The Great Hall was just the same as ever. Which was astounding considering what had happened here only months before. It was funny how life had a way of smoothing itself out; how it had the nerve to continue as if there was nothing but future.

The tables were laid out in the same way, in order by house: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin. The food at dinner was the same: thyme-seasoned turkey legs; roasted, red-skinned potatoes; fresh, steaming loaves of bread; aromatic chicken pot pies. The same sea of black cloaks and hats; the same buzzing chatter of hundreds of students; the same golden glow of torchlight illuminating the faces of everyone around. The mundanity was an even more glaring reminder that only one thing had really changed: Draco's seat, now permanently at the end of the Gryffindor table.

He always sat at the far end, closest to the double doors, so he could leave immediately and avoid speaking to anyone. In fact, he had been just about to leave the Great Hall that very moment when a grey shadow fell over his plate of unfinished chicken pot pie. For the first time all semester, someone sat opposite him at dinner.

"All right, Malfoy?"

Draco looked up. After eyeing him carefully, Draco stiffly nodded his head in greeting. "McLaggen."

McLaggen smiled and flicked his straw blond hair out of his eyes. His tie hung loosely around his neck, untucked from the grey, wool vest that bore the fierce lion emblem... the same one Draco wore now. Draco stared at its stitching so intently, he flinched when McLaggen spoke.

"Are you going to be in the library all night again?"

"Probably." It had become a strict routine for Draco to spend the majority of his evenings in the library. The only other person who spent even more time in there than he did was still Granger, who had often eyed him oddly from behind her stack of books. Draco always ignored her and never attempted to strike up conversation; she wasn't the only one who actually studied for the N.E.W.T.s. Conversely, McLaggen reminded Draco of his pre-war self, completing assignments when he felt like it because he just couldn't be arsed, so Draco asked him, "Are you coming tonight?"

"No, not likely. Thanks for those notes the other night, though."

He kept his head up, because he had pride, of course. "Not at all." Deep down, Draco knew McLaggen only joined him in order to copy notes from when he skived off class.

"You could do your work in the common room, you know?"

Draco's shoulders stiffened. McLaggen's overly-casual tone was not reassuring, and Draco never did feel comfortable in that common room.

"With the rest of us," McLaggen added.

Draco scoffed, picking up his bag from where it lay next to him on the bench and throwing it over his shoulder. "I'm not one of you, though."

There was something ominous in McLaggen's toothy grin - which would have even been charming if Draco didn't know any better.

"You're not, no." McLaggen agreed. "But it's not like you try very hard."

"What makes you think I want to try to be part of your little group?" Draco spat, his shoulders tensing defenively. "I'd much rather still be in Slytherin."

Leaning one elbow on the table, McLaggen leaned in to look at Draco. "Why aren't you?"

Draco shut his eyes before he could roll them, clenching his jaw as he stood up from the bench.

"Why won't you tell me?" McLaggen rose also, following close behind as Draco dodged people in the crowd. "Is it for security reasons?" There was a hint, a poisonous thread, of mocking in his voice, and Draco walked away faster. "Did they not let you back in Slytherin?"

His cheeks heated up, because the real reason was actually worse - much worse - and McLaggen wouldn't even understand. Draco continued out the doors of the Great Hall and into the hallway, never stopping, though McLaggen was going the same way.

"Is it safer not having all the little Death Eaters together again?"

Draco spun around, knocking his shoulder into a young Ravenclaw girl who squealed in surprise and ran in the other direction. He stepped up close to McLaggen, almost bumping noses. "Don't you dare talk to me like that."

McLaggen was no coward - an unfortunate fact Draco discovered to be true among many of those in his new house - and he didn't even flinch. But neither did he smile. "Come off it, Malfoy. You've got to learn to take some crap. It's only natural, after what you did."

"I'm not taking crap from anyone... not even from you."

McLaggen glared at him, and Draco started to feel his palms sweat, clenching them together and preparing for a fight, though he hoped it wouldn't come.

McLaggen smiled. "Oh, lighten up."

