Members of the Ministry of Magic's Accident Unit were crawling over the disaster that was the remnants of the 6th year Slytherin dormitories. Hogwart's ancient stone walls lay crumbled inside the room, the four-poster bed that should have been there now flattened to splinters under the weight. The rest of the room was littered with stone and scorch marks- whatever had caused the devastation had obviously exploded after impact. Had anyone been sleeping in that bed the night before, they would be observing as a translucent ghost as the Accident Unit attempted to piece together the evidence to decipher what happened.
However, despite how pale he was, Draco Malfoy was not a ghost, nor was he dead. Bored slate eyes stared back at him as he brushed his hair back, his face showing no recognition of his sleeping quarters being demolished the night before last. Turning his attention down to the bathroom's small counter, he plucked a small pill packet up, examining it. Just like the last packet he got, there was no writing on it saying what they were and no brand names emblazoned anywhere. He shrugged at himself in the mirror before taking a pill out and popping it into his mouth. Checking his appearance briefly, he turned on his heel and left for the Great Hall.
The same headline was emblazoned everywhere- he tried to ignore it as he sat at the Slytherin table between Pansy Parkinson and Vincent Crabbe. Across from him, Gregory Goyle beamed at him excitedly and thrust the dreaded heading under his nose, crumbs of his toaster pastry scattered across the words 'DRACO CHEATS DEATH'.
"Look! You're on the front page of the Prophet!"
Draco pushed the offending paper away from him, sneering at his friend's stupidity over the table, "Don't you think I know that? I'm also on the front cover of every other newspaper if you haven't noticed."
Pansy sidled up next to the blonde, handing him a piece of buttered toast and moving to pour him a cup of tea, "You're so dense Greg, of course he'll know he's on the front page of the Prophet. If Potter makes headlines for having a cold, a Malfoy can make front page too. Why, only last week…"
Draco chose to ignore her as he took a bite of his toast, looking up to meet green eyes across the hall, the owner of which was lowering a goblet of pumpkin juice from his mouth. The two shared a look for a moment, narrowing their eyes into their usual glare, before looking away. Draco turned to look at Vincent, seeing that he was absorbed with the newspaper. To his horror, he found that there was a small add in the corner of the Prophet, 'Exclusive Interview' and 'Potter' standing out clearly.
"What's so interesting?" the blonde snapped, peeved that Harry Potter had stolen his limelight so effortlessly.
Vincent hesitated before looking up at his irritable friend, "The article says that," looking down at the text, he read from the paper, "'according to the extent of the damage, whatever caused it shouldn't have been destroyed completely by the explosion and there should have at least still been a carcass of some sort left'," looking back up at Draco, he continued, "It's like someone went in and removed the evidence or something."
The blonde raised an eyebrow, taking another bite out of his toast, becoming pensive. Vincent went back to his paper and Pansy tugged persistently at Draco's sleeve. He turned back to her, about to snap at her too before she pushed a cup of tea into his hand. He looked at it and decided it compensated for Pansy's annoying habits. Unfortunately, it only stood as a distraction to give Pansy a chance to interrogate him.
"Where were you if you weren't in your bed, Draco?"
He rolled his eyes, "It's none of your business, Pansy."
"It is too!" she insisted, "I thought you had died! What would I do?"
"You'd cope," he drawled, pushing away his tea and standing up, leaving for class as the bell rang.
Light snores could be heard around Professor Binns' History of Magic classroom, as his dreary voice and lack of attention paid to his students allowed the class to catch up on their sleep, daydreaming or homework. Draco wasn't about to be caught sleeping in public, however his friends seemed to think otherwise, and he found that behind him Crabbe and Goyle were passed out on their desks. To his left, Pansy was doodling sickly love-hearts with Draco's name in them on her notepaper, occasionally looking up to batter her eyelashes at him in an attempt to… flirt? Look cute? He didn't have a clue.
He looked away from the pug-faced girl. Unfortunately, to his right was one Harry Potter. He scowled at the back of his head, which the boy wonder must have picked up on because he turned his head around to stare at Draco that very moment.
"What do you want?" the Slytherin hissed.
"Enjoying the attention, Malfoy?"
"Same could be said to you, Potter."
The Gryffindor snorted, whispering back, "I didn't ask to be interviewed. You're the one who was bloody parading around yesterday."
