Harry looked at the blonde's hand, shrugged, and shook it.
"Excellent," Draco Malfoy practically chirped. "Now we get away from this little runt and--"
"Nope," Harry said. "You want to be my friend, you hang about with Ron here, too."
Draco blinked. Harry watched him, and slowly, very, very slowly, Draco sat.
As far. From Ron. As possible.
It was a start.
The fact that the troll had spent nearly an hour wandering un-captured through the corridors was worrying. That Ron had kicked up a fuss when he realized his total lack of tact had driven Pansy to the girls' bathroom in tears had probably saved her life, but then, Pansy had almost certainly been in no real danger: she could probably take a troll if she got angry enough.
"Really?" Harry said.
"Really," Professor Dumbledore confirmed. "I'm quite certain of it. The Philosopher's Stone has been destroyed."
"I think," Harry mused, "that since I found it, I should get to keep it. You ought to have consulted me."
"How did you get it out with that attitude?"
Harry blinked. "Well, you were right. I didn't want to use it. I just wanted to have it. Instead of that big jerk."
Lucius Malfoy put the book down. "No, I suppose you're right, Harry," he said. "If I don't know what it does, I probably shouldn't do anything quite as rash as using it against Dumbledore."
By the third meeting, Draco, Ron, Harry, Pansy, The Granger Girl (who most certainly deserved capitalization after her little display), and, hilariously, Gregory, had all managed to disarm Lockhart with expelliarmus.
"You're a parselmouth."
Harry nodded slowly.
Draco, doing his best to sound like a broken record, said again "You're a parselmouth."
Harry rolled his eyes.
Draco considered this new information, then slowly went from a little smile to a full-blown evil grin.
"You want to tell me what the significance of that is?" Harry asked.
Dennis Creevey's favorite photograph, in later years, would always be the one Harry took of his brother after the fifteenth attempt at getting an autograph ended in a full body-bind curse.
Paranoia was very nearly enough to capture Black on its own. The fourteen separate trap hexes Harry had Professor Snape set at night around the Slytherin dormitories may have pissed off Vincent, But Sirius Black was definitely not expecting them.
His hurried explanation of what was going on wouldn't have convinced Professor Snape, though. At least, not if Pettigrew hadn't panicked and made a run for it.
"Did you? I mean, did you really just... Harry, teach me."
Harry looked at Cho Chang's retreating form. "No, Draco. My masters in The Art of Seduction--"
"You gave her a love potion, didn't you?" Draco said.
"Technically, no," Harry said. "Ron's brothers were very adamant that it makes her see everyone around her more positively, not just me. They called it a 'cheer-the-hell-up potion'"
"Harry Potter," Dumbledore read off the slip from the Goblet of Fire.
There was a brief silence. Draco was the first to start applauding. "I really didn't think you'd get chosen," he said.
"Between the three of us, we managed to get past Dumbledore," Harry replied as Ron laughed at the outraged looks on the faces of the Gryffindors. "It pretty much had to choose someone who was capable of that"
He was about halfway through his smug walk to the front of the Great Hall when the Goblet spat out his name again, written in a different hand.
"It's YOURS! TAKE IT! I FREELY GIVE YOU MY BLOOD!"
Even as he rose from the stone cauldron, Voldemort stumbled. He dropped to his knees, then to all fours. Pettigrew, still clutching his stump, was fairly useless to him. He stared.
"You wanker," Harry added as an afterthought. "Wish I'd thought of that earlier, might have made it even worse."
"FINE, DIGGORY! TAKE MY GIRLFRIEND! SHE'LL CHEAT ON YOU, YOU KNOW!"
Harry leaned back against the wall and glared after Cho and Diggory. He looked over at Draco.
"Yes," Draco said, "I am planning to make a move on Pansy. So forget it."
Sirius' mirror turned out to be a pretty useful present after all, Harry thought as the Death Eaters who had been captured waiting for him in the Ministry of Magic scowled from the front page of the Daily Prophet. Their confessions that Voldemort was definitely back were just sort of icing on the cake after how bloody stupid they all must have felt when the aurors came after them instead of a scared teenager.
"It's called a--"
"Horcrux," Harry said.
Dumbledore stared at Harry for a moment. Harry rolled his eyes. "My best friend's dad has got this huge room full of books that'd make your skin crawl. The Granger Girl says it's like some sort of evil paradise. I think her eyes bugged out of her head when I showed it to her."
"You know, you'd think after the third snog, you'd start calling me Hermione."
"That's a fairly wild assumption, The Granger Girl."
"You know, Hermione, you'd think after the tenth date you'd start calling me Harry."
"Now why would I do that, Dumb But Pretty?"
"Oh for Merlin's sake, Slughorn, give me the memory and you can determine the bribe!"
Horace Slughorn thought about it for a moment and then nodded. "Set me up with McGonagall!"
Harry thought it over for a moment and decided to use that Felix Felicis he'd been saving.
"The thing is, it's going to be a dangerous time for everyone, and I don't know if--"
"I swear to God, Harry, if you're about to dump me so you can be safe when you're hunting horcruxes, I will shove your wand up your nose!"
Harry had never backpedaled quite so furiously in his life.
Voldemort had left more than two dozen objects at Malfoy Manor. Only one of them had been impossible to destroy until they broke out the fiendfyre.
Harry, Ron, Draco, and Hermione looked at the ashes on the floor where the book had been. "I told you it was evil," Harry said.
Lucius shrugged. "Maybe I should learn to listen to you."
Dumbledore looked around the blank white Platform Nine and Three Quarters. "I really hoped you would be in Gryffindor," he confessed.
"No shit," Harry replied.
"And now," Draco said, "I am going to sleep in a bed somewhere here in Hogwarts, where I won't have to listen to you and The Granger Girl believing I can't hear you shagging through the walls of the tent. Oh for... RON, PANSY IS NOT GOING TO SNOG YOU, GIVE IT UP!"