I stared into steely eyes. How did someone like him inherit those eyes? They were far too good for him, far too penetrating and ashen, like the debris left after a raging fire, hovering in the smoke and settling into a leaden carpet. I wanted to blow at them. Just to see if they would flutter away.
A hand smacked my cheek.
The right side of my face throbbed. I placed a tentative hand on it, feeling the engorged and tender skin.
Eyes burning, I turned to him, seeing not just the grey, but the transgression of white.
“Bastard!” I spat.
He drew up to full height, sneering. “Welcome back .”
It took me a moment to realise I was sitting on a desk in an empty Transfiguration classroom. I could even see the empty courtyard with the statue of the centaur gripping a sword. Two days ago I had been pulling two first years off the rump of the stone centaur and now…..those two days were probably ten years from now.
My mind throbbed as much as my face.
I glanced round, ignoring the jelly-like feeling in my limbs. Malfoy was sitting at the teacher’s desk, flicking through a book quickly.
“How did I-”
“You conveniently went into some kind of incorrigible stupor”, Malfoy said, not looking away from the book, “and on the premise that it was late evening and there wouldn’t be enough people to trample your immobile self, I opted to put you in here”.
I stared at him.
“You carried me?”
He glanced up. “Don’t be silly, Weasel. Merlin forbid if I pulled something by carting your weight around. No, I levitated you”.
I gave a derisive snort and edged myself off the desk. I needed to think. I was Rose Weasley for goodness sake. Getting back to the right time without a working time-turner, unscathed and without generating any deaths along the way should have been as easy waving a wand. Except it wasn’t. And to make matters worse, the first time I’d waved my wand I’d almost poked out Hugo’s pupil.
“This tells me nothing!” Malfoy snapped, slamming the heavy book shut. The sound reverberated round the classroom. He leant back in his chair, his face as tranquil as the eye of the storm.
For a moment, I stood. Then, hesitant, I picked up a piece of chalk sitting on the corner of the desk and began to write on the blackboard.
The chalk skidded earsplittingly under the ‘how’ and then fell to the floor as I turned to Malfoy.
“This is what we need to figure out…..for now”, I said firmly. “It’s just like an essay. We need to know what we’re dealing with before we can write the answer”.
Malfoy’s expression was the epitome of cynical. “I suspected insanity; I just didn't think I’d see it first-hand”.
I glared. “I'm just trying to put this into perspective”.
“The perspective is that we’re fucked Weasel. Fucked. I can instruct you in enunciating it”.
I turned away from him, picked the chalk up and began to write again beside the ‘who’.
Carrows, Voldemort, Draco Malfoy “Why have you stressed my father’s name but not Voldemort’s?” Demanded an icy voice.
“Because Malfoy”, I said, grimacing, “while your Dad is walking around Hogwarts, it is going to make it very difficult for us to go anywhere without being noticed. I think we proved that earlier”.
I moved the chalk down to the ‘where’. “I think we can safely assume that we’re at Hogwarts and Voldemort is in power”, I said, writing it down as I spoke. “Which makes this…...?” I turned to the crabby blonde. “At what age was your Dad a Deatheater?”
He scowled at me. “What difference does it make?”
“All the difference”, I replied, arms folded across my chest.
Malfoy glowered at me. “Sixteen. That’s when he was given the mark”.
“Then that makes this…..”
Sixth Year: Dumbledore dies. Deatheaters invade.
Seventh Year: Horcrux hunt. Snape Headmaster. Second Wizarding War.
I stood back from the board, weighing the two sentences.
“It’s seventh”. I gazed at him. His voice was pained and his colourless features twisted. “The Carrows taught here in my father’s seventh year.”
My fingers quivered as I crossed out the first line, leaving the inevitable.
Sixth Year: Dumbledore dies. Deatheaters invade.
Seventh Year: Horcrux hunt. Snape Headmaster. Second Wizarding War.
