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Defence, Pretence, Offence

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[Time to find out what's going on,] Draco decided as the introductions ended.

Professor McGonagall was talking to Albus about something so Harry reckoned they had a few minutes. The presence of his two year mates from Slytherin was bothering Draco, that much was obvious. Now that there was a break in proceedings, Draco didn't hesitate. Harry watched his soulmate walk away and admired the striking figure Draco made striding across the room. However, after a few moments he followed him. It wasn't as if they were attached at the hip anymore, but possibly they were on a finite piece of elastic.

"Pansy, Greg," Draco greeted politely as soon as he was acknowledged.

If Harry had interpreted his soulmate's lectures on the etiquette of these situations correctly, Draco's opening indicated that he was comfortable with the situation and quite pleased by it. From the way Pansy relaxed slightly and Goyle shifted his feet, he was pretty sure that the pair were relieved and somewhat surprised at their peer's acceptance.

"I'm glad I am not the only Slytherin representative," Draco continued conversationally, "if they were only training Gryffindors the whole place would blow up by lunch time."

"Give us some credit, Draco," Harry joined in and smoothly insinuated himself into the Slytherin gathering; "I think we'd at least make it until tea time."

"You wish," was his soulmate's response.

Outside of Gryffindor Tower Harry and Draco were usually a united front, they rarely disagreed unless Harry was doing something stupid and Draco was pulling him up for it. The playful banter was not something the rest of the school often saw. The Slytherins were even further removed from the pair, since the knowledge that there was a traitor in the ranks had kept them away from and mostly hostile to anyone in green and silver. Harry couldn't help noticing all of Draco's fellow housemates taking note of their behaviour.

"Finding our names above the fireplace was somewhat unexpected," Pansy said, eyeing them both.

"Never underestimate the headmaster's strategising," Draco replied.

Harry was impressed; it was both a compliment and a warning at the same time. He was absolutely sure he was never going to be as good at word games as Draco seemed to be. You had to have been trained from birth, that was the only answer.

"He does seem to have picked very carefully," was Pansy's response.

It seemed Pansy, at least, approved of Dumbledore's decision.

"Always, Pans," Draco replied with a smile, "that's one thing I have learned in the lion's den, there's always a point."

Harry really was having to pay attention to keep up with the layers in the conversation. If someone asked about the weather and was really talking about Voldemort he wouldn't be surprised.

"I heard your mother has been unwell," Draco changed the subject, "I hope she is feeling better."

Pansy smiled just a little, but didn't reply immediately.

"Much, thank you," she said, looking at Harry momentarily; "an old complaint flaring up again, but there are so many new treatments now."

Harry flicked his gaze between Draco and Pansy, absolutely sure he had just missed something. Draco hadn't mentioned anything about one of Pansy's parents being ill and Harry was all too aware Draco kept a close eye on his former friends.

[What was that about?] he asked.

[Deatheaters,] was the short reply.

When his soulmate said it like that, Harry decided it should have been obvious.

[Does that mean I'm the new treatment?] Harry asked and Draco did not honour that with a reply.

"It's amazing what they come up with, isn't it," Harry said as he decided to pretend to be completely oblivious.

All the Slytherins just looked at him so he smiled. He was about to say something else when he saw Goyle see something and nudge Pansy. Glancing in the same direction he saw Dumbledore walking away.

He wasn't the only one either, as soon as Professor McGonagall finished talking to the headmaster every seventh year in the room noticed. It was quite astounding how much respect the head of Gryffindor had, even from Slytherins. Draco nodded at his friends and Harry gave them another big smile, before letting his soulmate drag him off to where McGonagall was now waiting for them all.

[You're going to make them think you're going soft in the head,] Draco commented as they walked away.

[Then they deserve to underestimate me,] Harry replied. [Besides, Pansy is definitely not that stupid and if Goyle was as idiotic as he looked, Albus never would have invited him.]

Draco gave him the side eye.

[There might be hope for you yet.]

Harry smiled some more at that.

Professor McGonagall was already handing out timetables and Draco accepted theirs with a quiet thank you. Harry glanced at it, but it didn't seem to have much information on it.

"On these parchments you will find times and places," Professor McGonagall told them. "You will be expected to be on time. Initial classes last half a day each, where you will be introduced to the basics of each subject. The headmaster has deemed it best that all students are unaware of exactly what each class will entail until they arrive. This is to prevent any unwarranted nerves."

[Or attempts to swot up on the subjects,] Draco commented.

"All you will need are your wands and yourselves. Everything else will be provided in the class you are attending. Are there any questions?"

Everyone was looking at each other, but it didn't look like anyone was going to speak up.

"As you can see, the first class is not until Monday morning," Professor McGonagall continued. "You are all free to do as you wish until then, which includes going to Hogsmead. We cannot expect you to go straight from final exams into such advanced classes, so enjoy the free time for what it is. You have all worked very hard this year. I only wish we did not have to ask you to work harder."

"Can't let the grownups have all the fun."

That came from Seamus and made them all laugh.

"I expect you to be good examples to the younger years," Professor McGonagall said, expression stern, but her eyes were alight with amusement. "Now get out of my sight, the lot of you."

