Chapter Rating: PG
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Chapter Summary: Draco reads the paper, writes a letter, attends classes, and plots (smirking the whole time).
Beta: cornmouse, evilsource, goneril, oddnari
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Chapter 2 - Classes, Riddles, and Raids
The Daily Prophet, September 3, 1996
MASS BREAKOUT FROM AZKABAN -- AGAIN!
It appears that the tide of time has turned once again. On Monday evening, a critical security breach occurred at Azkaban, and a number of convicted Death Eaters escaped. The Ministry suspects Bellatrix Lestrange, who managed to evade authorities this summer, as the chief orchestrator of the breakout. It is at present unclear how the Death Eaters were able to get through the guarding wards placed around Azkaban. Since the Dementors left this summer, the wizard prison has been guarded in shifts by teams of Aurors. One of the Aurors on duty yesterday evening, Kingsley Shacklebolt, has been reported as missing. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement has declined to comment, citing orders from Amelia Bones, the recently appointed Minister for Magic.
Amongst the escaped prisoners is Lucius Malfoy, captured in the assault on the Ministry this June. A confirmed Death Eater, Mr Malfoy, formerly of Wiltshire, has donated generously to support the Ministry in the past, and the rumour mill is already at work on what his escape might bring, as Mr. Malfoy had friends in very high places indeed. An anonymous source has informed us that a team of Aurors has been dispatched to the Malfoy Manor and Narcissa Malfoy, the escaped prisoner's wife, has been brought in for questioning.
This marks the second breakout from Azkaban this year -- the first being in January, when a number of Death Eaters escaped, amongst them Bellatrix Lestrange. At the time, the escape was not attributed to the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, as the now-deposed Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, did not believe reports detailing his return. Ministry officials have said that an official statement will be made in two days' time. It is expected that the escaped convicts will rejoin the Dark Lord, but the Daily Prophet urges all witches and wizards to keep their doors locked and warded. For a full list of prescribed security measures, turn to page three.
Draco put down the newspaper and buttered a piece of toast, carefully ignoring the stares. He thought he was beginning to get an idea of what it was like to be Potter, and it was not altogether pleasant. So his father had escaped from Azkaban. Draco knew that the Aurors were wasting their time at the Manor -- his father may have been careless in the past, but he wasn't stupid. Draco wondered how his mother was doing. Aurors at the Manor, how utterly disgraceful. He'd still received his sweets that morning, but no note came with them. Draco couldn't decide if that was just another manifestation of his mother giving him the cold shoulder (there had been no note on the previous day, either, but that was the first day of classes), or if she'd been trying to avoid someone reading her note.
Draco bit into his toast, picturing his mother, frail and delicate, as she packaged the sweets for him, a burly Auror standing over her shoulder, watching her every move. He shuddered. Well, the Aurors could just sod off. He decided to run up quickly to the Owlery and send his mother a note; there was still time before Charms started. Draco was grateful for having come to breakfast early. He gulped down his orange juice and wiped his lips with his handkerchief, hauling his schoolbag up from the floor. He got off the bench, ignoring Pansy's pointed stare and Blaise's inquisitive one, and headed towards the doors. As he neared the stairs, he heard Granger's voice and quickly ducked behind a suit of armour, remembering his luck the day before and hoping to overhear something else.
"... nothing you could have done, Harry." Granger said in a sickeningly calm tone.
"Yeah, Harry," Weasley's voice chimed in, "you did the best you could. It's not your fault they sent Mr. Shacklebolt."
Potter muttered something indistinct and Draco raised an eyebrow, leaning against the wall and thinking back to the Prophet article. The name had rung a bell -- Kingsley Shacklebolt, declared missing in the breakout. Potter was connected to last night's breakout, and the missing Auror? This was interesting. He wished he could continue listening, but they'd walked into the Great Hall, and it would hardly be a good idea to follow them. Draco remembered his mother and headed upstairs quickly.
When he got to the Owlery, he threw his schoolbag on the floor and crouched down beside it, pulling out a piece of parchment, his quill, and an inkwell. Smoothing the parchment out on the windowsill, he thought for a minute, quill poised, then began to write.
I read about what's happening in the paper. I do hope you're all right, and the situation is not too inconvenient for you. I trust that our guests are not too bothersome. I'm sure it will all be resolved quickly.
