Title: A Grave Error in Judgment

Author: P.L.S.

Contact:

Rating:

Disclaimer: Yeah, I kind of sort of am doing something called plagiarism, and I just thought I'd tell you all that I'm not making money off of this so it's kind of pointless to sue. A bunch of other rich peoples own a majority of the things in here and I don't.

Summery: Minister Of Magic, Cornillius Fudge, has a great PR idea! He's going to offer to put up the Boy-Who-Lived and the richest boy in England after the fiasco during their fifth year since neither are safe at their respective homes. To make it clear he is all about their safety, he takes off the wand restrictions and gives them free reign of his summer home in Gloucestershire. May the Lord help him.

Author's Note:


Harry was stunned. He just couldn't believe it. He sat there in shock as the Ministry official made the final plans with Vernon, making sure that the compensation was enough, talking about how soon a car could come and take Harry away, and basically ruining all of Dumbledore's plans.

All too soon he was being led away to a posh car and shoved inside it and in his hand was a scroll that he was sure spelled out his doom. Soon enough he was aware enough to unroll the scroll.

Mr. Harry Potter,

It has come to our attention that while you are not yet of age you have extenuating circumstances that make it necessary for you to have full use of your wand at anytime when outside of school. To that end the Ministry of Magic, Improper Use of Magic Office, has decreed that you, Harry Potter, have adult status in the Ministry's eyes and full use of your wand and any other magical objects or creatures provided you answer to the adult laws and limitations as well as follow the restrictions for use of magic in front of muggles (non-magical persons.)

Have a pleasant holiday, and my daughter Hannah says that I have you to thank for her high OWL in Defense Against the Dark Arts. You must be quite the teacher because that is typically her worst class.

Yours Sincerely,

Trudy Abbot

Improper Use of Magic Office,

Ministry of Magic


Harry was stunned. He was able to use his wand? What was going on?

()

Draco ground his teeth as he read the letter from the Improper Use of Magic Office, so what? It wasn't like he ever had to worry about the restrictions like the others. No the very worst part was that he actually had to care about the laws that never applied to him before.

Draco cursed under his breath as he realized just how bad off he was. His father was in custody of the Ministry, his mother was as well now. The family fortune was in trust funds and accounts he wasn't allowed to touch until he came of age. The cold manor was in the hands of his father's most trusted butler, and thus it was locked and the elves were sealed in sleep until Draco could open the house again. He wasn't about to prevail upon his father's acquaintances for a place to stay, the Malfoys gave to charity, they never asked for charity.

Now he was waiting with a simpering Ministry minion, for what he had no clue, but he did know that the warm heart of Minister Fudge was taking him in for the summer in a ploy for good publicity after that media hound Potter finally proved him wrong, and landed Draco's father in hot water with far too much proof to be bought off.

Finally the black car pulled up and another employee with pale skin and several additional limbs and fur jumped out and she, along with the person waiting with him, pushed Draco in. The car took off at top speed throwing Draco on to the car floor. Draco's eyes flared open, he was face to face with a seething Potter.

What got up your bum? Draco sneered. Potter glared out the back window at the two figures of the employees.

Damned witch. I'll get her. I swear I will. growled out Potter, No one insults my family, no one. Draco couldn't help but chuckle.

I insult your family daily, but you don't curse my head off. Should I be insulted? Draco drawled as he relaxed into the leather bench. Harry faced Draco and snorted.

You don't question their honor or my bravery. Potter gave an evil smile and laugh, Oh, I can't wait to get revenge. Draco was suddenly very glad that Potter wasn't planning anything for him. Draco sighed.

Don't you think it's odd that we are ridding in the same vehicle? Draco asked while staring at the ceiling. Harry snorted.

Fudge is pulling a good ploy to stay on the good side of all involved. By taking me away from my abusive muggle relatives he makes it look like he's protecting me from Voldemort, helping a hero out, and if Voldemort manages to win control, like he was keeping me prisoner for the Death Eaters. By taking you in it looks like charity work, gets him in good with the older families, if your father gets off Fudge is still on his good side, meaning Voldemort's good side. Harry said so cynically that Draco almost thought it was Snape speaking. The reasoning that Harry proposed was also very Slytherin, but this was the poster child for Gryffindor Tower spewing out political logic. Draco shoved the questions out of his mind and concentrated on the task at hand.

It's good for the media, good for his reelection, good for everyone but you and I. Draco concluded and Harry nodded and grinned.

You wanna make him understand why not even Snape pairs us up? Harry proposed. Draco considered it. On one hand he was going to be working with his most hated enemy, on the other it was for a good cause. Ah, hell, causing mischief was so much more fun than worrying over what his father or mother would think.

()

The victim in question was at that moment bustling about his manor home and pestering his staff of assistants, decorators, and public relations specialists with questions about the good deed he was doing, if they thought the boys would like the rooms, and everything else under the sun. Most rolled their eyes as he asked question after question, never giving them a chance to answer. Finally word reached them the car was in the shire and that Fudge and his wife needed to be outside waiting for them. The assistants also got an owl from the aide who was supposed to be chaperoning the boys, he was transferred from St.Mungo's to the Department of Mysteries Curse Division due to the severe hexing from the Boy-Who-Lived, apparently courage, family, Sirius Black, and sanity were sore issues with the kid. Very sore issues. Not one person was about to tell their Minister that though.

Ah, here they are. said Christabelle Fudge in her too sweet tone. It probably didn't help their opinion of her that she was fifteen years Cornilius's junior and lived up to the stereotype of bubbly blond. The black car stopped and as the door opened sparks of spell fire exploded out.

shouted an angry voice. Out of the car leapt and rolled Draco Malfoy, singed robes, bright orange hair, and a scowl that made everyone take a step back. A seat in the car was in flames and from the other side jumped Harry Potter, horns, long snake's tongue, and robes and muggle clothes that looked to be ready to fall apart.

You utter idiot. Flamarious Orbulla! shouted Draco as he swung himself into a crouching position, ready to strike as Potter dodged the fireball and looked ready to kill. No one was about to get mixed up in the fight.

Incizzea! Incizzea! Incizzea! Harry threw three cutting charms that only just missed his target, and ended up slicing holes into Draco's robes and made the young Malfoy's temper snap.

Serpensortiera Maximus! Draco yelled out in fury and a huge snake erupted from his wand and started for Harry who smirked then hissed out a command that the conjured snake listened to. The snake wound around Draco and held him. Harry smiled.

Did you forget about that little talent you helped me discover in our duel in the second year. he said.

Damnit, Potter. Tell this, this thing to let me go. he spat out with hatred dripping from his voice. Harry scowled darkly.

Do you concede the duel? Harry asked, his tone was steeled and controlled. Draco ground his teeth, refusing to let the fact that the snake just squeezed too hard be seen by anyone especially Potter.

he ground out and Harry muttered the incantation that made the snake vanish. Draco dropped to the ground, trying to regain the air he lost.

Don't you even think about trying to declare a new duel, I'll resort to physical violence. Harry warned as he bent double, huffing and puffing with his hands on his knees to brace himself.

Like hell you would. Your little fan club isn't here to back your bony little arse up. Draco wheezed out as he sat on his heels with one hand on the ground to steady himself. Both were bruised, bleeding from many cuts and abrasions, and burnt to the muscle in more than one spot.

Never needed them to kick your rich little hide. Grew up being beat up by the biggest bullies, my own family. No way you're a challenge. Harry retorted and touched a burn on his upper right thigh, Blast it all, you had to add to the scars I'm going to have to look at for the rest of my life. Seems like I'm the message board for all the evil bastards in the world. Harry said caustically.

Peh, I'm not evil, just a bastard and damned proud of it. Draco snapped back and Harry chuckled, You got a twisted sense of humor, Potter.

The kettle calling the pot black. Harry said as he put a hand to his forehead and sat in the gravel, Ugh, hate when I get worn out like this.

asked Draco who gave up trying to stand and sat too.

Light headed, body hurts, and a headache but that could just be. . . yeah, old Voldie's in a right happy mood. Bloody hell. Harry clenched his eyes shut.

asked Draco.

Something connects Voldemort to me, I get to feel his more powerful emotions, get to be possessed for seconds at a time but that's easy to fight off, at times I have very nice dreams where I get to be stuck in his head or nearby as he plots, tortures, or just rants about anything and everything. Bloody psycho. Can't even guarantee that my wand will work against his. Both use feathers from Dumbledore's Phoenix, and if we cast at the same time they connect getting a web of magic and a very powerful Priori Incantem. Harry sighed, Why'd a smart guy like your dad ever think that serving a half-blood who thinks he's the Heir of Slytherin, tortures those who swears loyalty to him, wants the destruction of a way of life that has worked for hundreds of years, and thinks getting rid of the only people who really keep our culture from stagnation was a good idea? Draco rolled his eyes.

