Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 84

"Well, Mister Malfoy, what the hell are you on about this year?" Harry Potter spat, his wand in his hand - although, truth be told, he was thrumming with enough energy - and anger - that he could have cast without it.

"What do you want to know?" Draco Malfoy said, in his casual drawl, trying (and nearly succeeding) at mastering his expression.

"First, how the hell did you know that Snape was going to start an Inquisitional Squad? Again?" Harry's hand was trembling with irritation. He hated being behind on everything, and it felt like Snape and Malfoy were dancing circles around him.

Draco Malfoy stretched his arms over his head, going for a languid pose that somehow bespoke much more confidence than him ever going for his wand would have. "By the strength of extended association, of course." Draco's arms landed down again, as he finished stretching, and he languidly leaned against the door. Harry was slightly put out that Malfoy hadn't even tried to leave - I thought I was a bit more initimidating than that, surely?

Harry Potter slotted Draco's statement into what he'd been thinking about. "It just makes sense, doesn't it, Potter?" Malfoy said arrogant as piss, "He's not the type to abide a slight to his authority." Harry nodded slowly, realizing - about five hours too late - that Snape hadn't said a damn thing to Malfoy. Malfoy was just behaving on his own... and Snape had managed to predict the boy's behavior to a T.

"So why didn't you tell anyone?" Potter asked simply, his mind trying to think through exactly how Snape had known that Malfoy would possibly be that tempted by the secret club...

"Who was I supposed to tell, anyway?" Draco Malfoy said snottily, "What - slip a note to a Hufflepuff?" Draco pushed off the wall with his foot, walking over to a bloodied cat of nine tails (glittering with embedded glass), "Like that's not suspicious." Draco's steely eyes met Potter's, and he said, "Good on you for holding Weasel back. I thought I was going to have to deal with twenty stone of Weasel on my throat."

Potter shifted uncomfortably, feeling like he was being a bad friend by even being within spitting distance of Malfoy's praise. "Anytime," Potter said coldly, "Now why the hell wouldn't you sign the damn contract?"

"Because it'll make no difference." Malfoy said, idly starting to crack the whip against a rusty iron maiden. Harry was starting to regret giving Malfoy... toys.

"What's the real reason?" Harry Potter asked, eyes glimmering.

Draco Malfoy again turned towards Potter, and looked him up and down - perhaps reading the enlightened disbelief, or the fitfully suppressed rage. "Someone has to be able to break the contract." Draco said, dropping the whip and lacing his hands behind his head, "Might as well be me."

"What?" Potter asked, feeling like he had slipped a gear somewhere, and that they'd shifted into an entirely different conversation.

"Snape's not as stupid as Umbridge. He's not going to let this secret club go on, you realize? He's got a nose like a bloodhound for trouble." Draco Malfoy said, stepping forward with his last sentence, "You know that."

"So?" Harry Potter said, stepping a hard pace forward, "I've never been afraid of breaking a few rules."

"Neither am I," Draco Malfoy said, giving him a wintry smile, "When it serves my purposes. I'm afraid I won't be able to make all the meetings - you'll convey my regrets, won't you, Potter?" Malfoy finished off this blastedly arrogant statement with such an avuncular, unctuous smile that Harry immediately wanted to hex it off his face.

"Ask someone who cares, Malfoy," Harry said, clicking the light switch off in a move calculated to leave Malfoy scrambling in the dark for his wand. Harry took only a few seconds to gloat, before he opened the door, and left without another word.

Pacing down the corridors, down the stairs, Harry came to a surprising conclusion - if Malfoy and Snape were busy plotting, they weren't plotting together. Which just meant he had two twisty snares to dance around.

Still, this meant that Harry was actually a step ahead of Malfoy - after all, Harry knew that Snape was only pretending to chase them with the Squad... That was a strange feeling, like an effervescent elixir in his veins. It felt a little like power. Before Harry headed up to his Common Room, he scheduled a detention for the next day with Snape, glad beyond words that Hermione hadn't done the same.

[a/n: Almost done with setting up the year. Then I get to skip days again!

Of course Draco wasn't going to tell Potter. He was going to savor turning the tables on everyone, and making Ron (and Harry) sweat.

I love Draco's part in this. Perfection - "I've met the dark lord. Being in a torture chamber with Potter is actually a relief."

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