“Ok”, I breathed, trying not to let the hammering of my heart show in my voice. “At least we know what we’re dealing with”.
I fiddled with the chalk, letting it graze my fingers, turning them as pasty as the boy behind me.
“No.” I murmured. “We’re standing one step above everyone else”.
There was an abrupt bang. The chalk fell. Malfoy stood up, pointing his wand at the two figures that had suddenly burst in the classroom.
The first was a boy, stringy, with two large front teeth, but rich hazelnut tresses that curled up the base of his neck identical to his narrowed dark brown eyes. His collar was mussed and there were unmistakable fingerprints across his wrinkled shirt.
The second was a girl, taller than me, with long ribbons of black hair set beside her bust. She had a strong jawline, set with two dimples.
They were both Slytherins.
“Malfoy”, the weedy boy said, his chin raised. “What are you doing in here?”
The girl inclined her head and sauntered forward, brushing past the boy.
I watched as she approached.
There was elegance to her. One that was so apparent, it was almost like watching a ballerina. Her pout was glossed and maxed to kissable perfection. She was everything that embodied sensual. Her eyes were locked on Malfoy, who stared back, his face wary.
By the time she reached the desk there was no doubt to her identity.
She swung her hands behind her back, as if she were presenting herself to the teacher.
“Hey, lover”, she murmured, her dusky eyes dancing with excitement.
The first time I’d seen Astoria Malfoy, I decided she was threat. She was threat to every woman currently in Honeydukes. My own Mother eyed her with a caution that was usually reserved for Aunt Fleur.
She was undeniably beautiful. Any blind man could see that. But it wasn’t just her beauty. There was something in her that had been corrupted and perverted, forming her into this woman who could make the world fall to her feet by the sound of her voice, but still remained every bit as virtuous as a catholic schoolgirl.
“Slut”, my Aunt Ginny said, earning a reproachful look from my mother.
“She’s actually quite nice”, Aunt Audrey mumbled, looking, as ever, like someone who would cry if you shouted boo in her face.
Aunt Ginny rolled her tawny eyes, sweeping back a strand of red hair that crossed her line of vision, as she dropped a box of liquor cauldrons in the basket I was holding.
We were having the Weasley annual Christmas Shop. As per usual, the clan had separated into male and females. And while the men went to the Joke Shop and the Quidditch Supplies Store, the women would visit Honeydukes and Tattings.
“You weren’t in her classes at Hogwarts”, Ginny said, her voice acidic. “She’s not just a slut, she’s a creepy slut”.
“Ginny,” my mother sighed. “Please stop saying slut in front of, Rose”.
My Aunt grinned at me. It was the same grin that James gave me when he poured ants in Albus’s boxers.
“She’s a brilliant Healer”, Aunt Audrey persisted, even though it was pointless. “And all the patients respond very well to her”.
Ginny scowled. “She used to turn up to lessons with her uniform ripped to pieces, like she’d been mauled by some kind of animal”.
“People have changed since Hogwarts”, my mother countered. “Malfoy seems to like her well enough”.
“I don’t think like is a very suitable word. Their relationship is borderline abusive”.
My mother, her curls clipped into a neat bun, pursed her lips – a sure sign that she didn't believe what was being said.
Ginny, glancing at the topic of the conversation, currently in deep discussion with the chocolatier, shook her head. “You missed your seventh year. You didn't see….them”.
Aunt Audrey's expression was akin to a deer caught in the road.
Biting her lip, Ginny pulled us round the back of the exploding shortbread section where we hidden from view.
“They used to act really strange together”, he whispered swiftly. “One moment they would be fine, not talking, not even looking at each other. Then they would be on each other, grinding, moaning, in the middle of the corridor! Then they flipped again and she would be scratching him and he would be trying to curse her. It wasn’t just violent. It was animalistic”.
My mother’s features creased. “But he never paid any attention to her when me Harry and Ron were at Hogwarts. He was always with Pansy”.
