June 5th, 1987
Draco watched with dismayed fascination as Greg and Vince haplessly ambled about the gathering. Both boys only just showed enough sense that they didn’t greedily sample the food, but that was the utmost that could be said about their manners. They were getting far too big, Pansy’s grandmother had sniffed, to politely dismiss their bumping into people as “getting underfoot”.
He would have to call a retreat to the other wing. Not only because he feared the moment one of the ladies’ hats would be knocked askance - without the wrongdoer’s careful calculation justifying the act – and Mother would become truly annoyed. No, if he had to witness Greg failing to answer yet another of Lady Avery’s questions about his uncle’s estate, he was going to make a spectacle of himself and scream.
How he wished Millicent was here. Again. Draco hadn’t quite decided whether she was avoiding him or simply his birthday parties.
There were plenty of shiny new toys in his room. He would be proud to show them off to Pansy, Vince and Greg – of course he would! - but he still would have liked to take the time, first, to savour them on his own.
Greg ducked away from Mr. Bulstrode and once more stepped dangerously close to Lady Avery’s reach.
‘Direct commands get the best results,’ Draco reminded himself.
Having to be a natural leader was hard work. He could see why Father was sometimes weary of it.
June 5th, 1997
To anyone who might be watching it was the same display of strength that it had always been: Draco Malfoy walking out of the Great Hall toward the Slytherin dorms, flanked by Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.
How he wished that Greg and Vince could still protect him.
He put one foot in front of the other, every step taking him further from the teachers’ overly kind gazes and whatever it was Potter believed he was seeing. Closer to the private party in the Dungeons he didn’t have time for but couldn’t get out of, and wanted, needed to enjoy because hadn’t he earned at least that much?
Only twelve days left. Twelve days and the futile hope that success might be a way to drive the fear out of his bones.
Greg and Vince’s footsteps echoed steadily next to his own. He could not let on to them that he was afraid. He could not be sure that they’d even comprehend the need. There was preciously little he could do to protect them.
‘Left foot. Right foot. And on.’
After the party, one more night that would bring him closer to the day he absolutely had to have the blessed cupboard working.
Twelve more days.
June 5th, 2007
They’d been sequestered in the Malfoy-Black library since early morning. It had been raining constantly since school had let out on Saturday, but none of their party really seemed to mind.
In the alcove that had by far the best light, Neville was reading through a mountain of books he hadn’t had the time for during the term. From what Draco had been able to glean by listening with one eighth of an ear, he seemed to be enjoying discussing the finer points of each text he finished with Astoria.
Draco himself was going over Daphne’s contract with the woman in question – again, although the new version had arrived much, much earlier in the summer than either of them had expected. “Flitwick must have championed you really hard to McGonnagal,” he’d told her and had not missed the look she’d cast in Neville’s direction when she’d smiled.
Behind them, Millicent and Greg were going through a stack of histories. Selecting the old tomes had been a vigilant business; everything had hinged on whether or not one of them was able to touch and read them due to a strong enough blood connection. There was one book Millicent would insist Draco go through for her before the end of the day.
They all looked up when Winky silently popped into the room. The elf greeted them all with a bob of her head and handed out mugs of pumpkin juice. “They’s spelled ‘specially not to spill,” she whispered proudly.
He’d just caught the loop hole he’d been wishing for, too. It was shaping up to be a perfect day.
June 5th, 2017
“It’s really not my field, or Draco’s, but we thought it would be fun to go just to have been there,” Neville explained to Susan about their plans to port-key to South America to catch the Paraguay leg of Remus’ book tour.
“Paraguay, huh,” Seamus said. “Don’t they have those Nindelwing-something or other you keep raving about?”
“Blue-blossomed Wingnindels,” Neville agreed, “if you ask if that influenced my decision: It helped.”
They all laughed. Draco caught the thoughtful look on Luna’s face and checked to see if Neville had noticed it too; Neville’s impish wink told him he had. Neither of them would be surprised to run across her in Curuguaty, if only so that she could snare Remus into a discussion on whether the cave in chapter six had once been a home to Prune-Faced Varnuckles.
‘I wonder what would happen if we all turned up,’ Draco thought.
Himself and Neville, their Slytherin friends, Seamus, Luna, Susan and – he squinted as he tried to recall her name – some Ravenclaw girl from Astoria and Luna’s year Blaise was seeing.
“Well, it’s not Paraguay, but we’re going to the Isle of Man,” Greg spoke up. He grinned smugly when everybody turned to look at him, but leaned back to signal Madam Rosmerta for another drink, content to let Daphne answer their questions.
Spotting the lot of them in the audience would shock Severus far too much for anyone’s comfort. Nevertheless, the idea seemed more glorious the longer Draco thought about it. He was reasonably certain they could all afford the trip. ‘I had best brace myself for disappointment,’ he cautioned, but it wouldn’t hurt to write and ask Remus’ opinion in the morning.