Charming the Snake

Summary: What if it wasn't Draco Malfoy Harry met at Madam Malkin's, but instead Percy Weasley? How would that change things? Well, one thing's for sure – Harry isn't going to be in the same house where they put him in charge! Dark, Slytherin Harry. Years 1-7.

Pairings:Harry/Ginny, Draco/Hermione, Theodore/Daphne, Blaise/OC.

Spoilers: Random quotes from all 7 books. So, ignore if you don't want to spoil anything.

Quick Note:This was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but since it is so long, I might split it into several parts. Also, BEWARE: Harry follows Voldemort here, as does Hermione and Ginny. However, some people remain neutral like the Weasley Twins, Remus and Sirius (who follows Harry). Also some clichés in here...If you don't like, don't read. Oh, and updates might take a while, partially because school hols are coming to an end, and chapters tend to be rather long. Anyway, hope you like.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Not even in my dreams.

EDITED: 11/07/2011

Broken Prophecy

"How come Percy gets new robes, anyway?" said one of the twins.
"Because he's a
prefect," said their mother fondly.

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter was having the best day of his life. He had just found out that he was a wizard – yes, a real, wand-waving, frog-turning, robe-wearing wizard! It was so incredibly amazing that he felt like pinching himself, but he was scared that if he did, he would wake up, back in his dusty old cupboard (or worse, the hut-on-a-rock) with Aunt Petunia yelling at him to cook the eggs.

The black haired boy sighed, as he glanced up at the huge sign that read, "Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions." Hagrid had already left to go get a pick-me-up (whatever that was) at the Leaky Cauldron, leaving Harry to get his school robes. It was daunting, entering his first wizard shop ever, and Harry desperately wished that Hagrid could be with him. Still, mustering the very little courage he had, he stepped through the doors.

There was a soft tinkling sound, and a squat woman dressed in mauve smiled up at him. Harry looked down at her, and couldn't help but notice how very small she was. Harry opened his mouth to tell her he was here for his uniform, but the lady – Madam Malkin, he presumed – interrupted him before he even got a word out.

"Are you here for Hogwarts, dear? Got the lot here – there's another man being fitted up just now, in fact." Malkin cooed, sweetly. Harry couldn't help but feel a twinge of annoyance at the witch (he didn't like being dismissed, you see) but he quickly masked his face and followed Madam Malkin, who ushered him right to the back of the shop, where another boy was standing on a footstool.

The boy was extremely tall, and had flaming red hair, which contrasted with his pale skin. He was standing with his back straight and his head up high, but Harry could just make out a sprinkle of freckles which covered his nose. He had a sour looking expression on his face, and a pair of thin, rectangular black glasses covered his eyes.

"I've never seen you before," the boy said, when Harry claimed the footstool next to his. "You must be a first year. What's your name?"

"Harry..." Harry paused for a second, remembering what Hagrid had said. For some odd reason, he didn't think that this boy was going to be any different from all those other people in The Leaky Cauldron. Quickly making a decision, he quickly covered his tracks, "Harry...Brad. Um, Harry Brad Pitt…that's my name." He lied. Behind his back, Harry crossed his fingers and prayed that the boy had never heard of Brad Pitt before.

It must've worked, because the boy held out his hand, pompously, and said, "Percival Weasley, Prefect." Harry noted the bright badge on his chest, and quickly shook his hand. After all, the redhead must be important. He didn't think he'd have a gold badge, otherwise. Even in London, only the Principal ever wore a brooch as shiny as that! (Of course, at that time, Harry didn't realise exactly how much Percy had polished it and that if he was the slightest bit sane, the pin wouldn't look half as pretty.)

"Muggle-born, I'm presuming?" Percival prompted. When Harry looked at him quizzically, the pompous boy continued, "People who were born from a muggle family. You would have to be, because I know I haven't heard of a 'Pitt' family anywhere, so you're not pureblood, and if you were a half-blood, you wouldn't look nearly as confused. See, my Dad works with Muggles. I think it's impractical, of course. He could have a higher career in the Ministry, one that pay him double the amount of Galleons he gets, but he prefers to work in that department."

Percival continued, not waiting for Harry to respond, "I on the other hand, am going to get a much better employment. I am the best in my class, and there's no doubt that I will possibly be the next Minister. In fact, as soon as I get out of school – I plan to apply for a job as assistant. I will be in hold of so much political power, that nobody will doubt me, not that they do now. Of course, everybody has to start little – and my Mother was so very proud when Professor McGonagall named me Gryffindor Prefect. It was such an honour – though I do have bigger plans in mind. At this rate, I will become Head Boy too!"

Harry was totally lost, and fought to keep up with the complexity of the conversation. Still, he found himself overwhelmed with dozens of different terms: What was this about a Ministry? And what was McGonagall...was he a Professor? Harry recalled seeing his name somewhere, but where? And, what the hell was Gryffindor? Was it the name of another teacher...or was it a creature of some sort? Why would they name Percival head of a creature? He'd heard you had to be gentle and patient to take of an animal, and he looked neither. But, then again, what would he know, really? It was his first day in the Wizarding World!

"What does he teach?" Harry asked, abruptly cutting of Percival's pompous rant. He couldn't help it really – he was just so eager! "Professor McGonagall, I mean. What is 'Gryffindor', anyway...and who are the Ministry?"

"You are a Muggle-born," Percival concluded, disdainfully (he didn't like to be interrupted at all, and when he did, he got quite angry, you see), "You really don't know anything, do you? You ought to study more. I'd think that you'd want to know more about the Wizarding World. I should've known you'd be incompetent! You can't even carry yourself properly – your slouch is horrendous...and your glasses! You should have more tact. Taping them up! How could you leave them in such bad shape? Your parents would be ashamed! You look like an owl – they are so common. My mum said that she'd try and get me something other than an owl!"

He couldn't help it, but Harry was getting very annoyed with the older boy. He reminded him awfully of Dudley, only more intelligent. He had just asked a question – and Percival had answered it by ranting off insults at him. And he was supposed to be a Prefect! What kind of person makes a self-important person like him a Prefect? He'd insulted his own Father, and then, to top it off, he'd insulted Harry's parents. The raven-haired boy could only take so much: insult the Dursleys, whatever. Insult him, he'd brush it off, he'd heard it before. But insult his parents, and you'd forever be on his bad side.

"I just asked what Graffindoor was," Harry snapped, fighting the urge to storm out of there. (The dull pain of the revelation that what he'd been told about his parents was a lie all along made him rather touchy about the subject.) Because of his sudden movement, Madam Malkin poked a pin into his arm. He hissed. "You don't have to get all fussy."

"Yes, well," Percival sniffed, haughtily, "To answer your questions, Professor McGonagall is the deputy headmistress – a female. The Ministry of Magic is only the most influential government in Great Britain! They control everything and they are very recognizable, well-known people with a lot of power. Everybody knows that."

Percival shot Harry a piercing look (only it wasn't so piercing to Harry), before adding, "Gryffindor is one of the four houses in Hogwarts, it was founded by Godric Gryffindor. It is the noblest house, and is full of successful, brave people who are pure of heart."

Harry gritted his teeth. He hated it when people acted like they were superior to him! He absolutely despised it. The Dursleys did it to him all the time, and now, when he came to the Wizarding World, he had been so hopeful that things would change. Apparently, it seemed like he was wrong. For once, just once, he would kill for the chance to be above them all.

But still, he wanted to know more about Hogwarts, and he couldn't deny curiosity. Frankly, it was only for that reason that Harry stayed put and asked (though rather impatiently) "What about the other three? There's Graffinsnore and...?"

"Gryffindor," Percival rolled his eyes, before assuming his proud position, "There is also Hufflepuff, which is for those with the kindest hearts. They are the most loyal and will stay true no matter what happens. Helga Hufflepuff was also a healer, and most Hufflepuffs end up being something similar. They like peace."

"There is also Rowena Ravenclaw's house, which is filled with people who are studious and smart. Ravenclaw is generally the cleverest people, but they tend to study a lot. Most of them aren't very social, but once you get to know them, they are as great as anyone. Most of them end up becoming Professors or Masters and Mistresses in various subjects."

"Lastly, the Slytherin house," Percival said this with distaste, "Founded by Salazar Slytherin, they are ruthless, evil and cunning. They are both ambitious and disliked. They have an obsession with snakes as well. I warn you not to go there, only the worst emerge from the snake pit."

Again, Harry felt a soft prick of irritation. He couldn't help it, he had lived with prejudice for years, and here was a pampered boy, mouthing off things about how going to 'Slytherin' automatically labelled you as evil. (It was the same thing the Dursleys had done to him, and he knew exactly how that felt like.) And I happen to like snakes, thank you very much!

The first kindness and civility that had been shown to him all these years (Mrs Figg and some of the teachers didn't really count, it was their duty to be nice to him) came in the form of an understanding Brazilian boa constrictor, so it was no surprise that he had adopted a sort of fondness for them. (1)

"My whole family have been in Gryffindor for years. My little brother, Ronald (Ron), is going to Hogwarts this year, but I can say that he doesn't compare to my excellence, though he is a somewhat prejudiced. I was hoping to guide him this year, because my exasperating twin brothers, Frederick (Fred) and George are sure to try and persuade him to join them in their impertinent trouble-making. They are infuriating, and they have no respect for me at all!"

"I have two other brothers – one is off piercing his ears at Gringotts and the other chasing off dragons! At least William (Bill) has the sense to stay at Gringotts, which pays you much more than what Charles (Charlie) gets living with dragons! I hope my sister – Ginevra (Ginny) – has some sense to find a better job. She is rather manipulative at times, and I think she is falling for the twins' influence, but I can only pray that she sees the light."

The exaggeration of names was ignored, and Harry was still reeling from the fact that there were more of Percivals.

"Which house do you think you will be in?" Percival asked, stopping his rant abruptly. "You look like a Hufflepuff. They're all sort of daft, not that it's a bad thing."

Daft? He was daft? Harry scowled, a horrible, dark sort of scowl, that would make even the bravest go into a shock, the sort of scowl that just didn't belong on an 11-year old, whether he was a completely pissed Boy-Who-Lived or not. Percival squirmed under Harry's gaze. They stayed like that for a while, until Madam Malkin finished pinning his robes. He nodded to her, and quickly paid for the robes. Harry didn't miss Percival's wince when he unlatched the huge velvet pouch (Harry had found it in his vault. It belonged to his father, something that had thrilled him so much he had to spend an additional ten minutes scouring the vault, regardless of the green expression that decorated Hagrid's face) and emptied the Galleons required. Then, grabbing his purchase, he eyed Percival one last time, and couldn't help but say something to him. It wasn't terribly polite of him – and surely, if Aunt Petunia had heard what he had said, she would be far from happy – but for now he just soaked himself in the self-satisfaction of knowing something Percival didn't.

"By the way, my name's not really Harry Pitt, but thanks for the chat." Harry smiled sweetly, before stalking out of the shop, not staying to see Percival's expression. As Harry exited the shop, he nodded curtly at Hagrid, still trying to calm himself down. Hagrid noticed this, because he quickly fell into silence, something that Harry wholly appreciated.

On his way to the ice-cream plaza (Hagrid had quietly mentioned that Harry deserved a break) Harry passed a crowd of people with shocking red hair, just like Percival's. He quickly stopped, unnoticed to Hagrid or the family in question, and strained his ears to hear what they were saying. He felt rather nosy, really, but he couldn't help himself.

"Oh Peerrccccccy –" bellowed one of the identical-looking boys, as he rapped loudly on the window of Madam Malkin's.

"...You done choosing..." continued the second one.

"...Your fancy girly robes..." smirked the first one.

"...Yet?" finished the second one.

The young-looking girl, Ginevra, giggled but quickly ducked behind the elder female, who Harry presumed, was Mrs Weasley. The boy next to her was about Harry's age, and he didn't look all too friendly. He had a sour expression on his face, similar to Percival's – or was it Percy?

"Fred," Mrs Weasley scolded the first one, "George! You should know better than to tease Percy. He is a fine young man – a Prefect too! I don't expect you two to be as responsible as him – always tinkering and blasting things up in your room!"

Mrs Weasley turned to the scowling one and said, in her sharpest voice, "And Ronald Weasley – wipe that horrible expression from your face this instant! Ginny, dear, could you please hold my bag for a minute?"

Harry suppressed a laugh at the family's weirdness, and, ignoring the dull throb of wistfulness in his heart, he dropped his ice-cream in the bin. As he was about to turn and follow Hagrid to Ollivander's, he caught Ginny's eye and she gave him a small smile. His eyes widened, before he grinned right back (though his cheeks flushed a soft pink) and then quickly hurried over to Hagrid, not able to keep the cheesy smile off his face.

"Hey Hagrid," Harry said, as he shot one last glance at the red-head girl. Something Percy had told him had sparked his interest. "Do you think that we can make another stop at Gringotts?"

"Why'dya wan' ter go ter Gringotts again, 'arry?" Hagrid asked, gruffly. He looked rather perplexed at the fact that anyone would want to meet goblins for the second time that day, much less sit on those horrible carts again (at the thought of that, he paled, and gripped his shirt rather tightly.)

The black haired boy was too deep in his musings to say much (or even notice Hagrid's reluctance), and so his words were nothing but a mere mumble, "I've got to talk to the goblins. A few things about my parents and stuff."

A few hours later, Harry returned to Dudley's second bedroom (now turned his), with a trunk full of books and a new Holly and Phoenix Feather wand in his pocket, and a vicious baby snake named Electra. Hagrid been surprised when he'd chosen a snake instead of the owl he had suggested, but he didn't say a word, though he kept sneaking suspicious glances towards Harry, which made him feel slightly miffed. Maybe Hagrid wasn't as great as he had made him to be?

But, nonetheless, Harry knew that there was no way he regretted his choice to go to Diagon Alley, even if Percy Weasley branded him a hopeless case.

He couldn't wait to go to Hogwarts – and to see that pretty redhead again.

"Funny way to get to a wizards' school, the train. Magic carpets all got punctures, have they?"

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Standing at the door frame, Harry approached Uncle Vernon, who was lounging on the couch, his moustache twitching. Taking a deep breath and reminding himself of Percy Weasley's smug smile (he wouldn't let anything stop him from showing Percy and the Wizarding World that he wasn't useless – not even Uncle Vernon), he straightened his back and stood in front of Vernon. The piggy man looked up, his chins wobbling as he stared at the now-fired up Potter. He gritted his teeth – he didn't need to be tall and a Prefect to be intimidating and get what he wanted!

