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The Slytherin Champion

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Harry started awake when he felt a hand resting on his head, yanking him out of sleep and the nightmares that he had been having quickly. Green eyes snapped open as he jerked upright, and he stared into brown eyes looking back at him.

Brown eyes that were full of emotional pain as well as physical.

Brown eyes that were so uncertain, so lost and confused.

Without a second thought, Harry reached out and covered the pale white hand that was lying on the bed, clutching it tightly as something passed between them, shared trauma, shared horror.

"You ok?" Harry asked softly. To some, it might have sounded the most stupid question imaginable, because there was not a chance that the other boy was ok. But with what they had shared tonight. What they had shared the last few months really, he knew that Marcus would understand.

"I really don't know," Marcus shook his head. His voice sounded like sandpaper.

"Ok," Harry nodded, tightening his grip as he reached out with a trembling free hand to grab the water gablet beside Marcus' bed.

"You ok?" Marcus croaked, not taking the goblet yet.

"I'm fine," Harry nodded when he pressed the goblet of water closer Marcus took the drink this time.

"Harry?" Both teens turned quickly at the voice to see a slightly sleepy Sirius standing there.

"Huh," Marcus nodded, a little shocked clearly at the sight of the escaped convict, though not looking worried meaning he obviously knew Sirius was innocent.

"Harry, what are you doing out of bed?!" Sirius scolded hurrying a little closer.

"I was just checking on Marcus," Harry huffed.

"Harry, you were seriously hurt, you shouldn't be up!"

"You were seriously hurt?" Marcus was frowning now.

"I'm fine, honestly, I'm ok," Harry argued with both of them. "I needed to know Marcus was alright,"

"Go back to bed Harry, I will be here when you wake," Marcus urged.

"I don't want to leave you alone," Harry shook his head, tightening his hand around Marcus'.

"Ok, so how about we lie down here instead?" Sirius indicated to the bed next to Marcus'.

"I will be right here," Marcus managed to chuckle a little, amused despite himself at the suspicious look on Harry's face.

"Fine," Harry huffed. "Have you had enough water?"

"Yes, thank you," Marcus nodded.

Harry allowed Sirius to help him up and into the next bed, settling him down before he transformed into Padfoot and hopped up onto the bed himself.

"Do you know how we got taken there?" Marcus asked softly.

"It was Moody," Harry sighed burying his fingers into Padfoot's fur for comfort as he wriggled up the bed a little looking concerned.

"What?" Moody frowned confused.

"He was Barty Crouch Jr, using polyjuice, the real Moody was locked in a trunk. He's in a private room here," Harry explained.

"Merlin," Marcus groaned dropping his head onto his pillow. "How did you find out?!" He asked sharply lifting his head quickly, with a grimace.

"He took me when they were rushing you here, I thought you were... anyway he took me, and told me everything,"

"Did he hurt you?" Marcus was actually moving to get out of bed.

"No, no. Dumbledore and the others got there before he could do anything," Harry reassured him.

"Ok," Marcus nodded settling back down to stare at the ceiling.

Harry could not imagine what he was going through. His own night had been eventful, emotional and confusing enough. He could not even begin to imagine how Marcus felt. Afer they had agreed to take the Triwizard cup together they had been whisked to the Graveyard. Marcus had been suspicious straight away and they had been on guard, which was probably the only reason that Marcus had managed to avoid the killing curse being thrown at him.

Voldemort had identified Marcus straight away as the Flint heir and then had told Wormtail to imprison the spare so that he could have fun with him later. The look of shock on Marcus' face had made it apparent that he was stunned at being spoken about like that by the man that his father and family, his friends followed.

And Wormtail had made it very clear that by fun, Voldemort meant kill.

Before he had released from the gravestone he had had to watch Voldemort torturing Marcus, he had had to listen to his screams and watch him writhe. And while he had not seen Voldemort kill Marcus, he had been sure that that was what had happened when a smug Voldemort came back and told them all that that was what happened when he was betrayed. That he would kill the families of those that betrayed him.

He had laughed when Harry had not been able to hold back a few tears before he had released and their fight had happened. He had used the time his parents and the other ghosts had given him to make it to where Marcus had been lying, and he had summoned the cup to himself.

When he had felt a pulse in Marcus' neck he had not been able to hold back his sobs, the relief swooping through his battered body.

His own mind was spinning, but he could only imagine what was going through Marcus' and he did not take his eyes off of them until he started nodding off. Everything that Marcus had likely been told had been a lie, everything that he had been raised to believe, the person that he expected Voldemort to be, had been snatched away from him. And he should have died tonight, he would have if Harry had not gotten to him.

And now he had no idea where he would go, or what he would do.
They had become...friends of sorts because of the tournament. Honestly, Harry had formed respect of sort for Marcus from the moment his name came out of the Cup. It had been a little embarrassing really, the reaction of the school in front of the delegates from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. Hogwarts students had not been impressed that it was not a Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or even Hufflepuff that had been selected to be the Champion of their school. Instead, it had been a Slytherin.

A lot of people had actually booed when Marcus had stood and made his way across the hall. But the Slytherin had walked with his back straight, and head held high. He had not flinched or let on how he felt about the reaction. And when Harry had appeared as the 4th champion, he had not said a word.

The school was split, they were angry that Harry had somehow managed to get more fame and beat the age line, and they had been unhappy that a Slytherin was the official Champion. The Slytherins had not been happy that he had been a champion, and they had gone after Harry, Marcus had not.

When he found out about the dragons, he had barely hesitated before tracking Marcus down and giving him the heads up. The fact that the other teen had not attacked him as well, the way he had acted when faced with the disapproval of the school had driven Harry on.

Marcus had said very little when Harry told him, simply looked thoughtful. But he had nodded to Harry after the First Task. Harry had thought that would be it, and aside from the painful Yule Ball, they had very little interaction between the First and Second task.

Except when Marcus had stalked up to him one day in the corridor, caught Harry's arm and dragged him into an alcove. Harry had wondered what the hell was happening, and if Marcus was going to curse him. When the Slytherin had told him to open the egg underwater to hear the mermaid song which would explain their second task he had been a little stunned, but very grateful.

After that, they had a sort of...respect for each other. It had been difficult considering the animosity between their houses, and what Marcus believed in. But Harry came to actually like Marcus. They had managed to have a few chats together, meeting in the library as they researched for the Third Task, amassing as many spells as they could.

In the maze, Harry had felt that respect, the liking he had for Marcus swelling in his chest, and that was why had pushed for Marcus to take the cup, because the teen deserved it because he wanted to hear the school cheering for Marcus and not booing him. He wanted the Slytherin to be able to hold his head high because he had won.

Marcus had, of course, argued with him. And in the end, they had agreed to take the cup together, Hogwarts victory anyway. And that had whisked them away to the horror of the Graveyard, where Marcus had tried to protect Harry.

"Harry, Harry!" Harry gasped and jerked upright, staring around as he tried to pull himself from the nightmares.

"Hey it's ok," Sirius smiled pulling him into a hug.

"Siri?" He managed to croak.

"Yes it's me, you're ok," Sirius assured him.


"I'm right here," Harry turned to see Marcus hanging over the edge of his bed being held back by Snape.

"You were calling for him," Sirius said softly, combing back Harry's fringe.

"I'm alright Harry," Marcus said firmly.

"It was a nightmare," Sirius told him gently.

"It was a memory," Harry sighed before flopping onto his hospital bed.

"Are you ok Harry?" Sirius asked gently.

"I'm fine,"

"Harry even I can see how much pain you are in from over here," Marcus glared slightly.


"If you say fine Harry I will get out of this bed and come over there!"

"My chest hurts a little, and my head," Harry sighed.

"I am keeping you around kid," Sirius smiled thankfully at Marcus before hurrying to Pomphrey's office, Snape stalking after him, leaving Harry and Marcus alone.

"How are you doing?" Harry asked softly, turning onto his side to get more comfortable and watched Marcus heave himself up a little more in his bed. He was sitting up and looking a hell of a lot more better than he had the night before.

"Confused, mainly, a little lost," Marcus sighed scrubbing at his face. He looked up and down the wing, making sure they were alone before turning to look at Harry with sad eyes. "My dad was there last night,"

Harry closed his eyes.

"I am not going to be able to go home, not now,"

"I'm sorry Marcus," Harry said slowly.

"Hey, you have nothing to apologise for, if you hadn't done what you did, I would be dead. I would rather be alive and homeless. I will survive don't worry. It's just... everything was a lie,"

"He was charming once, and saner, I am not sure when the whole insanity thing happened, but I saw what he was like before, and I can understand how he could draw people in," Harry tried.

"Well we have progressed to snake-faced, and he did not have a nose!" Marcus grimaced. Harry snorted a little amused. "Harry, I spent my life being told that he would make the world a better place, the right place, the way it should be. I was told that mud...muggleborns were inferior and that they had no place in our world. I was told that he would look after people like me, purebloods, and he would give us our rightful place in this world. But that...thing I saw...what he said..." Marcus shook his head.

"Marcus..." Harry bit his lip before forcing himself into a sitting position, looking seriously at the Slytherin.

"You have never hesitated in saying anything to me before, why now," Marcus urged him.

"In real life Marcus, there is no place that you deserve or don't, there is no one who is better than anyone else because of a circumstance of birth. Marcus, can you really say that Hermione is any less of a witch because of the fact she is muggleborn, that she is less than Pansy Parkinson, Susan Bones, Lavender Brown? My mum was muggleborn and she was one of the most powerful charms casters in decades. The circumstances of your birth do not dictate what you are entitled to, no one has the right to be better than someone else just because they were lucky enough to be born into a certain family. Your heart and your brains determine what you are, nothing else...I am not describing this very well," Harry sighed.

"You are doing pretty well," Marcus smiled just a little.

"The best example I can give you is Voldemort himself," Harry reckoned Marcus would listen to him, so he met his eyes and decided it was worth a try.

"What?" Marcus asked confused.

"Voldemort was a half-blood Marcus. His mother was pureblood, his father was a muggle. The gravestone I was tied to, was his muggle fathers. TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE. I AM LORD VOLDEMORT. He grew up in a muggle orphanage, and when he came to Hogwarts and discovered he was descended from Slytherin he cast away his muggle father's name and hid all trace of that side of him. The most powerful Dark Lord seen for centuries, is half-blood, hell my blood is purer than his if you want to get technical about it seeing as my mum was actually a witch,"

"You're serious?!" Marcus gasped.

"I know that it can be hard, letting go of everything that you have believed, especially when it has been drummed into your head. It was a little easier for me, seeing as I had never really 100% believed it, but it's difficult," Sirius said softly from where he was standing behind Marcus.

"How did you..." Marcus started to ask before gritting his teeth.

"My first year at Hogwarts. I was on the train, a little firsty, all excited and eager to learn magic. And oh so reassured of the fact that I would be better at magic than most of the others on the train considering that I had been taught young and because of course, I was a Black. Magic was in my blood and I was superior to the others on that train for it. There were very few in my year who would be able to compete with me. Even the esteemed Potter blood would be no match, despite being nearly as powerful," Sirius smirked as he moved to sit on the edge of Harry's bed and drew him into his side.

"What happened?" Harry asked curiously.

"I watched the Potter Heir try and ask out a red-headed muggleborn. When she turned him down he got a little mouthy, and I watched her hex his arse so hard I am shocked their son isn't still feeling it," Sirius shuddered.

"Their son?" Marcus asked confused at the seemingly random jump. At least until Harry burst out laughing and wiggled his fingers.

"Lily Potter was one of the finest, smartest, fiercest, quickest, powerful witches that I ever had the honour of meeting. And she was muggleborn. It's difficult to argue that you are better with someone at magic because of your blood and family name when they regularly wiped the floor with you and your idiot, equally pureblood, best friend who happened to be madly in love with her," Sirius said dryly.

"Not Remus?" Harry asked curiously.

"Nah, he was way too smart to rile her, when James started trying to impress her Remus would disappear like a bloody ghost," Sirius rolled his eyes.

"This is a lot," Marcus sighed pulling himself to his feet as he felt himself becoming agitated.

"I know, but you are a smart guy. And you aren't alone," Harry shrugged. "You have me and Siri,"

"Why am I being dragged into this, you rescued the puppy, you look after him!"

"Puppy..." Harry raised his eyebrow and looked up, and up, and up at Marcus, who also raised an eyebrow at Sirius.

"I will think of a better analogy, and go see what is taking Poppy so long!" Sirius squeaked before hurrying off, leaving Harry snickering after him.

Though he did stop when Marcus moved to stand right in front of him.

"I have you huh?" Marcus asked.

"I know this isn't easy for you, and you are going to be going through a lot now, you don't have to do it alone. I'm not expecting you just to be all pro muggleborn all of a sudden, and I know this will take a lot of adjusting. I am not saying all muggleborns and muggles are amazing. But then neither are all Purebloods. In the end we are all just human. It is our choices that decide who we are, and you have the chance to make that choice for yourself. I won't pressure you, but if you need me, I am here," Harry shrugged.

The squeak he let out when Marcus reached out and yanked him against his very muscled chest was frankly, a little embarrassing. But when Marcus didn't let go he slowly twined his own arms around Marcus' waist and closed his eyes as he rested his cheek against Marcus' chest.

"I haven't said it yet," Marcus said before bowing his head to press his lips to Harry's ear as he let go of him. "Thank you for saving my life,"

Harry was glad that the Slytherin had let go of him so that he wouldn't feel the shudder going through Harry's body, the blush on his cheeks, however, he could do nothing about, and Marcus seemed a little aware of it if the light smirk he got was anything to go by. Sirius also looked a little suspicious when he walked back with Madame Pomphrey, looking between his tomato of a godson and the lightly smirking snake standing nearby.
"What. Was. That. About?" Harry flinched visibly, turning slowly to see Marcus standing near to him, as though he had been behind the corner while Harry had been talking to Hermione.

"What was what about?" Harry tried smiling sweetly, but Marcus stalked towards him, only with a slight limp now, and gripped the top of his arm.

"What the hell was Granger going on about? Who are the Dursleys and why is she so worried about you going back to them?" Marcus demanded.

"It's not important, she was just being dramatic," Harry shook his head.

"Of everything that I have said about Granger and accused her of being, dramatic is not one of them," Marcus glared darker at him. "The truth Harry, now!"

"It's personal!"

"Wonderful I can personally be told then!" Marcus answered quickly.

"We're not friends, I am not going to just tell you my personal life," Harry snapped yanking his arm away and started to walk away. This time Marcus grabbed his hand, and when Harry turned, a furious glare on his face, the Slytherin was watching concerned.

"I am fairly sure we are friends Harry, and for you to say something like that to me, kind of makes me think that this is pretty serious and Granger had every reason to be concerned about whoever these Dursley people are,"

"I'm sorry," Harry grimaced.

"Hey none of that, but I am not letting this go, Harry, Granger sounded really worried, what is going on?"

"You can't mention any of this to Sirius," Harry said softly, his hand tightening around Marcus'. "He would be...he would end up in even more trouble, please, I won't say anything until you swear to me,"

"Fine, I won't say anything to Sirius," Marcus grit out.

"The Dursleys...they are my mum's muggle family, her sister, brother in law and my cousin,"

"And Granger is worried about them, what the hell is going on Harry?" Marcus looked thunderous.

"They don't magic, I don't really know why they kept me, why they agreed to me staying with them. But they weren't happy about it. They don't love me, or care for me," Harry sighed.

"And you are underplaying everything, Granger sounded scared!" Marcus demanded.

"It's fine Marcus. They can be a little harsh, and I don't look forward to the summer while I stay with them. But it isn't the whole summer, and I will be fine. Hermione just worries, and she is doing more so after what has happened this year," Harry shrugged.

Marcus narrowed his eyes but then he stepped back and allowed the subject to drop.

"How was your walk?" Harry asked nervously.

"Interesting," Marcus hummed.

"Ok... that is an intriguing description for a quick walk around the castle to stretch your legs," Harry blinked.

"I got approached by a lot of Slytherins asking what the hell had happened. Honestly, it was like they knew that I was about to take a walk," Marcus rolled his eyes as he hopped up onto Harry's bed and stretched his damaged leg a little.

"What did you say to them?" Harry asked curiously hopping up beside Marcus, as normal feeling the size difference between them intently.

"The truth, what I saw, what happened to me, what was said," Marcus said slowly.

"Are you alright?" Harry asked softly.

"Not really," Marcus laughed. "But I'm a Slytherin, I survive. I think they all have a lot to think about,"

"They believe you?" Harry asked gently, not wanting Marcus to take it the wrong way.

"No, but they will when they view my memories," Marcus shrugged.

"Oh wow, that will be interesting," Harry hummed.

