A/N-- K, strange thing going on in Liz's head right now… Give her a break! She needs it! Too many stories to write in so little time! It's overwhelming! Too much pressure! Well, at least this one's getting along all right. Sever writers block has built up on other stories, but the chapter has been written for quite a while. It just needed typing. So, she's typed now! On with the reading!
Disclaimer-- I don't own Harry Potter or the characters (tho I really wish Draco was mine *swoons*). They are all property of Warner Bros., Scholastic, and J.K. Rowling. How many times do I have to tell you people that?!?
Draco quickly made his way out of the palatial castle and onto the dreary Quidditch pitch. He was more than considerably late for his appointment with Harry. Pansy had insisted on dragging him into some dull conversation she was having with a few of her fellow Slytherin 6th year girls. It had dragged on for (what seemed like to Draco) ages. He had finally been driven to threaten Pansy with the Crutatius Curse to get her off his arm and he wasn't in the best of moods (to say the least).
Draco crossed the pitch at a dead run. He soon reached a small patch of trees (which he and Harry had nicknamed Little Utopia) that were to the east of the pitch and started to slow down; his face flushed and hot despite the cold weather.
After a minute or two of weaving through the tightly packed trees, he reached a small clearing in the middle of the trees. He looked around and found it empty.
You're here. I can feel you.Draco gave the clearing another look-over. He sensed Harry's presence and wasn't about to be denied the meeting he had fought away from Pansy to make. Not that it bothered him to have an excuse to get away from Pansy. Sighing, he cupped his hands around his mouth. "Ali Ali Oxen Free!" Draco called. There was no answer. Stop playing around, Harry "Harry, come out here!" Still, only silence answered him. "Harry James Potter! Get down here this instant!" Harry dropped down out of the tree he had been sitting in, frowning at his brother.
"Who are you? My mother?" Harry spat angrily.
Draco frowned. "Close enough. What were you thinking? Staying out here in the cold and at night like this! You're liable to catch a cold or pneumonia or a flu!" he chided.
"Yep. You'd be a great mother." Harry teased.
Draco's frown deepened. He grabbed Harry's upper arm and started to half drag him back through the trees and towards the castle.
"Draco! Let me go!" Harry fought against Draco's grip as Draco dragged him through the trees. "Let… me… GO!"
"O, stop being such a baby!" Draco snapped over his shoulder.
"Draco," Harry whined.
"Wha- O!" Draco saw the hurt expression on Harry's face and read it easily; a sharp pain shooting up his arm. Draco released Harry's arm. "Didn't think I was holding you that hard. Sorry."
Harry frowned. "You never think, Draco," he said a bit too coldly.
"Just what are you implying?" Draco snapped.
Harry's frown melted and a sad look washed over his face. "Your head's still too swelled for you to think about anybody but yourself."
Draco narrowed his eyes, grabbing the front of Harry's robes and dragging him across the Quidditch pitch. "So, I was thinking of myself when I was worrying myself sick that what Snape said might have struck a nice, overly tightened string? I was thinking of myself when I was scared you might get sick out in this weather? I was thinking of myself when I ran from the Slytherin Commons and across the Quidditch pitch to find you? It seems the only one here thinking of himself, Harry, is you." Draco's tone was laced with an icy coldness that surpassed the winter chill of the night air.
Harry lowered his head and allowed himself to be tugged along by the collar of his robes; not daring to speak in fear of getting Draco upset. He's right, Harry thought to himself, I am thinking of myself.
"You'd better believe I'm right, little mister 'I-don't-care-if-my-brother-worries-himself-to-death-about-me'," Draco said, startling Harry.
"Could you not do that for once?" Harry said. No privacy, geeze.
"You don't need privacy, you need constant surveillance," Draco said, laughing as he dodged a punch that Harry threw at him.
Harry whimpered. "Your nosy. You don't cheat on tests, do you?"
Draco looked hurt. "Why would you ever say a thing like?" Draco tried to look innocent, but it didn't pass. Harry was soon laughing so hard his ribs hurt. Draco elbowed him as they entered the castle and started to calm themselves down so not to get caught out of bed after 8 o' clock.
Harry looked down as Draco half dragged him through the corridors. His stomach rumbled and he felt himself blush as Draco spun around, tapping his foot on the stone floor in agitation. "Did you eat anything at lunch or supper today?" Harry shook his head. "I know what Snape did today upset you, Harry, but you can't starve yourself to death," Draco sighed, shaking his head and placing a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Umm…" Harry looked up, "what did Snape want to talk to you about?"
