Summary: Prologue of ‘Corridor Care’. After Dumbledore’s untimely death at the end of Draco’s fourth year the shunning of Slytherins has gotten to the point of physical harm for the members. With a not omniscient headmistress there are no staff members able to help, and those who belong to the snake house must band together to fight the opposing force – a force that looks remarkably like their expected future. With the entire house looking to Draco for protection and external guiding forces making increasing appearances, future prospects for the snakes look slim, no matter what Potter says.
Word Count: 1539
Draco Malfoy stumbled into the common room near 11 o’clock. No one had gone to bed.
“Tom Warrington” he blurted out before anyone had the chance to ask. “Bruising around face, arms and stomach, broken arm, slight internal bleeding. His gallbladder was crushed. He’ll be back at school Thursday.” It was Tuesday. 36 hours in the hospital wing.
“This isn’t accidental. This isn’t even random beatings from people they’ve pissed off.”
“We already knew that.”
“But this is planned. That’s all of our fourth year boys in the last month. Random days, random times.”
“The times might not be random. Just because we didn’t find Roche until the morning doesn’t mean it didn’t happen between eight and ten.”
Draco sank into a seat and let the talk wash over him. It was a worry. Someone was targeting Slytherins and beating the crap out of them, but then placing them at the foot of a set of stairs, or in front of an open door, or in this case, with a tipped desk over them. All ended up in the hospital wing for at least 24 hours. All fourth year boys. Slytherins aren’t that clumsy.
“Draco? Where was he?” Draco roused himself enough to answer Rebecca Roberts’ question.
“Potions classroom. The bastards tipped Snape’s desk on him. That’s what broke his arm and crushed his gallbladder.” Pansy Parkinson (fifth), Sarah Whiltshire (sixth) and Elisha Bole (seventh) hissed in sympathy and anger. Elspeth Warrington, a first year and Tom’s sister, almost started crying. Sean Briar, a third year who had taken her under his wing, tucked her face in his shoulder without taking his eyes of Draco. Draco surveyed the rest of the house and sighed.
“When Tom gets back we’ll discuss this further. Until then everyone goes about in pairs and everyone gets back to the common room as soon as they possibly can. They do not leave until at least eight the next morning. Now go to bed. I know you first years have Transfiguration first up, and quite a few of you still haven’t completed that essay.” Everyone nodded and the first through to fourth years left. It still amazed Draco how much respect he was given, even though he was only in fifth year.
He surveyed who was left and sighed imperceptibly. It had been a trying day.
“We need to take precautions.”
“I know Zara. What do you suggest?”
“What were you thinking?” Damn that Makkenon. Bright as she may be, she was certainly annoying. No, that was the exhaustion speaking. Zara Makkenon really was a lovely girl, if a bit anti-social outside the Slytherin common room. Blaise Zabini, Theodore Nott, Daphney Greengrass, Millicent Bulstrode, and most of the other Slytherins were the same. Not many people thought them important enough to notice them, and perhaps that is what made them such a formidable enemy. The dynamics in Slytherin had to be different to any other house. You learn to stand on your own two feet, but you learn how to take what’s given to you, and how to lean on people. For example, because Draco and Pansy were the main focus of the Slytherin fifth years, it allowed Zara, Milly, Daph, Theo, and Blaise to see and hear things they could not, but they did not command the same respect outside the house as Draco and Pansy, and even Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle to some extent, did. It was a good relationship, and all knew they needn’t watch their backs from the inside because of it. But it was more then that. As soppy as it sounded, the rest of Draco’s house were a family, more so than any other house would be. And they were a family. Especially after the Dark Lord’s return. No one knew if they were going to be on a side, but no one really wanted to be on either. And there was the fatigue making itself known again. He should be concentrating on this, not the outside world. Draco took a moment to regain his thought process.
“I don’t know what we can do to stop it until we know who’s doing it, at the very least, and we certainly can’t hide in the common room or walk around in pairs forever. Not only is it not feasible, but it will be letting them intimidate us, maybe make them think they’ve frightened us. We would have rolled over and let them win.”
“So we can’t stop it, but we can’t prevent it satisfactorily either.” I bowed my head. Tobias Boon had already known that, as did the rest of Slytherin, but Tobe might know what I’m getting at.
“We won’t be able to prevent or stop it without knowing who they are.” Again, something that everyone knew but needed to be said. Elanora Derrick could always be counted on for that. Pity we lose her next year, although Edward Bole looks to be in a promising position to take her place. Though we lose him the year after next, and the only other who won’t state things that need not be stated is Matilda Elorda in second, and that leaves a year’s gap.
“So if we can’t prevent it, and we can’t stop it, we need to find out who the culprits are, and in the meantime get to the victims faster. Roche was out until morning, and we didn’t find Ric for a few hours.”
Rochen Moulde was the first. He had a black eye, a broken nose, and a split lip. He had “walked into a door”. We didn’t find him until morning. Richard Bletchley was a few weeks later. He had a broken arm, fractured rib, and a lot of bruising. “Fallen down stairs”. He was still unconscious when we found him. Tom was barely a week later. Of course all boys took the excuse offered to them, Slytherins have pride. I am still deciding whether that is a good thing or not.
“We do know it’s a group. One to disarm, one to hold and one to punch. At least.” That was Vince. He may not be especially big in the brains department, but he knows how to use his brawn to his advantage, and he has seen a lot of gang fighting. Something to do with his older brother.
“Tom said he saw two and heard at least another two sneaking up behind him before they stunned him.”
“What.” Liana Opani. Sixth year, very noble. She detests cowardice and un-fair play. Including sneaking up behind people before stunning, disarming and gang bashing them, and then making it look like they had had an accident. In this case, I agree.
“I know. It’s ridiculous, pathetic and cowardly.”
“Effective though.” Ana. I said she was noble, not stupid.
“Enough. We’re all exhausted and it’s nearing midnight. Draco, just tell us your plan so we can go to bed.” Pansy. Mother hen. I cannot help but think of her fondly, and neither can everyone else, especially William Montague, if the way he’s smiling at her says anything, and she can’t help but look back at Bill through her eyelashes. But of course I already knew that.
“Patrols. We have a few people on patrol every night. It will not be anyone below fifth year, and they will patrol from dinner until curfew. I would rather it not be any of the sevenths, because of the NEWT’s, and it will probably mostly be the sixths around exam time.” I smiled apologetically at them, but no one would have it another way.
As I prepare for bed I can’t help but reflect on the seventh years. Tobe, Elisha, Nora, Tabithea Keepre (Tabby), Shakeira Roberts (Key), and Adrian Pucey (Ri). I wish them the best of luck, of course, and I know that I can’t keep them here, but I have known them for four years. They have always been here, and always been approachable. I meant it before when I said that Slytherin was more of a family then the other houses. The first time I remember weeping was in first year when the (then) seventh years were leaving. When I realised I would probably never see them again, and never again in the same context. Slytherin has always been close. We have always needed to be, now more then ever.
I shook my head to get rid of my depressing thoughts. It does no good to dwell on what cannot be changed, instead think of how you can survive in the current situation. That is probably where the ‘Cold Slytherin’ stereotype comes from, a will for preservation. Not necessarily self-preservation, we will occasionally sacrifice ourselves to save others, but we would prefer to get ourselves and our loved ones through. Well, that and the fact that the majority of us are private people, and we are taught not to let emotion overcome us, or for the general public to see too much of ourselves. It gives people you don’t know power over you.
These kind of thoughts were running through my mind as I slipped into bed. But they are merely a distraction. A slightly morbid distraction from an even more morbid, and very real, reality.