Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Alternate Universe General
The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 04/18/2004
Updated: 06/08/2006
Words: 97,140
Chapters: 21
Hits: 109,125

They Shook Hands: Year Two (Original Version)


Story Summary:
Harry Potter's holiday with the Muggles has been dreadful. He wants nothing more than to return to Hogwarts, but when he is rescued by a masked wizard in a black robe, it sets off a chain reaction of disasters. Things are no calmer at school as an ancient legend comes to life and a deadly monster stalks the halls. The new Defense professor boasts that he will end the threat, but can even the magical might of the famed Gilderoy Lockhart prevail against the Heir of Slytherin? Nobody knows who it could be, but the prime suspect is none other than Harry himself!

Chapter 13 - The Duelling Club

Chapter Summary:
A Duelling Club is announced, so of course Harry and his friends will sign up. Young wizards encouraged to cast curses at each other? What could possibly go wrong? Harry realizes a new gift, and it could mean nothing but trouble. The young Slytherins find something strange on top of the Astronomy Tower, and a guest comes to Slytherin House.
Author's Note:
All chapters are posted on Schnoogle. All chapters and some juicy extras are posted on

They Shook Hands : Year Two

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

Chapter Thirteen - The Duelling Club

The news of a student being petrified spread through the school like wildfire. The brief sense of normality vanished, and an atmosphere of fear took its place. Younger students sought safety in numbers, not traversing the halls in groups of less than five. The whole population of Hogwarts was on edge, sans Slytherin of course.

Choir attendance dropped sharply, but the Slytherins refused to shirk their duty and sang louder and better in the absence of their fellows. On their way to rehearsal, the Slytherins would detour past the Gryffindor entrance singing songs about chickens, turkeys, or swine. As time went on, the other Houses came back around. Choir was a safe place to be, and leaving the dorm only for classes or to visit the library could rapidly drive even a studious Ravenclaw absolutely batty.

Almost overnight, an underground trade in protective charms, amulets, and talismans sprang into existence. Playing on their long and distinguished pedigrees, Ellen Pritchard and Lila Murdock made a pile of Galleons in only a few days; they told stories of those they had hoodwinked every night in the common room before bedtime. Harry was particularly amused when he heard that Neville Longbottom had bought a large, rotting green onion, a pointy bit of purple glass, and a decaying newt tail from the pair.

"I thought Longbottom was pure of blood," he said speculatively.

"Quite right," Tim confirmed. "But he's practically a Squib, you know. Little bleeder must be pissing his sheets at night worrying that the Heir is coming for him."

"Is there any way we could sneak into Gryffindor and scare him a bit? That would be a jolly good prank." Millie was always ready for a sneaky bit of fun.

"Not unless we knew the password," Pansy shook her head. "And we'll never get it from them."

"Never say never," Draco said sagely.

All through the castle, tales continued to spread about Percy Weasley. According to the rumour mill, he was the son of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named given up for adoption at birth. He regularly had tea with Filch while they plotted ambushes of innocent students. Weasley was also Snape's brown-noser, apple-polisher, and secret boyfriend.

Harry was simply disgusted by the situation. How could people just make judgements on something they knew nothing about? Poor Weasley had been put in a difficult spot and had ultimately done the right thing. For that, he had been daemonized and was suffering persecution at the hands of those who were supposed to be his friends, his family at Hogwarts.

It was impossible to keep track of the number of tricks and malicious pranks played on the prefect in the span of only one month. In addition to the humiliation inflicted on him at the Quidditch match, he'd been assaulted with green dye, thrown in the lake, and roughed up by Oliver Wood. Gryffindor's team captain had taken the loss of his star Beaters somewhat badly and was taking out his frustrations on the cause.

Those stunts were just some of what Harry knew. And for every incident he heard about, there were surely a dozen more that he didn't. Yet even with all of this to consider, Harry was still shocked by what happened next.

The second year Slytherins had their weekly Astronomy sky watching session on Wednesday nights. The first Wednesday in December was delightfully clear, and Professor Sinistra's enthusiasm even infected Harry, who normally didn't care much for getting to stay up past curfew only to do school work. He emerged into the chill night air, wrapped his cloak tightly, and shiveringly reconsidered his enthusiasm.

