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Altered Destinies by DobbyElf
Chapter 11 : First Classes
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 4


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Chapter 11 – First Classes
The damp chill of the Slytherin dungeon made Tom reluctant to pull himself out of his warm, comfortable bed. The thick comforter trapped the heat and the mattress was perfect. In a sleepy haze, Tom wondered if the mattress was charmed to be respond to the desires of the person sleeping on it.

A loud gong rang in the First year boys’ room. The Fifth and Sixth year male prefects came in yelling for the “ikle Firsties” to get out of bed. The other boys started to pull themselves out of bed. Tom reluctantly joined them.

Grabbing his things, Tom made his way to the showers. Although Tom had enjoyed the privacy of his own room for the last four years, growing up in the orphanage gave Tom a lot of experience in getting ready with a crowd of other boys scrambling around getting ready also. The other boys mostly ignored Tom while they dressed. Dolohov and Rosier joked between themselves while Mulciber and Nott finished dressing and left the room.

Tom left his room and walked up to the common room. A number of the older Slytherin students stood around talking in the large room. They clustered in small groups. Not much laughter was heard as Tom walked through the room. One or two groups stopped talking as Tom walked by to watch him. Tom felt very uncomfortable.

A small table sat empty not far from the main fireplace in the common room. Tom sat down and pulled a parchment and quill from his bag. He had half and hour before breakfast started so he decided to write his parents. He started writing about his impressions of the train ride when a shadow fell across his parchment. Tom looked up to find Mary Greengrass and Sumta Xurana standing next to the table.

Tom gave them a small smile and said, “Good morning”

Neither girl said anything for a moment. Then Greengrass replied, “Good morning.” Then the petite blond girl sat gracefully in the chair across from Tom. “Why are you in Slytherin?”

The question surprised Tom. “Because the Hat put me here I guess.”

Xurana sat in the chair between Tom and Greengrass. Tom glanced at the girl. She appeared to be of Persian descent. She had dark hair and eyes so dark they looked like black pearls. Even as an 11-year-old boy who was NOT into girls yet, Tom admitted to himself the girl was beautiful.

The dark girl smiled at Tom almost as if he made his assessment aloud. “We mean no offense with our question. I knew all of the others in Slytherin before I even arrived here, at least by family. You are the only anomaly.”

Tom grinned, “Anomoly? What kind of 11 year old outside of Ravenclaw uses the word anomaly?”

Almost against her will Xurana grinned back. Mary Greengrass reclaimed their attention with a question, “I want to know how you talked to that snake last night. Are you really a Parselmouth?”

With a straight face, Tom answered, “Sure, isn’t everybody?”

Greengrass shook her head, “No one is a Parselmouth! There hasn’t been a known Parselmouth in over a hundred years!”

‘Must be when the Gaunt family fell out of the Wizarding world,’ Tom thought to himself. “Really,” Tom commented with a sly smile, “are you sure of your information?” Then Tom looked at a clock on the wall. “Would you ladies care to join me for breakfast?”

The girls looked a little bemused by Tom’s answer and his change of topic. They watched as Tom placed his parchment in his bag and stood up. After glancing at each other, they joined Tom in walking up to the Great Hall for breakfast.

As they walked out of the common room, Xurana asked, “Do you know any other Parselmouths?”

Tom ignored the question and asked, “Do you girls play Quidditch?” as he led them down the hall.

Mary allowed the change of subject again and answered, “I’ve played but my mother said it is not a proper sport for young ladies. Father says girls can’t handle the pressure.”

Tom snorted quietly at that answer. He would have loved to seen someone say to his Mum that she couldn’t handle pressure. “My father played as a Seeker. He told me all of the Chasers on his team were girls.”

“He obviously wasn’t in Slytherin then. None of the Slytherin House teams have ever had a female player,” Greengrass replied.

“I thought this was the house of the ambitious and cunning? Who cares where the talent comes from if it means you can win?”

Neither girls spoke another word as they walked into the Great Hall. As they sat down, Tom noticed the confused looks on their faces. Tom wasn’t sure what he said to confuse them, but he could see it in their expressions. Tom started eating as the other Slytherin First years trickled into the Great Hall.

Tom observed the other Houses while he started eating. Hufflepuff seemed like they were having the most fun. A great deal of laughter came from that table. The Ravenclaw table was quiet. Many of the students already had texts opened in as they ate breakfast. Gryffindor held a mixed bag. Some students were joking quietly. Most were rather quiet. The table was mostly empty. Tom wondered if the House of the Brave was also the House of Late Sleepers.

