1. Conspiracy! by Lirie Halliwell
Damn that bloody Potter! I can't believe he managed to get away without punishment again after being caught wandering the halls with his cronies, hours after curfew. And they are lamenting about Snape's favoritism! Ha! What about Dumbledore's favoritism? The old loon is this close to actually passing a rule by which no rules apply to the Scarhead's little group! Conspiracy!
Draco Malfoy was still furious half an hour after his chance encounter with the Golden Trio in the Great Hall, where they smugly announced to him that his elaborate attempt to get them into trouble had failed once again. Currently he was on his way to the Quidditch Pitch, one hand hoisting his cherished Silverline over his shoulder and the other one holding the wand that guided the wooden chest containing the school's Quidditch balls. His hair was slightly disheveled, because he couldn't be bothered to slick it properly this morning, and his face was drawn into a bitter and hateful sneer, which was set alight particularly by the spitting fire in his mercurial eyes.
If that baboon thinks this was an elaborate attempt then he is dafter than I ever presumed. And that says a lot! Tipping Filch off was nothing, and if he really wants to see an elaborate attempt, I'll show him an elaborate attempt...
Draco kicked the ground, sending a chunk of grass askew. He needed to calm down now, to recompose himself and come up with something devious to inflict on that idiot. That was exactly why he was making his way towards the pitch with the trunk hovering silently beside him. He wasn't in the mood for Seeking right now, as that would force him to think, to pay attention, and he just couldn't do that at the moment. What he needed now was the sheer physical exertion of avoiding mindless Bludgers charmed to attack only him for the sake of his precious life.
It was not like he had a death wish of any sort, as many students who knew of this little quirk in his immaculately polished character assumed. He simply enjoyed the rush of the adrenaline, the hot sweat and the malevolent gusts of air about him when he managed to duck a particularly eager ball. The best he could explain it was that after escaping the charmed Bludgers for an hour, he felt utterly exhausted and drained, and no troubling thoughts could enter his blissfully closed mind.
Finally arriving at the pitch, Draco placed the chest onto the grass, shrugged off his broomstick, and scanned the empty white November sky. Only it wasn't that empty.
A flash of red robes and long flapping red hair was zooming over the pitch, expertly guiding a shady broomstick with disturbing speed and skill. Skill he had to give credit for. Until, of course, his mind caught up with his eyes and he realized that it was the Weasley girl he was watching, and she was in fact hogging his pitch when he needed some alone time on it. The nerve of that chit!
Well, it didn't matter now. He'd release the Bludgers and let them scare her off, and when she huffed off childishly, he could peacefully charm them to attack only him. Snarling at the flying girl, he crouched beside the trunk and lifted the restraining charms, flipping the lid open. At the sight of fresh air the two black balls began jerking and writhing, demanding to be set free to prowl the sky.
Draco couldn't help a smirk from crossing his lips as he began unbuckling the first Bludger, envisioning the stupid girl being chased around by it until she ran away screaming. He'd have to charm the Bludgers to slow down a bit, though. He didn't need her running off to McGonagall, accusing him of attempted murder. The thought made him wonder if the Weasleys would even notice. They had like seventy-eight children already! One less wouldn't make much difference, right?
He cackled again, only this time he was interrupted by a shrill shriek coming from above. Snapping his head up and over his shoulder, his heart gave a funny little leap when he thought she might've tumbled off her broom without the Bludgers' assistance. Then he realized that she wasn't plummeting to - if not her early demise, then - serious injuries, but instead was performing some complicated loops and the sound was not that of a distress, but was in fact a delighted squeal when she reached the upside down position, moments before she flipped back up.
Growling in annoyance, Draco turned back to the trunk to finish unbuckling the first Bludger when, with a sinking sensation, he realized it was missing. Jumping to his feet and whipping around once again, he watched with horror gracefully etching his expressionless features, as the black menace gained on the littlest Weasley with troubling speed. The girl was once again hanging upside down and too preoccupied with clinging to the shaft of her overused broom to notice the Bludger careening its way mindlessly towards its unsuspecting victim.
A thought fluttered through Draco's mind. He should yell some kind of warning at her. Perhaps even try to charm the Bludger away. His wand was still in the back pocket of his trousers and he knew there would be no problem in swiftly extracting it, and shouting some spell or hex at the ball.
But she was a Weasley! Why the hell would he try to do something so... so... Gryffindor? It wasn't his fault the stupid bint wasn't paying attention to her surroundings, and was instead hanging upside down from her broom, squealing like a deranged monkey!
Why the hell was his chest constricting?
His heart gave another queasy leap when the Bludger finally hit its target, blowing her completely off her broom and restlessly continuing to swerve in the sky.
NOW! His mind bellowed desperately, as he watched the cloud of fluttering red robes and hair plunge gracelessly to the ground. Do something NOW!
But she's Weasley! He countered almost evenly. Plus, there was barely twenty feet between her and the ground; it wasn't that bad. She played Quidditch, and she most definitely would have had more serious falls. This was a child's play.
He couldn't bring himself to fully believe that, but he also couldn't bring himself to raise his wand.
Suddenly it struck him that she was diving headfirst, since the Bludger hit her when she was still upside down, and that she would probably land on her head. When she finally landed in a morbid heap of red robes, fiery hair and the splintered wood of her broomstick, the loudest resonating crack Draco had ever heard pierced him through the heart. A sigh of relief caught in his throat as he found himself transfixed by the vision before him.
He had never noticed just how red her hair was. All the dunderheaded males of her family he'd had the vast misfortune of crossing had the most awful shade of singed orange gracing their tops, giving them the looks of mere barbarians. Strangely, her hair was nowhere that dreadfully bright hue. Her own tresses were actually the dramatic color of blood - dark crimson, as his mother called it. She also had a very pale complexion that only accentuated the regality of her locks.
There was some kind of odd shadow play there and... funny, it seemed for a moment that her hair was shifting, expanding, slithering, trickling...
Hair doesn't trickle, his mind stated matter-of-factly. But blood does...
It had been a week since that accursed afternoon when Draco witnessed the littlest Weasley take the plunge. He wasn't quite sure how so much time had managed to slip through his fingers since he was desperately sure it was only yesterday he'd scooped her up awkwardly in his trembling - no, not trembling, his hands don't tremble - hands and carried her to the Hospital Wing. Every morning he woke up he was still certain the night before was spent over the basin in his private bathroom, franticly scraping and rubbing his hands. Wishing with all his might to get rid of her blood - so much like her hair, trickling... - off his palms. Every time he dared to look up he was sure to see a red smudge against his vision, falling headfirst to the floor, the ground, the grass, the blood.
