Chapter Rating: PG
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Chapter Summary: Draco atttempts to question Blaise about his mysterious absences again. The Slytherin Quidditch tryouts are held, and Draco picks the three new Chasers and Keeper. Harry and Draco have a word (or two), and Draco receives a message that nearly wipes the smirk off his face. Nearly.
Beta: cornmouse, evilsource, goneril, oddnari
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Notes: Includes worksafe fanart by goneril.
Chapter 5 - Expect the Unexpected
On Wednesday after dinner, Draco collapsed onto his bed, trying to think of an excuse not to attend the Quidditch tryouts. Much to his chagrin, he couldn't come up with any excuse that countered his position as captain of the Slytherin team. He wrinkled his nose, sitting up. The dormitory door swung open and Blaise walked in, looking like the cat that got the cream.
"What are you so happy about?" Draco asked in a sullen tone.
Blaise threw his schoolbag on the floor beside his bed and walked over to sit beside him. "My, aren't we in a right state today?" he said, grinning.
"You didn't answer my question," Draco pointed out.
"Question?" Blaise gave him a blank look.
"Oh, forget it. Want to go supervise the Quidditch tryouts for me?" Draco asked.
"'fraid not, seeing as I'll be trying out," Blaise replied, his grin returning.
Draco perked up. "So you're coming, then?"
Blaise raised an eyebrow. "It would be a little difficult for me to try out without showing up, wouldn't it?"
Draco made a face at him and started to rise from the bed with a long-suffering sigh.
"You're such a drama queen," Blaise said in an amused tone, pulling him down by the back of his robe. Draco hadn't been expecting this and fell backwards on the bed, crushing Blaise's forearm. Blaise turned to stare down at him, his dark eyes glittering. Draco gave him a stony glare.
"Stop it, Zabini," Draco said, but his voice came out in a kind of croak. He sat up and coughed a few times to clear his throat. "Come on, we should get going. The tryouts start in twenty minutes."
"Draco, I--" Blaise started to say, but stopped.
Draco turned to look at him. "What?"
Blaise's gaze darted from Draco's face to his midsection, then settled in a far corner of the room. "Nothing. You wouldn't understand. Let's just go," he said, looking downwards and frowning slightly. A heavy silence fell between them.
Draco fumed. Obviously, Blaise wanted to share, but something was preventing him from it. Draco dithered. He was consumed by curiosity -- Blaise's disappearances had been making him more and more interested in what the other boy was doing . At the same time, though, Draco didn't want to encourage Blaise's personal advances, afraid of putting himself in a position where he couldn't say no any longer.
Blaise was staring at his hands now, looking dangerously brooding and Draco would have given an arm to know Legilimency so he could find out what the other boy was thinking.
Draco shuddered a little, remembering the night Blaise stormed into the dormitory at the end of their fifth year, the day before they were to leave Hogwarts. He'd been seeing a seventh-year Slytherin boy who told him he'd been merely experimenting, Draco later found out, and it broke Blaise's heart. The boy had stood in the doorway for a moment, chest heaving, then walked calmly over to the corner where they usually kept their broomsticks, picked up his Cleansweep 11 and literally snapped it in half with his bare hands. Draco remembered the letters that had followed, where Blaise complained that his arms had hurt for two weeks after the incident, but at least he had got a Nimbus 2001 out of it.
No, Draco mused, it wasn't a good idea to upset Blaise at all. The silence that had fallen was beginning to bear down on him, however, and he considered his next words carefully for a moment. He willed a look of polite concern onto his features. When he spoke, his voice was calm and gentle.
"Look, you're obviously bothered by something, and you obviously don't want to tell me what it is, Blaise."
Something strange flared in Blaise's eyes. "Don't patronise me, Draco," he warned.
"I'm not. I just wish things would go back to the way they used to be," Draco said truthfully, sighing.
Blaise's features softened. "Me too," he whispered. Before Draco could protest, Blaise moved closer to him on the bed and covered Draco's hand with his own. Draco felt a tingle in his chest -- Blaise's hand was large and warm, and for a moment Draco wanted nothing better but to let Blaise do whatever he wanted.
