Chapter 2 : The Other Malfoy
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'Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy!' I couldn't stifle the laugh that came tumbling out of my mouth. Hermione just looked so peeved it was too funny to be able to contain it, and to be fair I probably deserved the punch she gave me when I didn't shut up like she ordered me to. I was certainly going to find a nice bruise on my arm in the morning. Weirdly Malfoy didn't look too bothered, he just looked deep in thought. Who was he staring at anyway? At that moment the girl in question turned and looked towards our table, her eyes flickering from one face to the next along the entire table, talking to herself as she went. I know my lip-readings not up to scratch but I'd guess she was...counting? Surely there's more exciting things to do than count the number of people at the Gryffindor table? The other Malfoy. I'd never really given her much thought. Her dear brother was enough of a pain in the ass that I was quite content with not coming into contact with her. I would guess she was the same as him. After all the entire Malfoy family had served the Dark Lord. They all got off lightly of course, thanks to their minimal input for the Death Eaters during the final battle. Although, now I think about it, I don't remember seeing her in the war. Ever. Not in the final battle. Not in the tower where Dumbledore was murdered. Not even in Malfoy Manor that night we were caught and poor Hermione was tortured. And yet, she keeps her left wrist covered in the exact same way that Draco does. The Dark Mark. So she must have been working for him doing something, somewhere. Strange.
O, wait, McGonagall just said my name, joy. If Hermione's been paired up with Draco Malfoy then I'm definitely going to be dumped with someone in Slytherin. I just hope it's not that Millicent Bullstrode girl, she looks like she could throw a better punch then Hermione.
'Lexis Malfoy'. I turned back to look at her again. She'd moved onto counting the number of people on the Hufflepuff table, her hands compulsively twisting around each other. She seemed oblivious to what had just been said. Someone else didn't though. He'd finally stopped staring at her and come out of his little reverie and was glaring directly at me. If looks could kill I'd be six feet under. Apparently he didn't want me anywhere near his sister. He was probably thinking about me contaminating his family with half-blood parasites or something. Whatever. The guy was a wanker. But what about her? Well, I guess I'll find out soon enough. Providing I'm not hexed or strangled first.
I was trying to listen to the conversation amongst my friends but something kept drawing my attention back to the Malfoys. She had stopped counting by now and just looked a little apprehensive and lost. Eventually Draco leaned across the table and said something to her. Something that made her turn and look straight back at me. The apprehension fell from her face leaving a blank, completely un-readable expression.
The end of the feast had been announced, alongside a loud clatter of everyone trying to get up at once. Hermione and Ron were heading off to take the first years up to the dorms. Ginny had floated away to talk to Luna and Neville. We'd both suffered too much and lost too much during the war our relationship had just sort of...evaporated. We spoke to each other and had a laugh when I was at the burrow but that was about as far as it went. Dean and Seamus shouted me over to walk up to the common room with them. As I walked I allowed myself one last glance back to the Slytherins. Draco was acting the prat as always for his considerably smaller group of followers, most of his lot had either died in the war or not bothered coming back. His group were just loitering near the table chatting and gesturing wildly to each other. Lexis, on the other hand, was no-where near the table. Any of the tables. She was one of the first out the Great Hall door and halfway across the Entrance Hall, her hands still clutching each other as she went. Clearly she was in a rush for some reason. She was definitely strange, but I have to admit I'm a little intrigued.
The following morning, our year awoke to a little note from McGonagall.
To all final year students,
The House Unity Challenge will be starting fairly easily, to help you get acquainted and comfortable with each other. Every breakfast and mid-day meal you must sit at a specially assigned, mixed house table, for your year. You must sit next to your declared partner, during these mealtimes. If you arrive before your partner you may choose where along the table you sit, but must leave a space next to you so they can join you when they arrive. Evening meals you may sit with your usual house. Any further questions please see your head of house.
Hoping you are well,
I shared a look with Hermione and Ron, their faces said what I was thinking. This was going to be a fun year. Not.
The House Unity Challenge was the sole topic of conversation on the way down to breakfast.
'I don't see why you're complaining Ron, you've been placed with a very nice-looking Ravenclaw girl?' That earned me another thump from Hermione. 'I'm not saying anything will happen between them Mione, I'm just saying he's lucky to have someone like that rather than who we've got to cope with.' She seemed to relax a little at that.
'But Harry, at least the Malfoy's aren't gonna make either of you two look thick are they?' Ron was moaning away.
'Would you rather swap?'
'Well then shut it.'
'Harry, the Slytherins are already here.' Hermione pointed out, the tone in her voice showing great disappointment. They'd managed to seat themselves in such a way that Hermione and I would have to sit right in the middle of them. Ron's partner was already seated right at the opposite end of the table to where we were going to be.
Here we go then, the start of a fantastic new year. Draco and Lexis Malfoy were sat next to each other, leaving a space either side for me and Hermione. I slumped into the seat next to Lexis without saying a word. I noticed Hermione do the same beside Draco. It was the first time I'd ever been this close to her. It suddenly became obvious how small she was compared to her brother, both in height and physical build. I know Draco had a slight build as well but at least he had some muscle after years of playing quidditch. As I reached across the table to start filling my plate I could see what she was putting together for her so-called breakfast. I couldn't help but watch as she placed it with pin-point precision in the centre of her plate. A small cup of tea, black, no sugar.
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