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 20 - The Heir of Slytherin

Chapter Summary:
The threat is over! Harry emerges from the Chamber of Secrets after confronting the Heir of Slytherin, and brings Ginny Weasley to Professor Snape's door. The girl's parents arrive, and Harry exchanges nasty words with her brothers. Percy expresses his thanks to Harry and gets in way over his head. Professor McGonagall announces the end of the terror and the resumption of normal activity, but Professor Lockhart has gone missing. Professor Snape figures more importantly to the Slytherins, the second years choose new classes, and Percy asks Harry for a personal favour.
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 Twenty - The Heir of Slytherin

Harry had done it. Against all odds, he had entered the Chamber of Secrets, confronted the Heir of Slytherin, and rescued Ginny Weasley from certain doom. Now he stood in the second floor girls' bathroom with Draco and Tim, the three best mates all extremely dirty and grimy from their journey beneath the school. Harry's legs felt like rubber; he was physically and mentally exhausted. It seemed like hours since they first entered the darkness.

"What now?" Draco asked with a cheeky grin.

"We should take her to Professor Snape," Tim counselled. "Or maybe the hospital wing."

"Snape," Harry decided. Their Head of House should know what had gone on this night. "He'll know best what to do." Harry removed the Marauders Map from an inner pocket and tapped it with his wand. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

The Map showed that Professor Snape was still in the Potions classroom. A quick check told Harry that Snape was their best choice: Old McGonagall was closer, but she would never believe it if he brought Ginny to her door; more likely she would accuse him of being the Heir of Slytherin.

Which, let's be fair, I am, Harry thought.

Draco and Tim flanked Ginny as Harry led their little procession down the back stairs, through the entrance hall, and into the dungeons. Draco reached out to stop Tim as he tried to open the classroom door. He turned to Ginny.

"Not a word about the basilisk. As far as anyone's concerned, it's dead. Understand, Weasley? If you tell anyone she's still alive, you'll regret it."

"Are you threatening me, Malfoy?"

"Malfoys don't make threats. I've got all the goods on you, Weasley. Unless you want to precede your delinquent brothers to Azkaban, I recommend you keep quiet."

Ginny glared at him, but she did not respond.

"They won't press you too hard. Just play dumb. Let us do the talking."

Ginny bit her lip. "Deal."

Harry felt his knees trembling with fatigue as he opened the classroom door. Snape was not there, but the door to his office was slightly ajar. Harry knocked on it politely.


"Hello, Professor."

"Mister Potter, what brings you to my door-- so-- late--?" Astonishment entered Snape's voice as he looked up. "Miss Weasley, are you hurt?"

Ginny shook her head. "No, sir," she said in a meek voice.


Snape drew his wand and muttered a spell. He frowned and cast another, then fetched a small bottle from his shelves. "This will do," he murmured as he poured a small amount into a glass of water. The liquid had been clear, but now it turned bright blue. Ginny made a face as he handed her the glass. "Drink."

Few wizards, student or not, could withstand Snape's awful looks for long, and Ginny was no exception. She held her nose as she drank, but downed the concoction without pause.

Satisfied, Snape looked directly at Harry with his most penetrating gaze. "Start talking."

Harry began relating everything. Snape already knew about their suspicions of a basilisk, and that knowledge helped to save time. His tongue still became very dry as his student told all.

He was far too tired to hold anything back, and Harry related his visitation from the Bloody Baron (something that drew a raised eyebrow -- but no comment -- from Snape), their conversation with Moaning Myrtle, the Chamber of Secrets, and every word said by Tom M. Riddle. When Harry said that he had taken control of the basilisk, Snape sat down in his chair with a stunned look on his face. Certainly nobody could have expected that.

"And then?" he asked quietly.

"I told the basilisk to strike, but she just passed through Riddle because he wasn't fully real yet. Then I grabbed the diary from Ginny's hands, told the basilisk to inject some venom into it, and watched as Riddle sort of disintegrated. The diary burned itself to ashes."

