Author: John Sexton
Genre: Harry Potter Slash
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Chapter Eleven -- Salazar the Peacemaker
Hermione Granger had already purchased her Hogwarts book list, along with the thirteen extra texts on her personal study list. She was simply browsing while she waited for Ron to return from the Quidditch supplies shop.
She glanced at her watch, for the first time in ages, and was stunned that it was so late. She then became quite annoyed; Ronald was supposed to have been back there nearly forty minutes ago! She screwed her nose and frowned in frustration; he was only two doors away, for goodness sake!
When Hermione looked up, to scan the bookshop for the wayward red-head, she was stunned...
Standing only feet away was the most attractive boy Hermione had ever seen. He was radically dressed, with just a hint of Punk and Goth about him, but he had style. He was an enigma, but he was, above all else, hot. He could easily be an internationally famous model in either the Wizard or the Muggle world, especially dressed as he was.
He reminded her a little of Viktor Krum, only slimmer and more agile. But, more than anything, he reminded her of a panther, a black leopard; dark, dangerous and drop-dead gorgeous.
The boy looked down from the bookshelf that he was browsing, then smiled at Hermione awkwardly. He looked a little embarrassed...
"Was I really staring at him that intensely?" She asked herself.
The gorgeous boy broke the tension by glancing at the cover of the book she was browsing, then he smiled.
"You must really be interested in Defence Against the Dark Arts," he remarked, "that book isn't even on the Seventh Year reading list."
He smiled at her, and she felt her pulse race a little; she felt suddenly quite warm... rather warm, actually.
"Yes," she flushed a little more, "I really need to improve my results, it's my weakest subject."
She blushed again and smiled at the boy. He really was rather cute.
"Have you looked at this book?" he asked, as he reached up, just past her head, and retrieved a much smaller book from the shelf.
Hermione drew a deep breath, soaking in the pheromones from the all-too-brief closeness of his smooth, toned torso; she was intoxicated.
"It's by Professor Mallison West," the gorgeous boy added.
He handed the text to Hermione, almost startling her out of her carnal reverie.
"I think it's far better than the one in your hand."
The boy nodded coyly at her selection. He smiled at Hermione, then handed it to her.
"It doesn't have quite as much detail, but he takes a really practical approach, and he's much more readable, especially his chapters on the Unforgivables."
Hermione now looked at the boy in a new light, he was not just a buff spunk, he was intelligent and buff... Bingo!
Hermione's thoughts drifted back to Viktor Krum. She loved that Viktor was so physical, but she could never really get past the intellectual gap between them, which was veritably yawning, after twelve months of nothing but owls to and fro. It had, just now, become a chasm.
"How do you know I go to Hogwarts?"
Hermione swallowed the question, as she remembered she'd decided to wear her school robe, to ward off the chill in the air. Then Hermione realised that she knew nothing about the boy, himself.
"How do you know what's on the reading lists?" she teased, "do you work here?"
"No," the boy laughed softly, "I go to Hogwarts," he beamed at her, "at least I'll be there this year. I'm Sals, by the way."
He held out his hand in a friendly gesture.
Hermione reciprocated and took his hand gently. She couldn't have quelled her look of utter delight, even if she'd wanted to, but she did suppress the urge to gush.
"Pleased to meet you, Sals," she gave a petite smile, "I'm Hermione."
"What brings you to Hogwarts?" ... "Where did you go to school before this?" were on the tip of Hermione's tongue; but she opted for a more mature approach.
"What year will you be in, Sals?" she enquired calmly, then mentally chided herself for repeating his name so... eagerly?... desperately?
"Ah, well, I lost my mum recently, and now I'm living with my dad. I've never been to another Wizarding school... I've had private tuition. Dad and I thought it would be a good idea if I went to Hogwarts for my last two years."
"Oh, I'm sorry about your mother, Sals."
Hermione was slightly taken aback with the realisation that he had answered all of her questions, including the two she hadn't asked.
Sals just shrugged his shoulders a little awkwardly, then he smiled.
"Thanks, Hermione," he almost whispered.
Hermione squirmed uneasily, with the sudden embarrassed hush that had descended upon them both; she was keen to change the subject.
They sighed simultaneously, and giggled at their mutual coyness, before another uncomfortable pause gave Hermione her chance.
