Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Alternate Universe General
The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
Philosopher's Stone Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 09/14/2003
Updated: 02/26/2004
Words: 94,331
Chapters: 19
Hits: 159,287

They Shook Hands : Year One (Original Version)


Story Summary:
Suppose Draco Malfoy introduced himself before he started acting like an ass. What if he had asked Harry's name before insulting Hagrid? A friendly handshake in Madam Malkin's leads to an alternate but realistic universe which is eerily like the canon, featuring a cast of first year Slytherins as you've never seen them: normal children. Join Harry Potter and his new friends as they discover their magical talents and help him to explore the world that has been kept from him these past ten years.

Chapter 19 - The Man With Two Faces

Chapter Summary:
Harry steps through the black flames to confront the Dark wizard who is after the Stone. Headmaster Dumbledore has a long talk with Harry. The school year is over, the Hogwarts Express leaves for London, and Harry sees the Dursleys again. The conclusion to They Shook Hands, Year One.

They Shook Hands : Year One

An alternate (but realistic!) universe Harry Potter fic
by Dethryl

Chapter Nineteen - The Man With Two Faces

Harry saw nothing but black flames. It was rather like he imagined stepping into a black hole might feel. Complete, baffling, disorienting darkness engulfed him. There was suddenly no stone floor beneath his feet. He couldn't feel the walls around him.

He panicked briefly, but he forced himself to relax. It was just like Professor Snape to throw a nasty trick into his test. It was only the magic. Harry felt a warm reassurance spread out from his stomach, erasing the icy chill of the potion he had swallowed. He let his body continue on, though he could not feel it. Then he was on the other side, in the last chamber.

He was not alone. Someone was already there, standing in front of the Mirror of Erised, which Harry hadn't seen since Christmas. Harry's scar lit up with pain. Blinking back tears, he focused on the person who stood gazing into the enchanted glass.

It was Professor Quirrell.

"You!" Harry said with loathing.

The pain in Harry's head winked away as Quirrell turned to smile at him. It was an evil smile, and the man wasn't twitching at all. Something was definitely very wrong here.

"Me," he said evenly. "I wondered whether I'd be meeting you here, Potter."

"I knew it was you," Harry said with an edge in his voice. His wand was in his hand; he didn't remember drawing it, but now he kept it concealed in the folds of his robes.

"You always were clever, Potter," Quirrell laughed again. It was not his normal, high-pitched, nervous, treble laugh, either, but was cold and sharp. "You earned the top marks I gave you in Defense."

Harry noted that remark with cool pleasure, but didn't let himself be distracted. "You've been behind all the strange things this year, haven't you?" he said. "The troll at Halloween, that was your doing."

"Quite right, Potter," Quirrell answered him, still calm as you please. "I have a special gift with trolls. I brought that troll in to create a distraction while I went to go look at the other protections on the Stone. Snape already suspected me by that point, untrusting bastard that he is, and headed me off at the third floor. That was a perfectly wasted night, because not only did my troll fail to violently beat you to a bloody pulp, Hagrid's miserable three-headed dog didn't even manage to kill or maim Snape properly."

"And the Quidditch match?" Harry continued, his temper rising. He could feel the anger and fury growing within his chest.

"Yes, that was me as well. And once again, thanks to Snape's counter-jinxing, you managed to survive. You have the most damnable luck, Potter." Quirrell's face grew stony. "But it ends tonight!" He snapped his fingers.

Ropes sprang out of thin air and wrapped themselves tightly around Harry, pinning his arms to his sides. His ankles snapped together, likewise bound. Harry wavered and nearly fell, biting back a foul word he'd learned from Tim. He hadn't been fast enough. But he had managed to keep his wand and held it out of sight.

"You know entirely too much to be allowed to live, Potter. I shall dispose of you in a moment. Be silent while I examine this mirror."

Harry stayed quiet as Quirrell turned his back. "This mirror is the key to finding the Stone," he muttered, tapping his foot impatiently. "Trust Dumbledore to come up with something ingenious. He's in London, but he'll be back soon. Too late, too late..."

Harry twisted his wand in his fingers. If he could touch it to the ropes, he ought to be able to break them. He couldn't afford to drop it. -- There! He felt the ropes around his arms loosen.

