Day 1

Draco should have taken the raging headache with which he awoke as a sign to skip the day and go back to bed. Instead, he stumbled out of the sheets, grabbed the first set of robes he laid hands on, and staggered down to breakfast, where an insolent first-year started a food fight with his mate. By the time Draco had left the Great Hall to go to class, there were eggs in his hair and down his robes, and he had taken points from the two first-years—even though they were Slytherins and thus normally exempt from punishment. Needless to say, Draco had not eaten a thing, and his head only throbbed harder for it.

“Thank you for joining us, Mr. Malfoy. If you would, please sit with Mr. Goyle,” McGonagall said through tight lips as Draco entered the Transfiguration classroom only a smite bit late.

They began studying wandless human transfigurations. Of course Goyle was basically an idiot, so when class was dismissed, Draco's nose was still so abnormally small, it might as well have been non-existent. A Hufflepuff girl dared to laugh at him in the corridor, exaggerating his irritation and his headache.

His nose grew back to size in the middle of Charms class, startling Flitwick as Draco demonstrated a new charm they were studying, and causing the goblin-blooded teacher to fall off his stool with laughter. Potter and Weasley laughed along with the professor, taking great joy in the untimely magic, Draco was sure.

Draco's mood was so foul by the time he dropped into a chair in the library during his study break that he couldn't tolerate a single person. He spent more time rubbing his temples than he did researching the magical properties of the Chilean Jumping Bean as compared to its Mexican brother, and Blaise Zabini kept glancing at him with an annoyed sneer.

“If you are in that much pain, you should go to the hospital wing,” he said to Draco. Despite his words of concern, there was no hint in his voice that he cared whether the blond felt well or not—not that Draco expected such kindness from him.

“Shove off,” he muttered back. “I'm fine.”

Zabini's supercilious scowl spoke volumes of how much he disliked his housemate, a dislike that was long-lasting and mutual. They tolerated each other, just like they tolerated the other Slytherins, because family politics dictated it. The animosity within Slytherin House was only apparent to those inside of it. To outsiders, they were a united body. They were, certainly, but for no other reason than because they thought themselves superior to all the other Houses.

“It's your pride that will get your family in trouble, just so you know,” Zabini replied as he scanned a passage from a book for the information they needed for their Potions essays.

As if he could talk! The Zabinis were well-known for their excessive and undeserved pride. Draco's eyes narrowed dangerously. “I'd watch your mouth if I were you,” he warned, but part of him—the part of him that viciously scolded him for getting out of bed that morning—wanted Zabini to keep going, to push his buttons so that Draco would have a reason to punch something.

“Going to fetch the Dark Lord on me? Or maybe Daddy?”

Draco closed his eyes, colors bursting behind his eyelids, and suddenly felt sick to his stomach. “I'm not putting up with this shite,” he said, gathering his things together.

“Run away, Malfoy. Your family is good at that.”

Of any day for Zabini to decide to pick a fight, Draco would have preferred it not be this one. Of course, the day did not get any better.

Sixth-years were filing out of the Potions classroom in a raucous barrage as the seventh-years were entering. Draco, preoccupied with trying to remove the (hopefully) last piece of egg lodged in the collar of his uniform, did not move out of the way when a red-headed girl barreled out of the door carrying a small cauldron of potion. Instead, he ran right into her. Consequently, the potion spilled all over them as the cauldron jerked out of her hands.

Draco stood shocked for some seconds, but the girl acted immediately.

“Take off your robe, Malfoy! Take it off now!”


Rather than explain, she quickly removed her robe, throwing it against the wall away from them, and then she proceeded to tear his off his body. He could see nothing of her face for the dark copper hair that surrounded it, but he instinctively knew who she was. Unfortunately, Snape chose that moment to investigate the hold up in the doorway of his classroom, and happened upon the scene as Draco got tangled in his own robe, nearly falling into his assailant.

“Weasley! What is the meaning of this!”

She jumped nearly a foot in the air, but the motion was enough to finally remove the ruined piece of clothing.

“Sir, Malfoy made me spill the potion. I was just making sure it didn't burn through his skin,” she answered, tossing the robe into a pile with hers.

I made you spill it? Me? What are you doing walking around with a cauldron anyway?” Draco protested, looking to Snape for the support he would surely provide for someone of his own House.

