As It Began

When Snape is sent to deliver Harry's Hogwarts letter on his 11th birthday, will he still be able to hate Harry after meeting the Dursleys? Harry is a first year at Hogwarts. HP & SS No slash!

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7. Chapter 7

AN: I realize that some of this parallels the book rather closely, but fear not; that will change.

 

Chapter 7

 

    Snape strode into the room of Gryffindor and Slytherin first years and caused an instant silence to spread throughout the classroom simply by means of his presence.

"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses...” Professor Snape recited in a quiet tone. “I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death - if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”

    He glared critically around the room. His eyes landed on the son of his worst enemy. If this was his lot, he might as well make it interesting.

    “Potter!” Severus snapped. “Do you think you are above paying attention in my class?”

    The boy hesitantly shook his head.

    “Tell me, what would you get by adding powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” Severus asked.

    He could read the incomprehension in the boy’s eyes. If it were not so out of character, he would have smiled.

    “I don’t know, sir,” Potter replied.

    Severus smirked. “Clearly fame isn’t everything.”

    “Where would you look if I told you to find me a beozar?” Severus barked.

    Anger flickered behind the green eyes into which Severus stared. At last, the Potions master would get his revenge on Potter, albeit in a more roundabout way. It was nonetheless satisfying.

    “I don’t know, sir,” the boy said through gritted teeth.

    “What is the-”

    “I don’t know!” Harry exploded. “Isn’t that obvious? Go ahead, ask all the questions you want, but the answer will still be the same. I. Don’t. Know.”

    Severus narrowed his eyes. He had been hoping to get one such reaction from the boy. He had been afraid that he was as spineless as hs relatives; this anger was reminiscent of his father. Which made it all the easier to take years of hatred out on the eleven year old across from him.

    “Detention, Mr. Potter.”

    Snape savored the boy’s face as it morphed into one of hatred. Severus turned on his heel and waved his wand at the chalkboard. Directions appeared.

    “Ingredients are in the cupboard. You have one hour. Go.”

    Less than a half an hour in, smoke began to rise from the Gryffindor portion of the room. Reluctantly, Severus stepped that way.

    “What is this?” he snapped, seeing the useless lump of smoking metal on the table in front of a terrified round faced boy.

    “Neville added his porcupine quills too early,” Ms. Granger said, speaking for the momentarily mute boy. 

    Unable to resist, Severus turned to Potter stirring his potion in silence beside the incompetent boy.

    “Why did you not stop him?” Severus demanded.

    “I was working on my own potion, sir,” Potter responded.

    “Typical Gryffindor,” Severus sneered with derision. “Self-absorbed and oblivious. Let us make that a week of detentions, shall we?”

    Harry glared silently. Severus leaned down so that only the boy could hear him. “Do not worry; if you are good, I shall not owl your aunt and uncle.”

    The boy’s mouth actually dropped open. For a moment, Severus wondered if he had crossed a line. Keeping his face indifferent, he straightened and walked away. 

    Finally, he would get his revenge; and since James Potter was...indisposed, his son would have to do.

 

---{}-{}-{}---

 

    Harry sat for a moment in shock. Who replaced the potions master he had met over the summer? That man was mean, yes, aloof, definitely and utterly unapproachable as well but he did not seem this cruel. Professor Snape had seemed genuinely angry at Harry’s treatment by the Dursleys on the night that he had taken Harry away; the sudden change in demeanor was frightening. Harry slowly resumed stirring his potion. Was Snape blackmailing him? 

    “Are you okay, Harry?” Hermione asked. 

    “Yeah, fine,” Harry replied distractedly. His thoughts were spinning. If something didn’t change, this was going to be a long year.

 

---{}-{}-{}---

 

    “I know, Harry, that was totally unfair,” Ron sympathized. “I mean, Hermione or I could’ve said something to Neville too, but he didn’t give us detention.” He quickly added, “Not that I want it, but...”

    “It’s okay. I just wish I knew why he hated me so much... I thought that over the summer, when he was mean, that he was just like that to everyone, but now that he singled me out...” Harry mused, disturbed.

    “Yeah, wonder what that’s about. Hey, isn’t it dinner time?” Ron said, sniffing the air as they headed toward the Great Hall.

