When: Late Saturday, 31 July
What: Draco and Snape have a bit of a chat. Neither trusts the other much. Oi.
Draco made a mental note to himself to keep firmly to the Dungeons tonight. The last thing he wanted was to have to mingle with a gaggle of Potter well-wishers. He closed the book he'd been persuing for the last two hours and stood, stretching his arms above his head. Torn between wanting to sleep or find somewhere more comfortable, he tucks the tome under his arm and wanders in the direction of the dormitories.
Severus paced down the corridor in a restless manner. He could not bring himself to concentrate on the potions he needed to brew or anything else for that manner. Too many other issues weighed heavily on his mind. The dreaded Potter spawn was 16 today and he was still no closer to being the powerful wizard that was meant to defeat a dark lord. It truly would be a miracle if the boy lived to see his next birthday. Then there was Draco Malfoy. What was to be done with that boy? Could he truly be trusted to any extent?
Severus looked up and saw you walking toward the dormitories. Speak of the devil. "Mister Malfoy."
Draco, not really paying attention to his surroundings as he wandered, started slightly when he hears your voice. He straightens his shoulders and gives you a polite nod. "Professor." Good to know he's not the only one avoiding attention, really.
Severus takes this moment to look at you well. The wounds and bruises from your unfortunate encounter with Blaise has all but faded. He wonders what other scars may be left behind though. "I see we both find the celebratory events of today to be less than amiable."
Draco can't stop a smirk from pulling at the side of his mouth with the thought of Potter turning sixteen. "I'm sure they're all in upstairs frolicing and pinching his cheeks." It's tough for him to keep the bitterness from his tone. He'd seen what his mother had to say and he couldn't quite decide if he should be having a breakdown or an absolute tantrum over it. Not that he was surprised. He shakes his head to clear his thoughts. "Can I ask you something, sir?"
Severus raises an eyebrow. This was unexpected. He had almost expected you to make a quick excuse and run. "If you must, Mister Malfoy. Perhaps this conversation would be better suited within the confines of my office?"
"I suppose so." Draco nods. He'd wanted to speak with you since he'd arrived; but every time he went to approach your office or that infernal journal he'd lose his nerve. What the hell was he supposed to say? Blaise had outright told him that you were at his initiation.
Severus just nods and leads the way. He has been wanting to find time to talk with you. Everytime he should try though, a menace like Blaise appeared. He whispers the password to the door of his office and the door swings open. He lights the candles in the room with a wave of his wand and conjures a comfortable chair for you. After spelling the room for privacy, he sits in his own chair behind the desk. "Sit, Mister Malfoy. Ask me what you must."
Draco is grateful that you've deigned to conjure a comfortable chair. At least there was someone he respected and admired who still had a sense of decency around him. He shrugs his books onto the floor and sits when he is told. "Thank you, sir." He folds his hands in his lap and suddenly finds them to be a very nice place to focus his gaze. "Would it be alright.. if I still talk to her?" He finally looks up at you. "I mean, my Mother." He feels extremely stupid asking you this but it's the first thing that pops to mind.
Severus glances toward the journal hidden under a pile of parchment. It seems you have read Narcissa's entry. He was quite aggravated when replying to said entry. Narcissa was always an infuriating woman in his own eyes. "I suppose but your mother may not be so welcoming of such an advance at the moment."
"I thought she'd.." He shakes his head and slumps a bit in his chair. No, he'd been merely fooling himself. No need to invite you to pick him apart as well. "They'll never let me back. That was made clear, Professor." Perfectly clear. Complete with a kick to the bloody head and spittle in his face. He looks down at his hands again. "not much I can do. I owe Black my life."
Severus scowls. "Now that is a new low as I have ever heard. Owing your life to Black indeed." He should not be one to speak then. He did owe and may still owe his life to James Potter.
Draco blinks at your reaction. "With all due respect, sir.." He'd noticed you and Black didn't seem to get along (and he fancied he knew why, but that's his ego talking); but your sentiments afterward he'd been found seemed geniune. "He offered a place to stay when I planned this, too." Information already known by Blaise and, he assumed now, most respectable society in general.
Severus' scowl deepens. He suspected so right from the beginning. Black had rescued and welcomed you all too readily. He hates being a double agent for this reason. He cannot allow himself to be held in confident with those of his House that would reject the Dark Lord. "I suppose I would owe my gratitude to Black that you have not been eviscerated yet. Come, Mister Malfoy, there must be more on your mind then your mother if you wish to talk with me."
Draco's posture improves a bit once you ask for the gist of his inquiry. "Let me be frank, then." He was putting on his impression of his father as best he could. It'd worked once with Blaise; it'd worked once even with Rosier. "I still wish to be useful to your cause." He adds emphasis, hoping you'll catch his meaning. He was going off the complete guess he'd extrapolated from your past private messages. He didn't expect either side of light or dark to trust him fully. Especially with the reaction of both Tonks and his mother. Keepin ghimself alive was his priority, as he'd told you; and if it was through the process of acting as eyes then so be it.
