Chapter Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Chapter Summary: Wherein Draco is a goat-brained fool, Millicent suspects nothing, Narcissa goes to a party, no homework gets done, Slughorn and Moody are teachers after all, and Quidditch practice is dangerous business.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Chapter 15 - Nowhere to Run
"I don't think there's anything to talk about, really," ventured Draco after pausing to catch a shaky breath as unobtrusively as he could. He crossed his arms and levelled his gaze at Potter, willing him to look into Draco's eyes and not anywhere near... below. "You asked your question, I answered it. I... apologise if I offended you, but we really have nothing to discuss."
Had he seriously just apologised to Potter? Clearly, he was losing it.
"You didn't answer my question, though," said Potter, and began chewing on his lower lip.
Draco wished he wouldn't, but he couldn't very well say that, could he? Hey Potter, d'you mind stopping that? Because it makes my balls ache like you wouldn't believe. He snorted without amusement.
Potter's eyes were suddenly very round. "I don't think I heard you right. You just said something I did made your balls--"
The butterflies in Draco's stomach turned into angry bees. "I-- That totally came out wrong," he squeaked, frantically trying to think how he might wriggle out of this one.
No answer was forthcoming, however -- you just didn't get any more unequivocal than what he'd just thought out loud. He was sure that a perfect answer would come to him later, after he'd relived the agony of this moment a few times. Too late, in other words.
"I don't understand why you're fighting it," murmured Potter, almost to himself.
"We can't all be proud of ourselves like you," replied Draco, trying to keep the edge of bitterness out of his voice. He evidently failed, because Potter looked up at him sharply.
"Nothing's stopping you from being proud. You were proud of supporting Voldemort, once."
"That has nothing to do with anything. You just don't get it."
"Oh, I get it," said Potter. "I've been reading about it -- did you know there's a whole section in the library--"
Draco shook his head, with force. "I don't want to know about the sick things you read in your spare time." He had an unwelcome image of Potter holding one of those naked photographs he'd received, his other hand busy with his cock, the rhythmic slapping loud enough to be heard underneath two sets of blankets. Not that Draco had ever lain awake listening to Potter wanking in the bathroom or anything. His balls were beginning to ache.
Potter was at it with his damnable lower lip again, too. Draco was never quite sure what happened, but he found himself stepping closer, his hand clutching Potter's wrist, his mouth covering Potter's. Potter made a small yelping noise, but his surprise didn't last long -- in an instant, Draco's back was against the grimy wall and Potter's tongue was in his mouth. Draco's head swam; it was nigh impossible to think through the raging torrent of want that coursed through him. Only two things existed: wrong and want. They battled for control inside his mind, and want was close to winning.
The thought of where such a victory would lead gave Draco the strength to utter a strangled, "No," and wrench his mouth away. Panting, he shoved Potter away and ran, as quickly as his feet would take him, until he remembered his wand. Still running, Draco dug it out of his pocket and stopped just long enough to Apparate to the gates of Hogwarts. He ran inside, just in case Potter decided to follow him, but he didn't go to the dormitory. He could still feel his face burning, and only half of it was from shame. The other half he owed to Potter's unfortunate inability to master the art of the close shave. If Draco walked into the common room looking like this, everyone would know what he'd done, and with whom.
He reached the courtyard and sank down onto a stone bench. Its back was high enough for Draco to press his face against it, and he did, closing his eyes and imagining the redness ebbing away into the cold surface. He had no idea if there was spell to put his face to rights. He'd never bothered with Healing-type charms; those were for girls. He could always go to Madam Pomfrey and tell her that he'd... what? Fallen face-first into a patch of brambles? No, he would have to sit here and wait.
God, why had he done that? And Potter. Potter had just gone along with it, as though he hadn't promised Draco that he would--
He gave you his word that he wouldn't touch you again when you clearly don't want it. There was nothing in that agreement about you making a move first.
