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Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, is a young and abused Black boy with Asperger's syndrome, and is hated by his guardians, the Dursleys. A little over a week before his birthday, he discovers that he is also a wizard, and the Dursleys knew all along. Not only is he a wizard, but he's also famous in the wizarding world! An AU fanfic.
(Transgender character introduced in chapter 7)
"Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals"
By = Fayanora
Note: A bit of harmless fanfic fun for no money, written by a fan who only WISHES she owned the Harry Potter rights.
Chapter 5: Discoveries
Harry was just getting into the swing of things when it was announced that Thursday would be flying lessons, with the first year Slytherins. Harry wasn't too pleased with the idea, said he'd make a fool of himself in front of all the Slytherins.
"You don't know you'll make a fool of yourself," said Ron.
"Maybe not. But you have flying experience, and I don't. Closest I ever came was ending up on the school roof once. I had no idea how it happened back then, but of course now it must have been accidental magic."
"Really? Tell me more."
Harry described the experience in more detail, and Ron said, "Wow, sounds like you accidentally apparated--disappeared then reappeared elsewhere," he added by way of explanation.
"Well I wasn't fond of the height, and they had to open the roof access door to get me down. I'm not sure if I'll like flying."
"If you're worried about falling, you shouldn't. You might break a few bones or get a concussion, but between accidental magic and the magic of Hogwarts, I doubt you'd be hurt too bad to be fixed."
"Gee thanks, that's such a comfort."
Thursday morning in the Great Hall at breakfast, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were sitting by Neville Longbottom, the round-faced, forgetful boy who'd lost his toad on the train. His grandmother had sent him a package. It contained a small glass ball that filled with red smoke the moment Neville touched it.
"What's that?" asked Harry.
"It's a Remembrall!" Neville explained. "Gran knows I forget things - this tells you if there's something you've forgotten to do. Only, it doesn't tell you... what you've forgotten."
"That doesn't sound very useful. I'm sure everyone's got something they've forgotten. I don't know much about magic yet, but surely if a device can detect you've forgotten something, it could be modified to tell you what you've forgotten."
Neville shrugged, and continued trying to remember what he'd forgotten when Draco Malfoy, who'd been passing by, snatched it out of his hand to examine it.
Ron jumped up hotly, but Harry stayed seated, looking at Malfoy over his glasses. "Draco," he said warningly. Mrs. McGonagall started hustling over as well, her keen nose for trouble having alerted her. Struggling to suppress a scowl, Malfoy gave the Remembrall back.
"My apologies," he said with forced politeness. "I was just curious." He skulked off with Crabbe and Goyle.
At half past three in the afternoon, the Griffindors and Slytherins met outside for flying lessons with Ms. Hooch. The weather was perfectly calm and warm, great for flying.
The teacher, Ms. Hooch, looked a little like a hawk or owl with her grey hair and yellow eyes; Harry had never seen eye color like that on a human before, and wondered if it meant she was part-human. He didn't know how to find out, though, without being rude, so he set that thought aside.
She lined them all up and gave them directions for preparing their brooms. Harry's was one of the few that shot right into his hand when he commanded it to. Hermione's merely rolled around on the ground. After a brief explanation of what she wanted them to do, she counted down from three. Neville got ahead of her from nerves, and meandered into the air in an uncontrolled fashion. Then he shot around the courtyard and ended up falling and breaking his wrist.
Ms. Hooch commanded that nobody should enter the air while she took Neville to the hospital. But once she was gone, Malfoy walked over to where Neville had dropped his Remembrall, and picked it up, a look in his face signifying potential trouble brewing.
Harry sighed, and walked over to Malfoy. Giving the boy the benefit of the doubt, he said, "Ah, Neville's Remembrall. I'm in Neville's House, Draco, I can get his Remembrall back to him," and held out his hand for the ball.
Years of watching his uncle's facial expressions helped Harry see the internal battle in Draco's face as he fought between his desire to stay on Harry's good side, and his desire to bully Neville. Finally, though, the former won, and - sticking his nose up in the air like he was above it all, Draco handed the Remembrall to Harry, said "I quite agree," and walked away with exaggerated dignity and grace.
