (which, believe him, Harry has been trying his best to get the blonde boy to stop) had noticed that morning. The poor boy also had luck almost as bad as Harry's sometimes and Neville ended up in the infirmary with a broken remembrall as a trophy. 

Ronald Weasley had also been besides him. The ginger boy had done the one thing no one else was going to do: get the remembrall back from Malfoy. He had climbed onto the broom after Madame Hooch and Neville left, being taunted by the blond, and soon promptly fell off after getting five feet in the air. He had sprained his wrists and bruised a kneecap but Hermione and Dean Thomas helped carry the poor boy to Madame Pomfery. 

The Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw lessons were scheduled after theirs and it was definitely more sucessful for them than it was for the others. Harry, while cruising gently around the pitch found some glittering pieces of Neville's gift in a nearby bird's nest, the rest either embedded into some of the cracks of the castle walls or down below on the grass. It was after that he heard from Hermione everything that had happened during their own lesson.

Of course, Harry scolded Draco. Despite being acquaitences with Draco, who could have been a pompous arse most of the time, Harry couldn't stand for bullying. He had to deal with it from his whale of a cousin, there's no way he'll let his friends deal with it.

"It was just a harmless joke," Draco had argued.

"It's not harmless if it meant you broke it and meant to be mean, Malfoy," Harry rebuted, angry. He stormed off afterwards, not wanting to deal with anyone who clearly had a meanstreak and no control over it. 

Harry had then visited Neville in the infirmary.

"You didn't have to do that, Harry..." Neville groaned, sitting up on his bed. He only had a few more hours left of being there, waiting for the last of his new bones to harden and get fixed completely. "Malfoy's a prick, but you didn't have to do that for me..."

"I would do that for anybody I counted as my friend. It's not right to be that mean and terrible to someone. I hope he learns that being a jerk doesn't get you true friends. It's just a power play for someone who's insecure about themselves as a person. I'm sure once he realizes that the power his father has doesn't truly extend to himself and if he wants people who will follow him without fear, he has to be nicer!"

"I don't really think Malfoy cares about that... Especially since he has Crabbe and Goyle following him around like they are."

"Malfoy's a down right git and there's no way he can change," Ron Weasley said, rubbing his wrists and moving them back and forth as he tested them. A pantleg was rolled all the way up as far as it'll go, a bruise paste smeared thickly on the knee. 

"People change as they grow," Harry argued. "But I get it. He's awful right now. But I'm sure he'll change when he's older."

The red head then changed the subject, looking directly at the fellow redhead. "I also want to thank you, Ron, for standing up for Neville. I know you and Nev aren't the best of friends or even friends and all but it takes great courage to stand up to a bully. Especially since you were the only one doing it. So thanks again."

Ron seemed to flush a bright red at that, using a hand to rub the back of his neck as he awkwardly stuttered a thank you to the Boy-Who-Lived. He was quiet for most of the time Harry continued his visit to his Gryffindor friend, though he was coaxed occasionally into the conversation by Harry or Neville. 

Near the end, Ron seemed more comfortable with Harry once again, just like on the train, and even mentioned a few things about his family. He mentioned a brother who worked with dragons and his sister who was just about as crazy about Quidditch as Ron himself.

Harry felt pride swell in his chest that he managed to finally find a way to crack the awkwardness he felt with his first attempted friend. He wished that they'd be able to bring him into their friend group and introduce him to Archibald at some point. Maybe Ron would love the dog too.

 

Chapter Text

Rule 7: Encourage others in a positive way

 

 

The morning of Halloween was, oddly for those who knew what it would mean for the redheaded Hufflepuff, surprisingly normal. Many who had grown up hearing stories about the Boy-Who-Lived knew what happened on Halloween and had heard tales on how, every year, he visited the hidden graves of Lily and James Potter with his loving relatives and spends the entire night and part of November 1st in mourning.

They were in for a shock when Harry almost skipped through the Great Hall to Gryffindor table and sat next to Hermione, her nose burried deep in a book as she muttered to herself under her breath, Ron and Neville eating on the other side of the table. If he heard the shocked whispers following after him, the scarred boy didn't show it and continued to put a light spread of butter over his toast before adding some eggs to the plate in front of him. 

Ron was shoveling food into his mouth, as he always seemed to do, and Neville was slowly picking through some of the leftover sausages on his plate.

"Goooooood morning~," Harry greeted, crossing his ankles under the table before tucking them beneath the bench. "It's actually quite a nice beginning of our day, don't you think?"

