From the Lips of a Slytherin – Chapter 2

Title: From the Lips of a Slytherin
Chapter: 2
Fandom(s): Harry Potter
Genre: Romance
Rating: R (for later chapters and innuendo)
Spoilers: Valid through OotP, AU after that
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, (implied Ron/Hannah Abbot)
Summary: Sixth year at Hogwarts for the Trio. Hermione notices something different about a certain Slytherin. He seems older, more mature, and a little sad. Can she come to terms with this side of Draco or will her fear and his pride keep them as distant as ever?

Disclaimer: I wish I did, but I don’t own anything but the main plotline, and even that isn’t overly original.

Chapter 2: Fireside Worries

She’d been watching him on and off throughout dinner…that Muggle that was always on his mind…. Not that he cared, he told himself. But even as he thought it, he knew it was lie. Draco Malfoy looked around the Slytherin Common Room. It seemed to lack that old familiarity and comfort that it used to. Then again, he didn’t think he’d ever be truly comfortable anywhere again.

His father was in Azkaban, and because of that his mother seemed to have stopped caring about anything, with the exception of Draco himself. Draco reclined in the armchair across from the fire. Normally it was sufficient enough to heat the cold stone dungeons where the Slytherin House is. Tonight, however, he could feel none of its warmth. He was lost in thought. He didn’t even stir when Pansy Parkinson sat at his feet, and stared up at him, adoringly, expectantly.

At some point, Draco figured, She’ll get the idea that I’m not interested in her, and she’ll leave me alone.

Eventually, Pansy got bored, and flounced off to pout with a group of girls on the other side of the Common Room. The rest of the Slytherins seemed to realize that Draco was not interested in company. They let him be for the rest of the night. Lost in a cavalcade of thoughts and the distant emotions they inspired, Draco stared unseeingly into the fire. He had a lot to think about.

His father was in Azkaban, although for how long, nobody could be sure. With the Dark Lord on the rise, and the Dementors were deflecting to his side, the odds that Lucius would be in the Wizard’s Prison for long were fairly slim. It didn’t lessen the fact that his absence at Malfoy Manor had taken quite a toll on himself and his mother.

His mother…his poor mother…. He worried about her so much anymore…She had not been well since his father’s incarceration. She hardly ate, and he had the sneaking suspicion that she wasn’t sleeping either.

It was late, very late, when Draco blinked and shifted in his chair. He looked into the fire, rubbing his eyes to be sure what he was seeing was real. His mother’s once beautiful face was smiling vaguely up at him at him from the hearth. He quickly glanced around the room, but he needn’t have worried. His classmates had all gone to bed. He dropped to his knees in front of the fire, wincing as he did so. He’d been sitting in one position for too long.

“Mum? What are you doing here? Is everything all right?” The only woman who had ever loved him, whom he’d ever loved, smiled up at him.

“Yes yes Draco. Everything’s fine. Or as fine as it could be. I just wanted to be sure you’d gotten to school safely.” She looked at him concernedly, then asked, “Did you eat at dinner, dear? You look a bit peaked.”

Draco put on a brave smile for his mother. “Of course, Mum. I’m just tired, that’s all. It’s been a long day. Did you?” He asked suspiciously.

Narcissa nodded, and Draco could see how the shadows played in the thinness of her cheeks and around her eyes. He frowned in worry at his mum. He was almost positive that she was lying to him. She didn’t look like she’d eaten more since he left her today at Platform 9 3/4 than she had all summer. Of course, he’d only picked at his own dinner earlier.

“You should get some sleep, Draco.” Narcissa murmured consolingly. This, at least, was familiar. She’d said the same words in the same tone to him his entire life. He replied with the line he’d begun to employ over these past few months.

“As should you, Mum. Sleep well.”

“Sleep well.” She returned, and then she was gone. Draco swallowed past the sudden lump in his throat. He stumbled to his feet, and staggered off to bed. But try as he might, he did not sleep well. In fact, he barely slept at all.

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