"How very Slytherin," Severus smirks. Even if you are unwilling to serve the Dark Lord, you are still a Malfoy born and bred. "What do you believe my cause to be then?" This was as good a time as any to figure out what you think of him.
Draco flashes a grin at what he rightly considers quite a compliment, especially coming from you. "I believe you deal in information, sir." He knew well not to go into too much detail. Questioning things was what got him into this mess; and he doesn't want you to reveal that which you simply can't. "As I no longer have money of my own," he cringes a bit, "I'll have to benefit from something else."
Severus leans back in his chair. "You are in need of a sponsor then. If what you say is true, what information can you possibly offer me? The rest of your House will not take so kindly to you come this September."
"Depends on who the information is for." Draco shrugs, remaining calm, though a small part of him is excited about talking in riddles and negotiating and doing what it was he'd sometimes dreamed of doing. "Certain people have offered me loyalty of late. I happen to like the offer." Admitting this is a tad embarassing, even a bit too Hufflepuffian for his taste but it was true regardless. He's at a loss about his Housemates. "Father will be sure I'm knocked down a few more notches, I'm sure."
"A few notches would be an understatement, Mister Malfoy." Severus turns over your words in his head. Are you trying to corner him into revealing his true loyalties to you? "I would advise you to be careful of those offered loyalties. It is impossible to tell what is truly in the hearts of men."
Draco's brow furrows in thought. He wondered how far his father would go to slander him. A small part of him hoped Lucius would be lenient; but it was a very small part. "A colleague of mine.. was somewhat neutral when I met him." He chooses his words carefully. "He can be careless, as you know. I'll work with that." He shrugs. It'd take a hell of a lot of work to get Blaise to tell him things; but he reckoned he could eventually.
Severus studies your face carefully. "And how long ago did you meet this colleague? How would you know how much he has changed since then?"
"This one hasn't offered subterfuge. Nor has he apologized for nearly killing me." Being Draco meant that at least six people had tried to kill him at one point, in his opinion anyway. He smirked, the cogs in his head turning. "I believe I'm talking about that fine line you once wrote about, sir. If walking it is enough for you.." He cuts himself off and wills the desperate look from his face. Merlin knows who you'd tell if he admitted it was all he had.
Severus saw that desperate look that flashed across your face. It is time to stop dancing around the subject. "Yes, that fine line. What side of that line do you believe I lean more towards? Where do my loyalties lie since you are so convinced that yours does lie with that of the Dark Lord?"
"More towards the direction I ran. Sir." Draco looks confident, feels confident; but he, too, is tired of games. Or rather, tired in general.
"What reasons would you have to reach such a conclusion? I am anything but unloyal to my master." Severus leans forward and rests his chin on his propped folded hands. He will be as vague as he needs to. He can only reveal so much before he can acertain you can be held in confidence. He has too much at stake if he should make an unfortunate error.
"It's been said that I'm safe here. Even in your office." Draco crosses an ankle over his knee and relaxes a bit further. "I wouldn't be safe if you weren't at least cooperating. So I suppose that means nothing, but it means you're not trying to further undermine me." There's only one other reason he can think of. Just the one. Granted it was strewn all about those journals but there had to be a connection, there just had to be. "Potter's also safe here."
"As you said yourself, I do deal in intelligence. Would you not agree that Hogwarts would be the prime location to gather intelligence of any sort?" Severus does not wait for your answer. "I am not here without reason. The Dark Lord has His eyes everywhere. Never forget that, Mister Malfoy. Both you and Potter are here by the Headmaster's grace. I cannot say much more."
Draco holds up a placating hand. "I'm not arguing that. Of course He has eyes here. What I'm saying is I'm also here by the Headmaster's.. grace." It's still difficult for him to grasp Dumbledore being anything other than a mad old hatter; but your mention of grace is enough for him, and if that's all you can really say... "Shall I take my leave, then, Professor?"
"Good evening then, Mister Malfoy. My door is always open to my Slytherins." Severus waves his hand in a dismissing manner. He will not be getting back to his potions anytime soon. There is too much to comtemplate now.
Draco stands once he's dismissed, clutching his hands behind his back, making no move for his pile of books. "Thank you, sir. I trust it'll also be open when, as we both know'll happen, I'm being threatened daily." He nods curtly and turns around, kneeling for his belongings. Once they're settled under his arm again, he makes towards your office door.
Severus clenches his fist under the cover of his desk. He has his own appearances to keep when that time comes. "If that is all, Mister Malfoy. I have work that requires my attention," as a afterthought, he adds. "Be well."