Hi. This is my first Harry Potter fan-fic. I've enjoyed many of the great stories here on and thought I would attempt writing my own.

This is a slash fic and while the story does have some romance, I will be attempting to tell a story.

History: Will be AU after Order of the Phoenix

Pairings: Harry Potter/Blaise Zabini, Hermione/Ron, (Others TBA)

Rating: M

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or concepts of the Harry Potter verse. All rights belong to proper owners and no profit is made from this writing.

I hope you like.

Brave New World

Part I

"A warning to the People, the Good and the Evil: This is War.

To the Solider, the Civilian, the Martyr, the Victim: This is War.

It's the moment of Truth & the moment to Lie.

And the moment to Live & the moment to Die.

The moment to Fight. The moment to Fight.

To fight. To fight. To fight!"

--- 30 Seconds To Mars, This is War

Chapter One

"And what do we have here? The pride of the lions in snake territory?"

Harry James Potter, who had endured a pisser of summer and wasn't looking forward to the coming year at Hogwarts, merely closed his eyes at the slightly sarcastic remark. He was using these few minutes before the train pulled out of the station to make the transition from the Harry Potter who lived at 4 Privet Drive to Harry Potter, Boy who-who-lived, Gryffindor, youngest seeker in a century, protagonist in the on going battle of good verses evil with Voldemort, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

This year it was more difficult than most.

This year there were no summer visits with his best friends accompanied by great dinners by Mrs. Weasley, no quiet moments with his godfather Sirius. His summer was spent trapped in hell with relatives who both hated and feared him, alternately toiling under the summer sun with endless chores and sweltering in the dank heat of his bedroom locked away from normal people.

He may have been better prepared to handle his relatives had his entire world not shifted beneath his feet days before being shunted off to his private purgatory. After all, he had been the Dursley's dirty little secret much longer than he had been the so called savior of the Wizarding world. No, losing his godfather due to his own pride and stupidity and having the weight of a prophecy on his shoulders would be enough to fell a grown man.

Locking a sixteen year old young man away with people who despised him and begrudged the very air he breathed with no contact with his friends and no counseling for his grief, then expecting him to come away unscathed was asking the impossible.

Yet Harry Potter had endured. For that's what he had been all of his life. A survivor. And no prophecy, no madman and not even the death of his dream for a family with Sirius would break him.

For now though, he was tired and hungry and he wanted his quiet moment to collect his thoughts before he was expected to rise to the occasion again. Being questioned by an unknown quantity wasn't in his plans.

"As far as I know," he began calmly, opening his eyes to the painful view of students rushing on the platform with their families. Ignoring what would never be apart of his life. "The train to Hogwarts is for all students and there is no assigned seating."

Harry allowed his gaze to move to his intruder, a flicker of inquiry crinkling his brows as he struggled to place the handsome face.

A Slytherin, no doubt, the comment proof enough of that. From a wealthy family, for though his own wardrobe stated otherwise, Harry recognized the crisp lines of tailored black wool trousers, a well structured jacket and the dark green turtleneck beneath it.

Zabini, the name emerged from the depths of an eleven year old memory of a first year's sorting. Zabini, Blaise. Slytherin. He was taller than Harry certainly. Though Harry had finally had a bit of a growth spurt this summer, he was no where near Zabini's 6 feet. Skin the color of Honeyduke's finest chocolate was well complimented by short cut black hair and a neatly trimmed goatee framing a full mouth. Dark brown eyes held a sharp and assessing intelligence that warned Harry not to underestimate this Slytherin.


This one word was spoken with a depth of power and unspoken demand of respect people like Draco Malfoy could only ever aspire to and never quite achieve.

"However, I think we're both aware of the unspoken rules we as passengers of the Hogwarts Express have placed on the seating compartments. So therefore it is unusual to find Harry Potter without the other two thirds of the famous Gryffindor trio here in a compartment normally reserved for myself and my companions."

"I'm guessing there was a question in there somewhere?"

Harry managed to contain his surprise when a small smile curved Zabini's mouth. Even more for the fact that it reached the depths of his rather intense gaze. "You are much more than I thought, Harry Potter," amusement was clear in the other boy's voice.

"Thank you. I think." Harry figured the enigmatic words were a compliment and decided to treat them as such.

"May I join you?"

"Sure," he agreed with a small lift of his shoulder.

