Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Year 2: The Advancing of Shadows
Chapter 4: Settling In
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Fezzik, as well as my other betas Athena Hope, Luq707, Mr. 3CP, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.
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Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Book 1: The Fracturing of Foundations
Chapter 4: Settling In
September 3, 1991
Much of the ostensibly impenetrable layer of clouds that had veiled the earth two days before had cleared by the time Harry and his classmates made their way down to the greenhouses on their second morning at Hogwarts, eagerly awaiting their first-ever lesson in Herbology. Harry and Draco walked down the sloping lawns with Pansy and Theodore off to either side, and Crabbe and Goyle flanking the procession a step or two behind. They oddly looked as though they were bodyguards for some sort of illustrious group of high-ranking officials.
The first-year contingent from Ravenclaw was waiting for them by the time they reached the greenhouses, as was a short, dumpy woman named Professor Sprout. She had flyaway hair that was beginning to grey and a kind-looking face. She led them all into the greenhouse before telling them to group up in fours at each table. Harry, Draco, Pansy, and Theodore took one together, and the class began in earnest.
“Welcome to your first lesson in Herbology, everyone. I am Professor Sprout and I will be your instructor for at least the next five years, depending on your grades and decisions after you sit your O.W.L exams at the end of your fifth year. I am the Head of Hufflepuff House, but my door is always open to any who would like to ask me anything at any time. You are all always welcome.
“Now, Herbology. I see that many of you seem to already have preconceived notions about my class. Many students walk into these greenhouses and wonder what could possibly be so important about leafy plants and colourful flowers. Some of them even think this class is a joke, or they take it lightly. Outside of its obvious applications in Potions — a subject with a much more well-established reputation — Herbology is among the most taxing and potentially even dangerous magic you will perform while at this school.”
Several students snickered. Pansy was among them, though she hid it well behind her hand.
Instead of looking upset, Professor Sprout simply looked indulgently amused. “Yes, the exact reaction I expected. Those who want to enroll in the Auror corps must take this class through their seventh year, you know?” When the reaction didn’t change, she sighed. “Very well. Who can tell me the name of a plant that might kill a witch or wizard if they get too close?”
That shut them all up at once. Harry could hear no snickering now.
“Miss Greengrass?” indicated the professor.
“Devil’s Snare, ma’am.”
“Correct, take three points to Slytherin. Can anyone tell me what Devil’s Snare is?” She pointed out a small, Asian girl from Ravenclaw. “Yes, Miss Li?”
“It’s a plant that will strangle anyone or anything that touches it, Professor.”
“Indeed it is, Miss Li. Take three points for Ravenclaw. Can anyone tell me how to defend against it?”
Greengrass raised her hand at once, but Sprout waited to see if anybody else could answer. After a great deal of hesitation, Theodore raised his own hand. “Fire?” he answered without much confidence.
“Not a complete answer, but that would work, yes. Take two more points to Slytherin. Miss Greengrass, would you care to explain the full answer?”
“Devil’s Snare can only survive in damp, dark climates. Light will drive it away and fire will actually kill it.”
“Correct, another three points. Yes, I hoped that would prove to you that Herbology is no laughing matter. If you are not all very careful when dealing with some of the plants we will be handling much later in your education, disaster could strike. I need your undivided attention at all times in this class, and you must do as I instruct. Am I understood?”
They all nodded, and the lesson went on.
Herbology was followed by History of Magic, which utterly failed to live up to any expectations Harry had for the class.
He had been, and still was, very interested in the subject and he had actually spent a considerable amount of his summer reading the textbook associated with History.
Yet the class proved to be a complete and utter waste of time, in Harry’s opinion.
Professor Binns had been very old when he had fallen asleep in front of the staff room fire and got up the next morning to teach, leaving his body behind him.
Ever since that fateful day — and likely long before — Binns doomed all of his students to a guaranteed five years of completely consistent monotony. He had the most monotone voice one could possibly imagine, and he spent the entirety of Harry’s first class of History of Magic reading from a comically long roll of parchment that stretched down to the floor and unravelled several feet in front of him. He never looked up, not once, and he failed to notice when half of the class either began whispering to each other, started sleeping, or began to play games like wizard’s chess. Nothing changed until the end of the class, at which point he promptly rolled up his parchment and floated straight through the wall and out of the classroom without so much as a backwards glance.
Harry was beyond disappointed, and he hoped his next class would not disappoint him in the same way this one had.
