The excitement of the night before was not completely forgotten in the boys' dormitory that morning as the young wizards started to dress for the day. Draco looked in his unpacked trunk to find his uniform had changed from the basic black and grey to that of grey with gold and red accents. His ties were also gold and red, and his robe sported a gold and red lion to indicate his house loyalties.
"I can't believe our wardrobe magically changed!" Dean exclaimed excitedly as he, Ron, Draco, Neville, and Harry walked down the stairs to the Common Room to make their way to the Great Hall for breakfast.
"I have to say, I think I look good in red," Draco teased as he pretended to pose causing Ron, Harry, and Dean to laugh out loud. Even Neville gave a little chuckle as he kept his word to try and give Draco a chance. However, when the boys entered the Common Room, they were shocked to see Professor McGonagall waiting by the fireplace.
"I'm sorry to catch you before breakfast, but I'm afraid I need to escort Mr. Malfoy to the Headmaster's office this instant," she said leaving no room for debate.
Draco turned around to face the lads he had just come to know, giving them a brave smile. "I'll see you guys in class."
The rest of the boys departed leaving Draco and McGonagall alone in the Common Room. She motioned for Draco to walk out the portrait hole and follow her to the Professor Dumbledore's office.
As they were walking through the corridor, Draco looked up at her and asked, although he didn't really say it as a question, "It's my father, isn't it?"
"He came first thing this morning and demanded an audience with the Headmaster," McGonagall explained.
"He's going to try to pull me out of the school. He threatened to last night in a howler unless I was moved to Slytherin," Draco told McGonagall.
"And what do you want to have happen, Mr. Malfoy?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"I don't want to leave, but I don't want to be in Slytherin either," Draco answered honestly.
"I will admit, I was a bit shocked when I heard the hat pronounce you a Gryffindor," McGonagall admitted.
"You don't need to apologize to me, Professor. Believe me, you aren't the first person to judge me on the basis of my family. All I'm asking for is a chance to prove myself. Let me show the school that I do belong in Gryffindor," Draco pleaded.
McGonagall stopped walking after hearing his request and turned to face Draco. "When the founders came together to form this school, the idea behind the different houses was to foster underlying traits shared among groups of students. It was never intended to create this animosity that is present today. My point, Mr. Malfoy, is that you may not appear to be a traditional Gryffindor, but that does not mean that you do not belong in this house. I will do everything I can to keep you where you belong."
Professor Dumbledore's office was tucked away at the end of a corridor in the west tower and guarded by a rather large but elegant gargoyle statue. Professor McGonagall faced the statute head on and clearly spoke, "Sugar Quill."
The gargoyle started to move as it coiled to form a spiral staircase up to the office. Draco followed Professor McGonagall up the stairs and through another archway where he could clearly hear his father yelling at the Headmaster.
"This is an outrage! As a member of the Board of Governors…"
"As a member of the Board of Governors, Lucius, you are well aware that the Sorting Hat's determination is final, and no parent or ministry official has the power to change that. Once the student is sorted, the magical contract has been formed. I'm sure you are aware of the possible implications that has to your son should you resort to breaking it," Dumbledore explained patiently before turning to see Professor McGonagall and Draco step into the office.
"Headmaster, Mr. Malfoy," McGonagall greeted politely.
"Ah, Draco. Please explain to the Headmaster you wish to be transferred immediately," Lucius commanded as he pointed his cane from the boy to Dumbledore.
"I… Headmaster…" Draco took a deep breath as he looked between McGonagall, his father, and Dumbledore before finally speaking. "I wish to stay in my house."
Draco looked down at the floor refusing to meet his father's disappointed glare when Dumbledore spoke. "You see, Lucius, the hat was not mistaken. Clearly your son has made ties to the house he was placed in."
"He will have no further ties, because I will be unenrolling him immediately," Lucius said calmly.
Draco was about to speak up in defense of his decision, but he saw a twinkle from the Headmaster's eye that caused him to close his mouth and allow Dumbledore to speak.
"I'm surprised, Lucius. Most parents would be honored to have their child sorted into the same house as Harry Potter."
