Pardon My French

By Violet Beck

Arc I :: Quelle Chance!

Chapter Ten :: Operation: Really Steal Stuff

 

I spent the rest of the day as a zombie. I was as a ghost through all my classes, hovering in the background, generally unnoticeable. My mind just wasn't in the room.

I don't like my father, but I do love him. Even my friends don't understand the relationship. When I comes down to it, I'd stick my neck out for the guy, but otherwise, I'd prefer he did his thing on the other side of the planet. He has a nasty habit of ruining my clothes, my pretty face, and my life in general.

I stumbled into the dorm around five o'clock, and Goyle was the only one there.

People had been sending me odd looks all day, and I needed sanctuary. The world expects me to be an asshole twenty five hours a day three hundred and seventy days a year. I'm sorry if I can't live up to that when I've got a few things on my mind, but it's the truth. Bloody poufs.

I talked with Goyle for quite a bit, sitting on the floor and sharing a few Chocolate Frogs. Turns out Parvati Patil and a group of her cronies had successfully sent Crabbe to the Infirmary with a tentacle problem as retaliation for the hair-on-fire incident.

Within five minutes, the quiet and the chocolate plied me into pouring my heart out. Goyle sat and listened quietly as I talked. My speech was halting at first, but it grew faster as I warmed to the sweetness of having someone to listen to me for once.

"He could just be on a job," the big goon offered at last, and I almost smiled. His innocence never ceases to refresh me.

"You could be right," I said, allowing my face to brighten with 'sudden realization.' "Maybe he's okay, and just can't get in touch."

"Yeah," Goyle said, happy to have been of help.

Keep on going, I told myself, and we went off to dinner together. Goyle started to tell me why Germans can't play Quidditch, and I was inclined to listen. I even managed to shove a few Hufflesuck First Years into a wall on my way. Yeah...I was going to make it through the day.

<<<>>>

It was two minutes after midnight in the common room, and Pansy was late. I sat in a high backed chair, foot tapping maniacally, arms crossed tight across my chest. The Toolbox chatted ominously a few feet away. My hood was up so Damson wouldn't see me.

It had been one crazy fucking day.

I was starting to wish I'd never found the ring. Every time Father came to mind, I thought, If I'd just been wearing the ring, we never would have gotten the news. M'Lord never would have done anything to him. Anything, anything to be free of the guilt of effectively killing your own sire.

Something nuzzled affectionately against my leg, and I reached down to pat a furry head. I clicked my tongue, and Asmodeus leapt into my lap. He meowed loudly, and the conversation by the fire abruptly stopped.

"Dammit," I swore, and pinched Asmodeus on his furry hip. He bit me playfully, and I rolled my eyes as I heard someone rise and start walking in the direction of my chair. I slid off my hood. No use in beating around the bush.

It was none other than Her Royal Highness Damson the Dumbass.

"Nice to see you this evening," she simpered. I wanted to curse her. Preferably with something to make her even uglier than she already was. Mousy brown hair, sharp white teeth, sallow skin, hooked nose. This girl was Severus in drag. I shuddered at the thought.

"What?" I snapped.

She ignored me. "Who's the sidekick?" she asked snidely, reaching down to poke at Asmodeus's furry side. He hissed at her. Good kitty.

"Actually, he's not a sidekick, " I said, rising, and placing him on my shoulder. " I work alone. It's quite popular among those of us who aren't so incompetent we need an entourage to clean up after us."

She looked ready to choke me. Smirking, I walked over and left the common room before Pansy could show up and make me look like a moron.

I hate working alone.

<<<>>>

The dungeon was dark as a crow's back, and even though I was positive Severus had plenty of Rodent and Pixie Wards up, I swear I could hear little beasts scurrying in the corners, making their hideous nightly rounds. I hoped it was just Asmodeus--he'd jumped right off my shoulder the second we'd walked into the room, and skittered away.

I snuck up on the cupboard Animate just as Hermione had instructed, my wand \raised. I carefully picked my way through a dark forest of stools, praying that I wouldn't trip and die and as a result ruin everything.

When I was only a few feet away, I heard the Animate crackle to life and yawn. "Whoozat?" it questioned sleepily. "I know someone's there."

I didn't waste any time. "Stupefy!" I exclaimed, tapping my wand on it as I did.

It froze instantly, just as it was supposed to. I smiled weakly. Step one complete. A little more calmly, I tapped it again and said the second incantation: "Petrificus Crystallinum!"

With a crackling, a thin sheet of ice covered the Stunned Animate, freezing it to the core.

In an instant, I was fumbling inside my robe. I quickly located the small metal hammer I had brought along for the occasion. I raised it, shut my eyes, and brought it down with a quick, decisive crack.

The Animate shattered into a thousand pieces, all over the floor, and the storage cabinet swung open before me.

I exhaled a huge breath, and threw the doors fully open. My jittery, nervous fingers combed through the racks of jars and bags bottles. Niffler extract, Norbwalla leaf, Nundu fur. Nundu fur! I grabbed the little cloth sack, and tore it open.