"Then he carried Ginny out of the Chamber casual as you like," Tim concluded. "And here we are."

"The basilisk?" Snape queried.

"Locked back in the Chamber of Secrets," Harry said. "I told her that she must never harm a student again."

"I see. Well, we'll have to deal with it at some point."

"Must we, sir?" Harry certainly wouldn't help, and they couldn't get into the Chamber without him. "She promised."

"It's neither here nor there," Snape declared. "Miss Weasley, how are you feeling?"

"Fine, sir," she answered. "I want my mum and dad."

"Your parents should be arriving at any moment," Snape assured her. "They were called when we learned of your abduction." He tossed a handful of powder into the fireplace and placed a folded note into the flames. Harry saw a hand suddenly appear in the fire and pluck the parchment out.

"I have informed Professor McGonagall," Snape identified the hand, "and asked her to bring them here directly."

"Thank you, sir."

"You appear to have suffered no serious injuries, but I believe Madam Pomfrey will want to have a look at you. I won't send for her until you see your parents."

"Thank you, sir."

"You boys may go now. If I need more information, I will find you in the common room. Dismissed."

"Yes, sir," they said together and stepped back into the Potions classroom.

As they opened the door out into the corridor, they came face to face with the Weasley clan. Ginny's mother and father rushed right past them towards Snape's office, leaving their sons to face the Slytherins. The twins were flanking Harry's hated enemy, and all three had unfriendly scowls on.

Harry's fatigue vanished instantly as adrenaline coursed through his veins. "Out of my way, Weasley," he ordered peremptorily.

"Up yours," Weasley snarled.

"Harry saved your baby sister, Ronald," Draco sassed. "Do as he says." Weasley flushed an ugly red.

"Say 'thank you', Ron," snapped a voice in the hall. Percy Weasley stepped into view and directed a hard look at his Gryffindor brothers. He received a death glare in return, but the contest of wills was over almost before it began.

"Thanks," Ron muttered in near-inaudible decibals.

"You, too, Fred, George."

"Thanks-a-bunch," they muttered together.

"Now go see our sister," Percy ordered. The trio shuffled away.

"Harry, I don't know how you did it, but-"

"I'll tell you later. Go see Ginny," Harry returned. His knees were shaking again; the only thing keeping him on his feet was pride.


* * *

Harry wanted to collapse on his bed when he got back to the dorm, but his plan was foiled when the girls piled into the room, demanding to know where he had been. Harry groaned and threw his pillow at them. "Draco and Tim can tell you. I just got done telling Snape."

"Not good enough, Harry. We want it from the source. Don't your friends deserve that much?"

"Jenna, you're a pain."

"I know. So tell."

Yawning through parts of it, Harry told the whole story again. This time, when he told about the basilisk and how he had taken control of it, Harry included for his friends the one thing he had not told Snape: his inadvertent claim that he was the Heir of Slytherin.

"I knew it!" Jenna crowed immediately. "I just knew it!"

Pansy and Blaise looked amazed. Draco exchanged a seemingly significant look with Tim. Millie was grinning hugely.

"Only the Heir of Slytherin can open the Chamber of Secrets," she said, correctly citing the legend. "So what happened then?"

"Riddle wasn't fully real yet, so neither I nor Eithne could hurt him. I came up with the idea of letting the diary absorb some basilisk venom, and there was a pretty spectacular light show as Riddle disintegrated. The diary caught fire, Ginny came back to normal, and that's pretty much it."

"We met the basilisk," Tim contributed, "and she didn't kill us."

"That's so very tally. Wish I could've met her," Millie said wistfully.

"You will," Harry promised. "I've got to go back down to look around."

"Surveying your domain?" Jenna teased.

"Something like that," Harry yawned. "Can I sleep now?"

"Take a bath first."

* * *

"Harry? Harry, wake up."

