"Still here, those slimy Slytherins."
"They have no shame."
"Shh, isn't that Harry Potter?!"
Harry ignores all the comments and heads to the Great Hall. It's the first time he's left Slytherin's quarters since Voldemort's death.
He has always hated the attention, especially now, when he's still aching after the big battle with Voldemort and his followers. Despite his housemates' silence, Harry has picked up the mood.
He’s aware that half of his year has parents condemned to Azkaban for being Death Eaters. Slytherin's reputation has never been so severely damaged. Harry isn't sure of the state of his own reputation either at this point.
The Great Hall is a buzz, but as soon as Harry enters, all eyes are on him. He marches to the Slytherin table and sits near Draco.
"I didn't expect you to come," says Draco, his eyes full of worry. He searches Harry's face for any sign of yielding or pain. "Are you alright?"
"What happened to your ties?" Harry asks anyway, getting to the heart of the matter straight away.
No Slytherin is wearing their tie. It’s something he noticed in the past few days, along with some underlying sense of shame.
His friends Blaise and Daphne look at each other when Draco ignores the question. "It's stupid," comments Daphne. "Some First Years started. They took them off after some Gryffindorks bullied them."
Draco stabs a potato in his plate. "They picked on the only Muggleborn of the First Year. Idiots. Then, there was a fight in the Quidditch pitch. A lot of others took their ties off to show that they're not fucking Death Eaters or Dark Wizards in the making."
"Why did you take yours off?" Harry is fuming with anger, but tries to suppress it.
Draco grits his teeth. "To show we're not like our parents. I fought with you. We fought with you and yet it doesn't matter to anyone."
"Then you should wear the tie with pride," Harry grabs his and Draco's ties from the pocket. "We deserve to be here and we need to stand tall in front of problems, together, like a real house, without letting anybody to shun our own. We're Slytherins, we're proud of what we are. It's not by disowning our house that we demonstrate we won't become Dark Wizards."
Harry starts speaking to Draco and his friends, but he doesn't keep the voice low, so the whole table overhears his speech.
He's fed up with all this hatred and prejudice. That's exactly what makes people become bad, not their fucking school house. Harry has every intention to take advantage of all the influence of his name and will use it to shield his friends.
Damn, Draco has his parents at Azkaban with the Dementors' kiss trial right around the corner, Auror are inspecting Malfoy Manor and now people who didn't even pick sides feel validated to pick on him. Harry is sick and tired, this farce has gone on long enough. Even if they won the fucking war, people were still stuck in their prejudices and Hogwarts is only the mirror of what is lurking in the world outside.
Draco nods slowly, pride and determination sparkling in his eyes. There's something still blocking him, but Harry is ready to support him.
Harry passes tie around is neck. "We're Slytherins. Let's show them." He kisses Draco's lips without caring of all the attention he received from the other students.
It’s the push Draco needs. He reciprocates the kiss, then grins. "Leave the tie knotting to me, you cannot do it for shit. I don't even remember the last time you had yours on."
Harry laughs. "You'll see me wearing my tie every day."
"You mean, I'll have to tie it on a daily basis."
After a small hesitation, all Slytherins follow their lead and tie their knots too. The way they do it, though, with their heads held high, is what makes Harry really proud.
It doesn't take a lot to motivate people for a night but it does take dedication to pull it through every day. By looking at his and Draco's hands intertwined Harry is sure they will succeed.
That's how they'll win this war too.