Written for the Draco Tops Harry Fest on LJ. This story is complete, and I will be posting it in parts over maybe a week.
Harry downed the potion in one, pupils quickly dilating and his mind blissfully, gratefully drifting off. Then, he heard knocking on the front door and his eyes widened in panic as he was ripped harshly back to reality. Hurriedly, he tossed the empty vials in the trash and opened the drawer in the middle of the dresser he kept all his potions in. As he heard the footsteps getting closer, he cast a quick concealment charm over them and buried them under his clothes. He closed the drawer, glanced at himself in the mirror, and then exited his bedroom.
Hurriedly, he tossed the empty vials in the trash and opened the drawer in the middle of the dresser he kept all his potions in.
As he heard the footsteps getting closer, he cast a quick concealment charm over them and buried them under his clothes. He closed the drawer, glanced at himself in the mirror, and then exited his bedroom.
Harry looked around him. Platform Nine and Three Quarters? What exactly was he supposed to do? He could see the column that separated platforms nine and ten but no sign or any other marking that indicated there was anything more than that.
Just as he was contemplating turning around in frustration, he heard some voices getting closer and closer to him.
"...must be ever so mindful of the friends you make dear, you'll meet all sorts at this dreadful Hogwarts."
Harry turned around quickly and almost sagged in his relief. A lady and her son were coming up behind him, and they were discussing Hogwarts! He walked nervously towards them, not wanting to interrupt the mother.
He inched his way closer to them, waiting for a pause in the conversation.
"The standards have lowered considerably since I attended."
The lady stopped to look up at the signs, and Harry approached her quickly, not wanting to lose his nerve.
"Excuse me, do you know how I get to Platform Nine and Three Quarters?"
The boy, who seemed to be about his age, looked curiously at him. His skin was dark and his hair fell in loose dark curls around his ears. The woman with him had fairer skin, though their faces were similar enough that Harry knew they had to be related, and long dark hair; she reminded him of a film star he'd thought he'd seen on the telly once. He'd never actually seen someone so beautiful in real life before.
"Mum, what's wrong with his clothes?" the boy asked, still staring at Harry.
The lady looked down at him as if he were a particularly grotesque grasshopper that had dared crawl over her pointy leather boots. "This is exactly the type I was telling you about, darling."
Harry knew he was blushing, and he started to mutter himself out of their presence when the lady placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Follow us, if you must," she said with a sigh. She tapped on her son's shoulder with her other hand, and he casually strolled towards the barrier with his cart as if it were a doorway. Then, he disappeared. The woman looked down at Harry pointedly, and he swallowed nervously.
"Just run towards it, dear. You won't crash."
Despite her words, Harry closed his eyes and braced himself for the crash as he followed after the boy. When he opened them, however, he saw a train and sign overhead that read "Platform Nine and Three Quarters". The boy's mother appeared beside him, and when he looked back, he saw a wrought-iron gate where the barrier had been just a moment ago.
Harry was forgotten once more. "I hate to leave you so suddenly, Blaise, but I told your stepfather, I would meet him at half past, and it's now nearly eleven."
The boy, Blaise, nodded, and they shared a hug before she vanished into thin air. Harry thought his jaw must have come unhinged. He followed after Blaise, pushing his bulky cart, and asked, "Where did she go?"
He looked strangely at Harry. "Home."
"But she just disappeared."
They found an empty compartment towards the back of the train, and Blaise said, "She Disapparated, of course. Don't your parents ever Apparate?"
Blaise was putting his stuff away overhead, and Harry moved to quickly follow while fumbling for an answer. He finally decided on: "I haven't got any parents. I live with my aunt and uncle."
Blaise shrugged and said, "Well, don't your aunt and uncle Apparate places? They can't possibly fly everywhere."
"They..." Harry started to answer nervously but was interrupted by a voice calling behind them.
"Blaise! I've been looking for you."
They both turned around, and Harry recognized the boy coming towards them as the same rude boy he'd seen when he was getting fitted for robes.
The pale boy recognized him too as he smiled at him as he entered their compartment.
"I remember you," he said, and Harry felt a sudden relief at knowing one more person in this strange, new world. His relief, however, quickly went sour as the boy kept talking. "You were with that giant servant man at Madam Malkin's," he drawled.
"Giant servant man? What are you on about, Draco?" Blaise asked as they sat with the boy in the compartment, Harry quite reluctantly.