As a voice dragged him out of the darkness, Harry gradually realized who its owner was. With a grunt, he rolled onto his back and mumbled a reply.

"G'way, Draco."

"Harry, Percy is here. He wants to thank you."

"So send him in." He pulled his pillow over his head.

"Tim and I have been talking," Draco continued. "Have you realized what's gone on tonight?"

"I saved the school?" His voice was muffled.

"You saved a witch's life. She owes you a debt, and so does Percy."

"Wot?" Harry was waking up despite himself.

"He said to you that if the Heir needed a life that it should be his, right?"

"Something like that."

"If he would give his life for hers, and you saved her, then his life now belongs to you," Tim interjected.

"You're taking the piss."

"Not in the least. Next year's Head Boy is bound by magical law, and his own word, to repay you for Ginny's life. We, and I mean you, should take full, full advantage of it. Harry, next year we could own this school."

Harry was fully awake now, but his brain was still fuzzy. "To what end?"

"To the only end!" Draco answered. "Power!"

"If you had the sworn loyalty of the Head Boy, just imagine: bathing in the prefects' bathroom; he could get us books from the Restricted Section; you could sic him on the other Quidditch teams! The possibilities are endless!"

"Plus there's after he leaves school," Draco added. "Think about the future, Harry. Percy is going to go far in life, with Father's help. He might even be Minister for Magic someday. He's the sort you want to have on your side."

Harry was troubled. He had never even thought about these sorts of things. In the past, he had only fleetingly considered his future beyond Hogwarts. His only certainty was Voldemort, and finally undoing the last of the evil wizard's existence. His friends, on the other hand, had received proper upbringings geared towards taking their places in wizarding society. If Harry wanted to join them -- and he did! -- he needed to play by those rules.

"So what should I do?" he asked slowly.

"Ceremony," Tim said immediately. "Call him in, tell him to bow down to the Heir of Slytherin, and demand his loyalty. He won't like it much; he's four years older than us, and no prefect wants to acknowledge a younger student as his superior. In the end, though, he'll do it. He's got too much honour in him to refuse."

"And then?"

"Then you wait until you need something from him, something real."


"Meaning it would be amusing to be able to order him around like a slave, but pretty pointless," Draco told him. "He's a resource to be exploited prudently. Ronald we could order around for endless fun, but Percy should not be wasted."

Harry turned it over in his mind.

"Ok," he said finally. "Let me get dressed."

He chose his clothes with care, instinctively knowing that he was about to set in motions events that would have severe ramifications. How things would change, Harry didn't know. His hair refused to stay groomed, as usual, but otherwise he looked downright smart -- at least as smart as possible in only a few minutes' time. While he dressed, Draco directed Crabbe and Goyle in the rearrangement of the room.

Harry's chair was set in front of the picture window that had such the wonderful view of the night sky and the moon shining down on the rippling lake below. Draco and Tim stood behind him, while Crabbe and Goyle flanked the door. Draco nodded that all was in readiness, and Tim's spell sent a beam of white light to touch the door with a quiet "click".

Percy's head poked in. "Harry? Finally awake?"

"Come in."

The older boy closed the door behind him. "I wanted to say my thanks without my brothers around," he began. "I was wrong about you. Ginny told us about You-Know-Who's diary and how he called himself Tom. She told us you saved her." Percy swallowed, his Adam's apple rising and falling sharply. "I don't know why you would do that for Ginny, but I thank you beyond what my unskilled tongue can express. I'd been forbidden to leave the common room, and Snape set the lads to keep me prisoner. He also took my wand, and even magicked me to make sure I couldn't go wandering. I was madder than an angry hornet, but he told me if I even stepped into the corridor that I'd go twitching with pain, and the anchor spell would keep me from getting five steps. Harry, you did what I would have died to do, and I don't know how I can ever repay you."

"I want your pledge of loyalty."

Percy started. "Excuse me?"

"I want to know that I can call upon you at some point in the future. I'm sure someone as bright as you will wind up in very influential places."

