Chapter 18 - Consilio
There was not enough alcohol, nicotine or potions on the planet to make the prefect’s meeting on Sunday morning less painful. They’d all finally managed to agree on a theme for the upcoming Halloween dance -masquerade, because that’s not cliché at all- and had moved on to bickering about everything else. The prefects couldn’t manage to unanimously agree on anything; not the entertainment, colour scheme, decorations. Nothing.
It brought Hermione a small amount of comfort that her exasperation and desire to be anywhere other than this meeting was reflected on Draco’s face. He looked like he wanted to be there even less than she did. His face had been permanently set in a scowl from the moment the first prefect had arrived.
“I will not allow you to decorate the entire hall like a fucking Gryffindor hall of fame!” The shrill screech belonged to a very irate Pansy Parkinson, who was yelling at some poor sixth year Gryffindor prefect.
“What about purple?” That voice belonged to Hannah Abbot. Evidently, the majority of the arguing was coming from the female half of the room’s population, while the male half wore a variety of expressions from bored to entertained to uncomfortable. Pansy started yelling again.
Hermione took a deep breath that escaped her mouth as a loud sigh, which earned her an amused look from the Head Boy. He was clearly content to let the argument continue, so long as he didn’t have to participate. Bastard, make me deal with this on my own. She glared at him momentarily, he shrugged, unbothered. It was clear somebody had to interrupt this argument, Pansy looked ready to throw a hex at the next person who disagreed with her.
“How about,” she interrupted, raising both hands to draw everyone’s attention. “We just stick with a fall theme, so we can have all kinds of oranges and browns and burgundies? Then you can all go crazy with carved pumpkins and what-not.”
Slowly, everyone around the room started to nod in agreement. Even Pansy looked mostly placated with her suggestion. Quickly, before the animosity could return to the atmosphere, Hermione herded the prefects through the rest of the decisions that needed to be made; mitigating the discussions and at one point disarming Pansy when she pulled her wand on Anthony Goldstein after he told her she should ‘be happy with anything because there’s not many dances in Azkaban’ -though she considered hexing him herself for acting like a prat even if it was Pansy-.
It was safe to say that by the time lunch rolled around and the group finally started to leave the Head’s dorm, Hermione was ready to thank Godric, Merlin, Circe, Morgana and even Salazar that they didn’t have to hold another meeting until after the dance. Most of the prefects had already left when she looked up from the paper she had been jotting notes down on, though most of the paper was just covered in small ink drops she’d made when bored. The only people left in the dorm when she put her quill into her ink well were herself, Draco, Theo, and Ginny.
Draco was sitting on the leather two-person sofa they usually shared with his ankle propped up on his opposite knee, head back to stare at the ceiling. Theo was sprawled out on the ground, propped up on his elbows and giving her one of those Slytherin smirks that unsettled her wholly. Ginny was the only person standing in the room; she was leaning up against the mantle of the fireplace twirling her wand between her fingers and glancing between Hermione and Theo with a grin. Hermione herself was in her usual place for meetings, sitting cross legged on top of the small desk, observing everyone else in the room uneasily.
The atmosphere in the dorm room was uncomfortable, to say the least.
“Fancy a fly Malfoy?” Theo piped up from the floor, turning his attention from her to Draco as he spoke. Hermione took the opportunity to observe Ginny. She’d been meaning to check in on the red head more than she had been lately and she felt bad for having ditched her immediately after the game yesterday and then being late to their study group. Ginny had given her hell for it. Plus, now that she knew about the little mind reading issue, there really was no reason to try and avoid her.
“I could do with a few laps around the pitch, should we invite Zabini?” Draco raised his head to look at Theo when he answered.
“Nah don’t bother, the tosser has been ditching me all the time since the first game. I mean-“Theo paused long enough to fake a theatric swoon. “between you holing up here all the time and Blaise running off to wherever he goes lately, I may just die lonely and friendless.” Hermione balled up a piece of parchment and threw it at his face where it bounced off and rolled onto the floor.
“What about me? I thought we were friends?” She stuck her lip out in a pout. Both Theo and Draco snorted in amusement, Ginny’s grin just grew even bigger as she kept looking pointedly between Theo and Hermione, before raising her eyebrow at the latter.
“Of course, darling” Theo simpered and then turned his attention back to Draco. “But seriously, don’t bother with Zabini, I’m pretty sure he’s seeing a new witch and just doesn’t want to tell us.”
“She’s probably another Hufflepuff, he’s always had a soft spot for the ’puffs for some reason.” Draco drawled lazily, getting up from the sofa to grab his broom from where it was leaning against the wall.
If she hadn’t already been looking at her friend, she wouldn’t have caught it. But she was, and she did. In the split second when Draco said ‘another’. Ginny’s eyes flashed and then narrowed, and the corners of her mouth started to turn down before she schooled her expression to a neutrally pleasant look.
“Theo dear? Take Malfoy and get out already. You two gossip worse than Parvati and that’s saying something.” She smiled at him; her voice overly sweet. Draco gave her a nervous sideways glance, as though he was worried the tone was directed at him. It wasn’t, it was all for her lovely red headed friend this time.
Theo saluted at her sarcastically and the two hurried out of the dorm, Draco casting a look at her over his shoulder before the door closed behind him. Once the sounds of the boys’ voices had faded down the hallway, Hermione turned to her friend and pinned her with a suspicious glare.
