Chapter Two: The Chocolate Frog Rebellion
Harry stood on his tiptoes on Platform 9 ¾, not holding Sirius's hand because he was eleven now and therefore an adult, but stood closer than normal. He tried to spot the familiar blond head, but to no avail.
"He said he would be here," Harry grumbled, reaching up to clutch Sirius's sleeve. People jostled and stared at him, always doing that stupid double-take when they saw his scar. He wished he could see Draco.
"Perhaps they're late," Remus said soothingly. Harry scoffed. "Right, well. I'm sure he'll show up soon."
"I knew we should have just left together," Harry stressed, raking his fingers through his already messy hair. He missed the look Sirius and Remus shot over his head.
"Don't you think you're getting a bit dependent on Draco, Harry?" asked Sirius. Harry rolled his eyes.
"You'd be flipping your wig if Remus was late," Harry griped.
"That's different and you know it."
Harry scowled up at Sirius through his thick glasses. "He's my best friend. It's practically the same."
Sirius shook his head, giving up on the argument. "Well, calm down. He'll be here."
"Isn't that Arthur Weasley from the Ministry?" Remus asked, quickly changing the topic.
"Right," Sirius said, glancing up from Harry. "Oy, Arthur!"
Arthur turned from his family, wand in hand. A little girl's pigtails were standing on end and waving around languidly, and she was giggling.
"Wow," Harry murmured, momentarily distracted at the loss of his worse half. The family heading towards him was huge, and it was barreling through the crowds with more trunks than Harry had seen in his life (and that said a lot, considering who his best friend was). And they were all redheads, which was even more amazing.
"Sirius Black," Mr. Weasley greeted, shaking Sirius's hand. "And Remus Lupin. Good to see you both." He looked down at Harry and smiled gently. Harry immediately liked him. "And you must be Harry."
"Harry?" one of the many redheaded children said in surprise. It was a boy who looked Harry's age. "As in, Harry-Bloody-Potter? As in—"
"The-Boy-Who-Lived," Harry finished, waving a hand. "Yes, yes." He was used to having two names (or three now, as his name had a 'bloody' included this time around), but it still bothered him a bit. The boy flushed, but Harry smiled comfortingly. For some reason, though, the pigtailed girl grew wide-eyed and hid behind one of what seemed to be a pair of twins, pigtails still waving above her head.
"I'm Ron!" the boy said, offering his hand. Harry shook it. "Ron Weasley."
"Nice to meet you."
"Pleasure's mine," Ron said, still looking a bit awed. Though Harry generally got peevish at this kind of treatment, he couldn't help but like the boy.
"Don't mind Wonnie," one of the twins said affectionately. "He gets, you know..."
"...a bit flustered," the other twin finished, reaching over to ruffle his younger brother's hair. "I'm Fred, that's George."
"Alternately, we go by Forge and Gred," the other twin said. They both grinned widely and identically, and Harry grinned back. "Percy's the one with his nose in the book. Kid back here is Ginny. Don't mind her. She—"
But Ginny cut him off by kicking him on the back of his ankle. George cursed and made a swipe for her, but she had already safely hid behind her mother's skirts.
"Guilty by association," Fred grumbled.
"Of course," responded George.
"This is Molly," Mr. Weasley introduced.
"Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Weasley," Harry said politely, remembering Draco's constant reminders about how first impressions matter. As it was, he was positively dizzy with the onslaught of people.
Mrs. Weasley, however, looked absolutely delighted by his politesse. "You grew up well, you did," she said, smiling. "You had two great men to raise you, isn't that right?"
Harry couldn't help but to blush.
"Don't let what anyone says get to you. Remus and Sirius are two of the finest men you could find."
"Yeah," Harry said quietly, not wanting to sound too sappy. Sirius clapped a large hand on his shoulder.
The adults started chatting and Harry and Ron settled themselves on top of one of Ron's trunks. Hedwig, a gift from Hagrid, the Keeper of Keys and Grounds for his birthday (a friend of Sirius and Remus and a half-giant that was as friendly as he was large), hooted dolefully. She didn't like being trapped in a cage as much as she didn't like the sun in her eyes, but she liked having a blanket over cage even less.