"You want me to owe you a favour?"

"Not just one favour," Draco told him. "Nor any finite number. Fall down on your knees, Percy Weasley. Swear your loyalty to Lord Potter, the Heir of Slytherin."

"The Heir of Slytherin!" Percy gasped. "So it was you that kidnapped my sister!"

"I did not!" Harry said in a firm tone. "I killed the one who did, and I am Slytherin's Heir now. I saved Ginny's life."

"He saved Ginny from a horrible fate. Her soul was being devoured, and she would have died in the Chamber were it not for Lord Potter," Draco said. "And so really it should be her standing here," he added. "Which isn't such a bad idea, you know."

"You wanted to give your life for Ginny's. I accept that offer. I have returned her to you, and now you will give me the payment you so freely offered."

"You'd better pledge your life to the will of Lord Potter," Tim advised. "Unless you're prepared to welch on a magical debt. Make your choice."

"Accept your fate and pay your debt," Draco said.

"It's what a real wizard would do."

Percy's face was a study in confusion. He looked back and forth from Tim to Draco and back to Harry, who kept a stern look on his face, mimicking Professor Snape as best he could. Harry could read all the thoughts running through Percy's mind.

"Kneel," he commanded softly.

Percy let out a shuddering breath, bowed his head, and sank to his knees. "I made the deal, and I will keep it. My life is yours."

"You're a good student," Tim said. "Give Lord Potter the oath of used by the Order of Merlin."

"I swear by the magic in my soul and the blood in my veins that I will be faithful to the Lord Potter, to loyally serve his will, and never cause him harm. Let my life be an instrument of his will now and forever. Upon my life, I will observe my homage to him as vassal completely against all persons in good faith and without deceit."

Well that certainly was elaborate. Harry slowly exhaled the breath he'd been holding in. This little ceremony was turning out to be far more intense than he had thought it would. He hadn't been fully prepared to accept this new mantle; he'd only been the Heir of Slytherin for a few hours. He was still only Harry, not this Lord Potter. But he would be, someday.

"Rise." Percy stood. "Tell no one of this."

"I won't."

Harry had had enough of this play-acting. "Keep my secrets. You may go."

Percy bowed his head once more, turned, and exited. When the door had shut behind him, Draco let out a brief laugh.

"Looks like you were right, Tim."

"Of course I was right," Tim retorted. "When are you going to realize that I'm always right?"

* * *

After a few more hours of sleep, Harry felt much better. He was actually perky at breakfast as he chowed down on eggs, sausage, and toast. More than anything, he felt awesome relief that he could go to his morning Potions lesson instead of packing his bags to leave. The threat of the Heir of Slytherin had passed, and the second year Slytherin students were very relaxed -- a marked change from Harry's recent brooding, which had put them all on edge.

"What's got you lot so cheery?" Miles Bletchley asked over his coffee mug. "I can barely keep my eyes open."

"You should be getting plenty of sleep with Quidditch practices being cancelled," Harry retorted. "I just hope we're ready for Ravenclaw in two weeks."

Bletchley raised an eyebrow. "How did you know that matches are back on? I only heard a few minutes ago from Madam Hooch."

"So that means we have practice today?"

"Yes, it does. Well?"

"Well what?"

"Are you going to answer my question?"

"What question?"

Bletchley snorted. "Just for that, I'm going to work you over today."

"As opposed to any other day?"

"Shut up, Potter."

"That's 'Lord Potter' to him," Jenna whispered in Harry's ear. Harry nearly spit out his juice.

"Girlfriend whispering in your ear, Potter?" Bole teased him from the other side of Bletchley.

Harry snickered, but his response was cut off by Professor McGonagall clearing her throat in front of the High Table.

"Attention everyone! I have a very important announcement." The Great Hall quieted from its dull roar. "Last night, one of our students was kidnapped into the Chamber of Secrets by the Heir of Slytherin."

