Pretend there's a disclaimer here.
My winter break gave me enough time to work with the stories, and I've been planning things out and writing a few chapters. Here's the latest.
A few reviewers pointed out that, in the previous chapter, I de-aged Cedric. That was a mistake on my part, and I apologize. The chapter has been re-tweaked so that Cedric is no longer in the same year as Harry, and it's going to continue as such throughout the rest of the story.
As always, enjoy! - and feedback is always appreciated!
Just over two hours after the Sorting and the subsequent dinner, the Headmaster called for everyone's attention to wish the students a productive school year and to ask the prefects to take the first years to their new Common rooms.
Harry stayed close to Draco as they left the Great Hall, not feeling at all comfortable with the glares he'd been receiving from much of the hall - though the most vicious looks had come from his sister and the Weasleys. Draco seemed only too happy with his behavior, and had had Crabbe and Goyle once again block the two of them from sight.
The prefect that had led them through the halls and into the dungeons was a large, bulky seventh year named Marcus Flint who seemed less interested than the rest of his classmates in Potter's presence. Nonetheless, he spent the bulk of the trip to the Slytherin Nest watching Harry with an almost speculative look in his eyes.
Once they made it to the blank wall that hid the entrance to the Slytherin House, Marcus turned to the small group of first years, eyeing them all and doing his best to intimidate them before he said so much as one word to them. Judging from the looks on some of their faces, his act was working, though neither Draco nor Blaise seemed particularly affected.
"Both the entrance and the password to our House must be kept to yourselves, and if any of you bring in someone from another House, your guest is likely to get hexed before they make it fully into our Common Room," he said. "Most of you are from the sort of family that appreciates this sort of privacy, and any of you stupid enough not to respect the legacy that is Slytherin will find themselves punished for it," he said. "The password will change twice a month to ensure that no one can sneak in using an old password. Snape will post the password on the mantle above the fireplace on the morning that it's changed, and if you don't see it before your first class, you're going to have to ask someone who was prepared enough to check. Any questions?"
No one said anything.
Marcus bared his teeth in the loose imitation of a smile. "Good," he said. "The password for now is crotalus," he said. As he spoke, the stone wall behind him seemed to come alive, with parts of it separating smoothly from each other to create an archway large enough for the students to file inside.
As soon as Harry walked into the Common Room and looked around, his jaw dropped.
The room was enormous, and by far the most opulent room that he'd ever seen. It seemed to be as large as the entire wing of the second floor of the Potter Manor. There were a number of large sofas in the room, as well as a full size dining table that looked like it was used as a group study table.
The walls were painted in shades of pale green and brown, with large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling to provide light. Portraits hung on the walls, likely of former Slytherins who'd graduated and gone on to greater things.
On the right side of the room was a large staircase that Harry assumed led to the actual dorm rooms, and next to the staircase was a small library of bookshelves with a number of armchairs to make that corner of the room more comfortable.
On the left side of the room, there was a large fireplace, with a fire raging inside it. There were doors on both sides of the fireplace. The door on the right was simple enough, but the doors on the left side of the fireplace were the complete opposite. A set of French doors with the stained glass depiction of some kind of snake.
Harry took half a step forward, narrowing his eyes at the doors. For a moment it looked almost like the snake had moved a bit.
"Don't speak to any other snakes until I'm sure it's safe for you to do so," Kado said quietly when Harry made to take another step forward. He tightened himself around Harry's shoulders as much as he could without the movement being seen, stopping Harry in place. "And it would be wise for you to do your best to act like you have no specific connection to snakes. I will do my part and stay out of sight for as long as possible," he hissed quietly.
Harry nodded ever so slightly but said nothing as he went back to looking around the Common Room, pointedly ignoring the stained glass snake, or anything else that too closely resembled a moving snake.
Above the fireplace mantle was a large portrait of a man with black hair and dark eyes. The man looked over toward the entrance as most of the first years recovered enough to walk further into the Common Room. He didn't look altogether impressed with what he saw, though he said nothing.
"Harry," Draco said. He got no response and looked over at Harry, scowling when he realized that the younger boy wasn't paying attention to him. "Potter, do not ignore me," he said, jabbing a finger into Harry's ribs.
Harry jerked away from the touch, glaring at Draco. "That hurt, assface," he said, rubbing his side.
"Let that be a lesson to you that you are never to ignore a Malfoy," Draco said. "Are you listening to me now?"