"I don't want any of my friends being the 'spares' either," Marcus said quietly. He started a little when Harry reached out and covered his hand, squeezing it gently.

"You are far from a spare," Harry said. "Not many people would have survived that night,"

"You did most of the work,"

"You were ready for the attack, that first Avada would have killed most people," Harry bit his lip before smiling at Marcus. "I am glad you are safe,"

"I'm glad you are too," Harry smiled happily at the sentiment from the Slytherin, but he was a little confused at the undertone.
Uncomfortable. Tense. Icy. Awkward.

That about summed up the atmosphere currently in the carriage. Ron was sitting glaring at Marcus from the corner of the carriage he had stashed himself in.

Harry was sitting next to Marcus where the Slytherin had just walked in and plonked himself down next to him. And next to Marcus was Adrian Pucey and Blaise Zabini, both looking more blank than a cleaned blackboard.

Hermione was sitting opposite Harry, trying to look welcoming, but obviously not really sure that the Slytherins would even acknowledge her, and so she was hiding behind her book, also shooting worried looks at Harry when she thought he wouldn't notice. Which he did, as did Marcus.

Neville was looking like a mouse cornered by a cat but was trying to smile and have a conversation with a strange but lovely girl Luna, who had walked in and just sat down with them.

And Harry was about to bash his head against the carriage window if something didn't change soon.

Sirius had disappeared who knew where once Harry had been dismissed from the Hospital Wing with a tight hug and promise to see him soon. Marcus had disappeared into the Slytherin mass, and Harry had barely seen him since leaving the Wing. He had been having a lot of intent discussions and was constantly surrounded by Slytherins. Harry had not wanted to risk getting him into more trouble or face the abuse of trying to speak to the older teen, and Marcus had not approached him.

He and Ron had barely been on proper speaking terms since the whole accusation of him putting his name in the Goblet, but honestly if a Slytherin he didn't really know knew him well enough to know he wouldn't have put his name in, surely his best friend should have.

"Granger!" Marcus suddenly barked breaking the silence in the carriage.

"Yes! I'm here!" Hermione squeaked jumping nearly a foot into the air.

"Is that Junsung's Theory of Defence Curses and Hexes?" He asked.

"Yes!" Hermione nodded frantically.

"Have you got to Chapter 14 yet?"

"On the Theory of using physical as well as magical means during a duel, yes," Hermione narrowed her eyes.

"What did you think of it? I found it quite intriguing," Marcus grunted. Harry pressed his fingers to his lips and leant a little further into the Slytherin in thanks as he realised Marcus was making the effort to have a conversation with Hermione.

Hermione seemed to click onto this as well, and after a little hesitant start, she and Marcus were talking quite animatedly about the subject. Adrian joined in after a little while as well, and the three of them seemed to be quite enjoying himself.

"Have you any plans for the summer Nev?" Harry asked softly.

"I am going to be planting a new greenhouse actually, my Grandmother and uncle chipped in together as an early birthday present. So I will be busy getting it set up and secure before the start of the new year," Neville smiled brightly.

"Actually Longbottom there was a question on the herbology homework that I wanted to ask you about," Blaise fished the work out his bag and started going over one of the questions with Neville, who seemed quite pleased and as normal quite enthusiastically explained the herbology answer.

"...more than free to owl me if you want to ask anything else over the summer," Neville had just finished saying to Blaise when the door to their carriage slammed open and a smug looking Draco stood there. Though he did waver a little at the sight of three from his own house sitting there.

"Say one word Malfoy and I will hex your arse off," Marcus growled.

"You can't speak to me like that you traitor I will..."

Everyone blinked when Draco bounced into the carriage opposite them before sliding down as he also turned a lurid pink, green and purple colour.

Marcus turned open-mouthed to see Harry waving his wand to close the door before casually tucking his wand back away and settled into the seat again.

"Harry..." Marcus said slowly.

"Is anyone else getting hungry?" Harry chirped.

Marcus covered his mouth as a wide smile of amusement crossed his lips, Adrian and Blaise were staring a little stunned at Harry. Hermione snickered and dug into her bag to start pulling out the food that the House elves had made for them.

Harry smiled a little sadly and waved at his friends before he turned and walked over to where the Dursleys were standing waiting for him. They were looking as thunderous as Hermione...and Harry had feared. As expected they clearly had not forgotten the ton-tongue toffee incident. He was definitely going to be feeling that one.

"Hurry up boy!" Vernon snapped as Harry reached them, the three of them turning and stomping towards the exit, shoving their way through the crowds, leaving Harry to hurry after them.

He felt a small thrum of panic at the look that Dudley shot him. This summer was not going to be pleasant. The only thing he reckoned that was going to get him through was that he reckoned Marcus would write to them through the summer along with his other friends. Though he was a little worried about where Marcus was planning on going. Whenever Harry had brought it up he had avoided the subject. And he did not want to push him on such a delicate subject.

He grimaced to himself as Vernon slammed someone out of the way as they exited the train station and made their way to where the Dursleys were parked.

"Put your things into the boot Freak, you will be scrubbing out every inch of it to get your freakishness out of my car!" Vernon snapped as they reached the vehicle.

All four of them started, Dudley squealing, when a fist slammed hard enough into the side of the car that it caused a dent. Turning around Harry stared wide-eyed at Marcus who was looking furious. Vernon looked up at the taller man, looking totally lost and stunned at the teenager towered over him.

"You dare speak to him like that?!" Marcus snarled.

"Marcus it's fine, it's ok, you have scared them, they will behave now!" Harry tried soothing the other as he noted how murderous exactly Marcus was looking.

"Yes, we will not speak to him like that the whole time, and we will not touch him, he will be fine safe ok!" Petunia nodded quickly.

"Oh I know he will be fine," Marcus growled. "Get into the car Harry," He ordered.

Confused Harry did what he was bid, and then quickly scrambled further over when Marcus started getting into the car as well. "Marcus?"

"What do you think you are doing?!" Vernon looked like he was about to have a heart attack.

"You will very kindly be putting me up this summer, at least until it is time for Harry and I to leave. Now, get into the car and drive," Marcus ordered.

"Marcus what are you doing?!" Harry hissed.

"I had a chat with Granger after our talk in the Hospital Wing, she said in not so many words that you had to go back to their home for the wards and because of ... Voldemort. But if you think that I am letting you go with these pigs alone, you are very much mistaken. And it sorts out the issue of where I can stay over the summer," Marcus smirked as he got comfortable and slammed the car door shut.

The Dursleys were standing outside the car and looked as though they would rather be anywhere else right now, including in the middle of a volcano.

"Marcus... You can't..." Harry stopped when Marcus reached out and gripped his chin gently.

"Do not tell me what I can and can't do Harry. I will not let you go alone with these animals, I will be staying with you, I will be looking after you, and I will be making sure they don' so much as look at you wrong," Marcus grit out.

"Ok," Harry said softly.

"Good," Marcus smiled a little. "Now get into the car and drive!" He snapped at the Dursleys.

"I...I will n...not be s...s...spoken to like that"

" what?" Marcus sneered stepping out of the car and backing the fat man against the side of it. "Listen to me Muggle because I will say this only once. Harry needs to stay with you to be safe, I will be staying with him to keep him safe from you. You are going to get into the car, drive us to your house, and then you will do everything that I say. I am 17, and going from that look in your eyes you know that means that I can do magic. I have tortured muggles before, and I know spells that would make sure you will be scared to close your eyes for the rest of your miserable, little, pathetic lives. Do we have an understanding?"

"Y...y...y...y...y...y...e...e...e...s...s...s...yes," Vernon stammered, his whole body trembling.

"Wonderful," Marcus slipped back into the car. "Oh, yes, and the blonde pig will make his own way home, I will not share close quarters with him. I do not care what the horse does," He said before shutting the door behind himself again.

Harry stared completely stunned at the Slytherin, unable to believe what was happening. Vernon, Dudley and Petunia looked as though they did not know whether to be angry, furious, cry, scream or wet themselves.

"Marcus..." He said quietly, watching as Petunia and Dudley practically ran back to the train station, and Vernon seemed to be trying to force his feet to move to get into the car as he had been ordered.

"Yes?" Marcus turned chocolate brown eyes back onto him.

"Thank you,"

"You have nothing to thank me for," Marcus smiled just a little at him, but it made everything in Harry relax. He would not be alone this summer.

Chapter Text

Harry hummed contently to himself as he took five eggs from the fridge and moved back to the cooker. He cracked the eggs into the frying pan and reached over to slide the toaster down, moving the butter into place before turning back to pick up the tablespoon and start spooning the hot oil over the eggs. A quick check showed the bacon and sausages were cooking nicely.

He heard a noise behind him and turned curiously in time to see Dudley freezing in the doorway his watery blue eyes the biggest that they have ever been, fear was written across his face as he looked to every single corner of the room. Harry turned a little more and Dudley squeaked as though he had lunged at him, turning and running from the room. Harry snickered to himself as he watched Dudley clutching at his still rather large arse as he disappeared down the hallway.

He was more than glad Marcus was here with him when he found out that in their year apart Dudley had taken up boxing. Honestly, Dudley learning to punch better? That would have spelt a nightmare summer for him. And probably a broken bone after what happened to him last year with the ton tongue toffee.

"Mm smells really good," Marcus groaned as he stumbled into the kitchen. Harry quickly had to turn back around to face the cooker, a dark flush on his cheeks, as his brain absorbed the sight of Marcus.

The summer had turned out to be ridiculously hot, there was a drought and hosepipe ban, and Marcus had taken to sleeping in just sleep pants. Nothing Harry hadn't seen before living in a dorm with four other guys but those four other guys didn't have solid, defined muscles that Harry had had the unfortunate realisation that he would really like to lick, and maybe bite just a little. They were not 6,3 of tanned skin and muscle, and he wasn't attracted to them.

He busied himself back to the cooking as he brain was ticking over. He had known that there was something different about Marcus, and he wasn't stupid he had had a sneaky suspicion that his feelings for Marcus were not platonic over the last year. Particularly when he had felt a stab of discomfort and cold anger in his chest when Marcus had brought Adrain to the Yule Ball as his partner. Honestly, the only thing that had suppressed the ridiculous urge to hex Adrain there and then had been the grumbles that Marcus had made about having to take someone and that he had just decided to take a friend.

But between all the worrying over the year, and the pure fact that he was forming a friendship of sorts with Marcus and that had been confusing and intricate enough, he had not really had time to dwell on these thoughts of Marcus, beyond a few confused conversations with Hermione, and one much too memorable one with Sirius, who had taken great delight in giving him the birds and the bees talk.

However, the incident in the graveyard had cleared a few things up for him, and it had become quite blatantly apparent without much thought that he cared for Marcus in a different way than he did for Hermione or any of his other friends. When Marcus had confronted his family the way he had and declared that he was coming home with him to look after him, well the flame had already been lit and that had just fanned it.

It was an...experience sharing a living space with Marcus. The older wizard had made some changes to the house, he had kicked Vernon and Petunia out of their room, and he had managed to put a doorway between that room and Harry's room, turning Vernon and Petunia's into a sitting room with some quick transfigurations. Luckily the teen's skill was in transfiguration. He had also had bought a few things and had them delivered to the house for them. He was particularly fascinated with the tv, and they had spent one fun full weekend sitting in front of the one that he had taken from Dudley's room with Harry showing him different tv shows and films.

They had new beds, which Marcus had insisted the Dursleys pay for, which were incredibly comfortable. They were also in quite close quarters in the room, something that Harry was quite self-conscious about with his realisation of his feelings for the other teen.

It had been an amazing and... uncomfortable summer.

Harry quickly plated up their food, a small pile for Marcus and a far smaller one for himself, before turning and taking the plates to the table. Marcus groaned happily when Harry placed the food in front of them, moving to bring over the coffee and juice for Marcus, a glass of juice for himself.

"Merlin, Harry I swear this gets better every morning," Marcus sighed happily reaching out to squeeze Harry's hand before he tucked back into his breakfast with fervour. Completely unaware of the fact that Harry's heart was now beating in his chest faster than a snitch's wings.

He had been doing that more and more during the summer, casual touches, flitting glances of fingers against Harry's skin, sitting closer than was really necessary, or comfortable sometimes in this heat beside the fact that Harry wanted him as close as possible and could not stop himself from wriggling just a little closer to the larger body.

He did not know what Marcus felt for him, and that more than anything else was driving him mad.

"Are the eggs ok?" He asked trying to bring his brain back into gear. He really needed to talk to Hermione and soon to get a few things Marcus related off of his chest before he exploded.

"They're amazing, honestly Harry how can you cook this good?!" Marcus groaned happily.

"As opposed to what?" Harry frowned a little at the unsaid comment added to the compliment.

"Well everyone knows that you're not very good at potions," Marcus shrugged.

"That is not my fault," Harry raised his eyebrow, bristling a little as he felt annoyance flare within him, not helped along by the confusion he was already feeling when it came to Marcus.

"What?" Marcus asked confused.

"If certain Slytherins in my class, including Snape, left me alone I might not be so rubbish at it," Harry glared a little.

"You can't blame all Slytherins for your misfortunes Harry, I would have thought you had lost at least some of your prejudice for Slytherins," Marcus bristled a little himself.

"I do not blame all Slytherins for my misfortunes, if you had listened to me I said certain Slytherins. And I haven't got prejudice for Slytherins if they don't have them for me. Unless it has somehow escaped your notice I have been living with a damned Slytherin for three weeks now," He stood and threw his plate into the sink with half his breakfast still on storming to the door. "And by the way, I am so rubbish at potions because Draco and his little gang like to throw things in my cauldron or your beloved head of house jumps out at me at a delicate part of the brewing!"

"Where are you going?!" Marcus shouted as he stormed down the hallway.

"Out!" He shouted before slamming the door behind himself.
His feet had carried him to the park when he sat on the only swing that Dudley and his little followers had not destroyed. The seat was fairly hot, the metal even more so. But he sat there morosely turning things over in his head and ignored the discomfort of the summer.

He shouldn't have snapped at Marcus like that. The older teen was going through enough right now. After everything that had happened to him in the Graveyard and being faced with his whole worldview changing in just a few short hours, having his eyes viciously yanked open to the reality that was Voldemort, he had come to live in the muggle world with Harry, something that was very clearly out of his comfort zone. But he had done it anyway.

Two days after they had arrived at Private Drive Marcus had received a letter from his father demanding that he tell him where he was so that he could come and be collected. The comment about the Dark Lord wanting to see him again had left the two of them under no doubt as to what would happen to Marcus should he have returned home. Voldemort was clearly not happy about the fact that Marcus had been with Harry that night.

The letter Marcus had sent back had not been polite. He had been so angry he had barely spoken to Harry for three days, and he had hexed Vernon viciously when he heard the older man calling Harry freak. He had not been impressed at all when he realised how the Dursleys spoke to Harry, and he had been even less impressed that they had used the slight reprieve from his presence to carry on trying to bully Harry.

The letter he had received back had been...vicious.

That had been another difficult few days at least until Harry had introduced Marcus to the tv.

Also incoming had been a constant stream of letters and questions from Marcus' fellow Slytherins, they had been asking him question after question about that night, accusing him of lying, some of them had been trying to get him to tell them where he was, some of them had been scared of what was to come for them after they had seen Marcus' memory. Marcus had taken the time to write back to each and every one of them, even the ones asking where he was by telling them to fuck off. He had been working away trying to convince as many people as possible though that joining Voldemort was not the right answer.

One of the phrases he used the most was something that Harry had said to him when they were having a conversation about what he knew about Voldemort and the Death Eaters when Marcus had asked him for more information, both for himself and for those that were asking him questions.

Harry had made a comment about how what confused him the most about the Slytherins following Voldemort was that they were willing to kiss the robes of Voldemort and prostrate themselves at his feet.

Marcus had liked that and had been using it as he described to the other Slytherins how he had watched their parents and families bow and scrape to the man, kissing his hems and cowering away from him.

That had either gone over very well or very badly, and there had been quite a silence, hopefully, a thoughtful one, from people after he had sent that letter out to them.

Marcus was under a lot of stress, and he needed a friend right now that understood. He did not need Harry losing his temper just because he was frustrated and confused by the feelings he was having for the older teen.

"Harry! There you are! What the hell do you think you are doing running away like that!" Marcus stormed over grabbing Harry by the arms.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have acted like that," Harry said miserably looking down at his feet.

"Merlin, Harry I don't care about how you spoke to me, I was being an idiot as well. I care about you storming out the house without me when I have no idea where you have gone, where I cant be to protect you," Marcus snapped shaking him a little. Harry, however, was blinking up at him, his traitorous heart fluttering again.


