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The Road Less Travelled

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Rene Regina Olhouser was not pleased in the slightest. Her mother, having been a Zabini at birth had decided to send her to Hogwarts with her cousin Blaise. She had assumed she would be attending Drumstrang due to where her father’s manor, and main power, resided. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Sitting next to Blaise, Rene sighed softly and stared out the window.

            “Rene?” Blaise called out questioningly

            “Hm?” Rene hummed

            “I’m happy that you came with me. I thought you were going to attend Drumstrang like your father.” Blaise said

            Rene turned to Blaise and smiled at him.

            “Family sticks together Blaise. And even though I am my father’s heiress, I am a Zabini just like my mother.” Rene told him

            Blaise offered her a small smile before returning back to his blank face. Rene still couldn’t believe that she was here heading towards Hogwarts. But here she was, looking after her favorite cousin while she was at it. Getting up Rene sets out to walk the train. They wouldn’t arrive at the school for another half hour.

            Plus with all that was happening, she needed time to herself. It still felt like only yesterday she had been using Blaise as a measurement on how to act like a normal child. Considering that Rene had been reincarnated. But that was neither here nor now. Now it was 1991 and Harry Potter would be attending Hogwarts. It now fell to her to make sure he was prepared for what would be of his future. Though she would be changing things around.

            Rene hid her smile within her right sleeve, as her thoughts spiraled for her plans. While she did have good intentions for the boy, she did have a few ulterior motives.

            Before her thoughts could continue, Rene bumped into someone. Stumbling into someone, Rene looked at the person who she ran into.

            In front of her stood a young boy who towered over her. His hair was auburn red, and he had a smile on his face that seemed natural on his face.

            “Ah, I apologize for that. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” The boy told her

            “It was no problem; I wasn’t paying attention either.” Rene responded

The boy nodded before holding out his hand. And like it was second nature, Rene put her hand in his. The boy kissed the back of her hand softly and looked up at her, the smile still in his face.

“Marcos Burton, Heir to the Noble House of Burton. It’s nice to meet you.” He introduced himself

“Rene Olhouser, Heiress to the Ancient House of Olhouser. The pleasure is all mine.” Rene responded in kind

Burton then let go of Rene’s hand and nodded to her.

“I hope I have a further chance to interact with you again Heiress Olhouser.”

“Likewise, Heir Burton.”

Burton nodded once more before stepping aside to let her pass. Rene passed him and made her way down the train. She wondered if she had met him before, he seemed familiar in a strange sense. Like greeting an old friend.

However, before she could continue with her thoughts, Rene spotted Heir Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle stopping in front of a compartment. Rene quickly made her way to the trio knowing she would have to intervene to keep things civil.

 “Heir Malfoy, what a pleasure it is to see you.” Rene exclaims

The young heir turned to her, his face twisting into confusion before quickly being covered with a polite mask.

Rene managed to suppress her smirk; the English purebloods needed to work on their masks. Their micro expressions always gave them away.

“Heiress Olhouser, I thought that your father was sending you to Durmstrang.”

“He was but my mother convinced him to send me to Hogwarts, being a Zabini and all that.” Rene explained

Malfoy nodded, clearly reading between the lines. He then turned back towards the compartment and motioned to her.

Rene made his way to him, Crabbe stepping out of her way, to peer into the compartment.

“I had heard rumors that Harry Potter was in this compartment, is this true?” Malfoy asked

A ginger boy with a smudge on his face and a boy with baggy clothing blinked back at them owlishly.

“Erm, yes, I’m Harry Potter.” The boy with the baggy clothing replied

Potter’s reply set off so many bells and whistles in her mind. She glanced at Malfoy who was frowning slightly at the boy’s reply. Malfoy then glanced to her, and she shook her head slightly.

They would need to talk later about Potter’s response. That was not he should have said, if he had been raised by a magical family. All purebloods that still followed tradition should know exactly what to say.

“This is Heir Crabbe and Heir Goyle behind me. To my right is Heiress Olhouser. And I am Heir Malfoy.” Draco introduced them

Rene nodded in the boys’ direction, smiling a bit.

The ginger haired kid glared at Malfoy as if he had committed some great atrocity and opened his mouth to say something.

Rene quickly put a stop to that when she looked in the boy’s direction.

“I never quite caught your name.” she told him

The boy flushed as he realized he hadn’t introduced himself.

“Err, I’m Ron Weasley.”

Rene nodded and smiled at the boy. She was going to take control of this conversation. No need for petty antagonizing because of simple misunderstandings due to differences of culture however strange either’s cultures might be.

“Well, it was nice to meet you Heir Potter, if you need any help navigating the Wizarding World, I am here to help.” Rene offered sincerely and stuck her hand out

Potter took Rene’s hand and shook it. Rene smiled at the boy once more before turning to leave. Crabbe moved aside, and she made her way back down the train. Only time would tell if Potter would seek her out.

Rene made her way back to her compartment with Blaise. When she enters the cabin, she isn’t surprised to see more people there. Her seat by the window is still open and she takes it. She makes no move of introducing herself, now was not the time. She needed time to think and brace herself for what was to come.

Time passes all too quickly for Rene as she finds herself getting off the train and heading towards the boats. Rene makes her way towards a boat and ends up sitting next to Heir Burton. She smiles at him and he responds in turn. She also ends up with Tracie Davies and Fay Dunbar.

