I laughed, as always. Her impressions might be a touch predictable, but boy were they accurate. Besides, there wasn’t a lot else to pay attention to in class today – my potion was simmering nicely, my notes were written up, and I wasn’t the type to answer questions. In typical messianic fashion, Potter turned round and glared at us on his friend’s behalf, but I could tell he didn’t entirely disagree with the sentiment either. Pansy simply rolled her eyes back at him, making me snigger again.
Noticing my reaction this time, she flashed me a conspiratorial smile before turning back to the front, just in time to avoid Snape’s notice. Not that he’d be likely to do anything about it, but she liked to be a favourite.
That piece of information was just one of the many I’d picked up in the fourteen years I’d known Miss Parkinson. We’d ‘met’ while we were still in nappies, and at certain points in our childhood, she’d been as close as... well, not a sister, but a cousin at least. It was like that for most of us Slytherins – the common room could sometimes seem like just another play-date; our dorms like just another sleep-over.
Still, with Pansy it was different, or at least it had been until we’d started at Hogwarts. Then all of a sudden she had become a ‘girl’, and I was a ‘boy’, and things like that were ‘important’. And so she’d gone off with Daphne, Tracey and Millie, and learnt about make-up and flirting and other feminine mysteries. Meanwhile I’d stayed with the guys, and spent my time on quidditch, pranks, and duelling. I still wasn’t sure which of us had got the worse deal; I just knew I missed her, missed us.
Still, things weren’t so bad, I mused as the class began to pack up. I had a loyal group of friends, my fair share of female attention, and sufficiently high grades that the professors left me alone. Really, what was there to complain about?
“Oi, Pansy – want to come watch me in quidditch practice?” I heard from behind me.
“Of course, Draco; there’s nowhere I’d rather be,” she replied, smiling prettily and giving him a quick kiss as they left the room.
Oh yeah, that.
There was something ironic in the fact that while my mother had gotten married seven times, I was still mooning over my childhood sweetheart. Really; Blaise Zabini being a hopeless romantic – who would believe it? Certainly none of the other Slytherin girls, but then my habit of casually dating at least one of them at any given time probably had something to do with that. In fact, that very evening I was supposed to be taking Daphne on a picnic to the lake.
The situation with Daphne was a far simpler one. We both wanted to spend our time doing something a little more interesting than homework and exploding snap, and we both found the other physically attractive. More importantly, we both knew it was never going to be anything more than that, which was refreshing. Still, I was debating cancelling; Pansy and Draco’s little scene earlier had really soured my mood, and while Daphne was hardly my one-true-love, I liked her enough not to inflict my current temper on her.
I wandered along to the common room, debating this, while Theo accompanied me in companionable silence. As I entered, I noticed with relief that Malfoy and co. had left for practice. I immediately made a beeline for the table in the corner of the room, nearest the fire, and slung my bag down. Theo seemed in the mood for company, as he joined me. Luckily, Theo’s version of company was to quietly start on one of his homework assignments, which fitted in nicely with my plan of seething behind a novel.
We stayed that way for almost an hour, and I even managed to actually read some of my book, before Theo eventually put down his quill and asked:
“OK, what’s up?”
“Nothing,” I replied quickly, straightening my expression into one of bland confusion. “Why do you ask?”
Theo simply raised an eyebrow in response, before shaking his head and smiling. “Forget it. Chess?”
“Um, yeah...what?” The stone door had just opened, and through it had come my favourite girl, hanging off Draco like he’d just returned from a war or something. I watched them for a few moments, before remembering where I was. “Actually, I’d better go – I’m supposed to be hanging out with Daphne later. Another time though?”
“You know it; I still need to earn back a little pride from the last time!”
I smiled weakly as I packed up my things, and then hurried out before I had to witness anything else.
It wasn’t until I reached my dormitory that I realised I had been followed. As the door closed, sure hands slid around my face, obscuring my eyes.
“Guess who,” she purred. So, she’s being playful today.
“Won’t your boyfriend be missing you? Better be careful, Pansy, wouldn’t want to upset him now.” She might have been feeling playful, but I wasn’t.
“Hardly; he’s giving his typical play-by-play of the entire practice to Theo. Just think, everyone else is busy; no-one will be looking for us for... ooh, maybe hours.”
“So I get to entertain you while he’s busy? Lucky me.”
“You’ve never minded before. Besides, you know I love you best.” She was confident of herself, and though part of me wanted to reject her – make her feel just a bit of what I did every time she kissed him – I knew I never would. She actually was my one-true-love; that didn’t change just because I wasn’t hers. Still, my ego was feeling particularly wounded today.
“Do I? Cause it seems to me that if that were true, you wouldn’t be dating him.”
Her eyes narrowed a little, as she tired of my continuing sullenness. “Blaise, we’ve been through this. He’s a Malfoy; you really think I’m going to pass up the chance of something like that?”
“Something like what? What does he have that I don’t? Sure, he’s rich and pure-blood, but who in this house isn’t?” This is what really got to me – I knew her best, knew what mattered to her, knew all the worst aspects of her personality, and I still loved her. Malfoy would run a mile if he ever let her talk long enough to actually get to know her, yet he was the one she chose. He got smiles and praise and sickly adoration; I got stolen moments and stark reality.
“He’s a Malfoy; you know our mothers have been planning our marriage since birth. I thought you understood, but if not...” She trailed off as she turned to leave.
“Wait,” I blurted, hating myself yet unable to let her go. “I’m sorry. Stay with me?”
Smiling, she kicked the door firmly closed as she said “There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”
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