Ginny shrugged. “Something changed. By the end of the year she was wearing the Malfoy ring”.
“I didn't even know they were married until Ron told me”.
“I and Percival attended the Wedding”, Aunt Audrey blurted out. “It was a very lavish affair, but-”
“It was strange wasn’t it”, Aunt Ginny said, nodding knowingly. “They were strange. Her more than him”.
“Well I don’t think any man would mind a bunny boiler if she looked like that”, my mother said quietly.
All four of us looked over at the young woman near the checkout, her tinkling laughter rising high.
Even to this day she still remained a threat, as I watched her across the classroom, her stance stiff, ready to pounce, she still made me feel disgusting. Ugly. A nobody. Because, as my own mother put it, who could look anywhere else when Astoria Greengrass was in the room?
“What are you doing in here, Draco?” She asked lightly, strolling round the desk, trailing her index finger along the edge. She rubbed it off and gave him a doe-eyed look.
Malfoy, for the lack of a better word, looked sickened.
“He’s with me”.
Her hair rippled as she swivelled her critical eyes towards me.
“You?” A small smile flitted across her lips.
I knew then that she didn't believe me. Because what man would possibly choose old freckled me, over her? The odds were unfeasible.
There was a moment of silence.
The voice came out as a throaty growl. Malfoy stared at her, his glare full of determination mixed with trepidation.
She looked at him, her pouty mouth rolling into a simper. “Make me”.
“Tori!” The scrawny boy near the door was appeared exasperated, his fingers tapping against the wooden pane.
The future Mrs Malfoy as she knelt in front of the desk, the back of her skirt rising up to a brow raising length, and rested her chin on the edge.
Malfoy looked understandably disturbed. “I told you to go”.
Abruptly she stood up. Her face altered from uncertainty to confusion. “Draco?”
It was the way she was looking at him. Surely she wouldn’t be able to detect the very subtle differences between the younger Malfoy and his Father. The stronger jawline? The less silky but thicker blonde hair?
Malfoy saw the look.
“Stupefy!” Astoria crumpled to the floor.
He stood up and repeated the spell at the boy, who hit his head on the door pane and slid down the side, leaving a small slither of blood.
I stared at him, speechless.
“We need to oblivate them”, he mumbled, kneeling by Astoria and pressing his wand to her fair forehead.
I observed him closely, his expression impassive as he let his mother’s head fall back gently. Perhaps his face didn't reveal emotion. It was something I had never considered before. I’d always seen him as this detached being, with no regard or concern for others. But perhaps there was a possibility that did have emotion. That he chose not to wear his heart (however cold it must be) on his sleeve.
He moved across to the boy near the door, throwing me an icy glare as he passed. “I don’t remember erasing your memory, Weasel”.
I fell out my thoughts and glowered at him.
Hours later, we were in the library. It wasn’t unusual for me to spend long nights cooped up, sleeping on parchment and leather binds. But then, I was relaxed, mellow, in knowing that the only thing that could frighten me was picking up a book on the second wizarding war.
Tonight, I was on edge.
Malfoy was sat on the end of the table, his back turned, his wand resting on his knee and his blonde head in a book. I sat cross legged, flicking over the page with one hand and my wand firmly gripped in the other.
Getting in here had been hard enough. I’d established that taking Malfoy anywhere was a hazard. He was mirror copy of his father. So much so, we’d been force to wait until eight, when we were sure the majority of students would be bed and then skulk through the school, to the library, unlocked the poorly sealed doors and begun our research.
The problem was, there wasn’t many a witch or wizard who had been painfully stupid enough to mix a Draught of Living Death with a Time-Turner and then resolved to drink the concoction.
Every time I thought of something I came to a dead end. Looking for another time-turner would was impossible. Taking our problems to someone else would break the most essential rule of time-travel – never be known.
