Title: Some Kind of Miracle (5/?)
Author: Annie (_pinkchocolate)
Warnings: Everything up to ch 14 disregards DH
Disclaimer: I just take JK Rowling's world and make it slashy.
Summary: Draco was determined to live the last nine months of his life with no regrets. But when a series of unfortunate events exposes a list of his innermost wishes, ambitions, and desires to Harry Potter’s eyes, he might find that facing his imminent death is not so easy after all.
Word Count: 5033
Notes: Beta'd by the lovely Emily, Christine, and Sharon.
4 3 2 1 P
Objects we ardently pursue bring little happiness when gained; most of our pleasures come from unexpected sources.
- Herbert Spencer
Harry woke up early the next morning, sweaty and panting as if he had spent the entire night running from an invisible monster. Remnants of a nightmare he couldn’t quite remember hovered in his consciousness, like wisps of fog just before the morning sun chased them away, but when he blinked, they dissipated. Harry rubbed his scar, something he often unconsciously did after waking up from troubling dreams, and waited for his breathing to return to normal.
Still, his heart pounded ferociously and the emptiness inside him ached more than ever as he grabbed his glasses from the bedside table, put them on, and sat up, frowning. The calendar hanging across the room read “Monday, October 12, 1998” in flashing red and gold letters.
He looked around. Dean slept peacefully, his head resting on one of his outstretched arms, and Ron’s curtains were pulled closed. Taking care not to wake his sleeping roommates, Harry slowly got out of bed and gathered his toiletries. As he headed for the door, he made an effort not to glance at the two empty beds, both painful reminders of Neville’s and Seamus’ absences.
The moment Harry stepped outside, a blast of chilly air hit him. Someone had left the window on the landing open. Inconsiderate bastard, Harry thought grumpily, hugging his bundled clothes to his chest.
The boys’ showers were thankfully unoccupied. It was far too early for any of the students to be using them. Relieved that he wouldn’t have to deal with his housemates spying on him for the moment, Harry quickly removed his pyjamas, placed his glasses by the sink, and stepped into the nearest shower.
It had been a long time since Harry had showered properly; there hadn’t been very many opportunities to thoroughly cleanse oneself during the war. The warm water was calming, but not enough. Harry turned the knob all the way until the water was scalding hot. It rained down upon his back and shoulders like droplets of molten fire. The burning sensation was almost pleasurable, and it chased away the lingering ghosts of Harry’s nightmare, which was good enough for him.
After a few minutes, Harry turned off the water. He stood for a while in the stifling steam, revelling in the way his skin tingled from the assault it had just received, before stepping out of the shower and grabbing a towel off the rack. Once he was done drying himself, Harry wrapped the towel around his waist, put his glasses on, picked up his pyjamas, and left the bathroom without glancing once into the mirror.
The cold air in the stairwell felt good against his sensitized skin. Harry inhaled deeply, enjoying the way the intake of breath travelled down into his lungs and spread through his body, cooling him down.
Ron and Dean were still sleeping when Harry returned to the dormitory. Quietly, he changed into an old t-shirt and frayed jeans. As he pulled on a sock, however, he faltered. What was he changing for? Breakfast wouldn’t start for another hour, and no one else was awake.
Harry slowly finished putting his socks on and stood up. He would take a walk outside. It was a nice day, albeit a little cold, but cold was good. Cold numbed his feelings and memories, allowing him to forget. Cold was the opposite of hot, which melted his bitterness, but it worked just as well.
Harry found his school robes lying in a heap by his trunk and shrugged them on. Done dressing, he left the dormitory again.
His initial impression of the common room was that it was empty, but as he moved closer to the fireplace, he noticed someone curled up on one of the sofas under a blanket of robes. He tried to tiptoe past, but the person stirred. The robes fell away, revealing Hermione’s sleepy face.
“Hermione?” Harry stared at her in surprise. “Er… what are you doing here?”
She looked confused for a moment, as if she couldn’t quite remember, but then her eyes widened. “I wanted to ask you something, so I woke up early and came down to wait for you. I must have dozed off.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” Harry said, bemused. “Waiting until breakfast wouldn’t have killed you, would it?”
“Actually, it’s urgent. I wanted to catch you before you left.” She shifted uncomfortably. “I found out who did it – who released Malfoy.”