As they reach the archway, Rene squirms a bit in her excitement. No matter how much she had wanted to go to Drumstrang, nothing could compare to seeing Hogwarts in all its glory. The rest of her boat mates seemed to be in similar agreement, as the other girls were gaping in awe while Heir Burton had a wide smile on his face.

Soon everyone is off the boats and Rene ends up talking with Fay Dunbar and Heir Burton.

“Which house do you think you’ll get sorted into?” Fay asks after nervously rambling about her home life

“Hufflepuff, mom says I’d fit right in and dad agrees.” Heir Burton replies

“My mom said I’d fit right into Slytherin or Ravenclaw. It really depends.” Rene told the group

“Oh! That’s so cool. I’m hoping I get into Gryffindor.”

Before they could continue their conversation, screams rang through the hall from all around. Rene immediately looks up to see the ghosts and shakes her head. She puts her wand away and barely listens as the ghost talk about the poltergeist Peeves.

A shiver runs up her spine and Rene looks around. Someone was watching her. When she looks around though, everyone is looking up at the ghosts in awe. Strange.

The ghosts leave and McGonagall enters soon afterwards and the sorting is starting. Rene ignores the hat, nothing she hadn’t heard, or perhaps the better word is read, before and idly notes where everyone is sorted.

She happily notes that Fay has been sorted into Gryffindor and Heir Burton is put into Hufflepuff. The Gryffindors were very loud with their enthusiasm, which Rene detests very much. But that was a personal issue which she could deal with later on. Now she needed to focus her name would be coming up soon.

“Olhouser, Rene!” Professor McGonagall called out

Rene made her way up to the stool, her left hand tapping insistently against her thigh.

The Hat was placed on her head and Rene waited.

 “Oh ho! Another one touched by Death; this will make for an exciting 7 years!”

Rene stiffened. ‘Another. Does that mean I wasn’t the only one?’

 “Of course, girlie. You’re the third one today whose head I’ve been put upon. Not that I could tell you who it was. The way I was made means that I can never reveal what I’ve seen in anyone's head. Not even in a strange situation like this one”

‘Damn, foiled once again by patient-doctor confidentiality. Well hat-student confidentiality in this case.’ Rene griped, there was no way getting around that at all.

 Instead of trying to find some way to convince the Hat to give her any information she did the next best thing. She huffed in agitation before resigning herself to looking for them later. Now she really needed to be sorted. She did not want to be a hat stall thank you very much.

“Impertinent little thing aren’t we, with an attitude like yours” the Hat whispered out loud before raising his voice. “You’d fit well into SLYTHERIN!”

Rene removed the Hat from her head and set it down on the stall before making her way towards the Slytherin table, ignoring the booing coming from the Gryffindor table.

That was very alienating wasn’t it? Had she not been who she was, her experience of Hogwarts would be greatly tainted already. And probably further cementing some of the propaganda that all Slytherins were hated right from sorting.

Sitting on Heir Nott’s left side, Rene watched the rest of the sorting.

Potter comes up and Rene isn’t surprised that he is sorted into Gryffindor. Neither is she with Weasley. Blaise is the last to be sorted and is in Slytherin with her. Sitting to her left, he subtly takes her hand and squeezes it, showing his happiness that he’s in the same house as her. Dumbledore says his spiel and the food arrives. Talking at the Slytherin table is light. But the political flexing is already massive. Blaise and Rene take to ignoring it, in the pot of British politics nothing really matters to them. They are essentially untouchable but still quite powerful boons to whoever desires to have their influence reach internationally. Rene knows where exactly Blaise will fall and she will follow right along with him.

Rene starts a light conversation with Nott, the usual stuff about his grandfather, his hobbies. She’s not looking for any weaknesses to exploit and he can tell, so the conversation gains no tension.

Dinner and dessert quickly wrap up and the Headmaster stands to his feet. The Hall falls silent and Rene resists the urge to fidget. This is it, where the first quest that will lead to the final boss. Rene manages to focus in when Dumbledore gets into the heat of the matter.

“And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.”

There it was. There it fucking was. This was bad, she knew what was coming and she still hated it. The man was playing God and it did not end well for anyone in the long run.

Pushing down her ever-increasing rage, Rene walks with the other first years as they’re all transported to the dormitories. They all stop in front of a stone wall and one of the upperclassmen speaks the password. The password to get in is Gaudium et superbia or Pride and Joy. The Slytherins make their way inside and the first years find themselves surrounded by the other years. In front of them, are the prefects.

One of them steps forward and begins to speak.

*“Congratulations! I’m Prefect Gemma Farley, and I’m delighted to welcome you to the SLYTHERIN HOUSE! Our emblem is the serpent, the wisest of creatures; our house colors are emerald green and silver, and our common room lies behind a concealed entrance down in the dungeons from what you’ve just seen.  As you’ll see, its windows look out into the depths of the Hogwarts Lake.” She pointed to the windows on their left

 “We often see the giant squid swooshing by – and sometimes more interesting creatures. We like to feel that our hangout has the aura of a mysterious, underwater shipwreck.” Prefect Farley joked; Rene smiled a bit at that

“Now, there are a few things you should know about Slytherin – and a few you should forget. Firstly, let’s dispel a few myths. You might have heard rumours about Slytherin house – that we’re all into the Dark Arts and will only talk to you if your great-grandfather was a famous wizard, and rubbish like that. Well, you don’t want to believe everything you hear from competing houses. I’m not denying that we’ve produced our share of Dark wizards, but so have the other three houses – they just don’t like admitting it. And yes, we have traditionally tended to take students who come from long lines of witches and wizards, but nowadays you’ll find plenty of people in Slytherin house who have at least one Muggle parent.” Here one of the other prefects, glared at Malfoy. As if to tell him to shut his mouth. Rene looked over to see, Malfoy looking quite flustered but not at all surprised at what was being said. She took note of that, something she would need to look out for later on.

