Where: Slytherin Common Room
When: Late Saturday night/Sunday morning, Aug. 15.
What:: James goes down to the
Draco is sure that if he has to play one more game of chess by himself he's going to crack. Of course, watching the pieces viciously murder eachother is always fun; but he's not used to being alone and cooped up for such long periods of time. Not to mention the fact that the game isn't doing anything to distract him. He can't believe he actually invited that Potter bloke down for a chat. Surely he was out of his tree. That had to be it.
James is standing outside the Slytherin common room wondering why the hell he agreed to this. He sighs and tells himself that it's for Sirius and trudges onward. After arguing with the guard of the door to be let in, he finally gets his way and looks around. Different. Damp. Dark. He sees you sitting down and clears his throat. He knows he isn't looking his best, but he doesn't care. The way you looked when you first arrived was much worse than his messy hair and dark circles. "It's a wonder you don't die of pneumonia down here." He says trying to be clever, or think of some way to start this awkward conversation. He can't help but think that his kid would be horrified if he knew he was down here looking in on Malfoy, but . . . He owes it to Sirius. And oh would he make sure to tell Sirius all about it when he woke up.
When you clear your throat Draco ignores you at first. He quietly instructs the knight on the board to take the white pawn a few squares away. "VICTORY!" it yells, and though he should really be used to the feisty chessboard by now it still makes him snicker. Once done with that he finally looks up at you. "It's not that bad," he mutters, waving a hand at the empty seat across from him, inviting you to sit. "We've got excellent furniture." He relaxes into his seat in spite of the oddity of having you to talk to.
James watches you strangely, and briefly wonders if your Mother was one of the Junior League chess Mother's he's had to worry about in the past. But shakes his head and doubts your Mother was ever much of an active participant in your extra curricular activities. He looks around. One thing he has to say about most of the common rooms he's seen is that all the furniture seems fabulous. He sits down in one of the chairs and tries not to let his tiredness over take him. "So . . . How are you? Anything going on that anyone should be aware of? You're not feeling ill, and you're getting enough to eat right? No one is bothering you? The kid that whipped your hind end isn't giving you any grief? That pretty girl that fancies you isn't too heartbroken you're not around? Professor Snape isn't making you do extra homework? You're getting all your summer work done? You're becoming a well adjusted young man and all that?" He asks wondering what the hell he was supposed to even say so he just went down the list of things one would ask a growing boy one hardly knew but was trying to take care of in the absence of said boy's self professed guardian. He realises he is probably going over board on the question asking, but he hardly knows this kid . . . He is going by hear say and what he has picked up in the journals.
Draco blinks, his head tilting to the side as you bombard him with question after question. "D'you really want me to answer all of those?" he remarks dryly, a very brief smirk flicking over his features. "It could take a while, you know. I like to talk. Especially about myself." he mouths off another move towards the pieces, not really caring to give any thought to strategy. The pieces mutter something about being 'inattentive' and 'no bloody leadership skills' but Draco ignores them, watching you closely instead. "I haven't spoken to Pansy in about a week," he muses, "and in a month I'm to be thrown to the dogs, as it were. So I suppose I'm just peachy."
James looks at you strangely and nods. "Sadly yes. Answer them." He feels like he should take detailed notes to give to Sirius. So he can show he's been keeping up with things. He raises an eyebrow and shakes his head. "You know, that girl you haven't talked to in a week is horrifyingly scary. I think that perhaps she will ward off said dogs. She worked for me for almost a month you know." He says absently. Oh look something in common, they both know the scary girl. He sighs and waits for some kind of response. "You know . . . We've all had to deal with our fair share of adversity. I'm sure that everything will be fine." He says trying to sound inspirational.
Draco smiles when you mention Pansy. "She's not scary," he quips, "Just ... eccentric. Besides, she wasn't really herself at the time, was she?" he asks, letting out a bark of laughter at the memory. Pansy was definitely one of the things he was looking forward to most when it came to the term starting. He sobers a bit when you mention 'adversity', remembering why it was you'd come down here in the first place. "My cousin was turned into a woman, ran about the castle in heels; then suddenly he's missing and there's some sort of .. altercation." he gives you a curious look, idly picking up one of his pawns and pointing it at you for no discernable reason, "you say he'll be just fine. I'd believe it if he told me himself." There's no anger or accusation in his tone, as he's genuinely worried. Not that he'd admit that outright.
James snorts a bit, "No I don't suppose she was herself, but she was scary none the less." He shakes his head in your direction. "Look, he WILL be just fine. I'm telling you that, and you are going to have to take it on my word, because he's busy getting all the way better right now." He pauses and sighs. Nothing can happen to Sirius. Nothing. He doesn't think he could survive that. "Look, nothing is going to happen to Sirius Black as long as I'm alive alright? I won't have it. And as I'm sure you've heard on many occasions, I'm a spoiled arrogant prat, and I always get my way. Yes he went missing, but so did my kid alright? And yes there was some trouble. But he'll be okay. I'm a stubborn hard headed shit . . . I won't have it." He says firmly, and he does sound sincere. He's very sure of himself on this one.
