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Lily's Thorn

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Harry flipped through the Occlumency book that Severus had given him. The idea in and of itself was intriguing, but he couldn’t imagine putting something like this into practice. It required quieting your mind, controlling your emotions, and then blocking someone else from accessing it - like Voldemort. He could see why it would be necessary for him to learn it, but how was doing that even possible? He could see how Severus would be good at it, though, as he tended not to show much of his emotions anyway. He couldn’t see himself being any good at this.

It was all a bit overwhelming, and he was grateful when Severus told him that they should start getting ready to go to Malfoy Manor for dinner. He wasn’t quite hungry yet, but he had a feeling that “dinner” over there meant a lot more than just going over, sitting down and eating dinner. There was most likely a lot of small talk before a three or possibly four-course dinner was served. That was not his scene, and despite his newfound relationship with Severus, he was pretty sure it wasn’t his either. This was despite the fact that he claimed that he and Lucius Malfoy were “old friends.” 

Harry went downstairs, meeting Severus in the hallway. His heart was beating rapidly inside his chest. He had no idea how he was going to fake it, not knowing Draco Malfoy - or even Lucius, for that matter. He wasn’t overly fond of either of them, and he despised Draco. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” he said. 

“I regret that you are now subject to the inner politics of the Death Eaters, but you are,” Severus said frankly. “You cannot get out of this.”

Harry knew that was true, but that didn’t make it an easier pill to swallow, so to speak. ”I just… I mean, maybe I can act like I don’t know Mr. Malfoy, but Draco?” He shook his head; his hands curled into his fists.

Severus grabbed Harry’s shoulder and turned him so that they were facing each other. “This is only the first test of many ,” the older man said, annoyance evident in his voice. “I am also not fond of dying , and if the Dark Lord finds out of the truth, that’s exactly what will happen. It is extremely important that they suspect nothing. Contrary to what you might think, none of them are idiots, and that includes Draco. You two have spent a great deal of time paying attention to each other. Granted, that was entirely negative, but that is beside the point at the moment. You’d be surprised how easily some people will be fooled by your face, though. Watch what you say, don’t say anything that a Muggle might say, and you will be okay. If you can get through tonight, you will be fine.”

Harry took a deep breath, knowing that Severus was right. Tonight was necessary. He nodded. “I can do this.”

Severus nodded, removing hands hand from Harry’s shoulder. “I believe you can. Shall we?” With that, they went towards the Floo and were, within moments, in the entryway of Malfoy Manor.

Harry looked around, and it was everything that a manor’s entryway should be - tall, grand, with pictures on the walls, and a table with some elaborate vase on it. There were coat racks, though Harry supposed they were more cloak racks then coat racks, considering this was a Wizarding home. He dusted himself off and noticed Severus doing the same out of the corner of his eye.

A moment later, Lucius Malfoy walked into the room. “Severus, pleasure to see you again,” he said, as he strode forward and shook Severus’s hand.

Right behind him was his wife. Harry remembered getting a glimpse of her last year at the Quidditch World Cup. That had been the only time he’d seen her. She walked forward straight towards them. Harry froze for a second, but she went up to Severus and kissed him on the cheek. “You need to visit more often,” she said. “Lucius told me that you moved out of that… shack you were living in before. I’m so glad. I’ve been telling you for years -”

“Yes, Narcissa, we can discuss that later,” Severus said, cutting her off. Harry had the feeling that was a conversation that they’d had before. Considering how Malfoy Manor looked, he couldn’t see them understanding where Severus had been living until… well, yesterday. “This is my son, Jacob.”

It was then that the Malfoys, which now included Draco, who had come in behind his mother, noticed him. All three of them looked at him, and Harry suddenly felt even more uncomfortable than he had before. He desperately wanted to go back to the house. 

“This is Lucius, his wife, Narcissa, and their son, Draco,” Severus said, introducing each of them in turn. 

Harry just nodded, feeling incredibly awkward. He wanted this night to be over. Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy greeted him in turn, and then he found himself face to face with Draco Malfoy. “Pleasure,” the youngest Malfoy said, holding out his hand. Harry reluctantly took it. “I guess we’ll be going to Hogwarts together soon.” 