He shamelessly skipped Herbology. Avoiding the outside, where the stretches of white or blue or dark gray sky were impossibly unbearable for him. He avoided his own belovedSilverline, which was without hesitation gifted to Blaise Zabini the moment it was retrieved for him. He avoided Quidditch. The Hufflepuff versus Ravenclaw match was declared a once in a century event, after the Badgers beat the Bookworms 250-70. He avoided Scarhead. Well, more accurately, he avoided his sidekick, the Weasel, because he couldn't stand the sight of red hair and the knowledge of what he had done, and worse still, what he hadn't done.
But most of all, he avoided the Hospital Wing like it contained a Dragon Pox plague.
She was still there and hadn't woken up, that much he knew. He still hadn't seen her in the hallways, or during the meals, and he was beginning to convince himself that she never existed to begin with. That he had dreamed everything and that her blood was never on his hands or his clothes, that he wasn't really responsible for her falling off her broom and breaking three ribs, spurring five fractions in her skull and spilling so much bloody blood!
Of course it was in moments like these that he pulled out the black woolen jumper and pair of trousers from the lowest drawer of his commode, and in a feat of utter masochism his mother would have a seizure attack at, would stare at the crimson stains, wishing, hoping, begging that he could turn back time and never set foot on that pitch that day.
He was a wreck.
The only thing working for him was the fact that not a word about The Incident got out.
Well, of course the whole school knew that the precious Gryffindor Angel had fallen off a broom and was in the Hospital Wing in a serious condition. But none of them knew the Slytherin Prince was involved in that fall. Draco was pretty sure that, if the word of it got out, the majority of the student body would attempt to put an abrupt and painful ending to his existence, and those that wouldn't - greater part of the Slytherins - would pat him on the shoulder, congratulating him. He was pretty sure he wouldn't enjoy the first and most probably break any approving faces of the seconds.
The only people who did know were the school's Medi-Witch, Madam Pomfrey, who nearly had a heart attack at the sight of a frantic - he knew he wasn't frantic, but she insisted that indeed he was and filled him with enough Sleeping Draught to out a full grown dragon before sending him away - Draco Malfoy carrying a limp bundle of bloodied red robes that was later on discovered to be Ginny Weasley into her infirmary. She demanded to know what had happened, but Draco was unable - of course he was able, he just saw no need to tell the Medi-Witch anything - to say a thing at the moment and so she reported him to the Slytherin Head of House, Professor Snape.
Professor Snape, of course, demanded the details as well, but he did it in his own murky office in the dungeons, where he led Draco right after making sure the injured girl was not in lethal danger. He also did it silently, as opposed to the harsh tones of Madam Pomfrey, while sitting stoically behind his desk, with his fingers set in a steeple and his small black eyes narrowed into prying slits.
For some strange reason, Draco would never fully understand, he told the truth. He thought of scaring her off the pitch with a Bludger, but it escaped before Draco could charm it under control and then she was hit and was falling and then there was blood, so much blasted blood.
When asked why he didn't try to prevent the fall if he still had his wand with him, Draco became silent. Snape narrowed his eyes even more and something deep and hateful flashed through them. Then he snarled and deducted one hundred points from Slytherin - granting him five points for so thoughtfully bringing Miss Weasley to the Hospital Wing, thank you very much, Mr. Malfoy - on top of landing him two full months of detention.
Draco didn't dare argue. He simply stared at his Head of House when he finished hissing. There was loathing in the Professor's eyes and Draco never thought he would feel this horrible pang at disappointing someone. Finally being excused from under the almost painful scrutiny, Draco hurried down the underground corridor to the nearest bathroom. He made it just in time. As he entered his stomach gave a spiteful lurch and he found himself retching his previous meal into the sink.
"Mr. Malfoy, a word with you," the Potions Professor muttered quietly just as Draco was about to join his peers in hastily filing out of the classroom.
It had been almost two weeks since that day and Snape had taken it upon himself to show his tremendous dissatisfaction with his star pupil, by picking on him during the classes the way he used to once pick on Potter and his sidekicks. This of course spurred some heavy waves of gossiping throughout the student body, the most ludicrous and disturbing being the possibility of sexual favors denied. Still no one knew it was he who set free the rogue Bludger that pummeled the littlest Weasley off her broom, so the sudden change in the atmosphere between the Professor and his favorite student was deemed unrelated.
Regardless of the rumors, which Draco ignored, he decided that it was best to avoid Professor Snape for the time being, at least when he wasn't forced to endure his presence during classes and detentions. For a while it seemed that the new arrangement was fine by Snape, but now he was beckoning him to stay after class for 'a word'. Draco didn't want to think about it.
He inwardly gulped, but remained as composed as ever, gesturing to those who paused to wait for him to move along. Blaise and Pansy exchanged troubled glances, but hauled Crabbe and Goyle on their way up to the Great Hall for their lunch.
Shrugging casually, Draco left the threshold with an odd sense of foreboding and stepped back into the classroom.
Snape was silent for a moment. He appeared to be surveying a round tin box on his desk; it looked like a candy-box and was colored in bright yellow hues . On closer inspection Draco discovered it was a lemon-drops box and a panicked thought about the Headmaster flashed through Draco's frantic mind.
Professor Snape finally glanced up at the student before him, regarding Draco with a frigid expression. When he finally spoke his voice was crisp and curt, though there was something else laced within his tone, something foreign. "Miss Weasley finally woke up last night."
Draco's mouth suddenly went dry. Miss? There was a Miss? I don't recall any Misses Weasley...
Snape surveyed him with the cold hard stare of a harsh and unyielding man, and the lines around his eyes seemed to harden when a shadow of a smirk appeared on his lips. "Your detention this evening will take place in the Hospital Wing. Actually, the rest of your detentions will take place in the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey will inform you of the details."
Draco forgot about the dryness in his mouth. In fact he wasn't quite sure now if he ever had a mouth, or a face, or a body, or anything else for that matter. No, he had hands, actually. But they were smeared with blood and it wasn't his blood. Oh how simple it would've been if it was his blood, his injuries, his fall.
"Sir, I don't think this is a good idea."
Who spoke? Whoever that was he sounded familiar. And wise, very wise. In fact Snape should very much listen to this person. Why is he glaring at me now? Maybe I should back away, just a tiny little bit and no one will notice. Or maybe they will. So Snape doesn't like it when people back away from him. I'll have to remember it for later use. That is, if I ever get out of this chamber alive. I just thought of something... this is the dungeon. If I scream, no one will hear me! Oh I feel better now. So very safe and protected and... and...
"Neither do I, Mr. Malfoy. But the Headmaster deems it appropriate and who are we mere mortals to question the vast and universally obfuscated knowledge of a man who leans towards such ludicrous reasoning," Professor Snape replied evenly, his voice holding no traces of ridicule or mock.