Gasps arose from all corners as those who hadn't known were shocked to the quick.

"But the Heir made a mistake!" the Deputy Headmistress trumpeted. "And his path to the Chamber was traced. The Heir, and the Beast, were killed. The threat to Hogwarts is lifted!"

Riotous cheering erupted. Months of tension and pressure were released all at once in an explosive display. It was like celebrating a Quidditch match, but for the whole school. Harry joined in, even as he wondered how old McGonagall could lie to them with such a straight face.

"I wonder if Lockhart'll try to say he did it all," Jenna mused.

"Speaking of, where is the great pillock?" Millie wanted to know.

"Maybe his hair wasn't right," Tim suggested.

"While the Mandrakes will not be ready for another few weeks-"

"Three weeks," Professor Sprout interjected.

"-three weeks, we can at least rest easy knowing that the threat is ended."

Cheers came from those Houses of Petrified students.

"Back to normal," Pansy sighed with relief. "Which means classes."

"All of the new security measures are hereby rescinded, and Quidditch practices may resume as normal."

More cheering, louder this time, as Gryffindor and Slytherin joined in.

That day of classes seemed as light-hearted and carefree as the first day back from holiday. Professor Snape even seemed almost cheery as they brewed up some Pest Repellant Potion. Professor Flitwick smiled as he lectured, and his voice was once again chipper. Even Professor McGonagall wasn't nearly as curt with the Slytherins as she usually was. Collectively, the castle breathed one huge sigh of relief.

With the one mystery solved, new mysteries sprouted up to confound the castle. First and foremost was the question of what had happened to Professor Lockhart. Nobody seemed to know where he had gone. Harry didn't care, per se, but it was mighty strange that the man had just up and vanished without an entire parade band playing. He failed to appear for his classes, and Jessica Conejo, the Head Girl, brought the word that his office had been emptied.

Professor Snape called the house together in the common room that night. After returning from dinner, all Slytherins loitered around making small talk while they waited. After only a few minutes, their Head of House came through the wall.

"As you are all now no doubt aware, Professor Lockhart has abandoned us," Snape began dryly. "What you may not know is that last night, when the student was kidnapped into the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart was charged with saving her. He was given a free rein to end the threat from the Heir of Slytherin, and he chose the path of the chicken-heart, of the frightened field mouse and the scared porlock."

Angry denunciations broke out amongst the Slytherins. Snape waited until they had petered out before continuing.

"So we are left without a Defence teacher. As the school year is nearly over, there is little point to bringing in someone new, so I will be taking over your lessons."

"Prodigious!" Blaise clapped.

"Tally!" Draco cheered.

Scattered applause echoed their sentiments.

"The other Heads of House will be teaching their own students. As you all ought to know by now, I will be no easy taskmaster. Some of you have already come to me in preparation for the O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s given Lockhart's --"

"Incompetence?" Lawrence Derrick, a sixth year, suggested.

"As you will," Snape smiled. "I suggest you catch up on your readings. My evaluations begin tomorrow. Until then, a good night to you all."

As the wall closed behind him, the Slytherin students were already complaining good-naturedly about Professor Snape's evaluations. Nobody really meant it though; every comment was accompanied by a broad smile. Everyone knew that Snape had long coveted the Defence position. Even if he were only teaching his own, perhaps it would reflect well on him and he could get the job next year.

He deserved it too, Harry thought the next day as he and his friends walked away from the classroom in amazement. Harry hadn't learned so much since the Christmas holiday with Tim's father. Even if Snape had made good on his promise to be a strict taskmaster, it was better than being lied to every lesson by Lockhart.

Snape's famous questions continued in Defence. Harry often felt like he was on some Muggle contest programme on the telly. If I were, Harry thought with pride, I'd be in the lead. Tim had been keeping score of his own points, so of course Pansy had had to do better. The Slytherins being who they were, they had all soon joined in. Currently Harry had the most, but Tim and Blaise were very close behind; Draco and Pansy were neck and neck as well, with Crabbe, Millie, Goyle, and Jenna holding their own.

