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[personal profile] frost_incarnate


This evening, it seemed, the Slytherin Common Room had been graced with the presence of a king- young, pale, and obviously French, dressed in brocaded silks with an elaborately gilt crown. From underneath the crown, Draco surveyed his 'kingdom,' looking troubled and contemplative.

Emma entered through the portrait hole, her bag slung over her shoulder, wearing her regular work robes. She spotted an empty chair near the fire - a rarity in the Slytherin common room when one was in a lower year - and made a beeline for it, dropping her bag at her feet and pulling out a piece of parchment.

"Not celebrating All Hallow's Eve?" Draco asked, casually, from two chairs over. There was something stirring in his mind, some connection his brain was trying to draw, a memory he wanted to access... something that had to do with Millicent, he thought, and wondered why.

"No, I don't really get into all that...nice costume," a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she surveyed his outfit, the slight smile becoming a fullout grin as she noticed the sword at his side. "Doesn't that poke?"

"Of course it does, hawk- that's the point." Smoothly, Draco stood and drew the sword, letting the tip flick out- not towards Emma, but near her, slashing a 'D' in the air perhaps half a metre to her right.

"You remind me of some Muggle film called Zorro," she noted. "Doing something with Pansy tonight?"

Draco made a face. "Not exceedingly bloody likely. She's probably off dreaming up new and painful hexes to cast my way, hawk- she and I don't get along too great these days."

"Oh..." she fell silent, not knowing really what to say. She reached her hand up to brush a stray piece of hair away from her eyes and flinched a little as she accidentally touched the covered up bruise on her eye.

Draco saw the flinch, if not the cause, and looked at her curiously. “You’re not frightened of me, are you?” he asked, thinking again of Millicent. “Too many bloody people are. It’s started to be a hassle.”

"No, I'm not frightened of you," she looked him in the eye, a bit nervous but maintaining the contact. "Why would I be frightened?"

“People seem to think I go around hexing everyone,” he said, dryly. “That, or that I’ll hit them.”

"Well, you are rumoured to have a bit of a temper," she said, as she rummaged around for a quill.

"The rumors about that, at least, are true," he said after a moment, looking at her meditatively. "What rumors would they tell about you, hawk?"

"Just that anyone who crosses you can't use a part of their anatomy for a week," she replied, a bit distracted. "Makes me never want to irritate you."

"As far as I've noticed, you've never crossed me," Draco said lightly. "Don't worry about it- there are people who I do not hex, and you're on the list. You're an interesting kid, hawk."

"I've never crossed you," she reaffirmed, looking back up at him. "You're...nice to me, and I don't know why I amuse you, but if it puts me on your good side," she shrugged, "I'm perfectly happy being there."

“You’re smart,” Draco said. “A Ravenclaw trait, not that we don’t have our share of big brains in Slytherin. You’re brave- you stood up to me when I was hung over, as I recall, and that takes guts. A Gryffindor trait. You’re loyal to your father’s wishes. But where’s your ambition, hawk? I haven’t seen it. That’s why I’m curious about you- you seem a more than decent sort, but rather odd for a snake.”

"I have ambition," she said quietly. "I just don't know what for, yet. And I'm a snake because I asked to be," her chin was set in a defensive manner, as if she wanted to prove that she was worthy of being in Slytherin.

Draco grinned. "Excellent choice, then- if you asked and the Hat granted, I'm hardly inclined to disagree."

"Did you ask to be put in Slytherin?" her tone was curious.

“Didn’t need to,” Draco said. “All the Hat said to me was ‘very much your father’s son’ before telling me where I ought to go.”

"It said something similar to me, though told me I'd do better somewhere else. Didn't tell me why though, now I wish I'd asked."

“Why?” Draco asked. “Don’t you like it here?”

She sat in silence for half a moment, her eyebrows furrowed in thought. "I like it," she said slowly. "Though I'm interested to know where it thought I'd do well. And I have to admit, sometimes it'd be nice to have more normal housemates...us Slytherins are apparently the crazy ones of the bunch," she laughed a bit.

“That we are,” Draco acknowledged. “The caprice of the rich is a wonderful thing. And it will only get stranger as you get older- how much has your father told you about what his class did in their graduating year?”

"Nothing. My father doesn't speak to me of such matters," she averted her eyes back onto her blank parchment.

What sort of matters does he speak to you of, hawk?" Draco asked, curiously.

"Upholding the family name, and how I need to be more like my brother and less of myself," she muttered, her cheeks a bit pink.

“I get the same sort of thing,” he commiserated. “Only I don’t have a brother.”

"Then I sympathise," she gave him a small smile. "Is your father mean to you as well?" Her cheeks flamed as she realised what she said, and she quickly looked back down at her paper.