Your loving son,
Draco re-read the note critically, trying to see it from his mother's point of view. He didn't think anything was objectionable as it was, so he sealed the parchment with a quick spell and called for Pandora, his owl. She swooped down onto his shoulder, touching his cheek with her beak. "I need you to take this to Mother," he told her. She stuck out her leg but turned her head away, obviously displeased. Pandora could be quite lazy when it suited her. He tied the parchment to her leg and she flew off abruptly. Draco smirked and headed down to Charms.
As he neared the Charms classroom, Draco remembered something from earlier. How had Potter, Granger, and Weasley known? They had just been heading for breakfast when Draco had overheard them; they couldn't have got the news. Draco walked into the classroom frowning. Why was he thinking about Potter's post, anyway? He sat down, got his things out of his schoolbag, and poked Vincent in the back with the tip of a quill. Vincent turned around, startled. Seeing Draco, he grinned.
"Where were you at breakfast?" Gregory asked, noticing Draco as well and half-turning to face him.
"I woke up early, and had to post a letter," Draco replied, thumbing through his textbook. "Think we'll get a lot of homework?" he asked, turning to Blaise, who was sitting beside him with a dreamy look on his face.
"Huh?" Blaise looked over at Draco as though seeing him for the first time. "There you are. Where'd you go?"
"Don't you listen? I just told Gregory that I had to post a letter. Honestly, Blaise," Draco said, irritated -- not so much by having to repeat what he'd said, but rather by Blaise's obvious failure to hang on to his every word. Draco didn't fancy Blaise, but he'd grown accustomed to the Italian boy's unwavering adoration. "What were you thinking about?" he asked accusingly.
"Oh, nothing, nothing," Blaise said with a strange smile. "Were you saying something about homework?"
"Yes," Draco answered, even more irritated. "Do you think we'll get a lot of it?"
Professor Flitwick walked in, bouncy as usual, and Draco looked away from Blaise, turning to look at the teacher. Flitwick climbed up onto the pile of books in his chair and smiled warmly at the class. "I see many of you are back. I'm simply delighted with you all, though there are fewer Slytherins than Ravenclaws in Advanced Charms this year," he squeaked. Draco barely suppressed a snort. The man was so passive-aggressive, one would think he'd never heard of house unity. The worst thing you could say to Slytherins was that they'd been bested by members of another house. That was just asking for increased competition, not school unity. Draco wondered idly if Potter had passed his Charms OWL. Draco had dropped the wineglass he'd been levitating and had passed by the skin of his teeth. That had been Potter's fault, Draco seethed.
"As you all know, Advanced Charms is a step up from your usual charmwork," Professor Flitwick continued, startling Draco into dropping his quill on the table. "From the first day of classes, you're going to be preparing for your NEWTs. One major unit that is going to take up a large part of your time in class and outside is Apparition magic. Indeed, Apparition is a charm, and since you will all be expected to sit your Apparition examinations next July, we will be dealing with that subject a lot."
Draco perked up considerably. He'd always wanted to learn how to Apparate, but he'd thought it was taught in Transfiguration. He sat up straighter and stopped doodling, which he'd been doing absentmindedly for some time. The parchment below the quill featured a crude drawing of a wineglass. Draco crumpled it up and pushed it to the side of his desk.
"Now, class, kindly turn to page fourteen in your textbooks and begin reading the introductory chapter. I expect you to have a chapter outline with rough notes in one hour. After that, I will take questions about the chapter for the remaining hour. Yes, Miss Greengrass?" he turned to Daphne, who had put up her hand.
"Professor Flitwick, are we going to have a practical portion on Apparition magic, or is it going to be all theory?"
"Of course it is going to be all theory, Miss Greengrass. Only wizards who have passed their Apparition test are allowed to perform this charm," Professor Flitwick replied. "You will be given one crucial bit of information that's absolutely necessary to perform the charm on the day of your examination. Coupled with a good theoretical background, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to pass." Flitwick took a look around the room and chuckled. "Now, I can already see half of you plotting to find out what this information is," he said with a genial smile. "However, you will be disappointed to find that it is unique to each caster, and you cannot know what it is until you are told on the day of your examination."