"Ouch," Draco mutters, dropping the pawn and shaking out his hand. Little bastard had just bit at his finger. He'd definitely have to talk to Professor Snape about that, they weren't supposed to bite back. At the same time, his gaze does not waver from yours. You're a bit twitchy but he supposes that's to be expected in a situation like this. Whatever the hell this was anyway. "That's good to hear," Draco says honestly, leaning forward as you go on. The corner of his mouth twitches into a mirthful smirk when you start cursing. "I don't think you'd like to know what I'd heard about you before .. arriving here." Draco feels a bit of colour rise in his cheeks. "Did my father.." he cuts himself off there, giving you a placating look, "nevermind."
James makes a bit of a flinch when you get bitten. "Umm. Be careful?" He says feeling strange. He's never though of chess as a contact sport before. Well . . . not since Harry's first year anyway. He feels as though he might have done a good job of convincing you, and he's rather pleased with himself! He grins a bit then shakes his head. "Oh don't worry I've heard it all. Muggle lover, married to a muggle born witch . . . Then there is my role as the Father of the Boy Who lived . . . Among PLENTY of other things I'm sure. It would take hours to list them all I'm sure." He says rolling his eyes. His eyes narrow a bit when you mention your Father, but he is trying to keep a clear head . . . He can't blame you for curiosity, or whatever it might be. He doesn't know if he wants to open this can of worms, but does anyway, "Did he what?" He asks trying not to sound too incredibly revolted . . . He's trying his best to sound indifferent, but that is hard to do in his situation, especially when the likes of Lucius Malfoy was concerned.
Draco gives a sheepish grin at that, "I think Snape charmed those on a bad day," it's not the first time he's been bitten by a riled chunk of marble. He smirks when you list off possible names you've been called. You're pretty much on the mark, though you seem to be leaving out several dirty insults he'd heard his Mother utter on more than one occasion. He runs a hand through his hair when you ask him for specifics and avoids looking at you. This is definitely a touchy subject. Shouldn't have brought it up, you're already on edge and he's not sure if he can trust you with the kind of information he'd trusted Sirius with. "I owe Black now," he mutters, "I didn't owe anyone when I told him I needed somewhere to run to." Draco shifts uncomfortably. He hates admitting any of this to you, of all people. "D'you know what I mean?"
James rolls his eyes. "Oh you mean he charmed them on a day between Sunday and Sunday then?" He says chuckling. He looks at you questioningly and shakes his head. "You don't owe anyone anything Draco. We don't work like that here. You needed help, you asked for it, and you got it. End of story. You only owe yourself to take the information you've learned on your own and use it to make an informed decision. You've seen two incredibly small sides of a very large picture. I know it isn't much to work with, you seem bright enough Draco . . . I just hope that you actually use the brains in that head of yours. With all the prodding from one side to the other, in the end you are accountable to yourself. And you're the only one who can decide. The only thing you owe is to make the right choices. And by doing what you did, and suffering the consequences from that side of things I hope you learned a lesson." He is realising that he sounds VERY much like a Father, and it irks him a little, but then again . . . He IS in fact a Father . . . "Am I making sense? Or am I way off base here?" He asks making sure he's being clear.
Draco rubs his temples in frustration when you unload all of this on him. Even a moving diatribe from you isn't going to convince him that the doesn't owe Sirius his life. Granted, it was likely his tendency to blow everything out of proportion, especially when it came to situations involving mortal peril. But everything else you have to say makes a bit of sense. He looks up when you ask if you're off base, which you're really not. "That's all very idealistic of you," he whispers, "but you've never betrayed your family, have you?" With that question he gives a cynical roll of his eyes. Some bloody fucking family that was, really. "I like your lot better anyway," he drawls petulantly.
James looks at you sternly. It's the look. The Dad look. The 'you're being a prat shape up' look. He clears his throat and speaks calmly. "No . . . I haven't. But my best friend did. And likewise . . . My other . . ." may as well tell it like it is . . . "My other best friend betrayed me, and my son and my wife could have been killed. It may sound idealistic coming from my mouth. But I can guarantee you that I've been in plenty of situations in my life where making a choice was imminent. A life or death decision. More than once. More than twice. More times than I care to remember. My kid has a price on his head . . . People want to kill him. Every day, there is a lunatic who wants nothing more than to see my son dead. You aren't the only one with problems here. We've all had to make hard choices. And we're here to actually help you, all you have to do is ask. And we'll do what we can without even blinking . . . I'm not kidding." He pauses and shakes his head. "You like us better . . . Why do you like us? Tell the truth, I don't care how shallow it is." He says flatly, and very obviously expecting a straight answer.
Draco crosses his arms over his chest and raises a brow at you. Hearing all of this from your perspective is interesting, to say the least. He resists the urge to bring this conversation back to himself, as you're being quite open with him and he doesn't want to risk you suddenly closing off. To say he's skeptical of all this rot about helping at the drop of a hat would be an understatement, but that's cynicism for you, really. "Considering who I am," he chooses his words carefully, "and all the things I've done to your kid." He takes a deep breath and crosses his ankle over his knee, "Potter... I'm a Slytherin. This whole selfless acts of kindness thing sort of flies over my head."