Dumbledore knows? What I'm talking about, of course he knows! That vast and universally obfuscated knowledge thing...
"Now, if you would care to leave my classroom immediately before I am forced to use hexes in order to rid myself of your sight, I would greatly appreciate it. I don't feel Dumbledore would be quite so lenient with me if I decide to send a raving Bludger to knock you off your broom. Off with you, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco didn't need to be told twice. He took off instantly, practically running all the way to the Great Hall. Slumping into his usual seat in the middle of the Slytherin table, he brushed away the eager enquiries of his friends and delved into the served food.
Only he couldn't swallow a single bite, and kept glancing at the entrance nervously. Dimwittedly expecting a very pale version of Ginny Weasley to float through the door, her hair clinging to her frail figure in wet locks, and accuse him of every little bad deed he ever performed. Oh he knew she knew all about them. Every misbehavior, every cuss word, every spiteful notion, every stolen cookie, she knew! Then she would curse him into the bottomless abyss of everything that is rotten and decaying and dead.
No, he was not losing his mind He was very mindful, thank you very much!
How did Dumbledore expect him to make it through alive? A whole evening in the Hospital Wing, where every single thing would be a reminder of what he had done and of what he hadn't done. How was he supposed to look at her without rushing to the nearest bathroom and hurling his little shriveling soul out? For he was sure that trying to avoid the sight of her in the Hospital Wing was quite useless and futile.
His eyes wandered up, only to catch sight of Harry Potter glaring at him intently. No wait, he was watching him and there was something in his stare that Draco didn't appreciate at all. Instinctively, his lips curled into a snarl of distaste to show the Scarhead just what he thought of him, but to his utter surprise The Boy Who Lived smirked in reply.
Smirked! Harry Potter smirked! The world had come to an early end and nobody saw it necessary to tell Draco.
Wait, he smirked? Why is he smirking? At me? Oh gods...
The Weasley girl must have told him and he was now smirking because... because... well, for some twisted reason only Scarhead's demented mind can think of. The important thing was that she woke up and she remembered him there.
She knew! She knew and she hated him. The fact that she indeed had every right to hate him was what was making him go through these excruciating sensations. He could not do this! He would run away from this blasted school! Honor be damned! He'd be the first Malfoy to not finish his magical educational, but he just couldn't do this!
Hours later, Draco was still planning his glorious escape when he rounded the last corridor on his way to the Hospital Wing. The usually bright hall that every student who played Quidditch or was just haplessly prone to accidents - such as that Longbottom bloke, what a waste of a good bloodline - learned to appreciate through the years now seemed dark and sinister.
He could still make a run for it, he assured himself. Just stop walking now, turn around and run like a little girl!
Draco froze suddenly, his face contorting into sneer. What the hell is wrong with him? This was only the Hospital Wing. Inside there was only the littlest Weasley. Why for the love of Merlin, was he acting like such an imbecile? There was no reasoning and no excuses available to him at that moment, so Draco pulled himself up, shrugging his broad shoulders casually and straightening his posture.
When he finally pushed the entrance doors open and cast the Hospital Wing a bored look, he felt involuntary relief wash over him when there was no sight of pallid ghostly girls with regal crimson locks, accusing him of every horror the world has to present. His eyes roamed to the furthest corner of the ward, settling on the stark white curtains drawn around one of the beds, which obviously contained the Weasley girl.
Draco smirked triumphantly. Well, of course. He had to spend the detention in the Hospital Wing, but it didn't mean that the old bat would allow him anywhere near her patient, whom - as far as Madam Pomfrey was concerned - he had attempted to murder. Feeling like he had won the Quidditch Cup, Draco even decided that he was going to be cordial to the Medi-Witch, because at that moment he wholeheartedly appreciated her overbearing protectiveness of her patients.
He made his way to the office, casually keeping his eyes away from the curtains, and rapped on the door quietly. Hearing Pomfrey's voice beckoning him to come in, he complied.
"Mr. Malfoy, Professor Snape may have already informed you that the rest of your detention will be supervised by me, right here in the infirmary." Madam Pomfrey spoke briskly, her lips curved into a thin line. Her whole expression was unwelcoming and sour.
"Yes he has, Madam," Draco intoned with a nod, not letting her apparent discontent with his presence bother him.
"Well then." The Medi-Witch cast him with a stern look and gestured at the potion phials on her desk. "Take these to Miss Weasley and have her take one potion per hour. You are also to make sure she is comfortable for the rest of the evening."
Draco's mouth felt dry once again. "Are you kidding me?" He was pretty sure he didn't mean to say that out loud.
"You can be sure that is exactly what I said to the Headmaster when he proposed - nay, decided - that you spend the rest of your detention helping Miss Weasley recuperate from a position you are partially responsible for," Madam Pomfrey replied vehemently. "I tried to reason with him, but he got all obscure again with that blasted capricious twinkle in his eyes and I just knew there was no getting through to the man."
Spend the detention with the Weasley girl? That's almost two bloody months!
"Don't appear so horrified, Mr. Malfoy. You deserve every ounce of discomfort you might feel for what you have done," the Medi-Witch bristled irritably, dismissing him with a wave of her hand as she returned to her paperwork.
Draco would've swallowed hard if only his mouth wasn''t so dreadfully dry. Picking up the potion phials before leaving the Healer's office, he closed the door behind him, leaning on it while his eyes slipped to the white curtains in front of him.
He was cursed. He was cursed and there was some nameless deity out there with the sickest sense of humor he ever encountered, laughing its incorporeal arse off, all because of these recent hapless developments in Draco's otherwise peaceful existence. For some reason that deity bore the face of his somewhat batty Headmaster at the moment.
That's it. I'm going to cut off that quack's lemon-drops' supply. I'll make sure not a single lemon-drop, or any other lemon-flavored candy for that matter, crosses the border into this bloody country! That'll show him! Don't cry, don't cry, don't-- no, whimpering is unacceptable as well!
Pushing himself off the door, Draco shrugged again, recollecting the scattered pieces of self-control and sauntered over to the hospital bed still veiled by the white drapery. Biting his inner cheek and steeling himself against everything, Draco pulled aback the curtains and took a look at the girl who haunted his nights, days and whatever was in between, thoroughly unsettling his already rickety mentality.
She was as pale as a ghost, which made him wince inwardly. But instead of the gray-green shade of death he envisioned in his nightmares, her pallor bore a tinge of pink, promising a full, if not quick, recovery. The furious red mane of her hair he'd expected to see framing her face in a bloodied halo, was deeply hidden beneath layers of white gauze, that were expertly wrapped around her head. Her brown eyes were transfixed on the pages of some tattered novel, in which she seemed hopelessly engrossed. She was clad in a pair of white cotton pajamas, wrapped in a white blanket that in this particular light appeared to have an odd tint of callous blue.