After lunch, the first-year Slytherins got to experience yet another class Harry was greatly looking forward to. Aside from Defence Against the Dark Arts, it was probably the one he was most excited for — Transfiguration.
Professor McGonagall was waiting for all of them when they entered the room; her countenance as strict-looking as it had been at the welcoming feast, if not even more so. She waited, rhythmically tapping her foot against the floor until the bell rang to signify the start of her class. With a lazy flick of her wand, the door softly closed, and the lesson began.
“Transfiguration is some of the most complex and dangerous magic you will learn at Hogwarts,” she said. “Anyone messing around in my class will leave and not come back. You have been warned.” With another wave of her wand, she transformed her desk into a pig before effortlessly reverting it back again. “Can any of you tell me which branches of Transfiguration I just used?”
Several of them raised their hands, and Harry took no small amount of pleasure in being the first whose hand hit the air. He had spent quite some time studying this subject, after all.
“Transformation and untransfiguration, Professor.”
“Correct; three points to Slytherin. Can you tell me which branch was associated with which action?”
“Transformation with turning the desk into a pig, untransfiguration for turning it back.”
“Correct, take another two points. Yes, as I have hinted, there are branches involved in the overarching form of magic that is Transfiguration. Transformation, untransfiguration, vanishment, and conjuration.
“Transformation is the branch of magic concerned with turning one thing into another. Just like, as Master Potter has said, turning my desk into a pig. Untransfiguration is concerned with not only reversing transfigurations, but also in recognizing that they have been applied in the first place. This is more difficult and will not be spoken upon until later years.
“Speaking of which, conjuration is the magic concerned with making something exist that was not there before.” McGonagall waved her wand, sending a flock of brightly coloured birds soaring around the room. “Vanishment,” she continued sharply, “is the magic that allows you to make objects disappear.” She swished her wand, and the vibrant colours were gone as quickly as the birds, leaving not even a feather to signify they had once existed at all.
“In your initial years at Hogwarts, you will almost exclusively be working with transformation and, in rare instances, untransfiguration. Conjuration and vanishment are focused on in your N.E.W.T years, assuming that you score highly enough in your O.W.L examinations to be permitted to continue in this class. Yes, Miss Davis?”
Tracey Davis had raised her hand into the air, and McGonagall had finished her monologue before pointing promptly to the girl in question. “Professor, I read something about sub-branches. Can you explain a little bit about those?”
“Briefly, yes. They will also be touched on much later. A sub-branch is a branch of a branch, for lack of a better phrase. For example, transformation is a branch of Transfiguration. Human to animal transfiguration would be a branch of transformation, making it a sub-branch of Transfiguration. There are deeper concepts, as well, but they will not be covered until your later years. They are called nano-branches and femto-branches. An example of this would be, say, mammal to reptile transformations. Does that answer your question, Miss Davis?”
“Yes, Professor. Thank you.”
McGonagall nodded curtly before proceeding to begin a long lecture on standard safety procedures, as well as the course curriculum for this and future years. Had it not been for the fact they had a double period, Transfiguration would have been yet another class in which they performed no magic at all.
Mercifully, it was a double period, which meant a practical lesson.
“Keeping all of that in mind,” Professor McGonagall was saying, “I believe it is time for you to begin your practical education.”
She gave her wand another wave. A drawer on her desk slid open and a box floated out of it and landed atop the well-varnished surface before opening.
“Your task,” she continued, “is to transfigure one of these matchsticks into a needle. Do not be discouraged if it isn’t something you manage. I do not expect any of you to achieve it this period. The instructions are on page eleven of your textbooks. Begin when you are ready.”
The sound of scraping chairs could be heard as everyone scrambled to their feet. “I’ll grab the matchsticks if you find the right page?”
Draco nodded, reaching for his textbook with a smile. “Cheers, Harry.”
A minute or so later, both boys were sitting with their matchsticks poised and their wands at the ready. Harry glanced down at the diagram and description in the textbook, though it was fairly redundant. He really had read a lot about this subject, and he remembered everything the diagram showed by heart.
The incantation was Compasatus Verto, and the wand movement was vaguely circular, ending in a sharp jab towards the matchstick.
“Compasatus Verto,” Draco drawled, doing mostly as the book instructed.
“Tighter wand movements, Master Malfoy,” instructed Professor McGonagall, who had been looming nearby. “The spell will never take at your level unless your wand movements are very precise. They become less and less necessary as you progress in the subject, as is the case for any other.” She turned her stare on Harry. “Let’s see you try, Master Potter.”