"I did not parade."
"Could have fooled me."
"You need your glasses checked."
"You need your ego checked."
Draco was about to retort when Binns cleared his throat. The two boys looked to the front, expecting to be in trouble, but the ghost hadn't even noticed their quiet quarrel.
"And so he concluded, with a quote now famous amongst us historians, 'Destruction is a form of Creation'."
The rivals did not continue their dispute in order to contemplate this quote as it stuck deep in the back of their minds.
That night Draco dreamt of the school's corridors. He could see the halls as if they stretched on for miles- the roof was gone. Instead, the open sky was above his head, white clouds rushing by as if in a storm or videotape being fast-forwarded. There was no wind, although there was a ripple in the water- water was everywhere. The floors were submerged in what seemed to be a rushing river, the walls floating along as if they were boats and not heavy stone that would under normal circumstances inevitably sink down into the depths of the water only to be eroded to nothing over the centuries.
Draco Malfoy sat up from his bed in his temporary room. He had been told what to do.
For the second time that week, there was a commotion in the Great Hall as the students chatted wildly, shrieks filling the air as the gossip was relayed to easily excited pupils. Draco sat calmly at the Slytherin table with an air of indifference around him, buttering his own toast, as Pansy was far too busy gossiping about last night's events with Millicent Bulstrode, who had just gotten back from interrogating a Ravenclaw. He had heard a few frequent words being thrown through the air, 'flood' being the most common, but decided to ignore the majority of the gossip to get a solid, more trustworthy report from his friends first.
Pansy whipped back around to Draco, visibly excited to get to be the first to relay the account of events to the popular (…er, well, amongst his peers at least) Slytherin, "Right, well apparently somebody axed open a water mains pipe in the toilets on the fourth floor- you know, the one Montague eventually turned up in last year, after he went missing- and it's flooded the majority of the dungeons and the rest just ran out the entrance hall's front doors onto the grounds, which has pretty much turned it into a bog…"
"I was wondering why the halls were wet," Draco mused aloud, "I figured it was just Peeves…"
The dark-haired girl continued, "Well, that's what's everyone thought, since he pulled a similar stunt last year- until they found the axe. It was embedded in the forehead of the gargoyle that sits outside of Dumbledore's office! And as much as he hates to admit it, Peeves has some respect for Dumbledore… plus, according to Filch, he was busy painting curse words and rude stick men onto Professor Trelawney's crystal balls with permanent ink last night."
"So the gossip is that it was a student… but the strange thing is that none of the portraits or ghosts saw who did it. You can't just go invisible, you know?"
At that thought, the blonde suddenly remembered an event from third year. He had been harassing Ron Weasley, when suddenly he, Crabbe and Goyle were pelted with handfuls of mud- and shortly after, he had seen Harry Potter's head floating in mid air- as if his body were invisible. He had reported this to his father the following summer; only to be told about invisibility cloaks and how James Potter was infamous for harassing Slytherins (namely Severus Snape) with the use of his. It was inevitable that the cloak would end up in his son's hands eventually.
So, if Potter had an Invisibility Cloak (which were outrageously rare and expensive, according to his father after he requested one as a gift- so it was unlikely anyone else had one in the school) and no one had seen the perpetrator… Draco sat back smugly, ignoring Pansy once again as he searched across the Great Hall to fix his nemesis with his standard glare, this time accompanied with a knowing smirk. Harry raised an eyebrow at him in reply. Draco snorted, looking back down at his breakfast. Harry's innocent act wouldn't last long- the Slytherin was going to Professor Snape straight after he finished his meal.
Said Professor stopped the blonde as he stood up to leave the hall. Recognising the firm grip of pale, bony fingers, Draco turned to greet him politely.
"Ah, Professor, I wanted to speak with you…" the words died in his mouth as he saw the stern look on the man's face- Draco recognised it as his head of house trying his hardest to control his rage.
"Not right now, Malfoy," Draco flinched at the use of his surname, "I have to escort you to Dumbledore's office. Now."
Draco paled noticeably as Snape's strong hand steered the boy out of the Great Hall. If Draco had the nerve to look up, he would have seen that Professor McGonagall was confronting Harry Potter at that precise moment, wearing a similar expression to the Potion Master's.