Lucius raised an eyebrow at the statement. "Is that so?"
"Quite," the Headmaster nodded.
Lucius was quiet for a few moments, looking between McGonagall and Dumbledore before he focused his eyes on Draco. "Would the two of you mind giving my son and I a few moments?"
Dumbledore motioned for McGonagall to follow him in retreating to the other side of the office as Lucius approached Draco. He lowered his face and spoke quietly into his ear to ask, "You are sharing a dorm room with Harry Potter?"
"Yes, father," Draco whispered back.
"This is indeed quite fortuitous," Lucius said. Draco looked up to see his father mentally calculating something in his head before the man spoke again. "I expect you to befriend him. Get close. Learn everything you can, and send me weekly owls as to your knowledge and progress of the boy. Failure to do so will result in… some unpleasant consequences."
The ominous threat hung in the air leaving Draco with only a few options. One, he could outright deny his father's request and almost certainly be sent back to the dormitory to pack his trunk. Two, he could accept and obey his father's request, but that would definitively cause him to lose any hope of making friends. However, it was the only option that would guarantee he would be permitted to stay in Hogwarts and in Gryffindor house.
You could lie, the third option whispered in the back of Draco's mind. It was not a very honorable thought. In fact, it was almost… Slytherin of him. He could send his weekly letters as requested by his father, but lie as to the nature of the information Harry would share with him. In this way, he could keep everything. Secure his means to stay at Hogwarts, stay in Gryffindor, but not at the cost of losing his friends.
With the clever thought rolling through his head, Draco smiled and said, "I accept, father."
Just then, Dumbledore and McGonagall came back to see if Lucius and Draco were finished speaking. Lucius turned to the two and said, "It appears I have had a change in heart. Draco can remain."
"That's wonderful to hear, Lucius," Dumbledore replied. The old Headmaster sounded please and possessed a conspiratorial glint in his eye.
"If Draco is no longer needed, I believe he can still head to the Great Hall for some breakfast before his first class," McGonagall suggested.
"Yes, quite right. Do run along Draco. Enjoy your first day," Lucius said dismissing his son. Draco controlled the speed of his walk until he was out of the Headmaster's office. Once he was down the stairs, he ran with joy all the way to the Great Hall taking his seat next to Hermione. Harry and Ron perked up when they saw Draco sitting down at the table.
"There you are, Draco! What happened this morning?" Hermione asked.
"My father requested me in the Headmaster's office. He was threatening to have me placed in Slytherin or pull me out," Draco informed them as he piled some scramble eggs onto his plate.
"Blimey!" Dean said as everyone stopped eating to lean in closer to hear what happened next.
"Is a re-sort even possible," Hermione speculated. "I've never read about anyone being re-sorted in Hogwarts: A History."
"That would be because it has never been requested, "Percy explained from further down the table. "Besides, to do so would be impossible. When the founders created the school in 990 A.D., the hat was created as a way to ensure students were properly sorted after their deaths. The sorting itself creates a contract between the student and the school, binding them to the house as chosen. Breaking magical contracts have unforeseeable consequences. No one can predict what could happen which is why no one has ever tried."
The Gryffindor table erupted in low mummers and gasps at the extent it would take to re-sort a person. When the initial shock had worn its way through the table, everyone leaned in closer waiting for Draco to continue the story.
"Oddly enough, Dumbledore used Harry to get me to stay, which can't be good because now my father an ulterior motive," Draco explained.
"Used me how?" Harry asked, surprise coloring his tone.
"He used your name. Essentially argued that I should stay because I was in the same house as you. It was apparently enough to convince him," Draco finished before taking a large bite of eggs.
"What did you mean that your father had an ulterior motive?" Neville asked skeptically.
After Draco finished chewing, he turned towards Neville and answered, "He wants me to send him weekly letters giving him information about Harry. Said this was the only way I could stay in Hogwarts and in Gryffindor."
"Draco, that's horrible!" Hermione gasped.
"And you agreed to that?" Harry asked, sort of confused and offended at the prospect of someone reporting everything he was doing.
