* Chapter 6 - the Green Gryffindor

With a blast of fetid perfume, Pansy Parkinson sidled into the carriage. At her side were Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott.

"Pansy." Draco acknowledged, his face expressionless.

"Aren't you pleased to see me, Drakie-Poo?" it was hard to tell if she was mocking him or not, but Harry was sure what he would bet his money on.

Ron guffawed into the tense silence that followed. He was ignored.

"Not as pleased as you must be to see me." Draco said after a pause.

Harry noticed Nott was staring at him with particular hatred whereas Pansy and Zabini were more focussed on Draco himself.

"We've come to warn you and your blood-traitor pals," Nott cut in when Pansy opened her mouth to speak again "watch your back."

"Well." Draco replied, his pale eyes passing them over with disdain "I'm frightened now."

"You should be." Pansy said, stepping forward, her voice sugary "Someone I know has plans for you."

"I don't think you'll like them to be honest Malfoy," Zabini said, speaking for the first time. His dark eyes didn't look half as threatening as the other two, despite his words "so why don't you do us all a favour and disappear."

"Right, you've said your piece, now get out." Harry said firmly, standing up with his wand trained at them. Ron followed him, but Draco didn't move a muscle. Hermione's had was tense on her wand, but she remained sitting, her eyes narrowed.

"Oh Draco, your new friends are so rude." Pansy giggled "But I suppose they can't help it. Breeding will out. Oh we'll go," she said, when Harry's wand twitched "Someone else will have plans for you lot." her eyes lingered on Harry "Someone we all know."

Her lips curled up in a wicked smile. "Bye." she turned and left the compartment with a twirl, and Nott followed her with a glare. Zabini shot Draco a loaded look before dropping his eyes and leaving.

There was silence in the compartment when they left.

"Slytherins are a creepy lot." Ron said finally, shuddering. "That Parkinson could take over from Bellatrix Lestrange."

"Zabini was warning you," Hermione said, speaking directly to Draco for the first time since King's Cross. "he was telling you to go into hiding."

"Gee really Granger," Draco shot back "thanks for clearing that up for me. Next time I need help understanding my own friends I'll be sure to drop you an owl."

"Oy!" Ron said, but Hermione shushed him while Harry did the same with Draco, noting that at least he hadn't called her the 'm' word again.

"I was just pointing out that you're not as alone as you might think." Hermione said huffily

"Oh really? You think if the Dark Lord told him to poison my pumpkin juice he wouldn't do it?" Draco snapped

Hermione's eyes went round, but Ron scoffed "Of course he would, you Slytherins are all the same!"

"Ron!" Harry snapped

"What? In case you haven't noticed he's still calling You-Know-Who "The Dark Lord', only Death Eaters call him that."

"Stuff a sock in it Weasley."

Once again Harry and Hermione were synchronised in stopping Ron and Draco from flying at each other.

"Look," Harry said tiredly "can we all just try to get along? I can't deal with this constantly, and we're all going to be practically living together for the next year."

He exchanged a look with Hermione when both boys sank back into their seats, their faces a picture of misery at this statement.

"You never know," Hermione said brightly "this could be a learning experience for all of us."

"Whoop-de-do." Ron said sarcastically while Draco looked at her like she had just proclaimed she had a crush on Snape.

The journey from Hogsmeade station to Hogwarts was uneventful, but Harry ensured he was near Draco the whole time. It wasn't until they reached the great hall that Draco stopped dead, and Harry could see why.

"Sit with us." Harry urged

"I can't."

"Draco, they'll poison you or something-"

"If I head straight to the traitor side of the room, what message does that give?" Malfoy snapped

"Don't eat anything." Harry warned

"I don't think it'll come to that." he replied, sweeping off in his second hand robes.

Sure enough, when he reached the Slytherin table, everyone shifted up a space so that, there was no space for him. When he went to sit at the empty side of the table reserved for first years, Zabini stood up.

"Don't bother, Malfoy!" Harry heard him say said coldly "Why don't you go and sit with your mudblood girlfriend?"

Other students on the Slytherin table began too boo and hiss at him; the ones who didn't merely looked bored or nervous. No one stood up for Draco, who finally turned and made his way back to Harry. Ron and Hermione were watching from the Gryffindor table, a seat kept empty for Harry.