Harry froze in his spot. She… but how? She might mean McGonagall, he thought hopefully, but as he took in the uncertain expression on Hermione’s face, he knew, with absolute certainty, that she had discovered what he had irrationally hoped to keep a secret from her, Ron, and Ginny.
“I wouldn’t say ‘released’,” he managed feebly as he collapsed on the sofa beside Hermione. “Who… who did it?”
She levelled Harry with a knowing look. “It was you, wasn’t it?”
Harry ran a hand through his hair. He didn’t know what to say. He had figured Hermione would find out eventually, had figured she would look up the archived newspapers in the library or something, but that still didn’t make the situation any easier to explain. All the excuses he’d devised since leaving the trial (excuses like “I was still under the influence of the Forgetfulness Potion, so I forgot who Malfoy was”) weren’t really excuses someone as clever as Hermione would believe, anyway.
“Why did you do it, Harry?”
Harry glanced at Hermione, guilt twisting his insides. She didn’t look angry or disappointed, just puzzled.
“I just…” He took a deep breath, realising that he hadn’t yet told Ron and Hermione about the night he killed Bellatrix. Maybe it’s time to tell her now. I can’t keep it to myself forever. “Malfoy saved me, Hermione. The night after I escaped from headquarters – the night Ron’s parents were murdered – I was there, I saw it. I lost control of myself, and I nearly got caught by the Death Eaters who did it. But Malfoy covered for me; he gave me the opportunity to… to kill Bellatrix. He saved my life.”
Hermione looked dumbstruck. “But Harry, why would he do that?”
“I don’t know, Hermione!” Harry suddenly felt frustrated and tired. He wanted to go back to sleep. “That’s why I saved him. I mean, I don’t really know why. But one part of it was that I felt like I owed him something.”
Hermione gazed at Harry, her bottom lip trembling. “Are you absolutely sure Malfoy saw you that night? You said you weren’t in your right mind. Maybe you imagined that you were seen, but –”
“I’m not making this up!” Harry shouted. He closed his eyes and kneaded his temples. In a lower voice, he added, “Do you really think I would imagine something I don’t want?”
“No, I don’t. I trust your judgment. It’s Malfoy’s judgment I don’t trust. I don’t understand why he would do that.” Hermione sighed and pulled her knees up to her chest. “Why didn’t you tell me and Ron about this earlier?”
“I told you already, I did loads of things during the time we were apart that I’d rather you not know about.”
“But why?” Hermione asked softly. “Why can’t you tell us? You’re letting yourself dwell on the things you did, and it’s wearing you down. And don’t give me that look, Harry Potter. Even if you were acting a bit over the top, I can still see you’re hurt. We’ve been friends for nearly seven years; don’t you think I can tell when something about you has changed?
“I killed a lot of people. Other than Voldemort, that is.” Harry paused. “But Voldemort was the worst. It was…” He struggled to get the words out, but they stuck in his throat. “I’m sorry, Hermione, I can’t say it yet. Maybe someday.”
To Harry’s relief, Hermione nodded. “I suppose that’s all I can ask for.”
“Yeah.” Harry hesitated. “How did you find out about the trial, by the way?”
Now it was Hermione’s turn to look guilty. “Ginny told me.”
“She knows?!” Harry yelped.
Hermione sighed. “Yes, she knows. How could she not? The details of the trial are everywhere. She showed us a Daily Prophet article about it the day after.”
“I’m in the news?”
“Of course you are, Harry! Think about it: one week after vanquishing the most powerful Dark wizard in ages, the hero of the wizarding world goes and grants a self-confessed Death Eater a reprieve. What kind of publication would pass up that story?”
“Well, when you put it that way…” Harry said weakly. Until now, he hadn’t given any serious thought to the significance of his actions, but upon reflecting on it, he realised that, considering his position, it really wasn’t all that surprising that there should be so much attention surrounding his interference in the trial.
They were silent for a while, and then Hermione spoke up again.
“I just didn’t think it’d be you. The one who released Malfoy, that is. You hated him so much… and even if he couldn’t kill Dumbledore, he killed others during the war. He really was a Death Eater.”
“Yeah, I still can’t really figure it out either,” Harry said, gazing into the fire. “You think it’s my saving-people thing coming into play again?”
“It always comes back to that, doesn’t it?” Hermione joked. “In any case, Harry, you’re a good person. Everyone deserves a second chance, even Malfoy. No; especially Malfoy. Even if my personal biases prevent me from liking what you did for him, I’m still proud of you for doing it.”