Zabini floated in an antique black leather trunk that gleamed with a high glossy sheen. A quick flick of his wand and it was settled into the overheard compartment without much trouble. Zabini hung the black cloak draped across his arm on a hook, then rested on the seat across from him. That's when Harry noticed the pet carrier similar to the one Hermione used for Crookshanks. Zabini had only just finished when the train began its departure from the station.

"Do you mind if I allow my familiar her freedom?"

It was a strange way of asking but Harry put it down to another Slytherin quirk. Snape was like that, using a lot of words in a round about way when it was much easier to ask a simple direct question.

"No." His curiosity was satisfied when a slinky black cat emerged and settled on the seat quite away from Zabini.

"Come, Nefertiti. Must we endure this every year. I know you hate the carrier but that's no reason to punish me."

The feline actually seemed to sneer just before its head turned in the opposite direction. Harry covered his mouth before the laughter emerged. "Sorry." But it hardly sounded sincere when he was snickering. The cat sensing an ally leapt across the seat and curled next to his thigh.

"She doesn't like her carrier."

"Obviously," Harry smiled feeling the unacknowledged tension in the air warm. It was difficult to be nervous around a boy who had the same issues with his cat that Harry often had with his owl. "What did you say her name was again?"

"Nefertiti. It means 'the beautiful one who has come'. She was a gift from my mother while we were vacationing the summer I was eleven. She's an Egyptian Mau, specially bred for her solid black coat and her golden eyes. I thought the name fitting."

"She's beautiful." The elegant cat was the perfect match for the Slytherin. Sleek. Intelligent. Just a touch mystery. She certainly was nothing like Hermione's half-kneazle familiar.

"And she knows this, which is why we always have difficulties when it comes to situations like this. As her human, I should know better than expect her to travel in such a mundane manner."

A sharp meow was Zabini's answer, then the cat surprised Harry, butting against his hand. He scratched behind her ear, earning a rumbling purr of approval. Pleased, the cat climbed into his lap, arching into his massaging fingers.

This time the silence was much more companionable, Nefertiti's purring the only mar. Zabini removed a leather bound book from the pocket of his cloak, opening it and seeming to read. Harry took a chance to observe to Slytherin, probably not as furtive as he hoped. He didn't know much about Zabini, there weren't many rumors spread around Hogwarts about him. Other than sharing a few classes and seeing him at meal times, or in the stands during Gryffindor/Slytherin quidditch matches, he could probably count on his hands the number of times he actually saw the boy around school.

"They were busy." Harry broke the moment, going back to Zabini's original question. Perhaps if they started talking about small things, he might learn something about him. It just didn't seem right to Harry that they had both attended Hogwarts for six years and he knew next to nothing about Blaise Zabini. Not when a few moments here on the train had proved getting to know him might be worthwhile.

A dark brow lifted in query and Harry quickly explained. "Ron and Hermione. When I went to our usual compartment, they were," he paused, biting on his lower lip, not wanting to spread their private business about. "Busy." He finally decided upon. "I could tell they wanted to be alone."

Alone to finish snogging each other senseless.

Harry wasn't angry Ron and Hermione hadn't bothered to tell him they were together. Couldn't be angry due to the restrictions Dumbledore had placed upon his contact with the Wizarding world. Regardless, he was happy they had finally come together. He might be dense about relationships but his two friends had been glancing sideways at each other long enough that even he recognized the attraction for what it was.

"So Granger and Weasley are finally together."

Well that proved a lot more people than he thought had figured out how things stood between Hermione and Ron. "Yes."

"Blaise, I heard the strangest rumblings down in lion territory. It seems the 'Chosen One' is missing."

The husky drawl came from the girl who had yanked open the door to their compartment. He may not have spoken a word to her, but he recognized the petite beauty of Daphne Greengrass from Slytherin easily. When the guys in his dorm sat around at night talking, especially about girls, she was considered number one on the list of untouchable but extremely hot girls who attended Hogwarts. She was proving warranting of that title today in a black velvet sweater with smoke gray mink lining the collar and a matching black skirt long enough to cover her feet. The ensemble made her already dainty features even more fae, though her face was austere, her manner haughty and those cerulean eyes cold.

A dainty hand reached to slowly, deliberately, flick a loose tendril of hair away from her face. The rest of the honey blonde hair was pulled into a complicated twist on the top of her head.

"We have company, I see."

"Well, this is certainly interesting."