Harry worried that it was only a matter of time before Malfoy lost his self control and became a bully to Harry. He spent time thinking on this potential problem, and eventually decided he would have to give Malfoy something other than judgment of his behavior. Harry didn't know what he could do toward that end yet, but at least knowing what he didn't know yet was useful to him.
Draco wasn't the only thing on Harry's mind, other than schoolwork, not by far. He still occasionally mulled over the mystery of the grubby package. It was obvious to him that whatever it was had been brought to Hogwart's, and was in the forbidden third floor corridor. And while it might not have been the smartest thing ever, he had a powerful desire to know what exactly was guarding it. His initial thoughts were things like the traps in Indiana Jones movies, and he wondered how magic could make such traps and obstacles even more formidable, but he didn't get far.
He also tried finding a map of Hogwarts somewhere in "Hogwarts: A History" and other books, to no avail. In fact, he even found out that the castle was "unplottable," meaning it couldn't be put on a map. That seemed a little odd to him, seeing as the castle wasn't far from Hogsmeade, and unless the entire village was also unplottable, well... that would give potential enemies at least some idea where Hogwarts was.
The biggest problem was, there wasn't really an ideal time to go looking into the mystery of the forbidden corridor. Between students and teachers coming and going, Filch and his cat lurking about looking for troublemakers, Peeves the Poltergeist flying around causing mischief, and teachers patrolling the halls at night, Harry would have to be either mad or reckless or both to try to find the forbidden corridor at any time of the day or night.
He tried looking through the library for some way to do it, but the librarian - Ms. Pince - did not appear to have heard of a card catalog, let alone have one. A lot of things were fairly easy to find by way of how things were arranged on the shelves, but a lot more could have been there, there just wasn't any way to find it. Well, unless he asked the librarian, and she seemed to have an almost Filch-like dislike of children being in her precious library and touching her precious books.
In the end, all his careful planning turned out to be unnecessary, for one day he, Hermione, and Ron were talking and walking without paying attention, and just happened to wander up to the forbidden third floor corridor. It was dark when they entered, but torches lit up when they got there.
"This is the third floor corridor," Hermione said in a worried tone, flapping her hands in terror. "It's forbidden!"
"Bloody hell, Harry," Ron said, ducking back in from having checked the exit. "I think I saw Mrs. Norris out there."
"Did she see you? Or smell you?"
"No, she was facing the other way. But what if she smells us?"
"I found a handy spell for that the other day," Harry said. He waved his wand, said an incantation, and air started flowing gently in from the exit. "There, now we're upwind of her. While we're here, I want to take a look around. Listen, just hide behind these statues if you're worried."
Harry examined the wooden door at the end of the corridor, with Ron and Hermione behind him. It seemed Hermione didn't want to be alone in another part of the hallway.
"Alohamora," Harry said at the door, and it unlocked. Cautiously, he peeked in. What he saw made his face turn as pale as his brown skin allowed, and he carefully closed the door and re-locked it. The other two heard great booming barks, muffled by the closing door, and also turned sickly looking.
"What? What was it?" Ron demanded.
"I'll tell you later," Harry said, his voice shaking. “Hominem revelio,” he intonated, casting another spell that was beyond his years.
"Okay, I don't detect Filch or any students," he said. "I don't know how to detect poltergeists or cats, though." He peeked out the door and saw no sign of either. He waited for the stone staircase to start to shake with pre-moving shakes, then gestured for the other two to follow him. They got on the staircase just before it began to move, and got off it at a safer area of the castle. Then, as nonchalantly as they could manage, they made their way back to the Griffindor common room.
When they got there, the common room was busy with people talking, so the three of them sat at a table and began to talk quietly amongst themselves.
"So what did you see?"
Harry inhaled for strength, then said, "A massive, three headed dog. Luckily, it was asleep. But it began to get up as I watched it, and I briefly saw a trapdoor under it." He was worried that they wouldn't believe him, but his voice was still shaking, and so were his hands, which seemed to give him more credibility.
