There was a distinct air of the manic hanging over the Slytherin quarters, and Harry watched his house mates rush around trying to get some last-minute packing in with an amused smile, Blaise and Millicent playing a quiet game of poker some feet away on a patch of clean carpet, something that was truly a miracle in a House where they believed in eating what they liked, when they were hungry, and anywhere convenient. Draco came down the stairs of the girl's dormitory, having been suckered into carrying Pansy's trunk downstairs for her. He set it by the door where the House Elves would collect them and put them on the train for them, a new service the Headmaster had decided to announce last minute at dinner the night before. Most of the Green students had hurriedly re-packed and un-packed anything suspicious because they weren't stupid enough to think that the 'favor' was anything less than an excuse to search the trunks before loading them.
Pansy settled herself partially on Draco when he made Harry move over so they could both fit on the wide arm chair with him. He knew they were doing this to be annoying because there was a perfectly serviceable sofa a few inches away. The blonde's arm somehow ended up around Harry's shoulders and the brunette glared at him when he pulled on his hair a little by accident. "Sorry." Draco muttered, moving around and pulling on Harry's hair once more before he got comfortable, Harry now sitting the exact same way as Pansy only on his other side and looking a hell of a lot less happy about it.
"Now that you've quite finished invading my personal space-" Pansy giggled and he frowned at her imperiously, "Was there something you wanted?"
"Nope. Just going to miss you this summer, is all. Are you sure you can't come visit?" Draco's grey eyes pleaded with him to make his answer different than it had been for the past week, but it wasn't for Harry to decide.
He slowly shook his head and Draco sagged, his arm tightening around Harry's shoulders. "Dammit, I really want to introduce you to my sisters…"
"Sisters? As in, plural?" Harry's eyebrows were raised and a hint of a smirk was tugging at his lips as he watched his friend realize his slip-up.
"Have two sisters, one of whom was supposed to be dead but was mysteriously re-instated at your house sometime in the past 2 years?"
"Hey! How did you know that?" Draco asked, looking warily around to make sure that none of his unfriendly house mates were paying any attention to them. Pansy moved closer, pressing her nose to his ribs and inhaling what he knew would be this annoying flowery smell his mother insisted the House Elves impart onto his clothes. At least his girlfriend liked it.
"I have my sources."
"Oh yeah? What kind of sources?"
"The kind that know everything you've ever wanted to know and aren't finicky about imparting it to a willing listener." Actually, he had overheard Levi whispering about it to Asmodeus while they thought he was sleeping 3 days ago, their voices making them sound like Hedwig when she was excited about catching a fat spider for dinner or something.
"I think I should meet these sources of your's sometime." Draco's eyes were the harsh stone gray that his father's always became when someone tried to pull a fast one and he retaliated. "They seem to know a little more than they ought."
"Yeah, well, when you live as long as they have, and have ears in innocuous places, you're bound to hear some things not meant for other listeners."
"So you have a ring of old people who are in positions of power? Possibly ex-spies?" The Common Room had drained of most of its inhabitants while the students went out to say good bye to the Castle, Professors, friends in other houses, or just to get something to eat. Even Pansy had left, leaving Millicent as the only other student beside them in the Common Room, and she was fixated on her game of solitaire.
Harry's laughter echoed around them as he suddenly thought of his boyfriend as a hunched over old man wearing a battered military uniform and whispering political secrets in his ear. Draco looked taken aback, his grown-up façade melting completely when Harry beat his fist against the arm of the chair, head thrown back.
"Haha, oh my god!" Harry burst out suddenly, grabbing Draco by the shoulders. "I can not believe you thought that I…that I…bahahaha!" Seeing his friend in hysterics brought to mind the neurological discovery that not getting enough sleep could cause behavior disorders. Now that he thought about it, Harry was always still awake when he fell asleep and the first one awake in the morning.
He feeling a little miffed when Harry continued to laugh, tears tracking down his cheeks. Hell, even the boy's weird pet cat looked like it was laughing at him (when did that thing get down here? One minute it wasn't there, the next it was like some kind of Alice in Wonderland character). "What was I supposed to think? You said old!"
"I know, I know, but they don't look old and you made me think of them as old people…and now I don't even know why that was funny." Harry began to pick at the scabbed and scarred skin of his finger tips without seeming to realize it, eyes turned introspective. Glancing at the clock, Draco leaped off the chair as if burned, unintentionally dragging Harry with him because their robes had somehow gotten tangled. There was no sign of Millicent, and now Harry knew why. The train was going to leave in five minutes!
They raced through the Castle, using every short cut possible until they skidded out onto the emerald-green grass and down the muddy path (was it ever dry?) to the train, getting on board just as the wards began to count and catalogue the students to make sure they were all there.
"Whew, we made it!" Draco exclaimed, taking a deep drink of the metal flask Harry had dug out of his bag, his cat curled around his shoulders like a scarf and purring louder than the engine. Coughing on whatever he had gulped down, he asked what it was.
"Oh, that? I think, by now, it's a mixture of Vodka, lemonade, and some sugar that Luna decided to sprinkle in a couple of days ago."
"Oh." Draco had forgotten about his friend's alcohol problem.
"Do you want to find a compartment?"
"Yeah, and maybe you can tell me some stuff about those sources of your's"
"I don't think so." Harry wagged a finger in his face, taking a long draw of the flask and apparently finishing it off. "Aww…No more."
The Train station was packed with magical and Muggle families, the wizards trying to pass themselves off as normal and usually failing miserably. It would explain why a woman wearing a sack dress from the 20s was getting funny looks.
Sitting on the only dry bench, since it had apparently rained an hour earlier, he leaned his head back against the brick wall it was leaning against, running his bleeding fingers through Raito's fur. He considered reading the book on Hysteria he had purchased second-hand from a Muggle-born Ravenclaw, but his eyes hurt a little so he decided not to.
A drop of water fell on his nose and slid down into his mouth. Sighing, he wondered how long he would have to wait this time for his guardians to show. Another year had ended so fast, he was slightly scared to think that maybe the rest of his life would just be a blur when he tried to look back on it, and considering who he knew he might not even live too long.
End chapter 82 and Of Sugar and Sulphur.
The sequel to this will be up and running soon. Stay tuned!