The street was dark. The sun had set hours before, leaving the high-class neighborhood covered in shadows cast by the streetlamps lining the road. A can skidded across the pavement. A seventeen-year-old boy followed along behind it, staring nonchalantly down at his feet as he trudged on. He uncaringly flipped his blonde hair from his eyes as he thrust his hands deep in his jeans pockets. He had needed a walk in the brisk night air to calm his self. His father was at it again, the same old routine of repeatedly attempting to persuade his son to join the Dark Lord, Voldemort. The man was relentless and indescribably determined to see his only son made a Death Eater. The boy, however, had other ideas, other plans for his life.
Draco sighed and took a deep breath, drawing in the cool night air as he continued off down the street, not bothering to watch where he was going and just letting his feet guide him while the lyrics of the song he had finished writing earlier that day scrolled through his mind. His Hogwarts letter had arrived today, bringing with it a load of new responsibilities and opportunities: The school had made him Head Boy. It had by far been the highlight of his summer holidays; except for the day, he had found the flyer that would change his life, and set the future for his band, Vulgar Generation.
It had happened within the first two weeks of the holiday, on a night such as this one. He had been out walking; trying to blow off the steam the argument with his father had produced. He probably would not have seen it, if it were not for the flickering light of a streetlamp on the corner, which had conveniently popped on as he walked past, illuminating the flyer that had been tacked upon it. “LONDON’S 14th ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE BANDS” was the heading it so proudly boasted. A quick scan of the information below told Draco all he needed to hear to be interested. He had quickly ripped the flyer off the pole and hurried back home to send an owl to the band’s lead singer, and his best mate, Blaise Zabini.
Blaise had sent an immediate reply, stating that he had already sent owls to the rest of the band. He was also sure to mention that the band could use new material if they were going to beat out the rest of London. It was then that Draco had set to work on a fresh set of lyrics. By the middle of the second month of vacation, Draco had produced two new songs.
Draco’s watch beeped. It was 11:30; much later than he had thought. He sighed deeply and turned back towards the house. He had best get back and get some rest before tomorrow. He needed to get out of the house early in the morning, he hoped, before his father woke, which meant he would have to set his alarm for 4:30 in order for him to be out before five, when his father’s mental alarm clock went off.
* * *
Draco woke fifteen minutes before his alarm went off the following morning. He guessed it was the anticipation of seeing his friends again that had roused him. He shut off his alarm, so that it would not go off and risk waking his father. Draco quietly pulled on his jeans, t-shirt, socks, and trainers before running a comb swiftly through his light hair. He picked up his wand off the nightstand and stuffed it into the waistband of his jeans as he crept silently out of the room. He tiptoed past his father’s bedroom and down the stairs. Only when he had reached the kitchen did he dare make any noise, and then only as little as possible. He grabbed an apple from the bowl on the counter and apparated off to Diagon Alley.
* * *
Draco passed the last 3 ½ hours before the shops opened in the Leaky Cauldron, where he sat at a table by the fire. At 8:00, he finally ventured into Diagon Alley, biting chunks off his apple as he walked down the deserted streets. Draco glanced about the shops, searching for one that was open. He passed the robe shop, where Madame Malkin was sweeping the front steps. She smiled at him as he passed and he nodded to her, wanting to be polite but not wanting to give himself away.
As a Malfoy, he had a certain reputation to uphold. If his father were to hear of him doing anything that was not seen as being worth of a Malfoy, there would be consequences—consequences that he did not even want to think about.
The bookshop, Flourish and Blotts, seemed to be the only thing open yet. Draco shrugged and stepped into the shop. At least he could pick up his schoolbooks while he waited for the other shops to open. He glanced around at the shelves of books. It seemed strange to be in this store and it be so quiet, so empty. This was usually the busiest shop in the alley.
Draco stepped up to the counter just as the shopkeeper (an elderly man near his mid sixties) came out of the back room.
“Ah, how may I help you, young man?” the shopkeeper asked.