Artwork by goneril
Draco closed his eyes and exhaled loudly. Beside him, Blaise drew in a breath. Draco shook his head firmly. "I don't mean what you think I mean, Blaise," he said sadly, freeing his hand from under Blaise's. He couldn't keep doing this to himself.
Blaise bowed his head, his curly hair falling on his face. "I just wish you'd tell me what I did wrong, Draco," he said slowly.
"It's nothing you did, Blaise. It's just that... I need... time."
"Time isn't going to make you straight again, Draco," Blaise countered, looking up at him.
Draco waved his hand dismissively. "That's not what I meant."
"What did you mean?" Blaise asked, his tone suddenly aggressive.
"Look, can we talk about this another time? The tryouts are starting in ten minutes and we still need to get to the pitch," Draco said, looking at him plaintively.
"Fine," Blaise exhaled and got up from the bed, walking to the corner where their brooms stood. Just then, Vincent and Gregory lumbered in through the door, startling Draco.
"Sorry we're late, Draco," Vincent said.
"We forgot," Gregory added.
Draco nodded in their direction and went to retrieve his own broomstick. There was a tension between him and Blaise, though nothing their dormitory mates would notice, he knew. After making a beeline for the broom shed so Draco could retrieve the Quidditch balls, they made their way to the Quidditch pitch. A group of Slytherin students were already waiting there. Draco handed the case with the Quidditch balls to Gregory and fell into step beside Blaise, who kept staring straight ahead, the corners of his mouth curling slightly downwards.
"Don't do this," Draco muttered.
Blaise turned to him with a glare. "Do what?"
"This!" Draco gestured almost helplessly, raising his eyes to Blaise's with a deliberately pleading look.
Blaise could be so difficult; it was a good thing Draco knew how to deal with his moods. The pleading look was working, Draco noticed with satisfaction -- Blaise's expression softened and he bumped Draco's shoulder with his own affectionately.
"Fine, fine, you wanker," Blaise said, rolling his eyes, and Draco grinned. He knew the trick to handling Blaise -- all he had to do was leave him to fume by himself for a few minutes, then approach him contritely. It worked every time, Draco reflected, except perhaps if Blaise was seriously hurt, like he had been last year after Adrian Pucey had dropped him.
They approached the group of students waiting for tryouts and Draco surveyed them critically. There were at least two from every year, excluding seventh-years -- Draco didn't blame them. They had N.E.W.Ts this year, and there was dubious glory in playing Quidditch on the house team for only one season. He spotted Malcolm Baddock with two of his friends and made a mental note to go easy on him -- he'd promised Liam, after all. Draco was surprised to see Millicent Bulstrode standing off to the side, leaning on her broom with a bored look.
He raised an eyebrow. "Millicent?"
"Draco?" she mimicked.
"You're trying out for the team?"
"No, I came here to stand around and look pretty," she scoffed. Several Slytherins sniggered and Millicent turned around to glare at them. "Shut up, midgets." A third-year squeaked in terror.
Draco laughed. "Come now, Millie, you know girls are rarely selected for the team."
"So? I can still try out, can't I?" Millicent growled.
"Chaser," came the reply. "I'd go for Beater if it weren't for your two gorillas."
Draco looked over at Vincent and Gregory, who were glowering at Millicent. She glared back. Well, the girl had spunk, he had to give her that. She was impossibly prudish and horribly boring, but she had bulk, which was always welcome on the Slytherin team. Draco gave a small shrug and set his broomstick on the ground, leaning against it.
"Listen up," he called, and the chatter died instantly. Several second-years looked ready to bolt. Draco smirked. "We're looking for three Chasers and a Keeper, so I need you to split up into two groups. Keepers on the left, Chasers on the right -- take your seats on the benches and wait for your name to be called."
