Did I say last spoiler-free entry? I meant second last. >:) 10.5 hours, omg. *flails*
Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Patchwork Fic (by various authors) - Chapter 20: The Dark Secret of the Quidditch Showers
Author: (of this chapter only) furiosity
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Summary: It's just another clichéd Harry/Draco moment when something totally unexpected happens. Bwahahahaha. Hahaha. Ha. See also: Warning(s).
Notes: Written for nimori's Harry Potter and the Half Baked Patchwork Fic (wherein rabid fanauthors channel J.K. Rowling while the Inner Eye wears beer goggles). You don't have to read the other chapters to get it, it's totally standalone, but do read the other chapters because where else are you going to get so much crack from various authors?
Length: 1600 words
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
"Drip, drip, drip," went the water. Harry dug his fingers into his hair and tugged on his fringe. Why didn't someone fix the blasted showers so they wouldn't make so much noise? Ever since the Gryffindor Quidditch team practice ended fifteen minutes ago, Harry had to endure the incessant dripping and it was driving him barmy. He tried to pace but the cubicle wasn't large enough. Letting out a frustrated sigh, Harry leant against the wall and folded his arms across his chest.
Drip, drip, drip.
It was dark; everyone had left already and Harry had turned off the lights to avoid drawing attention.
Drip, drip, drip.
What the hell was keeping Malfoy?
The door began to creak open, causing Harry to jump a little even though that was precisely the sound he'd been waiting for. A moment later, Draco Malfoy stepped into the cubicle. His shoe made a soft squeaking noise against the tiled floor as he turned around to close the door. Harry watched him with a sort of detached interest, but his heartbeat was quickening. Or maybe he was just glad to hear something other than the water torture.
"You're late," said Harry.
"Fashionably," came the flippant reply.
Harry narrowed his eyes. "Fuck off, Malfoy, this was your idea."
"That it was," said Malfoy in a quiet voice. "You can thank Team Weasley for my lateness. The two of them were standing outside of the Gryffindor changing rooms. Waiting for you."
Harry took a step towards Malfoy and reached for his wand. "What did you do to my friends?"
"I told Pansy to start a rumour that Crabbe and Goyle have caught you and dragged you down to the dungeons. Ten minutes later, that vulture Creevey was practically slobbering all over himself as he panted out the news to your little friends. "
Harry relaxed a little. "And they believed the rumour? Lumos." His wand tip glowed bright in the semi-darkness, illuminating Malfoy's pointed features. He looked sceptical.
"Would you have expected any less? You Gryffindors--"
"Shut it, Malfoy, I'm not interested in your opinion of my house. Why did you ask me to come here? What the hell was last night's thing all about?"
Malfoy looked shifty. "What thing?"
"You know damned well what I'm talking about, don't start playing coy with me." Harry poked Malfoy in the chest with his wand for emphasis, and they were in darkness for a moment. Harry took a step back and shone the light in Malfoy's face.
"Fine. I asked you to come here because I thought we should talk about what happened," said Malfoy, scowling.
"And what happened?" asked Harry, struggling to keep his tone even.
Malfoy rolled his eyes. "You sound like Snape when he interrogates you about things you're supposed to be aware of. Tell me, Potter, is it repressed rage?"
"You paid Dean to draw you a picture of me naked!" exploded Harry. He could swear he saw red spots dancing in front of his face. "And you're telling me about repressed rage?"
Malfoy leant back against the other wall and shot Harry a dirty look. "The Malfoys are in the business of supporting struggling artists, you know. You should be more concerned that your dormitory mate is willing to do such things for money."
Harry took another step forward, fighting the urge to poke Malfoy in the eye with his wand. "I can understand Dean doing it for that kind of money. Their family can live off it for six months. But you. You were doing God knows what with that picture on the wall in front of you."
Malfoy's face was pink, but he looked defiant. "God knows what? What sort of prissy thing are you, anyway, Potter? It's called wanking, you arse. Didn't you know fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself? Don't be afraid to--"
"So you were," Harry interrupted, "er. Wanking."
Malfoy swallowed and looked away. When he spoke up again, his voice was low and slightly hoarse, as though he had a lump in his throat. "So what if I was?"
Harry started to reply, but he was interrupted by the door outside slamming open.
A small voice Harry knew all too well squeaked, "Don't be making so much noise! Someone could hear!"