“The Gryffindors are known for having a huge party the first night back,” a voice said.

Tom turned to find Ed Nott had sat down next to him. “That seems stupid. Today is a Friday. Why not just wait until tonight so they can sleep in on Saturday. We do have classes today.”

Nott snorted, “No one has ever called the Gryffidorks the smart house.”

Tom grinned as he thought of his father’s response to that statement. The thinking of some of Dad’s stories, he thought, ‘On the other hand, Dad might agree.’

Professor Slughorn passed by handing out the timetables for the Slytherin First years. “I will be meeting with all of the House by class today and tomorrow so I can get to know you. I will meet with the First years today at 3:00.”

Tom looked at his schedule of classes.
Monday-
DADA 8-9 (Gryffindor)
Charms 10-11 (Hufflepuff)
Potions 1-2 (Gryffindor)
History of Magic 3-4 (Ravenclaw)

Tuesday-
Transfiguration 8-10 (Ravenclaw)
Astronomy 11-12 (Hufflepuff)
Herbology (1-2) (Hufflepuff)
History of Magic 3-4 (Ravenclaw)

Wednesday-
DADA 8-9 (Gryffindor)
Charms 10-11 (Hufflepuff)
Potions 1-2 (Gryffindor)
History of Magic 3-4 (Ravenclaw)

Thursday-
Transfiguration 8-10 (Ravenclaw)
Astronomy 11-12 (Hufflepuff)
Herbology (1-2) (Hufflepuff)
History of Magic 3-4 (Ravenclaw)

Friday-
Herbology 8-10 (Hufflepuff)

“Today shouldn’t be too bad.” Tom commented. “Only one class”

“It is not a wand classes though,” Nott grumped. “I wanted to use my wand today.”

The group around Tom got into a debate over the classes. Tom admitted to himself that he was disappointed he did not have Transfiguration or Defense today. Tom finished his breakfast and commented to Nott that he was going to get his books for class. Nott nodded around a mouthful of food and waved Tom off.

*~*~

Tom arrived at the greenhouses before any of the other Slytherins. A couple of the Hufflepuffs stood in a group. The cast suspicious glances at Tom when they noticed his Slytherin robes. Tom gave them a big smile and waved. Now they looked confused. Tom snickered to himself. Dad had told him that once if you couldn’t do anything else, always mess with their heads..

The other Slytherin students arrived en masse. Surprisingly, Dolohov ignored Tom completely. No sneers, comments or gestures were made. Then Tom remembered the Head Boy’s comments from last night. No fights outside the House. Since the ‘puffs were here, Dolohov had to leave Tom alone. That was good to know. Greengrass and Xurana gave Tom small smiles in greeting. The rest followed Dolohov’s lead.

Tom didn’t really mind. He was enjoying being outside in the fresh air. Today was a perfect flying day. Too bad he had to leave his broom at home. Tom idly wondered what Snuffles was up to without him.

A middle-aged witch in brown robes and an apron walked out of a greenhouse. “Good morning, children! I am Professor Plantatia. I will be your Herbology professor. I am also Head of Hufflepuff House. Can anyone tell me the importance of studying magical plants?”

A small Hufflepuff girl raised her hand. At the professor’s nod, she answered, “You need to understand the plants for potions making and treating any injuries from the plants.”

The professor unleashed a wide smile, “Excellent! Two points for Hufflepuff!” The witch smiled. “Today we will tour the greenhouses and discuss the plants we will be reviewing this year. I must remind you not to touch anything. Some of the greenhouses you will not reenter again unless you take the NEWT-level classes.” With a final nod, the professor called out, “Follow me!”

*~*~

Tom walked back up to the castle surrounded by the other Slytherins. Herbology seemed okay to Tom, but he knew it would never be a favorite class. A couple of the Hufflepuffs and Laura Parkinson seemed excited by the material. Tom just looked forward to the Defense class.

*~*~

Lunch passed quickly. Tom learned that Nott shared an interest in Quidditch. The two boys discussed the various teams and their chances of winning the championship this season. Nott told Tom he would like to play in goal for the Slytherin House team. Tom told Nott he would like to play Chaser or Seeker. Tom realized he liked the other boy’s dry humor. Dolohov and the other boys ignored Tom and Nott. The girls kept to themselves but Tom felt them glancing over at him periodically.

When he made a comment to Nott about the strange glances, he was surprised at the response. “You really don’t know?” When Tom shook his head, Nott supplied, “You are an unknown. This is Slytherin House. They are weighing if there are advantages to being your friend. Also you talking to that snake last night is throwing them off.”

“Why aren’t you affected then?”

