Chapter 1 : orbs.
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There was half an hour left before Hogwarts’ annual dance was to begin and, outside, the snow was falling thick and fast, coating the Hogwarts grounds with the wet equivalent of an eiderdown duvet. The three people sat around Draco exchanged confused glances. Blaise Zabini, a highly attractive boy with a scandalous family history and questionable fame with the ladies, spoke first.
‘And what game would this be?’
The other two – Daphne Greengrass and Theodore Nott, although they were less attractive and therefore less important – seemed to bristle with expectation.
‘I’ve got a pack of cards in my pocket,’ Theodore offered.
Draco shot Theodore an incredulous look, before lounging back in his chair, a trademark smirk twisting his lips. ‘Cards are for infants,’ he said.
‘But,’ Theodore’s face clouded with confusion. ‘What if they got papercuts-’
‘Be quiet, Nott,’ Draco ordered, and Theodore’s mouth closed at once. Draco, as the most handsomest, richest, and famousest member of the group, possessed an authority as solid as a particularly solid rock. Like all rocks, it was also heavy, and Draco often felt burdened and angst-ridden by the metaphorical weight of it upon his shoulders.
‘Well,’ he continued, a shadow of trouble flickering across his otherwise perfect face. ‘Seeing as we’re all sitting here being unsociable…I hear it’s something that the seventh years play.’
Blaise crossed his arms. ‘Go on.’
‘Blood types,’ Draco said, sitting up a little straighter. ‘You’ve got your four blood types, haven’t you?’
‘Blood types?’ Daphne repeated, a little incredulously.
‘What…like…’ Theodore seemed to puzzle it over. ‘A positive and O and B and stuff-’
‘No, Nott,’ Draco said, wearily, rolling his eyes at the stupidity and unattractiveness of his oldest friend. ‘Pureblood. Half-blood. Blood traitor. Mudblood. You write these onto four strips of parchment, right? Then you pick one each, and you have to kiss someone of that type by the end of the night.’
Theodore’s face coloured and he turned to the floor; Blaise, by contrast, gave a snort of derision.
‘With proof, Zabini,’ Draco said icily.
There was a pause, before Daphne said, tentatively, ‘I dunno…that’s a bit cheap, isn’t it?’
‘It’s all fun,’ Draco cocked an eyebrow. ‘Unless you’re scared?’
‘Of course not,’ she pouted, before adding, in a faltering voice – ‘a kiss is a kiss.’
‘You in, Blaise?’ Draco turned to face the other two. ‘Theodore?’
Blaise dipped his head imperceptibly to one side. ‘Sure. I’ll have a go.’
Draco then turned his eyes onto Daphne, who sat, thin-lipped, before sighing.
‘Well…if the rest of you are in,’ Theodore shrugged. ‘I’m in.’
‘Right then,’ Draco clapped his hands together before adding, in an undertone: ‘not that anyone would want to kiss you, Nott.’
In one fluid movement, he grabbed a sheaf of parchment and a quill from the first year sitting behind them, then scribbled the four blood types upon it, before tearing the parchment into strips and screwing them up into tiny balls.
‘Alright,’ he held them out in his palm. ‘Everyone take one.’
One by one, the three of them leaned forwards and selected a ball of parchment, each unravelling their choice.
‘Awesome,’ Blaise smirked. ‘Blood traitor.’
‘Half-blood,’ Theodore announced, in a small, hesitant voice.
‘Pureblood,’ Daphne announced. ‘Well, may as well get this over and done with.’
And, without further ado, she leaned forward and gave Draco a long, lingering kiss. Her part in the game over, she rose from her chair and flounced off towards the girls’ dormitories, leaving the three boys staring after her.
Taken aback, Draco leaned back in his chair again, parchment still scrunched up in his palm.
‘I think she just won,’ Theodore pointed out.
‘Oh, no, she didn’t win,’ Draco said, quickly, coming back to himself. ‘She…she’s perfectly within the rules, but she didn’t win.’
‘So how do you win?’
‘You have to get all four,’ Draco smirked. ‘In one night. With proof, remember. Whoever gets the most, with proof, is the winner.’
‘I’ll never get all four,’ Theodore whined. ‘That’s impossible.’
‘Bet you ten galleons I can do it,’ Draco said.
‘Sure,’ Blaise grinned, extending a hand.
