Day 13

Draco didn't see Weasley around for the next several days. If he were anyone else, he would admit to wondering how she had been spending her time the last nine Tuesdays, but he was Draco Malfoy, and he refused to admit to himself that he was curious. Besides, she was probably being the Gryffindor goody-goody he thought she was and sitting in each of her Tuesday classes like a little swot.

Not Draco.

For nine days, he'd enjoyed the freedom of sleeping in the middle of the day, jumping on Zabini's bed, remaining in his pajamas, sitting around the kitchens letting house-elves cater to his every whim, ignoring all his textbooks, drawing pictures of the various ways Potter could “accidentally” injure himself, reading romance novels he found stuffed under Goyle's mattress, trying out new hairstyles, sending Filch prank owls, and basically wanting to hang himself from boredom.

He'd spent most of his time in the dormitory or the common room, but he was starting to go stir-crazy. Now that he knew what time Hooch taught one of her flying lessons, he could plan forays to the Quidditch pitch accordingly, but there just didn't seem to be a point playing Quidditch alone. There would be no one with whom to chase the Snitch, no one to whom he could gloat about his skills, no one to belittle, and no one for him to make feel inferior in every way possible.

He almost wished he and Weasley would bump into each other again. He didn't like her, but he couldn't deny she was entertaining. More entertaining than lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, anyway.

His almost-wish came true as he was leaving lunch, heading back to the Slytherin common room for his third nap of the day. Weasley ran up to him, grabbed his arm and started pulling him up the stairs, moving with an excited, frenzied air.

“What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?” he asked, trying to yank his arm from her grasp. But she held on firm.

“I think I've figured it out, Malfoy! I know why we're stuck in this mess!”

“Well, get your paws off me and just tell me then!” he cried, making another unsuccessful attempt to free his arm. “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere we can talk,” she replied.

As they climbed staircase after staircase, Draco simultaneously watched her face and tried not to trip. Her eyes and cheeks glowed with the excitement that buzzed all around her, making her hair look sparkly and different, unless he just hadn't looked at it properly before now. The color was atrocious, especially combined with her freckled complexion, but he couldn't help but think that it suited her. The orange. The freckles. The easily flushed cheeks. They were indicators of her poor class, and it was such a pity that she could never be truly pretty because of them.

But enough of that.

Draco recognized the corridor they entered and somehow found the sight of the door to the Come and Go room comforting. He relaxed and let her pull him along inside, where the fireplace, chairs, and table of food all existed just like they had the first time they'd visited, several Tuesdays ago. Weasley shoved him down into a chair and paced in front of the fireplace, which had sprung to life as soon as they had entered.

“Okay, so, the anti-aging potion. You know the anti-aging potion, right?” she said.

“What?” Draco said as he tried to straighten his robes, not comprehending her at all.

“In Potions the very first Tuesday. Remember? My class was brewing anti-aging potions, and Henry Zimmerman ruined ours. You made me spill the toxic mess all over us. I think that's why we're repeating that Tuesday!”

Draco's eyes followed her as she roamed back and forth, back and forth, but he couldn't grasp her words.

“I don't understand.”

She huffed in exasperation and took Draco by the shoulders, making eye contact with him and holding it.

“You heard what Madam Pomfrey said in the hospital wing, didn't you? Toxic potions don't react well in our bodies, with our magic. We didn't consume any of the potion, so it didn't kill us, but maybe we absorbed more of the potion than we thought we did. Maybe it wasn't actually fatal to us. Maybe the way our potion turned out sort of... reversed the effects. Maybe the world is not aging, while you and I are. It's all because of that potion!”

“So... this is all your fault?” Draco asked slowly, his eyes narrowing at her with suspicion.

“What do you mean my fault? If you hadn't been day dreaming and bumped into me, I wouldn't have spilled the potion at all!”

“So you admit that you spilled it!”

She threw her hands into the air and made an angry sound of disgust. “You are so insufferable!”

“If I'm so insufferable, why don't you leave me alone, then!”

The color and anger in Weasley's face drained and she seemed quite shocked. Well, that was the only way Draco could put it. Maybe it wasn't shock; maybe it was more like... disappointment? But why would she be disappointed?

“You're right,” she said in a much calmer, though still very terse, voice. “Silly me. I'll stop bothering you.” She was backing towards the door, as if putting distance between herself and a wild animal, and Draco wondered if that wasn't an apt description. The closer she got to the door, the more he felt her absence. The boredom of the last nine days would only get worse if he didn't see her. He thought briefly of the possibly infinite number of Tuesdays stretching into his future and felt... lonely.

“I mean, who cares if we know what caused this, right? We still can't do anything to fix it,” she said when she reached the door, her hand on the doorknob, as if eager to leave. “So I'm sorry that I've been such a nuisance to you. You won't see me again.”

And then she was gone.

And Draco, who hadn't stood up from the chair since she had pushed him down into it, felt his legs go numb and unstable as his stomach churned, sick with dread.

What could he do?


That night, as he laid in bed, his thoughts ran rampant, making him restless. He hadn't expected to feel this way about Weasley agreeing to leave him alone. He really hadn't meant to say those words to her. No, he didn't like her, not a thing about her, but she was all he had. Sure, the castle was full of people, his housemates, his rivals, all sorts of people he could interact with. But how long would that last? They would always be the same—doing the same things, saying the same things. Draco will have heard it all in three Tuesdays, and then what? Weasley was the only one who was different, just like she'd said to him all those Tuesdays ago when she'd seen him in the hospital wing. She was the only one who changed with him, Tuesday after Tuesday after Tuesday.

He wouldn't crawl back to her. He refused to beg her to stay with him, to get rid of his loneliness and boredom. No amount of Galleons in the world could make him.

So he would just do the best he could with the people he had. For Merlin's sake... he could do anything! Anything at all! He could go to Paris tomorrow! Or trip Filch in the halls! Or tell Dumbledore what he really thought of the headmaster. He could seduce every girl in the school. He could fly his broom through the corridors. He could... he could....

The world was his with which to do what he wanted. Draco had to take advantage of that.
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