"Not exactly. See, this is where I need all your help. I'm not going to tell him anything… at least, not anything important. Hopefully we can come up with some rubbish to send him," Draco explained. He was internally holding his breath as he looked around at the shocked faces at the table. He couldn't tell if they were at what transpired from the re-sort request or at Draco's plea to help him stay in Gryffindor.
After a few moments of silence, it was Fred Weasley that pipped in. "Young, Malfoy."
"It would be our pleasure to assist you in this epic prank," George Weasley finished. The redheaded twins had their signature mischievous glint in their eyes to indicate they were concocting all kinds chaos.
After hearing the endorsement from the Weasley Twins, the rest of the table relaxed and either went back to their breakfast or offered some suggestions of outlandish rumors Draco could supply. While the table was settling down, Hermione leaned over and whispered to Draco, "Won't you get in trouble?"
"Only if I'm caught, love," Draco smirked and winked eliciting a quiet laugh from her.
Hermione and Draco were sitting next to each other in Transfiguration trying to complete the assignment McGonagall had given then when all of a sudden, the door burst opened. They both turned to see Harry and Ron running into the classroom looking for an empty two-person desk.
Draco was smirking at their tardiness as he watched and waited for the train wreck that he thought was about to happen, while Hermione rolled her eyes and went back to her assignment. She had no sympathy for the boys' plight.
Ron sighed quietly to Harry. "We made it! Can you imagine the look on McGonagall's face if we were late?"
Draco placed a hand over his mouth to cover the laugh that was bubbling up when he saw the tabby cat perched on the desk leap off and transform into Professor McGonagall. Both Harry's and Ron's jaws dropped as McGonagall approached them.
"That was bloody brilliant!" Weasley exclaimed. Draco quietly snorted causing Hermione to look over and shoot him an annoyed look.
"It's not funny!" she mouthed to him.
"It's a little funny," he mouthed back.
"Well thank you for that assessment, Mr. Weasley. Perhaps it would be more useful if I transfigured yourself or Mr. Potter into a pocket watch? That way one of you might be on time," McGonagall chastised.
"We got lost," Harry explained.
"Then perhaps a map. I trust you don't need one to find your seats," McGonagall said perturbed. Harry and Ron quickly took their seats and opened their books to the assignment McGonagall had provided them on the board in the front of the classroom.
When the Professor's back was turned, Hermione looked up from her work and to catch Draco's glance. Smiling a little bit, she rolled her eyes again before refocusing on her assignment.
Draco smiled, pleased that he got Hermione to silently admit that the situation with Harry and Ron was indeed, a little funny.
"I'm the most excited about Potions! My mother and I used to brew together back at the manor," Draco told Hermione in their next class. The Potions classroom, unfortunately, was quite a hike for the first years for it was located in the Dungeons of the castle. Ingredients were stored all along the walls, while the majority of the room was occupied by long wooden tables sturdy enough hold several cauldrons at once.
Everyone was seated when the door violently flew open, causing the ingredients along the wall to rattle. Professor Snape came charging into the classroom, a dour look on his face that instantly caused everyone to cease conversations when the Professor turn around and spoke. "There will be no foolish wand waving or silly incantations in this class. As such, I don't expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making. However, for those select few who possess the predisposition…"
Snape looked directly at Draco, making the young Gryffindor smile slightly at the compliment. Hermione noticed the subtle look and made a mental note to ask Draco about it later while Snape continued his introductory speech.
"I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death."
Draco's eyebrows raised at the possibilities when he noticed Snape's demeanor change once again.
"Then again," Snape continued as he zeroed in on a student behind Draco. "Maybe some of you have come to Hogwarts with abilities so formidable that you feel confident enough to not pay attention."
Hermione and Draco turned their heads around to see Ron nudging Harry to put his quill away.
"Mr. Potter," Snape drew out his name before continuing. "Our new celebrity."
Ron visibility gulped while Harry hardened his gaze at Snape. Draco tried not to roll his eyes as he watched the Professor slink closer to Ron and Harry's table.
"Tell me, what would I get if I added powered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" Snape asked Harry.
