Harry had met up with Draco again, met the twins, met Ron, met Hermione. They were all decent people. Even snooty Malfoy, Know-it-all Granger, and stubborn as a mule Ron.
The twins were pretty great though.
Harry spent half of the trip curled up in his seat- and eventually lying his head on Draco’s lap, reading his books again. Specifically, the World Book. He was reading about Dark Magic vs Light Magic. It was odd, the dark spells...weren’t actually that dark, most of them. He was pretty sure he read that there was a dark spell for summoning a pet bat to follow behind you so you look cool.
“I think Dark Magic has a bad rep,” Harry mused. “There’s bad stuff in there- some of the worst, but jeeze, some of these spells are...adorable. There’s one dark spell that literally makes you have three shadows at once. That’s just...actual darkness.”
Draco was staring down at him with wide eyes. “Did the Boy-Who-Lived just giggle about how stupid Dark Magic was?”
“...Yeah. I guess I did.”
“I wonder what house you’re going to be sorted into-- probably Gryffindor or Ravenclaw by the looks of it,” Draco said before popping a chocolate frog in his mouth.
Harry put down his book then scrunched up his nose. “I’m thinking Slytherin. I may be a book-worm, but...so is Hermione, and I think she’s gonna be a Gryffindor.”
“You have house reading intuition?” Draco mused. “What do you think I’ll be in?”
“Ravenclaw,” Harry hummed, picking up his book again. “You’re a nerd, Malfoy, and a creative bugger. That story you made up for Fred and George? That’s amazing.”
“My father would to kill me,” Draco muttered, then laughed. “You’re spouting lies, Potter, and you know it.”
“I could always just stuff you in my suitcase and take you away if your father tried to kill you. It wouldn’t be hard. We’d just need to clean up and stock up on food- there’s a magical tap and plumbing system, though.”
“I think you’re going to be Ravenclaw, you swot.”
Harry’s face was in a deadpan as he and Malfoy sat in the boat with Hermione and Ron. “What did I tell you, Draco, dark magic.” He pointed at the magic at the edge of the castle. “That’s a fake shadow for glamor. Dark magic is a bloody sham.”
Ron looked at him with eyes practically popping out of their sockets. “What?”
“I mean, it can be really, really bad, but like….so can Light Magic. There’s a hex in light magic that makes you feel like you were burning to death, so.”
Hermione had the nerve to give a full on laugh. “Wizard families, don’t they read?”
“I read, thank you,” Draco said, offended. “Just, not about Dark Magic-- Father forbids it.”
Harry shrugged. “My family won’t let me read unless it’s for school. Or the news. Sometimes. Well, I guess they don’t...they discourage reading. I guess.”
“Why?” Hermione asked, offended on his behalf.
“Being uneducated is the first step to being complacent in horrendous situations. They took that info to heart-- however, I don’t think they’re smart enough to understand it.”
There was a round of laughter.
“Wait,” Ron said, suddenly worried. “How horrendous is your situation?”
Harry waited a beat. “Not that bad.”
(He slid his shirtsleeve lower, just in case a bruise may show.)
Once the magical hat did it’s magical song, people were being sorted left and right.
“Granger, Hermione.” She was the first of their group to go up.
She, just as Harry had expected, was a Gryffindor.
Draco got a touch nervous- and it showed. Harry was the first to take notice, and took his hand, just in case. “Wherever you end up, you’ll belong, so...no matter what happens, they’ll protect you. I will too.”
Harry’s little speech did little to alleviate his stress, but the hand-holding did seem to help the boy significantly. They waited for person after person after person were being sorted.
Draco glanced at Harry worriedly, before Harry let go of his hand and gave him a tiny smile. The blonde boy shuttered in place, then stepped forward to put on the hat.
Harry was sure the boy would be alright- he’d guarantee it. Perhaps that was loyalty of Hufflepuffs? Oh, that would be rather nice. Hufflepuffs seem to be some of the most influential diplomats in England. They also are great with people and animals and living things...which Harry had to admit, he was not. Not with people and plants, at least.
(“Hm, a Malfoy who is on the line...that’s a first in a very, very long time, Draco.” The hat seemed to whisper into Draco’s head.
“If I don’t get Slytherin, my Father will do me in....But, if you think another place is better, stronger...Go for it.”
“Are you following the advice of young Mr. Potter?”