Hesitantly, she tore her eyes away from the written lines and glanced up at the source of the sound. At the sight before her, her eyes widened in a subtle expression of surprise and she blinked a couple of times.
Draco didn't even notice he was staring in a most impolite way. Raking his mind for something to say, he found himself wordless and quite dense. "Hello."
Silence again. Draco wondered if he could still make a run for the door, but he decided someone might actually notice - namely her - and the thought frittered away. That and the notion of running like a girl didn't do much for his masculine ego.
"So what awful deeds landed you the dubious pleasure of babysitting a Weasel?"
Was she making a joke? No wait, she was trying to have a conversation. Just a simple conversation with the Weasley girl, he could do it. If he suffered through hours of the dullest dinner parties his mother had the tendency of throwing every now and then, he could most definitely make a simple conversation with this girl. Right?
Wait, you don't remember? You don't remember? She doesn't remember!
Relief washed over him in great gleeful waves, and he was quite sure that if he hadn't been gripping the potions phials he would've broken into an exaggerated victory jig that would have caused him years of utter humiliation. Luckily the potion phials were still there, as were the imploring brown eyes he suddenly became acutely aware of.
His usual composure still intact, he decided to ignore the question in a true Malfoy manner. Instead, he stepped into the confinement of the curtains and placed the phials onto her bedside table.
"Madam Pomfrey said you have to take these one per hour," he recited indifferently, gesturing at the phials.
"What are those?" she asked with an odd note of dread in her voice.
"Erm, Sleeping Draught," Draco replied after a short inspection.
A fleeting sound of distress escaped her lips, drawing Draco's attention back to her face. She blanched just slightly, followed by a pale veil of scarlet that crept across her cheeks. Draco arched an inquiring brow and the scarlet deepened.
"I'm sure the old hag isn't trying to poison you, Weasley," he offered graciously. "Just wants you out cold so she doesn't have to trouble over you." Well, not that graciously.
She frowned at him, huffing indignantly and folded her arms across her chest. "I've been sleeping for a whole damn week now, Malfoy. I don't need anymore sleep and probably won't need it for the upcoming month."
She was staring at him with traces of recuperating ire. She was still very weak and her glare was unsuccessful, resembling that of an irritated puppy, but he was sure she was most definitely a force to be reckoned with when she was healthier.
Did she always have a backbone? He couldn't remember, mostly because he couldn't remember her. She was a Weasley, obviously; she played on the Gryffindor team - Chaser, he thought; wasn't she also in love with Scarhead? For shame...
Giving her a casual one-shouldered shrug, he plopped onto the stiff armchair beside the nightstand. No, not 'plopped', but took a seat. 'Plopping' is for peasants.
Giving him a narrow-eyed look, she shrugged herself and returned to her book.
It was of course fine by Draco; the less they conversed, the better. He had to spend his evenings in her company, but there was no talk of civil conversations. Good thing he decided to continue telling his housemates he still carried detentions with Snape. If word got out that he had to spend time with a Weasley, he would be persecuted; most probably by her brother. He couldn't help a smirk at that thought.
No, there was no need in half-arsed chitchats and he was perfectly contented sitting here in total si--
"So what is with the white... thing on your head?" Smooth, Malfoy.
Weasley tore her eyes away from the book again and glanced at him questioningly. Her mind catching up on his words, she glanced up and an unconscious hand brushed against the white fabric, scratching absently at a certain point. "This? Well, I have so many cracks in my skull, they're afraid my brains will ooze right out. So they bandaged my head."
His posture slipped momentarily and his eyes widened ever so slightly at her words. Was it possible? For a brain to ooze right out through numerous skull fractures? It'll probably be all squishy and gooey and she will be left with no brains at all, because gods know Weasleys don't have that much brain muscle to begin with, and he will be accused of causing a serious case of brain-oozing-ness and sent off to Azkaban for the rest of his life, just to spend every waking and sleeping moment of it seeing her gooey and sticky brains all over her pillow, and, and, and he was going to be sick...
"Gods, Malfoy, I didn't know you were so squeamish!" a jubilant voice pierced his inner turmoil and he suddenly noticed a glass of water hovering right in front of him.
Well, not exactly hovering, as if it was still attached to the Weasley girl, but it appeared to hover moments before until his vision finally focused. Draco took the glass, murmuring something that might be interpreted as a 'Thank you', but indeed was just bunch of incoherent mumbling, and downed the water, sensing a sheer layer of sweat gracing his forehead.
"Why can't they charm the fractures closed?" he asked, rapidly recomposing himself again and replacing the glass on the nightstand near the jug of water.
"Because Madam Pomfrey apparently isn't all that well trained in healing around such sensitive areas," she replied, gesturing at her head. "And because Dumbledore doesn't want to risk my safety by shipping me off to St. Mungo's in the middle of a raging war," she added with a sigh.
"Oh." It was all he could muster. But you'll be fine, right?
"But I'll be fine."
"So Malfoy." She glanced at him interestedly. "What did you do to land this detention?"
'Deny Snape sexual favors' was the first thing that popped in his mind. A moment after realizing what he had almost said, Draco decided to build an enormous monument in honor of his mother, for training him early in his childhood to keep tight control over his mouth. Imagining Weasley's reaction to his thankfully unuttered words, he could've almost cried in relief.
"Weasley, I'm beginning to understand why Pomfrey wants you pumped on sedatives," he drawled evenly, his lips quirked into a halfhearted smirk. "You're a nuisance."
"You're a nuisance," she huffed indignantly again, sticking out her tongue at him. Something told him it wasn't the first time someone called her that.
"Malfoy, you are not helping!"
"Of course I am, Weasley. I'm stimulating your brain cells. Well, what's left of the-- Ow! No throwing pillows at the tutor!"
"No irritating the redheads! And sniping pointless remarks at me really isn't stimulating anything, but my inbred killer instincts!"
"You have inbred killer instincts?"
"Well, not so much inbred as nurtured in the warm and loving environment of six highly aggravating and often purely mad older brothers."
"Really? I thought there was seventy-eight of you. Honestly, I don't know ho-- What did I say about throwing pillows at the tutor? Just for that, you're not getting them back."
"Ew, Malfoy! Don't sit on them! I have to put my head there!"
"Well it suits you right for attempting to murder the Slytherin Prince."
"Please! I've never heard of any documented murders using pillows. Unless I wanted to choke you with them, but considering I can barely stand on my own two feet, applying enough physical force is certainly out of the question. Can we please get back to this bloody assignment? I swear a god if we're not finishing this Potions essay by the end of this hour, I will jump out of the window."