"Uncle Vernon, I don't suppose you're going to London anytime soon?" Harry asked, trying to duplicate Percy's tight tone. "To get Dudley...fixed?"

Vernon grunted and looked up at Harry, suspiciously, "We were going in a few days, actually. Why, what do you want now, boy?"

"Well, according to that rather big man, I have to go to Hogwarts on September 1st. You know, being famous and the heir to the Potter fortune, its only expected." the black-haired boy smirked, inwardly. By now, his nervousness had almost faded away completely. This was going just as he wanted it to.

"Fortune...famous...? What are you playing at, boy?" Vernon narrowed his eyes.

"Oh, you didn't know?" Harry faked surprise, "My dad – James Potter – left me several vaults filled with gold. You know, my trust vault by itself is equal to about a million pounds. When I come to my inheritance I get access to about 3 more vaults. I'm the only living heir. I'm also famous, because I'm some sort of saviour, which makes me untouchable. If they find me bruised, beaten, underfed or lacking clothes fit for a person of my status – well, let's just say it won't be me in trouble, if you get my drift. The poor, poor orphan, abused by his evil relatives..."

"Y-you're lying, boy!" Uncle Vernon paled, and chuckled nervously, "You're no richer than a beggar!"

"Really, you think?" As he grinned, wolfishly, he mentally patted himself on the back. All those mirror-talks had helped his acting skills a lot. He held up his hand, to show off a gold ring, with the Potter coat of arms glittering against it. Against the gold, red, silver and black, there was a small 'P' embedded on the surface.

"This, Uncle Vernon, is the Potter ring. One of the goblins," Harry held back an out-of-character snicker at the sour expression on Vernon's face, "gave it to me, when I made my 2nd trip to Gringotts. I was just curious about what else my parents left me. Since it was a rather unique request, they took me to the manager of my family vaults, who enlightened me on a few facts. I learnt a lot of fascinating things...did you know that this signet ring belonged to the last Potter head – my father?"

"Now, I'm not supposed to receive this until my 17th birthday, but the goblin said that the Potter family had some rather different rules. He said, and I quote: 'the heir to the Most Noble and Ancient House of Potter fortune is to be presented the Potter ring upon the death of the previous Head. He shan't, however, be christened Lord Potter until the coming of his 17th year.'"

Harry smirked, maliciously. He couldn't help it. Watching his childhood tormenter stumble over himself, at his manipulations, was horribly exhilarating. "Considering I'm the last heir, I basically have most of the rights a Lord has. I'm not, however, allowed to be emancipated until fifteen. That's fine though, because you see, this ring itself is worth quite a fortune."

Vernon's face was as white as a sheet. He stared at the ring – the boy was right, it would be worth thousands of pounds...if only he could grab it...

"Don't think of stealing it either, it can only be worn by those of Potter blood," Harry said, coolly. It was true, too, but Harry wasn't going to let Vernon find out the hard way (no matter how satisfying it would be) and then put the blame on him. "As I was saying, I need to get to Kings Cross, to catch my train to Hogwarts. And, being rich and all – I do hope that I can be presentable, or who knows what they may presume is going on at this household..."

Vernon stuttered, but Harry paid him no mind, and glided towards his 'room' (something that had taken much practice, mind you.) Before he could leave though, he turned towards Vernon and gave him an innocent smile, "If I was you, I'd go call Aunt Petunia to go to the shops – I need some attire that doesn't make me look like an overgrown…pig."

Stifling a laugh, Harry hurried up the stairs, and collapsed onto his bed, letting Electra curl around his waist and hiss soft words of warmth into his ear. He had a feeling that things would be getting a lot better from now on.

As he closed his eyes, he didn't notice the dark veil of black that cloaked his body. Electra did, however, but she merely bared her fangs, her eyes gleaming in anticipation and recognition.

"Well, there you are, boy. Platform nine — platform ten. Your platform should be somewhere in the middle, but they don't seem to have built it yet, do they?"

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Perhaps one of Harry's best discoveries was the fact that acting sly, manipulative and well...superior, even if you weren't, got you a long, long way. As soon as he went home, he had tried the method which Percy had called 'Slytherin' on his relatives, and that had gotten them shaking in their boots. They had gone out of their way to ensure that Harry got his every need, and had even gone so far to tell Dudley to 'not disturb the Potter boy'. It was surprising how just a wand, and a couple of threats got you so far.

He was now dressed in a very expensive green shirt, the same shade of his eyes, with a pair of branded jeans and posh converse shoes. He had a dark green watch, shaped like a winding snake. He wore a black jacket with silver lining over the top, and under his right sleeve, his new snake wrapped around his arm. Gone were his round glasses, and they were replaced by a rather costly pair of contacts, which apparently changed to fit your prescription. (Something that came out of his impromptu trips around Diagon Alley) Even though the man at the Wizarding shop refused to reduce the price, Harry couldn't deny that the contacts were worth it. At least now he didn't need to stumble around like a blind bat, when his glasses were knocked off.

After quickly making his way to Platform 9 and ¾ (Courtesy of "Hogwarts: A History"), much to Vernon's (who, after all the torment his horrible freak of a nephew had put him and his normal family through, had been very well prepared to laugh himself jolly at the would-be-mess) shock, Harry quickly dragged his trunk to the nearest empty compartment, and made himself at home. Well, as home as you could get in a train filled with loud, boisterous wizards and witches that could potentially fatally harm you. Sighing, he started reading his book – "Pureblood Traditions" – which was really interesting, especially since he hadn't a clue what to expect of the Wizarding World.

The book itself outlined all the traditions the Pureblood world had, and Harry started to see why some of the ancient houses wouldn't want Muggleborns allowed in Hogwarts. (This was a concept that Hagrid had hastily explained to him when Harry had pointed out the tall blonde man that seemed to glare at every bright-eyed, wide-mouthed child that passed.)

Not that Harry was prejudiced or anything – no, Harry would rather damn himself that be that – it was just that if everyone of noble background married Muggles or Muggleborns, who would be there to continue on the traditions and magic of the powerful, wealthy houses? Certainly not the Muggles, who seemed far more content with Science, and would probably scoff in the face of magic – or worse, history, would repeat itself in the form of Witch/Wizard Burnings. So, the Wizarding World would die out, plain and simple. And Harry, having seen a peek of the wonders of magic, didn't want anyone to miss out on it.

It was then, in the midst of his musings, the compartment door slid open.

A lanky red-head stepped through the doors, and pointed to the seat next to Harry, scratching his arm, "Anybody sitting there?"

Harry immediately recognized him as the sour-looking Weasley from Diagon Alley. He shrugged; mentally hoping that 'Ronald' would get the idea that he much rather preferred the silence. Unfortunately, Ron took this as a 'yes', and he sat next to Harry. The red-head cleared his throat, "My name's Ron Weasley."

The Potter looked up from the page he was reading and raised one eyebrow. "I know," he said, simply, before turning the page on his book.

There was a long quiet, until finally, Ron broke it. He cleared his throat again, his expression confused but accepting, "'s your name then?"

Harry didn't respond, but simply turned the page in his book. Honestly, he didn't want to tell anyone his name until they had earned his respect – or he was forced to. A couple of minutes passed, before Ron tried again. Harry sighed and looked up again. He grudgingly admitted to himself that he would rather just tell him his name, rather than spend the whole ride being pestered by the incessant redhead. "You have eyes. Use them." He pointed to his scar and then continued reading.

"Blimey! You're Harry Potter! You're the Boy-Who-Lived!" Ron exclaimed, his voice excited.

Not this again! Harry rolled his eyes, and mocked him, "You're the Boy-Who-Was-Annoying! Gosh, you'd think people here would have more tact!"

Ron had the grace to blush sheepishly. As the black haired boy went back to reading his book, Ron spoke up again, to Harry's frustration, "Do you still remember what happened when You-Know-Who did – you know...?"

"I don't know what happened to me when I was a baby, but even if I did, I wouldn't speak a word of it to you," Harry replied, not even looking up to see Ron's wince. He felt slightly bad, but then brushed it aside. It was his fault for being so damn irritating, anyway. There was another silence, and this time it stretched on for a few hours. Ron busied himself with his scrawny, ugly-looking rat (its name was Scrubbers or something), while Harry continued to read his book. By the time that Harry was on the last chapter – 'Balls and Formal Events' – the trolley lady knocked on their compartment.

"Anything off the cart, dears?" she asked, gesturing towards the pile of sweets. Harry put down his book, and eyed the cart, before nodding. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a maroon pouch (the ones with the words 'James Potter – Prongs' and a small golden stag imprinted on it.) He took out a few sickles and paid them to the cart lady.

He purchased a couple of Mint Mice – even if they weren't real mice, Electra had taken quite a liking to them, and she was currently nudging him through the sleeve of his shirt, hungrily – and a few Pumpkin Pasties, and one Cauldron Cake. He nodded at the lady with a tight smile, and she turned back to Ron and asked him if he wanted any. The red-head boy looked pleadingly at Harry, who pretended not to notice, before shaking his head at the lady, slightly miserable.

He pulled out four lumpy sandwiches and said, gloomily, "Mum always forgets I hate corned beef."

Holing back a not-so-sympathetic response, Harry picked up his book again, and chomped on the soft Pumpkin Pasty, idly wondering about the odd flavouring of the food in the Wizarding World. A few minutes later, the compartment door slid open to reveal a tearful, plump boy. "Sorry," came his wavering voice, "But have you seen a toad at all?"

When Harry shook his head, politely – well, he didn't really know him at all, and he was a lot more courteous than Ron had been – the boy wailed, "I've lost him! He keeps getting away from me!"

"Did you try an Accio charm?" Harry asked, still immersed in his book.

"I-I'm not very good at magic!" the boy sniffled, "Wait here! I'll bring Hermione!"

"Don't know why he's so bothered," said Ron. "If I'd brought a toad I'd lose it as quick as I could."

"You're one to talk," scoffed Harry. Frankly, Harry would get rid of a toad if he had one, too, but he wasn't going to tell that to him. Before Ron could do anything other than flush a dark red, the door opened again, to show the boy again, but this time he had a brunette with a huge head of bushy hair. She looked like a Ravenclaw. You could practically see the intelligence shining from her eyes.

"Neville said you're going to do magic," The girl, who Harry presumed was Hermione, spoke. "Let's see then."

Harry rolled his eyes, and pulled out his glistening wand (Ron shot it a jealous look, to his amusement), before turning to Neville, "What's the name of your toad?"

"T-Trevor..." Neville bit his lip. He looked like he was going to collapse into tears, any minute now.

Harry nodded, and waved his wand the way his Charms book had shown. The first time he had done the spell, he had become horribly nervous, but since the Ministry charm didn't activate until arrival upon Hogwarts (thank you to "Laws for the Underage Wizard"), Harry had been free to practice as much as he wanted. And boy, did he practice. He hadn't even glanced at the first year spells – he'd learn them this year anyway – and had skipped ahead several years. It had taken a lot more effort, and weeks of frustration, but he had finally gotten the hang of one or two spells which he found helpful. "Okay, thanks. Accio Neville's toad – Trevor!"

There was a swish zooming sound, and then a couple of soft screaming. Harry watched on, with idle curiosity, as a squishy green toad zoomed into Neville's outstretched hands. The pudgy boy looked extremely happy, and after thanking him repeatedly, he skipped off to his own compartment. The Hermione girl shot Harry an impressed (though her eyes sparked with desire – but not the kind that normal people would wear) look. Before she left, she turned towards them.

"That was a Fourth Year spell!" Hermione breathed in awe, before composing herself. She looked as if she was going to say something, considering how her eyes were narrowed, and trained onto his wand. For a minute, she looked extremely conniving, and Harry could almost imagine her hissing: 'Give me more knowledge.' Grinning mentally, he shook off the fanciful image, just in time to see Hermione give a bright (but fake) smile, "Well, you'd better change. I expect we'll be arriving soon."

As soon as she left, Ron started bad-mouthing her. Harry rolled his eyes, and picked up the Mint Mice by the tail. Ron noticed this and started talking again, "I wouldn't eat them if I were you. I had one once and I almost choked."

"They're not for me, you idiot," Harry snorted, "They're for Electra – my familiar."

"You have a familiar?" Ron asked, enviously, "You're so lucky. Can I see her then? Your owl I mean?"

"She's not an owl," Harry snapped. This boy was almost as bad as Percival was; only he was more bouncy and annoying. And what was with the stereotyping? Did he just scream out 'OWL?'

"Really...? What is it then?" Ron continued, in the same tone as before. "You must have a really cool animal, if it's your familiar –"

The door slid open again, only this time Harry was only slightly more interested in the people who came out. Okay, to be frank, Harry ignored the two thick boys who resembled bodyguards, but he was eyeing the aristocrat blonde, mildly. The blonde had apparently heard what Ron had said, because, he said in a silky , dubious, voice, "You've got a familiar? Funny, Father said that most wizards bond at such an age. Do tell us what your familiar is."

The blonde was somewhat pompous, but definitely not as much as Percy. Actually, he reminded Harry of himself, only perhaps with a bit more pride. So Harry shrugged and turned to his sleeve. Ron's eyes were bugging out, curiously, but the other boy looked on, coolly.

"Fine, but if I were you, I'd be a bit cautious," Harry advised. Ron scoffed, thinking he was joking. Harry rolled his eyes, before hissing, "Electra, come on out. I've got some nice Mint Mice for you, and some people want to see you. The red-head is pissing me off, give him a scare would you?"

The blonde looked surprised, and Ron's mouth was hanging open. Slowly, Electra slithered out ("Mousssse doessssn't sssmell like mousssse...") into view and she hissed a reply, before turning to the Weasley and baring her teeth. The Weasley squeaked, before scrambling away. Electra quickly spotted the Mint Mice and swallowed them in two bites, before she returned to her spot in Harry's jacket. There was a long silence, in which Ron recovered, and the blonde resumed his cool expression.

"How very interesting, you're a Parsletongue...what is your name again?" the blonde asked Harry, trying to hide the slight waver in his voice.

"I'd have thought that was obvious," Harry smirked, pointing at his scar. The boy's lips quirked upwards. "I seem to recall seeing you – or perhaps it was your father's family – somewhere in 'Most Prominent Purebloods of the Century', may I question you and your companions' names?"

Formal talk, what a bore, Harry sneered mentally. Oh well, if it gets me away from Ron then whatever.

"Companions...? Oh, right. This is Crabbe and Goyle," said the blonde, carelessly, "Their fathers seem to think it is necessary for them to follow me everywhere. Pathetic, really. My name's Malfoy, by the way, Draco Malfoy."