"I met him in Diagon Alley, and he was with that man who lives in a hut and works for Hogwarts." He paused, then asked, "What is your name, anyway?"
"I'm Harry Potter, and you are?" Harry said politely, momentarily forgetting his fame in this world. The boy, named Draco apparently, did not answer, and he and Blaise both stared at him.
Finally, Draco spoke up, sneering, "You are not, you fibber."
Harry was taken aback. "Yes, I am!" he said incredulously.
"If you are Harry Potter, then where's your scar?" Blaise asked plainly. Harry lifted up his fringe, not sure why he was feeling such a need to impress these two boys. They both gasped and Draco grinned widely. "Wait until my parents hear about this. It's only fitting, of course, that I should be friends with Harry Potter."
Harry blinked at them. "Are we friends?" he asked tentatively. He wasn't sure he wanted to be friends with this boy who'd insulted Hagrid, who had been nothing but nice to him. Then again, maybe he hadn't been insulting Hagrid. Harry knew he wasn't exactly the best at social interaction, so perhaps he'd just misjudged his words? Either way, having not had a friend before Hagrid came along, Harry thought he couldn't exactly afford to be picky.
"Of course we are, you–"
"Draco! You promised you would sit with me!" a short pug-faced girl wailed, coming into their compartment. She stood at the door with her arms folded. "Crabbe and Goyle are looking for you. You can't just make promises you won't keep, Draco."
Draco did not seem fazed. "We've just met Harry Potter, Pansy."
The girl glanced at Harry, unimpressed. "Of all the lies, really," she said exasperatedly. "Am I expected to believe that this... smartly dressed fellow is Harry Potter?"
Blaise laughed and said, "He's telling the truth, Pansy. I didn't believe it either."
Harry looked down at his oversized clothes and blushed. "They're my cousin's clothes," he mumbled.
"Never mind the way he's dressed, go tell Crabbe and Goyle that I'm not sitting with them."
Pansy huffed. She stalked over and plopped herself down across from Harry, next to Draco. "Go on then. Let's see it, Harry Potter," she sneered.
Harry blinked, baffled, when Blaise suddenly put a warm hand on his head and pushed his fringe forward for Pansy to see. Harry blushed at the sudden contact and looked at Blaise, startled. Both Draco and Blaise were smirking while Pansy's eyes became as wide as saucers.
"You weren't lying," Pansy said, awed. Then, she seemed to quickly gather herself, and she said, "Well, I could care less about Harry Potter. My dad hates you."
Harry quickly bristled. "I've done nothing to your dad," he said.
At the same time Draco hissed between clenched teeth, "Pansy, shut up."
"I can see why your father would hate Harry Potter, Pansy. After all, Harry did get rid of his dear Voldemort," Blaise said, and both Draco and Pansy's eyes snapped his way.
"You would speak his name, Zabini. My father says your father is a useless drunk who only cares about himself."
Harry was shocked by Draco's words, as they'd seemed to be friends just moments ago. Blaise, however, didn't seem fazed. "I've met your father, Draco, and I can assure you all he cares about is his own stupid power," he said.
"My father is brave. He was proud to serve his Lord."
"Draco," Pansy hissed, "We're not to speak of these things."
"While your father was running errands for a man who was killed by an infant," Blaise said, looking at Harry pointedly, "mine was busy being one of the richest wizards in all of Europe."
Draco glared hotly at Blaise, who stared back, and stood up. "Pansy. We're leaving."
Pansy got up quickly. Her final cool look at Harry turned to disgust as Draco asked, "Harry, are you coming?"
Harry looked at Blaise, whose face was unreadable, and back at Draco. "Erm, all my things are in here, so I think I should... I'll just..." he trailed off, blushing. Draco sneered at him and said, "Fine, who needs you, Potter." The pair left the compartment, sliding the door closed rather harshly.
Blaise closed his eyes and leaned back against his seat, sighing. Harry was mostly bewildered but also a bit concerned, though he wasn't sure why, because unlike Draco, Blaise had not offered him friendship. "Are you two not friends anymore, then?"
Eyes snapping back open, Blaise arched an eyebrow and looked Harry bemusedly. "We are."
"But, just now..." Harry mumbled, wishing he'd never gotten involved with this strange lot of people.
