Terra slithered out of the tree at dawn, recovered her backpack, and changed into fresh clothes. She pulled on tight, dark blue jeans, and a tight orchid-colored shirt that matched her eyes perfectly, and was applying dark make-up (Dark green eyeshadow and blood red lipstick) when she heard someone running near the forest.
She crept up to spy, and saw a young man, around her age, jogging.
'Hmm...,' Terra thought. 'Who have we here?'
She waited for him to go inside before following him into the enormous castle.
Harry entered the Gryffindor common room energetically and happily. It being around 6:30 AM, Harry didn't think many people would be up. He showered and dressed quickly, and headed to the library to read up on animagi.
He stepped into the library and went to the "Creatures" section, then the "A's".
Harry mumbled the titles to himself as he browsed.
"'Aaron Cratchit's Guide to Arachnoids', heh, Ron would LOVE that ... 'Albetons and Where to Find Them', hmm, never heard of 'em. Wonder if Hagrid has ... 'Sphinx: How They Live', wait, shouldn't that be under the 'S's'? ... 'AKA Dragon Master (How to raise and train dragons)', heheh, another Hagrid book ... 'Akela: Now They Live, Now They Don't'...Wait, isn't an akela a Muggle cub scout leader?! You find the weirdest books here! Oh well ... Aha!" Harry finally said in a too-loud sort of voice. "'Animagi'."
He took the book to the trio's favorite spot only to find someone else already there. (A/N: Hehehe, I could've stopped there, but I decided ton be nice...um..nice-er...)
Ron woke up as he literally rolled out of bed at 7:15 AM.
"OW! Too early..."he shouted, then muttered.
"Hey Harry, you awake?" Ron questioned. "Harry? I take that as a 'no'..."he sated as he ripped open the curtains around Harry's bed, only to find no Harry. "I wonder where he went THIS time. And more importantly, why he left me behind!"
Ron, as usual, was clueless.
Terra waltzed through the halls in search of Dumbledore's office. She thought she knew where it was, but it sure took a long time to get there.
She had talked to her foster parents for quite some time in order to find out as much as she could about Hogwarts. Not that her fosters knew much about the place, and certainly didn't help that they forgot a good bit of it.
'Stupid school! Where is a damn teacher when you need one? ... Never thought I'd hear myself say that! Authority = shudder. Though I've been home-schooled for the past seven years...'
It was then that Terra came across the "beloved" Mrs. Norris.
'Stupid cat,' Terra thought as Mrs. Norris hissed at her.
Terra ran up to the grey ball of fur that looked more like a mop head, and did what several students dreamed of doing. She kicked...HARD!
"RRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" screamed/hissed the "mop".
'Hehehe, life is good.'
She came across a gargoyle statue, and knew it was the headmaster's office. One of the few things her drunk foster parents would mention about Hogwarts.
Terra was pondering through all the stupid candy names when suddenly, behind her-
"May I help you?" (A/N: another mini-cliffier...makes up for the boring chapter content)
Hermione looked up and paled.
"Umm...Harry! What are you doing here so early?"
"Well, I would ask the same thing," Harry teased, "but being Hermione, the Library is your home." Here Harry grinned and Hermione snorted. "Anyway, I'm here for research."
"Me too!" Hermione said quickly, arousing suspicion.
Harry, with his fast Seeker reflexes, reached out and grabbed and lifted the textbook only to reveal...
"A romance novel?!"
"Hehe..." Hermione laughed nervously. "Okay, okay, I admit it, I like romance novels! And I couldn't read them in my POPULATED dorm... Please don't tell anyone Harry! I mean., 'Bye-bye rep.!'" Hermione squeaked, complete with "bye-bye" hand-wave at the end.
"Okay," Harry promised. "In fact, I need your help too." Harry said as he decided that if Hermione could trust him with her secret, he could do the same to her.
"Yes?" Hermione urged, while getting excited and annoyed at the same time.
'Maybe he's saying we'll be more than just friends...?' Hermione wondered and wished with all her heat. 'Oh please Harry! PLEASE!'
"I don't know how to say this but..."
"I understand, Harry," Hermione was positive now, and why put Harry through unnecessary torture?
'Oh joyous day!'
"So it's a yes?"
"Oh thank Merlin! Hermione you're the best!" Harry exclaimed as he placed the animagi book on the table. "Somehow Hermione, I know deep inside that I need to become an animagus."
Realization was slowly sinking down on Hermione like vultures on a dead carcass in the desert, and Hermione was a bit disappointed. Wait ... a bit?
