Pardon My French

By Violet Beck

Arc I :: Quelle Chance!

Chapter Eleven :: Mean, Mean Man

 

It took a split second for his eyes to shoot into slits and his fists to curl. He shoved me away and fell on his ass.

"Don't look at me, you ponce! That was your fucking idea!" I snapped.

"I'm drucking funk, Malfoy!" he screeched. "I'd bleedin' kiss anyone!"

I rolled my eyes in disgust, and turned to stomp away. I heard him totter to his feet and fall again.

"You'll pay for this!" he yelled after me, hatred ringing from the deepest pits of his soul.

My lip curled with contempt, though if this was for him or for myself, there was no telling. All I knew was that, at that moment, there was a ball of regret six inches in diameter at the back of my throat.

For no real reason, I broke into a run. I tore away, down a thin flight of steps, my hood and cloak flapping behind me in the dark. I clenched my fists as I charged forward. I just wanted to find some fucking Nundu fur! I didn't fucking ask for this!

Oh, yes I did. Never mind.

Darkness burned my lungs as I ran faster, throwing myself down stairs. Bolting down marble hallways. Adrenaline was on a straight feed into my heart.

Why? That was a question I was sick of asking. 'How?' was my new love. As in, how could I have fallen into this? How could I have become so weak, that deviating ever so slightly from my normal relationships and routines could reduce me to THIS!?

How, exactly, was I going to fix it all?

"Malfoy," a soft voice called, teasing and sweet and businesslike all at once. A voice like mine. "We've been looking for you."

My heart froze.

It was them. I knew before I'd even turned that Fred and George would be there, silhouetted in the rays of moonlight that filtered in though the window.

Fred tipped his hat. A cowboy hat.

"You like it?" he questioned, stalking up to me. "My brother got it on a trip to America. I think it's quite jaunty, don't you?"

I didn't have an answer. I opened my mouth like a stranded goldfish a few times, and a last something tumbled from my lips. "I don't have the fur." My voice sounded dry and cracked.

George walked up behind his brother, and slipped an arm around his shoulder. "He doesn't have the fur," he reiterated lazily to his companion. "Now what do you think of that, love? I think that's inconvenient, don't you?"

"Yeah," Fred sighed. "That's very inconvenient." He glanced back to me. "Rumor has it your Daddy's been bagged."

George scoffed at him. "Rumor, you ponce? It was on the second page of the Prophet this morning."

I bit my lip. "Yeah," I said softly, warily. My hand clutched tightly to my wand inside my pocket.

"Guess we have to let you off the hook, then," George said suddenly, and stood up straight again. He saluted me cheerily. "Which is really nice, because I bloody hate having to look at your ugly face, for any reason. Come along, Fred."

Fred did a little finger-wave, and they skipped off down a small staircase behind a tapestry, arm in arm.

I sort of stared at the void they'd left in the moonlight. First they'd been there,ready to kill me...and then they'd been gone. It didn't quite compute.

Well, yes it did. They were Gryffindors, in the end.

It was as though a momentous weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I exhaled fully for what felt like the first time in months, and leaned back against the wall. Suddenly, I knew I would manage. The Weasleys weren't out to kill me. Nundu fur was a thing of the past. All I had to do now was worry about Dad and avoid Potter.

"What're the odds I'd even run into him tonight?" I grumbled to myself as the euphoria started to fade, and pushed away from the wall to keep walking. "I'm the goddamn unluckiest--"

I stopped dead before the word was even fully out of my mouth, remembering the dull, dark-colored ring which had been on Potter's hand as he kissed me. My own hand crept up, covering my mouth.

This complicated things.

HE JUST NEEDED SOMEONE TO TAKE HIM HOME! KEEP HIM SAFE, my mind screamed helplessly at me, but I knew it couldn't be true. Fred and George had been out, just as I was sure countless other people had. The ring would have definitely called on someone less potentially lethal for help...

STOP IT! I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe he hated me. But for the first time, there was a doubt.

I started running again.

<<<>>>

My heart was pounding in my chest by the time I'd reached the dungeons. My breath came hot and fast, chafing at the insides of my throat like rough old rope.

I threw open the door, and promptly stopped. I had to be insane, coming to Severus in the middle of the night. He'd kill me.

Whatever.

I walked quickly to the small door behind his desk, and opened it. The small, barren office. As always, an inconspicuous trunk has been pushed against the far wall. I kicked it twice. With a sucking noise, the Portkey yanked me through the wall.

I was in his bedroom. I took a deep breath, waiting for the angry and undignified cry of MALFOY! that was sure to come.

It didn't.

The lamp was burning, as always, but the bed was made and there wasn't a frumpy Potions master sitting up in it, staring at me in sleepy contempt. I walked over to the boring down comforter, and smoothed my hand over it.

This was very, very strange.

My eye caught a tiny tail of parchment sticking out from between the two neatly stacked pillows in their pristine pillow cases, and I yanked it out.

A thin, intricate design in amber ink in the center of the paper belied the presence of one of the only Charms Severus uses on a regular basis--Refinidum. If one with similar intentions to those of the caster touches the design, they can read the note. Otherwise, it the paper remains obnoxiously illegible.

Hopefully biting my lip, I traced my fingers over the smooth pen marks on the page. Instantly, they stirred into action. Thank gods. Line tore from line; curve parted from curve, and the little letter-fragments fluttered about the page in a sort of eerie golden ballet until, mere seconds later, they settled into an altogether unsettling message of seven words:

The Mark burned.

