|Coffee Break and Music Hour
Author: Aduro PM
An extra scene for the CodeBreaker somewhere bt chapters 45, dedicated to Gentle Kit, my 1000 reviewer. A little dialogue between Draco and Bill after Draco rescues Harry from the Dursleys, no real plot, but a little bit of fluff.Rated: Fiction T - English - Draco M. & Bill W. - Words: 3,757 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 40 - Follows: 2 - Published: 05-30-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3566717
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Uh, nope.
Just a scene I was toying with sticking into the CodeBreaker around chapters 4-5, but didn't fit. So, in honor of Gentle Kit being the one thousandth reviewer, I brushed it up, added a bit, and posted, so here's to you GK. A little scene between Bill and Draco, no real plot, but hey, who says it has to have one?
Bill took the two drinks from the girl at the counter with a smile of thanks and then walked over to the corner table where Draco was sitting, walking a pencil through his pale fingers. Normally, Bill would say that the pencil was twirled, but this action was more deliberate and less…frivolous. Besides, he doubted Malfoy's did anything like twirl pencils. He smiled at that thought.
"What?" asked Draco, looking up and catching Bill's smile.
"Nothing," said Bill, still smiling, but this time just because it annoyed the blond in front of him. He handed Draco his cup, an iced hazelnut coffee, and then took a sip of his own, some too-sweet version of a mocha blended with caramel and ice with whip cream on top. He loved it. He sat down across from Draco, who pushed the piece of paper back over to Bill.
"Did you get it?" asked Bill, picking up the page, only to see that all of the squares had been filled in. He shot Draco a look. "I just needed a four letter English word ending in 'eny'," he said.
Draco shrugged. "I was bored. You took a long time."
"I was up there for three minutes and you filled out the entire crossword." Bill didn't know if he was a little peeved or largely impressed. He decided on both.
"Next time don't give your game to a genius," said Draco. He toyed a bit with the edge of the bandage around his arm.
"Your arm okay?" Bill asked.
"It's fine," said Draco. "It's just a cut."
"You had a piece of glass stuck in your arm."
"But it's out now."
Bill just shook his head at the blond and took another sip of his drink. "What was it?" he asked.
"What was what?"
"The four letter word ending in 'eny'."
"Deny," said Draco.
"Oh," said Bill, wondering why he hadn't figured that out. He was pretty sure he had run through all the letters of the alphabet with 'eny'.
"It's because deny is pronounced differently than what you think 'eny' should sound like," said Draco, answering his unspoken question.
"Oh," said Bill again. "That makes sense."
Draco smirked, but then his expression changed, morphing into something unreadable.
"What?" asked Bill. Draco surprised him by actually talking and not avoiding the question.
"Does it bother you?"
"Does what bother me?" asked Bill.
"That I can fill out an entire crossword in less than three minutes and you've only filled in four blanks?"
Draco gave a half-shrug. "I didn't just decide to get straight E's to hide my genius from Lucius. I thought that getting average grades would…make social interactions less strained."
"You thought that by hiding your genius and by acting like an average student you could make friends easier?" asked Bill.
"No," said Draco. "I just thought I would have an easier time dealing with them. Of course, I did take into account that I'm not exactly…open to friendships, but being a genius adds another level of separation between my classmates. It's not just with students in my grade though. Sometimes it's easier relating with people who are older, because age adds experience, but when the age difference isn't that great, it can cause resentment."
Bill understood what Draco was getting at, but at the same time he was a little confused. "You think I'm resentful?"
"No," said Draco quickly. "I just…," he trailed off, his eyes flickering over the restaurant, avoiding Bill's gaze. "Just…maybe not yet."
"So you think I'll get resentful?"
Draco glanced at him. "No, not that either. Well, I don't know. Are you?"
"No," said Bill.
Draco fiddled with his bandage again, staring down at the table. Bill gave a small smile as he watched the kid.
"Draco, I'm not resentful and I'm not going to be. I know that being a genius has its advantages, but it also includes a lot of disadvantages, particularly in your situation. Until I want that as well, I can't ever be jealous or resentful that you can fill out an entire crossword. I may be a little annoyed because I actually like struggling over these things, but never resentful, never."
Draco nodded again.
"So," said Bill, deciding he would change the subject for him, "other than nearly getting killed by Death Eaters on your way here, how was the trip with Harry?"
