An unusual response by Harry Potter to Draco Malfoy leaves Dumbledore amused, Minerva confused, and Severus bemused. "You're just jealous that Professor Snape likes me best!" Mildly implied Drarry.
"I could take you on any time, Potter," Draco sneered, standing near the Gryffindor table during dinner. The eleven-year-old Slytherin had gleefully sauntered over in the hopes of getting in a few insults before Potter was expelled, but was discouraged to find his messy-haired, green-eyed rival in excellent spirits, and still a student at Hogwarts. Harry, utilizing the instinctive reactions that had saved him for so long with the Dursleys, quickly interjected before Malfoy could continue.
"Now, now Draco, you don't need to take your misdirected anger out on me," Harry said, patronizingly, employing the art of the bullshit, "I understand your deeply hidden feelings of inadequacy-"
"What the hell are you on about, Potter?" Draco demanded, "I'm a Malfoy! I do not feel inadequate!" His loud voice started attracting the notice of the other students, as well as the staff table, but since none of the adults were making a move to stop the altercation, Harry chose to go along with it.
"Yes, you are! You hate me because you're envious," Harry shouted back, torn between thrill and worry, "You're just jealous that Professor Snape likes me best!"
The entire hall silenced so fast that it was obvious more than a few of the peering kids around them had been listening in. Did Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived and Gryffindor first year, imply that Professor Snape liked him?
"You can't stand the fact that you're only second best," Harry continued. Yes, yes he did. Harry also discretely kicked Ron's shin when the redhead opened his mouth to speak.
"Professor Snape hates you," Draco protested, scathingly, "Give me one example that shows he likes you."
"He gave me his condolences for my parent's death," Harry blurted out, "Don't you remember the first question he asked me in our Potions Class? He asked what he would get if he added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood. Well, according to the Victorian language of flowers, asphodel is a type of lily that means 'my regrets follow you to the grave' and wormwood symbolizes 'bitter sorrow'. And my mum's name was Lily!"
He looked triumphantly at the blonde. "So, the hidden meaning is 'I bitterly regret Lily's death'. None of the other Professors even mentioned my parents."
A few of the older students looked towards the Professor's Table, askance, and received a few guilty shuffles in response. Snape's face was rapidly turning pale.
"And unlike you," Harry continued, "I don't need large amounts of points to feel loved. Professor Snape can compliment me in subtle ways because he knows I'll understand them and know that he cares about me. For you, he needs to act Gryffindorish and reward you unfairly, or you'll get all snippy about it."
Up at the staff table, Dumbledore turned towards Severus, who was sitting next to him, and cheerfully proclaimed, "Severus, my boy! I had no idea you and Mr. Potter were so close. I'm proud of you for being the better man and releasing your grudge with James." Severus said nothing. Dumbledore turned his attention back to the two boys at the center of attention.
"-don't even know what you're saying," Draco said, "He gives you the worst grades-"
"Because he CLEARLY has higher expectations for me," Harry interrupted, "He expects more from me than he does from you, because you pretty much suck at Potions-"
"I do not!" Draco interjected, vehemently, "Who blew up their cauldron yesterday, huh?"
"Neville did," Harry replied, perplexed.
"Exactly!" Draco said, a note of triumph ringing in his tone, "And he was sitting right next to you! So if you had known enough about potions to stop him…"
"You're completely right, Draco," Harry agreed, causing the blonde to splutter indignantly, "I should have stopped him. If I had better situational awareness, I would have done it. Professor Snape placed me next to Neville to help the poor boy, and I let him down. Still, this just goes to show that Professor Snape has faith in me, whereas he thinks you need to be mollycoddled…"
"I always thought that Snape put Longbottom and POtter together because Longbottom might accidentally kill him one day, and Snape would have an iron-clad alibi," one of the upper year Gryffindor's said to another.
"I thought so too," the other kid whispered back. Ron just continued to gape at the too.
"You're not his favorite," Draco kept insisting, "I am. He's my godfather! I'm his favorite! ME!"
Harry snorted, "I'm sure he agreed to that before you learned how to talk and he realized just how annoying you are."
"Dumbledore, aren't you going to stop this?" Minerva McGonagall, Transfiguration Mistress at Hogwarts, asked frostily. She gestured to the Gryffindor table where the two boys had degenerated into whose mother Snape liked more.
"Probably not," the old man admitted, "I don't see why I should stop two students from engaging in a lively and fascinating debate. Truly, we are lucky to have someone as popular as Severus for one of our colleagues, are we not?"
"Yes we are," Filius agreed, adding slyly, "He must be the first Slytherin Head of House to have a Gryffindor for a favorite student… if Mr. Potter is to be believed." Both Minerva and Severus bristled.
"Just cause your father is gay-" Harry started.
"My father is NOT gay!"
"Oh please, Malfoy," Harry sneered, in a passable imitation of his favorite professor, "Don't lie to yourself. I saw his pimp cane-" One of the Weasley twins choked, which made his twin pat him on the back absently, since his own eyes were glued to the scene.
"Once again, Potter, my father is not gay!" Draco snapped, "And what about your father, huh? I heard that Professor Snape hated him."
"Hate is just another word for 'oppressed sexual tension'," Harry said dismissively, quoting the wisdom of the Weasley twins' friend, Lee Jordan, "They were probably rivals in school and got into fights and had angry make-up stuff. Or something."
A pale pink colour rose in Draco's cheeks. "Rivals- school- sexual tension-..." he stuttered. Harry quickly blushed a bright tomato color.
"Not us!" he corrected, hastily, "We're eleven and I- unlike you- am interested in girls. Or at least I will be. Sooner or later. That's not the point. The point is that Professor Snape doesn't like you. He likes me. I'm his favorite."
"Fine, be that way!" Draco scowled, "Professor McGonagall likes me-"
"Don't even think about it," Hermione interrupted, glaring at the boy.
"Well, Professor Sprout-"
"Not a chance," Neville said, fiercely.
"Professor Flitwick," Draco paused, and waited for someone to interrupt. When he realized that no complaint was forthcoming, he looked over curiously at the Staff Table.
The Charms Professor was smug. "I am actually an impartial teacher," he informed them.
"I'm Dumbledore's favorite too," Harry added, happily. Draco pouted.
"Potter!" a deep voice barked from across the empty corridor.
Harry quickly froze and turned to see the intimidating gaze of his Potions Professor boring down at him.
"Professor," he greeted meekly.
Snape sneered and removed a rectangular piece of paper from the inside of his robe, "Your payment."
Harry's eyes widened and he all but snatched the paper away. "Thank you, sir."
"Your performance was… adequate," Snape admitted, grudgingly, "Draco is beginning to take his studies seriously and act like a proper Slytherin."
Harry didn't react to the compliment since his eyes were greedily drinking in the picture in front of him. A beautiful teenaged girl with long, shimmering red hair was laughing and waving at him from inside the photo.
"Do you have any other pictures of my mother?" the bespectacled boy asked.
"A few," Snape allowed, "I shall arrange for more copies when I have need of you." He turned and began to walk away.
"And Potter? Ten points from Gryffindor for loitering in the corridor."