Blaise smiled, and Harry was surprised to realize that he liked how it looked on him. It curved to the left and made him look as if he had a secret that he knew but wouldn't share. "I like them well enough, I suppose. I wouldn't have been friends with them, if I'd had the choice. His father's doing, of course."
Seeing Harry's confused look, he continued, "We have to be in the same social circle. Sort of the same reason he was so eager to be friends with you. It looks good when you surround yourself with people whose names mean something."
Harry couldn't help feeling a bit dejected. "Was that why he wanted to be friends with me?"
Blaise nodded and said, "Though I can't imagine he thought it through completely. I doubt his father would appreciate it."
They were quiet for a while. Then, Harry said, "What about you?"
"What about me?"
"What would your father think?"
"My father's not at all concerned about who I'm friends with," Blaise said. "It's my mum that makes me stick it out with those two all year long. She likes having connections."
Harry pulled his knees up to his chest and chewed on his thumbnail, thinking. He wondered whether he should ask Blaise if they were friends. After all, he didn't seem as disdainful of him as he had when they'd first met. But that may have just been because he'd learned his name. Then again, Blaise hadn't seemed as shocked at his identity as Draco or Pansy had. Just as he was working up the courage to ask him, Blaise spoke.
"What house do you suppose you'll be in?" Blaise asked idly, and Harry looked from where he'd been gazing at the scenery outside the moving train to Blaise.
"I'm not sure. Hopefully, not Slytherin," he said, feeling rather proud of himself to say something with certainty.
Blaise's eyebrows shot up. "Not Slytherin? Why ever not?" he asked, frowning.
Harry's smile faltered. "Well..." he started hesitantly, "Well, I was told that they turn out... bad, or something." Seeing no change in Blaise's expression and suddenly desperate to please him, he said, "I mean, that's just what I was told. Not that I believe it or anything."
"Good," Blaise said, eyeing Harry warily. "All my mum's family have been sorted into Slytherin. Draco's and Pansy's have too, so they definitely will be. I was rather hoping I'd be sorted with them."
"But you said only a moment ago that you weren't friends with them."
"I never said we weren't friends. I just said I didn't like them."
"Oh, I understand," Harry said, not understanding at all. Was this how friendships worked? Dudley had never really seemed to like his friends either, so it was possible.
"Besides, you don't expect me to be sorted into Gryffindor, or something, do you?" Blaise said, as if it were obvious.
"No, of course not," Harry said quickly. "I wouldn't want to be sorted into... that house either."
Blaise finally smiled at him again and Harry smiled gratefully back. "Imagine, us being Gryffindors. I don't know as much about the Potters as everyone else seems too, but I can't imagine anyone from Harry Potter's family would be a Gryffindor."
Harry nodded. He couldn't imagine it either, mainly because he couldn't imagine anything about his family at all.
"They're Muggle lovers, the lot of them."
Harry nodded again, not as sure this time. Hagrid had said Muggles were just people who didn't have magic. "My aunt and uncle are Muggles. So is my cousin, Dudley," he said, trying to add something helpful to the conversation.
Blaise's face turned sour again and Harry's face fell; he'd said something wrong.
"Muggles are they? What are they like, then?"
Harry's eyebrows furrowed, and he said emphatically, "Horrible. They're the absolute worst. They hate that I'm a wizard."
Blaise nodded; the hateful look on his face seemed directed at his relatives rather than him, thankfully. "I'm not surprised at all."
Harry shoulders sagged in relief and he said, "Hagrid wouldn't tell me why I've been living with them in the first place, if I'm a wizard. Why couldn't I have been with people who are like me?"
Blaise was silent, his fingers stroking the red material of the seats they were sitting on. After a moment of thought, he said, "I imagine it might have been dangerous for you to be living in the wizarding world, what with all those loonies about, thinking they could bring back that Voldemort."
Harry's heart jumped a bit in his chest and he stuttered, "Bring– Bring him back? I thought I killed him."
"Yes, but they weren't sure if you'd killed all of him or just most."
"That doesn't make any sense. Either you're dead, or you're not."
"All I know is that there was a chance that if you hadn't killed him completely, then someone could have brought him back to life somehow."
"So is he dead or not?" Harry said anxiously.
"Draco's family drags me to those stupid parties celebrating his death every year, so I should think so."
Harry sighed, relieved. But then he realized something and said, "Didn't you say Draco's father was involved with Voldemort? Why would he be going to parties celebrating that he's dead?"