They were again in synch and laughed at the their own slapstick. Sals gestured for Hermione to go first.
"We're in the same year, by the way," said Hermione cheerfully.
She smiled at Sals again, after what seemed like minutes but was surely only seconds, and looked up into his dark smouldering eyes. She was rewarded with an equally warm response.
"Oh, good," he quipped gaily, "I hope we have some classes together."
Hermione quickly regained her composure.
"Yes, that would be nice."
So there Hermione stood, in the DADA section of Flourish & Blotts, where she proceeded to talk to the alluring creature, on a wide range of topics and theories.
Along the way she managed to discover that he loved Quidditch and flying, and Defence Against the Dark Arts was his favourite and best subject.
These revelations came in rather quick succession, and Hermione could not help but think about Harry, more deeply with each one. He'd been missing for five weeks now; she had of course become distressed, but she'd fought against allowing it to consume her. There was, after all, nothing she could do to change any of it.
Hermione did not want to frighten off this gorgeous hunk with a fit of pique. Besides, she had decided, with the passing of Harry's sixteenth birthday, last Wednesday, that she was going to have to get on with her own life.
Hermione had contacted Professor Dumbledore, when her first owl had been unable to locate Harry, immediately after news of his disappearance.
The headmaster had come personally, to Hermione's home, where he'd told her that Harry had not been seen since he'd fled Privet Drive. The old man had tried to reassure her that Harry was safe, but it hadn't made the news any easier to accept.
That was a month ago. Then, early last Thursday morning, she rationalised that there was nothing she could do to help Harry, after her third owl had returned without delivering his birthday present.
Dumbledore had consoled her, by owl that evening, and reassured her that he was confident that Harry was okay. The old man had counselled her that she had her own life to get on with.
Not surprisingly, Hermione had not studied anywhere near as much as she had planned to, over the last few weeks, and now there were only four weeks left till school went back. So today had been a fresh start to the rest of the summer hols, and Flourish & Blotts was her first step towards getting her study regimen into full swing.
Despite her moment of despair, Hermione soon focussed on talking to the alluring creature standing before her, between the hallowed bookshelves of Flourish and Blotts. Their discussion soon deepened into pleasant conversation.
This diversion was doing wonders for Hermione's spirits. A bright smile illuminated her face, and an occasional flush ebbed and flowed across her cheeks, as she and Sals moved on to more stimulating social intercourse.
After nearly thirty minutes, Hermione decided she had better get moving.
"Have you got all your books yet, Sals?" she asked brightly.
"Yeah, they should be ready by now, I suppose."
The stunning youth laughed and looked a little hesitant...
"I'm meeting a friend at four... would you like to join us for an ice cream, at Edburg's... our shout?"
Hermione was both nervous and elated, from the shock of the invitation. She checked her watch again; Ron was over an hour late.
"Well damn him!" thought Hermione angrily.
She was really tired of him ignoring her feelings and taking her for granted. This was just another example of the problem.
"That would be great, Sals," she beamed at him, "I'd love to... just wait till I buy this then."
Sals accompanied Hermione to the counter, where she paid for the book he had suggested. She noticed, in awe, that the boy shrank his books into his hand, then transferred them to his waistcoat pocket, without word or wand.
Hermione had never seen such a display of raw power from someone her own age. She wondered if Sals was even aware of how daunting it was, but she decided that to comment would be rude.
When Sals proceeded to shrink a second parcel of books into his pocket, Hermione was astounded.
"They can't all be yours," she cried cheerfully. "Not even I bought that many books this year, and I'm Hogwarts's resident bookworm."
"No," he laughed, "these are for my friend."
"Your friend goes to Hogwarts?"
"Yes, I expect you know him: Draco Malfoy?"
"Oh," Hermione cried.
Her mouth dropped, followed quickly by the rest of her face. She grimaced at the silver snakes slithering across the boy's green waistcoat, then she sighed.
"I should have realised," she groaned.
Hermione's hormones had let her down. She could not believe that her judgement could have been so seriously clouded, or that this boy's good looks had made her oblivious to the obvious. She ogled at the snake on his well-toned upper arm, then shook her head miserably.
"How could I have been so blind?" she thought to herself.
