Title: A Chance to Change
Summary: The day before he marries Ginny, Harry goes to Gringotts; he uncovers the disturbing truth. He travels back in time; his new mission: Befriend Draco Malfoy and win the heart of Severus Snape. SSHP MPREG abuse Good!LV AD MW RW GW Bashing SLASH FEMSLASH
Pairings: SSHP, LVLM, FWGW, RLSBFG, DMCWBW, BLNM, HGLL, BZNL
Warnings: Good!Voldie, Time Travel, Slash, Femslash; AD, MW, RW, and GW Bashing; Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Mpreg, Incest, Threesome
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Chapter Six – Slytherins Protect Their Own
It was finally Friday and Harry is barely able to keep himself from bouncing in his seat at breakfast. "Okay, what's gotten into you so that you're nearly bouncing about like a bloody Gryffindor?" Montague snaps at Harry.
Harry freezes and looks back at him. What could he say? What sounds Slytherin? "We have our first potions class today," Harry says flippantly. "And, should the rumors I've heard be true, I'm looking forward to seeing the Gryffindors being put in their place."
Montague nods sharply and returns to his breakfast.
Draco snickers. "I hope Weasley does something stupid!"
"Yeah," Harry agrees, taking a bite of his toast. The previous night, all the first year Slytherins had gathered in the common room and prepared for Potions. They made sure that, whomever Severus called on, the right answer would always be given. Sure, Crabbe and Goyle had struggled a bit, but they eventually understood enough.
"And aren't we lucky?" Blaise says, pushing his now empty plate away. "We only have classes until lunch. What are we going to do this afternoon?"
Harry chuckles slightly. "If we come across Hermione, you know we'll be wrangled into doing our homework."
Draco groans. "I don't want to do homework! We have the whole weekend!"
"Yeah, I know, but if we do it then, we will have Saturday and Sunday to ourselves," Blaise reasons.
Draco grumbles something that sounds like, "That does sound better."
Harry laughs. He stops abruptly when the owls began fluttering in. He tenses and hopes that no more howlers were coming.
Tuesday had been the absolute worst! There had to have been hundreds of howlers and letters combined! At the sight of the first red envelope Harry had begun to panic. Gemma Farley, who had taken it upon herself to sit with the first years to see if any of them needed a bit of help finding their classes, looks to see what was causing one of her firstie's such distress.
"What in the world?" she had whispered before summoning it from the air and throwing it to the floor before casting incendio at it.
"Oh Merlin!" Draco whispers in horror.
Gemma, after making sure the letter was sufficiently ash, looks back up again and pales at the sight of dozens more howlers coming through, all heading straight for Potter. She turns to the few upper years sitting near her, "Target practice?" she asks slyly.
"Sure," one of them chuckles evilly. "Doesn't matter if we hit the birds, right? It'll be a nice warning to their owners, yeah?"
"Of course, Yatin," Gemma says, standing up. "Slytherins stick together and protect our own, especially from the very fickle public."
Nearly every Slytherin, third year and up, stood and started shooting at the howlers. Harry's jaw had almost dropped at the sight. None of the Gryffindors had ever helped him in his previous life when the public turned their back on him and made their anger known through mail.
"I have to learn that spell now," Draco said, looking like he really wanted to help.
"Well, do you know how to sweep a letter for harmful things?" Harry asked. There was an ever growing pile of regular mail on his plate. Thankfully, he had already eaten his fill. "Because if you do, you can help me sort this pile," he gestured in front of him. He had the attention of all the first and second years. "I'll go through it later. I just need the dangerous stuff burned."
"Got it! Every pureblood learns how to sweep a letter," Draco had said, getting to work. The scarce halfbloods in first and second year were quickly taught the spell and were helping Harry. They threw the dangerous letters into a pile that one of the prefects burned when they were done.
In the end, Harry only had six letters he needed to read. He easily slipped them into his pack for later. He profusely thanked everyone at the table for helping him, but no one accepted it. "We protect our own," Gemma said simply. The others nodded, agreeing with her.