"Good luck waddling your way to the window on those wobbly sticks of yours."
"Hey, that's not fair! I haven't been eating properly, nor walking with all this smothering fussing Pomfrey has been bestowing upon me. I'm telling you, if it wasn't against the code of conduct, I'm sure she would cradle me to her homicidally caring bosom like a one-year-old every night."
"Oh, Weasley, please! The visuals! Ergh!"
"You're a swine, Malfoy. You appall me. See this? This is my appalled face-- stop laughing, you bloody git! You..."
"ARGH! Weasley, are you completely off your rocker? These are my best robes!"
"Well, you should've given me my pillows back, so I could throw them at you instead of the water jug... Oh Malfoy, don't whimper. Scourgify. Happy?"
"Barely. Now I look like a drowned rat. Look at my hair!"
"Malfoy, you always look like a drowned rat, and your hair looks better this way. I hate that blasted Slicking Charm of yours."
"Weasley, stop drooling, it's unbecom-- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP WITH THE WATER ALREADY!"
Watching the littlest Weasley writhe in uncontrollable bursts of giggles had become Draco's favorite past time for the last month. She would arch backwards, collapsing onto her mattress with a hearty squeal, then she'd clutch her stomach and cover her mouth as the laughter escaped between her small pink lips. Her eyes twinkled with the liberated mirth he could never quite grasp or mimic.
For the past month he had been visiting her every single evening. Every time his detention included simply keeping her company, help her with her homework when she got well enough to be doingthat, and stashing away the Sleeping Draughts, so that Pomfrey would think she was still taking them.
There was an amusing episode a few days after the detention arrangement began, when the Weasel discovered that his little sister was being forced to endure the presence of Evil Reincarnate every night. He stormed into the Great Hall, flailing his arms in total outrage, with his face a lovely shade of purple, and tried to warn Draco of horrible and painful punishments if he dared to lay a hand on his baby sister. To which Draco replied evenly over the rim of his goblet that he was actually quite fond of his hands and that he would miss them tremendously, if he had to rinse off the Weasley filth with numerous potent Acid Potions. This, of course, prompted a savage lump of red-haired Weasley wrath to be hurled over the Slytherin table in an attempt to reach Draco's throat. Potter and Thomas were barely able to haul the raging Weasley away before any of the Professors were able to hurl detentions his way or take points off Gryffindor.
Of course, Weasley continued to throw hateful glares Draco's way every time their paths crossed, but Draco was quite adept at ignoring the raging loon already. What he couldn't ignore were the secretive smirks that Potter cast him every once in a while; his head tilted downwards when he chanced glances at him from the corner of his eyes, the same eyes that now bore the same disturbingly amused twinkle their loopy Headmaster was known for.
At first, he thought that perhaps Potter had finally lost his mind from all those Quidditch head injuries. Or perhaps he was outing himself and started fancying Draco, and that these glances and smirks were just his primitive way of showing that. But the thought was enough to dislodge a whole days worth of meals into the nearest toilet bowl.
He once caught Potter talking to the Littlest Weasley, and couldn't help but snarl at the sight of two Gryffindors huddled together, having an eager whispered conversation. Making his presence known with a scathing remark about Potter's stupidity - it wasn't that good, though, as his mind was somewhat seething at that moment and he couldn't think up something worthy of a usual Malfoy remark - Potter dared to cast him another maddening smirk, while the Littlest Weasley buried her face into a glass of water and nudged him off her bed.
Over the weeks he kind of discovered that she wasn't half as bad as that Neanderthal-ish brother of hers. It was actually possible to have a decent conversation with her, and the sparring was something he enjoyed tremendously She wasn't as simpering as the Slytherin girls, though every bit as cunning and as sharp-witted; she wasn't as snobbish as the Ravenclaw girls, though just as clever and opinionated; and of course she wasn't as dense as the Hufflepuff girls, but at times impossibly sweet and ridiculously innocent.
Her head was still clad in tight white bandages that were changed periodically. So it was in scarce moments that this thought disturbed him, he could always easily pretend that it was not Weasley's little sister he was laughing with, but some other girl, perhaps even from a family his father would appro--
Draco froze again, clenching his jaws tightly, and darting his eyes away from the still chortling girl. Brushing his long fingers across his forehead and he discovered a thin sheen of perspiration. He closed his eyes and allowed a small exhale to escape in a defeated puff. He'd been feeling odd for a week now, catching himself now and then on statements such as that; or perhaps watching the camber of her lips while she murmured to herself during reading; or in the most unguarded moments, acknowledging the desire to creep into her bed and just stay there, holding her close and sleeping with her through the night.
At first he brushed it off as some twisted residues of his guilt - since now he recognized the previous murderous sensations as pure human guilt - but he realized the thought was preposterous and that he was grasping at measly straws. Somewhere along the way through the guilt, awkwardness and his persistent and repeated decisions to ignore her, he came to like the loud, capricious, sometimes childish girl.
And there was going to be hell to pay, he knew it.
"Mr. Malfoy, a word with you." Professor Snape beckoned Draco to take a seat in front of the dark-wood desk just when he was about to exit the classroom with everybody else.
Casting his friends reassuring glances that he would remain intact after the meeting, Draco watched them leave and returned to the damp dungeon chamber. "Yes, sir?"
It had been almost two months since the horrible accident that shifted the course of his life off center. Snape's discontent had simmered down and he had long since returned to pestering Potter and his friends, leaving his favorite student to his own, which undoubtedly prompted life to return to normal. Except for the obvious stain of Draco's ever growing affection towards the Littlest Weasley on his otherwise bleak heart, that is.
"If I am correct," Snape drawled out over some parchments, his eyes skimming lines of some dimwitted essay. "By the end of this week you shall be released from your detention duty."
Draco jutted his chin up in a subtle attempt to remain composed. Yes, he had noticed that in three days he would lose his excuse for spending time with her and he will be forced to... to... what? Return to ignoring her? Or maybe pick up where they left off and spend days taunting her and her family? Or just... forget about her?
Draco didn't appreciate the dreadful sensations settling in the pit of his stomach when he thought about not being able to talk to her anymore, not being able to help her with her Potions homework - she was awful in that and most of her essays were written word for word from his dictations - not having their hours together to look forward to every single day. Nonetheless the dread was there and he couldn't squash it without feeling it billow it way up to his chest.
"Yes, I am aware of that."