‘I don’t have ten galleons,’ Theodore wheedled, as Blaise and Draco shook on the deal.
At that moment, Daphne re-emerged, the other Slytherin girls trailing behind her. Theodore and Blaise distracted, Draco took advantage of the moment and unfolded the parchment, the corners of his mouth twitching into a sly smile. There, in his own hasty, smudged handwriting, was the word mudblood.
If there was one thing that Draco Malfoy liked, it was a challenge.
By the time Daphne and the other girls were ready to leave, they were already half an hour late for the dance. Grudgingly, Draco took Pansy’s arm as they ascended the stairs to the entrance hall, making a mental note to shake her off as soon as possible.
He already felt a little dizzy. The pre-drinks had started, as they always did, at around five o’clock in the afternoon. The Ravenclaws may have had the brains, the Gryffindors may have had the brawns and the Hufflepuffs may have had the access to the kitchens, but Slytherin house was, so far, the only one to have successfully smuggled alcoholic beverages into the school grounds. Alcohol was strictly banned under school rules, but the staff tended to turn a blind eye when there were Slytherin heirs with very influential fathers hanging around.
The dance was a new tradition for the school. After the success of the Yule Ball in Draco’s fourth year, Headmaster Dumbledore had decided that, henceforth, once a year, the night before the Christmas holidays would play host to a dance. For one night, homework, classes, and major assassination duties could be forgotten under the enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall. This year’s ball had a masquerade theme, and Draco had a small eye mask tucked inside his top pocket that he had no intention of wearing. Not until he’d had more to drink anyway.
He crossed the threshold, still arm in arm with Pansy. The hall was packed with people, music swelled from a band in the corner, and an overpowering smell of perfume didn’t quite mask the vague hint of sweat.
Draco grimaced. He hated the early stages of a party, where everyone was still awkward and nowhere near tipsy enough to want to dance. A few of the girls had bought completely into the masquerade theme, wearing flowing dresses and bejewelled masks to cover their eyes, but most of the students looked just as out-of-place and frigid as ever.
Typical, Draco thought. Bloody typical. But soon, he knew that, under the enchanted lights and the influence of smuggled Firewhiskey from the Slytherin seventh years, the game would become a lot easier.
He thought he’d start with the easiest. Pureblood. With a self-assured smile he turned to Pansy, who still clung to his arm.
An hour later, he abandoned Pansy at the back of the hall, telling her he was off to the bathroom, before ducking behind a gaggle of Ravenclaws and heading off in search of the others.
He found Blaise, Theodore and Daphne sat by the band. Blaise had his hand held to his face, while Daphne gripped his shoulder consolingly.
‘Pureblood’s out the way,’ Draco pulled up a chair and sat facing the others. ‘How’s it going?’
‘Well…Blaise got blood traitor…’ Daphne trailed off.
‘Who’d you get?’
‘The Weasley girl,’ Blaise lifted his hand away from his face, showing Draco three long scratches that ran across his cheek. ‘There’s my proof.’
‘She tried to hex him,’ Daphne explained. ‘Then…then she resorted to more physical combat.’
‘I like it when they play hard to get,’ Blaise said, with a smouldering glance towards the dancefloor. ‘Makes me want them even more.’
‘Where’s your proof of Pureblood?’ Daphne shot at Draco.
‘Here,’ Draco pulled aside the collar of his jacket to show the lurid pink stamp of lips upon his pale neck. ‘Pansy. Obviously.’
‘Fair enough. But you’ve still got three to go.’
‘As do you,’ Draco said, raising an eyebrow. ‘How about you, Theodore?’
Theodore shook his head, lips pressed tightly together, his fingers drumming absently on his knee.
‘Half blood,’ he murmured, as the three watched him. ‘Have to find a half-blood.’
‘You’re so awkward,’ Daphne said, nudging him with her elbow. ‘It’s cute.’
The four of them fell into companionable silence, watching the dance unfold around them.
‘Hey,’ Theodore said, abruptly. ‘Has anyone seen Crabbe and Goyle?’
‘Nah,’ Draco waved him away. ‘Doesn’t matter.’
He passed another fifteen minutes with the three of them, taking turns to sip something from a flask Daphne had hidden in her handbag. Fifteen minutes wasn’t an especially long period of time, but the something in Daphne’s bottle was fairly potent, and Draco was a lot more of a lightweight than he usually made out to his friends.