The professor gave the class their instructions, then set them to work as she retired to the classroom. Harry made a few half-hearted notes, but when he yawned wide enough to drive a lorry through, he leaned up against the parapet and thought longingly of his warm bed.

Something was digging into his back, and it wasn't the stones. It felt like rope. It was rope! What the heck? Harry peeked out over the edge and gasped in shock. There, hanging upside down and dangling by a rope tied about his ankles, was Percy Weasley.

"By God!" Harry breathed. "Look!"

Draco happened to be closest, and he inhaled sharply when he saw the helpless prefect. "Pansy, go get Professor Sinistra," he ordered.

"Send Crabbe," she disdained.

"Do as I say!" he snapped, flashing an evil scowl in her direction. Too shocked for a retort, she descended the stairs.

"Crabbe, Goyle, Millie, grab the rope. Pull him up. Easy now! Help me, Harry!"

Hand over hand, the younger students arduously hauled the older boy to the top of the tower. Harry, Draco, and Tim all grabbed Percy's robes and eased him over the rampart. As gently as they could, they laid him on the stone floor.

The prefect didn't look good. All the blood had rushed to his head, and his face was nearly purple. The gag in his mouth explained why nobody had heard him yelling. His eyes were unfocused, and he didn't seem to recognize them. Harry removed the boy's gag while Tim untied the rope from his ankles and wrists.

"Weasley," Draco said. "Weasley, are you hurt?"

Percy didn't respond.

"Right, what's all this then?" Finally, Professor Sinistra had returned.

"We found him, professor," Harry told her. "Somebody left him dangling from the top."

Sinistra's eyes narrowed. "Monstrous," she declared. She muttered a quick spell under her breath. "Madam Pomfrey is on her way. I'll take Weasley down below. You lot finish your sky watching."

Of all the- "Professor!" Harry protested.

"No complaining," she chided him. "Back to work."

"Yes, ma'am," he grumbled. How could he possibly be expected to focus on the stars when there was a mystery afoot much closer to the ground?

Professor Sinistra tapped Weasley's body with her wand and levitated the boy down the stairs. When she was gone, Harry shoved his notes aside. "I can't believe that someone would treat a school prefect like a yo-yo!"

"No doubt some disgruntled Gryffindors are behind it. And that they get away with it makes me sick."

"Gryffindors get away with everything, Tim," Blaise said glumly.

"Isn't that the truth?" Harry commiserated. "Percy's a decent chap. He doesn't deserve the hell they're putting him through."

"Somebody ought to do something about it," Jenna decided. "It's just not right."

"By 'somebody', you mean us, right?" Millie laughed.

"I wish Elan were here." Draco looked up at the stars. "He'd have some ideas."

"You think old McGonagall will punish those responsible?" Pansy asked. "Weasley's one of her favourites."

"She hasn't done anything yet, and this stupidity has gone on for a month already." Tim had a good point.

"Maybe she can't figure out who's responsible."

"Isn't it obvious, Jenna?" he asked rhetorically. "Those twin brothers of his are still sore over being banned from Quidditch. Their captain certainly won't be over it; we all know what a fanatic Wood is. Those three have got to be at the core of it all."

* * *

The next night in the common room, Sam Palce called for everyone's attention. He was a prefect, so his request was granted with only a little bit of good-natured jeering. He climbed up the stairs so he could be seen and heard more easily.

"Last night, Percy Weasley, saver of young Slytherins in distress, was assaulted by members of his own House," he announced. An ugly murmuring broke out amongst his audience, with good reason: House was family.

"As most of you know, we sixth years have made friends with Weasley, and we think him quite the decent bloke." That was certainly true. Weasley regularly ate and studied with the Slytherin sixth years. "His House has all but exiled him, and we have decided to take him in. Get used to seeing him around here, because he's moving in."

"Couldn't you find a stray cat to adopt instead?" someone teased him.