"I see the Stone," Quirrell said, staring hungrily into the mirror. "I am presenting it to my master." His lips twisted in an angry snarl. "But how do I get it?"

Harry bent down and touched his wand to the rope around his ankles, which sprang loose immediately. What in the world was he going to do?

"Master, I don't know what to do," Quirrell was muttering. "I don't understand, should I break the mirror? Is the Stone inside? Master, help me." Strange as it might seem, Quirrell appeared to be expecting an answer.

"Is- is your master here?" Harry couldn't help but ask.

Quirrell stopped pacing. "He is here," the wizard said quietly. A spasm of fear flitted across his face, reflected in the mirror. "He is with me wherever I go. I met him when I traveled the world. I was a foolish young man then, full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, but only power, and those too weak to seek it. Since then, I have served him faithfully, although I have disappointed him many times." Quirrell shuddered. "He does not tolerate failure lightly. When I failed to steal the Stone from Gringotts, he was most displeased. My punishment was that he would keep a closer watch upon me."

Harry's mind was flashing back to the day in Diagon Alley. He had seen Quirrell that day, had even shaken hands with him in the Leaky Cauldron.

"Master, I cannot solve this puzzle. I need your help."

To Harry's sudden horror, a voice answered, and the voice seemed to come from Quirrell himself.

"Ussse the boy... Ussse the boy..." It was a low, dry voice, dusty like a snake's hiss. Harry couldn't imagine what human throat could make such a tone.

Quirrell rounded on Potter. "Come here, boy!"

Harry ached to raise his wand. If he could cast some spells and incapacitate Quirrell, then he could find the Stone. Locomis toner, he thought. No, that wasn't right. His head was throbbing; he couldn't think of any suitable spell. He stumbled towards the Mirror.

How did this final trick work? The Mirror had to be the key. It showed you whatever you desired most deeply in your heart. Okay, what I want more than anything else in the world at this moment is to find the Stone before Quirrell does, he thought. If he looked in the Mirror now, he should see himself finding it. He could see where it was hidden. He would simply lie; make something up to tell Quirrell.

Quirrell stood behind him, watching him like an avenging hawk. Harry gagged on the funny smell that seemed to come from Quirrell's turban. He cleared his mind of all but his desire to keep the Stone away from Quirrell.

He saw his reflection, pale and scared-looking at first. A moment later though, his reflection grinned at him. The mirror-Harry reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out a blood-red rock. He winked and slipped the Stone back in his pocket, and as he did so, Harry felt something heavy drop into his real pocket. He suppressed a gasp. Somehow -- incredibly -- he'd gotten the Philosopher's Stone!

"What do you see, boy?" Quirrell demanded impatiently.

Harry's mind was reeling. "Incredible," he breathed, putting all of his very real astonishment into the word. "Slytherin has won the House Cup. That's not incredible, of course, but we've won the Quidditch Cup too. I know that's not incredible either, but I- I'm Captain of the team!"

Quirrell cursed at him. "Step aside, you useless boy," he growled, shoving Harry out of the way.

Harry stepped back, wondering if he dared to make a break for it. He could leave Quirrell down here struggling with the Mirror for hours. The Stone was heavy against his leg, but before he had taken two steps, the strange voice spoke again. "He liesss... He liesss..."

"Potter!" Quirrell shouted. "Come back here! Tell me the truth! What did you see?"

Harry ran for the door. Just as he thought he was going to make it, scorching flames roared up in the doorway. He fell back, cringing away from the heat.

The voice spoke again. "Let me ssspeak to him, face-to-face."

Quirrell's own face became solemn. "Master, you are not strong enough."

"I have ssstrength enough for thisss..."

Harry felt as if Devil's Snare was rooting him to the spot. He couldn't move a muscle. Terrified, he watched as Quirrell reached up and began to unwrap his turban. What was going on? The purple cloth fell away, revealing Quirrell's bare head, which looked strangely small now. Then Quirrell turned around.

Harry would have screamed, but he couldn't make a sound. Where there should have been the back of Quirrell's head, there was a face, the most terrible face Harry had ever seen. It was chalk white with glaring red eyes and slits for nostrils, like a snake. It was a horrible face, one that Harry had seen in his nightmares.

"Harry Potter," the lipless mouth whispered.

Harry was trapped, pinned between the wall of flame and his own terror.

