Memoria Luxareo @tootytots1
The Newts Tail

"So you and Greengrass then?" Blaise asked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively and leaning his elbows on the dark oak table.

They had taken refuge in one of their favourite haunts, The Newts Tail after Daphne and Pansy had gravitated towards yet another dress robes store. Theo had simply shook his head and turned on his heel and Draco and Blaise had followed suit. They all knew that Pansy would probably throw a little fit when she found them, but considering how painful the day had already been, Draco thought it was most likely worth it.

The Newts Tail was hidden in a maze of side streets that ran adjacent to Diagon Alley and could only really be found unless you knew exactly where it was you were supposed to be going. They had stumbled across it in their second year when Theo, being the usual idiot that he tended to be, had led them on a wild goose chase proclaiming he had information on a store that sold miniature dragons, dirt cheap. The store had turned out to be nothing more than fifth years making fun of them, but the pub had become somewhat of a safe haven and when Pansy started shopping with them, a much needed safe haven.

The Newts Tail wasn't the most upmarket of places, and some of the clientele (not that it got very many) looked a little on the strange side. But Movgas (the rotund man that owned the place) having been thoroughly delighted by their first visit, always welcomed them with open arms, grinning his toothless grin and pointing them to their regular booth which he always took pains to reserve for them.

"What about it?" Draco queried casually, taking a sip of firewhiskey.

"Well considering, up until recently, you couldn't even stand to be in the same vicinity as her, I think it's a tad strange that you're now practically attached at the lips." Blaise scoffed.

Draco nearly winced but managed to school his features. It was true that, due to Pansy's rather aggressive encouragement, he'd given in to Daphne's insistence of random public displays of affection.

"And while we advocate love in all forms," Theo slid into the booth beside Blaise, " we'd appreciate not to get front row seats to...you know…' Theo made a rather lewd gesture with his hands that made Blaise choke on his own firewhiskey.

"What in Merlin's name is that?" Draco asked, ignoring their comments and focusing instead on Theo's strange looking drink. A large cocktail glass stood in front of him, filled with liquid that appeared to shimmer different shades of blue. A small mermaid appeared to be swimming in its depths and every now again her head would pop out the top and tiny clouds of dust would erupt and shower the table.

"It's called Mermaid's Promise." Theo grinned, placing the small pink straw between his lips and taking a sip. "It's really nice, Mo is trying them out, thinks it will get more customers in." Draco shook his head in disbelief.

"You look like an idiot." Blaise nodded in agreement.

"He's got a point. Mo made that?" Blaise tapped the glass and the mermaid waved at him. Theo blushed slightly, taking a long draw from the pink straw before answering the pair.

"Jade did." Draco and Blaise both looked at each other in amusement.

Jade was Movgas' daughter, though no one ever believed it or understood how. Theo had always had a rather large soft spot for the small redhead which had led to some incessant teasing from Draco and Blaise.

"Oh wow, I bet it doesn't even taste that great does it?" Draco asked.

Blaise met his gaze and quickly swiped for the drink before Theo had time to react.

"Blahh, oh my, what in Merlin's name is in that?" Blaise screwed up his face in disgust, sticking his tongue out his mouth and trying desperately to rub off the flavour with his hand.

"A bit of everything." Theo shrugged. "Oh come on it's not that bad." He whined as Blaise continued to make retching noises.

"This coming from the man that eats gnome poo, I think I'll take Blaise's word for it." Theo rolled his eyes, taking another sip before pointing at Draco accusingly.

"I know what you're trying to do Malfoy and it won't wash." Draco tried his best to look innocent.

"I don't know what you're talking about?"

"You sneaky albino, you were trying to distract us with Theo's pathetic little crush, weren't you?"

"Hey!" Theo spat defensively.

"Oh please, she wouldn't touch you with a 7ft wand." Blaise countered.

"And I wouldn't ask her too, I'm not really into that sort of thing." Blaise made a disgusted sound in the back of his throat before pausing.

"He did it again. He did it again and he didn't have to say anything." Theo shook his head slowly.

"You truly are the master of distraction."

"I don't know what you idiots are on about, I've just been sat here." Draco shrugged.

"Which makes a fine change from 'trying to suck Daphne's face off' which, I might add, you've been doing for the most of the day." Draco crossed his arms and pressed his lips together in what he hoped looked like anger.

He hated to admit it but they did have a point. He had been somewhat overdoing it since they'd arrived at Diagon Alley, what with the risk of seeing Hermione, he'd all but shoved his tongue down a willing Greengrasses throat anytime someone with remotely curly hair had wandered past.

"You pair are just jealous." He sneered, shifting uncomfortably as he struggled to believe his own words.

