They Shook Hands : Year One

An alternate (but realistic!) universe Harry Potter fic
by Dethryl

Chapter Alpha - Missing Scenes from Year One

Draco sighed with resignation as Alice put yet another robe over his head. This was the last, she had promised. That had been five robes ago. The shop owner, Madam Malkin, brought back another boy and stood him on a stool next to Draco. He didn't look as though he belonged in this fine establishment; his clothing was baggy and shabby. Perhaps he'd needed to pass as a Muggle. The seamstress slipped a long robe over the boy's head and began to pin it up to the right length.

"Hello." Draco was glad for anybody to talk to. The shop had been empty, and he'd had nothing to distract him from the tedium of a fitting. This boy was his own age from all appearances, and one could never start making connections too soon. It would be good to get to school and already know people. "Hogwarts, too?"

"Yes," said the boy.

"My father's next door buying my books, and mother's up the street looking at wands," said Draco, letting his boredom reflect in his voice. He would rather be at either of those two places than here in this stuffy shop. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I think I'll bully father into getting me one, and I'll smuggle it in somehow." Fat chance of bullying Father in to anything. "Have you got your own broom?"

"No," said the boy.

"Play Quidditch at all?" Draco had been flying for years out behind Malfoy Manor. His playmates, children of his father's friends, had flown with him in many games of Quidditch. They didn't have a full seven players on each team, of course, but they could practice all of the moves at least. When the older siblings and their friends came by, a rough and tumble match nearly always ensued. The rivalry was good-natured, but no less the vicious for it.

"No," said the boy again.

A new player! Outstanding! But mustn't appear too eager. Maintain decorum and dignity. "I do. Father says it's a crime if I'm not picked to play for my house, and I must say, I agree. I'll need that new broom, though. I've got a Comet Two-Sixty right now, top of the line, but it's not a professional broom by any means. I don't see why first years can't have them. It's just not fair."

The boy nodded.

"Know what house you'll be in yet?" Anybody who was Somebody knew the answer to that question before he so much as set foot on the Hogwarts Express.


This boy obviously wasn't Somebody. Still, it didn't always go according to plan. His mother's family was evidence of that. "Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they? But I know I'll be in Slytherin; all our family have been. Speaking of family, what's your surname?"

"Oh, I'm Harry, Harry Potter. Ow!"

The exclamation came as Madam Malkin missed a stroke and stabbed him with the needle.

Harry Potter!

Draco could barely believe his luck. Father had stressed repeatedly to him that he should seek out and befriend Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the defeater of the Dark Lord, He Who Must Not Be Named. The whole of Britain regarded Harry Potter as a hero. He had been in exile for ten years, apparently, but his name was on the list at Hogwarts. It was very important that he be friendly towards the Malfoy family, and it was Draco's task to make it happen.

"Oh! Oh, I'm so sorry dear." She turned to her assistant. "Imagine that, Alice, Harry Potter himself coming in to my shop for his robes." She tittered again and continued her hemming.

Draco raised an eyebrow as he sized Harry up. "From all the stories they tell about you, I thought you'd be taller," he said. It was true, Harry was only a fraction taller than him. If Draco could break the ice, he would be able to turn on the Malfoy charm and have them both laughing at the world.

"I'm not short!" Harry protested.

Draco smirked at having provoked a reaction. The ice was broken. "Never said you were. Father told me that you were my age, but I had no idea we'd meet before getting to school. I've been looking forward to meeting you. I'm Malfoy, Draco Malfoy."

He held out his hand. Harry shook it. "Nice to meet you."

Every compartment was full. None of the other groups of first years had room for him. He had felt weird asking second years, complete strangers, if he could sit with them, but the Gryffindors had politely enough turned him away. Why hadn't the first years been assigned seats together so that they could begin to mingle? Ron Weasley had no choice but to trail after his brothers and throw himself upon their tender mercies.

He was doomed.

It wasn't hard to find the twins. Their laughter was clear even in the corridor. With resignation, he knocked on the compartment door and opened it.

"Hey, guys. Mind if I join you?"

"Awww, Ickle Ronnikins didn't make any new fwends today?" Fred mocked in a babyish voice.

"Stuff it, Fred. Everywhere else is just full, that's all."

"What do you think, lads? Shall we lower ourselves so much as to consort with an ickle firstie?"

"Only if he meets the conditions," George declared.

