Pardon My French

By Violet Beck

Arc I :: Quelle Chance!

Chapter Four :: Takedown of a Self-Righteous Prick

 

My eyes were locked on the snitches, and I knew in an instant from the sudden breaths drawn on either side of me that Crabbe and Goyle had spotted them, too. The little golden birds stared up at us in innocent confusion, and the slightly larger male fluffed itself up and cooed in what it must have considered a frightening fashion.

"Why, hello there," I murmured, and knelt beside the box.

The giant was speaking. "Everybody 'ere? Good, then, we'll start." He bent from his enormous height and tossed the lid off the box. "How ya doin' down there, lil feller?" he asked the male snitch, which he tenderly lifted. It immediately became complacent in his hand, and rubbed its thin beak affectionately against his huge thumb. Dumb bird.

"This is a Golden Snidget," he said loudly, showing it around to the old class. "They're commonly called snitches, but it's a good thing t'know that they've got a real name. Most o' you Quidditch players probably recognize what they were originally used for, right?"

I wasn't really paying attention--not that I ever do. Father's already taught me most of what I need to know about magical beasts. All my application was on the snitch. When I reached out to touch her, she quickly shied away. Bratty little bird. In a swift movement, I scooped my fingers under her, and picked her up, thus breaking the light Restraining Charm the giant had put on her. She cooed softly and cowered in my none-too-gentle grasp.

"Calm down," I muttered to the snitch. "I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to look at you!" However, the little bird wasn't to be placated; she just kept struggling.

"Leave it alone, Malfoy," a familiar self-righteous voice said behind me. Hm, I'd been wondering when he was going to show up and try to play Birdie Savior.

"Hello there, Potter," I said quietly, looking over my shoulder as I stood. "Funny, I thought you wouldn't be crusading on the same day you drove your Mudblood girl away."

"How'd you know about that?" the Weasel said a little too quickly, his beady brown eyes narrowing. For once, he'd actually gotten himself enough to ignore a word that usually makes him smack me.

I smirked, and patted the struggling snitch in my arms absent-mindedly. "Oh, so it is true? That was just a lucky guess. What, Weasley, she's not into ugly redheads anymore?"

The jerk almost threw himself at me, and I surely would have gotten my ass stuck in the snitch crate if Potter hadn't restrained him just in time. "Calm down, Ron," he hissed to his friend.

"Listen to your buddy there," I told him coldly. "I wouldn't want to have to kill you so early in the morning." Then, laughing to myself, I turned back around to face the giant and the rest of the class. The bird in my hand squirmed and cooed in protest.

It wasn't over yet, though. Potter grabbed my shoulder and made me face him. "I told you to leave that snitch alone!" he exclaimed.

"What, are you going to make me?" I scoffed. Normally, I would have considered this pushing my luck, but, well...you understand. Running out of luck didn't look like it was about to become a problem today.

"Yes, I think I will," Potter snapped, and forcefully seized my wrist. I was surprised into motion, and released the snitch thoughtlessly from my grasp.

In a shot of golden feathers and a satisfied "coo coo-coo," the snitch had shot into the sky with outstanding agility and speed. It was gone in a flash, and the whole class watched it go in a flurry of "omigods" and "lookatergos!"

"Potter!" I yelped in a sudden stroke of brilliant self-preservation, "I told you to leave that bird alone! Now look what you've done!"

The giant, still holding the male snitch in his hands, was looking mournfully up after the other bird. Shaking his head, he glanced back down at a very livid Potter, arms crossed across his barrel-like chest.

"Oh, 'Arry, that was a dumb thing to do. I spent a lot o' time gettin' these Snidgets together!"

I looked Potter straight in the eye, just daring him to incriminate me. We had a seconds-long bout of the Staring Game, and at long last, I pulled through as the winner.

"Sorry, Hagrid," he said quietly, eyes downcast. You know, Potter's quite a bit smarter than he's cracked up to be--he knew that Hagrid couldn't take me on when it came to discipline. Because, you know, I could always drop a little word about the horrid hippogriff which just mysteriously disappeared one night last year to the school board....

Weasley threw me a few outraged and very rude hand gestures, but I just ignored him. I was having trouble keeping a big fat smile off of my face, and Crabbe and Goyle were cackling wickedly just behind me. Suddenly, Parvati Patil's hair caught on fire, and the class basically disintegrated.

"Good job, guys," I said, rather surprised that they'd done something so daring without my help. Goyle have me a big thumbs-up, and Crabbe winked ostentatiously.

<<<>>>

The rest of the day passed without too many major events. Lunch was shepherd's pie, one of my favorites, so that put me in a good mood for Potions.

Not that I really need a mood improvement before Potions; it's completely and utterly my favorite class. I mean, it's hard for a man who's a regular guest at your dinner table to be anything worse than cordial with you, let alone fail you.

Severus is an interesting man. He's flitted in and out of my family's life through the last thirty years, and this time around, he's become quite the regular addition. Now, with m'Lord back in power, he's been around the Manor far more often. Even more regularly than before, actually, according to Father.

But enough about him. Nothing of any interest occurred in his class today, anyway, except for a few venomous Potty-Weasel glares from the far corner of the room. Granger was back, but she wasn't sitting with them; instead, she was sitting silently beside the other Gryffindor girls, not really contributing to their conversation. I basically ignored her.

I shared a few purloined Chocolate Frogs with Crabbe and Goyle during the last ten minutes of Potions, so I decided I wasn't hungry for dinner and left the pair of bottomless pits to feast in their own suit once the period was over.

I headed for the common room. It seemed like it would be a good place to find peace after my long day, at least during dinner while it was still decently vacant.

The lights were low when I walked in, and Pansy was stretched out on the sofa, filing her fingernails. She glanced up at me, and waved me over to her.

"Not eating?" I asked, taking a seat at the far end of the green velvet couch.

"Nope. Diet."

I rolled my eyes, and prodded her perfectly smooth stomach. "I hope you die of starvation," I assured her. "Because it'll be a quick death."

She shrugged. The nail file flew back and forth around her nail of its own accord, its steel sheen flickering softly in the firelight. I slipped the ring from my finger, and held it up so she could see.

"You know what this is?" I asked. She leaned forward a little, looked it over, and shrugged once more.

"Ugly jewelry. If you're going to start cross-dressing any time soon, Draco, you'd better get some lessons in style."

I snorted derisively. "Thanks, I'll get back to you when I decided to be a full-fledged pouf." I looked back at the ring.

"Blaise is in your dorm, if you want to get a head start on the pouf thing," she said, lying back on the pillows. I laughed as I stood up, and chucked a cushion at her head. She deflected it mid-flight with a wave of her hand, and didn't so much as disrupt the nail file's business.

I found Blaise asleep on my bed, arms tucked behind his head and legs limply crossed. It looked relaxing, so I climbed up beside him and laid down. The back of my head resting on his chest, I stared at the canopied top of my bed, thinking.

The ring on my hand had been forged with dark magic, there was no doubt about that. Anything which gives undue gain to its maker usually is. For instance, there's the old tale of the Philosopher's Stone: these Elixir-of-Life-creating charms aren't so horribly hard to make, but the price the creator pays is dear. Their firstborn child dies the second the stone comes into the world.

Everything fun in the magical world threatens to hit you in the eye with recoil. This thought in my head and the ring clutched in my hand, I let my mind sink into the rhythm of Blaise's heartbeat, and fell asleep as well.

Chapter Three | Chapter Five


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