Harry was nearly bouncing on his feet as he followed Flint inside the Great Hall. What started as an unlikely friendship had somehow slowly evolved into something more [during] those last few months. It began after the Ravenclaw versus Gryffindor match, in which Flint helped Malfoy and his goons to try and sabotage the game. The tall and dark Slytherin had come in the hospital wing and had surprisingly ( and truthfully ) apologize to Harry. And then, they somehow became kind of friends ( but not exactly ).
Now, Harry has started his fourth year, a few weeks ago, and Marcus was in his last year. It seemed like a good idea to stop being 'secret friends' and starting being... well... official friends. Or more, considering how Marcus recently started subtly flirting with him. And so, Marcus invited ( more like, demanded of ) him to eat with him at the Slytherin table ).
Of course, Harry hadn't been counting on Ron's reaction ( well, to be fair, he knew the redhead wouldn't take it well but he was pretty sure he was ready for the... confrontation ). So, the moment they stepped inside the Great Hall, laughing together, Ronald was on them – along with a hundred pairs of eyes.
“WHAT THE HELL !? STAY THE BLOODY HELL AWAY FROM HARRY, SLIMY GIT !"
"Ronald !” exclaimed Hermione.
Marcus scowled ( whether it was because of the insults or Ron's vocal pitch, he didn't know ) and Harry winced. He knew it wasn't going to end well. What he didn't know – and wasn't sure he wanted to know-, was : for whom ?
As a matter of fact, Harry already knew that Ron was his friend, but only to a certain extent; only as long as Harry fitted in the role of the Gryffindor-Golden-Boy ''Boy-Who-Lived'', the 'Perfect hero who fights for the light and hates all dark things. But Harry wasn't exactly like that. Sure, he wasn't evil and he wasn't dark but he wasn't light either. He was somewhere in the small grey zone between those two 'factions'.
And unlike most wizards and witches in Britain, he knew that the Light couldn't exist without the Dark and vice-versa.
The fact remains that, the raven haired boy knew that the moment he'd do something that didn't fit the Golden Boy's role ( according to the redhead ), Ron would react badly, possibly even violently. It was because of that, that Harry started spending more time with Dean, Seamus and Neville. He knew that those three – while not great fans of Slytherins-, wouldn't reject him for his choices of friends and/or lovers [as long as it wasn't someone like Voldemort or Bellatrix ~ *shudder]. His other roommates were way more laid back than the redhead concerning some things. They also knew that Harry tended to react badly when pressured to be someone he really wasn't. And unlike what most people like to think, Harry and the Boy-Who-Lived were two different persona, living in the same body. Harry hated being the Boy-Who-Lived.
Hermione was different. She wasn't like Ron but she wasn't exactly Harry's friend either, not Harry's true friend anyway. She was nice enough, but she was already blinded by his 'tragic and heroic story' before she'd even met him. He could take it, it hadn't stopped him from being her friend. The thing was, Hermione also was a 'Dumbledore fanatic'. In her little bubble, Albus Dumbledore was a great man, who was always thinking of the well-being of the children, and of Harry. It didn't matter that each summer, uncle Vernon became more violent, to the point where Harry ran away last year and hadn't even bother to come back last June ( he took a room at the Leaky Cauldron ). As a matter of fact, Harry didn't tell them about his little runaway. He was pretty sure that Hermione would scowled him and rant about how Harry was being irresponsible and that she would seek the headmaster for advices or how Harry himself should go and have a talk with the former transfiguration teacher. Hh, as if !
The day Harry would seek advice from the old man, it would freeze in Hell.
And so, it was obvious Harry hadn't told Hermione about his new friendship with the Slytherin team's captain, Marcus Flint.
It's going to be such a mess, he thought, as he watched Hermione's shocked face. Her face hadn't changed since he and Marcus entered, thirty seconds ago or so.
He ducked his head and took a step back when he saw Ron stalking angrily towards them. It was a little bit frightening to be honest. Ron may not have been as big as Dudley but he was still towering over him and Harry knew he was a tiny, skinny and scrawny kid with no physical strength.