Blaise walked over to the left side from behind him, and the rest of the Slytherins followed suit. Draco opened his mouth to speak but noticed that the majority of his audience were goggling at something behind him. Draco turned, and saw Potter, Weasley, and Weasley's sister approaching the stands. Weasley carried a clipboard.
"What are you doing here?" Draco demanded.
"Don't get your back up, Malfoy," Potter replied evenly. "We've just come to watch your tryouts."
It took all Draco had to remain calm. He did not like this new suddenly-calm Potter. "And what entitles you to said privilege, Potter?" he asked in a mockingly polite tone.
Potter shrugged. "We don't need to be, er, entitled."
"You are banned from Quidditch. Banned for life, if I recall correctly."
"Er, the ban's been lifted, Malfoy," Potter shot back. "It was on only as long as that toad Umbridge was here."
Draco made a face, and Weasley's sister piped up. "Bet you miss your Inquisitorial Squad, Malfoy! Shame you can't do any boot-licking this year."
"Ginny, don't." Potter said in a warning tone, his eyes trained on Draco's.
"Shut your face, blood traitor," Draco spat, cold fury in his voice.
"Look, Malfoy, don't make a scene," Potter said with a tired sigh.
"You are not going to watch our tryouts!" Draco snapped, impatient to get rid of them.
"Try and stop us then," Potter said, a challenge in his eyes.
Draco was seething. "So I suppose they made you captain, did they, Potter?"
"No. Ron's captain," Potter replied.
"They made him captain?" Draco smirked. "Well, Professor Snape shall be very happy to hear that the Quidditch Cup is as good as ours then."
Weasley's face went red. "Shut it, ferret-face," he growled, and Draco gave him a disgusted look, turning to Potter.
"So how does it feel being being bested by Weasley once again, Potter?"
"I get by," Potter replied.
Draco was really not liking this new and suddenly-calm Potter at all. Potter was supposed to fly into fits of rage as brilliant as those of Weasley's, he was not supposed to stand and look at Draco blandly. He was supposed to care! Draco whirled on Weasley's sister.
"And the mini-Weasel?" Draco ground out.
At this, Weasley took a threatening step towards him and the girl stared daggers at Draco, who glared back. Potter put his arm around her shoulder protectively and something inside Draco dropped. What was Potter doing?
"Ginny's the new Chaser, she's taking Angelina's place," Potter replied calmly. "Now if you'll excuse us, Malfoy, I believe you have tryouts to supervise?"
Potter was looking straight at him and Draco was unnerved. The way Potter's been acting lately hadn't figured in his plans at all. No matter, the Slytherin tryouts came first. He arranged his face into a look of careful contempt and waved his hand dismissively at the three, turning back to his housemates. The Slytherins had gone very quiet while watching the exchange.
"Well?" Draco snapped irritably. "We can't stop them watching, let's put some fear into those brave hearts," he added mockingly.
Blaise beamed at him from the group of prospective Keepers and Draco flashed him a grin, keeping an eye on the Gryffindors, who were settled on the topmost bench. Weasley was fussing with an ink bottle and quill and Potter was talking to Weasley's sister, their foreheads almost touching. Draco looked back at the Slytherins.
"Right, then, Chasers," he said. "Mount your brooms, form a circle."
The students complied. Draco crouched down beside the chest that held the Quidditch balls and popped it open, taking out the Quaffle. He motioned to Vincent and Gregory to follow the others and mounted his broom, the Quaffle under his arm. He kicked off from the ground and soared upwards.
Draco tossed the Quaffle at Vincent, who caught it with some difficulty, then threw it to Millicent. She caught it deftly and passed to Malcolm Baddock -- so forcefully that he was nearly knocked off his broom. The third-year boy steadied himself clumsily and threw the Quaffle. His aim was off and the other boy had to lunge sideways to catch the ball.
Draco left the circle, letting the other players pass the Quaffle around, watching critically. Millicent was good, he had to admit. For all her bulk, she was surprisingly agile on a broom, the only problem being that she kept nearly knocking Malcolm out. Malcolm wasn't bad, but Millicent's powerful throws were too much for him, considering she was three years older than him and about twice his size. A fifth-year whose name Draco didn't remember was showing promise as well. Draco told them all to start moving around the stadium as they passed the Quaffle back and forth.