Nott looked surprised. “Do you know who I am?”

“Edward Nott.”

“My father is the bloody Minister of Magic,” Nott said in lofty tones. Tom could hear subtle tones that indicated the tone was self-mocking rather then snobby as it sounded. “My family is the top of the social food chain. My grandfather was the Minister at one time also.”

Tom gave Nott a smile, “So you can talk to me because there is no one you can talk up to?”

Nott snorted, “Basically. I’ll admit I am also curious about you talking to snakes.”

“Everyone makes a big deal about that. Greengrass and Xurana were asking about it this morning before breakfast. It is not really a big deal.”

Tom caught Nott’s considering look as Tom returned to his lunch. Tom could tell the comment took him by surprise. Tom tried to change the subject. “Have you been taught any magic already?”

Nott shrugged, “I had a couple of tutors for reading, math and stuff. Also I had teachers for some etiquette and other things a Pureblood needs to know. Father wanted to send me to a wizard day school that opened in London, but Mother wouldn’t let me go.”

“Why not?”

Nott shrugged, “Don’t know really. I didn’t really care. I was enjoying my summer. Who wants to start classes early?”

Tom thought it was interesting the Minister thought about sending his son to the Phoenix school. Tom decided to test the waters. “I attended some classes at the Phoenix school. Basic Charms and Transfiguration mostly.”

Nott’s expression grew curious. “I thought it was all orphans at the school.”

“I actually am an orphan. I got adopted and live in Hogsmeade with my family. Dad thought it was a good idea for me to get some early education.”

“So you are a muggle-born?” Nott asked.

Tom looked at him curiously. “Would it really make a difference?”

Nott shrugged and looked a bit embarrassed. “Umm, yes. I guess so. My grandfather is always saying the muggle-borns don’t understand their place in society.”

Tom grinned at the uncomfortable boy. “When you figure out what I am, let me know.” At that point, Tom realized that all conversation around them had stopped. All of the Slytherins seemed to be listening. Tom continued, really addressing all of his listeners, “I think I will be an odd puzzle for you. I spent several years in the Muggle world and several in the Magical world. I could be a Pureblood, a half-blood or a Muggle-born. I guess you will have to decide my worth on your own.”

Tom almost died laughing at the looks of consternation on his Housemates faces. He refused their easy categorizations. Tom could play this to from all sides. It was such a Slytherin thing to do.

*~*~

After lunch, Tom, Nott, Greengrass and Xurana explored the castle. Tom wished Dad let him have the Marauders’ Map. Mum was probably watching him right now. That thought caused Tom to snicker quietly.

After a couple of hours, the group decided to go back to the common room before the meeting with Professor Slughorn. As they approached the entrance to the common room, they found four Sixth or Seventh year Slytherins waiting for them.

“You three can go in, but the Mudblood stays out,” one boy said.

“We don’t want your type corrupting our House. We changed our password so you can’t come in. Go talk to Dippet and get resorted,” another added.

Tom looked at the other First years. “Go ahead. I’ll be fine.”

The others walked to the entrance. One of the older boys whispered the new password. Once the door opened all of them walked inside. Each of the First years glanced back at Tom as they walked through. Then the older boys walked in and shut the entrance behind them.

Tom stood alone in the corridor and was furious. How dare they try to exclude him! Tom felt the anger radiating off his body. The torches lining the walls seemed to flicker as a wave of magic rushed down the hall.

Tom felt a brief, comforting touch in the back of his mind. He turned half expecting to see his father standing behind him. No one was there but Tom felt calmed anyway. Tom seemed to feel his Dad with him.

Tom took a deep breath to calm himself. He started running through some of the simple Occulmency exercises Mum had taught him. Once he felt calm, Tom walked up to the entrance.

He hissed, <Can you please open up? >

A slight hiss was heard back. < Who asks for me to open? >

< I am Tom Evans of Slytherin’s line. >

The entrance swung open with a bang. < Enter Master’s Heir >

Tom strode into the Slytherin common room to the astonished stares of the other Slytherins. In a contemptuous voice, Tom asked, “Did you really think you could keep a Parselmouth out of the House of the Snake?”

The other students looked like rats caught in the gaze of a cobra. No one moved. They just looked at the cold blue eyes of Tom Evans. They had felt the wave of pure magic ripple through the walls. They had been stunned at the power of it even before the door slammed open.

Tom sneered at the motionless students and walked down to his dorm. Inside he wanted to cry. This would be a long seven years if he had to fight his own House the whole time.