"Hasn't anybody told you a thing at all?" Blaise asked exasperatedly. When Harry only fidgeted on his seat, he sighed and said, "Voldemort was evil. What do you think happens to people who associate themselves with evil people?
"Yes, but shouldn't Draco's dad be in jail or something, then? If he's evil?"
Blaise shrugged and sat back in his seat, "Draco's dad isn't evil. Just greedy, I suppose. And even if he were, they can't just toss him in Azkaban. Who's there to say he was working for Voldemort?"
Harry thought for a moment. "Other people who were working with Voldemort?"
Blaise actually laughed this time and though Harry knew he was being laughed at for his ignorance, he couldn't help but smile back. "Why on earth would someone do that? Confessing they knew who worked with him is confessing they worked with him, too. I expect most of them just said Voldemort was forcing them to do it to stop from being put away."
Harry nodded in understanding and was about to respond when their door was slid open suddenly and a girl with bushy brown hair stuck her head in. "Have either of you seen a toad hopping past?" she asked, eyes moving between Harry and Blaise.
Harry instinctively looked at the floor by his feet for a toad, but Blaise looked disparagingly at the bushy-haired girl. "You're not too bright, are you? How would we have seen a toad hopping past with the door closed?"
The girl looked indignant, and she turned her nose up at Blaise. "You might have seen him earlier. There's no need to be rude," she said and turned on her heel, exiting their compartment.
Blaise rolled his eyes. "There's no need to be rude," he said in a high, indignant voice. It was such a spot on imitation of the girl that Harry couldn't help but laugh.
Harry stuck out his front teeth in an imitation of the girl's own and said, "Have either of you seen a toad hopping past?" Blaise laughed, and Harry felt no small amount of pride in being able to make this confusing, enigmatic boy laugh.
Blaise started talking to him about houses again and how he imagined a busybody girl like that one would be sorted into Gryffindor. As Harry listened to his voice, he hoped that whatever house Blaise was sorted into, he was as well. Then, they could be friends. They could play games and copy off each other's work and sit next to each other in class.
Surely Hagrid must have been exaggerating when he'd said all the bad wizards came from Slytherin. Even if they all had been, that didn't mean that there weren't lots of good ones, or funny ones who had nice smiles and answered his questions, even if they did look at him like he was stupid.
Slytherin, Harry decided, wasn't nearly as bad as he'd thought; it seemed rather appealing, actually.
For as long as Harry could remember, he'd wanted a real family. So when the Headmaster had told him he was about to meet his new guardians and that they had been friends of his parents, Harry had been ecstatic. Learning he would never have to go back to the Dursley's again had been information Harry had been waiting to hear all his life. The short walk to Dumbledore's office felt like an eternity, made even longer by the cool glances his new Head of House kept shooting him as he followed along behind them.
When they finally arrived, Harry was preparing himself to be greeted by an onslaught of happy emotions. The only thing he felt at the moment, however, was awkwardness. But that might have been due to the grown man he'd never met before pulling him into a sobbing embrace. The lighter haired man next to him seemed to be upset as well, though he settled for patting Harry's shoulder lightly.
"Oh, Harry, I thought I would never see you again. You look just like him, you do. Oh, Harry," the man sobbed.
Harry blinked into the crying man's chest and patted him awkwardly on the back. After a moment, he added, "There, there."
He looked up at Dumbledore, but even he seemed to be a bit teary eyed. The only one in the room who didn't seemed moved was his new Head of House, Professor Snape, who was tapping his pointy black shoes against the floor impatiently. Finally, he interrupted them. "Are you quite done?"
Harry was let go abruptly, and he stumbled back. The light haired man lightly righted him with the hand that was still on his shoulder. Harry made to thank him when he suddenly realized that he was being spoken to, and he had missed the question.
"Er, come again?" he asked, looking up into the seemingly distressed faces of the adults around him.
"Snivellus asked if you were tired, Harry, but I've told him that there are many things for us to discuss first. So you can just run along back to dinner, now."
Dumbledore spoke up for the first time since he'd taken him from dinner into his office and this whole scene had begun. "I agree with Sirius, though his choice of words is poor," he said, smiling at Sirius, "There are many things for us to discuss, Harry. But perhaps Professor Snape is right. You are probably overtired from the journey."