Harry nodded, noting with a bit of satisfaction that he was now slightly taller than Draco. “Yep, that’s how it seems.”

“Where did you go to school before?” Draco asked. “Not the school in Ireland?” Harry was grateful that Draco seemed to have already heard of it. He nodded in agreement. “I overheard that you didn’t even know that you had a father until a few days ago. How did that happen?”

Harry was finding it difficult not to slap Draco across the face. “Obviously, no one decided to tell me.” He couldn’t keep the slight hint of anger out of voice.

“Rubbish, that,” Draco said. 

“I completely agree.”

“So, who raised you then?” Draco asked. “Your mother?”

Harry shook his head, the memory of his new life coming back to him. “No, she died when I was little,” he answered. “I was raised by a cousin of hers. She was old, and she knew that you know… So,  she contacted m - Severus, and told us both of the truth.”

Draco shook his head and quickly seemed to wave off that conversation and move on to another so fast Harry was sure that he’d get whiplash. “You’ll like Hogwarts, you’ll see,” he told him. “I was just made Prefect, you know.”

Figures that they would give the Slytherin Prefect to him, Harry thought to himself. “Congratulations.”

“Do you play Quidditch?”

Harry’s heart skipped a beat. Damn, we didn’t think about that , he thought to himself. “Er, yeah, a bit,” he said, hoping that his nervousness was coming off as just that - nervousness. “I don’t have a broom, though.”

Draco gave him a nonchalant wave of his hand. “I have an extra one. My father bought it for me for Christmas in my first year, Nimbus 2000, but then when I made the Slytherin Quidditch team, my father bought the entire team Nimbus 2001’s,” he explained, an arrogant smirk across his lips. “Only the best, you know. If you want to play a quick game, that is.”

Harry looked over at Severus for some indication that it was okay. He desperately hoped he would say no because if anyone would know his flying style, aside from Ron, it would be Draco. It seemed that the three adults had been in a conversation with each other. He could tell by the look on Severus’ face that he wasn’t sure it was a good idea, either.

“Now now, Severus,” Lucius piped up before Severus could say anything. “Before you say anything, he’ll be with Draco. Let the boys have a bit of fun before dinner starts.”

“Very well,” Severus said, though it was clear that he didn’t like the idea. “Just be careful.”

“Don’t coddle the boy,” Lucius said. “There’s no harm here.”

Harry understood the meaning, though, but he was quickly dragged off by Draco, who had grabbed his arm. He yanked it away from his as he was lead straight up a stairway and down hallways until they came to one room where Draco stopped. 

“My bedroom,” Draco explained as he opened up the door.

A large bedroom greeted Harry, one much bigger than his own. There were more things in there than he could even look at, and everything looked expensive. Honestly, it all seemed a bit much to him.

In a moment, though, Draco was there, holding two brooms. “The old one was still in my closet. Here.” He held out one of the brooms towards him, and Harry took it.

It was just like his old one, the one that had blown into the Whomping Willow during that match in his third year. “Thank you,” he told him.  Draco waved off the comment, and then led him out of his room, and back down where they came from. “How do you not get lost in this place?”

Draco chuckled. “I grew up here,” he told him. “I wouldn’t recommend wandering this place without one of us, though, or at least a House Elf.”

Harry nodded. “Point taken.” 

It wasn’t long before they were out through the back door of and on the grounds. Draco led them to a shed near the house. He opened it up with a tap of his wand. Harry almost said something about not doing magic outside of school, and then it occurred to him that with all of the magic in this place, the Ministry probably couldn’t distinguish one magic from another. Draco reached in and then brought out a Quaffle. For some reason, Harry had been expecting a snitch.

Draco led him farther into the clearing. “So, my goal is over there, and then you need to score in would be the opposite end, okay?” Draco pointed to two opposite ends of the clearing. “First to ten points wins?”

Harry nodded, having got the idea. They both mounted their brooms and pushed into the air, Draco carrying the Quaffle still. The blond threw the Quaffle high in the air. Harry rushed up, quickly grabbing it. He was used to playing Seeker. In fact, he’d never played another position before. Maybe that would prove useful. 

Draco was right after him, but Harry’s arms were longer, and he grabbed the Quaffle first. He had gotten used to his Firebolt, and the old Nimbus was a lot slower. Nonetheless, he bolted down off towards his goal, but the blond was right behind him. Draco’s broom was better, but Harry was the better flyer. 