“I reckon Ron won’t feel the same way,” Harry muttered. He grabbed a cushion and tossed it into the air, catching it before it hit the carpet. “Say, Hermione…”
“I won’t tell him,” Hermione said straight away. Harry looked at her, surprised that she had read his mind, and she smiled. “You don’t need to explain. I understand your reasons.”
“Thanks,” Harry said, relieved. He had thought she would immediately tell Ron everything, considering the close relationship they had forged in Harry’s absence.
“But as dense as Ron can be,” Hermione continued, her tone growing graver, “eventually he’s going to realise what’s really going on. When he does, Harry, he’s going to be hurt that you didn’t tell him first. Right now he refuses to believe anything, not even solid proof, until you confirm it yourself. But the longer you delay the moment when you tell him everything, the worse he’ll take it when he finally acknowledges the truth.”
“Did I really screw up that badly?” Harry asked anxiously. Hermione’s grim words of advice were beginning to scare him.
“You didn’t screw up. It’s just… you know how Ron can get sometimes.”
“Do I ever,” Harry muttered, remembering the trivial things they had fought over in the past.
Hermione stood up and stretched. “Well, I’m going to go get started on Professor Slughorn’s project.”
“Hermione, classes haven’t even begun yet,” Harry said, amused. He didn’t even bother asking Hermione how she had found out that Slughorn was going to assign them a project.
“It’s always good to get ahead of the game,” Hermione replied brightly. As she walked past Harry, she patted his shoulder consolingly. “Don’t fret too much over the Malfoy situation. It’s what McGonagall wanted; you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Harry watched Hermione disappear up the stairs leading to the girls’ dormitory. Then, with a heavy sigh, he stood up and left the common room.
Harry made it down the deserted hallways of the castle and out the double oak front doors without interruption. Once outside, he paused to catch his breath.
A light dusting of frost had settled over the lush grass of the grounds overnight, but even as Harry crunched his way down to the lake, the sun’s rays began melting it away. By the time Harry arrived at the shore of the lake, the grass was green again and dotted with tiny droplets of dew.
Harry sat down beneath one of the willows, pulling his legs to his chest and wrapping his arms around them to stay warm. He gazed over the serene surface of the lake, wondering what lay past the trees lining the horizon. It was peculiar, he realised, that he had never really explored the wizarding world beyond the areas he was confined to. He had held the secret to immortality in his hands, killed a murderous serpent, freed his wrongly convicted godfather from prison, resurrected the most feared Dark wizard in centuries, stood in the very presence of time and death, watched the greatest wizard he had ever known die before his eyes, and triumphed over pure evil – and yet he had never swam in the ocean or raced along a creek or climbed a mountain like most other ordinary seventeen-year-olds. Harry’s lips curled at the irony of it all.
The time passed quickly, and soon Harry was forced to return to the castle. When he stepped inside, he found the Entrance Hall filled with bustling students making their way to the Great Hall for breakfast.
Harry joined the crowd self-consciously. He felt the weight of several pairs of eyes on him, but when he turned around, they all flicked away. Harry narrowed his eyes but decided that it would be better if he simply ignored them.
Let them ogle, he thought sourly. What did it matter, anyway? If they were stupid enough to idolise him, he couldn’t do anything about it.
When Harry entered the Great Hall, his eyes immediately fell on Malfoy. He was sitting alone at the end of his table, scowling down at his empty plate. Surprised, Harry stopped in his tracks. He had never seen Malfoy so deliberately isolated at his house table.
“Harry, c’mon, Ginny’s waiting for you,” someone from behind him urged, rousing Harry from his thoughts. He turned around and saw Dean standing behind him.
“Sorry,” Harry said sheepishly, giving his head a little shake to clear it of Malfoy-related thoughts.
“Good morning, you two,” Ginny said as they approached her.
“Morning, Ginny.” Harry sat down across from her, leaned over the table, and kissed her on the cheek, all the while cautiously watching for some indication that she knew everything.
But Ginny didn’t give one. “Have either of you seen Luna?”
“I saw her on my way down,” Dean offered. “She was leaving her common room.”
“Oh…” Ginny absently buttered a piece of toast. “She seems a bit down.”
Dean winced. “Yeah, well, she lost her dad during the war, didn’t she?”
“Yeah,” Ginny said sadly. Harry shot her a sympathetic look. The topic of losing family members was, understandably, a sensitive one for her.