The man, Sirius, turned back to Harry, wiped his eyes and said, "Look at him, Moony. Isn't he just the spitting image of James?"
The man who was called Moony smiled gently at him and said, "He looks a lot like his mother, as well. Their eyes are the same."
Sirius nodded in what Harry presumed was agreement and looked about to go off into tears again, so Harry started speaking quickly, "Professor Dumbledore said you two are my godfathers?"
Both men smiled at him and nodded. Sirius said, "We knew your parents so very well, Harry. I don't even know where to start."
Harry smiled nervously at the two men and look back at Dumbledore and Professor Snape. "If you don't mind, sirs, I don't mind staying a while."
Snape frowned, and Dumbledore said, "I'm not sure, young Harry. I know you are very curious, but I'm sure this is all very overwhelming for you."
Harry shook his head furiously and said with confidence, "No, I'm not overwhelmed at all."
"If you're certain," Dumbledore said, sighing but following it with a grin at Harry. Dumbledore went back to dinner to give them some privacy, and Professor Snape said he'd be back soon to take him down to his new dormitory, but Harry hoped it wasn't too soon.
Sirius and Remus (Moony was apparently only a nickname) told him essentially what Hagrid and Blaise had. There was an evil man who was trying to control the wizarding world who'd killed his parents and died trying to kill him. Well, he had mostly died. Just like Blaise had been telling him, Harry had only destroyed his physical form.
His family had gone into hiding, but one of their friends betrayed their location to Voldemort.
"I would have done it. With my bare hands, snapped his neck." Sirius said, not looking at Harry, but past his shoulder.
Remus put a hand on his back and soothed him. "You'd have done no such thing, Sirius." Then, looking at Harry, he said, "Hagrid came to take you to your aunt and uncle's, Harry, and Sirius told him where he was about to go."
Sirius gave a dry bark of laughter and said, "I told the man to let me go. I held my wand to his throat and threatened kill him if he didn't let me go after Peter."
It was, as Harry learned, very lucky of Sirius to tell Hagrid what he'd been about to do. Peter would have likely been prepared to be caught out and there's no telling what could have happened to Sirius. As it were, Hagrid and Sirius dropped off Harry and when they'd returned, Peter had been apprehended.
"He almost got away with it, the slimy bastard. He'd transformed and was trying to make his way into the sewers when the Order caught him." Transformed into a rat, Remus explained to him.
After that, not many people still continued Voldemort's cause. Seeing his big plan go down in smoke and what had happened to Peter made lots of people hesitant. Many of his followers were put in Azkaban (wizard's prison) and no more people died.
That wasn't the end of everything, though. Voldemort had left little pieces of his soul in all these different objects and the Order had to track down each one and destroy it. This was why, Harry learned, he'd had to live with the Dursleys all these years.
"We wanted you so badly, Harry. I missed James and Lily so much, I felt like losing you, I'd lost them forever. As if they'd never existed. I was begging Dumbledore to let us keep you, telling him we'd keep you safe and nothing could happen."
"He wouldn't see sense. But he does that often," Remus said, smiling at Harry with calm yet mischievous golden eyes.
When they were finally finished speaking, Harry heard a small cough from behind him. The Headmaster and Professor Snape were standing by the doorway. Dumbledore came over to sit behind his desk and Snape said, "I've just brought down the other students. If you two don't mind, I'll be taking Mr. Potter as well."
Harry hugged Remus and Sirius goodnight, feeling dazed. He followed Snape down to the dungeons and watched him say something to the wall that he didn't register. Harry wasn't surprised when the stone wall slid open, as they had entered the Headmaster's office in a similar way.
When Harry entered, he was glad to see that everybody seemed to have gone to bed already. He'd coped with enough staring when the Headmaster had called his name out in the Great Hall during his sorting, and then even more from his new housemates when he'd sat down at the Slytherin table.
He had been a bit worried they were going to be nasty to him, like Pansy had, but mostly nobody had talked to him. He'd been extremely relieved when Blaise had been sorted with him and he had somebody to talk to. Even more relieved when Draco had been sorted as well, and he realized that whatever animosity there had between them on the train was gone. Draco had no less than chatted his ear off about every other Slytherin in his family and how proud they would all be of him.
When he entered the dorm, he found that none of the boys were asleep. Crabbe and Goyle were looking at cards from some chocolate frogs (which Harry had become addicted to in short order after buying some on the train) on the floor next to one of the beds, Draco and Blaise seemed to be discussing something heatedly and Theodore looked just about asleep on the floor by the window.