“Here’s a little-known fact that the other three houses don’t bring up much: Merlin was a Slytherin. Yes, Merlin himself, the most famous wizard in history! He learned all he knew in this very house! Do you want to follow in the footsteps of Merlin? Or would you rather sit at the old desk of that illustrious ex-Hufflepuff, Eglantine Puffett, inventor of the Self-Soaping Dishcloth?” The first years laughed and shook their heads.

“I didn’t think so.” The prefect smiled at them before continuing on

“But that’s enough about what we’re not. Let’s talk about what we are, which is the coolest and edgiest house in this school. We play to win, because we care about the honour and traditions of Slytherin.” Here her face turned serious, the atmosphere in the common room became tense, each first year shuffled a bit in the spot that they stood at

“We also get respect from our fellow students. Yes, some of that respect might be tinged with fear, because of our Dark reputation, but you know what? It can be fun, having a reputation for walking on the wild side. Chuck out a few hints that you’ve got access to a whole library of curses and see whether anyone feels like nicking your pencil case.” Farley sighed before her face took on a more solemn look

“But we’re not bad people. We’re like our emblem, the snake: sleek, powerful, and frequently misunderstood.” She offered a small smile to ease the tension

“For instance, we Slytherins look after our own – which is more than you can say for Ravenclaw. Apart from being the biggest bunch of swots you ever met, Ravenclaws are famous for clambering over each other to get good marks, whereas we Slytherins are brothers. The corridors of Hogwarts can throw up surprises for the unwary, and you’ll be glad you’ve got the Serpents on your side as you move around the school. As far as we’re concerned, once you’ve become a snake, you’re one of ours – one of the elites.

Because you know what Salazar Slytherin looked for in his chosen students? The seeds of greatness. You’ve been chosen by this house because you’ve got the potential to be great, in the true sense of the word. All right, you might see a couple of people hanging around the common room whom you might not think are destined for anything special. Well, keep that to yourself. If the Sorting Hat put them in here, there’s something great about them, and don’t you forget it.

And talking of people who aren’t destined for greatness, I haven’t mentioned the Gryffindors. Now, a lot of people say that Slytherins and Gryffindors represent two sides of the same coin. Personally, I think Gryffindors are nothing more than wannabe Slytherins. Mind you, some people say that Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor prized the same kinds of students, so perhaps we are more similar than we like to think. But that doesn’t mean that we cozy up with Gryffindors. They like beating us only slightly less than we like beating them.

A few more things you might need to know: our house ghost is the Bloody Baron. If you get on the right side of him, he’ll sometimes agree to frighten people for you. Just don’t ask him how he got bloodstained; he doesn’t like it.” Here the head prefect stepped down off the makeshift pedestal and walked towards a large board

“The password to the common room changes every fortnight. Keep an eye on the noticeboard. Never bring anyone from another house into our common room or tell them our password. No outsider has entered it for more than seven centuries.” Farley clapped her hands, startling the first years still reading the board

“Well, I think that’s all for now. I’m sure you’ll like our dormitories. We sleep in ancient four-posters with green silk hangings, and bedspreads embroidered with silver thread. Medieval tapestries depicting the adventures of famous Slytherins cover the walls, and silver lanterns hang from the ceilings. You’ll sleep well; it’s very soothing, listening to the lake water lapping against the windows at night.” *

And with that Rene and the other first years were sent to bed. Along with the second years, while everyone else went their separate ways to catch up on things they did over the summer. Rene gave a quick goodnight to Blaise before she made her way to one of the dorms. Thankfully her chest was there, sitting at the foot of one of the beds.

Rene made quick work to get ready for sleep, changing out of her clothes into her pajamas and doing her nightly routine.

When everyone had settled down, Rene pulled out her special journal and read a bit.

Everything had gone exactly the way she had written it. This was good she guessed. She wanted to change so much but she was unsure what was a fixed event and what was up for tweaking.

For now, she needed to move to step two. Gaining a steady footing in Slytherin while helping out other Houses.

She wasn’t going to be a doormat by any means, but she needed people to see that being a Slytherin didn’t necessarily mean she was evil. And with the prefect’s speech, people hated them, for so many stupid things.

Biting her lip, Rene wrote down her more detailed plans in her journal. Things would need to change and quickly. England was stuck in such a rut that it seemed like nothing good would ever come out of this place again.

Her writing went well past what she had intended to write but that didn’t matter. Better to write it down while she remembered then forgetting it all the next day. Closing her journal and putting it under her pillow, Rene finally went to sleep. Excited for a new day.