“I need to pick up a set of these books,” Draco replied as he handed over his book list.
“Alright, if you’ll give me just a few minutes to prepare them. What is your name, so I can call you up when they’re ready?”
“They’ll be ready soon, Mr. Malfoy.”
Draco nodded and wondered off towards the back shelves. He was just beginning to flip through a book on the uses of Astronomy and Divination in Potion Making when he heard the shop door open, and three agonizingly familiar voices reached his ears.
‘Oh, bloody hell,’ he though. ‘This is the last thing I need.’ He prayed for them not to come to the back as he listened to them handing over their book lists to the shopkeeper. Draco let out a sign of relief as heard them walking down one of the front rows. It did not hit him until the shopkeeper called him—he had to pass through that very aaisle to get to the door. He slid the astronomy book back onto the shelf and made his way back to the counter to pay for his books. He took the bag from the old man and turned towards the door. Taking a deep breath, Draco started down the aisle of books leading towards the door, and there they were: the lanky redhead in hand-me-down robes 3 inches too short, the scar-headed, bespectacled boy in overly large Muggle clothes, and the all-too-familiar bushy-haired bookworm.
Of course, they were grouped in the middle of the aisle, leaving only a foot of walking space on either side. This was about as worse as it could get; in order to get out of the shop, Draco would have to make some sort of contact with the three people who hated him the most in the world. It was not going to be easy.
Draco trudged on down the aisle, keeping his eyes downcast so as not to make direct eye contact with any of them. How he was going to get around them, he did not know. It was then that it all went wrong.
Harry Potter looked up from the book he was flipping through and his green eyes connected with a familiar pair of silver ones. His blood ran cold as he glared ahead at his sworn enemy, his eyes clearly showing his vivid hatred for the boy. He had loathed Draco Malfoy since the moment he had met the blonde-haired prince of Slytherin. His opinion did not change much when he saw Draco’s father, Lucius, in a graveyard with Voldemort and his followers, the night Cedric Diggory was murdered.
Ron Weasley noticed that Harry was no longer looking at the book he held, but staring straight ahead of him. Ron looked ahead, and almost immediately filled with heated rage.
“What the bloody hell are you doing here?” Ron said through clenched teeth. Hermione looked up at this, and knew immediately that there would be trouble here.
“What’s it to you, Weasley?” Draco sneered.
“Miss Granger?” It was the old man’s voice. Hermione turned to Harry.
“Keep yourselves out of trouble,” she said before heading off to pick up her books.
The next few moments were slightly tense as the boys stood glaring at each other. It did not take long for Draco to become uninterested.
“Not that I wouldn’t love to stand around wasting my time with you lot, but I’ve got better things to do,” he said, and slipped between them. He left the shop without looking back and headed off down the street.
* * *
The next morning at 9:30, Draco set off for King’s Cross Station with his trunk and owl to catch the train from London to Hogwarts. He arrived at the station at 9:45, stepped through the barrier between platforms 9 and 10, and stood before the gleaming Hogwarts Express on platform 9 ¾.
Draco filled with joy at the sight of the train. He was finally going back to Hogwarts. The summer holiday had seemed decades long, and he was glad to be going back.
He stepped onto the train and headed through the cars in search of an empty compartment. He found one in the third car from the end and stowed his trunk in the overhead compartments. He had just sat down when he caught sight of Blaise Zambini through the barrier to the platform. Draco lowered his window and called out to him. Blaise looked around for a moment before spotting Draco. He grinned.
“I’ll be there in a second, mate!” Blaise called. Draco nodded and sat back down in his eat. A few moments later, the door slid open and Blaise pulled his trunk into the compartment. Draco stood to greet him.
“Hey, mate,” Blaise said, shaking Draco’s hand and clapping him on the shoulder. “How was your summer?”
“Ah, same as usual, you know how it is,” Draco replied.
“Yeah, same here. Hey, help me with this trunk. This sucker weighs a ton.”
Draco helped lift his trunk and slide it in the overhead storage next to his own trunk.