Soon they were zooming all around the pitch. Draco hovered above, watching their movements and noting flaws. He was determined to get a good, skilled team together this year instead of just picking the biggest boys. Millicent streaked through the air below him. She tossed the Quaffle at Gregory. He hit it with his foot, causing it to nearly hit the head of a second-year.
The second-year boy threw the Quaffle sideways and it almost hit Draco in the chest. Draco veered out of its way and dove to retrieve it. The ball fell onto the grass and Draco dismounted briefly to collect it when he heard laughter coming from the stands. He straightened up sharply, glaring in the direction of Potter and the two Weasleys, but they weren't looking at him.
Weasley was grabbing at his own throat with his hands and Potter was laughing, his arm still around the shoulders of Weasley's sister. Draco fumed. What was Potter playing at? He was gay, Draco knew it. There was no possible way Potter was so devious as to pretend to be going out with the Weasel girl to prevent rumours from spreading. He glanced at Blaise, who was lounging in his seat and talking to a third-year student Draco didn't recognise; the other three Keeper hopefuls were staring at the Slytherins above and Draco remembered the Quaffle. He got back onto his broomstick and soared upwards.
Coming to hover in the centre of the group, Draco took a look around. "You there," he addressed the fifth-year boy who'd shown skill. "What's your name?"
"Bartlett," said the boy in a nasal voice. "Andrew Bartlett." He had short, close-cropped dark hair and his round face looked like it had been squashed against a flat surface. Draco looked around the others once more -- both of the second-year boys looked dejected, and with good reason: neither had managed to catch the Quaffle properly, not once.
"All right, here's how it's going to be," Draco said after another moment of thought. "Bulstrode, Baddock, and Bartlett are the new Slytherin chasers." Malcolm gave a loud whoop of joy and looked around at the rest of them triumphantly. Beside him, Millicent snorted but said nothing. Andrew Bartlett looked relieved.
Draco turned to the others. "The rest of you may leave." The would-be team members began to lower themselves to the ground one by one, most of them looking sullen. Draco swivelled around in mid-air to face the three new Chasers.
"You three are going to help me pick our new Keeper," he said. "If he's not any good, it'll be on your heads, so do your best." He turned slightly towards Vincent and Gregory. "You two can go relax, but don't you leave before tryouts are over, I need someone to carry the balls back to the shed." The boys nodded in unison and sped off towards the stands, Draco following closely behind them.
There were five Keeper hopefuls, and Draco told them to come one by one, starting with the youngest -- that was the third-year Blaise had been talking to earlier. He was terrible -- he couldn't even save Malcolm Baddock's goals. By the time Blaise flew towards the goal hoops, Draco was very frustrated: none of the students were up to his standards as Keepers. The sky was already darkening and Draco was getting extremely tired. The three new Chasers were obviously exhausted as well, and Draco called Vincent and Gregory to replace Andrew and Malcolm when Blaise occupied the Keeper position.
Blaise wasn't as bad as the others, but he was still pretty bad. He didn't have very good coordination when he had to keep his mind on the Quaffle. Blaise was a good flier, but once the Quaffle was hurtling towards him, even Millicent Bulstrode seemed graceful by comparison. Well, Blaise did manage to save more goals than the Slytherins before him, that was a start, even if he did have to resort to flacking several times. However, with a Keeper like that, they would have to start their practice sessions much earlier this year.
Draco remembered Weasley's spectacular failures during their fifth year and was cheered -- Blaise was certainly not nearly as awful as Weasley. He looked over at the Gryffindors, who were still sitting at the top of the stands. Weasley was scribbling furiously on his clipboard. His sister was engaged in conversation with Potter, who -- Draco noted with curious satisfaction -- no longer had his arm around her shoulders. He saw Potter tilt his head to look his way, but couldn't see his face from the distance. Draco held up an arm to indicate that Blaise could go back to join their classmates.