Before leaving the hall, Harry had looked about and was pleasantly surprised to see the shock and slight awe at how the Slytherins had easily handled that plastered on the faces of most of the students. That day, Slytherin House left the Great Hall as one.
Harry smiles slightly as he remembers the end of that morning. It had been terrifying at first, but things worked out in the end. That pattern continued one Wednesday and Thursday, although on a much smaller scale. Fewer letters were being sent each day.
Harry searches the owls and thankfully, there weren't any howlers that day. "Is it finally over?" Blaise asks, eyeing the owls warily.
"Darn, I was hoping for some more target practice," Yatin Bhagat mutters into his breakfast.
Draco snorts before turning to Harry. "I forgot to ask; you got only about a dozen letters that weren't cursed or poisoned or howlers, right? What did they say?"
A few of the other Slytherins were looking curiously at him, too.
"Well," Harry says, taking some bacon. "They all pretty much said the same thing. They supported me and didn't think I was Dark. They said the Prophet was stupid for even thinking something like that." He pauses and snickers. "They also said they'd like to give that Ronald Weasley a piece of their mind for sharing sensitive information."
The Slytherins snicker. "How will you be getting revenge on him?" Montague asks.
Harry smirks. "The only hint I'm giving you is that I'm doing it in potions." Draco looks over at Harry curiously. He hadn't been notified of any plans for retribution against Weasley. Harry looks over at Draco's slightly hurt face. "That reminds me, we need to go so I can fill you in."
Relieved, Draco smirks and whispers, "You just want to get to the potions classroom as early as socially acceptable."
Harry gives Draco a sharp look. He warily glances at Blaise who was peering at them with a calculating look on his face. Harry nearly groans. Couldn't Draco be a little more subtle?
"Let's go," Harry says forcefully, while grabbing Draco by the arm and pulling him up.
"Hey! I haven't finished eating yet!"
"Fine, you just won't be included in my revenge."
"What? No, Harry! Please don't do this to me!"
"You can take food with you, you know that, right?"
Draco falls silent before speedily putting some eggs and breakfast meat between two pieces of toast which he wrapped in a napkin. "See you later, Blaise!" he calls over his shoulder, rushing after Harry.
Blaise shakes his head before his eyes trail up to the Head Table. More specifically, the Potions Master. From what he could gather, both Harry and Draco knew the man before coming to Hogwarts. It's rather interesting. He decides to keep stewing on his theories before questioning anyone.
He has more important things to do. His eyes trail to where Neville was getting up from the Hufflepuff table, saying goodbye to his friends. Yes, he has a little Hufflepuff to bother. He stands and stalks out of the Great Hall after Neville. He still has some time before class. He might as well get to know this fourth member of Harry's group.
"Hey, Neville!" he calls somewhat quietly, but well within hearing distance. "I've got some questions for you."
Harry slinks through the halls with Draco hot on his tails. "Why are you going so fast?" Draco whines between breaths. "Severus isn't even there yet! He was still in the Great Hall!"
"I know, and I also know he will get a little mad at me for this, but I have to make sure Weasley is properly punished."
"What do you mean? What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to switch some ingredients about so that the Gryffindors' potions explode."
Draco stops. Harry pauses and looks at the other boy. Draco was staring at him with something akin to horror. "You're planning on messing with Uncle Severus' supply closet?" he asks in a whisper, his face very pale. "Do you have a death wish!?"
"I know he will get mad at me, but I'll replace all the ruined ingredients."
"That's not the problem! It won't be just the Gryffindors who have their potions explode!"
"I told you! I have a plan," Harry says decisively and walks into the potions classroom. "When Severus does get here, you have to get him to let the Slytherins go in and get their ingredients separately from the Gryffindors. Once in there, you will proclaim someone had messed with the ingredients and point us in the right direction."