“Bloody hell, Blaise. Did you pack the whole house?” Draco asked.
“I’ve got the new base in there, mate,” Blaise replied.
“Ah, right. You told me about that.”
“Did you bring you guitar?”
“Yeah, I brought it. I was smart enough to use a shrinking charm on mine, thought.”
* * *
By 10:00 when the train pulled away from platform 9 ¾, the third band member, Matt Crowder, had made it into the compartment and managed to cram his trunk in the luggage rack with the others.
About an hour into the trip, the compartment door slid open to reveal a 5th year Slytherin prefect.
“Which one of you is Malfoy?” he asked gruffly.
“I am,” Draco replied stiffly. The boy turned to him.
“Dumbledore wants to see you in his compartment. Second from the front.” The boy turned and left the compartment, slamming the door shut behind him.
“What’s Dumbledore want with you?” Matt asked.
“Probably something to do with the whole Head Boy thing,” Draco replied, digging through his trunk for his robes.
“That’s right!” Blaise exclaimed. “We’re gonna have to behave ourselves now, Matt! We slip up and Head Boy Malfoy’ll stick us with a month’s detention.” He grinned.
“Oh please!” Draco said, pulling his robes over his head. “As if you’d honestly change your actions because of me!”
They laughed and Draco slipped out of the compartment, heading up the aisle towards the front of the train.
* * *
Draco entered the headmaster’s train car and nearly fell backwards at what he saw. Sitting in a chair in front of Dumbledore’s desk was Hermione Granger. He thought about slipping back out of the car, but before he could, the door shut behind him with a bang.
Hermione looked around at the door and her face darkened immediately. Draco put on a look of disgust and moved towards the desk.
“What’re you doing here, Granger?” he sneered.
“I’ve mind to as you the same question, Malfoy,” Hermione replied indignantly.
Draco sat down on the edge of Dumbledore’s desk and glanced around him, impatiently wishing the headmaster would hurry things along. He made a point of avoiding Hermione whenever possible, and so spending time alone with her was not on his to do list. He glanced down at the desktop covered in bits of parchment and several books. Draco opened the one closest to him and leafed through its pages.
“Don’t go through Professor Dumbledore’s things! That’s invasion of privacy!” Hermione exclaimed.
“Only if you get caught,” Draco replied vaguely. He shut the book with a snap and sighed. “What the bloody hell could be taking him so long?”
“You sure are an impatient little ferret.” Draco shot her a nasty glare. “Of course, you always were a little impatient,” Hermione continued. “You couldn’t even wait for quidditch tryouts. You had your father buy your way in.”
“Listen, mud blood!” Draco exclaimed, jumping from the desk and getting right up in Hermione’s face. “My summer’s been hell, so I don’t need your views on my life, alright?!”
“I do hope I’m not interrupting anything,” a calm voice said. Draco and Hermione turned to see Dumbledore standing in the doorway. “Sorry for the wait. I was having quite a difficult time deciding which sweets to purchase from the trolley.” Dumbledore moved across the room and sat down behind his desk. He looked up at them fondly. “Thank you both for coming.” He paused and looked at Draco as though he had just realized the boy was still standing. “Please take a seat, Mr. Malfoy.”
Draco reluctantly sank into the chair next to Hermione.
“Now,” Dumbledore continued, shifting some of the papers
around on his desk. “Firstly, I’d like to offer my congratulations to you both on achieving Head Boy and Girl status. Your new positions—”
“What?!” Hermione and Draco exclaimed simultaneously.
“Professor Dumbledore, there has to be a mistake—” Hermione began.
“You can blood well bet there’s been a mistake!” Draco broke in.
“I can assure you there is no mistake. You both received top grades in your previous six years and have both proven yourselves responsible, and thus are capable of holding authority over all other students,” Dumbledore explained. “Now, your new positions will require complete devotion. You are to patrol the corridors before and after classes, as well as during any free periods. Of course, you will have the power to punish any misbehaving student; however, any abuse of power will result in a punishment for yourself, and possible removal of authority and position. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Professor,” Hermione answered. Draco merely nodded.