Draco came up next to him and slammed into him. Harry’s grip loosened, and the Quaffle was out of his hands. Draco scooped it up and then bolted off towards the other hand. Groaning, he turned around and bolted back down to the other end of the clearing after Draco. He dearly missed his Firebolt, but there was nothing that he could do about that now. He just had to get used to this broom again, that was all.

Harry came up alongside Draco, about to slam into him when the blond threw the Quaffle. It flew off, right into the area that the blond had designated as the goal. He threw him a glare, and the blond went off to go fetch the Quaffle. He’d make a better Chaser than a Seeker, Harry thought to himself, as Draco threw the ball up into the air again.

Harry flew up, snatched it before the blond even had a chance, and bolted off down to the other end of the clearing. Draco tried to hit him again and push the Quaffle out of his hands, but he had fallen for that trick once. It wasn’t going to happen again. He could tell Draco was getting frustrated, so he threw the Quaffle off towards his goal before he could lose it. 

Draco groaned, but it was Harry’s turn to smirk this time. He went to fetch the Quaffle. By the end of the game, the score was seven to ten in favor of Harry. “Not bad, Jacob,” said Draco as they went down to the ground. Harry threw the blond his Quaffle back. “I”m a Seeker, of course, not a Chaser, but you should try out for the House Team.”

“You know, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be in Slytherin,” Harry told him. “There are four houses from what I was told.” 

Draco just shrugged as he walked back to the shed and put away the Quaffle. “Your father is Head of Slytherin House. Why would you be put anywhere else?” Harry nodded and wondered what would happen if he was put into another house. He had been afraid of that kind of reaction. “So, he told you about Hogwarts then?”

Harry nodded as they walked inside. “Yeah, he told me some.”

Draco directed him to a washroom on the first floor. “We should wash up before dinner. You can use this one. I’ll be at another one.” Harry went to hand him back his broom, but the blond waved it back. “I don’t need it. You don’t have a broom, so you might as well keep it.”

Harry was a bit shocked. “Thank you.”

“Think nothing of it,” Draco said as he walked off. “See you in a bit.”

As Harry washed up, he realized that the youngest Malfoy had probably done that because he wanted him to like him. It only made sense with Severus being Head of House and all. He walked out of the washroom, and walked down the hallway on the first floor, wondering where everyone else had gone. He heard voices coming from a nearby room and followed the sounds.  He set the broom outside of the room he heard the voices coming from, and then entered the dining room, where Severus, as well as the elder Malfoys, were standing. It seemed as if he had walked in on a conversation. “Sorry, Draco and I finished our match. He’s up washing up, and I didn’t know where anyone was, so I-”

Mr. Malfoy waved off his comment, cutting him off. “Of course, we were about to call you two for dinner, anyway,” Lucius said. “Draco won, I assume?” 

Harry felt his anger rise and reminded himself that yelling at him would probably not be a good idea. “No, actually, I did,” he said. “By three points, as a matter of fact.”

Mr. Malfoy raised an eyebrow, a surprised look coming across his normally composed face. Mrs. Malfoy giggled a bit, and a smirk crossing Severus’ lips. “Oh? Do tell then, Jacob?” Mr. Malfoy asked.

Harry shrugged, and he heard Draco coming up behind him. “Nothing to tell, really,” he said. “It was fun. Draco was good, but I was better.”

Mr. Malfoy’s eyes went to his son right then. “I’m a Seeker, not a Chaser,” Draco said defensively. 

No, I’m just a better flyer than you , Harry thought to himself. Right then, a timid House Elf popped in the room, interrupting whatever response the elder Malfoy may have planned. The House Elf kept his gaze low, as he bowed to Mr. Malfoy. “Dinner is ready, Master.”

“Good. Serve it quickly,” Mr. Malfoy ordered sharply. “Shall we?” He gestured towards the table. Everyone sat down. Mr. Malfoy sat at one end, while his wife sat on the other. Severus was directed to sit at one side of the table, while both Harry and Draco sat across from him.

“What would you like to drink?” Mrs. Malfoy asked.

