Chapter Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Chapter Summary: Wherein the oldest trick in the book is used, Draco refuses to bend, Harry's still got his pride, Moody's got an agenda, and the rumours about Draco and Daphne Greengrass are true. And yet...
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Chapter 8 - Trapped
Draco practically ran towards the source of the light at the end of the corridor. After ten or so paces, the light didn't seem to be any closer -- in fact, it was in the same place as before. Draco looked back, but Potter wasn't there.
"How's that possible?" muttered Draco. "It's a straight corridor."
Ever wonder what a gay corridor looked like? asked a reedy voice in the back of his head. Draco made a face. He would not start talking to himself, not barely five minutes into this so-called detention. He watched the light as he walked. It was bluish, almost like the light at the very bottom of his father's Pensieve. It reminded Draco of living underneath the castle -- beneath the lake's surface, there dwelt strange creatures that sometimes lit up the depths like underwater stars.
The light did not approach no matter how far Draco walked, and he was only half-surprised when he caught up with Potter.
"It's a circle," Draco informed him.
Potter jumped and turned around. The light ahead made his hair look surrounded by a silver-blue halo, a fitting accoutrement for the boy hero. Potter's fists were halfway up from his waist, but they lowered when he saw Draco. "Oh, it's you. How'd you get back there?"
"I just told you," said Draco very patiently. "It's a circle."
"What's a circle?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "The corridor."
Potter turned and looked to the light. "It doesn't look like a circle."
"Fine," huffed Draco. "Then you explain to me how I got back here."
"Er," offered Potter.
"It's the oldest trick in the book," said Draco, propping himself up against the wall. It was cold and somewhat damp, but not enough to go through his robes. "The Stone Circle Trap. I didn't know anyone could still cast that spell. Bloody Aurors."
"You'll be one of them soon, if you're not careful," countered Potter. The light flickered across his face, and Draco saw that he was almost grinning. That just wouldn't do.
"Whatever," he said. "Call me when Moody comes to let us out."
With that, Draco took off towards the blue light. He would find a place to sit and try not to go mad with only his thoughts to keep him company. Thoughts that kept steering his mind into dangerous territory, what with Potter and him totally alone in a darkened corridor. Draco had an unwelcome image of Potter's naked shoulder gleaming in the faint light and shook his head. None of that madness, not here. He didn't even have a wand to cast a Memory Charm. Besides, even if his wand were available, Moody would've smelled something amiss when Potter failed to remember this detention.
There was a draught of warm air near one of the walls, and Draco sat down next to it, crossing his legs, careful not to lean back too firmly. Fucking Moody. He probably thought that Draco and Potter were going to settle their differences. Or something equally inane. The old bastard was probably watching them, too. Draco wouldn't have put it past Moody to spring a Stone Circle Trap and then infest it with Eyelet devices.
Potter's voice startled him. "Since we're here for another five hours at least--"
"Potter. I thought we'd agreed that you would call me when Moody came to free us."
"I agreed to no such thing," said Potter, and crouched down next to Draco. "You know, just because you tell someone to do something doesn't mean they'll actually do it."
"Why, thank you for that impromptu lesson in folk wisdom," said Draco with a sneer. "Now find your own place to sit."
Potter was undaunted. "I like it here."
"I was here first," Draco pointed out, irritated.
"I'm not telling you to leave."
"No, but I don't want to sit with you. I don't want to talk to you. If I never see you again for the rest of my life, I'll die a happy man," muttered Draco, looking away. He was not looking forward to getting up and walking again, but Potter obviously wasn't going to leave.
Draco moved to get up, but Potter's hand clamped down on his wrist. "Malfoy, what did I do? Fine, I get it, you hate me and want nothing to do with me, but I just want to know why."
Draco tried to yank his wrist from Potter's grasp, but to no avail. "You know," he said, breathing heavily through his nose, "That's exactly your problem. You just can't let things go. I hate you and I want nothing to do with you. I don't owe you a fucking explanation for it."
"I didn't say you owed it to me," said Potter, his grip on Draco's wrist strengthening. "I told you I wanted to know why."
Draco let out a short laugh. "And yet, you're forcing me to sit here with you until I tell you why. No, you don't feel like you're owed anything. Not at all." With a final effort, he yanked his wrist free. It pulsed with heat, but Draco barely noticed. He ran as far as he could, until Potter was out of sight.