"So, what House do you think you'll be sorted into?" asked Ron. Harry handed him a chocolate frog which he took after a bit of persuasion.
"I don't know," Harry said thoughtfully. "Either Gryffindor or Slytherin."
Ron's eyebrows shot up. "That's a bit of a leap, mate."
"I know. But I'm a bit torn, see. My father was a Gryffindor so I'm sure I will be too, but my best friend is convinced he's going to be Slytherin and I want to be sorted with him." Harry shrugged. "Truthfully, I could see myself in either. Weird, huh?"
"You could say that. Well, I hope you're sorted into Gryffindor. I will be, definitely."
"Yep. All Weasley's are."
Harry grinned a bit. "Well, it'd be interesting to be Gryffindor. But like I said, either which way."
Ron nodded thoughtfully. "I hope you're sorted in my house."
Harry couldn't help but to wish a little, also.
On the train, Harry poked his head into each compartment, startling and interesting many students. Ron followed diligently.
"I'm sure you'll see him at school," Ron assured, as Harry startled a pair of necking students and nearly got himself hexed.
"I have to find him," Harry insisted. "We've been planning this since we were seven."
Ron sighed. The next compartment had a bushy haired girl in it who was poring over a large book. Ron made a face at her surprised one as Harry shut the door.
Harry finally got the right compartment. Draco froze in his tracks when Harry was suddenly in his pacing path. "Merlin! Potter, where the bloody hell have you been?!" He was about to give Harry their customary hug when he realized they weren't alone.
"Draco Malfoy is your best friend?!" Ron yelped, backing up a step.
Harry jumped in surprise.
"What the bloody hell is a Weasley doing here?!" shouted Draco.
Harry swallowed and caught the sleeve of Ron's robe before Ron could escape. He pinched the bridge of his nose with his free hand, a habit he'd picked up from Sirius.
"Why do you guys hate each other so much?" asked Harry. "You haven't even met." He was sure of this. Draco would have told him so.
"He's a Weasley," Draco sneered, as if that explained everything.
"And he's a Malfoy," Ron growled, hands balled at his side.
"Wow. That explains all of nothing." He bodily dragged Ron into the compartment, shutting the door behind him and leaning against it. He wasn't about to lose his new friend because of Draco's last name. Or Ron's last name, for that matter. Ron stood edgily in the middle of his compartment, looking ready for a fight.
"Look, can you two calm down?"
"Potter," Malfoy hissed, not tearing his gaze from Weasley.
"Shut it," Harry snapped, turning to Ron. "Why do you guys hate each other so much?"
"Our fathers work together," Ron growled.
"We've had the pleasure of meeting each other a couple of times," said Draco, customary sneer in place. "At a couple Ministry parties."
Okay, so maybe Draco wouldn't tell him that they've met.
"It didn't seem to matter," Draco said, correctly reading Harry's expression.
"Oh, brilliant. You two hate each other because of your fathers." Harry rubbed his temples; this he had picked up from Remus. "Look, Ron. Draco's my best friend. And deep down," he paused, "deep, deep, deep, deep, deep—"
"Oh, go on, Potter," snapped Draco sarcastically.
"...deep down, Draco's really a great guy."
"You're welcome," said Harry, cheekily. He pushed Draco down, and then pushed Ron down, and then sat himself closest to the door in case either tried to make a break for it.
They sat awkwardly, Ron and Draco set on upping each other on the ugliest sneer. Harry amused himself by letting chocolate frogs loose, until they were hopping all over the compartment and Draco and Ron were forced to quit glaring at each other in order to glare at Harry.
"Potter," Draco said indignantly, as a frog landed on top of his head. He plucked it off and sadistically started pulling off the poor frog's limbs. It squirmed in discomfort.
"Hasn't anyone taught you not to play with your food?" asked Ron with a smirk.
"Unlike you, I've never had to eat something that's been hopping around the floor. You see, I'm privileged to be able to afford dinnerware."
Ron's smirk immediately disappeared.
Harry sighed. It was going to be a long ride.
After Harry managed to calm Ron down again, they once again sat in an uncomfortable silence. Ron glared out the window while Draco picked at a hangnail and Harry shifted anxiously in his seat. At least everything was semi-peaceful, despite the heavy air. That is, until a whiskered nose poked out of the front of Ron's robes.