Fortunately, Marcus sensed his emotional distress ( or whatever ) and took a step forward, hiding Harry from Ron's view. It was true that Flint was rough and rude, and maybe a little ruthless too, but the Gryffindor learned a while ago that the Slytherin chaser was also fiercely protective.
[ That discovery involved Malfoy badmouthing Harry during a Quidditch practice and Flint setting their beaters AND the bludgers on the poor seeker. ]
Ron seemed to deflate a little by the time he stopped in front of the tall and imposing Slytherin, but he still found it in him to yell at the Flint Heir.
An ugly feeling slowly rose in the raven-haired as he listened to Ron's aggressive and anti-Slytherins propaganda. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and he stepped beside his companion.
It wouldn't do for the innocent first years – those who weren't blinded by the prejudices yet-, to be influenced by Ron's statements.
“Ron, Marcus and I were just talking.”
It was the bad thing to say.
“MARCUS ?! YOU CALL HIM BY HIS FIRST NAME ?!”
Harry winced again. It wasn't going to end well... at all. Gathering his courage ( there was a reason he was a Gryffindor ), he held his head high and shrugged :
“Well, we're friends.”
There was a rough cough behind him even as he was entertained by Ron's red and spluttering expression. He turned slightly just in time to see Blaise Zabini patting Malfoy on his back as Blondie coughed more water. Apparently, the blond had been drinking when he announced his and Marcus friendship. Oh well, his fault.
He flinched when Ron took a step forward. He didn't like it. He felt so vulnerable. It wasn't like Marcus, whom he felt safe and protected with.
“So that's it, right ? Are you such a slut that you're willing to do anything for protection ?”
Harry staggered as though he'd been slapped, just as Flint stepped forward once more.
He was about to cut Ron ( who was still ranting and insulting Harry ) when the small brunet took everyone by surprise :
“You ?! You're calling me a slut ? I'm virgin, asshole ! And never before have I ever tried to seduce someone. If there is a whore here in this school, I'd say it's you, Ronald (Ron chocked on his saliva. Apparently, he wasn't expecting a retort). Because, honestly, whose the one who is always moaning like a porn star every fucking single night ( This earned him quite a few shocked looks. They had never seen or heard Potter swear and they were pretty sure he wasn't the kind of guy to talk so... freely ) ?! And who has to put up with that ? Your fucking roommates. You couldn't even bother to put silencing charms around your bed ( I'm pretty sure by know, you moaned the names of at least half the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff's girls by now. ). Well, you know what, Ron ? Why don't you just fuck off !” Harry hissed, turning on his heel, leaving a gaping Ron Weasley behind and shocked (& awed) classmates.
“I didn't know Potter had it in him.'' muttered Pansy.
Marcus stared at Harry's back for a good minute before snorting and following him at the Slytherin table without even a glance at Ron's stunned form.
Harry was still muttering things about Weasley when Marcus stopped behind him. The Slytherins already seated at their table were looking at Harry like they'd never seen him before and the seventh year couldn't quite manage to hide a snort.
Harry finally got out of his internal struggle and blushed under all the stares.
“Hum, Hi.” he said, smiling shyly through his fingers.
Cassius nodded at him, then sent Marcus a look of bewilderment.
“Where did you find him ?” he asked, eying Harry like he was something incredibly rare and precious ( which he was ).
"I can't believe he fell for your mug." said Adrian.
He was joking of course – he and Marcus were close friends-, but Harry didn't know that. All he knew was that someone was insulting his friend and in his post explosive state, he didn't need much more. Fortunately, Marcus knew this too and he pulled Harry flush against him before the small Gryffindor could verbally – or physically-, attack the Slytherin Chaser.
"Quite the protective little thing, isn't he ?"
Marcus smirked as Harry pouted. The small brunet didn't realized that it just made him cuter ( although the last Flint would never admit it ).
Marcus managed to claim the seat next to Harry before anyone could react and glanced at Harry with amusement.
“I'm a really bad influence on you."
"No. I actually wanted to say those things for quite some times already. It's liberating ( He tilted his head to the side ). I should do that more often.”
Marcus shared a mild horrified and awed look with Adrian. The school might not survive a (mouth) filter-free Harry.