Chapter 23 : The Angel of Death
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Halloween came on a blustery fall day; the sky was pearl gray and solid, the wind just sharp enough to cause discomfort. I tightened my arms around my middle, both trying to retain heat and squash the squirming feeling inside of me. I shifted my weight around, looking around the empty corridor to see if I was still alone. I was.
It was the first time in a long time that I had to exist without Joey. It was harder than I expected it to be. It had only been a week, and already I’d missed him a dozen times: whether it was as simple as seeing something that reminded me of him or as unfathomable as a sickening feeling that would wash over me at the most random of times. Sometimes I simply missed having him to talk to. Or maybe I just missed knowing he was there if I needed him. I suppose I’d never really know the answer.
Still, no matter how much I hated it, I hated what he had done to me more. He had changed, sold me out, become a different person than the one he had always been. Instead of being supportive and cheerful and in love with me no matter what, he had taken his own course, and it was a course that severely interfered with my own.
What he had gone and told Dumbledore, I had no idea. But it couldn’t be good for Tom and I, whatever it was. It was my fault that Joey had paid enough attention to see something amiss with Tom, and so I took it upon myself to try and rectify it.
Because if Tom found out Joey had gone to Dumbledore, he would turn on me. And Joey would be in a position I wouldn’t wish on anyone, even though he had hurt me.
So here I was, waiting outside the headmaster’s office.
Dumbledore watched me too closely to be fooled by my story. He knew I was always with Tom, he knew I’d do anything for him. I was near positive he could simply pluck such thoughts out of my mind.
But Headmaster Dippet was another story. He adored Tom, and the few times that he had talked to me, he had seemed just as enchanted as he was with Tom. So my weak story defending Tom might possibly work on him.
“Miss Anne Harley?”
Speak of the devil. I turned, pasting a bright smile onto my face. The feeble old man we called headmaster was beaming at me as he approached.
“To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Hello, Headmaster,” I said sweetly, following as he gestured me up the spiral staircase that lead to his office. “I only wanted to speak to you about something that’s been worrying me a bit.”
“Of course, whatever could that be?” Dippet asked, sinking into his headmaster’s chair.
I paused, trying to look embarrassed. “Well, it is a little my fault I suppose…but I wanted to talk to you about something someone may have told one of the Professors.”
Dippet frowned, wordlessly prompting me to elaborate.
“I, er…well, just broke up with my boyfriend, sir,” I said, peeking up to see Dipett looking surprised. “And he wasn’t very happy, and well…”
I trailed off, shifting uncomfortably. I was acting significantly less than I had thought I’d have to…it really was uncomfortable to talk about my love life with the headmaster.
“The thing is, you know Tom? Tom Riddle?”
Dippet brightened at the mention of the most brilliant boy in the school.
“Of course, Tom! A wonderful boy! What could he have to do with such an, er, occurance?”
“Well, sir, the boy I had broken up with seemed to think I like Tom now,” I admitted. “And so he went to Professor Dumbledore and said some things about Tom that weren’t very nice, and most certainly weren’t true. He told me later and I just, I just feel awful because I don’t want anyone thinking less of Tom because of something another jealous boy said.”
I finished as lamely as I could, praying that Dippet wouldn’t see through my façade of embarrassment and innocent romance gone wrong. I knew I had him before he even opened his mouth.
His eyes were sparkling with either sympathy or laughter.
“Oh Miss Harley, what a thoughtful thing of you to do,” he said kindly. “It was very sweet of you to try and look out for your classmate’s reputation.”
“Yes sir, I would just hate for Professor Dumbledore to think badly of Tom just because someone is making up lies about him…”
“I assure you no one could think badly of Tom!” Dippet exclaimed. “He’s an ideal student really, have you ever spent much time with him?”
“Er, a little bit,” I responded, thinking of all the nights in the dungeons I spent with Tom. “Please sir, don’t tell Professor Dumbledore it was me, but make sure he knows whatever he was told is an utter lie.”
