Stepping onto the train I felt the breath leave me. So much had happened over the summer, so much I still could barely comprehend. My first instinct was to find Torri’s compartment and talk to her about it. But I knew better.
If what father had said was true; it would be best to keep my distance from her. For her sake.
I walked, found an unoccupied cabin and ducked in, hoping to get a little alone time to clear my thoughts before being bombarded by my mindless lackies that followed me everywhere. I wasn’t fond of them, but they were pure bloods. People I should associate with.
I cursed myself more than anything. If I had been a bit meaner to her. If I had never broken down that night. If she had never cut her hair and make herself look even better, I didn’t know how it was possible for her to do that until it was done, but I digress. If I had exchanged less kind words with her. If I had bullied her more.
My mind was swimming with ‘what if’ scenarios. Yet all of them were in vain. One way or another, regardless of what I could have, should have or might have done I would have broken eventually. Her eyes always did that to me. They’re colour. They’re heat. They’re depth. The way they could see so far through me.
Eventually I would have caved, I would have told her how I felt. And had I acted any colder to her than I had she would have laughed in my face or punched me out. I created the best scenario for my feelings. And now it was spiralling out of control because Voldamort was going to eradicate all those who are not pure. Including her.
I resolved to break up with her. Keeping her as far away from the death eaters would be the best thing I could do for her.
Yet even though I resolved that, I couldn’t follow through with it.
That night at the great hall, when the first years were walking in a paper crane landed on my plate. I knew instantly who it was from and my heart sank.
I looked over at the beautiful brunette the next table over. She was staring at me with those large, bright brown eyes smiling excitedly at me.
I swallowed hard as I opened the crane carefully to see what was present on it. A carefully made doodle of her and me, in a style she called chibi, were both riding a broom in the night sky, full moon behind us. The chibi that was supposed to represent her was holding a flower that was covering her mouth. The chibi that was supposed to be me was driving the broom and had what looked like a lipstick mark from where, I presumed, her chibi kissed mine. Mine was blushing heavily and pouting while looking away.
She had sent me many of these by owl over the summers we had spent apart. When things were okay I had them all up on my walls in my room so I had a piece of her to think about when she wasn’t with me.
Now I just felt disgusted. I crumpled the paper up, refusing to allow myself to admit how good the picture was, and held it over a near by candle. I watched through the flames Torri’s excited expression devolve into one of sadness and confusion.
I knew exactly how long it would have taken her to make this. I had watched her go through the entire process from start to finish on more than one occasion. Even the ones that didn’t end up the way she wanted, she was still proud of how mush she improved. I knew watching what I just did hurt her. But I did it to protect her.
I strode forward and grabbed the platinum blonde by the arm forcing him to turn around and look at me.
“What’s up with you?” I finally snapped at him. My patience was tested to its far limits and I was close to breaking at this point.
Not only had Draco been avoiding me this whole first week, he burned the drawing I had sent him the first day, given me the cold shoulder when I had tried to talk to him, he didn’t even try to find me on the train.
“Nothing, Mudblood.” He hissed, staring at me coolly.
“Who pissed in your porridge this morning?” I scoffed.
He just rolled his eyes and turned to leave me, but I grabbed his arm and forced him to stay.
“Draco.” I warned, “Tell me what’s wrong.”
He exhaled sharply through his nose before looked around carefully.
“Not here.” He whispered cautiously, “Meet me tonight, by the kitchens around midnight.”
“Will you actually show up?” I accused.
“I promise.” He told me earnestly, all the ice melting from his blue pools and showing me his true intent. He was finally honest with me, he was letting me know this.
“Alright.” I relented, “Don’t be late or you will rue this day, I have so many muggle gadgets up my sleeve this year it isn’t funny.”
And with that I let him go. Allowing myself a few moments to watch him walk off. Something was seriously wrong with him. I had the strangest feeling in my gut about it.
I stood completely still against the wall, listening and waiting. Everything was dark, there were no paintings of people here, there was no one to listen in. I had debated waiting in the kitchen itself, but decided against it not knowing if Draco would look in there.
I heard sounds to my left approach, I didn’t have my wand. It was far better to venture out in the middle of the night without one, your eyes would adjust so much better to the dark without one. Draco agreed with that, so he never brought his either.
“Torri?” Draco called softly into the darkness.
“Right here, Prince.” I said in the same hushed tone, extending my hand out for him. He grasped my hand and stepped forward towards me.
We both stood there a few inches from touching the other, letting our eye adjust to the darkness so we could see each other a little bit better.
“What’s wrong, Draco?” I finally asked, “You’ve been so different since we got back from summer break. Tell me what’s going on.”