Joining her was the other girl who tied the list with Greengrass, Tracey Davis, also of Slytherin, almost her complete opposite in everyway. Where Daphne was flowerlike, Tracey was tall, like the runway models he occasionally glimpsed on the magazines his Aunt Petunia liked to pretend she paid no attention to. Davis was dressed in a hound's-tooth print traveling suit, with trousers and heeled boots that only enhanced long lithe legs. Her hair was raven black and shorn into short featherlike curls around a patrician oval shaped face with dark insolent eyes lit with mischief that didn't necessarily fall in his favor.

Davis looped her arm into Greengrass's hinting at a close friendship. It was a telling gesture he knew was made deliberately, either to lull him into a false sense of comfort or to reveal the depths of their friendship. Either way, as Davis closed the compartment door behind them, he knew the inquisition was truly about to begin.

Both girls settled their things away and sat on the seat next to Zabini, making the collar of his shirt feel as though it was tightening, which was ridiculous considering Dudley's castoffs were at least three sizes too big.

"So Potter," Greengrass leaned forward, linking her fingers together neatly on her lap, "What are you doing here?"

He took a moment, purposely, before he answered. After a deep breath, watched the closed expressions on each Slytherin's face. He wondered if they played these types of games all the time. If so, Harry had to wonder about their sanity. This was exhausting.

"So Slytherin's are capable of being straightforward? I had wondered if your every action was aimed toward cunning, manipulation and ambition." The words were said with clear humor so no offense could be taken.

Davis surprised him by bursting into laughter. It was a genuine and free sound. One he never would have suspected her capable of. "Oh, I like him Daph. Can we keep him?"

"Unfortunately no. The rest of his pride will come searching for their leader soon enough," Blaise answered. "But he has been quite entertaining so far."

"Glad I could be of service."

"Now that was positively acerbic. Careful Potter, you can't have the masses thinking the 'Chosen One' has a hidden Slytherin streak, what would they do?"

"What's with this Chosen One rubbish you keep repeating?"

"Haven't you read the Daily Prophet? You've been a front page staple most of the summer. The Chosen One, the destined Savior of the Wizarding world."

"I've been a little cut off this summer," he sneered through gritted teeth. It seemed now that the truth of Voldemort's return was out, the public had returned him to his pedestal. He had to wonder though, how so many people who considered him an attention seeking liar, could turn around and expect him to be their liberator. If the masses were such sheep, it was no wonder Voldemort could sweep through the Wizarding world unchecked. "And I don't read my own press."

Daphne inspected him carefully, making him feel as though he were under a microscope. "So you're not buying into the whole Chosen One phenomenon. It must be nice having so many people practically worshiping you, Potter. Most people would take advantage of that."

"Most people don't have an insanely powerful madman trying to kill them either but if you'd like to trade places, I'm sure Rita Skeeter would be happy to make you a front page story. And you can be the Chosen One," he spit the last out as though it left a foul taste in his mouth. Which it had.

It couldn't have escaped their notice that he neither confirmed nor denied the savior rumor. The insult also went without comment. If they were loyal Death Eaters, they hid it better than Malfoy who was continually spouting his devotion to his so called Dark Lord.

"Daphne Greengrass, the Girl-Who-Lived," Tracey paused then shook her head, "Just doesn't ring true. You'll have to keep the title unfortunately, Potter." She smiled then, a soft generous one that said he had passed part one of their questioning. She began to dig into a black saddlebag and pulled free a dark green book and a quill and began writing.

"I swear, the first years look positively infantile this year. The Prefects will have their hands full. The Owlery will be packed with firsties suffering from homesickness."

"They will manage and by Samhain will wonder why they made such a fuss. What should be interesting as always, will be this year's Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. Well I can only hope we aren't subjected to another year of – Hem, Hem," Daphne imitated perfectly. "The stupidity of the Ministry will never cease to amaze me. Second year we're subjected to Dementors and then that odious woman last year."

"And don't even get me started on those idiotic educational decrees," Tracey glanced at Harry, "Why are you looking at us like that?"

"I thought the Slytherin's rather liked Umbridge, what with her Inquisitorial Squad and all."

"Umbridge wasn't as charitable to all the Slytherins as you might believe. Only those families whose influence within the ministry is well known and beneficial to Minister Fudge had her favor," Tracey explained.

