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Fights and Flights of All Types - Draco Malfoy
The Slytherin King

Draco Malfoy
Date: 2006-01-21 09:45
Subject: Fights and Flights of All Types
Security: Public
Tags:gringotts, karbog, pansy, valentines
I dreamt of her again last night. It is the same every time. I am climbing a set of stairs, but they keep extending and shifting as the stairwells at Hogwarts do. At one point, I fall from one and plummet for awhile, before landing on another. I pick myself up and begin climbing again. I crawl up out of the darkness, the light growing ever brighter as I ascend. Finally, I reach a landing and she is there. The stairways extend behind her in all directions, but I cannot reach any of them without moving past her. She stares at me silently as I approach and then lifts her arms. Before I can discern her intent, I wake up.

~ ~ ~

Yesterday morning, I took extra time to prepare for my appointment with the artifact dealer. Karbog had warned me that this individual was not necessarily to be trusted. Given my station in life now, I expect I shall always have to deal with such unsavory individuals. I wore clothes that conveyed a casual but professional air. They also allowed for free movement and provided a concealed sheath for my wand up the sleeve of my left arm.

The meeting took place in one of the subterranean conference rooms below Gringotts. I arrived early, as I always do, and took the lay of the land. One door in or out, a variety of shielding charms to prevent fires and also external espionage; all in all it was exactly as I expected. A mahogany table sat in the center of the room surrounded by plush leather chairs, while a sideboard contained standard issue refreshments. It was an excellent place for a meeting of this type. The more time I spend at Gringotts, the more I appreciate the work that they do there. I wonder whether they would accept non-goblins onto their Board. But, I digress…

I stood by the sideboard sipping a glass of water, until the individual arrived. I manipulated the greeting such that I ended up in the chair closest to the door. I suspect he knew what I was up to, but I had not allowed him an opening to object. I had brought the items in which he had an interest, and he had done the same. For a while, we each simply examined the other’s wares silently. As we did so, however, I took a quick inventory of the man across from me. He dressed and spoke as one would expect an artifact dealer to, but I could tell that this was not his natural disposition. His posture, his bearing, it all pointed to lowly beginnings and darker employment. Despite his attempts to disguise his nature, he exuded an aura of menace and casual cruelty. Having been raised among such people, it is not difficult for me to sense such things.

At this point, I chose to take a calculated risk. Legilimency and Occlumency are somewhat obscure arts and those who practice them tend to rise higher in organizations such as those to which I suspected this man of belonging. True, he might know something of me and have prepared accordingly, but my skills in these areas were always well-kept secrets and, in any case, had grown immensely during my years of exile. I subtly slid the base of my wand down into my palm on the table and silently cast Legilimens.

He did not notice, even as the tendrils of my thought extended toward his mind. I bobbled the artifact in my hand and he looked up, meeting my eye. This was the only opening I needed to establish a connection that would allow me to sift through those thoughts on the surface of his mind. To probe deeper would have required a far more tangible connection and would likely have alerted him.

Shadowy forms flickered across his consciousness as he examined each artifact in turn. It was pathetically easy to grasp the general state of mind. He was evaluating each piece in the context of how it might help with a larger plan. Despite the risk and level of effort, I pushed a bit deeper to see the contours of that plot. It involved the Ministry, an attack of some sort, “they will all pay…”

I dropped the connection immediately, but it was too late. In my zeal to learn the extent of this scheme, I had gone too far and alerted him. Even as I recovered from the sudden break in connection, he leapt across the table!

I did not have time to think, just to react. As he reached for my throat, I threw my chair backwards, flinging us both to the ground. I grabbed his shoulders and used the momentum to toss him over onto the floor behind me. We each jumped to our feet nimbly and spun to face each other. His actions betrayed his roots, as he made no move to reach for a wand, instead choosing to rely on his physical prowess!

Again, he moved swiftly, sweeping with his foot to take my feet out from under me. I jumped over his leg and spun around to backhand him with a reverse punch, but he ducked it, thrusting out toward my solar plexus with his palm. I blocked upward with my other arm. Instead of breaking my breastbone or collarbone, he clipped me on the eye and the side of the face. My block, however, forced him backwards, throwing him off balance against the door. This gave me the only opening I needed. Petrificus Totalus

The door began to rattle as Gringotts’ crack security staff had clearly heard the ruckus. I calmly dusted myself off and collected my artifacts. I even placed his carefully back on the table. As the guards finally pushed their way past the statue at the door, I was lifting the chair back to an upright position.

“I believe our business is concluded,” I said to my frozen counterpart. “I neither know nor care what you are planning, but you shan’t be using anything associated with my family’s name to do it.” He could do little more than stare at me as I apologized to the guards for the mess and departed.