Draco's face was carefully nonchalant, but Harry wasn't fooled; the hard glitter to his eyes was tell-tale. Harry shot a glare at the Slytherins. Was there anyone more despicable than someone who turns on their own friend?

"C'mon." he nodded towards Gryffindor, where Hermione was forcing everyone to make space, but Draco dragged his feet.

"Can we sit on the edge at least?" Malfoy said, his voice muted.

"What kind of message does that give?" Harry said calmly "They won't treat you like that here."

"Oh yeah? What makes Gryffindors so kind and accommodating? You know how I've been to them." his voice was bitter

"I'll deal with it, don't worry."

"I don't need you to - I just don't want to deal with that all over again!" Draco said, and there was an edge to his voice now 'I can't. I should leave"

"You don't need to deal with anything." Harry said, trying to sound confident, despite being unnerved by Malfoy's tone. The rejection from his house must have really gotten to him. "Just put on your face, and leave the talking to me."

"Put on my face?" Draco said distantly

"Yeah, you know 'I'm Draco Malfoy and I can't believe I have to eat with you slobs'," Harry managed to get a twitch from the corner of his mouth "and just do your nasty sneer at people who talk to you. Let me do all the talking." he emphasised

"I just want to eat, and go to bed without complications." Malfoy said, sounding slightly more steady now.

"I can make that happen, if you just keep your mouth shut." Harry warned, and made his way to his usual spot next to Ron and Hermione.

"Right in the middle." Malfoy groaned

"Shut up, remember." Harry reminded him. He wasn't taking any chances. "Oh, and don't contradict anything I say."

"I think that comes under 'shut up'." Draco snapped

"What's he doing here?" Dean Thomas said, the moment Draco came near the bench. Draco merely lowered his eyes and slipped in beside Harry. Neville, who was on his left, looked alarmed.

"He's with me." Harry said, trying to project his voice, but failing in all the usual hubbub.

"Hi Harr - what the hell is he-"

"Why's he here?"

Harry stood up "Malfoy's with me!" he bellowed.

The table quietened down somewhat.

"What's all the fuss about?" Seamus said as he arrived "Hang on - what's he doing here?" he looked at Malfoy like he was something nasty on the bottom of his shoe.

"Malfoy's going to be sitting with us from now on." Harry said, into the lull in conversation

"What, are you like-" Seamus snorted "friends or something?"

"Yeah." Harry said simply to general astonishment. He knew everyone was already staring at him, but he could feel Ron's eyes on him as if they were burning a hole in the side of his face.

"He's not a Gryffindor, he can't sit here." Parvati Patil said

"Yes he can." Harry said firmly

"I don't want him here." Seamus said, an ugly look on his face

"Me neither. Sorry Harry." Neville said quietly, staring at his empty plate and Harry winced, remembering how Malfoy had treated him over the years.

"No offence, Harry mate," Dean said apologetically "but he's not exactly been -"

"Sorry Dean," Harry cut in briskly "but he's sitting here. He's my friend, and if I say I want him here-"

"You can't just-!" Lavender cut in

Harry cast an irritated glance at Hermione, because he could have used her voice of reason in this, but she was watching the high table, pretending she wasn't listening.

"Look, I don't care." Harry said angrily "Malfoy's sitting with me, and that's how it is. Anyone who gives him grief will have to deal with me."

"Oh yeah?" Seamus said, standing up

"Sit down Seamus mate," Ron growled, catching Harry by surprise "I'm tired and I want food. If you're going to duel Harry, do it tomorrow, but if anyone delays the feast they'll be dealing with me."

Everyone laughed, and Seamus sat down reluctantly.

"Thanks." Harry muttered to Ron, but he ignored him.

The feast mostly went without a hitch after that. Dumbledore gave his usual speech, and there were no noteworthy announcements. The sorting went past in a blur of small nervous faces, but Harry was looking forward to filling his growling stomach so much that he didn't really pay attention. For the rest of the feast Draco was an almost invisible presence, only eating the food directly in front of him so that he didn't have to ask people to pass him things, but Harry helpfully passed him the potatoes after he noticed.

The 'face' Harry had advised him to wear only really appeared around desert, but thankfully no glaring was required because no one spoke to Draco.

When it was time for bed, Harry held back, unsure of how to proceed.

"Harry, we need to take the first years up." Hermione said anxiously "I think you should come up with us, in case the Slytherins try anything while we're not around. They looked nasty earlier."