"Sssee what I have become?" the face said. "Mere ssshadow and vapour, that isss all I am. I have form only when I can ssshare the body of another. Unicorn blood can ssstrengthen me, as you sssaw in the forest, but the Elixir of Life can ressstore my powers, and I will create a new body for myself. I grow tired of waiting, Harry Potter, ssso why not give me the Ssstone?"

"Master, he does not have the Stone!" Quirrell protested.

"Oh yesss," Voldemort hissed. "He hasss the Ssstone. Asssk him. Asssk him what he hasss in his pocket!"

So he knew. Harry raised his wand, determined to make a good accounting of himself.

"Don't be a fool, boy" snarled Voldemort. "Sssave your own life. Give me the Ssstone and join me."

"NO!" Harry shouted.

"Join me, or you will meet the sssame fate as your parentsss. They died begging me for mercy."

"LIAR!" Harry screamed.

Quirrell was walking backwards at him, so Voldemort could see Harry. The evil face was still smiling at him, chilling Harry to the core.

"How brave," it hissed. "I alwaysss admire bravery. Your parentsss were very brave, yesss? Your father died firssst, but he challenged me like a fool. He put up a courageousss fight, the sssame as your mother. Ssshe died for you. Give me the Ssstone, or she will have died in vain."

"NEVER!" Harry didn't know what spell he cast, but the jet of blue light was deflected away by some sort of shield.

"Seize him!" Voldemort screamed. Quirrell whirled around and clamped his hand down on Harry's wrist. At once, a needle-sharp pain seared across Harry's scar; his head felt as if it were splitting in two.

Harry yelled, struggling with all his might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go of him. The pain in his head lessened. He looked around wildly to see where Quirrell had gone, and saw him hunched in pain, looking at his fingers, which were blistering before his eyes.

"The burning!" Quirrell cried.

"Seize him!" Voldemort shrieked again. Quirrell dove at Harry, landing on top of him, and he wrapped his hands around Harry's throat. The pain from Harry's scar was nearly blinding him, yet he could see and hear Quirrell howling in agony.

"Master, I cannot touch him! It burns me so!"

And Quirrell, though pinning Harry to the floor with his knees, let go of his neck and stared, bewildered, at his hands as they blistered and smoked. Harry could see the flesh looked burned and raw.

"Then kill him!" shrieked Voldemort. "Kill him and take the Stone!"

Quirrell raised his hands to perform some deadly magic, but Harry lunged up and clapped his own hands to Quirrell's face.


Quirrell scrambled to get away from him, his face blistering just like his hands. Then Harry figured it out: Quirrell couldn't bear the touch of his bare skin. Harry could use that against him.

Harry managed to get his feet under him and sprang at Quirrell, falling on top of him down to the floor. He had to keep the Dark wizard in enough pain that he couldn't cast a deadly spell. He grabbed for Quirrell's face.

Quirrell was screaming in agony. Voldemort was screeching for Quirrell to kill Harry. Harry was nearly going mad from the pain in his scar. He felt himself blacking out and latched onto Quirrell as hard as he could. Nonetheless, he was slipping down into blackness. Down, down, down...

* * *

Something gold was glinting just above him. The Snitch! Harry reached out his hand to grab it, but his arms felt so very heavy.

His eyes were open, but he couldn't see very clearly. Then his glasses were placed on his face, and he could see that it wasn't a Snitch at all, but rather a pair of glasses, belonging to one Albus Dumbledore.

"Good afternoon, Harry," Dumbledore said in a friendly tone.

Harry stared at his Headmaster, not entirely understanding. Then everything came back to him in a rush. "Sir! The Stone! It was Quirrell, he-"

"Easy, Harry, easy," Dumbledore said soothingly. "Calm yourself, please. Quirrell does not have the Stone."

Harry relaxed, sinking back into the bed. "Sir, what's happened? How long have I been out?" He looked around, noticing for the first time that he was in a bed with white linen sheets. On the bedside table were many packages of candy.

"Tokens from your friends and admirers," Dumbledore beamed at him, noticing where Harry had been looking. "What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret." Dumbledore's eyes twinkled behind the half-moon spectacles. "So, naturally the entire school knows."

"How long have I been here?"

"Three days," Dumbledore answered him. "Your friends have been most worried about you."