Oh hell. By Merlin's baggy y-fronts, he was dead. Whenever the twins attached conditions to a favour, it was bound to be painful, humiliating, dangerous, or any combination thereof.

"No conditions," he said, sitting down on the empty seat and resting his feet on his trunk.

"Yes, conditions," Lee Jordan agreed. "I'll let you sit with us if-"

"If, nothing."

"-if you can wear my tarantula on your head for ten seconds."

"N-no," Ron stuttered as a horrendous shiver wracked his body. He hated spiders, and the twins knew it. They were the ones who'd given him that fear! They'd told Jordan, and now Jordan had a great, bloody tarantula!

"Yes, yes," Jordan said, reaching down and picking up a box.

"Keep that thing away from me!" Ron pulled out his wand. He didn't know any magic against spiders, but hopefully his panic would set off a fire spell or something useful.

"Petrificus totalis!" George incanted.

Ron stiffened up like a board, and his wand fell to the floor. Helpless, he stared up at the ceiling as the three third year boys' heads loomed over him.

"Now then, hold still," Fred quipped.

Lee Jordan opened the box and set it on Ron's chest. Slight pressure on his chest made him want to scream and thrash, but he could not move. When a tickle came at his neck, Ron wanted to cry from sheer fear.

Let it be over soon, he prayed.

When black, hairy legs inched in to his field of vision, that field collapsed as he fainted dead away.

"So that's Harry Potter, is it?" Millie said as she closed the compartment door behind her.

"He's so cute!" Blaise gushed. "That hair, I just want to run my fingers through it. How can it be so untidy yet so irresistable?"

"Crushing much?" Pansy asked blithely. "Better not let him notice."

"What do you think, Pansy? You've got the right ideas about boys."

"He's handsome enough, I suppose. The glasses need to go, though."

"He needs clothes, too. How do we do that without hurting his feelings?"

"Christmas," Pansy responded. "Perfect cover."

Blaise quivered with excitement. "I can't believe we met him on the train. I can't believe Draco made friends with him in Diagon Alley. I can't believe I'm friends with him. Do you know what I mean?"

Pansy gave her a withering glare. "I know my mother told me not to lose my head around him. It would be extremely vulgar to make an issue of his fame, given the circumstances. For Merlin's sake, girl, pull yourself together."

Blaise pulled on a serious face. "You're right, of course. My mother gave me the same lecture. But he's in the next compartment. Give me this moment, will you?"

As Professor McGonagall explained how the Sorting Ceremony would proceed, Hermione Granger breathed a sigh of relief. It would be so simple! She wouldn't need any of the spells she'd worked hard to memorize. After all the whispered speculations about the Sorting Ceremony, all it involved was getting up in front of the rest of her classmates and putting a hat on her head.

She felt her heart lurch in her chest. Standing up in front of her classmates. Oh God. She quailed, trying to keep her knees from shaking. She hated it when everyone was watching her.

And those awful boys, they'd be watching her too. She wibbled. Why'd they have to be so mean to her? She'd just been trying to help that Neville boy find his toad. Then she'd seen Harry Potter.

Maybe she shouldn't have been so blunt about it, but she'd been so surprised. It was Harry Potter! He was so famous! He was a hero to the whole world. How could she not be excited to meet him?

Then his wizard friends had jumped all over her. Without even knowing anything about her, they hadn't liked her. Not even the most credibly justified outrage over a minor bit of rudeness could account for their venom and vitriol.

They'd called her a Mudblood. She didn't know what that word meant. And they had thought less of her because her parents were non-magical. The way they had spoken the word Muggle, it seemed almost distasteful to them.

"Hermione Granger!"

She practically jumped out of her skin. Lost in her thoughts, Hermione had been caught off-guard. But now it was her time! This was it! Her nervousness vanished. Suddenly eager, she hurried up to the stool and jammed the hat on her head.

"Hello there." The voice startled her. It seemed as though a close friend were telling her a secret. The voice in her ear was warm and inviting.

"Now then, Miss Granger. Ah, I see you've been looking forward to this ever since you got your letter."

Very much so, she thought. If the Hat could look into her head to find her place, it could probably read her thoughts as well.

"Where shall I place you, hrmm? You've got a keen intellect, that's good. You might do quite well in Ravenclaw."

I'd been hoping for Gryffindor.