"Is there a problem, Hermione?"
The boy looked even more adorable when he frowned, and that merely increased her depression.
"I'm sorry, Sals, but I have a bad history with Slytherins. Draco Malfoy and I don't exactly... we don't get on at all: he's barely civil to me at the best of times."
She glanced at Sal's waistcoat again.
"I really am sorry, I should have realised you were a Slytherin, I..."
"If you don't mind me saying so, Hermione: I think I deserve a better chance than that... don't you?"
She looked up at him suddenly, a puzzled look on her face. He raised his eyebrows at her imploringly before he continued.
"After all," he appealed, "I haven't even started at Hogwarts, let alone been sorted, and I'm being rejected already, simply because the first Hogwarts student I've met is a Slytherin and the second is a Gryffindor. Bit sad, don't you think?"
Hermione was flustered and a little resentful that she was being accused of being unfair.
"Hang on!" She narrowed her eyes at him. "How do you know I'm in Gryffindor?"
Sals beamed another smile that melted her suspicious reaction.
"I've read Hogwarts, a History, you know," Sals laughed and winked at her.
Hermione's arms tingled, and she shivered.
"It was an educated guess... given your feelings about Slytherin."
Sals's smile morphed into a cheeky grin, and Hermione felt her flesh tingle with goose bumps; then another shiver ran down her spine.
"This," he smiled, as he gestured to their academic environs, "suggested Ravenclaw; but that," he intimated the book in her hand, then, with his dark eyes alive and sparkling, he growled the verb, "roared Gryffindor."
"Aren't you the clever minx," Hermione cooed at him, mesmerised again by his stunning good looks.
Ronald would not like Sals; she was pretty certain about that.
"It would be just like Viktor all over again!" she thought angrily.
Hermione sighed, and tried not to let her emotions, this time her anger with Ron, spill over into this relationship. She stopped... she didn't have a relationship... not with Sals, at any rate... then, eyeing his waistcoat anew, she realised that she could never have a relationship with him.
"Well," she quipped defensively, and her unambiguous tone was one of regret, "you already seem to have sorted yourself into Slytherin."
He pointed to his waistcoat with a quick jerk of his downcast face, then flashed his dark orbs again and sighed.
"This was Mum's last gift to my dad. I'm wearing it because it's the first present he gave me."
Sals shrugged his shoulders indifferently, then grimaced as he became more sombre.
"I don't know what house I'll be sorted into, Hermione," his tone was resolute, "and I don't much care, either ... if you really want to know."
"You don't?" she asked sceptically.
"No! I've heard quite a bit about the houses at Hogwarts recently," his scowl emphasised his distaste, "and I must say: I don't like what I've learned."
That revelation triggered Hermione's defences.
"So, what has Malfoy been telling you then?" she challenged him.
Sals laughed pleasantly.
"I've hardly spoken to Draco any more than I have to you, Hermione! He only met me, for the first time in his life, barely an hour ago. He didn't even know I existed until then."
This merely added to Hermione's confusion.
"So... who?..." she began, before he picked up the thread.
"Professor Dumbledore: I had an enrolment interview with him this week. It was what I learned from him that turned me against the house system, as it currently seems to operate. I think the houses need to work together, Hermione, not hate and fight each other and tear the school apart."
"Odd, that's what the Sorting Hat said at the beginning of last year," replied Hermione, thoughtfully.
"Not odd at all, if you ask me," Sals quipped, "pretty logical, I'd say."
Sals looked suddenly coy for a moment.
"I actually spoke to the Sorting Hat, that same day."
He grinned cheekily as Hermione dropped her jaw yet again.
"Well it spoke to me, actually. It was when Dumbledore left me alone in his office for a minute. The hat just started talking to me from way up on its shelf. To be honest it was really the hat that had the greatest influence on my viewpoint; and as you just pointed out, it pretty much said the same thing to both of us."
Hermione was speechless; all she could do was blush, until she remembered Harry telling her once of the hat doing the same thing, during the Heir of Slytherin fiasco.
"Yes," she mumbled almost absently, "Harry mentioned the hat talking with him in much the same way."
"Funny you should say that," the fit young wizard laughed, "the hat said that Harry was the last one he'd spoken to like that." Then Sals rolled his adorable eyes rather dramatically, "looks like we're a lucky few."
