Author: John Sexton
Genre: Harry Potter Slash
Love your feedback via: sexton1980@yahoo.com.au
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Chapter Twelve -- Salazar's Promise to Draco

Draco was astounded by the ease with which Sals had intimidated the weasel; he had never seen the redhead so compliant.

"At least he's not boneheaded enough to confront Sals a third time," Draco thought as he smirked.

What really impressed Draco, more than anything else, was that he had expected Sals to remove the silencing spell with another wave of his wrist, or even a flick of his finger. But the spell had simply dismantled itself, as Weasley passed through its boundary.

A murmur of excitement buzzed through the establishment, breaking the silence that had encapsulated the trio. But neither Draco, Sals nor Granger spoke, as they watched Weasley leave.

Draco caught Granger staring at the spot where the weasel's wand had been incinerated, and they exchanged their shared awe with a mirrored expression and the faintest of synchronised sighs.

The tablecloth was unmarked!



It was then that Draco realised, for the first time, that Granger had already known the identity of Sals's father.

Well that really doesn't come as a surprise, Draco rationalised, it isn't as if he's hiding under a bushel; of course he would have told her!

When the redhead was out of earshot, Ingmar Edburg broke the silence, as he approached their table hesitantly.

"Is there a problem, Master Snape?" Ingmar asked with trepidation.

"No, thanks, Ingmar," Sals answered cheerfully, "just a misunderstanding, but it's been resolved."

"Can I get you anything, young sir?" enquired the host solicitously.

"No, thank you," Sals smiled, "but my father will be here soon..."

Draco's eyes shot up, to catch Granger's reaction to this news; he was pleasantly surprised to see her shift uncomfortably.

"When he arrives," Sals continued, "could you please bring another of your delicious Slytherin Sundaes to this table, for him?"

"It shall be my pleasure, Master Snape."

Ingmar bowed his head in reply, then went about his business.



"I really think I should be going, Sals," said Granger, as she nervously made to rise from her seat.

"Oh, please don't go, Hermione," Sals pleaded.

He reached out and took her nearest hand lightly in his.

Draco struggled to contain his jealousy at this intimate touch, but he reined in his anger and bit his tongue.

"At least finish your ice-cream," Sals reasoned.

Granger smiled feebly, then relaxed back onto her seat.

"I'm sorry about that little performance," she said, "Ronald is not always like that."

Draco snorted dismissively; Granger scowled at him.

"Well, he's not, Malfoy," she flared then added angrily, "you always see that side of him because you encourage it."

"I'm sorry about his wand, Hermione," Sals said with a frown, "but he really doesn't know when to back off, does he?"

Granger smiled sadly, then glared at Draco, who shot his eyebrows into a knot and scowled defiantly.

"What?" Draco protested, "I didn't say a thing!" Then his scowl morphed into a smirk, laced with a smile. "And you're no Legilimens, Granger," he pouted in mock indignation, "so don't try telling me what I was thinking."

She surprised Draco, once again, by reciprocating with half a grin in his direction, before smiling sadly at Sals.

"No, he doesn't," she admitted to Sals's assessment, "but I think it's just that he's a little upset... not that I'm making excuses for him, mind you..." she turned back to Draco and fixed him with a glare that challenged him to try... JUST TRY, to nay-say her, before she finished... "because I'm not!" She became a little more sombre. "It's just that  "

"Harry Potter," Sals interrupted, almost obliquely, his face was devoid of any emotion.

Granger's head shot up with a jerk; her inability to read the stunning, young wizard was evident.



Draco decided that, in the weasel's absence, it was time to again try to exercise some Slytherin mystique; he would become the devil's advocate.

"As I tried to tell you, Granger, before we were so rudely interrupted," he smiled wickedly, "our mutual friend, here, is an avid devotee of Saint Potter, a kindred spirit, you could say."

She looked at Draco with suspicion, and at the tall dark Adonis with hope.