"Semantics," grunted Draco. Great. Now he was talking to himself. What was he going to do? He thought about leaving Hogwarts. Surely he could go and finish out his year at Durmstrang, or even Beauxbatons. Crabbe and Goyle were at Durmstrang, and Draco didn't think his Order of Merlin would do him much good there. Durmstrang was full of foreign savages who didn't understand such things. Beauxbatons, then. He didn't speak French, but there were ways to learn languages with magic. Not overnight, but he would learn enough to... he might have to repeat a year...
But what about the Auror classes, and his promise to his mother? Moody wouldn't be impressed if Draco just took off in the middle of things... might earn him a bad recommendation later... might even stop him from becoming an Auror. Oh, sod it, he didn't even want to be an Auror. But he'd promised his mother. Fucking hell, was nothing going to go his way any more?
Draco all but crept into the common room, still filled with trepidation at whom he might find there. He'd checked his face in a downstairs bathroom mirror before heading this way; the effects of the kiss had faded completely. Still, he was convinced that "I just snogged Harry Potter" was tattooed across his forehead for all to see. The common room was mostly empty -- it was Friday, Hogsmeade night for the seventh-years, and most of the sixth-years were still off doing whatever sixth-years did on Fridays before they had to head back to their dormitories. Millicent sat on the Gryffindor sofa, of all places, scratching Herbert's ears and listening to Longbottom babble excitedly as he pointed at a pot containing what looked to be a fungus of some sort.
When Draco climbed in through the portrait hole, Millicent looked up. "You're back early."
"Yeah," said Draco, and fought not to cover his face with his hand. "I have to go home," he blurted in a fit of spontaneity. "My mother is unwell." Of course. It was a perfect excuse. And it would delay having to face Potter again.
Millicent frowned. "Is it serious?"
"I'm not sure," said Draco. "But I don't expect I'll be back before Monday."
He could feel her eyes on his back as he headed upstairs to the dormitory, but she was back to her conversation with Longbottom when he came downstairs, carrying the books he needed for homework in a shoulder bag.
"Hope your Mum feels better," Millicent called as he exited. Draco acknowledged her with a wave of his hand, without glancing back. After racing downstairs and out of the castle, he wasted no time in Apparating to the Manor. The lights were off again, just like the last time he'd been here. He kept waiting for his mother to appear at the top of the stairs; when she didn't, Draco began to worry about self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe she really was unwell. Guilt stabbed at him: he'd been so preoccupied with his personal problems lately that he'd barely written at all.
After a quick search of the Manor, Draco concluded that his mother wasn't at home. Where could she be? The house-elves might know. "Finny!" he bellowed.
There was a faint pop near his feet; the house-elf was bowing before it even had a chance to fully materialise. "Finny was in the pantry counting the bags of flour, Master Draco. Master Draco is looking well. Finny will prepare--"
"Never mind preparing things. Where is Mother?"
"Mistress has gone to a party, young Master."
"Finny does not know, young Master." The creature must have taken the disappointment on Draco's face for anger, because it hastened to add, "Finny regrets not knowing. Finny will be glad of the punishment young Master chooses--"
"Oh, forget the punishment," snapped Draco. As a boy, he hadn't been above making the house-elves beat themselves silly for minor transgressions, but that had lost its appeal when he'd had a taste of real power.
"Finny is grateful that Master Draco will not punish her. Finny will ask the other house-elves about Mistress's party as Finny prepares supper for young Master."
"I don't want any supper, but do ask the others and report to me within the hour." He waved his hand in a gesture of dismissal, and the elf vanished.
Draco harrumphed. A party. He wondered if there was a way to find out -- he could go to her study and see if she'd left any invitations lying about, but even the thought made him a little sick. Spying on his own mother, going through her things... He really was going insane. No, he would go to his father's study instead. He had the whole weekend ahead of him, and he would make good use of his father's Pensieve.
It stood on a dais next to the imposing desk, and Draco all but rushed towards it, pulling out his wand. He called up the memories he wanted to retrieve, feeling his face heat up at some of them, feeling rage building deep in his gut that there were so many. In the summer, there had been only one. How could he have been so weak, so gutless? How could he allowed Potter to get to him like that? No matter. One by one, the memories vanished into the Pensieve's swirling depths.