Another voice Harry knew - and loathed - retorted with, "With the racket you're making, it's a wonder half the school isn't here by now."
Harry glanced at Malfoy, who looked just as dumbfounded as Harry felt. What the hell were Dobby and Snape doing in the Quidditch shower room?
"Nox," whispered Harry and stepped up next to Malfoy, pushing him aside. He pressed his ear to the wall and put a finger to his lips. Beside him, Malfoy pressed his ear to the wall as well, still looking puzzled.
"I is tired of pretending to be a good little house-elf. Dobby this and Dobby that. I is doing everything like you is saying! I want to retire. When are we going to be retiring?"
It sounded like someone was pacing the length of the room outside. "When the Dark Lord retires, that's when. You know that. How's Winky?"
"Don't be changing the subject!" said Dobby shrilly. "You--"
Snape interrupted. "You do know that when the curse runs out, I have no intention of," -- he snorted -- "marrying Winky. Maybe you shouldn't be leading her on."
There was a brief moment of silence, then Dobby spoke in a strangely morose voice that was unfamiliar to Harry. "Winky can be working at Snape Manor since her old masters are all gone now."
Snape snorted again. "You know, this is making me think I'm better off without you. Have you got putty for brains? There is no such thing as Snape Manor! Wait, I suppose you have got putty for brains. The curse just took away my kindness, compassion and sense of justice; my intellect remained intact. How unfortunate for you."
"I is a model Hufflepuff," said Dobby in a mocking voice.
"And I really ought to get rid of you. I find that I don't miss my Hufflepuff qualities."
"Don't be saying that!" screamed Dobby, sounding panicked.
Malfoy chose that moment to shift closer to Harry and his shoe made that squeaking noise again. Both boys froze.
"Did you hear that?" asked Snape's voice. "Someone's coming. Let's get out of here."
"Next month, same place, same time!" called Dobby's voice.
"And stay away from the Potter boy," said Snape.
The door outside banged shut and everything was quiet again.
After a few moments, Harry looked over at Malfoy, who was still frozen to his spot.
"What the hell was that?" breathed Harry.
"Like I'm going to tell you," said Malfoy with a nasty smile.
Like a flash, Harry pinned Malfoy against the wall with his upper left forearm pressing against his neck. "You'll tell me if you know what's good for you."
Even when the odds were stacked neatly against him, Malfoy managed to look smug. "Oh, I'm absolutely terrified. You're on the brink of expulsion as it is, and Professor Snape is not going to like--"
Harry reached down with his right hand, grabbed Malfoy's balls through his robe and gave them a little squeeze. "Tell me, or you'll find out what pain really is."
Malfoy's intake of breath was so sudden that for a moment Harry felt like there was no air around them at all. Or maybe he was having trouble breathing because he suddenly realised that he was not at all averse to touching Malfoy down there. Either way, Malfoy got the message. "Fine," he said. "It's an ancient curse that splits a soul up and puts parts of it into a non-thinking being or a dead body. It's only ever been used by people to revive their loved ones, after a fashion. If a soul has left a body, there are about five hours during which it can still return, or another soul can take its place. If the curse is cast sometime during that time window, the body comes back to life, bearing those parts of a soul that were transferred to it."
Harry frowned. "But that sounds permanent. Snape was talking about the curse running out."
Malfoy shifted and rolled his hips forward. Harry sprang back, realising that his hand on Malfoy's balls had utterly failed at being threatening - quite the opposite, in fact. Malfoy smirked and bit his lower lip. "If the curse is cast by a third party, it's only temporary. I hardly think that Professor Snape would have willingly put a part of his soul into a dead house-elf."
Harry tried to ignore Malfoy's glittering, hungry look. "Maybe they were in love," he mumbled, opening the cubicle door.
Malfoy snorted but otherwise made no reply. There was tension of an entirely new sort in the air and Harry suddenly decided that he really would rather be out in the charming February evening. He walked quickly towards the exit, feeling as though there were eyes burning a hole through his back.
"Hey, Potter," called Malfoy. Harry turned around and raised an eyebrow. Malfoy was leaning against the door frame of the cubicle and smirking. Smirking. "Next practice, same place, same time?"
Drip, drip, drip.
Harry blinked. "Don't be late," he said, and hurried out.
The next morning in Potions class, essays on the properties of boomslang skin were due.
Every Gryffindor's essay had Snape <3 Dobby scrawled across the top.
Professor Snape was not amused.