I'm going to blame it on the fact that my father has a thing for killing and punishment. Draco said with a shrug, followed by a wince as it disturbed a deep gash on his back. Harry smiled tiredly.

Some days I just want to give up, cash in my chips, and run while I'm still able. Harry closed his eyes and dropped his head forward. Draco was about to say something when he was interrupted.

Um, hello dears, welcome to Heather Hill. said Christabelle who was the first to recover from the shock.

Nice and all that, but shut up. Potty and I were trying to have a nonviolent conversation. Draco said scathingly as he drug himself off the ground. He walked over to Harry and helped him up. Both leaned on each other and staggered in, making sarcastic remarks and sounding as if once they recovered enough they'd be at each other's throats again. Most of the assistants, seeing their opportunity, apparated away. Fudge watched as the boys openly critiqued his decorating, quality of furniture, and everything else.

He was doomed. He needed help.

()

Bloody hell, am I supposed to take this as an insult? Harry ranted as he walked out to the hallway, looking over a bit of parchment. Draco was just coming out himself and raised an eyebrow.

What's wrong now? asked Draco.

This is. Harry trust a sheet with simple spells, books and descriptions, and instructions on how to use items in the room, They must think I'm an idiot.

You are but yes, this is an insult. Draco said cooly without missing a beat. Harry gave him a evil glance and incinerated the parchment.

Fools the lot of them, taking me out of the one foolproof protection I have, sticking me in a house that doesn't even have a bloody apparition ward on it. If I have to live here I am going to redo security until I feel like I can sleep at night. Harry fumed. Draco was mildly amused by this side of the Boy-Who-Lived, it made for a nice contrast to the tragic, or self-righteous Harry at school. This Harry was positively snarky, frustrated, and bitter, and he had the razor sharp wit and cunning that Draco only found in such people as Severus Snape, his father, and other powerful Slytherins. Harry was taking out his wand and held it in his open palm.

Directio Visius, Library. Harry said, Draco raised an eyebrow. That was a clever often over looked spell that he was sure that only a few still knew. A silver thread of light shot out of Harry's wand and they followed it to a large set of doors that Harry entered without hesitation. The room was filled with books that looked to never have been opened. Harry snorted as he took in the pretentious surroundings. Draco took out his wand and summoned the library catalog as Harry started looking over the titles.

Potter, how's this for a model library? Nothing even mentioning dark magic, not even curses or dueling. Draco said Harry sighed.

And he expects two boys, both who are known to either break laws or interested in dark magic, to be stuck in this nightmare of a house without something interesting? Harry said as he went to a desk and started writing out three letters, I'm writing to Dumbledore, Lupin, and Snape, asking for books, advise on protections, and the like. Anything you need?

Books on dueling, arthimancy, and potions that we're covering next term. Oh, and ask Snape if he's got any new information for me. Draco said casually. Harry nodded and continued to write. With a slight smile he stood up and opened the window. Pointing his wand at the letters he started casting protection and directional spells on the sheets.

Papyrus Avian. The three sheets turned into three silent common sparrows with small scrolls clutched in their claws. They took off through the window at speeds not even his favorite owl could reach.

Clever, Potter, clever. So how long until we get a reply? Draco drawled as he started looking at the actual books.

Depends. Snape, he will answer your request, but I'm not putting too much hope in him answering mine, so I added to your requests. Hope you don't mind. Draco shrugged as Potter started doodling on some more parchment, Lupin will answer me as soon as he can. Dumbledore, he'll answer when he thinks it will suit him. Harry said.

So until then, what are you going to do? Draco asked and Harry sighed.

Request that Fudge send Auror Nymphadora Tonks to play guard. If I have to I will hex that idiot into submitting to my reasonable request. Harry said and Draco laughed.

Asking for a certain auror? You think that is reasonable? Draco asked.

I will trust no one else, besides she's your cousin and a metamorphamagus. Clumsy, but dead useful. Harry said with a smirk.

I have a cousin? Draco asked stunned.

Sure, your mum had two sisters, Belatrix and Andromeda. Andromeda was estranged from the Black family because she married a muggle, Ted Tonks. Nymphadora is their daughter and your first cousin. Geez, even Sirius knew about the drama in your twisted family tree.

Not my fault. Mother refused to talk about family. Draco said. Harry shrugged.

True, but you do need to at least meet your long lost cousin, right? Harry's look of indifference turned into one of suggestion. Draco sighed.

Only if you help me with quidditch. he bargained. Harry thought about it and nodded.

Deal. Let's go, I want to catch him off guard. Harry got up and walked to the door, Draco followed but walked by the desk to see what Harry was drawing, it looked like a start of a winged monster of some type. Following Harry through the small manor home as he had cast a new Cretin Thread spell. It really was interesting to see someone who was as used to using magic to get around or to make someone nervous as the majority of the pureblooded Slytherins.

Why weren't you in Slytherin? asked Draco suddenly. Harry stopped and looked at him with a veiled expression.

Why bother asking that now? he asked in return. Draco smirked. This could be fun.

Hasn't anyone ever told you it's rude to reply to a question with a question? he said with a hint of faked annoyance. Harry rolled his eyes.

Isn't that what you are doing? he asked as he started following the thread.

Why does it matter? Draco asked as they rounded a corner. Harry sighed in exasperation.

Haven't you even thought about the fact that question may drag up sensitive information?

Is everything a secret with you? Draco asked with an annoyed look.

Do you really want to know?

Why else would I ask?

Has no one told you that you can be a real spoiled brat at times? Harry said as they threw open the door and entered the office of the Minister.

Did you not get the message that I was raised to be one? Draco retorted. Harry growled and glared.

Let's just get this over with. It's the only blasted thing we agree upon. Harry said, breaking the chain of questions. Draco sighed.

Might as well. they turned to Minister Fudge who looked quite shocked and stuck in mid bite of a crescent.

Okay. Minister Fudge, you took us away from the only protections that would keep us safe from Voldemort should he send his Death Eaters after us. As neither of us can create adequate wards and protections with that watered down and fluffy version of a real library, we demand you station an auror here with us until other protections can be arranged. Harry said in a dark and sinister voice Draco knew was copied from Snape. It was very well done as well, Fudge looked scared.

To that end we wanted someone we can both trust, who will favor neither of us and who we both have ties to. The only one who fits those requirements is my cousin and metamorphamagus, Auror Nymphadora Tonks. Draco copied his father's favorite tone of voice, forceful but congenial enough. Perfect for giving orders.

Quite. So I assume since you did force us to come here, you will make the necessary arrangements to satisfy our need for security. If not I suppose we could use our contacts to find us the needed arrangements for summer accommodations in areas that we find to be adequately secure and suited to our tastes. Harry said with a cold tone and icy glare that made Fudge quake.

Sure. I'll take care of the paperwork and get her here by breakfast. Fudge said after he stopped thinking oh my God, they're going to kill me.' Harry scowled.

If that's as fast as you can work it will just have to do then. said Draco, as soon as he saw Harry would go on a raging tirade, Come Potter, we need to get some rest if we're going to be up all night. Both left as quickly as they came, Harry making sure the door slammed shut behind them without touching it.

Draco spun around and glared at Harry as the door was secured, What are you playing at? If I wasn't dead sure he was alive I would say you have channeled Snape.

What are you talking about? This is how I usually am. said Harry with a puzzled look.

Draco asked with a skeptical frown, How do your friends put up with it? Harry laughed.

Ron's a hotheaded guy who has this yearly tradition of not talking to me for something that's not my fault or getting me deeper in trouble by baiting you or helping to escalate whatever problem is going to end with me being almost killed, Hermione is a bookworm with a flair for starting civil rights campaigns and who's idea of a conversation starter is I read about that in Hogwarts, A History.' My little problem with sarcasm and as you put it channeling Snape' when I'm angry is put up with because we all stick with each other even if we drive each other up the wall. Harry said then smiled, You'd fit right in with your bigger than the castle ego, need to be right all the time, and refusal to even see reality even if it's kicking your arse. Oh, yes, if you repeat or use in any way anything I tell you about anyone, thing, or whatever, I will personally force feed you every mistake ever made by Neville Longbottom in potions then hex you so hard your great grandparents will writhe in pain. and beg me for forgiveness.

Oh, hell. You are Snape. That is exactly what he used to say to my father when ever he'd come over for a dinner or some book in the library.

Then you are your father. Odd, how that's something I thought you'd want to be four years ago. Just don't go trying to kill me like he used to. Harry said as he started walking down the hall.

Sure, Potter. Now where are you going? Draco caught up to him.

I saw the backdoor as we walked here, and I'm pretty sure it was quidditch supplies in the room next to it. Harry said quickly.