Draco knew that due to the nature of the Trap, Potter might be but a few short steps away. The important thing was that Draco couldn't see him. He didn't doubt that Potter would find him again. If there was anything that boy had in spades, it was tenacity. Unfortunately for Potter, Draco had more of it.
"So we're just going to go back to the way it was before?"
Before? Before what? Before the war? Or before we got drunk and took turns sucking each other's cocks?
Draco sighed and leant his head back against the wall. At least he hadn't even had time to sit down yet. "I'll make you a deal. I'll leave you alone if you leave me alone."
"But I don't want you to leave me alone," said Potter. "I mean. We were friends. Kind of."
"We were never friends," hissed Draco, without looking at him. "I was one of the Ministry's pawns, just as you were a pawn for the Order of the Chicken--"
"Whatever, it's a bird. I just want to go back to my normal life. That life does not include you."
Potter said nothing. Draco looked over at him, but he was gone. Things were different in this place, light and sound and time. Draco slumped down, back to the wall, knees up, and studied the tops of his shoes. The strange light gleamed inside the black leather, unwavering and cold. He'd actually managed to get Potter to leave him alone. So why did he feel like the world's most gigantic prat?
"What would you do if the war was over tomorrow?" Keep him talking. As long as he doesn't try to touch you again.
"I don't think it's ever going to be over." Potter's voice was hollow.
Rather uncharacteristic pessimism for Gryffindor's pride and joy. Draco twisted underneath the covers and looked at him. "Why not?"
Potter shrugged. "Just a feeling. Sometimes I feel like when it's over, it'll all be over. I don't think I'm meant to survive, see."
Draco lay his head back on the pillow. "I know several Death Eaters whose spirits would disagree."
"They were only Death Eaters."
Draco shouldn't have been shocked by the ease with which Potter said it, the casualness of his 'only''. But it did shock him. This was Potter as no one would ever know him, callous and ruthless and grim, like a grizzled soldier with nothing but the fire of battle in his eyes. It belied his age and shattered the illusion of innocence -- the same innocence that the Daily Prophet liked to emphasise in its tear-jerking editorials on the Boy Who Will Save Us All.
"Aunt Bellatrix wasn't crazy all her life, you know," said Draco after a too-long pause. "She gave me a teddy bear for my first birthday. It had a heart drawn on its chest and when you pressed it, the bear said 'I love you'." Draco didn't remember Aunt Bellatrix from that time; all he remembered was a later time, when there was a mad gleam in her eye and her haggard, pinched facet belonged to a scavenging rodent, not a witch of noble Black blood. "And every time it was my birthday after that, the bear would sing the birthday song in the morning."
Potter's eyes were blank, dead. "That's hard to believe."
"It's true. War changes people." As the years had worn on, the bear's voice had grown stranger. By Draco's sixteenth birthday, it sounded like an old hag, throat full of phlegm and loathing. Azkaban's scourge had wreaked havoc on his aunt's magic, twisted it. Or perhaps it hadn't been Azkaban, but Draco preferred to think that. It was easier than to attribute the taint to the Dark Mark. He didn't want to become like Aunt Bellatrix, but the Dark Mark grinned from his arm, reminding him of who he... was? Had been? Could have been?
"I don't think it's war that changed your aunt, Draco."
Just like that, the spell was broken, and Draco remembered where he was and who he was with.
He didn't think Potter had noticed using his first name. It shouldn't have mattered. After all, they were on the same side -- the winning side. But Draco didn't like hearing his name here, from a mouth that had been full of Draco's cock not an hour ago. His father was out there, somewhere, alone and cold, utterly unaware of what his son had done, how he'd sullied the family honour. Drunkenness was no excuse for this. There was no excuse for it. And yet, Potter's weight on the bed was comforting, and the smell of Potter's skin already familiar.
You're mad. You'll be disowned.
He would be, at that. There had to be a way to undo the damage of this night.
"All right, lad, nap time's over."
Draco's eyes flew open and he saw Moody's mangled face before him. What a pleasant way to wake up.
"Sorry, professor," he said, his voice thick with sleep. "I must've dozed off."
"Really? Haven't noticed. Get up."
Draco did, wincing. His legs felt rubbery, and his head was still somewhere between dreams and reality. "May I go back to the Tower, then?" he asked.
"Not just yet," muttered Moody. "Follow me."