"Gryffindor, eh? I don't think that's possible. You're not terribly brave, you know. You've got a world of ambition, that's plain to see. Unfortunately, Slytherin's House is not the place for you."

Why not? she demanded silently.

"Your blood, my dear. You were born of the union of two Muggles, and Salazar Slytherin would turn over in his grave were I to send you to his House."

Because I'm a Mudblood? she snapped back.

"That term is extremely vulgar," the Hat chided her. "The proper term is Muggleborn."

Something so silly as my blood will mark me? She couldn't help feeling angry about that.

"I do but enforce the will of the Founders," it said to her. "And Salazar Slytherin would never have chosen you."

So where does that leave me?

"I can see that you want to get right to it, yes? You're not at all afraid of hard work. Seems to me, the logical place for you would be HUFFLEPUFF!"

Hermione Granger was in a daze. She followed the crowd of Hufflepuffs as they orderly filed through the corridors and into the Hufflepuff common room. Once they had arrived, the prefects had sat all the first years down in the comfortable chairs around the fire.

"Welcome to Hufflepuff!" the seventh-year prefect said. "You're going to love it here. Don't let what the other houses say get you down. I know you've heard some students go on about our noble house, but it's all propaganda. Hufflepuff is a wonderful place, filled with wonderful people. Hufflepuffs stick together through thick and thicker. If you can help your mates, you should, even if it's dangerous, because your mates would do the same for you."

That was good to hear. Hermione had heard lots of gossip on the train. Plenty of students had bad-mouthed Hufflepuff. It was good to know that her house wasn't filled with duffers.

"Now, I know a lot of you are Muggleborn. You've seen a lot in the past few hours, and I know you're probably pretty nervous about magic. Let me tell you, magic will soon be like an old friend. I'm Muggleborn myself, and the first year or so was a big adjustment. We'll actually be holding little seminars here in the common room to help bring you up to speed."

Oh what a relief! Hermione had read through her course books over and over during the summer. She had actually memorized the better part of most them, nursing a steadily growing panic that she was going to fail miserably at being a witch. She'd dragged her parents back to Diagon Alley twice after their initial trip to raid Flourish & Blotts for some more background information on just what sort of a world she was getting herself into.

"That first summer holiday, though, not being able to use magic was pretty abrupt. I really felt disconnected from my old life. It's not easy to get used to this new identity. I want you to know that we've all been there. We're here for you. Hufflepuffs care, and they let you know they care. One of Hufflepuff's signature group hugs is guaranteed to cure all that ails you."

Group hugs? Hermione the Muggle would have thought such a declaration extremely strange. Hermione the Muggleborn witch, though, was feeling decidedly out of touch. A little gesture of comfort and reassurance actually sounded quite nice.

"I'll stop here. You all look exhausted. Get some sleep, and be back here first thing in the morning. We'll give out your schedules and discuss how the Tour works."

Ron and Seamus went straight to bed after returning from dinner. They would need to be well-rested for the duel scheduled for midnight. He had never fought in a duel, nor had he ever seen one. What Ron knew, he knew only from stories his father had told, stories his older brothers had passed on.

"It's not like we'll actually be able to do anything to each other," Ron said to Seamus as they got dressed. Dean Thomas had stayed up late and had woken them both at half eleven.

"At most you'll be able to shoot sparks at each other," Seamus told him. "It's nothing to worry about."

"Malfoy's such a git," Ron said disdainfully.

"Yeah," Seamus said. He double-checked his wand. "Are we ready to go?"

As they sauntered casually down the steps to the common room, they saw that it was deserted. They opened the portrait hole and looked out. The coast appeared to be clear. They carefully stepped out into the corridor.

"So far, so good," Ron said. "Let's hurry."

They didn't run, but they did take double-quick steps. They hurried up the stairs to the third floor. Ron darted around the corner and stopped dead in his tracks. Seamus, hurrying behind him, crashed into his back, making them both fall to the floor. Ron stared up from his prone position in fear.

Professor McGonagall stood there with her arms folded across her chest. She stared over her glasses and down her nose at them. Her lips were a thin white line, pressed together tightly. Her nostrils flared as she took deep breaths.

"Urk!" Seamus made a most unusual sound.

"Mister Weasley," the Professor said coldly, "Mister Finnigan. Where do you presume to be going at this hour?"

"The, uh, the..." Seamus attempted to come up with a convincing story. He failed.