They had had time off between their exams and just after them, but Harry appreciated the gesture from the teachers. He was also well aware that no one was mentioning what the professors were giving up as well. After all it was not just the pupils who were sacrificing their summer.

"Thank you, Professor," he said, before turning to leave with everyone else.

* * *

They headed back to the common room, because that just seemed the right thing to do.

"So when are we headed out?" Dean asked as they gathered round the empty fire place.

"After lunch would probably be best," Hermione said. "it'll probably be chaotic down there for a while, even after the train leaves."

"Yeah," Ron agreed, "it's always completely mental and Dumbledore did say there was jam rolly-polly with every meal."

"You always think with your stomach, Weasley," Seamus said with a laugh.

"But he has a point," Neville added.

Harry snorted with laughter.

"Y'know you could just go to the kitchen and ask the house elves and they'd give you some anyway," he pointed out.

"It's the principle of the thing," Ron said as if that should have been obvious.

Hermione just shook her head and laughed with Harry.

"Oh," Harry said as they were about the break up to do their own thing until lunch, "I think we should invite Pansy and Goyle to come with us."

Even Draco blinked at him for that suggestion.

[You could have warned me,] his soulmate said.

[I only just thought of it.]

He could feel the silent sigh even though it didn't show on the outside.

"Have you gone mental, Harry?" Seamus asked far too loudly. "Slytherins tried to kill you."

"Not those two," he replied, "and we're supposed to set an example for the younger years, remember?"

"But they hate us and we hate them," Dean said, very reasonably.

"I think you are over stating that," Draco added his opinion, "and it's not a bad idea. If anyone was plotting anything it would unsettle them, at least, and there is always the principle of keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."

[You don't really think that,] Harry commented.

[I don't trust them yet,] was all that came back.

"If we keep inviting them to things they can't go off into dark corners to plot," Ron agreed, nodding along as he spoke.

"And if one of them is a bad apple they might slip up," Neville commented.

Harry had to admit Draco had taken exactly the right tack with the other Gryffindors. Only Hermione shared a long suffering look with him.

"Do you think they'll accept?" she asked, since no one seemed to be considering that.

"Of course," Draco said; "there are more of you than there are of them. It's only sensible to appear to make friends with the superior force."

"And you never know," Harry said, because he thought someone had to, "they might actually like us when they get to know us."

Seamus seemed to think that was hilariously funny.

* * *

It had been a very interesting day, and fun too. Pansy and Goyle had accepted the Gryffindors' invitation to accompany them to Hogsmead. Several people had almost had heart failure seeing the group walking down from the school together. It hadn't been the most relaxed outing, but it had been helpful.

That had led to some interesting discussions in the common room after dinner and Harry was pretty sure things were headed in the right direction. He was so busy thinking about it that when he and Draco went up to their room, he was oblivious until Draco pinned him to the wall.

"Now," Draco said, smiling at him, "I believe we were interrupted this morning. I seem to remember you needed a lesson."

"Could be," Harry replied, eyes watching Draco's tongue as Draco licked his lips.

With a whispered spell, Harry's jeans released and slid down his legs, along with his boxers. The touch of Draco's magic, let alone Draco's hand was enough to get him going. There was nothing to stop Draco's skilful fingers trailing around Harry's balls and then stroking the length of his semi-erect penis. He couldn't do anything about his reaction as he groaned and tried to lean in to the touch. His body responded with a strong throb of desire as Draco's hand lazily caressed him; at that moment his soulmate owned him.

"I think, maybe," Draco said in a low whisper, "a proper lesson might be in order."

Even if Draco hadn't been touching him, Draco's voice would have been enough to make him hard. If Draco wanted to, Harry was sure his soulmate could make him come just by talking to him, which was an idea that, as it occurred to him, he filed away for later consideration. Draco's hand dipped slowly between his legs and Harry moved to give his lover better access as he moaned his approval. As Draco's touch danced over every sensitive millimetre of skin, Harry's brain gave up thinking at all.

He knew Draco was making a point, but he had no brain power left to think after a few seconds, so he didn't try and work out what might be coming next. His cock was hard and weeping in little more than thirty seconds as his lover pushed him further from sensible thought.

"It never hurts to make sure you understand completely," Draco purred into his ear. "After all, I have a lot of skill to appreciate."

And then suddenly the touch was gone, causing Harry to groan in displeasure. He made a grab for his soulmate, but Draco was far too fast and was on the other side of the room before Harry could catch him.

"I was looking forward to the Prefects' bathroom this morning," Draco said and sauntered towards the door. "It should be empty right about now, and we both are a little grimy from Hogsmead."

Harry groaned and let his head fall back against the wall.

"Don't forget our things," his oh-so-very Slytherin lover said with an evil grin as he opened the door and slipped into the corridor, "I'll be waiting."

Harry sighed in defeat as Draco disappeared with a laugh. It really wasn't fair quite how good Draco was at revenge, even in little things like this. Now he had to get through the common room and make it to the prefect's bathroom with a raging hard on and all their stuff. It wasn't even as if he deserved it this time. He only hoped Draco wouldn't lock him out and make him beg to be let in.