James shakes his head and chuckles at you a bit, "Look kid . . . What you've done to my son pales in comparison what I used to do your head of house. No I don't like that you've made his life hell. No parent would. But listen to me . . . Hasn't Harry been down here? Aren't the two of you at least on speaking terms? That's better than being at each other's throats I think. And more productive." He shrugs a bit more and waves his hand at you. "It's not entirely selfless Draco . . . Come on. I mean sure, we'll help you. We'll do anything we can to help you. One les Death Eater is one less person we have to get through to get to Voldemort. It's one less person throwing their life away. It's one less person fighting a losing battle. We're helpful, but we're not without our ulterior motives either."
"We've gone flying twice," Draco admits, shrugging. "He doesn't talk much. Just sort of .. broods silently." At the mention of his Head of House, the various yet-mobile chess pieces let out a small cheer and Draco shakes his head, the sides of his mouth twitching into a smile. He'd noticed that the two of you seemed to have some sort of deep-seeded rivalry, and it dawns on him that it's likely that fact alone that's kept him out of too much trouble when picking on Harry. "Ulterior motives I understand," Draco actually grins, "thanks for using the tiny words," he quips, taking a minor jab at himself. "While we're on the subject of me, I need schoolbooks."
James nods. "That's something then." He nods a bit. "He's got a lot on his plate Draco. I'm sure you can understand that. And it probably isn't easy for him to extend the proverbial olive branch either." He rolls his eyes at the chess pieces, but chuckles when Draco makes a joke at his own expense. It was important to be able to laugh at oneself. He raises his eyebrow a bit however when you mention books. "Give me your book list. We'll get it taken care of." Far be it from him to deny education, and he wasn't about to ask Remus about it either.
"It's not a bad look on him, really," Draco remarks, "you know, the stoic moping face." He is in no way, at all, saying Harry is in any way 'good looking'. Only saying. Draco blinks when you offer to pick up his books for him. Perfect. Sure, he'd brought a galleon or two along with him when he'd fled; but he wasn't about to turn you down. "It's in my bag over there." He gives you an expectant look for just a few moments. Of course he could grab the sack himself, but he'd like to see what kind of reaction that gets.
James raises an eyebrow, "Looking to take him on a date Draco?" He asks curiously. Now wouldn't that be the scandal of the century. He shoved that thought out of his head as quickly as possible. James snorts and vaguely looks in the direction of the bag. "Well if you want books I think you ought to get it out of your bag and bring it here don't you? Or would you rather learn by osmosis next term?"
"I'm not that desperate," Draco holds up a placating hand, hoping you don't take offence to that. He'd had enough scandal to last him more than one lifetime the way it was, thanks much. He chuckles when you refuse to move and he leans over, it's not like his bag was that far away in the first place, just at arm's length at the chair next to him. He pulls it toward him lazily and digs through it, finally pulling the list from an outer pocket. "Here. I'll also need quills. And some ink, of course. You've got one my age you know the drill." Draco shrugs, looking somewhat abashed. He wonders if he should offer payment of some sort; but the last time he tried that, with Sirius, he'd been labeled a prat for it.
James narrows his eyes a bit, but lets it go. Kids are kids, and well, he'd rather Harry found other people to date than Malfoys. He might have to have a talk with him about dating . . . God. No. He shakes his head quickly and smirks when you take your book list out. He takes it from you and looks over it. "Yes, I do indeed know the drill." He said absently. "Do you do any other reading besides school? Is there a book or something you want? Within reason please, I don't intend to buy you a library, but in case you're bored until school starts." He says sincerely.
"I don't have much else to do. Unless you can think of something other than listening to water dripping and watching the walls slowly dry," Draco remarks dryly. He downright hates being cooped up here, and your offer only makes him think of actual activities he could be doing over the hols. Normal things like flooing back and forth to see Pansy, or taking tea with mother or.. "Shite, anything. I don't care. As long as it's not chess related," he waves a hand at the abandoned game in front of him. "I'd even take Playwizard at this point. And I'm a bloody pouf."
James chuckles. "It's been a shitty summer all around Draco. I have no sympathy. But I do have mercy. I'll bring you your school supplies, and a book." He says grinning a bit before standing up. "Is there anything you need? You know how to get into the kitchens and all?"
"Heh, people at my mercy. All is going to plan," Draco laughs outright, biting back a yawn. It's quite late after all. "No, I don't need anything. Just let Black know I'll be more than a bit put out if I don't get a chat in before term starts, yeah?" He'd whinge for a visit but he's ready for bed and if Sirius is going to be 'fine', then there was always another day to demand that.
James rolls his eyes. "Dramatics, do they pull you Slytherins aside and teach you that now?" He says before nodding his head. "I'll keep him clued in and the like. Goodnight Draco. And uh, let us know if you need anything."