"We were just going out for a walk," Ron said hastily. It sounded weak, even to him.

"Five points from Gryffindor, Mister Weasley," she said to them in clipped, no-nonsense tones. "Why are you out of Gryffindor Tower?"

Ron sputtered, trying to come up with something she would believe. Seamus went silent.

"Mister Weasley, stop your transparent attempts to conceal the truth from me." She reached down and grabbed ahold of his ear. "Tell me where you were going in such a hurry." She gave his ear a sharp twist.

"Ow!" he exclaimed. There was nothing for it, he would have to tell her. Professor McGonagall was as inexorable as his Mum.

"We were going to the trophy room," he squeaked.

"Ron, shut up!" Seamus hissed at him.

"Silence, Mister Finnigan." She kept Ron's ear in a firm grasp. "Why?"

"Ow! Going to duel Draco Malfoy! And Harry Potter! Leggo!"

She didn't let go of him. "Back to Gryffindor Tower," she ordered them. "Right now. Come on, march."

And so she hauled them both back downstairs. In the entrance hall they met Mr. Filch, the caretaker.

"Evenin', Professor," he said in his gravelly voice. "Students outta bed, 'ave you?"

"Indeed," she answered him. "And I believe there may be more. Two more students may be in the trophy room. I shall leave you to deal with them."

Filch's eyes lit up. "Oh yes, that would be lovely. Come, Mrs. Norris." And they swept off in a hurry.


Professor McGonagall still had ahold of Ron's ear. When she finally released him outside the portrait hole, the blood rushed back into it with a dull ache. He clapped one hand to the side of his head.

"Twenty points from Gryffindor for being outside the Tower past curfew," she said sharply. "Now get to bed."

They ran for the dorm.

"Elan, welcome home," Narcissa Malfoy said, enfolding her eldest son in a hug as he stepped out of the fireplace.

"Mother," he said, dropping his bag. "You look lovely."

"Thank you, dear." She looked expectantly at the fireplace. "Where is your brother?"

"He's not coming. Let's go see Father." Elan's voice was flat and unemotional. He followed his mother as she led the way to Lucius' study. He knocked on the door.

"Come in," came the invitation in Lucius' polished, urbane speaking voice.

"Father," Elan inclined his head.

"Elan!" Lucius stood up from his desk and clasped his son by the shoulders. "You look well. Where is your brother?"

"He's not coming," Elan said, wanting to get the bad news out of the way as fast as possible.

Lucius' face clouded. "Not coming?" he said cooly. His eyes were flashing. "How very interesting. I trust he has a good explanation for this."

"He stayed at school to keep Harry Potter company. Harry's Muggle guardians refused to give him permission to leave school." Elan was not pleased at having to be the bearer of this news.

"And he couldn't bother to tell us himself?" Lucius resumed his seat and picked up his quill, seeming to treat the matter with no significance.

"I told him that I wouldn't defend his actions, Father." And so he had. Draco would just have to answer to Lucius himself with no one to intercede for him.

"His tact certainly leaves much to be desired," Lucius noted. "But I can guess at why he has done this thing."

"Father?" Elan was puzzled. He would've sworn that his father would be furious, yet the man was acting calm, as if he were discussing the weather.

"His friendship with Harry Potter is a good thing," Lucius said, scribbling something down. "It would not be prudent to be less than fond of Harry Potter, and a friendship with him is even better. A boy who could bring down the century's most powerful Dark Lord is not one we would want as an enemy. When He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was destroyed, the shadow was lifted, and I could live without fear again." He shook his head. "No, I wouldn't wish the Dark Lord returned, I am grateful to Potter for that. Obviously the Sorting Hat saw his potential for greatness as well. When the boy grows older, we shall make alliance with him. It's good for our family."

Draco Malfoy had been dragged out of the Slytherin common room in the middle of the night because his best mate had found an enchanted mirror that showed him his parents. Then, of course, he couldn't find it again. They'd wandered around the castle for hours under Harry's invisibility cloak before finally finding the stupid suit of armour that marked the right room. Now Harry was gazing rapturously in to the mirror with a blissful peace on his face.

"There they are," he said softly. "See?"

"I can't see anything," Draco told him.

"Look! Right there! There's so many of them!"

"I can only see you."

"Look in it properly," Harry said, dragging Draco to the place where he was standing. Draco looked up and nearly fell down as a tremendous jolt of amazement set his skin tingling.