"Do not ever do that again! I swear Harry," Marcus tightened his grip on him, and something flashed across his face that turned Harry hot all over before he gripped his hand and started dragging him back towards the house. Quietly and compliantly he followed along, his heart still thundering.

"I'm sorry,"

"I know you are, and I am too, just...please, don't do that again, I need to keep you safe," Marcus grit out, not turning to look back at Harry, his shoulders still incredibly tense.


"Because! Because I can't do this without you. Because I want to look after you and keep you safe. Because you might be having nightmares about that night in the graveyard, but so am I. And I never, ever want to see you like that again!"

"You were unconscious," Harry frowned.

"Not through all of it. I woke up a few times," Marcus sighed, the tense set of his shoulder relaxing just a little as they turned down the street to Privet.

"Why didn't you say?" Harry asked confused, jogging a little to try and catch up with Marcus so that he could actually see his face.

"There was so much going on, and so much to work through, there was no point in adding that I was awake through some of those moments," Marcus admitted.


"Harry, I don't want to see you like that again!" Marcus growled slamming the door open and stepping inside, tugging Harry behind him before closing the door. Once inside he loomed over Harry, pulling himself to his not inconsiderable height.


"I have seen people tortured Harry, I had to watch while my father and mother tortured people in front of me, getting me ready for what I would have to do as a Death Eater. It didn't bother me that much. Harry, I am not a good person, I am not here because I have had a change of heart and have decided to become light. I am here because I have something that I want to protect, and I refuse to allow that...that thing to take it from me, I refuse to bow and lower myself to kiss the hems of that thing. I am not going to sign my loyalty to Dumbledore and become an icon of the light, I am here for you, and I refuse to allow that thing near you again, I refuse to listen to your screams again!"

"Marcus, I don' are saying you're here for me?" Harry blinked confusedly.

"Yes! Do you think I would lower myself to living in a muggle house - no matter how much I like the tv - just for a place to hide out. There are a hundred places that I could have run to to hide this summer,"

"'s... I didn't know," Harry bit his lip.

"Harry I am still a Slytherin, and I am still the person that would wipe people out of my way to stop them getting what I want. I am still the person that would take out the Gryffindors on the pitch rather than play a fair game. But I will not allow that thing to win, I will not allow that thing to hurt you again,"

"Marcus, there is something, between the two of us, there is something there, we're bound somehow, and it scares me, but it is going to be one or the other of us, and I don't think even you can stop that," Harry confessed sharply.

"Then I will be there beside you!" Marcus growled.

"That isn't the smart move to make to survive though, the smartest move to survive this war is being as far away from me as possible," Harry sighed tiredly.

"Well good job I am known for being thick then,"

"You aren't thick Marcus!" Harry scolded. He hated it when the other teen called himself that, he hated it with a passion. A few times through the year when they had been talking and the teen made comments about his intelligence. For some reason though Marcus just smiled at him.

"Tell me about this connection," Marcus said instead of answering, smirking at the scowl Harry gave him. He took his arm and led him into the living room where Dudley and Petunia both let out nearly identical squeaks and raced for the dining room. Harry blinked confused before he realised that they had obviously been listening to their conversation and all the comments about torture and everything else had probably made them even more scared of Marcus.

The Slytherin completely ignored them and just quite happily sat down on the sofa, making himself comfy before motioning for Harry to sit as well. Rolling his eyes and grumbling a little about Slytherin arrogance and rolling his eyes again when Marcus just smirked at him.


"Well, what,"

"Don't be contrary, you know what I am asking,"

"Why do we need to get into this?"

"Because I need to know what is going on and what you meant by the fact you have a connection so we can fix it," Marcus firmly.

"I don't know if it is fixable," Harry sighed flopping onto the sofa.

"So tell me, and we will figure it out, one way or the other," Marcus shrugged.

"Marcus, other people have looked into it,"

"Not with the Dark arts," Marcus said pointedly.

"Oh, right," Harry hesitated before he sighed and started explaining everything that he knew about his connection with Voldemort and how it worked.
"Marcus!" Harry called as he searched around the kitchen.

"What is it?" Marcus walked into the room looking around with concern.

"Sorry, we need to go shopping for some food, we are nearly out of most things," Harry explained. "I thought after earlier I should let you know I am heading out,"

"I will come with you, just let me get my shoes," Marcus shook his head.

"You don't have to Marcus, it is literally fifteen minutes away, I will be out an hour at the most," Harry argued.

"I will carry your bags. Besides I am curious to see a Muggle shop," Marcus shrugged jogging upstairs.

"I have never actually been to a wizarding shop before," Harry commented as they wandered down the street. He had been expecting things to be weird between them after what they had discussed earlier, but it just wasn't. They had discussed all angles of his connection with Voldemort, especially the way their minds seemed to be connected. That was something that Marcus was both concerned about but also thought that he had a suspicion as to what it could be. He had also sent off an owl order for some books on something called occulamency which would help Harry block his mind from Voldemort.

"Really? I have not been to them very often, it is more something that the House elves do, but I have been a few times," Marcus hummed as he walked alongside Harry.

"I have only been to Diagon and Hogsmeade," Harry shrugged.

"Maybe we could take a trip to one of the others at some point," Marcus smiled.

"I would like that," Harry nodded, tugging Marcus to lead him down another street.

"This is very strange to me," Marcus commented.

"Walking down muggle streets?" Harry teased.

"That as well," Marcus snorted.

"In a good way or a bad way?" Harry asked a little nervously. Marcus had indicated before that the only reason Marcus was here was to protect him, if he was unhappy here it would be Harry's fault.

"I am enjoying myself. It is a nice difference to being led from one house to another like a prized bull being ready to be auctioned off for the biggest political gain," Marcus admitted.

"Auctioned?" Harry asked confused.

"Marriage Harry," Marcus said amused.

"What, like an arranged marriage?" Harry asked stunned pausing in trying to pull the trolley loose from the others to look at the Slytherin incredulously.

"It is not that unusual Harry, a lot of the older families still have arranged marriages. I think the Patils have been in a contract since they were 13," Marcus reached out and yanked the trolley free, gazing at it curiously for a second before turning and heading towards the doors.

"So what, your summer would have been you being taken around the houses of the old families to show off for some girl of 13?" Harry hissed hurrying after the Slytherin.

"Not girl no," Marcus said slightly amused.


"I would have been marrying a boy Harry, preference is taken into consideration when marrying off your sprogs," The taller male paused when Harry moved to a shelf to grab a few things, watching him curiously as he took in the sharp movements of the younger teen. "That bother you?"

"Yes!" Harry said sharply dropping a few things into the trolley before turning putting his hands on his hips. "It is ridiculous! I mean I know that the wizarding world is backwards in a lot of places, but arranged marriages are just stupid!"

"I meant about me being gay, but ok good rant," Marcus snickered.

"Oh! Oh no, well, erm, see, I guess it would be a little hypocritical of me," Harry was aware of his face burning and turning bright red, but there was nothing that he could do about it either.


"Stop smirking, come on," Harry huffed storming down the aisle and gathering up what they needed.

"I guess another good part of my defection is that I don't have to go through with the marriage, it is all my choice now," Marcus hummed. He turned to look where Harry had been and groaned when he realised the bloody Gryffindor had disappeared.

Harry groaned to himself as he realised the position he had put himself in. He had wandered away from Marcus, and of course, with his luck, he had ended up standing in front of Piers Polkiss. Merlin, Marcus was not going to be happy!

"Well well, Potty Potter! You're a sight for sore eyes. I did not expect to be lucky enough to catch you by yourself!" Pirs smirked strolling over.

"Wonderful, yes, well I am just going to go before we have a scene," Harry turned and tried to walk away, only to find his arm captured by Piers and he was yanked back against him. "Piers I warn you now if you do not let me go you are going to regret it!" Harry snarled.

"Aww, but I finally have you to myself, and you have filled out nicely this year Potter," Piers scanned his eyes up and down Harry's body with an exaggerated leer. Harry was so stunned that he didn't even blink when Piers shoved him against the shelves, his hands brushing far too close to Harry's waistline.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" Harry growled.

"Come on Potter, we can have a little bit of fun, and I might protect you from Dudley, so we're going to go around the back and you are going to put those lips to good use in..."

Harry was so disgusted by what his childhood bully was about to suggest that he could not even laugh when the git drew off when Marcus' hand landed on his shoulder and he turned to look up and up and up. Instead, he narrowed his eyes before shifting and bringing his knee up as hard as he could into Piers' groin.

Marcus stared wide-eyed at him, completely stunned by the action, Harry meanwhile gripped Piers by the lapels and yanked him upright with a soft growl. "If you ever touch me, or anyone else like that again I will chop off your bits and feed them to you through a straw. There is a reason Dudley is so scared of me Piers,"

"O...ok," Piers squeaked looking between Harry and Marcus before limping away as fast as he could.

"Well," Harry grinned sheepishly at Marcus.

"Honestly, I can't take you anywhere," Marcus huffed. "I am not going to let you out of my sight!"

"That would be a little impractical," Harry snorted.

"Try me," Marcus tugged Harry forwards, pressing him between his arms as he reached out to start pushing the trolley again. As hoped Harry started laughing as they walked forwards.
"What are you fancying?" Harry asked as he started putting away the last of the shopping.

"Whatever you want to cook," Marcus grunted from where he was sitting at the kitchen table reading through some books for research into Harry's connection to Voldemort.

"I saw you eyeing up the pasta, do you want carbonara?" Harry hummed checking through what they had bought.

"I have never had it," Marcus looked with interest the food.

"You have never had it?" Harry blinked. "Ok, food!" He nodded turning to grab hold of the ingredients. He could feel Marcus watching him the whole time, and even though it caused sparks to fire through him, it was relaxing and...normal as well. There was something so domestic and comfortable about it.

He had started reading books Hermione had first lent him, and then bought a huge stack of his own, romance books that he loved reading. Part of what he really loved in those books were the soft, quiet domestic moments. And with a small blush, he thought about how this peaceful moment made him think of the many he had read. It was the type of thing he had imagined for himself, a house of his own, with his husband sitting at the kitchen table while he cooked, maybe the sound of kids laughing and playing floating in from outside.

He shook himself and moved back to concentrating on their meal rather than fantasies. But Marcus' eyes resting on his back didn't help.

"Here we go," Harry placed the plates down on the table, a large one in front of Marcus, a smaller one for himself.

They settled down to eat, Marcus humming and making pleased noises as he ate. "Merlin, Harry! You're such a good cook!"

"I'm glad that you like it," Harry smiled shyly taking their plates to the sink. "I have no idea how you eat so much and stay in such good shape!"

"I work out, plus I have a good metabolism," Marcus shrugged. "Speaking of, do you fancy a walk?"

"Oh, sure! Yeah, being cooped inside is getting a little tiring," Harry nodded eagerly. Quick enough they had their shoes on and were walking along the street, Harry automatically leading the way to old haunts.

"It is strange to see where you grew up. A lot of people had thoughts about the type of place that you may have grown up, this was not it," Marcus looked around.

"It isn't really where I would choose for myself," Harry shrugged looking around at the identical houses.

"Where would you like for your home?" Marcus inquired, stepping a little closer to Harry.

"I don't know. Somewhere with more character, less houses. A nice sized house with a big living room, maybe a second reception room, a big kitchen where I can cook big meals and have dinner parties. A few bedrooms, maybe five or six,"

"So many bedrooms?" Marcus asked.

"For kids," Harry nodded.

"You want a lot of kids?" Marcus inquired softly.

"Yes. I want a family, a big family. Lots of laughter and fun, love and happiness, hard work and home," Harry smiled. "Sorry," He flushed a little seeing the look Marcus was giving him.

"No, it sounds...nice. Really good," Marcus faced forwards with a thoughtful look on his face.

"Not something that you imagined having?" Harry asked gently.

"Not really, arranged marriage normally produce one or two kids if you're lucky," Marcus explained. "You live in a manor, where there are separate wings for you,"

"That sounds lonely," Harry said quietly.

"It is. My grandfather was married off to my Grandmother when he was 16. She held the Flint name. He says it was the loneliest time of his life. It was only a little easier when he had kids. And then when his grandkids came along. He said it wasn't an easy life, and it wasn't a life that he wanted to pass onto his kids or grandkids,"

"Is he still..."

"He's still alive. He lives in France now. He and my Grandmother 'live apart'. He stays in one of the houses that belonged to his family," Marcus shrugged. "He would really like you," He laughed.


"Oh yes, rebellious, fiery, passionate, clever, quick-witted, homey and family oriented, he would love you," Marcus chuckled.

"I would like to meet him," Harry smiled back.

"Next summer, we will go there and spend the summer with him," Marcus said simply.

"We?" Harry perked up.

"Told you, not out of my sight," Marcus grunted.

"And how long will that last for?" Harry asked casually.

"I'm not letting you out of my sight," The Slytherin said firmly. Harry bit his lip but couldn't stop the happy smile that crossed his face as they stepped into the underpass.

Before he could say anything, however, the temperature in the air dropped dramatically and Harry turned around panicked as he recognised the feeling sinking into his chest.

"No! How are they here?!" Harry gasped, reaching for his wand automatically.

"Harry?" Marcus was on the alert looking around.

"Dementors," Harry breathed as the screaming started in his head.

"What the hell are they doing in a muggle area?" Marcus drew his own wand.

"Merlin knows, Voldemort probably," Harry looked either end of the underpass trying to figure out where they were coming from.

"You know the spell right?" Marcus asked reaching out and tugging Harry against himself.


"Get ready," Marcus could feel the effects of the Dementors himself now, and he was looking to either side of the underpass as well waiting to spot the monsters.

Harry closed his eyes and tried to think of a memory, he searched first for his go-to memory of his dream of his parents. But then other memories jumped into his mind and he focussed on them. The memory of Marcus opening his eyes in the Hospital wing and reaching out for him, the memory of Marcus sticking up for him against the Dursleys, the memory of Marcus looming behind Vernon the first morning at Private Drive when the muggle decided to try and intimidate Harry out the house when Marcus wasn't around. Even the memory of Marcus putting his fist through the wall when he saw the locks and padlocks on Harry's 'bedroom' scaring the Dursleys completely. Sitting with Marcus in their bedroom laughing and teasing each other, talking about so many things. Sitting having meals with Marcus. This evening when he was cooking their meal and feeling so relaxed and happy pottering around the kitchen with Marcus. The thoughtful look that he had given when Harry had mentioned his hopes for the future. His comment about Harry meeting his Grandfather and them spending their summer together next summer, and the comment about not letting Harry out of his sight, with the illusion to it not just being during this war.

"Harry?" Marcus sounded so calm, so trusting, despite the strain that Harry could see on his face when he opened his eyes.

"Expecto Patronum," Harry breathed the words out, but his patronus burst from his wand like a small explosion. The light filled the tunnel and blinded them slightly for a second before the light dimmed slightly, enough for Marcus to be able to make out the shape of the stag charging towards the cloaked shadows, who with shrieks of annoyance retreated away from them.

"Wow, Harry," Marcus breathed out as the stag trotted royally back to them.

"Marcus, this is Prongs," Harry smiled despite the shakiness he could feel as the after-effects of the dementors kicked in.

"You named your patronus?" Marcus asked, with a tone that said he was just slightly worried for how Gryffindor exactly Harry was.

"My dad's nickname was Prongs, and his animagus form was a..."

"Stag," Marcus breathed out in understanding.

"Yes," Harry reached out and patted the stag before it disappeared.

"Come on, we need to get back into the house," Marcus shook off the shock and his own after effects to take Harry's arm and lead him out the underpass and started hurrying back to the house.

"Are you ok? You look really pale," Harry asked concerned as he trotted along obediently to Marcus' pace.

"You look pale as well," Marcus grunted.

"I hear my mum and dad's death when they get to close," Harry said matter of factly, trying to push the screams to the back of his mind yet again.

"I...damn it, Harry,"


"You make it so difficult to be grouchy and annoyed,"

"At me?" Harry frowned confused.

"In general," Marcus snorted. "I didn't want to hear your screams when I was awake again,"

"You heard me?" Harry blinked, stunned enough that Marcus had to urge him to keep walking when he stopped.

"Yes, in the graveyard," Marcus shook his head.

"Dementors should make you hear your worst memory," Harry said slowly, barely aware of the steps that he was taking as his mind spun.

"I have cared for very little in my life," Marcus tightened his grip on Harry's arm, but the younger man didn't complain, just followed him into the house and watched as the Slytherin through up some extra wards against the door.

"Ok, we need to write to Sirius and let him know what happened, it may not be safe here if dementors are being sent for you," Marcus said firmly before hurrying up the stairs, to grab the parchment and ink Harry presumed. On automatic, he wandered through to the kitchen and started making them something to drink as his mind spun over the events of the last hour, all of them, not just the dementors.