Harry smiled at the name. Despite its unique-ness, it rather suited the wealthy-looking Malfoy in front of him (the girls at his primary school would call him exotic but dangerous, admittedly with a lot of screaming). Ron, however, thought this was funny, because he started sniggering. Draco didn't take this well, and he turned on the red-head sneering.

"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford." He turned back to Harry, who watched this with a hidden grin. He did have some discretion, after all. "You'll soon find out some Wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."

Draco held out his hand and Harry eyed it for a second, before standing up. He dusted his shoulders, and for a minute Ron started smiling wickedly, thinking that Harry was going to hit him. Instead, the black haired boy reached over and shook Draco's hand, firmly. "I was just leaving, anyway. He was annoying the hell out of me."

Harry turned back to the compartment, where Ron was looking both betrayed and hopeful. Harry rolled his eyes and levitated his trunk into his hand. He waved his wand into an arc, and muttered a mild memory charm (it would hold for at least two more years, unless something sparked the memory – like an image of Harry feeding Electra a mouse – according to 'Useful Charms and Spells') and turned to the smug blonde.

"By the way, it's Harry. Harry Potter."

"The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin."
"Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Draco was a good friend; at least once you got past his pureblood exterior. They had spent the rest of the train ride discussing several theories on the Wizarding World that Harry had been dying to confirm. Draco had seemed rather impressed that Harry shared most of his views about Slytherin, and so wasn't reluctant to share everything he knew about the Pureblood Legacy. One of the interesting topics that they covered was that the Head of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black was no other than his godfather, who was rotting in Azkaban for the murder of 13 Muggles. (Though, strangely, Draco refused to say anything about how he got there in the first place.)

For now, though, that was none of his concern, because right now he would be facing something that would determine his path for the next seven years – The Sorting. As the doors swung oprn, he couldn't help it – his jaw dropped. It was a hat – a bloody hat! Here he had practised his arse off for some sort of magical test, but he finds out that all he needed to do was confront with a hat! A singing hat, at that! Harry felt unusually spiteful, and in his mind's eye, he felt like throwing 'Hogwarts A History' at McGonagall – stuff 'difficult decisions based on life's experiences!' Why didn't someone just tell him that everything would fall to a hat?

Draco had a similar reaction to him, only his was through narrowed eyes. McGonagall, of course, ignored them both (though she cast a wary look at them both) and went up to the stool. She waited until the hat finished singing its horrendous song, before she proceeded to give her instructions ("Sit on the stool and try the singing hat, how trying," Harry had retorted quietly) and then started listing off all the names.

Harry quickly snagged a spot near the front, so that he could clearly see everyone's reactions. Most of them were boring, as Harry didn't know any of the people, until Harry McGonagall called out, "Granger, Hermione" and the brunette girl from the train scampered to the front. There was a long pause (in which Harry watched her face scrunch up in distaste) until –


The hall went silent. No Muggle-born had ever been in Slytherin before. Harry shot a look at the Slytherin table – where a few of the first years were glaring at her. The black haired boy was surprised to see that most of the older kids were just looking at their newest addition in interest. Hermione, however, looked positively distraught. She had the makings of tears in her eyes and she was muttering, "This wasn't supposed to happen! I was supposed to be a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw. It's not my fault I was thinking about that boy in the train –"

That was all Harry heard before she made a dash for the end of the Slytherin table. Draco turned to Harry, and spat, "A mudblood in Slytherin! That's impossible!"

"Well, being the first Muggle-born in Slytherin has to count for something, right?" Harry shrugged, not really understanding why Draco was so fired up. "Besides, maybe she has some magic blood in her that she wasn't aware of. I read something about old families banishing squibs – for all we know, her great-great-grandfather could be Merlin. (Draco sneered at the thought) Like you said it's impossible, so either she's a half-blood and unaware of the fact, or she's ambitious and cunning enough to outweigh Salazar Slytherin's expectations."

Draco's repulsed face settled somewhat. " have a point, I guess. But I still don't like it!"

Harry smiled. "You don't have to. Besides, a Slytherin is a Slytherin. So we'll just keep an open mind."

"Hm, speaking of that," Draco said, barely watching as Greengrass, Daphne took the spot next to Hermione, "Which house do you think you'll be in? You don't really strike me as a Gryffindor or Hufflepuff."

"Nope, Slytherin through and through," Harry winked, playfully. (Though, truthfully, he himself was in knots about what the hat would 'mark' him as. He supposed if he convinced himself he was a Slytherin, the hat would be swayed. Besides, how reliable was a hat, anyway?) Draco smirked, but before he could speak, his name was called out. The blonde smirked and nodded at Harry, before sauntering towards the hat, which barely touched his head before pronouncing him a Slytherin.

As "Parkinson, Pansy" was called up, Draco walked over to the Slytherin table and took the seat diagonal to Granger, who was trying not to cry as Greengrass patted her back. Draco looked rather awkward, but that quickly changed to annoyance when Parkinson slid next to him, giggling like a bimbo. Needless to say, he was doing his best to ignore them all, and still keep his emotionless façade – though more than one person could see the pleading looks he shot the raven haired boy.

"Potter, Harry." called Professor McGonagall, and it took him a minute or two to register that she had said his name.

Whispers flooded the hall, but Harry only grinned. Deciding to put on another show (after all, he had always been one for dramatics – having a drama-obsessed teacher for the majority of his childhood years had influenced him – and when would he have another opportunity like this?) Harry let Electra slither out of his sleeve. Smiling, he stalked forward to the stool, in a similar fashion to Draco.

Harry saw the black haired, pale Professor narrow his eyes at him, and the extremely white Headmaster eye him with interest, and something akin to fear – or perhaps, regret – fluttered through his eyes. Harry ignored them all, and Harry eyed the hat, disgusted, before carefully putting it on his head. He could feel Electra curl around his waist.

"Thissss hat issss in your brain, Massster. And thesssse two-legsss ssstare at you in the mossst unflattering way possssible." Electra spoke, contempt licking at her words. She bared her fangs at the audience, absolutely horrified with the unsightly way they looked at her keeper.

People around him gasped and the black-haired Professor's lips quirked – though there was noticeable twitch in his eye. The Headmaster looked shocked (and seemed to be reminiscing about something he wasn't particularly fond of), and Professor McGonagall took a subconscious step back. The dwarf man fell of his chair, and several other Professors dropped their spoons. The only people that didn't seem shocked were Hagrid and Draco (who, in fact was looking positively delighted.)

Minutes ticked past, and people waited, anxiously to see what house he would be put in. A few more minutes ticked past, and a few First Years could see Harry's lips curling, and his hand reaching to caress Electra's head. The snake hissed, and the sorting Hat moved. Everybody held their breath, and the Gryffindors looked just about ready to start cheering (though half of them looked ready to faint – including a pale Neville Longbottom.) A few seconds of silence passed, before the Sorting Hat opened its brim.


The silence that followed was unnerving and so thick that you could cut it with a knife, but it only served to put a cruel grin on Harry's face. Electra slithered to the floor, finding a comfortable spot near Hermione, who looked like she was torn between analysing what type of snake Electra was, and screaming bloody murder, instead settling for a nervous, panicked frenzy.

Almost like a chain, the room exploded into chaos, and Harry was at the head of it all, nothing, if but completely and utterly satisfied.

"Double Potions with the Slytherins," said Ron. "Snape's Head of Slytherin House. They say he always favours them — we'll be able to see if it's true."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

One of the lessons that Harry anticipated the most was Potions. They had missed their first class of Potions, because their Head of House apparently had to go somewhere. Draco had joked that he had a break-down because Harry was in his house. (In reality, Draco didn't know how close to the truth he really was, as Snape had spent a good deal of that day trying to bargain with Dumbledore – and the rest, drowning in his sorrows, a bottle of Firewhisky in his hands – to get Harry removed from Slytherin. He'd finally accepted it, though, if only because of the idea that James Potter would be rolling in his grave.)

Harry was abnormally 'gifted' in all the subjects, according to McGonagall, who had taken him aside after his first Transfiguration Class, but Harry had firmly denied it, saying that he had a months prior practice, and that he wasn't a prodigy at all – and, no, he wanted to stay in the same class, thank you very much. Still, he couldn't help but feel proud. Though some of the praise was all for nothing, as his classes were either very informative but boring, or just completely worthless.

Charms, Transfiguration and Herbology fell into the first category, but there was no doubt that History of Magic (which was taught by a horribly boring ghost), Astronomy and Defence against the Dark Arts were pretty much useless – and tedious to add. Even though Harry had been very interested in the latter (the prospect of learning spells in a practical, offensive/defensive environment seemed exhilarating) it seemed that Professor Quirrell was not cut out to be a teacher, and Harry was sorely disappointed.

Professor Snape on the other hand – well, he'd just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, though, Harry was getting along marvellously with most of the other Slytherins (apart from the pug-faced Pansy and her lackeys – whom he had lashed at, after they had attempted to fix him up with a girl from their gang). Draco was pretty much his closest friend, but Harry had a good relationship with Theodore Nott (whom was rather renowned for being an "idiotic badass with witty comments") Harry had also taken a liking to Blaise Zabini, but they hadn't had a chance to talk too much. Crabbe and Goyle, however, still followed both Harry and Draco around, but to a lesser degree. Harry also had a developed close friendship with Daphne Greengrass.

Daphne had grown up with Draco, so he had naturally introduced her to Harry. The blonde-haired, violet-eyed girl was pretty much everything Harry had expected in a sister. The three were really close, and were almost always seen laughing together. Daphne was funny and accepting, but still very devious when she wanted to be. She was the criminal mastermind in their group – or so Draco said, before Daphne proceeded to tip her goblet of pumpkin juice down Draco's robes.

She was also quite a 'softie'. She absolutely adored animals – and loved Electra to bits, much to the snake's happiness. Harry wasn't the doting type at all, so Electra had enjoyed basking in how much Daphne pampered her. ("At this rate, she'll run off with Daphne," Draco rolled his eyes) But, she had also taken pity on Hermione Granger, who was having a very hard time, being shunned by the younger Slytherins (and, consequently, the older ones too, as they cared only for political allies – they were going out into the world soon, in their defence.) Harry had noticed that Daphne would sometimes sit with Hermione in the Common Rooms, but the blonde girl would rarely actually talk to the brunette. Harry felt slightly sorry for her, but he resolved to talk to her later.

Finally the day of their first Potions lesson arrived, which they incidentally shared with the Gryffindors. Harry noted that Professor Snape didn't look particularly happy.

"Tanya (whom, apparently, was Daphne's second cousin, through marriage) says he gives the same speech to every first year," Daphne said, amused, "You think he'll go easy on you, Harry?"

"Probably not," Draco snickered. Harry raised an eyebrow at Draco's words. The blonde boy shrugged, carelessly and offered an explanation, "My father says that James Potter and Professor Snape didn't exactly meet eye-to-eye when they went to school. In short, they were mortal enemies."

"Oh, that's just great for me!" Harry groaned, "It's a good thing I'm not a Gryffindork. Still, I don't think being in his house will make him go easy on you."

"Pull up your big boy pants, Potter," Daphne laughed, "As long as you answer all his questions and impress you, I think you can maintain a mutual relationship."

"Sometimes I wish I was a girl," Harry muttered. Draco smirked, and looked like he was about to say something really insulting, before Daphne smacked his arm.

"I don't think that will make a difference," A soft voice came from behind them. All three Slytherins spun around, to see Hermione Granger clutching her books and looking rather awkward. She gestured to the chair next to Daphne, "Do you think I could sit here?"

"Er-yeah, sure," Daphne said, looking surprised. There was a soft silence, before Harry broke it, by sniggering. Daphne glared at him. "Oh, shut up Potter."

"Yes, Daphne," Harry smirked. He turned to Hermione, who was staring at her books.

Daphne and Harry exchanged looks, and they both nodded subtly at Draco, who suddenly looked awfully startled. 'This is your call,' Daphne mouthed, her eyes gleaming threateningly. Slightly uncomfortable, Draco cleared his throat, "You know, Grang- um, Hermione, we aren't going to bite."

Hermione blushed softly, "I-I know, it's just that I-I thought you were – you were going to..."

"Act like Parkinson?" Daphne finished, sharply. "Not all Slytherins are that bad, you should know since you are a Slytherin."

"Yeah, what happened to that confident girl I met on the train?" Harry bit out. Secretly, he wondered why he was even bothering. Probably because he didn't want to deal with a crying girl – it was both flustering and bad for his reputation.

"I-I-I just thought y-you'd despise Mudbloods ("Where did she learn that word anyway?" muttered Daphne, before looking discreetly at Draco, who had the decency to be ashamed) like me," Hermione hung her head.

Draco fidgeted slightly, and Harry, feeling slightly sorry for his best friend and his predicament, spoke, "Look, we're not saying we don'tlike them or anything – we're just keeping an open mind, and as far as we have seen, most of the Muggleborns are so caught up in the 'wonders of magic' that they completely mess up the whole experience of it."

"Besides," Daphne said quietly, "There is a small chance that you could be a half-blood. Your parents could be squibs or something."

Hermione looked so hopeful that Harry felt sorry for the girl. He remembered when he was in her position, shunned by everyone else. If somebody had offered their friendship to him –

Daphne smiled, softly, "But, this doesn't guarantee we're best friends or anything, but how about you owl your parents, and meanwhile we can spend some time together. You need to catch up on how to act and be a Slytherin, since you're practically Gryffindork material. No offense."

Hermione just nodded, her eyes slightly teary, "None taken. But...but are you truly serious? Will you guys teach me how to be...Slytherin?"

Draco exchanged looks with Harry, before nodding, "I guess we could try. I doubt Harry here will be able to teach you much, though maybe he could sit on a few of those lessons. Hm...This gives me an idea..." He turned to Daphne, "You thinking what I'm thinking, Daph?"

"Oh, yes!" Daphne grinned evilly, and almost simultaneously, the sombre mood lifted, "We'll give you both Pureblood Lessons! How to dress, how to act, how to present yourself and to dance!"

Harry gaped, all wistfulness lost, "You're kidding me, right?"

"This will be fun!" Hermione smiled, enthusiastically. Harry was inwardly surprised (and slightly unnerved) at how quick someone could cheer the brunette up.

"See, Harry, you should have the same attitude as Hermione," Daphne scolded, before she turned to Hermione and started giving her pointers on how to survive this class.

Draco and Harry looked at each other, and mouthed in sync, "Girls!"