The seven of them landed in front of the bleachers, where the other students who'd tried out for Keeper were waiting. Draco dropped his broomstick on the ground carelessly and walked closer to them.
"The Slytherin keeper will be Zabini," Draco said. "We have a team, people," he added, turning to the rest of his teammates, completely ignoring the others.
"Don't get cocky, Zabini," Draco warned as he saw Blaise grinning at him. "You got picked because you were better than the rest of them, but you're not great."
"Yeah, sure," Millicent said acidly. "The fact that you're friends with him had nothing to do with it. I say Avery flew much better," she added.
"Fortunately for the Slytherin team, I am the captain, not you, Bulstrode," Draco said, his tone icy. "Do you have a similarly inspired explanation for my allowing a girl to play on the team?"
Millicent glared at him, but made no reply. Draco smirked. Of course she wouldn't have a comeback to that. Draco was interested in putting together a team that would lead Slytherin to the Quidditch Cup, not a team of friends and allies. He cast a glance over his teammates. "We'll have to start practicing as soon as possible. Millicent, throw me that Quaffle."
She did and Draco caught it, crouching down beside the chest where the balls were kept. He replaced the Quaffle in its spot and snapped the lid closed. As he rose, he saw movement out of a corner of his right eye and turned -- the Gryffindors were coming down from the stands, Potter in the lead. Weasley was talking animatedly to his sister, waving the clipboard for emphasis. Draco took in Potter's appearance -- the other boy had grown slightly taller and he seemed even skinnier than Draco remembered him. His shoulders were hunched forward but his head was unbowed, making Potter look slightly like a chicken as he walked.
Draco suppressed a snicker at the mental image of Potter with the head of a chicken. He sneered at the trio as they passed.
"Be afraid, Weasley," he called. "We've got a strong team this year, as you no doubt have noticed. With those sorry excuses for Beaters you've got, and two Weasels on the team, Gryffindor ought to be hurting."
Weasley's face went red and he started to turn towards Draco, but his sister pulled on his robe.
"Come on, Ron," she pleaded. "Don't let him get to you."
Potter shot Draco a look full of contempt and Draco instantly regretted the jab at Weasley. He needed to keep his hatred of Potter and his minions under control if he wanted his plan to work. He took a step backwards and let them pass, glaring at their backs.
On Thursday after double Potions, Draco gathered his things into his schoolbag nervously. What was taking Pansy so long? He'd explained her task to her the evening before and she promised she would be timely.
"Say, Granger," Pansy's voice came from across the classroom and an unusual silence fell all around them. "I need to talk to you about prefect business. Meet me outside?"
Draco looked up at Granger pensively. She looked like her eyes were about to pop out of her head. Beside her, Potter was doing a reasonable impression of Granger, Draco thought.
"Sure, Parkinson, I'll meet you in a moment," Granger said, finally finding her voice. "Wait for me?" she said, turning to Potter, who nodded. Granger slung her bag over her shoulder and hurried out after Pansy.
Blaise was standing on his side of their desk, waiting for Draco.
"Go on, I'll catch up," Draco said, "I need to talk to Snape about something." Blaise raised an eyebrow but shrugged, nodded, and left. Draco stood at his desk, waiting for the rest of the class to leave. Snape had withdrawn to his office through a door that connected the two rooms, as he always did after classes. Potter was slouching in his chair. It was lunch time, so the classroom emptied rather quickly.
Soon, Draco and Potter were the only people left in the classroom. Draco picked up his schoolbag and walked towards Potter, casting a surreptitious glance at the door to Snape's office. The Potions Master could come back out at any minute, he had to hurry. He walked up to Potter and stood over his desk, looking down at the Gryffindor boy.
"Potter," he said, and the other boy looked up at him, surprised.
"What now, Malfoy?"
Draco inhaled deeply. This was it. "I was wondering if you wanted to come to Hogsmeade with me and Blaise."
It was as though a thunderclap had just rung out in the classroom -- the silence was so complete, one could hear a quill drop.