Draco heaved a sigh and leant on his father's desk. Pensieves did not remove memories completely -- that was impossible without the help of an Obliviator. Knowledge of the facts in these memories still remained, but it was a detached sort of knowledge, not coloured by the accompanying emotions, stripped of most details. The process of separating a memory and putting it into a Pensieve severed the personal connection between the memory and its bearer. It made sense: after all, Pensieves had been invented for the dispassionate study of facts.
Dispassionate. On a whim, Draco prodded the contents of the Pensieve with his wand, calling forth the night behind the greenhouses, and lowered his face until he fell through thick nothingness and landed on his knees right next to himself and Potter. He rose and dusted himself off. Dispassionate. Potter was just accusing Draco of remembering everything.
Draco saw himself stammering and grimaced. Did he really look so ridiculous when caught with his pants down? Was he really so easy to goad? He needed to learn some self-control. He watched himself stop the wide-eyed stammering, but it was too late -- Potter looked confident now, confident that he'd been right. He was closing the distance between them, flinging angry words at Draco's face... he was seizing Draco's arms and throwing him against the wall -- Potter really liked doing that, didn't he? He'd just done that earlier tonight... Dispassionate.
He winced as he heard his memory-self moan at Potter's rubbing up against him. He had been so shameless. No wonder Potter had got all the wrong signals -- from where Draco was standing, the signals seemed to spell "gagging for it". He looked like he was in heaven as Potter grasped his cock, and there was an excited gleam in his eyes as he fumbled at Potter's belt. Shameless. He watched, fascinated, as Potter's movements became less steady, as Potter's come spilled over Draco's fingers. Dimly, Draco remembered wanting to lick them and watch Potter's face as he did it. Potter's face was flushed, his eyes unnaturally bright, and he said something indistinct into memory-Draco's ear, making him close his eyes and throw his head back as he bucked forward into Potter's fist, mouth open gracelessly.
Suddenly aware of a roar of heat in his lower belly, Draco pulled away from the memory, up and out into his father's study. His cock was hard again from watching that. So much for dispassionate. Draco clutched the desk again, white-knuckled, and thought of his Arithmancy tables until his erection subsided. Watching the memory inside the Pensieve had been a mistake.
He thought back to that one night in June. He could remember what had happened, but the details were washed out, as though they were there and weren't there at the same time. It was the oddest feeling, like walking through a dream. There was no heat in the memory now, no shame, no desperate need. It was like remembering eating toast at breakfast.
"Could I settle for this?" Draco asked himself. "Could I settle remembering, but not feeling this way?"
You're talking to yourself again.
He could buy a Pensieve. He could. It would cost him -- Pensieves were not exactly found on every street corner -- but he could afford it. He couldn't just use his father's Pensieve all the time -- it was improper. As a temporary solution, it would do, but...
What are you thinking? You want to be rid of those memories forever, you want to wipe them from your mind without a trace!
"Finny has done as Master Draco asked," rasped a small voice, and Draco nearly leapt out of his skin.
"Bloody fuck, don't ever sneak up on me like that, you useless creature!"
"Finny regrets startling the young Master. Finny will punish herself by--"
"Oh, leave the fuck off with the self-flagellation. What did you find out?"
"Mistress has gone to a party in Belgium," the elf said blandly. "Finny is grateful--"
Draco waved an impatient hand at her. "Belgium? So she's at Cousin Quentin's. When will she be back?"
"Finny doesn't know, young Master, and neither does Ticky. Ticky is the one who told Finny, young Master."
Draco sighed. "Go back to work," he muttered at the house-elf, who didn't have to be asked twice. If Mother was at Cousin Quentin's, she'd probably spend the weekend there. Maybe it was for the best: the last thing he wanted was for his mother to see him flailing about for a solution to this unspeakable dilemma.
Draco spent the rest of the weekend in a right mood: he felt like a Pensieve would be a good temporary solution, but there was nothing he could do from Hogwarts. To buy a Pensieve, he would need to seek out people, he would need to wait, he would need to be available when the device arrived, he would need to transport it... tied as he was to Hogwarts for five days out of the week, there wasn't much he could do. And after Hogwarts, he would have maybe a month before heading to Moody's bloody Compound for training.
