Night Of The Round Table
- Story Summary:
- Things seem more complicated than they are when Harry and Draco serve detention class together.
- Chapter Summary:
- Harry and Draco serve detention together
"This is your detention, boys," he announced, whipping off the sheet with a flourish.
Harry peered into the box and immediately recognised the contents. It held what appeared to be a small lawn table, the sort that you had to assemble on your own. There was a circular, flat surface which was the table top, and four detached plastic legs loosely secured in a bundle.
"Your job is to fix the table together," Filch continued, with a smirk on his face. "Take your time, boys, you've got all night." He gave them a gloating grin as he turned away.
"I'm not a carpenter," Draco muttered resentfully under his breath, softly so that Filch didn't hear him. "Stupid, useless squib."
Harry shot a warning glance at Draco, and sighed as Filch left the room. It was going to be a long night.
"Poor Harry," Hermione said, as she pored over her Transfiguration homework. Ron was sitting opposite her, struggling with his Divination planetary charts. "It's bad enough having to spend the night at detention, but it really can't get any worse than having to serve it with Draco Malfoy." She paused, a frown on her face. "And it was Malfoy who got them both into trouble in the first place."
Ron looked up. "Why don't we pay him a visit?" he suggested, secretly glad for an excuse to abandon his homework. "I know where Harry is — he told me that Filch wanted to meet them in the store room on the fifth floor."
"Okay." Hermione shrugged, and she got to her feet. She was quite willing to go, since she'd almost finished her essay. Ron quickly tidied up his scrolls and quill, and they both headed out of the Gryffindor common room. The corridors were dimly lit as their path meandered towards the store room, located in an obscure corner on the fifth floor.
"Ah, finally," sighed Ron as they reached the sturdy wooden door. Just as he stretched out for the doorknob, voices from within froze his hand in mid-reach.
"...put this up your ass," came Harry's voice. An abrupt pause followed, then —
"Oh, just shove it in, Potter," came Draco's unmistakable drawl.
"It doesn't work that way," Harry's voice sounded exasperated. "I can't just — cut it out, Malfoy..."
"What's your problem, Potter... you just hold the legs upright, like that, then push it in..."
Ron and Hermione exchanged bewildered glances, looking alarmed. They quietly retreated, tiptoeing to one side of the door as they craned their necks closer, listening to the voices from inside the room.
"What on earth is going on in there?" Hermione whispered, her brown eyes wide.
The label on the cardboard box proclaimed that the lawn table was purchased at a ninety-percent discounted price — and now Harry knew why it was sold at such a bargain, and why Filch gave them the seemingly simple task of assembling the table as their detention.
Of course, there was nothing at all complicated about inserting leg A into groove B — but how they were supposed to get leg A into groove B was an entirely different matter. The table was obviously a defective set, and like mismatched pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the different parts simply couldn't fit together. What made it worse was that they were expressly forbidden to use magic.
It hadn't taken both of them long to realise that the best strategic approach to the problem was the use of menial, brute strength to force the recalcitrant parts to connect. Draco complained incessantly as they repeatedly tried in vain to attach the table leg, and Harry gritted his teeth together, trying to ignore him.
"This table would be perfect for the Weasleys, actually," Draco commented sarcastically, flinging one of the legs down in frustration. "But you know, what a pity, I think it's far too large to fit into that pigeon-hole of theirs."
"Shut up, Malfoy," Harry snapped irritably, struggling with another table leg. "Work with your hands, not your mouth, and we'll get this damn thing fixed before Filch gets back."
"Really, Potter, I thought that you'd be more — adept — at such mindless work," Draco continued scathingly, glaring defiantly at Harry. "I mean, you did all the chores for the Muggles you live with, didn't you? As for me, of course, I never had to —"
"Shut up, Malfoy," Harry repeated, brusquely cutting him off. He brandished the table leg menacingly at Draco. "Just hold the table still while I try and attach the leg, okay? And keep your mouth closed or I'll put this up your ass."
Ron and Hermione exchanged looks of supreme disbelief. They remained crouched on the floor outside the store room, ignoring the cramps gnawing at their muscles as they listened intently to the conversation from within.
A pause. Harry's voice, "I don't think it's going to fit."
"Just push it in, Potter! All the way in!" snapped Draco's voice. "Hurry up!"
"It's not so easy, you know!"
Loud grunting drowned out any other words that were uttered, and Ron and Hermione stared at each other in horror, too shocked to speak. The groans gradually died down, and voices arose again.
"Come on, Potter — harder — " came Draco's voice, sounding rather breathless.
"I can't." Harry's voice panted, sounding short of breath as well. "Damn, I think it's stuck."
Some shuffling noises ensued, which sounded like the rustle of clothes and the scrape of feet on the floorboards.
"Okay, fine." Draco sounded exhausted. "Pull it out, Potter. Now, hurry up."
"I can't get out, Malfoy, it's too tight," came Harry's strained voice. He sounded weary as well, and he heaved a sigh. There was another loud grunt as Harry apparently tried again. "Nope, it's really stuck."
"Just try moving it back and forth, maybe it'll loosen up a little..." they heard Draco suggest, and quiet grinding sounds indicated Harry's compliance. "Yes, that's good — a bit more — almost there — ahhh! Potter!" There was a muffled thumping sound, accompanied by an assortment of groans and unintelligible noises.