<> 

And just like that school officially sucked once again in Rene’s eyes. After the fourth time forcing herself to fall back asleep, she was awake for no reason. Sighing to herself she glanced at the window across the room and growled. Time zones, the bane of her existence. It was still dark outside and that meant she had woken up at her usual time of 5:30 a.m. But since she was now in the Scottish Islands, it was currently 4:30 am here.

She couldn’t go back to sleep or she’d throw her whole sleeping schedule off. She already had a lifetime of that, she did not want to go through that again. At least not until she was in her third year. She’d lose sleep for certain classes then.

Getting out of bed, Rene made to get ready. Her morning routine went by quickly and she made her way downstairs.

She smiled when she noted that Blaise was down in the common room already.

“Blaise.” She gently called out

Blaise glanced over to where she stood and smiled when he saw it was only her.

Rene sat next to him, laying her legs in his lap.

“How are your dormmates?” he asked

“They’re alright. Davis and Greengrass keep to themselves and Bulstrode seems content on being by herself. How about you?”

Blaise shrugged.

“Loud. But they at least have a basic understanding of privacy. I closed the curtains on my bed, and they didn’t bother me for the rest of the night.”

 Rene hummed as she braided her hair. The two sat in comfortable silence before Blaise asked something that threw her off guard.

“Why did you come to Hogwarts Rene?”

“Because we’re family, and I’m the only one your age that can- “

Gina.” Blaise snapped and looked sharply over to Rene, using the nickname he had given her when they were younger

Don’t, don’t lie to me. You had many reasons to go to Drumstrang, I remember you made a list. But when Zia Crocetta told you that you were going to Hogwarts you barely put up a fight. So why is that?”

Rene sighed before moving her legs off of Blaise to lean against him. She forgot how perceptive her cousin was, especially when it came to her. She could hide how she truly felt from everyone but him. But she had no desire to drag him into the already brewing shitstorm.

“It’s complicated. I can feel it in the air that things are changing and not for the better. I’d tell you more, but you know the walls have ears mio cugino.” She told him

Rene ran her fingers through Blaise’s hair and waited for him to reply.

Per favore non nascondere il tuo dolore, cugino.” Blaise whispered to her

“I won’t not from you. I promise.”

“You swear on your life.”

“I swear on my life.” The familiar phrase slipped off of her tongue and Rene felt Blaise relax against her

“Now enough of this somber topic, let me complain about not being able to go to Drumstrang.” Rene whined before dramatically flopping into her cousin’s lap.

Blaise huffed before undoing the braid she had started on and starting over. One of his favorite things to do when they were younger was braid her hair. She remembered the first time he had tried, she had knots all in her hair and they had to go to Zia Valentina and getting her to fix her hair.

By the time everyone else had gotten up, the two cousins were grabbing their bags from their dorms and were heading down to breakfast, with Theodore Nott tagging along with them.

The three chatted politely as they talked about Quidditch. Well Blaise and Nott talked about it; Rene just listened. They were almost to the Great Hall when something unexpected happened to the group.

“Rene!” someone squealed, and Rene found herself tackled by a black and red blur

From the corner of her eye, she saw Blaise and Theo reach for their wands. Shaking her head slightly, the two backed off.

The black and red blur pulled away from her and Rene realized it was Fay. The girl looked excited to see her and Rene offered her a small smile back.

“Oh goodness, it’s so good to see you. I got lost on the way to the Great Hall and ran into one of the ghost. I tried asked her for directions, but she wouldn’t say anything to me, so I’ve been wandering.” The girl rambled on her face red and splotchy

“Why didn’t you ask one of the paintings?” Rene asked

Fay stiffened before her face became even more red.

“Why didn’t I think of that?” she wailed

Rene sent a panicked look to the other two with her. Nott shrugged while Blaise seemed to be holding in laughter.

Rene patted Fay, consoling her.

“Would you like to come to the Great Hall with us?” Rene offered

Fay sniffed and looked up at her, nodding.

The Slytherin trio with the one Gryffindor made their way down to the Great Hall. They were some of the first people there and they each headed for their respective tables. The trio sat near the end where the first years sat last night. They didn’t know if seating arrangements had any political implications yet and were content with sitting here for now. Some of the teachers were there as well, mainly the Heads of the Houses and Headmaster Dumbledore. Rene chose to ignore what they were doing in favor

Rene’s eyes wandered around the Great Hall before she spotted Heir Burton sitting at the Hufflepuff table. He seemed to be content to just stare off into space with only a few upper years surrounding him.

“Who’s that?” Blaise asked her as he noticed her eyes lingering on someone for too long

“Heir Burton, I met him on the train before I ran into Heir Malfoy and his lackeys.”

“Burton? I didn’t know Lord Burton had an heir.” Nott stated

“Apparently no one did. Seems like something to write home about.” Blaise said lightly

Rene hummed. No one knew Lord Burton had a kid, meaning Lord Burton chose to stay out of interacting with the Neutral and Dark circles for many reasons. It could be something to do with who he married or how Heir Burton was born.

However, all conversation was stopped when other students began milling into the Great Hall, and breakfast was now in full gear. Professor Snape was now handing out the schedules, starting with first years since they sat closer to the teachers’ table. When Snape came to her, Rene quietly thanked him and looked over her own schedule.