"I don't think they will tonight." Draco said shortly "I'd rather hang back." he looked away when Harry tried to catch his eye.

"Probably the best idea." Harry agreed peaceably, then wincing, asked Hermione "I don't suppose you could introduce them to the idea that Draco's going to be staying with us? You being a prefect and all."

She looked as if she were going to refuse, but then sighed wearily when she met Harry's hopeful eyes. "Fine, but I'm going to make sure everyone knows its Dumbledore's idea. I don't need everyone attacking me like they did to you earlier."

"You could have said something." Harry said reproachfully

"What could I say?" she asked "Malfoy has been horrid to us all over the years, and he isn't supposed to be at the table - at least, as far as they know. I assumed you didn't want me to tell them all he's an honorary Gryffindor for the year in front of the whole school?"

Ron snorted at 'honorary'.

"I suppose so." Harry said "Well, you go on then. We'll be up in a bit."

"You're welcome." she rolled her eyes before turning away "First years, over here!"

He didn't know what Hermione said to the other Gryffindors, but Harry could have kissed her. When he brought Malfoy up, the common room was silent, although there was a fiercely curious audience, and when they got to the dormitory, every one except Ron was in their beds with the curtains drawn shut.

Ron nodded his head towards the new bed which was right next to his, much to his chagrin.

"I don't see why they couldn't put it next to yours." he muttered to Harry"And by the way," he addressed Malfoy coldly "You owe Hermione a huge thank you." he lowered his voice, turning to Harry "She took about twenty points from everyone when they tried to make trouble, told them that Dumbledore had a zero tolerance policy. She's not very popular."

Harry felt a rush of gratitude. "I should buy her flowers."

"Maybe a book or two, yeah." Ron corrected him "But mark my words, there'll be trouble soon." he said darkly.

They watched Malfoy move off and begin warding his bed.

"Seriously," Ron warned "keep an eye on him."

"Right." Harry said, not sure if he meant for Draco's protection or his dorm mates'.

In the morning, Draco seemed to have risen before everyone else. He was sitting on his bed sorting through his books and didn't speak. As Harry blearily stumbled out of bed, Seamus came out from the bathroom nursing a nasty burn and glaring daggers at Draco, and Harry uneasily watched Draco simply stare back, his mouth slowly moving to make a threatening smirk.

"Listen," Harry said, approaching the bed. Draco turned to meet his gaze "you probably should make more of an effort not to seem so unfriendly-"

"It's not my fault Finnigan tried to creep up on me while I was sleeping." Draco said, his expression now frosty, and uncrossed his legs, swung them over the side of the bed and stormed out.

"He's got the temperament of a girl." Ron said from his bed, disgust on his face "You'd think he'd be nicer to you considering you're the only reason he's here."

"I think that's why he's being difficult." Harry said dryly, eyeing the area around Draco's bed with apprehension. He didn't want to find out what other hexes he'd put on it.

"Maybe you should tell him it's all your fault and he was right all along." Dean suggested "And maybe give him a box of chocolates in apology."

"Shut it." Harry growled

Draco sulkily spent his breakfast at the Gryffindor table, and followed Harry to Defence for first period. Harry found a seat with him near the back and they silently watched the other students file in and take their seats.

"Are you taking all your classes with Gryffindors?" Harry asked

Draco paused before answering, as if deciding whether to deign Harry with an answer or not.

"Sort of." he said at last "Apart from small classes like Arithmancy, all the houses go together for that one. You share this class with the Slytherins anyway though."

Moment later, Harry watched the Slytherins enter after Seamus with a scowl which only deepened when Pansy Parkinson made her way over.

"So I see Slytherin isn't good enough for you anymore." she said coldly "Where were you last night?"

"None of your business." Draco said sharply

"He was in Gryffindor," Seamus cut in, pushing past Pansy to glare at Malfoy "but we don't want him, feel free to take him back."

"I thought that's where you were." she curled her lip derisively "Filthy traitor."

Seamus ignored Harry's furious glare, and turned to Pansy curiously "Why's your boyfriend's jumped ship anyway?"

Pansy looked disgusted "The day I talk willingly to you Finnigan will be the day I commit suicide." as she stalked off, Harry rose to his feet.