Draco's face took on a bit of a closed look... and then, suddenly, like the Killing Curse, it struck him in a flash. He knew precisely what reminded him of Millicent in her. But... no. Not the hawk, surely? "That depends on how you define mean," he said cautiously.

"Oh, I don't know," she waved her hand around in what she hoped was a casual manner. "Just...mean."

"My father," Draco said, watching her like the hawk he accused her of being, "believes in purging weakness in the most direct way he can. He believes in discipline, and punishment, and mercy may as well be a word in Chinese to him."

"Does he...hit you, or anything?" her eyes never left the ink blot that was on the topleft corner of her otherwise bare scrap of parchment.

“He caned me once,” Draco said, the black feeling in a knot in his gut intensifying as he became more and more certain. “Other than that, he never deigned to use physical means- always curses.”

"Why did he cane you?"

"The year before you came to school here," Draco said, "I played a prank that backfired rather spectacularly on me. He was... ashamed of me."

"Did you cry?" her voice cracked a bit and she coughed in an attempt to cover it up.

“If I’d cried,” Draco said grimly, “he might not have stopped when he did. Listen, hawk- Dobbs- Emma- you looked bruised when you came back to school after last weekend.”

"I wasn't bruised," she said in a rush, her fingers twisting on the edge of her robe. "Do you see any bruises on my face?"

"No," Draco said, then drew his wand and pointed it at her. "Finite Incantatem."

Emma shrieked a bit and covered her face with her hands. "Don't bloody scare me by pulling a wand on me again."

Draco wordlessly tucked his wand away, stepped forward, and pulled her hands away from her face.

She looked at him as he held her hands, not saying a word, her lip trembling and a tear escaping and trailing its way down her black eye, several scratches, and bruised lip before it fell on her lap, dampening her robe.

Draco looked at her, in silence, his eyes slowly falling to a black that seemed to absorb light from the room around them. "Gerick," he whispered after a moment, his voice hoarse and almost inaudible, "you've been a naughty boy."

She tried to tug her hands out of his grasp, but he'd tightened them and she couldn't break free. "Are you happy now?" she whispered.

He looked down at her. "There's a very real possibility I may never be happy again," he said. "But if I'm not happy, and you're damned well obviously not happy... I see no reason why your father should be happy either. How long has this been going on?" His voice was still quiet, and it quavered slightly- he was unable to keep his tone even.

"Leave my father alone, he didn't mean to," she bit out, ignoring his question, knowing that if he found out that someone else knew, she'd be done for.

“He didn’t mean to?” Draco asked, voice rising, filled with both outrage and incredulity. One hand let her wrist go, and came up to her face. “Maybe that, he didn’t mean,” he said, finger brushing her lip, “and maybe this was just a sad mistake,” he continued, touching the edge of the dark, puffy bruising around her eye, “but no more than that. You don’t beat your daughter by accident, hawk, and we both know that. How long has he been doing this to you?”

She winced a bit as his finger touched her face, but she did not pull away. "Not very long," she replied, her voice wavering.

"I'm not familiar with that measure of time," he said, acidly, and let both hands fall away from her. "Care to clarify?"

"This is only the second time," she drew back, her expression hardening and closing off from him.

“How did it happen?” he asked. “What set him off?” He was looking, very desperately, for something to cling to, some scrap, some excuse not to go off half-cocked. Because he wanted to. Very deeply, he wanted to.
"...I don't know. I was just taking a bath, and he came in shouting...and pulled me up...and he was just yelling so loud...." her thin guard dropped and her eyes filled up as she stared at her feet, avoiding his eyes, afraid of what she'd see in them.

"In the bath, for no reason," Draco said, his voice even now, and calm, and emotionless, his face blank. "In the bath." There was a pause, like the calm before the storm.

"In the bath," she echoed so softly that she herself could barely hear it. "If you don't mind, I'm really quite tired," her voice was coarse, but she didn't talk loud enough for it to be glaringly apparent.

“Oh no,” Draco said faintly, “I don’t mind at all. Excuse me. I have to go break something.”


She stood up, calmly collecting her belongings together, before slinging her bag over her back again, and turning to head towards the stairs that led to the girl's dormitory. She got halfway there before she hesitated, then turned around and within half a second her arms were flung around him, her face buried in his shirt.

Draco had never, he thought, been more unprepared for anything in his life. For a moment, he simply stood there, taken utterly by surprise.

"Sorry," she muttered, pulling back a moment later. "The whole Slytherin code of conduct thing," her dark hair crackled around her like a black halo, and her eyes were heavy with unshed tears, but a small smile played on her lips.