There was something in his tone that made Snape tear his black piercing eyes from the essay, and glance up at the pallid young man in front of him. Perhaps what he really felt was visible on his features? Every time Draco looked into the mirror he expected to see his traitorous feelings embossed across his forehead for the whole world to see. The Potions Master was highly perceptive and Draco wouldn't put it past him to see right through the ice expression, and right into his soul. Of course the thought did nothing to calm him, and Draco found himself gripping his fidgeting fingers at his back.
"Yes... of course, you are also aware that your nightly visits to the Hospital Wing will also be out of your obligation."
Uh huh, that's it. He knows. He knows and he's going to milk my humiliation for all it's got. Or worse... gloat! I should just drop dead now and save him the pleasure.
Despite his well-trained ability to hold himself stoically in the utmost-pressured situations, horror recoiled in his chest as he sensed his jaws clench obviously.
Professor Snape smirked. "Tell me, Mr. Malfoy, if presented with the same situation again, would you make any moves to aid Miss Weasley in her fall?"
What do you think, you greasy old bat? I would hurl every levitation charm I could bloody well think of and if all magic fails I'd use my own body as a human buffer! Is that what you want to hear? You old quack!
"I think I might spare Miss Weasley a Levitation Spell, Sir."
"I'm sure you would," Snape drawled, his lips quirking into a ruthless grin. Slipping his eyes to one of his desk drawers and pulling out an yellow tin box of lemon-flavored goods, he popped one into his mouth and offered Draco some with a sadistic grin.
Draco had the most disturbing sensation that the Potions Professor just might utter, 'I know...' in the most ridiculous singsong voice. Before such sight had the dreaded chance of occurring, Draco excused himself and shot out of the dungeons the moment he was granted his freedom. While he was fleeing through the dark corridors away from the Potions classroom, Draco could hear the maniacally amused laughter of his Potions Professor follow him throughout the halls.
That evening when he strutted into the Hospital Wing at his usual time, he was greeted by two shouting voices, a lot of flailing arms and one flying pillow that hit him squarely in his face when he neared the bed.
"What in Merlin's name is going on here?" he growled out irritably, tossing the pillow onto the visitor's chair.
In front of him a very disheveled Madam Pomfrey was breathing heavily, one hand clutching her wand with a Silencing Charm at the ready and her face veiled in deep red. The Littlest Weasley, however, seemed mostly unscathed by the obvious row that had been taking place just moments before Draco had stepped around the white curtains. She was propped against mountains of puffy pillows, - he smirked at the memory of her asking Madam Pomfrey for needed 'reinforcement' - arms crossed over her chest and chin tilted in a defiant angle. Even with her head still wrapped in the white gauze, hiding all of her infamous red hair beneath it, one could still most easily detect the undeniable Weasley wrath by the spitting fire in her eyes.
His eyes then wandered to the small pile of potion phials at the foot of her bed, realization that they had been busted dawning on him. Pomfrey finally found their little stash of Sleeping Draughts hidden beneath Weasley's bed, and she was obviously livid. In all honesty, Draco couldn't bring himself to care or to even look guilty. He had overheard a talk the Medi-Witch had the other week with Professor Sprout, in which she recounted the horrors of poor Miss Weasley having to spend her evenings with that awful Malfoy boy, and how she was trying to help her any way she could, by providing enough Sleeping Draughts to sleep throughout the evenings just so she wouldn't have to endure his company.
Pomfrey's voice broke through his memories and he had to physically stifle a snarl.
"You were asked to perform the simple task of providing Miss Weasley these potions, one per hour. Why on earth did you fail that?" The accusatory glimmer in her eyes stated that she suspected him of hiding the potions away from her patient in order to cruelly continue torturing her in her waking state.
"I told you I asked Malfoy to hide those!" Ginny countered, once again regaining its impatient tone. "I don't want or need the Sleeping Potions."
"Miss Weasley, I think I know better than you what you need in your current condition." At that the Medi-Witch threw Draco a stern look. "And you need all the rest you can get."
"I can assure you, Madam," Draco interrupted the exchange, his tone as crisp and as annoyed as Weasley's. That Miss Weasley sleeps well enough. "I should know, I am nightly deprived of much needed sleep by her distinctive snoring carrying all the way to the dungeons."
"You know you snore, Weasley, don't irritate me."
"I have an unusual structure of the windpipe. That is not my fault!"
"Did I say I found your snoring anything but endearing?" His tone was clipped and already irritated. Then he noticed the look on her face and replayed what he had just said over in his mind, and forgot what he was thinking about moments ago.
Biting his tongue and rolling the eyes at his own stupidity, Draco cursed every living, dying and already dead deity he could think of. Then, when all the faceless gods were blasphemed and desecrated, he finally fixed his eyes on her, seeing her cheeks bloom in scarlet and mouth slightly agape. Furrowing his brows together and setting his lips into a hard line, he bit back, "What?"
"N-nothing," she replied quickly, wiping away the betraying expression.
Madam Pomfrey, who had remained silent throughout this exchange, blinked, a little befuddled at the occurrence and opened her mouth to say something, closing it immediately. Opening it again and once again finding nothing appropriate to say, she gave up on the idea and simply collected the discarded potion phials, scurrying back to her office to contemplate the impossibility of the situation.
"Right," Draco growled, taking a seat on the chair after tossing the pillow onto her bed.
Silence stretched between them and he hated it. Damn him for letting that stupid remark slip past his lips. Now she's probably thinking he haplessly besotted with her and would start begging her for attention and affection like some half-witted sap. Well, with all due respect - as if!
Unless she was haplessly besotted with him as well, that is.
Which she wasn't, as he assured himself countless times throughout these past weeks. The Littlest Weasley had the entire male population above the sixth year enamored with her - as he discovered begrudgingly on numerous occasions - and was most probably pining over some outrageously valiant Gryffindor bloke, or some quietly wise Ravenclaw guy. Oh gods, if she ends up with a sniveling Hufflepuff, Draco vowed to gouge his eyes out and jump out of the nearest window, hopefully landing on something spiky from a high altitude.
Tearing his eyes from the darkness outside of the Hospital Wing windows, he caught her staring at him in the most unsettling of ways. Her doe eyes were wide and imploring, her posture slumped against the pillows in an arch that would make his mother screech in horror, her knees were propped against each other while feet sprawled in different directions, and she was biting her nails in the most charming of ways.
She was nervous and he hated it.
Arching his brows in questioning manner, his own composure infuriatingly calm, he smirked at her little antic and then did the only thing that he knew would be able to break the tension. In an almost capricious mode, he stuck his tongue out for a brief and barely perceptible moment, drawing it back instantly.
It took her a moment to comprehend what had occurred and that Draco Malfoy had just stuck his tongue out at her. She blinked at him owlishly for a moment and, when in the most uncharacteristic feat he copied her antics, she erupted in a peal of giggles.