"What the hell was that Seamus?" he hissed, only to be met with a hard stare

"We have a right to know why we're sharing a dorm with the likes of him. If you won't tell us, why shouldn't I ask?"

Before Harry could reply, the new teacher entered the room, and whatever he'd been thinking melted away as Remus Lupin beamed at them all from the front of the classroom.

"Good morning everyone!" he called, and was met with enthusiastic greetings from the Gryffindors and muffled comments from the Slytherins.

"Weren't you banned from teaching?" Pansy spoke up, distaste on her pug face.

Harry was about to tell her exactly what he thought of this comment, but a Malfoy's sharp elbow distracted him long enough for him to see how calm Professor Lupin looked at this outburst.

"That's correct, Miss Parkinson. However the governors voted in favour of reinstating me this year and I was delighted to accept. If any of you have questions or concerns, however, please take them up with me after the class."

Harry was the only one to approach Lupin at the end of the session, but Remus looked pleased to see him.

"Harry! I daresay this was a surprise, and a welcome one I hope?"

"Moony! Why didn't you say something?" Ron chipped in from behind Harry, and Remus smiled apologetically.

"It was a bit of a last minute decision on the headmaster's part, in all honesty. There were no applications for the post at all this year. If it hadn't been for the travesty that was Dolores Umbridge's classes last year I doubt he would have persuaded the governors to vote in favour of my getting the job."

"I suppose people must be buying into that rubbish about the job being cursed then." Hermione said, her nose wrinkled in distaste.

"Harry," Lupin interrupted "where's Draco, I thought you were keeping an eye on him?"

Harry looked around in panic.

"Oh don't get him started," Ron said churlishly "he's been trailing around after Malfoy like a worried mother since last Wednesday."

"Ron!" Hermione admonished "It's a nice thing Harry's doing for Draco.. Don't worry though Harry, I saw him go off, he probably wanted to make sure he got to class on time."

"Yes, I wouldn't worry until lunch time." Remus said, patting him on the shoulder "But you three should follow his example and get to class."

Despite Remus's words, Harry was worried, especially when Draco didn't appear at morning break. He ended up irritating Ron by insisting on returning to the dormitory for the Marauder's Map so that he could check that Malfoy's dot was still moving around the school and wasn't motionless in some abandoned classroom.

"Well?" Ron demanded sullenly "Where is he?"

Harry stared at the map for a moment, then shook his head as he finally caught sight of Malfoy's dot. He stood up and strode towards the door of the dormitory bathroom.

"Draco?" He called, opening the door cautiously before popping his head in the doorway and looking around. Draco was standing motionless in front of the mirror "What are you doing in here?"

"Is he in there then?" Ron yelled after him as he stepped closer.

"What do you think I'm doing in a bathroom?" Draco snapped in reply, turning around and trying to walk around him.

"What's wrong?" Harry asked sharply. Draco wouldn't look at him.

"Malfoy?" Ron said, entering the bathroom.

Harry stared at Malfoy's face hard.

"What have you done to your face?" he demanded.

Draco finally looked at him, an odd shimmer hanging around the air near his face. It was barely noticeable, but Harry's seeker sharp eyes had spotted the difference.

"It's a concealment charm." he replied roughly, not meeting his eye.


"I got cornered. Couldn't go back to class with the bruises."

"You should go to the hospital wing." Ron cut in "Pomphrey will have them gone in a second."

"Piss off Weasley ." Draco moved to walk past Ron back into the dormitory, and Ron stepped aside, his face turning red, then shot a disgusted look at Harry before stalking off. Harry followed Draco, trying not to get angry at him.

"Who was it?" Harry asked "We can report them, we can't let them get away with-"

"No!" Draco said sharply, and when he looked at Harry his eyes were distant "I don't want a fuss. Just leave me alone." he turned away "Stop harassing me."

"Fine." Harry ground his teeth. "I won't say anything, but just tell me who it was." He could see Ron pause by the door to listen in, but chose not to give him away.

"If I tell you will you promise not to talk to me till tomorrow?"

Harry frowned. "If you want. But why?"

"I'm tired of you flapping around me like a mother hen." Draco said, throwing his satchel over his shoulder and making for the door. "I need space."

"Who was it?"

Draco hesitated by the door for a moment, casting Harry a hard glance "Crabbe and Goyle."

Harry could see that even Ron understood how low Draco was feeling after his ordeal with his ex-friends, because like Harry, he kept his mouth shut for the rest of the day when Draco was around.