Ron turned white, and Hermione's dark skin looked sickly. "What?" Ron whispered hoarsely. "A giant three-headed dog?"
"Yes. Given what I've read of Greek mythology, I'd guess it's called a Cerberus. Muggles know about a lot of magical creatures, probably from the days before the statute of secrecy. Only, most Muggles think those creatures are imaginary."
"What do they think they're doing, keeping a great beast like that locked up in the school?"
"I think that the grubby package Hagrid took from Gringott's is down there, under that trap door. Possibly with other stuff between the door and it, to make it even more difficult to get to. But I agree, something like this would not be done at a Muggle school; Muggle schools frown on putting kids at danger. And it wasn't exactly difficult to get in there. You'd think, at the very least, that they'd cover the corridor's entrance with a brick wall like the one in Diagon Alley."
"Well you could always go tell Dumbledore you think his security is lacking, if you don't mind getting expelled for breaking the rules," Hermione snapped. Harry was about to snap back angrily, but he noticed her eyes were watering and she was shaking. Harry wasn't great with most facial expressions, but he could read signs that obvious; she'd snapped at him out of fear.
"What if that dog had bitten you, Harry? You could have died! Or worse," she continued in the same terrified tone, "been expelled."
"I'm pretty sure death is worse than being expelled, Hermione," Ron said.
Harry nodded. "Yeah, look at Hagrid. He once told me, offhand, that he'd been expelled in his third year."
"When'd he tell you that?"
"Oh, I went to see him the other day. I couldn't find either of you at the time, and it came up in our chat. Anyway, we got off track. What could be so important you'd need a Cerberus guarding it?"
The discussion went on for over an hour, but none of them could agree on anything that fit, so eventually they gave up. Harry decided to do some schoolwork. Hermione did some reading, too, which left Ron with no choice but to work on his schoolwork, too.
Life at school went on, as it does, with no more real excitement beyond the interesting things in most classes. Snape continued to be very annoyed with Harry for being so good at potions, and so had to find other excuses to dock points from Griffindor unfairly. The fact that Harry just took the abuse without reacting seemed to infuriate Snape even more, but not enough to have any more excuses to bully him.
It wasn't until Halloween that anything else happened. The three of them went into the Great Hall for the Halloween feast, talking eagerly about Halloween. Hermione was explaining Muggle Halloween traditions to Ron. Ron's eyes went wide at her explanation.
"You mean to tell me that Muggle children dress up in costumes and go get candy from random strangers by going door to door? That's insane!"
"Now Ron, the kids have their parents with them, and the parents go through the candy first before they get to eat any, so it's safe."
"That's not what I mean," Ron explained. "In the wizarding world, we stay indoors on Halloween. It's said to be the one time of year that Dementors and other dark and dangerous creatures get to roam free. We put Jack-o-lanterns out to scare those kinds of creatures away. I was baffled by the feast until Hermione explained Muggle traditions; Dumbledore really likes Muggles, must be why our Halloween here is more Muggle like."
"What's a Dementor?" asked Harry.
"They're the guards of Azkaban prison," Ron said. "They're horrible. Tall, hooded figures that glide around like ghosts, and being around one makes you feel cold, and sucks all the happiness out of the room."
"Holy crud!" Harry exclaimed. "They have things like that guarding wizarding prisoners?"
"Yes. Dad says Dumbledore hates them, thinks they should be expelled from Azkaban."
"You know, the wizarding traditions for Halloween are very similar to old Halloween traditions I read about," Harry said. "Muggles used to do the same things, but they were scared of ghosts and monsters and stuff. And witches, too, come to think of it."
"Makes sense. Muggles can't see Dementors, so they'd have to be scared of something else. I wonder why their traditions changed and ours didn't?"
"They stopped believing in magic, obviously. For the most part."
Just then, Professor Quirrel ran into the hall, panic on his face. "TROLL IN THE DUNGEONS! Troll in the dungeons! Thought you ought to know," he finished, before fainting. Most people in the room began screaming and making a huge ruckus, which grated on Harry's nerves, but he also understood. He'd read about trolls, they sounded dangerous.