“Of course, of course,” Dippet said. “We all know Tom is a wonderful boy. I would have chosen him for prefect, if it weren’t for Albus reminding me he had a lot on his plate already, with all the classes he’s taking and being first in the class and all…”
So Dumbledore had convinced Dippet not to make Tom a prefect. He really did have it in for Tom.
“That was…kind of him,” I said. “But I’m sure Tom would have made a lovely prefect.”
Dippet sighed. “That’s what I thought, but Albus is very wise, I figured he had a point.”
“I’m sure he did, sir.”
I learned that day that anything I did to try and remove Dumbledore’s suspicion from Tom would be useless and perhaps make the situation worse. Albus Dumbledore had evidently done all he could to keep Tom from gaining a position of power. He would never stop keeping an eye on Tom, and consequently, on me. All we could do to avoid him was bury the darkness deep within ourselves, to appear all but perfect, to never be satisfactorily linked to any of the horrifying things we would eventually become entangled with. This would prove to be more of a challenge than I believe it ever appeared.
“I knew it,” Tom snarled, whipping around and causing his robes to flare out behind him. “I knew Dumbledore would have something to do with me not making prefect. I was right.”
“Of course you were,” I said. “Now what?”
Tom continued to pace around our dungeon room, nearly knocking a pile of precariously stacked books into the fire.
I scribbled down another sentence of my Ancient Runes essay, since it had to be done no matter what injustices had occurred thanks to Dumbledore.
“I will be prefect,” Tom announced, stopping in front of the table and tapping his fingers on it. “Its perfect…the privileges I would have, it would be incredibly valuable to be able to wander about at night without people asking questions…”
“I’m sure it would be,” I agreed, dipping my quill to get more ink.
“Dippet wanted to make me prefect,” Tom muttered. “If only he was given another opportunity, and if I could prove to him I’m right for the position…”
It was silent for a few moments as I tried to finish my essay and Tom hovered around, his irritation almost tangible.
“Hypothetically, if something were to happen to a prefect, what would the headmaster do?” Tom asked eventually, sitting across from me.
“He’d have to find a new one I suppose.”
“Exactly. And who better for the position than the one who was first and rightly considered for it?”
“Tom, I don’t know,” I said, laying my quill down. “Wouldn’t it look awfully suspicious if one of our prefects randomly disappeared or something?”
“Not to anyone but Dumbledore. And he isn’t the one who matters here.”
“The fifth year prefects for Slytherin are Nancy Gregors and Will O’Rielly,” I said, thinking aloud. “So you’ll have to take Will’s place, you’d need something to happen to him...like what?”
“I was thinking he’d be in some sort of ‘accident,’” Tom said quietly, glancing at me. “I don’t need to kill him, but something serious enough to land him in St. Mungo’s for a very long time.”
“Well I certainly hope you don’t need to kill him,” I said, my voice sounding a bit more high-pitched than I would have liked.
“No, no, we’ll have enough of that with the Chamber,” Tom snorted, causing my veins to turn to ice for a moment. “This will be something easy. But I’ll take care of it later. I have something I want to show you now.”
I looked up from my essay. “What?”
“How would you like to go for a walk?”
Tom rose from his seat and motioned for me to follow him. When we made it to the common room he said, “Go get a cloak, we’re going outside.”
Bewildered, I plucked my red cloak from my bed and went back downstairs. I followed Tom up into the great hall and right past the place where the Halloween feast would be happening in a few short hours.
The sun was just dying over the mountains in the distance, sending purple and orange splashes across the sky. I would have stopped to admire the sight, but Tom paid no attention to the sunset and led me down the lawn and toward the greenhouses. I knew any attempt to find out where we were going before we got there would be met with hostility, so I followed silently, pulling my hood up to block out the chill of the evening wind.
Tom brought me right to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, and we walked alongside the trees for a very long time until we came to the very perimeter of the grounds, where the steep wrought iron fence cut off any further progress. Tom glanced around to make sure we were alone, then started making his way into the forest.
“What—” I began, unable to remain silent about what was turning out to be a most peculiar walk.
“Quiet. Follow closely.”
