Draco was jerked awake roughly. He looked up and saw Pansy, standing over his bed.
"Wh-What are you doing here?" he asked sleepily.
"It's Cass." said Pansy urgently. "She's having a nightmare, we can't wake her up." Draco jerked out of bed instantly and pulled his cloak around him. He followed Pansy out and into the girls dorm, where she led him to Cass' bed. She was tossing and turning, her face contorted in distress. As he watched, she opened her mouth in a soundless scream, before beginning to mutter.
"Please...no...I don't know...they left me...please." Draco hurried to the bed and caught hold of Cass tightly, stopping her from moving. She still struggled, and no matter how much he tried to talk to her, she would not wake up. Finally, Draco pulled out his wand and tapped Cass on the forehead with it. She jolted slightly, and stilled, before sitting up. She opened her eyes and instantly curled up into a ball, pressing her face into her knees and taking deep breaths. Draco glared at the girls on either side of her, who were openly staring, and then he placed a hand on Cass' shoulder.
"Did you take the potion?" Cass nodded. "Are you sure?" questioned Draco, searching her face for any kind of doubt. Cass reached over to her bedside table and pulled the potion out of a drawer. She held up the vial for Draco to see. It was clear that some of it had been taken, as Severus had put the potion in a vial which measured the number of drops. The number had dropped by two since he had given it to her. Draco sighed.
"In the morning, we'll talk to Severus again. For now, just try and get some sleep, if you can." He paused as he realised that he was surrounded by fourth and fifth year girls, who were all giggling to each other. He also remembered that he hadn't stopped to put a shirt on, and he rolled his eyes.
"I won't be able to sleep, Draco." said Cass softly, her eyes downcast. Draco ran a hand through his sleep-disheveled hair and sighed. He had no idea what to do.
"Cass," said a soft voice from next to him. He looked up to see Astoria standing there, wearing a silk nightgown. She held her hand out to Cass and smiled gently. "Come on. I've got something to show you. Put a cloak on though, it's a bit chilly outside. You too, Draco. You might want to put a shirt on first." she smirked. Cass got out of bed and pulled a cloak around her, before grasping Astoria's hand carefully. Draco summoned a shirt with a flick of his wand, and pulled it on before following them.
"Get back to bed, you lot." barked Pansy. "Fawn over Draco's shirtless figure in the morning." She, however, conjured a Patronus and sent it flickering out of the girl's dorm, before walking towards the exit into the common room.
"Where are you going?" cried a fifth-year girl. Pansy smirked.
"Some of us have boyfriends of our own to fawn over." Draco held back a chuckle as they exited the dorm.
"Typical Pansy." he chortled. "She was going to meet up with Theo anyway."
Astoria led them up towards the Astronomy Tower, but paused when she heard Filch. Draco reacted quickly, pulling her into an alcove with him, and pushing Cass towards a statue, which she hid behind easily. Draco held Astoria against him tightly in order to make sure that Filch didn't notice them, and Cass wormed her way further into the corner she was hiding in. Filch passed by, mercifully not noticing any of them, and all three let out a shaky breath when he disappeared around a corner. They climbed out of their hiding places and Astoria continued to lead them up the Astronomy Tower, until they made it to the top. It was a beautiful, cloudless night, and Astoria beckoned Cass over to her. They stood at the edge of the tower, and Astoria told Cass to look up. With her wand, she gestured towards a star, burning brightly.
"Do you know what star that is?" she asked Cass.
"No." replied Cass. Draco smiled. He knew exactly what star it was.
"Cassiopeia. Just like you. I like to come up here when I can't sleep. The stars are beautiful, and comforting as well." said Astoria. "They keep burning, on and on until it's their time to stop. It doesn't matter what happens down here, the stars keep burning. Now come on. We'll get some cocoa from the kitchens and play chess until morning." As Cass began to descend the staircase, Draco caught Astoria's arm.
"You don't have to do this." he said. "I can stay up with her."
"It's fine, Draco. She's a good kid, and besides, we can't have our fearless leader exhausted for the first day of school. Remember, not everybody knows that you're Head Boy, yet. I can't imagine Gryffindor being pleased."
"You two! Hurry up!" hissed Cass impatiently. Draco let go of Astoria's arm and followed Cass down the stairwell. The three split up, as Draco headed back to the common room, and Astoria led Cass towards the kitchens, telling her a story about Draco getting caught raiding the kitchen in Malfoy Manor when he was three years old.
When Draco reached the common room, he realised that his little cousin wasn't the only one having trouble sleeping that night. Blaise was standing by the fireplace, his face shadowed. Pansy and Theo watched him cautiously from the armchair they were curled up in.
"Aren't we all setting a brilliant example?" remarked Draco. The other three jumped slightly as he made his presence known, before returning to their former positions.
"Anyone who shouldn't be out of bed comes up those stairs without a good reason, I'll make sure they don't sleep for weeks." said Blaise, his voice gravelly from sleep. Draco frowned, and crossed the common room to stand in front of Blaise, who still did not look up.
