Draco Malfoy had a smug smirk on his face. It was his default expression, after all.
Everyone knew it. He'd been gifted with the young Gryffindor currently in his charge by Cho Chang, one of the Ravenclaws on his force.
It wasn't even the day of the Defense Group's meeting, but of course he wasn't supposed to know that.
And so, one skulking Gryffindor (year two) was currently being led by a rather stiff grip on his shoulder, down to the dungeons.
Down to Professor Snape.
Draco was playing this up for all his worth. After all, he hadn't been joined by any of his fellow Slytherins in Snape's new Squad.
It was one part rubbing it in, one part gloating, and one part free advertising.
Because the Slytherins in the Defense Club knew he was playing both sides.
They might as well remember He's enjoying the hell out of it.
On the way down to the dungeons, Draco had wondered if he'd ever been as incompetent as a Gryffindor when skulking around. He was forced to conclude, by a confluence of memories, that, first year, he really had been that pathetic.
If this hadn't been a part of Draco's own scheme, he might have actually sat the poor child down and given him a few pointers. It would really have been a win-win. Less work for prefects, and more success for the child.
When Draco Malfoy arrived at Professor Snape's door, he pounded on it, making the entire hallway echo with the booms. The Gryffindor, predictably, quailed, though he did a good job of pretending the next moment that he'd done nothing of the sort.
Snape's soft voice somehow cut through three inches of solid wood, "Enter."
Draco Malfoy entered with a proper bow, then gestured toward the Gryffindor. "Sir, Squad private Chang caught this one skulking around the third floor corridor after curfew."
"Did she now?" Snape said, standing up and pacing towards the young Gryffindor. This time the boy did not quail.
"Y-yes sir," the boy said, showing clearly that his bravery was a work in progress.
"And what were you doing there? Off to earn some ill-conceived glory?"
"I'm... I'm not sure, sir. I heard... there might be something interesting."
"Is the proper time to investigate anything after curfew?"
"No, no sir."
Snape seemed to be just getting into the thick of things, when he grasped his left forearm with a wince. "Mister Malfoy, I am certain you are capable of handling this inquisition and subsequent punishment."
"I am, sir." Draco Malfoy said firmly, though inside, he was wriggling. It was... unexpected, for Snape to be summoned so, and particularly without Draco accompanying him.
Snape left without another word, having nearly not listened to Draco's response during his way out the door.
Draco came to a sudden, remarkably Gryffindorian conclusion - he was going to see what this was about, at least. That, however, left the problem of the Gryffindor - who certainly couldn't be abandoned in Snape's office - who knew what mayhem idle cub-paws might make in there. "You are to go to the coatroom off the main entrance. If you stay quiet there, you will likely avoid accumulating more punishment. Are we clear?"
The young Gryffindor looked upwards, his brown eyes wide, "Yes."
Draco Malfoy looked the boy over, for signs of rebelliousness, before nodding. "You may go."
Draco Malfoy did not reset Snape's wards - he did not know them, nor the password. But he did leave a quick detection spell, so that he'd know if anyone dared enter Snape's office.
That done, he darted after Snape, already knowing the way out of the castle.
Snape couldn't have not heard Draco coming, despite his lack of outward response. If anything, he hurried quicker.
It was only as Draco reached Snape's side that Snape spoke, "Adding dereliction of duty to your list of indiscretions?"
Draco Malfoy said, "Yes sir. You left in such a hurry sir..."
Snape said, "I certainly hope you didn't leave a Gryffindor unsupervised in my office."
Draco responded, "No sir."
Snape turned, his face still unmasked - his death eater robes were of finer make than his teaching ones, but that was harder to tell at a glance. "Then why are you here?"
Draco paused in his thoughts, though his feet kept pace, "Why haven't I been summoned?"
Snape says, "I suspect because your father does not want you there."
Draco thought twice before asking, "My... father?" He had clearly seen Snape clutch at his Mark, after all... What was going on?
"Yes, your father has seen fit to summon me." Snape smirked, though the humor in his eyes seemed black indeed, "I suspect he was not best pleased with my conduct over the holiday."
Draco blinked, revising what he thought was going on, "My father asked the Dark Lord a favor... to summon you?"
"And more," Snape said, his manner radiating satisfaction. "I suspect this will hurt quite a bit."
Draco Malfoy knew his father wouldn't, couldn't face pain the way Snape could. The man truly had nerves of steel. "You're... you planned this!"
"I plan most things, and your father's actions are as I'd hoped."
"The Dark Lord will exact a price for my father's vengeance, won't he?"
"One can only hope..." Snape said, looking impossibly smug.
Draco could only keep pace, his mind whirling with all the new information. It was an exceedingly dangerous game Snape was playing, even if the Dark Lord was unlikely to let Lucius break one of his favorite toys.
"If all your impertinent questions have been answered," Snape said, "You may return to your route."
Draco Malfoy said nothing at all, simply stopped and closed his eyes. By the time he'd opened them again, Snape had disappeared, even though the corridor was long, and surely Snape hadn't entered a classroom.
Draco was used to his godfather doing the impossible. This didn't even rate.
[a/n: Up Next: Harry delivers christmas presents. Leave a review?]