    Stomachs comfortably full, Harry and Ron headed back up to the Gryffindor common room. As soon as they walked in the door, they noticed a large group of first years clustered around the message board. Harry pushed his way through to get a closer look.

    “FLYING LESSONS,” it announced in bold letters. Gryffindors and Sytherins would be learning together, which made Harry strangely satisfied. After all the practice at the Burrow, Harry was fairly confident in his abilities on a broom and he hoped that the lesson went smoothly.

    Harry noted that Hermione looked nervous. He supposed that she had never been on a broom before, and no amount of reading can prepare for that.

    “It’s not as hard as it looks,” Harry reassured her. 

    “How do you know?” her eyes narrowed. “I thought you were raised by muggles.”

    “I was, but I spent the last month with Ron’s family,” Harry explained. “Really, flying is great. I love it.”

    She nodded, but did not look reassured.

 

    The next day, Gryffindors gathered outside beside the Slytherins. Harry gave Draco a friendly nod as he passed the group of silver and green bedecked students.

    “Alright, let’s get started here,” Madam Hooch clapped her hands. “Everyone, step up next to a broom. That’s good,” she said when they had done so. “Now hold your hand over it and say ‘up’.”

    Harry’s, Ron’s and Draco’s brooms shot right up, along with a few others from each house. The remaining students, however, were having difficulties. Hermione’s broomstick refused to do anything except for roll over. Neville’s shot straight up on its bristles, smacking him between the eyes and eliciting laughter from the Slytherins. 

    When at last they had mounted their brooms, Madam Hooch gave a new command.

    “When I say go, you are to kick off and hover above the ground, then come immediately back down. Understand? Good,” she said, looking around at each of them.

    “G-,” before she was able to finish the word, Neville’s broom had raised into the air, making him squeal and panic. 

    “Ahhh,” he yelled as the broom went ten, fifteen feet into the air.

    “Come down this instant!” Madam Hooch yelled at the ascending student.

    Unfortunately, he obeyed, if not willingly. Neville slipped sideways off of the broom and hit the ground with a sickening crunch. 

    “Oh dear,” Madam Hooch said, rushing over to him.

    Neville moaned. The older lady drew her wand and levitated him.
    “I am taking Mr. Longbottom to the hospital wing. You are to stay firmly on the ground. Anyone who deigns to do otherwise will be out of Hogwarts before he can say ‘Quidditch’, is that clear?” she demanded.

    They nodded their agreement and she bustled off. Harry obediently put his broom on the ground. As he straightened, he saw Nott clutching a small, shiny ball.

    “What is that?” he whispered to Ron.

    “The Rememberall that Neville’s grandmum sent him. He got it this morning at breakfast,” Ron said in a pitying, resigned tone. 

    Harry stepped into the knot of Slytherins. He took a deep breath; the sorting hat didn’t place him in Gryffindor for nothing. Or so he hoped.    

    “Give it back,” he said quietly, but firmly.

    Nott smirked. “Always trying to be the hero, aren’t you, Potter?”

    “Give it back, Nott,” he said more forcefully. 

    “Alright,” he said easily, then grabbed a broom and took off.

    Harry saw no other choice but to follow him. He started for the broom he had left behind with the Gryffindors. 

    “Here, take mine,” Draco offered.

    “Thanks,” Harry said and took off. As he matched Nott’s height, about twenty feet, he considered that he really, really did not want to be expelled.

    “Alright,” Nott repeated. “You can have it back for your pathetic little friend,” he stated, “if you can catch it.”

    He pulled his arm back and whipped it straight at a window of the castle. Harry did not know what the Remembrall was made of, but he was certain that it, if not the window as well, would break upon impact. Without hesitation, he sped off toward the ball a sit got closer and closer to the window. Harry let go with one hand and reached out for it. A fraction of a second before impact, Harry snatched it out of the air and was forced to roll and turn at the same time to avoid impact.

    Harry stopped in midair, holding the ball before him triumphantly and savoring the scowl on Nott’s face. He was so pleased that he did not hear the window slide open behind him.

    “Mr. Potter! What is the meaning of this? Ground yourself this instant and stay where you land. I will be down in a moment,” Professor McGonagall said in a stern tone.

    “Yes ma’m,” Harry said, spirits sinking. He was going to be expelled. That was it; back to the Dursleys.