<> 

Her first class was Charms with the Hufflepuffs. Good, she didn’t want to begin her first class with the ridiculous Slytherin/Gryffindor rivalry. She then turned to look at her cousin’s shoulder to see what classes he had and frowned. He had Herbology first, that wasn’t fair. Who was she supposed to walk with now? She had no intentions of walking without anyone, not with the general dislike most of the school had towards Slytherins, no matter what year.

“Nott, do you have Charms, first class?” Rene politely asked the boy

“I do.”

“Great, now I don’t need to find a whole new group of people to walk with.” Rene said

She idly noted her cousin was pouting at not being able to have the same class as her. She chuckled at that before finishing her breakfast up, class would be starting soon, and she needed a good seat in class.

Rene and Theo made it to class quite early and sat near the back on the right. They quietly conversed about their interests getting to know each other better. Rene felt quite happy with herself as she got to know the Nott heir, he was more tolerable than the other pureblood heirs she had to interact with when she had been younger.

Charms soon started as all the other students finished trickling in and Professor Flitwick brought attention to himself.

After attendance, Professor Flitwick began lecturing about Charms and walked them through common wand movements that were associated with Charms. Rene could genuinely say that she enjoyed this as it let muggleborns and certain half-bloods get used to the idea of magic. It didn’t just throw them into the deep end and expected them to swim or drown.

After Charms, Rene had Herbology. She walked with Theo and they managed to run into Draco and his group. Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle nodded to them as they merged into a bigger group. Rene felt conflicted with such solidarity within eleven-year olds. They were kids and already had to put up such a strong front against essentially the rest of the world because of where they were sorted.

Draco took the lead as they walked to Herbology together and the rest of them fell into step. As they continued to walk, Draco turned slightly to address Rene.

“Olhouser, I have a few questions for you about Potter.” Draco said

Rene nodded in his direction to let him know that she was listening.

“What about Potter?” Pansy asked in confusion

“Potter seems clueless about any pureblood customs. He seemed confused when we addressed him as an heir.” Rene supplied to the group

She could see Pany’s look of shock. She clearly could not wrap her head around that. Even the Light purebloods, those who hadn’t renounced their ways like the blood traitors, taught their kids the basic mannerisms and how to greet other purebloods. To not even know why he was being addressed as an heir, that spoke volumes on how Potter had been raised. Rene knew no one would come to the right conclusions. She could barely wrap her head around Potter’s upbringing either.

“What does that say about Dumbledore then? Father says that Dumbledore is one that put Potter in a ‘safe’ place. But he didn’t bother getting him decent teachers to teach him about our world.” Draco said

“Father always says his actions speak volumes of his incompetence.” Theo replied

The group made various noises of agreement.

“Something I’m sure my father should hear about.” Draco said

“My mother would love to hear about this.” Pansy added

“What do we do about Potter?” Rene asked

“Well one of us need to get close to him and find out all we can. Both Rene and I put out an olive branch. But with Weasley in the way I doubt he’ll come to either of us.” Draco summarized

“So, we need to get him alone to talk.” Theo suggested

“We need to get him away from prying eyes. Everyone is still excited over the fact the ‘Boy-Who-Lived’ is attending Hogwarts.” Pansy added

“We can plan more in depth later.” Rene said

The group was now beside the greenhouse and were about to enter.

The group nodded before pairing off and entering. Draco paired himself with Rene. Pansy with Theo and Crabbe with Goyle.

Professor Sprout then began class, only walking them through all the safety items they would be using during this semester.

Draco began to whisper to Rene.

“I have to ask Olhouser, why did you come to Hogwarts?”

Rene glanced at Draco; he was still facing Professor Sprout who was going over the dangers of certain plants.

“My mother is a Zabini, and I am one of the only children within Blaise’s age range. Everyone is either too old or lives too far away from Scotland.” Rene whispered back

Draco nodded, showing that he understood. The pair then fell into silence as Professor Sprout continued with her curriculum.

And with that Herbology ended, and the group merged back together.

“Well I have History of Magic next.” Pansy said turning to the group

“I do as well.” Theo said

“I have Defense with Quirrell.” Draco said with Crabbe and Goyle grunting in agreement

“I have Defense as well, as does Blaise. He should be leaving Charms now.”

“Well we can go pick him up on the way to Transfiguration.” Draco said

As they went their separate ways, Rene waved to Theo and walked near Draco.

“You seemed to be thinking very hard in Herbology, do you have any plans for Potter?” Draco asked after they began their trek back towards Charms class.

“I do. It seems I have an ally of sorts in Gryffindor. Fay Dunbar seems to have taken a liking to me.”

“The half-blood?”

“Yes.”

“I see. If we get Potter to trust another half-blood in the same house as him and lead him somewhere where we can catch his attention. Where did you have in mind?”

“The library would be a good place to catch him and we could always drag him to an abandoned classroom.”

“Of course.”

The two nodded as they came upon Blaise walking towards them. Blaise took his position next to Rene as the group continued walking.

“What were you two talking about?”

“Trying to figure out why Potter is not well versed in anything magical. He’s acting similar to a mudblood.” Draco commented

Rene’s eyebrow twitched at that word but nodded along.

Blaise made a noise before he reached into his bag and pulled out a paper.

“Well it is a good thing that I managed to snag Weasley’s schedule. Him and Potter seem to have identical classes considering they were sharing only one schedule together.”