"It's a bit unusual, Margaret," Palce admitted, "but I submit the following for your consideration: Weasley is a pureblood; he has ambition to rise above his current lot in life; he saved one of our own. We sixth years think he would be a fine addition to Slytherin House."

"Is that even allowed?" Bole's younger sister Amanda asked.

The Head Boy, Abraham Montague, stood up. "I know of no instance in the history of Hogwarts where such a thing has happened," he declared, "but I believe this to be an extraordinary circumstance. If Weasley is driven out of his House, logically he must go to another. Why should it not be Slytherin that benefits? With all apologies to Sam, Weasley is most likely to be named Head Boy next year. Let's keep the power in the House."

"Does anyone have any legitimate objections?" Palce asked them all. "If so, let's hear it."

"He did betray his own siblings," pointed out Heather Chandler, a fourth year.

"Siblings who ganged up on a younger student," retorted Lynn Fawcett. "Thank Merlin he did betray them, or we would have one less Slytherin."

"Percy's actions speak highly of his character, not negatively," Draco declared, rising to his feet. "Let's recall what happened as a result of that night: He saved the life of a Slytherin, me; Gryffindor lost more points than anyone could imagine; their Quidditch team lost two very skilled Beaters."

"All good things," Flint agreed heartily.

"Moreover, I've come to know Percy this past month," Palce continued. "Betraying his own blood was heart-breaking to him, as it should be. If his oath as a prefect meant even a little bit less, I doubt he could have."

"I'd just like to point out that Professor Snape has given his approval," Lawrence Derrick told them. "If he trusts Weasley, I think we can too."

There was silence as the Slytherins all looked sideways at each other. "Any more objections?" Palce asked. There were none. "Then it shall be so."

"Just make sure you give him plenty of food and water," laughed Flint.

"And don't forget to change the shavings in his cage!" Miles hooted.

Palce laughed with the rest of them at that. As the students all resumed their activities, he and Derrick left the common room on some evening mission. They returned an hour or so later, bringing with them all of Percy's belongings in one trip. Apparently the prefect didn't own much, but nobody made even one comment.

With great ceremony, the sixth years ritually burned each one of the school ties in the Gryffindor colours. Anything that was a link to the past fed the flames of the fire in the Slytherin common room. Come the next weekend visit to Hogsmeade, Percy's new friends intended to drag him to a haberdashery for some new robes with the Slytherin crest.

Percy made the transition to Slytherin surprisingly well. It wasn't much of a jump from associating only with Slytherins (since the rest of the school would have nothing to do with him) to bunking in the Slytherin dormitory. Before the first week was out, it seemed as though he'd always been a part of the House. Though the green and silver tie clashed horribly with his red hair, in everything from his attitude to his mannerisms, he could have been declared a Slytherin by the Sorting Hat.

His smiles seemed more genuine somehow, and there was a light in his eyes that bespoke of his growing inner happiness. The rest of the school, unfortunately, was not so content. In the span of a week, there were two more attacks, and two students were petrified. Nicholas Fiffy and David Moreau, both Hufflepuffs, were found in mysterious circumstances. The teachers were quick to hush things up, but the word spread even more quickly that the legends appeared true: The Heir of Slytherin had returned to Hogwarts.

When the Heads of House went around during the second week of December collecting the names of those who would be staying at school for Christmas, it seemed that the only students who dared to remain were from Slytherin. Even most of these were leaving, to spend the holiday with family. Harry was quick to sign, knowing that there was no other place for him to go.

"Wish I could figure out how to trick the Muggles into signing permission to leave school," he grumbled to Jenna as they walked up to the Great Hall for their Thursday breakfast ritual. He never called them by name any more.

"Things will turn out right," she assured him. "You just have to have faith."

There was a small knot of people gathered around the notice board in the entrance hall. A new announcement had been posted, and every student was chattering excitedly. Harry elbowed his way close enough to read the parchment and felt his own interest pique.

"They're starting a Duelling Club!" he exclaimed. "The first meeting is Saturday night."

"Sounds like fun," Jenna nodded. "Formal duelling lessons? Not just playing at it in an empty classroom? Outstanding."

