Chapter 1 : Wrong
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It’s wrong. Just wrong.
I shouldn’t like him. Why do I even like him? What’s he ever done for me to like him?
Nothing, that’s what. He’s just there. He’s always been. Well – except last year, of course. It was positively disturbing, worrying about his safety every day.
We’re back at Hogwarts to redo our seventh year. Half of our year decided to return, and I did too. I know I don’t have to – I’ll probably be married off to some rich Pureblood and do nothing with my life anyway.
What a waste, some of my Professors say. They’re not supposed to tell me this, but they do so anyway. Silently, I agree. I’m not one to just sit around and do nothing except being pretty and obedient.
I don’t want to become the victim, as I silently call it, of an arranged marriage. Maybe we should just run away and get married, him and me. Dream on, I tell myself. He doesn’t even know I like him, nor does he like me back. There’s no way he’d do such a thing; not for me, at least. I wouldn’t blame him if he hated me.
Me, one of the girls in Pansy’s Posse. That’s what Zabini calls us anyway. My blood is much purer than Pansy’s and yet, I’ve somehow become reduced to being part of her posse. How pathetic.
Still, it’s something we have in common – both of us seem to be dominated by our dorm mates who are more… outspoken than we are. Plus, both our families are filthy rich. That should count for something too, right?
“Daphne! Daph, are you there?” As Astoria softly shakes me awake, I know I have to pretend nothing’s going on.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I tell her hastily, shooting her a reassuring smile. “Just… peachy.”
She doesn’t know about my… what is it, even? Just a crush? A strange sort of liking? Attraction? Love? I hope it’s not love. It can’t be love. What did I ever do for fate to be so cruel to make me love him? No, that can’t be the case. I don’t love him.
“It’s about a boy, isn’t it?” My sister is far more intelligent than the Professors give her credit for. It’s slightly unnerving.
“No, it’s not,” I lie, but she shakes her head, seeing right through me. We’re only two years apart, age-wise, and she knows me like nobody else does. I repeat, it’s unnerving.
While last year’s seventh years were invited to repeat our final year, the other students just went on. They didn’t finish their schooling career the way we did. There’s still an opportunity for the Professors to erase all that’s been said last year from their heads and make sure they know that the Dark Arts aren’t good and Muggles aren’t stupid, inferior and dangerous.
“Yes, Daphne, it is. I can see it in your eyes.” My sister is too intelligent for her own good. “You look unhappy.”
“Since when is unhappiness always caused by a boy?” I ask, snorting. Besides, I don’t recall ever feeling like this before. So… lost. How is it possible that my sister knows this look in my eyes?
“I’ve seen you stare,” she says bluntly, and I turn towards her, my eyes widening.
“What?” I ask sharply. That’s not good at all.
“And last year, you were… so irritable all the time,” she informs me. “You were always moody. Nobody knew what to do with you. Why you were like that. But it’s okay, Daph. It’s not a crime to be in love.”
“Not a crime?” I repeat sceptically. “But he’s – not a Pureblood. At all.”
She sighs. “That’s not your fault, is it? You don’t choose the person you fall in love with.”
“He probably hates me anyway,” I mutter, but Astoria shakes her head resolutely.
“Why would he? What have you ever done to him?” she demands. “Do you think he’ll hate you just because you’re a Pureblood? A Slytherin?” She snorts indignantly. “If that’s the case, Daph, he’s no better than everyone who persecuted Muggles and Muggleborns last year, only for their blood status.”
“We weren’t…,” I start, but I’m not sure what I was going to say.
“We weren’t on either side,” Astoria says firmly. It’s true, but will he see it that way?
“It doesn’t matter,” I say softly. “We can’t choose whom we marry anyway, right?”
“I don’t think mum and dad will force you to marry someone against your will,” she responds. I know they won’t, but still, I’m a bit concerned.
Two seconds later, I hear the distinct sound of Pansy and Millicent approaching us. My sister gives me a small smile, as if telling me that she won’t tell anyone my secret.
“Daphne. Astoria.” As Pansy greets us, we exchange glances. Something is clearly bothering her.
“Pansy,” I say, nodding at her. “Millicent.”