There were audible sighs from several students, including Draco and Blaise. They looked at each other and grinned. Everyone bent over their textbooks, taking notes and drawing diagrams when called for. The chapter was quite easy to follow, and Draco didn't have any questions by the end of the class. Several other students did, and their questions had all involved what happened when an Apparition charm went wrong. Draco made copious notes, stopping occasionally to peek at Blaise's, making sure he'd made more detailed notes than the other boy. When the bell went, Draco was already stuffing his things back into his bag. They had Care of Magical Creatures with the Gryffindors next, and there wasn't much time to get to the half-giant's hut.
Draco passed Pansy on his way out and gave her a quick grin. They'd been on bad terms for a whole day and that was long enough, he decided. She grinned back, knowing that that was as close to "I'm sorry" as Draco ever got, and he loitered near the doorway, waiting for her to get her things. She looped her arm through his and they caught up to Vincent, Gregory, and Blaise shortly after. Pansy was talking Draco's ear off about all the gossip that was already circulating regarding the Azkaban breakout and Draco's father.
"Can you believe it? Loony Lovegood has been saying that you orchestrated the whole thing! And you'd been in the Slytherin common room till all hours, and lots of people saw you, and I just don't understand how idiots like her get into Ravenclaw!" Pansy babbled. Draco smiled to himself. She tended to do this a lot, but she was an invaluable source of information.
"Pansy, my sweet?" he tugged on her arm gently as they walked outside. She stopped talking and looked up at him. "Do you, by any chance, know how to obtain the timetable of a student in another house?"
Pansy's smile was so bright Draco became afraid that she'd blind him. "Only if you tell me who he is, Draco," she said.
Draco sighed and rolled his eyes. "Potter, who else?"
Pansy goggled at him, almost stumbling over a protruding tree root as they stepped onto the path leading to the half-giant's hut. "You and Potter?"
Draco rolled his eyes again. "What do you mean, Potter and I? I want to know where he is so I can sneak up on him. I have a plan this year," he said conspiratorially, lowering his voice, glancing at the other three Slytherins. The boys were absorbed in Quidditch talk and weren't paying attention to Draco and Pansy. Good.
Pansy brightened. "Ooh, a plan! Will you tell me the plan?"
"That wasn't part of the deal, Parkinson," Draco said, looking stern.
"All right, all right. But I'll make you tell me anyway!" Pansy vowed.
Draco sighed. "Maybe. So, out with it." He nudged her again.
"Well, you see, Madam Pince has timetables for each student, so that she can check their passes to the Restricted Section against them, to see if any students are claiming to need books for a class that they don't even have," Pansy said quietly. "They're in her desk's bottom drawer, and they're organised alphabetically and by house." Pansy rolled her eyes. "It may seem unreasonable, but 'reasonable' and Madam Pince have never been used in the same sentence."
"So all we'd need to do is create a diversion and get her away from there for long enough to get at this drawer," Draco started thinking out loud. "Hey, you lot!"
The three boys stopped and turned to Draco, waiting for him to catch up, Pansy still on his arm. "Up for a... distraction after classes tonight?" Draco asked, getting right to the point.
Vincent and Gregory nodded immediately, but Blaise frowned. "Already, Draco? It's the second day of classes, for crying out loud." Draco looped his Pansy-free arm around Blaise's waist and looked beseechingly at him. Pansy giggled quietly: she loved it when Draco was "being gay," as she put it. Blaise rolled his eyes and acquiesced. Draco outlined his plan briefly as they neared the clearing near Hagrid's hut. Draco looked up and saw Potter, Granger, and Weasley huddled together on the ground, talking urgently. Granger would occasionally look around them with that maddening, suspicious glare. When her gaze fell on Draco one of those times, Draco smirked, staring at her pointedly. Granger looked at him, then at Pansy (who was still attached to Draco), tilted her nose slightly upwards and looked away. Draco fumed. Why, the absolute nerve of that filthy Mudblood scum.
