Hello! A quick word from me: I have decide to try my hand at writing again after a rather spectacular meltdown about two years ago. That means that my other two fics are probably not going to be finished. I feel a bit bad about that, but my likes and dislikes have changed a lot since then, so I don't think I'd be able to do my best.

I own neither England nor the Crown Jewels nor Harry Potter. At the moment, all I own is my imagination. And my computer. And stuff. So I'm not destitute or anything, just lacking in Harry Potter. Sigh.

Chapter One

Harry stared down the path created by Justin Finch-Fletchley, feeling slightly bemused. What did he think he was playing at? Well, obviously he was playing at pretending he knew how duel. Clearly he had no idea what he was doing. Honestly, yelling at a snake to calm it down? What was he thinking. At least Lockheart had thought to use magic, the idiot.

As if summoned by Harry's derisive thoughts, Lockheart began moving towards the boy, and Harry fought back a cringe as the man placed his hand on his shoulder before looking down at him seriously. Harry fought not to move away as he stared at the floor, willing Lockheart's feet to move no closer, and then he jumped as warm breath blew by his ear, and the man leaned down to murmur in Harry's ear, "detentio-"

And then the too close presence fell backward; the clammy hand slipped from Harry's shoulder, and he heard Lockheart begin to speak in his normal, overbearingly cheerful voice: "I say, Mr. Malfoy, do try to watch where you're going."

Malfoy took no notice of Lockheart, or of the whispers growing steadily louder as people nudged each other out of the way as they crowded closer to the stage or scramble to follow Justin in his undignified retreat from the hall. He stared at the green-eyed boy before him; the boy who looked no less clueless as the whispers grew louder and the stares grew more intense, only more uncomfortable.

A sneer began to form on Malfoy's lips when he looked up from his inspection and saw the two people that never left Harry's side fighting their way through the crowd, their eyes fixed on their best friend, panic written all over their faces.

"Really, Potter, if your little sycophants don't get over their little moral dilemma soon and start using stinging hexes, they'll never make it here in time."

Harry's face darkened with rage, anger at the insult to his friends completely overriding his ability to hear the important part of Malfoy's sentence-in time. His meaning was made clear, however, when suddenly people were shouting, and hexes were flying, and hands were grabbing, and Harry was struggling, because people had grabbed him and were hurrying him through a crowd of angrily hissing students, and they weren't Ron and Hermione because he could hear their distressed cries of "Harry!" from somewhere behind and to the left of him.

A pinching feeling along his right thigh, and Harry's legs went out of control. A curse, and then a girl's voice, "Jelly-Legs, a strong one too, I can't get it off." Harry wrenched himself around to face his kidnapper, only to collapse on the ground as his legs gave out from under him.

Pansy Parkinson glared down at him, hands on hips, an indignant expression on her face. "Do you mind trying not to sabotage our attempts to save you from the rest of the school, Potter? Only I don't fancy getting hit with some of the curses some of the older students were throwing around back there."

"Parkinson?" Harry asked, confusion now warring with anger and making his brain feel like complete mush. Honestly, how did Hermione go through all those mood change so quickly and still be the smartest of their year?

"No, it's Lady Nemue. I thought it would be fun to waltz around as a twelve-year old girl and save some speccy git's arse at the same time!" Pansy snapped, looking for all the world that she would really love to stomp her foot, but was unwilling to mar her spectacular bout of sarcasm with such a childish action. Harry was just getting ready to see if he could get the girl with the unfortunate nose to drop her poise and throw a hissy fit, when someone grabbed him from behind and hauled him to his feet.

"Really Potter, even Draco doesn't think you're this much of an idiot, and he rants about your lack of brainpower every Thursday at four PM sharp." Harry attempted to put a name and face to this new, male voice, but gave up when the different sneers his memory conjured up started to blur together.

"Who are you?" He asked instead, cautiously letting his weight fall onto his legs and raying they would hold them up. They didn't.

"Really Potter?" The voice sounded a bit breathless now, but that was understandable considering the effort whoever-it-was has put in to keeping the both of them from collapsing. "Are you that caught up in your own Hogwarts world that you can't be bothered to learn the names of anyone outside of you circle of friends and Malfoy?"