Sals merely quirked his lip, then smiled.

"Does that really come as such a surprise, Hermione?" he cooed.

"No, I suppose it shouldn't... NO! of course it doesn't!" she chided herself. "It's just that... well, your father has hated Harry, from our first lesson at Hogwarts, and..." she trailed off, unable to sustain the logic of her stance.

Sals shrugged, then nodded as he spoke.

"I know... my father thinks Potter is a spoilt brat... but I feel sorry for him, Hermione."

She looked at Sals more intently, her incredulity seemed to be on a knife edge.

"I've lost a fair bit of my childhood too," Sals pressed on, "due to my own circumstances. I think I understand at least part of how Potter must feel, and I reckon he's done all right so far. So, yeah... I support Harry Potter. Would you really expect the son of Severus Snape to do any different, Hermione?"

Granger still looked doubtful, until she finally voiced her dissent.

"Would that be the same Professor Snape who picked on Harry, in every lesson, for the past five years, Sals?"

"Yes, the same Severus Snape who saved Harry Potter's life on more than one occasion at Hogwarts."

"You know about that?" cried the girl, in amazement.

But her shock was Draco's horror, he couldn't believe his ears. All his preconceived notions were being shattered on one chilly summer day.

"Well he is my dad, Hermione," Sals reasoned, and his reply washed over Draco's numb mind.

"We do share things with each other," the remarkable boy added.

Sals smiled at the girl, which snapped Draco out of his distraction, and inflamed his animosity towards the insufferable know-it-all.



"All this talk about Potter," Draco sniped, "I'm beginning to regret waving his banner," he added snidely.

"Yes," quipped Granger, "I was wondering about that... why did you?"

"I was only playing the devil's advocate, Granger," Draco rolled his eyes just a little too dramatically.

The witch's mouth dropped.

"That's a Muggle expression!" she cried.

Draco rolled his eyes, this time impatiently.

"What are you on about, now?" he whined then scowled at her.

"Devil's advocate is a Muggle term, Malfoy. I can't believe you'd condescend to use a Muggle term."

"Au contraire... Gryffindork!" he chirped playfully; he was beginning to relish the spirited banter.

"Oh, aren't we the wit today, Malfoy," she mocked his tone, with a rather accurate mimicry.

"They do say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Granger," he smiled smugly.

"Anyway, that's all beside the point, and you know it," she snapped, then squinted at him, but not with the bitterness of past encounters. "Devil is a Muggle word," she protested indignantly.

"Be that as it may, Granger," Draco replied gaily, "it is first and foremost a Wizard expression." He broke off, suddenly adopting a faux-serious air. "We do share a remarkably similar vocabulary, you know, it's called English."

"Ha, ha, Malfoy, very droll," she went all toffy, "but that does not alter the facts. And how can you claim devil as a Wizard word? The Devil is a biblical character."

"Oh, really, Granger? Ever heard of Devil's Snare?" the blonde clipped cattishly.



Draco grinned, knowing that his allusion to her infamous gaffe in first year had hit the mark. He was tempted to cry out in mock frustration: "Of course, but there's no wood." But he thought better of it, and settled, instead, for: "Oh, yes... of course you have."



Hermione flushed crimson, and Draco sneered; her expression confirmed that she knew he was referring to the Devil's Snare incident, back in their first year at Hogwarts. He was delighted that she'd be wondering how a Slytherin knew anything about it.

"You're not as well read as you might think, Granger," Draco sniped, and his grin widened at her indignation.

"But wizards don't believe in the Bible," she retorted.

"Oh, Granger, for Merlin's sake!" he screwed his mouth into a reprimand. "Of course we don't believe in that load of tripe, it's full of crap. The events are real enough though, it's just that the Holy Bible is full of lies: it is a poorly crafted attempt to hide the truth."

"What are you on about, Malfoy?" she shook her head impatiently.