"I don't have much of a choice, do I?" Harry asked.
Draco smirked. "Better, though you could try to be a bit more enthusiastic about it," he said. "The portrait, the one above the fireplace. He looks a bit like you, don't you think?" he asked.
Harry looked up at the portrait, inspecting it carefully. As he did so, the man looked over at him and his eyes narrowed as he looked Harry over as well.
"A bit, I suppose," Harry said after a moment, looking back over at Draco. "Why? Who is he?"
His question had Draco laughing quietly, which in turn caught the attention of the other first years and Marcus Flint. "That's the Founder of our House, you dolt," he said. "That's Salazar Slytherin."
Marcus nodded. "He doesn't speak to anyone. He just watches what's going on in his House," he said. "Now, the first year dorms are on the third floor of the Nest," he added, motioning toward the staircase.
The group of first years took the hint and made their way toward the staircase and quickly headed up to the third floor, which was the top floor of the Slytherin Nest. There was a small hallway with two doors on both sides, and at the end of the hallway was a fifth door.
"There are two beds in each room. Girls room together and boys room together, and once the girls have chosen their rooms, protections will be put in place to make sure no boys try to sneak into the room. Other than that, your room choice is permanent," Marcus said with a slight smirk. "So make sure you aren't going to choose someone who's going to inspire homicide," he added. "The death of a student won't be taken lightly, even in Slytherin."
Draco grabbed hold of Harry's elbow and pulled him toward one room at the end of the hallway. "You're coming with me, Potter."
"Why me?" he asked even as he allowed himself to be pulled toward the room.
"Because I need to make sure you know how to behave yourself, and I cannot trust anyone else but me to make sure that you're behaving yourself properly," Draco said. He stopped once they made it to the doorway and turned to see who the other Slytherins were pairing up with.
Blaise and Theo were rooming together, as were Crabbe and Goyle. Two girls, Pansy and Millicent, if Harry remembered correctly, roomed together; while Daphne Greengrass, a Pureblooded witch who'd been nice enough to Harry during dinner, had paired up with her cousin, Tracey Davis.
When Harry caught Theo's eyes, the taller boy smirked over at him. "Don't tell me you're scared of Draco?" he asked.
Harry scowled but shook his head.
"Then go on. He's not going to bite you."
Draco laughed, for a moment sounding exactly like his father, but didn't say anything.
"You're going to have a few minutes to yourselves before our Head of House shows up," Marcus said. "He's going to tell you the house rules, and you can ask him any of your questions." He looked over at Draco, the two of them sharing a quick look before Marcus nodded and he left.
"You two know each other?" Blaise asked with a knowing look.
Draco nodded slightly. "He worked for my father over the summer, and he tutored me in some spellwork," he said before opening the door and motioning for Harry to go inside.
The room was much larger than Harry had expected, and the casual luxury that made up the Common Room had carried over into this room as well. It had three beds against the left wall, with a small fireplace and a door on the opposite wall.
"That'll be the bathroom," Draco said as he looked around the room. "I wonder why there's a blank portrait above our fireplace?"
Harry grinned. "Maybe the Founder likes to spy on the first years when they've just come out of the bath?" he asked.
"Don't be crude," Draco said, though he looked back up at the painting with a pink flush coming over his face. "He wouldn't be nearly as respected if he did so."
"The practice of older men taking it upon themselves to sexually educate younger men has been documented throughout Wizard history. It wasn't an everyday occurrence, but it happened often enough," Harry said. "I think it's considered part of the Old Ways now, but there are people who still respect those ways."
Draco nodded, his blush just getting brighter. "I know perfectly well about the Old Ways, Harrison, but I also had no interest in picturing the Founder of our House involved with someone our age!"
Harry laughed quietly and opened his mouth to say something else, but Draco held up his hand to stop him. He relented and nodded. "Who's our Head of House?"
"Severus Snape," Draco said. He smirked, quickly regaining his composure. "He teaches Potions here, and he was the youngest Potions Master to ever be certified. He's also my godfather."
"Nice," Harry said quietly. He toed off his shoes and looked over at Draco, frowning when he realized the boy was watching him almost expectantly. "What?"
"Your snake," he said quietly, glancing over his shoulder to make sure that no one had come into the room. "What are you going to do with it?"
"He's going to stay with me until I know it's safe enough for him to move around without having to worry about someone coming in and going after him," Harry said.