Swallowing back his confusion and building rage, Draco breathed deeply through his nose and took a step back, giving them both some air. Knowing his temper, this could all have escalated quickly, and not only did Draco have to be careful about getting into trouble this year, but the fact was... well... and Draco hated to admit it... McLaggen was the only semi-friend he'd made. None of the other blokes in Gyffindor had any interest in speaking to him, and no one else in the school had the bollocks to try. The worst thing, though, was he had no one in Slytherin anymore.

Suddenly, the rage returned and bubbled up in his chest, punctuated by a thread of hurt that wasn't there before.

"Sod off, Cormac." Draco continued to address him as he turned. "I'm heading to class, and don't walk with me if you're going to be a prick the whole way."

McLaggen fell into stride with Draco. They usually sat together in Transfiguration. "You know, you're not half bad, Malfoy. If you quit the brooding and self-pity, people might take a liking to you."

Draco's mouth fell open. "I don't pity myself."

McLaggen snorted a laugh. "You're always alone. Make an effort to talk to somebody."

"I talk to you." Draco slowly smirked. "And so far, you're proving to be as much of your lot as I can handle."

"Is that right?"

Draco nodded. "Quite right."

"Well, whether you like it or not - and for whatever reason that I can honestly not fathom - you're in this house now, so you better fucking represent it well."

"I'm not in this house," Draco mumbled under his breath. They were approaching the Transfiguration classroom.

"Yes, you are."

"No, I'm not. I'm a Slytherin."

"Don't you want anyone to like you?"

They reached the classroom and Draco saw Potter, Weasley, and Granger standing by the door, waiting for the current class to end so they could go in. Draco looked away, but not before Potter's gaze snapped in his direction. Draco's chest tightened, and he suddenly became overly aware of himself and completely unsure of where to stare or how to stand. He settled on turning his back to Potter, and he kept his eyes on McLaggen, although he knew he was probably staring at him too determinedly and maybe appeared a bit mad.

The first thought that ran through Harry's mind was he was going to come right there, right then, in his pants. Then his mind supplied him with the idea that this was wrong - very, very wrong - and that his cock should not be swelling at the sight. Regardless, it was swelling rapidly and pushing against his trousers, and Harry grabbed it through the fabric and moved the shaft to the side, releasing a bit of the pressure.

The only people in the room were the older boys, and everyone clapped and hollered as Draco crawled in on hands and knees. In his nakedness, it was clear how fit he was; Harry gazed over his toned arms, his flat stomach, and his arse, which was the perfect size for grabbing and squeezing. In fact, McLaggen reached down and did just that, making Draco yelp in surprise. The blush spread over Draco's cheeks, all the way up and under the blindfold over his eyes. It was a red tie with gold stripes, covering Draco's eyes and wrapping around to the back of his head, the knot digging into his white-blond hair.

McLaggen led him in by a rope, tied around his neck like a collar. "Come on, Malfoy." He tugged the rope, forcing Draco forward.

Draco's forehead was creased, his eyebrows furrowed together. He took tentative steps, crawling slowly and carefully as if at any moment, he would step off a cliff.

"What was that?" Draco asked with a frown.

"I said, don't you want to make friends in your new house?"

Honestly, he was beginning to wonder why McLaggen cared so much. "Why do you keep harping on that?" Draco asked, feeling his patience wane. "It's not even any of your business if anyone likes me or how many friends I'm making. Why the bloody hell are you always so interested?"

"Because a few of us have been talking."

Draco narrowed his eyes. "What?"

"A few of us. We've been talking about you, and we've come up with a way …" He bit his lip. "... you could get in."

"Into what?" Draco searched McLaggen's face for signs, but he saw nothing other than the brashness common among this group. "Who was talking about me? What do you mean?"

McLaggen wore the smile of someone who had the upperhand and was holding back information. He shrugged nonchalantly, as if he hadn't just opened the lid of an argument. "All I'm saying is, if you want to get in with us, I know a sure way."

The noise from inside the classroom became louder, and, soon, the door would open, and people would begin filing out.

