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Chapter 2 - Introductions

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[Time to find out what's going on,] Draco decided as the introductions ended.

Professor McGonagall was talking to Albus about something so Harry reckoned they had a few minutes. The presence of his two year mates from Slytherin was bothering Draco, that much was obvious. Now that there was a break in proceedings, Draco didn't hesitate. Harry watched his soulmate walk away and admired the striking figure Draco made striding across the room. However, after a few moments he followed him. It wasn't as if they were attached at the hip anymore, but possibly they were on a finite piece of elastic.

"Pansy, Greg," Draco greeted politely as soon as he was acknowledged.

If Harry had interpreted his soulmate's lectures on the etiquette of these situations correctly, Draco's opening indicated that he was comfortable with the situation and quite pleased by it. From the way Pansy relaxed slightly and Goyle shifted his feet, he was pretty sure that the pair were relieved and somewhat surprised at their peer's acceptance.

"I'm glad I am not the only Slytherin representative," Draco continued conversationally, "if they were only training Gryffindors the whole place would blow up by lunch time."

"Give us some credit, Draco," Harry joined in and smoothly insinuated himself into the Slytherin gathering; "I think we'd at least make it until tea time."

"You wish," was his soulmate's response.

Outside of Gryffindor Tower Harry and Draco were usually a united front, they rarely disagreed unless Harry was doing something stupid and Draco was pulling him up for it. The playful banter was not something the rest of the school often saw. The Slytherins were even further removed from the pair, since the knowledge that there was a traitor in the ranks had kept them away from and mostly hostile to anyone in green and silver. Harry couldn't help noticing all of Draco's fellow housemates taking note of their behaviour.

"Finding our names above the fireplace was somewhat unexpected," Pansy said, eyeing them both.

"Never underestimate the headmaster's strategising," Draco replied.

Harry was impressed; it was both a compliment and a warning at the same time. He was absolutely sure he was never going to be as good at word games as Draco seemed to be. You had to have been trained from birth, that was the only answer.

"He does seem to have picked very carefully," was Pansy's response.

It seemed Pansy, at least, approved of Dumbledore's decision.

"Always, Pans," Draco replied with a smile, "that's one thing I have learned in the lion's den, there's always a point."

Harry really was having to pay attention to keep up with the layers in the conversation. If someone asked about the weather and was really talking about Voldemort he wouldn't be surprised.

"I heard your mother has been unwell," Draco changed the subject, "I hope she is feeling better."

Pansy smiled just a little, but didn't reply immediately.

"Much, thank you," she said, looking at Harry momentarily; "an old complaint flaring up again, but there are so many new treatments now."

Harry flicked his gaze between Draco and Pansy, absolutely sure he had just missed something. Draco hadn't mentioned anything about one of Pansy's parents being ill and Harry was all too aware Draco kept a close eye on his former friends.

[What was that about?] he asked.

[Deatheaters,] was the short reply.

When his soulmate said it like that, Harry decided it should have been obvious.

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