Gakushuu sighs for the seventh time that day. The conference room is still packed, with no sign of anyone leaving anytime soon, so Gakushuu is forced to sit here and wait for the Chairman. Again.
Trying not to appear disrespectful or nosy, he looks around at the other children waiting. They all appear as equally bored as he is, seeing as how this was supposed to be a parent-child conference, and instead the adults had kicked them out one by one. Gakushuu had been last, of course. Unlike the other whiny spawn, he knew every reason why each person was in the room.
One of the kids, a dark-skinned girl with glasses, flicks a rubber band at her older brother. Peterson, here because investing in the company gave them reputation. They needed that, after their eldest child had run off with a servant.
And… the boy with dyed blue hair. Jansen. One of their twins dead, the other gone rogue. They needed to invest so that the company would hide the remaining twin in the country, in a lesser known school. Two boys, the Rustovs, glaring at each other from across the room. Here because their parents needed a school knocked down, somewhere popular, so their company could build on the land.
The list goes on. The only person here who needs nothing is Gakuhsuu. His family is the one all of the others are investing in.
But there’s one kid here, the one in the corner with a bizarre cloak and a halo of golden hair, who Gakushuu does not recognise. The nose is pinched, skin ghostly pale, so he must be European. Based on the face structure, likely French. Briefly, Gakushuu closes his eyes and flicks through his memory of the recent hours to the point where the boy had entered. With his father, the one with hair reaching his waist, the boy had walked in with an expression of acute distaste. Hm, snob. Likely looking for money, based on their completely outdated look.
A waiter coughs beside him. Gakushuu jolts out of the memory, fixing the waiter with his best ‘go away before I get you fired’ smile. The waiter flees, and Gakushuu stands. If he’s going to be waiting her for hours on end, he might as well have some fun.
The boy looks up as Gakushuu walks over, curling his lip. The distaste again. It’s a shame really, a nice conversation where Gakushuu slowly peeled back the boy’s reason for coming would have sufficed. Now he’ll have to tear down the ignorant brat.
First, he sticks out his hand politely, speaking in Japanese specifically because it’s obvious the boy doesn’t know it. “My name is Asano Gakushuu, as I’m sure you already know.”
The boy sniffs pretentiously. “I don’t speak that language, Muggle.” English, that’s a surprise. A well-formed british accent too, high class, although the word at the end is new. Gakushuu quietly stores it away, sticking a note in his mind to research it later.
“My apologies.” He smoothly transitions to English, and the boy’s eyes widen a fraction. “However, I speak English, so I would appreciate your being civil. My name is Gakushuu Asano.” Surname last, that’s how the English speak. Strange people.
The boy huffs, ignoring the hand. “Draco Malfoy.”
Malfoy. Malfoy. No, no mention of a Malfoy before. It’s strange - Malfoy, ‘bad faith’ in French, Draco, ‘dragon’ in Latin. The dragon of bad faith. No, irrelevant, scrap that, move on.
“A pleasure.” He tilts his voice just enough to sound disdainful, but not enough to insult, and elegantly descends into the chair beside the boy. “What brings you here?”
“My father.” Malfoy spits, glaring at him. “What do you think?”
Hm. Impolite, arrogant, and atrociously dressed. Gakushuu is beginning to lose all patience with this boy. “I see. How strange I’ve never seen you in any of the previous discussions… oh, that’s right. Parents only.” He laughs, giving enough teeth to flash his canines. “Apart from me, of course. Maturity over age. Such a shame you have neither.”
Maybe a bit far. Reel it back in, Gakushuu, this Malfoy boy isn’t Akabane. He’s an investor.
Malfoy snarls, hackles raised. “Well if that’s true, shouldn’t you be in there too?”
Ah. Gakushuu smiles, collecting the anger and packing it neatly into little cages. “Fair point. Our parents aren’t exactly keeping to their word. All working to create a bright new future for their children, while locking them out of the discussions.”
The boy seems surprised at how easily Gakushuu calms. “Right. Yes.”
“Perhaps you’d like to take a walk with me? I assure you, our parents shan’t miss us for another two hours and thirty four minutes, at least.” He stands again, holding out a hand, smile morphing into ‘reassuring’ and ‘friendly’.