"Well the hat has obviously never spoken to Draco Malfoy," she mumbled rather belligerently, "more's the pity!"
"Goodness, Hermione," Sals cried, "if you wanted any better proof of how right the Sorting Hat is, look no further than what nearly happened to us, just now... and all because my dad's a Slytherin, and Draco Malfoy is the first person I met from Hogwarts."
"Nearly happened to us?" Hermione retorted playfully.
She locked eyes with the gorgeous hunk once again, and a wry smile creased her lips. But it was quickly killed by a sudden realisation.
"Hang on," she cried, "you didn't guess... you knew I was in Gryffindor!"
She nearly melted, as a huge grin engulfed his face, and he held up his hands defensively.
"Guilty, as charged!" he laughed, "see... I'd make a terrible Slytherin."
Then his grin widened mischievously, and he nodded towards her.
"It was rather hard to miss," he looked suddenly sheepish, "you're wearing your robe."
She flushed scarlet, then she laughed, as did he. Despite the fact that it had been Hermione's faux pas, she could not help but feel that Sals was laughing with her, rather than at her.
"Actually, Hermione," Sals went on, "even if you hadn't worn your robe, I would still have known, as soon as you mentioned your name."
This revelation amazed and disturbed the young witch. The handsome boy obviously read her reaction, because he quickly explained.
"When I talked to Dumbledore about the houses, it was only natural that the most notorious current example of house rivalry would be discussed."
He grinned cheekily, and a twinkle creased his eyes.
"I think it's rather ironic that you and Draco were the first two students that I met... don't you, Hermione?"
Hermione eyed Sals suspiciously for a moment.
"You set this up, didn't you?" she accused him, "what are you playing at?"
He smiled even more sheepishly, and she could not hide her defences melting in the glow of his charm. She wondered, momentarily, if he was enchanting her; she had already witnessed his subtle power in action. But she dismissed the notion and smiled as he explained...
"I admit that I was careful not to mention Draco, by name, Hermione, and I didn't want to reveal my family name for the same reason. I had hoped that we could try and get past the prejudices and just get to know each other, rather than each other's preconceptions."
He looked suddenly troubled.
"I wasn't trying to hurt or embarrass you, I swear, Hermione."
She was about to challenge him on Malfoy's place in all of this, when Sals seemed to anticipate her doubts.
"Look," he pleaded, "I admit that I invited you to have an ice-cream with Draco, in the hope that I might be able to act as a mediator, to try to help things get off to a better start this year."
Hermione's look was sceptical.
"Hey, what better place to start!" He quirked an eyebrow at her in a challenge. "If we can start by smoothing over the cracks between you two, then the rest of the school would surely follow."
Hermione grew even more suspicious, and Sals merely shook his head in defeat.
"I swear, on Merlin's grave, Hermione, that I met both of you by chance today."
Sals's face broadened with another mischievous grin, and Hermione could not help but smile.
"Of course," he added gleefully, "the fact that the book lists were owled yesterday, did improve the chance that I'd meet at least one of you, here, today."
She reflected his smile.
"In fact," he whispered conspiratorially, "it was Draco who met me, this afternoon; if he hadn't seen my dad, then he and I wouldn't have met until September, I guess."
"Draco knows your father?"
"Yes, of course," Sals smiled apologetically and winced slightly, "well, he'd have to... wouldn't he? After all, he is Draco's housemaster."
Hermione blanched, and Sals could not hold back a laugh.
"See what I mean?" he whined, "what hope would I have had if you'd known all that up front! We wouldn't have exchanged two words."
"That bitch!" thought Hermione.
"Rita Skeeter was right for once, wasn't she? You did go with your father to Gringotts last Easter, didn't you?"
"Yes," Sals huffed, his instant boredom with the topic in no doubt, "Dad did make mention of her insipid drabbles. Though it hardly deserved any attention, let alone the time wasted reading it."
In the absence of any reaction from Hermione, Sals pushed on.
"Anyway!" he exclaimed enthusiastically, "enough of that horrible woman. This," he gestured between them, "is exactly what the Sorting Hat is on about, Hermione, what do you say?"