Harry nodded curtly and closed his eyes. He pictured the desired end product, just as the book had described and let out an exhale of breath just as he drew the perfect wand movement.
At first glance, it appeared he’d had as little success as Draco. When examined more astutely, one would notice that his matchstick had taken on a rather metallic hue.
“Very impressive,” the professor congratulated. “A very strong start and much further than most get on their first attempt. Continue working, gentlemen, and I shall return to you in time.”
As the lesson drew on, Harry managed to progressively change his matchstick into a needle, though he hadn’t quite succeeded by the time the end of class drew near. Draco had perhaps made his matchstick a bit pointier, but that was the extent of his success. Theodore had gotten the same, metallic effect Harry had earlier, and Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle had yet to achieve anything at all. As far as Harry could tell, Nott and Davis were the closest ones to him in terms of progress.
Despite his relative success, something just felt… wrong to Harry, as though some unknown impediment was halting his progress.
He went through the motions again but once more, nothing happened. His matchstick was quite pointy and exactly the right colour. He just couldn’t get the final effects he needed, and he had been stuck here for the last ten minutes.
After going through the motions several more times, he felt as though he had identified the problem, though it made absolutely no sense.
He felt like envisioning the final product was… restrictive? It was hard to explain, but he felt as though he could do better.
Closing his eyes and readying his wand just as the class’s end ticked near, Harry instead imagined the final change taking place. Not that it had taken place, but it physically taking place in a sort of slow-motion in front of his very eyes.
Harry knew at once he had succeeded. He could feel the shock emanate from those around him, just as he had been able to masterfully gauge the emotions of muggles for many years whilst at Privet Drive.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself completely unsurprised to find a perfect needle in front of him and he could not help but smile. Not for the praise Professor McGonagall showered him with, nor even the points given to Slytherin House. He smiled because he knew that he had just gotten to the bottom of his troubles and suspected he had just made a major breakthrough. He would confirm with the several matchsticks he borrowed from Professor McGonagall to practice with, but he was quite sure he was right.
September 5, 1991
The Slytherin Common Room
The first years had performed their first practical charm work of the year that afternoon, though it had been remarkably easy and the furthest thing from impressive. They had all been set to work on both the spell to summon light — Lumos — and the spell to change the colour of objects — Colovaria. Harry had performed both of these without effort, as had Draco, Pansy, and Theodore.
The most exciting thing to happen that day hadn’t been during Charms.
That had been when Harry and the others entered the Slytherin common room after dinner to find the first major notice of significance hung on the wall. It was drawing quite the commotion and crowds of people were herded around it. Crabbe and Goyle had taken the lead, barreling through anybody who stood in front of them and letting their less bulky friends trail in their wake.
Draco looked oddly smug about the whole thing.
When they neared the notice board, it was finally evident what had drawn everybody’s attention.
They would be having their first flying lesson of the year in exactly one week. It would take place out on the grounds with the first-year Gryffindors.
The latter part of that statement made Harry’s heart sink.
The rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin was very intense. To make matters worse, most of the Gryffindors seemed to think he had betrayed them in some form or another. They all shot him hateful glances any time he drew near, and a few of the older members of the house of lions were so bold as to fire minor jinxes at him when he walked by. Crabbe and Goyle had resorted to flanking Harry instead of Draco any time they neared a group of Gryffindors, which had largely prevented any further incidents.
Harry couldn’t say he was overly thrilled to be spending more than an hour in their presence while riding a broom for the first time. The prospect of flying excited him greatly, but it also made him exceedingly apprehensive. What if he made an absolute fool of himself in front of the entire first-year contingent from Gryffindor?
“You’ll be fine,” said Draco when Harry had asked exactly that. “Your father was brilliant on a broom, from what I’ve heard. He played for Gryffindor, and I think he still holds some of the school’s chaser records.”
“Really?” asked Harry, amazed.
“Yes, I’m sure they’re probably in the trophy room, somewhere.”
That was when Harry resolved to find the trophy room during what had become his routine early morning explorations.
It was the best perk of being awake long before all the others — it granted him time to explore the castle he was beginning to love so very much.
When he eventually graduated in seven years’ time, he was determined to have learned every last secret of Hogwarts castle.