How'd you... Draco started to ask when Harry pulled him into a closet that only held towels.

Shh, that blond I'm sure is Fudge's wife is walking down the hall. he whispered. Draco frowned.

How do you know? he asked angrily. Harry smirked.

I put spells on my glasses, no point in having them if you can't use them. The spell is psycho reactive, so that I can see through doors and walls when I want to. Uses a bit of energy each time, but is very helpful to avoid certain bleached blonds when I can. Harry said and Draco had to agree with the logic, until he caught the insult.

Hey, I do not bleach my head.

Took you long enough. Harry quipped. Draco scowled as Harry checked and pulled the door open.

Sarcastic whelp. Draco muttered.

Narcissistic browbeater. Harry snapped back as he continued to lead them back to the broom room.

You sure you aren't related to Snape? asked Draco. Harry looked back and snorted.

Malfoy, answer me this; is Snape and was my father pureblooded? Harry asked as if he was talking down to Draco.

Yes on both accounts. Draco said with a short tone. Harry nodded.

Have you ever looked a pureblood family tree?

Of course.

Then isn't safe to assume that I in some way share common ancestors with Snape as well as almost every other pureblooded witch and wizard in Britain? Harry said as if it was there most logical of conclusions. Draco scowled. The muggle raised hero had a good point, and was also probably family.

he hissed as he realized it. Harry chuckled.

Think about all the implications, not just that you and I must be family, but as I recall the Weasleys are about as pureblooded as you can get. Harry said in a drawling tone that made Draco want to hex him. Harry opened a small plain door that did indeed hold quidditch supplies. Harry grabbed two Nimbus Two Thousands and a small wooden box that held a practice snitch made for pitch less conditions and with adjustable speeds and agility levels.

You know you have a sick sense of humor. Draco said as he took one of the brooms from Harry who smiled sweetly.

But of course I do, Draco-darling. Harry patted him on the head and walked quickly out of the room before Draco could get his wand out.

()

Harry sleepily blinked as the door in the dining room banged open, Wotcher, exclaimed a woman with long bright pink and orange hair and ripped jeans on.

Hi Tonks. How are you? he asked before he drained his cup of tea and refilled it. Tonks smiled brightly at him and sat at the chair closest to him.

Brilliant. Fudge was ranting to that Percy kid about how you and a dragon something or other are ordering him about and giving him the creeps. seems you been forgetting to let us know that you have a temper and like to threaten people in authority. she said in a teasing tone. Harry shrugged.

Just Fudge. The bleeding git thinks this place is safe. Tonks snorted in amusement and Harry continued, Which is why I wanted you here, needed someone from the Order in screaming distance until Draco and I get the information we need to put wards about this place, or maybe get Hagrid to bring us one or two of his older acromantulas, unless we can get his younger brother. Harry mused.

Int-restin', now Dumbledore told me to tell you thanks for solving one problem he had and getting me here, via Fudge. Don't know what you and that Dragon-person did, but ya did good. He's gonna owl you just as soon as e can, ya know the drill, doncha now. Tonks said as she loaded a half of an English muffin with strawberry preserves over the butter she already smeared over it. Harry nodded as the door that Tonks burst through slowly opened and a very sleepy and bedraggled Draco stumbled in and to a seat on the other side of Harry who wordlessly filled the boy's cup with black tea.

Draco nodded his thanks and drained the cup before he even noticed Tonks, Who are you? he asked suppressing the jaw cracking yawn that was coming.

I'm Tonks, ya new baby-sitter of an Auror. Ya are? she asked and Draco scowled.

Too bleeding tired and with a headache to be dealing with perky morning people you insane punk. Draco muttered and drained another cup of tea. Harry sighed.

Tonks, this is your Aunt Narcissa's son, Draco Malfoy. Neither of us are morning people, and usually if we aren't playing some game, intimidating the hell out of Fudge and his minions, or arguing bitterly over something stupid, we will be trying to hex each other to death. Draco says I have the attitude of Snape when I'm angry or just want to scare someone into doing things my way, Draco seems to have taken lessons from his father in the same chores. Just a warning, you'd be safer doing an undercover stakeout at a Death Eater meeting. Harry said quickly and Tonks paled.

'Arry ya are one cruel, cruel bugger. Lettin' me think it was a cake walk. I oughta hit ya. she said and Draco smirked.

Did you honestly think watching us would be easy? Our rivalry is the stuff ballads of old are made of. Draco drawled as he elegantly buttered a crescent and plucked a small bunch of grapes from the fruit platter.

Eh, where's the meats? asked Tonks. Harry took a sip of tea as Draco sighed.

Oh, well this early neither one of us really care to touch the heavier foods. he said and took a grape and popped it in his mouth. Harry nodded and looked out the huge windows that decorated the wall behind Tonks.

Malfoy, you want to have a real challenge today? Harry asked. Draco raised an eyebrow.

Conditions first. said the blond.

Fair enough, growing the hedge maze in the garden higher then putting a roof over it. We will set the snitch go in the center of the maze, then find it in the maze. Both on Two Thousands, and snitch set for seventy-two kilometers per hour with agility at maximum. No going over or through the hedge walls and no spell work at all until the snitch is in someone's hand. Harry said both his and Draco's eyes started to burn with the thrill of competition and the challenge.

Agreed. Auror Tonks is the judge, and I'll even set up three Visual Capture Orb spells for her to keep track of us. Draco reached over and shook Harry's hand and thus sealed the challenge.

But I'm here to be watchin' for Death Eaters and such. Tonks protested and both gave a disbelieving look.

Tonks, you are willing to not watch two of maybe the greatest seekers that Hogwarts has ever seen play a modern day snigget hunt and possibly decimate our esteemed minister's garden without repercussions? Harry asked and Tonks shook her head and laughed.

Bugger, you boys. Just make it a good show, and I might teach you what I picked up in Auror trainin'. Tonks said and both nodded.

Good. I'll see you at the maze in a couple of hours, why don't you two catch up? Family needs to be together, you know. Harry said and left.

()

The young auror watched in amazement as the boys she had just introduced to fighting in a mixed fashion had taken it to knew heights in just a week. In the yard both were swinging wooden staves that were in the shape of the Roman gladius while shouting out rather damaging curses and charms that she never really thought were weapons before. Cutting charms, small point of contact heating or freezing charms, summoning rocks and fallen branches from behind the enemy to knock them out, signal flare castings; they were all household charms that the boys had twisted to fit their needs in battle. Harry was the more inventive of the two, but Draco knew more spells than him. Both were lightning fast learners and never let a trick get them more than once, neither one would back down, and both were strong and ridiculously fast on their feet as they were in the air.

Scorgify! Incindio! Harry shouted two curses as Draco sent a number of small stones at Harry. This was one thing Tonks never thought she'd see. Apparently the mist of pink bubbles was flammable and turned into a substance not unlike that muggle stuff, napalm, when mixed with a fire lighting charm that Harry boosted to be as strong as a fireball curse. Draco rolled out of the way as Harry dropped to the ground to avoid the onslaught of stones. Behind Draco a large oak tree went up in flames as a group of prize rosebushes were ripped apart behind Harry. The minister had left the day Tonks arrived and was off in Paris with his wife at some function but after two weeks both would be back soon, it looked like the boys rather meant for the mess to happen.

You hungry, Potter? asked Draco in a strained voice. Harry looked up.

Sure. When does Fudge get back? Harry asked as he pushed himself off the ground. Both were muddy, sweaty, bloody, and burned.

In about two hours. Draco answered as he pulled himself to an upright sitting position. Harry smiled.

Should we greet him like this or as neat clean gentlemen? Harry asked with a roguish grin. Tonks laughed and shook her head.

You boys are incorrigible. Are you trying to drive him to drink? Tonks had to ask and Harry looked up at her.

How fast will it get him out of office? he asked. Draco scowled.

Not fast enough. We should cast an illusion over the grounds, and look neat and clean. He throws a gala every time he returns from a trip abroad, this time he'll want to show us off. Draco said. Harry frowned.

Let's cast it and apparate to Diagon or Hogsmeade. I need a few sets of dress robes if that's the case. Harry said with a sigh. Draco raised an eyebrow.

You have a license, Potter? he asked skeptically. Harry grinned.

No, we won't need one. This is so I look respectable for the party tonight, I know Fudge will over look it, unless he wants to find out if my threats can be made reality. He said.

And have you been taught to apparate? asked Tonks as suspiciously as Draco.

I've been apparating since before I knew what magic was. I've done it many times and still know how to control it, so long as a wand is not in my hand. Harry assured them. Draco blinked and Tonks looked nervous.

Harry, just how much magic did you do as a child? asked Tonks.