Malfoy scowls at him, refusing the hand yet again. He stands, though, muttering something about ‘dirty blood’ and ‘my father will hear about this’, and follows Gakushuu as he walks out of the room. The other kids give them bored glances, most likely wishing they had the gall to follow. Along the corridor, down the stairs, to the right, through the office space, and Gakushuu does his best to get the annoying prick to talk. No such luck. This pompous idiot still refuses to do much more than spit insults by the time they reach an empty corridor, and Gakushuu has run out of patience.
“Please, go on ahead, I must retie my shoelaces. They seem to have become loose.” He mutters through gritted teeth, heart thumping in anticipation as the git snorts and marches on ahead. Three, two, one…
“Now.” Gakushuu whispers, pushing his anger and frustration at the boy in a tidal wave, knocking Malfoy off his feet to face-plant on the hard ground. Grinning the first genuine smile of the day, Gakushuu jumps to his feet and rushes over, uncaring that his facade of sympathy refuses to slip onto his face. “Oh no, such a shame! Perhaps you should have stopped to tie your shoelaces like me, they have a habit of tripping people up.”
It’s silly, really, only using this strange ability of his to do pranks, but he can’t help it. It’s not like Gakushuu will use it to cheat - he likes winning because he’s just better than people - and he can’t use it for the good of humanity, otherwise more men will come with their mind wiping abilities and take him away. The first time he used the powers, they arrived, black suits and hidden weapons in their pockets, asking after any strange happenings. He’s not stupid. He’s seen the films. So as long as he doesn’t get caught, he can use this unnatural ability to laugh at irritating boys like Akabane and Malfoy.
Malfoy struggles to his feet, getting tangled in the ridiculous robes. His face is furious. “How dare you?!” He hisses, pulling out a strange stick and poking it in Gakushuu’s face. “I knew it! My father would never bow to a Muggle! I’m not stupid, Arsainope, I know when someone hits me with a tripping hex!”
At least Gakushuu now knows why the Malfoys are here, he ponders, leaning back to avoid the stick. To find somewhere to hide their lunatic son. “It’s Asano. Would you put that down? You’re going to poke someone’s eye out.” He sighs, an unimpressed expression sliding onto his face with ease. He’s had a lot of practice with it, especially when Akabane and his class of loonies come down from the hilltop.
Malfoy snorts. “You sound like that Granger girl.” Then he pauses, hesitantly lowering the stick, eyes examining Gakushuu’s face with an increasing look of horror. “You’re not- You’re not actually like her, are you? As in, a mudblood?!”
Muggle, mudblood, and strange stick waving. Whatever next. “Frankly, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Perhaps we should return to wait for our parents, before you make a bigger fool of yourself, Malfoy.” He sighs, rolling his eyes.
“You really don’t, do you?” Malfoy gapes at him, stick now limp in his hand. “How? Didn’t you get your letter when you were seven? Aren’t you at Mahoutokoro?”
“Hm. Well. As enlightening as this has been, I’m afraid I rather need to use the lavatory.” And call the police, Gakushuu privately thinks, turning on his heel to escape.
“Wait!” Malfoy grabs onto his arm, spinning him around again. “Can you do this?” He frowns, concentrating, and a shower of sparks erupts from the end of his stick. Gakushuu stares, and slowly flicks a few sparks back. He could do better, but the shock of finding the lunatic boy is like him seems to have dampened his abilities. Perhaps Malfoy is not such a lunatic after all.
Malfoy scowls, manhandling Gakushuu into the nearest closet. He doesn’t protest. He doesn’t think he’s got the emotional strength to.
“Right. You’re a mudblood.” Malfoy appears even more disgusted at this. “You’ve got magic, Afarno.”
“Whatever. I don’t know why you haven’t, but you were supposed to get a letter when you were seven, inviting you to join the Japanese school for magic, Mahoutokoro. They were supposed to teach you about magic there.”
Finally, Gakushuu retrieves his voice. “Why did you call me ‘Muggle’ and ‘mudblood’?”
“Muggles are people without magic.” He sighs, rolling his eyes. Gakushuu can’t help feeling a little helpless, like a clueless child being told off by the Chairman for not drawing the eyes right. “And mudbloods are wizards or witches born into a muggle family, who have magic. Well, the official name is muggleborn, but…”
“It doesn’t matter.” Malfoy suddenly looks uncomfortable. “Look, Aimanso.”