Despite his best intentions -- he'd even brought his books! -- Draco got no homework done over the weekend. Even though his memories were in the Pensieve, he was more aware of the Potter problem than ever, even if the thoughts didn't turn him into a gibbering wreck as they usually did. How had he let himself slip like that, right in front of Potter? He all but admitted that he wanted Potter. Merlin wept.
That damnable habit of muttering his thoughts out loud could have killed him during the war, but Draco had countered it then by using Occlumency all the time. Occluding his mind required all the concentration he could muster, and he'd been painfully aware of every movement, every word, every thought, every event around him. He rubbed his temples, recalling his headaches, remembering how relieved he'd been when his cover had been blown and he'd gone into hiding. He wouldn't be able to use Occlumency all the time and pass his NEWTs, too. There was no way out. None.
When Draco hauled himself out of bed early Monday morning, his mother still hadn't returned. He wrote her a note and bid Finny to leave it on her pillow. After retrieving his memories from the Pensieve -- he wished he could leave them, but he would not risk his mother stumbling across them -- he Apparated to Hogwarts. He had just enough time to grab his Defence Against the Dark Arts textbook before the first bell rang. The common room and dormitories were empty: everyone was at breakfast. Draco was glad; at least he could delay the inevitable confrontation with Potter. He even considered not going to Defence Against the Dark Arts, but he didn't think Moody would be impressed. Instead, he sat at the very front of the classroom. Potter could stare holes into his skull for all he cared.
After Defence Against the Dark Arts, Draco had several hours to kill before Arithmancy, and he was going to use them to catch up on his homework, but Moody stopped him leaving.
"You and I are going to take a little walk," said Moody.
Draco gave a fatalistic shrug and rolled his eyes at the other Slytherins, who were waiting near the doors. Millicent tried to mouth something, but Draco was no lip-reader. He suspected it had something to do with his absence.
Draco's suspicion proved true when Moody took him to Slughorn's old office in the dungeons. Slughorn sat in an overstuffed armchair, looking like he'd rather be elsewhere.
"What's this about?" asked Draco, turning to Moody, who walked over to stand behind Slughorn's chair.
Moody said nothing. Slughorn dry-washed his hands and rose with a small grunt. "Do you know why you're here?" he asked.
Draco folded his arms across his chest. "I have a vague idea."
"You know that the Headmistress disapproves of anyone leaving the school grounds."
He seemed to be waiting for Draco to say something, but Draco only shrugged.
Slughorn sighed. "We cannot forbid you, as you know, but we must emphasise that leaving the school like you did this weekend is considered very inappropriate."
Draco scowled. "Why is it inappropriate? I'm a grown man and I can go where I wish. You know the laws as well as I do."
Moody stepped up beside Slughorn and growled, "I hope you reconsider that attitude when you're in the Compound, boy," -- Draco thought that there was a slight emphasis on boy, which made him bristle -- "because they'll beat that out of you in a flash. Discipline isn't just a word."
"I had to see my mother--"
"Your mother was visiting her cousin in Antwerp. She had a five-day stay permit issued early Friday morning. Your classmates may be gullible, but I am not."
Draco said nothing. He hadn't expected anyone to take enough of an interest in his absence to investigate matters. Bloody Aurors. "It won't happen again," he said. His father had taught him that when backed into a corner, the best strategy was to surrender. Only animals and Gryffindors kept fighting when the odds were stacked hopelessly against them.
And yet, that was exactly what won the war. Draco chased the thought away. He was trying to escape punishment, not philosophise.
"You'd better make sure it doesn't happen again," said Moody. "I'll be watching. You've got promise, boy, and I'm a lizard if I don't see you learn some discipline before the year's out."
Draco gritted his teeth. This was ridiculous. He was an adult; they had no right...
