Chapter Eight

"Potter! Will you hurry up? We're going to be late!"

Harry poked his head around the corner and saw Draco pacing his living room floor. "It's just a team banquet to kick off the season. What's your rush?"

Draco hated this. HATED it. Two weeks ago he had been the level headed one in the partnership, but after his... date?.. with Granger he'd been obsessing over every little thing. When she came to practice with Ron, was it only him she was there to see? When he lobbed a bludger at Ferris that knocked him off his broom, was she impressed? He knew she would be attending the banquet tonight. At first he tried to psych himself out, planning to arrive fashionably late and give her the brush off so she wouldn't know how real his feelings were for her. That lasted about as long as it took him to remember that she didn't even know HE was the one who gave her "the best day she'd had in a long time." Yes, he was quoting her in his mind, a sure sign of insanity. As a result, he had been ready since 4:00 pm and was now waiting in Potter's flat for the man to get ready.

"I just don't like to be late, that's all."

"I'm ready, I'm ready." Potter came out in his dress robes. "I'm just hoping the Ministry is going to foot the bill for these dress robes. It cost me a fortune to fit this guy."

They turned in sync and soon saw the dim lights of the outdoor dining lounge. There was an open bar, several tables and a band playing quietly in the corner. As their eyes adjusted, they saw that they WERE late and the party had already started. "Harrison! Daniel! Come on, come on," called out Rickman as he pointed to a couple seats at his table, "we're just about to tuck in."

As they walked closer, Draco saw that the fates had aligned. Rickman and his wife were joined at their table by none other than the Weasleys. He quickened his step and cut in front of Harry to snag the seat next to Hermione. Harry gave him a quizzical look, but Draco just pointed with his eyes to say it was better for Harry to sit next to Rickman... for the good of the case of course.

If someone had asked Draco what they had for dinner, he couldn't have told them. He was so caught up in the woman beside him; the way she held her knife, the way she sipped her tea. At one point she dropped her napkin and he was after it faster than a humanly possible. She seemed a little startled by this, but raised her eyebrow and thanked him.

As the night wore on, he realized this was not going well. He stood nursing a whiskey by the bar as he watched her mingle with the other wives. She was so gracious, so friendly-

"Gin and tonic please."

His twin's voice next to him jerked him out of his trance. "I have got to snap out of it!" he muttered to himself. Turning his back on Hermione, he leaned next to Harry. "How's it going bro?"

"Don't call me bro."

Draco sighed. "I mean, anything from Rickman yet? Dark Arts? Spirits of the Dead? A grammatically incorrect sentence?"

"Nothing yet. I don't know Malfoy, I think we may be looking at the wrong guy."

Draco found the man in question across the room petitioning the waiting staff to move some tables so they could dance. "It's gotta be him. There's something not right there, I can feel it."

Harry snorted in disgust. "Well forgive me if I'm not as confident in your gut. When you've got something more solid, let me know." He slammed his glass down on the bar and walked away.

Draco gave a sardonic chuckle. Leave it to Potter to make his bad night worse.

"Hey you ok?" Ferris had wandered over.

"Yeah."

"So what's the deal man? How come you and your brother are always fighting?"

Draco finished off his whiskey and waved to the bartender to bring him another. "He's a wimp."

"Oh yeah?" Ferris asked. "Well he says the same thing about you."

"Yeah, I know."