"Of the willing female? Yes, absolutely." nodded Theo, glancing at Blaise for corroboration, which of course he got.

"But Greengrass?" Blaise pulled a face.

"What's wrong with Daphne?" Draco spluttered, she might have been annoying, but as girls went even Draco had to admit she was one of the better-looking ones.

"Oh, it's Daphne now is it?" Theo smirked, shaking his head in a way that told Draco his friends thought he was completely crazy.

"Well, that is her name." He argued petulantly, knowing full well where the conversation was going.

"Yes, I suppose it is," Blaise leaned back against the worn leather of the booth, "but it's not like you've ever used it."

"So what? What would you pair of 'relationship experts' have me do?" Draco raised his eyebrows expectantly at the both of them. "Want me to seduce Mrs Zabini, become lucky husband number...what one we on again?" He casually asked Theo.

"Eight I believe it was." the boy answered quietly, a smirk on his face.

"That's it, lucky husband number eight."

"You leave my mom out of this, ferret," Blaise growled and Draco simply ignored him.

"You never know, if I don't come to a sudden end through some unfortunate unforeseen accident, we might be quite happy."

"Talk about her again Albino and I'll hex that smug look right off your face, magic ban be damned." Draco managed to get control of his laughter, he knew there was only so far he could push Blaise Zabini and he'd about reached his limit.

"I'm sorry mate, but you're mom's…"

"Same goes for you Knott, not a word."

"Okay I take it back, I take it back." Theo waved his hands in surrender.

They all knew where Theo had been about to go with that sentence though. Blaise's mom was something to behold and both Theo and Draco had been utterly enthralled the moment they met her. Added to it was the fact that she was so nice to them all and let them get away with murder. Draco thought it was probably because she'd managed to get away with it so many times, but he kept thoughts like that to himself as Blaise was stupidly protective over her.

"How did we get onto this topic anyway?" Theo glanced at them confused.

"Mr Diversion over there," Blaise growled, pointing accusingly at Draco.

"Damn it, you know I can't resist a good conversation about Mrs Zabini, who we are not going to talk about again, by the way," He quickly added when Blaise's eyes seemed to darken. "Now where were we?"

"Albino and Greengrass, sitting in a tree and drooling all over one another." Draco cut his eyes at Blaise but let him have the dig, he knew it would make him feel better and would probably lead to him forgetting the comments about his mom quicker.

"Ah yes, the complete 180 from, I don't know, every girl you've ever been interested in before." Jade sidled past collecting glasses, shooting a shy grin Theo's way and momentarily distracting him. "She wants me, I'm telling you." He whispered.

"Don't get distracted." Blaise hissed nudging Theo's arm.

"So yes er...what's the deal then?"

"I-I-I don't know, she's different from what I expected," Draco explained, trying to imagine what Pansy would tell him to say, clutching at every available straw and hoping one of them sounded plausible. "She's..she…"

"She prattles." Blaise cut in, tapping the table to accentuate his point.

"What?"

"You know, prattles." Blaise nodded.

"No Blaise, no I don't."

"You know, the constant clack, clack, clack of teeth, as they go on and on and about robes, shoes, makeup...yada, yada, yada, fluttery eyelashes and inane giggling," Theo explained in a bored tone, only managing to turn his head from Jade for a few seconds.

"I can see it's quite the bone of contention with you," Draco muttered sarcastically.

"You think? I mean, what was it earlier." He turned to Blaise who groaned.

"Ursel Rennicks 'wash your hair straight' magical solution. Pop, bang, whizz and beat that frizz."

"Sounds painful." Draco winced.

"Well yes, the conversation was." Blaise nodded sadly.

"Wow." Theo shook his head.

"What?"

"You actually listened."

"Well, I had to didn't I," Blaise said defensively, "Pans kept digging her nails into my arm every time I seemed like I wasn't listening. I'm pretty sure they're going to scar."

"Well that's unfortunate, even I didn't listen." Draco tried to give Blaise a sympathetic look, but couldn't help his shoulders shaking in laughter.

"Of course you didn't you were too busy trying to blow the words back down her throat." Draco glared at Blaise, then at Theo when the young wizard spat his drink across the table and started laughing.

"And it's a shame I didn't succeed by the sounds of it." Draco's tone was sharp and his friends instantly tried to control their laughter.

"Look, the point is," Theo coughed, stifling small chuckles, "why Daphne?"

Draco stared at them for some time, he had no idea what to say. He couldn't very well tell them that she was just a stand-in for Hermione Granger.

"Why not?" He eventually said. "She's not bad to look at and pretty good at the stuff that matters, what more can I say?" Draco realised that he actually had entirely nothing more to say.

"A lot more, a whole heck of a lot more," Blaise stated.

