Potions class was a disaster waiting to happen. All of the Snakes were suddenly terrified to come within two feet of him. Pansy and Blaise still sat next to him, but instead of Pansy sitting right beside him and showering him with praises as she ran his hands over his hair and back, Blaise sat right next to him and kept at least ten inches of space between them. Pansy kept glancing towards Harry, as thought expecting him to suddenly run over and rip her throat out. Even worst, Harry seemed to have even less of an apt for potions as his attention was completely focused on Draco, and in a fit of temper Severus had paired him up with Neville. It was no surprise that their entire cauldron exploded sending a green acid like potion spraying all over those closes to them. Neville, Seamus, Dean, Ron and Hermione, ended up having to go to the infirmary and Draco was certain Severus would have given Harry a detention if he weren't so busy trying to clean up the mess before the acid potion could completely destroy all the tables. Draco groaned when Severus asked him to stay and help him clean up, 'as he was the only one competent enough to help.'
As Draco got to work on the potion that would neutralize the acid effects of the atrocity Harry had created and Severus used a wordless containment spell on each individual drop, Severus said hesitantly, "Draco, I know you are probably angry at me for all of this, but I just want to be certain that should you feel the need to talk… about anything, even if you need to talk to me about Potter, I am here to listen with a semi-unbiased ear."
Draco let out a long breath and said, "Severus, you are more of a father to me than Lucius has ever been, you're probably the only person I truly believe has my best interest at heart, and not because I'm a Malfoy, in fact you're the only Slytherin I know who has ever fought head on with my father, the only one who challenged him when you thought I would benefit from it. I might be a little freaked out by the situation, but I can't be angry with you when I know that if the situation were reversed, or if I could go back in time, I would have made the same decision. I'd rather be… alive and a creature, than not."
Severus looked up at him, and although his face was masked of all emotion, Draco knew him to well not to notice the signs of relief and hope, but he also noticed that underneath it all Severus was still worried that he had ruined their relationship. Draco sighed and said, "Now that you mention it, I could use some… advice."
Draco grimaced at the word, but it was the only word that came close to covering what he needed. Severus turned away from him to focus on the potion he was moving with his wand, but Draco still caught the hint of a smile on his face, as he said, "Oh, and what exactly is it you need advice about?"
Draco focused on the potion and after a moment he said carefully, choosing each word with caution, "Blaise informed me that it is in my best interest in the long run to explain to Potter how Slytherin's function, just so that certain misunderstandings can be avoided in the future."
Severus asked, "And what exactly do you need advice on?"
Draco bit his lip and said, "As you've pointed out on numerous occasions, I don't exactly work well with anyone outside of Slytherin."
Severus raised an eyebrow and said, "You're asking me for advise on how to handle Potter?"
Draco focused on pouring the neutralizing potion into the necessary containers, and after a minute he said, "You might not have much experience with Potter, but you know Gryffindors, you're on friendly terms with a few of them even, I just… I know what to do to push their buttons, know exactly what to say to make them angry, but other than that I really don't know anything about them."
Severus took the first contain from Draco's hands and said, "Draco, I think you aren't giving yourself enough credit."
Draco shook his head and said, "I have no idea how to play nice."
Severus shook his head and said, "Draco, although I am not the best person to ask advice on about relationships, I can tell you that you shouldn't try to change who you are just to make your partner happy. Besides Potter already knows you're a Slytherin, he won't be expecting you to be anything else, but that's not to say that you should go on the way you have in the past, intentionally picking fights with Harry and his friends."
Draco threw his hands up and said, "That's exactly what I'm talking about! I've spent my whole Hogwarts career doing everything I could to get them angry, and Potter might all of a sudden like me because of this whole mate thing, but what happens if his friends still hate me?"
Severus frowned as he poured the neutralizing potion on top of the acid potion, causing steam to rise up with a hiss, and asked in a voice he often used when talking to ignorant first years, "Are you worried that Potter will once again choose his friends over you?"
Draco flinched at the barbed question, but shook his head and said, "I'm not stupid, Severus, I know enough about magical mates to know that Potter wouldn't do anything to intentionally hurt me, physically or emotionally, and I know that now that we are aware of it, we're more likely to be swayed by it, him more than me if the books are right, but that's not the point." Draco took a deep breath and said, "He might pick me first because of this mate thing, but if we do truly mate we'll spend the rest of our lives together and…"
Draco didn't know how to continue that sentence, but luckily Severus looked at him with the same expression he wore when a potion did something he wasn't expecting, and his voice was hesitant as he asked, "You're worried you are going to ruin his relationship with his friends and you think you might regret it later."
Draco frowned at the choice of words, but nodded. Severus sighed and said, "Draco, you know what to do, you just want someone else to tell you what to do so that they can take the blame if it goes wrong."
Draco snorted and said, "I knew you knew me to well for this to work."
Severus shook his head and asked, "Don't you have a class you are suppose to be in right now?"
Draco glared and said, "What happened to excusing me from classes?"
Severus asked in a sarcastic voice, "Are you accusing me of favoritism?"
Draco couldn't help but laugh as he put away the last of the ingredients before making his way towards his desk to pick up his bag. He had to admit, even if it was only to himself, that he was feeling much better about the whole situation now than he had been during Potion's class.