“Whatever! You have to come speak to my father about this. Wait.” Malfoy scrunches his nose up. “Nevermind. Bad idea. Do you have an owl?”
“Why would I need an owl?” Gakushuu asks, a hole opening up beneath his feet. How does he not know all of this? Why does this scrawny little prick know more than he does? Does that mean that Gakushuu is worse than him?
“Muggles don’t have owls, right. How do you talk to other people?”
“With my mouth.” Gakushuu deadpans. Ok, maybe that last thought was stupid. Obviously he’s better than this idiot.
“No, I mean, how do you talk to people far away?”
Malfoy groans, face palming. “How do you talk to people very very far away? Like, in another country?”
“A text?” Gakushuu raises an eyebrow.
Malfoy is the one to look confused now. “A text? What’s a text?”
“Like, with a phone.” Gakushuu pulls out his phone, which he immediately regrets as Malfoy snatches it and examines the specially made cover, complete with a picture of the Five Virtuosos (and Jaws, obviously) celebrating over his father’s coffin. Generally, this phone is only used for personal things, such as wailing to his friends at 3am about how unfair life is, but today he’d accidentally left his work phone.
“This is a phone? But it’s just a block of plastic. How is this supposed to send messages to anyone?” Malfoy wrinkles his nose, letting Gakushuu snatch it back.
“Magic.” He clicks the on button, showing Malfoy the lit up screen.
Twenty minutes later, Malfoy is still fascinated and slightly terrified of the device. Gakushuu sighs for the fifteenth time that day. “No, Malfoy, it doesn’t actually contain magic. Look, why don’t you just keep this one.” He digs in his pockets and brings out Akabane’s phone, taking his own back. Not like the other boy will miss it, since every one of his gets doused in wasabi paste or something even more grim.
Malfoy frowns, firmly pressing the button and grinning at the lit up screen. “Is this you?” He snorts, showing Gakushuu the lockscreen, and jumping when Gakushuu accidentally makes the broom behind him break in half. That utter demon. When he sees him again, Gakushuu is going to-
“Azno?” Malfoy backs off hesitantly at Gakushuu’s best ‘I will kill you and your entire family’ smile, lowering the picture of Gakushuu in a cocktail dress and sparkly lipstick glowing from the screen. Not only this, but the words ‘luv my gf’ are emblazoned across the bottom. No wonder it was so easy to steal - Akabane wanted everyone in the school to see it.
“It’s Asano.” He snarls, making a tremendous effort to claw his fury into slightly larger cages than before. “Nevermind. Here.” He quickly changes it to English, and replaces ‘second place-kun’ with ‘Asano’. “You can work out the rest using google.”
“Such a stupid name.” Malfoy snorts, tucking the phone into a pocket of his robes.
“Says the boy named Draco Malfoy.” Gakushuu mutters in japanese.
Draco scowls, opening his mouth to argue back, when the door opens. Both boys turn to stare at Mr Malfoy, that obnoxious long blonde hair flicking impatiently in the slight wind. “Draco. Come with me.”
Draco’s face drops, and he obediently follows his father out. Just as he’s about to walk out of sight, however, he pats the pocket where the phone is, and nods.
‘What a nightmare’
‘When did u learn that?’
‘Last month, remember?’
Gakushuu grins, waiting for Draco to respond. It was hard, working to get wifi into Hogwarts without revealing his existence, but they did it. Now Draco and him talk almost every night, after Gakushuu’s done the Chairman’s personally assigned work, and Draco’s finished the fiftieth essay that week. Gakushuu teaches Draco maths and muggle things, and Draco teaches Gakushuu magic and potions. It’s a strange balance.
Years later, they move in together. Draco, driven out by a society filled with hate for ex-Death Eaters. Gakushuu, driven out by a suddenly interested Chairman, for which he held no love. They fight, often, mostly about who gets the right to the better bedroom, but most of the time they mimic each other’s parents and everything settles down again.
Gakushuu never marries.
Neither does Draco, despite his father’s best attempts.
When Gakushuu is diagnosed with dementia, Draco works on a potion to cure it. The potion never works, although when his notes are found by another ambitious potioneer after his death, a new one is developed. It’s a little too late. But later, much much later, children come to play beneath the huge tree over the old graveyard, tracing two names on two graves.