"Merlin, at the risk of sounding like a bunch of girls, Blaise is right. You know me, not exactly picky about personality - why worry about what's between her ears when you can worry about what's between her…"

"Is this going to be one of your long-winded explanations? I have places I need to be within the year.' Draco's stomach gave a little flip when he realised Hermione had said something similar to him. Theo, to his credit, did not even miss a beat.

"Legs. But you, you're a regular cupid." Draco's eyes darkened and Theo raised his hands in defence. "I mean, you have to admit you're pretty picky when it comes to girls, always have been."

"He's right, do you remember Sophia Longbelt." Blaise sighed when both of them gazed at him with absolutely no comprehension of who he was talking about. "Year above us, tall, had brown hair."

Both Theo and Draco shook their heads.

"She had, you know a huge pair of...' Blaise let his head sink into his hand when recognition flickered across both of their faces.

"Ohhh that Sophia, yes I remember them well." Blaise scoffed as Theo looked off into the distance dreamily. "Didn't you make her cry." He suddenly said, looking at Draco.

"Did I?"

"Yes you did, she asked you out and you, well, you didn't say yes." Blaise clarified.

"No, don't remember it." Draco lied, remembering the run in completely. It had been around the time that he had started following Granger with his eyes when he'd started finding excuses to be near her. Sophia had been the victim of his Granger induced fury, he still often caught a glimpse of her as she rushed out of whatever room he had just walked into.

"See you're picky," Theo commented.

"Why does that make me picky?"

"Er.." Theo cupped his hands in front of his chest, looking at Draco pointedly.

"Let's just say that my reasons are my own and leave it at that." He sat back, picking at a tear in the leather of his seat.

"Ever the mysterious," Blaise muttered dryly.

"I bet it's got something to do with slipping her the broomstick." Blaise choked on his firewhiskey and even Draco let out a small chuckle.

"Where do you get these lines?" Blaise asked in disbelief.

"Oh just from the sordid corners of my brain, they're exquisite aren't they? Not many can say they have the talent to make women melt with their words."

"Or hex you," Draco added and Theo smirked.

"Ah to be hexed, the biggest compliment a man can receive. It means you've got under their skin."

"Like a disease." Blaise laughed at his own joke, ignoring Theo's unimpressed stare.

The three boys were quiet for a while, each sipping their drinks happily. Theo seemed to have once again forgotten that he had company and was staring longingly at the red-haired barmaid who was wiping down the bar with a filthy rag.

"You coming to Boden Hill tonight? I have it on good authority that the girls are having a hexed robe competition." Theo asked not even looking at Draco as he spoke.

He was on about Madame Mobels, a performance academy for Veelas. The academy itself was positioned in the middle of nowhere with magical wards set all around it to dissuade any eager males from venturing onto the grounds. Somehow Theo had found that sitting on the top of Boden Hill gave you the perfect angle to gaze through the windows without bouncing off a protective spell. Unable to keep such a find to himself, he'd shared it with a select few and they had an allocated night in the week where they would all make the journey. Draco had been so busy over the holidays that he had not been able to attend even one of the meetings.

"I don't think that's going to happen somehow.' Draco said dryly, wondering who in Merlin's name had fed him such information. "And I can't tonight, I'm busy."

Theo quickly turned to the blonde looking thoroughly disappointed.

"What, but you're always busy." He whined

"Wow, you sounded like Pansy the…" Draco froze when a shrill voice cut him off.

"Who sounded like me?" The boys all turned their heads as one, matching innocent grins plastered across their faces. "Thought I'd find you, idiots, here." Pansy continued, not waiting for an answer.

"I hope that you have brought all manner of wonderful things to regale us with," Theo said dramatically, sliding from the booth and making a beeline for the bar, the tiny mermaid flopping listlessly in the bottom of his empty glass.

"He's a little strange, isn't he?" Daphne commented, watching Theo's progress.

"Hmmm, he only does that when he's got something to hide.' Pansy sniffed, slipping into the booth beside Blaise.

Theo had not told Pansy about his little spot on Boden Hill, knowing full well her feelings on the matter. Words such as creeps and perverts sprung to mind and so the brown haired wizard had decided to keep it between the boys. Pansy, however, had a way of sniffing things out and it kept Knott constantly on edge. Every time he spoke about their secret meetings he would look suspiciously over his shoulder, as if Pansy would be behind him ready blow up in his face, some random piece of damning evidence clutched between her fingers.

Draco forced himself to relax as Daphne slipped into the booth beside him, pressing herself close and pushing her lips against his.

She wasn't a bad kisser, in fact, most of the time it was quite enjoyable. His only issues was that enjoyable was all it ever managed to be. He didn't crave more, he didn't want to pull her closer so he could feel the warmth of her, feel her heartbeat hammering with his own. He remembered what it felt like to kiss Granger, to lose himself completely in it and, no matter how hard he really wanted it to, kissing Daphne never came close to it.