Harry tried to be quiet, but he must have made some noise because they all looked up at him as he entered. Theodore, to his surprise, threw up his arms and cried out, "About time you showed up, Potter." Then, pointing at Draco and Blaise, he said, "Can you please choose a bed so we can all get to sleep."
Draco stood up and made his way to Harry, arms crossed, with Blaise following suit. "You're sleeping in this bed here, next to me," Blaise said, gesturing to the two beds by the window.
Draco said, "No, you're sleeping here in this bed." He gestured to one of the three beds up against the stone wall.
Blaise sighed in frustration and said, "Harry, just tell Draco that you're sleeping here so we can all go to bed."
Theodore said impatiently, "Harry probably doesn't want to sleep next to either of you. Maybe he wants the one over there by itself, next to neither of you idiots."
Draco immediately turned on Theodore, sneering at him. "I suppose you want to sleep next to Harry, Nott. Well, I'm sure your father will have something to say about that."
"What about your father, Draco? What would he say?" Theodore said, raising one eyebrow.
Draco rolled his eyes and turned back to Harry, "Ignore him, Harry. He's just jealous he spent his time on the train reading like always, instead of talking to you like I was."
Harry didn't point out that Draco had walked out on him on the train.
Looking around the rest of the room, he saw that of the six beds, two were next to each other against one wall and by a window, three were next to each other on the other wall and the last one was alone by the other window.
He said tentatively, "I can just sleep over there in the middle bed." He pointed to the three beds and Blaise's eyebrows furrowed. "I wanted those beds over there by the window."
The green four-poster bed looked extremely inviting to Harry and he just wanted to sleep. He went over to the middle bed and sat down saying, "Well, I'd like to sleep here."
Blaise sighed in frustration again, but said, "Fine. But I get the one on the right, closer to the window."
Draco shrugged, "Go right ahead, the sound of the lake has been driving me barkers."
Harry got ready for bed and lay down, but despite how tired he was, his mind kept drifting back to his sorting and what the Sorting Hat had said to him.
"This is difficult. Very difficult. I can tell you desire Slytherin, yet such bravery and loyalty. Gryffindor should be a good fit," the battered, old hat had said. Harry had inwardly panicked and mumbled, "No..."
The hat had chuckled lowly in his ear, "Is Gryffindor really so unappealing to you? Very well then. It must be... Slytherin!"
Though he was happy he had been sorted into the house he wanted, he wondered if Gryffindor might have been a better fit for him. He liked Blaise, and Draco was fine as well, but they, along with all the Slytherins he'd met so far, had been so confusing, fighting with each other one minute and then friends the next. Then there was what Blaise had told him about friends being like a commodity among them.
The boy and girl he'd met when he was on the boat across the lake to Hogwarts had been sorted into Gryffindor. They'd been kind to him, if a little bossy on Hermione's part. He'd felt guilty for making fun of her earlier, as she had been helpful to him, explaining different spells and telling him all the different classes she'd read they'd be receiving at Hogwarts.
Ron had been nice to him as well, telling him about Quidditch. It was interesting to see them interact with each other, as they'd acted like an old, bickering married couple, but yet they told Harry they'd only met on the train when Ron had found that toad she had been looking for.
Then, they'd started bickering over who it was that had really found the toad. Harry smiled at the memory. He thought that if he had Ron and Hermione around as well as his Slytherin friends, there was no reason to worry which house he was in.
With that thought, he fell asleep.
Harry's first few months at school went by much too quickly, yet excruciatingly slowly at the same time. Harry knew he would miss Hogwarts and his friends, but he couldn't wait to see what it was like to spend Christmas with a real family. Sirius and Remus had said they'd already bought his presents and had been teasing him with hints about them for weeks.
He was sitting at lunch, listening to Draco talk, something he found himself doing quite often. There wasn't much else to do at the Slytherin table. Blaise didn't talk much. He wasn't as quiet as Theodore, but he rarely initiated conversations. Crabbe and Goyle spoke mostly in monosyllabic words and Harry himself had a hard time starting conversations at the Slytherin table.
It was fine, Harry reasoned, because Draco talked enough for all of them.