I did as I was told, but I couldn’t help the churning feeling in my stomach. What could possibly be in the Forbidden Forest that Tom wanted me to see? And what about all the things in here that made the forest, well, forbidden?
I swallowed my uncertainties and caught up to Tom, placing both my hand in his and my trust in him. The tree cover was so thick I could barely see ahead of me, but I didn’t light my wand. I crunched through the dead leaves and stepped over tangled roots and fallen branches, trying not to jump at every sound or let the shadows of the forest play tricks on me.
Tom pulled me along for a few minutes until he stopped suddenly, at a spot that looked no different to me than any other part of the forest. But then I heard a slight scuffling noise, like someone dragging their foot through the layer of dead leaves. I looked at Tom, and he only smiled.
“Anna, I’d like you to meet Doran,” he said, raising his wand in a grand sweeping motion.
“Holy—” I gasped, stumbling backwards slightly at the sudden appearance of a man. Well, half a man. Tom had lifted a disillusionment charm off of a something, a something with the torso and head of a human male and the body of a horse.
“What is it?” I managed, and for one horrible moment, I thought Tom had done this; I thought Tom had taken some poor man and half transfigured him into a horse as some kind of sick joke or misguided way to try and impress me.
“A centaur,” he replied, silencing my fears. “Just one of the many half-breeds we have living here in the forest.”
“But why…” I trailed off, noticing the odd angle at which the creature’s legs were bent, the unnatural tilt of his head. Something invisible was binding it here, and judging from the snarl of his lips, he was silenced too. He had little marks across his chest, wounds that had healed over, some newer than others. Clearly, these were not natural injuries.
I stared at Tom. “Care to explain?”
“Doran here has been, well, let’s call it a little experiment of mine for a few weeks now. A bit of a side project to finding the chamber. My use for him has expired though, and I wanted you to see something else I’ve been working on. Something that I hope for you to learn yourself.”
I frowned, watching Doran’s dark eyes boring into my own. The look of hatred on his face was pure and terrifying.
“This is perhaps the most important spell we will need in the coming months…we’ve been invited to aid Grindelwald in France this Spring, and its time we learned,” Tom told me, raising his wand.
I was suddenly afraid, afraid of what Tom was going to do to this poor, bound creature, and afraid of what consequences he would face for it. Surely this centaur had friends. And God only knew what kind of powers they had.
“Wait!” I cried, as Tom opened his mouth. “What are you going to do?”
Tom spared me one long, clear look. Then:
There was a blinding flash of green light and a rushing whistle. Instinctively, my eyes had snapped shut, but I still heard the heavy body of the creature hit the ground. I knew what had happened even before I opened my eyes. If death had a sound, that was it.
I opened my eyes to see Doran the centaur unmistakably, completely dead upon the leaves on the ground. His mouth was slightly open, and the black eyes that had only moments ago been glaring at me lay open and blank.
The only sound seemed to be my own heartbeat, thumping against my chest as I tried to form a coherent thought. I could feel Tom’s eyes on me, waiting. Waiting for me to react to what he had just done.
Something drew me toward the body of the beast in front of me, and I let whatever it was carry me to the centaur’s side. I knelt down beside it; saw more closely the still glass of its eyes, the body that had been straining against its bonds that was now frozen in time just as it was. That flash of green and haunting whoosh had not left a mark on the creature’s skin. It could have been sleeping if I closed its eyes.
But it was dead. Its death had been instantaneous, unavoidable, inescapable. A perfect, clean, painless death.
I looked up from the corpse of the centaur to see that Tom had moved to my side and was looking down at his work with an unreadable expression. His black eyes moved from Doran’s body, meeting my own and causing my breath to catch in my throat. He was too lovely for anyone to think he was capable of this. Tom had just become something so much more terrifying, a killer, yet still an angel.
Some muted part of my mind knew I should be crying and scared, horrified that Tom had mastered the final, most insidious Unforgivable Curse. I was horrified somewhere, I think. But looking at the body in front of me, the immaculate taking of life I had just witnessed, I could only manage one thought.