Draco looked dumbly at her for a moment, than hugged her back to him. "Don't worry about it, hawk," he said softly. "I may be confused as fuck, but I'm here."

"Thank you," she said quietly, before picking her bag that had been carelessly tossed aside up off the ground and disappearing up the steps.

Draco stared after her, eyes still dark but destructive impulses gone completely from him. He felt....protective. And more, he felt responsible for her. It was as though, by hugging her, he had claimed her, picked up the task that Gerick was not equal to or worthy of- that of being her guardian. Gerick..... "Gerick," he said under his breath, "comrade.... your future doesn't look too bright just now."

-------

Draco stood in the shadow of the North Tower as it fell across the Tranfiguration wing's roof and scowled into the last of the fading sunset. He didn't know, exactly, what had lead him to believe that he should talk with Bulstrode here- this place where so many conspiracies had been hatched or furthered in his mind or by his discussions. He was, however, ready for another one- he knew what to do, now, if he was to recruit Millicent, or so he hoped.

Millicent walked slowly, dreading this 'meeting' beyond what was normally possible (or so she thought), despite the fact that she had...requested it. Too soon (in her opinion), though, she was on the roof of the Transfiguration Wing, and was walking towards the shadowed figure who was standing further along.

"Lumos," Draco murmured, and the glow from the tip of his wand through the shadows around them into stark relief. "What's this about, Millicent?"

Wordlessly, she handed him a piece of worn and folded parchment.

Draco held his wand up to the paper, and let his eyes skim across the few lines writ there- and as he read them, felt a surge of dark triumph. Much as he wanted to do this for the right reasons- much as he wanted to believe she would side with him regardless- after this letter, she was primed for recruitment, moreso than she might ever be again. Especially if she gave in to what this letter implied. He looked up at her, cautiously, and it was impossible to see in the halflight how bright or dark his eyes might be. "What are you going to do about it?"

''Nothing.''

"This isn't the kind of thing you can do nothing about- when He owls you, you answer."

''He is just another person,'' she replied coolly. ''Who will wait until I feel like owling back.''

Draco snorted. "The Dark Lord is not accustomed to waiting. You've got nerve- but it won't help you if he has you dragged before him and blasted with the Cruciatus for impudence. Have you ever felt the Cruciatus, Millicent?"

She glared. ''He is not my Lord! He is no one important to me - all he's ever done it my life is ruin my family anyway!'' she snapped.

“And now,” Draco said quietly. “Now he’s called for you. If you don’t answer, do you know what will happen? Your father will take you there before him, and the Dark Lord- because he has power over you whether or not you acknowledge it- will tell your father to put the curse upon you. And your father will. After that will come the questions.”

''And I will not answer!'' she replied hotly.

“Why did you want to talk to me about this, then, if you’re so sure things will go so exceedingly well for you?” he asked caustically.

She bit back a snippy reply. ''I thought it would be best for you to just...know,'' she replied. ''Not to mention, that's not the only owl I brought to discuss.''

Though it could still not be seen, there was the sense that his eyes had darkened. “Show me,” he said, voice low and smooth suddenly- as if he felt the need to exercise a tighter level of self-control than he had previously.

''You've read it already,'' she said coolly. ''Though it was against my will.''

“Sorry,” he said, not sounding in the least bit contrite. “What about it, then?”

''You can't do anything.'' she declared. ''You...you have to promise me that you won't.''

“Why should I have to ask information before hurting someone?” Draco countered. “He’s never asked yours before he struck you, has he?”

She ignored his question. ''All I'm asking is that you promise me that you won't do anything without asking me first.''

"I won't," Draco said, reluctantly, "but I think... that we need to talk some more. Because I trust you."

''What does this have to do with trust?''

“Because,” Draco said, “I’ve been having some mildly seditious thoughts recently, and I trust you of all people to not let them get back to the Dark Lord.”

She rolled her eyes. ''Hold on, let me get my parchment and quill, so I can make notes for Him.'' She shook her head. ''Really, though, I somehow doubt that your trust is misplaced.''

“Right,” Draco said, “but what would you say if I told you I agreed with those letters we’ve been getting?”

She shrugged. ''I'd tell you that you probably weren't alone.''

“But where would that company be? For instance, would I be alone in that on this rooftop, or is there someone within spitting distance who might also agree?”

She glared at him. ''Sneaky way of making me answer the question I refused to answer awhile ago,'' she commentes. ''But...no. You wouldn't be alone on the rooftop, for sure.''

“Right,” Draco said, consciously echoing himself, “but what would you say if I told you I wrote those letters?”

'I'd say that you have more guts than I thought....and that maybe I should rethink my opinion of you.''