I have made another enemy today. Normally, this would not bother me as it is nothing new, but I do not like the fact that I do not know what greater organization lurks behind him. I will need to be more wary. Perhaps now that her stalker is taken care of, Pansy will allow me to reacquire the services of Crabbe and Goyle.

~ ~ ~

I made myself scarce from the area around Gringotts for the rest of the day. I briefly considered dropping in at Daphne’s, but in the end decided not to do so. I think I’ve finally accepted that there is nothing there, but perhaps friendship. While I enjoyed our “date,” there were no sparks. It is a disservice to her to pretend that any witch other than one occupies my thoughts.

In any case, as the day drew to a close, I found myself outside Twilfitt and Tatting’s. I have not been back there since the incident prior to Christmas. I cannot allow memories to prevent me from living my life, so I decided to enter and perhaps do a bit of shopping. Despite the fact that it is still January, the place was covered in Valentine’s Day decorations. This did little to lighten my mood, but I had come this far, so I delved deeper into the store, dodging the flying cupids and trying to look away from the pink and red heart-dominated décor.

What have you got there, Draco?

None of your business, Zabini!

Ahh, such a quick and defensive response. You look like I’ve caught you with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

Not at all. I’m simply working on something personal, that’s all.

Really? Would it happen to start with a V and end in –alentine?

And if it did? Who am I to deny the witch population of Hogwarts the delight of a Valentine from Draco Malfoy?

I’m certain they are all waiting anxiously. You are such a philanthropist!

Don’t be jealous, Zabini. I’m certain you will be satisfied with the second-best witch at Hogwarts. We can’t all be the best, after all.

I see only one piece of red parchment. Who is the lucky witch, Draco?

A gentleman never tells.

Somehow in my particular mood, I could find nothing of interest to purchase. Tiring of dodging saleswitches intent on making commission, I made my way up the grand staircase. As I approached the third floor, I spotted her, exactly where I had seen her before. She stood over that same rack of cloaks, examining each in turn. Suddenly, an image appeared in my mind of her draping that cloak over his shoulders. He would raise his hand to her cheek possessively and pull her closer…

"Buying clothes for Smith?"

I feel the bitterness drip off of my tongue. I had not meant to talk to her, but she has a magnetic effect on me. The thoughts of Smith lingered in my mind, bringing a dark scowl to my face.

"How dare you sneak up on me like that!" she exclaimed defensively.

"You were fondling the capes."

She sneered at me. "At least that's all I've been fondling!"

What? What had Smith been telling her? Surely she didn’t believe his lies!"Pardon me? What exactly do you mean by that?"

"I've heard of your fondness for fondling Muggles and slags…in public no less."

This was unbelievable. How could she, of all people, think that I would consort with Muggles, let alone slags. No wonder she disowned me after I fled Hogwarts. Clearly, she thinks the worst of me. Anger and misery dueled for supremacy, with anger winning handily.

"Yes, and I steal lollies from infants as well. Don't forget that, Pansy."

"Apparently you've developed a taste for common pub brawling, too."

Let’s see, Muggles, slags, pub brawling… yes, that seemed familiar!

"Sounds like exactly the type of wizard you fancy these days," I replied with a feral smirk.

"I can tell you what kind of wizard I do NOT fancy!" she snapped back, careful not to raise her voice in public. Her eyes flashed, and I willed myself not to be sucked into them. She is so gorgeous when she is angry. I quickly suppressed such thoughts.

"Are there any left? No, don't answer! I'll wait to read about it in the Daily Prophet tomorrow."

"I'm not surprised that you would believe what you read in the Daily Gossip, Dranko!"

Now that was a low blow, and she knew it. My temper flared and I raised my voice in anger. "At least I don't believe the lies of that pillock!"

"At least he was there for me…when you…abandoned me."

Just like that, she went from angry to sad, and my heart broke. What could I say to that? That you abandoned me first? I’m not even sure if that is true any more. I was the one who left, after all. I was the one who did those things, who did not reach out to her while it was happening. I did abandon her, before I ever left Hogwarts. I stood, stunned.

"Nothing more to say? Well, this time I'm leaving you, Draco. So now you can see how it feels."

She was leaving. I reached out to her, but before my hand as much as moved from my side she was gone.

I remained there, by the cloaks, staring at the spot where she had stood. I could feel the seconds and then minutes slipping away. Finally, I found the energy to make my way downstairs and back home.

I prepared for bed by removing my clothes, and then gingerly slipped between the sheets to avoid tweaking my sore muscles. Laying in the darkness, I replayed our conversation over and over again in my mind.

Merlin, I want her so badly.
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September 2006