Word Count: ~3000 words
Summary: Somehow, Draco Malfoy ends up teaching fencing to the rest of the Eighth Years.
No, he doesn't know why either.
This is a Pureblood Sport! The Muggles just borrowed it!
And it means a lot of innuendo... (Seriously, the whole point is thrusting at people with swords, what do you expect?)
‘You must be joking,’ said Draco flatly. ‘That is the only logical explanation.’
‘Much as I wish I were, I am not, Mister Malfoy,’ replied McGonagall sternly. ‘Regrettable as it is, the board of governors has made its decision and there is nothing that I can do.’
‘But they want me to help? They want me to help teach people fencing?’
‘It is, as I have explained, part of a programme to integrate muggle culture more with wizarding culture. Starting, apparently, with sport, of which the muggles have a far wider variety than we.’
‘But fencing is not a muggle sport! It is most emphatically a high-class pureblood wizarding one. That,’ he added as he raised his chin a little higher, ‘is why I learned it as a child.’
‘And so you are in an excellent position to help other students.’ McGonagall sighed. ‘This is not optional, Malfoy. Need I remind that your position in our society is somewhat precarious at the moment?’
Draco glared at her. ‘I am quite aware,’ he said stiffly.
‘Then I think you will see how favourable this will appear to others. You are helping with stage one of a process that contrary is everything Voldemort stood for.’
He winced slightly at the name, and sighed. ‘I suppose. All right, I’ll help.’
McGonagall smiled thinly. ‘Excellent.’
‘But,’ he added, ‘I will need to practise first. And the school needs equipment.’
‘That is all being taken care of.’
‘And I would prefer to have my equipment from home. Except, as I am sure you know, the Manor and its contents are being held by the Ministry.’
‘I shall see what I can do,’ said McGonagall. ‘Now, I believe Miss Granger is waiting for me. If you would ask her to come in as you leave, please.’
Harry was bored. Hogwarts seemed rather dull at the moment. As an Eighth Year, he wasn’t even allowed to play Quidditch, though he was allowed to help with coaching the teams. Though to be honest he didn’t even know who the new Gryffindor captain was, what with Ginny having decided after the war that she didn’t want any of what she had wanted before the war, including NEWTs and, apparently, Harry, and had gone off to play for the Holyhead Harpies junior team, with a hope of making the main team within a few years. A small frown crossed Harry’s face at the thought of Ginny, but he put her out of mind and stood up from his armchair in the new Eighth Year common room with a sigh. He wandered over to where Ron was sitting by the window, examining a Transfiguration textbook with a puzzled frown.
‘Hey mate,’ he said. ‘You don’t have any idea what this is going on about, do you?’
‘No, sorry,’ replied Harry. ‘You want Hermione for that. Speaking of which, where is she?’
‘I think McGonagall wanted to see her.’
‘Really? Any idea what for?’
Ron shrugged and went back to his book. ‘Some new programme they want to start or something.’
Just then, the door opened on the other side of the room and Hermione came in. She looked around the empty space as she hurried over to them.
‘Hello, you two,’ she said. ‘Where is everyone else?’
Normally the room, shared by all four houses, was fairly busy, but today it was virtually empty.
Harry shrugged. ‘Probably dinner. We were waiting for you. Where have you been?’
Hermione’s face lit up. ‘Oh, Harry. They’re starting the most wonderful new thing. The Governors want to design a programme to integrate muggle and wizarding culture more.’
Ron looked up. ‘Sounds a bit boring to me.’
‘Oh, but it’s not. And they want me to help! They’re starting sections on lots of different parts of life. Look, McGonagall gave me some sign up lists to put on the notice board. See, here’s part one.’
Harry peered over her shoulder at the papers she pulled out of her heavy schoolbag. Ron, abandoning his Transfiguration textbook in his interest, took the pieces of parchment and spread them out on the table he was sitting at.
‘Sport?’ he asked. ‘But we already have Quidditch.’
‘Don’t you see, that’s the point! The wizarding world only really plays Quidditch, but muggles play all kinds of different things. They’ve got football and netball and swimming–’
‘I am not diving into the lake!’ interrupted Ron.
