Chapter 8 : Friday Night Detentions
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Draco had been … otherwise quieter around me lately. He always waited for me to seek him out to lead me to my classes, instead of grabbing me. My thought was because of the nasty episode that had occurred in Defense Against the Dark Arts yesterday. It probably gave him sense, or at least humbled him a bit. I wanted to ask him what it had been all about, but so far I hadn’t heard from anybody about it or never had the chance to ask him privately. I still needed ‘guiding’ from him, due to my dismal memory worse than an old lady’s. I hated being dependent on anyone, especially someone as hard and as arrogant as him.
“Why the devil haven’t you been able to navigate to your classes by now?” Draco said on their way to their last class of the day, Arithmancy.
“It is different here,” I said truthfully. Though it had been rude, it had been the longest sentence he’d said to me since the day before. “And it’s only been my first week.”
“Still. You could’ve figured it out by now.”
“The staircases move. It takes some getting used to.”
We stopped at the base of some stairs that had moved to go down right for some fourth year looking boys.
“What was it like at your old school?” Draco asked, looking down at me.
“Ancient and dry. But beautiful,” I reminisced. I was a bit surprised at his inquiring, but went on. “ It was underground, like an elaborate tomb. But there was not any dead people,” I said hurriedly when he gave me a disgusted look. “No,” I continued, getting more and more homesick as I spoke, “It’s labyrinthine passageways was like an ever-changing maze –“
“So you’re trying to tell me,” Draco started, going up the stairs that had move in their direction, “is that these moving stairs are more difficult that the constantly changing corridors at your old school?”
“I was used to them,” I said, my head up. “And besides, I’d been going there all my life.”
“Whatever excuses you want to make for your absent-mindedness –“
“So what, exactly, made you puke in Defense Against the Dark Arts yesterday?” I said.
For a moment, Draco stayed silent. I had not meant to ask about his well-being in such a negative way, but I suppose my tongue had got the best of me. For what seemed like hours, Draco replied, “Some things are better left unsaid.”
I glanced over at him, and saw his face was pained, and looked even more vulnerable than when I had watched him sleep in the Hospital Wing.
Watched him sleep. Did that just sound creepy, or what?
“I’m sorry,” I said quickly, trying to make up for what I said but failing. “Was –“
“Drop it,” he interrupted as we turned the corner to a group of chatty seventh year students, waiting outside the Arithmancy classroom. “We’ve arrived.”
The day definitely took an interesting turn for me when Alvara showed up to the library and plops into the seat across from me, almost like she expected to be completely welcome.
“What are you doing here?” I hissed, incredulous.
“Hello to you, too,” Alvara said casually, crossing her legs. “How are things?”
I did not mean to sound like a prissy teen-ager right now, but you forget what she did to me! “Well, seeing as I have detention tomorrow because of you, I would say I’m quite confused at this moment!”
“Ssh!” the librarian chided us down the isle of bookshelves.
“Oh yes, that,” Alvara said, looking down at her nails in that annoying way of hers. “Sorry.”
“’Sorry?’ I am cleaning and sorting sports equipment all night and all you say have to say is ‘sorry’? I didn’t even have anything to do with it! And all my brother’s inventions have been taken and put who-knows-where –“
“Why are you so worried about your brother’s stuff?” Alvara interrupted. “It may have contained dark magic; and it was for sure dangerous –“
“If you two can’t keep your conversation down, you will have to leave!” the librarian said, meters away from us now. It was quite hard having an angry conversation in hushed tones.
I turned back to Alvara. “Okay, but why get me in trouble?” Our voices were less like whispers, more like vicious hisses.
“You knew about it, and didn’t even try to stop your brother from blasting my eyebrows off –“
“--you got them back, didn’t you?”
“—you had to be punished, Gianna,” Alvara concluded. “And so now what I came to say was I’m sorry we had to…. meet in such a way.”
I just stared at her, bewildered. I, for one, wished I had not met her at all. “What?” was all I could say.
“I must say, you are one of the best arguers I’ve ever met. No one has ever stood up to me otherwise.” Not everyone is subject to your will, I thought. “I was hoping we could be friends.”