Nothing but a small piece of parchment, scrawled with Sevvie's spidery handwriting: Get new stuff, pronto.

"Fuck," I swore. And then, more loudly: "Fuckity fuck. Fuckity fuck-fuck-fuck, I'm fucked."

I seated myself on a table, almost contemplating running into Severus's bedroom and selling my soul and body to him for the fur. The soul's a little dirty in places, but as far as I know my body's intact and quite attractive.

I winced at the thought.

Before I knew it, I was crying. I don't fucking know why--don't question desperate people! I was just crying. Tears cascaded down onto my robes. I let the hood fall back again. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, but to no avail. A choked sob pressed into the air by way of my lips.

Asmodeus was suddenly in my lap, nestling against me. I stared down at him in shock, surprised by the unexpected show of loyalty.

"You trying to cheer me up?" I muttered to him through my tears.

He meowed.

With a heavy sigh, I brought my cuff to my eyes a second time, and scrubbed the tear marks away. Another breath. Okay, if I was going to hit another supply cabinet, I'd have to do it tonight--the teachers would figure out the weakness of their Animates the second Snape got to the morning staff meeting with his crushed lion in his hands.

I scooped Asmodeus into my pocket, replaced my hood, and left the dungeons.

I hate to say it, but I missed Father. He'd fix this. I'd be beaten and bloody by then end of it, but he'd fix it, and I wouldn't be ashamed.

<<<>>>

I was in the Defense Against the Arts corridor when I heard the voice.

It was soft, a sad whisper. My guts froze. Singing. Some quiet song I'd never heard. Muggle music? Perhaps. It sounded like a lullaby.

I slowed my footsteps. The noise echoed eerily in the marble hall, making its origin indiscernible.

"Yesterday I went outside...

Caught a lovely butterfly

But when I woke, when I woke

She had died."

It was a boy, so much was sure. Obviously under the influence of a drink or two. Did we have any drunken ghosts? Drunken paintings? Not in this part of the castle...I'm sure I would have noticed them and giggled about them some time during Second Year.

"My lovely butterfly

I tried, I really tried."

I hurried along the hallway, silent as always, peeking into the darkened, unused classrooms. I was frightened. I was apprehensive. This one was a bit of a Bludger.

But never mind what I felt. What matters is that I found him.

He sat alone beside and upturned desk, head thrown back, legs splayed out. He wore Muggle clothes like the ones he always kept on under his Hogwarts robe, shirt unbuttoned at the collar. The red and gold Gryffindor tie was loose. I could smell the liquor on the air.

"I'm sorry for what I did

I did what every little boy does

Every time I pin you down

Butterfly, my love,

I'm alive again..."

I walked towards him, captivated. His singing was horrible, and there were several empty bottles scattered about the floor.

I'd never seen Hogwarts's painted paladin in pain before. I'd never seen him hurt. Somehow, this felt good. To know that Mr. Perfect was hurting, too.

"Harry," I whispered, shocking even myself by calling him by his first name.

His head lolled over. He couldn't even sit. Apparently, Potters can't hold their liquor.

"Ron?" he whispered. His eyes were unfocussed. He couldn't see a bloody thing. Poor stupid bastard.

"Yeah," I answered, still whispering to disguise my voice. I self-consciously tugged my hood further down over my face.

He tottered to his feet, and collapsed. I stifled a laugh. Gods, was he shitfaced. He was trying to get up again. I reached down, playing the part of that Weasley ponce to a hair, and pulled him to his feet.

He teetered there for a moment, regarding me, and then proceeded to bend over and puke his guts out on the floor. I wrinkled my nose, watching him retch on his knees. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, all in one convenient liquid. How vile.

I heard Asmodeus make a noise of distaste. For his own sake, I pulled him out of my pocket and set him down.

"Run along home," I whispered, and he was out of the classroom like a shot.

I sighed, turning back to Potter. He looked like he'd finished, so I bent, carefully avoiding the vomit, and grabbed a bottle of some Sahara Vineyard white wine which still looked half full. Then, using my other arm, I yanked him upright by the seat of his trousers.

He didn't seem to mind, so I took the liberty of seating myself on a desk, with him slumped against my lap.

"There's something dead in my mouth," he giggled, obviously referring to the taste of his own stomach's previous contents.

"If you don't like dead things in your mouth, you should be a vegetarian," I snapped, and held the bottle to his lips. "Swish and spit," I said before dosing him a healthy sip and pushing his face in the other direction.

He did as he was told. All over the bloody floor.

"Better?" I asked.

"Y-yeah." His head fell against my chest, and he smiled up at my cloaked face. "Thanks..." he muttered. "I d-didn't think y-you'd c-come for me."

He shivered against me, and I suddenly got hit in the center of the forehead by something normal people like to call a reality check. I was now in a deserted classroom, cradling my very drunk and confused worst enemy in my arms in the middle of the night. Surely, I was obligated to do something about this.

