A/N: Pairings begin here. This is taking a hell of a lot of setup, but I think it'll be worth the work. I warn you, at least three love triangles will be here, so… um, that's that. Moving on, this one stereotypes almost everybody and is possibly the weirdest one yet. I think it's funny. Okay, now read. Yay for Blaise!
Chapter 3: Of Mind-reading and Martyrdom
Draco was awoken the next morning by a cup of water in the face. "Get up," Crabbe said, and lumbered away.
He managed to change even though the place where he'd hit his head hurt like madness. It wasn't like he had to make a choice--black robes or black robes wasn't much of a fashion question.
"Mmmm. Breakfast. Eggs."Crabbe had been dull before, but now that Draco could hear every single thought, he was even duller.
Once in the Great Hall, Draco sincerely tried to block out all the things he heard. It was hard, especially with all of the girls. One Slytherin girl that he wasn't sure of kept wondering who was wearing what kind of shorts. It was rather unnerving.
Blaise shot him a look. "Arrogant git, thinks that I like him, but I don't, because he's a poncy drama queen." He glared back. She looked affronted and looked away with her nose in the air, ignoring him.
The psychic noise of people's thoughts was deafening. Maybe that was why Trelawney didn't come down to meals. Eventually breakfast ended and he went off to Dark Arts with Crabbe and Goyle filling his mind with their thoughts that chairs would consider dull.
The Terrific Gryffindor Trio came in, with Weasley and Granger barking at each other about something. Potter lumbered in after, huddled over a tissue as though clinging to his life.
"What an annoying git. Why do I even say a word? He never ruddy listens, I may as well be talking to myself."Granger glared away from Weasley. "Shut it, Ron, I don't want to hear it."
"What a bloody know-it-all. Why do I even try to stand her? She never shuts up. Why do I even listen to her?"Weasley glared away from Granger. "Fine, I don't care. Do what you like, Hermione."
"Could you two... *cough* keep it down?" Potter rasped. Here Draco saw his opportunity. He tried to focus in on Potter's thoughts, and they hit him sluggishly.
"Stupid cold... I wish I was dead... maybe I am, and this is hell."Potter glanced over at Draco, then glared. "Why the hell is Malfoy looking at me? Wait a second... he doesn't have the cold anymore, the bastard."
"Malfoy," he rasped. Draco tried to ignore him. "Malfoy," he rasped louder.
Draco glanced over. "What," he said offhand.
"You gave me that cold of yours, that's what." Potter hacked a cough. "You don't have it anymore. What did you do?"
"I'll never tell," he said at a stage whisper. Potter glared with his sinus-narrowed eyes. Draco shrugged. "A potion. If you can find out which one I took, maybe I'll give you some."
"Is that it?" Potter sounded incredulous.
Draco considered, and added, "For a price, mind you."
"I knew money had to be attached to it."
"Well, you have some, so the opportunity is just impossible to resist." Draco gestured out. "Had it been Weasley at whom my unknowing biological weapons had been fired, I would have found a much juicier way to do this. He's just barely got a pot to piss in, you know." Weasley was too busy ignoring Granger to ignore him. Draco shrugged. "Contrary to all evidence, I do have a heart."
Potter coughed. "I'll take this... challenge of yours. Anything else?"
Draco considered. "You have ten days, and Granger can't help you. The potion was quite difficult, so if you figure it out... well, I'll be generous and say a Galleon per drop."
"I could just make it myself."
"Not without stealing something from Snape's personal stores." The Evil Smirk(tm) settled onto his face. Ahh, health.
Potter deferred. "How many drops?"
Potter glared--that is, squinted with malice--and rasped, "That's twenty-five Galleons!"
Draco laughed. "You have an astonishing talent for multiplication, Potter. Twenty-five times one equals twenty-five. Amazing."
"You have loads more in the bank anyway. You're nearly as rich as I am. Twenty-five Galleons will barely dent your gold, and is little to pay to free yourself from that dreadful virus, isn't it?"
"How do you know what's in my Gringotts vault?"
"Let's say it's an.. educated guess."