He embarrassingly startled quite badly when the owl started tapping at the window. Letting in the owl he took the letter it was carrying, his heart sinking when he took in the Ministry of Magic stamps and wax seal on the envelope, it dawned on him that he had performed underage magic in a muggle area.

Dear Mr Potter,

We have received intelligence that you performed the Patronus Charm at twenty-three minutes past nine in a Muggle-inhabited residence.

The severity of this breach of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Wizardry has resulted in your expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ministry representatives will be calling at your place of residence shortly to destroy your wand.

As you already received an official warning for a previous offence under Section 13 of the Internation Confederation of Warlocks Statute of Secrecy, we regret to inform you that your presence is required at a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Magic at 9 am on the twelfth of August.

Hoping you are well

Yours Sincerely

Mafalda Hopkirk

Improper Use of Magic Office Ministry of Magic.

He did not know how long passed but he was mouthing the words Hoping you are well incredulously while alternately wondering how much time he had to try and run before the Ministry destroyed his wand when Marcus walked into the kitchen clutching parchment and a ballpoint pen.

"Harry?" He asked confused seeing the ashen expression on the younger man's face. Wordlessly Harry held out the letter to Marcus who quickly scanned through it while Harry slumped into a seat at the kitchen table.

"What am I going to do Marcus?" Harry asked breathlessly. "I can't stay here, I cant!"

"This is absolutely ridiculous! Snapping your wands, expelling you without even seeing why you performed magic? What is this about another warning?" Marcus growled angrily. Had he not known Marcus so well he would have thought that he was furious with him, and been suitably terrified, he had been the first few times he had seen Marcus losing his temper like this, however now he found it oddly comforting.

"When I was 12 a house elf broke into the house and performed magic to try and stop me going back to Hogwarts," Harry explained robotically.

"A...a house elf! You are fucking kidding me!"

"Yeah, ridiculous, especially considering I blew Vernon's sister up the year after and didn't even get a slap on the wrist,"

"Erm...blew up?" Marcus said slowly.

"Like a balloon, not like, bang!" Harry waved him off.

"This is stupid we will..." Whatever they were going to do was cut off by a second owl flying through the still open window.

Dear Mr Potter,

Further to our letter of approximately twenty-two minutes ago, the Ministry of Magic has revised its decision to destroy your wand forthwith. You may retain your wand until your disciplinary hearing on the twelfth of August, at which time an official decision will be made.

Following discussions with the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Ministry has agreed that the question of your expulsion will also be decided at that time. You should, therefore, consider yourself suspended from school pending further enquiries.

With best wishes

Yours Sincerely

Mafalda Hopkirk

Improper Use of Magic Office Ministry of Magic.

Harry stared at Marcus as he read the letter before making a noise of disgust. Before anything could be said however Errol face planted into the window before hopping back up and fluttering to the kitchen table to hold his leg out to Harry.

Harry -

Dumbledore's just arrived at the Ministry and he's trying to sort it all out. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR AUNT AND UNCLES HOUSE. DO NOT DO any more MAGIC. DO NOT SURRENDER YOUR WAND

Arthur Weasley.

"They haven't even asked if you are ok! They haven't asked what happened or why you used magic! They haven't..." Marcus grit his teeth, scrunching the paper in his hands and threw it into the corner.

"That is pretty much how things go," Harry sighed.

"Well, not anymore. The first thing we are going to do is write to Blaise, his uncle is a solicitor and he will represent you at the trial. What you are also going to consider is suing the Ministry,"

"What!?" Harry choked staring stunned at Marcus.

"The way that they tried to deny that Voldemort was back despite both our statements, and the smear campaign that they tried against you, in particular, the fact that they gave a 12-year-old a warning without investigating the matter or following proper procedure, the fact that they expelled you and threatened to destroy your wand without proper investigation, the fact Ministry dementors attacked you, even the fact they didn't remain consistent and did nothing when you were 13!"

"Do you really think it will be a good idea?" Harry asked softly staring at the letters in front of him.

"Yes I do, if you show them that they can walk all over you they will continue to do so. You have the many, the fame and the name to fight them and come out on top with a good solicitor, and Blaise's uncle is one of the best. He will destroy them, and they will learn that playing with your life, or trying to make an example of you will not work," Marcus said firmly.

"Write to him," Harry nodded sharply.

"I will stand with you through all of this," Marcus promised.

"Thank you," Harry smiled honestly and warmly at the Slytherin who grumbled and yanked the parchment towards himself and quickly jotted down a letter to Blaise while Harry made them some hot chocolate.

"It won't stop! Can't you use magic?" The pink haired girl fretted as she checked the auror, Kingsley's nose.

"No, the blood flow has to slow down before we can use magic on it," Remus grimaced as he checked the damage again.

"What do you think you were doing Harry?" Arthur scolded.

"What the hell did you think you were doing!?" Marcus sneered. "Voldemort is back, we have already been attacked by Death Eaters, it is the middle of the night, and you decide to sneak in with no warning and just expect Harry to be sitting there like a good little boy?"

"Marcus," Harry placed his hand on the Slytherin's chest before flushing and fumbling when he remembered that Marcus wasn't wearing a top.

"A cricket bat though?" Moody asked a little incredulously holding up the weapon.

"You were the ones that said no more magic," Harry glared.

They had been woken from their sleep in the early hours by noises in the house. Marcus had quickly grabbed his wand and nodded for Harry to do the same. He had but had also grabbed the cricket bat that Dudley had dumped years ago. Marcus had stunned two of the intruders in seconds and when the tall man had tried to step into the room Harry had swung with him much force as he could muster and hit him with the bat a few times before Remus' voice had registered.

The quick trip downstairs to patch up Dumbledore's people was nearly as embarrassing for Harry as it was for the adults who had been taken out by two half asleep teens, one who had not even performed magic. Marcus just didn't care beyond being annoyed and flexing every time anyone said anything he thought was stupid, so quite a lot.

"We are here to take you to safety," Remus tried to smooth things over.

"Little bit late for that," Marcus grunted.

"We will go pack," Harry said quickly.

"Erm, Harry, you, not him," Remus shook his head.

"Sorry?" Harry asked incredulously.

"Just you, not him, Dumbledore did not even know he was here, really Potter bringing a Slytherin inside the wards!" Moody snapped.

"I have to agree Harry, no matter what happened in the Graveyard, it was incredibly foolish,"

"You should have checked with Dumbledore first," Remus nodded.

Harry could feel the tension building and building in Marcus, but one quick glance behind him at the Slytherin and his eyes showed fear. Fear that Harry would leave, would go with them and just leave him behind. Harry could feel cold anger washing over himself.

"Ok," He said, sounding far too calm and controlled even to his own ears. "Come on Marcus,"

"What?" Marcus who had tensed even more at his first word was now looking at him confused.

"We're going back to bed," Harry tried to fight down his flush as the implications of his words hit him seconds after he said them, but he took Marcus' hand and started towards the kitchen door.

"What do you mean back to bed, we are taking you to...somewhere safe," Remus asked bemusedly.

"I am safe behind the wards, or so I keep being told, doubting that now a little. I am staying here, with Marcus," Harry shrugged.

"You are not!" Moody looked like he was having a heart attack.

"I am not leaving without Marcus, he stays I stay!" Harry said firmly.

"You think you can take all of us, I will drag you there if I have to," Moody stepped forwards and was met with two wands pointing at him.

"I like our chances, one of you is badly injured anyway, and sorry Remus but I will summon all the silver in the house. And even if you do manage to win, you can not keep me locked up forever. The minute I step foot in the Ministry I will be screaming kidnap for all to hear and add suing you all onto my list. So again. Your choice," Harry growled.

"Ib likb youb kib!" Kingsley gave a bloody grin.

"Harry we can't..."

"Right bed then!" Harry said cheerfully turning and walking down the hall.

"Fine fine! But when he betrays us all on your head be it!" Moody snapped.

"Carry on speaking like that and I will blast your other leg off!" Harry snapped back before spinning and storming up the stairs. "Prejudice bastard!"

"I really like him!" He heard Tonks snickering.

"Harry..." Marcus grabbed hold of him to stop him from his angry packing and made him stand still. "You shouldn't have..."

"Do not start! You say you aren't letting me out of your sight, well I made my mind up for the same thing, and I will not allow anyone, I don't care who the hell they think they are to try and tell me who exactly I should be friends with and who I should trust based on what a bloody piece of material decides is the best aspects of your personality. I am not letting you out of my sight Marcus Flint, and you and everyone else will just have to like it, or lump it!" Harry ranted angrily.

He was not expecting to be pulled against a delightfully bare chest and hugged in a way that made him feel safe in a way only Sirius could. He closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around Marcus, holding on tightly and pressing his face against the skin under his cheek and breathed in the slightly sleep musky smell of Marcus.

He wasn't sure how long they stood there like that, but they were interrupted by Tonks knocking on the door with a wide grin.

"Sorry guys, but Moody is getting stroppy, he might lose some more body parts through stress soon if you don't get downstairs. Mind if I?" She waved her wand at their things.

"Oh, thank you!" Harry grinned at the witch, she seemed fairly decent.

"There we go,"

"You missed our brooms," Marcus pointed out nodding to the corner.

"Nope, we're flying," Tonks beamed before bouncing down the stairs with their things following her.

"Harry," Marcus caught Harry's arm. "Thank you,"

"You never need to thank me, Marcus, after everything you have done for me," Harry paused in the doorway. "You know about patronus'?"

"Yes, I know how they work, I can't cast one though," Marcus said a little confused.

"The one I cast tonight, that was for you, with memories you have given me," Harry said quickly before hurrying down the stairs, leaving Marcus staring after him.

"Ready!" Moody snapped stomping passed Harry.

"I'm really sorry about your face," Harry grimaced at Kingsley whose face still looked quite swollen.

"It's fine, your Slytherin was quite right, it was a bit stupid coming in without warning. We should have at least knocked," Kingsley shrugged. Marcus stepped into the room and eyed the hand the older man had on Harry's shoulder before glaring darkly at him.

"Right, off we go then," Arthur was obviously still bothered by Marcus' presence but trying to be cheerful about it.

"You guys do have charms up right if muggles see this they will freak out," Harry asked slowly as they lined up on the Dursleys lawn and swung their legs over their brooms.

"We're not stupid," Moody snapped before taking off into the sky.

"Could have fooled me," Harry muttered making Marcus snort before they followed the others.

They were apparently flying their way across London, making sure to fly high enough to keep out of the sight of muggles, though not through the clouds as Moody had wanted and Tonks had protested. After a little while, Harry turned and grinned at Marcus who was flying next to him. The Slytherin's mask was firmly down around so many strangers, hostile ones at that, but his eyes glittered as they met Harry's, and he swooped a little closer so that they were flying shoulder to shoulder.

"This is the first time that we have flown together without being in competition!" Harry called over the sound of the wind.

"I always admired your flying and cursed that you were and Gryffindor," Marcus smirked as he handled his Nimbus 2001 perfectly.

"I always admired your skills in flying as well, even if you normally use it to tackle people," Harry rolled his eyes.

"I play to win," Marcus shrugged before swooping down under Harry and gliding back up to his other side. Grinning Harry accepted the small challenge and the two flew for a little while dodging around each other and performing the few stunts that they could while 'keeping in formation'.

"We're here!" Tonks called over the wind before she pointed her broom downwards. The revelation of 12 Grimmauld Place surprised Harry but not Marcus, though Moody had been obviously reluctant to give the address to Marcus as well. Curious about the spell used to hide the house and what the hell the Order of the Phoenix was, Harry looked up curiously at Marcus as they stepped into the house.

"It was a Fidelius Charm, the secret is given to a certain person and only they can reveal it," Marcus explained softy when Tonks pressed her finger to her lips indicating they needed to be quiet.

"Oh, that's what was used to try and hide me and mum and dad," Harry nodded in understanding. The arm that Marcus had around his waist squeezed gently, he was obviously wary of where they were and what was happening given the way he was crowding Harry, and the tenseness in his body, clearly ready for a fight.

Everyone in the hallway froze and grimaced when Tonks managed to trip over the ugliest umbrella stand that Harry had ever seen causing quite the racket. The reason for their tenseness became obvious when curtains snapped open and a portrait of an old woman with mad rolling eyes started shrieking about blood traitors and mudbloods.

"This way!" Remus bellowed ushering them further down the hall and into the kitchen. Everyone there turned to look at them making Harry shrink back slightly into Marcus at some of the unfamiliar faces.

"Potter insisted that we bring the Slytherin, refused to come without him, threatened to have us charged with kidnap if we tried to take him," Moody grunted stomping passed.

"Harry, really it is quite ina..." Molly started to say only to be interrupted by Sirius letting out an honest to Merlin squeal as he pounced on Harry for a hug. Grinning Harry gripped back, burying his face into Sirius' shoulder and held on tightly.

"Marcus! Welcome, welcome, how was your stay with the Dursleys? They alive? Well? I hope not," Sirius said cheerfully letting go of Harry and wrapped his arms around Marcus. Harry and Tonks burst out laughing at the fact Sirius only came up to Marcus' nose and it looked like he was trying to hug a wardrobe. Kingsley was a little better at hiding his laughter, but not by much.

"I think they may have messed themselves a good few times and will be in need of muggle councillors," Marcus grunted.

"Really! That is Harry's family you are talking about! I know that they can be a little difficult but there is no need for that behaviour!" Molly scolded looking offended when Harry, Sirius, Marcus and even Remus turned to her with incredulous looks that seemed to go over her head.

"Right well, let me show you guys to bed, and we can catch up properly over breakfast in the morning," Sirius smiled kissing Harry's forehead.

"I will show them to rooms, you were in the middle of something," Molly sniffed.

"You wouldn't know this was my house," Sirius scowled muttering quietly before the redhead reached them. Her body language and silence made it more than apparent that she was not happy that Marcus was there, and the Slytherin rolled his eyes at Harry when he looked at him apologetically.

"You will sleep in here!" Molly pointed to a door.

"Where will Harry be sleeping?" Marcus asked calmly.

"Why do you need to know?" Molly snapped a little startling Harry. He had never really seen her like this before, and she did not even know the circumstances behind Marcus being here. Seeing the woman who had always been so friendly to him acting like this was like having cold water poured over his head.

"I will need to know where he is if I need to protect him in an emergency," Marcus answered smoothly.

"Oh...oh...well...erm...he will be sleeping the room with Ron, next floor up third door on the right," Molly seemed so thrown by the answer she could not help but answer.

"Erm, Mrs Weasley is there not room for me to share with Marcus, Ron...erm Ron and I..."

"There are no rooms left with two beds, you will be sharing with Ron, this way Harry,"

Harry shot Marcus a look before he carried on up the stairs with Molly, he was aware of Marcus' eyes on him, and he felt so shell-shocked and tired all of a suddenly by everything that had happened tonight, including assaulting an auror with a cricket bat, that he found himself standing in the bedroom with Ron before he could really think about it. Molly shut the door firmly behind herself and left him standing there.

Luckily Ron was fast asleep and snoring, and so didn't notice Harry standing there for what had to be around half an hour, staring at the room and his trunk still floating behind him, waiting to be directed into place. He slowly moved to the bed and lay down after kicking his trainers off, his trunk floating patiently beside his bed as he stared up at the canopy of his bed, his brain spinning faster and faster.

He still didn't know what the Order of the Phoenix was, he was still waiting for a response from Blaise's uncle, he did not know how being here would affect him being able to hire a solicitor, he did not like the way everyone was treating Marcus, he did not know what Molly's problem was, he did not want to share a bedroom with Ron - their relationship was still nowhere near what it had once been, and it had been awkward enough sharing a dorm together for the last few months with other people, never mind just the two of them - and more than that, he as already missing Marcus.

It was stupid and ridiculous. They had only been sharing a bedroom for the last month, and the other teen was only a floor below his. But he didn't want to be here, he wanted to be with the Slytherin, and he couldn't relax.

Almost without thought he sat up and threw his feet over the side of the bed, moving to the doorway and opening the door as quietly as he could. He silently shut it behind himself and crept down the stairs to the door that he had left Marcus in front of. One soft tap to the wood before he slid in, holding the door open t allow his trunk to float in before he shut it behind himself.

When he turned Marcus was already sitting upright in the massive canopy bed that dominated the room, his dark eyes intent on Harry. Without a word being said he lifted the duvet in invitation. Harry quickly waved his trunk into place next to Marcus' and hurried across the floor, clambering into the bed beside Marcus and sighing happily as he cooling charms on the covers promised him the first night of comfortable sleep all summer.