"I wouldn't mind duelling lessons," a Ravenclaw boy was saying.

"What, do you think Slytherin's monster can duel?" his friend retorted.

"I'm going," Harry decided. He borrowed a quill and signed his name on the parchment.

And so too did the rest of his friends. At eight o'clock on Saturday night, the nine young Slytherins hurried to the Great Hall. The long dining tables had vanished, and a golden stage had appeared along one wall, lit by thousands of candles floating overhead. The ceiling was velvety black once more, and roughly half of the student body seemed to be packed into the room. Every student carried a wand, and everyone looked very excited.

"At least now we can finally find out who's going to be teaching us," Tim noted with some relief. They had speculated for days.

"I still think it's going to be Flitwick," Blaise said as they elbowed through the chattering crowd. "I hear he's a former champion."

"I bet Professor Snape would be brilliant," Jenna pointed out.

"If he was in charge, maybe we'd be using Weasley for a target." Goyle liked that idea immensely.

"As long as it's not-" Harry started to say, but broke into a groan as Gilderoy Lockhart walked onto the stage, resplendent in robes of deep plum purple.

"It's not all bad," Draco nudged him. "Look, there's Snape."

Lockhart waved an arm for silence. "Gather round," he called. "Can you all see me? Can you all hear me?"

"Unfortunately," Jenna muttered.

"Now then, Professor Dumbledore has granted me permission to start this little duelling club in order to train you all in case you ever need to defend yourselves as I myself have done on countless occasions. For full details, see my published works.

"Allow me to introduce my assistant, Professor Snape," Lockhart waved his arm with flourish. "He tells me that he knows a bit about duelling himself and has sportingly agreed to help me with a short demonstration before we begin. Now, I don't want any of you to worry; your Potions Master will still be more or less in one piece when I'm done with him."

Snape's upper lip was curling. Harry wondered why Lockhart was still smiling. Was the light glancing off those brilliantly white teeth and directly into his eyes, blinding him? That look was usually enough to inspire any recipient to wet his robes with fear.

In the centre of the stage, Lockhart and Snape faced each other and bowed. That is to say, Lockhart bowed with great flourish and much twirling of the hands; Snape merely jerked his head irritably. They both raised their wands up in front of their faces and sharply swept them down and out at an angle. Each man turned sharply on his heel and stepped several paces away to the end of the stage.

"The traditional squaring-off is part of a formal duel," Lockhart lectured them. "It signifies the respect that each wizard has for the other."

That, obviously, meant that Snape had no respect for Lockhart. Harry could certainly sympathize.

"We shall now assume the accepted combative position," Lockhart told the now-silent crowd. He curled his left arm above his head; his wand held in his right was pointed at Snape. He looked silly, arm dangling in mid-air as it was. Snape, by contrast, also held his wand in his right hand, but he had that arm raised, ready to sweep down to release unspeakable wrath.

"On the count of three, we will cast our first spells. Of course, since this is only a demonstration, neither of us will be aiming to kill the other," Lockhart proclaimed pompously.

"I wouldn't bet on that," Harry murmured, watching Snape bare his teeth.

"One - two - three!"

Both men swung their wands and redirected them towards their opponents. Snape cried out, "Expelliarmus!" and a dazzling flash of scarlet light blasted Lockhart off his feet. He flew backward off the stage, smashed into the wall, and slid down to sprawl on the floor. His wand went soaring up into the air, and Snape called it to him with another spell: "Accio wand!"

Harry burst into applause. Draco, Tim, and most of the other Slytherins joined him. Only Pansy and a few of the third and fourth year girls frowned.

Pansy stood up on her tiptoes, peering over the crowd. "Do you think he's all right?" she squeaked.

"Who cares?" Harry and Jenna said together.

"I'm not quite sure who to cheer for," Terry Boot quipped, edging up to the group. He nodded in greeting as he too tried to see over the throng of students.