Harry blinked and closed his eyes trying to remember and started to list them aloud as he went through his memories. Apparition, a color changing charm, growing my hair at will and keeping it the same, shrinking charms, ignore-me charms, self-healing charms, parseltounge, a banishing charm, recollection dreams, and there is probably more but I can't recall them. he opened his eyes and was stunned to see both cousins looking at him as if he was unreal.

Potter, do you really think it is perfectly normal to have almost total control of your magic without a wand, knowledge, or maturity? Harry nodded slowly as Draco spoke, It's not! You never needed to hold a wand, if what you are telling us is true. Because you now link magic to wands and potions, Hogwarts has robbed you of a skill that most wizards would kill to have. I'm betting Dumbledore knew. He let you become a student when you needed specialized training. Draco raged and even Tonks looked angry.

Harry, Draco's right. You were cheated out of a fabulous gift, one that no one had any right to take. The Ministry must have known. Accidental magic is recorded, and I'm betting that's one office Dumbledore has lots of friends in. He'd have to, he gets reports every year on every kid in Britain and Ireland. Tonks sighed, Bloody git, knew he was a manipulative old man, but I didn't realize how far his hold over your fate went. Harry looked devastated.

You know, I know I shouldn't trust him. Harry looked Tonks in the eye, knowing that she knew everything about the Order and his roll, As a little kid I deluded myself, he was older than me, knew more than I, and he just seemed to have it all together. Understanding and that common bond was in her eyes, he could trust her. Sure, I now figured out he only talked to me when I was completely out of sorts and couldn't logically think about much, but I just had to have someone I could rely on. Harry turned to Draco who was looking very out of his element. He had no idea how to cope with everything Harry had let out about himself now, But you know, for a guy who seems to know everything, I just don't understand how he could rationalize leaving a child who was surely a wizard with muggles who hate his parents, hate magic, and hated me for living. He's got a good goal for Britain, but am I really just a weapon, just a figurehead to give hope to those who listen? Draco and Tonks both looked at him as if he was really human, and hurting, and he was. His trust in Dumbledore was the last shield he had against everything and it was gone. Tonks stooped down and hugged him.

Harry, I'm not going to just let you walk blind. she said softly. Harry chuckled.

Tonks, I'm blind, deaf, and ignorant of anything but a good fight or a zone that I'm going to have to fight in. Even Malfoy knows that about me. Harry hugged her back and wished he was cleaner so he wouldn't get her dirty as he closed his eyes to fight the tears.

Tonks exclaimed and Harry opened his eyes as she let go. His robes were devoid of dirt, blood, sweat, and stains. His skin was clean and the cuts and burns were now smooth white scars against his slightly tanned and calloused skin.

Oh, okay! I figured out how my wandless magic works. With that Harry stood and closed his eyes. He pictured a loose but fitting set of light colored trousers, a thin black cotton shirt and wished his robes were in that form. When he opened his eyes he was dressed as he wished and both cousins were standing side by side silently waiting. Harry grinned and laughed as he realized he forgot shoes, and was standing barefooted. Draco came to his senses first.

Harry absorb your wand. he commanded and took a step forward. Harry blinked and cocked his head to the side.

he asked and watched as understanding crossed Tonks's face as well.

Just try, we just want to see if you can. she said and Harry shrugged, he wasn't in Gryffindor for nothing. He sighed and held his wand loosely at his right side then called it's magic to blend into his own and for it to forget it's form and become one with him. Soon the wand was gone and Harry knew he could cast with a word what he needed to do wandwork for before.

Woah, Cousin, you do realize we are the only two on Earth who know? asked Tonks. Draco smirked and nodded.

Harry, cast the spells we need before we go in for lunch. Draco requested now. Harry could hear the respect in his voice. Harry smirked back and nodded. Closing his eyes he started restoring, then improving the grounds, adding a new section and then he smiled and pictured Tonks, Draco, and himself in new dress robes, shoes, and everything. He paid attention to detail and accounted for every stitch, flower, and stone. Nothing was missed, he even made the training swords real, and placed them in plain but very elegant scabbards at his and Draco's sides.

He opened his eyes and saw everything as he pictured it. He was in long, flowing, reddish black robes of cotton and silk with finely crafted boots and dark loose clothes under the robes. Draco was in robes of a shorter cut and tighter fit that seemed to look natural on him, in light grays and ivory of silk and muslin. He wore long loose trousers that almost covered his tan soft suede boots. Tonks was dressed in robes that were clearly formal, deep golds and browns layered over each other made Harry think of a sunset as she quickly changed her hair to suit the new robes, a short brunette bob with spring like curls and golden highlights. The gardens were more expansive and colorful than before and it seemed that even the green leaves were blooming.

Oh, Harry. This all is beautiful. Tonks said in a whisper. Draco looked at his robes and his arms, they too bore scars of the fighting, but faint. Draco looked Harry in the eye and nodded his approval.

Come on we need to eat before the Fudges get back. Harry said and pointedly ignored his work. It would serve one goal while he was here. To prove his power to Fudge once he left.

()

Harry was bored. The gathering was of people who only saw his scar, thought the sword was ceremonial or decorative, and who were trying to figure out how to control him. No one was charismatic or fascinating in anyway. Tonks was walking about the room, looking like she was just another politico, but really trying to feel out any threats. Draco was right at home, twisting words, digging for information, and acting as the heir of the Malfoy name should. Harry was not cut out or trained for this side of life, and thus he was thankful he chose black for his robes. He blended into the shadows of the pretentious ballroom and he just started to watch.

Hey, who are you? asked a light voice. Harry turned and saw a young straw haired girl in light pink robes. Harry smiled.

Who do you think I am? he asked her and got a giggle.

Some dream fighter like in the tales my sister tells me. You even have the sword and dark robes that look like shadows. Only your hair is too short. she said and Harry laughed.

You mean it should be like this? Harry wished hair to his shoulders but left the thick fringe. The child smiled and nodded.

Now you look like Morpheus. she said as an older teenaged girl came over, Pansy Parkinson.

There you are Phoebe, who are you bugging? asked the Slytherin girl before she recognized Harry.

She was just telling me I look like a guy named Morpheus from stories you tell her. Harry said. Pansy laughed and shook her head.

More like a younger version of Professor Snape. Only missing the nose, Potter. Pansy said and Harry smiled.

You must have been talking with Malfoy. He claims I've been talking and threatening like Snape for the past two weeks. I'm not too sure I like the comparison, but as long as it helps me to frighten our Minister I'm willing to continue. Harry said. Pansy studied him for a moment and smiled.

For a Gryffindor wonder child, you sound far too Slytherin. So how do you like the social life? she asked and Phoebe looked bored. Harry sighed and hefted her up into his arms.

I'm bored. I spent the past two weeks fighting with Malfoy or playing quidditch. I think I could be happy to never set foot in another one of these things. How about you two ladies? asked Harry.

I'm bored too, but Mummy said I just had to come and look cute. Am I looking cute? Phoebe whinnied. Harry shrugged his shoulders and got the child to laugh.

Sort of. I bet you can't bug someone until he hexes your hair blue. Harry said. Phoebe huffed.

Can too. Who'd you have in mind and what will I win? asked the child. Harry laughed.

See the blond guy in white robes and a sword like mine? asked Harry.

Him? Let me down! I'm gonna do it. Harry put her down and watched as Phoebe wound her way to Draco. Pansy laughed softly.

I don't know if I should hex you or thank you for that ploy. And you never said what she was going to win. Pansy admitted. Harry smiled.

Oh, so I didn't. You never answered my question. Harry said. Pansy smiled at him.

It's duller than History with Binns, but the music would be nice to dance to. she answered. Harry smiled and wished he knew how to dance to the music playing. He did.

Would you like to dance with me, Pansy? asked Harry with a slight bow. Pansy smiled and nodded.

Of course. Harry led her onto the dance floor and they started to move with the music. It was a slow graceful waltz that sounded like a lullaby. Harry closed his eyes and just moved with the music and Pansy. The song ended and changed to a faster fox-trot and they seamlessly switched into it. He could practically feel Pansy's happiness at finding a partner who knew how to dance like she did. He also felt all the eyes on him, trying to figure out what was going on. He felt the band's glee and knowing they could play a tango, rumba, or meringue and have someone dance to it. This was fun, it was thrilling in the ways fighting and playing sports weren't.

Pansy's questioning voice broke the moment.

he asked. They didn't stop moving, Harry didn't think he could.

Where on Earth have you been hiding your skills? Seekers aren't supposed to be light on their feet. Pansy mock-scolded him. Harry laughed.

My dear lady, don't you know I have no respect for rules and simply by breathing break the biggest one of all? He said as he spun her around the floor.