“Anyway,” he said, trying to change the subject, “where are Ron and Hermione?”
“Ron’s sleeping in, I suppose,” Ginny said, shrugging. “I’m not sure where Hermione is, but I expect she’s waiting for him. They’ve grown really close, you know.”
“Yeah, I know.” In all honesty, it was Harry’s fault that he was somewhat excluded from Ron and Hermione’s newly strengthened bond. He had pushed them away during the war, knowing that it was for the best and that he needed to undergo the task of finding and killing Voldemort alone. Even though they had insisted that they wanted to help him, Harry had forced himself to turn away, leaving them to fight the enemy on their own.
“You left without me, Harry!” came a sudden accusing voice from behind Harry, jolting him out of his thoughts.
Harry turned around. Ron stood behind him, an expression of indignation on his freckled face. Hermione, on the other hand, looked worried as she took in Harry’s wind-tousled hair from where she stood next to Ron.
“Are you okay, Harry?” she asked, sitting down beside Harry. She raised her eyebrows a fraction of a centimetre, a sign that she hadn’t forgotten their earlier conversation. “Ron told me you had already left when he got up. You’re not having trouble sleeping, are you?”
“No.” Harry glanced nervously at Ron, who had huffily seated himself on Harry’s other side. “I just woke up early and thought I’d go and catch a breath of fresh air before breakfast.”
“But Harry, you never wake up early unless something’s wrong,” Ron pointed out.
Harry shrugged. “A lot of things are wrong right now,” he mumbled, grabbing a scone from the basket in front of him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you.”
“I could swear you weren’t there when I woke up in the middle of the night, either,” Ron said absently as he reached for the pitcher of pumpkin juice.
“Anyway,” Ginny cut in loudly, shooting Harry a penetrating look, “Flitwick is the new Deputy Headmaster, isn’t he?”
Harry gave Ginny a grateful smile. He could always count on her to save him from awkward questions.
“Yeah,” Dean said, “and Lupin’s coming back to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts.” He inclined his head towards the staff table, where Remus Lupin was sitting next to McGonagall. “I heard he’s our new Head of House, too.”
“Ron and I already knew,” Hermione said smugly, pointing at her prefect badge. Susan Bones had been made Head Girl over her, but Hermione didn’t seem too bothered by it. “Slughorn’s the Head of Slytherin House.”
Before Dean could respond, they were interrupted by Lupin’s arrival. He had descended from the staff table to hand out timetables to the Gryffindor students.
“Long time no see, Professor Lupin,” Harry said, a genuine smile lighting his face for the first time in what felt like months. He couldn’t be happier to see his newly reinstated Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. “How are you?”
“Good morning, Harry,” Lupin said, smiling kindly at Harry. The worry lines in his face had, unsurprisingly, deepened since the last time Harry had seen him. “I’m good, thank you very much. Hello, Mr Weasley, Miss Granger, Miss Weasley, Mr Thomas.”
“Hi, Professor Lupin,” they chorused, smiling at him. They were all glad to have Lupin, a favourite among the students, back, and even more ecstatic about his being their new Head of House.
“I’m afraid I don’t have much time to talk,” Lupin said, gesturing at the stack of blank timetables he held. “Why don’t we start with you, Mr Thomas?”
The process of deciding classes was completed quickly. Harry would drop Herbology, as it wasn’t one of the required N.E.W.T.s for Auror training candidates, but continue on with Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Potions, and Charms. This allowed him another free period immediately after breakfast. Unfortunately, Ron’s failing grades in Transfiguration and Potions the previous year prevented him from further studying the subjects, so he and Harry did not end up having very many classes together. Hermione, on the other hand, was taking all of Harry’s classes, as well as a handful of others.
“Ancient Runes again?” Ron said, leaning over Harry and examining Hermione’s timetable with a disgusted expression. “Honestly, Hermione, what good is that subject anyway?”
Hermione sniffed disapprovingly. “At least I have more classes than free periods,” she shot back, referring to Ron’s very open timetable.
Breakfast flew by, and soon Harry was waving good-bye to Hermione and Ron as they left for Herbology and Ginny as she and a classmate made their way to Potions. Harry watched them leave, feeling vaguely disconcerted by the normalcy with which the day was proceeding so far.
He had spoken too soon, for at that moment, a cold voice said derisively, “Don’t cry now, Potter.”