Tom sat down and finished his letter home. After twenty minutes, he walked out of the still empty dorm room and into the common room. All of the other Slytherins still stood in the room talking quietly in small groups. Tom ignored them on his way to the Owlery. Tom paused in the common room entrance and glanced back. All of the conversations had stopped as they all watched him. Tom smiled back at them and walked out of the room.

*~*~

The rest of the Slytherin First years stood outside Professor Slughorn’s office already when Tom arrived. Dolohov stood with Rosier and Milciber with a scowl on his face as Tom approached. Nott stood a short distance away talking to Xurana and Greengrass. The remaining girls formed a third group.

Tom stopped a short distance away from any of the groups. They formed a square with Tom at one corner, Dolohov and his crew on the opposite corner and the other two groups on Tom’s left and right.

Before a word could be said, Professor Slughorn opened his office door. “Welcome! Come right in and have a seat. There is pumpkin juice and biscuits on the table.”

The Slytherins filed into the room. Tom took a seat towards the back of his Head of House’s office. The office was rather spare. Marks on the walls indicated where frames had been recently removed. Tom did see a framed certificate proclaiming Slughorn’s Ptions Mastery dated two years ago hanging behind the desk. A bookcase filled with a variety of texts stood along on wall. Another cabinet with glass doors held a variety of potions ingredients. It looked like one of the magically secured cabinets Mum had at home in her potions lab.

The professor himself was a fairly young man for a professor, no more then twenty-five. He was short, barely over 5’2. He seemed to be expanding in the horizontal direction. He was already half as wide as he was tall. If he kept that up he would not be able to get down the Hogwart’s passageways!

The professor took a seat and smiled at his young charges. “I would like to welcome you all to this chance to get to know each other and me. Obviously I was a Slytherin during my time hear. I left school in 1931. I then started on my potions mastery with the famous Potions Master Collagula Prince. Since then I have been working on development of secret potions for the Department of Mysteries.”

Tom snorted. If the professor really had been working for the Department of Mysteries, it would be the last thing he admitted to especially to a group of First year Slytherins. Tom decided to play with him a bit. “Are you helping in the fight against Grindelwald, sir?”

Professor Slughorn gave Tom a sly smile. He said, “I couldn’t comment on that,” while his whole being seemed to scream out, “Yes, I am!”

Slughorn turned to Nott and asked him to introduce himself. Nott commented on his father’s position. Slughorn seemed fascinated. Tom learned that Mulciber’s father owned a apothecary in Knockturn Alley. Evan Rosier’s parents worked as Aurors and his great-uncle Fergus invented the self-sealing potions beaker. Dolohov’s father had been a curse-breaker fro Gringotts before a particularly nasty Egyptian curse got him. Tabitha Figg’s family were part owners of the Cannons. Mary Greengrass revealed her family owned the largest chain of magical greenhouses in Britain. Sumta Xurana’s family owned a large import-export business between England and the Middle East. Laura Parkinson and Alicia Tadweiter turned out to be cousins. Their families both worked in the Ministry in senior positions. Penelope Midland’s father worked as a Healer at St. Mungos. Her mother taught at the Phoenix school.

Tom snorted quietly when Penelope mentioned the Phoenix school. Unfortunately, not quietly enough. Penelope turned and glared at Tom.

“There is nothing wrong with teaching in a school for orphans!” she hissed at him.

Tom grimaced and looked at Nott. Nott understood his unspoken request. “Tom is an orphan, Penelope. He told me at lunch he took classes at the Phoenix school.”

Penelope blushed. “Sorry, I thought you were laughing at me.”

Slughorn felt the tension in the air. He looked at Tom and said, “You seem to be the final student. Tell me about yourself.” The other students turned to look at Tom.

“My name is Tom Evans. My parents are James and Sarah. We live in Hogsmeade.”

Professor Slughorn looked surprised at this simple answer. Dolohov snorted, “What, are they the village drunks?”

Tom returned a slight smirk. “No, we are just private.”

Penelope frowned slightly, “I have heard of James Evans before. It was a couple of years ago.”

Laura Parkinson looked at Tom in surprise. “Is he the same man who beat my cousin, Abraxus Malfoy, in a demonstration dual a couple of years ago?”

Tom simply shrugged without answering. The others were glancing between Tom and Laura unsure what to believe.

Professor Slughorn looked at Tom speculatively, “I heard about a James Evans teaching magical combat classes to Aurors.”

Tom shook his head, “Shouldn’t I be bragging about all of that if it were true? We like our privacy. Dad retired and moved to Hogsmeade. He adopted me. End of story.”

Dolohov snorted, “So you were adopted by some old guy.” Tom ignored him.