Bill saw Draco's eyes glance around the coffee shop before deciding that none of the other costumers were in hearing distance and he shrugged.
"His family is horrid."
"So I've heard."
"I think they're worse than mine."
Bill raised his eyebrows at that. "Really?"
Draco nodded. "Lucius cares, he just doesn't show it and Narcissa has an excuse, she's an addict."
"That's not an excuse," said Bill, interjecting before Draco could continue.
Draco rolled his eyes in a 'yeah, whatever' manner, but Bill reached out, grabbing Draco's hand that was drumming lightly on the table to get the boy's attention.
"Draco," he said. "It isn't an excuse. Every child needs a mother."
"I'm not a child anymore."
"No, you're not, but everyone is always a child to their parents, and everyone should have that."
Bill could see that Draco wasn't convinced, but he knew Draco would think about it so he sat back, letting Draco's fingers start up their rhythm again.
"What about Harry's family?"
"They lock him in a room," said Draco.
"I thought Narcissa did that to you."
"I had a suite. Besides, I could get out."
Bill wanted to say, 'And look what she did when she found out you could', but he held his tongue.
"They locked up his wand too, and all of his school things in a closet under the stairs. That's the one that he used to be locked in, isn't it?"
"They talk to him like he's worthless," said Draco. "I understand why Potter was so loathed to take my hand back in first year now. I probably sounded a lot like them."
"What's this? You asked Harry to be your friend in first year?" asked Bill, sitting forward at the news. Draco wasn't going to be able to live this one down.
Draco shrugged. "He was Harry Potter; I was intrigued. This skinny kid was supposed to save the wizarding world and he looked as if he wasn't even half as smart as me. I figured he would need some help."
"You," said Bill, completely incredulous, "were going to help Harry Potter?"
"Well it's not like the Dark Lord was around. We all thought he was dead so it wouldn't really matter if I did befriend him, although things would have gotten complicated later on. He probably would have been dead by now if he had accepted my offer of friendship."
"I don't think so," said Bill.
"I do," said Draco. "Still, I am somewhat annoyed that he said no because look at how exciting his school years have been. He got to fight the Dark Lord in Quirrell, kill a basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, use a time-turner to save an escaped convict of a godfather, participate in the Tri-Wizard Tournament and start a DA club against Umbridge, not to mention fly to the Ministry of Magic on thestrals and start a war. I've been stuck in class these past years relearning things I taught myself when I was eight."
Bill laughed. "You could have joined the DA. You just chose to turn them in."
"True," Draco acknowledged. "But passing up the opportunity to turn in the Golden Trio? Never."
"You're going to have to learn to get along with them sometime, though. Especially if Hermione gets Head Girl."
Draco looked pained at the thought. "She's going to drive me insane. I can't stand perfectionism, except in my own work."
"You could try being a little less…," Bill trailed off.
"Are you looking for the right word or trying not to offend me?" asked Draco.
"A little bit of both," Bill admitted.
"I am a right bastard at times. You won't offend me."
"Alright then. You should try being a little less of a bastard, and I think you'll find you'll get along great."
The look on Draco's face was somewhere between insulted and disbelieving. Bill laughed and then drained the rest of his drink.
"You done?" he asked.
"Yeah," said Draco.
"Do you have anywhere to be?"
"Good," said Bill. "Follow me."
He led the way out of the shop and then started walking along the street, passing clothing and other stores. Draco walked beside him, and he could feel the kid's curious gaze but he didn't say anything. He did laugh when a group of teenaged girls stared at Draco as they walked by and then burst into a fit a giggles.
"Do you get that a lot?" he asked Draco.
"More so from the Muggle girls. They obviously don't realize what having this hair color means," said Draco, looking somewhat fed up at the attention.
"Enjoy it while you're young," he told Draco.
"You're ten years older than me, Bill. That's hardly old."
"Eleven years older."
"Ten and five months if you want to get technical."
Bill laughed and then stopped in front of a door. "In here."
It was a large music store, boasting several guitars and keyboards in the front windows. Bill stepped inside, and then pointed to a large poster.
"Magician's Symphony," he said. "It's going to be played here in London. Rumors are that the queen might attend, but you already knew that, didn't you?"
Draco shrugged. "I know that the London orchestra had picked up the music, but that was it."
"Pretty cool, huh?" asked Bill. "Your piece and the queen?"