"If he's yours, and as long as it doesn't attack anyone, I doubt anyone's going to come after your snake."
Harry shrugged. "James kept threatening to skin him and cook him every time he saw him," he said, absently petting Kado's head.
Draco was silent for a moment, clearly not pleased with the new information. Finally, he nodded and motioned over at the door. "Professor Snape will probably be showing up soon," he said.
Harry nodded and followed Draco out of the room.
"When I'm older," Draco said, speaking so that only Harry could hear him. "I'm going to put James Potter on a spit and roast him alive."
Harry smirked. "Not if I get to him first."
Draco laughed quietly. "We'll make a proper Dark wizard out of you yet, Potter," he said.
"You had any doubts?" Blaise asked as he stepped out of his room, followed closely by Theo. "He reeks of power and he's known enough to make sure you like him."
"You're overestimating me," Harry said with a slight grin.
Draco opened his mouth to say something else when he heard someone making their way up the stairs. He fell silent, shooting a warning look to Theo. He noticed Harry watching the exchange with a curious look on his face and shrugged. "Some of us get a bit edgy in new places and being confronted with strangers," he said quietly, nodding toward Theo and Blaise.
Theo had taken a deliberate step closer to Blaise, and he'd taken hold of one of Blaise's hands. He caught Harry's eye and smiled tensely. "Precautions," he whispered.
Harry nodded and shifted slightly.
The rest of the first years walked out of their rooms as their Head of House made his appearance at the top of the stairs.
He was tall, with pale skin and potion stained fingers. His black hair reached almost to his shoulders, and his eyes were dark. He was wearing all black robes and had a less than pleased expression on his face as he looked over the first years. Well, almost. He refused to look at Harry, even for only a moment.
"I'm Professor Snape, the Potions Professor here and your Head of House," the man said, still looking around at almost every first year. "You'll have enough time to acquaint yourself with your new House after classes tomorrow, but I expect you all to follow the rules. As Slytherins, you will find yourselves under greater scrutiny than students from the other Houses. I can only do so much to protect you, and the older students will do what they can, but at the moment it is better that none of you go anywhere alone."
"Why, sir?" Daphne asked suddenly. "Are we really in that much danger?"
Snape nodded slightly. "The tensions are extremely high in our world right now, and this House has always found itself the victim of discrimination. The older students will likely leave you alone, but the behavior of the other first years is nowhere near as predictable," he said. "Until I can guarantee the safety of all of my students, Miss Greengrass, the best advice I can give is to make sure that you do your best to make sure you aren't vulnerable to any sort of attack."
She frowned, sharing a nervous look with her cousin, before looking back at Snape and nodding. "Yes, sir."
Snape scowled as he looked at Draco, who was standing next to Harry, but he still refused to look at Harry. "Now, if you are assaulted by a member of another House, I expect you to come immediately to me. However, in-House conflicts should be kept internal. We are Slytherins, and as such, it is unacceptable to involve other Houses in our business, be it pleasant or otherwise," he said. "I expect you all to conduct yourselves professionally, since there will be more eyes on you than the other students. Do not give your teachers cause to deduct points," he said.
At that statement, Draco looked over at Theo and the two of them shared a slight smirk.
"Your only curfew is the school wide curfew requiring all students to be in their Common Rooms by ten at night. The Common Room is open all night. Make sure you cooperate with the other students, and any books that you take from our library must remain inside the Slytherin House," Snape said. "Do you have any questions?"
Theo nodded. "Is it true that there's a room in the Nest where we can practice dueling?" he asked.
Snape smirked slightly. "We do have a room like that, yes," he said. "It's restricted, though, for third years and above. We had a few too many accidents involving first years hexing off the fingers of their dueling partners and parents were less than pleased about that."
Theo grinned and opened his mouth to speak, but Snape seemed to know what he was going to ask.
"Any first or second year students who are caught in the dueling room will be permanently banned from the room," he said. "And if I catch you in the room, Mister Nott, you will have the pleasure of serving a month's worth of detention with Argus Filch," he added.
Theo scowled but nodded.
Snape looked around at most of the first years. "If you've got anything else to ask, my office is to the right of the fireplace. If it's unlocked, then you're welcome to come inside, but if you cannot get in, hold your question until some other time," he said. He waited a moment for any other questions. When none came, he nodded slightly. "You will be given your timetables tomorrow morning at breakfast. I expect all of you to be there, and I also expect you to be on time and appropriately behaved in each of your classes," he said.