Lying down on his back in the darkness he suddenly had second thoughts about what he was doing as he realised he didn't know what to do now. Did he just go to sleep? Did he snuggle into Marcus' side? Did he make sure he stayed on his side of the bed?

Marcus took the decision out of his hands when he reached out and flipped Harry over onto his side so his back was to the Slytherin before he was pulled gently backwards to meet Marcus' chest. Pressed close enough together that he could feel Marcus' skin against his clothed back, with Marcus' arm draped over his waist in a comforting presence, Harry foud himself easily dropping off to sleep, now the only thing on his mind was that he would cook pancakes for himself, Marcus and Sirius in the morning and catch up with his godfather.

Oh, that and he was getting to snuggle with Marcus as they were sleeping together, and Marcus had instigated it. But he would sort that out properly in his head tomorrow. Tonight, he would just enjoy it.

Chapter Text

Kingsley walked down the hallway, yawning as quietly as he could so as not to wake Mrs Black. He grimaced a little and rubbed his nose as the lingering ache reminded him of his welcome with Harry Potter's cricket bat the night before. Even though it had been healed the ache and bruise would linger for the rest of the day.

His embarrassment over being taken out by a 15 year old, that was going to last a little while, especially with Tonks around to tease him.

Showing up at the Boy-Who-Lived's house he had not known what to expect. The show house had been sort of what he had been expecting. The bedroom with a half-dressed Slytherin man mountain furiously firing stunners and then Harry Potter himself swinging a cricket bat with force straight at his face had been unexpected.

It had been an interesting night, and he was incredibly glad that he had managed to get the night off to go and get Harry.

Walking into the kitchen it seemed that he had walked into an impasse that had him pausing in the doorway and looking between what seemed to be three different sides.

Molly was sitting at the far end of the kitchen table with her arms crossed and an expression like she was sucking on a lemon. Sitting with her was Ginny, Arthur, Moody, Ron along with another couple of confused uncomfortable looking Order members.

Seated in the middle of the table were Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Hestia and a couple of other Order members who were hunkered down and concentrating on their breakfast.

At the opposite end of the table to Molly was Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Hermione, Fred and George. Standing at the stove cooking what looked like a small mound of pancakes was Harry, and seated in front of Harry with his arms crossed and an impressive scowl on his face was Marcus Flint. His eyes were trained on Harry watching him cook, but when Kingsley stepped into the room his eyes slid to him assessingly before moving back to Harry.

And then at least half the eyes turned to him with expectant expressions, and he realised that he was clearly expected to choose a side. Shrugging his shoulders he decided to go with the most interesting and moved to sit beside Tonks who grinned at him and wiggled her eyebrows. It had clearly been an interesting morning.

He glanced back to the Slytherin in the room, watching him watch Harry. There was something in his expression. He had a perfect Slytherin mask, blank and uncaring, giving nothing away. However, Kingsley was very good at his job, and he was very good at reading people. The Slytherin cared for Harry, and not just as a way to survive, he genuinely cared for Harry. His body language was protective, his eyes were watchful, he enjoyed watching Harry and cared for him.

It was interesting, very interesting, once a Slytherin got attached to someone, they would protect them with everything that they had. Him being so possessive of Harry was definitely going to be interesting.

"What's for breakfast?" He asked as he sat down, ignoring Molly apparently trying to burn a hole in the side of his head.

"Harry is making pancakes, apparently they are amazing," Tonks said brightly.

"So good!" Hermione nodded licking her lips as she watched Harry add another few pancakes to the pile he had already created.

"Amazing!" Fred or George hummed.

"I've never had his cooking before, I am looking forward to it!" Sirius beamed.

"He definitely does not take after James or Lily," Remus said quietly. His eyes were locked onto Marcus, and Kinglsey could see he was torn and confused as to what to think about the...unusual circumstances of the appearance of Flint in Harry's life.

"They were bad at cooking?" Hermione asked curiously.

"Merlin they were awful!" Sirius grimaced.

"Lily made us scrambled eggs once, she followed the recipe exactly, and they came out like rubber!" Remus chuckled.

"Harry is a good cook," Marcus grunted. Everyone turned to look at him, but he was not interested in anything but Harry.

"He should not be cooking, I should be..." Molly drew off at the look Marcus gave her before turning back to watch Harry.

"Ok, and ready," Harry smiled grabbing hold of the plate and placing it down on the table. "Oh, hi Kingsley, how are you feeling?" He added sheepishly seeing the auror there.

"I'm quite fine, thank you, a little tender still, you have a good swing!" Kingsley chuckled. He watched with interest as Harry scooped the top six pancakes from the pile and placed them on Marcus' plate, before taking three for himself. He grinned at Marcus when the Slytherin placed his chair back at the table and sat down, grunting in thanks for the food.

Harry then poured Marcus a cup of coffee and a glass of juice, before pouring a glass of juice for himself while Marcus poured syrup over his pancakes, and then Harry's.

"Thank you," Harry smiled again settling into his seat. The two seemed unaware that every eye on the table was on them, Kingsley reckoned they were quite aware though as they tucked into their food.

"So, you had a good summer so far?" Sirius asked as he grabbed a few pancakes himself.

"Yeah, we have had fun, I taught Marcus about the TV," Harry said brightly.

"Oh Merlin, really?!" Hermione snorted amusedly.

"Yup! He really liked it," Harry said proudly. Marcus let out a grunt they took to be a yes. "We even made a quick trip to the cinema. And Marcus expanded the bedrooms to give us a little more space. He is amazing at transfiguration,"

"That's brilliant, you are looking really good this summer," Marcus' eyes flicked up to Hermione searching her face after she had spoken.

"I reached an understanding with the Dursleys," He grunted.

"Good!" Hermione and Sirius gave near identical smirks. Marcus nodded his head to them before turning back to his food while Harry rolled his eyes before continuing to eat himself.

Kingsley shot Tonks a look, his new partner and he luckily had a great understanding between themselves. Leaning a little to the side she murmured softly.

"Molly tried to pull Harry away from the kitchen after he said that he wanted to cook breakfast for Sirius. Marcus nudged Harry into the kitchen and then plonked himself down there and made it clear he wasn't letting anyone passed,"

"I don't think he is Molly's biggest fan," Kingsley muttered back. "Nor Molly his," He added glancing down the table where the woman was trying to glare a hole into Marcus' head.

"Harry disappeared from the room Molly had placed him in with Ron, and was found in Marcus' room," Tonks muttered.

"I thought it only had a double bed," Kingsley blinked.

"It does," she smirked back.

"Are they..."

"Not yet, yet being the quite operative word," Tonks smirked.

"Oh that is going to go down well," Kingsley snickered. "What happened when they found him in Flint's room?"

"Molly went incredibly red, and Ron seemed seconds away from saying something quite stupid when Sirius came along and mentioned that he had always intended for Harry get the larger room as his heir," Tonks explained.

"Oh, this is going to be a very interesting summer," Kingsley sat back and watched as Harry chattered happily with Hermione and Sirius, laughing and joking, Marcus joining in every now and then but mainly seeming content to eat and listen to Harry chatting.

"What about the trial?" Hermione asked softly when there was a slight lull in the conversation.

"Dumbledore has plans for it, you need not worry," Hestia Jones smiled.

"I'm sorry?" Marcus looked up.

"What?" Hestia blinked at him.

"That is it, Dumbledore has plans? Harry is suspended, he has the potential to be expelled and have his wand snapped, he is facing a Ministry trial! And the very best that you have is, Dumbledore has plans?" Marcus snorted shaking his head.

"Well, I mean, he does!"

"If you are here to join the Order then you must trust Dumbledore," Arthur said softly.

"Now, now, that isn't true," Dumbledore swept into the room. "I heard we had an extra guest, unexpected,"

Marcus looked up and met those blue eyes. The Headmaster's expression was warm and friendly, but there was an underlying tension in him. And Marcus did not miss the fact that Dumbledore refused to look at Harry. He settled back into his seat and watched as the Headmaster moved to sit at the head of the table. McGonagall walked in beside him and took a seat, along with another few Order members.

"Good morning everyone, I hear that you had an eventful night," He smiled.

"It was quite interesting," Kingsley chuckled, waving Harry off when he looked at him sheepishly again.

"So you wish to join the Order Mr Flint," Dumbledore stated rather than asked, however as he opened his mouth to carry on Marcus interupted him.


"...we will need a vow to...sorry?" Dumbledore drew to a halt staring a little lost at the Slytherin.

"I have no interest in joining the Order," Marcus shrugged. A muttering started around the table and everyone was looking concerned.

"What do you mean you don't want to join the Order? You can't be here and not be part of the Order," Someone Harry didn't know said from Molly's end of the table.

"I mean, that I have no desire to be part of the Order," Marcus snorted.

"Then why are you here?" Arthur frowned.

"Harry," Marcus said simply, causing a fair amount of blinking from around the table.

"Pardon?" McGonagall asked slowly.

"I'm here for Harry, no other reason," Marcus shrugged.

"So you are still a Pureblood supremacist then," Ron sneered. Everyone shuffled a little when Hermione coughed.

"Hello, muggleborn here," She waved.

"And?" Ron asked making Harry and Hermione roll their eyes.

"And he has been sitting next to me for an hour having a civilised conversation with me," Hermione said sharply. "Not very Pureblood supremacist,"

"So you are saying that in a matter of days he got rid of those prejudices?" Ginny asked coldly. Her expression was sharp and pinched.

"No, they have not gone away, it is not that simple. I was raised with these beliefs and had them beaten into my head. It is not that easy to let things like that go. However, I had my eyes opened in that graveyard, and I am trying to move passed what I have been taught to think and learning to think for myself. Spending time with Harry and Hermione is a great help for that," Marcus answered.

"Since when did the troll develop a brain?!" Ron sneered.

"Harry!" Marcus grabbed the younger teen and moved to block his view of Ron as the dark haired teen was on his feet with his wand in his hand in a second.

"Don't you dare speak about him like that!" Harry growled out.

"What he is thick!"

"You shouldn't throw stones in glass houses, Ron! Besides that, the Triwizard cup selected Marcus among everyone at Hogwarts, and we were the top two and won it! Do you think someone who is thick could do that?" Harry glared at the redhead.

"Harry, it is fine, it doesn't bother me," Marcus assured him softly.

"It bothers me!" Harry glared up at him.

"Don't kitten glare me, it is fine," Marcus tapped his chin gently.

"My glares are not kitten like," Harry pouted crossing his arms, but the anger was clearly fading fast.

"They kind of are, sorry," Marcus smirked before drawing Harry back to their seats. Harry blushed when he realised everyone's attention was on them, Marcus looked completely unbothered as he sat down, but he placed his arm along the back of Harry's chair this time.

"So, you are not here to join the Order, but for Harry, and that is it?" Remus asked. Harry turned to look at him feeling upset, but he could see a genuine question there.

"I have no interest in joining your Order, aside from anything what I have seen and heard of you has definitely made me sure that I want nothing to do with you. I am here because I care about Harry, and I will protect him. I have no intention of letting him get hurt again, so where he goes, I go," Marcus' expression was blank, his voice was not, and Harry felt goosebumps raising.

"Intense," George giggled.

"If you have no interest in being in the Order, then you should not be in this house," Molly snapped.

"Is this your house?" Marcus asked calmly.

" but..."

"It's Sirius' house, being used for Order work. The only person that can tell me to leave is him," Marcus shrugged. And every eye in the room turned onto where Sirius was sitting.

Harry looked at his godfather and saw an unusually serious expression on his face as he stared at Marcus. The Slytherin looked right back at him, the two of them exchanging something as Harry looked concerned between the two.

"Siri?" Harry asked nervously.

"Marcus will always be welcome in my home," Sirius smiled.

"Thank you," Marcus nodded.

"Sirius, I really must protest, we can not have anyone that is not bound to Order vows in this house, the potential to hear something that could damage us, or for betrayal is too risky. I'm sorry Marcus, it is nothing personal," Dumbledore smiled.

"No, I understand," Marcus nodded after a moment.

"Marcus," Harry frowned turning to the older teen as his heart jolted. He started a little when Marcus turned and gripped Harry's hand.

"I vow that as long as the Order is on Harry Potter's side, I will never reveal any information that could be harmful or damaging to them, anything that is said within these walls will remain secret, I will not reveal the location or names of any of the members of the Order. I also vow to protect Harry Potter," as soon as Marcus uttered the last words of the vow Harry could feel the magic settle and seal around them.

"Marcus," He frowned slightly shaking his head.

"No one can doubt me now, and I have not vowed anything that I did not intend to do anyway," Marcus assured him.

"I'm not happy with you," Harry huffed.

"I know," Marcus smirked. Harry narrowed his eyes before huffing and crossing his arms.

"I'm not making banana bread cupcakes for a week,"

"What! Harry!" Marcus spluttered.

"I stand by what I said last night," Harry turned and looked directly at the Headmaster who was looking more and more lost as the scene played out.

"What was that?" McGonagall asked slowly.

"Where Marcus goes, I go," He said with finality.

"Well, with that vow in place there is no need for concern," Dumbledore laughed weakly. It was startling clear that they had thrown him, and he did not know what to do. "Now the trial you were concerned about, I can assure you I have everything under control, there is no need to worry,"

"You are kidding, right?" Marcus groaned. "That is not good enough!"


"I have to agree Dumbledore, Harry is facing being expelled, I want to know how those Dementors got into the muggle world, why Harry is facing a full trial! And what you plan to make sure he is not expelled!" Sirius shook his head.

"It will be fine, I will be there on the day," Dumbledore waved them off, though he was looking more than a little tense.

"That will not be needed," Marcus said sharply.

"Meaning?" Molly snapped.

"Meaning that I have hired a solicitor for Harry," Marcus shrugged calmly.

"You can't just make decisions for him!" Ron scowled.

"Like you lot do you mean?" The silence following Marcus' calm declaration was deafening while Harry sat there blinking at Marcus slightly stunned for having the guts to say what he was thinking.

"Marcus didn't make the decision for me. I had no clue what was happening, if I was going to be expelled from school or not, I had no clue what I was going to do. I'm sorry but..." Harry drew off looking around the table uncertainly. A strong hand covered his on top of the table, squeezing it just right and somehow managing to give him the courage he needed. "...I had no clue if you were going to put something in place or not, this is my future, not yours. I don't even know most of you. Marcus told me that he knew a solicitor and that I had the right to have one,"

"You need to trust me,"

Harry grit his teeth, turning his hand to clench tightly onto Marcus' as anger washed over his system.

"To be fair yours and the other adults track records for being there when I needed you, aren't exactly great,"

"Harry! How dare you speak to the Headmaster like that!" Molly shrieked getting to her feet.

"Every single life or death situation I have ended up in, you have come in at the last minute after I have nearly died. I'm supposed to be safe at Hogwarts, and yet every single year myself, Hermione, Ron even Ginny have nearly ended up dead. You sent me back to the Dursleys who hate my guts and treated me worse than a House elf because I would be safe there, and yet a few days ago I was attacked by Dementors. I'm sorry Headmaster, but I am a little bit too old now for hero worship, reality has set in a little too much now. You have given me no reason to trust you with my ongoing future, never mind my life,"

"But you will trust a Slytherin!?" Ron sneered.

"Oh, I'm sorry, never mind the fact that Marcus took torture charms for me in the Graveyard, that he helped me prep for the third task to make sure that I might survive it. Never mind that he has spent the summer protecting me and looking after me, that he protected me from the Dursleys. No, I shouldn't trust him because he's a Slytherin," Harry snapped.

"Slytherins are..."

"Pettigrew was a Gryffindor! The world isn't black and white Ron! Grow up!" Harry glared.

"Harry, it's ok," Marcus shook his head.

"It's not!" Harry frowned upset.

"I don't care what anyone else thinks," The Slytherin shrugged.

"Oh!" The two of them turned to see Hermione sitting there with a look of recognition on her face. Harry frowned confused when Marcus smirked at her and nodded. "Oh!"

"What?" He asked frustrated.

"Nothing, give it a little more time, he can be a little bit slow sometimes," Hermione grinned at Marcus.

"I may care what she thinks, a little," Marcus shrugged turning back to Harry.

"Thank you," Hermione smiled brightly, and despite his confused Harry smiled happily as well.

"Harry, you don't need a solicitor, I will deal with this," Dumbledore frowned, clearly desperately trying to get control of the situation again.

"Actually I think I do. Blaise's uncle will also be helping me sue the Ministry for the things they have pulled over the last few years, including the smear campaign that they have started against me and Marcus for telling the truth about Voldemort being back," Harry ignored the shudder that went around the group at the sound of Voldemort's name.

"You can't sue the Ministry they..."