The two rivals didn't have the guts to even glance at each other as they were seated into hard oak chairs, their heads of house standing directly behind them, arms crossed. Dumbledore, the Headmaster, sighed lethargically whilst removing his glasses from his weary eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. He did not offer either boy the contents of his sweet tray- peppermint creams shaped like toads and an assortment of brightly coloured Jelly Slugs that seemed to still be moving- however, under the circumstances the colours seemed dull and unappealing. Draco felt sick with anxiety, unaccustomed to being in a predicament like this (Slytherins were known for their cunning and he generally slipped out of situations before problems arose). Harry, however was merely feeling awkward. McGonagall in a rage was one thing, but since the start of term he had not been on the best of terms with Dumbledore.
The bearded man sighed heavily, rubbing at his eyes before replacing his half-moon spectacles on his nose as he spoke, his words predictable to Harry, "First off, is there anything you two would wish to tell me…?"
The boys remained silent. The headmaster wasn't especially expecting a reply and continued swiftly, "I'm sure you have heard of the events that took place last night. Not only have the dungeons been flooded, but also considerable damage had been dealt to the Potions classrooms and the Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Kitchen portraits. The school body is unaware of this as the corridor it is in has been blocked off, but a hall has been graffitted, similarly to your second year, with… what was it, Minerva?"
McGonagall cleared her throat, "It read, 'They made me do it'."
"Yes. And finally, the Gargoyle that has bravely protected the headmaster's office for centuries has been desecrated in an obvious sign of disrespect with an axe found in its head."
Dumbledore sighed, obviously impatient, "Once again, I ask you, is there anything you wish to tell me?"
Draco snuck a glance at Harry- the boy looked like he was about to say something for a split second, but then decided against it, remaining silent.
"We had the prefects do a headcount and all students were found in their beds last night, save two," the old man's voice was disappointed, " , , is there any reason for your absence from your beds last night?"
Both boys blanched.
"B-but sir," Draco started, "How would the other prefects know if I was in bed or not…?"
"In your case, Mr. Malfoy, your room's portrait had left its frame for unknown reasons, and upon returning reported that its frame was crooked, a sign that you had either entered or exited while your portrait was absent- which was during the time the crimes were committed."
"But no one saw who did it, Sir! And Potter has an Invisibility Cloak!"
Harry jumped, staring at Draco in disbelief. How did he know…? Could he have possibly remembered from third year?
"I am well aware of that, however it does not explain either if your absences from bed when the school was being flooded. So, until one of you explain where you were after hours or confess to the crime, you are both on detention until Christmas-"
The boys' reactions were identical as they leaped out of their seats, "WHAT!" Snape and McGonagall had to push them back down firmly into their chairs.
"- every other night, and depending on your progress and behaviour, I may extend that date further," he looked coolly at the boys, "Any questions?"
Harry looked up slowly, "Sir" he bit out, trying to clip his temper, "What about Quidditch? And will house points be taken off?"
"Your house points will be left alone for now," Snape and McGonagall's faces relaxed, if only a little, "However your teams will have to practice without you if detention times conflict with practice times."
Harry nodded, and Draco sat there, expression less worried now.
"Finally, for these detentions you will not be allowed the use of wands. To fully appreciate the damage that has been caused, all cleaning and repairing will be done by hand."
"Like muggles!" Draco exclaimed, obviously disgusted by the thought.
"You will be using wizarding products, so not so much as a muggle but as a squib."
Draco was still obviously disgruntled at the notion.
"Your first detention will be tonight at 7pm. Meet outside Filch's office then and he will lead you to the hallway where you will be scrubbing clean the graffiti. For now, you are dismissed. Please return to class."
The boys stood, turning to leave as Dumbledore called out, "Minerva, Severus, I'd like a word."
The two left down the stairs of Dumbledore's office in silence. As they exited into the empty corridors (everyone was in class at the moment), Harry spun around, slamming Draco into the hall's hard stone wall, his grip tight on the collar of his robes as he leant close to him.
He hissed to him so that only he could hear, despite there being no-one around, "I know you did it. I followed you. I watched you do it. Don't get smug with yourself, because it's only a matter of time before you're caught out."
The dark-haired teen gave him another hard shove against the wall to accentuate his threat, before turning and stalking off towards his first class. Draco hadn't the mind to think of anything to shout at Harry's retreating back, because he was scared.