Rene laughed at Blaise’s antics before grabbing the schedule and looking through it.

“It seems our first interaction will be during Transfiguration tomorrow.” Rene said to the others

“So, I’m going to miss all the powerplay?” Blaise whined

Rene smirked before poking him in the side.

“Get over yourself. We’ll all be able to see things come to fruition during potions.” Rene said

Draco grabbed the schedule from Rene’s hands and read it through.

“Olhouser, see if you can get your half-blood friend’s schedule so that we can see what classes her and Potter have together. If we manage to get those two close enough, we may be able to isolate him earlier than planned.” Draco commanded

Rene nodded and hid a smile behind her sleeve. It didn’t matter that she was a part of this world now. Seeing children passionate about anything still warmed her heart.

The group continued towards Defense and made their way inside. Draco sat next to Rene while Blaise sat with Bulstrode, her group consisting of Davis and Greengrass had come in before them. Crabbe and Goyle sat next to each other, in the table behind Draco. Rene idly wondered if Draco and the two boys were truly friends or if this was simply an age-old alliance that neither side knew the origin to but continued to do so as to honor tradition.

Rene let her mind wander in Defense as she saw no true meaning to the class especially with the rumors of teachers lasting only a year. If anything, she would be better off self-studying with her father than deal with varying curriculums. Class passed by slowly and it seemed like forever until they were dismissed. Rene was grateful that the first day of classes were over. And it was finally time for lunch.

The group, now merged together with Greengrass and her group, now made their way to the Great Hall. The group sat at their table near where the teachers sat. Rene found herself on Draco’s right with Blaise right next to her. Draco’s left was still open, and Rene could see how things were going to shape out politically before the end of this year.

Lunch came and went with the Slytherin First Years trading back and forth information about the classes. Rene noted that many of them found Defense distasteful and had heard the rumors of the teachers not even surviving a full year. Lunch ended with Rene knowing to become dependent on the upper years to help them with History of Magic and Defense as those two classes were virtually not up to anyone’s standards.

“It’s a wonder no one has come in to do a complete overhaul of the school curriculum if it’s this bad.” Theodore said before drinking some Pumpkin juice

Rene scrunched her nose as Theodore drunk the sickeningly sweet juice. She could practically feel her teeth rotting from just seeing someone else drink it.

“There’s an obvious reason for that Theo.” Blaise said as he pulled apart his chicken leg, “Dumbledore.”

“That’s true, father has come home many times from a Wizengamot meeting muttering about Dumbledore stopping another bill from coming through due to how much blind support he has from the Light.” Pansy added

Rene took all of this information in as the First Years made their way back to the common rooms. With there being no homework on the first day the first years were able to form their own groups. Though they all seemed to gravitate towards Draco they were able to break down into smaller more manageable ones.

In Draco’s group there was Pansy, Blaise, Theo, and Rene herself. Crabbe and Goyle were there but they were merely figurehead pieces, never really contributing to the conversation.

The next group was Daphne Greengrass’s, which consisted of Lily Moon, Millicent Bulstrode, Tracey Davis, and Sophie Roper.

With how small there year was, Rene was not surprised to see that there were only 12 first years in total. It was concerning with how small they were in number, but it did show how hard the War had hit.

Rene turned her focus back to Draco as he was laying out a plan on how to ensnare Potter into talking with them. While it was very serious that they talk to Potter, Rene couldn’t help but find it cute and creepy at the same time.

Potter was the key to the next era of Magical Britain. Whichever side sunk their claws deep enough into him would control how things would be run. As was the power that came with defeating a Dark Lord. But it seemed Dumbledore had gotten a head start, with ensuring that Potter was ignorant to his duties as a Pureblood Heir of an Ancient and Noble House he was sure to alienate himself from his fellow heirs and into the arms of blood traitors who would bring about the ruin of their world faster with them stifling magic the way they were.

“Olhouser do you think you’ll be able to get Dunbar’s schedule within the next few days?” Draco asked her

“Of course, with us having Transfiguration with the Gryffindors it should be easy.” Rene told him

Draco nodded before he continued with the rest of his plan.

Time passed and soon it was time for the First Years to head towards their dorms. Rene quickly went through her nightly routine before she got into her bed and pulled the privacy curtains around. Pulling the journal from under her pillow she pulled out the mundane pencil and began to write.

<> 

Within the next few days, Rene managed to grab Fay’s schedule roughly constructing a copy and handing it over to Draco. She was now onto the next step of Draco’s plan by getting Fay to talk to Harry. This part of the plan was slow going and it involved Rene splitting from the Slytherin group multiple times.

This was very dangerous as she then had to quickly rush to her class without any upper years from other Houses seeing her.

Rene hated how that made her feel. Afraid of three-fourths of the school because of where she was sorted. She was innocent, no crimes in her name, but because of a few bad apples and a spotty history of one of the founders at best she and any other student that bore the snake symbol would live seven years in hell. It wasn’t fair. It’s already hard being a kid. It’s hard and no one understands.

            Rene sniffed before wiping her face with her sleeve not bothering to be ladylike in anyway. As she turned the corner, she bumped into someone and found herself falling on her butt.

            “Ah, I’m sorry I wasn’t looking where I was going.” A voice said to her

            Rene looked up to see a young Robert Patterson.

            Cedric Diggory.

            Oh, dear.