When no one said anything, he nodded and walked back down the stairs.
"That was enlightening," Draco drawled once he could no longer hear Snape's footsteps on the stairs.
"Your godfather's a right porcupine, you know?" Daphne asked with a grin.
"Would you rather he sugarcoat everything and treat us like the Hufflepuffs?" Draco retorted.
She just chuckled. "I'm planning on going to bed. If any of you boys wake me up before I intend to wake up, I'll hex away your tongues," she said before walking back into her room.
"Good night," Tracey said before retreating into the room as well and shutting the door.
"See you in the morning," Theo said quietly. That seemed to be the cue for the rest of them, and they all returned to their rooms, bidding each other good night before going behind closed doors.
As soon as they were secure in their room, Draco looked over at Harry. "Have you perchance met Professor Snape before, and on that meeting, did you happen to piss him off?" he asked with a smirk.
Harry shook his head. "That's the first time I've seen him, apart from the dinner in the Great Hall," he said.
"I don't think I've ever seen him hate someone enough to completely ignore them," Draco said. "So whatever you did to him, I'm impressed."
Harry scowled. "I didn't do anything to him!"
Kado shifted a bit, poking his head out from under the folds of Harry's robes. "Child, you are agitated. Do you need my help?"
Instead of answering the snake, Harry ignored Kado, not yet willing to share the fact that he could Speak to snakes with Draco.
"If you need my help, all you need do is touch my side," Kado said before falling silent.
Draco said nothing.
"I'll go talk to him and straighten things out."
That had Draco laughing. "That's not going to work."
"He's not the kind of man who listens to the pleading of desperate first years."
"I'm not desperate."
Harry bit back the urge to stick his tongue out at the blond. "I'm not desperate, really," he said. "I just figure it would be better to sort things out and make sure that he doesn't hate me before I've got to spend seven years under his care, or guardianship, or whatever his responsibilities will be with us," he said.
Draco smirked over at Harry, who just scowled back at him. "He's not going to listen to you, Potter," he said, laughing quietly as he opened his trunk and started looking through it for something. "He refused to even look at you while he was talking to us!"
"So I'll make sure that I'm the only other person in the room. He's not going to ignore me if there's nothing he can do to get rid of me," Harry said as he headed toward the bed against the far wall, at the foot of which was his trunk.
"Harry, my godfather and James Potter have never been able to stay in the same room for more than a few minutes without Potter starting a fight, and you look a great deal like your father. I very much doubt you can get the man to change his mind about you," Draco said. He looked up from his trunk and frowned when he realized that Harry was sitting in the bed against the wall. "That's odd."
"What?" Harry asked, looking up at the other boy.
Draco was silent for a moment. "That bed belonged to the current Dark Lord back when he was a student here at Hogwarts," he said finally. "My father told me that it's been kept unoccupied out of respect since he graduated, and that the castle hasn't assigned any other students to sleep in his bed."
Harry frowned slightly. "Is this a bad thing?"
Draco shrugged. "I expect some people will see it as such, though it could also be a good thing. It is something that I would keep to myself, though. Your sister's not going to take it well."
"My sister can hug a Dementor for all I care about her," Harry said as he carefully untangled Kado from around his neck. "Do you mind if he's loose in the room?" he asked.
"Is it venomous?"
Harry shook his head. "Not venomous, and he likes you."
"Do I now?" Kado asked, sounding incredibly amused as he moved around the bed. "I suppose I've been waiting long enough to meet the Malfoy child to tolerate him. Just as long as he doesn't paw at me," he said.
Harry grinned. "He just doesn't like to be touched without warning, and I'm the only person who's been able to pick him up," he said. "Do you think Snape stays up late?"
"I don't really think he sleeps," Draco said. "Why?"
"I want to go talk to him before going to sleep," he said.
Draco nodded. He looked down at the snake on Harry's bed. "Take the snake with you when you talk to him." At the confused look on Harry's face, he shrugged again. "At the very least it'll prove that you're not as similar to James Potter as he's been claiming since he brought you back into our world," he said.
"The boy is rather intelligent, I suppose," Kado said, moving up Harry's arm and resettling around his neck. "I will not move unless you need my help," he said quietly.