After those fifteen minutes, he felt like he could take on the world. But he needed his eye mask first. Carefully, he slipped it out of his pocket (it was black, to match his outfit and his angst-ridden soul), and tied it around his head.
‘You three,’ he ordered. ‘Come with me.’
Daphne, Blaise and Theodore all stood, the latter wobbling a little.
‘Masks on,’ Draco muttered. ‘We’ve got girls to kiss.’
A short silence settled upon them again. ‘Draco,’ Daphne said, cautiously. ‘I’m not sure I swing that way-’
Thankfully, the moment was salvaged as Tracey Davis, a fellow Slytherin sixth-year, wandered over to join them.
‘Hello,’ she said, cheerfully. Draco squinted down at her drink, which looked suspiciously like orange juice and, doubly suspiciously, free of alcohol. ‘How’re you guys?’
‘Oh, fine,’ Daphne said, speaking for the group.
A light seemed to have gone on in Theodore’s eyes.
‘Tracey,’ he said, the tremble back in his voice. ‘Will you….do you want to dance?’
At once, Draco remembered that Tracey was a half-blood. He had to stop himself from laughing aloud at Theodore’s pitiful attempt to woo her. Theodore, the loner, the most socially awkward of all of them (not that Draco was socially awkward in the slightest, but he had his moments). Theodore did not know how to treat a girl.
‘Puh-lease,’ Draco said, his usual self-satisfied drawl returning to him. ‘Tracey, would you like to dance with me?’
Tracey looked between the two of them, her nervous smile slipping slightly. Back and forth, from Draco, slightly drunk and smiling a smile so smug it put all other smug smiles to shame, and Theodore, who was anxiously hopping from foot to foot and hadn’t even noticed it.
‘Um…’ she began, and it was clear that she’d rather dance with neither of them. ‘I’ll dance with Theodore first, then you, Draco, okay?’
Mildly disgruntled, Draco watched Tracey lead Theodore off to the dancefloor, where they were swallowed up in seconds by the crowds of students lurching about in time to the music.
‘Ugh,’ Draco said emphatically, turning back to his friends. ‘I can’t believe she picked him over me-’
‘Well,’ Blaise said. ‘You are wearing an eye mask-’
‘Whatever,’ Draco waved them off. ‘I’m going to win this. Ten galleons,’ he added, nodding to Blaise. ‘Ten galleons says I’ll win.’
‘We already shook on this,’ Blaise said cautiously, as Draco thrust his hand out.
‘Shake again!’ Draco barked.
‘Alright,’ Blaise said, and the two shook hands, Daphne tutting at them. Draco gave Blaise a last, hard look, then turned on his heel and stormed off towards the back of the hall.
‘Should we follow him?’ Daphne said.
A short silence passed. Then, Blaise turned to Daphne, meeting her eye.
‘You’re pureblood, right?’ he said.
Draco felt a lot more drunk when he left the Great Hall. It was a lot quieter out there, and a lot colder, too; the doors to the grounds had been thrown open, and a wintry draught cut the air like a knife. His ears rang from the music, and he felt as if he was walking through water, his limbs moving a little slower than he should be, his thoughts drifting at a sluggish pace. Eventually, he found his way over to the stairs and perched on the second step, glaring back into the Great Hall.
What he needed was some better music. And possibly a lit cigarette that he could hold limply between two fingers. It was hard to maintain the sultry, brooding look he wanted when the song blasting from the hall was of the novelty sort and had a silly dance attached. A silly dance that involved impersonating a Hippogriff; occasionally, the lights in the hall would illuminate another group of students stumbling around flapping imaginary wings and pecking their heads at thin air.
Draco loosened his collar, sighing. The eye mask was starting to slip, but he left it on. He quite liked it. It gave him a hint of je ne sais quoi. And it matched his suit.
He sighed again, this time adding a bit more anguish to the act. It was times like these, when he was alone, that his thoughts wandered back to the task that hung over him like an ominous hanging thing. His mission. The murder of Albus Dumbledore. He did not want to do it and he knew he could not, but, in the meantime…well, all the worrying made him look rather pale and interesting. Girls always went for the brooding types. If he had the time and the interest, he thought he could totally be the hottest babe magnet Slytherin house had ever seen.
