The Snitch

Chapter Six

By Libertine


Draco was angry. Wand-throwing, spellbook-flinging mad. In the year he'd been away the entire household had gone raving nuts. At the time he'd enjoyed – he had to admit that, he'd felt wonderful when his father hugged him – his conversation with Lucius; it was cathartic to discover Lucius felt the same way Draco did. Losing all inhibitions in face of his father's sobbing affection, Draco had babbled out all his woes, the minor and major trials he'd experienced as the son-of-Malfoy.

But stumbling out of the room, choking back the tears he refused to let fall (he could be strong, he –would- be strong for his father) he'd run into Narcissa on the way to his bedroom. And Narcissa had been far from friendly. When he offered a congested greeting, his mother made a face and writhed away from him, stung.

"Can't you leave me alone, Draco?" she whined – she sounded like a spoilt little girl. "I'm busy – I don't have time for this. Quit.. bothering me."

"All I said was hello," Draco protested, stunned.

"You're always hanging onto me," Narcissa whimpered. "Next you'll be begging to follow me around and buy new clothes. Well, Draco – I have better things to do. You can go and amuse yourself – as if I haven't bought you enough toys and books in order to keep you out of my hair."

And she'd run off – actually –run-, something his mother never did, in her outrageously expensive silver high heels – fleeing his presence as if she thought that at any second Draco would jump at her, pleading for attention. She took one look back from the end of the corridor, snorted, with her nose held high in the air, her angular chin pushed forwards haughtily – and vanished, leaving Draco wide-eyed and baffled in her wake.

In his bedroom, Draco discovered that the house elves had written "Freak show" above his bed, with an arrow pointing down toward the pillows. One of the little wretches was still there, holding a bright red crayon. Draco dashed forwards and caught the creature by its tiny shoulders.

"Just what do you think you're doing?" Draco demanded, but the house elf just smirked at him, and wriggled out of his grasp, then dashed out the open door, chittering something which sounded remarkably like an insult.

Yes, they were all completely nuts, Draco realised, massaging his temples, even nuttier than the wizards at Hogwarts. Which made all those things he'd told Lucius in his incoherent fit of sentimentality seem suddenly terribly foolish. He hadn't been talking to his father at all – he'd been talking to a lunatic, and when Lucius finally regained his own mind, if he ever did, Draco wouldn't be able to look at his father without feeling ashamed.

Draco felt as if he'd been tricked into letting out everything; he felt naked and exposed. Fuming at his own stupidity, he slung the snitch across the room – but it only spun back to him on its fluttering wings, and hovered a few inches above his head, dodging his hands as he tried to bat it away, like a pesky golden fly.

He slung himself onto his bed and burrowed beneath the covers, a pillow pulled over his head. What am I going to do? he swore, irate. My mother's ignoring me, my father's had a nervous breakdown, and I've been expelled from school forever.

The sound of something rattling broke him out of his feverish state. Tentatively, he looked up – and saw that his bedroom window was rattling, shaking desperately on its hinges for no apparent reason. Draco stood up, and walked over, pressing his hand to the glass to stop it from shaking right out of its frame.

"What the–" he began, then stopped.

"Draco," mouthed Harry, his round face suddenly appearing, disembodied, from beneath the invisibility cloak. "Draco, quick – you have to let me in."


It hadn't been difficult finding the Malfoy residence. It was the only castle in the district. As he flew over the wide gates, Harry was aware he'd tripped some sensor-spell, because the grounds below him were suddenly filled with a group of wizard guards and a plethora of elves. They'd seen nothing, of course – but took a few pot shots wildly into the air anyway, one of them narrowly missing Harry.

He flew in a wide circle above the castle, waiting until the guards decided it had been a flaw in the spell – maybe a cat had jumped the railing. When they vanished back into the manor, Harry swooped down to look through the manor windows, searching for any sign of Draco. He'd seen Lucius first – almost mistaking the older man for his son – the two had the same blonde hair and thin figures, and it was only when Lucius looked up from the tome he was desperately searching through that Harry discovered his mistake.

Lucius looked a little scared, and his face was red, as if he'd recently been crying, Harry noticed. Passions were probably high in the Malfoy household right now, what with the spell of the snitch getting out of hand, and Draco's expulsion.

He finally spotted Draco lying face-forwards in what must have been his bedroom, swamped amidst his thick blankets. He tugged hopefully at the window, but found it locked, and in frustration banged his fist against the glass. Draco rose at the noise, his features contorted, and Harry's breath caught in his chest. The thought of being near Draco filled him with shivering anticipation.

Harry gulped, and concentrated hard to maintain his grip on the broom as Draco ventured closer. The boy mouthed something, incredulously, pressing his palms to the glass. Harry gave the grounds a cursory glance to make sure he wouldn't be spotted before daring to pull the cloak from his head.