Draco clenched his fists, reminding himself not to reach for his wand and not to say scathing enough to start a fight. He settled on good, solid directness. "I don't want to be friends with you lot. Get that into your thick head." Although even as he said it, his heart fell a bit, because he knew it wasn't true. His solitary existence, while a blessing in ways, was also lonely, and Draco always liked having friends. He knew no one would deign to be his friend - not the blokes in his year, certainly none of Weasley's roommates - and it stung. Every day, he was faced with the hard fact that the people he once thought below him now looked down their noses at him.

His conflict must have been apparent on his face, because McLaggen bared his teeth in another large grin. "Somehow, I doubt that, Malfoy."

McLaggen held the leash - no, the rope - in a tight grip, pulling Draco further into the room. Harry wondered what it was like for him, and he felt a tightening in his stomach. If he were there, on the floor, Harry didn't think he could have done it. To have that rope collar wrapped around his neck, chafing his skin, pulling him - forcing him to move - like a helpless ragdoll at some master's control. To have your eyesight blocked, naked and on display for a group of people who were so very obviously going to be unkind, unsure of what was coming. Draco's shoulders were trembling.

"Bring him this way, Cormac," said Dean, his school trousers already stripped to the floor. He had his cock out, and he was stroking it eagerly, staring at Draco with his jaw slack.

McLaggen tugged, and Draco's head was jerked to the side as he was pulled in the opposite direction.

"Bring that slut over here." Dean reached out to grab Draco's blond hair. The hair peeked out through the space between his fingers as they tightened into a fist, and Harry watched it, fighting the urge to jump forward and shove Dean's hand away. But Draco probably deserved it. He did, he deserved it. He deserved it, damn it. Harry repeated the words in his head.

"Don't direct him, Dean, he'll come to you." McLaggen leaned down, patting Draco's arse hard with the flat of his palm. It made an audible smacking noise, and Harry both frowned and rubbed his groin, eyes glued to Draco's pinkening arse. "Find the cock," McLaggen said, grinning obscenely. There were a few laughs all around, and Draco's face immediately hardened. He pulled his head back, stiffened his shoulders, and McLaggen smacked his arse again harder. "Let's go," he said, pulling the rope to direct Draco forward. "Find it, slut."

Hesitantly, his face scarlet as the tie blindfolding him, Draco leaned forward, searching the air with his mouth slightly agape. The tip of nose brushed Dean's dark prick, and Dean jutted his hips, stabbing it into Draco's face.

"Good job," McLaggen said loudly enough so the room could clearly hear him.

When the students from the previous class finally started filing out, Draco left McLaggen standing there with his smug expression and tried to force his way through the door of the classroom. Someone's shoulder bumped his, and, for an uncomfortable moment, he got stuck in the doorway with the other bloke.

"Excuse me," Draco snapped, grabbing the other person's arm and halting him so Draco could go first.

To his surprise, the bloke grabbed Draco's bag and pulled him backward. "Excuse me, Malfoy."

Students milled past them on either side, someone shouting, "You're blocking the door." But Draco knew that voice, and he spun to face Potter.

He never knew how to talk to Potter these days. He raised his eyes to look into Potter's, and he was struck mute.

Potter's glasses were the same, ugly, round spectacles Draco loathed. His hair was the same thick, black mess; his eyes the same piercing green; his eyebrows the same expressive lines... all the same.

Draco still wanted to be his friend. That was the same, too, and had never really changed. The only thing different now, besides the fact Draco shared Potter's house colors, was that Draco admitted to himself why he wanted it.

Everyone gathered around Dean to watch Draco gag on his cock. Harry was scared to get too close, so he hung a couple feet behind, though still near enough to see the crease in Draco's brow. Despite the horrible feeling he wasn't supposed to be there, he wanted to be. His only fear was Draco would spot him, and for some reason that terrified him. Then he remembered Draco would never know, because the tie was blinding him. Still, Harry felt like a strange trespasser.

"Reach up," McLaggen said.

At this point, everyone but Harry had his cock out - except Ron, who had been too disgusted with the whole affair to come.

"Find the cock. That's it... and then wank it." Draco reached out blindly with one hand, and Neville stepped forward. "Don't give it to him," McLaggen growled. "Let him find it."