“Excellent. Now, here are your badges. Oh, and I almost forgot. As Head Boy and Girl, you are entitled to live in the Head tower. Professor McGonagall will take you both there following the feast this evening,” Dumbledore said as he stood and headed for the compartment door.
“Excuse me, Professor,” Hermione called, “but when you say we’ll be living in the Head tower, do you mean it’ll be just us two together?”
“Naturally, of course,” Dumbledore replied; and before Hermione could say another word, he was gone.
“Oh, this is just brilliant!” Hermione groaned, burying her face in her hands. “This has got to be the worst idea I’ve ever heard of!”
“You can say that again,” Draco mumbled. “We can barely stand each other for five minutes. How the bloody hell does he expect us to live together?”
“I guess you’ll just have to be a little more civil, won’t you?” Hermione said as she stood and moved towards the door.
“What?! Me be more civil? It’s not all my fault, you know!” Draco yelled as the door clicked shut. Draco sighed and looked down at the gleaming silver badge in his hand. “It’s gonna be a long term,” he said to himself.
* * *
The train arrived at Hogsmeade station at 6:30 that evening. Draco, Blaise, and Matt dragged their trunks over to the awaiting carriages. They piled their trunks onto the luggage rack, Blaise’s requiring help from both Draco and Matt, and climbed into the carriage.
As they rode along the bumpy trail to the castle, Draco took out the silver Head Boy badge from his pocket and examined it for about the thousandth time since Dumbledore gave it to him.
“Would you just put that blasted thing on already?” Matt exclaimed.
“I don’t deserve this,” Draco replied.
“You bloody earned it, mate. Now pin the ruddy thing to your robes before I throw it out the window and it becomes part of the landscape!” Blaise called jokingly. Draco grinned and pinned the badge to the front of his robes.
The carriages pulled up one by one at the front steps of Hogwarts castle. The boys stepped down and began to unload their trunks, dragging them up the steps and adding them to the pile next to the grand staircase before heading into the Great Hall for the beast. They found seats at the Slytherin table and waited for the first years to arrive.
As they sat waiting, the boys were joined by a fellow seventh year, Jonas Scavo.
“Did you lot see Parkinson yet?” he asked them.
“Yeah,” Matt replied. “I passed her on the train. She looks like hell.”
“Can’t get much worse than it was last year, can it?” Blaise asked.
“Oh, you’ve no idea, mate. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw her,” Matt answered.
“She’s really gone down hill ever since you dumped her, mate,” Jonas said, looking to Draco. “She went a bit mental afterwards…”
“Mind you, she was mental before I went anywhere near her,” Draco reminded. They laughed, but were silenced when the doors opened and the first years marched in with McGonagall in the lead. When at last Dalton Wise was sorted into Ravenclaw, Dumbledore stood to make his pre-dinner speech.
“Oh, I hope he makes it quick,” Jonas mumbled. “I’m starving.”
“You’ll live,” Blaise replied quietly.
“I know we all must be starving,” Dumbledore began, “so I’ll save the notices for after dinner. Meanwhile, tuck in!”
Dumbledore took his seat and the plates and dishes on the four house tables were suddenly over flowing with food. The four boys wasted no time in filling their plates.
When the last dish of cobbler had been cleared away, Dumbledore stood again and all conversation died away.
“Welcome to another year at Hogwarts!” he said, smiling. “I beg a few moments of your attention for the usual start-of-term notices. First years ought to know that the forest in the grounds is strictly off limits to all students. Mr. Filch would like me to remind you that magic is not permitted in the corridors at anytime, and that all Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes products will be confiscated upon discovery. We have one change in staffing this year: Professor Bloodbane had taken over the Defense Against the Dark Arts classes.”
“Wonder what’ll happen to this one,” Jonas mumbled thoughtfully.
“Shh!” Blaise hissed.