He was just pondering this fact when someone sat alongside him. He did not turn to look, too engrossed in his brooding glare to be interested, but then the person spoke.
‘Hello,’ a light, wispy voice said. ‘You look lost. It must be the Nargles.’
Draco was broken out of his reverie. ‘You what?’ he said, to the girl beside him.
‘You look lost,’ she repeated. It must be the Nargles. Or the Wrackspurts. Or the Pinkyflunks.’
Ordinarily, he would have stood up at this point and walked away, but the intensity of her stare and the fact that he was three times over the legal apparition limit made him stare back with equal interest.
‘What the hell,’ he mused, the words taking a while to form. ‘Is a Pinkyflunk?’
‘Oh, it’s a type of freshwater fish,’ the girl said. ‘Only it doesn’t swim and it lives on land. It hides in your breakfast cereal and makes you wander off and walk into things.’
‘I saw you bump into the doorframe on your way out,’ she said, nodding at the Great Hall. ‘Classic case of Pinkyflunks. That or Nargles. It’s usually the Nargles.’
‘I saw you kissing Pansy Parkinson earlier,’ she said, matter-of-factly. ‘Wrackspurts make you do that too. And the Nargles. They’re tricksy creatures.’
‘Oh, no, maybe that’s a Gunksplot thing,’ she said, screwing up her face in thought. ‘Sorry?’
‘Wrackspurts make you do what?’
‘Kiss people like her,’ the girl wrinkled her nose. ‘No, I think that is a Gunksplot thing. You’ll need a Gurdyroot to help you with that. Want one? It’ll protect you against Gulping Plimpies too,’ she said, pulling a small green onion from one of the many folds of her dress.
‘Sure,’ Draco accepted the onion, balancing it in his lap. He stared at it for a moment, watching as it slowly multiplied and divided and slid in and out of focus, then asked the girl for her name.
‘It’s Luna,’ she said.
‘Can I call you Loo for short?’
‘No, I don’t think so. The Nargles wouldn’t like it.’
‘Oh. I think I’ll call you Loo anyway.’
Draco looked up at the girl – Luna or Loo or whatever – and noticed that she was actually quite pretty. She had an abundance of blonde hair that seemed to spiral everywhere, pinned up at odd points on her head with little blue flowers that matched the colour of her eyes. Her eyes, Draco thought, meeting them for the first time. They were nice too. Not great, but nice. Well, nice enough, seeing as he could see four of them.
‘Hey,’ he said. ‘You wouldn’t happen to be a half-blood, would you?’
‘Pureblood,’ she wrinkled her nose. ‘But me and Daddy are really against all that stuff and I think it’s a conspiracy the Ministry set up because they’re in league with these people who come from Mars called the Qwertyoopians, and they want to stratify the population and create a class war by – oh.’
Loo didn’t quite have time to finish her sentence as, at that moment, Draco had seized her by the face and kissed her, extracting one of the blue flowers from her hair in the same movement. After a few moments she pulled herself away, grimacing.
‘Oh,’ she said. ‘Definitely Gunksplots. Quick, eat your Gurdyroot!’
Draco looked to her, then at the little green onion balancing in his lap.
‘You have it,’ he said. ‘I need some fresh air.’
He thrust the onion back at her, stood shakily, and then crossed the Entrance Hall. It was a bit difficult getting out of the doors when he kept bumping into the wall, but eventually he made it out into the fresh air. It didn’t seem so cold now.
Perhaps Daphne’s drink was taking its time to work on him. He felt a lot worse now, although, paradoxically, he felt a lot better at the same time. Even if he was stumbling from one shrub to another, the world flickering in double before him, he felt pretty awesome about it. He was drunk and he was at school and he was wearing a black tuxedo. That was the epitome of cool. That was the apex of the apex of cool.
It was very dark outside. A new moon lit up the sky in the dark, pitch-black way that only a new moon can. Draco tripped over a small rose bush, grabbed onto a nearby trellis for support, and then swung himself around a corner into a garden walled by high, leafy bushes. The garden was entirely circular, and featured nothing but a small potted plant and a bench in the centre, but after five minutes’ blundering around in the dark, Draco was hopelessly lost and couldn’t find the way out.