"What in Merlin's name is that?" Draco asked in disgust. Ron pulled a furry rat out of his robes a smiled a bit.
"This is Scabbers. He's my pet rat."
Something about Scabbers tickled Harry's memory, but he brushed it away distractedly. "He's cute," said Harry.
Draco, however, sneered. "Of course a Weasley would have vermin for a pet. Don't have enough money to buy a proper animal, huh?"
Ron shot to his feet. Harry followed him, putting a hand on his arm. Draco's eagle owl seemed to agree with Draco, and Hedwig pecked at him.
"Draco," said Harry, closing his eyes in dismay. "Weren't you always the one who told me that politesse matters?"
"To people who matter, Potter."
"Well, Ron matters, Draco. So stop it."
Draco somehow managed to look both abashed and furious and Ron sat back down, looking murderous and smug. Harry stood a moment longer amidst the frogs, then winced and sat down himself.
"I stepped on a frog," said Harry, mournfully.
Harry resolutely did not allow either boy to leave the compartment, until Ron complained about having to use the loo. Harry made him promise to return, then took his knapsack as hostage just in case. Amazingly, none of the frogs escaped when Ron left. They seemed to like the compartment.
"Potter," Draco said and Harry sighed. He prepared to be ripped a new one. "I think they're multiplying."
Harry blinked. "What?"
"I don't want to know." He sighed and took off his glasses to clean them on his shirt, relaxing into the seat.
"You do realize you're going to get it later, right?"
"Yes, of course." He bumped his knee against Draco's. "Where were you?"
"Father and Mother had me board the train first," Draco explained. "So that I could secure my own private compartment." Draco frowned. "I didn't think you'd be bringing filth with you."
"He's not filth." Harry scowled. "I like him."
Draco frowned more and Harry rolled his eyes.
"I know you don't like sharing, but come off it. I'm going to make other friends, you realize."
"You better not forget about me," Draco snarled, eyes flashing. Harry was taken slightly aback. Then he smacked the back of Draco's head. "Ow!"
"Don't be daft. I couldn't forget about you if I wanted to. You're too bloody annoying."
"And you better remember it!"
Ron returned a moment later, scowl still in place. He sulkily sat across from Harry, still shooting Draco nasty looks. Harry sighed and figured it would take time for the two to get used to each other. A lot of time.
"The frogs," Ron said after a moment, looking a bit horrified. "Are there more than there were before?"
Even though Ron and Draco seemed more than a little alike.
When Hermione opened the compartment door, the frogs made their Great Escape, a good two dozen hopping out into the hallway. Hermione shrieked in surprise, leaping back.
"What on earth!"
"The frogs," Draco said dramatically. "They multiplied. And then there was a mutiny."
Hermione gave him a strange look, before settling herself next to Ron.
"Oy. You weren't invited."
"Oh, do be quiet. I don't see your name on this seat. I'm Hermione Granger."
Draco stared at her for a moment. Then, "Mud—"
"Finish that word, Draco," Harry snapped threateningly. Draco closed his mouth sulkily. He wasn't sure how Draco knew Hermione was a muggle-born, but he wasn't too surprised. Draco knew too much, sometimes.
Hermione resolutely ignored Draco, crossing her legs properly. "What're your names?"
"I'm Harry," Harry said, not willing to say his last name. But Hermione looked at his forehead and Harry sighed. "Harry Potter."
"Draco Malfoy," Draco said, still sounding petulant. "I'm Harry's best friend." He said this with a sneer towards Ron.
"Nice to meet you all." Her eyebrows were raised a bit. No doubt she recognized Harry and Draco, just by their names. Perhaps even Ron, too, since though the name 'Weasley' wasn't as famous (or, in Draco's case, infamous) as 'Potter' or 'Malfoy', it did have some backings behind it. "Are you all excited about going to Hogwarts?"
They fell into a sort of small talk at that point, though Harry couldn't help but to notice Draco was sullen and silent for the most part. This was not what they had planned at all, and Draco never really handled disappointments well.
