CH 2- Snape’s Secret
“Pansy- pass the leeches, would you?,” Draco sneered mischievously. She handed him the slippery insect, feeling it fall through her fingers, slimy, yet smooth, and satisfying. She grinned inwardly. They were like Luna’s kisses. Wet, filled with life; moving over her, like-
Draco coughed. “Well?”, he prompted, his eyes cold, hard- like plates of steel.
“Of course, Draco. Here you are.” She handed him the leeches, disposing them into his evidently recently polished pewter cauldron.
“Thanks, Panse. You’ll make a fine wife one day.”
Knowing what he was like, she felt uncomfortable. What did that comment mean, exactly? It sounded really quite possessive, as if he was going to marry her, but no, that was ridiculous. She was just getting paranoid. He had simply meant it as- a term of affection, nothing more. Draco faked a yawn, putting his arms around her. “Cosy?”
Pansy nodded, but inside, was repulsed.
“So?,” Draco snapped. “Are you going to hug me back, or what?”
Pansy gave an involuntary shudder. “We should be getting on with our work . . . darling,” she added, feeling it necessary to imply that soon their relationship would be something more, even when perhaps, that wasn’t true. If anything, Pansy felt sickened by him, but in a bizarre, tortuous way she was also flattered.
“Tell you what, Pansy,” Draco whispered, jolting her out of a daydream. “I’ll be your partner- That way you can gaze at my gorgeous face all through the lesson, how about it?
She frowned, slowly shaking her head. “No, I can’t. Besides, we have to work on our own.”
“What?,” he retorted. “That’s a pathetic excuse. It’s not mandatory, Panse. You can do what you like.”
“In that case, darling,” she paused. “I shall work by myself.”
Draco did not reply, but a faint, rosy tinge appeared on his cheeks. Was it of anger, shame or embarrassment? She couldn’t tell, although the steeliness in his icy eyes made her suspect it was anger. Pansy poured over her cauldron, staring, scrutinising at the mixture before her. She scanned the black board, wondering what it was she had to do next.
“Measure out the beetles,” Millicent Bulstrode whispered, her square jaw set tightly, as if in a painful grimace. Pansy nodded, expressing her thanks. From the corner of her eye, she noticed the Potter boy, smirking, next to his two friends, Weasley and ‘Will-Never-Get-A-Boyfriend-Even-If-She-Tried Granger.’ Pansy frowned at the trio suspiciously, wondering what it was they were laughing at. It didn’t take long to find out. Blaise Zabini was staring at his cauldron, with a shocked expression. It was starting to melt; ivory-coloured pewter bubbled wrathfully down the sides, slipping off the edge of the desk, landing with a soft ‘gloop’ onto the tiled floor below. The fifth year Slytherin scowled, raising his hand. Pansy glanced back towards the dream team. Just what exactly had they done?
Professor Snape slammed some leeches onto Longbottom’s desk, before turning and striding towards Blaise. “Yes, Mr. Zabini?”
“Someone’s mutilated my cauldron, sir,” the boy hissed venomously. “I’d nearly finished everything, and- and-“ He was too angry to continue.
Snape smiled sickly, noticing Potter snigger at the back of the classroom. “Well, well. It would seem as though the mystery of the class clown has already been solved.” The potions master stood, swallowed by the surrounding sheets of shadow, soaking up the silence. “POTTER!”
Harry lay back casually against his chair. “You called?”
Snape had never looked so furious. Breathing deeply he closed his eyes; seeming to really force the words out. “What . . . did you do . . . to Zabini’s cauldron?”
Trying to keep a straight face, Harry replied, “Are you accusing me, sir? Without any evidence? Bit unprofessional for a teacher, don’t you think?”
Snape’s nostrils curled. “Where you’re concerned, Potter- evidence is not a necessity.”
“Yeah,” Harry answered swiftly, “ . . . but there’s no evidence suggesting you’re a slimy, sadistic git . . . and everyone knows that’s true.”