"Father says he'll get me a new broom for Christmas. He won't tell me what kind, but it's probably a Nimbus 2000. Mother won't tell me what she's getting me, but she always buys me heaps of presents, so there's bound to be something among the lot that I like."
Harry didn't like when Draco talked like this. It showcased how spoiled he was and reminded him too much of Dudley. He shuddered, thinking of the Dursleys. Thank goodness he would never have to spend another Christmas with them again.
They had Defence Against the Dark Arts after lunch and as Harry's housemates left for class, Harry stayed behind. Draco turned back around at the last minute and said to Harry, "Aren't you coming?"
Harry shook his head, hair falling into his eyes. He brushed it away and said, "I'm waiting behind for Ron and Hermione."
Draco frowned and Harry rolled his eyes, already knowing what was coming next. "Look, I'm not going to have you lecture me on my friends again."
Draco simply huffed and said haughtily, "Well, I certainly can't control the company you keep." Then he turned on his heel and went to catch up with Blaise.
As Harry walked towards the Gryffindor table, he heard Draco fading voice saying, "I can't stand those Gryffindors. Always taking Harry and acting like they're so superior to everybody else." He heard Blaise laugh and then they were out of earshot.
Harry reached the Gryffindor table, where everybody was already getting up to go to their classes. Hermione smiled at him in greeting and Fred said to him, "We missed you at dinner yesterday, Harry."
It was a consequence of his friendship with Ron and Hermione that he was friends with most of the other Gryffindors. Much to the bane of the rest of his housemates, Harry would often eat his meals with them.
Ron spoke up and said, "Me and Harry were lucky enough to have dinner in detention yesterday. Snape was punishing us for something stupid, as always."
Fred and George laughed and Fred said, "I'm sure you didn't deserve it, little brother. You are the picture of innocence."
"A chip off the old block, he is," George added.
After joint Defence Against the Dark Arts with the Gryffindors, Harry told Ron and Hermione he'd catch up with them. He waited behind for everyone to file out so he could talk to Professor Lupin, who was shuffling papers idly at his desk.
"Professor," he said, getting his attention. Professor Lupin looked up, tired brown eyes brightening at the sight of Harry. "I've told you, Harry, you should call me Remus when we're not in class."
Harry smiled back, "I just wanted to make sure you were really alright with me bringing Ron and Hermione over for Christmas."
"I just don't want to be a burden or anything."
"Harry, you can bring over as many friends as you like. Though, between you and me, Sirius doesn't like some of your housemates very much."
Harry frowned and asked, "Why?"
Remus smiled nervously, "Your friends, many of their fathers were Death Eaters. In fact, Theodore Nott's father was a sort of apprentice of Voldemort's for years."
"Yes, but Theodore isn't like that. Neither are any of them."
"I agree, Harry. Theodore is a polite boy, very studious. As for some of your other housemates, I'm not too sure. Regardless, I'm merely repeating what Sirius thinks. I bear no grudges against the children of my enemies."
Harry nodded and said, "Maybe I should invite Blaise. So I can show Sirius that not all Slytherins are bad."
Remus' smile faltered and he said, "I'm not sure that's such a good idea, Harry. Besides, I was under the impression that Mr. Zabini would be spending the holiday with his family in Italy."
Harry shook his head and said, "Blaise is going home with Draco." Then, he hesitated on his next words, thinking Blaise wouldn't like him talking to Remus about what they'd talked about. Blaise had told him that his father always had very young men around him and they got drunk a lot.
"Men?" Harry had said, eyes widening. "Are they... are they together? Like that?"
Blaise had nodded, giving him the look that Harry saw often. The look that meant Harry was asking something stupid again. "A lot of wizards are in relationships with other wizards. At least, in Italy, though I expect it's the same here in England."
When he said that, Harry thought about Sirius and Remus. They seemed like such good friends, and they were living together in Sirius' house. They'd never kissed or anything in front of him, but he'd thought he'd heard them talking very intimately once before, and they did share a quarters here in Hogwarts. It occurred to Harry that it should have been obvious to him that they were in a relationship before.
"Anyway," Blaise continued, "I wouldn't say any of my father's little boyfriends are in a relationship with him. They're just after his money."
Once again, Harry had been struck by how much more mature than him Blaise seemed to be. He never had conversations like this with Ron and Hermione, or any other Gryffindor. He wondered if it was just Blaise's nature that he seemed so much older, or whether it was a common Slytherin trait to seem older than their years. He doubted it was the latter, as Draco acted like he was five most of the time.