Harry spun around. Malfoy was leaning against the wall behind him, his arms crossed and his chin tilted up arrogantly.
“I see you’re yourself again,” Harry said dryly. He was oddly relieved to see that Malfoy was no longer the brooding, secluded young man he had been earlier that morning. Well, maybe not the secluded part, he corrected himself, noting that Malfoy’s usual followers were absent.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Never mind,” Harry said quickly. He didn’t want Malfoy to know that he had been watching him. “What’re you doing over here on the Gryffindor side of town, anyway?”
“I’ve come to see you, of course,” Malfoy replied with a smirk.
Against his better will, Harry blushed. “Why? Don’t you have a class to attend?”
Malfoy shook his head. “I don’t take Herbology,” he said disdainfully. “It’s a useless subject.”
“Yeah, or it’s the only class you don’t do well in,” said Harry, slinging his bag over his shoulder and joining the last few students trickling out of the Great Hall.
Malfoy followed him out. “I do well in all of my classes, Potter. Herbology is not, however, an area of study crucial to life; therefore, I feel no need to continue with it if I want to enjoy my last year in this world.”
“Stop following me, Malfoy,” Harry said by way of response as he walked down the entrance hall to the front doors.
“Not until I make clear what I have to say.”
Harry stopped, turned around, and crossed his arms. “Fine. Go.”
“I’m not saying anything with all these people around,” Malfoy said, pushing past Harry. “We can discuss our situation outside.”
“What situation?” Harry grumbled. Nevertheless, he consented to trail after Malfoy out onto the grounds.
It was considerably warmer now than it had been earlier that morning. Harry breathed in deeply, enjoying the way the pleasantly cool breeze ruffled his hair and teased his skin.
“Where are we going?” Harry asked as Malfoy led him across the magically tamed grass.
“Here.” Malfoy stopped under a tall evergreen. Leaning against the trunk, he studied Harry with narrowed eyes. Harry shifted his weight from one foot to the other uncomfortably as he waited for Malfoy to say something.
When Malfoy failed to speak up, Harry said irritably, “Why did you lead me out here, Malfoy? I thought you didn’t want to see me anymore.”
“And I thought you weren’t going to let me out of your sight.”
Harry watched with fascination as Malfoy smoothed his windswept locks back, his long, pale fingers running through even paler strands of hair. He noted with some degree of interest the strong contrast between his own unruly locks and Malfoy’s fine strands of silk.
“Potter, are you listening to me?”
Harry blinked and quickly averted his gaze from Malfoy’s hair. “Yes,” he lied. “You said I wasn’t going to let you out of my sight.”
Malfoy looked exasperated. “No, you said that. For God’s sake, Potter, pay attention!”
“I’m paying attention now,” Harry snapped. “Go ahead and say what you want to say.”
“Good. Now listen up. From now on, I want nothing to do with you.” Malfoy said the last sentence slowly and deliberately. “I don’t want you to talk to me, I don’t want to see you outside of class, and I certainly don’t want any more midnight meetings in the library. Have I made myself clear?”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “Crystal, save for one part: why should I give a buggering fuck what you want?”
Malfoy was evidently struggling to stay calm now. “Because your conscience should be telling you to leave me alone.”
“Why would it be saying that?” Harry asked blankly. “I haven’t done any wrong to you, Malfoy, so I don’t owe you anything. On the contrary, you’re the one who owes me.”
“Well, this conversation sounds awfully familiar.” Malfoy’s exhale of breath made a whistling sound as it passed through his clenched teeth. “Fine. Have it your way. Go ahead and stalk me; see what your dear Weasel thinks of that. I reckon he won’t be too pleased to find that you’re avoiding him to spend time with a Death Eater. A Death Eater he caught, too. Still haven’t told him you were the one who freed me, have you, Potter?” he added with a sly smile.
Harry froze. “How did you know?” he whispered, his voice cracking.
“How could I not know?” Malfoy sneered. “You’re about as good at hiding things from others as you are at acting rationally. Besides, Weasley’s naïve ramblings about the ‘moron thick enough’ to save me gave it all away… I’m not stupid, you know…”
“He won’t believe you.”
“Your confidence in him is touching, Potter, but rather foolish, if I do say so myself.”
Loathing welled up in Harry’s chest. Malfoy was blackmailing him. Rooted to his spot by his fury, he said nothing.
Malfoy’s grey eyes gleamed with triumph. “Do you accept my terms now, Potter?”
