Voldemort fell on Susan Bones' twenty-first birthday. It was winter and snow fell on Susan Bones' twenty-first birthday as well. Snow also fell on Susan Bones' twenty-second birthday. Snow was falling when she arrived at Pennyweight. The door-wizard checked her invitation before taking her cloak and admitting her.
She made a B-line for the bar; not hesitating for anyone, though there were not many people present who would take much notice of her.
She had barely been there half an hour, throwing back drinks doggedly for most of it, when a scuffle broke out behind her. She looked over her shoulder carelessly to see Malfoy and Potter. Well, well, where had Malfoy managed to get an invite from? But he had an invite and there was no use arguing with that. Anyway perhaps it was a sign of growing maturity that they had not drawn wands and were mostly fighting with words. Bones went back to her drink and before long Malfoy had claimed the bar-stool beside her.
"Bones." It rather surprised her that he knew her name, even if they had gone to school together for six years. "Not drinking your life away, I hope?"
That made her smile; soft but closed. "Nope," she said. "Just my birthday."
"And why, pray tell?" inquired Malfoy. He'd gotten powerful, she'd heard. Almost as powerful as his father had been; and yet there was still something undeveloped about him – about the way he held himself, the way he spoke. Something.
"Dunno. Maybe I wish I'd never been born," she said. She would have moved away from him; not because it was him. She would have moved away had it been anyone. It wasn't a good idea to be around her on her birthday. It was because it was Draco Malfoy that she did not move away. He'd been her Potions partner only once, but she remembered it vividly. Funny, because she couldn't remember much else about him, but she'd learnt in that Potions lesson not to move away from him. He couldn't stand it. You had to let him move away; then you let him come back.
"You wish you'd never been born," he commented, casually throwing back one of Bones' precious drinks. She watched it slide down the pale column of his throat in dismay. "That count as a birthday wish, you think?"
Susan smiled despite herself, and forgot to gather the rest of her drinks close to protect them from Malfoys who obviously had no sense of boundaries. "Draco," she said.
"Bones please, call me Malfoy," he cut in smoothly in the manner of one who is offering friendship. Though if Bones remembered correctly most of Slytherin did operate on a surname basis, so perhaps this was an overture to friendship.
"Malfoy then," she said. "I'm sorry. I'm planning on getting off-my-face drunk and I will insult you terribly. Consider yourself warned, and get me another drink."
Draco motioned for the bar-wizard with that imperious little flourish that always had them falling over themselves to serve, and that Bones had never mastered. When the bar-wizard reached them in record time, Draco tilted his head towards Bones. She ordered one of each cocktail on the menu and turned back to Draco. "So Malfoy, why are you not running?"
He smiled, slow and sultry. "I have been terribly insulted before, Bones. Consider it curiosity."
"Mm. Let's see if a sweet, well-brought up witch like yourself can find a new and different way of insulting me." Bones didn't need to have sat with him in more than one class to remember his smirk.
She merely laughed before downing her bloody Mary in one long gulp. "There is something in that though," she said tiredly.
"Let me take you home," said Draco.
Bones held up a hand and downed her tequila sunrise in much the same way she'd downed her bloody Mary. "I don't have any alcohol at home," she objected.
"I meant my home," said Draco smoothly. "I have a cellar." His smirk had slipped away, and he seemed more certain than even his father had seemed. Too much so, thought Bones, and if she hadn't had so much to drink she would have been able to analyse it.
Instead she squinted at him under the smoky-dull lights. "Hm," she murmured. "You have astounding timing. Two drinks ago I so wouldn't have been drunk enough to agree to that proposal."