"Lucifer was a wizard, Granger, the first Great Wizard," he tilted his head in mock reproval.

Her only response was to look at Draco as if he was mad.

Draco shook his head at her atypical display of density, and put it down to hormones and her infatuation with Sals.

"We might not believe in the Bible, Granger," he spoke slowly, as if to a child, "but we're in it... enough for us to take notice, at any rate... and to beware!"

To Draco's immense frustration, the Mudblood seemed none-the-wiser.

"Granger," he began to whine impatiently, "who do you think the magicians were in the court of Pharaoh? ... wizards, Granger," he answered without waiting for one. "We are the baddies scattered throughout that damned book! For Merlin's sake, it has been the blueprint for our genocide at the hands of those bastards for nearly four thousand years.

"We are STILL the baddies, Granger, the bogey men, at least in Muggles' eyes, even today. That filthy book is their blueprint for abusing any group of individuals they take a dislike to... Wizards, Witches, Gays, non-believers, women, each other... take your pick."



Granger looked utterly crestfallen.

"Why haven't I heard or read any of this before?" she wailed petulantly.

Draco leaned in towards her menacingly; she stiffened as he spoke.

"Maybe because you're Muggle-born, Granger," Draco rasped, "and because it is not very `politically correct...' another of your delightful Muggle terms that is so endearing," he grinned mischievously, then Draco smiled ambiguously. "Or maybe we don't trust you," he quipped.

Hermione looked indignant, but she remained silent as Draco continued.

"Maybe you've avoided the topic because it's too close to home."

"Well then why are you, of all people, telling me, of all people, now?" she retorted, regaining some of her confidence.

"Maybe you need to hear it, to gain some insight into what it really means to be a witch..." he let that thought hang for a moment, toying with the idea of commenting on her prospects of ever being accepted as a real witch, clever as she might be.

But Draco abandoned that temptation, for the sake of some meaningful dialogue. Why that option even mattered was still a puzzle to him. But he found his attitude to her changing, whether it was because he no longer saw her as a real threat, or whether it was Sals's influence rubbing off on him, he could not say; but he suspected that it was a blend of both.

"Or maybe you can understand a little better why we distrust Muggles so much," Draco continued earnestly, "and why someone like Voldemort can have so much influence."



Granger's obvious shock brought Draco to an abrupt halt. He quickly recalled his last statement, and masked his reaction to his own words as best he could.

He had just called The Dark Lord by name... and not just to anyone, but in front of a boy he had known for barely three hours, and a girl he had hated for five years!

It was the first serious conversation that they had ever had.

Draco paused for a moment to gauge her reaction more fully, and he was pleased by what he saw.

"In for a Knut in for a Galleon!" he quipped to himself.

"Doesn't it strike you as odd, Granger," Draco pushed on, "that people are actually prepared to support a madman, in preference to a man with mad ideas?"

Draco's rhetoric was now bitter and resentful, and he was already beginning to regret his runaway mouth.

He managed to keep his mask in place, and quickly diverted attention back to their original argument.

"Why do you think the snake is such a prominent symbol throughout that foul tome, Granger?" Draco pressed his point home. "See a snake in the Bible, see a wizard. Why do you think the snake is the symbol of Slytherin?"

She shrugged her shoulders petulantly, clearly uncomfortable with being lectured by Draco Malfoy, of all people.

"We represent the old ways, Granger, that's why!"



"Wow! Such passion!" Sals exclaimed in a tone that broke the tension considerably. "Though... it's interesting to see, despite our individual differences, that we three are essentially on the same page."

While Granger smiled at Sals, she squinted at Draco with an air that said: "What are you playing at, Malfoy?" But she said nothing.

There was a definite thawing out between Granger and Draco. However, he was still in shock that he'd reached such a perilous position on Voldemort in a mere few hours of meeting Snape's son.

That he'd seen fit to out himself to them, was the most unSlytherin, reckless thing he could ever remember doing.