“Death eaters.” Was the first thing he uttered as he reached forward and stoked my cheek as he pressed his fore head to mine, “He who must not be named. He’s back. The death eaters, they serve him. My father’s one of them. The dark lord wants nothing more than to eradicate all non pure bloods. That includes half breeds, muggle borns, even plain muggles when he gains enough power. Torri, they’re going to hurt you. Especially if I keep you close like this. And I can’t bear that thought.”
He began to shake and felt him begin to cry. I wrapped my arms around him and smoothed his hair a bit.
“It’s okay.” I promised and kissed the side of his head.
“How can you say that!” He demanded between sobs, “You’re gonna die!”
“No.” I said plainly, “I’m too smart to be killed by someone who only sees blood status.”
“Are you insane!?” He asked pulling away from me and holding me by my shoulders.
“Yes.” I smirked, “That’s why I love you.” I reached up and ran my fingers through his hair to calm him down. I paused a few minutes as he took a few deep breaths to steady himself.
“I understand your pain, stress and anxieties, Draco.” I started resting my hands on his shoulders, “But I’m a big girl. I’m capable of wandless magic. And I’m far too stubborn to let you go through this alone.”
“So, what are we gonna do, genius?” He asked, finally regaining his composure.
“Nothing.” I said dropping my hands from his shoulders and letting my arms fall back to my sides, “At least not yet. I want you to keep and eye and ear out about what’s going on with you-know-who and the death eaters. I can’t do that, but you can. Let me know everything you do, even if it isn’t significant, I can use that information.”
“You want me to gather information?” He muttered not understanding.
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?” I smirked.
He let out a half laugh.
“Then what?” He shrugged.
“We’ll figure that out when he get there.” I assured, “Until then,” I grabbed his shoulders again and leaned up to place a soft kiss on his lips, “Good night, Draco. I love you.”
I turned to go down the corridor back to my room.
“I love you too, Torri.” Draco let out shakily.
“If you raise that want at me to make me forget you and everything we’ve been through together I will never forgive you, and when school is done I’ll go back to Canada and never look back.” I warned knowing what he was about to do.
“How did you…” He trailed off.
“Felt your wand in your pocket.” I told him, “It might be the easiest way for you to protect me, though.”
“Because when has anything we’ve done ever been easy?” I cut him off.
Draco didn’t say anything. I could only imagine he was staring at me, wondering what to do next.
“Good night, Draco.” I said again, “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night, Torri.” He said quietly behind me, I heard him turn and take his leave.
Things were not about to be easy. I knew there was a very good chance of death, regardless of what we did. But he wasn’t about to go through this alone, not so long as I had a breath in my body.
I walked down the steps to the dungeon feeling like crap. I only wanted to protect her. Yet here I am. Being sent to bed by the girl I love who insists she’ll make everything work. I only see death in the future. Then again, I never had been too good with divination, something she excelled in.
I sighed to myself and stuffed my hands into the pockets of my robe, only to feel something that wasn’t there before. I grasped it in one hand and hurried back to the common room. There, under the dim lights did I pull it out and look at it.
It was a necklace, with various tiny rocks woven into the leather band. In the center was a circular piece of metal with an odd engraving in it. It must have come from Torri. But when?
Something to ask in the morning.
“What’s what?” She asked as she put another spoonful of the morning’s porridge in her mouth.
“This.” I held back a snap as I pulled out the necklace she had given me.
She swallowed her mouth full and adjusted her seating so she was straddling the bench and facing me, she held her hand out for me to give her the band, and I did.
She grabbed my hand as well and draped the leather strap over my wrist.
“Once for a wish.” She smiled as she tied a knot and brought the straps back around to the other side of my wrist, “Twice for love.” Her eyes were shinning brightly this morning as she did this, it was one of those exceedingly rare days where her eyes could almost be mistaken for hazel if you weren’t close enough, “Thrice for protection.” She said after she brought the straps back down and tied them over top of where the first knot was made.
She looked up from my hand, smile still completely evident on her lips.
“Keep this on.” She told me, “It will protect you.”
“And what will protect you?” I demanded.
She pulled another of those leather straps with the stones and the oddly engraved metal out of her pocket.
“I got another one, but if you think it’s stupid you don’t have to.” She told me.
I had to stop myself from ripping the band out of her hands and yanking her left hand too hard towards me so I could tie it.
“Once for…” I forgot how it went.
“A wish.” She encouraged.
“Once for a wish.” I said and tied it, wrapping it around her wrist carefully, “Twice for love.” She nodded for me to continue. I wrapped it around again after I made another knot, “Thrice for protection.” And with that I tied the final knot, kissing her wrist once I was done.
“For insurance.” I cut her off, “I don’t know how effective this muggle thing is, if nothing else actual magic can be instilled in it.”
“For protection?” She teased.
I coughed before straightening out and standing up, getting ready to take my leave, “For protection.”