Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 146

After the door shut behind Hermione, Harry Potter found himself staring down at his tea. He... wasn't quite sure what exactly to do, though he wanted to do. Argh! that didnt' make any sense even in his head. Thoughts spun around, as if he was in the eye of a hurricane, slipping through his fingertips.

Malfoy said, "So, what was so blasted important that you made me sit through that?" Harry Potter started, his eyes jumping up to meet Malfoy's, who had the oddest expression on his face. It was impatience mixed with exasperation... and an odd sort of warmth that looked seriously strange on the ice-colored boy. Like a candle reflected through blocks of ice...

"Pansy - " Harry Potter started, and then stopped, his hands curling into fists at his side. It... Harry was almost beyond caring about what Malfoy took out of this conversation. Harry Potter wanted answers, and he wanted them now.

"If you want my advice, it's simple: Don't." Draco Malfoy said, that silvery, mocking half-smile gracing his face again. "Even if she wanted to date someone, it'd hardly be you."

At this point, Harry Potter choked on his tea, nearly spitting it at Draco Malfoy. Somehow, Harry thought that would not go over well, if he stained Malfoy's robes by being that startled.

Now it was Harry's turn to look at Draco Malfoy, looking exasperated. Because of course Malfoy hadn't actually believed that Harry was talking about dating Pansy Parkinson. He was just deflecting... And that meant, both that there was something there, and that Malfoy thought it wasn't, possibly couldn't, be Potter's business. Which, thought Harry Potter, was a crock of shite.

"Pansy - what's it-" Harry paused, put half inarticulate by too many thoughts, though the chiefest one was simply, 'i know what it's like, why the hell am I asking that?'

Instead, Harry grasped for something more... useful, grateful beyond words that Malfoy hadn't taken the opportunity to slide a dagger in deep. Harry got: "What can I do?"

"Pretend you didn't hear, if you can manage that." Draco Malfoy said firmly, setting his teacup down with a hard clack, which was the only outward sign that Draco Malfoy cared about this more than discussing the weather. Harry'd've had more confidence in it, if he wasn't dead certain that Malfoy was deliberately breaking role.

"And if I can't?" Harry Potter said, pausing a moment, and then diving in, "Or won't?" Harry knew his eyes were glinting like green fire.

"She doesn't need you." Draco Malfoy said firmly. "If you showed her any shred of pity? She'd end you."

"What. Can. I. Do?" Harry Potter asked, his tone firm and uncompromising.

"Damned if I know," Draco Malfoy said, shaking his head and taking a sip of tea. "Only, I don't think she was lying, when she was talking about her happiest memory."

Harry looked at Draco Malfoy, stared, really. Finally, long seconds later, he asked quietly, "How is that possible?"

Draco Malfoy looked a little uncomfortable, and then a bit more, "She's always had a very vivid imagination. Trace a memory enough times, even if it's only an illusion, and you can make yourself believe."

Harry Potter tried to understand this, really he did, but eventually he just folded it into that box of "Stuff to think about Later."

"All those fanciful gossipy tales she tells?" Draco Malfoy said finally, "Escapism. An outlet." He looked at Harry and said, "But don't encourage her." Then Malfoy slowly (and probably painfully) stood, and stiffly strode toward the door. Harry, still drinking his tea, let him go.

As Draco Malfoy's hand touched the door, he turned back, saying simply, "You owe me for this." Harry bent his head, in a mock nod that had his eyes more focused on his tea than Malfoy's reaction.

After the door shut a second time, Harry Potter sent the teacup (and the tea) straight into the wall, enjoying the ceramic shatter of the vitreous glass. He was in the mood for breaking something.

[a/n: Well, review? At some point, it's probable that Pansy is going to show up in the story...

I wish more people would bother putting in some backstory for all the Slytherins.

This is... slightly more forthcoming than you'd expect from Draco Malfoy (there are reasons. always reasons).

Certainly Potter should have been surprised, but... he's a mite bit too angry to think about things like that.]