Lockhart rose unsteadily to his feet. His pointed hat had fallen off, and his normally immaculate hair was standing on end. "Well, there you have it," he said shakily as he clambered back onto the platform. "That was a Disarming Charm. As you can see, I have lost my wand. A most excellent idea to show them that, Professor Snape. If I could have my wand back, please? Though if you don't mind my saying so, it was very obvious what you intended to do. If I had wanted to stop you, it would have been only too easy; however, I felt it would be instructive to let- them-"

The look on Snape's face could only be described as murderous. Possibly Lockhart had finally noticed, because he turned to the students. "I think that has been a suitable demonstration, so split off into pairs. We shall practice the Disarming Charm."

Harry took a step towards Draco, but was shoved away with a grin. "I'm going to go find Weasley."

Harry cursed for not having thought of it first. Then again, he supposed Draco had a right to seek some measure of personal revenge.

"Where's Granger?" Millie asked as she looked around. She had not forgotten the incident two days before when they had overheard the Mudblood telling her friends that all purebloods were inbred and ugly besides.

Harry looked around at his friends. Tim raised an eyebrow, but Harry turned away. He didn't feel like being humiliated in front of half the school. His eyes fell on Terry.

"Shall we?" the Ravenclaw boy invited.

"Love to," Harry replied.

"Face your partners and bow!" shouted Lockhart.

Several metres away, Draco and Weasley were glaring daggers at each other. Then Draco flashed Weasley an impudent grin and bowed rakishly. Weasley's lips tightened.

Terry bowed from the waist. Harry mirrored him.

"Wands at the ready! When I count to three, cast your Charms to disarm only. We don't want any accidents. One! Two! Three!"

Quick as a flash, Harry slashed his wand down and cast the Disarming Charm. It was an unfamiliar spell to him, and he felt a surge of satisfaction as the magic poured out of him, through his wand, and into the jet of crimson light. Terry, still bringing his wand into position, took the blast full in the chest. He recoiled as though shoved and fell to the floor. His wand sprang up into the air, and Harry caught it with a deft grab.

Around the room, chaos seemed to have been unleashed. Draco had cast his spell a second early, and he had not cast a Disarming Charm. Whatever he had cast, Weasley staggered back like he'd been hit over the head with a frying pan. He shook it off and cast his own spell. "Tarantallegra!"

Draco's legs began to jerk around out of control in a kind of quickstep. Actually, it looked more like a silly walk. Draco snarled and pointed a shaking wand at Weasley. "Petrificus totalis!"

Weasley was not quick enough to dodge the spell, and his whole body stiffened up like a board. He fell to the floor with a crash.

"Stop! Stop!" screamed Lockhart. Snape, however, took charge.

"Finite Incantatem!" he shouted. Weasley's body relaxed; Draco's feet stopped dancing.

A haze of green smoke was hovering over the scene. Tim was helping third year David Palce to his feet; Pansy stood triumphantly over Parvati Patil; Mandy Brocklehurst and Jenna were both laying on the floor panting. Only Millie and Granger were still moving; Millie had Granger in a headlock, and Granger was whimpering in pain. Both their wands lay forgotten on the floor. Harry and Draco stepped forward and pulled the tomboy off, and she let go reluctantly. Granger's face was dirty, and it looked as though her eye would blacken quite splendidly.

"Dear, oh dear," Lockhart muttered, skittering through the crowd. "Up you go, Macmillan. Careful there, Miss Fawcett. Pinch it hard and tip your head forward." He looked around at the aftermath of the duels.

"I think perhaps I had better teach you how to block unfriendly spells," he decided. The man seemed so very flustered that Harry couldn't help but smile. Lockhart glanced at Snape, who was looking satisfied, and quickly averted his eyes. "I'm sure you all know a few spells appropriate for combat. Let's have a volunteer pair, shall we? Is there anyone who would like to step up on the stage?"

"Right here!" Draco said loudly, raising his hand.

"Draco, what are you doing?" Tim hissed.

"Showing off," he smirked. "Shall we, Harry?"

Harry grinned. "Sounds like fun."

Together they pushed towards the platform and climbed the steps at either end. As they walked the length of the stage, Harry saw that the centre spot was a full moon, with the moon phases progressing towards new moon depicted as one walked to the end.