Sometimes it felt like his head was spinning with all hexes, curses, and jinxes they were learning. There were three important characteristics of a spell, according to Professor Snape: You must possess the words; You must know the effects; You must have the counter. He drilled the words into them like a mantra.

Harry's respect for his Head grew enormously. He'd been told his first night at Hogwarts, by Elan Malfoy, that Snape knew a lot about the Dark Arts. That statement had obviously been impressed upon the elder Malfoy brother at some point in his schooling; now Harry saw the proof of it with his own eyes.

They were seeing Professor Snape more than just in class now. He seemed to have set up shop in the Slytherin common room, sitting at a table in the far corner, always with his head bowed and quill scratching away. He wasn't brewing, though, so it was safe to interrupt him. The man seemed determined to make sure they got the full year's learning they were entitled to.

* * *

Professor Snape came around several weeks later with the forms for the new classes. They had to pick two new subjects out of a list of five choices, but one of those subjects was Muggle Studies. Harry had absolutely no desire to study Muggles; he had seen more than enough first-hand. Care of Magical Creatures sounded interesting, but Professor Kettleburn did not have a reputation for safety. Divination didn't sound too bad either, but Sam Palce, the sixth year prefect, cautioned him about looking too much towards the future.

"The future is always in motion," he said sagely. "I think it's more important to focus on the here and now. Make improvements and take action in order to bring about the future you want to have."

Harry's choices had been effectively made for him, but he didn't mind. Draco had signed up for Arithmancy and Ancient Runes without any hesitation at all. Tim, Pansy, Blaise, and Jenna likewise opted for "Double A's", as Slytherin House called the two challenging classes. Harry would be in good company.

Which was not to say that the other classes would have a lack of Slytherins. Crabbe, Goyle, and Millie all signed up for Care of Magical Creatures. Each was also taking one of the "A's" (Ancient Runes for Goyle, Arithmancy for Crabbe and Millie).

Jenna had been very insistent that she would not sit up in the Divination Tower by herself. The funny girl was taking a third class, and she teased Crabbe and Goyle into putting their names down as well. Harry thought it quite ambitious of the trio.

Harry sought out the opinions of all his prefects, even though he'd already chosen his subjects. It seemed a smart idea to sound out the general feeling about what was good and what was to be avoided. He made an effort to act normal with Percy, as though the incident in the second years' room hadn't happened. Percy was quiet but thoughtful, and his advice for Harry to stick to Double A's was persuasive.

Somehow, relative normality had come back to Hogwarts. Hagrid reappeared at the High Table in mid-May. The appropriate paperwork must have eventually made its way through the Ministry bureaucracy. His face was a bit paler, Harry noticed, and his hands trembled whenever he lifted his big goblet. Maybe it was the enforced absence of drink. Otherwise he seemed none the worse for wear after his bid in Azkaban.

Since the Chamber of Secrets had been closed, the terror of the past year had begun to fade in the minds of the students. Easy laughter could now be heard in most corners of the castle, chasing away the shadows of fear. With the Mandrakes harvested, chopped, and stewed, the petrified Muggleborns had been returned to normal with Professor Snape's Restorative Draught. Each one confirmed for the school that the legendary Beast had indeed been a basilisk; each was greatly relieved to learn of its demise.

Only Hufflepuff House didn't seem the same. That was only reasonable, considering that they'd actually lost a member to the Heir's purge. The second years still wept at the drop of a hat, and the prefects didn't smile anymore. The house's relations with Slytherin House, never the best, deteriorated further.

Harry personally didn't care. He wasn't friendly with any Hufflepuffs, and he'd had far worse disrespect from certain Gryffindors. Their attitude was irritating, especially considering who the true culprit had been, but he kept his mouth shut. Speaking out would only draw attention to himself. He didn't feel like talking about it in any case.