"My friends!" Harry exclaimed. "Pansy! Is Pansy alright?"

"Harry, I must insist that you calm down, or Madam Pomfrey will have me removed," Dumbledore smiled. "Miss Parkinson is quite alright. She woke up with nothing more than a nasty headache here in the Hospital Wing. She is quite recovered, I assure you."

Harry took a deep breath. "Will you please tell me what happened, sir?"

Dumbledore shifted himself in his chair. "Professor Quirrell did not manage to take the Stone away from you. I arrived in time to prevent that, although you were doing very well on your own, I must say. Quirrell is dead, and the Stone is destroyed."

"Destroyed?" Harry said blankly. "But your friend Flamel, he-"

"Ah, you know about Nicholas, do you?" Dumbledore said, sounding pleased. "I say, you did do this thing properly, didn't you? Nicholas and I have had a little chat, and we agreed it's all for the best."

"But he'll die, won't he?"

Dumbledore nodded solemnly. "He has sufficient Elixir to last until he has set his affairs in order. But yes, very soon he will die."

"I- I'm sorry, sir." And he was. Flamel was a great wizard, and his death would be a great loss to the world.

"To one as young as you, I'm sure it seems quite incredible, but to Nicholas and his wife Perenelle, it really is like going to bed after a very long day. After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. You know, the Stone was not really such a wonderful thing as all that. Yes, it gives limitless wealth and endless life, but in acquiring the skills and knowledge to make such a substance, one rises above such petty wants and desires. They are the two things that most human beings would choose above all, yet these are precisely the worst sort of thing for them."

Dumbledore went silent, and Harry tried to wrap his brain around everything. Dumbledore hummed a little ditty and looked up at the ceiling, giving Harry time to think.

"Sir?" Harry asked after a time. "Even if the Stone is gone, he is still out there."

"He, Harry?" Dumbledore asked him pointedly. "Say his proper name. A fear of a mere name only increases a fear of the thing itself."

"Yes, sir," Harry said. "Voldemort, he's going to try other ways to come back, isn't he?"

Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, I'm afraid he will. He is still out there somewhere, most likely looking for another body to share. He left Quirrell to die, for he shows just as little mercy to his followers as his enemies.

"Nevertheless, Harry, while you may have only delayed his return power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to fight a losing battle next time, and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power."

Harry nodded, but stopped quickly, because it made his head hurt. Then he said, "Sir, there are some other things I'd like to know. I'd like to know the truth."

"The truth," Dumbledore sighed. "The truth, Harry, is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. I shall answer your questions as best I am able, unless I have a very good reason not to, in which case I must beg your forgiveness. I shall not, of course, lie to you."

"That's fair enough," Harry agreed. "Voldemort said that he killed my parents because they stood up to him, stood in his way. If they had stood aside and let him kill me, they would have lived. But what I don't understand is why he wanted to kill me in the first place."

Dumbledore sighed again, very deeply this time. "Alas, the first thing you ask of me, I cannot tell you. Not today, not now. I must ask you to put the question from your mind. I will tell you one day, Harry, when you are older. It is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe you are ready now. When you are, you will know."

Harry knew it would be no good to argue. He lay back on the pillow. "I'm very tired, sir."

Dumbledore nodded. "I'm sure you are. I've taken the liberty of anticipating some of your questions and have written you a short letter." He placed a folded bit of parchment on the table. "Ah, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. I was unfortunate enough in my youth to come across a vomit-flavoured one, and since then I'm afraid I've rather lost my liking for them."

He held up a pale green candy. "However, I think I should be safe enough with a nice mint, don't you?" He popped it into his mouth. "Alas," he said, still chewing. "Pickle relish."

* * *

Madam Pomfrey was a nice woman, but she was very strict. Harry pleaded with her for an hour before she finally relented and gave permission for his friends to visit. Even so, she restricted them to coming in one at a time, and then only for five minutes.

"Harry!" Draco exclaimed as he rushed in the door.

"Hello, Draco," Harry smiled. "All right?"

"We've been so worried about you," Draco told him. "Pansy's eating everything in sight that Crabbe and Goyle haven't got to first; Blaise has stopped eating; Millie can't sleep at night."

"I'm fine," Harry assured him. "Just a bump on the head. I've had worse."

"Harry, the whole school is positively thick with crazy stories. What really happened?"