"And if it does happen again," said Moody, "it'll be the end of Hogsmeade carousing for the entire seventh year. We've let it go on so far, but the Headmistress doesn't like it and she'll take any excuse to put an end to it. I don't imagine that'll make you very popular with your classmates."
Underhanded son of a bitch. "Fine," Draco muttered.
"I don't think I heard you right," snapped Moody. "What was that?"
"Yes, sir," Draco said through clenched teeth.
"Pitiful," groused Millicent on the way to the changing rooms after that night's Quidditch practice. "At this rate, we'll never beat the sixth-years. Hell, the flaming fourth-years will wipe the bloody pitch with us."
Draco threw an arm around her shoulders. "There, there," he said. "It wasn't so bad."
"Do you mean before Cornfoot nearly took Boot's head off with his bat, or after?" asked Daphne, falling into step beside him.
Draco sighed. "All right, fine, it could have been better. But we've still got--"
"--less than two weeks," supplied Millicent, her face gloomy. "The game's next Saturday." She drew the back of her hand across her forehead. "If Smith stopped preening long enough to pay attention to the Quaffle..." That last was said with voice raised, eyes pointedly on Smith, who was walking ahead of them with Cornfoot.
Smith ignored her. Draco wondered if he could bribe Moody to give Smith a little talk about discipline. He certainly needed it more than Draco did.
"We'll just have to practice more often," said Thomas, who was trailing behind them along with Terry Boot.
"Tell it to those bloody louts," muttered Millicent, nodding towards Smith and Cornfoot. "Smith claims he's got too much homework to practice every day, and Cornfoot's a toady..."
"Maybe we could get Madam Hooch to replace Smith as Chaser if he's not able to live up to the responsibility," said Daphne lightly. "That other Hufflepuff, Justin Something-Or-Other, flew quite well at the tryouts..."
"It's a thought," said Millicent. "Cornfoot's a decent Beater, but I think Smith's slowing him down."
"I thought you hated Cornfoot," said Boot.
Millicent shrugged. "I don't have to like him. If he helps us win, that's good enough for me."
Thomas muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "Slytherins!"
"I hope you're not planning on changing with the boys," said Daphne, glancing at Millicent. "Because we just missed our turn."
"Right," said Millicent. "See you later."
The two girls walked off towards the girls' changing rooms. "I wouldn't mind if Greengrass changed with us," said Boot under his breath, then glanced sharply at Draco. "Uh, I mean--"
Draco waved him off. "We broke up. Irreconcilable differences."
Thomas snorted. "Poetic."
The three of them were rather like strange cats in a large enough room: confident enough of having their own territory and curious about the others, but cautious and skittish just the same. Draco had never thought he'd be talking about girls with these two, certainly, but they were on the same side, and that called for a measure of decorum, if nothing else.
Cornfoot and Smith were already gone by the time Draco, Boot, and Thomas reached the changing rooms. Boot and Thomas changed quickly; Draco took his time. "I'm going to shower here," he told the others when they made to wait for him.
"Good plan," said Thomas, "because I'm going to monopolise the upstairs shower right now."
Draco stripped off and walked into a shower stall. He wanted to delay returning to that dormitory. He'd managed to avoid Potter today -- in Defence Against the Dark Arts, he'd stared at the window whilst the class filled up, and then he'd had to go to Slughorn's office. He'd spent the time before Arithmancy hiding in a disused classroom. Millicent had taken pity and brought him some lunch from the kitchens. After Arithmancy, he'd headed straight for the Quidditch pitch. With luck, he wouldn't run into Potter in the common room. And if he did, he'd just go upstairs and do his homework on his bed, with the hangings pulled shut.
He knew he was being ridiculous, that he wouldn't be able to avoid Potter forever, but he didn't know what else to do.
"Enough already," grumped the showerhead after twenty minutes, and promptly shut itself off.
"Bloody sentient everything," mumbled Draco as he walked out into the changing room, shaking the water out of his hair and swiping the towel across his stomach.
"I was hoping you'd be the last one out."
Draco dropped the towel and stared at Potter, who sat cross-legged on one of the long, wide benches near the wall.