"What?" Potter stared at him blankly.
"Do you have trouble with your hearing, Potter? I asked if you wanted to --"
"I heard you, Malfoy," Potter said, still staring. "I can't believe you just said that."
Draco steeled himself. He'd prepared the phrase a long time in advance, but he had to be careful and not make it sound too rehearsed. "Well, the year's theme is house unity. What better way to unite the houses than try to settle old feuds?"
Potter's jaw dropped -- literally. "Er..." he offered. "But I... but your dad... but you said..."
Draco waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "Look, Potter, I realise this is very sudden for you," he looked at the other boy pointedly. "Just come out with us, it'll be interesting."
"Uh," Potter said, colouring slightly, "I'm already going with Ron and Hermione, erm, Malfoy." He looked up at Draco and quickly dropped his gaze again, a more noticeable blush spreading across his cheeks. "Um."
Draco couldn't believe it. Potter thought he was asking him out! Did he have "homosexual" written across his forehead? Besides, how would Potter know? How did Potter think Draco knew? Draco shook his head bemusedly.
"Well, perhaps you'll join us at the Three Broomsticks for some drinks, then?" he offered, half-smiling at the other boy, who was looking everywhere but at Draco. "If Weasley and Granger let you, that is," he amended.
Potter sighed deeply. "Look, Malfoy. How do I know this isn't another ploy of yours to get me into trouble?"
Draco made an innocent face. "Paranoid, are we? You've got nothing to worry about -- the Three Broomsticks is a public place, there'll be lots of other people there. Unless, of course, you fear being seen with us," Draco said, carefully tinging his tone with disappointment.
Potter looked up at him. "No, I don't. Fear being seen with you, that is. I just wish you'd tell me what you want from me."
Draco smiled indulgently. "Just an hour or so of your time, Potter. We'll have some Butterbeer, talk about girls and Quidditch. The usual. Unless, of course, you deem us nasty Slytherins undeserving of your time," he added.
"I don't!" Potter protested, and Draco thought he'd won, until Potter continued. "I just don't trust you, Malfoy. Not as far as I can throw you, anyway."
Draco wanted to tell Potter what he should throw and where, but abstained. He was so close to success he could taste it -- he couldn't ruin it now. "Look, Potter, I'm not proposing marriage," he said, keeping his tone light, noticing Potter's blush returning with some satisfaction. "Just drinks. We have to start somewhere."
"Start what, Malfoy?"
"The long hard road to house unity, of course," Draco replied with an ever-so-slight emphasis on hard. The innuendo was obviously not lost on Potter, either, because he blushed prettily again, eyes darting towards his hands, which were folded in his lap. After a moment, Potter peered up at Draco intently.
"Fine, Malfoy, I'll meet you and - uh - Zabini. What time?"
"Two o'clock on Saturday," he said with glee. "Cheers, Potter," he said airily, rounding Potter's desk and heading out the door. Just then, the door to Snape's office opened and the professor walked into the classroom.
"Why are you still here, Potter?" Snape asked, his eyes narrowing.
"Uh, I was just--"
"I had to talk to Potter about something, Professor," Draco broke in, causing Snape to whirl around and face him.
"Very well," the Potions Master said after a pause. "I needed to speak with you anyway, Potter," he said with barely masked contempt. "Will you excuse us, Draco?" he added slightly more genially.
"Of course, Professor," Draco bowed slightly and hurried out. He couldn't help but wonder what Snape and Potter could possibly talk about, but he didn't dare listen in. As he came out of the classroom, he saw Pansy and Granger in the dungeon hallway. Granger was glaring. Pansy saw him and a look of relief came over her face.
"Sorry, pet," he called, flashing her a grin. "My talk with Professor Snape took longer than I thought it would. Ready to go for lunch?"
Pansy grinned and nodded. "See you, Granger," she tossed over her shoulder at the Gryffindor girl as she took Draco's offered arm.