Potter shrugged, or at least made a valiantly Gryffindor attempt at it. "Well then, I suppose the wager's on." He put out his hand, as though Draco would shake it.
Draco turned away, yawned. "Yes," he said. "I suppose it is."
"So he gets that stupid cold of his, gives it to you, and holds the cure hostage after he cures himself with it?" Ron drummed his fingers on the table in the corner of the library. "Bloody wanker."
"You're not helping," Harry said. He was paging through a huge tome of potions, all of which seemed pretty useless. His senses were dulled by the pain of the cold, but sharpened to a point which was only there to intensify the pain even more. Ron was currently poking that point. If Ron drummed his fingers one more time, Harry was going to drop the stupid potion book right onto Ron's hand.
"Why can't Hermione help you with this? I'm not feeling up to this sort of mental exercise," Ron said. He looked at Harry to see spectacled green eyes squinting malice at him.
"The 'bloody wanker,' as you so delicately put it, that is Malfoy, refused to let Hermione help." Harry slammed the book down, and Ron had the sense to move his hands. "No more tonight. I can't take much more of this." He collapsed onto the table. "I want to die."
"Harry," Ron lowered his voice. "It's all right."
"No, it's not! I swear to God, I'm going to kill him." He raised his head, only to start coughing. "Confounded bastard," he choked out.
Cho Chang appeared, gave Harry a pitying and puzzled look, and passed by quite quickly. Harry let out as much of a groan as he could and sank back down.
"I tried to warn you," Ron said offhand.
"Just when I look my worst," Harry said into the table.
Ron laughed. "The down-and-out look looks great on you. Now stop whinging on and let's get to the dormitory. I have a feeling Snape will martyr you if you fall asleep in Potions again."
"If by martyr you mean take 50 points, yes."
"I think McGonagall would martyr you for that." Ron sniggered.
Harry gave him a pitiful look. "Could you help me stand? I think my legs went numb."
"Can't you tell?"
"I don't know, I can't feel them."
Hermione slammed a huge Defense book atop a wavering stack of books on the table. Ginny gave her a slightly anxious look--or at least, aimed it somewhere above the top of the stack.
"I think that's too many books, Hermione."
"Nonsense." Hermione took a section of the stack and placed it lower. "I think it's just enough. You'll be done with werewolves in no time."
Ginny tried a different tack. "Hermione, there must be at least ten books here."
"Then we'd better start, shouldn't we?"
Draco was trundling through the library, hoping to stumble upon Potter, and likely enough, Weasley, for a taunt or two. Instead, he came upon the girl Weasley and Granger. He took a stop.
"Hello, my dear ladies." He swept a bow in front of them. Neither the Weasley nor Granger looked very impressed. He fixed Granger with a serious look. "I sincerely hope you aren't going to help Golden Boy on his potion quest, Granger."
Granger rolled her eyes. "I've got better things to do than to help Harry maintain his ego." "Malfoy, if Harry needed my help, he wouldn't be the second highest student in the class. He's beaten you at everything else, naturally he'll beat you at this, too."
Draco considered glaring, but thought better of it and ignored her comment. "Second in the class? Under you, I suppose. But that's a place he's used to being, I bet."
The Weasley coughed, but it seemed to Draco to be a disguised laugh. Granger shot her a look, obviously thinking the same. "Real likely, Harry going for a girl." The thought confused Draco so much he barely could register Granger's response. "I think he'd much prefer you to be under him than me, Malfoy," she said, and yanked up a stack of books as though they weighed nothing. "Come on, Ginny."
The Weasley gave him a look and let loose a snicker. "I'd bet anything that he spends more time in front of a mirror than in front of a schoolbook. It shows." After another shouted command by Granger, she grabbed the remaining books and hurried off.
Draco's thought process was skipping, repeating the same idea over and over again.
What did she mean, Potter'd prefer me under him rather than Granger? And why wouldn't he go for a girl?He shuddered. I hope she didn't mean... ugh.
Draco's head snapped back, towards the Weasley and Granger checking out half the library with Madam Pince. Wait... "it shows," she said? He shook his head. "You must be kidding me."