Author: Prince Edwin
Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction created by and for readers of the Harry Potter books. No copyright or trademark infringement was intended, and all of the characters, situations et c. belong to, though aren't limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc, as well as being the original fiction work of J. K. Rowling.
Summery: An unusual turn of events when the explosion takes place before anybody steps into the classroom. Slash. Pairing not stated, though the observant ones of you will know it before it happens.
"Will you please just shut up!"
The usual simmering whispers of the Gryffindor-Slytherin Potions class as they queued outside their classroom was interrupted by an unexpected explosion. The unexpectedness of this explosion was heightened by the fact that this particular ingredient had not been volatile for a long time.
In fact, Harry Potter's newfound cheerfulness and ability to remain calm had been ongoing for over eight months, roughly since the death of a certain evil over lord. Most of the school attributed his happiness to the absence of threats on his life, though the observant ones had noticed his change in attitude a few weeks before Voldemort's actual destruction. Most of the school also agreed that the way Harry now greeted everything with unbridled enthusiasm was very creepy; he even kept his smile on in Potions class! The very observant ones noticed that his smile widened improbably in Potions class, but they did not dare speculate on the cause of this. Clearly, Harry had gone mad.
It was a relief, then, when Harry finally lost his mysteriously even temper, and several of the Slytherins actually applauded. The Gryffindors were hard-pressed not to show their pleasure in the same way, but felt it would not be particularly supportive to cheer on a fight between two of their own.
For, after all this time of being perfectly happy with absolutely everything, Harry had turned to his best friend and shouted loud enough to echo. The echo hadn't quite faded when Harry continued, this time at a more sedate volume. "For the love of Merlin, Ron, how can you still say those things? I mean, it's bad enough that the war didn't change your mind about any of it, but to say the same stuff every day for seven years and not want to rip out your own tongue is something I truly can't comprehend."
The simmering whispers had lost their heat the moment a fight had begun to brew, and all the students were pressing forward eagerly so they could catch every word. So far, though seemingly very exciting, they had no idea what this argument was about. They hoped Ron would enlighten them when he opened his mouth to speak, but they were to be disappointed, as Ron did not understand any better than they did.
"Huh?" Ron asked, gaping a little. He shot a desperate look at Hermione, who schooled her features to appear somewhat sympathetic and shrugged. She knew exactly what Harry meant, but decided not to get involved if she could help it. Ron never listened to a word she said, so it would be interesting to see if Harry could get through to him.
Harry rolled his eyes at Ron and muttered something that sounded like, "As eloquent as ever," but couldn't possibly have been, because Harry would never say something like that. He folded his arms across his chest and heaved a sigh before speaking loudly enough to address Ron.
"I get that you're still clinging to these stupid principles, Ron, though I don't get why," Ron opened his mouth to speak, but Harry held up a hand to detain him and raised his voice a little, "and I don't want to get it. I don't want to hear anything about it. I don't want to be anywhere near you if you ever broach the subject again. I'm sick of it, Ron."
Ron looked more than a little offended. "But Harry," he whined, "we used to spend hours talking about it together –"
"And then I grew up," Harry interrupted, "and realised that I didn't want to gossip about people I knew nothing about. It's a shame you never grasped that particular concept."
The Slytherins were practically rubbing their hands with glee. They still didn't really understand what this conversation was about, but they enjoyed the put downs regardless. The Gryffindors thought that it might have dawned on them what this was about, but most were sure they must be wrong. It would be a strange thing to argue about, after all, but they couldn't remember Harry doing anything remotely resembling gossiping about anything else. Their suspicions were confirmed a moment later.
"People you don't know? What could you possibly need to know about the Slytherins, Harry, that isn't already obvious? What could you possibly want to know?" At this question, the Slytherins lost much of their glee, as they felt themselves propelled into a discussion that must be taking place in a parallel universe. Surely Ron had misunderstood, and Harry would correct him now…
"Anything, before I shoot my mouth off with accusations, Ron!" Harry exclaimed, actually stomping his foot in frustration. "I'd want to know anything about people before I stoop to calling them the sorts of vile names you pin on them all the time. Just because someone was Sorted into a different House does not give you automatic rights to say what you like about them."
Ron looked flabbergasted, not to mention red in the face knowing that the subjects of this conversation were clearly listening in. All eyes swivelled to him curiously, looking for his response. "I know that, Harry," he pleaded, "but it's a different story with the Slytherins. There's nothing wrong with being a Hufflepuff or a Ravenclaw, but you know that you can't trust a Slytherin as far as you could throw him."