“Actually,” her friend hedged, eyes flickering towards the exit.
“Nope. Sit down or I will incarcerous you to the sofa.” She threatened, aiming her wand at the girl threateningly.
She sat, shifting in her seat anxiously.
Hermione accio’d a pack of cigarettes and a potion from her room, her hands had started shaking a good fifteen minutes ago and she couldn’t wait any longer. She unstoppered the vial with her teeth and downed it in one swallow. Once she’d vanished the empty bottle back into her trunk, she turned her attention back to Ginny as she lit one of the cigarettes and started an air freshening spell with a wave of her hand. Draco would bitch about the smell later if she didnt.
She imagined that to an outside observer, the two painted a hilarious scene; Hermione sitting cross legged on top of the small desk smoking with a stern look on her face, and Ginny sitting in front of her in the cushy chaise with her arms crossed petulantly.
“So,” Hermione started, doing her very best to mimic Draco and Theo’s Slytherin smirk -which by the look on Gin’s face, she was succeeding- “How long have you fancied Zabini? Was it before or after you hooked up with him?” Ginny choked on air, clearly what she said had not been what she’d expected to be interrogated for. Hmm.
“I do not fancy Blaise!” she exclaimed once she’d managed to stop her coughing fit.
“But you called him Blaise and not Zabini, and you got upset at Dr-Malfoy’s Hufflepuff comment” Hermione pointed out.
“I don’t fancy him. Maybe I just feel bad for the poor innocent Hufflepuff’s he’s targeting.” Ginny’s face was flaming as red as her hair, she wondered if it was from her temper or from embarrassment.
“It’s fine if you do, fancy him that is.” She responded calmly. It was the truth, Hermione herself was involved with a Slytherin with a far more villainous reputation than Zabini and she wasn’t about to go being hypocritical about Ginny and Blaise.
“I don’t though.” She stated, much less agitated than she had been a moment ago. “You know if I did ’Mione you’d be the first person I would tell. Plus,” she added with a wry grin -that looked oddly forced- “you know me and my revolving door of famous quidditch players, can’t go messing with that for one little Slytherin.”
“Ah yes,” Hermione joked, ignoring the blatant conversation change the girl had attempted. “Do tell me about your latest beau of the month.” Ginny’s eyes shone at her words, her friend loved providing all the dirty details of her escapades, and while Hermione wasn’t one to usually want to listen, she did every once in a while, because it made her friend smile, albeit the smile was an impish one.
“Oh, my Godric ’Mione let me tell you this guy knows how to use his tongue in ways I didn’t even know…” she started her story, gesturing enthusiastically with her hands as she spoke. Hermione sat silently, a small smile on her lips as she half-listened.
Draco didn’t want to go flying, all he wanted to do was wait until everyone else left the dorm so he could have some time alone with his dorm-mate slash supposed secret girlfriend whom he hadn’t seen since she’d blue balled him in the change rooms the day before. Knowing she was wanting and willing made the pleasure he got from his own hand instead far less satisfying.
It had been weeks since he’d first started imagining what she looked like sprawled on his bed, what kind of sounds she would make for him, how she would taste as she squirmed under his tongue. He knew from their potions class tryst that she tasted better than any drug or liquor that he’d ever tried -and he’d tried a lot throughout the war and after- but he wondered now if she would taste different when she came for him for the first time.
Yet here he was, flying drills around the pitch with Nott instead of making up for lost time with his curly haired little minx and answering all of his questions.
“Oi Malfoy!” his friend yelled over the sound of the wind, interrupting his thoughts, he slowed his broom slightly and allowed the other boy to catch up and fly beside me.
“So, who do you reckon is the new witch Zabini’s shagging?” he asked his curly haired friend. Nott was a good friend, but he was too perceptive and clever for one-on-one conversation to ever be comfortable. It often seemed to result in being forced to confront something he didn’t want to, so it was best to occupy his attention with something else.
“Nope not going to work Malfoy.” He responded, adjusting the laces on his gloves attentively. Draco just turned to him questioningly, a confused look on his face.
“Oh, don’t play coy with me, we both know you’re fucking Granger.” Well of all the things he was expecting to come out of Nott’s mouth, that wasn’t one of them.
“I’m not.” It wasn’t a lie, he wasn’t. Much to his frustration.
“Oh, so you beat the shit out of me in the halls the other day for what? Just hadn’t punched anybody in a while? Fancied me a trip to the infirmary? I know you may believe otherwise but having my nose put back together is not my favourite of ways to get out of DADA.” He wasn’t angry, his voice didn’t even hold much emotion other than a bit of humor. Nott was stating facts and he knew it. Draco was too stubborn to actually admit he was right though.
Instead, he opted to snort disbelievingly, followed by a heavy eye roll before he promptly flew away from where his friend was now hovering and left the quidditch pitch entirely. Consciously deciding to hide from Nott and his perceptive ways, rather than confront anything at the moment. As he headed back to the castle, he physically slammed every single one of his occlumency walls firmly in place; constructing each one out of heavy bricks before wrapping them with tall iron gates and wrapping them in devil’s snare and venomous tentacula to keep everything and anything out -and in-.