It was one of those rare occasions when the true story is even more strange and exciting than even the wildest rumour. Harry told him everything: Quirrell, the mirror, the Stone, and Voldemort. Draco smiled at having been proven right about Quirrell.

"So it's gone, is it?"

"Yes," Harry said. "So what happened to all of you?"

"We all got back through fine," Draco answered. "Tim had been looking after Pansy. When Crabbe finally brought Madam Pomfrey down, Dumbledore came with them. He went right on through without so much as a word to us and brought you back out in his arms a few minutes later. He carried you right up here and hasn't let any of us near since."

"I should be up and around soon," Harry said hopefully.

"Just in time for the end-of-year feast tomorrow," Draco said gleefully. "The points are all in, and we flattened the other Houses. Gryffindor got smashed in their match against Ravenclaw."

"Good." Harry was delighted that his House had taken both Cups once again this year -- he had been a part of that.

Madam Pomfrey chose that moment to come bustling over. "Alright, Mister Malfoy, that's been far longer than five minutes. The others are starting to froth at the mouth a bit. Get you gone."

Draco squeezed Harry's shoulder and got to his feet. Under Madam Pomfrey's stern gaze, he slouched out the door.

"Harry!" Blaise squealed as she flew to his side. She hugged him as best she could, her sudden weight driving the air from his lungs. Blonde hair covered his glasses and the smell of Blaise's shampoo was in his nose. Harry felt her lips mushed into his cheek. Then she sat up and latched onto his hand.

Harry steadfastly refused to give any of his other friends the story. Draco could tell it just as well as he, and he'd rather not repeat himself. The remainder of the visits were very low-key. Mostly they made small talk; sometimes they just sat with him.

After his visits, Harry felt tired indeed. He was just thinking he should take off his glasses when he fell asleep. His head tipped to the side, and the unruly black hair fell away from the scar on his forehead.

Madam Pomfrey gently removed his glasses and folded them on the table. She pulled the blanket up and tucked it under Harry's chin. "Rest easy, Mister Potter," she whispered.

* * *

After a good night's sleep, Harry felt almost himself again. He was awake bright and early in the morning when Madam Pomfrey came around to do bed checks, but had his hopes of being able to return to the dungeons dashed.

"Certainly not," she huffed. "You're to stay here all today for observation."

Harry was dreadfully bored for most of the day. He couldn't keep his attention on a book, and there were only so many times he could count the cracks in the ceiling (twenty-two). He was desperate for some sort of distraction when Madam Pomfrey bustled over and told him he had a visitor.

"Who is it?" he asked curiously. She placed the back of her hand against his forehead.

"You're not too busy to see me, I hope, Mister Potter," came a smooth baritone voice from the doorway.

"Professor!" said Harry, delighted at this development.

"How are you feeling, Mister Potter?" Snape asked, taking a seat by the bed.

"I'm bored, sir," Harry admitted. "I'd really like to leave."

Snape shook his head slightly. "I'm afraid you won't be leaving until Madam Pomfrey gives her say-so."

Harry sighed. He felt perfectly alright and just wanted to move about freely. He wanted to see his friends and relax in the Slytherin common room.

"What you did was highly risky, Mister Potter," Snape said in a lightly reproving tone.

"Yes, sir," Harry answered. He looked up at his Head of House seriously. "But not doing anything would have been riskier."

Snape nodded. "Indeed, it would have been. What I'd like to know is why you didn't tell one of your prefects -- why you didn't tell me."

Harry shifted uncomfortably. This was likely to be embarrassing. Haltingly, in half-sentences, he eventually gave Snape the whole story of everything that had gone on during the whole school year. He told about how the young Slytherins had suspected their Head. He told about how he had discovered the Mirror of Erised. He left nothing out.

When Harry had been silent for a few moments, Professor Snape leaned back in his chair. Tiredly, he rubbed at his eyes. "I don't know what to say, Mister Potter," he said. "You've certainly been up to no end of trouble this year."

Harry flushed slightly. "Yes, sir," he mumbled.

"But in the course of your adventures, the whole lot of you have displayed every exemplary trait of Slytherin House. I'm very proud of you all." Snape's voice was still low. Harry almost imagined he heard a slight catch in it.

"Thank you, sir."