It was at that moment that the rest of the Gryffindors piled in. Harry sneered, spitefully at one in particular – Ron Weasley.

The two boys had become enemies ever since Harry had abandoned Ron on the train and been sorted into Slytherin. Ron apparently saw Harry as a back-stabbing, traitorous Slytherin git, while Harry saw Ron as an annoying, up-himself, ridiculous, pompous, arrogant Gryffindor idiot who was horrible at anything and everything. It was simple, really.

Before Harry could even begin his round of daily insults, there was a loud click of boots, and the pale Professor from the sorting feast swooped through the door. He silenced the chattering Gryffindors with a frosty look, before he took his spot at the head of the class. He called out the roll-call, and every single person fell silent until called upon.

"Hermione Granger, Slytherin," Snape said after a while, "How intriguing...a Muggle-born in the house of Salazar." At Daphne's encouraging smile, Hermione lifted her chin, indignantly.

"Hm..." Snape pursed his lips, before returning to the roll. "Daphne Greengrass, Slytherin. Yes, I've met your parents...Your mother is a Potions Mistress, is she not?"

Daphne nodded and Snape returned the gesture, "I expect much from you." He continued on like this, insulting the Gryffindors and making somewhat nice comments about the Slytherins. When he got to Draco's name he made much more than one comment. No, he started praising the blonde by saying how he knew that Draco would excel in his classes.

"He's my godfather," Draco whispered into Harry's ear. The green-eyed boy raised an eyebrow. That hardly seemed fair; then again, that was life.

"Harry Potter, Slytherin," Snape spoke, his voice tinged with a distinct distaste, "My, my, my...our little saviour has gone straight to the snake pits...I wonder what your dear, dear Father is thinking right now."

Harry made his face as blank as possible. "I don't think I'm the right person to answer that, Professor."

"I'm sure," Snape said, sourly. He started listing more names, until he got to the Ws. "Ronald Weasley, Gryffindor. Another Weasley I see...pity, I was hoping to be rid of such imprudent Gryffindors by now. Let us hope the illustrious (the sneer he wore made Ron wince) line of Weasleys ends with you." Harry snickered behind his hand, which made Snape turn his head sharply. He narrowed his eyes at Harry, who plastered an innocent look on his face.

Harry saw something flicker in Snape's eyes, but as soon as it was there, it was gone. The Potions Master quickly turned away and finished off the roll with Zabini, before he cleared his throat. He spoke in calm, frosty voice which made everyone listen carefully. Harry found himself becoming more eager to begin the lesson. The more Snape spoke, the more the green-eyed boy admired the teacher. If this was his skills in giving a speech...his Potions skills couldn't be anything but extraordinary.

"...if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach." Snape finished. Draco and Harry exchanged similar glances, and then turned to smirk at Weasley, who looked just about ready to wet his pants.

"Potter!" snapped Snape, bringing the raven haired boy's attention once again to the front, "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

Harry knew this one. It was probably the first potion he had read about (simply because of its seducing name), "You would get a powerful sleeping potion – The Draught of Living Death. It is so powerful that the person that uses it falls into a deep slumber that can only be woken up from if the antidote is given. The first usage of the draught was in 1923, by a man named Sylvester Brookes. It got its name 'Living Death', because when Sylvester first used it on his wife, the side effects made her turn deathly pale, like one of a Vampire."

"Very good, Potter," Snape murmured, as Hermione's eyes widened. She grabbed her quill and quickly started listing down what Harry (Daphne watched her, amused, while Draco had a sour expression on his face) had said, "5 points to Slytherin. Let's try another one – where would you look if I told you to find me a Beazor?"

A Beazor? Where had he heard that before...right! It was on Page 345 of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi. Harry hid his satisfied smile, "In the stomach of a goat, sir. Extracting it is quite a messy process, because it is said to be found buried somewhere in the intestines of a goat. Of course, I wouldn't know exactly where, considering I'm no expert at slaughtering goats."

"Another 5 points to Slytherin. I'm impressed," Snape said, his lips curling upwards into a smirk. "I never thought I'd see so much potential from a Potter."

"I must've got it from my mother, sir," Harry shrugged. He was wise enough to realise not responding would only bring upon Snape's wrath, and even mentioning his father (if what Draco said was true) would be disastrous.

He eyed Snape, and for a minute he thought he saw the man's emotions shine through his endless black eyes. He looked – hurt? Did Snape and his mother know each other? Harry didn't ponder on it for long, because the Potions Master turned his head and looked at Hermione with a calculating look.

"Miss Granger, what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?" Snape quizzed.

The brunette looked up, surprised, and then as if she were reading off a book, she said, "Monkshood and Wolfsbane are both the same plant, found in Europe. They are a wild, cultivated and poisonous plant. It gives out yellow and/or purplish-blue flowers. It is commonly used in Muggle medicines. The Latin name for monkshood and wolfsbane is Aconitum napellus, also known as Aconite."

"Very good Miss Granger. 5 points to you. Perhaps you are deserving of the crest of Slytherin after all," Snape commented, a slight sneer on his lips.

It was a good thing that Snape didn't directly insult Slytherins, or who knows what he may have said to Hermione. Nevertheless, Harry turned and smiled, gently, at Hermione, while Daphne gave her thumbs up. Draco gave her a quick nod and turned away, not wanting to look too encouraging. The brunette blushed, happily. You could see the light in her eyes slowly returning.

Snape spun on his heel and turned to Weasley, who had apparently becoming his favourite target. After the red-head lost about 25 points, Snape turned and in a low, dark voice, instructed them to begin their potion. Harry did so, and completed it flawlessly. Well, as flawless as a boy who, a month ago, didn't believe in magic at all. By the end of the lesson, even Snape couldn't deny that Harry was very good at Potions.

And neither professor nor student could deny that they had taking a slight liking to each other.

Well, as much as Snape and Harry could.

"Typical," said Harry darkly. "Just what I always wanted. To make a fool of myself on a broomstick in front of Malfoy."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Flying lessons were something that Hermione was dreading. Harry could tell by the anxious look she adopted every time Draco and he would talk about Quidditch. (Most of these talks consisted of Draco attempting to convince him that he'd love Quidditch, while he attempted to tell the blonde that frankly, he didn't care) Daphne, on the other hand, said that though she didn't mind flying she preferred to stay somewhere where she didn't have to worry about falling at a height of over 100 feet. ("You know, just for the quiet reassurance that I won't 'disappear,'" she said sarcastically) Harry, personally, was rather indifferent to the whole issue. Though, he couldn't deny that the thought of flying was quite thrilling.

Of course, he couldn't be much worse than Weasley, who would always enter the Great Hall, bursting with incessant praise for his flying abilities. ("If his Potions abilities are anywhere near his so-called flying skills, he's doomed," Hermione noted, with a small smile – causing even Draco to burst out laughing)

The day before their first lesson ("Saturday – No lessons…" Hermione sounded rather miffed) dawned, and it saw Daphne instructing both an irritated Harry and an enthusiastic Hermione on the 'Art of Façades.' Harry, of course, had already become sufficiently proficient them over the months before Hogwarts, and so he and Draco were practising smirks using conjured mirrors. It seemed like quite a vain thing to do, but they were Slytherins, after all, and putting on false fronts was one of the only ways for them to survive in a house built on secrets and lies. Hermione eventually joined them, but it was rather obvious that not only was this rather uncomfortable for her, but she had a long way to go.

"Hermione, you have to sort of um...sneer and then quirk your lips up." Daphne tried to explain to the brunette. Harry snorted at the meagre explanation – she would never be able to get Hermione to smirk like that.

"But, how do you sneer?" Hermione asked, desperately. She really was clueless at this sort of thing. Harry idly wondered if, in a bout of anxiety, she'd try to search up books on facial expressions in the library. He wouldn't be surprised, though Madame Pince's expression would be picture-worthy.

"To sneer, just put on the expression Snape has when he looks at Weasley," Harry laughed. "And if you want to smirk, just look at Draco's famous Malfoy smirk."

"Oi!" Draco said, spitefully. Before he turned to Hermione and shot her a charming smirk. Hermione was visibly melting, and you could practically see sparkles in her eyes, "That is how you smirk."

Hermione composed herself ("I'm not going to fall for your petty little tricks," she told him later, when he attempted to pull the same thing over her head) and quickly put on her cool facade. "Um, okay, how about this?" Her lips curled up, to form a smirk similar to Draco's.

"There! You got it!" Daphne grinned, before she turned to Draco and shot him a mischievous look, "I never knew Malfoy, here, could teach. Perhaps we should advertise him – 'Smirk expert Draco Lucius Malfoy, Hire for only 1 Galleon!'"

"I doubt he'd get any business," Hermione smirked. Daphne practically beamed, and Draco, unnoticed by the rest, went to sulk in a corner, and was only soothed by Electra, who idly opened one eye, before dozing back off to sleep.

By the end of the day, Hermione had mastered the 'Art of Changing Demeanours'. (Harry wondered how Daphne could think up so many different names in one go, but didn't dare approach her with that question, in fear of the blonde's dark sadism) The brunette was slowly becoming the fourth member of their little 'group', and Daphne was awfully proud of her (as neither Draco nor Harry had helped her much at all) work. Of course, no amount of training could get Hermione – ever the over-achiever – ready for the next day, and she spent any free time she had going through 'Quidditch Through the Ages.'

The day of their flying lessons finally arrived. It was an afternoon perfect for flying (or so Draco preached.) The sky was a beautiful, clear blue, and the emerald grass was tinted with morning dew. The trees stood proud, and the Giant Squid was swimming around, happily. The sun was shining and everything – even the dungeons – seemed more bright and joyous. Even Hermione couldn't deny that the new atmosphere eased her nerves considerably.

The Slytherins were the first on the Quidditch pitch. (Or, if you wanted to get technical, Draco was the first on the pitch, followed by a moody Harry and co.) Madam Hooch was rather annoyed when the Gryffindors turned up 10 minutes late, causing her to deduct about 15 points. Then, she briefed them on what they would cover in their flying lessons, before telling them all to put their hand over their broom and say "Up".

"UP!" Harry commanded, and the broom shot up into his palm. Harry turned to his left, to see that out of all the people, only Draco, Daphne, Theodore and he had gotten a hold of the broom. Hermione, on the other hand, was staring unsurely at her broom, which was wavering along the ground. Finally, the brunette gave a frustrated sigh, put on her best Slytherin mask, and coolly lifted up the broomstick. Draco's lip twitched in approval, something that was rather rare, considering he was still wary around Hermione (though, in his defence, he hid it as best as he could.)

Madam Hooch walked around and inspected everyone's grips, but when she got to Draco she frowned and pointed out that his grip was entirely wrong. Draco flushed, and Weasley started snickering. Harry sighed, impassively, as a furious Draco clenched onto his broomstick, shooting the redhead very threatening glares. If Madam Hooch witnessed any of this, she paid it no mind, but instead told them all to lift themselves into the air, on their broomsticks, before dropping.

Of course, Longbottom took this literally (whether it was intentional or not) because in the span of two minutes, he had lost control of his broomstick and had dropped to the ground, and injured his wrist. Rather pathetic, really. Longbottom reminded him of Dudley, only he was a lot more weak and puny. Naturally, anything even close to resembling his fat cousin, Harry disliked. So, when Draco grabbed Longbottom's Remembrall, Harry made no move to stop him.

"Did you see his face, the great lump?" sneered Draco, tauntingly. Harry smirked as he took his spot on Draco's right. (Though he didn't care much for Draco's taunting, it was only fitting that he stood on the side of his best friend) Daphne laughed from the blonde's other side, and soon all the other Slytherins joined in, even Hermione who was smiling (though very uneasily) at the rather amusing display.

"Shut up, Malfoy," snapped Parvati Patil, one of the Gryffindors.

"Ooh, sticking up for Longbottom, Patil?" said Daphne, as she stepped forward to face the Indian girl, threateningly. "Never thought you'd like fat little cry-babies –then again, I suppose it is only normal for someone of your…class to fall for someone as pathetic as Longbottom."

Hermione was distinctly uncomfortable by then. Neville had been nice to her on the train... she rubbed her hand nervously.

"Look!" Draco smirked, darting forward and snatching up the glittering Remembrall. "It's that stupid thing Longbottom's gran sent him."

"What a fitting present," snorted Harry (in a bout of spitefulness) as he snatched the Remembrall from Draco's hands, "for someone of Longbottom's quality. Don't even know how that idiot got into Gryffindork anyway. I thought it was for the reckless and annoying, not for the stupid and worthless."

All four of which described Dudley Dursley perfectly.

Harry felt rather hypocritical, assuming that Longbottom was the same as Dudley, but the similarities where to glaring to say otherwise. They both had rich guardians who spoiled their guts, but yet they were both utterly incompetent at everything, except for cowering behind others' backs.

And Harry hated cowards.

"Give that back you back-stabbing Slytherin!" yelled Ron, as he stepped in front of the crowd. A dark shadow crossed the Boy-Who-Lived's face. He had nothing much against Longbottom, but if Weasley was intervening…

Harry grinned, before turning to Draco, who nodded, his cool grey eyes gleaming sadistically. Harry gripped his broom, "Nah – I think we'll leave this here somewhere Longbottom can find!" He swung a foot over the broom, and launched himself into the air. ("He's never flown before!" Hermione gasped, only to be silenced by Daphne soft smile) Harry was surprised at how easy it was to fly – it was like a second nature. Letting the sensation of absolute freedom envelop him, Harry tossed the Remembrall to Draco, who was also hovering in the air.

Draco looked down at the Gryffindors, "What? Are you too scared to come up and fly Weasley? Or were all those fanciful tales of your childhood plights just a load of gibberish then?"

"I always knew you were a good for nothing liar," Harry said, starkly, "Don't even deserve something as stupid as Gryffindor, you do."

Weasley turned red and he grabbed his broom and furiously flew upwards, his arms wobbling as he gripped the tattered surface. "Give it here, Malfoy, or I'll knock you off your broom!"

"Oh yeah?" Draco sneered, as he threw the ball to Harry, who caught it flawlessly. "You're going to have to do a lot more than knock me off my broom."

"How about we see how good you can catch, Weasley?" Harry laughed, manically. The winds rushed past him, making him feel more…more powerful than he had ever before. Shooting Draco a look, he threw the ball into the air, and then raced back down to the ground. Once he made it down, he grinned, darkly, and watched Weasley desperately try to find the Remembrall.

Suddenly there was a loud shout, and several Gryffindors backed away when they saw a simply furious Madam Hooch stomping over to where the red-head was darting around, "RONALD WEASLEY! WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT FLYING? COME WITH ME TO THE HEADMASTER'S OFFICE IMMEADIATELY!"