"Draco's ignoring me," said Harry by way of greeting as he sat next to Ron. Ron looked as if he wanted to say something biting, but caught himself just in time as Harry had made them promise to at least try to get along. Harry reached for the Yorkshire Pudding.
"I don't know what you see in that git," Fred said, gnawing on a chicken leg. "You should see this as an opportunity to meet better folk."
Harry sighed. He had dealt with this kind of mentality for as long as he could remember, and it wasn't that he couldn't be bothered with defending Draco. People just refused to listen to him.
"Cheer up, mate," said Ron. He still sounded a bit smug at Harry being sorted into Gryffindor. "He'll get over it."
Harry knew this was true. Draco, after all, was notorious for his fits. He relaxed marginally and focused on Nearly Headless Nick, who was not for the first time that night recounting his grisly death to Seamus Finnigan, a nice Irish boy who had introduced himself and his friend Dean Thomas to Harry earlier that night and who had a mouth like a motor. At the moment his eyes were rather glazed as Nick droned on. He had been pushing his potatoes around for a good minute.
When dinner was over Harry didn't even have the opportunity to talk to Draco again. They were immediately led to the Gryffindor Tower and told they could relax in the common room until curfew. Harry was a bit too intimidated to ask if he could visit someone from a different house at this time, so he settled for waiting until tomorrow to talk to Draco.
He couldn't help but to be a bit disappointed.
Dear Padfoot & Moony, The Sorting Hat took a good half hour to decide what house I was going to be placed in (I think the entire school held its breath). It argued with itself alot. 'Hmm you seem like you could be a good Slytherin' & 'Than again you have all the qualities of a good Gryffindor.' Then it went silent and I thought I wasn't going to be put in any House. I got really worried, but then it started mumbling to itself again. Finally it shouted 'GRYFFINDOR!' and the Gryffindor table shouted alot! I was happy & a bit peeved at the same time. I know Draco wanted me to be a Slytherin but I think its ok I'm a Gryffindor because you two and dad were Gryffindors. Besides me and Draco can still be friends even though we're in different houses, right? Professor Mcgonnaga—Hermione tells me its spelt McGonagall. She also says I have bad spelling and grammer. I think shes nosey. But I suppose she is nice. I like her and Ron. Anyways Professor McGonagall is the head of the Gryffindor house. She is nice but strict. Did she teach at Hogwarts when you guys were students? Gryffindor tower is top notch! My bed is next to Ron's. We had dinner together & Draco ignored me. I don't think hes mad at me but I don't think hes very happy with how things turned out. Draco & I will still be friends even though we are in different houses, right?
Greetings from Gryffindor tower! That's right I'm a Gryffindor now. Draco threw a right fit when the Sorting Hat announced my house. I think he wanted to fight it.
The Sorting Hat took a good half hour to decide what house I was going to be placed in (I think the entire school held its breath). It argued with itself alot. 'Hmm you seem like you could be a good Slytherin' & 'Than again you have all the qualities of a good Gryffindor.' Then it went silent and I thought I wasn't going to be put in any House. I got really worried, but then it started mumbling to itself again. Finally it shouted 'GRYFFINDOR!' and the Gryffindor table shouted alot! I was happy & a bit peeved at the same time. I know Draco wanted me to be a Slytherin but I think its ok I'm a Gryffindor because you two and dad were Gryffindors. Besides me and Draco can still be friends even though we're in different houses, right?
Professor Mcgonnaga—Hermione tells me its spelt McGonagall. She also says I have bad spelling and grammer. I think shes nosey. But I suppose she is nice. I like her and Ron. Anyways Professor McGonagall is the head of the Gryffindor house. She is nice but strict. Did she teach at Hogwarts when you guys were students?
Gryffindor tower is top notch! My bed is next to Ron's. We had dinner together & Draco ignored me. I don't think hes mad at me but I don't think hes very happy with how things turned out.
Draco & I will still be friends even though we are in different houses, right?
Harry didn't get to see Draco until Potions the next day. The blond was sitting by himself and had his knapsack beside him, apparently waiting for Harry. Indeed, when Draco spotted Harry, he greeted him by pegging him on the forehead with a crumpled piece of paper.