“That's enough! Detention, both of you.”

Detention! Snape had never given Draco a detention before. Snape had never punished Draco before. He had the dignity not to let his mouth hang open in flabbergasted dismay, which couldn't be said for some of the on-lookers.

“Malfoy, Weasley, go to the hospital wing and make sure none of the potion got on your skin. Everyone else, inside.”

“You will pay for my robe, Weasley,” Draco muttered as they headed upstairs. She glared at him, and he smirked back.

“You should pay for mine, you dolt. Why don't you watch where you're going?” she replied, her cheeks flushed with anger that burned in her eyes.

“I'd give you a Sickle to pay for your robe, but I fear that may be overestimating its worth,” he replied, artfully ignoring her question.

“I find you highly irritating,” she said, her expression one of distaste.

“The feeling is mutual, you can be sure.”

“You don't even know me,” she replied.

“I don't have to. You're a Weasley, aren't you? That's all I need to know.”

They didn't speak again until they arrived on the fourth floor, and then Weasley scowled and sighed in exasperation, looking as if she'd been containing herself but couldn't any longer.

“I'm having the worst day of my life and you come along making it worse! It's just the thing to happen to me! McGonagall is going to take points for sure.”

You're having a bad day? What about me! The world does not revolve around you, you know!”

“Ha! Says the pot to the kettle!”

Draco released a breath through his nose, sounding like an annoyed horse.

“If I did not have this blinding headache, I'd have hexed you already.”

“And if I didn't have such high moral standards, I would have hexed you already, too!”

He did not need this back and forth on top of everything else today, so he let her win that round and kept silent. Even after they arrived at the hospital wing, he kept his mouth shut, allowing Weasley to do all the talking.

“After Henry turned our anti-aging potion toxic, Professor Snape said that it couldn't be Vanished like others can, so he told me to take it to his office so he can dispose of it properly,” Weasley explained.

“Yes, yes. Mr. Zimmerman is still unconscious over there. The fumes of toxic potions are very unkind to magical bodies. Mixes with our power oddly,” Madam Pomfrey explained to Draco, while Weasley nodded along as if she'd heard it all before.

“Well, Malfoy managed to knock me over while I was carrying the potion and it spilled on us. Professor Snape wants us to make sure none of it got on our skin.”

“If there is one thing that can be said about Professor Snape, it is that he cares deeply about his students' health,” the matron replied sagely.

Draco snorted but remained silent. He was so riled up when they were released that he forgot to ask for a potion for his head. It wasn't until dinner that he finally started feeling like a human being again, but the thought of detention afterward made him want to smash his head against the table.

As he left for detention, though, he was accosted by his least favorite Weasley, who stomped toward him like an angry hippogriff.

“Malfoy! What's this I hear about you stripping my sister in the middle of a crowded corridor?”

Draco pinched the bridge of his nose. His head had started to pound in a rhythm that reminded him of words, and it was hard to concentrate when two headaches were speaking to him. “What the hell are you on about?”

“It's all over the school that you were undressing my sister in public! What do you think you're doing undressing her at all?”

Still not following the conversation well, Draco replied, “I'm sure she quite enjoyed it or I wouldn't have done it.”

That was not the answer Ron Weasley wanted to hear, and a second later, Draco was reeling backwards with the force of a punch he had not seen coming. He fell against the wall, and just managed to keep himself standing, before Weasley approached him, pointing a long finger in his face.

“You keep away from my sister, Malfoy. I'll break something next time.”

Already feeling quite broken, Draco remained silent, watching the ginger-headed nitwit as he walked away. He checked himself for bruises or tenderness—none—and then made his way to Snape's classroom.

Luckily, detention was the most uneventful part of his day. He and Weasley kept to themselves as they washed cauldrons and scrubbed the work tables. Not a word was said as they chopped ingredients for the stores and reorganized the storage cabinet. They were released before midnight, and as Draco entered the seventh-year boys' dormitory, all thoughts of homework were beaten and suppressed. He climbed into bed fully clothed (minus the ruined robe Professor Snape had had to throw out) and immediately fell asleep, despite his ever-throbbing head.

At least this day is over, he thought just before he fell asleep.
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