Chapter Four: Miserable Lying Idiots
Harry went directly to Snape's suite where she found Draco waiting for her in her bedroom.
"So, was our little session on Roman history of any use to you, Potter?"
He grabbed her and kissed her and threw her away from himself almost as one movement. "Oh--this--I . . . I just can't, Harry," he said, looking desperate.
"Then stop trying, Draco."
"They're sending me away."
"I know. Professor Snape told me."
"That was thoughtful of him."
"Could we just sit down and not . . . fight?"
"That wasn't fighting."
"Can we just lie down?"
"Fine. Whatever you want, right?"
"One little mission and you think you know what a fight is?"
"That's not fair, Malfoy, and you promised me not to say--"
"Don't worry. You know I'll keep your secrets."
"Because you keep mine."
It had been agreed that no one was to know that Draco had cast the counter-curse that had altered Harry's sex. "The Change," as the press had taken to calling Harry's transformation, was blamed on the actions of one of Voldemort's minions. This was a lie with which everyone could live, save that Harry knew she would be telling Ron and Hermione the truth because how could she not?
They climbed as one onto the bed and wrapped themselves around each other's limbs, and laid silently for awhile.
"Do you ever feel like an old man sitting at the top of a mountain and feeling certain of everybody's doom? Like you know what's going to happen because you've seen it all before, but you're too high above the action to stop the idiots beneath you from falling to pieces?"
"No, Draco. I always feel like I'm climbing the mountain and being pelted by rocks. I never feel certain of anything. I always feel as if I'm about to lose my grip and fall."
"Well, at least falling is movement. I always feel stuck."
"When will you see your father again?"
"He's coming to take me to Durmstrang this evening."
"Yes, Harry. Tonight."
"The Professor didn't say it'd be so soon."
"Imagine my surprise. . . . You can't be anywhere near me when he arrives, all right?"
"Promise me, Harry. Promise me that you won't let him see you again today. And that you won't ever be alone with him."
"I'm not sure that I can--"
"Damn Gryffindor bravery, Potter! My father is not a nice man. He's worse than anybody knows. Promise me!"
"I'll try, but only because I lo--"
"No! No, you don't. You really don't. You're grateful, and you think that you owe me those feelings because of my going away to be sacrificed to Durmstrang, and because . . . because I've touched you. But you don't love me, not really . . . do you?"
"I'm not sure if I even like you, Draco."
"Good, because I hate you, too."
"I don't think you hate me. I . . . I don't want you to hate me."
"What's to like? Well, admittedly, the breasts--they're magnificent--but there's the whole good-will-triumph-over-evil-Gryffindor's-do-honor-better attitude to have to overcome, and then there's the Scar of Nobility to ignore, and the need to avoid being splashed with the love everyone pours all over you like you were this neglected innocent in need of an adoration bath, and oh! let's not forget the unblemished, creamy skin to overlook, the dazed expression in your eyes after I kiss you to disdain, and that noise you make when I put my hand on your--fuck!" Draco spat, rolling away from Harry and onto his back.
"Come back, you drama queen. I'm cold now."
Draco turned and grabbed Harry, and pulled him up on top of himself. She gasped as their bodies met.
"Potter, remember something: I'm not a nice boy. I don't love you. I'm obsessed with you. I want to be you so badly that if I could slice you open and use your skin to hide in I'd do it. And Lucius will do whatever it is he pleases to you if he can, and your best interests will not be foremost in his mind."
With that, Draco pulled Harry's head down to his own and kissed her hard enough to bruise. He bit her, too, sharply enough to draw blood.
"Don't ever be alone with him," Draco ordered, shoving her head back and glaring at her. "Promise me. Now."
Harry licked her lips tentatively. Her expression was glazed. "That hurt, Draco."
"But you liked it, didn't you?"
"No--no! I didn't," she said, angrily, throwing herself off the bed. "I do hate you, you miserable prat! I do hate you."
"Good. Work with that. Don't forget it. And stay away from my father."
Harry stood at the foot of the bed, clenching her fists. Suddenly, Draco laughed.
"Harry, come back to bed. I'm freezing."