Draco chews his lip. "I don't know…"
"Come on, Draco. It'll be hilarious!" He was thinking about having Ron get soaked with mucked up potions and having to be sent to the Hospital Wing.
"Yeah, but potions are very dangerous… If we switch out the wrong ingredient, someone could very well die." Draco looks decidedly uncomfortable.
"I know that," Harry says softly. "I wouldn't truly endanger anyone. I've spent a bit of time going through potions books and finding a recipe that would result in the perfect prank. Just a second, please." He takes a deep breath and sneaks into the supply closet. He quickly switches the labels on two ingredients.
He slips back out and sits down in the front row. Draco moves and sits next to him. "So, what exactly did you do?"
"Well, we're brewing the cure for boils, right?" Draco nods. "Well, apparently, the potion that is the cause of boils is very similar to the cure. The only difference is in the ending. So, once the cause of boils has been properly brewed, the next thing would be to turn down the fire and add porcupine quills. Well, without those quills, you've got the cause of boils, right?" Draco nods again. "And the quills neutralize it, but if you add something like, Moly stems, you've got something explosive."
Draco's eyes widen. "Of course," he whispers. "Moly definitely doesn't work well with an ingredient like snake fangs! And, as long as it only gets on the Gryffs, it's harmless. You're a genius!"
Harry grins. "I take revenge seriously." He always had.
Before Harry can say anymore, the door opens and Severus walks inside. The man stops and blinks at them. "What are you two doing here so early?" he asks with a frown.
"Breakfast was boring today. Harry didn't get any more howlers."
Harry scowls at Draco. "We didn't have anything better to do; I hope we aren't a bother, Professor," he murmurs, not meeting Severus' eyes.
Severus raises an eyebrow before silkily saying, "No bother, as long as you weren't up to something."
"We're Slytherins, of course we're not up to anything," Harry says slyly.
Draco, catching on, says, "We're perfect angels."
Severus snorts. "Sure you are," he mutters and stalks to his desk. "I'll be leaving shortly to give my students my usually entrance. And I do hope you have properly prepared for this class."
Both boys nod before Harry lightly shoves Draco. Draco glares at him before saying, "Uncle Sev, I was wondering, how many people go into that supply cupboard at once? It looks awful cramped."
Severus sneers. "The bloody idiots all charge for it simultaneously."
Draco looks horrified and Harry mentally applauds his acting. "How… barbaric! How about you have each House go in separately? I'm sure everyone would benefit from that," he says sweetly.
Severus eyes him and then looks over at Harry, who was staring back indifferently. He then looks over at his supply closet. "What have you two done?"
"Nothing, sir," both of them say, a little too quickly.
Severus narrows his eyes at them and stands. He opens his mouth to say something when talking could be heard through the open door. He gives them a sharp look. "You had better know what you're doing," he threatens before slipping into the shadows.
The rest of the Slytherin first years slink into the classroom and sit on the side Harry and Draco were on. Blaise sits at the table right behind them. "Hey, guys. Everything alright?" he asks. Harry knows it is his way of asking if the plan was in place.
"Of course," says Harry snootily. "What did you expect?"
Just then, the seven Gryffindors sulk into the classroom. Ron is among the first and looks hastily around the classroom. When his eyes land on Harry, he speedily walks over. "Hey, Harry," he says in a friendly manner. "What to sit with me in the back?"
The Slytherins blink. Why was this boy speaking to Harry in such a friendly manner? Harry eyes him coldly. He ignores the pang in his gut as the Gringotts statements from his previous life flash through his mind. "It's Potter to you."
"Oh, come off it, Harry! Come on, then; let's get seated before Snape gets here."
"I am perfectly seated in a position I find most favorable." Harry leans back in his chair and glares at Ron. "And cease speaking to me so familiarly! I am no friend of yours," he sneers.
"Of course we're friends, Harry! Don't be silly! Now, come on! Let's go." He grabs Harry's arm and tries to pull him up.