The eyes swivelled back to Harry, and Hermione suddenly had the bizarre sense of watching a tennis match. She wondered if any of the other Muggleborns felt the same way, but thought it inappropriate to begin asking.
"I trusted a Slytherin with my life, eight months ago, and I can tell you now that it was no mistake," Harry stated flatly.
Hermione noted that this match wasn't really fair. Harry seemed better equipped for it, and Ron was clumsily attempting to volley with little success. She mused that it was as though he'd accidentally brought a badminton racket to the court instead.
Ron spluttered in response, completely unable to think of a reply that would negate Harry's point, "Yeah, well –" he started before being interrupted again.
"And the Slytherins standing around us now fought beside us in the war. I don't know how far you reckon you could throw them, Ron, but I promise you that we needed to trust them a hell of a lot more than that to win that final battle. And we did win it."
As Ron floundered again, Hermione decided that it was more as though he had forgotten the racket entirely and brought a fork instead.
Refusing to just accept his loss, Ron spoke up again. "Are you telling me that we ought to trust that bunch of slimy snakes just 'cause they didn't hex us when our backs were turned?"
"Ron! They are not a bunch of slimy snakes –" Harry began, looking as though he might implode at the full-circle this argument had taken.
"They are! They're untrustworthy, back-stabbing, cold-hearted slimy snakes, Harry, and you know it!" Ron shouted. The Slytherins didn't quite know how to take this diatribe, nor how to take Harry's immediate defence of them.
"We've been over this, Ron. They aren't untrustworthy, not just in the war, either, but with other stuff. They haven't stabbed any of us in the backs lately, at least not as far as I can tell –"
"Unless you count that toad's tongue that mysteriously found its way into your potion last lesson," Ron interrupted, dismayed to see that it brought a smile to Harry's face.
"A stupid prank does not count as back-stabbing. Besides, we do exactly the same thing back," Harry countered, and Ron shrugged to concede the point.
"I guess. But you can't deny that they are all heartless bastards, I mean, look at Malfoy –"
Harry roared his answer this time, obviously enraged by this suggestion. "If I hear you suggest that Slytherins are incapable of emotions one more time, when I know first-hand that they are perfectly able to…" Harry trailed off, suddenly realising what he was saying, but the damage had already been done.
The silence now was heavy, and if a clumsy house-elf had dropped a pin somewhere in the castle, it was clear that this crowd would have heard it. After several uncomfortable moments, Ron finally shattered the silence.
"First-hand, mate?" he asked timidly, as though the answer to that question was something that could kill him. Harry did not respond verbally, but he blushed so strongly that his entire face momentarily served as a beacon in the otherwise dark corridor. It was answer enough.
The simmering hisses of whispers returned, this time with a stronger flame to fuel them, as speculation over who exactly had been giving Harry first-hand experience of Slytherin warm-heartedness spread. Even Ron and Hermione had descended into frantic whispers as they attempted work out how best to deal with this information.
Only Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy were silent, and they met each others' eyes over the hubbub. Harry winced and looked away, but Draco was grinning victoriously. He had been quite looking forward to this day.
His smirk was spotted by Blaise Zabini, who had turned to him to ask who he thought this mystery Slytherin might be, and his shout managed to capture the focus of everyone around them. The clamour produced a ripple effect, and soon everyone was staring in shock at Draco, who was preening under the gaze of so many eyes.
"Is it you?"
"Are you dating him or just sleeping together?"
"When did it start?"
"Is he any good in the sack?"
Harry was shrinking with every question asked, despite the discrepancy with which Draco was handling them (that is, Draco merely smiled enigmatically and occasionally tapped the side of his nose to indicate that it was a secret). At the last question, Draco burst out laughing, and Harry actually sunk to the floor, beet-red to the roots of his hair.
"And what has led to this inappropriate line of questioning?" Snape's silky voice asked, his dark cloak billowing as he arrived at the scene.
Quite unable to contain her excitement, Daphne Greengrass hollered, "We just found out that Potter's been dating Draco, and that he has feelings for him."
"Is that so?" Snape queried, eyes scanning the vicinity until they rested upon where Harry was crouched on the floor miserably, clutching his hair and staring at his knees. "And which of the two wretches informed you of this?" he continued, moving slowly through the crowd, delighting in the way they parted seamlessly for him.
