Chapter 13

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Harry missed the quietness that had been the Slytherin common room during Christmas. Now that December had passed and the New Year had arrived, bringing with it the return of the rest of Hogwarts student body, he could no longer spend the day with Hermione. He treasured the memory of those few days, the time they had spent together, every second of every day, playing wizard chess, roaming the empty halls of the castle, sitting together at meal times, talking/writing.

Harry missed it all.

Now everything was shifting back to normal. They grabbed what time together they could, but after the closeness of those days, it just wasn't the same. Harry decided it was time to find a place they could call home together. Somewhere in Hogwarts that would be just theirs, where no one could interfere and no one could ever find them, even if they searched for days on end.

Harry was perusing the copy of Hogwarts: A History Hermione had gifted him with, sitting quietly in the corner of the Slytherin common room, minding his own business, when Draco Malfoy approached with his flanking cronies Crabbe and Goyle, two lumbering brutes that appeared not to have a brain between them.

'Hey Potter!' Malfoy called loudly, getting the attention of everyone in the room. 'How was your Christmas? Did your parents get you anything cool?'

Harry looked up at him over the rim of his book, anger boiling under the surface.

Malfoy mocked realisation. 'Oh, wait, sorry,' he said, and smirked, 'they're dead, aren't they.'

Laughter spread through the common room.

Harry casually put his book away on the side table and stood up so he was nose to nose with the always presentable Malfoy heir. The contrast was drastic, Harry in his scruffy, baggy clothes and his hair all raggedy and dishevelled, and Malfoy in his stylish shirt and trousers, with his perfectly slicked back silver locks.

'Malfoy, right?' Harry asked, his voice very low.

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. 'Yeah…'

'Answer me something Malfoy,' Harry kept his voice quiet and even, 'do you know what they say about me?'

'What? That you burned down your families house or something?' Malfoy looked around, sharing a disdainful smile with the rest of the common room.

Harry smiled. 'Exactly.'

'So what?'

'So do you think it's a good idea to provoke me?'

Malfoy laughed. 'I'm not some defenceless idiotic Muggle, asleep in their bed at night!'

Harry laughed as well.

Malfoy looked confused.

'No,' Harry said, 'you're not an idiotic Muggle. You're just an idiot.'

Malfoy scowled, jumped back a step and pulled out his wand, pointing it in Harry's face. 'Say that again Potter!'

Harry smiled. 'Idiot,' he said, and clicked his fingers. The bottom of Malfoy robes caught fire. There was a moment of shocked silence, and then panic broke out. Malfoy started screaming like a girl, and Crabbe and Goyle looked stupidly at each other.

'Put it out, put it out, put it out!' Malfoy screamed, trying to bat at the bottom of his robes and hopping around like a lunatic.

Harry watched, smiling at the sight. Finally, seeing that no one was going to help the distressed Malfoy (as they were all too busy staring in shock – younger and older years alike), Harry pulled out his wand and muttered a quick spell. A torrent of water appeared as if from thin air above Malfoy, and then dropped down on him, drowning him and extinguishing the flames. Malfoy slipped and fell on his butt.

Everyone was silent as Harry walked up to the drenched, fearful first year Slytherin. He looked down on him. 'Next time you think you can bully me, remember the smell of your stupid ass being on fire, and think twice, okay Malfoy?' He went to grab his book from where he'd left it.

As he was leaving the common room, Malfoy regained his feet, face a twisted mask of hatred. 'You'll regret this Potter!'

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