She didn't have to say Malfoy and his cronies for Harry to know exactly which Slytherins received preferential treatment by Umbridge. Strange, he didn't know why he thought all of the Slytherin's fell in line with Malfoy. As a matter of fact, he really didn't know when he started equating Slytherin's with Death Eaters.

It was understandable when he was younger and new to the Wizarding world. Those generalizations were made by a boy who could only see the facts that were pointed out to him. There was no excuse for that behavior now. He wasn't the eleven year old Hagrid rescued from the cupboard under the stairs. He knew enough and had experienced enough to understand that being a Slytherin wasn't the sole factor of being a dark wizard. Especially with that treacherous bastard Pettigrew as a prime example.

Of course he would be cautious around these three but he shouldn't automatically assume things about Zabini, Greengrass and Davis either. They had yet to give him reason to believe they were out to deliver him to Voldemort. It was best to reserve judgment.

If he wanted to be treated as an adult, it was time for him to start behaving as one as well.

"I'm sorry." He frowned, looking down at the cat still curled in his lap that had fallen asleep under his ministrations.

"Whatever for," Daphne began sharply, "It's not like we're not used-"

"Daph," Blaise cut her off, giving a mild shake of his head before meeting Harry's gaze again.

"She's right though," Harry relented, his stomach clenched with a soft guilt he knew was well deserved. "I've made those types of assumptions before. Made sweeping generalizations about Slytherins without getting to know any of you. I hate when people presume things about me based on rumors or things they've read in the Daily Prophet or in some book. Turns out I'm just as bad when it comes to the people of your house."

"Guess that means you're human just like the rest of us," Daphne smiled for the first time and it made an already pretty face stunning with its intensity. "After all, I never would have expected Harry Potter, prime example of everything Gryffindor, would deign a trio of Slytherins with the time of day."

He couldn't help but grimace at that. Did he truly come off so self-righteous? His reputation in the snake house wouldn't be the best, especially with so many of them children of Death Eaters who wanted him dead, but how many of the other students of Hogwarts felt the same.

"Now you have him worried," Tracey nudged her seatmate lightly.

"Did I say that out loud?"

"No but your face speaks very clearly, Potter," Tracey explained.

"Where have I heard that before."

"It's not a bad quality," Zabini reassured him. "We can't all be cunning and ambitious. The Wizarding world needs people like you Harry. Needs people like us all."

"It certainly makes life more interesting," Davis grinned.

"Now that we've decided we're all wonderful. A specific question was asked and my curiosity has been piqued. While it has been interesting dispelling a few of the more prominent rumors about you, Potter, but I have to wonder why you're not with your Gryffindors this trip?" Greengrass definitely wasn't letting his presence there in so called Slytherin territory be glossed over.

"Harry," he began, "I think if we're dispelling untruths, we can use first names."

"Harry, then." Tracey agreed. "I'm Tracey, this is Daphne and of course you've already met Blaise."

There was a definite hierarchy with these three. Hopefully the dynamics would become clearer with time because Harry found himself quite interested.

"I was just telling Blaise," he paused and looked at the boy in question who merely inclined his head. "Ron and Hermione were a bit occupied, so I decided to give them some privacy."

"So Granger and Weasley are finally together." Daphne sighed heavily. "Damn, and here I thought they would wait until seventh year before getting a clue. How many galleons was that Zabini?"

"One hundred. Don't worry; I can wait until Hogsmeade weekend to collect."

"You wagered on when my best friends would get together?" Incredulity filled Harry's voice. Not only that but one hundred galleons were nothing to sneeze at.

"They will lay bets on everything, from who receives the first detention from Professor Snape-"

"You've made me quite a bit of currency on that one, Harry. I should probably thank you," Daphne interrupted with a grin.

"To who wins the Quidditch cup at the end of the year," Tracey finished as though Daphne hadn't interrupted.

"When you were banned last season, Harry I was worried," Blaise leaned back and fit his fingers together, "However, the Gryffindors managed to win the cup after all. I enjoyed my brief visit to Tuscany this past week and I must thank you Daphne. Your parents' villa is quite beautiful."

"But why?" His confusion was obvious.

"Its fun," Daphne gestured with a slender hand. She fished into her own black saddle bag and retrieved a velvet black pouch. She let it drop into Blaise's lap, before chuckling indulgently.

"It's simple harmless fun. And it certainly breaks the monotony of the school year, Harry."