Harry's eyes narrow, but they then flick to the left. Severus steps out of the shadows and magically slams the door shut. "What are you doing, Weasley?" he silkily asks in a quiet voice.
Ron starts and stares warily at Snape. "I was just helping my friend Harry up so we can sit in the back together, Professor."
"We are not friends," Harry hisses, yanking his arm out of Ron's grip.
"Yes we are!" shouts Ron, getting red in the face.
"Ten points from Gryffindor! You do not shout at a fellow student," Severus drawls.
Ron ignores him. "We met on the train and became friends! What have those slimy snakes done to you, Harry? I'll take you to Dumbledore so he can right this!"
Severus and Draco stiffen, and Harry glares heatedly at Ron. "I will be doing no such thing! And your memory of the train ride here seems to be vastly different from mine," he drawls in a dangerous voice. "From what I can recall, I was sitting with Draco and became friends with Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom when they later entered the compartment I was in."
"We met on the train!" Ron interrupts him insistently.
"Oh, I was getting to our… meeting," Harry says silkily.
Ron pales and glances around the classroom. "Whatever," he says quickly. "You've changed, Harry."
"How can I change when you never knew me? You didn't even recognize me when you slammed the door open the compartment door – quite rude of you, I might add – and yelled about where the great Harry Potter was because Dumbledore promised he would be your little friend. You insulted me, my choice of friends, my father and my mother. What was the term you used? Oh yes mudblood, was it?"
Harry looks over at Severus, who was pale and his nostrils were flaring. He looks quite angry. "Weasley," he says in a voice that promised death, "If I hear that you've used such a foul word again, not only will you find yourself in detention for a month, you will find Gryffindor missing several hundred points and a letter having been sent home to your mother."
"I never said that! He's lying!" Ron lies jerkily. His face was puce with anger. "He's just a slimy snake!"
"Sit down," Severus commands, his eyes narrow. Ron glances evilly at Harry before rushing to comply. "And another ten points from Gryffindor for talking back to a teacher." Ron groans as his housemates glare at him.
Severus walks up and takes role. He simply glides over Harry's name without pause. Dumbledore would probably think the man was too angry and distracted if he ever got wind of this. Severus glares at Ron when he got to his name, though.
Once he was done, he steps in front of his desk and says, "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion making. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mine, ensnaring the sense… I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death."
Harry's shoulders slump slightly and he fights the goofy grin that wanted to break out on his face. It was absolutely amazing hearing that passionate speech spilling deliciously off Severus' tongue.
He snaps attentive when Draco pokes him. Harry glares at him when Draco gives him a look.
"If you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach," Severus continues. He pauses for a second before barking out, "Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
"Draught of Living Death, sir, a sleeping potion so strong, the drinker appears to be dead," Harry responds smoothly.
Severus scowls and turns to a new victim. His eyes land on Ron. "Weasley! Where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"
Ron looks around in horror, obviously not knowing the answer. He gives Harry a pleading look, but Harry just ignores him. Ron's face reddens before he mutters, "I don't know."
"What was that?" Severus barks. "Speak up, boy!"
"I don't know!" Ron nearly shouts.
Severus scoffs. "Five points from Gryffindor for not knowing the answer and disrespect."
He turns to the Slytherin side. "Malfoy, can you answer the question?"
"A bezoar is found in the belly of a goat and is an antidote to most poisons," Draco says, looking at Ron haughtily.
"Correct. Five points to Slytherin."
Severus turns to Seamus, "Finnegan! What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?"
Seamus' eyes were wide. "Um… t-their coloring?" he guesses. Severus looks angry. "I know they're both plants, sir!" Seamus adds quickly.
Severus raises an eyebrow. "Now who told you that?" he asks silkily.
"I heard a couple of Hufflepuffs discussing them, sir. I didn't hear what else they said about them," Seamus says quickly, not wanting to get Gryffindor in more trouble. "I would have asked about them had I known they were used in potions."
