Chapter 31 - A New Term

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It had never occurred to Harry that he and he fellow assistance professors would not be sitting at their house tables like usual. However, they weren't students anymore and when he and Draco arrived for the sorting feast the first thing he saw was a new table at the end, in front of the dais where the rest of the staff sat. It was to the right and had benches either side, rather than being completely across the room as the head table was, and several of their fellows were already sitting at it.

Draco set off down the hall with an impressive swish of robes and Harry hurried to keep up with him. He suspected Draco was making the perfect impression with the returning pupils, but he doubted he was doing as well. Not that he had delusions of greatness or anything.

[I do not have delusions,] Draco said and Harry realised he must have projected the last part.

[Of course not,] Harry replied, [but if I had any such expectations they would be.]

Draco turned and gave him a small smile for that comeback.

"So," Draco said as he slid onto one of the benches, saving the end spot of Harry, "anyone blown anything up yet? I know there's only one Weasley in the main school population now, but I am sure someone will rise to the challenge of filling the vacuum."

Ron opened his mouth to retort, then thought about it and shrugged.

"No one yet," was what Harry's best friend said.

There really was no arguing with the Weasley reputation at Hogwarts.

"I already heard two third years talking about the epic snog they saw Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy having in the train corridor," Seamus put in.

"Then I pity whomever they choose as future life partners," Draco said in a very superior tone, "because there was nothing epic about it; nice, yes, even boarding on very good, but definitely not epic."

"No, we save those for when no one can see us," Harry said and grinned.

"That's more than enough information for dinner time, thank you, Harry," Hermione said before he could say anything else.

She narrowed her eyes at Seamus as if daring him to start a war of innuendo. Luckily he wasn't that stupid.

"You were supposed to be setting an example," Hermione said, giving Harry a look.

"We were," Draco said, "just not the one everyone was expecting. Besides, it put everyone at ease, if we were relaxed enough for a quick snog then there was no danger of attack."

Harry hadn't actually been thinking like that at the time, but Draco had a point. Given the way Hermione lifted her eyebrows, looked at the floor and finally nodded, he thought she might agree.

"Okay, I'll give you that," she said, "but don't think I believe that was your only motive."

Draco grinned at her then.

"Of course not," Draco said, entirely unrepentant.

"What do you think the sorting hat will sing about this year?" Harry asked.

"I'm guessing united houses," Pansy said from a little further down the table, "because we've been put at the front like prize turkeys for all to see and no one is going to miss we're a mixed bunch."

Draco nodded and Harry found it hard to disagree. They had been on show since the moment they stood on the train station. For once he actually didn't mind, and the fact he was part of a group rather than all by himself helped that feeling enormously.

"And we're cheering for all houses during the sorting, right?" Harry said, looking around at his fellows one by one.

"Of course," Neville agreed even as Seamus, Ron and Goyle, plus a couple of others looked somewhat rebellious.

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