Pansy giggled . . . realised what she was doing, and stopped. But it was too late. Six Slytherins, including Draco were staring at her as though she’d completely lost the plot. Even Potter had briefly forgotten what he was doing.
Snape snarled, baring his teeth.
Draco waited expectantly for the bomb to drop; silver-blue eyes sparkling with ut-most malevolence.
“Detention with Umbridge,” Snape said smoothly. “ . . . for three months.”
“No, no- in fact, make it four,” the potions master said, finally satisfied. “That should give you enough time for things to ‘scratch the surface.’”
Pansy blinked. What did that mean? She wasn’t the only one confused. Many of the students were nudging one another, eyebrows raised. Potter had finally decided to hold his tongue; as there was no reproach heard. Draco sneered, looking aptly interested, curious as to what Snape had meant. Nonetheless, he continued stirring his potion, seemingly putting the thought to the back of his mind. Pansy sighed, feeling an uncomprehending warm rush of sympathy towards Potter. She did hate him, just not as much as she used to. Perhaps it was because he was quite good friends with Luna? The two were always seen together, but thankfully, not as a couple. And if her secret crush thought he was Ok, maybe she should too? Nonetheless, Pansy was still a little un-nerved that she’d laughed when Potter had made fun of Snape, and from the tense atmosphere, it was obvious that nobody else had forgotten either.
She tucked her chair in, trying to concentrate on completing the set task. Pansy glanced across at Draco. He was stood, muttering something to Snape- but of the content, she could not tell. The potions master slowly shook his head, mouthing the phrase, ‘Not now.’ Draco nodded, sitting down. Pansy stared at him calculatingly. What had he asked Snape? There was something very cruel, and callous about the whole affair- and- why was she even interested? Pansy shook herself out of her reverie. Why did she even care? She picked up her pestle and mortar, and began to crush Scarab beetles. Infuriatingly at the same, over-hearing Potter’s conversation.
“ . . . and so, I think we should try and arrange a Halloween Ball. It would be a good way of, as the Sorting Hat said- ‘Standing together, and staying strong from within.’ I mean . . .”
This time, Snape sped to the desk. “POTTER!!!! If you continue talking, I shall lengthen your detentions!”
Harry lowered his voice. “Who do you think Luna will be going with?”
LUNA!!!!!! Pansy spun round in her chair, eager to hear more- but, sadly, this was not to be so.
“What did I just say?”
“Sorry sir,” he answered innocently, “But you did say ‘if you continue talking.’ I don’t know if you can tell the difference, but when your voice goes all husky and quiet like that- it’s called whispering.”
“Six months,” Snape responded coolly. “And extra potions lessons with me, every Friday.”
Harry looked like he’d stopped breathing.
“Oh, dear, dear, dear. Life can be so unfair sometimes.” With that, he stamped to the black board. “You have precisely two minutes.”
Two minutes? Frantically, Pansy stirred the contents, watching the liquid bubble and slosh; registering the colour. Purple. She checked the instructions, and smiled, reading the line, ‘Your potion should now be a lilac shade, with a hint of lavender; ready to pour into your vial.’ Pansy tipped the cauldron, observing her potion as it fell, gunge-like into the thin flask. Snape stopped by her desk. He nodded, taking the vial from her. Phew. Relieved she had somehow scraped through; Pansy looked about the murky, misty classroom.
Longbottom’s potion had incomprehensively turned the colour of sour milk. Weasley’s was spitting green blobs of goo, and The Stuck-With-Beaver-Teeth-For-Life girl had abhorrently performed everything to perfection. Her potion was indeed the shade of lilac, smelling almost like lavender. Snape snatched up her cauldron, incensed by the fact that she would no doubt have to receive an ‘Outstanding.’ Then, taking one look at Potter’s mixture (which was near to the appearance of vomit), waved his wand, vaporising the lot. Pansy heard a howl of raucous delight, and turning her head, she spotted Draco. He was looking as though Christmas had arrived three months early. The potions master smiled, retrieving the vial. “Excellent work, Mr. Malfoy. That will most definitely be a high grade.”