Stupid Weasley, he thought to himself, rolling his eyes and turning away in order to hide the shadow of a smile tugging at the sides of his lips.
"Oh and, Miss Weasley?" Pomfrey appeared out of nowhere, at once becoming thoroughly disturbed by the sight of a Weasley laughing in the company of a Malfoy, before regaining her professional self-possession. "Umm, the bandages around you head are taken off tomorrow morning, so you will have your hair back then," she announced, immediately retreating to the safety of her office once again, which was completely protected from the madness of the world where Weasleys conversed with Malfoys out of sheer desire and enjoyment.
The Littlest Weasley, however, was still giggling, and the only indication that she indeed heard the Medi-Witch was a slight imperceptible nod as another wave of giggles escaped her lips with a squeal.
But Draco did notice and a sudden sense of trepidation overcame him. Tomorrow the bandages would come off and with them his only means of pretending that the girl he was beginning to like wasn't a Weasley. He was quite sure it would be impossible to ignore that fact when the regally crimson mane would crown her again. The telltale tresses adding to the dusting freckles and completing the general effect of Weasley-ness.
This day was proving itself to be the worst in a long time.
The next day came and left way too fast. As did the next couple of days.
Draco made it his business to keep as far away from the Hospital Wing as humanly possible. He missed the last three detentions, but Snape didn't seem at all bothered by the fact. The Potions Professor kept shooting him spitefully knowing looks during the classes, smirking his little black heart out on every occasion when their paths crossed, and sucking on that truly evil candy.
Draco couldn't bring himself to care at the moment as he had more pressing issues on his mind. Like how was he going to avoid the troublesome chit when she leaves the Hospital Wing. Yes, they were in different years and therefore there were very few classes that coincided on their timetables - as he made certain to check - but that still left three whole meals daily, which they'd have to spend in the same Great Hall. Yes, the hall was vast and enormous, but Draco knew it wouldn't be big enough for him to hide from the Littlest Weasley and to never get her in his line of vision. Mostly because he was sure he would sneak peeks at her constantly over the heads of other students.
Of course, it was his entire bloody fault. If only he had helped her that afternoon before she hit the ground, he would've never landed her in the Hospital Wing and him in blasted detention, spending time with her, getting to know her, getting to like her, getting to want to scoop his brains out with a spoon for all the inappropriate and very unsatisfying thoughts he had to endure ever since he caught a glimpse of her calf one evening when the pant leg of her pajama bottoms accidentally rode up.
A calf! A bloody calf! He was sent into frenzy by a bloody calf! His father would disown him in a beat if he ever discovered, not caring in the least whom this calf was attached to. Just the thought of his son being reduced to a blubbering fool by a measly calf would send him into an apoplectic seizure and Draco right out of his will.
Draco raked his fingers through the fair hair, absently reminding him that he forgot to apply the Slicking Charm this morning - again - but making no move for his wand. He was sitting in the library, surrounded by History books and complete idiots. Crabbe was sitting beside him, left hand scribbling furiously over his Herbology assignment, occasionally asking him such profound questions as why did they have to wear the earmuffs when dealing with Mandrakes, or what does Bubotubor Puss really tastes like, or if Muggles use cow dung as fertilizers and Wizards use dragon dung, then for sure cows are like a Muggle dragon only without the wings, or the fire-breaths, or the scales, or--
"For the love of Merlin, SHUT UP!"
Crabbe blinked at Draco, surprised by his unexpected outburst. Blaise and Pansy - his friends with the basic gift of brains cells, unlike the two blobs of lard - frowned at him. Then, after exchanging meaningful glances, returned to their work with a quietly knowing Ah .
It was not uncommon for Crabbe to ask a lot of amazingly stupid questions, he was a very curious boy, albeit appallingly imbecilic as well. Draco's unexplained aggravation, however, was out of the ordinary. Though, not so surprising if you knew his aggravation blossomed right after his detention duty ended. Which Blaise and Pansy did.
"Just go and talk to her," the burly black boy drawled, his head still bent over his Transfiguration essay.
"What on earth makes you think I want to talk to Weasley?" Draco snapped irritably, raking his fingers through the hair again. When did he stop using the Slicking Charm, damn it? Now it was mussed and all over the place, and in his eyes and oh yeah, she liked it this way.
"The fact that you know who I am talking about," Blaise replied evenly, scribbling his finishing notes on the parchment and setting it aside to dry.
Draco just snarled in reply, hunching again over his Potions essay, or what would've been his Potions essay if he could actually concentrate enough to write it.
"She really has you wrapped around her freckled little finger, doesn't she?"
The soft purring could only belong to Pansy. Unless Goyle's wand had broken again and he'd tried practicing the Voice Altering Charm.
"Her fingers aren't freckled," he grumbled back and was awarded with laughter. Shooting death-glares at them both, he jumped to his feet, jerkily gathering his books and parchments, and stuffing them into his backpack.
"Imbeciles," he hissed with no real conviction, which sent them into new waves of laughter, and stormed away. On his way out of the library, he noticed Potter sitting at one of the tables and once again smirking at him. As Draco brushed by he almost did a double take. His eyes darted, with horror, to the bright yellow tin candy box present on the table amidst Potter's books.
Slamming the library door behind him and hearing the shouted threats of Madam Pince vowing his eternal exile from the premises, he marched through the halls with every intention of putting as much distance between him and his idiot friends as possible. What were they thinking telling him to go talk to the Littlest Weasley? Like it was ever that simple! Just talk and work things out, and everything would be ridiculously happy and perfect like it usually worked out in those trashy Muggle novels she enjoyed way too much.
But this wasn't some highly unlikely story written by a hopelessly bored half-talented writer for her own twisted pleasure. This was the real world. Stories here didn't play out according to some prewritten storyline, with everything leading to a happy ending to satisfy the reader. The real stories were callous and hapless, and at times extremely boring, and on most occasions frustratingly indescribable.
And what the hell was he doing in front of the Hospital Wing entrance?
Why was he pushing the door open? Why was he stepping in? Why was he just standing there, staring at her?
She was leaning on numerous fluffy pillows, with a trashy Muggle novel propped on her knees, and as her eyes skipped through the lines, her small pink lips fluttered swiftly while she read. She was the exact image of the girl he saw up close for the first time two months ago, just at the beginning of his detention. Only this time instead of the simple white cap of bandages around her head, her face was framed with the most regal tendrils of bloodied tresses. Impossibly long crimson locks draped around her neck and shoulders, with some wisps of hair twined around her arms and most resting comfortably on the pillows. He couldn't believe how much hair she had and for a brief daft moment wondered how was it possible to hide it all under the gauze.