"I'm sorry, Sals," she blushed, "you're right, of course," she paused for a moment; a mischievous smile creased her lips and her eyes. "So, Malfoy knows nothing about this... about me, I mean?"
"No... but the last one at Edburg's has to shout," Sals grinned wickedly, "and I can't wait to see the look on Draco's face when he has to pay for your ice-cream!"
When Draco saw Granger sitting with Sals, at a window table, in Ingmar Edburg's Ice Cream Emporium, his blood boiled. He felt like tearing over there and clawing her eyes out with his bare fingers. The snake charmer was his!
"Back off, Mudblood!" he mumbled angrily.
"What is a filthy Mudblood doing in Edburg's anyway?" Draco whined, "Fortescue's is more her style... oh, he sighed, of course!"
He grimaced with the realisation that Edburg's was certain to be polluted with the likes of Granger, now that Fortescue's was closed. Then he snorted a derisive laugh.
"No," Draco sniggered, "Weaselby can't afford to come here," he smiled wickedly, "and Potter can't go anywhere... so that just leaves the Mudblood."
Draco seethed. He was about to swoop down on the Mudblood from afar; his most scathing barbs and epithets were warming-up on his tongue: he was armed and dangerous.
But the sudden recollection of another encounter, almost five years ago, brought Draco up short. He remembered how he had lost the chance to befriend someone else, through his own stupidity...
That time he had attacked one of Potter's new acquaintances, and Potter had responded by rejecting him publicly. Draco quickly determined not to repeat that disaster with Sals. This would require guile and finesse; Draco braced himself, put on his best Slytherin mask, and approached the duo casually.
"Sals," Draco smiled cheerfully, "looks like I pay."
The blond turned towards the Mudblood, but maintained his bright expression, albeit less genuinely.
"Hullo, Granger, I wasn't aware that you knew Sals."
Draco was stunned that she seemed neither alarmed nor, even worse, surprised by his arrival. Had she known? And yet she had stayed!
She smiled back at him.
"And I had no idea you were the friend that Sals was meeting here, when he first invited me to join you."
"Oh, so that's you're little game, Mudblood!" Draco thought. "Trying to impress a potential boyfriend with your charm, wit and reserve. Expecting me, were you? See this as some sort of challenge, do you?"
Draco suppressed a sneer as he eyed her.
"Well, witch, just sit back and watch the master."
"So," Draco quipped airily, "where did you two meet? ... No, don't tell me!... Flourish and Blotts."
Then he ogled at Granger mischievously.
The girl actually smiled at that and, to Draco's utter surprise, it seemed genuine. She then surpassed all expectations with her reply...
"Well it was either there or Hogwarts library, but since we're not back at school yet, it does narrow the field, I suppose."
Her smile appeared a little less sincere now, but Draco amazed himself by laughing despite, or maybe because of, the irony.
"Too easy," he quipped.
"Ah, you're just in time, Draco." Sals patted the chair on his other side. "Here comes your ice cream now."
"So, how long have you known each other, then?" the Mudblood enquired casually of Draco.
The Slytherin swore he detected a mixture of suspicion and jealousy in her tone; or was that just wishful thinking on his part?
Draco toyed with the idea of teasing her, by claiming Sals as a lifelong friend, an intimate acquaintance; but he thought better of it. He doubted that Sals would take kindly to being a pawn in their little rivalry. Besides, the tall dark boy's subtle reaction to her question had given Draco pause.
"I met Sals just this afternoon, Granger."
Draco's reply was casual, but he was miffed by the look that Sals had directed at the witch. He seemed to be tacitly reminding her that he'd already told her that; while her unstated response suggested that she was confirming Sals's story for her own edification. At least that's what Draco's meagre skill as a Legilimens told him.
Draco had little reason to doubt his senses: he might not be able to read their minds, but he could read their faces easily enough. He wondered about the discussion that, in all likelihood, underscored their exchanged looks, and another flush of jealousy coloured his cheeks. Their tacit exchange seemed a little too trite to Draco, and that angered him even more.
Granger smiled at Sals.
"Well you made two interesting choices;" she laughed again, then blushed slightly.
Draco felt a sudden rush of animosity towards Granger, but he reined it in and decided, instead, to snatch the snitch from the bitch.