“Who were your birthparents?” Mary asked.

Tom shrugged again. “They don’t really matter anymore. I never knew them. I only have one set of parents.”

An uncomfortable silence settled on the room with Tom’s answer. After a minute, Professor Slughorn stood up and thanked the students for coming to see him. After a short, meaningless speech about his office door always being open, Slughorn moved the group out of his office.

Tom walked out in front of everyone else, keeping himself isolated. The others followed him back to the Slytherin dungeons without further comment.

*~*~

Tom spent the rest of the afternoon in the common room reading his Transfiguration text. Having met Professor Dumbledore many times through his father, Tom was determined the excel in the class. Nott and Greengrass sat playing wizard chess at a nearby table. Xurana sat in a chair across from Tom reading her Potions book.

Tom wondered if he was starting to feel comfortable with the three other Slytherin. He had never had a true friend his own age before. At the orphanage, Tom was the freak. The occasional accidental magic highlighted the difference the kids felt. Dad had commented the same thing happened to him in primary school. Dad theorized that young Muggle children still believed in magic enough to sense the magic contained within a witch or wizard. This indescribable difference caused the kids to make them outcasts as “freaks”.

Moving to Hogsmeade did not help matters a whole lot. No other children were close to Tom’s age. Being a muggle-raised wizard, Tom did not instinctively understand the magical world like the other children did. So Tom had Snuffles as his true friend. The giant dog served as his friend and confidant.

The other three Slytherins treated Tom in a friendly fashion. Tom was sure Nott was right and part of it was the curiosity factor. However, Tom also saw the looks on their faces as they walked into the common room when the older boys tried to lock Tom out. Now they voluntarily sat with Tom as they waited on dinner. Tom glanced around at the other three. Yes, they could be friends.

*~*~

The next morning, Tom and his three new friends sat in the Great Hall eating breakfast. Not many of the older students arrived before 9:00. Tom was still too excited being at Hogwarts to sleep in for long. The other three dragged themselves to the Great Hall with Tom.

A sudden commotion occurred outside the Great Hall doors. One of the doors pushed open and a huge black dog pushed his way into the room. With his tongue hanging out, Snuffles ran over to Tom and jumped up on the bench.

“Snuffles!” Tom cried out in excitement as many of the other students in the Great Hall yelled in a brief panic.

“What is that mutt doing in here?” Georgiana Scandalfenie asked. The Slytherin prefect sounded appalled about the dog’s presence.

Noticing a note tied to Snuffles neck, Tom grinned at her. “Don’t worry, he is a mail dog.”

Before the girl could unleash on Tom, another voice interceded. “I see your friend has found you, Mr. Evans.”

Tom turned to grin up at Professor Dumbledore. “Yes, professor. I guess he caught my scent. He had a note attached to him.”

The Transfiguration teacher smiled down on the First year with a twinkle in his eye. “I dare say you are correct. I suggest you read your letter. Have a good day, Mr. Evans. Ms. Scandalfenie.” Then he walked away.

The prefect walked away without another word. Nott leaned forward and whispered, “How did you get Dumbledore to stand up for you? I heard he hates Slytherins.”

Tom frowned, “I don’t think the professor is capable of hating anyone. If anything his fault lies in the other direction. Dad says Professor Dumbledore is too willing to only see the positives of the person and misses or ignores their weaknesses.”

Xurana asked, “So you met the professor before?”

“I live in Hogsmeade,” Tom shrugged. “Sooner or later all of the staff comes into the village. He is friendly with my dad.”

Tom opened the note-

Dear Tom,

Congratulations on being Sorted into Slytherin. Now we just need a Ravenclaw and we have a complete set! I hope you are settling in with your new Housemates.

If you need anything or just need to talk, send me an owl. I know going to school is a big change for you.

Snuffles has been driving your Mum spare. He spent all night on the First howling on your bed. I had to use a Silencing Charm on him so the twins could sleep. I suspect he will find you when I let him out this morning. I talked to Professor Dippet about Snuffles. He is not allowed to stay at the castle but he is allowed up to visit on the weekends. At least someone from the family will get to see you on a regular basis!

Take care. Your Mum, the twins and I miss you.

Dad

Tom smiled at his father’s note. Snuffles butted into Tom to get some attention.

“So you gave Mum a hard time? Did you keep an eye on the twins for me?” Snuffles gave a low woof. Tom tossed Snuffles a piece of sausage and looked at his friends. “I am going to take Snuffles outside. Why don’t you come out when you are done eating?” The three Slytherins nodded and watched as the small boy walked out of the Great Hall with the huge black dog.