Harry couldn't keep the glee of his face, as he watched Weasley's two best friends – Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas – attempt to calm the raging Madam Hooch down, trying to explain that it wasn't Ron's fault. Meanwhile, the said Weasley had sidled up to where Daphne was giggling and praising Draco and Harry on their antics. Weasley looked furious. "I'll get you both – you're just slimy Slytherins! You got lucky today; I bet you I could beat you anytime, anywhere!"

"Okay, then," Malfoy leered, "Tonight, if you want. Wizard's duel. Wands only — no contact. What's the matter? Never heard of a wizard's duel before, I suppose?"

Harry shook his head, silently berating Draco for his rashness.

"Of course he has!" Dean exclaimed as he came from behind Weasley, "I'm his second – who's yours?"

Was that a challenge? He wasn't going to back down from that. He lifted his half-lidded eyes to glare up at them (sometimes he hated being short), "I am, of course. So, you think you can match up to the power of the Boy-Who-Defeated-The-Dark-Lord, Thomas?"

"Ha!" Finnegan snorted, as came up behind him, "Ron and Dean will teach you Slytherins a lesson!"

Do you think I can't smell it? Uncertainty…weakness…you doubt yourself, Finnegan, and that you should.

Daphne sneered, "Midnight all right? They'll meet you in the trophy room; that's always unlocked."

Needless to say – Filch would be getting a rather mysterious tip today.

"It's no wonder no one can stand her," he said to Harry as they pushed their way into the crowded corridor, "she's a nightmare, honestly."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Eventually, after weeks of uncomfortable and guilty thoughts, Hermione had gathered up enough courage to go up and confront Neville. It was exactly two weeks after the Flying Incident, and Hermione hadn't been able to disguise how wary she was with Harry, Daphne and Draco. It was like they had two personalities – the mean, Slytherin one and the nice, friendly one. Hermione knew that it was just a façade (or so they told her) but nevertheless – how could one not mean something and look like they did?

And…what if they were playing with her?

Clutching Neville's Remembrall in her left hand, Hermione sprinted to catch up with Neville. When the plump boy didn't turn, Hermione made her move, "Hey Neville!"

Neville turned around, and the first thing he registered was the Slytherin crest on Hermione's uniform. Neville took a step back and faltered, "W-What d-do you w-want!"

Hermione ignored his whimpers, and handed Neville his Remembrall, "I'm here to give it back to you. You dropped it in the Quidditch field the other day – you know when you lost control of your broom."

"I-If you're here t-to t-tease me go f-find someone e-else!" Neville shouted, as he dropped the Remembrall. It shattered into tiny shards, and the red smoke turned into crimson powder. Neville didn't seem to care, "Y-You probably jinxed it anyway!"

"No Neville!" Hermione protested, taken aback, "I'm just here to tell you that despite what the other Slytherins think – I still value you as a friend."

"You're lying!" Neville yelled, all stuttering gone. He looked like he'd had an absolutely horrible day, much to Hermione's dismay. "You're just a slimy Slytherin like the rest of them! If I'd known you would be a Slytherin on the train I'd never have asked you to sit with me! I thought you'd be smart like a Ravenclaw! I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND! I COULD NEVER BE FRIENDS WITH A WANNABEE DEATH EATER!"

Tears, streaming down his face. Something happened. Something bad.

Emotion is a weakness. Remember that Hermione.

"W-what?" Hermione stammered, "I thought you asked me because – because?"

"Nobody wants to be friends with you, Granger," said an insulting voice from behind. Hermione turned to see Ron Weasley glare at her, with half the Gryffindor class behind them, "You're just a disgusting know-it-all! Even your Slytherin buddies have ditched you!"

Was this…was this because I outclassed him in Charms today?

I…I didn't mean it…

"Yeah, they probably realised that you were just a stupid bitch," cried someone in the crowd, a brown haired boy (whom had been on the receiving end of McGonagall's temper when the Slytherin's thrashed her lions in Transfiguration.)

The shoutings and yells continued, and Hermione backed away. Ron started insulting her in every way (barring the more obscene, Slytherin insults) possible and when Hermione turned to beg, pleadingly at Neville, he too turned away and melted into the crowd, his expression slightly upset. Hermione turned back to where the crowd were belittling her and her house pride. She looked for help for help from someone – anyone, but no-one even moved a muscle to do anything other than mock her.

With a strangled cry, Hermione fled to the girl's bathroom.

"How could a troll get in?" Harry asked as they climbed the stairs.
"Don't ask me, they're supposed to be really stupid," said Ron.
"Maybe Peeves let it in for a Halloween joke."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Daphne was in a sort of flurry when they saw that Hermione hadn't come back for any of her classes for the rest of the day. At first they just assumed that Hermione ditched classes, but then Draco tightly reminded them that Hermione never abandoned her classes, even if she was deathly sick. (Daphne tried to ignore the trace of bitterness in his voice – Hermione was still beating him in all his classes, except for Potions) That, of course, made them (Daphne more than anyone else) slightly worried. What worried them even more was that a whole flock of Gryffindors flooded the Great Hall, looking smug.

However, when the Weasley twins rushed up towards them, Harry had no words to describe exactly how concerned he was. Both the Weasleys turned to each other, with a solemn look on their face and they turned back to Harry. The first one spoke, "Hey, Harry, we've never met properly but my name is Fred Weasley."

"I'm George Weasley," the second one added. Harry exchanged looks with Draco – the Weasley twins weren't finishing off each other's sentences. It must be beyond serious.

"I saw you two at Diagon Alley," Harry nodded, politely, "But no offense, but why exactly are you here? You can't have just come over here to introduce yourselves."

Draco looked rather shocked, Harry hated Weasleys, he'd told him so himself! So why was he even attempting to be nice to them? Daphne silenced him with a firm look, and turned to listen, anxiously.

"I don't know exactly what happened," Fred said, "but our brother – Ron – took a whole bunch of 1st and 2nd years and they cornered Granger. I think she was talking to Neville, because according to him, she was trying to pull dirty tricks on him."

"Hermione?" Draco exclaimed, unable to help himself, "You're kidding me, right? The girl's such an angel (he rolled his eyes slightly) she wouldn't hurt a fly! As much as Daph- we're trying to turn her; it is beyond her personality to be that Slytherin!"

"That's what we said," George agreed, and for a moment, he got an odd expression on his face, when he realised he was agreeing with a Malfoy, but quickly put his pride aside, "But, anyway, he took a whole group and they started throwing insults at Hermione. Ron just came and told us – and we think he's a downright prat if he thinks that it's something to be smug about."

"We've pulled a lot of pranks in our day, but we're not that cruel," Fred added, "That's why we're here. We've come to offer you a truce. Not all the Weasleys are bad people – so, you can fight as much as you want with our brother, hell, we'll even help you, as long as it doesn't damage our family – but we're here to offer a friendship…of sorts."

Harry turned to Draco and Daphne, and they looked at each other silently, as if having a telepathic conversation. They seem genuine. Finally, Harry turned to the Weasley twins and gave a small smile, "Okay, you've got yourselves a deal."

Fred sighed, relieved, "Thank you –"

"Harry my friend. For a-" George continued, and Harry hid a smile. They were completing each other's sentences, so they must have been really anxious for their approval.

For some reason, the thought of someone wanting his approval, filled him with a dark delight.

"-Second we thought-"

"-you would refuse our-"

"-offer. We give you our-"

"-sincerest thanks."

"Glad to see you're back to normal." Daphne laughed, as she turned to her blonde friend, "Draco, so you're okay with this?"

"I don't real care," Draco shrugged, "Most of this has to do with Father and politics. Just stay off my turf and don't do anything you'll regret, and we'll be…fine. Just don't expect me to be all jolly about this. I'm only going along with this, because I trust Potter, here's, judgement."

Suddenly, the door of the Great Hall flung open. Harry whipped his head around, hoping to see a flustered Hermione make her delayed entrance. Instead, he saw a pale, shivering Quirrell stumble into the room. His turban shook for a second (Harry was slightly disturbed at that, and the weird sensation that seemed to call out to him –) before he squeaked, in a petrified voice, "Troll! Troll in the dungeons! Thought you ought to know." Then he gave a shuddering breath and fell to the floor in a dead faint.

Chaos broke loose in the Great Hall. Everybody stood up and screamed, or scrambled off somewhere. Later, Harry looked back on it and scornfully noted how pitiful everybody acted in the face of danger. For Merlin's sake, they were wizards. And the Muggleborns, screeching bloody murder, weren't much help either.

Harry, on the other hand, was worried about other things. "Hermione! She doesn't know about the troll!"

"Harry – wait! You can't just rush into things!" Daphne cried, as she grabbed Harry's arm, though you could see that she wanted to run off as much as he did.

Probably more.

Draco nodded in agreement and turned to the Weasley twins, and in a clipped, reluctant voice, he spoke, "Do you think you could help us, here? Where did Hermione go?"

"We don't know-" George said, eyes full of panic.

"-Last we heard, she was outside-"

"-the Hospital Wing. But-"

"-We'll help you look-"

"-for Granger."

"Thank you," Draco nodded, curtly (barely concealing his dislike) before turning to Daphne, "The Mirrors, Daph?"

Daphne smiled, and pulled out two identical mirrors out of her pocket. She un-shrunk them, and then handed one to George, "You know how to use them, I presume? You say the password to access our mirror and vice versa."

"Of course-" Fred said, surprised. "-For the password-"

"-Our password shall be-"

"Marauder!" exclaimed the two, simultaneously.

Harry couldn't help but smirk, before edging towards the door, "Marauder – Raider, prowler, fitting. the library and anywhere around the Gryffindor Common Room, we'll search near the bathrooms, Hospital Wing and around the Great Hall."

Fred saluted, "Yes sir! But how-"

"-Do we contact-" George eyed the Two-way mirrors.


"Password is...Prongs." Harry decided. Fred and George looked at him with a mixture of surprise and suspicion. Harry raised an impatient eyebrow, wondering what exactly was the deal with the password, before speaking in a rushed voice, "It was my Dad's nickname at come on."

"We'll talk about-" Fred hissed, eyes still wide.

"-this later."

Daphne tugged on Harry's shirt, and he nodded. Dumbledore had silenced the room and had begun to tell them to retreat to their common rooms. ("Oh Morgana, doesn't he know the Slytherin Dorms are in the Dungeons?") The Prefects began moving around, but by that time all five of them had long since slipped out of the Great Hall. With one last parting nod, they split up. Harry, Daphne and Draco took right, while the Weasley twins took left.

Harry crept passed the Hospital Wing and peeped inside. It was dim and un-light. Daphne tip-toed in, and then five minutes later she emerged back out. Draco looked at her, questioningly, but the blonde girl shook her head. Harry pointed to the right and slowly slunk into another corridor. He inched past several doors, when he heard a soft thumping. He stopped, abruptly, and turned to face his two friends, a finger on his lips.

Suddenly the mirror flickered on, and Fred's voice was whispering, "Prongs, Prongs, are you there?"

Harry motioned for Daphne to give him the mirror, and she quickly did so. Harry looked down at the mirror, before saying in a hushed voice, "Marauders, anything to report?"

"No – all Gryffindors are in the Common Room." George continued.

Fred's face turned side-to-side, before he added, "Patil and Brown say no sign of Hermione since Transfiguration. You found her yet?"

"No," Harry murmured, as he looked at the large shadow that was silhouetted on the glass window. "But I think we found the troll, and it's not in the dungeon anymore."

"What!" yelled the twins. The figure of the troll stopped and Draco held his breath. After a while, it continued walking, its club swinging as it moved.

Daphne glared at the glass, and Harry shushed the twins, "You two go find McGonagall, tell her we're near the girls' bathrooms on the first floor."

"Okay, Prongs," said the red-heads, at the same time. The mirror's surface flickered, before the reflection of the twins disappeared. Harry turned to his two friends, who were eyeing the retreating form of the troll warily. Before Harry could speak, there was a piercing shriek. Harry's eyes widened as he turned to Draco, his residential curse expert.

"Draco – curses that can potentially harm trolls?" Harry rushed. "Quick!"

"Um... Telumoccupo which removes weapons..." Draco muttered, wracking his brain. "Shit! I don't work well under pressure. You know that, Potter!"

"We don't have time for this!" Daphne growled, "We need to stop being bloody Ravenclaws and get our asses over there! Hermione needs us if she doesn't want to get bashed up by a troll!" As if emphasising her point, Hermione let out another terrified scream.

"Let's go!" Harry exclaimed, as the three rushed into the girls' bathroom.

Hermione was crouched down near the sinks, her wand thrown in one corner. The troll – an ugly thing with cold, granite skin – was advancing on her, his club held up high of her head. Hermione squeezed her eyes shut, tears pouring down her face. Harry's face paled and he turned to Draco and Daphne, "Okay Telum curse on 3...okay?" Daphne nodded her face even whiter than before, as it seemed to dawn on her that this was an actual troll.

"1..." Harry cried, and they all took out their wands.

"2..." They pointed it at the troll's club. "...3!"

"TELUMOCCUPO!" The Slytherins cried. Three identical, red beams of light shot out of their wands and hit the troll. His club went flying out of his clenched hands, and landed on the cubicles, smashing them into bits. While the troll turned to look around and he charged at Daphne, who managed to duck out of the way. The troll then turned to Draco and tried to hit him and Harry. They both got away but just barely. They quickly sprinted to where the brunette was. Hermione rushed towards them and hugged Draco, tears pouring down her face.

The Malfoy blushed slightly, before saying, "Okay, Hermione, grab your wand. Harry, how about we petrify it? Nice and easy, eh?"

"Shut up Draco," muttered Daphne, as Hermione grabbed her wand, "Offensive spells don't work on trolls. You know that!"

Harry closed his eyes. There was nothing he could do. He had to use it – lest everybody and himself would be killed. He gritted his teeth, and held his wand tightly. "Avada Ke-"

There was a soft, serpentine hiss and all the Slytherins turned and stared as Electra slowly slithered out of Harry's sleeve. Harry stared at his familiar, but she ignored him and stopped at the front of one of the troll's large feet. In one, quick motion she pierced her teeth into his skin, before retreating back to where Harry was. (Trollssssss…alwayssss disssgusting creaturessss they were…) With wide eyes, Harry curled a Electra around his waist, before turning back to his friends. "You guys know what to do, right?"