"Hello to you too," Harry said, pushing Draco's knapsack off the bench to sit beside him. Crabbe and Goyle were in front of them, and Hermione and Ron settled to their left.
"I hate you," Draco grumbled. "You just had to be all bloody 'brave and chivalrous', didn't you?"
"Well, it's sort of expected of me, right?" Harry asked, taking out a quill from his pocket. "Oh hell, it leaked."
"I told you you shouldn't buy those cheap refillable quills."
"Oh, shove off and lend me a quill."
Draco sighed and pulled one out of his bag. "Really, Potter. Couldn't you have left your new friends for two seconds to visit me?" He was pouting. Merlin.
"Oh, stop being a baby."
"You ruined everything by becoming a bloody Gryffindor. Now we can't do anything we planned."
"That's not true," protested Harry. "We'll still be able to hang out. I'll even eat at the Slytherin table sometimes. It's not like I don't know them all anyway."
"Good," Draco huffed, and Professor Snape burst into the room.
Harry had met Snape a couple of times in his life. He was a sort of fair-weather friend of Lucius Malfoy, so it was inevitable. However, Snape never really took a shining to Harry. In fact, he seemed to loathe him. It was all rather confusing. Harry had asked Sirius when he was eight, but Sirius had looked uncomfortable, called Snape a greasy git, and told Harry he would tell him when he was older.
Harry wondered if he would ever be told all the things Sirius claimed he would tell him when he was older. Like how two men had sex. It had been a curious topic for him ever since he found out Sirius and Remus had 'relations' (not that he was at all interested in what sex was like between Sirius and Remus—oh, ugh).
He was also interested in what that said about his own sexual preferences, but brushed that thought aside. He was too young to wonder about that kind of stuff, anyway. Or at least, that's what he told himself. The subject of his possible not absolute straightness was something he was in deep denial about. He didn't even talk to Draco about it, who knew every single one of Harry's darkest secrets.
Just not that one.
Snape sneered at Harry, as if he was a disgusting bug next to Draco. However, he didn't protest about this unconventional seating arrangement, as he knew this would greatly displease Draco.
"Welcome to Potions."
It all went downhill from there.
Harry learned something he was already suspicious of. He sucked at Potions. What was supposed to be a potion that cures boils ended up a brown, thick liquid that smelled faintly of rotten eggs.
Draco peered into their cauldron and sighed. "Professor Snape," he said mournfully. "This is all Potter's fault."
Harry supposed he would have been more angry at Draco ratting him out if it wasn't true. He looked over the ingredients carefully to try and figure out where he went wrong. "I don't know what—"
"Perhaps if you had been following the directions you wouldn't have run into this problem, Potter," Snape snapped. "How many dried nettles did you put in?"
"And the recipe called for ten. Five points from Gryffindor for lacking the ability to read."
Harry grimaced and Draco smirked. He didn't even look the least bit apologetic, the prat. But Harry was at least a bit vindicated when they both received no marks for their potion.
"Potter," Draco said after class, "you're not my partner anymore."
"Oh, come on Draco! It was our first class. I'll get better."
Draco scowled and shook his head. "Nope. No way. No bloody way. Not until you get tutoring or something. Until then, I'm working with Granger."
"What?!" both Hermione and Harry yelped.
"Now you look here," said Hermione. "You can't go around making those decisions by yourself."
"Yeah!" Harry said.
"What if I don't want to be your partner, huh?" Hermione put her hands on her hips and glared at Draco. "After all, I'm muggle-born, remember?"
"You also have bad hair and worse teeth, but take what you can get, right?" said Draco.
"You're not really winning her over," Harry informed, as Hermione turned an unflattering shade of red.
"Besides," Draco said, ignoring both Harry and Hermione, "I have a very limited selection to work with here. Crabbe, Goyle, and Weasley are absolutely useless, as this class illustrated."
"Hey!" Ron snapped.
"I have an...uncomfortable history with Pansy Parkinson, but I suppose if worst comes to worst, I could work with Zabini."
Pansy was convinced she was going to marry Draco, and Draco wasn't very keen on the idea.
"So," Draco trailed off, looking at Hermione out of the corner of his eye. This was his sly, convincing look. Draco had to practice this more. He just looked like he couldn't see very well. "I'm the best student in the class when it comes to potions. You'd get a better grade with me than with Weasley."