Nott snickered and said, “Tom’s dog is so big he could almost ride him.”

Xurana looked at the other two. “That was an oriental Spirit Guardian, a magical breed of dogs. They are supposed to be very intelligent and highly resistant to magic. I have never seen one that large before.”

The three students sat wondering on the expanding riddle of their new friend.

*~*~

Tom, Snuffles and the three Slytherins spent much of the weekend wandering the castle grounds. Tom had explored much of it during his summers and he guided the others around to various areas. As First years, they had no responsibilities or homework so their time was completely free. Tom enjoyed getting to know his friends better.

Edward Nott fully expected to by Minister of Magic one day. His family would accept nothing less from him. After two generations in the office, the family had come to see the position as almost hereditary. Tom knew the current Minister Nott supported the British PM Chamberlain. In fact, the Minister of Magic was in Germany right now with the Prime Minister negotiating with Hitler and Grindelwald. Nott told the three his father and Chamberlain had established the best working relationship between the Magical and Muggle governments in centuries. Based on the little Dad said about the past in his timeline, the war was coming. Tom didn’t say anything but wondered how the coming war would impact his friend.

Tom found Mary Greengrass and Sumta Xurana to be a lot of fun to be around. Both girls were very different from each other but both had a good sense of humor. Growing up in pureblood households neither knew much about the Muggle world. (Tom was impressed with the amount Nott did know) Tom enjoyed telling them about the different Muggle inventions like airplanes and the telephone. The girls were surprised that the Muggles could equal the ability of the Floo for rapid communication.

The weekend turned out much better then Tom ever expected. He really grew to like and start trusting his new friends. More importantly, Snuffles liked all three. Dolohov, Rosier, and Mulciber tried to harass them at one point but Snuffles growled at them until they left.

Late on Sunday afternoon, Snuffles wagged his tail and ran home to the village. Tom felt sad to see his friend leave but he remembered his father’s agreement with the Headmaster. Tom appreciated what his father had done in sending Snuffles. The presence of the big dog allowed Tom feel protected while getting to know his new friends. Tom smiled briefly to himself as he walked back into the castle. Some times it was scary how well Dad knew him.

*~*~

The Slytherin First years walked into their first Defense Against the Dark Arts class. The Gryffindor students were already in their seats on the other side of the room. The room was divided by a scaled down dueling platform. Chairs on platforms were on both side and back of the platform. The professor’s desk sat at the top of the U.

Tom sat in the top row between Xurana and Greengrass. Nott sat on the other side of Mary. Tom looked over the Gryffindor students. They had a larger group then the Slytherins. Seventeen Gryffindors sat opposite eleven Slytherins. They had nine boys and eight girls. Tom recognized one or two from the Hogswarts Express but he had never spoken to any of them.

“Good morning, class.”

Tom turned to see an older witch entering the classroom from a side door. She was of medium height with iron grey hair tied into a bun. The professor carried a small pile of books over to her desk and set them down. Then she turned to the class. Tom got a quick sense she was not a woman to be crossed.

“Good morning. I am Professor Merrythought. I have taught this class for more then thirty years. It is possible I may have taught some of your parents. Before teaching, I was an Auror for thirty years.

In the next seven years you will be taught to deal with all manner of Dark threats. This will include dueling, Dark creatures, and cursed objects. Some of this will be taught in conjunction with other subjects. For example, when we study Dark creatures in your Third and Fourth years, it will be done in conjunction with your Care of Magical Creatures class.

We live in dangerous times. A Dark wizard has taken control of the Ministry of a European country. It will become a haven for Dark creatures and wizards. Like an infected body, the rot may spread to our shores. We must always be prepared.”

The professor called roll by House. She paused a couple of times as individual names were called out and she recognized the family. She did a barely perceptible pause when she called out Tom Evans, but she proceeded on without looking up after he answered her.

Setting her class list aside, the professor asked, “When fighting the Dark, what is the most important weapon in our arsenal? Yes, Mr. Brown?”

A dark haired Gryffindor answered, “Our wand?”

“Incorrect. Mr. Jones?”

A black Gryffindor with the darkest skin Tom had ever seen answered, “Knowledge, ma’am?”

“Close, but also incorrect. Mr. Evans?”

“Our wits, professor”

“Correct. Five points to Slytherin. Why do you answer that, Mr. Evans?”

Tom answered, “Our wand won’t help use in every situation. Knowledge won’t help if we are frozen or indecisive. We need our wits to judge the situation and chose the best course of action.”

The professor raised an eyebrow at that answer from a First year. “You have discussed this before.” It was not a question.