He didn't have time to think about just what she deserved for that kind of behaviour, because Hagrid had appeared and started the lesson. He, too, kept going on about Advanced Care of Magical Creatures being very important for their NEWTs, and Draco wondered if someone had actually beaten some sense into the great oaf over the summer -- he didn't sound any more intelligible, mind, but at least the bits Draco did hear sounded sensible. Draco wished he didn't have to continue taking this class, but he needed it. Some antiquated law demanded that all Ministry officials have a NEWT in Care of Magical Creatures. Hagrid didn't have any new creatures for them, taking the time to go over what they already knew from their previous five years. He mentioned that they would study acromantula (strickly in theory, yeh understan') phoenixes (got us a great one righ' here at Hogwarts, Fawkes is 'is name), as well as various types of snakes (Harry here can talk ter snakes, can't yeh, Harry?).
When the lunch bell went, Draco crouched down to collect his bag from the grass and heard Weasley's voice.
"...did you hear that, Harry, acromantula! Giant spiders!"
"Hagrid's not taking us to see Aragog, you heard what he said -- strictly in theory," Potter's voice argued, and Draco felt... something odd. Potter's voice had finally broken during the summer, and the Gryffindor boy now had a deep baritone that was nothing if not ... sexy? Draco yanked his schoolbag from the ground, banishing the thought firmly. He stood up abruptly, and caught Potter looking at him. Pansy sidled up to Draco, attaching herself to his arm again, and Potter looked away.
Draco smirked, and strode away, Pansy chattering away at his side, the three Slytherin boys following close behind, once again engrossed in Quidditch talk. Draco didn't want to think about Quidditch. He picked at his lunch half-heartedly, mind going over the details for the evening's visit to the library. Blaise finished lunch early and excused himself with something Draco didn't bother listening to, then disappeared. Draco and Pansy walked to Transfiguration together. Vincent and Gregory hadn't passed their Transfiguration OWLs, and were forced to take Muggle Studies -- with the Hufflepuffs. Draco didn't pity them.
Transfiguration went much like their other classes, except that Blaise rushed in late, flopping down beside Draco and rolling his eyes at him in an "I knew it" gesture. Professor McGonagall took a point from Slytherin because Blaise didn't apologise for his tardiness, then harped on Advanced Transfiguration being extremely important from the first day of classes to the day they took their NEWTs. Draco found himself tuning her out. He didn't understand why they all had to say the same thing; why didn't they just gather all the 6th-years together and read them a lecture on the utter importance of every single one of their classes? Snape was the only one who hadn't done it: he considered his subject the most important of all, and he didn't need to explain this to Advanced Potions students.
Draco's mind wandered back to the moment after Potions when he'd forgotten to take the Near-Vision Charm off Potter. The other boy's eyes had looked so innocent, Draco reflected. Innocent, clear, and beautiful. He felt a tug on his sleeve and looked up, irritated. Blaise was giving him a significant look, nodding at the front of the classroom. Draco turned to look that way and resumed listening.
"Today, we are starting to study Animagus forms. Chapter Three of your book contains the legal requirements made of all Animagi, and you are expected to be familiar with it before the next class. Today's class will be on general theory behind wilful metamorphosis and Metamorphmagi, because understanding these concepts is essential to understanding this branch of Transfiguration. Yes, Miss Greengrass?"
"Professor McGonagall, are we going to learn how to become Animagi?" Daphne said in her lilting voice. Draco raised an eyebrow, suddenly overcome by déja vu.
"Absolutely not, Miss Greengrass. As you will learn from Chapter Three of your textbook, there are strict laws governing who may and may not become an Animagus, and Ministry permission is required before anyone goes through their training. Unregistered Animagi are punished quite severely," McGonagall said. "As I was saying, wilful metamorphosis is a very important concept to grasp. Kindly turn to Chapter One of your book and begin reading. I will be asking questions during the second hour, so make sure you take notes. You may consult your notes while answering my questions, but you may not use the book. Start."
Draco sighed, and flipped to the appropriate page in his textbook. He took notes, stopping to glance over at Blaise's as usual. He was finished with the chapter earlier than most of his classmates and spent the rest of the time admiring his handwriting, which was very economical, but did not lack flair. His hand was unmistakable, Draco thought with satisfaction. After a ten-minute break, McGonagall grilled them with questions, some of which were quite difficult. Draco was able to answer some without glancing at his notes, and he mentally patted himself on the back for that.