"Oh, Harry, you're here already?" Hermione jumped, closing her book as soon as Harry's voice filtered through her reading peripheral. "I figured you'd ask to be excused for today, considering...." She had trailed off and everyone at the table knew what she was referring to.

The Hufflepuff just shrugged and bit into his toast, chewing a few times before swallowing. "Why should I? It's just another day, another lesson! What happened in the past is the past. I shouldn't let it affect me so personally, especially when I barely remember what happened."

"That's incredibly brave of you, Harry," Hermione commented, now piling some food onto her plate now that the book was out of her way. "I don't know how I'd react on the day of my parent's death. I probably won't be taking it as well as you."

Harry shrugged again but didn't continue with the conversation. 

While he wasn't uncomfortable with the topic of his parents and his parents death, he didn't feel like it was necessary to constantly talk about something he barely knows about, nonetheless the event that happened so long ago when he was so young that he only had a few seconds of memory from it. 

Harry also didn't want to get special treatment just because he was considered the Boy-Who-Lived, the boy who didn't die from the curse that literally kills any living thing in it's path, the boy who defeated the Dark Lord. He was Just Harry, who wanted to learn all he could about magic and make friends and hang out with Archibald in the forbidden corridor while practicing for Charms or DADA with Theo and Neville.

The four first years spent most of breakfast eating and focusing on finishing up any homework from the night before before they packed up and went their separate ways. Harry wouldn't be seeing the Gryffindors again until Charms and that was after his Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff double Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson that morning with Quirrell. 

Speaking of his DADA professor, Harry got an odd feeling from the jittery man. He seemed uncomfortable in and out of the classroom, despite the fact that all the upper years had commented on his "Grand Tour" showing that Quirrell was an extremely different person before he came to Hogwarts. Some of the Ravenclaws in his year had rumoured that he had come across a rather terrifying vampire that caused Quirrell to be so jumpy -- and that was why he had a strong garlic odor everywhere he went.

Their lesson that morning was fairly for review and not something that Harry paid attention to for the most part. He felt confident that he was doing well in Defense so he spent most of the class doodling on a spare piece of parchment while the rest of his classmates either took addtional notes for their upcoming quiz or seemed to doze off with their eyes open.

Harry nearly zoomed out of the classroom when it was over and headed straight towards the Charms corridor to take his usual seat next to Neville and behind Hermione and Ron. 

Flitwick, who was a rather odd bloke, was excitedly teaching the class the levitating charm that morning. He had, repeatedly, reminded them about the wrist movements and to work with the partners sitting besides them, so Harry was set with helping Neville with some of the harder bits he wasn't understanding (though it wasn't like Harry understood much either, Charms wasn't his strong point at the moment so he worked as hard as he could to understand what he could get). 

Harry felt bad for Hermione and Ron, who despite being on better terms after the Remembrall Incident, weren't in the best of moods.

"You're saying it wrong," Hermione said to the Weasley, who grunted and glared lightly at her. "It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long."

Ron looked ready to snap and Harry had to step in. He had a feeling that Ron's temper (which, the three of them had realized, was very bad and felt like they were battling a forest fire whenever it rose up in resistence to reason) would not be a good thing to deal with on this day. 

Just a feeling.

"Hermione," he spoke, gaining both Gryffindor's attention, "can you please show me how to do this charm? I heard you trying to help Ron with his spellwork and I just can't seem to help Nev and myself. You seem to know a little bit on how it works."

Ron still looked grumpy but Harry tried to not get an angry Hermione by asking her to try helping Ron again in a nicer way. Harry noticed that Hermione wasn't good in social situations long ago and was still learning how to socialize with others in their age group. 

"Of course, Harry," Hermione agreed, "I would love to help. I'm still trying to get it to float myself so I can't get it very high as I'd like it to be..." The bushy haired girl looked a little unsure but turned around and swished and flicked, saying the charm and her feather slowly floated up before gently falling back down on the table.

"Oh, so it's Wing-gaaaar-dium Levi-o-sa?" Harry asked again. "You say it like that, yeah?"

Hermione nodded and Harry turned to Ron. "Do you want to try it with me, Ron?"

The ginger was still frowning but he turned towards his feather and muttered the charm, watching as his feather went up slightly, but it was an improvement. Harry was glad to see his stiff shoulders relax a little as Ron continued to practice the charm over and over, the feather rising a little higher each time, and he sighed in relief. He and Neville shared a glance, both glad that they avoided a potential disaster between two budding friends, before they turned towards their own failed attempts at producing the levitating charm.