Dumbledore made some bangs come from his wand, getting everyone's silence and attention. "Please, everyone, you'll be safe here in the Great Hall. Prefects, please watch the other students while I and the other professors go take care of the troll. I will lock the doors so it cannot get in, if it wanders up here."
Everyone sat back down, and began talking anxiously about the troll. A few minutes in, Harry looked around in confusion.
"Where did Quirrel go?"
Ron looked at him. "What? Oh, I dunno. Prob'ly went off with the other teachers."
"That coward, going to face a troll? No, he's gone somewhere else, I'm sure. Last I saw him, he was on the floor. No idea when he snuck out."
"Harry," Hermione said gently, "there was a lot of noise. He may not have been sneaking around at all."
"Yeah, you're probably right. Hey wait, did anyone check to make sure nobody was caught out in the halls? Don't the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs have their dorms in the dungeons?"
"Hey Percy," Ron called to his brother. "What is it, Ron? I'm a little busy at the moment keeping an eye on you lot."
"Hi," Harry said. "I wanted to know if anyone checked to make sure nobody was caught out in the halls or dungeons."
"I've checked with the other Prefects, and everyone seems to be accounted for. At least, nobody appears to be missing anyone from their Houses."
"Well that's a relief," Harry said with a sigh.
About a half an hour later, the teachers returned. Dumbledore went up to the teacher's table and stood at his lectern. "You'll all be happy to know that the troll has been subdued and is even now being removed from the premises by Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sinistra. If you have not felt comfortable eating during this trying time, I hope you will be able to continue the feast now."
Unlike a lot of other people, Harry, Ron, and Hermione had not stopped eating during the crisis, and ended up leaving early. As they went back to Griffindor Tower, Harry spotted Snape on his way from the third floor to Filch's office; he was limping, and his leg was bloody. He pointed this out to the others.
"Wonder what happened to his leg?" Hermione asked.
"Dunno, but I hope it really hurts, the bullying git," Ron said vehemently.
"He was coming from the third floor. Which is where that Cerberus is."
"What?" Ron exclaimed. "You think he was trying to get past that massive mutt?"
"Oh come now, Harry, what would a teacher be doing trying to get past that giant dog?"
"I dunno, but if he got attacked, he can't have been there on official business."
Harry pondered the mystery silently all the rest of the way back to their common room. First Quirrel slipped out unnoticed in the midst of the chaos he stirred up, then Snape was coming from the forbidden third floor corridor with a bloody leg. It was too strange to be a coincidence. Sure, Hermione had a point that Quirrel could have just left without being sneaky, or may have gone with the other teachers, but they hadn't been making noise very long before Dumbledore silenced them, and Quirrel had supposedly fainted. He didn't know how long it took someone to recover from fainting, but it had to take longer than that. The mystery kept him awake for several hours in bed before his exhaustion finally took him to sleep.
The next day, the trio went down to Hagrid's hut to visit again. While they were there, they talked about the troll, which was a perfect opening to mention Snape's strange activities and bloody leg, and the fact that they'd accidentally found out about the massive three-headed dog. Harry also mentioned that Snape and/or Quirrel might be trying to steal whatever the Cerberus was guarding.
"Oh now, stop it yeh three," Hagrid said dismissively. "Snape's not tryin' ter steal nuthin, and neither is Quirrel; in fact, they're two o' the teachers protectin the--"
"Never you mind. 's nunyer bizness wha Fluffy is guardin--"
Ron's eyes goggled. "You named it Fluffy? Massive, three-headed dog, and you name it Fluffy?"
"Well why shouldn't he?" asked Harry. "I read an etymology of the word 'Cerberus' once, since it appears in Greek mythology, and apparently it's the Greek word for 'Spotted.' IE, the official term for it is the Greek version of 'Spot,' one of the most popular dog names in the world."
Both Ron and Hermione goggled at that one, while Hagrid guffawed deeply.
"They named a great beast like that 'Spot'?"
"Now Ron, don' be mean ter Fluffy, he's jus a seriously misunderstood creature, he is."