And the angel of death smiled down at me, offering a white hand to help me up from the ground.
There were a million questions I should have been asking—what had Tom been doing to that centaur in the forest? How did he find it in the first place? When had he learned the single most dangerous curse in the world? When was he going to teach me?
I couldn’t separate my inquiries, or the knot of horror and fascination and shame that was sitting inside me. I knew it was wrong to be so fascinated, wrong to let Tom chain up a human-like beast from the forest and kill it in cold blood.
But I knew somewhere that I was past the point of trying to prove to myself that I could be good, responsible, normal.
I couldn’t be. I knew it. Especially now, now that I had seen the beautiful simplicity with which one’s life could be taken away. I hated myself for it, but I couldn’t stop it. Even the thought of learning this curse sent waves of excitement to my very toes. I had felt the rush of power radiating simply by standing next to Tom as he did it.
I wanted to learn. I had to or I would go insane.
While my internal, unexplainable urges and sense of morality were battling in my head, we had made it back up to the castle. It was dark now, the windows of the dining hall shining gold with the lights of the Halloween Feast.
“We should hurry, we’re going to miss the feast,” I said, shaking my head in an effort to rid myself of any remaining thoughts of the Killing Curse.
Tom threw an arm out that caught me in the stomach.
“Ow! What the he—”
“Shut up,” Tom snapped, pointing at something. I followed his finger to see a single figure pacing around near the stone steps to the castle. I squinted, trying to get a closer look. Wand lit and aloft, clearly whoever it was was a prefect…
Then it hit me. Will O’Rielly.
“This is too perfect,” Tom breathed. “How very lucky.”
And without another moment passing, Tom sent a perfectly aimed stunner right into O’Rielly’s chest.
“Tom! What if someone saw? What if…” but I trailed off. There was no one in sight. Naturally, everyone was probably filing down to the dining hall for the feast. O’Rielly himself was probably just about to end his patrol and go inside to eat. If we had taken perhaps thirty more seconds getting up here, he would have been inside already, surrounded by the rest of our classmates. But we had been lucky. Now he was stunned and Tom was levitating him over to our side to do…what?
Instead of asking the obvious question, I just watched as Tom knelt down beside the prefect on the ground. He took a few moments just looking, prodding O’Rielly a few times with his wand.
“Transfigure him,” Tom muttered, more to himself than me. “Make a mess, they won’t be able to piece him back together for a while…Anna, I believe this is a project you can help me with. But you’ll have to improvise. Can you do that?”
I hesitated, but knew what my answer would be all along. I flashed a smile. “Naturally.”
And improvise I did. By the time I was done with my classmate, he was unrecognizable as himself, and barely as a human.
So much for him being in an accident.
His arms were scaly, his nails transfigured into claw-like metal extrusions. His very torso somewhat resembled a tree trunk thanks to the bark and artfully placed sprouts of leaves. And his head…Tom, in an unexpected burst of seasonal cheer, had directed me to pick something “festive.”
This was his idea of fun, I suppose. He wanted everyone to see this.
And so instead of Will O’Rielly’s face, I was looking down at a pumpkin—a real, enormous pumpkin that had been carved into a hideous jack-o-lantern by yours truly.
They would have a hell of a time trying to get this kid back to normal. The pumpkin leered at me, its grimace black and jagged, eyes somewhat glowing thanks to a long lasting fire charm Tom had cultivated somewhere and performed as a finishing touch on my work. I suppose he could have looked humorous really, with all his mismatched body parts and cartoonishly large head. But there was something eerie about the whole thing, something sinister about the glowing eyes in an otherwise still unconscious form.
I had made sure O’Rielly would remain in a deep coma until he was untransfigured and back to normal. It was never my intention to cause him pain, and so I was meticulous in being sure it never occurred. O’Rielly would awake from a pleasant sleep in the few weeks or months it took them to fix him. So why did I still feel so terrible?