"He'd have asked if he knew Uncle Sev was going to ask about them, more likely," Draco whispers to Harry. Harry nods.
Severus pauses. "Five points from Gryffindor for not knowing the answer." He pauses again before adding, "But three points to Gryffindor for being aware of your surroundings." He looks a bit pained at saying this, so he quickly turns to the Slytherins. Seamus slumps in his seat in relief. He only lost two points. He could easily make that up in Defense later that day.
"Zabini, the answer?" asks Snape, already knowing the boy will know it.
"There is no difference. They, along with aconite, are all the same plant," Zabini says in a bored voice.
Severus nods before looking at the rest of the class. "Why aren't you all copying that down?" he sneers.
Everyone scrambles for their parchment to write down the quick notes.
After that, they are told to clear their stations and get out their cauldrons. "We are working on the cure for boils today." Severus informs them. "The instructions are on the board and the ingredients are in the supply closet. Each House will go in separately because I've lately had a problem of overcrowding. Slytherins, since I know you won't trash the place, go in and get your ingredients first."
The Slytherins quickly stand up and enter the cupboard. The begin collecting their ingredients in a line, moving down. Draco was first, and pauses when he reaches the label that says, "Porcupine Quills."
"That's not right," he whispers.
Blaise, who was next in line, blinks at him. "What's not right?"
The rest of the Slytherins were listening now.
"Well, these aren't porcupine quills. They're Moly stems," Draco explains. He looks around. "There're the porcupine quills." He reads the label. "Someone switched the labels."
"Should we switch them back?" Goyle asks.
Draco shakes his head. "If we tamper with them, Severus won't be able to catch the culprit. We'll just tell him after class."
"But what about the Gryffs? They won't know what the ingredients are supposed to look like." asks Millicent before she blinks. She casts a glance at Harry. "Never mind," she says, "they're not important."
The Slytherins collect the correct ingredients before leaving the small room. They hurry about beginning their potions as the Gryffindors scramble into the supply closet. Harry smirks and turns on the fire under his cauldron.
He glances up and catches Severus' eyes for a brief second before he hastily looks down, trying to squash the blush that threatened to bloom on his face.
Nearing the end of class, when most potions were well past half-way done, Severus has finally made his way to Draco and Harry's stations. He pauses by Harry and whispers, "I don't know what you've planned, but that smirk looked absolutely sinister. I hope you know there is nothing I can do if anyone is seriously injured."
"At most, only the rest of the day in the Hospital Wing," Harry whispers simply. "Besides, with the Slytherins' potions, their stay should end fairly quickly."
Severus raises an eyebrow before his eyes widen slightly in realization. He looks over at the Gryffindors just as they were all turning down their potions. They were all at the same stage. There wasn't a perfect potion among the lot, but they would all sufficiently cover someone in boils without side effects.
But how would they get on the students. He looks to the table for the porcupine quills, but sees Moly stems. He turns and looks at Harry incredulously. The boy was simply brilliant. Well, technically, finding out about the similarities between the two potions is fairly easy, but applying it in order to sabotage someone's potion is simply genius.
Severus continues stalking the classroom, making sure to stay on the Slytherin side of the classroom.
The first foolish Gryffindor to add the Moly stems was Weasley. Severus sneers slightly at the idiot boy. Mere seconds after the stems are fully submerged, the potions starts the bubble before erupting all over Weasley.
Thomas and Seamus laugh at Weasley's misfortune before hastily turning to the board, reading what to do next.
Holding in a snicker, Severus glares at him. "Weasley!" he barks, taking a step forward. Brown was the next one to add the stems. Before her potion explodes, Patil adds her stems. One by the one, each Gryffindor adds their stems and, one by one, their potions explode.
The girls shriek and the boys groan. Finnegan looks like he might throw up. Weasley is the first to notice the boils growing on him. He screams in horror.