Back within the hour.

With an aggravated sigh, I tossed the paper to the floor and slid down beside it. My stomach was full of those goddamn butterflies again. Annoying little fuckers.I suddenly understood the allure of sticking the bastards with pins and putting them in ponce-y display cases.

What could my Lord want with him? When would he be back?

I closed my eyes, trying to calm myself with the rather familiar, no-nonsense scent of Severus's soap on the bedclothes against my cheek. I'd just wait for him here

<<<>>>

I must have fallen asleep, for the acrid smell of some horrid herbal-remedy tea woke me.

I hadn't been out for long, so much was clear. I wasn't anything near groggy, and even without windows, I could tell morning was still a few hours off.

I had fallen on my side on the cool stone floor, and there was a distinct and uncomfortable chill chasing its tail all over my skin. I grumbled and pushed myself upright to glance around the room.

Severus was staring down into the mirror that lay on his table with his back to me, sipping his terrible concoction.

"Are you certain that's what he's doing?" a low voice muttered from the mirror. I recognized it from somewhere, but couldn't place it. My lip curled. Always busy. Always.

"I'm certain," Severus growled in reply. "He trusts me again, now."

A silence from the mirror.

"Then why couldn't you do it?" the voice said at last.

"He doesn't want to jeopardize my position here. I'm very valuable."

"Ah." No readable emotion in this.

I held very still, desperate to hear more. An icy hand was curling oh so slowly around my intestines.

No, it couldn't be. He's not doing this...right?

"Do you have any ideas as to why the...repercussions...were as they are?" Severus asked the mirror.

"Oh, well that's quite obvious," the voice said.

I wracked my brain. A man's voice. An older man. Who!?

"Voldemort always gets ahead of himself," the mirror man continued. "He likes to believe he's beyond the oldest, most infallible parts of magic. Like the unsurpassable bond one has to he who saves his life."

No, I begged. Not him. Not the one I trusted. Not the one I told my secrets.

"I see," Severus said, and nodded. "I'm going to try and get some sleep now, Lupin. I trust you'll relay this to the proper authority."

Lupin. Of course. An idiot so loyal to Dumbledore that it almost blinded him.None other.

It's real. He's doing this. It can't be...but it's real.

"Goodnight," the wolf man's voice said softly. The was a crackling noise as the connection between the two mirrors closed.

In that instant, I wanted to die.

Why?

A sob came upon me suddenly, choking out of my mouth and shaking me. I couldn't take any more. No more of this. Severus shot upright in his seat and whirled around, jostling the table and taking a deep, startled breath.

His face went the color of bone as he took in my wide open eyes, and the tear which was streaming unbidden down the side of my face. I wiped it spitefully away, and pulled myself into a sitting position.

Our glares locked.

"How much of that did you hear?" Severus rasped suddenly.

Traitor.

He asked again, more urgency in his tone. "How much did you hear!?"

TRAITOR!

"I don't believe it!" I roared without warning, leaping to my feet. "You! YOU! I trusted you!"

He stumbled forward and leapt across the bed, quickly grasping my wrists to restrain me. I fought him, tooth and nail, but he pressed me down to the bed. A yell of pure hatred, pure betrayal tore from my lungs like a bird ripping through chains.

He slapped me.

Right across the face.

I fell abruptly silent, my hands flying up to my burning cheek as I scooted away from where he stood, panting and staring at me. I could see the anguish in his eyes. My whole body shuddered in an emotional aftershock from the slap. He'd never struck me before.

I could see it hurt him, too.

"You know enough to kill me, I see," he said. His voice was softer now. Calmer.Or perhaps that was just the ultimate sort of resignation in his tone. "Wh-what were you even doing here, Draco?"

"It doesn't bloody matter," I whispered, staring up at him. My fingers slowly massaged my cheek, trying to dull the pain.

"I guess I should tell you, then," he said quietly, contemplating his boots.

"What?" I snapped bitterly, "That my Lord is a mean, mean man and I should switch sides like nice ickle Sevvie?"

"No," Severus said, unflinching in his gravity. His eyes flicked up to meet mine. "Your father is alive."

I couldn't speak.

"Not only is he alive," my mentor continued, "But he has undergone a few...enhancements."

"For what?" I gasped, not knowing what to believe.

"My Lord appears to have made a few misjudgments in his resurrection," Severus said, carefully picking and choosing his words. "He unfortunately placed a miscalculated amount of trust in a certain person during the rebuilding of his body, incurring a sort of magical debt. He now needs someone very strong to transfer this debt to, as the original is far from trustworthy."

"Who's the original?" I asked quietly.

Severus shook his head. "He didn't see it fit to tell me. Though my best bet is Pettigrew--you know the mechanics of the resurrection, don't you?"

"Father explained it roughly."

"Good enough. Well, m'Lord is made of Pettigrew's flesh, after all. And I wouldn't want that moron holding the key to my soul if I were Him."

He let these words hang in the air as he sank stiffly to sit beside me on the bed.

"That said," he murmured. "I have a question to ask." A deep breath out. "Where do your loyalties lie? With me? Or with Him?"

I bit my lip.

"I'll do what I have to, Draco," he warned softly.

I knew he wasn't kidding.

Chapter Ten | Chapter Twelve


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