Draco shrugged again. "I suppose," he said, but he was smirking slightly which let Bill know that his diffidence was just a show.
He wandered off to look at some of the music books and Bill followed. He played a little bit of piano, because his mother had insisted that he take lessons when he was younger, but he hadn't been very good. Of course, that could have been because he didn't practice that often.
"When did you start playing?" he asked.
"When I was five," said Draco. "The second time I saw my mother, actually. She came in with a piano tutor and told him to teach. See, some of the other women had their children playing instruments and they would show them off every now and then. Narcissa realized that having a kid is a good way to 'approach' a married man who has children of his own. So I was taught the piano and then got to be shown around during tea time."
Bill felt a stab of disgust towards Narcissa Malfoy and outrage at Draco's behalf. It seems through his whole childhood Draco had meant nothing to his mother, and his father acted the same way, even if there were instances where he proved otherwise. As far as Bill was concerned, they were too few and far between.
"I learned of bit of piano, but I never really liked it."
Draco pulled out a book and flipped through it, skimming the pages that were nearly all black with sixteenth notes in complicated runs.
"Piano was nice because I didn't have to hold back," he said. "If a person can play piano really well you don't necessarily think that he's a genius, like you do if someone is insanely good at mathematics. With music, it's just thought that the person is musically inclined and practices a lot, so I didn't have to hide."
Bill caught the slight wording in Draco's statement. He didn't have to hold back, but that didn't mean he had.
"Could I…hear you play?" he asked, hesitantly, not knowing if Draco would be offended at the request. It seemed insensitive to ask a boy to play who had been taught for the soul purpose of performing so that his mother could meet new men to commit adultery with.
Draco shrugged. "Sure."
Bill blinked at that, but Draco was already moving towards the corner of the large store that held the pianos. He passed and employee on the way over.
"Mind if I try one out?" he asked.
The employee was a weary-looking man in his fifties. "No Fur Elise. No Entertainer. No chopsticks and as sure as hell no Heart and Soul."
Draco gave the man a smirk, chose a baby grand that looked newly polished and sat at the keys, pushing the bench out a little ways for his comfort. He looked up at Bill.
"You wanted to hear me play?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Bill walked forward, wondering why Draco was being so…open. He stood by the side of the piano as Draco stretched his fingers and then began to play. He immediately understood.
The song was beautiful, full of quick runs that had Draco's fingers tripping lightly up and down the keys, and the volume he played, a crescendo here, and then falling quiet, was perfectly planned, but that was the problem. It was planned.
There was no passion in the music, no excitement, no emotion. Bill knew why Draco had been unperturbed at his request to play because this is what he did, after all, he had said that Narcissa gave him the lessons just to show him off, he was used to performing like this. Bill could see a couple other costumers in the store who were looking up at the music, obviously impressed. The store employee looked like Bill did, unaffected. Draco didn't even lean when he played. He back stayed straight, his fingers perfectly arched. It was unmoving.
The piece was relatively short, either that or Draco cut it off so skillfully Bill wasn't aware that it shouldn't have ended right then, and then Draco was looking up at him, frowning slightly at his expression.
"Didn't like it?" he asked when Bill didn't comment.
Bill shrugged. "I wanted to hear you play," he said.
Draco obviously understood what he meant because he flushed, skin taking on the palest of pinks. He pulled his hands off the piano, staring down at the keys in silence., brows furrowed, as if he was debating in his head. Bill watched him, silently urging him to open up just a bit more.
Draco reached out again, slowly placing his fingers on the keys, but not pressing, not just yet. He let out a breath and then struck a chord.
Again, Bill had no clue what the piece was but he could hear the emotion of it, and he knew what the composer must have been feeling when he sat down to write it. The piece was filled with quick runs and chords that were just on the side of dissonant. The piece was frustrated, hopeless, and a little bit angry.
Bill didn't think Draco was usually this upset, and he wondered if this is how Draco felt when he sat down at a piano, remembering the reason he was taught in the first place. He watched Draco, noticing the way he was bent over the keys, his head tilted, as if he didn't have to watch his fingers, but rather listened to them. He swayed as he played, leaning forward on the down beat and when the piece grew louder. It was astounding, listening to him, and when the piece finally finished Bill just stared.
Draco took his hands off the keys and then glanced over at Bill.
"That was incredible," said Bill.