 


 

 

It was only later that day that things turned for the worse. On the way to potions, Ron, Hermione and Neville overheard Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil talking rudely about their bushy haired roommate, which caused the girl to break out in tears and rush off to the nearest girls bathroom. Ron and Neville couldn't really follow, though, as the portrait next to the door glared and shouted at the two about allowing a girl some privacy and huffing as they shuffled away. 

Harry was miffed at the two girls that shared the room with one of his best friends and nearly went up to knock some sense into the two but decided that they were not worth his effort. Instead, he grumbled into his food as he sat at the Hufflepuff table and glared over at the two, immensly worried about his friend who still had not showed up for dinner.

Despite his mood, he was still in awe on how the Great Hall was decorated for Halloween. Sure, it was decorated for breakfast and lunch, but with the storm outside and the night sky above their heads, it created a different atmosphere with the floating candles and pumpkins and the tasty Halloween treats that littered the table during and after dinner was served.

The mood was ruined with Professor Quirrell came bursting into the Great Hall, sprinting down between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables until he stopped near the dias and Dumbledore's chair. He was sweating and panting, his turban looking ready to fall off as he caught his breath and nearly fell over. 

"Troll... in the dungeons... thought you out to know."

And then he crumpled to the floor in a faint.

Chapter Text

Rule 8: Don't go chasing after Trolls (revise rule at later date)

 

Harry was unsure of what to do. His first instinct, naturally, was to run back to his dorms and hide under his covers until it was safe to leave the dorms. Another part, one that seemed to be equally persuasive as the first, wanted to charge head first into the throng of children and find every wandering soul and tell them to head back to their dorms for safety.

"Prefects!" A voice rang out, along with some very loud fireworks, quieting the defeaning uproar that the students created. Dumbledore was standing up, his wand in the air as the last few sparks drifted to the floor. "Lead your Houses back to the dormitories immediately."

Immediately the fifth, sixth and seventh year prefects began to round up the scared students and shuffling them in a manner that was close to orderly as they could towards their respective dorms. Harry, throuhgout the throng of rampaging students, got pushed to the back of the crowd, losing sight of the one prefct he was familiar with and leaving him among the last to leave the Great Hall.

"How could a troll get in?" Harry asked himself, trying his best to keep up with the others.

"Harry! Harry"! a voice called out. Ron rushed towards him, Neville joining him, the latter looking rather nervous to be separated so much from the rest of the school. "I haven't seen Hermione! I think she's still in the girls bathroom and doesn't know about the troll!"

"What?"

"I think she's still in the girls loo. I didn't see her at our table..." Neville said, looking as if he was about to shit himself in fear. Harry didn't blame him. Trolls, from the muggle world at least, weren't the kindest nor handsome of creatures to ever walk the earth so he knew there was some brutishness with them. If Hermione came across it while leaving the restroom...

Harry shook his head. He didn't want to think of what the possibilities were at the moment.

Harry asked, "Which floor did she go to? Do you know?"

Ron shook his head. 

"Well, I'm sure we'll find her in one of them...."

The trio of boys took off to the nearest girls bathroom by the Great Hall, following the last of the Hufflepuffs as they went into their dorms. Harry hid his face as best as he could as they walked past the Prefect on Watch, the other two trying to look as casually scared as possible even though the direction they're heading after is in the other direction from Gryffindor tower.

"There's one, let's try it," Harry pointed, making his way over. Just as he was about to knock, footsteps echoed in the hall, making the three boys hide behind the nearest wall, which lead to a different corridor away from the girls bathroom. 

"Is it another prefect?" Neville nervously asked. He was the furthest from the edge of the corridor, unable to peak around it without being seen by a passerby. "Is it Percy?!"

"No," Harry whispered back. "It's Professor Snape!"

The man was walking past them, no other teachers with him. He walked swiftly, across the corridor and towards the stairs.

"What's he doing?" the blonde boy asked. 

"Beats me."

"He's heading towards the third corridor," Ron whispered. He had positioned himself in the front, getting the best angle out of the three. Ron moved to follow after the potions professor but Harry held him back.

"Can you smell something?" he asked. Ron shrugged, but only had to wait seconds before he too smelled something foul. It smelt like he stepped into the twins room after a failed dung bomb experiment. 

Neville sniffed some, groaned, and covered his nose. "What is that?! It smells god awful."

The trio leaned forwards and saw the ugliest creature they had ever seen. It was larger than Hagrid, uglier than a toad, and it was the cause of the awful stench that permeated the corridor. It lumbered in thick legs that looked heavier than it could carry, the only thing covering it's grey and cracked skin was an attempt at a loincloth. It was obviously the troll, no doubt about it, and it dragged along a piece of wood as thick as it's arms that must've been it's club; its weapon of choice.