Despite all of this, Draco was proud of himself, not simply proud of his family's rank, power and wealth -- which had always been his source of superiority and pride -- but proud of the courage he had just shown... it was stupid, impetuous and most unSlytherin, to be sure, but he was proud that he'd been prepared to take the plunge with such conviction.



Draco became increasingly morose, as the conversation between Sals and the Mudblood dragged on. Sals, and even Granger, had tried to engage him in their banter, but he was no longer in the mood. He was uncomfortable and confused, and... he didn't really know what he felt. Well, he did... actually... he felt bloody angry!

He'd been looking forward to meeting Sals there, for ice-cream and more time to get to know the mysterious boy. But he had not expected Hermione Bloody Granger, of all people, to ruin it.

What really angered Draco, more than anything else, was that the Mudblood seemed to be going out of her way to be polite to him, Draco Malfoy! He knew that it was just a ploy on her part, just a show for Sals's benefit. Draco was angry with Sals too, for befriending, let alone flirting with, her.

However, Draco was not about to let any of this get the better of him. He was still confused, of course, and careful about what he said and how he reacted, after his earlier verbal exchange.

He would have preferred to have been at home, right at that very moment, safe in his room, back at the manor. He still needed time to think, to assess everything. He'd had some time to mull things over at Malkin's, while Sals had been getting their books, but it was all still too much to digest.

Draco hadn't even come to terms with the situation at home, yet: with Father, Mother, the Ministry, Aunt Bella and that grotesque madman, Voldemort, to worry about... and now he was confronted with this!

It was even more difficult trying to adjust to all the things that Sals had said and done, in the few hours that Draco had known him.

Sals's attitude towards Potter was bewildering enough; but, now, with the Mudblood firmly in the mix, and the revelations about Sals's father's true relationship with Potter! It was all too much.

Draco dearly wished that Granger would suddenly remember some book she had to purchase, and leave. But she seemed firmly ensconced, despite the imminent arrival of Sals's father.

On a less pretentious note, Draco was busting to go to the loo, for a pee. But, despite his discomfort, there was no way that he was about to leave Sals alone with the harpy, even for five seconds.



Suddenly a light appeared at the end of this most dreary of tunnels, in the form of Sals's father.

Sals stood immediately, pulled the fourth chair out from under the table, and offered it to him.

"Dad," Sals smiled broadly, "is it four already?" Then he beamed at his father mischievously, "you know Hermione, of course."

Draco could not explain what he was sensing; he was sure that the subtext of Sals's dialogue with his father ran deep. But he felt as much out of the loop as he had earlier, when Granger had asked him how long he'd known Sals. Draco scrutinised father and son more closely, as Sals grinned and added, "we met in Flourish and Blotts."

Professor Snape acknowledged her with a curt nod.

"Miss Granger," he said coolly, but without the sneer usually reserved for Gryffindorks, "I trust that you have enjoyed your summer."

Granger looked stunned, before she regained her composure and replied pleasantly, "yes, thank you, Professor."

While Professor Snape's lack of animosity towards Granger had shocked Draco, almost as much as it had shaken her, the Mudblood's reaction had not: Draco doubted that she would do anything that would alienate her from Snape's son.



A delicious Slytherin Sundae soon arrived for Snape senior, and the conversation continued in the vein that had preceded the professor's arrival.

This was all too surreal for Draco, and he decided that he needed a break. He excused himself, secure in the knowledge that, under the professor's watchful eye, Granger could not take advantage of his absence.

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Relishing the relief of an empty bladder, Draco was just about to wash his hands, when the door to the wizards' loo opened.

Sals smiled at the blonde Slytherin, as he came into the room and headed for the urinal.

Draco was angry with the Adonis, but he didn't want that anger to ruin their nascent friendship. He washed his hands slowly, while he waited for Sals to join him at the sinks.

"Everything all right, Draco?" Sals enquired cheerfully, from across the room.