Sir Potter, you are a man of far too many surprises. Covered in scars, shadows, and seething scorn, you look like some god of war or night who is only here for the dip and not the crisps. Pansy teased him. Harry smirked.

Then you are the first to fall in my cunning plan. Am I Aries, Shiva, or Erebus? asked Harry and she closed her eyes and leaned closer.

she said after a few moments and opened her eyes, The God of Destruction and Cleansing before Rebirth. Harry sighed.

Very well, I shall be Shiva, but my Pravati, she will never know me. Harry said with a sad voice. Pansy looked him in the eyes.

You really don't know how to love. Tragedy seems to love to wallow in your life. it was a statement of something Harry had fleetingly pondered over. The dance kicked into a swift passion filled tango that the two fell into step with as swiftly as it started. The dance floor was all but abandoned as they twisted and turned and threw themselves into the dance. Step, step, step, turn, the patterns consumed them and they forgot the conversation. As the song drew to a close Harry noted the thin sheen of sweat that covered Pansy's face and he too was beginning to tire. They smiled and made the appropriate motions as they left the floor in the midst of applause.

Would you like a drink? asked a server who was balancing a tray of champagne. Harry took two from the tray and gave the harried woman a soft smile. Handing one to Pansy he smiled and nodded to where Draco was trying to loose Phoebe, and not succeeding. She still had straw colored curls though.

What do you get if you win? asked Pansy. Harry blinked.

I didn't think about it. The satisfaction of knowing I'm the only one he hexes like that, I guess. Harry said. They watched as more of the political schmoozing marathon started up and Harry sighed.

Dead bored. he muttered as he watched Fudge try to get on the good side of Pansy's father, Blithering dunce. Harry spat out as he watched his so-called benefactor. Pansy raised an eyebrow and took a sip of her Dom Perion.

I take it you don't like the fellow. Pansy said and Harry gave her a look that just said What gave you that impression? I hate the man.' She smiled icily , Tell me, what has our beloved Minister of Magic done that makes him the subject of Harry Potter's anger?

Fifth year ring a bell? Harry replied in a cold tone. Pansy almost flinched, but could deal with this side of the mystery that was known as the Boy-Who-Lived.

Oh, true. I had almost forgotten that you were all but tossed in Azkaban more than thrice. Pansy replied, Almost abandoned by all for protecting your family, then you raise an army from the students, teach Defense in secret, and fight Voldemort in a brave attempt to stop him from getting something from the Ministry offices in London. Quite the story, Harry. Harry drained his glass of champagne and sighed.

Mostly. The man has done more to help Voldemort than any who bare the Dark Mark upon the crook of their left arm. Harry said sullenly. Pansy looked at his still ramrod straight form. Unusual guy. No wonder Draco finds him to be the ultimate challenge.' Pansy watched as the woman in the golden brown robes made her way to Harry.

Wotcher Harry, how's it goin'? asked the sun kissed woman and Harry sighed.

What have you found? Anyone I need to convince to leave? Harry asked, Pansy wondered if the woman was working security for Potter. The woman sat in a chair nearby and cast a glance at Pansy.

Seven marked, at least. No one is going to try anything tonight, but You-Know-Who will hear of it. We'll need strong wards by tomorrow. I'm going to ask a few of our buddies to stay overnight if you can clear it with Fudge. Harry rolled his eyes, Right, well, keep your gladius nearby. No fighting, but it helps to let them know not only can you blast them to bits, you can chop them up as well.

Got it. Tell Fudge I demand a word with him in the rose garden gazebo in ten minutes. If the blasted fool wants to parade me like a good deed, he's going to have to bow to my terms. Harry almost snarled. Then smiled at the woman, Warn your cousin that I'm going to be ripping into Fudge ten minutes after I start to rip him to shreds. He'll need to stop me from killing the esteemed one. And thank you for doing such a good job. Harry said the last with utmost sincerity as the woman smiled and walked off.

Who's her cousin? asked Pansy.

Malfoy. I'll see you later. I need to try to keep calm, for at least the first five minutes, so I'm going to go collect my thoughts. Harry stood and gave her a nod before leaving her to her drink and thoughts. Seems like someone needs to start paying more attention to the Golden Child of Gryffindor, he's almost a perfect Slytherin.'

(H. frightens F. into inviting' two Hogwarts professors, a good friend', and another auror to stay until wards are put up and the boys feel safe'. H. lets D. floo A.D. and S.S. while he asks T. who's available from the order to stay indefinatly at the manor and get a paid break from whatever they are doing for the Ministry. T. invites K.S. and is told M.F is the only non-auror available. As the party ends S.S. and F.F. show up and F.F. gives H. four large books and two letters. T. offers to stay up and greet K.S. and M.F. when they show.)

Draco was half awake as he ate breakfast alone in the room just off the kitchen. He picked at an omelet and yawned. Last night was interesting, but really he just wanted to be done with all the events of the summer and get back to school. Everything was just too confessing when outside of the stonewalls of Hogwarts. Pansy had cornered him last night after her big dance with the dark shadow that he knew as Potter, asking him about Potter's attitude and dressing habits. Both agreed that Potter was very different outside of the house competitions and classes, but they couldn't figure out if they liked the Slytherin' Potter better than the Gryffindor' Potter. Pansy was happy about the fact Potter could actually dance on her level, he really did just have an instinctual understanding of rhythm, and how to move to the music. Draco snorted, he wasn't really surprised. Potter danced the way he fought and had a sixth sense that he recalled his father saying was the one thing that Snape had that a Malfoy couldn't just learn. Oh, sure he could keep up when fighting Potter, he knew more spells than Potter did and had actual training in dueling from the best. But Potter, like Snape, had an inventive understanding and could manipulate spells and control them. Draco admitted most of the time Potter would win if it weren't for his quick thinking and dirty tricks, but even those wouldn't hold off Potter for long and the guy never called him on the tricks. It was like he liked the fact that Draco didn't play fair.

Draco was woken from his thoughts as a large bald man in auror robes walked in yawning.

Eh? Oh, I'm Kingsley Shacklebolt. Tonks asked me and a few others to stay until wards get placed. He said in a deep but kind voice. Draco nodded.

Right. Draco Malfoy, and you might want to eat. I have a feeling once Potter's up he's going to want to blow off some energy. Draco said and the man sat and started in on a few bangers and eggs.

So, Malfoy? Your father's Lucius, right? Draco nodded to his question, Knew him back in school. Blasted git to most everyone, but he did respect power and was honorable towards me. We kicked each others arses in dueling club and when we had time after classes. Kingsley said and Draco looked down at his plate.

So you're an auror? What kind of cases do you cover? Draco asked after a few minutes of picking at his food.

Well, now I'm stuck trying to find Voldemort, but before that I was on the Black case. Fun thing that was. He said as Harry walked in and laughed.

Of course. You made up sightings to travel the world and have the Ministry pay for it. Sirius thought the reports you did were a gas. Harry teased and Draco blinked in surprise.

Wait a minute. You knew Sirius Black? But he was trying to kill you! Draco exclaimed. Harry and Kingsley both shared a smiled.

Malfoy, Black was my godfather. I helped him escape in our third year, as well as freeing that hippogryff you almost had killed. I spent part of last summer with Sirius in a hiding place that Dumbledore set up, and aurors like Shacklebolt would stop in and keep us company from time to time. They listened to me when I said Pettigrew was still alive and that he betrayed my dad and mum. Harry explained and Draco sighed.

Hell, Potter. You need to get a warning tattooed on your forehead- Caution: Life story shatters common perceptions on most things and sounds like a bad novel, opera, and total fiction even when told in very light overviews. Draco said and took a bite of a pepper. Kingsley laughed and agreed as a short man who looked all together shady came in and scowled.

I could be selling that shipment of crystal balls, but no. Dumbledore says I have to stick around and be a baby-sitter again. he muttered angrily and Harry and Kingsley both leveled glares on him, only Harry's was scarier by far.

Fletcher, you're dueling with me right after breakfast. Harry said in a cool voice that gave the poor man no way out. Draco almost felt sorry for the sod. But not quite. Kingsley was satisfied with the punishment and went to pouring tea for himself, Harry, and Fletcher.

So, Harry. What have you been doing since coming here? asked Kingsley pleasantly and Harry drained his fresh cup of tea before answering.

Malfoy and I have been fighting mostly, unless we're flying. Harry said and Fletcher looked at Draco for the first time.

Eh? You're that Malfoy kid. You interested in purchasing a few slightly used crystal balls, pure quartz. Draco gave the man a cold glance.

No. Potter, let me rip into this one. Draco said and Harry smirked.

Oh? What do I get in return? asked Harry and Kingsley started teasing Fletcher about being beaten up by students.