They rolled their eyes at this; Hagrid and his monster obsession.
"But you're sure whatever Fluffy's guarding is safe?" asked Harry. "I mean, somebody got into Gringotts, and then out again, and that's supposed to be impossible. Makes me think a clever enough person could do the same here."
"Never you mind wha Fluffy's guardin, tha's strictly between Professor Dumbledore and Nickolas Flamel."
"Ah, so someone named Nickolas Flamel is involved, is it?" said Ron.
Hagrid's face - what little of it could be seen with his bushy hair and beard - went white. "Forget I said tha, I shouldn't've said that. Damn, makes me wish I could do obliviate, tha does. You lot keep yer noses outta what ain't yer bizness, mind? Yer kids, yer not ter be meddlin in dangerous stuff like tha, you unnerstan?"
They all three nodded, and solemnly swore they would nose out, but all of them had their fingers crossed behind their backs.
As they walked back up to school, Ron started conversation. "Nickolas Flamel, huh? I wonder who that is."
"Well that's no mystery," Harry said.
"It's not?" Ron goggled. "How do you know something about the wizarding world I don't?"
"Because I remember reading that name, when reading about Dumbledore on my first Chocolate Frog card."
When they got back to the common room, Harry ran up to his trunk and brought down the card in question. "See, 'Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel.'"
"Yeah," Ron said, "but that doesn't tell us who he is. Unless you read something else about him? Or you, Hermione?"
Hermione shook her head, but Harry nodded. "Nickolas Flamel is known to Muggles. I don't know if he predates the Statute of Secrecy or what, but the Muggles know about him. I read a book in the library once about him and some other alchemists. It's a topic of interest for Muggles because alchemists are considered to be some of the first scientists, at least according to Muggle sources. Isaac Newton was an alchemist, in fact."
"Who's Izak Nooden?" Ron asked.
"Isaac Newton. He was the first person to mathematically describe gravity, and he came up with a lot of really important laws of physics, like the law of conservation of energy."
"You do know what gravity--" Hermione began to ask.
"Of course I bloody well know what gravity is! It's what sticks us to the ground, keeps us from flying off toward the moon."
"Well that's a relief. Honestly, I wasn't sure, the state of science education in the wizarding world is absolutely horrendous, I wouldn't have been surprised if you hadn't been taught about gravity."
"Yeah, well, a few things leak in, prob'ly from Muggleborns and halfbloods. Anyway, so do you know why Flamel is important to the mystery?"
"Yes. Alchemy was concerned with creating the Philosopher's Stone, which supposedly could transmute any metal into solid gold, and make The Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal."
"It means you'll never die," Hermione explained.
"I know what it means!" Ron shot back hotly. "Anyway, no wonder Snape's after the stone, if it makes endless gold and makes you live forever. Who wouldn't want it?"
"I wouldn't have wanted to be immortal, if it'd meant spending any more time with the Dursleys. Though I suppose with all that gold, I could escape and live on my own... but no, that's too much power for one person to have. And put too much gold on the market and eventually it becomes worthless. A large part of why gold is worth so much is because it's not exactly common."
"Still, if you were careful not to make too much..." Ron trailed off.
Later that night, Harry again had trouble sleeping, the thought of Snape, that miserable git, being immortal and unbelievably wealthy haunting him. He very much hoped Hagrid was right, and that nobody could get the stone unless they were authorized to. Which, considering Dumbledore's partnership with Flamel, probably meant Dumbledore was the only one authorized to retrieve it. He fell into a fitful sleep that night.
Note one: I thought hard about the events of this chapter, and finally I decided that this Harry wouldn't care for the noise and commotion of Quidditch, and would think of Quidditch as a waste of time. If offered a position on the team he'd probably say something like "And waste all those hours I could be studying or reading? No thank you." He'll probably watch it at least once, just to see what the fuss is about, but I doubt he'll enjoy it. There are, of course, aspies that like sports, but this Harry is not one of them.
Note two: Yes, they discover Flamel earlier. No, it's not going to make the final battle with Professor Two-Face happen any faster.
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