For several seconds I just stared at Alvara disbelievingly. Finally I said, “Someone put you up to this, didn’t they?”
“No.” Alvara searched my eyes, and I knew she was lying. “Fine. Yes.”
“Who was it?” I asked.
“Theodore Nott,” Alvara replied, though she gave no further detail on their relationship. “But I really am sorry.”
I could’ve sworn I saw some pleading in those eyes, and felt like that last phrase could’ve been, “But I really am lonely.” I could see a very complex girl in front of me, and decided I’d give her a chance. “Fine. You may. . . sit with me.”
As soon as Arithmancy was dismissed the next day I grabbed my bag and my books and dashed down to the Great Hall for an early dinner. I checked my watch. It read forty minutes past five. If I had time, I would try and return my things to the Common Room…
“What’s the hurry?” Alvara said, approaching me a few minutes later on the opposite side. I didn’t answer, my mouth was full of food and I still was shoving boiled potatoes down my mouth. Alvara continued to stare at me, wide-eyed. “Who would have thought food could disappear that fast…”
With a big gulp, I looked up to see my brother approaching the table, but avoiding my gaze. He sat down a few meters away from us, piling a few potatoes on his plate. He was still mad at me from the argument we had a couple of days ago. Nothing could change his stubborn feelings about our father.
I chugged my glass of pumpkin juice until it was half-gone. It wasn’t that bad, I think I was getting used to the tart-taste of it. Then I resumed eating. Looking up, I saw that Kaleb had the same amount of urgency in his eating, but ate less.
“Savages,” Alvara said, in-between bites. “You came from group of savages.”
“Detention, Alvara. At six? Now stop gaping at me like crazy person so I can finish eating.”
“Oh yes, I had forgotten,” Alvara said carelessly.
I glanced at my watch again, reading five minutes until the hour. “ @#!*% , I won’t have time to put my things down in the Common Room…”
“I can do it for you,” Alvara said. Stunned, my fork stopped coming to my mouth. “I mean, I don’t have detention.”
“Err… okay,” I said, a little fazed by her random act of kindness. I put the last forkful of salad in my mouth, noticing Kaleb getting up from the table and leaving the Great Hall towards the classrooms, the opposite direction from where I was headed. “Well… I should be going now,” I said.
“Then go,” Alvara said emotionlessly, and I got up and headed outside to the Quidditch field.
Walking a little ways, I soon saw Draco sitting on the ground nest to the equipment room, finishing off an apple.
“What are you doing here?”
“I think I should be asking you that question, seeing as I was here first, miss,” Draco replied, spreading his arms wide.
That added name of politeness somewhat irked me. I watched as he got up, taking another bite of his apple. Chomp.
“I’m here for detention,“ I said tightly.
“Well, look at that! So am I.” Chomp.
“You are too? Why?”
“For deliberately hurting another student.” Chomp.
My eyes narrowed, but I did not answer.
“Well, done with that,” Draco said, taking a look at his apple – now just a core. Just as Madam Hooch turned the corner towards us, Draco tossed the core in a spot further down the side of the newly-manicured field.
“Malfoy!” Draco cringed. “You had better pick that up and toss it where it belongs!”
“It’s bio-degradable, isn’t it?”
“Stop being lazy and throw it away!” With an exasperated sigh, he went and did so.
“I’m going to unlock this for you two and give you some cleaning supplies,” Madam Hooch said, quieter now that she was at a reasonable distance. She referred to a bucket with a blue bottle and a bottle of All-Broom Cleanser, two white cloths and a bar of soap. “You should clean and organize this room too,” she barked. Did all teachers here have such sharp tones? I thought. “I’ll be checking up on you every two hours. If you’re to be done before midnight - ” she got out her wand, and chanted Alohamora, - then you’ll be free to go.” The doors sprang open, and the instructor turned sharply to me and Draco. “Now, your wands.”
We reached into our robe pockets and gave our wands to the grey- haired lady.
“The brooms especially should be handled with care. The first years shall be having their first lessons soon. What a day that is,” Madam Hooch said smiling to herself. Draco and I looked to each other, Draco smirking. Madam Hooch snapped out of her brief reverie and glared at us sharply. “Now,” she concluded, striding past them, “you may begin.”