Professor Snape smiled slightly at them. Clearly their actions pleased him. Harry only hoped that they wouldn't embarrass him or Slytherin House. The consequences would be dire. He swallowed a small lump of nervousness. This was no different than any other day of practising his spells with his friends, he told himself

With great care, Harry and Draco raised their wands to the ready. Saluting each other, they bowed deeply. Both boys turned sharply and walked ten paces along the stage. Facing off, they assumed duelling postures. Both of them copied Professor Snape's stance. Harry was aware that Draco looked better than he did. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead.

"Now then, here is how you block," Lockhart began, waving his wand in a complicated series of wiggles. It was like nothing Harry had ever seen, and he doubted the effectiveness of it even before Lockhart dropped his wand.

"Whoops! My wand is a little overexcited. All clear though? Good. On the count of three, cast only to disarm or only to block. Once we have that down, we'll move on to other things," Lockhart instructed them. From the side, Snape shook his head slightly. Harry nodded. This was no time to play by the given rules.

"One - two - three!"

"Aegis vocare!" Harry cast a Shielding Charm, and Draco matched him. They both knew the value of protecting themselves. Numerous mock duels with Tim had taught them that lesson.

"Expelliarmus!" Draco shouted.

As the jet of scarlet light sailed towards him, Harry leaned to his left and let it pass him by. He set himself for his next spell. "Rictusempra!"

Draco barely ducked under the Tickling Charm. "Furunculus!"

That hex, one of Draco's favourites, deflected off of Harry's shield. "I said disarm only!" From Lockhart's panicked voice, he was losing control of things. Harry allowed himself a small smirk. Little did he know that he had already lost control.

"Impedimentia!" Harry had hoped that the spell would be strong enough to penetrate Draco's shield, but it was not to be. Harry felt a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. This was actually fun. He had forgotten the crowd, forgotten that he was on display before almost every student from first year through fourth. Then Draco cast a spell that Harry had never heard.


A snake came flying out the end of Draco's wand. It was long, black, and it hit the stage heavily. It raised itself up, and a hood flared out on its head as it hissed angrily. Beady red eyes cast a baleful look towards Harry. There were screams as the crowd backed away from the stage.

Harry had no idea what to do. Draco had definitely caught him by surprise. Perhaps he could- no, that wouldn't work. How about- less than useless. As the snake crawled closer, Harry felt himself start to panic. His wand arm drooped to his side. Eye to eye with the snake, he felt as though he couldn't move.

"Don't move, Potter," Snape said quietly. "I'll get rid of it."

"Allow me!" Lockhart half-shouted. That moron! Why was he making loud noises around a snake that was coiled and ready to strike? He brandished his wand and spoke some garbled Latin.

There was a tremendous bang and, instead of vanishing, the snake flew up into the air! It landed with a meaty-sounding thump on the floor, and its head lunged out, snapping on empty air. It swung around and locked its eyes onto Finch-Fletchley, a Hufflepuff from Harry's History of Magic class. It began to glide towards the boy, mouth open, fangs dripping with venom.

Harry wasn't conscious of stepping forward. Somehow, the rest of the hall faded into the background. All he could see was the snake and Finch-Fletchley's wide and staring eyes. All he could hear was the boy's gasping breaths. He reached out his left hand towards the snake. "Leave him alone," he ordered it.

The snake whirled around to look at him. It hissed spitefully, as if to say, "I've got a lot to be upset about."

"Leave him alone," Harry repeated.

Miraculously, inexplicably, the snake lowered itself to the stone floor. The flared hood retracted, and the angry hissing stopped. It looked harmless now, just a length of black rubber garden hose. It stared directly at Harry, and he knew the snake wouldn't hurt anybody now. He didn't know how he knew, but he knew.

Harry looked up at Finch-Fletchley, glad the other boy hadn't been bitten. He and Draco's little fun had nearly gotten out of hand. Instead of gratitude on the boy's face, however, Harry saw only more fear. He was puzzled.