“Water is fine,” Harry nodded. A glass of water appeared for both him and Draco. He noticed then that all three adults already had a drink. At that moment, salads appeared in front of everybody. The salad had tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, olives, and some sort of vinaigrette.  It was quite good, actually, for a salad.

“So, you and Draco are the same age,” Lucius said. “What classes will you be taking?”

“Other than the core classes,” Harry said, “I’m taking Care of Magical Creatures, Arithmancy, and Ancient Runes.” He still wasn’t looking forward to having to learn two years’ worth of work in a few weeks, but that wasn’t something he needed to worry about tonight.

“Ah, same electives as Draco then,” said Mrs. Malfoy. “Wonderful. He can help you if you need help getting caught up.”

Please, God, no, Harry thought to himself. He instead just shrugged his shoulders. “I think I’ll be fine.”

“I don’t mind,” Draco said. “I’m top of the class, you know.”

Almost ,” Mr. Malfoy said. “That Muggle-born Granger girl continually beats you.”

“Except in my class,” said Severus from across from him.

“Of course,” Mr. Malfoy said, waving off the comment.  “So, Jacob, have you been to see Hogwarts yet?”

Harry shook his head. “No, sir,” he replied. “I’ve never been there. Severus has to be there early, anyway, so I’ll have a week or so to get acclimated.”

“How are you adjusting to everything?” asked Mrs. Malfoy from the other end of the table. “Such a trying time for you, I’m sure.” She didn’t seem to honestly care, but it seemed more like just another question for her to ask.

Why are they asking me all these questions? Harry asked himself. I’m not the only one here! He shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he said. “Fine, I guess.”

“You do not have to talk about any of that,” Severus said, and Harry shot him a grateful look. He had no details of his former life and knew that the potions master was bound to have talked about what they already knew with the Malfoys already. 

“Of course, of course,” Mrs. Malfoy said, as their empty salad plates disappeared. “My apologies.”

“At least you didn’t have to stay in that shack Severus used to live in,” Mr. Malfoy said.

“Well, for a few days,” Harry said. “It wasn’t that bad.”

Both elder Malfoys scoffed at that remark. “Of course, it is!” Narcissa said. “So, what is the new house like? You must have us over.” At that moment, five plates of Beef Wellington appeared in front of those seated around the table.

“Well, it’s not Malfoy Manor,” Severus said, “but it’s a Tudor style. Three bedrooms, but the third bedroom is being turned into a library.” He started to eat. “Delicious.”

“Naturally,” said Mr. Malfoy with a smirk, and it wasn’t clear which statement he was referring to - the house comment, or the food comment. “At least that will get them out of your living room.”

Severus shot Mr. Malfoy a glare. “They needed to go somewhere, and my family home was not that big,” he said. “Besides, I didn’t need anything else. I’m only there about two months out of the year.”

“But still, you needed a proper house,” Mr. Malfoy responded. “At least finding out that you had son prompted you to move.”

Harry just ate his food, hoping that the comments weren’t directed towards him any more. It was a bit odd seeing them bantering. I guess they really are ‘old friends,’ he thought to himself. The food was delicious, though. The Dursleys never served anything like this unless Uncle Vernon had an important client over, and then he usually wasn’t invited.

“Are you two getting along alright?” Mrs. Malfoy said. 

Severus and Harry shared a look. “Well enough for complete strangers,” Severus said. Harry nodded in agreement. “We’re making it work.”

“How were your grades at your old school, Jacob?” Mrs. Malfoy asked.

Harry had been hoping that they would ignore him. “Well enough,” he responded, figuring that sounded better than saying that at least he passed.

“If you need help, I’m sure Draco will be happy to lend you a hand,” Mr. Malfoy said.

Yeah, you said that already, Harry thought to himself. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he said. He figured that blowing off the comment again was probably not the best idea. They were obviously trying to push him into a friendship with their son, which he supposed made sense considering that they were friends themselves.

“At least you already know someone,” Mrs. Malfoy said. “Draco, you should introduce them to some of your friends. We could have them all over. I’m sure they would have a great time. That way, you don’t have to feel like you don’t know anyone from school.”

