Cockiness was always a choice, Draco Malfoy thought. His instincts were screaming at him to let someone else go. And so he would. He wouldn't be cocky - that could get you killed, if you had a Slytherin for a teacher. Draco wouldn't put it past Snape to let someone die - or as good as. Cancel that, Draco thought crossly, I wouldn't put it past him to deliberately maim some of these idiots. And then call himself a hero for taking them out of the war. Because it wouldn't be Snape without having at least two ulterior motives.
Draco was surprised, however, that Potter hadn't gone first. That he... seemed about as wary as a cat in a room of rocking chairs. In fact... he had some of that wary stillness that...
No, that was truly odd. But Draco needed to keep his mind on the problem - and that was why Ronald Weasley had suddenly developed the ability to keep his knowledge to himself.
"That broke you up good, didn't it?" Draco Malfoy said, swaggering over. Information was as good as gold, at school at least.
Ron smiled, that big goofy warm smile, and said, "Suppose so."
"Did you forget to duck?" Draco Malfoy smirked, his condescension plain on his face.
"Something like that," Ron said. "You'll see in a bit."
"Unless he's doing something different for each person," Nott chimed in.
"Sounds like him, doesn't it?" Zambini gave one of his warm grins. All that was missing was Pansy trying to charm the thoughts right out of Ron's head by making him into her latest boytoy. Draco suddenly found himself wishing time would turn backward... wishing for a lot of things he couldn't have.
"What was it, Ron?" Harry said baldly - the flash of Gryffindor gold slipping straight through the Slytherin silver-and-green. And just as blunt and straightforward.
"Haven't you realized he's not going to tell you?" Su Li asked, the quiet Ravenclaw suddenly splitting the group with the force of her presence. Ravenclaws were like that, liked to be small as a mouse, until you tended to forget they had wings.
"Had to try," Malfoy said simply, "Might've worked anyhow."
"Really?" Su Li asked, cocking her head and trilling a giggle. "You'd have to be twice as subtle as you think you are, to pick up the pieces." Draco Malfoy raised an eyebrow at Li, more curious than disdainful, asking her to continue because he knew that pause. Su Li turned to Ron, and asked, "Truth-sworn, aren't you?"
Ron blinked, and gulped, and then said, slowly, "Yes... but not for this. I could tell you - but you'll!" Ron's face fought to turn purple. "You have to see for yourself!" Ron gave that goofy grin that Draco suddenly (and unexpectedly) wanted to break into a thousand pieces.
"Thanks, Weasel," Draco spat, and strutted off, determined not to show his disappointment. Ron smirked at Draco's disappearing back, as Harry Potter's green eyes flicked rapidly between them.
[a/n: What's harry on about? What's Snape doing?
Tune in on Monday for more! Reviews, as always, get you more story.]