'But..! Oh Harry! *Sigh* I guess I've been reading too many romance novels...'
'I guess I'll never be more than a friend to him,' Hermione thought sadly. 'Might as well help him.'
"Hello, Hermione? I'm Earth...have we met?" Harry half joked, half got kind of annoyed at Hermione's spacey state of mind.
"...OH! Sorry. What was that?"
"I think I need to become an animagus. I think it would help against Voldemort."
'And it came to you in a dream,' Harry thought, but didn't say aloud, as Hermione would by no doubt want him to consult a teacher, especially Dumbledore.
"Isn't that illegal Harry?"
"I knew you'd say that, but it's important. I know it!"
"Well..." Hermione looked as if she were going against her better judgement. "Okay. As long as you don't do the same sort of thing the Marauders did,"Hermione added as an after thought.
"Fine. No fun!" Harry pouted.
Hermione giggled, then said, as if it just occurred her, "Does Ron know?"
"Will he? I think we should include him. He'd be upset if we didn't."
"So what else is new?" Harry mumbled, though felt sort of guilty afterward. Ron was a great friend, but sometimes his jealousy could get out of hand.
"I said, 'I think we should too,'" Harry lied.
Hermione looked at him skeptically, but ignored this and reached for the book. She read silently and intently for a few minutes as she found out how they would become animals. Later it would take practice for the spell and channeling of thought, but they had 27 days, as the night before was a full moon.
'Becoming an animagi is hard work. One must concentrate entirely on the animal within. Remember to concentrate with all your mind and will power, or serious problems can and probably will occur (see "Animal splicing"). Think of yourself as an animal and the animal within, but not a specific animal. If one thinks of a specific animal, failure will also arise. When one is concentrating, recite the words (after practicing the words, charms, and concentration) 'Excopula Animalis Intrus' during a full moon. Pain may arise, but the more powerful the witch/wizard, the more pain will occur. Extremely powerful sorcerers will become anicerers (AN-y-SIR-er). Anicerers are animagi that can turn into two animals. These are very rare, and only occur when a powerful or fateful magical person(s) concentrate strongly, and are willing to experience extreme pain for or because of someone/something (E.I. good or evil, loved ones, powerful understanding of self, etc...).'
"Wow Harry! This could be VERY interesting, not to mention dangerous..."
"Ha!" Harry joked. "I laugh at the face of danger! Then, of course, it gets pissed off, and gives me a nasty scar."
Hermione just laughed.
Ron was pissed off. Again. Harry left him all alone, without a note explaining why he could not help Ron with Charms. He was having problems performing the Color Changing Charm.
Ron didn't want to ask Hermione because he was kind of embarrassed about needing help, especially hers, in magic. Hermione had always been at the top of the year, and Harry had improved a lot, as he had been practicing and studying more than ever since he spent last summer at Hermione's house. She had made him learn his magic textbooks almost by heart, and to practice as much as he could over the summer, which was basically concepts and pronunciation. As a result, he was now VERY good at performing magic, and actually took up Ancient Runes as a challenge. Dumbledore had thought this was a very wise decision, as most ancient or sacred magic was performed or pronounced with runes. So the headmaster caught Harry up with his year, as ancient magic was bound to help against Voldemort. Ron refused to take another class, but was still a content with the fact that Harry continued Divination, despite Hermione's advice. Ron was still, however, jealous of Harry's magical talent. Harry still had some problems with Potions, Divination (he still saw just fog in the crystal balls), and Ancient Runes, which was still very much a new concept.
Ron figured Harry was probably off having a grand time with some girl. Just about every girl in Hogwarts had a crush on Harry, which greatly annoyed him (and Ron, but for a different reason), as he was very self-conscious. Ron always suspected Harry to be off with some girl, which he hardly was. Even when Harry did have a date, he normally told Ron about it first. But Ron was ornery. Harry tried to ignore the fact of his popularity with the opposite gender(which was a hard feat) and continued to try and be nice to almost everyone (He was one of only people outside of the Slytherin house who treated most Slytherins nicely), which just made him more likeable. Sure he had people who did not like him, but those numbers were far fewer than the opposing ones. Harry absolutely despised the fact that most people had a crush on him for shallow reasons, like looks, or fame. Not many people knew the REAL him.
Little did Ron know this time Harry actually WAS with a girl. But that girl was Hermione, and they were doing entirely different things from what Ron was imagining.
Ron gave up and decided to go find Hermione for Charm help.
'Off to the Library.'