"What do you think you're playing at?" Finch-Fletchley demanded in a shaky voice. His hands, Harry noticed, were trembling. Before Harry could respond, the other boy backed away and ran from the hall.

Snape stepped forward and waved his wand. "Vipera evensca!" The magic struck the snake, and it turned to ash, which quickly crumbled into nothingness. He turned a speculative eye towards Harry. There was shrewdness in that gaze, a questioning. Harry shivered.

He began to be aware of a mutter in the background. It was ominous, and Harry didn't like it. He didn't know what the murmurs should sound like, but he'd just saved Finch-Fletchley's life. The mood shouldn't be this black.

Harry was tugged down from the stage by Tim. Crabbe and Goyle formed ranks on either side, and they hurried him from the hall. As they went through the doors, people on either side drew back, as though he carried some deadly disease. Confused, Harry followed along. "Tim, what-"

"Shut up," Tim ordered tersely. He bit the knuckle of his index finger. "Common room. Now."

His questions went unanswered until they were safely back behind the closed stone wall of the Slytherin House common room. The room was deserted, the younger students having all been at the duelling club, and the older students all having gone to visit Hogsmeade. Harry was roughly sat down in a chair, and Tim began to pace up and down before him.

"You're a Parselmouth," Tim stated flatly. "Why in the name of magic would you not tell us?"

"A what?" Harry was very puzzled.

"A Parselmouth," Tim said slowly, enunciating every syllable. "You can talk to snakes."

Harry's eyebrows drew together. "Yeah. I know."

Tim looked at Goyle. "He knows, he says."

"I've only ever done it once before tonight," Harry tried to explain. "I was at the zoo with the Muggles, and I set a boa constrictor on Dudley. I'm still not sure how it happened, but it was telling me it had never seen Brazil, and I accidentally made the glass disappear and- and-" His friends were staring dumbfounded at him.

"A boa constrictor told you that it had never seen Brazil?" Tim echoed faintly.


"In Slytherin's name," Tim swore.

"What's the big deal?" Harry wanted to know. He was getting a little tired of this. "I bet loads of people here can do it."

"No, Harry, they can't," Tim shook his head. "It's a rare gift. This is bad. Harry, you are in a great deal of danger now."

"What's the problem?" Harry was starting to get angry. "What's so bad about it? If I hadn't told that snake not to attack the damn Hufflepuff, he'd be dead of snake poison by now!"

"Is that what you said?" Crabbe asked.

This was really getting out of hand. "You were right there!" he exploded. "You heard me!"

Crabbe shook his head slowly. "I heard you speaking Parseltongue: snake language. It was all hissing."

Harry's anger evaporated. His friends wouldn't lie to him about this. Crabbe wasn't liar enough to play along with such a deception. "I spoke another language?" he asked in a hushed voice. "How can I speak another language without realizing I'm doing it? Without even knowing I can speak it!"

Tim shook his head. "I can't answer that, Harry."

"All right, so this is weird," Harry admitted. "But I still don't see what the problem is."

"The problem," Draco announced as he took the steps down from the door two at a time, "is that Salazar Slytherin was famous for being able to talk to snakes. He was a Parselmouth. It's the reason our house symbol is a serpent."

Harry's jaw dropped.

"Exactly," Draco said soberly. "Now the entire school is going to think you're his great-great-great-odd-grandson. Especially since Finch-Fletchley is a Mudblood, and you practically egged the snake on him."

"But I'm not!" Harry denied instantly. "Am I?"

"We can't know for sure," Tim told him. "Slytherin lived over a thousand years ago, and the records of him after he left the school are very sketchy. For all we know, you could be."

to be continued...

Author notes: Yes, there is an AU version of Year One. Please read my previous work, They Shook Hands before you read this one, otherwise things will get confusing.
You can join my Yahoo group Deth By Fanfiction to participate in an open forum for discussing all things about this fic. Chapter updates go out here first before I post to Schnoogle.
Many thanks to my loffly beta readers, Elle, and Christi. Three hours, Christi? I loff you so much.
Go read Elle's spin-off of this story, Green With Envy, which details what's going on in this chapter from Percy's perspective. You might find it interesting.