            “N-no it’s m-my fault. I was walking really fast.” Rene stuttered out an apology

            Cedric smiled at her before offering his hand. Rene grabbed it and let out a small squeak as she was quickly pulled up.

            “I’m Cedric Diggory it’s a pleasure to meet you.” he said introducing himself

            Rene’s hand was still holding onto his as she stared at him.

            “Rene Olhouser.” she murmured, ignoring the part of her mind screaming at her

            “It’s nice to meet you Rene. Do you need help getting somewhere? You did seem to be in quite a rush.” Cedric offered

            Rene flinched back, pulling her hand out of Cedric’s grasp. This boy was a Hufflepuff. She did not need that blow to her reputation this early on in the year. Yes that was it, this had nothing to do with how cute he was.

            “Ye-no I-I mean no thank you!” Rene squeaked her words coming out louder than intended

            Cedric looked at her amused and Rene could feel the blood rushing to her face.

            Stepping past Cedric, she made her way to Herbology. She looked back at the boy who was now turned around looking at her.

            “T-thank you!” she exclaimed before she broke into a sprint not at all stopping until she was on the ground floor of the castle.

            By the time she reached Herbology her face was sweaty. Draco looked at her in confusion as she stood next to him.

            “Hufflepuffs are confusing.” was all she told him before getting to her work

            That seemed to satisfy Draco as he did not bring it up again. But from the look Theo sent her she knew that he would.

            Soon enough it was Friday and Rene found herself excited despite still being tired from Astronomy earlier that morning. As she made her way down to the common room, Rene noticed Blaise and Theo talking in a secluded corner of the common room. She made her way over to them and noted they stopped talking as soon as she got within hearing distance.

            Rene chose not to address what they were discussing, instead raising an eyebrow at them.

            The two boys seemed to jump, elegantly though, into action and the trio began to make their way to the Great Hall. On their way they found Fay once again far from their intended destination. When she spotted the trio, Fay’s face lit up and she made her way toward them. Rene offered her a small smile as Fay immediately began on to speak.

            “Hi Rene! I was thinking about what you said in Transfiguration yesterday about talking to Harry Potter and I managed to work up the courage to do so in the common room. Weasley had gone upstairs and he was all alone just looking into the fire. So, I told him that you wanted to meet up with him near the library after the classes are done for the day. He looked confused before I mentioned your last name and he recognized it and said he would.” Fay concluded before flashing Rene a bright smile

            Rene blinked rapidly before she thanked Fay. Fay grinned before she patted her on the shoulder and walked off, most likely to the Great Hall.

            “Bloody Gryffindors.” Theo muttered

            Rene and Blaise snorted before they continued their journey towards the Great Hall.

            This moved Draco’s plan up quite a bit as they had all assumed that it would take a while for Fay to gain Harry’s trust. But somehow the boy wasn’t wary of Slytherins like the rest of the First Years already were. This greatly worked in their favor.

            Breakfast came and went and soon it was the moment that the first year Gryffindors were dreading.

            Potions.

            The Slytherins were ready for the class taught by their Head of House.

            Professor Snape was a task master and he did not tolerate imperfection in his house. Especially not of his most favored craft.

            Class began with Snape billowing into the classroom and everyone else following in. Rene took her seat next to Draco, making sure they were far away enough from Longbottom.

            Snape began roll and as he called out each name, she noted the way her paused on Potter’s name.

            “Ah, yes,” he said softly, “Harry Potter our new – celebrity.

            No one made a sound. Draco sat stiffly in his new seat and Rene could feel the change.

            Draco hadn’t antagonized Harry; Harry didn’t reject Harry’s offer and there was no rivalry between the two. Rene was as excited as she was scared. This meant she could change things, but how far could she go before not even she could recognize the original timeline?

            After taking roll call, Professor Snape began his speech.

            “You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making,” he began. His voice barely above a whisper, this effect had many of them leaning forward in their seats to catch every word. Snape had the similar privilege, like Professor McGonagall, of keeping a class silent without effort. “As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly shimmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses…I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death – if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.”

            More silence followed his speech and Rene found herself on the edge of her seat. This was The Potions Master, the youngest to get his Mastery in all of Britain and here he was resigned to teaching the basics.

            “Potter!” Snape snapped suddenly. “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to and infusion of wormwood?”

            Rene subtly reared back as Professor Snape began to lay into the boy with his harsh tone. Something niggled in the back of her mind at the questions Snape began to ask. Something about regretting one’s death.

            “Sit down,” Snape snapped at Hermione. “For your information Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren’t you all copying that down?”

            Rene thankfully had her parchment and quill out and managed to shorthand everything Professor Snape had said. This should be useful later on.

            “And a point will be taken from Gryffindor house for your cheek, Potter.”

            Things did not improve for any of the Gryffindors as the lesson went on. After Snape had put them into pairs and had them follow the instructions on the board to make a simple potion to cure boils. Rene was thankfully paired with Malfoy who seemed to be relaxed as he crushed the snake fangs in a methodical way. The lesson carried on with Snape criticizing other potions but always seeming to come back to praise Draco’s and Rene’s work. It was relieving as it was nerve wracking. Just as Snape billowed back towards them to tell everyone to look at the perfect way their horn slugs were being stewed, clouds of acidic green smoke and a loud hissing filled the dungeon. Turning around, Rene could see that Longbottom had managed to melt Finnegan’s cauldron causing their potion to seep across the stone floor, brining holes into people’s shoes in the process.