"What's wrong?" he asked quietly. Blaise cast a look at Pansy and Theo, and Draco looked at them pleadingly, hoping they would understand. They did, and slipped off into their dorms, parting with a kiss.
When they had gone, Blaise's shoulders slumped.
"I'm such a wimp." he said quietly. "It's just...all I can remember here is the screams. He was so young, Draco, and I-I cursed him! I stood right here and cursed him, with the Carrows and the rest of the House watching. What kind of monster am I?" Draco sighed.
"You're just human. Like the rest of us. You had no choice. Torturing yourself like this isn't going to help anything." He prayed his words would reassure Blaise, but he knew that there were no magical words to solve this.
"Every time I close my eyes, I see him." whispered Blaise. "I cast that spell with hatred for the Carrows, Draco, but after three seconds, it was with hatred for myself. I can't even look at myself in the mirror, because all I can see is him. I didn't even know his name." Blaise's voice broke on the last word, and Draco hugged him tightly, stroking the shorter boy's hair to try and calm him down.
"Deep breaths, Blaise." he murmured. "Deep breaths. You've got to move past this. You need to rest, you'll be exhausted by morning otherwise." Blaise collapsed into an armchair.
"Draco, charm me." he said resignedly. "Bewitched sleep, like you used on the spiders."
"Blaise," sighed Draco. "Are you sure?" Blaise nodded.
"It's the only way I'll get any rest. I'll ask Severus for some Sleeping Draught in the morning, but until then, you'll have to charm me. Take the charm off when you wake up. I'll be fine."
"Come on then, get to bed. I'm not carrying your snoring arse down the stairs." said Draco, smirking slightly. Blaise rose and the two walked down the steps into the dorm.
"Better check they're all asleep first." said Blaise, and Draco nodded. The two split up and began to pace through the dorm, waving their wands over each bed. They reached the middle, where the fifth years slept, at the same time, and found that almost every single fifth year was awake.
"Morons." muttered Blaise. "Levicorpus? I'll muffle them."
"When you're ready," said Draco calmly. Blaise waved his wand at the rest of the dorm, muttering the spell, and then Draco flicked his wand. As one, the fifth year boys rose up, wriggling and yelling.
"What's going on?"
"Put me down!"
"Shut up." said Draco calmly.
"Who do you think you are, the bloody Head Boy?" asked one fifth year, who clearly hadn't recognised Draco's voice.
"As a matter of fact, I am Head Boy. So shut up, Arcturus, or I'll be forced to confiscate that stash of Fanged Frisbees that's under your bed." threatened Draco. He flicked his wand, and the now silent fifth-years floated towards the stairs, Draco and Blaise following them easily. Draco deposited the fifth years in a heap in the centre of the common room.
"The first night of the school year is not the time to be plotting pranks, ogling porn or whatever else it was you were doing. Particularly not this year. I need to know that I can count on you all and that I can trust you to do as I say. If you can't even listen to me on little things, how the hell am I supposed to trust you to make sure that the first years don't get ambushed?" Draco's voice was steely and unforgiving. "There will be time for staying up late and playing pranks later. But we're all on edge tonight, there are first-year Muggle-borns who don't know what they've walked into, and I need you lot to be responsible enough to go to sleep at a normal time. Now go to bed, and sleep." The fifth years shuffled off ashamedly, except Arcturus, who stood, looking at the floor sadly.
"It was my idea." he said quietly. "To...test you. We, no, I needed to know what you'd do, if you'd even notice, and I dragged them into it with me. Last year was terrifying. I needed to be certain. You know we all spent the summer in the Muggle world. To convince people we'd changed. But my parents were never in Slytherin. They went to Durmstrang. They were always Death Eaters, they weren't going to give that up so that I could come back to Hogwarts. So I turned them in. I sent my own parents to Azkaban." Arcturus' voice was slowly fading away as he stood, still staring at the floor. "I'm sorry. You don't need to hear about all of this, I should just go to bed. We won't try anything again until the induction. I swear it." Arcturus turned towards the dungeon, but Draco called him back.
"The war affected us all. If you need to talk about it, we're all here. Spread the word among the lower years. The seventh years are here to talk, as always, and to help. With anything." he said reassuringly.
"Literally, anything. Girls, homework, whatever." added Blaise, smiling at the younger boy. "Now come on, get to bed." Blaise put a hand on the younger boy's back, guiding him down the steps carefully, Draco following them after casting one last look around the common room. When he and Blaise reached their beds, Blaise pulled back the covers on his and climbed in quickly, before turning to Draco expectantly.
"Ready?" asked Draco, and Blaise nodded. "Dormire." Blaise's eyes closed and his head hit the pillow almost instantly. The ever-present tension in his jaw had finally faded, and Draco was struck with a wave of nostalgia as he realised how much younger his best friend looked asleep. He sighed and turned to his bed, before climbing in and relaxing completely. It had been a long first night.
A/N: So Slytherins don't really sleep well. And everyone's a bit uneasy. Let me know what you think?