"Can we go home now?" Harry asked, looking up into my eyes with the most perfect trust in the world.

I was floored.

"Y-yeah," I stuttered, sounding exactly like the doofus I am.

He smiled a big, drunk smile. "Thanks."

What the hell was I doing!? Don't ask me. I'm the last person who knows. Two times now, I had met Potter at night, and both experiences resembled metamorphine trips.

Gently, I picked him up, because I knew there was no way he was walking anywhere if he couldn't even stand.

"Wingardius," I muttered, pointing my wand at him through my pocket. Instantly, the burden lightened. Potter weighed no more than a book bag. I had to be careful how I supported him, however: though he seemed light to me, he was still a good hundred and thirty pounds in reality, and I might drop him if I got careless.

You should, my father's voice whispered inside my head. Get careless. Take advantage of this. You want this.

"Put your arms around my neck," I said, trying to convince myself that I was doing this for his own safety.

He obeyed, question-less and pacific. His alcohol-laden breath made my neck feel warm. You know, I kind of liked him like this. I wouldn't hate Potter at all if he was constantly drunk as a skunk.

Too bad it was apparent that Potter never got drunk. Anyone who hits the bottle more than once a year knows not to get wasted too far from their usual haunt, and we were two floors and a good walk away from Gryffindor Tower.

He hummed softly, right next to my ear, and I shivered. He sure sang a lot while drunk. Gods save us, should this boy ever find the Ultrakaraoke bar that appeared on Diagon after dark.

I felt alone as I walked with him, slumped and incapacitated and used up in my arms. I wondered what had brought him to this.

"Why'd you leave?" I hazarded. This would be my only chance to ask.

"Eh?" came the groggy reply from my shoulder.

"Why'd you go get..." I searched for a less-Slytherin word to use, "drunk?"

"Oh." He giggled. "Well...you and Herm...ya know ...I thought you n-needed your p-privacy."

"Thanks," I said ambiguously. Well, at least Hermy-poo got what she wanted and was off banging that horrid redhead. I'd have to slap Potter some time for mistaking me for him. Fire-headed Mud-lover.

Harry sighed, and shifted himself in my arms. I rebalanced him, terrified that he'd fall.

Why did I care? Do not doubt for a second that a man's dick does not control his brain. I wanted Potter. So fuck me gods.

Top of the stairs. We were on his floor. Unable to help myself, slid my hand under his ass with the pretense of supporting him further. It was a shock not to feel him squirm. It was as though he hadn't even noticed.

Alcohol: my best friend.

I quickened my pace. Even if I couldn't feel it outright, I sensed that my arms were growing tired. I could see their portrait hole with that fat, sleeping bitch in it just ahead.

Of their own accord, my fingers slid against his pant leg, feeling the defined muscles below. I almost shivered.

He giggled as I set him down in front of the Fat Lady's portrait, and fell against me, into my already-open arms. I let him stay like that, relishing his openness. His ineptitude.

Look at you, my imaginary father sneered at me. The one time you could have won, and look at you....

I ignored him.

Potter was still giggling.

"What is it?" I asked, a little irritated. The answer stunned me.

"I know your seeecret," he said in a little sing-songy tone, whispering into my ear.

The blood drained from my cheeks. Okay, so maybe he had noticed the hand on his ass.

"You're not Ron," he murmured triumphantly into my ear.

My heart skipped a joyous beat. "What makes you think that?" I purred, pulling away from him slightly so I could see the outlines of his face in the darkness.

"B-because Ron doesn't like me," he muttered slurrily. "Ron wouldn't come for me. Not anymore. It's--it's h-him and H-Herm now. No more me." Another giggle, and a hot blush across his cheeks and nose. "Ron doesn't even touch me," he snickered.

"I suppose you're right," I said, and promptly dropped him. He hit the ground. "I'm not Ron. Which really means I should go now."

He grabbed my robes. God, I could get used to seeing him on his knees. "Who are you, th-though?" he asked, staring up at me with those green, green eyes.

"Can't tell," I said, and struggled a bit. He wouldn't let go of my robes.

"Tell," he murmured, and laughed to himself.

I yanked a bit more, and I still couldn't get away from his grasp. Kneeling, I took his hands in my own and pried them off.

"Jesus, Potter, you're a mess," I snapped at full volume. "Can't you just get your little pansy ass inside and let me alone!?"

Three full seconds ticked by.

And he kissed me. Just grabbed my neck and pulled me to him. I caught the ripe taste of alcohol on his tongue as he pressed it into my open mouth, feeling me out. I gasped into his lips, and he deepened the kiss, leaning into me. My hands grasped at his waist. Something on his hand scraped against my neck. It registered dully in my brain: a ring.

Once again, one of those reality check things smacked into me like a psychotic Bludger. I carefully pushed Potter away. I really had to get home and commit honorable hara kiri to compensate for my sins. My mind was a whirlwind.

"Thanks..." he murmured in a mind-fucked fashion, and slowly opened his eyes.

My hood was down.

Chapter Nine | Chapter Eleven


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