Knowing it is his time to play his part, Severus stalks to the front of the room, glaring at everyone. The Slytherins quickly finish up their potions. Most would get Outstandings, but Crabbe and Goyle would get Acceptables. "What has happened here?" he whispers, knowing everyone can hear him. The smarter Gryffindors shrink away. A few of the girls whimper.
Weasley is red in the face again. It was amazing how he could still tell that even though the boy was drenched in the potion. "One of those Slytherins messed with our cauldrons! I just know it!"
"Idiot," Draco whispers. Harry can't help but agree. He very nearly shakes his head. Ron, apparently, had forgotten his brother's advice to be careful who he voices such thoughts to.
Severus stalks towards the boy in the back, "Would you like to repeat that."
Ron, finally realizing to whom he had said that, pales. "No," he grumbles, looking down.
"Detention, Weasley. You will come here after your last class. You have a lot of cleaning to do."
Ron looks up defiantly. "I wasn't the only one whose potion exploded!"
"Twenty points from Gryffindor!" Severus snarls. "Learn some respect, boy!" Severus glares around the classroom. "Now, whoever still has a useable potion, bottle it and put it on my desk with your name on a label. The rest of you: put away your things," he growls.
The Gryffindors rush for the door, but before the first one can reach the door, Severus adds, "Anyone who destroyed a potion loses ten points from their House." The Gryffindors groan while the Slytherins bottle up their potions. "Wait," Severus suddenly said, glancing over the Slytherin cauldrons. He took out seven vials and filled them with Draco's potion. He handed one to each Gryffindor. "Drink," he commanded.
The Gryffindors drank and ran off once they realized their boils were disappearing.
Blaise, Draco, and Harry stay behind while everyone else leaves. Harry can see Crabbe and Goyle standing guard outside the classroom.
Harry moves to say something, but stops when he notices that Severus was writing something. Severus pauses and looks up at Harry with a raised eyebrow. "Yes?" he drawls silkily.
Harry stifles a blush and asks, "Where are the rest of your classes going to be?"
Draco pales and Blaise shakes his head. Severus snorts. "Hadn't thought of that, had you?" Harry sheepishly shakes his head. "Well, there are two spare potions classrooms in case something like this occurs. I only ask that you fix what you changed in my supply room."
Harry rushes and complies, switching the labels back. "Is there anything else I can do, Professor?"
Severus snorts again. "I believe you've done enough Potter. You got your revenge, humiliated Weasley, and made Gryffindor lose 117 points."
"117?" Draco gapes. Blaise's eyes were wide. He hadn't thought that many had been lost.
"That puts them in the negatives," Harry states. Draco whoops.
Harry hadn't truly realized exactly how many points Hermione had earned for Gryffindor until that moment. Or even him and Neville. Harry earned a lot in Defense while Neville easily got them from Herbology. With the three major point getters from their year out of Gryffindor, that House didn't stand a chance at the House Cup.
"Yes, now I must go and put this note on my door to redirect my students to one of the other classrooms. Be gone now; don't you have somewhere else to scheme?" Severus says, standing up.
"Maybe," Harry says slyly, heading to the door. "Let's go see if we can find Hermione and Neville," he suggests as they walk out into the hallway.
"Sure," Blaise says and Draco reluctantly agrees. "We only have half an hour though."
"Hermione and Neville have potions next so if we meet on the first or second floor, it'll be okay. They can get to potions and we can get to charms on time," Harry says, already heading for the stairs.
Crabbe and Goyle lumber behind the trio as they head up in search of their other two friends. Hermione's bushy mop is easily spotted as she makes her way to the stairs to the dungeons. Harry calls to her, "Hey, Hermione!"
She looks up and smiles. "Hi guys," she says happily. "I have Potions next; where are you headed?"
"Charms," Harry says.
Draco snickers. "You'll be in a different Potions classroom than we were."
Hermione frowns. "Why?"
"Every Gryffindor potion exploded."
