Chapter 6 : A Scandalous Game
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If there is one pureblood family my mother might have the gall to erase, it is Astoria’s: the Greengrass line. I have heard their story innumerable times – I have been lectured on the reasons the Black family’s enmity toward the Greengrass family is justified. The list is lengthy, but the most prominent reason – the one that Aunt Bellatrix would chatter on and on about when she was alive – was that the Greengrasses refused to join the Dark Lord. Even though every one of them had been in Slytherin and saw themselves as superior to others of lesser status, they refused to join with Voldemort. They argued that violence, though effective, was not what magic should be used for; they said that magic had a larger purpose that that.
If Henry and Vermillion hadn’t taken Daphne on that trip to the lake, they would have been killed for their ideals. Instead, they left an ill Astoria at home for the weekend while they went on a miniaturized vacation.
They drowned the day after they departed. Astoria was left an orphan at seventeen – though she was a legal adult, she was in no way ready to face the world. She came into the care of Mother and I (well, it was only me for a while; Mother was temporarily admitted to the insanity ward at St. Mungo’s after Father died).
What I know of Astoria’s family is built on stories, lies, and my own experience. For example, I know that Vermillion Greengrass, who was Pansy Parkinson’s aunt, pursued my father though her years at Hogwarts before settling down with her husband, Henry – this story is my mother’s justification for loathing Vermillion’s daughters, of which Astoria is the only one left. I know that Aunt Bellatrix lied about how Daphne, Astoria’s older and deceased sister, snuck around behind Blaise Zabini’s back when Daphne would have nothing to do with him in the first place. Where she came up with such rubbish is beyond me; Blaise never took a liking to bookish girls.
And so, when Pansy Parkinson shows up at my house engaged not to Blaise, but to Lucian Bole, I am quite surprised.
Pansy, like Blaise, didn’t like very smart boys – she may have claimed to love me for a while, but I was merely the most well-connected, young pureblood male remotely close to her age that held similar values. In actuality, she preferred the empty-headed Quidditch jocks such as Marcus Flint and, well, Blaise. That is not to say that she wasn’t clever – she just liked to be seen as clever without putting effort into it.
I am surprised that she is engaged to Bole because not only is he a doctor, but he is an author, as well. He is also, astonishingly enough, knowing Pansy’s tastes, a half-blood, though he lives in the world of purebloods – grand parties, favor at the Ministry (he was one of the few that managed to keep his favor even after the War); a lavish lifestyle should have belonged to him. But, even though he has the money and the influence to live luxuriously, he does not. He attends all the prestigious gatherings, yes, but the man lives humbly.
“Lucian and I have picked out an adorable cottage in the forest to live in after we get married,” Pansy gushes as they sit side by side on the sofa. We are in the library, and we have just settled Astoria comfortably in the guest room next door; we will know if Mother tries to do anything to her. Pansy, despite all of Astoria’s tendencies to be volcanic and cruel, has always liked Daphne’s younger sister, though I cannot say that Astoria thought so well of Pansy. Astoria preached of the older girl’s frivolity and lack of wit night and day while we were all at Hogwarts.
Astoria is two years younger than me: she is nineteen.
Pansy beams at me when I smile weakly at her, and then continues. “There’s a small stream and a lake on the land, as well, for the children to play in.”
I blink. I cannot help myself – I look from her to Lucian to her stomach and back again. “Children?” I ask, bewildered. Pansy, of all the people in this world, wants children? She hates children, or at least, she would rather drown than speak to a first year the last time I saw her.
Lucian laughs, and I would almost swear an earthquake’s epicenter has formed right underneath the Manor. Pansy’s eyes visibly widen as she smiles daintily at him and takes his hand. “No children yet,” he booms merrily, “but yes, there will be children eventually, or so we hope.”
I am fairly certain those are the first words he has spoken directly to me while he has been here.
Pansy glances at me from under her lashes, and I realize that this is not a couple happily in love that I see before me; it is her idea of a great game – a gamble in which, no matter how the dice roll, she wins. She has poor Bole, the ex-Quidditch Beater from Slytherin House turned scholarly doctor, in her net, and she believes that I am still waiting for her, standing alone in the wings. If she falls, she thinks I will be the one to catch her. And she is mistaken.
But how do I tell her that without looking a fool? She will make a mockery of me. The only way I can think of to get past her thick skull and into her thoughts is the way that I used to – when she is alone and vulnerable to influence. Of course, I am not who I used to be – the old Draco would leap at the chance to lead Pansy down some twisted path. The new Draco must find a way to influence Pansy for the better and lead her away from definite destruction.
This is not going to be easy. But I have to do it. Saving an innocent man from the wrath of Pansy Parkinson (and her mother) will be worth my time.
Because then, maybe, the stupid girl will let me alone and I will not have any scandal left on my plate.
Author's Note: Hey guys - thank you for sticking with the story thus far. Please leave a review; they have the power to make my day, and they often have influence on what information is divulged next.
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