The fifth year smirked.
“Well,” Snape whispered in a voice like the Grim Reaper. “For some of you, (he focused on Weasley, Potter and Longbottom), “That lesson was absolutely atrocious . . . as always.” Half of the class groaned. Crabbe and Goyle cracked their knuckles. “However, I am pleased to say that most of you managed to make excellent potions. For example,” he swept to Draco. “Young Mr. Malfoy was definitely the best-”
“What about Hermione?,” Weasley interrupted. “Pansy gazed closer. She’d never noticed before, but his nose looked remarkably like a pig’s.
“She worked really hard on that!,” Dean Thomas cried, to the cheer of his fellow Gryffindors. His hair was too short, she thought. Definitely didn’t suit him. Oh well, at least he was a pureblood.
“How dare you? Hermione’s was-” piped up Michael Corner.
“SILENCE!”, Snape shouted. “I award fifty points to Slytherin, extra Quidditch practices, deduct another ten from Gryffindor- and will present Mr. Malfoy with a badge for astounding process.”
Draco faked a bow. “Thank you, thank you. You’re too kind.”
Gryffindor students ran for the door; Slytherins loitering on purpose.
Snape was just about to sit down, when he yelled- “Malfoy! I forgot. I must speak with you a second.”
But Draco hadn’t even stood up. “Yes, sir?”
“May I talk with you a moment?”
Pansy packed away her parchment, all the time listening hard.
Deliberately, she tried to take a long time, folding up her sheets, and polishing her cauldron. Something fishy was going on. Draco’s manner was very fake; almost rehearsed- as though the two had planned this all lesson. Of course! That was what Snape had meant by the term, ‘Not now.’ Back then, there hadn’t been time to discuss whatever it was . . . but there was now.
“Miss Parkinson? Could you hurry, please?”
“You worked exceptionally hard today. Well done.”
Pansy beamed. “Thank you.” She picked up her patterned satchel, and stepped out of the classroom. Snape flicked his wand. The door slammed shut. She was so tempted to eavesdrop, but knew it would only lead to trouble. So, seriously considering whether she’d been put in the right house, Pansy made her way to the common room.
In the morning, she sought Draco out. He was in the Great Hall, drinking pumpkin juice, and wearing a secretly satisfied expression. “Oh, morning Panse.” He placed his goblet down on the table, peering exhaustedly at her. He’d obviously been up all night. There were big bags under his eyes, prominent ones- as though they had been painted grey. “I’ve been meaning to speak with you, actually.” Underneath the table, his hands found her knee. “We’ve been friends for nearly five years, and . . .” he licked his lips, “I think it’s time you admitted your feelings for me.”
Pansy blinked, staring at him. There was that crazed, obsessive look again. Yes, she liked him, she had loved him in past years, but now? No way. The truth was . . . he scared her. “Draco- I don’t fancy you . . . anymore. I used to, but times change.”
“They can change back,” Draco leant closer, touching her lips with his finger. “You see, I refuse to believe you. I know you love me, you always have done. And I love you.” He grabbed her face roughly.
“Draco!,” Pansy yelled. “Get off me!”
Suddenly, he released her, and in a low, dangerous tone, said, “ . . . There’s someone else, isn’t there? Why else would you rebuke me?”
Pansy shuffled away from him. “That’s not true.”
Draco fished out a cigarette. “Oh really? Well, judging by your quick reaction,” he purred. “I’d say you are deceiving me . . . again.”
“Listen to me, Draco,” Pansy urged. “I found you because I want to ask you something.”
He raised both eyebrows. “Go on.”
“Well, I was just thinking, what did Snape talk to you about after the lesson yesterday afternoon?”
For a second, Draco looked like he was going to tell her, but then, a slow, winning smile spread across his pallid features. Pansy knew that face. It was the face of someone who knew he’d triumphed, without even trying. “How about this, my beautiful Panse?,” he began, slipping a subtle hand around her shoulders. “I shall tell you what occurred during the early hours of the afternoon . . . if I receive a favour in return?” He squeezed her arm gently. “If you agree to go out with me, I’ll say exactly what happened; all that I discovered, but if not? Well, you shall never know. I await your answer with trepidation, but I know I must hear it.”