“Yes, professor,” Tom acknowledged. “My father taught me a bit. He said wizards get so caught up in being magical they often fail to think about other solutions.”

Several of the students looked surprised at Tom’s comment. The Gryffindors seemed the most surprised to hear that coming from a Slytherin. Tom’s fellow Slytherins did not comment, except Xurana’s congratulations on gaining the points. The professor smiled briefly and continued with her lecture.

*~*~

After DADA ended, Tom and his friends walked to their Charms class. The Slytherins walked in two groups now. One was made up of Dolhov, Rosier and Mulciber. The remaining First year Slytherin girls had joined Tom and his friends. Xurana made a point of pulling the girls into their group.

When Tom teased her on it not being proper Slytherin behavior, she answered, “Being cunning does not mean you work alone. The Quidditch team would not be too successful if we only sent out one player.”

Nott laughed at that. “Have you seen our Quidditch team? The only reason we win is the best equipment and talent. Our team work is horrible.”

Mary laughed, “You just proved her point, Edward.”

The laughing group walked into the Charms classroom. The new Charms professor, Flitwick stood on a small platform in the front of the room. The professor obviously had a fair amount of goblin blood in him. Even on the platform, the professor only came to eye level with the First years.

“Great,” Dolohov rumbled, “a half-blood.”

Before the professor could say anything, Tom called out, “Excuse him professor. He let his brain out for a stroll and it hasn’t returned yet.” In a mock whisper Tom turned to now and said, “I understand the poor thing has be neglected for years.”

The Hufflepuffs in the room startled themselves by laughing at a joke by a Slytherin. They were used to the jokes being made at their expense. Professor Flitwick looked torn between reprimanding Dolohov and laughing himself.

“Please take you seats, class” the diminutive professor called out.

After the class was seated, the professor introduced himself. “I am Professor Flitwick. I am an associate professor here while I complete work on the Charms Mastery. I will be teaching First through Fourth years and tutoring the older classes. Before taking this position, I toured on the professional dueling circuit. I won both the Chinese Imperial Magical Open and the European Open during my time on the circuit.

Charms is the most fundamental wand class you will take in school. Most of your household and defensive magic is based on charms! We will learn charms for all types of occasions including household and entertainment. By your Seventh year, you will be introduced to wards and healing charms. Now, lets get started!

Tom reached the conclusion that the new Charms professor was way to enthusiastic about his subject, but it made the class fun. He started teaching the class a simple levitation charm for inanimate objects. He promised the class they would play a form of Muggle tennis using the spell after everyone learned the spell. It sounded interesting.

*~*~

After lunch, the Sytherins made their way out back to the dungeons for potions class. Tom was in a foul mood. Dolohov had tried to get Tom in trouble with the House prefects for his remarks before Charms. Tom defended his actions saying it was stupid to offend the new professor for no reason.

Fortunately, Anthony Cumshaw-Parker, the Head Boy, was in the common room when Dolohov started his rant. He had just asked the associate Charms professor for some help revising for his NEWT exam, having his House offend the teacher would not help his cause. So the Head Boy told Dolohov to shut up and not bring shame on the House.

Dolohov sulked at the public (at least in the House) put down. His eyes promised Tom he would pay for making Dolohov look bad. Rosier looked a bit uneasy but it was clear Mulciber would back him up.

Sitting down in Potions, Nott asked Tom. “Was that the real reason you put Dolohov down?”

Tom snorted, “Partially. Also he really is an idiot who is nothing but a bully. I had more then my fill of that sort when I was in the orphanage. Magical or Muggle, a bully is the same in both worlds.”

Professor Slughorn stumped into the Potions lab from his office. “Good afternoon, Mr. Nott. I understand your great father is on his way to ensure war does not touch our shores.”

“Err, yes professor. He is in Munich right now.” Nott answered.

“Excellent!” the professor beamed. Then he walked by with only a curious glance at Tom.

Nott leaned over and whispered, “I hate people that suck up because of my father.”

Tom could only nod his agreement.

“Welcome to the wonderful world of potions class. I am Professor Horace Slughorn. A mastery of Potions is the greatest skill of subtlety in the magical world. In this class, you will learn to mix ingredients in an exacting manner. The act of brewing will allow your magic will infuse your potions with power. You will be able to brew luck, bottle love and heal the deepest wounds.”

The professor handed out a small book. “This is a reference guide that contains over 1,500 common potions ingredients. You will find information outlining special handling and mixing, plus what not to mix.”

The professor waved his wand at the front board. “Now, I present to you a simple potion. You will brew this potion over the next 30 minutes. When you are done, I expect you to tell me what it would be used for.”