"Has Potter gone--"
"Unlike you, he was awake. 'Course he's gone."
Draco followed Moody out into his office. A large Foe-glass occupied almost the entirety of the desk. Moody sat down behind it and put his wooden leg up on a bow-legged stool. Draco stood in front of him and waited.
Moody peered into the Foe-glass and then his shrewd gaze focussed on Draco. "You do realise that the Ministry has a much larger presence at Hogwarts now than it did in Dumbledore's time, don't you?"
Draco frowned. What did the Ministry have to do with anything? "I didn't," he said, truthfully. He'd thought that the Order of Merlin awards ceremony had been it, as far as a Ministry presence went.
"Now you do. They're watching Potter."
"How thoughtful of them."
"Thoughtfulness has nothing to do with it, boy. They fear him."
Draco twisted his lips sceptically. "What's there to fear?"
"That boy's got more power than the Minister, now. Doesn't realise it, bless him. But one word from him and the Ministry'll come crumbling down like the house of cards that it is."
Draco imagined Potter in a red cape, prostrating a commanding finger over a crowd of witches and wizards in pointy hats. "What's that got to do with me?"
"Absolutely nothing, if you let him be."
"I let him be? He's the one who--"
"Save it," barked Moody, holding his hand up, palm out. "You're not to antagonise the boy. You're not to draw attention to yourself through him. I don't care which girl you've both got your eye on, do you understand?"
Draco almost laughed. If Moody only knew... He quickly schooled his face into a mask of indifference. "I told him and I'm telling you. I'll leave him alone if he leaves me alone."
"Good. I'll make sure he leaves you alone, then. But there will be no more fighting, or you'll be spending your weekends in there" -- he jerked his thumb towards the now-closed door to the Stone Circle Trap -- "for the rest of the year." A sudden coughing fit seized Moody, and he shook as he clamped his hand over his mouth. His eyes gleamed with a feverish light that Draco had earlier mistaken for madness.
Why would the Ministry be interested in whom Potter's been fighting?
"They're interested in anything they can use against him. I'm here to make sure they have nothing. And if you know what's good for you..." Moody didn't finish his sentence, but Draco was too flustered at having spoken his thoughts out loud again not to notice the implied threat.
"I'm not interested in ruining Potter's life," said Draco with dignity.
How about that? He really wasn't. Very odd. It felt a little like having lost one of his purposes in life.
"Good. Here's your wand. Free to go."
Draco turned to leave, but Moody's sharp voice stopped him. "And if you're serious about being an Auror, you'll behave like one. It's 'yes, sir' or 'no, sir' -- nothing in between. Not until you're through training."
"Yes, sir," said Draco, trying to keep the mocking tone out of his voice. In a way, this Ministry business would be good for one thing. Moody would be so busy baby-sitting Potter that he wouldn't think to pry too deeply into Draco's reasons for joining the Aurors.
The thought of contacting the Ministry and telling them about Moody's questionable loyalty flitted through Draco's head as he climbed the stairs to the South Tower. He dismissed it almost out of hand: Moody would never have told him anything if he believed Draco talking might hurt him. He was too shrewd, too crafty. If Draco hadn't known better, he'd have thought Moody had been a Slytherin.
The common room was almost empty, save for a few handfuls of sixth-years poring over books and chewing on their quills. Potter and Ginny sat talking quietly on one of the sofas. A pink ball of fluff cowered on Ginny's shoulder. Crookshanks and Lolita sat by her legs, watching the fluffy ball with avid eyes. Herbert was nowhere in sight.
"Draco, you're back!" shouted Pansy's voice from another direction. Potter pretended not to hear her and went on talking to Ginny, who was suddenly frowning.
"If we hurry, we can still catch up with the others," gushed Pansy, who in the meantime had hurried towards Draco and grabbed his arm.
"What others?" asked Draco, allowing himself to be led away towards the portrait hole
"Blaise and Theodore and everyone," said Daphne, appearing on Draco's other side. She didn't seem too impressed with the Pansy-shaped attachment on Draco's arm. "They've gone to Hogsmeade, a whole crowd of them. Almost all the seventh--"
Pansy tugged on Draco's sleeve. "The Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs lost, so--"
"Lost what?" asked Draco, suddenly panicking -- had he missed an entire week while he was in detention? Had Quidditch tryouts come and gone?
