Chapter 3

Over the next few months Harry met Draco every night in the Room of Requirement to learn everything that he felt that he might need to know. It would be one thing to deliberately insult someone with his actions, but quite another to do it accidentally. Thus he was learning how to walk, talk, sit, what cutlery to use, when to bow and a myriad of other skills. Of them all, the penmanship and calligraphy ones were perhaps the most tiresome. He had always been rather proud of his writing considering that quills hadn't been natural to him. He was almost 100% certain that his writing was better than any other muggleborn in the school, and as he had been muggle-raised this was the group he chose to compare himself to. Even Draco had grudgingly admitted that his writing was legible, however that was good enough apparently, so here he was again lethargically copying out letters.

He had also had been frequently exchanging letters with Viktor. At first it had felt uncomfortable, but after being told by Draco in no uncertain terms that there was no way out of the betrothal, he had made a real effort to actually get to know Viktor. He also had some unknown deity to thank for the fact that Winky had managed to intercept every single one of Viktor's owls before they had reached the Great Hall, so for now no one but he and Draco were aware of the truth.

And hadn't that development sparked the rumour mill? The Dreadful Duo in particular had been outraged, and seemed to enjoy cornering him at least three times a day to express it. Draco seemed to be taking a perverse amount of pleasure in deliberately being seen with him in secluded places – never doing anything inappropriate – but the implication that they were lovers was easy to read and spread through the school like wildfire.

As for Draco, apparently he wanted to be declared Harry's vassal. This essentially meant that Harry was Draco's Lord and Master, and should Draco die childless Harry would inherit the Malfoy fortune. For Draco it meant that any children would also be sworn into the service of Harry's family, the Krums, and as one of the few remaining Great Pureblood families that would essentially cloak Draco from almost all national laws. As long as Draco could claim that he was acting under Harry's and by extension Krum's orders, he could not by prosecuted by the Ministry of the Wizengamot nor could his assets be confiscated.

Harry could understand the appeal for Draco, it meant that when he was inevitably forced to become a Death Eater, his actions would be claimed under those of a private informant, much like Snape's had been in the first war. No Harry understood. The only stumbling point however was him marrying Krum. Politically he could see the advantages, but emotionally he was finding it difficult. It wasn't that he disliked Krum, he didn't, it was that he just didn't know him. Furthermore those blasted didn't really help as he couldn't ask certain questions or discuss specific topics according to these blood pureblood rules about what was and was not appropriate.

Harry sighed and stood up with the rest of his class and headed out of History of Magic only to immediately be cornered by Weasley and Granger. He ignored them and headed to lunch with the rest of the school. As he sat down at the end of the Ravenclaw table he heard Granger and Wealsey join him and he sighed again. He blanked them out and started to eat his lunch. He had learnt early on in their "friendship" that Granger would lecture whether he was listening or not, so he chose to tune out whenever he saw her open her mouth. Weasley by comparison would be too busy eating like it was his last meal to say anything.

He was so lost in his thoughts in fact that he didn't notice Granger stop talking. In fact he didn't notice the silence that had spread through the entire Hall. An annoyed hoot broke his concentration.

It was then that he noticed the silence and he looked up with a growing sense of dread. There was Viktor's owl sitting there regally and surveying the hall with a look of disdain. And on the owl's leg was a roll of expensive parchment bound with a red ribbon. The owl fixed him with a piercing look. Harry sighed and briefly closed his eyes in horror before steeling himself and taking the scroll.

Immediately chatter broke out again in the Great Hall. Mercifully Granger still seemed to be gobsmacked. He got up quickly and gathered his things, but before he could leave…

"Mr Potter" Dumbledore sounded markedly less genial and grandfatherly than usual, "if you wouldn't mind coming to my office to discuss this…development."

Harry sighed before pivoting on his heel and heading away from freedom and towards Dumbledore's office. Dumbledore gave the password, "starburst", before they both, accompanied by Professors Flitwick and McGonagall headed up the stairs and into Dumbledore's office.