Draco finally touched Neville's thigh, and while he continued to bob his head on Dean's dick, his hand felt around for Neville's cock until he caught the shaft in his fist. He began to stroke it, working both boys at the same time.

Someone stepped forward and spanked him, making Draco jump. Soon, everyone had to have a turn touching his arse. Some, like Seamus, merely tapped it, keeping to the roundest part of the cheek. Others, like a boy named Michael who did not dorm with Harry, let his finger run dangerously close to Draco's crack. Harry wanted Michael's finger to move just that little bit to the side, to dip just that little bit into the space where Draco's arse cheeks parted. He stared at every hand that went there, trying to move it closer to Draco's rim purely through the power of his imagination. Yet, he knew if anyone did touch Draco's arsehole, Harry would probably lose his mind.

"Come on, Harry," Seamus said, nodding his head toward Draco, indicating Harry should touch him.

Draco immediately stiffened, and his head slowed its movement.

When Harry shook his head, Seamus shrugged. "Bring him over here, then, Cormac."

"Come on," McLaggen said, tugging Draco away from Dean. Draco let go of Neville's cock in time to place both hands on the ground before McLaggen pulled him so hard he fell. He crawled where he was led, his own cock jutting out, hard and stiff, between his legs, and McLaggen stopped him in front of Seamus. "You've got another one here, Malfoy."

Draco opened his mouth, and Seamus shoved his cock in, wringing a strangled grunt from Draco's throat. A line of saliva dripped from his bottom lip, and everyone clapped and cheered. It made Harry sick. He looked at Neville, who, at that moment, reached out and slapped Draco's arse. But he didn't stop at slapping; Neville extended his forefinger and found Draco's hole, tracing the rim in a circular motion. Draco made a surprised, high-pitched sound from around Seamus' cock.

Harry's insides burned, and possibly for the first time in his life, he thought he might truly hate Neville. Where did that he get the nerve? Even worse, he'd opened the door for everyone else, and soon every bloke in the group was doing it. There were fingers in Draco's arse every second; when one drew away, another entered, fucking him in turns. McLaggen was practically preening.

"I want him," said someone who stood behind Draco.

"No, it's my turn," someone else shouted. "Bring him over here."

"Are you alright?" Potter asked,

Draco blinked out of his reverie, his mind returning to the bustling classroom. Potter looked concerned, staring at Draco with a mixture of worry and confusion. Draco straightened up.

"I'm fine, Potter," he snapped.

"Oh. All right, then."

Potter walked past him to to go sit with his friends. Unfortunately, McLaggen had the same idea. There was a spot for Draco, as always, because McLaggen liked them to sit together. Usually Draco sat with him; but it had never been with Potter, and now Draco would have to sit with Potter for forty-five whole minutes. Reluctantly, he made his way over, plopping down heavily into his chair.

It was bizarre. Cormac was on his right, and Potter was on his left, sitting with Weasley. Granger sat in front of them with Luna bloody Lovegood, and the whole thing just made no sense. No one was looking at him, but Draco felt as though he were sitting beneath a bright light, illuminating him as the odd one out.

"No," Harry said, "bring him here."

Everyone stopped stroking their cocks long enough to look at him. Draco shoulders tensed, and he let Seamus's cock fall out of his mouth. His bottom lip trembled.

McLaggen led him to Harry, although Draco only had to crawl a few paces. Draco stopped in front of him, his nose almost bumping into Harry's knees.

Harry looked up at everyone around. He licked his lips. "Leave."

There was a pause in which everyone stared at him in silence. Some opened their mouths as if to protest, but quickly closed them again. Harry knew he was playing his card, and he hated doing that, but this time merited the exception. Finally, there was a shuffling of feet as people pulled their trousers back on and made their way quietly to the door.

Harry looked at McLaggen, who still held onto the rope.

McLaggen raised his eyebrows. "Me? But... This is my room."

"Go."

McLaggen's eyes narrowed, but Harry held his gaze evenly. Eventually, McLaggen threw the end of the rope onto the ground with flourish. "He's all yours," he spat. He turned and stomped from the room, slamming his door shut.