Scared, because he couldn't remember where he was last night, or more importantly, what he did…
Later that afternoon during lunch, Draco headed back down to the dungeons where his temporary room was. The staff had already spent the morning draining majority of the dungeons, specifically the level students used regularly to get to potions or their dorms, however there were still levels below this which were completely submerged in water. As Draco pulled up his sleeves to wash his hands (Pansy had held them earlier, and for some reason he felt a bit dirty now), he stared at the ink on his left arm, perplexed once again. It read '26 days'. He had no idea how the writing had gotten there, or how it had changed. Two days ago, after he woke up not in his dorm to find out it had been crashed into, was when he first noticed the writing on his arm, and it had said '28 days' then.
He popped his pills out of the packet (this was the reason why he had come downstairs) and looked up into the mirror, throwing them into the back of his mouth and swallowing. Two days ago, when he had first noticed his arm… was also when he first started seeing him.
"Don't worry. You got away with it."
Draco whipped around, punching straight forward- his fist was blocked by an invisible barrier, inches away from his revolting, warped face. It didn't look like a face, more like a strange mask of a rabbit, with twisted features painted in murky, cold colours. Draco couldn't tell if it was his real face or a disguise. In his current state, Draco didn't care. He panted heavily, pulling back his fist to punch him again. And again. And again. Not once did his fist make contact with flesh, always stopping…
"Frank," Draco didn't know how he knew his name- he woke up and it was just there, in his head, "Potter knows!"
Frank cocked his head to the side in a jerky, sick motion, "I can do anything I want. So can you."
"Why'd you make me flood the school?" his fist stopped against the barrier. His eyes were glazed over.
"They're in great danger."
"Where'd you come from." It should have been a question, but it left the blonde's mouth as a statement.
"Do you believe in time travel?"
A loud ringing pierced into the depths of Draco's mind. Frank disappeared. Draco jumped back in fright, bumping into the bathroom counter. It was the school bell, the sound now faint, how it should be. He sighed, running a hand through his hair, before pushing himself away from the counter and heading to his next class.
It was five past seven and Draco was leaning against the wall outside of Filch's office, glancing at his pocket watch. He had been waiting there for ten minutes, and so far there was no sign of Filch or Potter. He scowled at the wall opposite- Potter had some nerve threatening him earlier. If the green-eyed boy really did have any solid proof of Draco axing the water pipe, then why didn't he just say so then and there in Dumbledore's office? It seemed rather fishy to him, seeing as Draco didn't flood the school- or at least, as far as he was concerned, if he didn't remember doing it then he flat out didn't do it.
He glanced up at the sound of footsteps- as soon as he recognised the person as Harry, he sneered in his direction, "So our school's favourite celebrity thinks that he can show up late to detention then?"
"Shut it, Malfoy," Harry came into the low lighting being cast from a single torch outside of Filch's office, "Filch isn't even here yet."
"I hope it's because he's away arranging for us to have separate detentions. I don't want to be stuck with you for the rest of the night."
The dark-haired teen rolled his eyes, "You've probably gone and jinxed us now by saying that. Thanks."
"You're the one who's probably jinxed it by saying that I've jinxed it, Potter."
"You're talking a load of rubbish."
"You're just too uneducated to understand."
There was a tinkling of a bell as Mrs. Norris padded down the hallway towards them, a limping Filch following behind her by a few metres. The boys stopped their pointless bickering to avoid any trouble with Filch as the man limped up to them, unlocking his classroom door as he sneered at the boys- much more intensely than Draco had, Harry noticed, but then decided he was just used to Draco, and Filch's ugly face just made his expression all the worse.
"The buckets are there," the caretaker pointed at two heavy pails filled nearly to the top with a water-like substance, "There's sponges at the bottom. You'll have to fish them out yourself," he stared at the two boys, who stood there looking at the containers.
"Well?" he snapped, "Pick them up! Let's get a move on!"
The boys groaned and picked up a pail each, Draco especially reluctant as they followed Filch out of his office and towards the hallway where the supposed graffiti was. When they got there, they found a gigantic, rather ominous looking white sheet draped across the floor.
"It's under there," Filch huffed, "You're here until it's gone," he stuck out a grubby hand expectantly at the boys, "Wands."