“We also have a newly appointed Head Girl and Boy,” Dumbledore continued. “Please join me in congratulation Miss Hermione Granger,” Hermione stood, “and Mr. Draco Malfoy.” Draco stood reluctantly as Blaise, Matt, and Jonas cheered him on. They sat down again and Dumbledore motioned for silence. “Now, I believe we’re all in need of a good night’s sleep. Prefects, please lead the first years to your common rooms. Sleep well.”
There was a commotion about the hall as people stood from the tables and began as people stood from the tables and began pushing their way into the Entrance Hall.
“Are you coming, mate?” Blaise asked Draco as they stood to leave.
“No. Head dorm, remember?” Draco replied, motion toward McGonagall.
“Oh, right. See you in the morning then.”
Draco bid good night to the others and headed off to where McGonagall stood waiting, Hermione already at her side.
* * *
Professor McGonagall led Draco and Hermione up to the Head tower in silence, only speaking once to give the password, “Chizpurfle”, to the painting of a wealthy looking wizard, which hid the entrance to the tower. The portrait swung forward, and the three of them climbed through into the private common room.
It was a circular room with a fireplace to the right of the entrance and wood floors covered with oriental rugs. A brown leather couch sat opposite the fireplace, with squishy armchairs on either side. The walls were covered with portraits of great witches and wizards. At the far end of the room, two staircases branched off from the main room, one curving left, the other right.
“This is your shared common room,” McGonagall said. “Mr. Malfoy, your dorm is to the left. Ms. Granger, yours is to the right. I believe Professor Dumbledore informed you of your duties?” Draco and Hermione nodded. “Very well. Congratulations to you both. Sleep well.” She stepped back out the portrait hole and was gone.
Draco glanced uncaringly about him before heading towards the staircases and started up the stairs to his room.
“Isn’t this place wonderful?” Hermione thought aloud.
“Yeah, it’s bloody brilliant,” Draco mumbled.
“What was that?” Hermione asked, suddenly looking up at him.
“Nothing….’Night.” He didn’t wait for a reply. Draco bounded the rest of the steps and turned the handle of the knob to enter his room.
To his surprise, the room was very similar to the Slytherin dorm. There was a large four-poster bed with emerald green hangings on which were embroidered the Slytherin house crest. A large mahogany desk sat to the right of the bed, next to which was Orpheus’s empty cage. To the left of the bed was a large window, with a sill low enough to sit on, over looking the quidditch field. Draco sighed and went to his trunk, pulled out his pajamas and changed. He then moved to the desk, on which lay a note from Snape congratulating him on making Head Boy, and the key to his room. He crumpled up Snape’s letter and tossed it into the rubbish bin. He then pulled his wand and guitar from his trunk. He waved the wand over the instrument, restoring it to its full size and weight, and then conjured a stand for it to sit on in the corner. He finally crawled into bed and fell almost instantly to sleep.
* * *
Draco woke at six the next morning and reluctantly rolled out of bed and dressed, picking up his bag, stuffing his wand into his robes, and pocketing his room key as he headed down to the common room. He had gotten halfway across the room to the portrait hole before he noticed he had forgotten his badge. He set down his bag and trotted back up to his dorm to get his badge out of his trunk. He fought with the uncooperative clasp as he moved quickly down the stairs. He picked up his bag and stepped out through the portrait hole.
Draco started down the hall, but stopped to check his reflection in a window. He straightened his badge and ruffled his hair a bit to make up for not brushing it. A laugh from behind him stole his concentration. He turned to find Hermione staring at him and laughing.
“What?” he scoffed.
“I knew you were vain, but I never knew you were that vain!” she exclaimed, still giggling.
“Oh, shut up!” Draco grumbled and trudged on down the hall. Hermione trotted along until she caught up, then fell into pace beside him.
“My, someone’s grumpy this morning. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?”
“Would you knock it off?”
“I’m only trying to be friendly.”
“Yeah, well don’t.”