I won't send Goyle after you for dancing with my fiancé. said Draco with a casual air and Harry rolled his eyes.

Go ahead send Goyle after me. I promise he will end up worse off than that woman who escaped me by picking you up. Harry said and gave Draco a dark look that spoke of torture chambers and curses. Draco just smirked and went back to picking out the peppers and mushrooms of his omelet. The two order members shook their heads and tried not to compare the two to Snape and the elder Malfoy.

(Rest of breakfast and H. reading over the books F.F. brought him from A.D. and the letter from R.L. Gets interupted by lunch and T. brings up the subject of the boys fighting almost hourly. S.S. and D. leave to go back to talking and such while H. gets talked into showing what's he's learned to K.S. and F.F. M.D. leaves to go floo a friend about a horse.')

Okay. Harry show them your Napalm combo. Tonks said brightly as she, Kingsley, and Professor Flitwick sat on some benches in the rose garden. Harry turned to her, confused.

What are you talking about? he asked her and she smiled.

That Scouring charm and Fire Starter Charm. You used it on Draco yesterday before the party. said Tonks and Filtwick choked on the juice he was drinking.

You used household charms to duel? asked Kingsley interested, it was one area of spells he never thought about using to fight with. Harry shrugged.

Yes. If you boost most of them you get rather fun weapons, like an amplified cutting charm slices most things including people. Watch this combination that Tonks was talking about. Scorgify! Incindio! the jet of pink foam was swallowed by flames as the spark of the last charm hit it. It landed and coated a statue of an angel and burned.

Amazing. Your mother had that kind of skill, but never in the fashion you do. I only knew one other student to use unconventional charms to duel, but he rather lacked that ease you have. I dare say he was happier once he left Hogwarts. Flitwick said sadly, However, the control and instinct you have is just incredible. Draco and Snape walked over as Harry cast a cooling charm to put out the fire. It turned the red flames into glass.

Harry touched the red glass. It was cool, and sharp as knives. He had to admit the effect on the angel was rather interesting. Flitwick was by his side looking confused.

I've never seen a cooling charm do this. said the diminutive professor. Harry frowned and ignored everyone else. Closing his eyes he touched the glass and tried to find the spell work that created the glass. The whisper of magic answered his question.

Harry smiled, Yes. Well, Tonks. It looks like you can change the Napalm into razor sharp glass with only that charm. He then laughed darkly, As if the fire wasn't enough, now I get to have flying glass. Oh, Malfoy, wanna try out my new spell? Draco glowered at him and Snape looked rather annoyed.

Get Fletcher to be your target, Potter, and you can forget any information I might have on curses and potions. Draco snapped and Harry smirked.

I wasn't talking about the glass. I found a new spell while I was searching the glass. Harry said. Everyone was watching him now. Flitwick looked at him with a studious gaze. Draco scowled.

What do you mean searching, Potter. Snape said in a cold voice that seemed to freeze the group. Harry sighed.

Er, it's just what it's called. Harry said. Tonks and Kingsley looked uneasy and Flitwick looked confussed, Searching is the act of magically looking into something created, cursed, or enhanced by magic. I guess it's like Priori Incantem in theory, but I look at the spell, get the patterns, the framework of the spell. Every time I've done this though I dig into that magic I leeched from Voldemort as a baby, and thus I also get to learn more spells that I'm pretty sure are dark in nature. Harry sighed and unconsciously created a bench that he sat on.

Harry, you do realize that you aren't controlling your magic anymore, right? asked Tonks who recovered first from watching the impressive conjuring. Harry looked up at her, bewildered.

asked Harry. Draco snorted in amuse ment.

Hell, Potter. You can't even go one day without doing something wholly unconventional and not having a clue about how many rules you break while doing so. Draco drawled and Harry scowled.

I don't know if I should curse you or just beat you up by hand. Harry muttered. Draco smirked.

I dare you. Draco said with a dangerous glint to his eyes.

Harry asked his body tensing and looking like he was ready to pounce on Draco who looked totally relaxed.

Sure, any rules? asked Draco with a differential gesture.

One on one, no seconds or help. Aim to maim not to kill, and we start now. with the last word said, Harry flung his right arm to the side sharply, spraying Draco with blinding sparks, and leapt out of the way of a curse that Draco threw to where he used to stand.

Draco swore and drew his short sword and swiped at Harry's left arm, but Harry rolled out of the way and pulled his gladius out as well and blocked the blow aimed at his legs. Draco shouted and chains flew out of his wand tip and after Harry who dodged them and cast an animation charm on some vines which tangled themselves in the chains and stopped them. Then saw the fireball aimed at his torso and flung himself to the ground. Harry smiled evilly and put a reflection shield around the bush the ball was just about to hit and it ricocheted back to Draco who cursed and dodged his own spell. Just as he hit the ground he had to roll out of the way of a cutting charm which ended up taking a chunk out of a granite bench.

shouted Snape who looked disturbed, You proved your point, Draco. Potter is now dangerous to himself and others and you both are more than used to fighting like cats and dogs. Snape snapped. Both boys scowled, they were having fun.

Aw, sit down and watch the show, you great bat. Tonks said sullenly and Snape rounded on her.

What do you mean, show'. Those boys are going to kill each other! he snarled and Tonks snorted.

Like heck they will. Have you seen the scars they have? Harry healed them with a thought, and they were hurt much worse than you'd think. They're good at dueling to damage. Tonks said, You'd think they were in the hit wizard ranks with the way they fight. she said to Kingsley who nodded and smiled.

Been a long time since I've seen a duel that good. said Flitwick and the turned to the fuming Snape, Sit down Severus, you really need to learn to enjoy things like this more. Go on boys. He smiled.

Yeah, they get in more trouble with that snitch Harry and Draco Tonks said and grinned.

Professor, just let us duel. Draco said with a hint of a whine. Harry smirked.

It's not like I won't do it with or without your blessing. How often do I actually listen to you anyhow? Harry said with a wink and Draco laughed.

He's got you there. Draco said with an impish grin for his head of house. Snape's face only darkened and Harry knew if looks could kill Voldemort would have to make due with his charred remains that would just fit into a matchbox.

Eh, you seem a little mad, Snape. said Tonks.

Give me your sword, Draco. said Snape in a very calm voice that scared everyone but the one who needed to be scared, Harry. Draco meekly handed the gladius over and got to his feet as Harry slowly got into a crouch with his sword in front and his wand ready to cast. Potter, no spells, just swords. challenged Snape. Harry frowned.

Give your wand to Tonks, then I'll agree to your challenge. said Harry with a careful look over his Potions professor. Snape smirked.

Don't trust me, Potter? asked Snape as he tossed Tonks his wand to her. Harry tossed his to Flitwick and met Snape's eyes. He was not going to lose.

Harry almost didn't notice as they started to fight. Sparks flew as steel met steel and the sounds of fighting filled the air. Snape was taller and Harry was just barely quicker but both were lithe and moved in and out with the ease that most wizards never could achieve.

Dodge, block, parry, thrust, slice. The moves blended into each other and they both almost won with every move, but the other would do something and get out of trouble and astound everyone but his opponent. Arms, legs, and bodies were used as weapons and kicks and other blows were landed, but they had yet to draw first blood. Harry grinned maniacally as he spun away from a swipe at his chest, and saw that Snape too was smiling with the love of the challenge. It was like seeing himself in a rather strange mirror. As he had that thought, Harry's sword was knocked out of his hands and Snape caught it, knocked him to his back and had both swords in position to slice his head off.

Harry whispered. He closed his eyes and relaxed on the ground. He lost in one very well done move.

Right. You concede? asked Snape. Harry sighed.

No kidding. I give. Harry said resignedly. He felt the swords pulled back and he pushed himself up as he opened his eyes.

Hey, Flitwick. Tonks said, breaking the silence, Was Snape the old student of yours you were comparing Harry to? she asked and the diminutive man nodded.

Yes. He was the only student that I can recall who should have taken my dueling title, but by the time he left school competitive dueling was but a memory and he was railroaded into a Potions Master program by his father. Flitwick said and Snape looked uncomfortable.

It was just tradition, Filius. Every second born in his family was a Potions Master, or you couldn't receive the inheritance. I was just doing what I had to do. Snape said and his scowl returned.

Well, I would recommend that after school, Harry, you find a good dueling coach. You have the talents needed to go far in that sport. I could recommend a few of my old friends who I know would do an excellent job teaching you the sport and the things that eery duelist should know. Flitwick said then frowned, But Minerva is dead set on you becoming an auror, right? Harry and Snape both gave each other glowering glances, Yes. No doubt you'll be an auror then I have yet to see that woman not get her way. Tonks stood up and yawned while she stretched.

Ah, let's do something else. She said and Kingsley grinned at her.