"Uh, neither, sir," Daphne admitted, thinking about it. "Harry confessed that he knows that Slytherins have feelings first-hand, and we just figured…" she trailed off, feeling foolish under the amused stare of their teacher.
"You figured that he must be dating a Slytherin and that this Slytherin could be none other than Draco Malfoy, his schoolboy rival? Cleverly deduced, Miss –" Daphne interrupted him, instantly regretting that she had done so before the words spilled from her mouth.
"But he blushed, sir, when Weasley asked him about it. We can tell that he's dating someone," she appealed, speaking so quickly as though to make up for the fact that the words left her mouth at all.
"Indeed," Snape said, inclining his head slightly. Harry looked up and met his eyes, silently pleading with him to end this, but Snape was not of a disposition to do so. "So far, I believe that you made the correct judgement, but that he was dating Mister Malfoy appears to be founded on faulty logic."
Daphne, and several of her supporters (those who wanted to find out who Harry had been dating, which was pretty much everyone except Harry himself), breathed a sigh of relief that she would go unpunished for the interruption, and that the topic would be pursued.
"Mister Malfoy, have you been involved in an intimate relationship with Mister Potter?" Snape asked calmly, his voice covering Harry's groan when he realised that Snape was not going to let this go now that it was started.
"No, sir," Draco replied cheerfully, rolling his eyes at the gasps of surprise. They had honestly believed that he was going out with Harry, the fools.
"But are you aware of a Slytherin with whom Mister Potter has been intimate?" Snape continued.
Draco was smirking widely at this vein of investigation, and nodded slowly. "Yes, sir," he managed, barely able to contain his laughter.
"And would you care to divulge this name so that this discussion can be done with and we could begin our Potions lesson?" he suggested silkily, his eyes glinting wickedly.
"No, sir," Draco answered, pressing his lips together after he had answered to control his mirth.
The spectators gaped at this shameless impertinence directed at Snape, of all people. Draco's head would surely roll for this.
"And why not?" Snape questioned, his voice barely over a whisper and all the more dangerous for it.
"Well, honestly sir, Potter's a scrawny little thing, but his boyfriend would make sure I couldn't move for a month if I said anything without his permission." Harry's groan was very audible this time, and elicited some laughter. Snape's cruel smile was uniquely wide as he appeared to be giving this statement some thought.
"Very well," he said. "I shall leave it to Mister Potter to announce with whom he has been conducting a relationship." He moved over to Harry and reached out a hand, offering to help him up. Harry pushed the hand away and struggled up without it, glaring heatedly at Snape and muttering, quite perceptibly, "You bastard."
"What's that, Mister Potter?" Snape prompted, clearly enjoying Harry's discomfort.
"I said that you are a bastard, Severus Snape," Harry announced clearly, raising his chin definitely, "for putting me in this position."
If the air had been thick with tension when Draco had cheeked his professor, it was solid now with the tension waiting for how he would respond to Harry.
"And how exactly do you propose to deal with it?" was all he said, his voice low and rumbling, so that the very observant were suddenly able to predict what would happen seconds before it did.
"Like this," Harry stated baldly, before launching himself at Snape and kissing him thoroughly, in full view of his classmates. More shockingly, Snape kissed back with equal enthusiasm, wrapping his arms around Harry to cradle him tenderly.
When at last they broke apart, Harry was clinging to Snape's robe and panting to regain control of his breathing. Snape steadied him with a hand resting on the small of his back, and turned to address the gaggle of gaping students.
"Class began ten minutes ago, so I suggest you all seat yourselves within the next five seconds or risk having a detention tonight," Snape announced clearly. He held to the back of Harry's robe, "Not you, Mister Potter. I believe that you should serve detention under me for the remainder of the week for finding yourself in that little predicament."
Harry blushed and attempted to explain himself, but Snape merely kissed him briefly once more before sweeping off to follow his students. Before taking his place at the front of the class, he stalked over to the student who had raised that most inappropriate question, opportunely voiced just as he'd arrived on the scene.
Snape kept his eyes trained on Harry, who was attempting, rather unsuccessfully, all things considered, to make his way unobtrusively across the classroom to his usual seat, while he whispered softly in her ear.
"I can assure you, Miss Granger, that he is excellent in the sack."
A/N: Quite a departure from my usual, if you can call two stories a 'usual', and possibly the briefest piece of completed fiction I have ever managed. Let me know if you think it holds up, if you would be so kind.
Regards, Prince Edwin