"Actually, it's not a bad idea," Kingsley hummed interrupting Moody and getting a death glare in response.

"What?" Hestia frowned.

"The Ministry is making a smear campaign against Harry, Marcus and Dumbledore because they are scared that Vold...Voldemort is back. They are trying to deny he is back, if Harry and Marcus sue them they can take it to court if they demand veritiserum to prove they aren't lying the Ministry won't be able to deny his return," Kingsley pointed out.

"Looks like it is win win for everyone then," Marcus smirked. Harry squeezed his hand where they were still joined on the table.

"You're going to make an interesting addition kid," Tonks laughed.
"Hey," Sirius smiled running his fingers through Harry's messy hair and kissing his temple. "Where is your shadow?"

"He's talking to Blaise's uncle over the floo and organising a meeting somewhere safe for us under Kingsley's supervision," Harry shrugged.

"Kingsley huh, think he is quite fond of the kid already,"

"He seems decent," Harry nodded. "Even after I hit him in the face," he grimaced.

"Serves them right. Marcus has been looking after you ok?" Sirius asked running his fingers through Harry's hair gently.

"I can look after myself," Harry glared a little.

"I know. But with that guard dog around you don't need to," Sirius laughed. "How are you doing?"

"Doing?" Harry asked confused.

"After everything that happened in the Graveyard. Are you ok? Are you having nightmares?" Sirius asked concerned.

"A few, they're getting better though. We normally get up and have some hot chocolate and talk for a little while," Harry shrugged.

"We?" Sirius grinned despite the concern on his face.

"Shut up," Harry grumbled.

"You have figured it out huh?" Sirius said after a moment of looking intently at Harry.

"I wasn't sure, but after his and Hermione's conversation this morning I am fairly sure I know," Harry nodded.

"And how are you feeling about it? I am fairly sure that you like him as well,"

"I do,"

"But?" Sirius asked softly.

"I don't want to put him in any more danger, and is now really the right time?" Harry frowned at his hands. Sirius reached out and covered them waiting till Harry looked up at him before he answered.

"Harry, Marcus is going to be in a lot of danger anyway, trust me I know where being traitor places you on the hit list. Also, it is Marcus' choice, not yours as to whether he takes that risk, he knows the risks well Harry he isn't stupid and he seems fairly determined that he is going to be at your side, no matter what your relationship is. As to the timing. Harry, life it is short, right now you don't want any regrets. Pup, if you care for each other, don't wait, don't regret things you haven't done," Sirius advised softly.

"I'm kind of scared," Harry admitted.

"Of what?"

"I...I feel a lot for him, and I think he feels a lot for me. This isn't just a crush, I haven't felt this way for anyone before I haven't had a crush on anyone else before!"

"Your dad and mum, they didn't date anyone but each other. Your mum, she couldn't stand James at first, but at the same time, there wasn't anyone else for her either. James, Merlin, he loved Lily from day one. There is nothing wrong with having strong feelings for someone without having done the crush and puppy dog love first,"

"Thank you," Harry smiled moving to hug Sirius.

"And people think you're oblivious," Sirius laughed.

"He isn't exactly subtle," Harry snorted.

"He looks at you quite...intently," Sirius chuckled.

"Tell me about it, I feel like a bug on a pin sometimes,"

"In a good way?"

"Definitely in a good way," Harry laughed.

"It's so good to see you pup, I was so worried," Sirius sighed contently hugging Harry even closer.

"It's really good to see you too," Harry hugged back until Sirius groaned in mock pain.

"Is this a good time?" Marcus asked stepping into the room and pausing.

"Always," Sirius beckoned him in patting the space next to Harry.

The dark haired teen grinned at Marcus as he sat down, the three of them were a little squished on the sofa, but Harry was happy to have the two most important men in his life close.

"So, Blaise's Uncle Xander is practically doing backflips at the thought of taking on this case," Marcus told them.

"Oh thank Merlin, I did not want to have to go crawling back to Dumbledore after the display this morning," Sirius sighed.

"I thought he was about to pop a blood vessel," Harry snickered.

"Wait till he meets Xander," Marcus smirked.

"So he is going to take the case on?" Harry asked.

"Oh yes! I am fairly sure he is skipping off to start the case right now. We arranged for a meet the day after tomorrow, Kingsley agreed to everything so we are good to go," Marcus nodded.

"Thank you," Harry touched his fingers to the back of Marcus' hand.

"You don't have to thank me for this," Marcus grunted. Harry could feel Sirius shaking behind him as he tried to hold in his laughter. "Have any of them bothered you?"

"Molly tried to drag me away, I think to tell me off for how inappropriate my behaviour is. And Ron has been hovering around," Harry shrugged.

"Where is Granger," Marcus frowned, he had expected to find the bushy-haired girl catching up with Harry, he had dragged his feet and spoken a little to the auror to give them time.

"Shouting at Ron, Fred and George put silencing charms up about forty minutes ago on Ron's room, I think even they felt bed for everyone hearing his humiliation," Sirius snickered.

"Remus is in hiding," Harry frowned a little.

Sirius reached out and cupped his forehead gently, pulling his head back so that he could kiss Harry's cheek. "Don't worry about Remus, he will come around. He just...struggles forming his own opinion sometimes,"

"If he upsets Harry again he will be struggling," Marcus scowled.

"Hey now, no one hurts Remus if they want to stay in my house!" Sirius said sharply. Harry squirmed uncomfortably between them. "Remus, so many people have doubted or judged Remus that when someone shows him kindness or understanding he tends to let that run the better of him until he can think it through," Sirius tried to explain seeing Harry's unhappy expression.

"So, because Dumbledore was kind to him and let him come to Hogwarts, he struggles to think that he and his opinion of Slytherins might be wrong?" Harry tried to understand.

"Yes, he did it with us as well," Sirius sighed.

"Us?" Harry questioned.

"You know that Snape and myself have a...difficult relationship?" Sirius asked slowly.


"When we were in school together, James and I had a relationship with Snape that is not unlike your relationship with Malfoy. Except perhaps a little more vicious, James and I, in particular, could be quite cruel at times. Snape gave as good as he got and instigated things as much as we did. But, in hindsight, as an adult who has had much time to think over things...Snape probably didn't have the best childhood, and we were, well bullies really," Sirius sighed.

"Siri?" Harry frowned. Marcus reached out and linked their fingers together, squeezing gently to show he was there with Harry without interrupting.

"I know it isn't what you really want to hear Harry. And we don't really have any excuse for the way in which we acted beside we were just being arrogant little shits that didn't really think things through. That we were kids is just a small argument. However, we did grow up and grow out of it. Though as you know the enmity with Snape continued," Sirius grimaced.

"Dad was a bully?" Harry asked feeling a little shook up. As those accusations, Snape had thrown at him about James, had been true?

"He could be yes, I won't lie to you, but it isn't as black and white as it sounds. Yes, we could be cruel, and we took things too far sometimes, and the excuse that we were young isn't much of an excuse. However, it was a mutual dislike that we all instigated as much as each other,"

"Harry, I have been cruel to people in the past, and you are giving me a chance to prove that I can change, that I can understand better. Most purebloods, even light, are taught that they are better than others, that they are stronger and...more than anyone else. It creates a certain arrogance, and cruelty that takes time to lose, if we ever do," Marcus interrupted softly.

Harry frowned to himself, holding tighter onto Marcus' hand as he tried to wrap his head around what he was being told. In truth, he knew very little about his parents, and he had idealised them over time, especially knowing that essentially they were good people. They had chosen to fight against Voldemort, they had done their best to help their world, James had sacrificed himself to try and save Lily and Harry, Lily had sacrificed herself to try and protect Harry.

"I'm sorry pup I didn't mean to upset you," Sirius frowned looking upset himself.

"No, it's ok, I want to know who they were, who they really were, but I guess I have idealised them a little. And everyone always paints them to be perfect, its a bit...shocking that's all," Harry smiled weakly.

"They weren't perfect, but they were good people. James was protective of Remus to a fault, and he would never let him think badly about himself. He also looked after the first years in the first couple of months at school when they were getting homesick by telling stories in front of the fire really loudly to keep them entertained. We were kids and we were idiots, to be frank. James felt bad about it, when we were older and he found out Snape had become a Death Eater, he blamed himself and realised how we could have driven him to make the wrong choices with our actions. He tried to make amends before..." Sirius' face grimaced as the pain he obviously still felt over James' death flashed over his face.

"The world isn't black and white, you have said that yourself Harry," Marcus told him gently.

"Thank you for telling me the truth," Harry said softly.

"Are you ok?" Sirius asked concerned.

"Yes, yes I am. Will Remus...will he come around? I don't like arguing with him, but Marcus isn't negotiable," Harry asked Sirius, not seeing the small, happy expression that flashed across Marcus' face. Sirius, however, didn't miss it, neither did he miss the fact that their hands were still joined on Harry's knee.

"He will don't worry, I will talk to him if he carries on. Plus Tonks is quite fond of you two already, and she has no problems with Slytherins after being paired with Kingsley for a year already, I'm sure she will talk him around if I can't," Sirius chuckled.

"Tonks?" Harry asked curiously.

"Kingsley was a Slytherin, knew I liked him," Marcus hummed before grunting when Harry elbowed him in the stomach. He grinned at the younger teen at the glare he was receiving. Sirius smiled at the interaction between the two of them.

"Tonks has a little bit of a thing for Remus, and he for her I think, though I will have to give him a warning about not hurting her with her being family," Sirius responded.

"Family?" Harry asked confused.

"She is my second cousin. Her mother Andromeda is Narcissa and Bellatrix's sister. She ran off and married a muggle though, got herself disowned like me. We were quite close growing up, the two white sheep in the black family," Sirius grinned.

"I remember hearing something about that, it was a bit of a scandal wasn't it?" Marcus frowned.

"Yup, she was supposed to marry Rodolphus Lestrange, Narcissa was already betrothed to Lucius by the point Andromeda ran, so they had to settle for Bellatrix," Sirius smirked. "She was nutty as a fruitcake even then,"

"Huh, I thought you were the only special one," Harry teased nudging Sirius.

"I am one on my own!" Sirius huffed puffing out his chest.

"That you are," Marcus said dryly. Sirius and Harry turned to blink at him before they started laughing.

"Hey?" Harry asked once they had calmed down, Marcus sitting looking quite proud of himself. "Do you think Remus might come around easier if I tell him I was nearly in Slytherin?"

He turned to either side of himself curiously when he received nothing but silence, finding both men staring at him with equally incredulous and shocked expressions. "What?"

"What do you mean you were nearly in Slytherin?" Sirius asked slowly.

"Oh, the hate wanted to put me in Slytherin, but at that point all I had heard was that dark wizards came from Slytherin, and I had already had a couple of run ins with Draco who had been sorted into Slytherin, I could think of nothing worse than sharing a dorm with him for the next 7 years, so I asked the hat to put me somewhere else," Harry shrugged. "Did I not mention it before?"

"You were nearly a Slytherin? Oh, Merlin! I would have loved to have seen James' face!" Sirius started laughing.

"Are you kidding?!" Marcus suddenly thundered seeming to get over his shock. Harry turned and saw him looking furious.

"Marcus?" He asked uncertainly.

"You could have been a Slytherin but asked the hat to put you elsewhere?" Marcus scowled. Harry grimaced wondering if they were about to have another argument like the one that had driven him from the house just a week or so ago.

"Yes, but I didn't really know much of anything about the wizarding world back then and I was worried about going into a dark house and sharing with Draco and..."

"You could have been on the Slytherin Quidditch team and I would not have had to put up with that little shit!" Marcus growled. Harry bit his lip to try and keep in his laughter as he realised exactly why Marcus was upset. "No! You don't understand! I had to spend every single Quidditch practice listening to him, bitch about you, and no matter how much I disliked you at the time I could admit that you bested him on pure talent not because you were given any favours, and the whole time he would say 'wait till I tell my father' at least 10 times each practice! Adrian had to hold me back from shoving the quaffle, both bludgers and snitch down the little snots throat!" Marcus whined.

Harry took a breath and leant forward to kiss Marcus' cheek. "There, there, if I had known that I could have been saving you Quidditch related stress I would have gone to Slytherin," He grinned cheekily.

Marcus glared faintly at Sirius who was snickering behind them at the dumbfounded expression on Marcus' cheek, the Slytherin restraining himself from touching the warm patch of skin where Harry's lips had touched.

"Oh, Merlin Hairy wrinkled dangly JAM BAGS!" Hermione growled as she slammed the door open and walked in. Harry grinned and settled against Marcus' shoulder, throwing his legs over Sirius' while the two others gawped at her.

"Is he still alive?" He asked calmly.

"Just!" She snarled throwing herself into a chair and hugging a pillow like she was strangling it.


"If I heard 'but he's a Slytherin' one more time I was going to hex him so he shit green and silver!" Hermione snarled.

"Oh, that is a good one!" Sirius grinned.

"You're quite vicious," Marcus said appreciatively.

"He drives me mad," Hermione sighed.

"There there, Molly is trying to move me back into a room with him," Harry comforted her. "What?" He turned to Marcus when the other teen grunted.

"Over my dead body," The Slytherin huffed.

"I'm sure they are trying to arrange that right now," Sirius snickered.

"I'm sure it over Harry's dead body as well," Hermione smirked.

"Pft, I wouldn't give them the pleasure. It will be over their stunned bodies, I brought the cricket bat with me!" Harry smirked.

"Merlin, you really are part Slytherin," Sirius blinked.

"Oh, you told them?" Hermione smiled.

"Marcus had a tantrum," Harry nodded.

"It was not a tantrum," Marcus scowled

"Tantrum. He is pissed he could have had me on the Slytherin Quidditch team,"

"Bloody quidditch!" Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Hey!" All three men protested like she had insulted their firstborns.
Harry ignored the dark looks he was being shot from Ginny, Molly and Ron...and the wiggling eyebrows from Fred, George and Tonks, as he stepped into Marcus and his bedroom. Marcus looked up from the bed, placing the book he was reading on dark arts down.

"Ok?" He frowned.

"My head is hurting," Harry groaned.

"We won't do occulamency tonight," Marcus frowned watching Harry slowly strip into his pyjamas as though every movement hurt. "That bad?"

"They decided once you were out the room they could 'convince' me I was being gullible. It turned into a bit of an argument. Hermione lost her temper,"

"Are there any bodies that need disposing of?" Marcus snorted making Harry laugh a little and then grimace. "Scary that girl,"

"Coming from you that is a compliment," Harry smiled faintly as he climbed onto the bed carefully trying to keep his head as still as possible.

"I like her," Marcus shrugged. Harry blinked both at the comment and at the hand that reached out to grip his elbow before he could lay down. He went with Marcus' guiding and placed his head into the Slytherin's lap.

"I'm glad, she means a lot to me, she is like my little sister. No matter what has happened, what everyone else has said about me, she is always there by my side," Harry said before sighing and going limp as clever fingers started massaging his temples.

"Who won?" Marcus asked after a few moments.

"It was a draw I think,"

"I would apologise, but I know you are just going to shout at me. So, I will thank you instead," Marcus said lowly, when Harry opened his eyes there was a serious expression on his face that stopped Harry from saying anything. "Blaise, Adrian and a couple of others are friends, actual friends. But no one has ever stuck up for me, and done something like this for me, not without wanting something from me in return,"

"I just want you in my life," Harry said softly, reaching up to brush his fingers over Marcus' cheek. "You mean a lot to me,"

Harry thought that maybe, Marcus was going to kiss him, his eyes seemed to darken even more, and become even more intense, and there was a hungry expression on his face. But then it passed and he went back to concentrating on massing the headache from Harry's head.

Later as he lay once again with Marcus' big, warm body spooned behind him, his snoring coming softly into his ear, Harry mused that perhaps it wasn't quite the right time yet, no matter how disappointed he had been. There was still something there stopping them.
"Marcus! Merlin you get bigger every time I see you!" Xander smiled as he and Blaise stood when they approached. He reached out and clapped Marcus on the shoulder, his eyes checking over him. There was no doubting that this man was Blaise's uncle, they were very close in looks.

"Xander, good to see you again. Thank you for taking this on," Marcus nodded as he shook Blaise's hand with a small welcoming smile that was echoed by the other Slytherin.

"Oh, no, this is my pleasure," Xander practically purred.

"May I introduce Harry," Marcus pressed his hand a little firmer against the base of Harry's back to draw him forward.

"A pleasure," Xander smiled taking Harry's hand.

"Thank you for your help, sir,"

"None of that, any friend of Marcus' is a friend of mine, please call me Xander," The solicitor waved him off before motioning to a seat. "Will your guards not be joining us?"