September 6, 1991
An Abandoned Classroom
Harry thought it felt good to be of use to people he actually cared for instead of people who treated him like hell. Especially after Draco’s parents had even included a heaping mound of sweets for him in the packages they’d sent their children earlier that morning.
The gesture had touched Harry in a way that was hard to describe.
They’d had Potions again that morning with the Gryffindors, and it had been their first actual brewing session of the year. They had been allowed to brew in pairs, which had been a small mercy. Harry knew the content fairly well, but he quickly found out he didn’t have a knack for brewing potions like he seemed to have for transfiguring matchsticks. Draco was fortunately good at the subject, so he was pretty sure they had done quite well.
Not nearly as well as Greengrass and Davis, however. The former had marched confidently up to the front of the class and submitted her potion with a third of the allotted time remaining, something that had made Harry gape like a fool.
“Her whole family are geniuses with potions,” Pansy had told him after the lesson. “They own a bunch of businesses and the like, but one of them is a major import/export company that specializes in potions and their ingredients. I think Daphne’s mother actually brews some of the more difficult ones. She’s probably been teaching her for years. That’s also why she’s so good in Herbology.” Pansy shrugged. “That and because she’s a genius.”
That night after classes, Theodore proposed the six of them go out and practice their jinxes, hexes, and curses. Pansy had politely declined. She said she would rather spend time getting better acquainted with the other girls in her year — namely the potions prodigy herself, who was the heiress of a Founding Twelve family that owned what was perhaps the most profitable business in the country.
The five boys had bid her farewell and left the common room. The prospect of actually trying magic outside of class sent Harry’s heart fluttering with excitement, and he hurriedly led his friends to a dungeon classroom he’d found several days earlier that appeared to have been out of use for quite some time.
“Don’t we need targets?” asked Goyle, frowning deeply at the rather barren-looking classroom.
“Care to be one?” Theodore asked.
“We’re not going to be using anything deadly, you dolt,” Draco said with a roll of his eyes. “We don’t know anything that good and even if we did, I’d be surprised if we could actually do it.” Theodore looked as though he might take that as a challenge, but Goyle acquiesced with a deep gulp.
Harry frowned. This seemed very wrong to him. It seemed like something Dudley would force him to do, but Goyle had agreed and they really weren’t going to use anything that could actually hurt the larger boy…
“Care to start, Theodore?” asked Draco.
“Certainly.” Theodore stepped forward and drew his wand with the deliberation one might expect from a gladiator drawing their sword. “Dolor.” The Stinging Hex sailed from the tip of his wand and struck Goyle in the chest. He let out a loud yelp and rubbed at the point of impact. “Thought I’d start light,” said Theodore. “Care to go around? See if we can all do each spell?”
None of them had any trouble with the Stinging Hex. Goyle got a very mild reprieve when it was his turn to try the spell, at which point Crabbe took the lone jinx. The large boy grunted but gave no other reaction.
This again made Harry frown, but he didn’t comment.
Crabbe chose the next spell. He chose another simple one — the Tickling Charm — and again, none of them had any trouble. Goyle looked even less comfortable being a target for this one, but it didn’t fill Harry with nearly as much guilt as the Stinging Hex had.
The Jelly-Legs Jinx, Goyle’s choice, was next. It took him and Crabbe a couple of tries each to get this one, while Harry, Draco, and Theodore had no troubles.
“Tarantallegra,” Draco incanted when it was his turn to choose the spell. Goyle’s legs began moving in a completely out-of-control manner and he wound up falling flat on the floor, which caused Harry to wince before he stepped forward and countered the spell with Finite Incantatem; which served as the counter spell for most minor jinxes and hexes. Actual curses often required specific counterspells, but he doubted any of them knew of any spells like that.
Crabbe and Goyle struggled much more with this spell, but they did eventually get it.
“You’re up, Harry,” said Draco, stepping back with the air of one about to watch a particularly well-publicized firework show.
It was thankful Harry had read as far into his Defence textbook as he had, for many of the more basic spells had already been used.
Blue light shot from Harry’s wand and slammed hard into Goyle, who immediately found his legs stuck together and toppled forward. He was thankfully able to brace himself with his arms.
Theodore whistled. “Leg-Locker, huh? Not bad; not bad at all.”
He too stepped forward and aimed, though he looked greatly annoyed when the spell didn’t take on his first, nor his second attempt. It sort of worked on his third, though Goyle was able to wrench his legs apart with some difficulty. On the fourth, Theodore did manage the spell perfectly, though it took Draco several more tries than that; neither Crabbe nor Goyle could get it to work at all.
