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Title: Bargaining my Way
Characters: Draco/Neville, Pansy, Snape
Genre: Angst
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~560
Summary: Three times Draco Malfoy had a nightmare on his birthday
Notes: Previous parts of the birthday!verse can be found here.


June 5th, 1997

As a boy Draco had always imagined this day as a glorious happening. He had known early on he would have to spend it at school, granted. That circumstance put a dampener on some of the more extortionate possibilities. Nevertheless, the Malfoy heir's coming of age would be nothing but magnificent.

And it was. From the whispers he had overheard all day, only his well-known desire to sleep in had prevented the Slytherins from kicking off the festivities at dawn. During breakfast owls had delovered letters full of well-wishes from family friends and distant relatives and a voluminous parcel with presents. Teachers had stopped on their way to class to congratulate him. Even Dumbledore.

The kindness in the bumbling old fool's eyes had made Draco shiver inside.

He was grateful beyond belief that Blaise and Pansy were not above drawing the whole common room's attention in their direction if only he let them. In a few days none of the childish power schemes currently at play in the Dungeons would matter anymore, and for now it meant that nobody was likely to notice Draco had hardly touched his food all day.

Coming of age was nothing like he had imagined.


June 5th, 1998

Draco forced himself to swallow down the cake Professor Carrow had made some hapless firstyear Hufflepuff put on his plate. Smiled when the other Carrow gave a short speech and his fellow Slytherins cheered, masked his wince at Pansy's look of unadulterated awe for having the Professors' favour. Bowed mockingly as was expected of him when what was left of the members of the other Houses were made to sing.

He refused to feel anything but a twinge of... something when Professor McGonnagal looked him straight in the eye and shook his hand. Chose not to examine his relief at the blank, utterly disinterested expression Headmaster Snape showed the world as he watched the proceedings.

Today marked four days since Michael Corner had disappeared. A week since he had last seen Neville.

The only good thing about today being his eighteenth birthday was that maybe, maybe the letter he had received from his mother would be uncensored.



June 5th, 1999

He woke with a start, fighting through the remnants of the nightmares that tended to slip into his dreams nowadays when he found himself in bed, alone.

It's over. It's been over.

Harsh awakenings like this didn't happen often. Most mornings his sleep was soothed by barely-there voices drifting up from the small dressing room his mother had preferred ever since the Manor was no longer besieged from within. There would be footsteps making their way very slowly down the stairs and, much closer than that, the sound of pages of a book being turned.

When Draco had calmed his breathing enough to confirm his surroundings - my room, my warded room, not the cells downstairs and certainly not Azkaban - there was a single cupcake on his nightstand. When he inched out of his blanket and leaned close to examine it, he saw it was sitting on top of a corner of the parchment Mother had bought for their houseguest.

Severus would not have come into my room, he thought, prodding the cupcake aside and reading the words the Manor's less permanent visitor had written with a smile:

Come find us in the kitchen.
- N.







A/N: I noticed belatedly that the second part wouldn't fit into the Battle of Hogwarts timeline at all, so I turned it into a nightmare altogether.
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