"What?" she demands, her eyes wide. "I-is it that hard?"
"Nah," Harry reassures her. "The idiots just messed it up. I think it might've been a chain reaction or something. Like, some of the Weasley's rubbish potion exploded and got into the one next to him, so that one explodes and so on."
Hermione shakes her head. "Weasley's exploded first?" The Slytherins nod. "Of course…"
"We should probably be going," Blaise says, glancing at his watch. "We still have to get to the third floor."
"Yeah," Harry sighs, resigned. "Good luck in Potions, Hermione. I'm sure you'll do brilliantly!" With that, he and his little group of friends and two bodyguards head up towards the stairs.
"Charms is going to be boring," Draco nearly whines.
"How come?" Blaise asks, amused.
"Because we're still going over that stupid floating spell! We all already know it!" he really does whine this time.
Harry snorts. "Not everyone is a pureblood with wards that let them use underage magic, Draco."
"So? What does that have to do with the others' stupidity?" Draco sulks.
Harry rolls his eyes. "I meant, not everyone has even used any magic consciously before coming to Hogwarts. Teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator or else they'd get sued."
"I don't care if some ratty old teacher gets sued!" squawks Draco indignantly.
"Even Snape?" Harry asks slyly.
Draco blinks before muttering, "Well, of course not him. He's my godfather." Harry smiles wryly, knowing that wasn't the whole reason. It was certainly most of it, but the rest of it was that Severus didn't exactly have a lot of money. His Prince inheritance had been frozen when he was under suspicion of being a Death Eater after the previous war. No one bothered to unfreeze them. Teachers didn't make much money and not many people wanted to buy potions from an ex-Death Eater, no matter how good the potion.
"It would be bad if any teacher gets sued," Blaise drawls. "It's not like they make much money."
"What do you bet that Weasel tries to sue one of his teachers before he graduates?" Draco snickers.
"Weasley sue?" Blaise snorts. "Like he could afford a lawyer!"
"Imagine if someone sued Weasel?" Draco snickers. Harry blinks, taking on a thoughtful look. Suing Ron? Huh. That idea had merit… as long as it didn't hurt the rest of the family. Molly and Ginny he couldn't care less about, but the rest…
Harry didn't want to put them into an even worse financial situation then they already were in. He ignores Draco and Blaise's snickering as he begins to formulate a plan. He'd have to get in touch with a goblin and see what he could do. He didn't know if libel was allowed in the Wizarding World, but Harry thought it shouldn't be.
He nods to himself, already writing the letter in his head.
They were heading up the main staircase leading to the second floor when a shout grabs Harry's attention. Harry looks to the top of the stairs and frowns at Ron, Seamus, and Dean standing there. He nearly blinks in shock upon realizing that is the entire first year group of Gryffindor boys. Such a small number…
"Potter," Ron scowls. Seamus was smirking and Dean looks a bit unsure. He looks like he definitely didn't want to be there.
Harry raises an eyebrow. "Yes?" he drawls.
Ron opens his mouth to make a nasty remark before he closes it with an audible click. His face turns a ruddy puce. "I can forgive you for not sitting with me during Potions if we go to Hagrid's and hang out," he grinds out.
Harry stares blankly at him. The way he forcefully said that made it sound like a threat. "Forgive me? I did nothing wrong. I was simply sitting with my friends."
"Why would you want to sit with those slimy snakes?" snaps Ron. Seamus was wholeheartedly agreeing with him.
"Yeah, you're Harry Potter! You're supposed to hate Slytherins!" Seamus growls. "That ruddy Hat was wrong! I think you should be Gryffindor! No, I know you should!"
"You—!" sneers Draco, taking a step forward.
"How could you possibly know that?" Harry simply asks, glancing behind him. A crowd of students wanting to get up the staircase was gathering. "You don't know me."
"Yes I do!" snaps Ron. "We're best friends!"
"Someone's delusional," Blaise sneers.