They all nodded, and so the four Slytherins spun around and pointed their wand at the troll, who was stumbling over his motionless foot. Without even looking back, they cried out, "PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!" The troll stopped, and it looked like he had turned to stone. Then, after a few seconds, he wobbled and fell to the floor with a loud 'Thump'.

Silence filled the room, and all four first years turned to look at each other. Daphne's straight hair was sticking to her neck, limply. She had small cut on her cheek and right leg, from where she had ducked from the troll. Draco's hair was sweaty and was sticking all over the place. He had a black-eye. Harry's hair was limp and he had a bulging bruise on his cheek. His shirt was stained rained, and Electra was curled around his waist, fangs baring. His scar was bleeding non-stop. Hermione looked the worst, by far. Her hair had lost its volume, and was tinted with flecks of red. Her arms and legs had gashes on it, from where the chips of the cubicles has struck her skin. Her eyes were red-rimmed and she had an "X" that led from her left ear to her chin. Her large buck-teeth had been chipped (something that later led to Madam Pompfrey's decision to shrink them to average-size), and her Slytherin uniform was spotted with so much blood, it made her look like a Gryffindor.

"What are you guys doing here?" Hermione's voice wobbled.

Daphne smiled, despite the complexity of it all, "We came to find you, you doofus!"

"Me? B-But I'm just a mudblood," Hermione said, sadly.

Draco scoffed, "Yes you are, but you're a Slytherin Mudblood."

"And our friend," Daphne finished, a bright grin lighting up her face.

"E-Even if I don't act like a Slytherin?" the brunette said, tears prickling.

Harry smirked, "Even then. Besides, I know all your Gryffindor has washed out by now. After what they did to you...well, that's why we are so mean Hermione, besides the fact that we simply despise Muggles – and don't look at me like that, you know we do. We are nice to those we like, and mean to those we hate. It's a survival instinct, and you need to learn it if you want to live in Slytherin. Soon it becomes natural to you, trust me, I know."

"I guess," Hermione gave a watery smile, "But I suppose it'll take a lot of getting used to."

The door suddenly slammed open, to reveal a flustered McGonagall, followed by Snape, Quirrell and the Weasley twins. Harry turned and studied their reactions. McGonagall took one look at the troll, and her lips thinned. Snape went over to the troll, his eyes gleaming, and examined it. Quirrell clutched his heart in an exaggerated motion, and leaned back against the wall, as if even the sight of a troll would send him into spasms.

"What on earth where you thinking of?" McGonagall scolded, "You're lucky you weren't killed. Why aren't you in your dormitory?"

Harry fidgeted slightly.

Snape looked from where he was eyeing the troll's foot, "That isn't any of your concern, Minerva, as they are my Slytherins. (He turned to said Slytherins) The troll – there is signs of poisoning in the troll. Snake bite, I presume?" Electra hissed, and Snape arched an eyebrow.

McGonagall was taking deep breaths, as if to calm herself, "Mr Potter, may I please see your wand?"

Harry shrugged (silently relieved he hadn't used the spell he was intending to) and handed his Phoenix Feather wand. McGonagall waved her own wand and muttered, "Priori Incantem."

Three ghostly figures shot up, one of a club, similar to the troll's and the other of the troll himself. The last one was barely noticeable – it was a hazy, red 'X' which looked as if it had been slashed through the middle. (Unbeknownst to Harry, only one person in this room recognised what it actually meant, and he was watching with an evil smile on his face) There was weird sort of inscription beneath the first two, and McGonagall dropped the spell once she had read it. She turned to them and gave Harry his wand, "How exactly did four Slytherins manage to knock down a fully-grown troll with Telumoccupo and Petrificus Totalus?"

She didn't notice it…my almost-Unforgivable…

"Electra helped," Harry shrugged, trying to hide his surprise. He resisted the temptation to switch to Parsletongue. The only people who knew of Harry's 'gifts' were Draco and Daphne. Though, Harry had a feeling he'd be filling Hermione in very soon.

McGonagall eyed them, and then suddenly gasped, "Merlin! What happened to you four? You look horrible!"

Daphne rolled her eyes and remarked, dryly, "Well, we aren't exactly supposed to look like beauty queens after a run-in with a troll."

"You'd think someone of her enigma and status would know that," said Draco, in the same tone. Hermione barely managed a smile at her friends' antics.

"You four will go to Madam Pompfrey immediately!" McGonagall instructed, fussily. "I'll have to notify the Headmaster immediately!"

"Meanwhile," Snape's frosty voice spoke, "For exhibiting true Slytherin qualities, although – unfortunately – with a touch of Gryffindor bravery in the mix, 25 points to Slytherin...each." Hermione's eyes practically radiated pride, whilst Draco looked mildly impressed. McGonagall opened her mouth to protest, but instead barked at them to go to the Hospital Wing.

Harry was the only person to notice that Quirrell had been staring at them the whole time, with a curious gleam in his eyes.

"I do feel so sorry," said Draco Malfoy, one Potions class, "for all those people who have to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas because they're not wanted at home."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Malfoy Manor was absolutely beautiful in Christmas (or rather, the 'Winter Solstice' as Draco insisted on calling it.)

Harry gazed outside the Guest Room in which he was staying in for the summer, and smiled softly as he looked at the blanket of white that covered the trees and paddocks. Small snowflakes fell gracefully, and Harry already knew that deciding to go to Malfoy Manor with Draco was probably the best decision of his life.

Feeling warm and fuzzy, Harry slipped on his black robe, and tightened it so that it covered most of his silk green pyjamas (courtesy of two days of death threats towards Vernon and a rather sore arm form pointing his wand at someone so tall). He quietly opened the door, only to be bombarded by an over-enthusiastic Draco.

"Harry! It's the Solstice today! That means presents!" Draco grinned.

Daphne (whose parents were off to America) made her entrance, rubbing her eyes sleepily. "Merry Christmas, Harry – oh, I'm sorry, Draco, but I refuse to greet Harry by saying 'Happy Solstice!' – Don't worry, Potter, you got the easy way out. Draco woke me up by literally jumping on my bed. I wanted to hex him so bad."

"To be honest, I don't know why you didn't," smirked Harry, before enveloping Draco and Daphne, "Merry Christmas, guys."

"Solstice, Harry, solstice."

After a few moments, the trio climbed down the stairs and entered the Main Lounge, where Narcissa Malfoy was sitting primly on a couch, sipping from a dark green jug. Draco rushed up to his mother and embraced her. (Harry smiled. Everyone always assumed Draco was like his father, when in truth, he was a Mummy's boy, through and through.) Mrs Malfoy gave him a small smile, and patted his head. Daphne greeted her as well, and Harry nodded to the blonde woman, "Merry Christmas, Mrs Malfoy."

"Happy Solstice, Harry," came her sweet, regal voice. (Draco pointed self-importantly at his mother, "See! Doesn't that sound so much better? Christmas is so…muggle!") Laughing at her son, she smiled down at the raven haired boy, "But do call me Narcissa."

"Yes, as you should call me Lucius," said Mr Malfoy from behind them. Harry spun around and barely suppressed a small smile, as the tall man walked into the room.

Harry, truthfully, felt very comfortable with the Malfoys. Well, more comfortable than he had ever felt with the Dursleys. Despite their sometimes cold personalities, he had occasionally sat with them and talked, however briefly. Mr – Lucius was the ideal Slytherin, never showing emotion, but even Harry could see how proud he was that his son had made such wonderful friends. (Perhaps this was a genuine pride, or simply because of the political power this could grant him, but nonetheless.) Narcissa, on the other hand, was much more affectionate. She wasn't like Petunia, who would openly dote on her precious Dudley and had no intelligence at all, and for that Harry admired her.

Harry let himself be led to where he had a small pile of presents. Daphne and Draco had already opened their presents, most of which were very rich, but formal gifts from their family and 'fans' (Draco had been absolutely repulsed when Pansy sent him a fluffy, heart-shaped pillow with her picture printed on it, and had kindly, and furiously, asked his father to Incendio it.) Everybody turned to watch him open his presents, smiles on their faces. The green-eyed boy unwrapped the ones in green. They were all from his Slytherin acquaintances (he couldn't really consider them friends) at Hogwarts, and they had gotten him some variation of sweets. Harry turned and opened Daphne's present, which was a stack of books titled: 'The Mind Arts' and 'Delving into the Dark'. Harry grinned at her, appreciatively, and put the books aside. Then he turned to retrieve Draco's present, a wand holster and an ancient-looking book scribed in Parsletongue.

"Wow," Harry murmured, flicking through the book, anticipation burning in his chest, "This must've taken you ages to find." Lucius was openly staring at the book, shock flittering in his eyes and marring his normal impassive appearance. Harry silently reminded himself that though Mr and Mrs Malfoy had seen Electra, they weren't aware of his Parsletongue gift yet. (Hermione knew now, though. After all, facing a troll together tended to make you a lot closer.)

He turned to Lucius, "Do you recognize this writing?"

"I – I recall seeing it somewhere," swallowed the elder blonde. Narcissa looked over to Lucius, worried. Of course, she didn't recognise it at all, as she had never been much interested in Slytherin's history, nor was she once considered the Dark Lord's right hand.

Harry hid a secret smile and let Electra crawl out of his sleeve. "Finally awake, are you? I know you detest the cold, but I was sure all the noise would've woken you. Merry Christmas, Electra." Lucius looked just about ready to faint, and Narcissa had lost her cool exterior and was opening and closing his mouth, in a very unladylike show of shock. Draco started snickering and Daphne looked on, slightly amused, before nudging Draco.

Shrugging and deciding to let he recover, he turned to Hermione's gift – it was a large, metal snake poised as if it were to strike, its fangs bared. Two emerald eyes gleamed back at him, and Harry's lips twitched in delight. There was a small note attached to it:

Dear Harry,
When I saw this, I thought of you. Hope you are having a lovely Christmas at Malfoy Manor. Give Mr and Mrs Malfoy my best wishes.
Yours Truly,

Draco looked at the note, curiously, before passing Harry another present. This one was from Lucius and Narcissa, and its shape clearly gave it away. Sure enough, they had gotten Harry a broom. But not just any broom – Nimbus 2001. Harry, personally, was thrilled. Throughout his stay at Malfoy Manor, he had ached for a broom, since he had to keep borrowing Draco's old Cleansweep 7, whenever the two wanted to go out to fly. Narcissa must've picked up on it, because she just didn't buy him any broom – she and Lucius bought him a broom not even out in stores yet. Harry turned and thanked them both, but they were still look rather flabbergasted, much to his enjoyment. Lucius was muttering something that sounded suspiciously like, "Dark Lord...Parsletongue...Impossible."

The next present was from Hagrid. It was a wooden flute, which sounded like an owl. There was another note attached, written in a very messy, scribbled scrawl.

Dear Harry,

I haven't seen you in a while. Too busy with your friends, I suppose. This flute should do you well, I found it helps calm (and often put to sleep) many of my pets, especially Fluffy, who can be very grumpy when not played to.

Perhaps I'll see you after the holidays?


Well, that was what Daphne could decipher from the amount of spelling and grammar mistakes Hagrid had made. In truth, Harry felt a little guilty for not visiting Hagrid, but he knew how prejudiced he could get, but now that Hagrid had given him a present – well, he really did have to visit him. Sighing slightly, he turned to a thin packet, which was bright red. Harry didn't need glasses to figure out who that was from.

"I wonder what the twins sent you," Draco thought out loud, "It looks far too big to be the pranks bags they sent us."

"I don't know," Harry murmured, as he turned over the package. On the back, there was a small note stuck on, and Harry read it out loud.

Hello Harry,

We never did get to have that talk. (We blame ol' Snapey, but hey? Who wants to argue with him?) So, since you are the son of a Marauder, we present you with what is rightfully yours, Prongs Jr.

To activate it, put your wand on it and say, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" and to vanish it, "Mischief Managed"...

Trust us on this one! And put it to good use, just like we have!

Gred and Forge

Eyebrows knitted in confusion, Harry undid the wrappings and pulled out a piece of parchment, with a rather old look to it. He felt slightly suspicious, but shook the feeling away. He had a truce with Fred and George, and they wouldn't go back on that. Daphne and Draco looked awfully confused, but Harry quickly pointed his wand at it and said, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good."

And at once, thin ink lines began to spread like a spider's web from the point that Harry's wand had touched. They joined each other, they crisscrossed, they fanned into every corner of the parchment; and then words began to blossom across the top, great, curly green words, that proclaimed:

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present


Daphne gasped. There, on the parchment, was Hogwarts. Only, it didn't look like Hogwarts. There were corridors and hallways, each of with small black dots spotted around them. Some were moving extremely fast, and others were stopping every few seconds. Harry spotted several dots in a red room, which was obviously the Gryffindor tower, two of which said "Fred Weasley" and "George Weasley".

"This is amazing!" Harry breathed. Even Lucius and Narcissa looked amazed. "My dad – Prongs made this map...I think Fred and George want us to continue the legacy or something..."

"How cool is this!" Daphne exclaimed, absolute enthralled, holding the map up to light, "There's secret passages and everything! Can you imagine the things we can do with this? We could prank those Gryffindorks so bad, and...We can dye Mrs Norris's hair green, and not get caught by Filch!"

"With this map we could sneak into every common room and still make it back to ours in record time!" Draco said, a malicious smirk creeping onto his face. "Oh, how I'm going to love using this. I never thought I'd want to hug those Weasleys so bad."

Lucius, on the other hand, was looking rather peculiar (though, perhaps it was because of Draco's comment), "So that's how they got around to the dungeons. I always wondered how Potter and his lackeys got away with pranking Severus so much."

Harry raised an eyebrow, and Narcissa opted to explain, "Well, your father and his friends – Black, Lupin and Pettigrew – would always target Severus for their pranks. He woke up almost every day with red hair and gold skin."

"Rather stupid bunch too," Lucius sneered, "Black ended up in Azkaban for the murder of 13 muggles, Pettigrew ended up blown up to smithereens and Lupin is god knows where, with practically no job thanks to Werewolf-Prejudice laws."

Harry swallowed, processing the new information. After a few minutes, he turned to Draco and Daphne, who were looking slightly nervous. This wasn't new information to them, having grown up in the Pureblood world. Taking a big breath, Harry gave a meek nod and turned to the last parcel. It was very light and as Harry unfastened it, something fluid and silverly fell out. Draco gasped, and the sombre atmosphere all but evaporated.

"An invisibility cloak!" Draco exclaimed, "They're supposed to be extremely rare! Who in the world would send you an invisibility cloak?" Daphne had a similar reaction.