“Yes. He holds a solid point. If I flourish, truly so, there will be little need for a belittling father. I can be safe in my house-- I can work out something to avoid him, play at laws-”)
“Ravenclaw!” The hat shouted.
There was a silence in the room, two beats, then a round of cheering from the Ravenclaw table and soon others joined in. Draco seemed to slump in relief, Harry noted.
More and more people went.
He calmly walked up, even though his heart was pounding at another round of silence.
“Harry Potter. Hmm, I see a great deal in you as well. Brave as a Gryffindor, just like your parents, cunning and determined as a Slytherin, loyal and hard-working to a fault, a very Hufflepuffian trait...But oh, Ravenclaw seems to fit you just as well. Eager to learn for the sake of it...but you want to use it to achieve your ends. Slytherin, Slytherin.”
“What if Draco needs me?” Harry whispered so only the hat could hear. “Put me where you wish, but, his safety is paramount.”
There was silence. A long, neverending silence. One where Harry surveyed the group. Hermione was grinning like a mad woman. Draco was anxiously smiling at him. And...Ron, Ron was laughing. “What are you laughing about, Weasley?” He called out.
“The hat looks like it wants to strangle you!” Ron called back.
“Stupid Potters, always so difficult, put him in Slytherin.”
There was dead silence as Harry took off the hat and walked over to the Slytherin table. “Bonjur.”
The whole Great Hall started to laugh and clap and cheer.
It was an odd day.
“--Mister Potter, I need a word with you,” Snape said after he’d finished giving his annual speech to the first-years. They were stood in the common room as everyone flooded out.
“Yes, sir.” Harry put his hands behind his back and made eye contact with Snape. “What can I do for you?”
“I need to warn you some things personally,” his Head-of-House’s lips were pulled into a sneer. “I will not tolerate any type of celebrity chaos in my house. I will not tolerate arrogance. I will not tolerate stupidity from any of my students, but particularly from you.”
“Noted, sir. Though, I must note, personally, I wasn’t aware I was famous until a grand total of three weeks ago, has it already seemed that it had gone to my head? I always knew it was too big-- my aunt told it it was because my mother smoked. I guess there could have been another reason.” Harry rambled aimlessly. “And well, I won’t tolerate stupidity from myself either. I’m a rather big fan of not failing classes. Or spending useful time in detention. They do use detention at this school, don’t they, professor?”
Snape watched Harry closely with dark, dark eyes. “Yes, we do. That brings me to the last matter...The hat had relayed some information about you and Mr. Malfoy. It said that you were quite protective of him, and, as by request of both the hat and Mr. Malfoy himself, you two will be allowed...a room together. He’s in quite a panic and requested you.”
“That’s wonderful, sir….May I request something of you?” Harry had not broken eye contact the entire conversation. He could see that it made Snape uncomfortable. He did not relent.
“You can request it, I may not comply, however.”
“Look into Draco’s father. He seems to be...abused.”
“And you would know this how?”
“I’ve faced it myself, sir, I know. He’s scared of everything he does. Why do you think he was so scared after ending up in Ravenclaw?”
Snape’s sneer softened just a tad. “Grab your stuff and follow me.”
“I’m sorry, Harry, I know you hardly know me and I’m…” Draco started trying to explain as soon as Snape had left the room.
“Don’t worry about it, Draco,” Harry looked around the room. “That means we our own little apartment. Minus a kitchen. Plus, it’s rather hidden, and right between our two houses. Did you know this was fairly common in the 1800’s?”
Draco blinked at him from his spot on the bed, the one clearly colored blue. “I think I love you.”
Harry woke up to crying. Which was sort of a bad sign. Blearily, he pulled off his covers, put on his glasses, and then slinked into their little common’s area to see what Draco was crying about.
The boy was sat on the floor in front of the fireplace, a piece of paper in his hands.
Harry sat next to him. “What’s wrong?”
“My- my mom-” Draco choked out.
Not even looking at him, Harry responded, “Your mom is what?”
“What did I say? I’ll protect you. See, it turns out, I murdered Voldy? I think I can take on a middle aged man with a hip problem.”
“....Harry, he would not hesitate to kill you.”
“...I’m worried about you.”
“You’ve known me for like, twenty-four hours.”
Harry stayed up with Draco until six in the morning, to which he said, “Go take a shower, and get ready, you should go meet your housemates.”
“You’re my housemate.”
“I’m a snake, you’re a bird. We try to kill each other constantly. Fly away, little bird.”
“I hate you.”
“You’ve known me for two days.”