I should have been proud of myself. Tom had given me a task and I performed it brilliantly. It simultaneously horrified and elated me how easily I was able to “improvise.” Ideas for destruction of this boy’s body came quickly and rooted easily in my brain, manifesting themselves through my wand. It had been more like creating a work of art than casting specific spells.
“I think we’re missing the feast,” Tom said quietly, his eyes on the golden windows above us.
“Sorry,” I said, snapping out of my thoughts.
Tom shrugged. “I believe missing a meal is a reasonable price to pay for my prefect’s badge.”
He began to walk towards the castle, without a second glance at the gruesome creation lying in the grass.
“Do you think we should just…leave him here?” I asked.
“More of them will make the rounds tonight and find him before it gets too late.”
“And are you sure this is going to work?”
Tom didn’t bother answering, but I found myself following him back inside anyway.
There was never any formal announcement about the bizarre transformation of Will O’Rielly. I think Headmaster Dippet wanted to try and keep it quiet so no one would get scared. But Hogwarts, being Hogwarts, was swirling with rumors the next morning anyway.
“Did you hear about Will?” Marcella asked, swooping down on me the moment I sat down for breakfast. “Will O’Rielly? He sits next to me in Defense Against the Dark Arts?”
“What?” I asked sleepily, letting out a yawn so I looked especially unaware.
“The prefect, Will O’Rielly!” she squeaked. “I guess he was attacked or something, he got transfigured in all these weird, really horrible ways. They brought him up to the hospital wing for a bit last night, Hannah told me because she was up there for a burn…I guess they brought in Dumbledore and he couldn’t even do anything!”
“Really? Wow,” I said. “Do they know what happened? Is he gonna be okay?”
“Well Dumbledore was really worried because he said it was really advanced transfiguration and that whoever had done it really knew what they were doing…they transferred him to St. Mungo’s after that. I think he’ll be okay eventually but holy mother of Merlin, who do you think would do something like that?”
“No idea,” I said vaguely. So even Dumbledore hadn’t been able to make a mark on my creation. Apparently, I really knew what I was doing.
I could almost see the situation in my mind’s eye, Dumbledore leaning over the disfigured boy, his blue eyes filled with worry. He was going to search very hard to find out who had done this. But how could he know? No one had seen us. All he had to go off of was the transfiguration itself. He’d look for someone good at transfiguring…shit.
The first person Dumbledore would suspect is the person who transfigures best in the entire school.
“I have to go,” I told Marcella, rising suddenly.
“Wh—why?” she asked, giving me a strange look.
Instead of pressing further, she shrugged. “You’re so weird now, Anne.”
I didn’t have time to think about her comment, since I was already flying back to the Slytherin common room to find Tom. I wound through the dungeon corridors and found him in our room, working at the table.
“Tom, Dumbledore’s going to know it was me,” I announced without prelude, afraid I was going to get called up to his office within moments.
Tom just glanced up at me and said, “And how did you come to this conclusion?”
“He said the transfiguration on O’Rielly was very advanced…he’s going to start questioning the students he knows are best at that,” I said, irritated with the way he wasn’t paying me much attention. “Tom, we are the best.”
That got him. As soon as his own welfare was endangered, Tom was all business.
“He can’t prove we weren’t at the feast,” he said. “He can’t have seen us. No one did.”
“But we can’t prove we were there either!”
“Yes we can. I’ll tell Avery and Lestrange to back us up if anyone asks if we were at dinner,” Tom decided. “I won’t bother with Nott, he’s such an idiot he’d probably implicate us rather than help us.”
I calmed slightly at this. I felt better knowing I had an alibi now, but I still felt my stomach flip over when Dumbledore quietly asked me to stay after class that afternoon.
“I assume you’ve heard the rumors about Mr. O’Rielly,” he said, sitting down behind his desk and sparing me no greetings or pleasantries.
“Yes sir, it’s terrible…is he going to be okay?”
“St. Mungo’s has just informed us that this is some of the strangest magic they’ve ever seen, and it could take a very long time to heal him completely. I don’t think we will be seeing Will back with us until well into next term.”
I tried to look upset.