"His office is connected to the Common Room. The second door on the left side of the large fireplace. I'll wait here," Draco said. "And I want you to tell me every detail when you get back."
Harry laughed quietly as he headed out of the dorm room and toward Snape's office.
Once he got into the office, Harry found his Head of House sitting behind his desk, reading through a newspaper that looked like it was written in an Asian language. He didn't say anything, choosing instead to walk forward and take a seat on the chair in front of Snape's desk and wait.
Snape clearly knew that he was sitting there, as his hold on the newspaper tightened enough for the paper to crinkle a bit. He said nothing, though.
Harry smirked to himself and leaned back in the chair, making himself comfortable for what he expected to be a long wait.
The office was quite comfortable, though a bit dimly lit for Harry's personal tastes. The walls were made of shelves that were filled near to bursting with books, vials, and containers of various potions ingredients - only some of which Harry could recognize. The desk was a large, ornate piece of furniture, with drawers on both sides, and some kind of carving etched onto the front of each drawer.
Snape turned a page in the newspaper, glancing briefly at Harry before returning to his newspaper.
Harry looked around the bookshelves, only slightly surprised to find that a large majority of them were written in foreign languages. He found himself wondering if he'd have the chance in the future to ask the man if he could look through his library.
Snape cleared his throat quietly but still said nothing.
He went back to looking at the desk, his mind going over the protective spells that he knew and wondering if the Professor had used any of them to secure the drawers shut. He leaned forward a bit, frowning slightly. It looked almost like there was a shark carved into the top left drawer.
"What is it, Potter?" Snape snapped, folding his newspaper and putting it rather violently down on his desk. He glared at Harry, and only seemed to get more irritated when Harry didn't react other than to smile slightly at the man.
"I was hoping to have a conversation with you," Harry said, doing everything he could to keep his tone pleasant. "It won't take too long, sir."
Snape scowled. He said nothing.
"Please, Professor?" Harry asked. "All I'm asking for is five minutes of your time, and then I'll go back to my room without saying anything else."
Snape narrowed his eyes at him. "You have two." His tone was glacial.
"Fine," Harry said, shrugging. He took a deep breath to steel his nerves before looking up at the older man, a calm expression on his face. "I wanted to extend my sincerest apologies for whatever my father did to you that caused you to stop talking to the Potters."
"I beg your pardon?"
Harry's lips quirked up but he gave no other reaction before continuing to speak. "I don't know what actions my father took against you, and I haven't asked him, since asking James would only serve to waste my time and I have no interest in spending more time with him than I absolutely have to," he said. "Whatever he did was action taken without my knowledge, and had I known he'd planned to harm someone, as I expect he did to you, I'd have done whatever I could to stop him," he said.
Snape seemed impressed, but he didn't say anything.
Harry took another breath, though his confidence was bolstered by the fact that Snape had yet to cut him off. "That being said, sir, I've only recently been brought into the Potter family and I've learned that you've got a long-standing hatred of my father. I've also learned that you're a brilliant man."
That statement seemed to take Snape off guard. "Excuse me?"
"I've read some of your work. Lily's been following your career almost obsessively, and she's collected copies of everything you've published and everything that's been published about you. It's not much, I know, and there are only a few things that are shared in newspaper articles, and I know I'm rambling, but what I'm really trying to say is that I'm looking forward to learning whatever you're willing to teach me," Harry said, blushing brightly.
At an odd look from Snape, Harry shifted in his chair and hoped it wasn't too obvious that he had a snake around his neck.
"I know I look like my father, sir, but you have my word that he and I are nothing alike. I just hope that you're willing to set aside whatever feud you've got with James and the rest of the Potters while you're teaching me," Harry said. "I really have no interest in playing along with their ridiculous feuds and alliances just because James wants to mould me into his clone."
Snape leaned forward slightly but said nothing.
Harry smiled a bit up at the man. "To be extraordinarily blunt, sir, I've only recently been brought into the Potter family. I am not associated with any of their alliances or participating in any of their feuds. My name is Cody Harrison Donahue and, unfortunately, Potter, and it's an honor to meet you, sir," he said, falling silent and leaning back a bit.
At first, Snape just seemed stunned as he took in everything that Harry had just told him. Then, after a few minutes, he gathered himself and nodded. "I suppose it's an honor to meet you as well, Mister Donahue."
"Harry, if you don't mind. I've just been Harry for as long as I can remember," Harry said with a relieved smile. "Or Harrison. That's what Draco and Theo call me."