    He landed before the Gryffindors who congratulated him, then empathized as he told of McGonagall.

    “Don’t worry, Harry,” Ron said encouragingly, “Fred and George have done much worse and they’re still here.”

    Harry nodded numbly.

    “You heard her say to stay on the ground,” Hermione piped up. “There’s no denying it; you blatantly ignored the rules,” she finished, unsympathetic.

    Harry shot her a glare, “I did what was right. I have had more than my share of bullies; I stand up for people when I can,” he said hinting at an insult.

    She huffed and crossed her arms. Harry figured she was just in a bad mood from her failure with the brooms, and dismissed it. Ron, on the other hand, did not.

    “What’s your problem?” he demanded. “Are you a Gryffindor or not? Harry did what was right and stood up for Neville. That’s what bravery is all about.”

    He looked like he was prepared to continue his rant when McGonagall stepped up between them.

    “That may be, Mr. Weasley, but I cannot deny what I have witnessed,” she stated solemnly. “Come with me, Mr. Potter.”

    She led him to the Potions lab and Harry’s palms clammed up. Would Snape be the one to tell him he was expelled? Why? She knocked on the door.

    “Severus, may I borrow Wood for a moment?” she asked. To Harry, this sounded like a torture device.

    “If you must,” he replied slowly, as always.

    Out stepped a tall fifth year, who looked lean, but strong. The door slammed shut behind him.    

    “Oliver, I believe I have found you a Seeker,” McGonagall said proudly.

    Harry’s confusion showed on his face as the older boy looked him up and down with a critical eye. 

    “He has the build for it, but isn’t he a first year? They’re not allowed brooms,” he pointed out.

    “I believe we can make an exception. I would really like to beat Slytherin this year,” she said, almost demanding.

    “Alright, I’ll show him around,” Wood said, then turned to Harry. “Meet me at the field at 5 today, okay?”

    “Okay,” Harry agreed, “But I have detention at 7.”

    “Oh. Well then, maybe tomorrow would be better? Though the sooner we get you started the more time we have to train...”

    “Er, um I have detention all week,” Harry admitted sheepishly.

    “Who would give you a week’s worth of detention on the first day of classes?” McGonagall asked, apparently shocked.

    “Professor Snape.”    

    “Oh,” she said, and it seemed to take a large degree of willpower for her to resist rolling her eyes. 

    “Well, today then, even if it is only for a few hours,” Wood agreed.

    “You are free to go, Mr. Potter,” McGonagall told him, sounding oddly sympathetic. “You as well, Wood.”

    They nodded and parted ways.

 

 

    ---{}-{}-{}---

 

    “You’re kidding,” Ron declared.    

    “He’s not,” Fred said from behind them.

    “Welcome to the team,” George said.

    “Thanks,” Harry replied. “I have to get down to the pitch now, see you later.”

    Harry wandered down to the Quidditch pitch and arrived at 5 o’clock exactly. Wood was already there, lugging a large case to the middle of the field.

    “‘ello Harry. You familiar with Quidditch?” he asked, jumping right into things.

    “Mostly, but I haven’t heard of a Seeker. I’ve played Beater and Keeper before though.”

    “Ah, you didn’t have a snitch then?” Wood asked.

    Harry shook his head.

    Wood opened the case and removed a small gold ball, decorated with delicate filigree. As he held it before his thumb and forefinger, wings unfurled from its sides. 

    “This is the Golden Snitch. Catch it, and our team gets 150 points. That’s your only job, don’t worry about the Bludgers or anything else,” Oliver said.

    Harry found it next to impossible to not worry about the Bludgers, but Wood waved his worries away. “The Weasley twins are more than a match for them,” he said. “Here,” he tossed Harry an old broom from storage. “I’m going to let this go and you just catch it okay?”

    Harry was certainly okay with that and had a great time trying to spot the tiny snitch and then catch it. By the fifth catch however, Wood stopped him.

    “You really are excellent. We might really have a chance this year,” he said earnestly. “But it’s almost seven, you should head back up to the castle.”

    Harry was surprised at how quickly the time had passed. He nodded nervously.

    “I’ll let you know when the next practice is,” Wood said. Harry acknowledged this and turned to leave. “Oh, Harry?”

    Harry looked back at the fifth year, “Yeah?”

    “Good luck.”

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