‘You don’t have to sign up for anything you don’t want to do, Ronald,’ replied Hermione, sounding rather miffed.
‘Oh, they’ve got fencing!’ said Ron. ‘Do muggles do fencing too?’
‘Yes, though it’s not hugely popular. I’ve always wanted to try it,’ mused Hermione
‘I thought it was a wizarding sport,’ said Ron. ‘Only the really posh purebloods do it though. Sirius would probably have learned when he was younger. You could ask Kreacher, Harry.’
‘Do they teach us these right from the basics?’ asked Harry.
‘Oh yes,’ said Hermione. ‘So that everyone in the school can learn.’
‘And we just put our names on the list?’
‘Yes, though there’s going to be lots more stages later about literature and music and things too,’ said Hermione.
‘Right,’ said Harry firmly. ‘I’m going to do fencing. If Sirius did it, it can’t be all that bad, can it?’
Hermione smiled sadly at him, until Ron abruptly broke the sombre mood.
‘We’ll do it with you then, won’t we Hermione?’
She nodded emphatically, and picking up Ron’s discarded quill, signed all three of their names on the sheet for fencing.
Ron stumbled over to the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall the next morning and collapsed next to Hermione and Harry, looking vaguely flustered. He leaned over to grab some toast, before heaping an obscene amount of jam on to it.
‘You alright, mate?’ Harry asked. ‘What made you in such a hurry?’
‘Harry, you’ll never guess who’s going to be teaching that fencing class we signed up to,’ spraying a shower of toast crumbs over Hermione.
‘As exciting as I’m sure this news is, Ronald, could you refrain from talking with your mouth full of toast?’ Hermione said, shaking crumbs from her long bushy hair. ‘I washed it this morning, and I would prefer not to be finding your breakfast in it for three days.’
‘’Snot my fault stuff sticks in it like that,’ mumbled Ron through another bite of toast.
‘Ron,’ Hermione sighed, smiling to herself slightly as she looked away.
‘So who is taking the fencing classes?’ Harry interjected in an attempt to avoid any ensuing flirting disguised as half-hearted arguments. Really, his two friends had been unbearable lately.
‘Oh, right, yes,’ Ron replied, pausing to take another mouthful. ‘Malfoy. The git. I expect he’s offered to help so the governors don’t kick him out. He would know how to fence, with a family like his. Probably had his own bespoke swords since the age of two. Rich bastard’
‘Ron, he’s not that bad, really. He testified against his father at his trial, remember? People can change,’ Hermione said.
‘Change! Malfoy? Give me a break,’ Ron snorted.
Harry said nothing, staring down at his own breakfast pensively.
‘I think I’ll go get my things for class,’ he said abruptly as he stood up, then started to leave.
‘But it’s ages until Transfiguration!’ Ron exclaimed.
‘Yeah, but I’ve still got to, er, finish that essay for Slughorn,’ he said hastily.
‘I thought you finished that yesterday, Harry,’ Hermione said sternly.
Harry shuffled awkwardly.
'Um, yes, well, I……’ he tailed off.
‘You’re not upset about the fencing classes are you? About Malfoy’
Harry sighed and sat down again. He looked at his plate, pushing a glob of now slimy and cold scrambled egg around the plate with his fork, and then looked up at Hermione.
‘I suppose I should have seen this coming. I mean, you’re right Ron. He would know how to fence. Just, after everything at the Manor last year. I’m just not sure I can do it.’
‘Harry!’ Hermione sounded disappointed. ‘The whole point of this programme is integration. You know, putting aside old differences and such.
‘Come on, Hermione, this is Malfoy we’re talking about. After everything his family did?’ said Ron.
‘Oh, well, I suppose it’s up to you Harry.’
‘It’s alright, mate, don’t let her pressure you into this. We all know she’s just excited to be involved in this programme nonsense.’
‘Ron!’ Hermione punched him lightly on the arm.
Harry stifled a laugh, and then got up to leave again.
‘Thanks. But I really should finish that essay now.’
Hermione tutted at him as he walked off.
‘You really would benefit from organising your work more effectively, Harry!’ she called after him, before resuming her conversation with Ron.