Draco followed them around like a ghost, picking at his food at lunch time and didn't take notes in any classes. When Professor Snape called on him to answer a question, Draco stared blankly at the desk until Snape narrowed his eyes and directed the question at Neville instead. He ignored the instruction to wait after class to speak to Snape, and Harry had to chivvy away Hermione who was practically bouncing on the balls of her feet in her anxiety to remind him.

That night, Harry stared at the hangings around Draco's bed, not daring to touch them, but wondering if Draco was screaming behind them. He wished he could check so that he could wake him up. He would have to talk to him about it tomorrow, but until then he had to keep his promise and maintain his silence.

The next day, it was the first thing that Harry remembered, but when he rolled over to see if Draco was awake, the bed was empty.

He waited for Ron to get undressed, then impatiently bounded down to breakfast before him. When he reached the hall doors, his eyes scanned the Gryffindor table, and he heaved a sigh of relief to see Draco sitting there between Neville and Dean. Harry sat down across from them and waited for an opportunity to catch Draco's eye. It never came.

Draco kept his eyes down, and when it was time to go to class, he walked as close to Dean as possible.

"Are you avoiding me?" Harry asked as he jogged to keep up with Draco's fast pace. When he received no answer he added in a whisper "I need to talk to you!"

Draco resolutely looked away and Harry fell back, puzzled and a little hurt.

"He's probably just confused." Hermione said, appearing at his side.

"Confused about what?" Harry said angrily "And why does he have to take it out on me?"

"Well his friends are being awful to him," she explained "and he feels like he's making it worse, or even betraying them being friends with you, so he's trying to distance himself from you."

"What?" Ron chipped in "But its not like his friends want him back. Why bother about trying to get back in with them?"

Hermione gave them her characteristic eye roll. "That's why he's confused. He's not being outright hostile to Harry, because he knows Harry's keeping him safeā€¦and maybe he likes being around him." she added doubtfully "But he can't bring himself to just settle into being his friend, or being a Gryffindor, because it goes against every thing he's done before, and even though he knows his friends won't take him back, a part of him still feels like he should still be loyal to them."

"How do you figure this stuff out?" Harry said after a lengthy pause "You don't even know him!"

"I just put myself in his shoes." Hermione replied with a smile.

Harry tried to put himself in Draco's shoes for the next four days. He didn't talk to him unless he spoke to Harry first, because if Harry was avoiding someone because he needed time to think, he wouldn't appreciate his friends pestering him.

He watched Draco's closed bed curtains with apprehension night after night, biting his lip even as Ron rolled his eyes at Harry's display of unreciprocated concern.

It was getting to Harry though. Badly.

Draco spent almost all his time trailing after the trio, and when he wasn't he spent suspiciously long periods of time in the bathroom, which Ron put down to his girlish vanity, but Harry was not so sure.

Draco's face almost always had a telltale glimmer these, and Harry was having a hard time restraining himself whenever he was in the same room as other Slytherins, and he couldn't even look at Draco's retreating figure when he went to his classes that Harry wasn't in.

"I'm going to be late for class." Harry said suddenly, as he watched Malfoy leave one Tuesday.

"What do you mean?" Ron said suspiciously, then followed Harry's gaze. "Oh for-"

"Harry, you can't let your work suffer for him, he doesn't even want your help!" Hermione said disapprovingly. "What are you doing?"

For Harry had already taken off down the corridor after Draco. "Say sorry to McGonagall for me." he called, wincing. McGonagall was not going to hesitate to take points, but he just had to see what was happening.

Leaving Ron and Hermione's protests behind him, he began to make his way to the Muggle Studies classroom after Draco.

This chapter is dedicated to smak978, without whom I would have not looked at this fic for a further 6 months. Any ideas for plotlines people? I've considered the ones suggested, but so far nothing has a special ring to it. I'm beginning to think that maybe just having general angst and their relationship growing closer would be good? The turning point...well I'm starting to like the idea of Draco teaching Harry dark magic. I don't want a Dark!Harry fic though, so I don't know...

I've got a fairly good idea of how this friendship will turn into slash, but after that things will get boring if it's just all lovey-dovey-ness. I need there to be a reason for tension between them, or arguments - ideally a huge argument. Can you think of an adventure they could go on? I'm not sure of how to proceed...