"Draco. Draco – quick. You've got to let me in," he hissed.

Draco looked stunned – and then angry. His nostrils pinched, and Harry was glad that he couldn't hear through the glass as Draco spluttered out what must have been a series of curses – enough to turn the air about him blue.

"Draco, please–"

But Draco was already jerking open a window, livid in his wrath.

"What do you think you're doing here, you little squit," he growled, the snitch buzzing by his head. "No – don't tell me, you thought you might stand a second chance at catching me in the nude. Well, I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you yet again, Potter. Now get the hell out of here before I call the guards."

"Wait. Draco." Harry was struggling. "You have to listen to me. I've something important you've got to hear."

"And for the second time, Potter, I don't want to hear about your sexual woes," Draco spat. "Can't you get the message through your tiny little skull? I'm not interested. I never will be interested."

"This is not about me and you," Harry yelled, losing control. "It's about you and everyone else. Don't you want to know why the entire world has gone crazy?"

Draco paused. A second later he jerked both windows wide and stood back.

"This had better be good, Potter," he warned, coldly. "Because if this is just a ruse to get into my bedroom –"

"It's not a ruse," Harry spat back, throwing one leg over the sill. He struggled awkwardly to drag himself in, then fell into a dishelved heap on the floor at Draco's feet. He stood, reaching out to pull his broom in too, then closed and locked the window. Turning, he saw Draco watching him, the youth's arms folded across his chest, his grey eyes narrow.

"Well, Potter? I'm waiting. Remarkably patiently, I might add."

"It's the snitch," Harry babbled – and began at the rush the story, aware even as he spoke how ludicrous it all sounded. A magic snitch as the source of amazing dark magic? And Draco somehow at the centre of it all? Harry finished – or rather, trailed off in silence, beneath Draco's impassive stare.

"Have you been munching LSD flavoured jelly beans?" Draco asked, finally.

"I'm telling you the truth," said Harry, lamely. "You have to believe it."

"I don't even have the words," said Draco, slowly, "to convey my complete and utter –"

"Well, there's only one way to find out," snapped Harry. "Give me the snitch."

"Go ahead and take it," said Draco. "I'm sure you can have fun playing with the thing until the wizards in white coats show up."

Harry refused to rise to the bait. He reached up instead, making a grab for the golden ball, which floated in the air between them. The ball tried to veer from his grasp, but Harry's seeker-reflexes soon captured it. Even as he held it there in his palm, he could discern the differences between it and a normal snitch – this one was far heavier, its wings larger as it tried to battle its way from his clutches. How could Dumbledore have missed that? he wondered – or was the snitch changing as its power grew stronger?

"There," he told Draco, looking up to the other boy. "How do you feel about me now – oh –"

For Draco was staring at Harry now with a twisted expression, as if battling some personalised demon. With a sudden shreik, the boy lunged at Harry, a flurry of silver hair and ferocious grey eyes, his hands extended like claws.

Harry backed away a step, but was too stunned to dodge as Draco came flying at him. The two fell together in a clumsy heap, Draco pushing his hieght advantage to take the upper hand. He straddled Harry's hips, his knees siezing around Harry's waist as he struggled to pull the snitch from Harry's hands. Instinctively Harry clutched the snitch tighter, and Draco let out a wail of despair, throwing a series of wild punches at Harry's torso before falling flat against Harry's chest.

Harry had expected a reaction, certainly – but nothing like this. Draco was acting as if he was completely out of his mind – which Harry supposed he was, at least momentarily, fighting against the sudden desires his mind was forced to reconcile.

Will he kiss me? Harry wondered, as Draco's silken hair brushed his cheek – Draco's head was buried into Harry's shoulder, his hands gripping Harry's upperarms. His weight against Harry's body wasn't exactly uncomfortable; it was actually, Harry grinned foolishly despite himself, pretty exciting. With his free hand, Harry reached up to touch Draco's shuddering shoulders, gently squeezing the boy's thin body to him.

"It's okay," he whispered. "I mean – I think it's okay. If you want, you know, to do –"

But Draco flung himself away now, pushing aside Harry's arm, and stumbled back towards his bed, a whirlwind of impossible feeling. There he cocooned himself in his blankets, like a child throwing a tantrum, only his legs sticking out from beneath the coverlet. Harry could only watch, shocked, over the curve of his chest, as Draco began to howl – a whimpering, pained sound.

Harry stood, and walked over – he lifted the edge of the blankets and stuck the snitch underneath, feeling Draco's hands clamp over it and tear it from his grasp.

"Draco–" Harry began.

"You bastard, Potter," Draco howled, his voice muffled in blankets. "You bastard."

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