Lost, hopelessly lost, he sank onto the bench, staring hard at the dark, willing the exit to appear before his eyes. Little did he know, it was actually in front of him, gaping tantalisingly in the way that the exit of a hedged garden on a dark, moonless night only can.
‘Oh,’ he said, to the darkness. ‘I’m lost.’
Silence answered him.
‘Oh,’ he spoke up a bit. ‘Woe is me.’
The resounding roar of silence in response nearly deafened him.
‘You know,’ he muttered to his feet, which he seemed to now have four of. Or was it six? ‘It’d be a shame if a mudblood found me now.’
Almost as if on cue, distant footsteps sounded from beyond the hedge. Draco sat up, losing his balance; he toppled over sideward onto the bench and lay there, listening hard.
‘Ron?’ a soft, female voice called. ‘Ron, where are you?’
Draco had to bite his lip to stop himself from calling out. Was someone really looking for Weasley? Merlin knew that the best thing for Weasley was to get lost and never be found.
The footsteps came closer. A dim form drifted into the hedged garden, the sound of what could only have been a very expensive and low-cut ball gown creating a light susurration as it brushed against the grass. ‘Ron?’ the voice came again. ‘Is that you?’
Draco stood, his head spinning dangerously.
‘No,’ he said, finally, adjusting his eye mask. Then a light flickered on. Hermione Granger stood before him, her wand lit, her face made impossibly beautiful by a twisted glare of the deepest loathing. The dress was, indeed, very expensive and low-cut, made of some daringly red satiny material and built to hug the curves that she’d apparently been hiding, which Draco was rather pleased to see were mostly in the right places.
She lowered her wand, casting her face into dramatic shadows.
‘Malfoy,’ she spat.
‘Granger,’ he spat back, with equal dislike.
She began to pace, still holding her wand before her. Copying her, he began to pace too, until the two of them were slowly circling the bench and the small pot plant, never breaking eye contact.
‘Not got your henchmen with you?’ she said, maliciously.
Draco was momentarily confused. ‘Huh?’
‘Crabbe and Goyle?’ she sneered. ‘Not so big on your own, are you?’
The memory took a while to dredge up. ‘Oh yeah,’ he said. ‘Them.’
Even with the cold, he suddenly realised that he felt quite warm. He pulled the clip-on bow tie from around his neck, discarding it on the floor, then loosened his collar. A moment later, he almost lost his balance as he stepped on the bow tie, grinding it into the grass.
‘The night is yet young, Granger,’ he said, pleased to hear his words coming out clean and unslurred. ‘Why don’t you find Potty and Weasel and head back indoors?’
She glared at him again. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Dangerous out here,’ he purred. ‘Not the place for young girls like you.’
She blushed, her chest rising as she took in a deep breath, as if meaning to come out with a retort – but then she seemed to remember herself, her composure softening.
‘Not a place for young boys either,’ she said, her voice a little husky.
The mood seemed to change. His face darkened, his whole posture crumpled.
‘I’m not a young boy anymore,’ he said, in a voice that was full of anguish, yet still somewhere on the right side of attractively brooding.
She took a step forward, the light of her wand dimming slightly. The mood had suddenly turned sombre.
Out of nowhere, a string quartet began to play.
‘I know what you mean,’ she said, in that same husky voice, disregarding the music (it was, essentially, background music, and wasn’t worthy of notice by either of them at that moment).
It felt as if he was lifting that burden on his shoulders again, that boulder of expectation. His task. His attractively dangerous task. He cast his eyes to the floor, the fingers of his right hand twisting at his left sleeve.
‘I can’t do it,’ he murmured.
She took another few steps closer, as if straining to hear. Her dress whispered against the grass again. He looked up, her hazel eyes meeting his steely grey orbs. The music swelled, straining against a major key, before falling into a minor again.
‘I know what you are,’ she said.
‘Say it,’ he hissed. ‘Say it out loud.’
‘Actions speak louder than words,’ she said, and, without warning, pulled up his sleeve.
The music died down a bit again.
‘Sorry,’ Draco said, a little sheepishly. ‘I’m not supposed to get the mark until next week.’
‘Christmas present, is it?’ Hermione said.
‘Sort of,’ Draco shrugged, but the music had begun to swell again. More pressing matters were at hand.
‘Anyway,’ he said. ‘To recap…I’m not a young boy anymore,’ he repeated, the anguished, pained tone returning.