Lucius picked up the note and showed it to Narcissa, whose expression turned sour, "This is Dumbledore's writing. I know this anywhere. Read it, Harry." She thrust it to the black haired boy, who took it warily.

Your father left this in my possession before he died.
It is time it was returned to you. Use it well.

A Merry Christmas to you.
I hope you have a marvellous Christmas in Malfoy Manor

Harry smirked. Use it well, yes he would. Armed with an invisibility cloak and the Marauder's Map, they were virtually unstoppable.

Power…give into it. Let it entice you...

And for a split second, it was almost as if thick, shadowed arms were gripping onto his neck…pressing into his skin, choking him…

Then, as quick as it had come, it was gone. Harry blinked, and looked around to see the vaguely interested faces of those in the room and a slow, but sure, smile spread across his pale face.

"Dragons!" he whispered. "Hagrid was looking up stuff about dragons Look at these: Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland; From Egg to Inferno, A Dragon Keeper's Guide. "
"Hagrid's always wanted a dragon, he told me so the first time I ever met him, " said Harry.

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Hogwarts had been hit by a swarm of tremulous pranks, all of which were directed to the house of Gryffindor, namely Ron Weasley and his companions. Fred and George didn't know whether to regret giving Harry the map, or be thankful that they were spared from the cruel pranks. They of course, opted for the second. ("Oh, jolly good pranksters they are! Reminds me of the old days – when we were so young and innocent…")

Draco, Daphne, Harry and Hermione had taken any chance to taunt Weasley. Hermione had taken a strong disliking to Ron after the incident with the troll. Though she was still a bit uneasy to help with the particularly vulgar pranks, her knowledge was very beneficial to the creativity. Overall, they were getting on spectacularly, and Draco was even slowly beginning to warm up to Hermione.

Harry continued to impress the teachers, and Daphne continued her little "Pureblood Lessons" (they were soon due to start the dancing session, joy). Things seemed perfect for a while, until Hermione came up to them, her voice excited, "You'll never believe the dirt I dug up on Ro- Weasley. He and his lackeys were in the library, and Hagrid was there. According to them, Hagrid is breeding an illegal dragon egg! Weasley, Thomas and Finnegan are going to attempt to smuggle it out!"

Draco's lips curled into his legendary smirk, "Oh Merlin – this is major. Harry, do you have your invisibility cloak and the Marauder's Map? We're going Weasley-hunting tonight."

Before Harry could answer affirmative, an owl swooped down and dropped a letter in Hermione's arms. Daphne looked surprised and turned to the brunette, "It's been ages since you got a letter. What did you write to your parents about?"

"My heritage," Hermione took a deep breath. She cracked the seal and read it silently. Her eyes widened at the words and she seemed hopeful. She quickly handed it to Harry to read.

Dear Hermione,

We're doing splendid over here. I am so glad you have such nice friends; I do hope I can meet them soon. How about that Harry boy? You said he lived with Muggles? Now that I think about it, I do remember seeing Privet Drive somewhere nearby our house. According to Eric, it is about a ten minutes walk away. Perhaps you could visit him; if it turns out I am correct.

We do miss you. Christmas was wonderful. Your Grandma – Alice Granger – was rather insistent to see you. I managed to dissuade her by saying that you were gone to a private boarding school. She seemed rather surprised when I said it was in Hogwarts.

You're asking about your heritage? That is a rather peculiar question. Well, I never really thought that you have some hidden magic relatives or something. Wait, now that I do recall, your father has admitted on many occasions that Alice acts quite odd, like she's from another world, but I doubt that it means much though. My father, Derrick Livrepur (yes that was my maiden name), would always go off at random times. It perplexed both my mother and I, but back then I would pass it off as French behaviour. I don't think you should worry your pretty little head about it though.

I can't wait to see you when the holidays approach. Your Father and I miss you very much!

Love your mother,

Lydia Granger

Daphne, for some reason, looked horribly frustrated. Harry turned to her, questioningly, and the blonde girl gave an aggravated groan, "I've heard that name – Livrepur somewhere! It's on the tip of my tongue! I remember Father talking about it once...!"

"Daph," Hermione giggled, "Chill. We can figure out my heritage later, okay? For now, let's get some dinner. I want to be there when you rat Weasley out to McGonagall."

"Yeah," Draco agreed, his stomach grumbling, "I'm dying for some Treacle"

Hermione rolled her eyes and smacked Draco on the head. The blonde scowled and rubbed his forehead, biting back an insult. Dinner passed by in a similar fashion, with Daphne's curious words, Harry's biting remarks, Draco's arrogant comments and Hermione's intelligent suggestions (and smacks, much to Draco's chagrin, as most of them were directed at him. It seemed no matter what, there was always someone to hit him – first Daphne, and now Granger!)

So, as soon as they were dismissed, Draco and Harry hid under the latter's invisibility cloak, and Daphne and Hermione disillusioned themselves. With brisk instructions to get to the Gryffindor Tower, the Slytherins made their way to the Fat Lady's portrait. Harry operated the Map, and as soon as he saw Ron Weasley's dot move towards the Astronomy Tower, he let his hand slip through the cloak. Flicking his fingers, the two girls disillusioned themselves and made their way to McGonagall, to use their sweet girlish-ness to their advantage.

Sure enough, just as the night sky saw the backside of a fluttering dragon, and the Astronomy Tower witnessed the wrath of Professor McGonagall, Gryffindor was 150 points down, and Slytherin was up by another 25. At this rate, it was pretty obvious who would win the House Cup, and it wasn't the Gryffindorks.

"You can't go out," said Neville, "you'll be caught again. Gryffindor will be in even more trouble."
"You don't understand," said Harry, "this is important."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry lay on his stomach, idly watching as little dots scurried past him. Exams were over and he had breezed through them easily, as had the rest of his friends (especially Hermione) of course.

He closed his eyes, savouring the cold air of the dungeons before slowly blinking. He turned to look back at the Map, when he felt his eyes drawn to a particular part of the map, where he noticed something odd. There was a small dot moving towards the third floor corridor. The forbidden corridor. That wasn't the weirdest bit though – the dot was labelled, 'Quirinus Quirrell'...but it was also labelled, 'Tom Riddle'...and they both seemed to be heading for a rather large person (considering the dot size) named 'Fluffy'!

Now, Harry had considered himself an expert at how to work this map, having had it for so long, but even he hadn't encountered something like this.

Scrambling to his feet, Harry slipped on his shoes, grabbed the Map (and his invisibility cloak) and flew down to the Common Room. He turned to look around, but the only ones there were Daphne, Draco and Hermione, who were talking over a game of chess. Quickly spotting them, he sprinted over there and placed the Map over the chessboard, knocking over all the pieces. Before Draco could say a word of complaint, he pointed at the dot, which was now in front of Fluffy. "Look! Somebody is trying to get into the forbidden corridor!"

Daphne raised an eyebrow, dubiously, before looking down to where Harry was gesturing, and gasped, "Why is Professor Quirrell trying to get down there? It's forbidden, and probably for a good reason too!"

"Maybe…maybe it's not because the corridor is dangerous, but because…it's…it's…sealing something? Maybe Quirrell wants to steal something important?" Harry bit his lip. "I mean, why else would you say the corridor is off bounds? I know it wasn't last year, from the reactions of everyone else – but unless it caved in or was hexed…"

"It was in perfect condition," Daphne reasoned, "so that means that Professor Quirrell is trying to steal something!"

"But, how is that possible?" Hermione bit her lip, "Tom Riddle's dot is exactly on top of Professor Quirrell. That's not supposed to happen!"

"Unless this Riddle guy is sitting on him," Draco commented, studying the map, suspiciously.

"Sitting…sitting? Or maybe…? The map shows where your conscious is…your spirit, not your body. So, if somebody was merging their spirit with…" Harry clicked his fingers, "That's it! Tom Riddle must be somehow possessing him! That's the only explanation!"

"I can't believe I was so oblivious to not notice this before!" Light dawned on Hermione's eyes, as she realised what Harry was implying, "Quirrell was the first one to notice the troll. What was he doing in the dungeons anyway? Tom Riddle must have possessed him, and so he led the troll in – and then faked his scared reaction! Didn't his qualifications say that he was an expert with trolls?"

"But – who in the world would posses Quirrell? And why?" Daphne questioned, blonde hair swinging.

Harry thought back. There must be some part of this puzzle that he was missing...there had to be! His eyes widened. "Wait! Now that I think back, I remembered seeing Quirrell the day I went to Diagon birthday..."

"And the day Gringotts was broken into!" Draco finished.

"So, whatever Quirrell-Possessed tried to take out, was emptied that day," Hermione said, thoughtfully, "So, somebody must have taken it out – but whom? And why did whoever place the object in Hogwarts!"

Something else clicked in Harry's mind, "When I first went to Gringotts, Hagrid took something out of a vault. A small, grubby package. He said it was Hogwarts business...very secret. Why would he do that in front of me, unless..."

Daphne was getting the drift, "Dumbledore wanted you to take note of it! I bet you he expected you to become a Golden Gryffindor and somehow uncover the secret...a test."

"So it was a test?" Draco repeated, before shaking his head. "No, I don't think so. I think Dumbledore knew that someone would try and steal the package, but he just let it play out. It must be far more serious than playing his manipulative games. Even Dumbledore wouldn't dare break into Gringotts."

"Harry," the brunette turned to him, "Do you remember anything else? Anything?"

"I went to Gringotts again, later," Harry murmured, eyes knitted, "I remember a goblin – he was a newbie, I think – asking Hagrid whether he was here for 'Nicolas's Stone' again."

Hermione's eyes lit up, "Nicolas! Where have I heard that name before? Wait…Nicolas…Nicolas Flamel – the…the only known maker of the Sorcerer's Stone!"

Daphne's eyes turned as big as saucers. Draco and Harry exchanged confused looks, so the blonde girl quickly recited, " 'The Sorcerer's Stone can turn anything into gold, and it can produce an Elixir that makes the drinker immortal!' "

"So Quirrell's possessor wants to become immortal?" Draco tested. "But who would go through so much trouble to become immortal?"

"Remember that day we visited Hagrid?" Harry was on a roll, "What he said? He said that somebody had been slaying unicorns in the Forbidden Forest. Drinking their blood."

" 'Only one who has nothing to lose and everything to gain would kill such a pure creature, but from the moment the blood touches your lips, you live a cursed life.' " Hermione repeated, "Think hard. Who had nothing to lose – no body, no heart, and no family – but can gain everything from becoming immortal?"

"The Dark Lord!" exclaimed Draco, "And he's powerful enough to pull of such an act!"

The room fell into silence, as if the impact of Draco's words had just hit them

Daphne's face changed, and she turned to the brunette, "That means he's alive. He'll find a way to come back. If he comes back, Hermione, he'll eliminate all the Muggleborns. Including you, Hermione."

Hermione's lip quivered, and her lips parted, but no words came out.

"When it comes to the Dark Lord, it is either you join him – or you die," Draco said, solemnly. He turned away, not wanting to get caught up in anything. Harry remained quiet.

"Then I'll join him!" Hermione burst out, and suddenly she faltered, "I'm a Slytherin – that's got to count for something! And Daphne – you said I might be half-blood or something...s-so..."

Daphne stood up, "What are we going to do? We can't just sit here."

"I'm going down there," Harry decided, following in suit, "This whole thing with the 'Dark Lord' is purely hypothetical, and either way, I want to see what's going on, whether it's to help or not." Daphne nodded, and she and Draco grabbed their wands.

Hermione looked up, and wiped the tears from her face, "I'm coming too."

Harry sighed, and said, gently, "Hermione..."

"No!" Hermione said, determined. She stood up and clutched her wand, "I am coming, no matter what you say. I might feel iffy about being…being with..V-Voldemort, and I might not be as Slytherin as you three, but I am coming with you."

Draco looked down at her, "Why do you want to come so badly anyway?"

"B-because…you were my first friends…and I swore I'd stand by your side…I can't just abandon you because of something as stupid as my own fear," the brunette said, eyes still blurry. "I don't care about the Dark Lord – it's you I want to help! I can't just stay here, knowing you could very well be on the verge of death!"

Daphne sighed, "Harry, she's not going to give up, you know how stubborn she is!"

" can come," Harry gave in, running his hand through his dark hair, tiredly. He approached the door leading out of the common room, his three companions trailing behind him, but before he left, he paused, patted his pocket, and sure enough, he could feel the distinct lump of a flute. (After all, Hagrid had made reference to 'Fluffy' in his Christmas note, and Harry, in his rush to show the others his discover, had barely remembered the note, and had shoved the flute in his pocket, assuming Hagrid was talking about the huge, dangerous-looking dot in the third floor.) With a deep breath, Harry stepped through the door.

And that was how four first years found themselves running towards the third floor, a gesture that might as well have gotten them killed.

"Sir! The Stone! It was Quirrell! He's got the Stone! Sir, quick —"
"Calm yourself, dear boy, you are a little behind the times," said Dumbledore.
does not have the Stone."

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

After Hermione had flung open the door with a quick "Alohomora", the Slytherins found themselves face-to-face with a gigantic Cerberus, something that they definitely didn't expect. Before anybody could react, Harry had whipped out his flute – the one that Daphne and Draco recognized from Malfoy Manor – and had started playing. Hermione look shell-shocked, as the soft hooting of the owl lulled the large dog into a peaceful sleep.

"Come on," Daphne whispered, motioning to the trapdoor, which she had managed to hurtle open. Hermione, breaking out of her momentary stupor, nodded at her and the two held hands before jumping through the door, landing with a soft thud. Draco looked down into the darkness, and with a nervous gulp, he too followed. Harry continued playing, slowly inching to the trap door. He didn't want to risk Fluffy waking up – it could prove disastrous for him. In a split second, he had stopped playing and had jumped through the door. Poor Fluffy, he would never remember what happened.

Harry felt him land into something cold and squishy. He twisted, but that only made the thing tightened around his waist. Electra hissed from her spot in Harry's sleeve. (She rarely seemed to move it seemed, and was getting more and more reclusive during the nights, as she never got any sleep during the busy mornings.)

"What issss thissss? It smellssss like plant...Devilssss Plant..." came Electra's voice, drowsy and vaguely annoyed.

It seemed Daphne had realised this as well, because she yelled, "It's Devil's Snare! We read about this in Herbology!"

"Devil's Snare is repulsed by heat!" Hermione recounted. She whipped her wand out, "Incendio!"

The greenish plant was slowly burning, and with an eerie squeal, it recoiled. Harry breathed out in relief, and climbed out. Draco sneered at the plant, "Who in the world would place some stupid plant here?"