“The reason I wanted to speak to you, Miss Harley, is that the transfiguration work that was done on Mr. O’Rielly was…well, exceptional. And it did not escape my notice that the only person at Hogwarts, other than myself, that is capable of such work would be you.”
“Professor, I would never—” I began, equal parts horror and indignation.
Dumbledore held up a hand. “I have spoken very highly of your prodigious work in class to much of the staff, and it had not gone unnoticed that this was the work of a very talented Transfigurer such as yourself. All I wish to do is clear your name of any suspicion so we may focus on who committed this act of cruelty. Would you help me in doing so, and bring us one step closer to finding the real culprit?”
Damn Dumbledore. He had me painted into a corner. If I argued with him, I would just look more guilty, or at least a complete jerk that didn’t want to help find the attacker. But luckily, I had my alibi ready.
“It was concluded that Mr. O’Rielly was most likely attacked sometime immediately before or during the Halloween feast,” Dumbledore said.
“Sir, I was at the feast!” I cried, hoping I looked distraught. “How could I have done anything if I was eating?”
“I apologize, Miss Harley, but none of the staff can recall seeing you at the feast.”
“But I was! Ask my friends! Ask Tom, or…or John or Leo Lestrange. I ate with them,” I said, fidgeting in a poor attempt to escape Dumbledore’s piercing gaze.
“Again, my apologies, but I would prefer if you could have someone verify you were at dinner that isn’t a part of your innermost circle of friends. I feel, well, some of the staff feel their fondness for you might cloud their moral responsibilities.”
Fondness, my ass. I’d eat a toad the day Lestrange lied for me willingly, without Tom telling him he had to. And was it ‘some of the staff’ who was thinking all of this, or was Dumbledore just conducting his own little investigation? A wave of annoyance washed over me. If Dumbledore was going around accusing me of things in the staffroom I’d never forgive him. Or was he just making it all up to try and trick me?
“Sir, that’s who I ate with.”
“Please, try to recall. Was there anyone else sitting around you who would remember you being there? I would hate for you to remain under suspicion, Miss Harley….”
I had a sudden impulse to throw something at Dumbledore’s calm, lined face. He knew. He knew I did it. And he was trying to draw some sort of confession out of me.
Well that wasn’t going to happen. Think. Marcella would lie for me but there was no time to alert her, and she wasn’t the brightest. She might not understand what I needed from her. Rachel would certainly understand but there was no telling what she would do after seeing the situation I was in. She might throw me under the bus for her own benefit. Would Joey lie for me? Normally yes. Now, no.
Think, think. Who’s horrible enough to lie about such an important thing, who would do it for me?
And then, out of nowhere, I thought of Malfoy. That snobby, irritating blond boy who had interrupted our meeting. The one who seemed very interested in Tom, and even more interested in me. It was a risk, but what did I possibly have to lose?
“Er…I think that new boy was nearby,” I said uncertainly, frowning a bit as if trying to remember. “Malfoy I think is his name? The blonde one that just transferred here. He was next to us.”
Apparently this was an acceptably disassociated source, because Dumbledore nodded and sent a shimmering thing into the hall. A few moments later Malfoy, who had just been in class here, returned to the room.
“Professor?” he asked, popping his head in the door, “Your, er, silver thing told me you wanted to see me?”
“Yes, Mr. Malfoy. I only needed to ask a quick question. Come in.”
Malfoy approached the desk, visibly confused at my presence and Dumbledore’s request.
“The Halloween Feast…you were in attendance, I take it?” Dumbledore asked.
“Of course, Professor.”
“Do you recall Miss Harley there as well?”
Such a simple question. I was staring at my lap, scared to give Dumbledore any reason to believe I was signaling Malfoy of anything. But I had to. I surreptitiously looked up through my hair to see that Dumbledore was slightly turned, his attention on Malfoy. I took my chance and shot a split-second glance at Malfoy, who had been staring at me. I could only pray he understood.
“Yes, sir,” he said easily, taking his eyes off me and looking back at Dumbledore.