‘That makes you a man,’ she said, meaningfully. ‘Or a young adult at least.’
‘Indeed,’ he drew closer, so close that he could feel her breath against his neck, where he’d loosened his collar. ‘And a man does what he wants.’
She looked up. Hazel orb met grey orb. A knowing look passed between them in what felt like a century.
‘Hey,’ she muttered, as the music built, clattering up through the octaves and making a real hash of a few chord modulations. ‘Where is that music coming from?’
‘It doesn’t matter,’ he growled. ‘I hate you.’
‘And I hate you,’ she growled back.
The music crashed into a climax with all the force of a troll with a jetpack. Unfortunately, it came a little too early, so when they actually kissed, it was a little rushed. Their lips smashed into each other with alarming ferocity as the two of them fought for dominance of the situation. But the vaguely cinnamony taste of Draco’s lips eventually made Hermione give up and she pulled him in closer, deepening the kiss. Little did she know that all boys tasted like cinnamon, regardless of who they were or what they’d consumed, and therefore there was no reason to be so surprised.
After five minutes of inexplicable and spontaneous snogging, the two broke apart.
‘I still hate you,’ she said, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Bright red lipstick smeared across her face.
‘Well,’ he smirked, his own face patterned with crimson lip prints. ‘You know, Granger, you aren’t so bad for an amateur.’
She glared at him. ‘I’m not an amateur.’
This time, the string quartet was a little late off the mark, and so the first few seconds of their next passionately love/hate-fuelled kiss were soundtracked by silence.
‘Ugh. I still hate you,’ she muttered, when they broke apart again.
‘Call me mad, Granger,’ he drawled.
‘It was a figure of speech. I meant…’ their orbs met once more. Hermione melted again at the sight of his steely grey orbs, which were especially orby. ‘I think we’d make a fantastic team.’
Her brow furrowed in confusion. ‘What do you mean?’
‘You, me,’ he said, an eyebrow raised suggestively. ‘Head Boy and Head Girl. Think of the shared dormitory. Think of the shared hot tub.’
‘I would never share a dormitory with you,’ she hissed. ‘I don’t want you to walk in on me coming out the shower or anything.’
‘But that’s in the rules-’
‘Shut up and kiss me again,’ she breathed. As their lips met for the third time, the music swelled once more, although this time it sounded a lot more weary.
‘No,’ she said, ten minutes later, when she pulled herself away. ‘I still hate you.’
A moment of silence passed while their orbs met once more. Then, daringly, he put a hand on her waist, letting it rest there for a moment before, very slowly, very nonchalantly, letting it slide along the red satin.
‘Come on, mudblood,’ he said. ‘I know you want me.’
The word changed everything. She sprang back at once, her hand raised as if to slap him.
‘No, no,’ she whispered, looking distraught. ‘I know it’s not your fault. You’re just stressed and dangerously unbalanced because you have to kill Dumbledore. I completely understand and respect you for that. I’m not even going to try to suggest you seek help, because I know you’ve got the burden of your family’s name upon your shoulders and, whatever I say, nothing’s going to change your mind because, frankly, you’re more attractive when you’re all deep and soulful and racked with misery. I know that the best thing for you is just to have a clandestine affair with me behind the backs of all of your friends, and not a soul shall know until summer, when I shall discover that I am actually the heiress of a substantial fortune and Blaise’s long-lost sister and I get a makeover.’
She reeled this off in one go, her chest rising and falling with the effort of saying so much. Then, she seemed to steel herself, pointing a finger at him, her sultry glare back in place.
‘Now,’ she ordered. ‘Take me to a broom cupboard.’
When Draco woke up, it was to find he was alone, save for the company of a few mops and a pounding headache.
Wincing, he shifted his stiff limbs, his joints making all sorts of strange and worrying noises. Something jabbed into the small of his back. He pushed himself up, leaning against the wall for support, and realised he’d been sitting on a bucket. The thing jabbing into his back had been a small, ornamental tree.
‘Huh,’ he said, to nobody in particular. ‘Bonsai.’
His head pounded again, obliterating every useful memory that could have helped him discover precisely why he was in a cupboard full of mops. But, guessing that hanging around inside it was no use to anybody, he leaned on the door, twisted the handle, and stumbled out into a corridor.