Clearly annoyed by his failing, Theodore stabbed his wand towards Crabbe, who had just agreed to take Goyle’s place after all this time.
Nothing but a purple spark shot from the end of his wand.
“What is that spell supposed to do?” asked Harry. It wasn’t in their first-year Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook.
“It’s the Full-Body-Bind,” Theodore supplied bitterly. “It’s a mid-second-year spell, I think.”
Draco scoffed. “You think you’re going to get a second-year spell to work during your first week of first year?”
“I know I am.”
His words were bold, but try as he might, Theodore couldn’t seem to get the spell to work, even though he was certain he was doing it right. Neither could Draco, for that matter, and Crabbe and Goyle barely tried. They all finally gave up and Harry wasn’t even going to bother attempting it, if not for Draco.
“You got the Leg-Locker faster than any of us,” he pointed out. “If anyone’s going to get the spell to work, it’s you.”
Theodore looked more than a little bit annoyed by the fact Draco’s statement was true, but he obviously didn’t disagree with it, for he nodded curtly and gestured for Harry to try.
“It’s a circular motion, right?”
“A quick half circle and then a jab towards your opponent,” said Theodore.
After drawing the wand movement several times, Harry stepped forward with a resolute expression, the steps required to get to his desired result playing over and over again in his mind like a muggle film in slow motion. The method had worked excellently on the number of matchsticks he had borrowed from Professor McGonagall. He could now perform the transformation on his first try, so long as he focused very intently.
A jet of purple light rocketed from the end of his wand and struck Crabbe full in the face. The boy’s limbs snapped to his sides with an audible sound and he careened forward.
“Merlin,” breathed Draco, looking at his friend as though seeing him for the first time. “You did that on your first try?”
Harry was blushing deeply now. “It’s not that big of a deal,” he tried, “it’s just a spell.”
Theodore snorted. “Potter, that’s a mid-second-year spell and you did it on your first try after a week of magical training. You didn’t even know about the magical world until July. Merlin only knows what you could do with practice.”
Theodore no longer looked upset or jealous.
He suddenly looked… intrigued.
“Prat,” muttered Draco, firing off a Tickling Charm towards Harry in a good-natured manner.
“Oi!” exclaimed Harry as he dodged the spell. “Watch yourself,” he said as he fired one back.
Theodore joined the fray a minute later after freeing Crabbe, who immediately joined in with Goyle.
Before they knew it, they were all chasing each other around the room, hurling Tickling Charms this way and that. Anyone walking past the room could have heard their laughter from a corridor away.
It was easily the most fun Harry had ever had. Probably because it marked the first time he was ever just allowed to do something pure and be an actual child.
It was a remarkably good feeling.
Sorry for the long AN, but I feel as though it is necessary to avoid a few points of confusion.
I have two very quick notes before I make a slightly longer one on Harry’s current skill level, since I have a feeling they will come up in the reviews otherwise:
1 – Master Potter is not a mistake. In British schools — particularly ones that are either of high class or rather traditional — the males are referred to as “master” until they are eighteen, or seventeen in the wizarding world. I have decided to have all of the older professors call males “master,” and the younger ones “mister,” since it is slowly starting to become less prominent.
2 – Untransfiguration is also not an error. I am aware that the word is horrid, but it is also canon, as is the case for the four branches of Transfiguration theory. There isn’t a whole lot I can do about Rowling’s horrible linguistic tastes. Granted, it is perhaps the single most wizarding thing I have ever heard.
Now, a note on Harry’s skill level in this final scene:
Harry in canon was by far the best DADA student in his year. He scored an O on the O.W.L — which even Hermione couldn’t do — and he achieved extra credit with the Patronus Charm. Help or not, he also did very well in the Triwizard Tournament against competitors three years his senior, and he did quite well in the only fair battles we saw him in during canon.
I honestly don’t think it is too outlandish to call Harry a prodigy in Defence Against the Dark Arts canonically, even if he was remarkably average at a lot of other things. This Harry is slightly more talented and quite a bit more studious as well, so I don’t think him pulling off second-year spells in his best subject is unrealistic.
He will eventually be very powerful in this story, but it will be a realistic progression. I just wanted to make a quick note on his current level.
Please read and review.
Thank you to my lovely Discord Ediors Mad Odension and Theo for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.
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