"They had a bet," said Daphne. "If we win, everyone goes to Hogsmeade and the losers buy the drinks--"
"And of course we won," Pansy finished for her.
Draco extricated himself from Pansy's grasp and folded his arms. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"Language, Malfoy," said Potter from the sofa.
Draco turned to him. "Stay out of it, Potter."
Draco's hand strayed to his wand, but he remembered Moody's warning. "I don't know about you," he said slowly, "but I don't fancy spending the rest of the year in detention. So fuck off."
"Coward," said Potter matter-of-factly.
Pansy gasped, and Ginny put her hand on Potter's arm, frowning up at him.
"If wanting to spend my weekends with my friends at Hogsmeade instead of with you in a dungeon makes me a coward, then so be it," said Draco. He had to use every ounce of self-control he had remaining to stay calm. How dare Potter call him a coward?
"You were locked in a dungeon? Moody's insane!" declared Pansy, and gave Potter a nasty look, as if it were Potter's fault that Mad-Eye Moody lived up to the first half of his nickname.
"The nutter probably thought we were going to kill each other and spare him the trouble," said Draco lightly. "But Potter and I understand each other now, don't we, Potter?"
Potter's mouth twisted briefly, and a fire came to life in his cold green eyes. "Perfectly."
In that instant, Draco felt like things were back to normal again. To the way they had been before the war -- with an un-passable chasm between him and Potter. Realising that the chasm had always been Potter's doing and not Draco's was a bitter pill to swallow, but Draco would take freedom any way he could. After all this, Potter would have to be mad to still want him in any way. All Draco needed to do now was to get rid of that memory.
Draco ignored the dark nook at the bottom of his heart where Potter's cold voice sounded like the end of everything. When the memory went, so would that dark corner, the place where Draco and Potter shared a bed, a life, a dream.
"So what was this bet?" he asked, turning to Daphne and putting his arm round her shoulders.
"Millicent and Longbottom arm-wrestled," said Daphne, her voice instantly an octave lower, her lashes demure.
"It's a Muggle sport," supplied Pansy, her voice edged with impatience. "You take the other person's arm and--"
"I know what arm-wrestling is," said Draco, and gestured Daphne towards the portrait hole. "If you don't mind, Pansy, Daphne and I have something to discuss."
"So the rumours are true," murmured Daphne. "We really are going out."
Draco pulled her closer. "You shouldn't listen to rumours."
She giggled and planted a sloppy kiss near his ear. Draco wanted to throw up. Snogging Daphne had done nothing for him. It was a good thing she was so inexperienced. Draco had had to cast a partial body-bind on his dick to keep it rigid.
Draco was sure it wouldn't be a problem next time. That he'd been unable to get it up for a girl didn't mean anything. He'd been under a lot of stress lately.
That would, perhaps, fly if you were forty, said a mocking voice inside his head. But you aren't. And if that were a boy squished against your chest, you'd have had three hard-ons by now. Four, if he were Potter.
"Fucking hell," muttered Draco.
Daphne must've taken that accidentally spoken thought as a compliment in her direction, because she snuggled closer to him. "D'you want to find a more private place? Or would you rather go to Hogsmeade?"
"Hogsmeade," said Draco quickly. "What happened with that bet, anyway?"
"Oh, the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs said that Millicent couldn't beat Longbottom at arm-wrestling."
Draco grinned, thinking about Millicent's powerful frame. "The looks on their faces must've been priceless," he said as he started walking towards the classroom door.
"You have no idea," said Daphne, catching up with him and twining her fingers with his. Draco fought the urge to shake her off. They were going out, after all. And it wouldn't hurt if they were seen together. Especially by Potter. In case he was still entertaining unnatural thoughts about Draco, despite everything.
"Malfoy, are you sleeping?"
Draco wasn't, but he wasn't going to tell Potter that. The last thing he needed was another trip behind the greenhouses. Actually, his cock thought that a trip behind the greenhouses was a wonderful idea, but Draco was too old to be ruled by a mere appendage.
Draco couldn't believe that Potter still wanted to talk to him, after everything that had happened. This considerably dampened his triumph at returning to the world of the normal, straight people. Half the school had seen him and Daphne together that night, and the rest of them would see tomorrow. Potter was supposed to back the fuck off, especially since Draco had been a right prat to him, over and over again.
The curtains on the left of Draco's bed slid aside very quietly.