It must have been a little way past sunrise; dim light filtered through the narrow windows, casting a lot of the corridor into shadow. He guessed that it was the second floor, and began to walk in what he hoped was the vague direction of the stairs. His headache didn’t get any better, and, to make it worse, he was suddenly overcome by an enormous desire to vomit every time he thought of edible things.
By the time he reached Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, he knew it was hopeless. There was no way he could possibly reach the Slytherin common room unscathed. Glancing furtively around him, he ducked into the bathroom, intending to sit it out in there for a few hours before he had the strength to go back. Myrtle was always good company. She made him feel much better about his lot in life. He’d rather have to kill Dumbledore fifteen times over than spend eternity in a u-bend.
Draco was surprised to find someone else in the bathroom, however. His vision slid disobligingly in and out of focus, but he had enough time to register Daphne’s younger sister standing at the sink, filling a beaker from the tap. She nearly dropped it at the sight of him.
‘Oh,’ she said. ‘Good…morning.’
‘Why are you here?’ he demanded, annoyed that someone else should have discovered his usual haunt.
‘Er,’ she glanced behind her, to where a small cauldron was smouldering above a tiny jar of fire on the floor. ‘Extra potions work?’
A vague memory came back to him. ‘It’s the first day of the holidays.’
‘Yes,’ she said, turning off the tap and crossing back to her cauldron. ‘You missed the train, by the way.’
‘Your friends have been looking for you,’ she tipped the beaker of water into the cauldron. ‘They were very worried.’
‘Yeah, well,’ he said, but failed to find a suitable retort and simply slumped to the floor, propped up against the wall. Daphne’s sister – he thought he remembered her name being Astoria, although he wasn’t sure – turned to her cauldron, evidently lost in thought as she stirred it.
‘Did you enjoy Blaise’s birthday party, then?’ she said, after a while.
‘Blaise’s party?’ he asked, mystified.
‘You know, last night.’
‘Yeah, thought so.’
A few scraps of memory returned from the night previously. He wasn’t quite sure what the context was, but the fleeting memory of kissing Luna Lovegood almost made him cry out in horror. Then there was another memory, although it wasn’t so horrific – but he had to check. Carefully, checking that Astoria wasn’t looking, he rolled up the sleeve of his left arm a few inches, only to see that the Dark mark was there, as ever. He yanked his sleeve back down again, feeling a little shaky.
‘Ever heard of this Potion the Weasley twins used to sell?’ Astoria broke the silence. ‘Daydream potion, or whatever. Left a few prototypes kicking around in the Dungeons. I’ve been trying to deconstruct it. It’s nasty stuff.’
‘Oh. Right,’ he said, barely listening.
‘Very potent. More like a hallucinogen than anything else, really. Especially if you drink a whole bottle. Makes you go a bit,’ she swirled a finger around the side of her head. ‘Crazy.’
‘Yeah,’ she continued her stirring. ‘Well, you’ll be glad to hear I’ve got the antidote for it right here.’
‘Long story,’ she said, ladling the contents of the cauldron into two chipped mugs, before handing him the larger of the two. ‘Cheers.’
He sniffed at the contents of the mug.
‘This isn’t an antidote,’ he said. ‘This is tea.’
She shrugged. ‘Same thing.’
a/n: please don't ask me which part of my brain I pulled this from. I never want to go there again. Rated mature because I get the feeling this has scarred your mental parts as much as it has mine.
There are many ships in this fic. The main one I'm trying to parody is Dramione - a ship I never have and never truly will be able to warm to - but also a few of the ships I like. Draco/Luna is a ship I love (I know, I can hardly ship Druna and hate Dramione, but I am the queen of nonsense) but I kind of tried to...well, tried to parody it too. I'm not sure I was successful but...well. The last ship is my OTP. Draco/Astoria forever. Thank you to Ravenclaw333 for starting this challenge - although slightly disturbing, this was dead fun to write. I have never wanted to use the word 'orb' more in my life. I kind of went for more than a subtle parody than I usually would but, well...kind of scared of what I might have come out with if I'd just gone cray cray. No, really.
The lines 'I know what you are' and 'Say it. Say it out loud' are adapted from the film Twilight, which is based on the book of the same name by Stephenie Meyer. I briefly entertained the notion of making Draco a brooding vampire, but I guess the boy's got enough to brood over already.
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