But, as it echoed off the cold walls, his voice seemed tinged with genuine concern.

"You've been very quiet since my father arrived."

Draco felt suddenly defensive.

"I'm fine, why do you ask?" he snapped... so much for Slytherin guile!

"Oh, nothing," Sals smiled at Draco's reflection as he approached the sinks, "I just thought you might be annoyed with me... for inviting Hermione to join us."

Sals smile became a frown that begged an answer.



Draco narrowed his eyes at Sals's image, then turned to face him, when they were abreast.

"What game are you playing, Sals?" he rasped bitterly, then glared at him, "you planned this, didn't you?"

Sals laughed, and that inflamed Draco's simmering anxiety; he lashed out in an angry voice, "did I say something funny?"

"NO!" cried Sals, in what seemed a near panic. Then he adopted a playful lilt, "well, yes actually..." he began to laugh again... "you see, Draco... she asked me the same thing, when I invited her to join us."

Sals's smile broadened.

"Come to think of it, your mother used almost the same words, as well. I mustn't have a very honest face."

"There's nothing wrong with your face," Draco conceded with a blush and half a smile. But he reined in his moment of weakness, and narrowed his eyes again. "So why did you ask her?"

"Well, firstly, I like her," replied Sals.

Draco flushed again, and tried to conceal it with a scowl, but his defences were down, and he felt exposed: he had let his mask slip, completely.

"No, not like that, Draco," Sals chided, then squinted at him incredulously.

"Well, she's a girl, isn't she?" Draco groused petulantly.

"Yeah, so?"

"Sooo!?" Draco whined, in a way that suggested he was scandalised, "do you prefer boys, or something?" Draco snapped impatiently.

He was not sure where this was going, and he felt suddenly uneasy; but he was not about to drop the subject either.

"Would it bother you if I did?" Sals adopted a serious demeanour.

Draco looked suitably shocked.

"Don't you care what people think?" he asked incredulously.

"Only some people... very few, in fact," the stunning boy licked his lips, then he smiled salaciously at Draco, "and I'm asking one of them, right now," he concluded.

Then Sals straightened up to face the mirror, flicked his hair into place with his fingers.

"But, no," Sals added forcefully, "in general I don't give a shit what anyone thinks."

Sals looked at Draco's reflection; they locked eyes as he continued...

"Quite frankly, Draco, it's none of their fucking business. My father accepts me, as I am, and that's almost all that really matters."

"Almost all?" Draco thought.

But Draco didn't exact an explanation. He turned to face Sals again, took one more direct look at those amazing black eyes, and felt utterly overwhelmed: he was lost in those pools of fire and ice.

Time to think, to reassess, that's what Draco needed... again! He fumbled for something to say, something subtle, clever, non-committal.

"Your father?" was all he could utter. "But!..." then he faltered.

"You still haven't answered my question," Sals tempted Draco further.

"Which was?" Draco lied: he remembered exactly where they'd left off.

Sals was obviously enjoying the game.

"Would it bother you if I preferred lads to ladies?" he repeated obligingly.

"I suppose that would depend," Draco teased back.

When Sals never took the bait, Draco decided to test the water with another morsel, "on who the lad was," he teased.

Sals was still silent, so Draco decided to dive right in; he was going to plumb the depths of the most sensitive issue of all, and be buggered... his Slytherin instincts be damned!

"You seem very keen on Potter," he taunted the stunning boy-god.

Sals laughed, "would you be jealous?" he quipped playfully.

"Of Potter?..." Draco snorted indignantly, " I don't think so! ... But I'd be right pissed: you deserve better than that, Sals!" Draco reddened again, but he didn't care.

The beautiful boy grinned lewdly, "what if I said I preferred you?"

"I'd say you ought to be in Saint Mungo's," Draco bantered, despite his nervousness.



Sals merely smiled; then a sound came from one of the cubicles.