It was Draco's turn to hang his head. He gulped and shuffled his foot and went slightly paler than usual. "Uh, Harry, you may not believe this, b-but," Draco's voice shook as the word tumbled forth. "Ha-Harry, umm… s-Snape kn-knows… about…"
"No!" Harry gasped. "How could he? You didn't let it slip, did you?" Harry's voice had a hint of anger in it as he glared at Draco.
Draco shook his head. "Of course not, Harry!"
"He said that he overheard a conversation we were having in the Transfiguration room one night about a month ago…" Draco turned and started walking towards the Main Hall.
"O, this is bad," Harry said, shaking his head.
"What are we going to do?"
"I don't know!" Draco snapped, irritation lacing his voice. "What do you expect me to do?"
Harry shrugged and hung his head. "I don't know. I was just kind of hoping that you would be a bit more in control of the situation."
"There is no way to be in control of this situation." Harry slumped on one of the stairs on the Grand Staircase and hung his head. "Look, I'm not mad at you, Harry."
"I know," Harry said glumly.
Draco sat down next to Harry and placed his hand on Harry's shoulder. "We knew we couldn't keep something like this a secret forever, Harry. At least, I did. Harry, I'm only afraid that someone like Father will find out. You do understand, don't you, Harry? If Father finds out, that's it. It's over. I'll be dead before you can say Quidditch and you'll have no hope of eradicating Voldermort, ever. Harry, I'm sorry I yelled at you, but…"
Harry smiled and looked up. "I know, your as close of a mother as I've got."
Draco laughed. "That wasn't exactly what I was going to say, but it's the truth. I'm not the only one who worries about you, Harry. What do you think Ron and Hermione go through when they see you like this?"
Harry laughed. "You'd make a great councilor, you know that?"
"I guess I'm just a bit surprised that Snape is the one person who can keep this together or tear it apart. I never thought my life would lay in his hands. It's a bit creepy." Draco shuddered.
Harry nodded in agreement. They stood up and said their good nights. Draco was just turning to go down to the dungeons and to the Slytherin Common Rooms when someone grabbed his arm, startling him.
Draco spun around to find Hermione standing before him. "Wha-" Draco started. Hermione shushed him and dragged him down the Grand Staircase, Harry following at their heels.
"Hermione! What are you doing?" Harry hissed as she steered Draco into a cramped storage room at the foot of the stairs. Harry closed the door behind him as he followed her into the room.
"I saw you two walking across the Quidditch pitch from the Gryffindor Commons and I needed to talk to you, Harry. So, I started making my way down here to meet you. But," Hermione's voice lowed so that she was speaking in barely a whisper, "Draco, I saw Lucius walking through the halls with Professor Snape." Draco's face went so pale that he looked like a ghost. "They were arguing about something. I only caught tid bits of the conversation. Peeves was bouncing around in the room behind me."
"Wh- what did they s-say?" Draco asked in a hoarse whisper.
Hermione shuffled her feet. "I told you, I only heard bits and pieces…"
"What did they say?" Harry prodded Hermione with his wand.
"OK, OK! Now, remember that there may be important parts of the conversation I missed, so you don't want to take it the wrong way. And stop doing that!" Hermione grabbed Harry's wand and jerked it from Harry's grasp. "What I did hear was Lucius yelling at Snape about not being responsible and not keeping a close eye on you. Then Snape said something and Lucius got angry and yelled 'Then go find him!' and Snape began to look a bit flustered himself. Then I heard Snape say that it wasn't his fault if you had anything to do with… something, and that he wasn't being paid to baby-sit teenagers all day long. Then Lucius got really mad and stormed off saying that he'd find you himself."
Draco gaped at Hermione. All the blood in his face had left and he looked even more like a ghost in the dark room. He looked as if he were about to faint. "D- Draco, are you feeling all right?"
Draco glanced up, nodded once, then, seeming to change his mind, shook his head. Then he fainted.
Draco woke up to find Harry and Hermione hovering over him, concerned looks flooding their faces. "Ugh, my head," Draco rubbed the back of his head and felt a little bump.
"Your head hit the desk," Hermione explained. "We thought you might have been knocked out for hours."
Draco looked up, one hand still on the bump in the back of his head. "How long was I out?" he asked.
"Not long," Harry said. "Only about ten minutes. I think it's time we all went to bed."
Draco and Hermione nodded in agreement. Harry helped Draco up and they cautiously exited the storage room. Draco waved good bye to Harry and Hermione as he started down the steps to the dungeon. It'll be all right, he told himself. Father's probably left by now. He couldn't possibly be suspicious of anything.
But, as Draco rounded a corner, he soon found out how wrong he was.