“Look, Malfoy! If we’re going to have to spend the entire year living together, then you’re going to have to make a bit of an effort to be civil!”
“Am I, now?” Draco rounded on her. “I believe it was you and your little friends Potty and Weasel who have been uncivil these past seven years!”
“How so?!” Hermione was beginning to loose her temper as well.
“I offered to be friends with Potter, and look at how he repaid me!”
“You criticized him for being friends with Ron and me!”
“It’s not my fault Potter chose to befriend people I had been raised against! But what about last summer, just before the end of term? They sent out the letters to Prefects, asking them for recommendations for Head Boy and Girl! I recommended you, and how do you thank me? You’re standing here yelling at me to civil when I’m part of the reason you’re standing here with that ruddy badge pinned to your robes!”
“You recommended me?”
“Yeah, who the bloody hell else would I pick? Not Pansy! She’s even more worthless than a Squib. That Ravenclaw girl is just plain loony, and don’t even get me started on Hufflepuff! You were the only choice left. Not to mention, I didn’t think I’d be the one stuck living with you all term. Now, if you please, I’d like to continue this little patrol in silence.”
* * *
The first day of lessons ended in mountains of homework for the seventh year students. When Draco arrived back at the Head common room, Hermione had taken a seat in one of the chairs by the fire and spread her books out around her. Draco barely spared her a passing glance as he hurried upstairs to drop off his bag. He pulled out his wand, placed the shrinking charm on his guitar, pocketed both the wand and instrument, and headed back down the stairs.
As he headed for the portrait hole, Hermione looked up from her books.
“Where are you going?” she asked. Draco didn’t break his stride as he continued.
“What’s it matter to you?” he countered.
“It doesn’t. But don’t you think you should be studying?”
“Listen, Granger. If this little living arrangement is going to work, then we’re going to have to lay some ground rules. Rule number one: I’m always right. Rule number two: If I’m wrong, see rule number one. And rule number three: You don’t tell me what to do, when to study, etc, and I won’t do it to you either, got it?” He didn’t wait for an answer, but simply stepped through the portrait hole and hurried off down the corridor.
By the time Draco reached the dungeon room the band had been given to practice in, Blaise and Matt were already set up and running through bits and pieces of old songs.
“What took you so long, mate?” Blaise asked when Draco finally arrived.
“Bit of a delay with Granger,” Draco said shortly as he restored his guitar to full size and pulled off his robes and tie, tossing them over a chair. Blaise didn’t push the subject.
“Did you bring the new lyrics?” Matt asked expectantly, leaving his drums behind to join the other two.
“Yeah, I brought ‘em. Not much, but I had limited inspiration on such short notice,” Draco replied, grinning at Blaise.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s all my fault. Now let’s see some lyrics,” Blaise retorted. Draco pulled a few pieces of folded parchment from his pocket and laid them out individually on the table.
“I’ve got two right now, but if something strikes me soon then I’ll have more,” he explained as Blaise and Matt moved in to read the lyrics. “This one’s called ‘Never Again’ and this one’s ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’. I have music for you both.” He pulled out two more bits of parchment and handed one to each of them. “Memorize it.”
“These are brilliant, mate,” Blaise commented. “Absolutely brilliant.”
“Thanks,” Draco replied.
“Yeah, they’re great. Not to break up this lovely little meeting or anything, but can we play now? I’ve been dyin’ to get back in as a group,” Matt begged.
“Alright, alright. Let’s play,” said Blaise.
* * *
Draco didn’t arrive back at the Head dorm until 1:30 that morning. He slipped silently up the stairs to his dorm, placed his guitar on the stand in the corner, changed into his pajamas, and crawled into bed. When he woke again at six, it felt as thought he had only been a sleep for a few moments. He pulled himself out of bed, dressed slowly, picked up his bag, and left his room.
He had just reached the portrait hole when Hermione started down the stairs.
“Good morning,” she said cheerily, attempting to be polite. Draco yawned in response. “You sound like you didn’t get much sleep last night. When did you get back?”