"No, they are sitting to keep watch," Harry rolled his eyes a little. He knew they had good reason to guard him, but at the same time, it was a little frustrating. Not to mention the argument that they had had over who would come. Harry had point blank refused Moody, he and the older man were knocking heads a lot over Marcus, and he did not like the way he treated him.

"Good to see you again Potter," Blaise nodded before grunting when Marcus elbowed him. "Harry," He wheezed.

"Nice to see you again Blaise," Harry tried, and failed to hide his laughter.

"Well, business first, why don't we get started, please tell me your side of everything, Marcus sent me the letters you received and gave me a good head start, but I want to hear it specifically from yourself," Xander asked as he pulled out a quill and parchment. Blaise huffed, settling down into a chair and looked attentive.

"I plan on joining Uncle Xander when I finish Hogwarts, he's letting me sit in on this and help," Blaise explained seeing Harry's questioningly look.

"If you do not mind, he has sworn the vows of a solicitor and cannot break your confidence," Xander added.

"Of course, that's fine," Harry waved off.

Marcus ordered for Harry as the younger teen launched into his story, starting from second year until the events of the other day. The solicitor listened attentively, scribbling notes in a shorthand that Harry would never be able to translate. He asked a few questions here and there or asked Harry to clarify, when they reached the events with the Dementors he asked Marcus a few questions as well, but aside from that he just listened.

"Ok, well the first thing is obviously the trial, it is a shambles to be honest so that will be dealt with quickly enough. The law clearly states that underage wizards are allowed to use magic if it is for their own safety and/or the safety of others, the statue of secrecy says the same thing. The fact that no muggles actually witnessed anything either makes the whole thing a farce. With presenting Marcus as a witness, and if you are happy with it suggesting that you would both be more than happy to submit memories of the event, it will be cleared up in an hour," Xander said thoughtfully as he checked over his notes.

"Brilliant," Harry sighed relaxing back into his chair and taking a sip of the smoothie that Marcus had ordered for him with a roll of his eyes while ordering a black coffee that had made Harry roll his. He rested his back comfortably against Marcus' arm which was lying on the back of his chair, grinning cheekily when the Slytherin raised an eyebrow at him.

When he turned back both Zabini's were watching them intently, making Harry flush. Marcus of course just stared straight back at them. He could also feel Remus' eyes burning into them from where he was sitting at the next table.

"The next part is suing the Ministry. I want to do this as a threefold attack. First suing them for defamation of character, for accusing you both of lying and the smear campaign that they are running. For harassment and bullying with this trial and the smear campaign. And lastly for undue stress and upset that they have caused. I mean the two letters that they sent expelling you, then not expelling you will get us far," Xander said nodding to himself.

"We can win?" Harry asked eagerly.

"It is going to be a walk in the park, and when we are done, they will be terrified to even look at you wrong," Xander looked gleeful at the prospect.

"Would you as my solicitor be able to watch what is being said about me and keep on top of it? Full time," Harry asked.

"Y..yes that would is a service I offer," Xander nodded.

"Ok, I trust Marcus' opinion and word, but I want to see what you can do. If you win this trial coming up, I will want to hire you full time. I don't want anything said about me," Harry sighed.

"That sounds fair to me. I like a good challenge. I would not be able to stop anything at all being said about you, unfortunately, the nature of your fame makes this impossible. What I can do is make sure that the bare minimum is said about you. Starting by suing the Daily Prophet now for the things that they have been saying about you, and for the things that they posted last year considering you are still a minor, and they went way beyond reporting on the tournament," Xander nodded.

"That would also make them think twice about reporting this whole trial thing right?" Harry asked.

"Correct," Xander smiled nodding.

"Go for it then!" Harry nodded.

"Wonderful! I will get on this straight away, we will meet two hours before the trial and go over the plans before it," Xander nodded more to himself than anyone else, already scribbling away eagerly.

"Since when were you so Slytherin about things Pot..Harry," Blaise asked. Harry and Marcus shared a look and then Marcus turned back to Blaise with a smirk.

"Well, considering the hat wanted to put him into Slytherin, it's not a shock really,"

"What?!" Blaise gawped losing all Slytherin composure in face of the information.
"Harry, we need to get going," Remus said softly approaching the table. Marcus and Blaise had been chatting and catching up with each other, with Harry adding into the conversation here and there, but happy to allow Marcus time with his friend. He knew that the last couple of months had been hard on Marcus, and no matter how oblivious he seemed the pressure of dislike in Grimmauld had to be uncomfortable for him at the very least.

Harry frowned slightly but Marcus cupped the back of his neck and squeezed gently. "He's right, we have been out in the open long enough,"

Remus looked at Marcus and then gave him a small nod of appreciation.

"We will see you the day after tomorrow," Xander stood to shake their hands, already looking so satisfied and confident that Harry felt a large chunk of the worry he had been feeling about the trial ease.

"Thank you again for your help," Harry said honestly.

"You're more than welcome, don't worry Harry, we will win this one," Xander assured him.
"Absolutely not! He is not going with Harry!" Molly shouted motioning to Marcus.

"He is!" Sirius shouted back.

"The Order is going with him! It is insulting enough that Harry turned down the Headmaster's help, it will do no good for his image to be dragging a Slytherin around with him!" Molly was nearly purple as she shouted at Sirius.

"If I can't go with Harry the only person I trust with my godson is Marcus! He is going whether I have to shove him through the floo myself!" Sirius was bright red and shouting back just as loudly. It seemed the tension between the two adults had finally snapped. And most of the Order was there to stand around gawping to see it.

"It is bad enough that they share a room, never mind a bed! He is inserting himself into Harry's life and making him think that he needs him! This is ridiculous, Harry will be moving into the room he should be in, with Ron, he will stop hanging off of that boy! He..."

"If you don't like what I allow under my roof, then get the fuck out of my house, you nosy, interfering, self-absorbed harridan! You are more concerned that Harry is pulling away from Ronald and so your family, and that the Weasleys are losing the claim of best friend and family to the boy-who-lived, doesn't matter if Harry is happy or not!" Sirius suddenly managed to hit a higher volume, roaring over Molly.

"How dare..."

"How dare you! This is my house! You come in here and think you can take over, that you can order my godson around in this house! Never! Harry can share a bed with 17 Slytherins if he likes, it is my place to tell him no! I like your family well enough, and I like Ron, he is clever and thoughtful when he wants to be, but he needs to get his temper under control. Harry was alone with only Hermione and Marcus showing that they believed he didn't put his name in the cup! My pup was facing a death tournament, knowing someone had to mean him harm by putting his name in that cup, he was scared and alone, and your son, his best friend lost his temper and because of his self-confidence issues he took it out on Harry and called him a liar! He needs to learn to think before he loses his temper and that not all of his actions and words can be undone with a simple sorry! And you trying to force them together shows your hand Molly Weasley. Now Marcus is a welcomed guest in this home, far welcomed over you. Do not try my hand, the blood wards in this place are ancient magic, and I will bar you over Dumbledore's word if you try me!"

Harry gawped at his Godfather who was standing in front of himself and Marcus, radiating fury and magic like an aura. He looked furious, in a way Harry had not seen since Pettigrew was revealed. His words meant more to Harry than he would ever be able to say as well, and a glance at Marcus told him the same went for him.

"Aside from anything else, considering I am being called as a witness, I have not choice but to be there," Marcus added dryly. Molly turned and opened and closed her mouth at him like a cod on dry land. Sirius' grey eyes meanwhile were sparkling in amusement.

Harry could not help but glance at Ron, and saw his once best friend standing there looking serious as he took in what Sirius had said to him. He could see that they had hit home, and he could see that they had hurt. And a large part of him felt a streak of vindictiveness flash through him. He wanted Ron to feel bad, he wanted him to realise how much his words had hurt him.

"We're going to be late if we don't leave now. Harry, Marcus this way," Remus instructed softly. Harry followed Remus, Tonks and Hestia Jones to the drawing room with Hermione, Sirius and Marcus following behind.

"I will have to leave you once we arrive, but Remus and Hestia will stick with you, Arthur will be meeting you there with your solicitor. I'm going on ahead to make sure everything is ok. Good luck!" Tonks bounced forward, nearly poked Harry's eyes out as she went to hug him. He chuckled and hugged her back.

"Pft I don't need luck, I have a Slytherin lawyer, they hate to lose," He grinned. Laughing she nodded and stepped into the fireplace, whooshing away.

"I know you will win so I won't say good luck. See you when you get back," Hermione said firmly hugging him till his ribs ached.

"Go kick their butts!" Sirius grinned pulling him into a warm hug.

"I will go first, Hermione has warned me about your flooing skills," Marcus smirked.

"Traitor!" He heard Harry muttering before he flashed away.

He landed smoothly in the Ministry, stepping neatly to the side he turned and waited for Harry. He nodded a quick acknowledgement to Xander and Blaise, who were looking spectacular in their finest robes. Arthur was standing looking quite drab in comparison and more than a little annoyed and put out. Wait till he finds out about the argument, Marcus thought dryly before turning back as the fire flared.

Reaching out he quickly caught and steadied Harry before he could go flying, pulling him close and holding him with an ar around his waist as beautiful green eyes blinked rapidly up at him, clearly trying to regain his balance.

"I hate all wizarding travel but brooms!" Harry grumbled. Marcus' lips twitched earning him a glare from Harry knowing he was thinking about his first taste of apparation.

"Harry, this way, we will have a chat and..." Xander frowned when he spotted a young witch hurrying towards them. If Harry had not been looking closely he would have missed the note that passed between them as the witch 'brushed' passed Xander.

After a beat Xander lifted the file in his hands as though consulting them and opened the note quickly before letting out a soft oath.

"They have changed the bloody time and place of the trial, this way!" He quickly ushered Harry, and so Marcus, forwards and towards the lifts. Harry barely had time to look around the spectacular green tiled Ministry atrium, with the beautiful golden fountain at the centre, before they were standing in the lift.

"How can they change the time and place without letting him know?!" Remus demanded once the lift was closed.

"No doubt they will climb misdirected post, or that Harry is lying after they have charged him with contempt of court. Honestly! When I am finished with them they are going to be...No time for that. Harry this is now being held in a courtroom, an official courtroom with a full Wizengamot..."

"What...for underage magic!" Marcus snapped.

"I know, I know it is ridiculous. Harry it is going to look intimidating, and there are going to be around 40-50 witches and wizards sitting in that room waiting to judge you. Now I don't have time to prepare you any further than I did the other day. But trust me, I will win this, and I am going to use this ridiculousness against them!" Xander snarled. The doors to the lift opened and they hurried out and down a dull, black and grey tiled corridor.

"Ok," Harry nodded feeling his heart thundering in his chest.

"Harry, I know that this is going to be scary and intimidating, and that is exactly what they want. They are looking to intimidate you, and throw you off with all of this," Xander said quickly as they hurried down the corridor. "But I need you to go in there and radiate confidence, you need to show them that they aren't winning. They are going to try and throw you off. Do not lose your temper. Do not get upset. If they interrupt you when you are talking, don't try and carry on, don't stammer, don't get angry. Just stop talking and I will step in and deal with it, understand?"

"Yes," Harry nodded quickly. Marcus hesitated for a moment before he took Harry's arm when they stopped outside of the courtroom door, holding up his hand when Xander went to protest.

"Hey, look at me," Marcus said softly. Harry took a deep breath and met those brown eyes. "There you are. You are going to be fine. Take a deep breath and concentrate on the breathing and meditation exercises that we do for your occulamency. If you feel yourself getting angry or upset, relax your mind. You have faced down dragons, mermaids, sphinxes and spiders, V...Voldemort and Death Eaters by yourself, this, this is nothing and you are not alone this time," Marcus said cupping his cheek gently.

"Thank you," Harry took a deep breath and let it out slowly, feeling himself relaxing and calming.

"Ready?" Marcus smiled.

"Ready," Harry nodded.

Xander smiled at him when they reached them before he opened the door and stepped through, Harry and then Blaise following. The Courtroom was just like the one Harry had seen a few months before in the Headmaster's pensieve of the trials of the Death Eaters. He could understand why everyone was so put out now.

Xander led Harry towards the chair in the centre of the circular room, he eyed the chains hanging off of the chair nervously, remembering how they had imprisoned the person seated on it in the pensieve. Xander motioned him towards it, however, and remembering what he had said about looking confident, he held his head high and moved over to sit down.

When he faced forward and looked at the witches and wizards seated looking down at him he was happy to see the glances being exchanged and the looks being shot at Xander.

"You are late Mr Potter! You are just short of being charged with contempt of court!" Fudge blustered.

"My client was not informed of the change of time or location of the trial," Xander answered.

"The owl was sent out this morning!" Fudge drew himself back. Harry watched as the Wizengamot exchanged looks while Xander smirked like the cat that had the cream.

"Well in that case," He paused for nothing but the dramatic effect as he placed his file down on the table that appeared for him, making a great show of straightening the before looking up. "My first act will be to draw attention to the unfair manner with which my client is treated. Not only is he apparently being tried for underage magic in a courtroom with a full Wizengamot - which should the records be checked I am sure would go down in history as the first case of this happening - he has been treated to undue stress and upset by being informed that he was expelled from Hogwarts and Ministry workers were on their way to snap his wand. His suspension from Hogwarts and the decision for this trial was made without the normal procedure of a member of the Improper Use of Magic Office Ministry of Magic coming out to assess the situation and whether the use of magic was warranted or not, if there was thought that it was not it was then, and only then that that choice should have been made. After all that, he is dragged here, only to find that the time and location of the trial has been changed with less than the official 24-hour notice that should be given before any changes to official appointments," Xander finished and sat in the seat next to where Blaise was sitting smirking.

"Well...this is also a trial for use of magic in a muggle area breaking the statute of secrecy. What has your client to say to that!"

Harry had to employ his occulamency for the first time during the trial, and not because he was angry or upset as he thought it would be, but to stop himself from laughing as Fudge gestured wildly to him, looking more than a little deranged.

"I will be making a case today that my client acted out of concern for his own safety and for that of another wizard, and so acted well within our laws, which allow underaged wizards and witches to use magic in defence of their own lives," Xander said calmly.

"The court will question Harry James Potter first!" Fudge snapped. "Mr Potter! Is it true that you used magic in a muggle area?!"

"Yes, becau..."

"Is it true that you used a spell in an area that any muggle could have witnessed you performing said spell!?"

"Yes, but..."

"Is it true that you were aware you could not use magic outside of Hogwarts?"

"Yes," Harry didn't even bother trying to add anything else this time.

"Is it true you also received a warning when you were 12 about using magic outside of Hogwarts?"


"Is it true you also used magic outside of Hogwarts when you were 13, performing a spell on your aunt?"


"Well, then it is quite clear that this young man has played free with our laws and sits here quite calmly admitting to this blatant breaking of our most sacred law..."

"Objection!" Xander stood.

"What?" Fudge blinked at him stunned.

"Objection, as in I object to the statement that you just made," Xander said slowly, as though Fudge was a little slow...which not far from the truth really.

"What are you objecting!?" Fudge said offended. Again Harry had to calm himself as the ridiculous man puffed himself up.

"I am objecting to the fact that you are leading the Wizengamot, I am also objecting to the fact that you have not allowed my client to answer you fully and interrupted him. I am also objecting to the fact that the Minister of Magic is taking part in the trial of a simple act of underage Wizardry and breaking of the statute,"

"I am allowed to take part in any cases I wish," Fudge blustered. Xander nodded to Blaise who scribbled something in the notebook in front of him, Blaise was here Harry knew to observe, but also to note down anything that could be used to add to Harry suing the Ministry.

"May I take my turn with questioning my client?" Xander asked calmly, while Fudge was getting redder and redder,

"Yes!" Fudge snarled.

"Mr Potter, could you please inform the court as to why you felt you had no other choice but to use magic, despite knowing - as you have already stated - that you are not allowed to use magic outside of Hogwarts, and that you already had a warning on your file," Xander asked smoothly.

"Yes, thank you. My friend and I were taking a walk near my home, when we both felt the effects of Dementors washing over us..."

"The boy claims Dementors were the reason he used magic, in a muggle area, in summer! Ha! Any excuse!" Fudge bellowed gesturing at Harry again. Harry and Xander were not the only people that looked at him incredulously.

"Objection, the prosecutor is interrupting the witness. He has had his turn in question my client!" Xander sounded calm, but Harry could see his annoyance at the idiocy of the Minister.

"Sustained...Minister, please refrain from interrupting the suspect," An uncomfortable official looking Witch coughed.

"Mr Potter, please continue," Xander nodded.

"I recognised the feel of the Dementor before it appeared in the tunnel, and had my wand ready..."

"How would a boy recognise the feel of Dementors?!" Fudge snorted.