She threw herself at Draco without hesitation. He arranged them both under the covers and cradled her until her breathing quieted, and his silent tears had ceased to fall.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. I won't be alone with him. I promise."
Draco snorted. "Good girl."
Harry shuddered, and buried her head more deeply against his chest. Soon, she was sleeping soundly.
"That's my girl," Draco whispered. He then climbed out of bed, wrapped Harry's arms around the pillow on which he had been laying, and favored her with one final look before taking his leave. "Aren't we just both miserable lying idiots."
Professor Snape was standing outside of Harry's door when Draco opened it and walked out. He looked up just in time to avoid colliding with the man. Snape said nothing, but gazed inscrutably at the boy, who remained frozen in place.
"I won't . . . I won't tell anyone about what I know. You can depend on that."
Draco would have walked away, but Snape stopped him. "Draco Malfoy, you are not your father, nor are you his . . . property."
The boy flinched.
"You will not hesitate to contact me if it is required."
"No, Sir. Of course not. Thank you," Draco replied automatically. . . . "Just take care of him. He doesn't know what the hell he's doing."
Not many of us do, boy, thought Snape, extracting a small chain from his robes and handing it to Draco.
"This is a charm that renders its wearer . . . unnoticeable. If you wear it, people will see you as you exist, but will not be inclined to . . . interfere with you."
Taking the charm with a shaky hand, Draco said, "Please, I . . . you need to see Harry. I may have . . . she's bleeding," and then he walked quickly away.
Severus watched him go, noting that, as the boy reached the end of the corridor, he carefully placed the chain around his neck.
Harry was wrapped around pillows on the bed, looking disquieted, and yes, she was bleeding about the mouth. Severus tried not to think about what had gone on between the two "children," and pointed his wand at the girl and whispered a healing spell. There you are, Sleeping Beastie, all better now.
The Potions master cum dorm-father looked around the room. It was furnished with a standard-sized bed upon which red curtains were hung, though mercifully without the Gryffindor emblem, a desk and chair, a trunk, and an armoire. All of the furniture was made of dark wood, and there was a soft-looking black carpet on the stones of the floor. Harry's bits and pieces were scattered about, and Severus found himself wondering if he shouldn't find and confiscate the girl's invisibility cloak for safe-keeping. No, make that for burning. He sighed, knowing that this would be seen as an act of war by Black, about whom he was worried enough without provoking.
Severus had decided that Harry should remain with him after Black's recent displays of . . . temperament, and then, only for the sake of Minerva. Because the brat's welfare is not really my concern, is it? But one did like to maintain good relations with one's colleagues if it could be helped, and surely this situation would only be temporary.
"You'll find a foothold soon enough, I'm certain," Snape whispered, as he cast one more protective gaze over Harry's sleeping form, and then shut the door.
A half a second later, he cracked it open the smallest bit.
A half a minute later, he returned from the small kitchen he kept, and sprinkled flour on the floor in front of Harry's door.
Try to sneak off now, I dare you.
A half an hour later, it occurred to Severus that one of the other members of the Trio might have the damned cloak, so he left his comfortable chair by the fire and put yet another locking spell on the door to his suite. And then it occurred to him that Harry probably had not eaten, that Albus might bring Sirius and Remus down to see her.
And what would it look like if I were found in child-proofed quarters?
He'd just gotten the flour swept up when he heard Harry stirring in her room. She whimpered slightly, presumably at finding Draco missing.
Oh, gods--what if she has nightmares?
Minerva owed him a bottle of Scotch.
No, a case--no! a bottle from the nineteen hundred fifty-nine Glenlivet Cellar Collection. That should only set her back about three thousand, four hundred, seventy-nine pounds.
As a galleon equaled roughly three pounds, Severus felt Minerva was getting off lightly at having to pay only one thousand, one hundred sixty galleons for a colleague's peace of mind.
There was a knock at his door. When Severus opened it, he discovered one dour black dog, Remus Lupin, and Albus. Lupin was holding what appeared to be a bottle of sixteen-year-old, single-malt Lagavulin.
Who would have ever accused a wolf of subtlety? thought Severus. Or taste. But, as it was past time for a drink, he accepted the bottle with the semblance of grace.
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