“What’s it to you?” Draco asked.
“I was just trying to be civil.”
“Oh.” He yawned again. “Well, you’re right. I didn’t get much sleep last night. I wasn’t back till after one.”
“Where did you go?”
Draco spared her a suspicious glance.
“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound nosy. You don’t have to tell me. I shouldn’t have asked.”
“It’s alright. I met with Zabini and Crowder last night. We practiced forever. I was lucky to get away when I did.”
“Yeah. I guess you don’t know, do you? We’ve got a band. Blaise is pushing us hard. He wants us to make Battle of the Bands this year in London. Personally, I don’t think we stand a chance.”
“You guys have a band?”
“That’s wonderful. Do you guys write your own songs?”
“Well, I do most of the writing, only because I can’t sing like Blaise. It’s how I make up for lack of vocal talent.”
“Do you play anything?”
“Are you any good?”
“Depends on how you define ‘good’. I’m fair, I guess. Good enough to be lead, anyway. Blaise couldn’t play chords, so we gave him bass. You should have seen Matt try to play something. It was hilarious. But he’s got rhythm, so he took drums. It’s not much of a band, really, but it’s good enough for the three of us.”
The rest of their morning patrol was filled with light conversation.
* * *
A month into the term, notices went around to the Slytherin House quidditch team members that practices would begin the following Saturday. So Draco was forced to juggle quidditch practice and band practice along with classes, homework, and Head duties. His schedule was filling quickly.
The first quidditch game of the season arrived three weeks later with a match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Draco joined his team on the pitch at 8:30 that morning, changed into his green and silver robes, and picked up his Nimbus 2001. The rest of the school filled the bleachers and the two teams met in the center of the field. The team captains shook hands and everyone mounted their brooms. Madam Hooch released the balls, blew her whistle, and the game began.
Draco flew high above the field, watching closely for any hint of the glittering gold snitch. He spared a glance to Harry, who was hovering a few feet away, also looking for the little winged ball. Dean Thomas’s voice came over the commentary.
“Gryffindor chaser, Katie Bell, with the quaffle. She passes to Ginny Weasley. Weasley with the quaffle. She passes—oh, intercepted by Slytherin chaser Aaron Wilkes! Wilkes with the quaffle. He’s coming to the Gryffindor posts….he shoots….he scores! 10 points to Slytherin.”
It was then that he saw it. The snitch was fluttering near the Slytherin goal posts at the far end of the pitch. Draco sped off towards it. Unfortunately, Harry caught sight of it as well, and in not time was soaring side by side with Draco. They were gaining on the snitch. Both boys had their hands stretched out towards the fluttering ball as it attempted to zoom away from them. As they headed down the edge of the field, the snitch hugging the wall, Harry began to grow slightly nervous at the prospect of Draco being so close to the snitch.
Harry bumped into Draco, pushing him slightly closer to the wall. Draco bumped back, forcing Harry out further into the field. Harry flew in hard, hitting Draco forcefully towards the wall, harder than he had meant to.
Draco slammed head first into the wall, feeling himself leave his broom as he spiraled downward towards the field. He crashed hard into the ground, his leg twisting unnaturally as he dug into the earth. Searing, white-hot pain rushed up through his left leg as Draco lay there, listening as Madame Hooch blew the whistle to stop the game as the Slytherin team landed around him and several professors rushed down from the stands. The students grew silent as the professors huddled around Draco and Madame Hooch dropped down to examine his leg.
She barely laid a hand upon his knee and a razor-sharp sting pulsed through Draco’s leg, and he cried out in immeasurable agony.
“He needs to be taken to Madame Pomfry immediately,” Professor McGonagall decided. She conjured a stretcher and turned to Snape and Bloodbane. “Could I have your assistance, Professors?”
“Of course, Minevra,” Bloodbane replied, reaching down to take hold of one end of the stretcher. Snape remained silent, but grasped the opposite end of the stretcher and followed McGonagall as she made her way off the field towards the castle. A whistle sounded and cheers rose from the crowd, both seeming far away, as Draco slipped into unconsciousness.