Terra whipped around and was face to face with Albus Dumbledore himself. She quickly regained her composure and played it cool.
"Hello. My name is Terra Starr (A/N: That was her foster parents' last name, which she had also shared for as long as she could remember. She does not know her real surname yet.). I'm a foreign exchange student. Lucky for her, Dumbledore didn't ask many questions.
"I've been expecting you," Dumbledore replied.
'He has? I didn't tell anyone! Maybe he was expecting someone else...'
Terra handed him an illegally bought transfer paper saying she had attended a private and elite English magic school. He read it, every once in a while glancing in Terra's direction, and in a few minutes gave a nod and placed the paper on his desk.
"Okay. You'll need to be sorted Miss...Starr was it?"
"Yes," Terra said while thinking she was lucky for him to accept it.
'Ha! He bought it! And no need for a cover up story as to why he didn't receive a letter telling him to expect me. Though he DID say he knew I was coming. Whatever...'
Dumbledore walked over to a magical file cabinet and picked up an old, battered hat that was on top of it.
"Oh," Dumbledore added as an afterthought, "behind you is Fawkes, a phoenix."
Though Fawkes didn't seem to like Terra very much.
"Hmm...interesting," Dumbledore said as he noted Fawkes's behavior.
He handed Terra the sorting hat, which she promptly placed atop her head.
"Hello Miss Riddle," the Sorting Hat greeted, though it seemed to be talking inside of Terra's mind.
'Riddle? My last name is Starr!' Terra replied to the hat, though through her mind.
"You sure? Oh well, my mistake. Hmm, interesting background you've got."
'What are you talking about?!'
"Well, you certainly aren't very friendly and kind-hearted, so definitely not a Hufflepuff."
"And you seem like a smart person, but you have a lot to learn about people, including yourself, so not a Ravenclaw. That leaves just Gryffindor and Slytherin. I sense strong strength of both in you."
'JUST SORT ALREADY!'
"Okay, okay! But boy, you're the toughest decision I've ever had to make. Should it be Gryffindor, or Slytherin?! Hmm... how about GRYFFERIN? Wait...that's not right...What about SLYTHINDOR?" Questioned the Sorting Hat, Shouting the non-existent house names.
The Sorting Hat was VERY confused.
At these outbursts, Dumbledore stared strangely at Terra. He had never seen the Sorting Hat so confused!
'What ARE you talking about?!' Terra wondered, aggravated. 'Hurry up or I'll curse you with my wand! I already know more than most Seventh Years!'
This was true, but at these words something clicked in the Sorting Hat's brain.
"YOUR wand, you say? And where did you happen to get this wand? Quite a big and powerful wand, eh? THIRTEEN AND A HALF inches, YEW, with PHOENIX FEATHER core? Interesting indeed," said the Sorting Hat quietly to Terra.
'What? Yes, MY wand, thank you very much! My foster parents gave it to me saying that I should take care of such a special wand. They said it was very powerful, and it hasn't failed me yet. Yes it IS a big wand, and I find it quite powerful. What does that have to do with my house?!' Terra demanded.
"Well, judging by this little wand factor and your rude attitude, I do believe you are a true blue, or should I say green. SLYTHERIN!" The hat shouted the last word, and Dumbledore immediately took the Sorting Hat off Terra's head afraid that it might go crazy again and start making up house names. He was still looking at Terra with a fascinated and curious stare. After all, who was she who confused the Sorting Hat?
"You'll begin class today, if that is all right with you. We have already gotten the normal textbooks and other supplies for you, but you will need to decide on your extra classes. Quidditch trials are also tomorrow, and I encourage you to participate."
"I still need robes, and a list of the extra classes."
"Very well, I shall send for a tailor from Hogsmeade, and here is the list. Do you need any money from the bank?"
Terra said "Sure." for the money, and looked over the list of extra classes while Dumbledore sent an owl to Hogsmeade.
"I'll take Divination, Care of magical Creatures, and Ancient Runes."
"Excellent. Your first class today is Double Potions, in the dungeons, with the Gryffindors. Slytherins have several classes with them. Breakfast is in fifteen minutes, where I'll introduce you, and you will sit with the Slytherins. Please some up after breakfast for your schedule, and robes. Since we have a few minutes to kill, I'll tell you about the rules."
And Dumbledore was off explaining the rules, House points, and other oddities of Hogwarts, with Terra only half listening.
Chapter 5: Entrance of a Snake
Chapter 3: An Early Morning Prowl
The Western Tower