Draco shrugged; Bill figured this was one of those times when he shouldn't make a big deal about it right now. He might be able to tell Draco that he was absolutely amazing in a few weeks, but before then, Draco wasn't going to want to talk about his skills at piano playing or have Bill talk about them.
"I don't recognize that piece."
Both Bill and Draco turned to see the store employee gazing at Draco with an odd expression. Draco shrugged, again.
"I would recognize it if it had been published," said the employee, "which leads me to think that you composed it."
Bill looked over at Draco who shrugged for a third time.
"It's good," said the employee. "You know, you look familiar. Is your dad well known?"
"Depends what paper you read," said Draco.
The employee smiled. "I thought so. I've got something you might be interested in. Come on to the back."
Bill exchanged a look with Draco and then they followed the employee to a side door and stepped through.
"We're rather well known in both worlds," said the man, "if you get my drift. The names Harvey by the way."
"I'm Bill," said Bill, "and you've already figured out who that is."
"I wasn't sure at first," said Harvey. "It's not every day you see a Malfoy with a Weasley, so I thought I'd make sure before I asked. This is what I wanted to show you."
He walked through a set up of several magical instruments, charmed to play by themselves or ones that taught students how to play, and approached a large, cloth covered object. He pulled the white cloth off to reveal an upright piano, one that looked quite old, but still in remarkable condition. It was made from a dark cherry wood and the keys looked to be actually ivory.
"Are you serious?" asked Draco, seeming to snap out of the funk that playing had put him in. He walked closer to the instrument, reaching out to run his fingers lightly over the wood.
"I thought you would recognize it," said Harvey. "You seemed like a person who would be versed in the history of music."
"What is it?" asked Bill.
"It's one of the five pianos constructed by Aldwin Bach, who is rumored to be a relation to the Muggle composer. He made several brands of pianos that were quite popular in the wizarding world because they were self-tuning. He made five just by hand though, and without any charms or spells, but he used unicorn hair for the strings and the wood is from trees grown in magical forests," said Draco. "Three were lost, one is at the Magical Hall of Music and is used on very special occasions, and the other is in the home of Fredreich, in Germany."
"We found this one in the basement of a Muggle music auditorium," said Harvey. "There's been some water damage to the base, and most of the strings had to be replaced and the original bench is missing, but it's still one of Aldwin's."
"How much is it going for?" asked Draco.
"Interested in buying?"
Draco shook his head. "No room in my flat," he said, but Bill caught the lingering gaze on the piano.
"The price is debatable. More than a new piano of course, but not anything much higher. If it were in perfect condition, perhaps."
Draco pressed a key, and the note rang out. There was a deeper quality to the sound, and it was slightly bell like as well.
"It's a beautiful instrument," he said.
"I think so too," said Harvey. A buzzer sounded, calling his attention. "I've got a customer," he said. "Come back when you're interested in buying."
He left the room and Draco looked at the piano once more before walking to the door as well. Bill followed, speaking up when they were out on the street once again.
"You could get a bigger flat," he told the blond.
Draco shrugged. "I'm leaving for school soon. Doesn't seem fair to buy it and not play it."
"But you would, after school," said Bill. "Don't you ever feel like treating yourself to something?"
"I bought myself a Meteor last Christmas and I've only used it a handful of times."
"That was for Christmas. Don't you ever get anything because you want to splurge a bit?"
Draco paused, but then shrugged. "I guess I'm just not in the habit. One of the first things I learned about money is finance management. Holidays are created for the economy and that's when it's permissible to cut loose a bit."
"Holidays are not created for the economy. Christmas is about giving and hope and Valentines is for love and-,"
"And they are all celebrated materialistically."
"Well, yes, but that's how we represent our affection. And you will notice that sometimes the most meaningful of gifts are inexpensive or hand made and not bought in a store."
"My mum knits us jumpers every year. It's a tradition now, and it's her way of saying that she loves her family."
Draco gave him a still unconvinced look.
"Anyway," said Bill, "holidays aren't even the topic. See, what you are describing about finance management is for businesses. People have budgets and spending money and a little bit saved up extra if they see something that they really like."
"Alright, the next time I see a genuine Aldwin piano, I will buy it on the spot. Happy?"
Bill rolled his eyes at Draco's sarcastic tone. Draco smirked.
So, there you have it. This actually will come into play in the third part of the series, though it's not vital. You can probably guess what will happen.