"You see them!" Harry cheered.

Draco stared wide-eyed into the mirror. "Look at me," he whispered. He was taller, more handsome, with an easy smile on his face. He was wearing official Slytherin Quidditch robes and pads, with the captain's insignia blazoned on the chest. He carried the Quaffle in his hands, tossing it idly back and forth.

"What do you see?" Harry asked. "Do you see your family?"

"It's me," Draco breathed, not even believing it. The boy in the mirror looked like his brother, but Draco knew it was himself. "I'm older though. I look like Elan. But I'm not a prefect like him, I'm Quidditch Captain!"

The rest of the team was there too. Harry, of course, played Seeker, but Millie and Tim were there too. Crabbe and Goyle carried Beater's bats. His team. His friends.

And they were his friends, Draco could see. The older versions in the mirror were laughing and joking easily with each other. The warmth in their eyes when they looked at each other was unmistakable, and Draco felt his soul cry out in need.

He'd never really had friends. He knew children of his father's associates, but he'd always been reminded that he was better than they, more important. The Malfoy bloodline was just about as distinguished as they came. There were only about a dozen distinct lines anymore. There were newer families, all-magic families - and those were very important according to Father - but Malfoys were superior.

Oh, he'd called them his friends quick enough when he'd met Harry Potter. It wouldn't do for him to be seen as not having friends to such a person. Why would the Boy-Who-Lived want to be friends with someone whom nobody else liked either? But Crabbe and Goyle weren't much in the way of intellect, while Tim was entirely too clever for his own good. Millie's behaviour scandalized Mrs. Bulstrode, as she had told Mother during one visit to Malfoy Manor. Pansy was usually too busy bickering with Tim to be much fun, and her tongue was too sharp for his tastes.

But none of that mattered to the six children in the mirror. They were whooping and cheering as they celebrated a great triumph.

"You're there too, Slytherin's star Seeker. There's Millie and Tim, and we're all Chasers. We've stomped Gryffindor into the ground and taken the Quidditch Cup! Weasley's lying on the pitch bawling his eyes out!"

"Move over," Harry said. "I want to look again."

"You had it all last night," Draco said, not budging.

"You're just holding the Quidditch Cup," Harry argued. "What's so interesting about that?"

What was so interesting about breathing?

"I'm watching Weasley bleed his life out onto the grass." Weasley wasn't worth the breath it took to speak his name, and thrashing him soundly during a Quidditch match sounded grand.

"I want to see my parents."

"Don't shove me!"

A sudden noise in the corridor put an end to their discussion. Scarcely daring to breathe, Draco realized they'd been talking very loudly. "Under the cloak!"

Ron knocked on the door of Hagrid's hut. Inside, Fang barked loudly, and he could hear Hagrid wrestling the boarhound back. The door opened with a loud creak.

"A'right, whattaya want now, yeh little- oh, hallo there. Who're you?" Hagrid was bleary-eyed. He peered at Ron, trying to focus.

"I'm Ron Weasley," Ron told the gamekeeper.

"Well I'm in no mood fer entertainin'," Hagrid said shortly. "Good-bye."

"I know about the dragon egg," he said as Hagrid shut the door in his face. The door opened back up again.

"Oh," Hagrid said. "Do yeh. Come in, then."

As he took a seat at Hagrid's table, the big man drank noisily from a large pewter tankard. "What kin I do fer yeh?"

Ron did his best to look earnest and sincere. "I want to help you out. I overheard those slimy Slytherins plotting, and they shouldn't get away with that. I think I've got an idea."

"Idea?" Hagrid's voice was hopeful.

"Yes," Ron nodded. "Do you remember my brother Charlie?"

"Yeah," Hagrid said, scratching at his beard. "Best Seeker Gryffindor had seen in years. He were always interested in magical creatures, as I recall."

"He's living in Romania right now, working at a dragon ranch."

"A dragon ranch?" Hagrid was looking incredulous, as though his fortune were too good to be believed.

"That's right," Ron told him. "And I bet if we asked him, he'd help you get rid of that egg."

Hagrid's face fell. "I dinae want ter be givin' up me egg."

"It's either that or a world of trouble from those evil Slytherins," Ron argued. "This is the smartest thing to do."

Hagrid heaved a huge sigh that sent the wind whistling through the tiny hut. "Yer right. Alright, do what yeh think oughta be done."