"Merlin, get a room." Pansy hit Blaise for his comment.

"Leave them alone." She hissed.

Draco turned to his friend, lazily raising one eyebrow.

"We have a booth." He commented dryly gesturing around him. When he was met with no argument he turned back to Daphne, a wolfish grin on his face that he hoped looked natural. "Where were we?"

Daphne placed a finger to his lips.

"One moment, Drakey. I'm just going to get a drink." Draco nodded, smiling past the gag reflex that was triggered everything she used that infernal nickname. Oh how he longed for his second name to be spat at him with venom.

"Drakey?" Blaise spluttered, "Did she just call you Drakey?"

"And?" Draco asked, trying to look as though it was the most normal thing in the world for Daphne to have a sickening pet name for him.

"Just makes you sound like a furry animal that's all...ow." Pansy hit Blaise on his arm before flicking her hair off her shoulders.

"Well I think it's sweet." Pansy glared at him daring him to disagree.

"Yes of course, pet names are totally your thing." he answered, sarcastically.

"Maybe they are," Pansy shrugged, leaning towards Blaise, grinning evilly, "Beanie."

The reaction was almost instant, Blaise's dark skin flushed bright red and he turned to look at Pansy in horror.

"Don't call me that." He grumbled, covering the ear she had whispered in and drawing himself as far away from Pansy as he could manage. Pansy laughed, but she seemed just as shocked by Blaise's reaction as he did.

"Don't you like the name, Beanie." she muttered, poking his side, a faint glow on her own cheeks.

"No I don't and for the love of Merlin, Parkinson, stop poking me."

Draco rolled his eyes, not really wanting to be privy to another one of their arguments, they had a tendency to be long winded and anyone in the immediate vicinity ran the risk of being dragged into them. Suddenly though, none of it mattered, because she was there. Of all the places in Diagon Alley she had walked through the door of The Newts Tail, sunlight framing her bushy hair for second, before the door closed behind her and the general gloom of the pub settled around her shoulders. She was with Weaselette and she looked beautiful.

The moment their eyes met he knew that nothing had worked; not Pansy's get-with-Daphne plan, not Snape's lessons and his incessant mantra of 'forget about her'. He knew they couldn't have worked because all he wanted to do was cross the room and be with her, hold her, to tell her about all the crazy things he'd been trying to do and tell her they hadn't been working. He wanted to run the pad of his thumb over the crease of worry in her brow and tell her how much he'd thought of her and how much he'd missed her.

"Drakey?" The spell was broken as Daphne said his name. He blinked several times before turning to look up at the blonde in a daze. She was standing just outside the booth holding a glass of firewhiskey towards him a confused look marring her pretty features. Draco turned back to look at Hermione, but she was making her way to another booth, the Weaselette hot on her heels.

"You okay?" Daphne asked, nudging his leg with her own when he didn't answer.

"No..I mean yeah-yes I'm fine just, I just-" he took a deep breath, "-just got distracted by the err..the filth." He couldn't believe how much it hurt to say it about her, he could hear Snape scolding him inside his head, telling him that he would get them both killed with his weakness.

"Hmmm, I did notice that, why are they even here?" Daphne whispered furiously, scowling in the most hideous way towards their table.

"Mo doesn't get that many people come through here, he isn't that picky about who he serves." Blaise said with a shrug. Draco knew Blaise would say that about just about anyone but it still made him angry.

"And gosh, did you see her hair. It was all over the place." Daphne hissed, giggling nastily in Pansy's direction. The brown haired girl only managed a small smile before her eyes flitted to Draco, concern shimmering in their depths.

"She needs some of that Ursel Rennicks solution, that will sort her right out, although I don't think there's a solution for being a know-it-all."

Draco felt his hands curl into fists and anger burnt in the pit of his stomach

"Ow, what you kick me for?" Blaise asked Pansy incredulously, leaning down to rub his leg.

"Sorry I just...I just moved my leg." Pansy spluttered, her eyes meeting Draco's, telling him that the kick had been meant for him.

"Should think you did Pans, I can already feel it bruising."

"Sorry Beanie." She smirked, watching Blaise shuffle uncomfortably.

Daphne was still talking, aiming all her comments in his direction, ignoring the arguing pair opposite them. He didn't want to listen, didn't want to hear all the bad things she was saying about Hermione. He realised with shock that once again Hermione was looking at him. He felt his heart quicken in his chest and Snape's voice scolding him.

"Forget about her, it's the only way this can end well'

Panicked, Draco did the only thing he could think of and turned Daphne's head towards him and kissed her.

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