A/N: Sorry for the wait everyone. I've been writing essays like mad, and had no time to write until term ended, and then ff.net decided to ban me from uploading for a week, so everything was written, but I could no longer post.
Harry knocked nervously on the door to Hagrid's cottage. Blaise was standing silently behind him, and they both listened to the rather enthusiastic scrambling noises inside that Harry identified as Fang fighting to get out. Hagrid bellowed something at the dog before opening the door a crack. They slipped inside. Hagrid slammed the door shut behind them and Fang leapt up on Harry slobbering all over his face before moving to inspect Blaise. Blaise offered his hand to Fang who obliged by covering it in drool.
"Enough, Fang!" commanded Hagrid. The boarhound subsided and went to sit on top of a pile of blankets in the corner. Harry decided to introduce his friend.
"This is Blaise Zabini, Hagrid." Blaise gave Hagrid a polite nod. Hagrid eyed them both in silence for a moment, and Harry had the distinct feeling that he was staring at their Slytherin badges. Harry cleared his throat.
"Er," he began, but then Hagrid seemed to come back to himself.
"Sorry. Let me make you a cup'a." He bustled about the cottage fetching cups from random shelves, and retrieved the sugar bowl from behind one of the hams that was swinging from the ceiling. They were each given a cup, and both Harry and Blaise sipped politely at the scalding hot brew. Hagrid clunked a huge plate of what he would call cake, and the rest of the world would call concrete, onto the table. Harry shook his head frantically at Blaise when his friend actually went to take one. Hagrid sat down, and the staring began anew.
"Er, Hagrid," began Harry, desperately wishing he didn't have to say anything at all. "I know you didn't expect for this to happen, but I didn't know either and…"
"Must say yeh gettin' into Slytherin surprised me," the giant admitted, finally breaking off his staring at their badges. "Both yer parents were in Gryffindor an' I thought yeh might be too."
"You were in Gryffindor," said Blaise before taking a sip of his tea. Hagrid nodded, and Harry wondered how Blaise had been able to tell.
"I was, an' that rudd-." Hagrid's face was turning red, and he was forced to pause and take a deep breath. "There was a Slytherin who caused me a lot of trouble. Not that I'm sayin' yeh will!"
"We won't, Hagrid," said Harry. Blaise nodded in agreement.
"I know yeh won'. Yeh're still yer father's son, whatever house yeh may be in." Harry wondered if that statement would still be considered true if Hagrid knew who his real father was, but he appreciated the comment all the same. "How was yer first day?" Harry welcomed the change of subject, and launched into a report of his day letting his tea grow cold as he talked.
He was only a few minutes late by the time he ran to his father's office. He had chatted with Hagrid for a lot longer than he had realized. Afterwards, Blaise had said he wanted to go to the Library to study, though Harry suspected he was just going there to avoid confronting Draco without Harry around. He burst through the office door, and stood there breathing heavily from his run through the castle.
"I'm here," he said between breathes.
"I can see that," said Snape, looking askance at his dishevelled appearance. "Lucky for you, Flint can't tell time any better than he can write a proper essay. Follow me." He swept out of the room with Harry in his wake. Who was Flint and why was Snape taking Harry to see him instead of the detention he had been assigned?
He followed his father outside the castle and out onto the Quidditch field. There was a much older boy sitting on a large box to one side of the field. He was holding a broom in his hands, staring at it and practically drooling. Harry felt his stomach lurch as he recognized his own broom. He glanced up at his father. Had he given Harry's broom away?
"Flint," said Snape as they came closer. The older boy continued to survey the broom, running his large hands over its twigs. "Flint!" The boy jumped up holding the broom casually behind his back as if he hadn't been drooling over it a few seconds before.
"Professor Snape," said Flint. He looked more like the type who would hurt you rather than talk to you, but his tone to Snape was surprisingly respectful. "You said you had a new Seeker for me." Flint was looking past Harry's head, as if there might be someone standing behind him. Snape gave Flint an exasperated look and pushed Harry forward.
"Here he is, Flint." Flint gaped at him, his eyes travelling automatically to the scar that was just visible through Harry's fringe.
"Yes," said Snape sardonically. "And that's his broom you're holding behind your back, which he might need if he's going to try out." Flint hastily handed the broom to Harry, glancing at Snape in embarrassment before turning his full attention on Harry. The change was remarkable. Flint went from flustered, to Captain of the Quidditch team in seconds.