            Longbottom who had been drenched in the potion was moaning in pain as angry red boils sprang up all over his arms and legs.

            Snape was like a bat out of hell and he descended upon the scene. Quickly he vanished the spilled potion away with a flick of his wand.

            “Take him to the hospital wing.” he snarled at Finnegan. The boy squeaked before tugging Longbottom with him out the door

            The man then rounded on Potter and Weasley who had been sitting next to Longbottom.

            “You – Potter – why didn’t you tell him not to add quills? Thought he’d make you look good if he got it wrong did you? That’s another point you’ve lost for Gryffindor.”

            Well that was a bit unfair. Potter was as new to Potions as most of the other muggleborn. He had no way of knowing that such a thing would happen. Unless if he were to read the book which he probably didn’t. Sharing a look with Draco they nodded to each other in understanding. The sooner they got to Potter, the less fallout they would have to deal with.

            Soon Potions ended and Rene found Potter waiting outside the classroom with Weasley. He walked towards where Rene and the rest of the group stood.

            “Heiress Olhouser?” Potter said

            Rene looked at him in curiosity.

            “I, er, forgot to tell Fay of my prior arrangement with Hagrid. I’m supposed to meet up with him for tea after Potions and I was wondering if we could delay our meeting?”

            Rene looked to Draco whose face was pinched in a was as if he had to swallow several lemons. He would be of no use at the moment. He was clearly trying not to antagonize Potter by insulting the groundskeeper.

            “Of course Potter. We can meet at the library after dinner.” Rene said

            Potter smiled shyly at Rene before he pulled Weasley away and headed towards, presumably wherever the groundskeeper was located.

            “We are going to have to fast track Potter with Pureblood etiquette. Consorting with half breeds that’s low. Next thing we know he’ll be shaking hands with a werewolf.” Pansy bemoaned

            Rene gave a small smile at Pansy’s antics. The group made their way towards the library to grab a few books to help with writing their essays and Rene had never been more grateful that she was a witch. She didn’t know if she would be able to write the same critical essays of the significance of Shakespeare on modern playwriting or the meaning of a poem that was written long before she was born. The answer would always have some implied meaning of death anyway. If it wasn’t death it was time or nature. Humanity seemed to focus on those three things, and it frustrated her to no end how teachers thought there was some other deeper meaning to it.

            “Cos'hai combinato di cosi ' strano?” Blaise whispered to her

            Rene snapped out of her inner rant to see she was gripping her quill tightly. Looking towards Blaise she saw the look of concern in his eye.

            “Ignorance from beyond the grave come back to haunt me in the form of essays.”

            Blaise chuckled before he returned to his work. Rene smiled to herself. He was so sweet, to be concerned for her wellbeing.

            Theo from across from her asked for the Herbology book and soon it all devolved into a quiet homework session.

            Dinner time rolled around and Rene and the group were leaving their common room, having dropped off their schoolbags on their beds.

<> 

            Rene made her way to the library with Blaise and Draco in tow. During dinner the group had decided who all would go to meet Potter. It had been decided that Crabbe and Goyle to be left behind as they needed to make Potter feel comfortable.

            As they made their way into the library, Rene saw Harry sitting at one of the library tables with an agitated Weasley. Rene fell back to Draco’s right as he made his way towards Potter.

            Rene knew that she would eventually have to intervene but she saw no reason to interfere right from the beginning.

            “Potter, thank you for meeting up with us.” Draco started politely

            Potter jerked up, as if just now noting their presence and Rene noted how bright his eyes were. The books really didn’t do his eyes justice. Shaking her head slightly Rene tried to tune back into the conversation.

            She looked at Weasley who was staring back at her, his gaze felt like it was peering into her innermost thoughts. She offered him a small smile and felt amused when he looked away, the tips of his ears becoming red.

            “What do you mean a magical guardian?” Potter asked and Rene saw Draco stiffen

            “Chi farebbe una cosa simile?” she heard Blaise mutter and she shook her head

            They were too young to be dealing with the horrid well meanings of an old man but they needed to be dealt with before it was too late.

            Draco began a lecture on what a magical guardian was and Rene glanced at the window nearest to them. It was dark and they would most likely have to cut this meeting short.

It seemed Fate agreed with her as Madam Pince came out of her office to shoo them out, stating the library was closed for the night.

            The group stood outside of the library unsure of what to do.

            “We can schedule multiple meetings to explain different ways the magical world works from the mundane Heir Potter. If that is what you would like?” Rene suggested after a few more moments of silence

            Harry looked at her before glancing at Ron and nodding. The groups then separated and Rene headed back towards the Slytherin dorms. She was not looking forward to this school year nor the next six ones. But that was the sacrifice one had to make with having such dangerous knowledge in their possession.

<> 

            Elsewhere in the castle a young boy sits on the window seat of his dorm room and looks out as if lost in thought. There are many new variables in the situation the boy has found himself in and he cannot seem to find a way to adapt to it.

            He wasn’t alone, there seemed to be another like him within the castle and they were probably the main cause of why the story was not following its planned fate. This someone was most likely in his year as the hat had mentioned sorting said person before him. He would get to the bottom of it.