Tom admitted that seemed like an interesting assignment. Nott pulled out their equipment while Tom went for their needed ingredients.

Tom enjoyed his Potions class. Working with Mum helped but it was nice to work with Edward. They worked well together. The finished their potion (it was a curative for heartburn) and were assigned 14 inches on alternate ingredients that would make the potion more effective.

Nott and Xurana each earned Slytherin five points during potions. Edward answered the question of what the potion was for first. Xurana asked why another ingredient wasn’t used against a more expensive ingredient. The Gryffindor students earned a couple of points also.

The group walked out with a high level of excitement. The potions class turned out to be much more interesting then they had expected. The excitement lasted 30 seconds after they entered the History of Magic classroom.

Old Professor Binns stood at a podium in front of the class as they filed in to the room. As soon as the bell sounded, Binns started talking about the importance of Hoblock the Barbaric and the 29 Goblin Rebellions in wizarding history.

The professor spoke in a slow, flat tone for the entire class period. He neve varied his inflection or changed his volume. Tom passed Nott a note asking if boredom was the goblins new way of killing off wizards. Nott snorted in response. The professor never looked up.

After class, Nott wanted to walk up and touch the professor.

“Why?” Mary asked.”

“I think maybe he died and his ghost just kept going. No one living could be that boring!”

Later, Tom would not understand when his Mum told him the relayed comment left his dad in hysterical laughter.

*~*~

Tuesday morning finally had Tom arriving in Professor Dumbledore’s classroom. This was the last of the wand classes the Slytherins had yet to attend. Many in Slytherin House disliked the professor for his support of Muggle-born. They saw him as weak. Many speculated he had been a Gryffindor or Ravenclaw when a student. Tom kept quiet about the fact he had been a Slytherin according to his father.

The Transfiguration classroom was a warm, friendly place. Professor Dumbledore stood in from of the classroom with a smile. His long auburn beard hung down in front of his dark purple robes. Tom thought he looked like the stereotypical wizard out of a Muggle fantasy story.

With a pronounced twinkle in his eye, the professor started, “How wonderful it is to see so many ready young minds starting their education in the realm of transfiguration. This class is simply about using magic to enact your desire on another object or creature. For example, I would like a nice cup of tea.”

The professor drew his wand and tapped a small wooden cube on his desk. An instant later it was a teacup filled with hot tea.

“Now, I would like a comfortable chair to sit in.” An instant later a Muggle reclining chair appeared in the front of the class. The professor sat down with his mug. “The keys to transfiguration are to maintain a clear image in your head of what you desire and then finding the correct spell to efficiently release your magic to match your will.”

The professor stood and made the chair and teacup disappear. “Today we will start with a simple exercise. Ms. Parkinson, please hand out the toothpicks on my desk. Class, we will start with transfiguring these toothpicks into pins. A very similar size and shape, one wood , the other metal. You will earn a passing grade in today’s class if it changes to metal all the way through.”

Xurana and a Ravenclaw named Boot were the first to get the transfiguration correct. Tom and Nott eventually picked it up. They were both in about the middle of the class. Tom smiled at the professor as he walked out of the classroom after the class was done.

*~*~

That night, Tom sat in the Slytherin classroom and wrote a letter home to his family. Nott and the Slytherin First year girls sat at the table with him working on homework or playing little magical games. Xurana sat reading Hogwarts: A History.

Dear Mum and Dad,

We have now attended all of our classes. DADA, Potions, Charms, and Transfiguration were all brilliant. The teachers seemed very interesting. I earned 5 points in DADA.

Astronomy and Herbology were okay. The professors seem okay but I wasn’t too excited by the class. History of Magic was the worst! My friend Edward Nott thinks the professor must be dead already. We all thought we were going to be bored to death. All he talks about are Goblin Wars. Didn’t anything else ever happen? I wish I was finished my OWLS already so I could drop this class!

We started getting homework already. (Yes, mum, it is already done.)

Thanks for sending Snuffles to visit. It really helped. I have started making some friends here in my House. Edward Nott is the only guy I have met that I get along with. The other guys in my dorm are idiots. The Slytherin girls are fun though. Mary Greengrass and Sumta Xurana are very friendly and have good senses of humor. Snuffles liked them too. I haven’t really met anyone outside Slytherin yet. I will follow your advice Dad and make an effort, but first I wanted to get to know my Housemates.

I miss you all! Kiss the twins for me!

Love,
Tom

PS It is not fair only Third years and above get Hogsmeade weekends. Dad, can I borrow your old map? (Hint, hint!)


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