I haven't had a good game of three on three quodpod in a long time. Kingsley suggested and Tonks looked stricken.

And you call yourself British? she asked in mock-horror, I can't believe you still like that American butchering of the one true sport. Kingsley laughed.

It grows on you. My uncle got me hooked as a kid, and you know how hard it is not to just learn from him. Kingsley teased her back and Tonks blushed.

No need to bring up my ex-boyfriend. she muttered. Draco looked less than at ease.

You dated his uncle? he asked and Tonks nodded.

Don' worry. Gabriel is younger than Kingsley and cuter too. He actually has hair. Tonks shot back at Kingsley who looked unabashed.

Yeah. You see, my father married twice and Uncle Gabe is from my father's second wife. I have about thirteen siblings from my mum and twelve more from his other wife and my mother and their first marriages. Kingsley explained. Then he grinned, Bet you can't guess his animagus form, Tonks. said Kingsley and Tonks laughed.

Rabbit or hare? she asked and Kingsley snorted.

No, a salmon. I have no clue how, but he is a bleedin' King Salmon. Useless, and insane. But with lots of kids. said Kingsley with a rueful smile and Flitwick laughed.

I know that story. Your father was always a transfiguration virtuoso, and he was pushed out of those boats that the first years use just as he was coming to Hogwarts. He showed up on the shore before the rest of the boats and seemed to have no clue how he got there. Dumbledore found him first and said he was just getting rid of the scales as he found him. It turns out sometimes animagus forms are creations of need. After that year a Giant Squid was found for the lake to help keep kids out of the water, and your father liked to disguise himself as a first year and get tossed' off the boats to scare them. For six years Hogwarts had to have therapists and healers on hand to calm the kids down after the first day because they thought he died and was eaten by the squid. Flitwick related the story and even Snape looked amused.

I wish I had thought of that. said Draco looking miffed and Harry rolled his eyes.

Dennis Creevey. he said to Draco who frowned when he understood the reason for mentioning the younger student. Draco sat on the bench Harry created earlier and Harry sighed, You could start telling then that there is a nest of basilisks under the school and that only I can control them or they travel through the pipes and eat students as they shower or use the loo. Could be amusing if you like to watch kids panic and live in fear of the absurd. he suggested and Draco smirked.

Ah, yes. I had forgotten about you being the suspected as the Heir of Slytherin. That could work, and the stories of how every year a student gets possessed and lets a basilisk out to kill, and if you can't find the student and snake in time at least ten smaller students will end up as the snake's dinner and their blood is used to write their epitaphs. Harry grimaced as Draco smiled evilly.

Ugh. You really are a sick individual who needs help. Harry said disgusted with the mental images that Draco invoked. Even Snape didn't look pleased with Draco's idea of a wonderful joke.

You truly are Lucius's son. muttered Kingsley as he shook his head. Snape nodded.

Quite. Your father had a rather macabre sense of humor as well. said Snape.

So, anyone have any ideas on how to kill the time? asked Mundungus. Everyone frowned, they had nothing to do.

(That night, wards get placed by R.L. when he comes to see Harry. R. gives H. a bunch of DADA books and two trunks of stuff that R. can't open but used to be S.B's. Leads to a nice little remembering S.B.' scene and all the Order members leave in the night. H. opens the trunks. Finds Dark Arts books, a box of legal paperwork that S.B. doesn't read through, a few cursed weapons and magical objects, photos both muggle and magical, a few half started journals of S.B's, and all of S.B's old school books and notes. H. locks the trunks back up and shrinks them because he likes and wants to keep everything, but is scared that he could get into real trouble for the darker things.)

Elections came and went. The house was a blur of press, volenteers, well wishers, contributers, and people trying to get favors for votes. Harry was interviewed at least twenty times by people he knew he'd never care to see again. He and Draco couldn't even fight or have their snitch hunts with out flashes of cameras blinding them. It got so bad the week of the election that slept on the roof just so he could get a few hours of sleep, undisturbed.

Just as Harry was feeling like a trapped fish out of water, Draco was once again in control of the situation. Like at the party a little less than a month ago, Draco was talking with old friends of his family, keeping an image of intelligent but innocent young man who cares about the family name. He knew Draco had a lot of work to do in order to make sure the Malfoy name still meant something to the world, but most of the time Harry couldn't understand the games Draco was playing. It seemed every handshake and smile could either make or break his rival's reputation, but Draco showed no sign of the stress. He was almost jealous of the ease that Draco had when dealing with the chaos of public relations. Never the less Harry found out that Draco was close to burning out the day after he slept on the roof for the first time. To help, he invited Draco up that night, just so he knew that Draco would relax. Draco did come and he shared the roof that night and at sunrise the next day filled him in on a deal he made with Fudge.

Listen, Potter. I've gotten us a good deal with Fudge if we help in his struggle for reelection. Just flatter Fudge, smile, nod your head, and look as typically heroic as you can in front of the cameras, and we both get our education and school things free until we are finished with university, a monthly stipend of three hundred galleons for twenty years, free place to stay including utilities even the muggle type, and Fudge himself will take up full justidiction over our actions which gives us imunity to most laws if we get caught doing anything. Draco confided as they sat under the stars. Harry looked up at the Morning Star and thought it over.

Sounds good. Sure, I'll play along. Harry shrugged, Would have been nice to see him lose, but how on Earth could I refuse such an offer. Harry grinned and turned to Draco, Do you have it in writing and noterized? Draco tossed a scroll to him.

That's your copy, read it, sign it, and then it's a binding magical contract that he can't back out of. Oh, and do be sure to go to university. It could bankrupt him. Draco said in his arrogant voice and Harry lit his wand.

He read through it, making sure to memorise his end of the bargan, checking to be sure that there weren't any loop holes that Fudge could use to get out of it, and then signing it. The scroll glowed for a second and then went back to normal.

You signed it already? Draco asked and Harry looked over to see his shadowy form streached out a yard away.

Yes. Shouldn't I of?

It's okay. I just thought you'd take more time to read it over, or did you just search' it? Draco asked. Harry frowned. He put the scroll in the pocket of his pants and laid back and folded his arms under his head.

I read it, Malfoy. Now are you going to let me sleep? Harry closed his eyes and when no answer came he let himself relax. It wasn't like Draco was going to hex him or anything.

()

Harry rolled his eyes as Draco berated him for his last minute habits. It wasn't his fault that he was used to waiting until the last weeks of summer to even crack open his textbooks. Yes, of course, Draco was perfect and did his work little by little and still finished last month and was assured by Snape that the essays were perfect. It was two days until they had to catch the train and Harry was just starting his last essay, the potions essay. It wasn't like he had years of parents telling him he had a future and he needed good grades. Quite the contrary, he always found it hard not to fail on purpose like he used to for the Dursleys. He did try, but trying for him was actually doing work as opposed to sitting in the back of class and trying not to get noticed by his teachers.

Harry tuned out Draco as he started to read the text book and started to pull out information that looked to be what he needed. Small notes of page numbers with rather unneeded commentary were scribbled on the parchment and as Draco wound down Harry had a rough outline for an essay that was going to be full of paraphrases and no original ideas what so ever. Draco looked at his notes.

Potter, why did you waste ink doodling and what does Grwap' mean and why did you mention hatching dragon eggs? asked Draco condescendingly. Harry sighed.

I wanted to, nothing, and no reason. This is just a rough outline, it's not like any of this is going to go into the copy Snape gets and turns into a blood drenched field. Harry explained and pulled a fresh sheet of parchment out with a flourish.

Draco sighed and sank into the chair on the opposite side of the table, You are irritating. he said as Harry started in on actually writing and looked back and forth between the four books he was using. Harry suppressed a smile as Draco looked very tired and bored while he did have something to do, even if it was an essay he really didn't want to do. After several hours Harry read over the three sheets of work and was content. Draco was still there watching him.

Why don't you care? asked Draco after Harry rolled the sheets together and put them in his bag. Harry looked at Draco, trying to figure out what kind of mood his rival was in.

I never had to. Really, I only do well enough in school to make Hermione happy. It's not like anyone else cares, I'm just a way to get rid of Voldemort to most people, and I really don't have a great future that depends on my grades and levels on the O.W.L's and N.E.W.T's. Harry said and closed the books that he had used.

I see. Draco looked very out of his element and Harry sighed. He was uncomfortable as well.

Come on, Malfoy. We all have stuff in our lives we hate. It's not like I'm not used to dealing with my problems, and you certainly won't find me bugging you about your inferiority complex. Harry smirked as that last bit jolted Draco back to being his old defensive self.

I don't have an inferiority complex. Draco snapped and Harry sighed. Maybe he did like the confused and unsure version of his peer better.