But then she tore her eyes from the book and looked up at him, mild surprise gracing her expression, and every coherent thought fled from his reeling mind.
He had long since memorized all the shades of her eyes, and now, when he stood there in front of the bed, bare and incredibly lost, he was bombarded ruthlessly by the specks of gold and hues of honey and that suave richness of chocolate brown.
He hated himself for the sudden weakness in his knees.
He loved her for the cautious smile and the tiny dimple on her right cheek.
They say alcohol lowers inhibitions, and though he hadn't consumed any alcohol for the past couple of months, later on he would steadfastly and unfailingly claim that it was the unpredictable consequence of alcohol consumption that spurred his next actions.
Closing the distance between them in two long strides, he contemplated the advantages of surprise attack, but discarded the notion immediately at the sight of her eyes widening slightly to take in his closeness. He always made sure to keep that invisible distance barrier between them and the closest he allowed himself was the visitor's chair, which stood now a foot behind him.
He had to say something. Words that perhaps should sound something like they came right from her horrid choice in literature, or perhaps not, for he would surely die of utter mortification if such ludicrous words passed his lips.
"I do find your snoring endearing."
Or he could simply die of utter mortification.
"Malfoy, are you alright?"
Come on! It's not too late yet! Drop dead, quickly!
Wait. She was still talking to him and didn't run away, screaming for help. It was good. Of course, she wouldn't be able to run away even if she did want to, considering the fact that her legs were still considerably weak.
Finally! Something in this whole horrible mess was working to his benefit!
"Malfoy, your fingers are fidgeting. One would think it's the end of the world with such unfathomable occurrences. What is it?"
Rethinking the advantages of his surprise attack again, this time the outcome was definitely approving, after the now feasible horrors of the alternatives.
Unguardedly, a small predatory growl escaped from the back of his throat when he finally leaned in. One of his hands curled into the luscious red waves, while his lips assaulted hers. For a moment everything about her became very rigid, though he was unable to notice anything through the dizzying sensation of her soft petal lips against his. Then a tiny moan fled past her lips and brushed his own, sending him into frenzy yet again when her small hands snaked around his neck and pulled him closer to her dainty body. Taking everything he could reach, his lips assaulted further the easily yielding girl, moving and caressing, and slowly dying from the unreserved bliss. His tongue brushed across the seam of her lips, begging for entrance, which she immediately granted, and he deepened his implorations to a maddening peak.
She moved beneath him - Wait, when did he get on the bed? - Her hands slipped under his robes and raked them off. She made the most enticing little sounds of encouragement against his almost wavering lips. His sculptured hands traced the contours of her figure reverently. Melting against him, she gasped timidly when his lips left her own, only to trace eager kisses down the curve of her neck and shoulder.
With almost gleeful delight Draco discovered the pale skin of her shoulders to be as freckled as her flushing cheeks, and was about to continue in his explorations when a thought fluttered through his mind. Reluctant to let go, he groaned to himself and buried his face into the hollow of her neck for a moment before glancing up to find doe-like eyes staring at him bewilderedly.
"So, uhm... you don't mind?"
"That you find my snoring endearing? No, no, that's okay, she quipped with a smile, her breath escaping in labored heaves. Of course you shouldn't declare it over dinner parties, because I will have to break your thumbs if anyone should ever find out, but yeah, no, I don't mind... just as long as you don't expect me to find your snoring endearing as well, because I've heard you snore and quite frankly, it's utterly impossible."
Draco couldn't smother the burst of laughter that erupted through his chest, so instead he buried his head into the hollow of her neck once again. He was beginning to grow fond of this particular perch right here and was contemplating marking it as his own property for future reference. He'd have to discuss that with her, though...
"I'm still a Malfoy, Little Weasel. And you're still a Weasley," he stated quite pointlessly from his perch, his voice muffled.
"Malfoy, it was your damn fault I was hit by the bloody Bludger and fell from the blasted broom."
Oh my god, she knew! She knew and she hated him, and she was going to kick him to a pulp in just one second, or worse... demand that he leave her neck alone.
NOOO! I just settled in! I like it here! I'm not leaving! No!
"I know. I'm sorry! I never meant for the Bludger to hit you! Too hard..." He cringed at the last statement and glanced at her, showing that though the statement was truthful at the time, he was really sorry about it now.
She rolled her eyes in reply, snorting out a chuckle. "Malfoy, I've been playing Quidditch since I was six and I know how to dodge Bludgers, even upside down..."
"I was somewhat preoccupied watching someone at that moment and didn't notice it in time," she explained, a tint of scarlet gracing her cheeks, making her look even more enticing among the sea of red curls.
"Preoccupied? There was no one at the pitch, but you and me. And an occasional bird, but-- wait," he paused, realization dawning on him, darkening his mercurial eyes. "Did the Little Weasel have a crush on the big bad Slytherin?"
With her cheeks dipping an even darker shade of red, she released a tight sound of distress, looking away from his hooded eyes.
"You did!" he proclaimed, chortling when she shot him a glare that lost of its force through the redness on her cheeks. "I have to tell you, Weasley, you have better taste than I gave you credit for. I thought you were still pining over Potter..."
Why did he mention the Scarhead? Was he a glutton for punishment? Well, that would explain a thing or two...
"No... Harry was actually the only one who knew about..."
So that's why the bastard kept smirking at him? Twisted idiot! Couldn't he have said something and save him the pain? Apparently not.
"Well, good for him," Draco purred, deciding to change the subject immediately. "Now, let's make sure you have something interesting to share at your next slumber party."
He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, which sent her into a short feat of giggles, and dipped down to her lips again. Halting mere inches from her face for a moment, he glanced at her worriedly. "Just so we're clear, that was a joke. I don't want Potter anywhere near you regarding anything to do with 'slumbering', unless you want to tell me that the rumors are true and he really is a great hulking poofter, in which case... no, I still don't want him anywhere near you."
His tirade was cut short by a pair a pink lips nipping at his lower lip, and a teasing gleam in her brown eyes that made him forget himself. Catching her imploring lips in a searing kiss, he coerced a moan out of her, and smirked against her lips when she grumbled something about bloody Ferrets and their skillful hands.
However, it seemed the gods weren't done laughing their incorporeal arses off, and their very enjoyable activity was cut short by someone clearing their throat loudly. Draco growled, vowing to hex whomever it was into oblivion, and snapped his head towards the source of the disrupting sound.
A few feet away from the bed towered the tall figure, clad in tacky multicolored robes, of Headmaster Dumbledore. He was accompanied by Professor Snape and Harry Potter , both were smirking. All three smiling characters were sucking on what appeared to be lemon-flavored candy, a box of which was extended to Draco by Dumbledore with the most unnerving Cheshire grin.