Harry sat in the corner of the common room waiting for Ron and Hermione to get back from breakfast before they went to Transfiguration. He knew they'd seen through his essay excuse, and were just giving him time to think. Why did bloody Malfoy have to be the one taking the fencing class? He’d actually wanted to learn and everything.
He sighed and turned to look out of the window down at the Quidditch pitch. He missed Quidditch. Maybe he should go and ask to help the new Gryffindor team even if he didn’t get to play. He missed flying, and it would be nice to do it more. Though actually, he could do that anyway. He checked his watch and his face brightened. He should have time to go for a fly now, if he hurried back afterwards. He rushed up to his room to get the new broom he had bought himself as a relaxation attempt after the final battle, and had hardly used. He left his bag in the common room and hurried down to the Entrance Hall and out towards the Quidditch pitch. Soon enough, he was in the air. That was better. He’d forgotten how wonderful it was to have the air rushing around him even on such a windless day.
He flew out over the grounds and was circling round in a large loop back to the pitch, when he saw another figure on a broom doing some kind of agility drill. He flew towards the person to greet them, whoever they were, and it was not until it was too late that he recognised the white-blond hair. He pulled up abruptly as the figure pulled out of a dive, and scowled when he saw him.
‘Potter. Come to torment me?’ Malfoy’s sneer seemed thin and somehow anxious.
‘I was here first!’
Malfoy shrugged. ‘Irrelevant. Did you actually have something to say to me, Potter, or are you just wasting my time. I have more important things to do.’
‘What, like teaching your poncy fencing class?’
‘Which I happened to notice, incidentally, that you had signed up for.’ He arched one elegant eyebrow
‘I didn’t know you were taking it then!’
‘What, and now you’ve decided you’re above it after all?’ A gleeful smirk crossed his face. ‘Scared, Potter?’
‘Of course not! I don’t care if you’re the one teaching it.’
‘That’s not what you said a moment ago. Turn up by all means, Potter, if you think it’s worth it. It isn’t like you will actually be any good at it.’
‘I’m sure I can do anything you can just as well as you, Malfoy.’ Harry scowled. Cocky little git.
‘If you say so, Potter,’ he replied airily. ‘Meanwhile, I have better things to do than talk to you. Goodbye.’
And with that he pulled his broom up sharply and soared away. Harry let out a sharp noise of irritation. Now he would have to go to the classes. After all, he was a Gryffindor, not a coward.
Draco sighed as he flexed his sword. He looked around the old Transfiguration classroom McGonagall had allowed him to use at the students practicing in pairs. Clearly none of them had had the opportunity to fence before. He winced as he caught sight of Harry and Neville attempting to parry each other.
‘No, Potter, for the last time, that is not the correct en garde position! ‘
‘Well I’m trying!’ Harry replied defensively. ‘It’s not my fault I didn’t get taught this from early childhood! My family didn’t exactly do this kind of thing.’ He paused for a second, smiling slightly, as an image of Dudley fencing popped into his mind.
‘Look, it really isn’t that difficult,’ Draco said witheringly. ‘Just sit a little lower. Your thighs must be farther apart, like this. See, it’s much more comfortable.’
Draco demonstrated, his limbs naturally assuming the correct arrangement, and watched as Harry tried to copy him. His eyes flicked downwards. The breeches the school had ordered were really rather high quality, he mused, though he was loth to admit it. And well-fitting. He had to admit, Potter didn’t look too bad in them, especially once he had managed to achieve a correct en garde stance. The way it pulled the fabric tighter was really, well, quite distracting…
Draco was dragged out of his reverie by the sound of Harry’s voice.
‘Is this right? Can I stop now? This really hurts my legs.’ Harry complained.
‘What? Oh, yes, that’s excellent. Well done. I mean, no, carry on practising that.’
Draco shook his head a little to clear it.
‘I wish I hadn’t signed up for this,’ Harry groaned.
‘Practise makes perfect, Potter, practise makes perfect.’ Draco sighed again, as he turned around to observe the other pairs, trying vaguely not to think about Potter’s breeches.
After walking round and insulting a few more people for good measure, he stopped the whole class.
‘Right, no more drills,’ he called. ‘I want to run a few practice matches.’
Everybody stopped in interest, and moved to gather round Draco at one end of the classroom.