The laws concerning Animagi were certainly strict, yet Draco couldn't help but wonder what it would be like. He remembered Rita Skeeter, that noisome reporter who had descended on Hogwarts in their fourth year -- she'd been a beetle; it certainly suited her personality, Draco thought. He pondered what form he would take if he were to become an Animagus, and knew it right away -- a ferret, of course. No one would ever dream of suspecting Draco if he ran around as a ferret. Draco smirked. Sure, ferrets were plebeian, but no one would ever imagine Draco Malfoy wilfully choosing to be one, and that's what made the idea brilliant. The bell went, and he gathered up his things gratefully -- it had been a rather long day.
The three of them -- Draco, Blaise, and Pansy -- walked to the Slytherin dungeons, chatting about becoming Animagi. Draco told them he'd be a smooth snake1, and his friends nodded approvingly. Blaise wanted to be an adder2, and Pansy said she'd be a tawny owl.
When the boys looked at her incredulously for breaking the pattern of choosing serpents, she rolled her eyes and said "Owls are everywhere! It's the ultimate disguise!"
Draco thought this was a very good point, but he kept that to himself, as he didn't see a need to inflate Pansy's ego any further. They parted ways in the Slytherin common room, and the boys headed to their dormitory.
Draco threw his schoolbag down on the floor and flopped onto his bed, closing his eyes. After a few moments, he sat up.
"Can you believe how much homework we've got already?" he asked Blaise, who was lounging on his own bed.
"Yeah, it's disgraceful. You'd think we're in our NEWT year," Blaise said, nodding.
"So what is it with all the mysterious disappearances, Blaise?" Draco asked, changing the subject.
"That would be telling," Blaise said with a wink.
"Are you keeping secrets from me, Zabini?" Draco drawled imperiously.
"Maybe," Blaise replied, grinning.
"Hmph." Draco fell back down on his bed and closed his eyes. "So are we still on for tonight?"
"You've reconsidered my offer?" Draco could practically hear the hope in Blaise's voice. It made him a little sad.
"No, you pillock. The library!" he replied.
"Oh." Disappointment. "Yeah, of course, I said I'd help."
"Good," Draco said, not looking at him. He wasn't sure if Blaise would agree to the next stage of his plan, and that was causing him to worry a little. He'd have to ponder this further. Sighing, he got up and pulled his schoolbag closer, taking out his textbooks and parchment. Might as well try to get some homework done. Blaise did the same, and Draco waited, then they went into the common room.
Vincent and Gregory were already there, playing Exploding Snap as they usually did at this time of the day. Draco felt oddly domestic. It was all so familiar, so comfortable. More comfortable than his home had been in the summer, certainly. Draco frowned, thinking of his parents. Was his father out there somewhere, hunted like an animal? Was his mother subjected to any indignities during her interrogation? Draco's frown deepened. His father could definitely take whatever the Aurors threw at him, but his mother was delicate. He hoped he'd have word from her the next day. Father had escaped, after all, and she didn't have a reason to be cross with Draco any more, he hoped.
He opened his Charms textbook and scanned the homework notes he'd jotted. Take notes on two chapters, be ready to answer questions. Write one foot of parchment on the legal ramifications of using Apparition magic without a license. He could do this one from his notes, Draco thought, and began writing. When it was time for dinner, Draco had finished the essay. He put it aside and looked up.
Noticing some first-years huddled together in a group, he rose and strode over to them, glaring.
"What are you doing?" he demanded, and they stood apart, looking extremely guilty. Draco wondered if he'd been so unsubtle in his first year.
"Er, sorry, we were just..." one boy started to say.
Draco interrupted, noticing a small boy who was trying to hide a paper bag behind his back. "What have you got there? Hand it over!"
The boy proffered the bag timidly, tears in his eyes. Draco looked at the bag.
"Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes," he muttered, mentally cursing every Weasley who ever lived. "Skiving Snackboxes. I should have known."
He turned to glare at the first-years. "Are you aware that these are on the list of items forbidden on school premises? Or should I escort you to Mr. Filch's office to remind you? The list is right there." he jabbed a finger twice in the direction of the notice board.
The first-years cowered, and one boy began to cry. "Slytherins do not cry," Draco said in a cold, low voice, turning on him. "If we're slighted, we wait for the best moment to strike back. And. We. Never. Show. Weakness."
He looked down at the boys again, and decided that they looked properly cowed. "Now, I'm not going to punish you for this. But if I see these filthy things in the common room again, you'll all be doing detentions for the rest of the year, make no mistake. Is that clear?"