()

Harry smiled as he stepped out of the Ministry provided car. Dressed in a pristine semi casual outfit with his now long hair tied back at the nape of his neck. He was finally coming back to Hogwarts. Draco touched him on the shoulder, a nervous look was upon his face and Harry knew why.

Don't worry. Harry said softly. The driver and assisstant loaded two carts with their trunks and started off for the platform. Harry held Draco back as the two adults vanished.

asked Draco as he saw Harry's unmasked face.

Do you trust me? asked Harry. Draco closed his eyes.

Harry sighed with relief.

I trust you too. Harry said showing his old sincere brightness before he plastered on the happy mask and bounded past the barrier. Draco stood there watching it for a minute, confused but content to stay that way. As he made his way to the train he found the driver who had his trunk and then when to seek out a place to sit. As he passed through the fourth car he heard raised voices, and they sounded like his favorite Gryffindors.

Pausing at the door, he leaned in, trying to hear all he could.

Harry! You look like a bloody Slytherin, act like one, and expect us just to understand! shouted Weasley. Harry's reply was too low for Draco to make out but he heard the gasps from Granger and Weasley, Well, we can't! Hell... Weasley was cut off by Granger.

Ron, shut up. Her voice was as quiet as Harry's but didn't sink into the insulating wood and cloth like his, Harry, you're just confusing us. I saw the Prophet over the summer. We know you had no choice in going to Fudge's but you and Malfoy dominated the Community Pages, and those pictures of you and Parkinson... We are scared for you. Harry s murmer was lost but the anger from the boy was evident. It was the same feeling he would get when Harry was yelling at Fudge for ineptitude. Draco shuddered. He prefered Harry yelling to Harry being quiet.

No! We will not just drop it. Weasley said, You know Malfoy is... Harry started shout ing now.

Don't you dare insult him! I don't expect you to like him, but damnit all! You will not dare drag him through anymore shit than he's going to have to deal with. Harry was angry. Draco wanted to smile, Harry was angry on his behalf. Harry wasn't lying when he said he trusted Draco.

Harry don't tell me after all the trouble he's given us... Hermione was cut off by Harry's low and dangerous voice and again Draco hated not being able to hear him. Ron spoke up again, calmer, quieter, but still angry.

You... I... fine. Can we just drop the topic? Ron's voice almost sounded like a plea. Harry murrmered something and the rest agreed. Draco desided to just go, he'd annoy them later. It was just too soon.

Quickly, Draco made his way to the usual compartment and was greeted by Pansy, Vincent, and Gregory.

So, where's Harry? Pansy asked as he sat down. Draco gave her a questioning look.

Why would you ask about him? asked Draco and Pansy smiled.

To find out if he'll be my dancing partner and to try to set him up with Blaise. Pansy said matter of factly. Draco arched an eyebrow.

Blaise? How do you know Potter even swings that way? Vincent asked and Pansy smirked at him.

Please. Harry isn't flamming, but he is most definatly homosexual or at least bisexual with heavy leanings towards males. Not one reaction while we danced, and we did some very close dancing. That and he didn't checkout anyone at that party. Draco nodded.

True. We never talked, but now that I think about it, it makes sense. Shame. Circe McNair would have looked good at his side. Draco said and Pansy nodded.

But Blaise would complement him too. Besides you and Blaise could sit on the sidelines, chatting about politics while Harry and I cut a rug. Pansy said and gripped Draco's hand. She looked him in the eyes and sighed, You still haven't told me where Harry is, Love. Draco frowned.

With Granger and Weasel. Last I heard he wasn't getting on with them so well. Draco said and Pansy stood.

I'm going to go get him. Vince, be a dear and fetch Blaise. I know for a fact my cousin is still bemoaning his lack of a love life. Draco frowned.

I'm not going to help you in this. he stated coolly and Pansy smiled sweetly.

I don't want you to. You'd foul it up. Pansy strode out and Draco sighed and laid across the bench. Vincent gave him one last look and left to go get Blaise.

()

Harry watched the trees and the houses as they whipped past his window. Hermione was reading and Ron was trying to find a cinnamon flavored jelly bean in his box of Bertie Bott's. There was a rap on the door and it slid open to reveal a sweetly smiling Pansy. Harry frowned.

Should I be worried? That's the same smile Pheobe gave me when she told Malfoy about our bet. He said and she laughed.

Ah, Harry. Don't ever change. she ignored Hermione's glare and Ron's stunned expression as she walked in and sat down next to Hermione, right across from Harry.

Well, Pansy you know Ron and Hermione, right? Pansy nodded.

Yes, but it's a pleasure to meet you both formally. Pansy said and both gave her an obligtory nod of reconition.

So, why are you here? asked Harry.

I missed you. I was rather wanting you to come with Draco, but I can clearly see habits are just that. No matter. Pheobe has been peppering me with questions about you and wants to be your penpal. Pansy said and Harry smiled genuinely.

I'll drop her a line. The little sprite just might end up in Gryffindor, if she weren't such a shameless opertunist. Harry teased Pansy who shook her head ruefully.

I'll blame you if she does end up following your footsteps. Setting her on Draco was brilliant, though it did backfire. Harry laughed and rubbed the back of his hair.

Tell me about it. I was lucky that he even let me turn it into a formal duel, as opposed to the hide, seek, and cursing that Malfoy loves. Pansy grinned and nodded, both ignored the stares of Hermione and Ron.

You looked dashing with fushia hair and lemon yellow horns coming out of your nose. Pansy teased and Harry scowled.

I'm sure. Now, I can tell that you are trying to lull me into whatever little plot you have in your mind. Harry said with a casual glance towards the window. Pansy sighed.

You caught me. I want you to come to visit for Christmas hols, my family has the traditional twelve day celebration and I would like a good dancing partner. I know Draco is miffed that you aren't sitting with us today, you wormed your way into the rare and hard to get to spot of The Few He Actually Cares About', and I wanted Blaise, Vince, Greg, Millie, and the rest to meet you. Pansy said.

Harry said with a smile, well, how much of a comotion would I cause if I came over for desert with you during the feast? Harry asked. Both Hermione and Ron looked scandelized and Pansy laughed.

It's never been done before. Hermione breathed and sighed, So, I suppose you'll want to then. Harry nodded.

Am I that predictable? he asked them.

Harry, you are nothing if not predictable in your need to break rules and set new goals. Ron said with a slight frown and Harry looked worried.

I'm sorry. he said to Ron who understood.

I know. But hey you put up with me, so you're still okay. Ron said the last part with a false brightness. Harry smiled and nodded then turned back to Pansy.

It was great to see you again. Harry said and Pansy smirked.

You are so not subtile. But I'll see you at the feast. Bye Harry. Goodbye Granger, Weasley. Pansy swept out of the compartment and back to her's. As she entered she frowned and locked eyes with Draco.

The Golden Trio is fractured. Draco said and Pansy nodded numbly.

Weasley will be the first to abandon Harry. Granger, well, she's rational. Pansy said and Draco sighed. Gregory shook his head.

said the burly boy as Vincent and Blaise entered.

What figures? asked Blaise, compleatly confused. Pansy smiled at him.

Change is coming, and we have a chance to get the better end of the stick. Gregory answered with a slight smile and Blaise squeezed into the bench that Draco and Pansy were sharing.

Yes, but more than that. Pansy said and turned her head to look at Blaise, Potter is a Slytherin by gift, a Hufflepuff by heart, a Ravenclaw by mind, and a Gryffindor by action, and he has grown into a fine warrior and with help, he'll be able to win against You-Know-Who. Blaise's eyes widened with Vincent and Greg's. Draco nodded.

Quite, as Slytherins, we back the winners. The winner will be Potter, not Dumbledore, not the Ministry, and not You-Know-Who. Draco said and looked out the window, I'm going to fight at Potter's side. This summer, something happened, and he's going to be unstoppible. Draco smirked and the rest saw his reflection in the glass.

We need to make it known that Potter has our support, most notibly your support, Draco. Am I in charge of the passing along of that information? asked Blaise. Draco sighed.

Yes, I will leave it to none other. Draco said and Pansy smiled.

Harry's joining us for desert today. Pansy said and Draco leaned back.

Leave it to him to move in ways that none ever would dare. Draco muttered, Fine. I take it that Granger and Weasley didn't like it. Pansy nodded.

Both were less than supportive, but it seems they all live in lies. Only Harry is fully honest to them, but even he's hiding from them, not knowingly though. Pansy informed them. Greg and Vince exchanged a glance and Blaise looked thoughtful.

Should we give him the passwords to our areas and common room? asked Vince and Draco gave him a long look.

That could work. Blaise said, All of Slytherin needs to know and majority approval, it could be a good way to let the house know who we support. Draco speared him with his eyes then nodded.

Do it. Pansy said quietly.