“What’s wrong?” Astoria asks Pansy, frowning a little.
“Nothing,” Pansy huffs, but it’s clear that she just doesn’t want Astoria to hear about it. Once Astoria will be gone, Pansy will tell Millicent and me, and we’re expected to feel the deepest sympathy for her. We’ll have to hold her hand and pat her back, support her and offer her a shoulder to cry on.
When either of us has a problem, Pansy waves it off as unimportant.
I wonder why it took me so long to figure that out. How did I never see this before?
“I think I should go to the library,” I therefore announce, and I can’t help but notice a fleeting smile on Astoria’s face.
Pansy looks put out, but Millicent doesn’t even hear me. She’s eating.
As I walk out of the Great Hall, Astoria comes jogging after me. “Well done!” she congratulates me, but I’m not too sure yet. I can’t really afford to lose my friends; they’re the only ones I’ve got, apart from Astoria. But my sister has friends of her own.
Before I can reply, I walk headfirst into something. No – make that someone. We both fall on our bums, but I manage to get up quickly.
“Sorry,” I say, feeling ashamed for not paying attention. As I offer the Hufflepuff my hand, she just spits in my general direction.
“Get away from me, you bitch,” she spats, and I raise my eyebrows at her.
“I said I’m sorry,” I mutter, and she snorts.
“You didn’t mean any of that. Slytherins aren’t sorry for anything.”
“And Hufflepuffs don’t know everything,” Astoria shoots back, her eyes flashing. “In case you didn’t know, which you obviously didn’t, our parents never supported… Voldemort, and neither did we. It’s not as if we liked it around here last year.”
“It certainly looked like it,” Hannah Abbott sneers, backing up her friend, who’s still on the floor. Well, if she likes it down there, I couldn’t care less.
“Because you’re just as prejudiced against us Slytherins as Death Eaters against Muggleborns,” Astoria retorts.
“Take that back,” Abbott almost growls, stepping closer to Astoria. “Take that back, you filthy Slytherin.”
“It’s true though,” I comment. “You just proved it again.”
Glaring me down – I’ve never been extraordinarily tall – Abbott takes a step backwards again. She forcefully pulls Susan Bones up, and they walk away towards the Hufflepuff table in a hurry. Class will be very interesting tomorrow, I bet.
“I never thought Hufflepuffs could be so… mean, and prejudiced,” Astoria wonders aloud as we start walking again.
“Me neither,” I agree. “That war really messed up everything.”
“They both lost half their families in the war,” a voice from behind us suddenly says, and we simultaneously turn towards where it came from. “You can’t really blame them for this.”
“But it doesn’t make any sense,” Astoria all but cries out. I’m temporarily unable to speak. He is standing right there, next to his friend, Ernie Macmillan, who just spoke up. “They know that it got so out of hand because of all those prejudices, and yet, they’re completely prejudiced against us. Slytherins aren’t all bad. We never wanted that war to happen.”
“That’s good,” he comments, looking from Astoria to me. I just try to smile, but I’m certain I look like an idiot. I’ve never been good at smiling in general. I tend to creep out people when I smile. It’s awful.
“Yeah,” I pipe up, not knowing what else to say.
Macmillan now looks my way as well, as if noticing me only for the first time now. “So you were right, Justin,” he says, sounding almost surprised. “Daphne Greengrass is not as evil as she’s made out to be.”
Hearing that, I smile widely. I’m sure that on any other girl, it would’ve looked immensely attractive and pretty. On me, not so much. But I just can’t contain myself now.
“No, she’s not,” Astoria agrees, sounding a little too amused with this situation. “We’re not that mean after all.”
“We’ll talk to Susan and Hannah,” Macmillan promises. I’m still trying my best to appear cool and collected, but only one glance from Justin is enough to break that façade. The fact that he won’t look away isn’t doing my breathing pattern much good.
“Okay,” I mutter, unable to speak any louder than that, and I think there’s a small smile on his face as they walk away.
Maybe there’s some hope for me after all.
A/N: So, what do you think? Was it good, bad, in between...? If you have any comments or questions or anything else (or not), let me know, please leave a review! :)