'I can't believe we've got detention tonight for being fifteen seconds late to class. Why does McGonagall always have to have it in for Slytherins? What about all this equality crap that the professors are meant to show? This is ridiculous-!'
I shrug and lamely push peas around my plate as we sit at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall, having our dinner. 'To be fair, Draco, it's not as if any of the other houses have done anything in their power to sway the mindset the professors have. Of course she bleeds gold and red, and therefore has it in for anyone else, especially Slytherins. It's just the way things are.'
'Well, the ways things are are bollocks.' Draco huffs and returns to stuffing his face with roast chicken at my side. I merely roll my eyes. He'd been complaining about our unfortunate detention since the end of Transfiguration, two lessons and a lunch prior to where we were now, and his obvious hatred of the detention hadn't lessoned at all. I was just as annoyed at having to serve punishment for something that was quite uncalled for, in my opinion, but the annoyance with the situation was only being rivalled and even overtaken by the irritation I was feeling towards Draco's continuing tirade.
'Draco, will you let it drop already? You sound like a broken gramophone!' My eyes connect with those of Lyra Shanks, fellow seventh year and the most level headed out of our little group. Lyra and I had come to an understanding quite a long time ago that we were best friends, even if neither of us felt the need to say it aloud. We share a secret smile as Draco angrily shoves his fork into his mouth and chews with a foul look upon his face that has nothing to do with the tantalizing meal he was eating.
I can hear Blaise Zabini chuckling deeply from Draco's other side as his hand shoots out to pinch a piece of freshly baked bread to add to his already overflowing plate. It's a miracle he remained the slender size he was with the sheer amount of food he ate, and remained a complete mystery to us all. Crabbe and Goyle are sitting opposite me and beside Lyra who looks unfazed by their consistent shovelling of food down their throats without apparent need for oxygen. The only person missing from our little group is Jennifer Carter, normally found seated on Lyra's right, who is currently sitting with some friends on the Ravenclaw table instead.
'Still,' Draco said after swallowing thickly and loading his fork up again, 'it's all bloody ridiculous-'
'Draco, drop it!' Lyra and Blaise said simultaneously whilst I rolled my eyes again and reached for my glass of pumpkin juice. We'd all experienced many of Draco's rants before but this one was shaping up to be a doozy. If it kept up at this rate, it could possibly rival his longest one of thirteen hours and seven minutes straight about Harry Potter back in fifth year, of which only stopped when Jenny poured icy cold water on his head that froze his hair in odd spikes that would not thaw for weeks. She wasn't exactly his favourite person for a while after that.
I patted him on the back lamely. 'You'll get over it soon, and you might wanna shut up about it too, Draco. McGonagall is coming this way.' At the very mention of her name, Draco's back stiffened and he shrugged my hand away. He fixed the transfiguration teacher a steely eyed glare, who's only fault now was walking towards the head table between the Slytherin and Ravenclaw ones, and evidently too close for his liking.
Once the tartan lined cloak adoring the old witches shoulders finally whipped by and then out of sight, Draco seemed to relax just a little and was about to continue with his harangue again. However, three exasperated looks from Lyra, Blaise and I was enough to silence him and he adopted to follow Crabbe and Goyle's lead by shovelling as much food as he could into his mouth to prevent himself from speaking. The rest of us all heaved a giant, silent sigh of relief.
'Where's Carter?' Blaise asked as he stabbed his carrots with great zeal, his voice travelling down the table to reach my ears clearly.
'She's sitting with her Ravenclaw friends,' Lyra chipped in, placing her cutlery down upon her plate and pushing it aside, having finished her meal the fastest. She sat back further on the bench and mindlessly twirled her chestnut hair about her finger, picking at frayed ends and snapping them off. 'Yuck, this is so bad. Tary, do you think you can cut my hair when you finish your detention tonight? This just looks bad-'
'I don't know if that's a wise idea, Shanks. You know you should never give the mentally unbalanced sharp objects. You never know what might happen, isn't that right, Dumaresq?'
I froze instantly in my seat, my hands gripping tightly about the silver cutlery in my hands while my heart forced itself to beat and my lungs inflated with a reluctant breath of air. I would not have been surprised if the blood had frozen in my veins as the spite-filled words sank into my mind.
'Oh, shove off Parkinson. No one was talking to you,' Lyra said angrily, spinning in her seat as Pansy Parkinson and her friend Millicent Bulstrode walked by, evil smiles upon their faces, gazing at me like I was a small animal they were going to attack. I could feel Draco's stare upon the side of my face, taking in my reaction as Lyra, Blaise and Pansy engaged in a fiery tête-à-tête. They talked in quick bursts of anger, snapping insults back and forth, yet quiet enough not to gage the curiosity of people nearby or teachers overlooking the Great Hall from their table.
'I have to go,' I whispered to no one, getting up quickly and nearly stumbling backwards as I reached for my book bag and quickly left the room. I could hear the fighting get a little louder as I walked away, along with sounds of rapidly following footsteps, but stopping was the last thing on my mind. I knew who it would have been anyway.
'Tary!' Draco's voice echoed down the staircase after me as I legged it down towards the dungeons after getting out of the view of the occupants of the Great Hall. I had always been a faster and fitter athlete than him, something that Draco really despised, especially on the quidditch pitch, and especially right now as I raced away from him in the direction of the common room. 'Tary, stop! Slow down!'
I reached the large stone wall guarding the Slytherin common room, spoke the password ("Salazar") and entered into the vacant room adorned in silvers, greens and blacks, all brought to life by the roaring fire under the ornate mantelpiece directly opposite the stairs to the dorm rooms. The sound of Draco slamming into the closing wall resounded throughout the room as I ran up the staircase my doom room and slipped inside.
'Tary! It's ok. You know they're full of themselves and don't know everything! Please come down here!' Draco's voice shouted up the stairs at me from where he was stuck in the common room. My response to that was to turn the lock and slide down to the bottom of the door, huddled up as small as I could with my arms curled about my head, protecting and hiding me from the outside world.
Draco's worried voice could be heard from below, a mixture of frustration and concern lacing his words. I know I should have gone down there and told him I was ok, but I just couldn't. Pansy's words had taken me by surprise and stung too deep this time, and I was in no mood to see anyone, or have them see me.