Sleeping potion, Draco mentally thought while Hermione immediately raised her hand at the question. Draco smirked at her, knowing Snape wasn't going to call on anyone in the room, before turning back to look at Harry.
Harry shook his head, prompting Snape to continue. "You don't know? Let's try again. Where, Mr. Potter, would I look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?"
In a goat's stomach, Draco thought again. Hermione tried to raise her arm even higher in an attempt to get Snape's attention, but to no avail.
"I don't know, Sir," Harry replied tersely.
"And what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?"
Monkshood is associated with 'chivalry' while wolfsbane can mean 'misanthropy' or a dislike of others. Though, really, they are the same plant, Draco mentally answered again. Hermione's hand never went down, yet Snape refused to call on her.
"I don't know, Sir," Harry replied again in a defeated tone.
Hermione gave the dark-haired wizard a look of disbelief before finally putting her hand down. Snape coolly glared at famous Gryffindor before scoffing. "Pity. Clearly, fame isn't everything, is it, Mr. Potter?"
Before Draco could blink, the first month of classes passed and turned into the beginning of October. The homework and lessons were relentless, but Hermione kept motivating him to not give up.
"I hate him!" Harry said as he and Ron walked to their spots at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. Draco and Hermione were already sitting down working on some reading.
"Who?" Hermione asked.
"Snape," Ron and Harry answered at the same time, causing Draco to chuckle.
"What's so funny, Malfoy?" Ron asked.
"Snape really isn't that bad. He is a Potions Master and a brilliant teacher. You just got on his bad side," Draco explained.
"And how do you know?" Harry asked.
"I was actually going to ask the same. That first day when he introduced himself, he seemed to indicate you had a… what was it… 'predisposition' to the art?" Hermione smirked as she lightly teased Draco.
Draco threw his hands up in mock surrender. "Alright, you caught me. So, growing up I had many private tutors and during the summer…"
"Well, out with it!" Harry encouraged.
"During the summer, Snape was one of my tutors. He's friends with my mother, and he helped me with basic Potion techniques. I can already brew most of the first-year potions," Draco admitted.
"Bloody Hell," Ron sighed in disbelief.
"Oh, don't smirk, Draco Malfoy. Just because you have an unfair advantage in one subject, doesn't mean I'm not going to beat you for the top spot," Hermione said.
Draco couldn't tell if she was teasing him or if she was genuinely annoyed, but he widened his smirk and said back, "Challenge accepted, Granger."
Suddenly, everyone in the room jumped at the sound of an explosion, but then quickly started laughing when they saw Seamus from the Hufflepuff table had blown up his water goblet trying to turn it into rum.
Hermione was waving her hand in front of her nose to clear the stench of smoldering hair when the ceiling of the Great Hall started to fill up with owls dropping letters and packages off to the various students.
"Ah! Mail's here," Ron said looking up with excitement.
All the students were catching and unwrapping their packages when Dean suddenly cried out, "Hey! Look everyone! Neville's got a Rememberall!"
"I've read about those! The smoke turns red when you've forgotten something," Hermione informed her house mate as she unfolded a letter from her parents.
Draco too was opening a letter from his mother when Neville's ball turned red. The boy stared at the ball in his hand before he turned to Hermione and said, "The only problem is, I can't remember what I've forgotten."
"Hey, Ron. Someone broke into Gringotts. Listen… 'Believed to be the work of Dark wizards or witches unknown, Gringotts goblins acknowledge the breach but insist nothing was taken. The vault in question, number 713, had been emptied earlier that same day.' That's odd. That's the vault Hagrid and I went to," Harry contemplated.
Hermione had a puzzled look on her face when Ron asked, "And you have no idea what was in the vault?"
"Whatever it was, it clearly had to be something invaluable to risk being that stupid. Gringotts is impenetrable. No one can break into it without getting out, at least, not without getting out alive," Draco said.
The conversation died after Draco's final comment by Dean coming up to them to tell them it was time to head to their first flying class. The anticipation of being able to ride a broom filled the young witches and wizards with such excitement that everyone forgot to tell Neville he had forgotten his robes.