"I must admit you are an odd Slytherin, Harrison," Snape said quietly.
Harry grinned. "I spent most of my life with Muggles, and then, after I come here, I'm pretty sure I'm friends with Draco Malfoy and some of the other Slytherins, and I get to meet one of the people who works with dragons," he said. "I very much doubt I'm going to stop being an odd Slytherin, sir."
"No," Snape said, the corners of his lips quirking up into an almost-smirk. "No, I expect not." He was silent for a brief moment. "I will understand if you'd rather not answer, but there are some Muggleborn students in attendance who were mistreated because of their magic. How did the Muggles treat you?" he asked.
Harry smiled. "My Muggles were more my family than the Potters are now, sir, regardless of blood status," he said. "I do need to find a way to thank them for everything they did for me."
Snape nodded slightly. "There are ways, though none of the methods available will be looked on kindly by your fellow Slytherins," he said.
"To be honest, sir, I don't care. My Muggles took exceptional care of me until Potter decided that it would be a convenient time to have me with them and they deserve to be thanked for that," Harry said.
"You truly harbor resentment for James, don't you?"
"He's the sorriest excuse for a man that I've ever met. Eli used to tell me that men like that should be taught how to behave properly," he said.
"He was my teacher," Harry said. "He taught me how to defend myself."
Snape frowned. "Was there a need for you to defend yourself?" he asked.
Harry was silent for a moment, clearly confused. When the implication sank, he shook his head. "I wasn't abused, sir," he said. "My Aunt used to tell me that when my father came back for me, I would need to know how to defend myself." He scowled. "I used to think that he was some great warrior and we'd be fighting some kind of battle together. Then he took me away from my Muggles and I was completely disappointed. James is only halfway sane as it is."
Snape looked both surprised and pleased at that statement. "You are one of the only people I know who is willing to so openly discredit your father. No matter how much I hate the man, James Potter is incredibly powerful in this society," he said.
At that, Harry smirked coldly. "He may be powerful, but he's also a fool, sir. I have firsthand knowledge of a great deal of his imbecilic nature and I have no intention of allowing myself to be influenced by the fool," he said.
The older man looked impressed. He had an almost pensive look coming over his face as he leaned forward, inspecting Harry. "You are a rather fascinating child, aren't you?"
Harry said nothing, unable to stop the blush from coming over his face.
"I am uncomfortable, child," Kado said suddenly. "Let me move."
Harry squirmed a bit, not wanting to answer Kado without knowing how the Professor would react. "Would you mind taking an Oath of Secrecy, sir?" he asked. "There's something I want to show you."
Snape frowned slightly, hesitating a moment before nodding. "Allow me to strengthen the privacy wards in this room first," he said, not waiting for Harry's nod to do so. "I, Severus Snape, do solemnly swear to keep the secrets of Harrison Donahue until such a time as he deems it appropriate to releases me from this Oath," he said quietly.
"Thank you," Harry said after he felt the rustle of magic around the room that signified the solidification of the Oath. "Kado, I want you to meet Severus Snape," he said, carefully untangling the snake from around his neck and shoulders. "Professor Snape, this is my snake, Kado," he said, looking up at the Potions Master.
The older man seemed almost terrified at the sound of Harry speaking to Kado. It took him a number of minutes to recover. "How long have you been a Parselmouth?" he asked.
"You were born with it," Kado said as he moved off of Harry's lap and made his way onto Snape's desk. "It is impossible to learn how to Speak. I expect I was the only snake you've spoken to before now."
"He's not venomous, sir," Harry said when Snape leaned away from the snake but made no move to escape his desk. "And I've been able to Speak since birth. Kado's the first snake that spoke back to me, though. He's going to be friendly with you, I promise," he said.
Snape nodded faintly and watched the snake warily.
"He's a Boelen's python," Harry said, keeping an eye on Kado as the snake continued exploring the desk. "He's been with me since I found him in a Muggle pet shop, when my Muggle Aunt and I were buying a dog for my cousin," he said.
"And he's well behaved?"
"Well enough, sir. He isn't a domestic pet by any means, but he's proven loyal enough," he said. "Draco and Blaise know about him already, so you're the third person I think I trust with this information," he added.