Neville felt sick, Ron looked ready to bolt and Harry's eyes were wide. It was definitely the ugliest thing he had ever seen.

"It's heading towards the girls bathroom!" Harry pointed out in a loud whisper. He clamped his hands to his mouth as soon as it echoed in the corridor, hoping that the troll was dumb enough to not hear him.

The only sign from the troll was a slight twitch of it's ears but it did nothing else.

"Let's lock it in! That way it can't come out," Ron rushing towards as the troll disappeared into the room. Harry and Neville looked at each other before running after him, the latter hoping that Hermione wasn't in this particular bathroom.

Just as Ron finished shutting the door and began to bolt the door with the chain, a shirll scream made it's way to their ears.

"Oh no," Neville said. He should've listened to his gut.

"Hermione!" they said together.

The last thing they wanted to do was to face the troll, but the thought of Hermione left to fend for herself with a troll she didn't have the spells to fight was much worse of an idea then fighting it together.

Without much thought other than that, Harry flung the door open and barged into the room first, wand out. Neville and Ron followed after.

Hermione was in a corner, covering her head as best as she could as the troll began knocking sinks and stalls over with it's club. The trio had their wands out but unsure of what would work.

"Confuse it?!" Harry asked, looking at the other two, more experienced wizards besides him.

"With what?!" Ron asked bewildered. "My amazing charm?!"

Harry rolled his eyes and moved to the side. "Hey, ugly!" That garnered him the attention he didn't want. "Your butt looks bigger than your brain!" That was definitely not something Harry thought he'd ever had to say in his life time. If Aunt Petunia heard him say that, he'd have soap in his mouth in milliseconds.

The troll grunted and began to trudge towards the the new source of noise, lumbering slower than it did in the hallway as the bathroom was much more confined. It slowly lifted it's club in the air as it stumbled heavily his direction. 

"Hermione, run!" Neville called out once the troll was a safe distance away from the bushy haired girl. She had cracked her eyes open when she heard Harry's voice, and stood up as soon as Neville called out to her. The dark skinned girl flattened herself the wall but didn't move, too scared to go past the lumbering creature.

"Come on, Hermione! Move!" Ron called out as Harry insulted the troll once more to try and gain it's attention some more. The many voices now shouting in the bathroom angered the troll, who roared in frustration and it raised it's club even higher and start towards the newest voice: Ron.

What Neville did next was probably the stupidest move he'll hopefully ever do. He ran towards the troll, now in his blind spot, and jumped as high as he could, grabbing around the troll's neck from behind. Luckily for him, the troll's skin was so thick and he was so light in comparison that the ugly thing couldn't feel him until he stuck his wand into it's nose as hard as he could.

It bucked in pain, trying to get Neville off it, swinging it's club around wildly and destroying more of the girl's bathroom. Harry took this as his chance to run to Hermione and help her along the wall to the exit. They watched as Neville clung onto the troll like a lifeline, his legs flying behind it as the only thing keeping him from joining the rest of his body was the tightening grip he had on the troll's neck.

"Ron, do something!" Harry screamed. 

Wand in hand, the ginger boy did the only thing he could think of.

"Wingardium Leviosa!"

 


 

 

"Ronald Weasley, what in the world are you thinking!" Hermione thumped her book onto the library table. "Wands are not supposed to be used to scratch anything!"

"'Mione, it's no big deal, a lot of wixen does it."

"If they started to jump off a bridge, would you do that too?"

"Of course not, that's stupid! Why would I even do that?!"

Harry sighed. It had only been a few days since the troll incident. The four of them came out of the situation free of injury (well, Neville did get a bit of muscle strain from how tight he held onto the troll, but magic was an amazing thing) and now they had formed a quintet with Ron joining in on their studying. 

"They squabble like a married couple," Theo muttered, head resting on top of his textbook. He and Harry had been watching the two argue for the past five minutes, as it had distracted the both of them from continuing with their Charms essay. Neville was lucky enough to wander away from them before he too succumbed to watching their new show, needing a herbology book so he could finish the homework Professor Sprout had assigned the day before.

"Who knows," Harry responded, "maybe they're just fortelling their future."

"Hermione doesn't seem the type to believe in divination."

"Neither do you, but here you are predicting the possible future."

Theo rolled his eyes and attempted to go back to writing down the pros and cons of the wand-lighting charm they had been going over that week. Harry continued to watch his other friends in amusement, wondering if there was a possiblity of something more happening between Hermione and Ron in the future.

He shook his head, clearing away those thoughts. It would be silly to assume such a thing at eleven. He'd have to wait a few more years before he could wonder such things.