Neither he nor his friends discussed the momentous events of the year. Exams were only a short time away, and most conversation was oriented around school work. Their routine consisted of nothing but studying. Harry even stopped reading his morning paper until Tim shared the story about Lockhart's disappearance from Hogwarts. School Governor Lucius Malfoy had been quoted with some very harsh things to say about suspended Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and his hiring practices.

But even the unanswered question of the Headmaster position could not much interest the Slytherins, or the rest of the school for that matter. Though there had been wide-spread jubilation for the end of the threatening times, the students were very worn out from the constant stress of the year. All anyone wanted to do, it seemed, was finish up the year, go home, and take a holiday in some tropical country. Harry was waxing wisftful about an island, actually, when Percy pulled him aside for a private conversation.

"Harry, I've got a favour to ask of you."

The last time Percy asked a favour, he had wound up with far more than he bargained for. What might Harry get out of him this time?

"So ask."

"It's Ginny," Percy confessed. "She's not been doing well. We know now why she's been acting very strange all year. The whole of Gryffindor House knows she was abducted, though we've kept the truth of things under wraps as much as possible. What few friends she managed to make in the beginning of the year were pushed away by Christmas. She came to me crying yesterday that they flat-out told her they think she's weird and want nothing to do with her. She's only a first year; she's got to live with these people for the next six years."

"What's this got to do with me?"

"Could you maybe be friends with her?" Percy asked. "Nobody else could possibly understand what she's been through, and I'm worried for her."

So Ginny Weasley had become an outcast. Harry felt a wrench of sympathy. He'd been an outcast once before and knew it wasn't fun. House meant family at Hogwarts, but what happened when the house rejected you?

"What about your brothers?" Harry wanted to know. "Don't they care?"

Percy made a rude noise. "Those jokesters just told her to chin up. They've been tormenting her with hissing noises and snake jokes. Ron is too upset that you saved her to even think about how she feels. I've only got a year left, and what happens when I'm gone?"

"Everyone needs friends," Harry agreed. "If she's willing to be seen with us awful Slytherins, I'll let her hang around."

Percy bowed his head. "Thank you. And thank you for her, too."

Ginny wasted no time in seeking out Harry's company. The red-haired girl joined the second year Slytherins at dinner that very night. With an admirable sort of directness, she held her chin high as she walked straight to the Slytherin table, not even glancing towards her house.

"Look what we have here," Pansy smirked. "A lost Gryffindor."

"Not lost, Parkinson," Ginny replied coolly, "just adventurous."

Tim snickered as blood coloured Pansy's face. "She's witty."

"Witty enough," Ginny retorted. "For you. Potter, I'd like to join your little group here."

"Are you brave enough to sit with Slytherins, little Weasley?" Jenna asked with a touch of a lilt.

"You haven't managed to kill my brother yet. Old Percy seems fairly happy to boot."

"You know, don't you, that once you go green, you have to get mean?" Tim asked pointedly. "We're a rough crowd."

"I grew up with six brothers, Nott. It doesn't get much rougher than that."

"Why do you want to join us?" Draco inquired. If anyone would have objection to this, he would.

"Because I don't think you'll judge me," Ginny said bluntly. "Those tossers who are supposed to be my friends think there's something wrong with me."

"And they'd be right," Harry noted pertinently. "You're a Gryffindor who wants to be friends with Slytherins."


"So nothing," Harry grinned. "I think it's smashing good fun. Have a seat."

Relief broke over Ginny's face. Her freckles rearranged themselves across her nose as she smiled. "Thank you. I really didn't want to have to walk back over there."

"Particularly not after the gratuitous snubbing you gave your house tonight," Blaise noted. "Ronald looks fit to be tied."

"Now there's an idea," Ginny giggled.

"I have a proposition," Jenna announced. "What say you all to a moratorium on adopting Weasleys?"

to be continued...

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 reader, Christi. This fic would not be possible without her help. I loff you so much, Christi!