Pansy sat, musing for a few minutes, weighing out the options. If she agreed to court Draco, what would happen? He was already abusing her, putting his hands on her body. However, she was also equally fascinated by what him and Snape had talked about. It must have been something important, but was it really worth dating Draco?
“How about . . . I give you a clue?”
“No, it’s alright. I’ve already made up my mind.,” Pansy answered. I’ll do it.”
“Don’t make me sound like a piece of homework, Panse. Unless,” here, he winked knowingly at her. “Unless you’ll mean you’ll ‘do’ something else with me?”
Pansy gulped. If they were going to go out, she would have to lay down some rules. “Draco?”
“Yes, my flower?”
She stared. “Ok, firstly- we’ll start with that. Refer to me as Pansy, nothing else. Secondly, you’re to keep your hands and wild imagination to yourself, unless I say so otherwise, and thirdly, remember, I don’t even fancy you, so by going out with me, it won’t lead to anything, anyway.”
At the end of her speech, her surveyed her through narrow eyes. “We’ll see about that, and as for your rules, they mean nothing. You’re mine now, no-one else’s, and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”
Pansy tried to ignore this last statement, but his last vow now rang loudly in her ears; an echo of her hopelessness. ‘You’re mine . . . -no-one else’s.’ Trying hard to compose herself, she rested her head in her hands. “So what did you and Snape say?”
Draco wagged a finger. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, holding her hand. “What I heard yesterday is worth more then my last declarative.” He licked his lips again. “Kiss me- and I’ll tell you.”
Pansy shuddered at the request, but what could she do? She’d done a deal with him. She was now desperate to know what they’d discussed. Nodding, she closed her eyes. Draco’s lips met hers. ‘Yes’, she thought. ‘It’s over,’ but that was where she was very, very wrong, because he didn’t stop kissing her. His mouth became a monster, sucking her lips ravenously. Pansy shook her head, jerking herself away from him. “I think it’s about time you told me. You got what you wanted, now let me have my share.”
Draco sneered. “I suppose.” He lowered his voice to an ominous whisper. “What I’m about to tell you; everything that I am about to divulge to you, must be kept between us, and only us. Think yourself lucky I’m telling you, because if I had my choice, I’d relish the secret, solely with myself.”
Pansy nodded, wondering what on earth it could be.
“Remember what the Professor said, when Potter received his first detention? About ‘scratching the surface?’”
Pansy gave a curt nod.
“Well,” he hissed, stroking her silky hair. “You know that new teacher, Dolores Umbridge?”
Pansy smiled, indicating she did.
“Well, it turns out that in Potter’s detentions, she makes him write with some kind of evil quill . . .”
“ . . . and whenever he does,” Draco’s whisper suddenly sounded more excited. “Whatever he writes, it feels as though he’s scratching the back of his own hand- in other words,” he hushed, voice aligned with spite. “Potter’s hand bleeds each time he serves detention with her,” he continued, a crazed look in his flint grey eyes. “Apparently it digs deeper each session, and”, here, Draco dropped the volume again. “Last night, I listened outside the door for three hours. You know, I might have heard him scream, and, well, who’d want to miss that?”
“You stayed up,” Pansy began, forgetting for a moment that she and Draco were together, “all night, just on the chance you might have heard a scream?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry yourself, Panse,” he replied, “I’ll skive off Transfiguration, and get some sleep. Then who knows, what I could be awake for?”
“Living with so much hatred can’t be good for you,” Pansy said, changing the subject . . . or at least, trying to.
“On the contrary,” Draco contradicted. “I’ve never lived with anything healthier. Now then- what are you doing this evening?”