They were alone. It was suddenly too quiet, and Harry wanted to hear Draco's voice. He knelt down until their faces were level. Draco's mouth was slightly parted, his lips red from sucking cock, and his breath came out unevenly.

He reached for the Gryffindor tie covering Draco's eyes.

"No, don't!" Draco pulled away. "I wanted it on. I … I don't want to see."

"You want to hide?"

Draco scowled. Shakily, he answered, "Yes."

"Then why agree to this, Draco?"

Draco exhaled through his nose. "I don't know."

"You don't? You look like you're enjoying it." Harry was referring to Draco's hardness, which, even now, jutted up toward his stomach.

A flush colored Draco's cheeks. "Maybe I wanted it."

"So," Harry said, picking up the rope and giving it an experimental tug, making Draco's breath hitch. "You like this sort of thing?" Draco didn't answer, but the answer was clear when a bead of precome gathered on the tip of his cock. "McLaggen told everyone you wanted to prove yourself."

"I do."
Harry took hold of the tie once more, and this time, Draco didn't stop him. He pulled it over the top of Draco's head, letting it fall to the floor. Draco blinked at him.

"Well, then." Harry said, standing back up. He walked backward until he sat on the edge of one of the beds; whose it was didn't matter, but he hopes it was McLaggen's. He undid his trousers and pushed them down. His cock was already hard, and he gripped it and stroked it in front of Draco's face. With his other hand, he squeezed his balls. "You want this, don't you?"

Draco didn't take his eyes off Harry's cock as his crawled forward. Harry felt the warmth of Draco's breath, and he let go of his cock, letting Draco nuzzle his nose against the shaft. The gesture was almost loving, affectionate, and although it made his heart race, Harry wondered why Draco hadn't done that with Dean or Seamus.

Draco took Harry's cock in his mouth, and the warmth and softness of Draco's tongue enveloped him. What killed him, though, was when Draco looked up and met his eyes, and at the same time, sucked down the length of his shaft. Harry gripped the bed sheets in his fists, watching the stretch of Draco's mouth and the bob of his head. Harry realized he still had the rope in one hand.

When Draco slid up to the tip, Harry pulled the rope, guiding his head back down. Draco looked at him, his eyes alight, as he gagged.

"I want to fuck you," Harry said.

Draco's eyes fluttered shut, and he exhaled hard through his nose.

Harry's cock felt heavy, engorged and ready. Once Draco had pulled off, Harry laid back on the bed, taking the end of the rope with him and forcing Draco to climb on top of him. Harry spread his legs, and Draco naturally straddled his hips, as if they had done this a hundred times before. He felt the softness of Draco's arse, the heaviness of Draco's body, pressing against his cock.

"Why did you agree to do this?" Harry needed to know.

Draco rolled his hips. "I wanted to."

"You wanted to be degraded by those idiots?"

"And you're not one of those idiots now, Potter?"

Harry gripped Draco's thighs. He dug his nails into the skin, felt the thrill of Draco's wince. "I suppose I am." He picked up his wand and performed the lubrication charm on his cock; the chill of slickness felt good against his heated skin.

Draco reached behind and positioned it to his hole, then gingerly sat down. Harry groaned at the feeling of tightness squeezing the tip of his cock, enveloping him further as Draco slowly, steadily, sank lower.

As he jerked his hips, Harry fucked all his hate away, until there was nothing left, and they were just two, nameless blokes.

"You want Potter, don't you?"

Draco stared down at his textbook. In a measured drawl, he asked, "What are you talking about?"

"I see you around him. You're like a scared First Year."

Draco looked up and glared. "I have a lot to do."

"You don't want to talk about Potter?"

"Not really, no."

"What about the rest of us? What do you have to say to us?"

"What do you want, Cormac?" Draco's heart raced, anger at himself and at the rest of the world burning through him. He clenched his fists. "You want an apology?"

McLaggen smirked. "That would be nice, but I know a special way to do it."

"What are you talking about?"

"You might even enjoy it."