"What's this new opinion, then?" Draco said, amazed that such a conversation could take place in the same tone as the one he used to discuss the weather.

''I said rethink, which would mean that I would have to sit and think about it,'' she replied, then raised an eyebrow. ''Are you telling me that you did write those owls?''

Rather than answer in words, Draco did what he always seemed to do, now, and held out the white rose seal to her.

She took the seal, and looked at it. After a moment, she looked back at him, and nodded silently.

Draco pocketed the seal. “You’re the fifth person I’ve shown,” he said after a moment. “You want in?”

She looked at him suspiciously. ''In to...what? I need to know more before I say yes.''

“We’ve done nothing yet but my letters,” Draco said. “Eventually, the idea is to finish a potion that will dissolve the Dark Mark, subvert the Death Eaters, hex the remaining loyalists, and kill the Dark Lord. Sound interesting?”

''Sounds like a good book,'' she commented with a small smirk. ''However...I'd prefer not to commit right off, if you understand. I'm definitely supporting you, just not...''

Draco nodded. “You prefer to stay out of the line of fire,” he said. “Believe me, I understand. Think as long as you need to.”

'Thank you,'' she replied.

"One more question," Draco said. "If you have the time."

'Time I always have,'' she commented wryly.

"If you knew of someone else who had.... the same problem with their father that you have," Draco said, "would you be up for a little hexing expedition some time?"

'No.'' she said firmly.

“No?” Draco asked. “So everyone has to suffer, then- everyone has to share the misery you refuse to escape? No one can be helped?”

She glared at him. ''That's not how I meant it.''

“Then please,” he said, “explain it to me.”

'I don't care how many times the person asked me to....to do that,'' she said, stumbling over her words a little. ''But....I couldn't stand to see my father go through it, and I wouldn't be able to do that without feeling horrid and hypocritically afterwards.'' she said. ''And I would never wish anyone....anyone to be in a situation like that.''

“Even though the father has no problem with hurting his daughter until she cries, or screams? That’s hypocrisy, Bulstrode- you have it in your hands to save someone and you chose not to.”

She laughed bitterly. ''Trapped me, didn't you? If I even mention one word about what I'm going through, you'll say that I'm not letting you help. And if I even try to worm my way out of the hypocrisy situation, you've got me there too.''

"I do," Draco affirmed, "but that's because I'm right, here. I won't force you to do anything, Bulstrode- but every week you let this go on, there's a third year who comes back to school covered in Concealing Charms to hide the bruises. Think about it." He turned on his heel to leave.

''If...if...I agree...I'm doing you a favour. What will you do in return?''

You’d be doing yourself a favor, Draco wanted to say- you’d be accepting the truth. Instead, he glanced back over his shoulder at her. “Name it,” he said.

She bit her lip. ''If I do this...you have to agree to not make me ever do it to my own father. I won't ever give you my..my blessing, but I know you'll do it anyway, won't you?''

“If he doesn’t stop it,” Draco said, “and you don’t get away- all you’d have to do is leave and not come back- then sooner or later, I will stop it. And I swear to you that, if it comes to that, you’ll be far away.”

''It's not as easy as walking away,'' she replied softly. ''But fine. I'll....I'll help.'

“Thank you,” Draco said. “As for walking away- it wouldn’t be that hard. I reckon Weasley would be glad to have you stay with him.”

She blushed, shaking her head. ''As...as true as that may be, it's not that easy. He...my father...knows.''

“Oh,” Draco said. “Does Weasley know, then?”

She nodded once.

Draco arched his eyebrows in surprise, but said nothing.

She bit her lip, and shrugged. ''He knows more than he lets on.''

“Maybe…” Draco said grudgingly… “maybe I’ve been underestimating him.”

She nodded. ''I think you have,'' she said softly.

Then I'm sorry," he said. "Look. It's been... a long day, for everyone. Can we talk more about all this later?"

She shrugged. ''You can always talk, it's finding someone to listen,'' she said softly, before turning to leave.

"Too true," he said, and watched her go.

As she left, she resisted the urge to turn back and say the other thing on her mind. She wanted to...but thought it best to leave him with something to think about.


OOC

Date: 2003-04-01 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] porcelain-dream.livejournal.com
I love it when Draco does this. :)

Re: OOC

Date: 2003-04-01 09:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frost-incarnate.livejournal.com
This being.... what exactly?

Re: OOC

Date: 2003-04-01 10:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] porcelain-dream.livejournal.com
This being... the Hawk scene. *wrinkles nose* Specially him being so protective of the younger girl. :)

Re: OOC

Date: 2003-04-01 11:01 am (UTC)

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