Draco froze; he'd foolishly presumed they were alone. Then his worst nightmare unfolded, as one of the toilets flushed. Draco's heart leapt into his mouth, and he dreaded discovering who had been privy to their scandalous conversation.

But nobody emerged, and Draco reddened anew as Sals began to laugh aloud.

"You bastard," Draco cried, "how did you do that?"

"That's something I do mind people knowing, Draco!" Sals grinned, "you really do worry too much about what other people think," he teased.

"That wasn't funny, Sals," Draco whined; but he eventually relented and laughed aloud with the powerful young wizard.

"If you could have seen your face, Draco," the tall, dark Adonis teased him again.

However, despite the humour, this was getting far too serious, far too quickly. Draco decided it was time to change tack. Besides, he still wanted to know what Sals was up to...

"So, you still haven't answered my question, Sals!"

"Which was?" Sals played along.

"What are you up to?" Draco adopted an injured stance. "Why did you invite Granger here?"

"Look, Draco," Sals smiled disarmingly, "I admit, I did invite her because you'd be here," he threw his hands apart in a gesture of openness. "You two are the key to uniting Hogwarts this year."

Draco did not hide his astonishment; in any case he doubted he could in Sals's presence. He merely shook his head incredulously.

"Draco, I've seen the results of Voldemort's handiwork first hand. And you've seen the crazy fucker... in the flesh!"

Draco made no attempt to enquire how Sals knew that, nor did he deny it; after all, they'd already acknowledged their earlier encounter in the dark shadows of Knockturn Alley.

"You don't waste any time, getting down to business, Sals, I'll say that for you." Draco again shook his head, this time in dissent. "But you've never been to Hogwarts..." he cried in protest... "okay, your dad's been there for years, but... there's a lot you don't know about how things are... there... as a student, Sals."



Sals moved closer, until Draco could almost feel the taller boy's breath on his face. Draco's heart began racing, his teeth were chattering, and his right hand trembled violently where it pressed against the cold, hard sink.

"Well we'll just have to change that!"

Sals cushioned his blunt challenge with a grin. Then he grimaced and his face darkened, as he eye-balled Draco intently.

"There's a lot you don't know about Voldemort, Draco!" Sals whispered. "He didn't chose you purely to punish you for your father's failure. He has other plans for you..."

Draco was stunned; he said nothing, because he didn't know where to begin, and he wasn't sure he could speak, anyway. He simply clenched his teeth, leaned harder against his trembling hand, and listened to Sals intently.

"Voldemort has a passion for blonde haired," Sals reached up and carded his fingers through the ends of Draco's silken bangs, "blue-eyed," he smiled, as he gently traced the nail of his index finger along Draco's silvery eye brow, "or is that grey-eyed?" he asked rhetorically, "smooth skinned," he continued, as he ran the back of his fingers down Draco's silk-soft cheek, "beautiful boys."

Draco flushed crimson, and he could feel the heat radiating off his own face.

Sals simply smiled seductively.

"And I, for one," he whispered huskily, hooked Draco's chin, and turned his face up slightly, so that his hot breath now ghosted directly onto Draco's soft warm lips, "don't intend letting one finger of that foul creature even brush your cloak, Draco Malfoy."

Sals leaned forward and pressed his full, pliant lips ever so lightly against Draco's, for what seemed like the barest of seconds, then it was over.

Draco's initial reaction was shock, followed quickly by anger that he was being teased so... then he smiled, with the realisation that the tall, dark Adonis was serious.

"Come on," Sals whispered and grinned wickedly, "or they'll both start wondering what we're doing in here!"

He smiled as he held the door open for Draco, and they returned to their window table.



Draco was more than surprised to discover Professor Snape and Granger in a quiet and affable conversation, about Hippogriffs, of all things. He was still shaken from his encounter with Sals in the loo; yet he had enough wits about him to smell a rat: the Mudblood had laid an ambush in his absence.