Wow. That wasn’t hard. I had anticipated a little stutter, a little hesitation before understanding what I needed. But there Abraxas Malfoy was, blatantly lying to his Professor for a girl who had not treated him very nicely at all in the past.
“I understand,” Dumbledore said, and I swear it was my imagination, but I thought I saw a flicker of disappointment in his eyes. “You are both dismissed. I apologize for the inconvenience.”
“I hope you find whoever did it, Professor. It would be a shame for someone who did something like that to get away with it,” I said, only for the satisfaction of defeating him.
But no satisfaction came as he lowered his sad blue eyes to me.
“Indeed it would, Anne.”
“Close one,” Malfoy said, as soon as Dumbledore’s office door shut.
“Yeah,” I said, turning to look at him. “How…how did you know?”
Malfoy shrugged. “Everyone’s talking about that kid getting attacked during the feast, saying he was attacked by some master transfigurer. I’ve heard you’re the best in class. It’s not difficult to put two and two together. Obviously they’d suspect the only students capable of the feat.”
“Oh. Well…er, thanks.”
Malfoy waved away my gratitude. “Of course. Anything to help protect a friend from Dumbledore’s overinflated sense of moral righteousness.”
So we were friends now, Malfoy and I?
“I didn’t know you’d been here long enough to hate Dumbledore,” I said. “What’d he do to you?”
“My family knows all about him,” Malfoy said, distaste coloring his voice. “I only needed to hear him talk once to know he hadn’t changed. He’s always been nosy and had it in for Slytherins.”
I listened without comment.
“So you can always count on me if you’re ever in a tight spot with him again,” Malfoy said, stopping suddenly and turning toward me. “You can trust me.”
I tried to see something in those strange gray eyes of his, but there was nothing. Abraxas Malfoy was as good at masking his emotions as I was. He had just helped me a whole lot, but I still didn’t know if I could trust him completely.
“Thanks,” I said. “And just so you know, I really didn’t do it.”
Malfoy laughed. “You don’t have to lie, Anne. I personally think it sounds like you did everyone a favor, knocking off a prefect. And using some very impressive magic along the way.”
“I didn’t do it, I’m not lying!”
“Then why did you need me to lie?”
Malfoy laughed again and touched me on the shoulder. “Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.”
I didn’t know how to respond, so I just stood there.
“Maybe though, you’ll come to Hogsmeade with me next Saturday. Just, you know, to make sure I’m staying quiet.”
Seriously? Malfoy was really going blackmail me into going on a date with him? No matter how smooth he thought he was, or how nonthreatening the words seemed, I could recognize a threat when I heard one. Malfoy was very gently suggesting that if I refused he could very easily get me in trouble.
I had seriously underestimated Abraxas Malfoy.
He knew how to get what he wanted. But so did I.
“I would really like that,” I said, glancing at him through my eyelashes.
Malfoy looked surprised, but recovered quickly. “Great. I’ll meet you by the hourglasses at noon then.”
“Sounds good,” I answered, throwing him my most dazzling smile. “Listen, I’ve got to run, but thank you so much, again.”
I walked away, adding just a bit of an extra swing to my hips because I knew he’d be watching. Now that Joey and I were done, I was free to enchant anyone I wanted. I was free to date a million different boys…boys with connections, boys with money, boys with things that could help me, or help Tom.
There would be no harm in having a very long conversation with this Malfoy boy, to see just what his family knew about Dumbledore, and what they knew about Slytherin. I might even get a bit of Durmstrang Dark Arts knowledge along the way.
Yes, I should probably be nice to Abraxas Malfoy. Who knows if he’d come in handy? And maybe, just maybe, I could use him to find out just how much Tom cared about me.
A/N Guys I can't explain how sorry I am for making you wait so long! I'll do my very best to get the next one out in a more timely manner, and hopefully before school gets a chance to slow me down again! It means the world if you're still with me, thank you:) As alwaysssss please let me know what you think, what you're hoping to see in the future, and any predictions you have! I love reading your reviews! Tune in next time for some more chamber stuff, romance and crazy illegal school fun >:)
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