* * *
Draco woke late the next afternoon with a dull throbbing in his left knee, which proved to be a great improvement from the pain he had felt the day before. He had not been awake long before Madame Pomfry came bustling over to him with a glass of foul smelling potion.
“Drink this, Mr. Malfoy,” she said sternly, handing him the glass as she moved to examine his knee. Draco sniffed cautiously at the thick green potion and nearly gagged.
“What’s this for anyway?” he asked.
“It’s to speed up the healing process,” Madame Pomfry said as she headed off across the hospital wing towards a closet. “And it may help with the pain.”
She did not have to tell him twice. He gulped the potion down and felt it slide slowly down his throat as if he had just swallowed a slug. He set the glass on the bedside table and leaned back against his pillows just as Madame Pomfry returned with a pair of crutches.
“What are those for?” Draco asked, eyeing the crutches suspiciously.
“The potion will help to speed up the healing process, but it will still take time for it to be back to normal. Until then, you’ll need to use these to walk,” she explained. “Now, sit up. You’d best get used to them before I release you.”
“You’re bloody kidding! I have quidditch!”
“They’ve got someone to take your place. You will not be playing quidditch for quite a while, Mr. Malfoy.”
“Come on, then! Sit up and have a go with these crutches! I haven’t got all day!”
Draco glared at her for a moment before sitting up and slowly swinging his legs over the side of his bed, wincing at the pain in his knee. Madame Pomfry was just handing him one of the crutches when a knock sounded on the door. She left the other crutch leaning against the bed and went to see who was at the door. Draco listened intently as her shoes clicked against the floor. He heard her open the door and then heard her speaking to someone else. Then he heard several voices speaking at once and smiled to himself. It was his friends; there was no mistaking their voices. Within moments, he heard four sets of feet coming back towards his bed.
“Well, you’re off the hook for now, Mr. Malfoy. Now, the three of you, don’t go getting him all riled up. He needs rest!” Madame Pomfry told them. She took the crutches and hurried back to her office.
The three newcomers greeted Draco cheerily with high-fives and teasing proclamations such as “Hey, there, cripple!” or “How’s it goin’ hop-along.” Blaise, Jonas, and Matt pulled up chairs and seated themselves around Draco’s bed.
“How you feeling, mate?” Blaise asked.
“Better than you might imagine after what happened. My knee’s killing me, though,” Draco replied.
“How long do you think you’ll be in here?” questioned Jonas.
“God, I hope not too much longer. It’s like murder.”
“That’s enough! He needs rest and you three aren’t giving him that! Out. OUT!” Madame Pomfry shrieked. The three boys said goodbye to Draco and left. Madame Pomfry brought the crutches back over to the side of Draco’s bed. “Up, Mr. Malfoy.”
* * *
Draco was allowed to the leave the hospital wing two days later, only after Madame Pomfry was satisfied that he could use the crutches without falling flat on his face each time. He made his way up to the Head dorms to get his school bag, and then went down to Defense Against the Dark Arts. He hobbled into the classroom and up to Professor Bloodbane’s desk. He handed him the note Madame Pomfry had written and waited as the professor read through it.
“Feeling better, then, Mr. Malfoy?” Professor Bloodbane asked.
“Yes, sir,” Draco replied, grinning.
“Very well, take your seat.”
Draco moved off to the back of the room to take his seat next to Blaise.
* * *
That night Draco hobbled down to the dungeons for band practice with the others. He took a seat in one of the chairs and set his guitar on his lap, wincing in pain as the pressure hit his knee. Blaise noticed this and moved over to speak to him.
“You alright, mate?” Blaise asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“It still hurting?”
“Like hell, mate.”
“Here, see if these help. They’re just muggle pills, but they’re pretty strong and they take the edge off.” He handed Draco a bottle of muggle painkillers. Draco popped the lid off, dumped out two pills and swallowed them without hesitation.