"Oh my goodness." Hermione gasped, falling backwards onto Ron in shock, making him stifle a startled 'oof!'. Not even bothering to apologise, she turned to him, disbelief written all over her face. "They aren't — ?!"
Ron's mouth was hanging so wide open that it could've nested Pigwidgeon. He seemed too horrified to speak, and just mutely nodded.
"I can't believe this," Hermione whispered. "Harry — and Malfoy?"
Harry gingerly got to his feet, dusting the cobwebs from his robes, the table leg which he had yanked out of its socket still grasped in his hand. Draco was sitting on the floor a distance away, surrounded by a clutter of debris, his blond hair in a state of disarray. He was glowering at Harry, looking extremely annoyed.
"Oh, that was brilliant, Harry, absolutely brilliant," Draco said sarcastically, wincing as he massaged a bruise on his left arm. "I've never felt so bloody good in my entire life." He glared contemptuously at Harry as he climbed to his feet, kicking another table leg out of his way.
Outside, Ron looked aghast. "Brilliant?" he sputtered hoarsely, abruptly turning to Hermione. "Did Draco Malfoy just say that to Harry? Please tell me he didn't, because I'd rather believe that I'm hearing things."
"I think we should go now," urged Hermione wisely, her voice low and strained. She tugged a reluctant Ron to his feet, nudging him in the direction of the darkened corridor. "It's getting late, Ron, please let's just go, we've already heard more than we should."
"I don't believe this," Ron muttered bitterly as he allowed himself to be led away by Hermione. "Harry... and Malfoy—" he snarled Draco's name hatefully, "it's just — just..." Words failed him, and he simply shook his head vigorously in utter disgust as they slinked away into the semi-darkness.
Inside the store room, Harry paused abruptly, his ears perking up. "Shhh!" he hushed Draco, who was still grumbling loudly under his breath. "Keep quiet, I think I hear some voices."
"What, hearing your dead parents again?" Draco retorted.
"Go to hell, Malfoy."
"Yeah, and I'll probably meet them there, want me to deliver a message?" His words were quickly replied by a sharp smacking noise, followed by a dull crack. "Ow! That bloody hurt — damn you, Potter..."
Harry laughed dryly, his hand wielding the table leg, his makeshift weapon. "Not so tough without your two bodyguards, are you?" He nimbly stepped out of Draco's reach as the other boy swatted at him. "Try anything funny, I'll hex you, I've got my wand right here." Harry dipped his hand into his robes and retrieved a wand, holding it out in front of Draco for good measure.
Draco stared him for a moment before he erupted. "YOU BLOODY FOOL!" he yelled, snatching the wand from Harry, who looked startled at his sudden outburst. "You had your wand with you ALL THE TIME, and we've spent half the night here trying to fix it like Muggles do?!"
"Malfoy— " Harry started, but Draco cut him off again.
"A simple Reducing Spell would have done the job!" Draco snapped, brandishing the wand almost pompously. He looked truly enraged as he fixed Harry with a fierce stare. "Filch isn't here, no one would know if we used magic! And you had a wand all the while! I always thought you were thick, Potter, but I never knew you were such a GOOSE!"
Draco Malfoy abruptly vanished into thin air, and instantly reappeared on the floor as a plump turkey with rather ruffled feathers. The expression the turkey wore was exactly the way Draco would have looked, and Harry took one look at it before promptly collapsing on the floor in helpless fits of laughter.
The turkey squawked angrily, waddled up to Harry with some difficulty, and began to peck him viciously. Harry fended it off, still laughing so hard that tears poured down his face. "That's a trick wand, Malfoy, George and Fred invented it and asked me to test it out for them!" He gave the flustered turkey a mock appraising look. "Well, looks like it still has a few glitches, you're supposed to turn into a goose, not a turkey." He shrugged. "Either way, still an improvement over your usual appearance, so no complaints."
The turkey flapped its wings violently and hopped up and down, still screeching loudly. Harry chuckled, and gave it an infuriating smile. "Oh, Malfoy, I'd really like to help you out here, but I haven't got a real wand, unless you want me to try and see what the trick wand can do about this."
The turkey let out a vehement squawk and actually shook it's tiny feathered head vigorously, with the best look of horror a bird could possibly muster. Harry guffawed. "Okay then," he said, with an innocent shrug. "A pity your feathers are so short and stubby, or we could have a free supply of quills."
The turkey dropped its wings, exhausted from it's ceaseless squealing, and gave Harry an almost pitiful look. Harry sighed, still unable to suppress a smile. "Oh fine. Let's get you to Madam Pomfrey and see what she can do about you, although frankly, you do look better this way." He scooped the struggling turkey up in his arms. "I have to take a picture of you, it's definitely one for the yearbook, don't you think?" The turkey crowed loudly in protest, and attempted to nip Harry on the shoulder.
Shaking his head and still grinning broadly, Harry made his way out of the store room, Malfoy the turkey nestled in his arms. "You make quite a handsome turkey, you know, really fat and juicy," Harry teased, and the frustrated turkey attempted to flap its wings in his face in helpless retaliation. "I'd say, Malfoy, it's Christmas come early this year."