It was an unusually sunny and calm day when the first years stood in parallel lines behind two rows of training brooms laid out on the lawn. The students were waiting patiently with their hands down at their sides when a witch with spikey short hair walked in between the students. "Good afternoon, class."
"Good afternoon, Madam Hooch," the children all responded in unison.
After putting on her gloves and addressing a few students personally, Madam Hooch turned around to address to the rest of the class. "Welcome to your first flying lesson. Well, what are you waiting for? Everyone step-up to the left side of their broomstick. Quickly now, come on, hurry up!"
The students all followed the instructions as they watched Madam Hooch's demonstration. "Stick your right hand over the broom and say, 'up.' "
Harry rigidly held out his hand and shouted up, the broom immediately obeying his command. Hermione looked over in confusion while Draco chuckled.
"Up," Draco said with an air of authority, causing the broom to immediately fly up into this waiting hand.
Hermione whipped her head over to see Draco smirking at her with his broom in hand. He gave her a quick wink causing her to scrunch her nose in annoyance as she kept trying to command the broom to come to her. The broom was being most uncooperative and kept flopping around on the ground like a fish out of water.
"With feeling," Madam Hooch advised to the students struggling.
"Up!" Ron yelled at his broom, causing the wood handle to fly off the ground and hit him in the face.
Harry and Draco laughed hysterically at Ron, causing the embarrassed redhead to rub his nose and tell them to shut up before he tried again.
Hermione's continued to roll on the ground fueling her frustration as she continued to try and command the broom. She noticed she was quickly becoming one of the few students who couldn't get the broom off the ground. Nervous sweat began to form on her palms as she felt the tell-tale signs of a panic attack begin to tighten in her chest.
"You need to relax, Hermione," Draco advised. "Take a deep breath and trust that the broom will come to you."
"Trust? But that wasn't in the book…" Hermione started to argue, but Draco cut her off.
"You can spend all day reading about the theory, love. But sometimes, magic requires you to just feel it for it to work. If you don't trust the broom, then trust me. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. And when you're ready, say 'up,'" Draco said as he waited and watched Hermione follow his instructions.
Right hand out, eyes closed, and breath released, Hermione spoke loudly and clearly. "Up!" Her words caused the broom to rise slowly but gracefully into her hand. Upon contact with the wood, Hermione's eye shot open as she let out a relieved gasp at being able to summon the broom. The sweat had dried up in her hand and she no longer felt she might hyperventilate. Draco had once again helped her control her panic attack.
She looked over and saw that Draco was smiling at her success. The sweet grin made Hermione's heart do an unexpected flutter as she gave him a grateful smile for helping her.
"Now, once you've got hold of your broom, I want you to mount it," Madam Hooch instructed after she saw all the students had successfully called their brooms. "Grip it tight. You don't want to be sliding off the end."
Madam Hooch continued to circle her class as she gave the final bits of her instructions. "When I blow my whistle, I want each of you to kick off from the ground, hard. Keep your broom steady, hover for a moment, then lean forward slightly and touch back down. On my mark, three, two…"
Once the whistle blew, Neville's broom unexpectedly rose straight into the air startling the young Gryffindor.
"Mr. Longbottom!" Madam Hooch shouted, but the broom kept rising higher and higher until it was at least twenty feet in the air.
"Down! Down!" Neville screamed at the enchanted stick. The poor boy became hysterical when he realized the broom was refusing to follow any commands. His fear caused him to loosen his grip and slide sideways off the handle. Neville screamed as he fell down to the ground face first, smacking onto the grass with a loud snap. His broomstick, completely forgotten, drifted lazily toward the forbidden forest and out of sight.
Several students cried out after watching Neville fall, but none moved forward to help him as they heard the loud and demanding voice of Madam Hooch approach. "Everyone out of the way!"
Neville was groaning in pain as Madam Hooch leaned down and carefully picked up Neville. The flying Professor was examining poor Neville when Hermione whispered to Draco, "Is he alright?"
Draco nodded at her when they turned back at the sound of Madam Hooch clucking her tongue. "Oh, dear, it's a broken wrist. Come on now, up you go."