All of them looked at Hermione in surprise.
"Really?" asked Draco in disbelief. Harry didn't think he had expected her to agree. Knowing Draco, he didn't really want to work with her. Harry sighed. This was probably just another one of his ploys to tick Harry off.
"Yes, really," Hermione repeated, voice dripping with venom. "As much as I loathe you, you have a point."
"Well, yes. Of course I do," Draco said quickly, but he flashed a worried look at Harry. Harry glowered back.
"And you!" Hermione said, whirling on Harry. "Get tutored. Today, tomorrow, I don't care when just as long as it's within the next forty-eight hours. You too, Ron. You better get your work together too, so when we work with each other again, you won't bloody melt our cauldron." She narrowed her eyes warningly at all of them, before spinning on her heel and stomping off.
"Bloody hell," Ron said after a moment.
"That didn't go exactly how I planned," admitted Draco.
"She didn't even put up a fight," agreed Ron, and Harry was momentarily taken aback. This was the first time he heard them be even remotely civil towards each other.
Harry pinned Draco with a look. "Tutor me."
"Don't be a git. Tutor me. And Ron."
Draco narrowed his eyes. "Wait a minute."
"I don't know, Harry," Ron said, frowning at Draco. "I might knock him into one of the cauldrons. You know, accidentally."
"Just try," said Draco.
Harry waved them both away. "Come on. You even said you were the best student in Potions. Tutor us."
"And what do I get out of this, huh?"
"Me not telling your father you asked a muggle-born to be your partner in Potions."
Draco froze. "That's low."
"Are you sure you shouldn't have been put in Slytherin? Really, Potter." Draco sighed. "Fine. All right. But the story is Snape partnered us together because we're the top in his class. Got it?"
"Got it," Harry said with a grin.
"Right," said Ron.
"I hate you both," grumbled Draco.
"The feeling's mutual," Ron said, almost cheerfully.
Harry always had a keen interest in Defense Against the Dark Arts, but he was a little wary about the teacher who trembled in front of the classroom. He recognized him from the Leaky Cauldron when he and Draco had stopped to get two cool butterbeers while doing their school shopping. The shaky man had looked at him once, done that dratted double-take, then spent the rest of the time staring at Harry. Even Draco, who was usually too self-absorbed to pay attention to his surroundings, noticed the way the man was staring at Harry.
"Maybe he fancies you," Draco had whispered with a smirk. Harry had lazily knocked his butterbeer over towards Draco.
"Oops," he had said, as Draco just managed to jump away. "Buy me another, would you?"
It was weird, now, to see the same man standing at the head of the class, looking as if he didn't know what to say.
"P-Please open your b-b-books," Quirrel stuttered nervously, eyes darting around the classroom and lingering on Harry. "And—and r-readthefirstchapter!" The last part was said so quickly that many of the students looked at each other in confusion.
Hermione's hand shot up.
"What if you've read the first chapter?"
"Th-then read the second." Quirrel looked as if he wanted to hide under his desk. Harry winced. It was almost painful to watch.
Hermione's hand shot up again.
"What if you've read the entire book already?" she asked.
"Quit it, Hermione," Ron whispered. "You're going to give the poor bloke an anxiety attack."
"Th-then read it again!" Quirrel said, before hurrying to hide behind his desk.
Hermione sighed in disappointment, opening her book. Privately, Harry had to agree with her. What a joke.
Before dinner, Harry and Ron met up with Draco near the lake. The monster was waving its tentacles lazily in the sun, once in awhile making a bored swipe at students who came too close. Draco seemed to be amusing himself by throwing rocks at it and watching it bat them clear into the sky.
"I'm not even sure why we're doing this," said Draco as Harry settled next to him. "Potions is just like cooking. You'll do fine if you just follow the bloody directions."
"I do!" Harry protested.
"Then perhaps it's your prescription that makes you muck up so spectacularly." Draco sighed and looked up at the sky. "I asked Professor Snape if we could use the potions room after class to study. He agreed as long as we don't try to make anything dangerous. Also, if we didn't go snooping around in his stuff. First, though, have you read your textbook?"