“There’s nothing”, he drawled, slamming the book shut, making me jump.
I kept going through the pages of the Rules and Regulations of Time-Turners and Their Uses. He began to walk around the bookshelves, muttering curses upon authors who wouldn’t have even known that such words would later exist in the English language.
I let my gaze flow down the page, my expression becoming grimmer every time I saw another rule we had inadvertently broken.
Regulation 295: All Time-Turners must be returned to Ministry of Magic once the wearers’ contract has reached its end.
Regulation 295 a: In an event of a broken or smashed Time-Turner, a letter of explanation must be sent to the Ministry of Magic immediately and no remains of the Time-Turner are to be moved until an investigator arrives at the scene.
Regulation 295 b: If a Time-Tuner has smashed and a investigator is unavailable, then extreme care must be taken when sweeping the contents, a vacuum charm should be used for extra precaution as any particle of sand can cause minor hiccups in the time flux.
I leaned back in my chair, giving a surly look at the book in front of me. Minor hiccups? I failed to see this as a ‘minor hiccup’.
It was only when I realised that the incessant cursing had stopped, I glanced over.
Malfoy was very still. His hand was on the top row of books that I would have been forced to go on tiptoes to reach.
I narrowed my eyes, shut my book and got up.
‘The Demise of the Pure’ – was what the title read.
“It’s all about how purebloods will ultimately become extinct if they don’t breed with muggleborns or half-bloods”, I said haughtily.
He was silent.
“You’re in there”, I continued. “There’s whole chapter dedicated to the Malfoy’s’”.
Silence again. Unsettled about the lack of reaction I was receiving, I turned away.
“What if you don’t have a choice?”
I looked round. His head was curved against his shoulder and his cold eyes bored into mine. “What if you could only marry someone who was the same as you?”
My brow creased into a soft line. “Then that’s not marriage. It’s cruelty”.
His tone was cynical. “Cruel to be kind?”
“What kindness is there in enforced love?” I replied confusedly.
He gave a bitter grimace. “I don’t remember bringing love into it”.
“Marriage is love”, I said, “my parents love each other. As do you-”
“My parents do not love each other”, he snapped.
I frowned. “Well your Mother seemed pretty enthralled back there”.
His pale features became incredulous. “That was lust Weasel. Can you really not tell the difference? My parents despise each other, but they can’t keep their robes on for less than five minutes when they’re in a room together”.
I became ruffled. “Then why did they get married?”
He snorted bitterly. “Best way for their whole relationship not to become a scandal. If they’d married other people they would have just had an affair. The whole thing is fucked up”.
There was a noiselessness I couldn’t break through. It was the first time I’d been bared to something like this. I’d been brought up in a house were everyone loved each other. There was no steamy passion, or hidden longing, just the peck before they went to work and the tingling laughter at anniversaries.
A part of me didn't want to know any more. This lust appeared to be dangerous, unkind and consuming. But at the same time, it was new….and I couldn’t pull myself away from that draw.
Malfoy smirked. “Can your prized virtue handle all that, Weasel?”
I glared, trying to mask my burning cheeks. “I'm flattered you think my virtue is a prize, Malfoy”.
One platinum eyebrow cocked. “Are you denying that it’s not guarded by rows upon rows of male Weasels?”
“Doesn’t make it a prize. Just hard to get to”.
His gaze darkened. “And that’s what you want isn’t it? Rose Prissy Weasley. Buttoned up so tightly that no-one can get to what lies beneath”.
I turned away. We weren’t going to do this. I was exhausted. The longer we spent here the worse life would be when we returned.
I closed my eyes pushed my fringe back.
It was when I opened them that I frowned.
Since birth I had been trained to spot things that others didn't. Mostly, I was good at analysing people. I could read reactions and predict behaviour better than most people. Although, out of the two of us, Hugo was the one who tended to be better with board games and logical equations. But that had always made me all the more dogged to become better than him. And now, it paid off.