Harry promptly readied himself to argue his defense, but all he got out was a rather indignant "ER!" as he realized that he actually didn't pay much attention to most people and events. In his defense, Harry tended to be rather busy trying not to die, and he didn't see how socializing could enable him to duck faster, but that was still no excuse to not know the names and faces of at least half of his year.

Lost in his self-loathing and realizations, Harry had missed the part when Pansy and the boy who belonged to the voice had hustled him up a flight of stairs and down a corridor. He did notice when he was dropped on the ground said, almost casually, "It's Zabini, by the way. Blaise Zabini."

Harry, who was still confused and feeling distinctly out of his element resorted to sarcasm and asked, "Are you a relation of Bond, James Bond?"

"I don't know," said Blaise, after a few moments of contemplation. "I'll have to ask mother to consult our genealogy."

Harry's snicker was muffled by the door slamming open and the rest of the Slytherins in his year filing in. Crabbe and Goyle lounged on either side of the door, while the other Slytherins formed a half-circle around Harry with Draco Malfoy at their center.

After half a minute of Harry dubiously eyeing Malfoy, and the look of impatience on the blond growing steadily more intense, Malfoy finally decided to break the silence.


Harry gave him an odd look. "Well, what?"

"Well, are you going to stand, or will you all have us sit on the floor like, like, commoners?" The look of impatience was replaced by disgust.

"Can't," Harry replied, feeling quite cross.

"What do you mean, 'can't'?" snapped Malfoy.

"Oh!" The cry came from Pansy, standing off to the right of Malfoy. "I completely forgot: he was hit by a rather nasty Jelly-Legs Jinx. I couldn't get it off. Nott, could you-"

A brown-haired boy whom Harry had completely overlooked knelt, muttered a few things under his breath, and stood back up. Harry could immediately feel the strength return to his legs, and gratefully scrambled to his feet, nodding his thanks in Nott's direction.

He turned back to Malfoy, crossed his arms, and drawled, almost gleefully, "Well?"

Surprise and approval flashed across before he quickly schooled his features into a stoic mask. Harry suppressed the urge to tell him that the look made him appear to be constipated, as his face was entirely too young to pull off stoic, but he decided he'd been hexed enough for the day.

"Well what?"

Harry rolled his eyes, but replied readily enough, "Well, what's with the rescue and the weird looks? What do you want?

Malfoy glared at him. "They are not weird looks: they are contemplative. Obviously."

A snort sounded from behind him, but Malfoy ignored, choosing instead to level a contemplative look in Harry's direction. Harry decided not to mention that the gaze still looked weird to him.

"However," Malfoy continued, "to answer your entirely vague and badly phrased question, we rescued you because you are a parselmouth, and as such part of Slytherin House. It is our duty to protect you both as family, and as a relic."

Harry had seen a relic before-a yellowing bit of bone tucked in a dusty corner of an out-of the way church-and he didn't think he liked the idea of being one himself, but he was more interested in what a parselmouth was to argue that particular point. Upon receiving completely horrified looks from everyone in the room after asking what Malfoy-Call-Me-Draco meant by the word, Harry thought he would have done better to argue.

Five hours later, much hot cocoa had been drunk, Snape has stalked in, turned on his heel and billowed out no less than four times, and Harry has been set up in his very own Slytherin bed. He had impressed the entire house with the story of the Boa Constrictor he once set on Dudley, and somewhat understood why people had been throwing hexes at him. Although he still thought that in was a bit ridiculous for seventeen year-olds to react in fear to a titchy second year, he understood better when Tracy Davis told him about the Dark Lord Arnot, who began his recruiting and massacring at the tender age of nine. Still Arnot's reign of terror was very brief and had occurred over three hundred years ago.

When he thought about it, Harry decided he was still quite miffed at the students' reactions. Did they really think he was capable of hurting people like that. After the episode from last year. What was he? A Magic Eight Ball? He supposed he had killed Quirrel, but he was mostly unconscious at the time, so did it really count? Harry rolled over again and wondered if wizards had psychiatrists. Then he went to sleep.

A little too rushed? Or was it all right? I'll be doing a bit of juggling, and dialogue's not my best, so tell me what you think, yeah?