Draco gestured toward the open door. “After you, miss.”
“I guess we could do the brooms first,” I suggested, taking a broom off the rack.
Draco dropped the bucket. “You spray. I’ll…” He trailed off, and, striding forward, he took the broom I was holding and examined it with careful interest. “….clean.”
I stood there behind him, waiting for him to hand me the broom. He didn’t. He seemed lost in his memories. Moving forward, I stooped down to grab the spray. Casually, I asked, “Do you fly?” less out of curiosity, more to get us moving.
“I … used to,” Draco said carefully, taking a seat on one of the wooden benches on the edge of the room. “But that was a long time ago.”
“We should start,” Draco said abruptly. If he didn’t want to talk, then that was fine by me. I sat down on the bench across from him, reaching over to grab the broom he was holding and started spraying. Draco, I saw, was a little surprised, but picked up the cloth and went to work.
“After this we should head over to the team room and clean the floors,” I mentioned after an hour or so of spritzing and wiping.
“I am sorry about what I said the other day.” Draco looked up questioningly. “About . . . the incident at Defense Against the Dark Arts.”
Draco chuckled. “My ‘incident’. Nice word choice. Did you notice—“ at this he put on a mocking tone of voice –“—our new teacher in that class?”
“Black hair, those round glasses… the ‘Chosen One’ back for more,” Draco murmured.
“I did notice it was Harry Potter.”
“Harry effing Potter.” The words rolled out like foul tasting gelatin.
“ Is he the reason you threw up?”
The words seemed to hit him like a punch in the gut. “No. Not the reason at all, actually.”
“Did he do something to you?”
“He—“ Draco began in a loud tone. “That’s …. besides the point. He may seem like he knows what he’s doing, but he doesn’t know what it’s really like to be …. to be in the war.”
I found myself a bit bewildered. Why in the world was he telling me all these things in the first place? I thought to myself. I looked up, noticing he had stop cleaning, and his hands were trembling, and the broom he held shook. “You were… in the war?” I ventured.
“Like @#!*% I was!” Draco said, throwing the broom aside. “Like @#!*% …” He looked to his hands, just noticing they were trembling. Suddenly he looked up to me, surprised to see me still there.
“—I – I’m going down to the team room early, to get a head start on scrubbing the floors. Here-- “ and he flipped the bucket over, emptying out the other white cloth and the bar of soap—“I’m going to take this and this –“ he reached for the bucket and bar of soap—“and go. There’s not that many brooms left. You can do the rest yourself, right?” And before I could answer, he was gone.
I sat there stunned for a good moment, then got up to look outside to see if I could see the troubled young man, but it was too dark to see anything without the field lights on. I meandered back inside, plopping myself back on the wooden bench, wondering what in the world had happened to him to cause him such mental turmoil. Looking up, I realized Mr. Malfoy had been wrong. With a kick of the other bench, I grudgingly continued working on the twenty more brooms hanging on the racks needing to be cleaned.
For the rest of the night I was on the floor, scrubbing away the dirt and memories and insecurities. I poured water on the floor, scattering soap suds and all my reason. I was actually thankful that all we were given to scrub floors was a single bar of soap. I used it all up, all down to the very last sliver, then washed and toiled some more.
I was truly cracked. It was only the first week in, and already I’ve had multiple outbreaks and failures . . . oh, not to mention the rumours of Gianna and I. . . me and Gianna, I mean.
I tossed the thought out of my head, which was more than correcting myself on grammatical errors. Stop toying with the idea! I told myself. But what made me spill everything out to her like I did? My past, my enemies, my fears. . .
Twice Madam Hooch checked up on me, and asked why Gianna and I weren’t “working together” to speed things up. I said it didn’t make a difference. We needed to be out here by twelve, right? She told me it depended on how much we got done until the appointed time.
Looking back on it, I didn’t want to be alone with someone who could reveal to me more about myself than I or anybody else could. Like a mirror, when I was with her, I felt like I was staring at my own reflection.
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