"What about your mum? Can't you stay with her?"
Blaise had let out a bark of laughter, "Stay with her? The whole reason I'm friends with Draco and Pansy is because she hates me being around her for more than a few minutes. She says she doesn't want me getting too attached to whatever bloke she's seeing this year, but it's the same thing every Christmas."
He'd said this so bitterly that Harry had wanted to pry more into it, but he didn't. Instead, he'd just nodded and tried to change the subject.
"Blaise's father's company makes him uncomfortable," Harry settled on saying simply.
Remus nodded and said, "Well, I still don't think it's a very good idea, Harry."
As it turned out, Remus had been right. Draco was huffy when Blaise cancelled his plans with him and told him he was going to stay with his two most hated professors over Christmas. Then, he'd gotten angry with the both of them when Harry had told him he wasn't invited.
"Remus says I can only have three friends over, Draco," he lied, looking at him in what he hoped was an apologetic way.
Draco sneered at the both of them and said, "You obviously have no problem associating with riff-raff, Potter, but I expected more from you, Zabini. As if I'd want to stay with that Mudblood and the blood traitor. I can't imagine the sort of presents they must be getting you for Christmas. Perhaps some top of the line dirt, or a hand-me-down jumper."
Then, when Sirius couldn't stop "subtly" asking Blaise where his parents had been during the war, Remus had gotten angry at him. The four of them listened at the door while they fought and Sirius had said some not too nice things about Harry's housemates and their families. To make matters worse, Harry hadn't taken into account Blaise's own prejudices against Ron and Hermione, and things had been nothing short of tense between the three of them.
But overall, it hadn't been a terrible two weeks. Despite its awkwardness, it had been a much better Christmas than any Harry had ever spent with the Dursleys and for that, he was grateful.
When they got back to Hogwarts, Draco didn't seem upset with him any longer. As he talked endlessly about the marvellous fun he, Crabbe and Goyle had had over the holiday, Harry realized that because of Draco's obnoxious boastful tendencies, he always seemed to forget when he'd been upset with someone. Harry also realized he was trying to make him jealous, but somehow he found that overwhelmingly cute, and also flattering. So he nodded along at the right parts and exclaimed in surprise at all the different presents Draco had gotten.
The rest of the year was uneventful, but not boring. The most exciting thing that happened to Harry was the weekend in February that there had been a big snowball fight among all the years at school. Only some of the sixth and seventh years hadn't been there, probably off studying. It had been the most fun Harry had had in his entire life. Even Snape had thrown a snowball at a wayward fourth year who'd accidentally hit him.
Then, Draco and Blaise had started specifically targeting Hermione and forgot about the others. Though that only lasted until Fred and George charmed each snowball they threw to follow Draco and Blaise around until it hit them.
The two had gone back inside muttering and grumbling about how they had to change their clothes and Harry and Ron had almost died laughing. But when Draco and Blaise didn't emerge, Harry went back inside to look for them.
To his surprise, Harry found them arguing rather loudly about the Christmas presents they'd given him. Blaise seemed to think that his present of a big, very expensive looking teddy bear that sang Christmas carols was much better than Draco's giant chocolate frog. They argued heatedly over which one Harry had preferred until Blaise stormed off in Harry's direction, muttering. Harry quickly pretended like he had just entered the room.
Blaise sneered at Harry as he went past."Oh look, Harry's here. I'll leave you two alone, as Harry so clearly prefers you above all, Malfoy."
Harry watched Blaise exit the dungeons worriedly, then Draco said, "Don't worry about him, Harry. He's just upset you preferred my frog over his stupid bear."
Harry frowned and said, "I liked both, Draco. Why do you always have to make everything into a competition?"
"I do not!" Draco said incredulously.
Angry now, Harry nodded his head emphatically. "Yes, you do! You're always competing with Hermione's grades and you never stop moaning about how she's always beating you. And you and Blaise are always trying to one up each other over me. Who helps me with Potions more, who's sitting next to me in class, it's annoying."
Draco blushed and said, "He's the one who won't quit telling me how much you prefer him, and you did invite him over Christmas and not me."
Harry softened and he said to Draco, "You're both my friends, Draco. Stop competing with each other."
Draco nodded and seemed to get the point. At least, Harry hoped he got the point. This weird fighting over him they were doing was getting old.