"I have never even seen you until you insulted me on the Hogwarts Express," Harry snaps back, getting irritated with his former friend.
Ron, having enough of this, whips out his wand. "Those slimy snakes changed your memory! We've been friends for years!" He turns his wand to Draco and Harry raises his. Harry was quickly going through which of the spells he had read about should be able to be used by a third year when Ron moves his wand, saying, "Flip—"
"Expelliarmus!" Ron flies backward into Dean and Seamus.
Harry spins around, wand still drawn. He stares as Terence Higgs slowly puts his wand away.
Terence raises an eyebrow. "Flipendo in any form is highly dangerous on a stairwell." His eyes harden.
"Yes," an unfamiliar male voice says. A tall boy with dark hair pushes his way to in front of the three Gryffindors. "Which is why, I, as a prefect must report you three boys to the nearest teacher," the boy says sternly. "Up the stairs with you! McGonagall's office is fairly close."
Terence fights a smile. "Thank you, Hilliard," he says curtly.
Hilliard gives him an annoyed look. "I told you, it's Robert!" he says hotly before leading Ron, Seamus and Dean away.
"Who was that?" Draco whispers.
"Robert Hilliard," Terence says, ushering the group of Slytherin first years up the stairs. "He's a Ravenclaw prefect. Although, he told me the hat had seriously considered Slytherin for him. He sat there for nearly five minutes – almost a hatstall. So now he's got a soft spot for Slytherins, especially the young'uns. Here you go! The Charms room!"
Harry blinks, not having realized they had walked the rest of the way already. "Why would he protect us? Pretty much everyone else hates us?" he whispers to Terence.
"Hasn't Gemma already told you?" Terence asks seriously. "We protect our own, even those of us who are snakes in another's skin. Hilliard knows this and believes in it one hundred percent!"
Draco tugs on Harry's arm, giving Terence a somewhat angry look. "Thank you," Harry says quickly, following Draco inside.
He nearly groans when he recognizes the look in Draco's eyes. The boy was jealous again… Spending two minutes not solely focusing on him was too much time?
Draco leads Harry to the front desk that only sits two people. Draco practically forces Harry into the seat next to him. "So," he says quickly to try and distract Harry from his odd behavior. "What do you think the next charm we will be learning about will be?"
Harry gives him a look and then shrugs. "I don't know, but I doubt we will start soon. There are still several people who can't get the levitation spell." A few specific Gryffindors float through his mind. "Since we're only in our first year, I doubt the Professor will move on unless nearly everyone can get it down."
Draco sighs. "That's bloody brilliant," he mutters sarcastically.
Harry snorts and looks away. How to make Draco no longer jealous?
Before he could ponder on this for too long, Draco whispers, "Harry, you never did tell me why Uncle Sev is so rude to you sometimes."
Harry blinks and thinks back. "Oh yeah," he mutters. "I did promise to tell you." He looks around and debates casting muffliato. He mentally shakes his head. There were only Slytherins in the room. "You remember when Snape explained why he was supposed to hate me?" Draco nods. "Well, Dumbledore still believes that is true. We can't have him thinking another of his plans has fallen through. The man will become unpredictable. He's dangerous enough."
Draco nods. "Okay, but is there anyone else who's supposed to be inherently mean to you?"
Harry shakes his head. "I don't think so."
Draco nods. "Good." He elaborates at Harry's raised eyebrow. "I wanted to know who else we are supposed to protect you from."
Harry frowns. This whole protective Slytherins thing will take some getting used to.
"Welcome class!" Flitwick chirps as he hopped into the class. "We will be finishing up on that levitation charm today, hopefully." He sends a half-glance at Crabbe and Goyle. "If we can get everyone to do it, we'll be able to move on!"
"You help Crabbe and I'll help Goyle?" Draco asks Harry.
Harry snorts. "You really want to move on, don't you?" He doesn't wait for an answer before turning around to see if he could help Crabbe.