"What Hermione is trying to say, Sals, as tactfully as possible," Draco teased Granger, "is that she and I have a history of sorts. We tend not to get along," he concluded, with a wicked grin that he directed at her.
"Ah, yes, the Harry Potter factor," quipped Sals, to which she responded with an incredulous scowl, at both of the young wizards.
Draco decided that now would be an appropriate time to exercise his Slytherin prowess.
"You may be surprised to know, Granger," he teased her with another wicked smile, then nodded towards Sals, "that our mutual friend, here, is a great admirer of Potter. So what do you think of that?"
"I don't believe you, Draco Malfoy," retorted Granger, in a toffy air that was almost playful, "you're just trying to get a rise out of me, and it won't work."
"WHADDA YA THINK YOU'RE DOIN', MALFOY!"
The angry outburst, booming from Edburg's doorway, startled Draco from his search for an appropriate retort to Granger's party games. The all-too-familiar voice could only belong to one cretinous individual; that obnoxious redhead, and third cog in the Harry Potter admiration society, the weasel.
"Do you always have that effect on people, Weasley?" Draco drawled his lazy best. "Oh, sorry, of course you do," he simpered and feigned a yawn.
Weasley had his wand trained on Draco before he'd had time to react. Draco froze... there was no logic in provoking the freckled lunatic into further action.
But, even as Draco had arrived at that prudent decision, the weasel's wand flew from his grip. It shot through the air, straight into Sals's outstretched hand, which snatched the stick with a Seeker's reflex; yet his forearm had not moved, even remotely!
"Shit!" "Oh my!" and "Fuck me!" were their collective responses, to which Sals made no direct reply.
The weasel was never too bright, but it was clear to Draco, thanks to the tone of the red-head's scatological expletive, that even his thick skull had absorbed the implications of this incredible display of power.
"Well," droned Draco soberly, "that certainly rules you out of being allowed to play Quidditch, Sals... well, as Seeker at least... for whichever house you get sorted into."
Draco's comment seemed to draw great interest from the redhead, while Granger remained stunned. Draco felt, rather than thought, that she was more fearful than impressed.
"The bookworm is frightened. She knows something," Draco thought. "We're going to have to talk. She might be useful, now that Potter is no longer in the equation."
This was going to take his most Slytherin guile. But Draco's first priority was Sals, even more so now. He eyed the Mudblood thoughtfully.
"She might know some things about Sals that I don't."
"Sorry," said Sals, in a tone that was almost apologetic, "I get very uncomfortable with violence of any sort." But then his voice hardened sharply, "and," he growled the word, as he nailed the weasel with a no-nonsense glare, "I find wands pointed in aggression, in my presence, unacceptable."
Without rising from his seat or even lifting his elbow off the table, Sals opened his hand, and the wand floated back to within the firebrand's reach, but it was offered to Weasley side-on.
Draco smirked at this most Slytherin of options: returning the wand, tip first, would have been vulgar; the reverse would have been foolhardy. However, this strategy meant that the weasel would have to change grip before he could use the wand.
In any case, Draco did not think that returning the red-head's wand was a particularly foolhardy act, at least not for Severus Snape's son. Draco had little doubt that this boy could take care of himself.
As if to confirm Draco's assessment, Sals snarled at Weasley.
"Don't try that again!" he warned.
But the weasel was not yet done. He eyed Sals suspiciously.
"You goin` t` Hogwarts?" he groaned, as he retrieved his wand, from where it hovered in front of his nose.
Draco could not resist the prospect of seeing the look on Weasley's face when he discovered the new boy's identity...
"Sals," Draco quipped airily, "allow me to introduce you to Hogwarts's resident hothead, Ronald Wea "
"I don't want to meet any of your Slytherin cronies, ferret!" spat the weasel.
He eyed Sals's waistcoat and serpentine armband with palpable distaste.
"Come on, Mione," he added haughtily, "we're goin'."
Granger did not move; she sat resolutely, glaring at the redhead.
"Mione!" he whined again, "let's go!"
"I think it would be best if you went, Ronald," she announced defiantly, "but I'm staying."
"Hermione!" the weasel cried in anguish, "what's got into you? Let's go!"
"Mione, listen to me," cried the neurotic carrot-top.
Weasley's loss of control was reflected in his voice, which croaked like a twelve-year-old on the cusp of puberty.