‘Now, one main way in which muggle fencing differs from the traditional wizarding sport is the mechanisms for counting scores,’ Draco began. Actually, he was quite enjoying this sense of authority. Even Potter and Granger had to shut up and listen to him. Ha. ‘Though various attempts have been made through the years to create a spell that accurately determines hits, most are unreliable. Muggles use what I believe is called an electronic device, which they connect to a special jacket they wear.’ He picked up a lamé and held it up to show them. Various people, especially the wizarding raised ones, looked intrigued by the woven thin metal fibres.
‘This is connected to a long wire that automatically goes backwards and forwards when you move, and when the other person hits it, there’s a beeping sound. I’ll explain in more detail when you have to fence, but for now I’m going to pick two people to demonstrate.’ He grinned to himself. This was fun. He rather liked picking on people like this. And obviously he had to choose – ‘Potter. Come up here.’
This of course had nothing to do with the way his thighs moved when he fenced. Or the curve of his arse in the tight breeches. He handed Potter the lamé and turned back to the rest.
‘And Macmillan.’ Macmillan was from an old pureblood family. He would have been taught to fence when he was young, and there was a high probability that he would be able to slaughter Potter, inept as he may otherwise be. Just because Potter looked good in fencing kit didn’t mean he did not need to be defeated at something.
While Draco helped Macmillan with the wires, he glanced sideways at Granger helping Potter with his. This should be entertaining. When they were both ready to fence, he stepped back and told them to assume their en garde positions. Potter’s face as he pulled his mask on wore a look of grim determination.
‘En garde. Ready. And fence!’ he called.
Macmillan started to shuffle forwards uncertainly, and Draco frowned. Maybe he wouldn’t beat Potter all that easily. He seemed out of practice.
They parried back and forth for a little while, until Macmillan’s foil hit the floor and the box gave a loud beep. Draco glared at it, and turned to the two fencers.
‘Macmillan, you need to focus more on your stroke. Your grip needs more confidence.’
Somebody sniggered across the room, and Weasley’s face turned an even brighter shade of red. Draco paused and considered the innuendo. He was rather pleased with it, all things considered. And Potter’s face in his mask appeared to have flushed deeply, if the blush on his neck was anything to go by. Hmm. So innuendo made Potter uncomfortable. Very interesting. Well, a little more surely wouldn’t hurt.
‘Potter, you need to take care of your thrusts. Try to make them connect.’
Potter’s neck went even redder. ‘Right,’ he said in a rather choked voice. ‘Yeah. I will.’
Draco smirked. ‘Continue then. En garde. Ready. Fence.’
This time Potter seemed to be able to see Macmillan’s uncertainty. Yes, his thrusts were much more assured. Draco nearly burst out laughing.
Quite soon, Potter’s foil connected with Macmillan’s chest, and Weasley let out a whoop from the other side of the piste.
‘A hit, Harry, a very palpable hit!’
Draco snorted. ‘Shakespeare, Weasley? Really? Are you trying to impress Granger with how erudite you are?’
‘Shut up, Malfoy,’ said Granger. ‘Anyway, I’m surprised you would recognise Shakespeare. Surely muggles like him are beneath you?’
He raised one well-groomed eyebrow. ‘A muggle? Shakespeare was not a muggle, Granger. Every fool knows that.’
She turned in consternation to Ron with a look of surprise on her face. ‘Really?’
He shrugged and turned back to look at Harry, who was standing on the piste looking slightly lost. Draco sighed.
‘Right, that’s enough for today. Meet back here next week.’ He turned and walked over to the corner where he had left the foil bags, and began to collect the swords from around the room. The rest of the Eighth Years all rapidly left in ones and twos, until only Potter was left, struggling to unhook the wire that had connected him to the fencing electrics. Draco glanced at him as he walked to the door.
‘You were better at that than I was expecting, Potter.’
Harry gave him a defiant look. ‘I expect I’m better at a lot of things than you would expect.’
Draco raised his eyebrows again. ‘Really,’ he said in a smooth voice.
Harry suddenly turned faintly red again, and Draco started moving towards the door.
‘Remember, Potter. En garde position. Thighs further apart.’
He smirked at him and left as Harry’s face burned bright red.