"I'll write to him tonight and see if he can help."

"Why're yeh helpin' me?" Hagrid wanted to know.

"Because I can," Ron told him. "Anything to spike those Slytherins' wheel."

"Hagrid!" Charlie's voice was bright as he shook the gamekeeper's hand. "So good to see you again!"

"Charlie Weasley! Lordy, how the time does fly. You're looking well!" Hagrid sounded truly pleased to see the former Hogwarts student.

"It's been too long," Charlie said. "I wish I could get back home more often, but work keeps me so busy. We had a Ridgeback go rampaging a week ago, and I've never cast so many Memory Charms."

"Exciting life, dragon handling?" Hagrid asked wistfully. "I always wanted a dragon o' me own."

Charlie nodded. "And that's what this is all about, isn't it. Ron told me you were having a little bit of trouble with that."

"I won this 'ere dragon egg in a game o' cards, and now I got some students who're wantin' ter blackmail me."

"Are they Slytherins?" Charlie asked knowingly.

"Sneaky bastards," Hagrid growled. "First years and already up to no end of no good."

"Well, we'll spike their wheel," Charlie said encouragingly. He scratched Norbert under the chin, smacking his nose as the dragon tried to bite his fingers. "Little Norbert here will come with me, and that'll be all to that. He'll be happy there. There's a big mother who just hatched her own eggs, and he'll fit right in."

Charlie got to his feet and drew his wand. With a wave and a muttered spell, Norbert was encased in a wooden crate. Another spell levitated the crate and sent it out the door.

"I wish yeh could stay," Hagrid said. "But I know it's risky business when yeh ought not even be in Britain."

Charlie shook the big man's hand. "You've done the right thing about Norbert, Hagrid. We'll take good care of him. Why not come to Romania this summer and visit him? Just owl me, ok?"

"Thank yeh, Charlie. I owe yeh a favour."

Tim knelt down beside Pansy's bruised and battered body. She was unconscious, thankfully. The faint rise and fall of her chest proclaimed that she still clung to life, though if she didn't get proper medical treatment. . .

He muttered a basic Healing Charm, one designed to take away minor physical pain. It wasn't much, but it was something. He cast it twice more, hoping the repetition would have a cumulative effect. He vowed to himself right then that he would learn as much as he could about Healing magic.

"Pansy, I'm sorry," he said to her. "I wish there had been another way." He took her hand in his. "Oh Pans, please be alright. I don't know what I'd do without you. God, my life would probably be so boring." He knew she couldn't hear him, which is probably the only reason he spoke out loud, but what he said was true; Pansy did make his life more interesting.

He began to recall images from all the years that he and Pansy had known each other. There was Pansy, age four, whacking him in the face with her toy broomstick. Pansy, age six, and he'd just dumped a bucket of frog guts over her head. Age seven, when they'd grown weary of waiting for the snow to fall and had started a rock fight in Pansy's back yard. Two years ago, when she'd tried to drown him in the pool at Casa de Nott.

Tim began to hum a half-remembered tune. With his fingers interlaced with Pansy's, he tried to think positive thoughts. Everything would be fine. He just had to keep on believing.

"Oi, Tim," Draco said, sinking down across from him. "How is she?"

"The same," Tim said in a barely audible voice. Blaise knelt down next to him and placed her hand over his, which was still twined with Pansy's. She reached up her other hand and brushed away a tear that had mysteriously appeared on his cheek.

The seven Slytherins sat in silence for awhile. Prayers were whispered into the shadows. All of their thoughts were with Harry, confronting unknown dangers without them.

"Draco!" came Crabbe's voice from across the board. They looked up to see Madam Pomfrey bustling over just as fast as she could. Surprise of all surprises, Professor Dumbledore was with them as well. He didn't even look at the students, rushing right through the door past the white chess pieces.

"Oh dearie me, we have had a bit of trouble, haven't we?" Madam Pomfrey said as she performed her checks. "She's fortunate to be all in one piece. Well, don't just sit there! We're going up to the Hospital Wing."

"Do as she says," came Dumbledore's voice as he came back through the door. The eight Slytherins gasped when they saw that he carried an unconscious Harry in his arms. "I believe he will be perfectly alright," he said, forestalling their questions, "but here is no place for an extended discussion."

As he carried Harry past the to the exit, the faintest flash of red was seen as the torchlight flickered off of something Harry held tight in his hands. . .