"Though it's rather a paltry reward for some truly phenominal actions," Snape continued, "I'm awarding each of you five points. It should be many more, but Slytherin has already secured the House Cup this year."

"Thank you, sir," Harry said, repeating himself. Points had been the last thing on his mind while down in the hidden chambers. "What time is the end-of-year feast, Professor?" he asked to change the subject.

"Around teatime," Snape answered.

"I'll be allowed do go, won't I?" Harry asked anxiously.

Snape smiled. "I'm sure that not even Madam Pomfrey would forbid you from spending some leisure time with your friends. Still, you will have to ask her."

"I can go to the feast, right?" he asked Madam Pomfrey as she came by to straighten up his bedside table.

"Professor Dumbledore says you are to be allowed to go," she said sniffily, as though in her opinion Professor Dumbledore didn't realize how risky feasts could be.

"There, you see, Mister Potter? All is well. I shall see you there." Professor Snape rose to his feet.

"Good-bye, sir."

Madam Pomfrey continued to fuss over him, and Harry put up with about half of her last minute final checkup. Finally the clock read five to, and he pushed her hands away.

"I'm going to be late," he said, adjusting his robes. He ignored her cross look and ducked out of the Hospital Wing. Trying not to run, he walked as quickly as he could down to the Great Hall where the first year Slytherins were standing outside the doors.

"You're late," Draco drawled at him.

"Draco!" Jenna admonished him.

"I'm lucky to be here this early," Harry told his friends. "Madam Pomfrey wanted to do all kinds of last minute checks. She's convinced the feast is going to be dangerous in some nefarious way."

"Nefarious?" Blaise giggled, poking him in the side.

"You be quiet," he teased her back.

"Can we go eat now?" Crabbe asked.

"You shut up too, fathead," Draco said.

"Don't tell him to shut up," Millie said, grabbing Draco by the arm and yanking him towards the door. "I'm famished too."

The doors opened and the nine students were bathed in a glow of light. The Great Hall was completely decked out in the Slytherin colours of green and silver to celebrate Slytherin's winning of the House Cup, which was displayed at one end of the Slytherin table with the prefects. The Quidditch Cup was on display at the other end with the Quidditch team. A huge serpent banner covered the wall behind the High Table.

The dull roar in the Hall hushed suddenly, and then after a couple of uncomfortable moments, Harry raised his chin and marched over to sit down with the team. The others took the seats that had purposely been left empty nearby.

Dumbledore and the other Professors arrived moments later. The babble that had gradually resumed died away. As the Professors took their seats, the Headmaster remained standing.

"Another year gone!" he said cheerfully. "And now I must trouble you with an old man's wheezing waffle before we tuck into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were. You have the whole summer to get them nice and empty before next year starts.

"Now, as I understand it, the House Cup needs official presenting. The final points stand thus: In fourth place, Gryffindor, with three hundred seventy points; in third, Hufflepuff, with three hundred eighty-three points; in second, Ravenclaw, with four hundred twenty and Slytherin, five hundred three."

A storm of cheering broke out across the Slytherin table, Harry cheering as loud as the rest. Flint raised up the Quidditch Cup in both hands and waved it around. Bole and Derrick started a chant of "Sly-Ther-In!"

The cheering took some time to die down. Harry could see Professor Snape looking very eerie, wearing what appeared to be a smile. He looked over at Harry, as if he knew he was being watched, and nodded slightly as if to say, 'Well done.'

"Congratulations, Slytherin," Dumbledore said at last. "And now, let us feast!"

Harry set to the food with a ravenous appetite. He would have liked to avoid questions about what had happened down in the dungeons entirely, but his teammates were eager to hear about the test with the keys. He stayed away from the subject of Quirrell and anything having to do with Voldemort. After awhile the topic changed, and he began to actively participate in the conversation.

By Merlin, he loved life at Hogwarts. He couldn't bear the thought of leaving. He wrenched his thoughts away from that inevitability. Time enough to brood about it later.

Harry knew that he would remember the feast for the rest of his life. He would not forget the feeling he'd gotten when one of the sixth year girls, Heather Duke, brought out a camera to take pictures of the Quidditch team together with the prefects and both Cups. Pictures of all kinds were taken, at both the feast and the after-feast which happened back in the Slytherin common room.