“Fine. I’ll be glad to see less of you, anyway.” Harry wheeled around, prepared to leave.
“Oh no you don’t,” said Malfoy, grabbing Harry’s wrist in a flash. “I still need one more thing from you.”
“Look, Malfoy,” Harry began furiously, turning around, “I’m –”
But before Harry could finish, the last thing he had anticipated happened. With his free hand, Malfoy grabbed the front of Harry’s robes, shoved him roughly against the trunk of the tree, and slammed his lips against Harry’s.
The kiss was clumsy, but ruthless and laced with the bitter taste of abhorrence that clung to Malfoy’s surprisingly warm lips. For one very long, very torturous second, all Harry could do was let out a stream of muffled curse words as Malfoy pinned his wrists against the trunk of the tree. Then, before Harry’s immobilised senses could alert his limbs to fight back against the sudden assault, it was over.
Harry managed to choke out a cry of disbelief as Malfoy released his wrists and stepped back. Words failed him as he wiped his mouth with his sleeve, struggling to catch his breath.
Malfoy stared at Harry impassively for a few seconds. Then, in a soft voice, he said to himself, “Number six.”
“Num – number six – what the – how – what the hell is going on here?” Harry yelled, his mind too disjointed by Malfoy’s kiss to form full sentences capable of expressing the supreme disbelief and revulsion he felt.
“Never you mind, Potter,” Malfoy said, as though reprimanding a curious child. His pretentious smile didn’t quite reach his eyes, which still glinted like two cold, hard stones. “See you in class.”
On that note, Malfoy walked off, leaving Harry standing at the base of the tree, his mouth agape as a flurry of bewildered thoughts raced through his mind.
Draco grimaced as he headed back into the castle, wondering what had compelled him to put that on his list. He licked his lips unconsciously, tasting Potter (he had never understood what people meant when they said that, but now he did), and promptly made a disgusted face. He was crazy; that was it. Why else would he have willingly kissed Harry Potter?
To humiliate him? a small voice suggested helpfully. It was true. Draco did feel a sense of satisfaction knowing he had just left Potter completely and utterly confounded. It was power in a very unusual, twisted form.
Draco glanced up at the clock in the Entrance Hall as he closed the main doors behind him. He still had an hour left in his free period. He felt a twinge of panic when he realised he had nothing to do. The last thing he wanted to do was idle his precious time away, so he decided to head up to the library and resume his research.
The library was nearly empty; not many people, after all, spent their mornings reading. Draco was fine with this. He preferred not being around people now that the looks his presence elicited were more contemptuous than fearful. The situation was made worse by the fact that Draco could do nothing to retaliate. Now that he had been reintroduced to life away from the Dementors, the last thing he wanted was to go back. In order for things to stay as they were, he had to behave.
Draco sat down at one of the study tables, letting his book bag drop to his feet. He reached down and extracted the Potions book he had started scouring the night before. With a heavy sigh, he ran his fingers along the silver title (Advanced Potion-Making) before placing it gently on the tabletop and opening it.
He knew exactly where to go. Page five hundred and thirty two: the instructions for brewing Felix Felicis. At first Draco had been sure he wouldn’t find the dangerously complicated potion in his school textbook, but he had lucked out. The only thing left to do now was learn how to brew it. This, however, was proving to be far more difficult than Draco had anticipated.
That fat bastard wasn’t kidding when he said this was one of the trickiest potions to make, Draco thought as his eyes travelled down the list of thirty or so ingredients, some of which were all but impossible to obtain without paying a high price. The ingredients weren’t even the worst of it – the process of brewing the potion, which spanned a total of five months, was terribly intricate. The slightest mistake would cost Draco the potion.
Draco pulled out some parchment and a quill. Leaving these on the table, he stood up and stalked over to the Potions Section. There he began prowling the tall shelves, trying to find books on rare ingredients.
The period passed quickly. Draco only had time to check out two books before it was time for him to go to Transfiguration. As he packed his things up, he wondered briefly why he didn’t just skip class. After all, it wasn’t as if it mattered – he wouldn’t be pursuing a job or anything after he graduated.
Then, suddenly, a smile spread across Draco’s face. Reaching into his bag, he pulled out a tightly furled sheet of parchment and spread it out on the table. On it he had written a list consisting of thirteen items. Carefully, he pressed his quill to the page and wrote:
14. Skip classes for one day with no excuse