"They've got you under some sort of jinx or Dark Magic!" he squeaked.
With that, the fool drew his wand again.
However, this time, when he confiscated the weapon, Sals snapped it in two. Then he dropped the pieces onto the table, where they immediately burst into flames, between the half-eaten bowls of ice-cream.
This caused Granger to squeal and several of the nearest customers to jump up in alarm.
The redhead exploded and lunged at Sals; but the young wizard merely held up his hand, and Weasley froze. Both Draco and Granger gasped in shock at this even more ominous display of Magic.
Most of the patrons had stopped talking by now; while those who hadn't were obviously whispering about what was happening. It seemed that everyone was watching the proceedings with more than casual interest.
Even Ingmar had stopped chatting to one of his clients, but he had the good sense not to involve himself in the altercation.
Draco assumed that Sals's spell must have been a variant of Petrificus, as only the red-head's eyes were still moving; they were blinking. But most amazing was the casual air that this powerful young warlock exuded, especially right now. That one so young could display so much raw power was both exciting and frightening. Maybe Granger was onto something.
Just when Draco thought that Sals had everything under control, a wizard, in his thirties or forties, leapt up from his table aggressively, then began ranting...
"What do you think you're doing? Who do you think you are, carrying on like that!" he yelled.
The man's face was flushed, and his fists were clenched.
Everyone, including Ingmar, froze.
Sals never moved, but remained calm, even as the man charged towards him, wand drawn menacingly.
"This sort of behaviour has no place in here!" the patron cried, in a voice that commanded authority.
Draco wondered who in blazes he was.
"I'm perfectly all right thank you, Sir," Sals smiled at the aggressor, "but thank you for your support. It's good to know that I'm not alone."
The stunning youth beamed at the self-appointed sheriff, with a smile that would have melted candle wax.
The wizard underwent an immediate transformation, physically and emotionally.
"Not at all, young man," the reformed aggressor chirped, "glad to lend a hand." Then he smiled. "You seem to have it all under control though. Well done, lad."
He returned to his table quietly.
"I'll be fucked... royally!" Draco rasped under his breath.
He was at a loss to know exactly how much of what he'd just witnessed was psychology at work, and how much was Magic. Either way it had been a singularly impressive performance.
Granger, on the other hand, looked stunned by Draco's colourful expletive and shaken by Sals's sensational exhibition.
The room was hushed. Sals smiled slightly, then looked around the array of tables. Draco felt quite certain that, as he did so, the youth made eye contact with every individual in the parlour.
Then the dark-haired Adonis waved his wrist slightly, invoking a silencing spell. Draco was surprised that it was two-way, when the renewed murmurings of their audience were suddenly muted. The looks of frustration on the voyeurs' faces, as soon as Sals began talking, amused Draco.
"Now, listen to me... carefully," Sals warned Weasley.
His voice, though dark and threatening, remained calm and controlled.
"I'm going to remove this spell, then you're going to retrieve what's left of your wand, and you are going to leave. If you annoy Hermione or attack Draco or me, again, I am going to have to hurt you, if only to teach you a lesson..."
Sals paused for a brief moment... "is that clear?"
Weasley blinked; Sals merely waved his hand.
The moronic redhead slumped forward, as he regained his balance, then jerked himself up to his full height.
"You destroyed my wand," he sneered defiantly, "you're gunna have to pay for that!"
Sals beamed a wicked smile at Weasley.
"Hand the bill to my father," he said offhandedly, "when you see him, in four weeks."
"Your father?" Weasley scowled with obvious trepidation.
"Yes, my father," Sals grinned ever so slightly, "or you can owl him; I'm sure you know how to contact him: Professor Severus Snape, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
It was difficult to describe the look that warped the weasel's already ugly dial, but there it was for all to see.
"I should have known," was all that Weasley could mumble.
He picked up the charred remnants of his wand, scowled at Granger, sneered at Draco and eyed Sals inscrutably. Then, without so much as a squeak, he turned and headed out the door towards the Leaky Cauldron.
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...
This is a two-chapter Potterverse short story [complete].
This is on-going and I'm updating it chapter-for-chapter with this story.
All feedback is appreciated via: firstname.lastname@example.org