The after-feast involved loud music, lots of sweets, and plenty of silliness on behalf of everyone. Elan assured him that this was typical of the end-of-year celebration when the House had taken both Cups. "Or just one of the Cups," he added reflectively. "Or any time we're not under the stress of school. You'll find out about those parties when you're older."

"Why just for the older kids? We've got stress too," Tim objected.

"It involves alcohol," Pansy said in an exaggerated tone.

Harry didn't know what time he went to bed, but the sun was starting to rise over the lake when he finally shut his curtains. He was out cold in half a heartbeat.

* * *

Exam results came the next day, and Harry opened his as eagerly as everyone else. To his extreme satisfaction, he passed with excellent marks all around. Tim and Blaise had done the best of the first year Slytherins. In fact, only Terry Boot and the Mudblood Granger had scored higher marks, the later making both Draco and Tim furious. Even Crabbe and Goyle had managed to pass everything and earn at least one high mark.

Harry's best mark was Defense Against the Dark Arts. Quirrell hadn't been lying when he commented about Harry's mark, which was the highest of all the first years. His second-best mark was in Potions. Harry knew he'd earned it all.

Suddenly their wardrobes were empty, their trunks were packed, and notes were handed out to all students, warning them not to use magic over the holidays. They were down at Hogsmeade Station, boarding the Hogwarts Express, loading their trunks into compartments, and taking seats. The Slytherin first years took two compartments and loaded all the luggage in one, fitting themselves in the other. It was a bit cramped, but none of them wanted to be separated until it was absolutely necessary.

They talked of everything and nothing as the countryside passed, growing greener and tidier with each passing kilometre. Eventually they changed out of their school robes and into regular clothing. Harry still blushed when the girls began to undress and went into the other compartment by himself.

All too soon, they were pulling into Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at King's Cross Station. It took quite awhile for them all to unload their trunks, stack up the carts, and get off the platform. Harry wasn't looking forward to going back through the barrier and meeting the Dursleys.

"Draco!" It was Mrs. Malfoy, waving as she started towards them.

"I can't believe you're stuck going back with the Muggles," Draco said, sounding upset. "You'd have loads more fun staying at Malfoy Manor this summer."

Harry hadn't been able to convince Professor Dumbledore to allow him to go stay with the Malfoy family. The Headmaster had merely stated that during the summer holiday, such a matter was to be decided by his guardians, and the Dursleys had not given any such permission.

"Harry," Mr. Malfoy said, shaking Harry's hand firmly. "It's a pleasure to see you again." Draco's father was as distinguished as ever. He still carried his black and silver cane.

"Thank you, sir," Harry answered. "Thank you for the Christmas present."

"I received your note, dear, very thoughtful," Mrs. Malfoy said to him. "Some people could take an example from you."

"Um, yeah, thanks for the crystal, Mum," Elan said, flushing.

"What did you name him?" Mr. Malfoy asked Harry of his owl.

"Regal, sir," Harry replied. He'd thought for quite awhile before deciding on that name.

"An eminently suitable name," Mr. Malfoy noted with a smile. "Take good care of him."

"I will," Harry promised.

As they stepped through the barrier, they came face to face with the Dursleys. Uncle Vernon, still purple-faced, still mustached, looked absolutely furious at the nerve of Harry carrying a caged owl in a station full of ordinary people.

"Harry, these are your relations?" Mr. Malfoy said icily. He was staring directly at Vernon, his eyes cold and hard as agates. He was clearly speaking directly to Vernon in the third person.

"In a manner of speaking," Uncle Vernon said gruffly, sounding highly offended that this wizard was even looking at him. Behind him, Aunt Petunia stood with Dudley, who was looking terrified at the sight of the Malfoys. "Hurry up, boy, I haven't got all day." He turned and walked away, his family following.

"Friendly much, that lot?" Elan said coolly. "More of that sort," he sneered. "Harry, I'm sorry we couldn't get you permission to come to the Manor."

"I'm still working on it, Harry," Mr. Malfoy said smoothly. "It can be absolute murder at the Ministry sometimes; piles of paperwork and red tape."

"As soon as possible, please," Harry reiterated, making sure his cart was secure. "I'll write."

"Bye, Harry!" Elan waved at him.

"I'll see you real soon," Draco told him. Harry nodded. They shook hands. Then Harry turned and pushed his trolley after the Muggles.