Everyone was so focused on Neville that no one was paying attention to the fact that Gryffindor had dropped his Rememberall, or to the fact that it was currently being picked up by Blaise Zabini.
"Everyone is to keep their feet firmly on the ground while I take Mr. Longbottom to the hospital wing. Understand?" Madam Hooch commanded. "If I see a single broom in the air, the one riding it will find themselves out of Hogwarts before anyone can say Quidditch."
Once the Professor had left the group of first years alone, Theo started laughing obnoxiously. "Did you see his face?"
Blaise threw the dropped Rememberall up in the air for Theo, who reached out and caught it. Theo threw it back to Blaise who said, "Maybe if the fat lump remembered to give this a squeeze, he'd have remembered to fall on his fat arse."
The Slytherins all started snickering and laughing when Harry stepped up. "Give it here, Zabini."
Blaise turned around to face Harry. "No, I don't think I will.
"I think we should leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find," Theo suggested
Blaise hopped up on his broom and flew high above the courtyard, holding the Rememberall in one hand while he taunted Harry below. "How about on the roof?"
Theo also mounted his broom and followed Blaise. The two were hovering in the air when Theo looked down and said, "What's the matter, Potter? Bit beyond your reach?"
Harry gritted his teeth as he watched Zabini continue to juggle the Rememberall back and forth with Nott. Draco moved forward to stand next to Harry when he said, "I'll distract Nott. You grab the Rememberall from Zabini."
Harry nodded in agreement at the plan as the two moved forward slightly to mount their brooms. Upon seeing what the two boys were about to do, Hermione pushed her way forward. "No way! You two heard what Madam Hooch said," she warned. "Besides, Harry, you don't even know how to fly."
Harry took off first, Draco following right behind him. He could barely hear Hermione calling them idiots through the rushing wind.
Harry was floating right across from Zabini when Draco did a wide sweep setting a collision course with Nott.
"Give it here Blaise, or I'll knock you off your broom!" Harry shouted. Just as Blaise was about to respond, Draco was already on course and rammed directly into Theo. The force caused both of them to drastically lose altitude and crash into the ground. Draco had much more experience with brooms, having grown up with a training one himself, so he was able to tumble and roll off without causing any damage to himself and the broom. The same could not be said for Theo who managed to knock his head pretty hard in the ground and break his nose.
The class gasped as they watched Draco and Theo tumble on the ground. Hermione and Ron ran over to help Draco up and were relieved to see that their friend was unharmed.
Up in the sky above, Blaise was annoyed at the lost of his partner when he turned his attention back to Harry. "Go fetch, Potter," he yelled before throw the Rememberall far across the courtyard.
Harry, without thinking, flew right past Blaise and dove after the Rememberall, his sole focus on catching the object before it could hit something and break. With his right hand up in the air, Harry reached out and grabbed the small ball, the force causing him to do a couple of rolls that stopped him from hitting the window he was about to collide with.
Smiling to himself, Harry let go of his broom for a second in astonishment that he had caught the Rememberall, not realizing that McGonagall saw Harry catch the object in midair on a broom from the window.
Harry drifted back towards the group of students as he held the Rememberall up in the air for them to see. The crowd, including Ron, Hermione, and Draco all started cheering and ran towards Harry.
Students were embracing Harry, congratulating him on his superb catch. Harry made eye contact with Draco before asking, "Are you alright?"
"All good, Mate. That was wicked, Harry. Nice job," Draco praised.
The two boys smiled at one another before the joyous celebrations were cut short by Professor McGonagall shouting, "Harry Potter! Follow me!"
Everyone got quiet as they watched Harry walk off towards the castle with the Gryffindor Head of House. Draco, Ron, and Hermione refused to look back at the snickering that the Slytherins were spewing in their direction.
"He's going to be alright, right?" Ron asked the two with just a slight quiver in his voice.
"I don't know," Hermione replied. "We all heard Madam Hooch's threat."
"There is no way Dumbledore is going to expel Harry. If anything, McGonagall will probably just deduct house points or give him detention," Draco assured Ron.
The redhead nodded in agreement as the group of students reconvened until the class was dismissed.