"Objection!" Xander's eyes widened a little with incredulous exasperation.

"Sustained...Minister please," The witch sighed.

"Mr Potter, would you please answer how you knew the feeling of a dementor though please?" Another witch higher in the room asked.

"The Ministry placed Dementors at Hogwarts during my Third year at Hogwarts. I had...two direct run-ins with Dementors during that time. I am also sensitive to them, so I tend to feel them coming before most people do," Harry answered.

"What do you mean by sensitive?" A witch tittered from the crowd. Her tone, however, had Harry's ire rising and he had to take a breath to calm himself before he answered.

"I mean that dementors affect people differently depending on what bad memories they have of their past, someone with a more traumatic past will feel the Dementors before most people," Harry explained as Remus had explained it to him.

"And what traumatic event exactly is it that a boy of 15 would remember?" Fudge sneered. Harry stared at him a little incredulously.

"The murder of my parents," Harry said in a blank tone. A rustle went through the Wizengamot and Xander nodded at Harry.

"Please continue Mr Potter," Xander nodded.

"When the dementor appeared in the tunnel I cast the Patronus spell to push the Dementor away to protect myself and my friend," Harry finished.

"You are claiming that the spell you cast, the spell that most adult wizards struggle to cast, is the Patronus spell? A corporeal Patronus, strong enough to chase off the supposed Dementor?" The witch who had tittered sneered at him.

"Mr Potter, would you have your wand with you?" Xander asked.


"Would you consent to me casting Priori incantantem on your wand?" Xander asked. They had discussed this, and Xander had warned him that they would cast doubt on the fact that he had cast a Patronus strong enough to chase away a dementor.

"Of course," Harry withdrew his wand and held it out to Xander.

"Priori Incantantem," Xander said as he held their wand tips together. Harry watched with interest as a ghostly version of Prongs burst from his wand and cantered around the courtroom to the gasps of the Wizengamot before he faded. "Even more impressive in reality I am sure," He smirked.

He paused to allow the Court to catch up.

"Now, as has been mentioned you already have a warning on file for underage wizardry outside of school in a muggle area, in front of muggles? And in another case you performed magic on a muggle?" Xander turned back to Harry handing him his wand back as he spoke.


"The first incident, did any members of the Ministry come out to investigate what had happened?" Xander asked.

"No," Harry answered calmly. He had not been happy when he realised that someone should have come out to investigate.

"Can you tell me in your words what happened?" Xander asked.

"Yes, a house elf came to my home to warn me of the events that were going to happen during my second year of Hogwarts, he came to tell me not to return to Hogwarts because he was worried for my safety. When I told him I had to go back he tried to get me into trouble by using magic to float a cake and drop it on the head of one of the muggles who were visiting my family,"

"A house elf! First a Dementor, next a House-elf, what will be next a unicorn? A Centaur? How about a giant?" Fudge laughed.

"Objection!" Xander said frustrated. "Will the Minister please stop mocking my client, it is wholly unprofessional, and considering the last time he did so we proved him wrong, perhaps he should wait till he has proof or an actual relevant question before interrupting?!"

Fudge went bright red at the scolding, blowing up like a balloon.

"Sustained," The witch was looking more uncomfortable than ever.

"Thank you," Xander nodded. "And the incident with your aunt?"

"It was accidental magic. Marge is my uncle's aunt, she does not like me very much, and whenever we have spent time together, she has not been pleasant, to the point were she would even hit me if she could," Harry took a breath as he watched Xander and Blaise's eyes widening shocked at the revelation he had not spoken in front of Marcus or the Order. Murmuring and shocked gasps started among the Wizengamot. "She was there a week, and during that week she hit me five times, and constantly insulted me. I was drying the dishes when she started insulting me again, then she started insulting my parents. 'If there is something wrong with the bitch there will be something wrong with the pup'. She called my father a drunk waste of space. I tried walking away when I could feel my temper going, and she carried on. In the end I lost my temper and in a fit of accidental magic accidentally cast on her," Harry answered as calmly as he could.

"And have you cast accidental magic in the past?" Xander asked.


"Is it true you managed to apparate when you were 6?"

"Yes that's right," Harry nodded. A soft, impressed mutter went around the Wizengamot.

"Last question Mr Potter, would you be willing to cast a vow of truth if requested?" The whole court practically held their breaths at the question.

"Yes!" Harry nodded firmly.

"Wonderful. I have no further questions for the suspect," Xander smiled.

"No further questions," Fudge muttered.

"Then I would like to call Mr Marcus Flint as a witness," Xander nodded. A court aid went to the door of the court and poked his head out, motioning Marcus into the court. He walked to the seat he was indicated to, his face the perfect Slytherin mask. Though his eyes shot to Harry and locked on him once he had sat down.

"Mr Flint, were you with Mr Potter on the night in question?" Xander asked.

"Yes, I was,"

"And could you describe please what happened,"

"We had gone for a walk after supper, we were just talking. We went into an underground pass when Harry froze, I inquired what was wrong when I felt it myself. A cold feeling washed over me, and then the feeling that nothing would be right in the world again. Harry told me that was Dementors, as I know he faced them before I didn't doubt he would know them, he has quite a bad reaction to them..."

"And how did you know that at the time?!" Fudge snapped. Marcus turned and blinked at him.

"Objection!" Xander spat out.

"Sustained, but could Mr Flint please answer the question," The witch nodded.

"The Dementors that were around the school during my fifth year invaded the Quidditch pitch during the Gryffindor/Hufflepuff match. We all saw Harry fall from his broom when the effect of the dementors washed over him, he had passed out. If the Headmaster had not managed to slow his fall, he probably would have died," Marcus asked.

"Wonderful, please continue," Xander nodded.

"Thank you. I knew Harry has quite a bad reaction to Dementors, so I trusted his instincts, a few seconds later a dementor came into the underpass. Harry quickly cast his Patronus, and it pushed the Dementor away. I grabbed Harry and dragged him back to the house to keep him safe in case they attacked again," Marcus sat back.

"And you took no action during this time?" Xander asked. Harry frowned a little at the question, but Marcus just inclined his head.

"There was nothing that I could do, I am unable to cast the Patronus charm, I had my wand out, but I was not sure what I could do," Marcus answered.

"Did you feel threatened"

"A Dementor was in the middle of a muggle residence, coming down the underpass straight for us. Yes, I felt very threatened," Marcus answered.

"Did anyone else see this Dementor?" A witch called from the Wizengamot.

"As far as I can remember from my lessons muggles can't see Dementors, so I would presume no as there were no other wizards or witches in the area," Marcus answered dryly.

"So you have no proof of a Dementor being in a muggle area, hundreds of miles from Azkaban?" A wizard called.

"No proof except for my memories," Marcus shrugged.

"You are saying you're willing to provide a memory of the event?" The whole Wizengamot perked up at that. Harry could see that between his offer of a truth vow and Marcus' offer of the memory, the trial was rocketing their way.

"No further questions," Xander stepped back.

"Mr Flint, this is not the first time that you are vouching for a story Harry Potter is telling is it?" Fudge asked.

"Could you be more specific please?" Marcus sat back with a frown.

"Sorry?" Fudge blinked.

"Could you clarify what story I am vouching for Harry in please?" Marcus asked softly, dangerously.

"In the fact that You-know-who has returned!" Fudge bellowed turning an amazing shade of purple. Harry wondered if they were going to have to send for a medi-wizard soon.

"Oh that, yes I was also in the graveyard, I would also be more than willing to provide memory proof of that night as well if you wish to bring it into question here today. I have passed it to many other people to view," Marcus smiled.

"I...I erm...what is the nature of your relationship with Mr Potter?" Fudge scrambled.

"Objection," Xander called.

"Denied, we wish to hear the relationship between Mr Potter and Mr Flint to know how it could impact on the credibility of Mr Flint's witness statement,"

"Harry and I are friends," Marcus answered.

"Friends who are living together?" Fudge asked.

"It has been made more than clear to me that my life would be in danger should I return home. Harry was kind enough to allow me to stay with him. We have been through experiences together that has forged a very strong friendship," Marcus answered.

"The graveyard?" Fudge sneered.

"The graveyard, the tournament itself, even though I volunteered to take part in it, it was a time of stress and experiences that you know only three other people in the world can understand. That mixed with what happened in the graveyard has made us very close," Marcus nodded.

"So, you are only friends?" Fudge pressed.

"Objection, Mr Flint has answered the question," Xander protested.

"Sustained. Minister, is there something more specific that you wish to know?"

"Are you in a romantic relationship with Mr Potter?" Fudge asked. For the first time, Marcus looked uncomfortable, and he glanced at Harry.

"No, I'm not," Marcus answered.

"But you wish to be?" Fudge smirked.

"I have feelings for Harry, yes, strong feelings," Marcus was getting angry, and everyone could see it.

"And what would you do to protect him?" Fudge asked sharply.

"Anything, however, once again I would like to point out that I am..."

"That is all," Fudge snapped.

"Objection!" Xander snapped, looking quite angry himself.

"Please let the witness finish answered a question you have asked Minister,"

"Fine," Fudge waved his hand at Marcus making a vein pop in his head.

"I would like to point out that I am more than happy to supply memories of that night. My feelings for Harry not withstanding, there was a dementor there and we can provide all the proof you could want. If you have concerns about the validity of our testimony, then just say the word and we will supply you with irrefutable evidence," Marcus sat back.

"No further questions," Fudge muttered. Marcus stood and left the courtroom with one last lingering glance at Harry. They were going to have to have a conversation, Marcus had been forced to show his hand, and he knew that Harry would have read a lot more into the short answer he had given Fudge.

"Any further witnesses?" The Wizengamot member asked Xander.

"No," Xander stepped back to Blaise.

"Very well, closing statement Mr Zabini,"

"Myself and Mr Potter had proven without a doubt that a Dementor was at his home residence on the night in question, not only has a witness been provided, but he himself is more than willing to provide magical proof to back up beyond any reasonable doubt his statement. Not only should the incident for Mr Potter and the Dementor be cleared from his records, but also the other two incidents should be wiped from his records as well after the proof that has been given for those incidents," Xander stepped back and sat down with a small wink to Harry.

A bubble went around the Wizengamot and Fudge - which Xander twitched about - and it was like they were on fast forwards as they talked. They were behind the bubble for around 15 minutes which made it probably around half an hour for them.

"The Wizengamot has reached a decision," The forewoman called as soon as the bubble dropped.

Harry stood when Xander motioned to him, he and Blaise doing the same thing.

"Mr Potter is cleared of all charges and all previous incidents have been removed from his records," She called.

Harry let out a breath and smiled when Blaise came to stand next to him. Xander smiled at him before he picked up a file he had set to the side and approached the Wizengamot desk. Harry watched as they exchanged curious glances and confused looks as Xander approached the forewoman.

"Mr Zabini? Is there something else?" She asked.

"Yes, Mr Potter is lodging a lawsuit against the Ministry. Our grounds for lawsuit. This is your official notice," Xander smiled before turning and placed his hand on Harry's shoulder leading him from the courtroom, leaving the stunned Wizengamout behind them.

"Well?" Marcus demanded as they stepped out of the courtroom.

"I am offended, Marcus!" Xander huffed.

"Cleared of all charges, and everything previously on my record has been wiped," Harry smiled.

He took a breath before stepping forwards and wrapping his arms tightly around Marcus. "Harry?" The Slytherin asked confused.

"Thank you," Harry sighed drooping against the Slytherin as all the nerves and worry, the stress and upset washed from him. And he was just left with Marcus.

"Time to go home," Marcus combed his fingers through Harry's hair gently, supporting his weight a little as they walked.

"Thank you for your help," Harry smiled warmly holding his hand out to Xander.

"Thank you for supplying entertainment for me. I will carry on working on the lawsuit, and I will be in contact with you in a few days when I receive their official response," Xander patted his shoulder.

"Thank you for everything," Harry insisted.

"You're more than welcome. Now, off you go," Xander nodded.

"Look after each other," Blaise looked sharply at the two of them, clearly seeing and understanding.

"We will," Harry smiled brightly. He could feel Marcus staring at him, but he focussed on saying goodbye to the Zabini men, and then the trauma of having to floo, again.
Sirius hugged him close chattering away to Kingsley and laughing, it was slightly disturbing watching Sirius flirt and something happy about him moving on with his life as well. He rested his head on Sirius' shoulder and allowed himself to get a little lost in thought.

There had been a nervous group waiting for him when he got back to Headquarters, and they had been anxious about the result of the trial. The moment he told them he had been cleared, the twins and Sirius and Remus waved their wands, and the impromptu party had begun.

The feeling he had had when Sirius and Fred had revealed a brightly coloured sign in Slytherin colours declaring 'Congratulations on getting away with it' was fear, definitely fear.

It seemed for this at least the argument and tension had been put to the side, and everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves. There had been no comments, everyone had been on best behaviour.

"Harry," Remus touched his shoulder pulling him from his thoughts.

"Hi," Harry smiled at the werewolf.

"Marcus just slipped out and went upstairs," Remus said softly.

"Oh...thank you," Harry blinked shocked.

"He looks at you like he would punch anyone that hurts you, even himself. I can't argue with that," Remus kissed his forehead before walking over to Tonks where she smiled happily at him, her hair turning bright pink.

"Siri," Harry turned to his godfather. "I'm heading up,"

"What, but it is your party!" Sirius frowned.

"And I have loved it, but Marcus and I need to talk," Harry smiled. Sirius looked at him intently before nodding and holding him closer for a moment before letting him go. Harry smiled and kissed his cheek before he stood, and slipped from the room quietly, pausing only to grab a big slice of cake and two forks.

"Hi," Harry smiled when Marcus looked up.

"Harry, why are you up here? Your party," Marcus frowned lowering his book.

"I was just sitting with Siri watching him try and flirt with Kingsley, I'm not really a fan of big social gatherings," Harry laughed walking over to the bed and placing the cake in the centre before climbing up himself.

"Kingsley?" Marcus blinked.

"Yup," Harry nodded handing over a fork and settling back.

"How was that going?" Marcus asked curiously before digging into the 'crim' part of the cake that on a whole read 'Glad you're not a criminal'.

"Kind of painful. Rusty is definitely a word," Harry snickered. "I think Kinglsey found that endearing luckily,"

"So you would rather spend your time up here, than downstairs with all your friends," Marcus asked casually. It was adorable really because out of everything that Marcus was, casual was not it.

"I would rather spend time with you than most people," Harry shrugged, cutting a piece himself and popping it into his mouth.

"Harry...about what happened in court, what was said, I..."

"I know Marcus," Harry smiled softly.

"What?" Marcus frowned.

"Marcus, you aren't really subtle," Harry laughed moving the cake out the way. He knelt up and took Marcus' face in his hands as he watched the Slytherin start to withdraw into himself. "I'm not exactly subtle myself,"

"What?" Marcus frowned.

"Apparently more subtle than I thought," Harry sighed. "Marcus," Harry shook his head before pressing their lips together.

Marcus let out a stunned noise and for a few heart-wrenching moments he did nothing, and then his arms wrapped around Harry's waist, yanking him closer.

"Ok, you're kind of going to have to lead here," Harry smiled pulling back.

"What?" Marcus blinked, leaning in after his retreat.

"I've never kissed anyone before. I don't really know what I am doing here," He blushed. "What?" He asked at the look Marcus was giving him.

"No one?" He asked.

"No," Harry blushed even darker.

"No one at all?" Marcus pushed.

"Marcus!" Harry groaned leaning back and covering his face.

"Sorry," Marcus chuckled tugging his hands away. Once he was able to see Marcus, he took in the wide, honest smile on his face. His Slytherin cupped his face, stroking his thumb over Harry's cheek gently before he leant in and brushed their lips together.

It was so new, so new and scary to Harry, and amazing. So amazing. Marcus was patient and gentle, coaxing and leading, and definitely not pushing for anything more than Harry was ready to give.

It felt perfect. Marcus' strong arms were holding him close, and just right, one hand was against the base of his back, the other was in his hair. As far as first kisses went. Definitely perfect.

Leaning back when they parted Harry looked closely at Marcus, tilting his head as he drank in the other man's expression.

"What?" Marcus asked looking at him intently.

"You know this isn't for me right?"

"Considering the way you have stuck up for me against nearly everyone downstairs, yes, I know it is not just that for you," Marcus smiled.

"You make me feel..." Harry took a breath.

"Me too," Marcus smiled. "You...I'm not good with words. But I feel for you in a way I have never felt for anyone. I have meant every word I have said. I will protect you and make sure that you are ok, I will stay at your side for as long as you want me there, because you are very important to me,"

"I can be very Slytherin as well Marcus. I won't let you be taken from my side, because you're mine,"