The boys started nodding frantically, and Draco relented. "If you want to skive off lessons, find a more creative way of doing it. These snackboxes are so last year," he said with a sly smirk, and walked off, binning the paper bag.
Blaise was staring at him with undisguised awe. "You're something, Draco," he said in a husky voice. Draco smiled slightly. He knew he could have a presence that demanded respect and awe; after all, he'd practised it meticulously for many years, watching his father. At sixteen, he could command the respect of his peers and lessers by simply using a certain tone of voice, Draco knew that about Slytherin house. He wasn't altogether sure about the rest of the world, however.
Draco's thoughts were interrupted as Pansy bounded into the common room surrounded by her posse, and Blaise looked away, getting up and smoothing out his robes unnecessarily. Draco liked it very much when Blaise got all flustered, but at the same time it made him uneasy. Blaise was very passionate and could be dangerous when angered, and Draco knew he was playing with fire. He hadn't exactly been leading Blaise on, but he hadn't been doing the opposite, either. The truth was, he didn't know what he wanted. He didn't really fancy Blaise, but he was a little scared of him, and so he was reluctant to flatly turn down the Italian boy.
Draco pondered this as they all walked to the Great Hall. At dinner, Draco picked at his Yorkshire pudding absentmindedly, casting a surreptitious glance at the Gryffindor table. Potter wasn't there and neither was Weasley, but Granger was. She was talking to Longbottom, looking supremely unconcerned with the absence of her best friends. Draco wondered where Potter was. He was certainly up to something, Draco knew, and he desperately wanted to know what it was. Obviously, Potter was Dumbledore's, there was no question about that. Draco thought back to the conversation he'd overheard that morning -- Potter had known about the Auror before he'd seen the Prophet, Draco was sure of it.
He chewed on a piece of lettuce listlessly and looked over at Blaise. Blaise was staring in the direction of the Hufflepuff table and looked very strange. Draco elbowed him hard in the ribs, causing Blaise to drop his fork. "What?" Blaise demanded.
"Nothing," Draco said. "Just wanted your attention."
"Oh. What's going on?"
"Well, the library. Do you want to go right after dinner or do you have something else to do?" Draco asked. He didn't bother asking Pansy, Vincent, or Gregory -- he knew they'd go when he'd tell them to go.
"Right after dinner's fine. I've somewhere I have to be later on, though," Blaise replied.
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Hmm?"
Blaise gave him a sly smile. "That would be telling."
Draco's eyes narrowed, but he didn't respond. He didn't feel like having pudding but he drank tea while Blaise and Pansy finished their food, chatting about homework. Finally, they stood up and Draco followed, motioning to Vincent and Gregory, who rose unquestioningly despite the fact that they were far from finished with their puddings. Draco cast another glance at the Gryffindor table -- still no Potter. Odd.
The five Slytherins climbed the stairs to the library as Draco outlined the plan again. They walked in and sat down at one of the tables, pretending to whisper about homework. As it was still dinner, no one was in the library, and even Granger had been in the Great Hall when they'd left. Draco nodded to Pansy, then Vincent and Gregory. The two boys rose and headed towards the Restricted Section as Pansy skipped over to Madam Pince's desk.
Draco and Blaise sat very still, waiting.
"Madam Pince, would you please let me take a peek at my library file? I've forgotten what the return date is on one of my books, and if it's today, I'll go and fetch it immediately!" Pansy simpered. Draco applauded inwardly -- the girl was good. There was a loud clicking sound as Madam Pince unlocked her drawer, and it was immediately followed by a loud Crash! from the back of the library, and a mournful voice began to wail: "Students in the Restricted Section!"
As Madam Pince got up from her chair and sprinted off as fast as her feet would carry her, Blaise and Draco sprang into action. Blaise rushed over to Madam Pince's desk and Draco stood near the hallway through which she'd just run. Draco didn't dare turn around to see how Blaise was doing, then he heard Madam Pince screaming at the top of her lungs.
A few moments later, she appeared, red-faced and sputtering, as Vincent and Gregory trailed behind her, looking sheepish. Draco immediately pretended to be looking at a book on a nearby shelf and he felt a hot breath on his cheek. "I've got it," Blaise whispered, lips almost touching Draco's ear. Draco shivered involuntarily and nodded, hoping that Blaise hadn't noticed the shiver.