Exit Apparating Stunts
How I Brew Tasty Treats for All
You and Your Screwt
Entered Into a Muggle Life!
Four books, all in the wrong section, but forming one very important line.
Exit. How. You. Entered.
My lips parted. I wasn’t sure what was more shocking. The fact that someone knew we were here, or the fact I knew how we were going to get back.
“Look at this”, I murmured.
Malfoy stood behind me. I could smell that strange cologne rolling off him.
“What are you on about, Weasel”, he murmured.
The scowl slowly transformed.
He gave a quick shake of his head. “I don’t like it”.
I huffed. “It makes perfect sense! We fell asleep and time-travelled, therefore, to time-travel again, all we have to do is fall asleep! I don’t know why I didn't think of it earlier!”
“Because it’s too simple”, he growled, “that’s why”.
I began to pace. “We’ll need some Sleeping Draught, simple enough, but the volume of ingredients is ludicrous so we’ll have to break into Slughorn’s store cupboard, or whoevers store cupboard it is at the moment and get lavender, valerian, flobberworm mucus and-”
“And what will happen after we’ve had our little nap?” Malfoy asked coolly. “It’s a waste of time”.
When I spoke, my voice wobbled. “It’s all I’ve got”.
He glared, his silver eyes shining like newly polished pewter.
“Good”. I pulled the hood of my cloak up.
The plan was relatively simple. Malfoy would distract Slughorn or whoever happened to be in the Potions Masters office, while I, very stealthily, unlocked the store cupboard and retrieved the ingredients required. It all would have succeeded perfectly, if it wasn’t for Malfoy being Malfoy.
“And where are we going to brew this potion?” He jeered as I peered round the corner, eyeing the two giggling Prefect girls. “It takes a few hours to boil at the very least”.
“Just do your job and I’ll do mine”, I snapped. We were hidden behind the statue of the cackling hag, a perfect hiding place, but slightly restricted, meaning that every irksome thing Malfoy did, was right in my face, as was his preposterously tall body.
There was a noisy sigh and he began rummaging through his pockets. Finally, after much grunting, he pulled out a bright blue cigarette.
My eyes inflated. “That better not be what I think it is”.
He put it past his lips. The end smouldered and a weave of shimmering silver smoke issued from it. Daggles Davis Illegal Mystical Rollups.
“I banned those….death sticks!” I lashed out, struggling to keep my voice down. “It took me the whole of fifth year to remove every last trace from Hogwarts!”
He blew it in my face, where it washed past my hair, leaving a sickly sweet smell.
He sniggered. “Weasel, who do you think brought them in?”
“Do you know the side effects!?” I hissed, ticking them off as I said them. “Dizziness, stupor, hallucinations, magical incapability’s, not to mention what it does to your fertility!”
“I do apologise. I had no idea for your fondness of my sperm count”.
I became tight-lipped, about to tell him how his sperm wouldn’t have a count by the time I was done, when the door of the office opened and a remarkably trimmer version of Slughorn stepped out.
Rolling the eyes, Malfoy stepped into the classroom, putting the fag behind his left ear.
Slughorn lifted his head. I watched him carefully. He didn't seem as eager as I thought he would, but rather bore an expression of, to the ostensibly Draco Malfoy, reverence, not unlike the one that Scorpius Malfoy normally received at home.
“Ah. Draco”, he said, his smile a little strained. “How may I help you at this….late time?”
I nestled myself against the wall, my ears tuned to the conversation in the classroom.
“It’s the Headmaster, sir”, Malfoy said, sounding as concerned as any Malfoy possibly could.
“What about him?” Slughorn asked sharply.
“Well sir…..there’s something odd about him”.
“Don’t dodge around the subject boy! I can’t help the man if I don’t know what’s wrong with him”.
“He says he’s in love sir”.
There was a silence which I presumed held a nod. “He seems quite emphatic”.