"If it was the Philosopher's Stone they are protecting, most teachers would have placed some sort of protection on the Stone – enchantments of sorts," Daphne mused out loud, "Fluffy would be Hagrid's and Devil's Snare would, of course, be Professor Sprout. But who's next?"

There was a soft fluttering and Harry turned to them, grimace on his face. "I have a nagging feeling that it is Flitwick's."

Sure enough, the four Slytherins entered a huge room, filled with small keys, each with little wings. They were millions of keys (which at first appeared to be small birds) all which were fluttering around the ceiling. Hermione rushed towards the door and pulled on it, only to find it locked shut. She turned and eyed it, calculatingly. "So we need to find the right key. Professor Flitwick would've taken the correct key and duplicated it, before casting flying charms on all of them...right?"

"That's a possibility," Draco shrugged, "Or he could've just gotten a bunch of keys from somewhere."

"Okay, so we can do this the hard way," Daphne pointed at the lone broomstick, "Or the easy way. But since we are, of course Slytherins, we'll take a gamble – Accio Original Key!"

There was a swift zooming noise, and a brass key flew into Daphne's hand. Harry looked on, disbelievingly, as she inserted they key into the hole and turned it. There was a soft click, and the doors swung open. Draco spun around, before walking through the doors. Hermione and Harry followed, though a bit doubtfully.

That was simple…too simple.

They were then confronted by a group of tall chess pieces, whom refused to let them pass. Draco took one look at them, before smirking maliciously, "I really am going to enjoy this. Reducto!" The pawn crumbled to the floor. The others caught on quickly, and soon they were all yelling curses at the top of their breath.

"Reducto! Reducto! Reducto!"

The black king fell.

"Reducto! Reducto! Reducto!"

White's queen was gone.

"Incendio! Incendio! Incendio!"

The rest of the pawns went up in flames.


The white king was lifted upwards.


The king, still levitated in the air, burst into a thousand fragments.

"Fire...I sssssmell burn...blood...wheressss the blood?" Electra popped her head out of his sleeve, yet again. After flicking her tongue, she returned back, dutifully. She wasn't the slightest disturbed by the destruction that surrounded them.

I picked the right pet, didn't I?

Harry hissed a few words to her, before turning back to the situation on hand. The door leading to the next chamber had swung open. Harry turned to exit triumphantly, when Draco suddenly let out a loud, painful groan. The green eyed boy spun around, and turned to see Draco clutching his head with one hand, and a piece of granite in the other. The blonde removed his hand, which was now coated in sticky blood.

"Damn it! I forgot about the backlash! Daphne," Harry instructed, glancing worriedly at his best friend, "Get Draco to the Hospital Wing. Say he bumped his head on a wall, or exaggerate a bit – do whatever, just get him fixed, okay?"

The blonde girl was too anxious about Draco to disagree, and so she gave Harry a tentative smile, before ushering him away, "Good luck Potter. You'll do great." Then she disappeared into the next chamber.

Harry sighed and turned to Hermione, who looked like a wreck. "Let's move on, then, shall we?"

Hermione took a deep breath and nodded. The two first years walked into the next room, which was filled with a horrible odour. Harry blinked his eyes, and quickly caught sight of the problem – a large troll was fallen on one side, a huge bump on his forehead. Hermione wrinkled her nose ("Déjà vu – and not in the good way," she groaned) and both of them rushed out of the room. The next chamber was empty, apart from a single table with various bottled potions on it. Harry shrugged and motioned for Hermione to follow him.

When they neared the table, there was a sudden crackle. Hermione spun around and gasped when she saw fire blocking both the entrance and exit. How do we get out now? Harry, meanwhile, was looking at the riddle in frustration. He handed the slip to Hermione who went to study it, as usual.

Electra, however, had smelled something (maybe it was the troll or even the potions, whichever, Harry didn't care to find out) and had slithered out again to inspect the table.

"Electra, what are you doing?"

She didn't pay attention to him, but coiled around a particular bottle which had considerably less potion than the others. Hermione looked up at Harry's hiss, and turned to where Electra was curled up. She looked a bit shocked. "That's the potion."

Harry was about to ask what potion, when Electra hissed.

"Thissss sssshould go forward...sssmells like issse."

"Thanks Electra," Harry gulped. He turned to Hermione, "Find the one that takes you back, and try and stall Dumbledore for a while. Tell him that you're trying to save the stone or something."

Tears prickled around Hermione's eyes and she embraced Harry, "O-okay. Just know, Harry, that I will always be there. I'll follow you no matter what road you take. You were one of my first friends, and I won't abandon you. You're a great wizard Harry."

Harry smiled, "And you're a great witch, Hermione." She smiled through watery eyes and reach down to pet Electra.

"Goodbye Sssslytherin...ssse you sssoon."

"Electra says goodbye," Harry translated, his own eyes slightly shiny. "I'll see you soon, okay? And Hermione?"

The brunette turned to him, wiping her eyes. Harry grinned, "Have fun destroying the evidence."

"Okay," Hermione said, lips curled up into a small smile, that looked rather suspiciously like a smirk. She gave him one last hug, before drowning the potion through her mouth, and disappearing through the fire. Quickly composing himself, he let Electra back into his shirt. He grabbed the potion Hermione had shown him, and without even thinking, he swallowed what little remained, and stepped through the fire.

The sight that awaited him was both what he expected, and what he didn't.

Clearing his throat, Harry spoke, "Hello Professor Quirrell."

Quirrell stood in front of the mirror, pacing in front of it. He barely moved when Harry entered the room, but at the sound of his voice, spun around and fixed Harry with an intense look, "Hm, Potter. You don't look surprised to see me. Though I am unnerved to see you here. Tell me, boy, how much do you know? Tell me the truth and I'll consider keeping you alive."

Harry shifted from foot to foot, awkwardly, "Well I know that you're not fully Quirrell...I know that the Dark Lord is possessing your body. I know that he – the Dark Lord, I mean – cannot die, so he became a spirit. I know you've been drinking and slaying unicorns for him. I know you let the troll in on Halloween, so you can attempt to get past Fluffy – the Cerberus. I know that right now you're trying to get past Dumbledore's enchantment, to get the Sorcerer's Stone...and I know I want to help you."

There was a sudden noise, a dark, rasping laugh, which emitted from the back of the turban, "So the boy wants to help me? Show him to me, Quirinus!"

Quirrell's shaky personality was back again, "But Master –"

"Now!" screamed the voice. Quirrell winced, and slowly un-wrapped his purple turban. He turned around, and instead of the bald head a rather confused Harry had anticipated, he found himself staring straight into the red slit-eyes of Voldemort.

Harry's own green eyes widened, as he quickly bowed to the…er…face. Voldemort's ugly expression turned into a very suspicious one. Harry quickly straightened himself and Voldemort watched, "Why is it you want to help me, Potter, after you caused my downfall? Why is it you want to assist mere shadow and vapour? And tell me – why should I trust a pathetic boy like you? WHY?"

"My Lord," Harry began (as he didn't know what else to call him), "Your quest is to rid the world of all the Mudbloods in the. I don't say I agree completely with your goals – but I absolutely detest Muggles. I want a world, much similar to you, that is peaceful, perfect and untainted by the presence of –"

Before Harry could continue, there was a loud hiss. Electra slithered out, spitting, "Sssso much noissse...firssst the Devil'sss plant, then the chessss piecesssss and potionsss bottlesss and now what issss it!"

"Shut up Electra, I'm having a conversation here," Harry hissed, fighting the urge to snap. The snake shot him a glare. Voldemort watched this whole conversation with barely concealed glee.

"You intrigue me so very much, young Potter," Voldemort said, in Parsletongue. Harry turned, shocked. "I shall consider your offer – for now. Make no assumptions, you are still my enemy."

Harry looked a cross between surprised and overjoyed, while Voldemort watched him with an evil, insane expression flickering through his eyes. Electra was watching the conversation with growing curiosity, as she had quickly identified the man with red eyes. (He isss the saaame assss Massster, she speculated quietly) Harry smiled, giddily, "I-I thank you my Lord."

Voldemort growled, impatiently, "I assume know how to get past Dumbledore's little contraption?"

Harry eyed the mirror, carefully, before stepping towards the mirror. He studied it for a minute, before reading the inscription. He turned to Voldemort, and switched to English, "Dumbledore didn't put just any mirror. He put the Mirror of Erised in here. The inscription reads, 'I show not your face, but your heart's desire'. That puts a clue to the enchantment." Voldemort looked impatient, as if he would Avada Kedavra Harry if he didn't hurry up, consequences be damned.

The Potter stood in front of the mirror and forced his mind to chant: 'I have to save the stone from Voldemort. I have to save the stone from Voldemort.' Sure enough, when Harry looked into the mirror, he saw himself winking and something heavy drop into his pocket. Smirking, Harry unveiled the Sorcerer's Stone from his pocket. He tossed it between his hands, grinning darkly.

Voldemort look disgusted and his eyes narrowed. "I should've known. Only one who did not want to use the Stone would be able to retrieve it. NOW! Give me the stone and I will see you are sufficiently rewarded…I will give you your heart's desire. Give me the stone and I will make you me heir!"

Harry's smirk deepened, as his hand stretched out to reach Voldemort.

Three things happened at the same time. Voldemort's spirit disappeared, taking the Stone. Quirrell felt to the floor, dead. Harry's scar burned and he fell down, unconscious.

Harry's smirk deepened, as his hand stretched out to reach Voldemort.

Harry's smirk deepened, as his hand stretched out to reach Voldemort.

Harry's smirk deepened, as his hand stretched out to reach Voldemort.

Harry's smirk deepened, as his hand stretched out to reach Voldemort.

Harry's smirk deepened, as his hand stretched out to reach Voldemort.

Harry's smirk deepened, as his hand stretched out to reach Voldemort.

Somewhere else, a prophecy turned and twisted, before shattering into a million pieces.

"See you over the summer, then."
"Hope you have — er — a good holiday," said Hermione

~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The Aftermath of Harry's little expedition was far more than satisfactory.

Harry had been found by Dumbledore, and had spun a lie about saving the Stone from Quirrell. Harry snorted at the very thought of it. After that, all of them had been rushed to Madam Pompfrey, who had fussed over them relentlessly. Draco, Daphne and Hermione were rather excited when Harry had narrated what really happened in the final room, though Draco seemed a bit envious about the whole 'I will make you my heir' issue. When Harry, still slightly giddy from his adventure, assured him that Draco would be his right-hand, his mood cleared up instantly and even Hermione laughed along with Draco's delusions of grandeur.

The House Cup had gone to Slytherin, and once Dumbledore had handed out a horde of points to Daphne, Draco, Hermione and he for trying to save the day (the white bearded man seemed so desperate to get on Harry's good side after the failed attempt to get the stone…perhaps he still assumed Harry was still on the 'Light Side') they were practically celebrities. Even Severus Snape's dislike to Harry had somewhat diminished, but Harry supposed it was because he had just given the Head another thing to gloat about.

Voldemort had been in touch too.

Not for long, though, but somehow he had managed to get past Harry's developing Occulmency shields (thanks to Daphne's 'Mind Arts' book she gave him for Christmas). Basically, he appeared in Harry's dream, reluctantly thanked him, outlined his rather exuberant plans for the future, threatened him, praised him and left. Needless to say, Draco wouldn't stop pestering him for days, even though Harry, personally, didn't feel all so 'proud' as he had emerged from the conversation. He was more confused – somehow, he was insulted, complimented, promised great things, and threatened in less than five minutes. It was slightly disturbing, to say the least.

Exam results had arrived as well. While Harry and Hermione often tied for first places (and Daphne and Draco second and third) – Harry always winning over the practical section and Hermione, blitzing through the theory – the two had been rewarded most of the teachers' respect, as they had received some of the highest scores for their Charms and Transfiguration tests. McGonagall was thrilled and Harry had a feeling she'd be awarding a lot more points to Slytherin. Four Slytherins at the top of their year was enough to convince McGonagall that the snake house was anything but lacking.

Snape, on the other hand, was content to continue boasting, in his own, sullen sort of way.

So, here he was – trunk in one hand and Electra curled around the other. He waved to the Daphne, who had taken the decency to introduce her parents (Elinor and Jacque Greengrass) and her younger sister, Astoria, whom spent most of the time staring at Draco, with a love-sick expression in her eyes. Nevertheless, the Greengrass family seemed to have taken a liking to him, not that he minded. He also smiled at Draco, and gave a small wave towards Narcissa and Lucius, who had been kind enough to extend an invite to come visit for the summer.

He turned back to Vernon, after seeing Hermione disappear through the platform with her mum and dad, who he had also been introduced to. Lydia Granger had been quite insistent that Harry 'pop in' for tea occasionally. He promised to visit them before he left for the Malfoys.

Sneering at the pathetic Muggle in front of him, Harry dropped his trunk in Vernon's beefy hands, and continued to stroke Electra. Vernon scowled, but left to drop them off at the car without a word. Harry nodded curtly, towards him and turned. Before he could follow, however, he was bombarded by Fred and George, who were rather insistent in saying their goodbyes. It seemed that the whole 'son of a Marauder' had made them more comfortable around Harry.

After motioning to their family, they skipped off. Harry nodded at Molly and Arthur Weasley, and scowled openly at both Ron and Percy. When he got to the little girl, though, he gave a small smile and mock-saluted. She blushed prettily, before giving him a hidden smirk in return. He grinned and turned to the wall. In one quick movement, he was back at the cross-section between Platform 9 and 10.

With a deep breath, he turned and stalked off.

It was time to face the magic.

(1) This is before Harry finds out Voldemort was from Slytherin, and gets enticed into all those typical Gryffindor beliefs, so he still harbours a connection with snakes.

Footnote: OMG! 41 pages long! I think that deserves a review, don't you?

Edited Note: What once was 41 pages, became 46. *sighs* Anyway, as you have noticed, I have changed a considerable amount of things in this chapter. '4th-year-Astoria' is now 'Tanya,' because I wanted to keep close to Canon's timeline. Not only this, but I've made the transitions between personalities somewhat smoother. (Draco isn't as accepting of Hermione as before, etc) I tried to potray an evil Voldemort, which was really hard... because when I see Voldemort, I see a dark (hot, smexy) Tom Riddle playing a manipulative game of politics... *shrugs* Either way, more impatient than previous. Hm...also, Harry doubts the morality of his actions more and I've add a little sub-plot with the horcrux in Harry's mind. Should be more interesting :) Cheers x