Draco groaned- he had obviously been planning on their walk to the hall, his shoulder aching from the weight of the bucket, that he'd just use some magic to clear up the mess. He had either forgotten that his wand was to be taken from him, or was hoping that Filch would simply forget. Both boys were equally reluctant to hand their wands over to the caretaker, however they had no choice.
As Filch limped away, Harry crouched down next to the white sheet, peeling it off the ground as it was stuck down by something like spellotape. After getting one side off, he gave the sheet a strong tug and the rest of it flew to his side, floating gracefully to the ground as he stared at the writing scrawled across the ground.
It was in black ink, however it seemed to stand out against the dark stone floor as if it was in white. Harry shivered- it was, as Dumbledore had said, uncannily like the message scrawled in blood from his second year by Ginny Weasley. He tore his gaze away to kick the sheet to the side, before dropping his school robes next to it and pulling off his grey jumper. Draco gave him a dubious look as the Gryffindor started to roll his sleeves up, but said nothing as he plunged his bare arm into the bucket of murky water, pulling out a squirming sponge that he had to shoot out his second hand to catch as it was trying to get away from him with the ferocity of a caught mouse.
Harry quickly lost his patience with the sponge and slammed it into the ground, earning a faint whine from it as it oozed out water and ceased it's squirming. Harry raised an eyebrow- well that was one way of putting some elbow grease into it. He tested his theory and loosened the pressure on the sponge fractionally- immediately it began to squirm again. Throwing his other hand on top, he pushed down once again, starting to scrub at the top of the 'T' from 'They'.
Draco stood back, watching Harry with mild distaste, "I heard you live in a broom cupboard with your muggles. Used to this kind of work, being treated like a house-elf?"
Harry gave him a dirty look, "Actually, I have my own room," before turning back to the graffiti and continuing, "If you start from the 'e' in 'made', then that's the work split in half."
Draco seemed to ignore him; "I have my own room, although it's nearly the size of three if you include the en-suite bathroom. Father tells me not to brag, but I enjoy making you feel pathetically poor and unfortunate."
"Good for you," Harry had barely been listening to him, and he sat back, looking at his work- it now said Ihey made me do it, but his arm was sore as hell from pressing so hard, "Are you going to do any work or not?"
"How about not, Potter? What do you take me for, a house-elf like you?"
"Seeing as you're the one who got us this detention, you should do at least some work!"
"And who was out of bed after hours, Potter? I think you can only blame yourself."
"Will you shut up and do some bloody work!"
"Do it yourself!"
SPLAT. Draco blinked as the wet sponge slicked down his face, it now starting to squirm wildly before hopping off and flopping around on the floor like a fish out of water. It took Draco a moment to come to terms with the fact that- yes- Harry Potter had thrown the manky sponge at his- Draco Malfoy's- face.
"Oh, that's it."
To put it plainly, Draco launched himself at Harry, the two falling back against the stone floor and throwing blind punches, knuckles often meeting stone as they grappled and rolled around, struggling for dominance in the fight. However, the Slytherin didn't stand a chance. After years of fighting with Dudley and his goons, Harry had picked up some tricks and had much more hand-to-hand experience. Draco, who normally had Crabbe and Goyle do his dirty work for him, had next to none, and found himself by the wrists to the cold stone floor in a matter of minutes. He glared up at the Gryffindor, however made no comment (as anything he said could be far too easily countered in his position) and he received an equally filthy look back.
Harry tugged hard on Draco's wrists, moving them up above his head so he could keep them pinned down with one hand. He wasn't much stronger than the blonde, and this would have been a bit harder had Draco not let him move, as the Slytherin was far too curious what the boy was about to do- if he punched him, Harry would get in trouble and Draco would have the limelight once again.
Draco winced as Harry pulled his arm back. On second thought, he'd like to keep his face how it is, thanks. He whined and squirmed under the other boy, eyes shut tight waiting for the blow-
And instead he had the familiar feeling of a squirming sponge being smothered into his face. Harry had simply moved his arm to grab the bouncing sponge with the expertise of a seeker, and hadn't planned on punching him after all.
"Now help out, you selfish git," the dark haired boy huffed, getting off his rival and heading off to retrieve the second sponge.
And Draco didn't complain, not even when Harry left him with eight letters to clean instead of seven.