Snape nodded slightly, flinching when Kado flickered his tongue out against his hand. "Keep an eye on him," he said. "If any of the other professors or the other students in the school find out about your snake, they will likely kill him. You also need to keep in mind that the ability to speak Parseltongue is regarded as a Dark ability, and if your ability becomes known to the school population, I will not be able to protect you as adequately as a Head of House should," he said.
Harry frowned. "I'm not defenseless, sir," he said.
"I never said you were, but I know that you are not strong enough to protect yourself from close to one thousand students and over a dozen fully trained teachers," Snape said. "And you should be aware that, as a Slytherin, there are a number of students in the other Houses who will take whatever opportunity they can to attack you. You'll find that even some teachers will be more willing to punish the Slytherins because of their House than for some other, more legitimate reason. The Gryffindors will be particularly eager to take advantage of any perceived weaknesses," he said. "I can only do so much to protect my students, no matter how strong they are on their own."
Harry was silent for a moment before nodding. "I suppose I understand that," he said.
A comfortable silence settled in the room as Harry and Snape watched Kado move off the desk to start exploring the room.
About five minutes into the silence, Snape cast a quiet Tempus charm, frowning when he realized the time. "You need to get back to your room. I will not have any of my first years start the year late because they've been speaking with me," he said.
Harry smiled slightly and nodded. "Kado," he hissed quietly. "It's time to go back to bed," he said.
The snake hesitated a moment, inspecting a large jar full of what looked to be shedded snakeskin. "These are particularly degraded, and they smell almost acidic. Are they supposed to smell like that?"
"I'll ask," Harry said. "Your snakeskin smells like acid, apparently," he said, looking over at Snape. "Kado wants to know if it can still be used if it smells like that."
"It can, though that information is helpful to me," Snape said, looking over at Kado with a slightly less wary look on his face.
"I can probably convince Kado to let me give you his next shed, if you want," Harry said with a shrug. When Snape nodded slightly, he smiled and walked over to Kado. "I'll bring you back some other time and you can explore some more then," he said. "But I'm going to give Snape your next shed," he said.
"We'll see," Kado said as he settled himself around Harry's shoulders. "I might be more inclined to leave it in the bed of the Malfoy boy," he said.
Harry laughed quietly before looking over at Snape. "Thank you for hearing me out, sir."
Snape shifted slightly in his seat before leaning forward. "My first years start off with a double block period of Potions, Harrison. I expect you to be prepared and well-rested for class," he said. "And during class I expect to see your very best efforts."
"I wouldn't dream of slacking in your class, Professor," Harry said with a slight bow to the man. He headed toward the door, but he stopped once his hand was on the door handle. "Oh, and one last thing, sir?"
"What's that?" Snape asked, his hands already straying back to his newspaper.
"I don't know if she ever told you, though knowing James, I'd guess not. My mother named you my godfather," Harry said before leaving the man's office.
Once he made it back into his room, he found Draco already in his pajamas and waiting for him to get back.
Harry ignored the blond as he walked over to his bed, setting Kado down on his bed and making sure that the snake was comfortable. He then moved over to his trunk and pulled out his own pajamas, quickly changing into them before finally looking over at Draco. "Is there something I can do for you, Draco?" he asked.
"I thought Malfoys were subtle with their curiosity," Harry said with a grin, settling on his bed next to Kado.
"I'm young and inexperienced, so I can get away with it. Especially when it comes to matters concerning my friends," he said. "So hurry up and tell me before I decide to resort to more creative methods of making you talk," he said, picking up his wand with a smirk.
Harry grinned. "You know, I'm almost tempted to take you up on that offer, just to see what you're capable of."
"I can do more to you than you can imagine," Draco said in a suddenly husky voice. He pointed his wand at Harry and narrowed his eyes at him, a playful look on his face. "Now, are you going to talk or not?"
"Snape said that you were a twat and that I was his new favorite godson," Harry said plainly.
Draco scowled. "He did no such thing," he said.
Harry grinned as he got under the covers of his bed. "Not out loud, but I can tell that he wanted to," he said. "Good night, Draco."
"Good ni- wait, he's your godfather too?" Draco asked. He scowled when he didn't get an answer, though, and he opened his mouth to scold Harry for ignoring him, only to see that Harry had drawn the tapestries around his bed shut and the faint gold shimmer of a freshly cast Silencing Charm around the bed. He shut his mouth with a click, a smirk once again on his face. "Good night, Harrison," he said, drawing his own tapestries shut and quickly drifting off to sleep.