"All right, Potter. Mount your broom. I'm releasing the Snitch. Catch it in five minutes and you're on the team." Harry glanced at his father, who just stared back with a bored expression and tilted his head towards the pitch. He was amazed that his father felt he was good enough to play Seeker, but didn't have time to dwell on it since Flint was releasing the Snitch.
Harry kicked off into the air, his problems of the day forgotten in the joy of flying, his eyes already scanning for the tiny Snitch. He spotted it quickly and rejoiced at his good fortune. Nudging his broom sideways, he went into a dive to catch the Snitch unaware from where it hovered a few feet above the ground. He was nearly upon it when something slammed into his shoulder, sending a jolt of pain echoing down his arm.
A wild glance about revealed that there was a Bludger in the air, and he took a moment to glare down at Flint for not telling him about it. Flint cupped his hands about his mouth and yelled.
"Catch the Snitch, Potter! The other teams won't give you warnings either!" Harry gave a curt nod in response, dove sideways to avoid the returning Bludger and resumed his search for the Snitch while keeping his eye out for the Bludger. Nearly a minute later, he spotted it again, hovering near his father's head. Harry grinned and dove towards his father, remembering the first time he had flown the broom. Snape didn't move, not even when Harry snatched the Snitch out of the air and pulled up his broom just in time to avoid barrelling into his father.
"I did it!" Harry yelled triumphantly, holding up the Snitch for Flint to see. His happy smile was returned by a faint one on his father's face, though the sad look was back in his eyes. Flint approached from behind after taking the time to recapture the Bludger.
"He's a natural, Professor," said Flint excitedly. "Gryffindor won't stand a chance." He glanced down at the broom in Harry's hand and there was a greedy look in his eyes when he looked up again. "He will be allowed to keep the Nimbus Two Thousand, Sir, despite the restrictions? None of the other teams have one." Snape nodded.
"I've spoken to the Headmaster. He's decided to make an exception, like he always does." Snape's tone was bitter, despite the fact that the Headmaster's decision had worked in his favour. Flint was overjoyed and spent the next few minutes going over when Harry would have to be at practice and what was expected of him. Snape waited impatiently for him to finish before walking him back to the castle. The Nimbus Two Thousand was left in Flint's care since they didn't want anyone to see what Harry was playing on until the day of their first match in a few weeks.
"Thank you," said Harry as they walked back. Snape glanced at him.
"I had to find some way to let you keep that broom, and to continue our lessons. You're excused from Flying lessons as of today. Instead, you will report to the classroom we've been working in to continue our lessons."
"All right." Harry wondered if he should tell his father about what had happened with Blaise today, but before he could mention it, they reached the Main Doors, and Snape opened them. The two Hufflepuffs who had been about to open the doors, jumped in surprise, their eyes widening in fright when they saw Snape. His father glared coldly at them.
"That will be all, Mr. Potter. I trust you've learnt something from this experience. Get back to your common room," he snarled, though it was unsure just who he was talking to. The two Hufflepuffs ran away, and Harry was about to ask if he had been talking to them, or to Harry, but then he noticed the woman in green robes who was standing near one of the doorways. Professor McGonagall. Snape glowered at her for a moment before sweeping away, his black robes spreading out behind him. McGonagall sent a stern look after him, but made no move to follow. She turned to look at him instead, and the stern look disappeared.
"It is getting late, Harry. You should probably get to your common room," she said kindly. Harry stared at her in confusion. As Head of Gryffindor, wasn't she supposed to hate Slytherins? She gave him a small smile, and nodded in the direction of the door. Harry started towards it. "If you ever want to talk, Mr. Potter, just let me know." She sounded worried. Harry nodded in agreement before he could think. He had enjoyed his conversations and flying time with McGonagall. It would be nice to continue them, but he wasn't sure if his father would approve now that he was in Slytherin. Or if McGonagall would approve once she found out he was Seeker for Slytherin.
"Thank you, Professor," he said, though he still wasn't sure if it was a good idea. He wandered back to the Slytherin common room, absentmindedly rubbing his sore shoulder. This had to have been the strangest detention he had ever received.
A/N: There is no canonical evidence that Blaise is male or female in the books. I decided that Blaise would be male going on the evidence from one of Rowling's interviews that there are two, not yet mentioned, Slytherin girls. If Blaise is a boy, this means there are four boys and four girls in Slytherin which evens out. Or course, it's always possible that there's five Slytherin girls, but until Rowling indicates Blaise's gender in the books, I'm keeping Blaise a boy. For more information about this go visit the HP Lexicon.
Thanks for reading everyone. Please review:)