Harry nodded while he felt a sinking feeling in his stomach. “Not a bad idea, ma’am,” he said. Inwardly, that was the last thing he wanted. Part of him also wanted to know what he was going to do if he wasn’t put into Slytherin. No one would buy that. He knew that the hat wasn’t likely to put him into Gryffindor twice, not after what the hat had said to him.

“It’s settled then,” Mrs. Malfoy said. “If it’s alright with you, of course, Severus. We don’t want to monopolize your son’s time.”

“We’ll see,” Severus said. “He has some catching up to do today, so I’m going to have him on a study schedule. If there’s time, I’m sure Jacob would like a break.”

Harry was grateful that Severus wasn’t automatically agreeing to everything they said, not that he had honestly expected him to. At least he was trying to take some of the attention off of Harry because he didn’t like all the questions or attention.

“You’ll like them, I’m sure,” Draco said, speaking up for the first time since dinner started. “You should definitely come back sometime before we got to school.” 

“What was it like where you grew up? Did you have friends at your old school?” Mrs. Malfoy said.

Harry had known that this question was coming sooner or later. He also knew that he had to be careful about how he answered. He didn’t look at Severus before he answered, though, because logically, he would only know what ‘Jacob’ had told him. “It was all right,” Harry answered. “My cousin, Valerie, who raised me, sort of me let do my own thing when I was home from school. Not a bad life, I suppose, though. No real friends. I stuck to myself mostly.”

“Well, at least you know Draco now,” said Mrs. Malfoy. “Severus told us that your mother’s been dead for some time, and now your cousin… Such a shame.”

“Yes, well, at least you’re back with your father where you should have been from the start,” Mr. Malfoy said. “There’s no reason to keep a child from his father.”

“Agreed,” said Severus, a hint of anger in his voice. “Inexcusable.”

It was then that their dinner plates disappeared, as everyone had finished their food. Harry wasn’t sure he could eat any more, but then a goblet with the dessert appeared in front of them. It was a trifle. He looked in it to see if he could see what it was. It appeared to be some sort of cake, sponge cake, probably, with raspberries, peaches, custard, topped with whip cream and toasted almonds. It was absolutely delicious.

“Are you a bit nervous about changing schools?” Mrs. Malfoy asked him.

“Yeah, a bit,” Harry replied. “I mean, I’ll be the only new person there above first year, and I get sorted in front of the entire school alone, so yeah, I’m a bit nervous.”

“I’m sure you’ll manage just fine,” Mr. Malfoy said. 

Harry nodded. “Of course,” he agreed. What else was he supposed to say? It wasn’t as if he could get out of this. “I’m a bit excited, though, because… it’s Hogwarts after all.”

The dessert goblets were taken soon afterward, and Harry was afraid he might need to be rolled away. “Jacob and I should get going,” Severus said, slowly standing up. Harry followed his lead, thankful to finally be leaving. “He has had a long few days, and he has a lot to do before he starts school.”

“Of course,” Mrs. Malfoy said. “You should join us in Diagon Alley tomorrow! We’re going to buy Draco’s school things. Maybe Jacob will get to meet some of his schoolmates there, as well.”

“Wonderful idea, Narcissa,” Mr. Malfoy agreed. “What do you think, Severus?”

Severus looked at him. “I’m sure that can be arranged,” he told him. “What do you think?” Severus turned to Harry, addressing him.

“Sure, sounds great,” Harry said.

“It’s settled then,” Mr. Malfoy said. “Tomorrow afternoon, it is. We can meet up there.”

Within a few minutes, they were back home. “I am ready to just to go bed,” Harry said, more to himself than to Severus.

“You should,” Severus agreed, “because we’re still working in the morning before we meet up with the Malfoys tomorrow afternoon.” Harry wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but there was nothing that can be done. “In the meantime, I am going to make a Floo call Dumbledore and then Black.”

Harry frowned at him in confusion. “Why?”

“Because it is necessary that Harry Potter be there,” Severus said. “Harry Potter and Jacob Snape must be seen in the same place together, to avoid any discussions about any coincidences. Black is forever whining about being trapped in that house, so I’m sure after I talk to Dumbledore that he and Lupin can make sure that ‘Harry Potter’ is there.” 

Harry went to bed soon afterward, thinking how weird it would be to see… well, himself, there at Diagon Alley while he was someone else. Yeah, that wasn’t going to be weird at all.