However, once again, Draco soon found himself deeply confused, because Granger made no attempt to embarrass him. She refrained from even alluding to his infamous encounter with that ugly beast -- he couldn't remember its stupid name -- back in Third Year.

Draco began to wonder if she was being sincere. He even resorted to tempting Granger, with a reference to that very lesson on Hippogriffs, in that great oaf's class back at Hogwarts, but she refused to take the bait.

Draco relaxed slightly, joined the conversation and, somehow, found that he was becoming more tolerant of the... of Granger. He could never come to like her, he knew that. But Sals's heart was set on peaceful co-existence and school solidarity, and Draco's heart was set on Sals.

So, if Sals wanted Draco to get along with Granger, then get along with Granger he would. But his resolve to support Sals's agenda had its first real test only minutes later, with the arrival of Mother.



Everybody stood, as Narcissa Malfoy approached them. The unseasonable atmosphere was chilled even further, before nary a word was spoken, as Draco's mother sneered at Severus and Sals, then eyed Granger with suspicion and disdain.

"Mother," Draco smiled hopefully at everyone else, "you know Professor Snape, of course, and you've already met Sals, but I don't think you know Hermione Granger."

"Granger?" spat Narcissa with obvious distaste, "the Muggle-born who bested you again this year?"

"Mother!" Draco cried in embarrassment, "Miss Granger is Sals's guest!"

Narcissa completely ignored Draco; she glared at Snape instead.

"I thought I knew you, Severus," she sniped, "but, clearly," she turned her look of disdain upon Sals, "I was mistaken."

She only half glanced at Granger, then sniffed rudely, and addressed nobody in particular...

"Mudbloods in Edburg's, to what is the world coming?"

"Mother, really! I think you owe Professor Snape, Sals and Miss Granger an apology."

"Apologise? ... to a Mudblood, a bastard and a liar?... Draco, you must be joking!"



"You can have my seat, Mrs Malfoy, I was just going," said Granger, smiling falsely but bravely, as she made to leave.

"If I was going to sit down in this appalling establishment, I would choose a clean chair, you insolent brat," ranted Narcissa Malfoy. "Come, Draco, we are leaving."

Draco deliberately dropped back onto his chair. Narcissa glared at him.

"Get up, Draco! I said we are leaving."

"Not until you have apologised to everyone for your appalling behaviour, Mother!"

"I shall do no such thing," she retorted.

"Then I shall apologise for you!" snarled Draco angrily. He stood, then addressed each of them in turn, "Professor, Granger, Sals... I am really, truly sorry; please accept my apology."

Granger nodded graciously, as did Professor Snape. Sals simply smiled, then he shook Draco gently on the arm.

"Don't worry, Draco," Sals almost whispered, "see you on the Hogwarts Express."

"Thanks," Draco returned Sals's smile, as he handed him a Galleon, "my shout, remember."

He squeezed the gold coin into Sals's hand, turned, without looking at anyone else, and followed his mother out through the door.

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Author's Note: I have abandoned the idea of trying to post a chapter of each of my two current stories per week, in tandem, chapter-for-chapter. I was attempting to do this to keep pressure on myself to write "Shattered Ceiling, Falling Sky" to schedule.

Most of the first thirty chapters of "Salazar Comes to Slytherin" were written nearly a decade ago, and are only now being updated for posting. I have decided to upload these as quickly as possible, and write "Shattered Ceiling, Falling Sky" and post its chapters as they are written.

I will try to post the Harry/Salazar/Draco chapters every two to three days, until I am writing its remaining chapters alternately with "Falling Ceilng."

If you are enjoying this, you might like my other two Nifty stories...

http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/celebrity/of-pride-and-prejudice/
This is a two-chapter Potterverse short story [complete].

http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/adult-youth/shattered-ceiling-falling-sky/
This is on-going and I'm updating it as I write each new chapter.

All feedback is appreciated via: sexton1980@yahoo.com.au