“Um,” she blinked, hoping against hope that she had already planned something. Was she doing anything? Wait!! Luna!!! She was going to leave another note on her bag! Pansy sighed. She hadn’t thought of her for so long. The dreams hadn’t stopped, but her un-conscious mind was crying for her. Oh. How she wished Luna had been the one to ask her out. There was something very wrong about Draco. He was dominant, controlling. And, now that she came to think about his little secret had really been nothing, well- It had meant much to him, but to her? No. She didn’t give a damn what Potter did. He was annoying; he was there- she had to put up with him. That was all there was to it. He didn’t deserve to be in physical pain though. And it was with this thought that another came to her. What if Draco had set the whole thing up? Done it deliberately, just so that he could blackmail her into going out with him? She didn’t know, of course but the cunning scheme did seem probable.
“Keep thinking. I could look at you all day.”
“I’m busy tonight,” lied Pansy, thankful Draco had not learnt Occulemency. Also, if he had tricked her, she’d give him a dose of his own medicine.
“Oh yes?,” Draco answered slowly. “And what might that be?”
Pansy nearly cried out in disbelief. Why was it his business? He had no right to ask such things! Straightening out her robes, she looked away. “I’m writing an essay tonight, for Arithmancy.”
“What?,” snorted Draco. “I never knew you took that rubbish.”
“It’s not rubbish. I’m interested. It’s just annoying because Granger’s in the class as well.”
Draco gave her a look that clearly said, ‘Who cares?’ “You cope in Potions, Panse. Come to think of it, so do I. I mean, do you think I was indoctrinated; do you think I signed a partition wanting Potter in the same lessons as me?” He was silent for a few moments, pausing to re-light his cigarette.
“Are you allowed to do that in here?,” Pansy asked, frowning slightly.
“Does it matter?,” crowed Draco. “I’m not doing any harm. Come on. Where’s your Slytherin spirit?” he said, watching the smoke swirl and twirl in the air before him. “Although, it does not hurt to dream,” he added. “Imagine it. The whole school ablaze, Mudbloods, and Muggle-Lovers burning alive. Yes, I can almost smell the justice now. Father would pick out the survivors, all pure-bloods of course, and set up another school, one where that old fart Dumbledore wouldn’t be allowed to teach. Yes . . . and, and, Potter would finally realise he chose the losing side after all . . . lying on the floor, alone, defenceless and about to die.” He sighed, lying back against his chair. “Gives you goose bumps, doesn’t it?”
Pansy smiled weakly.
“Anyway, dreams aside . . . back to tonight. I’m not taking no for an answer. Lie about your essay. It’ll be fine. Come to the Common Room. We’ll have a good time. There’ll be a surprise.”
Pansy nodded, fearing the worst, and seriously doubting that she would, as he had so lightly put it, ‘have a good time.’
“Yes!,” Draco shouted. “You are my kind of woman. You’re well-mannered, pretty, and you know your place.”
Pansy shot a fake, appreciative smile, getting up to leave.
“Ah-ah-ah,” Draco whispered. “Aren’t we forgetting something?”
Draco pointed to his cheek. “Goodbye kiss and I’ll be satisfied.”
“Later,” Pansy replied, implying that she was concealing something.
Draco smiled that same winning smile. “Later it is.”
He had brewed it for nine months, nine precious months . . . and it was nearly ready. It was one of the most effective love potions. The Amortentia. And what made it all the more exhilarating was the fact that for a fifth-year student, to be seen with it, was illegal. But that was the point. Nobody had seen him with it.
Draco stirred it, arrogantly unsurprised by how it was turning out. He lifted a ladle, and smelled the contents. Its strong smell reminded him of lemon tart, mixed with cream, and poupparai, which made perfect sense. He’d read in ‘Advanced Potion Making’ by Libatius Borge, that the concoction smelled like whatever the maker liked. It just so happened that Draco’s favourite dessert was lemon tart with cream, and he loved the aroma of Pouppari. He sifted the brew into a golden bottle. It was a mother-of-pearl sheen, and silvery steam rose characteristically, as he poured. Draco screwed the cap on, and smiled. Tonight was the night. Pansy was amazing, but she didn’t love him.
. . . all that was about to change.