"Bye then," Granger muttered. Draco and Pansy turned the corner and he looked back into the dungeon hallway. Granger was standing near the Potions classroom and staring after them with a disturbingly suspicious look on her face.
On Friday morning at breakfast, Draco was poking at his eggs, listening half-heartedly as Pansy chattered to Millicent about an elaborate dream she had that night, which involved flying teaspoons and George Weasley. The atmosphere at Hogwarts was uneasy -- there had been a spate of Muggle disappearances in the past weeks, and the previous day's paper had reported Muggles had seen the Dark Mark hovering over a building in Bristol. The Death Eater Children was the new catchphrase and there was much finger-pointing at Draco, Vincent, Gregory, Nott, and other Slytherins whose parents were reported to be involved with the Dark Lord. Draco sniffed bitterly. House unity, indeed.
There was a clatter and a whoosh as the morning's owl post began to arrive. Pandora landed on Draco's shoulder a moment later -- she bore no sweets this time, only a tiny roll of parchment tied to her leg. He untied it and fed the owl a biscuit from a nearby plate, ruffling her feathers gently. Pandora snapped up the biscuit and flew off. He was just beginning to unroll his mother's letter as an unfamiliar-looking tawny owl landed in his eggs. It held out its leg, dripping with yolk, and Draco made a face. He took the parchment from the owl but it didn't fly away immediately -- it remained motionless on his plate, blinking at him as only owls can.
Draco frowned, laying his mother's note aside and unrolling the strange owl's missive. His heart leapt into his throat.
You will meet me at 1 o'clock in the afternoon at the Hog's Head on the next Hogsmeade Saturday. Send date by return owl.
Draco stared at his father's fancy cursive script on the parchment for a moment. His father was well, he was alive, Draco would see him soon! He rooted in his schoolbag for an ink bottle and a quill, scribbled the date of the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend on the back of the parchment and reattached it to the owl's leg. It took off immediately, splattering Draco's sleeve with eggs. Draco muttered an oath under his breath and performed a cleaning spell. He didn't feel like finishing the trampled eggs. He pushed his plate away and started to get up, then abruptly sat down again.
Well, bollocks. He was supposed to meet his father at the Hog's Head at one o'clock, and Potter at The Three Broomsticks at two-o'clock on the same day. There was no way he was going to be able to make both meetings. Draco slapped his forehead, causing Pansy to look up at him in alarm.
Draco Malfoy's Diary, September 13th
Father. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read his message, and I'm not sure I've quite recovered. I wonder if he's contacted Mother yet? Perhaps he can't, perhaps the Manor is being watched. I wanted to tell Blaise and Pansy right away, but I've decided I'm going to keep this to myself. Pansy might let it slip accidentally, and Blaise has been acting strangely lately.
Blaise upset me very much today. He shouldn't be doing this to me. It scares me how vividly I still remember the time I lost that game of Exploding Snap to Pansy and she dared me to kiss Blaise, and I enjoyed it, and how horrified I was. I remember the nights we spent waiting for Vincent and Gregory to fall asleep so I could climb into Blaise's bed, of the guilt and shame we shared for being deviant, of my own painful self-discovery. We were supposed to have made a clean break, why won't Blaise let it go? He was okay for most of last year, but I suppose that was because he was seeing Pucey.
I value my friendship with Blaise -- he's easy-going and witty, and knows when to leave well enough alone. A reprise of our intimate relationship would change things, and I don't want them to change. Blaise is almost stereotypically Italian: extremely attentive and extremely jealous. He'd probably demand I stop pretending to be going out with Pansy. No, I need to discourage Blaise, definitely. I will need his help with Potter, so I shall have to be extra careful.
Potter's pretend indifference is highly amusing, I must admit. Despite the snag in the plan for the Hogsmeade Weekend, things are coming along splendidly. Anyway, time for bed.
1. Flacking -- Quidditch Keeper foul: pushing any part of their body through the goal hoop to prevent a score.
2. Yes, I know that Draco may seem out of character during at least one moment in the Potions classroom. All shall be explained in the next chapter. *mad cackle*