"Er, a little," Ron said.
"Skimmed it," admitted Harry.
Draco sighed. "You're both hopeless. Okay, then, your first assignment is to start reading your books."
"So no love potions yet?" Harry asked, stretching out and plucking up a piece of grass. It was a warm day, borderline hot, and he couldn't be arsed with things like school work. Ron seemed to agree, as he picked up Draco's game and started throwing rocks at the monster, who took to aiming them at Hogwarts.
"Don't be daft. Besides, you've already got the majority of Hogwarts tied around your finger. "Even the teachers seem to be infatuated with you."
"Gross, Draco." The monster shattered one of Hogwarts' windows, and Harry was reminded of Quirrel. "Hey. Have you had Professor Quirrel yet?"
"Unfortunately. What a joke."
Harry was struck by how similar their thought processes were. That scared him a bit. Draco was notorious for being a prat, despite being Harry's best friend. He supposed it was because Draco was unafraid of vocalising what everyone else already thought. Harry had a bit more tact than that.
Scabbers stretched out on his back in front of Ron, basking in the sun. Ron obligingly pet his stomach. Draco looked disgusted.
"You ought to get that vermin neutered. The world doesn't need any more rats."
Scabbers leapt up and went darting into the front of Ron's robes. "Now look what you've done, Malfoy," Ron said, scowling. "You scared him."
Weird. It was as if Scabbers understood. Harry sighed and stretched his arms over his head. "I want to play Quidditch."
"Stupid bloody rules," Ron said. "'Too young' my arse."
"We've got flying tomorrow," Draco said, almost excitedly. Harry knew that Draco already knew how to fly, and had even once let Harry try it out. They both got in a phenomenal amount of trouble when Lucius discovered them, but it was a memory Harry cherished most. Just being in the air for those scant seconds, without anything under his feet to support him, had been amazing.
Somehow, Ron and the monster had engaged in a friendly game of catch. Perhaps because Hogwarts seemed to have been offended at having a window broken and had thrown the rock back, rather hard.
"So then tomorrow we'll get on with the real tutoring, right?" Harry asked, looking up at Draco.
"I suppose. If you bums actually get your reading done."
Harry waved his hand in dismissal.
Ron and Harry should have never been partnered in Potions. Though Snape had lectured for the better part of the class, he still assigned what was supposed to be an extremely simple potion. Their potion, however, made their cauldron burp fire and gallop around the dungeons. It was harder this time to figure out who was at fault, but Snape solved the problem by giving them both no marks and taking five points from Gryffindor, each.
"Wow," Ron said after class. "We're off to a great start, aren't we?"
"It would be easier if Professor Snape didn't hate me so much," Harry said mournfully, as their cauldron chased Neville Longbottom down the hall with Snape close on its heels.
"He probably wouldn't hate you if you didn't give him reason," said Draco. Hermione and he had received full marks, of course.
"I thought you two were getting tutored," said Hermione, frowning in her customary disapproval.
"Well, come on! It's our first day. You can't really expect us to be Grand Potion Masters after one tutoring session." Harry raked his fingers through his hair in frustration. He didn't like being so miserable at a subject.
"I still don't understand how our cauldron came to life," said Ron.
"It didn't come to life." Hermione shifted her bag onto her other shoulder. "You simply brought it into a state of animation."
"Tell that to Longbottom," Draco said under his breath, as Neville ran past them again, this time with the cauldron burping flames at him.
"I'm just glad class ended before we could lose more points," said Harry. Neville managed to trick the cauldron by turning sharply near a window. The cauldron, equipped with shoddy brakes, skid through the glass and fell to its gruesome death, just narrowly missing a fifth year Ravenclaw. She didn't escape the potion, however, which thankfully just made all her hair fall out.
"All right there, Neville?" Ron asked.
Neville smiled crookedly and shrugged. "I've had worse things chase me."
"That's good, that's good," said Ron. Snape was rounding the corner. "Well, we'll be seeing you!"
Harry, Ron, and even Hermione took off on cue. Draco sighed and shot an apologetic look to Snape, before running after Harry. Poor Neville was left to face a furious Severus Snape on his own.
end chapter two