Madam Pince, Vincent, and Gregory were passing by now, and Draco called, "Excuse me, I'm a Slytherin prefect. What's been going on?"
Madam Pince whirled on him and was going to start screaming again, but he levelled a cold glare at her. Her eyes widened and she closed her mouth sharply, drawing a breath. "These two were trying to get into the Restricted Section, Mr. Malfoy," she said angrily. "They came in with you, did they not?"
Draco turned to Vincent and Gregory, still glaring. "Is this true?"
Vincent spoke up. "No, no, we weren't trying anything, Draco. We were just careless. Gregory pushed me by accident, and I stumbled over the ropes. He didn't see me!"
"We're so sorry," Gregory chimed in, turning to Madam Pince. "We didn't mean it!"
Draco almost sniggered. They were doing surprisingly well. He turned to Madam Pince. "I'll explain to my housemates what proper library conduct is, Madam Pince," he said smoothly. "I promise they shan't be allowed to set foot in the library until they learn proper respect for the hallows of knowledge."
This appeared to mollify the librarian, though she continued to stare daggers at Vincent and Gregory.
Draco turned slightly to face them both. "As for you, you're on house arrest until the end of the week." They both looked shocked and groaned in unison -- Draco hadn't told them he was actually going to punish them. He'd kept that detail private so it would have the desired effect. "Now follow me, unless you want detentions with Mr. Filch. Madam Pince, with your permission?" He raised an inquiring eyebrow.
"Of course. It's good to see that the Slytherin prefects are doing their job, at any rate." Madam Pince said.
Draco nodded politely and jerked his head towards the door. "Follow me. Blaise, are you coming?"
"Yeah," Blaise said, walking back up to him.
Draco made a beeline for Pansy, who was still standing by Madam Pince's desk, hands folded. She was glaring at Vincent and Gregory pointedly. "I'll see you in a while, pet," Draco said, kissing her lightly on the lips. To the rest of the school, Pansy Parkinson was Draco's girlfriend.
The four boys filed out of the library, barely able to keep from grinning. When they got down to the first floor, they burst out laughing, even Vincent and Gregory. Draco clapped them both on the backs jovially.
"Look, boys, it's not like you ever leave the common room, anyway. Blaise and I will bring you food from the kitchens as a consolation prize, how's that?"
Both of them brightened visibly -- they usually went over to the kitchen every evening for snacks, and now that problem was solved as well.
This, Draco reflected, was why it was worth it to be Slytherin. They didn't just break the rules when it suited their purposes. They didn't get caught.
Draco Malfoy's Diary, September 3
Monday: Double Charms, Lunch, Double Potions
Tuesday: Double Transfiguration, Care of Magical Creatures, Lunch, Double Defense Against the Dark Arts
Wednesday: Double Herbology, Lunch, Double Defense Against the Dark Arts
Thursday: Double Potions, Lunch, Double Transfiguration
Friday: Double Charms, Lunch, Care of Magical Creatures, Astronomy
*Classes we have in common are underlined.
Charms, Transfiguration, Potions, and Defense Against the Dark Arts seem to dominate this list. Must find someone to cross-reference those subjects for me with professions that require NEWTs in them. As an aside, like Professor Snape, I still do not understand how he got into the Advanced Potions class.
I'm glad Pansy and I are speaking again. Blaise is acting very strangely. He didn't pay nearly as much attention to me today as he usually does. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, considering my feelings towards him, or lack thereof. Nevertheless, I don't like it. What is Potter's connection to the missing Auror? I believe today's Care of Magical Creatures lesson confirmed that Weasley is indeed afraid of spiders. Who or what is Aragog? I must find out. Hmm. Queenie seems very eager to learn the practical side of spells that are illegal without a licence. What gives? On an unrelated and entirely insignificant note: was that disappointment in Potter's? Was he checking me out before Pansy came over? These thoughts make me appropriately queasy. Time for bed.
1 Smooth snakes are native to England. They are constrictors, which means they wrap their coils around their prey to strangle it, then swallow it whole. They are non-venomous and harmless to humans.
2 Adders are native to England. They are venomous, and their venom is dangerous to humans, but they do not attack unless provoked.