“A love potion I presume”, Slughorn grumbled. “And who is the object of his affections?”
“That would be the delicate part, sir”.
“Oh merlin……who? Not a…student?”
“Mr Malfoy, I'm afraid that however delicate it may be I must know so we can determine who-”
There was a moment of silence. I could hear my own heart yelling with every beat: idiot, idiot, idiot.
“Filius?” Slughorn said faintly. “Are you positive?”
“I'm afraid he seems very insistent, sir”.
Slughorn’s voice became weary. “How insistent?”
“We’ve had to barricade the office door”, Malfoy replied. “He wants to act on his…erm yearnings”.
There was a groan. “Sweet Circe. Very well, take me to him then. It’s fortunate that I brewed up some antidote last week”.
I flattened myself against the wall as the puffing Slughorn past the door.
“Good job you came to me you know”, the Professor wheezed, “especially with a….ah delicate subject such as this”.
“You were the first who came to mind, sir”, Malfoy said, throwing me a striking smirk as they passed the statue.
I made sure they were at least halfway down the corridor before I slipped out my hiding place. I sprinted through the open door of the classroom, past the rows the desks and was about to fling myself at the door when I saw, out the corner of my eye, the brown leather briefcase resting against the desk.
Curious, I pulled away from the store cupboard and knelt beside the briefcase. It only took a few seconds for me to unlock the clasp and pull it open. Out shot various draws filled with different coloured phials, some labelled, others plain, some smaller than others, some issuing rancid smells.
My eyes scanned through the bottles, until they fell upon the glimmering violet potion – Sleeping Draught.
I grabbed it, shut the case and had just run out into the dark corridor, when something hard, tall and blonde rammed into me.
“Damn it, Weasel!” Malfoy hissed, the whites of his showing, “you almost knocked me flat!”
That seemed kind of an impossible task considering his was bordering on 6 ft 4 and I was stuck and had been stuck since the age of thirteen, on 4 ft 5.
“I have it”, I said, holding it up triumphantly.
His eyes fell upon the phial.
“How do you know that’s it?”
I rolled my eyes. “The glimmering sheen? The weak violet? The thick consistency?” I shook the potion pointedly. “Sleeping Draught”.
He folded his arms. “I prefer to make it from scratch. If your wrong-”
“I'm not”, I snapped, an automatic reply to that particular word.
He gave me a condescending sneer. “I’d rather avoid tentacles or missing appendages”.
I popped open the cork, then, glaring into his frightening eyes, I took a swig.
He stared suspiciously, awaiting the tentacles.
I yawned, a sleepy haze settling over my brain.
“At least collapse in the corner Weasel, I'm not touc-”
I didn't hear the rest. My eyes shut, my body became heavy and suddenly the world was rushing away.
There was something velvety under the palm of my hand. I scrunched my fingers , pulling the sheet up.
We were back.
I rolled into a sitting position, blinking at the sun searing through the window on my left. Birds suspended on the elm planted outside the Hospital Wing, shuffled nosily along the branch, their heads tilted and chirping.
“Miss Weasley”, Madam Pomfrey said, marching towards my bed, “I have to say you look much better this morning”.
I watched her busy herself around my bed in a daze.
“Open your mouth”.
Obediently, I opened wide, as I did so, letting my eyes flit over to the bed in the corner of the room. The curtain was drawn.
The Matron peered inside, tapping the back of my mouth with her wand.
“All seems well”, she said, removing her wand and wiping it clean with a greying cloth. “I would say you are free to go”.
I tore my eyes away from Malfoy’s bed.
“Where has Malf-”
“Mr Malfoy left ten minutes ago”, she tittered, hands on her hips. “But I must say Miss Weasley, I would much prefer if you left Mr Malfoy alone. In fact that is my only prescription. Every time you two go near each other you end up in here! So for goodness sake stay away from each other.”
I would have happily overdosed on that prescription.
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