Pardon My French

By Violet Beck

Arc I :: Quelle Chance!

Chapter Twelve :: You People Scare Me

 

I couldn't say anything.

I looked up into his dark, cool eyes, now emoting as I would have never thought possible. Before me, now, he was desperate and open--hesitation was the only thing on the tip of his usually sharp tongue. His lips formed no words, and his mind found only one thought to repeat:

Save me. Please, you can do it, save me.

And suddenly, with such a vindication as I had never before experienced, I knew there was only one answer to a question of loyalty.

"I won't tell anyone," I whispered. Something cheesy like "You mean everything to me," threatened to come out as well, so I bit my lip again to stop it.

Severus was still stern, but a little bit of the color had returned to his cheeks. "You understand how serious this matter is?" he asked quietly, his eyes boring into mine.

"Of course I do," I snapped, and stood suddenly. "I've been in this business my whole life--in one school of thought, longer than you have. Far longer."

Severus watched my face, a tinge of amusement making his lips twitch into a smile.

"Which business, Draco?" he asked. "Because if you're talking about service to my Lord, I'm positive you're right."

My whole stomach twisted.

"How long?" I asked, my voice sort of hoarse. I still couldn't believe it. "How long have you been talking to...to Dumbledore?"

"Since the first Fall," Severus said softly.

I looked at him for a long time, and then stood. Carefully, I made my way to the trunk.

"I won't tell," I said softly, "But I can't guarantee we'll be talking any more, Professor."

I kicked the trunk twice, and was gone. I let the last word sting.

<<<>>>

Morning came, and with it, that cold, nagging, obvious feeling that my life would never be quite the same again. Today was my last exam, in Potions, and tomorrow my father would come to pick me up. To take me away from this madness and into more madness still. I sort of wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, but at the moment, that wasn't an option. The Crabbe and Goyle Invincible Team was out holding up house elves for muffins somewhere, and Blaise had just gotten up.

I'd be fucked with my own wand if I was going to cry in front of him.

"Draco?" his voice asked softly. "Are you awake?"

Reluctantly, I rolled over in bed and peered over at him. "Yeah," I muttered.

He got up from where he'd just finished rummaging in his trunk. "We need to talk," he said.

I groaned and rolled out of bed. Jesus, I was still in my work robes. I messed fussily with the tie of the cloak, and with a sigh, Blaise walked over and undid it for me.

"Honestly," he said. "Where were you last night?"

"I was on business," I said testily, and proceeded to shuck off my robes and start scrambling into my school uniform.

"You know, that doesn't cut it," Blaise snapped. "I always tell you where I am, where I'm going, what I'm doing. Whenever you ask!" I was looking in the other direction, so he grabbed my chin and made me face him. "I know I'm not your boyfriend. Trust me, I don't even really want to be! But there has got to be some semblance of trust, or of friendship or, of something--" He reached up and deftly tied my green and silver Slytherin tie for me. I grabbed my robes and pulled them on over the sweater and trousers.

"Something?" I asked, looking him the eyes. "Blaise, I can't tell you anything. I can't--"

He reached out to touch my shoulders, and I just stopped.

"Darling," he purred. "Just tell me. You're tired, you're stressed, and I know you want to." His hand slid up to cup my cheek. "Please?"

I really, really wanted to. He was right: I wanted to fall into his arms and pour out every secret hidden in my dark little soul. Even the embarrassing ones. Even the deadly ones.

And then I remembered Severus's desperate face, and hated everything. With a shove, I had pushed Blaise off of me, and paced for the door.

"No," I said quietly. "This is it."

"What is 'it!?'" Blaise suddenly shrieked, and I whirled to find him red-faced and livid. "I do everything for you, you son of a bitch! Everything! Are you ending it, hm? Are you leaving me!?"

Suddenly, I was angry, too. "Maybe I am!" I cried. "Maybe I'm sick and tired of your whining and begging!"

Wrong thing to say.

Blaise's mouth fell open. "My whining and begging!?" he screamed. "Oh, this is too much! Get out of here! I can't even look at your bloody face!"

I stomped out with only one of my shoes on and the other in my hand, and found that tears were streaming down my face.

How did that just happen?

I got to the common room, but instead of heading out to a breakfast I was already surely late for, I sidetracked into the half-exploded bathroom.

How did I just lose him?

I just watched myself in the mirror for a while; watched a few tears find their halting way down my face.

How long did that take, a minute?

For once in my life, I wished I wasn't such a bastard.

Not even a minute. It took forty-five seconds to ruin everything.

I didn't have much in Blaise--a few consoling words and some great sex. But it was still something.

Something. That's what he said. But you weren't good enough.

A sob escaped my throat, and things were about to get serious when a soft meow made me turn.

"Asmodeus?" I called into the half-dark, choking slightly on the name.

I turned, and found my little gray kitten was standing quietly in the door. He crouched, and jumped up onto my shoulder. I looked back to the sink, and stared at our shared reflection in the cracked piece of glass above it.

"You love me, don't you?" I asked him, dully.

He meowed.

At least I could pretend that meant yes.

<<<>>>

For the first time in my life, I was dreading Potions.

It wasn't the exam, of course. My Restorative Draught was already in the bag. It was Severus.

I walked in slowly, no books to hide behind on an exam day. Most of the teachers had already gotten theirs out of the way. Severus always liked to save his for last. You know, just to make the little Hufflesucks jump on their final day of term.

He spotted me right off as I found my seat and walked over to the student supply cupboard to start preparing to make my potion. He strode over to me.

"Ah, Draco," he started, a little bit nervously.

I looked up innocently. "Yes, Professor?" I said, my tone scathing. "I was under the impression that I was to start my exam piece, am I not?"

We faced off for a few seconds.

"Yes, Malfoy," Severus said slowly. "You are correct." He straightened his robes compulsively. "We'll speak some other time."

He walked away, and I focused on the no-nonsense instructions he'd superimposed on the air. Do not speak; begin your exam when you enter the room. The few non-standard ingredients you might need were lying on his desk. If you needed something else for your chosen potion, you should ask him. Otherwise, he would not speak to you until the entire class had completed their exam work. And so on, and so on, and so on.

I avoided walking to the front of the room for Gnardlevines and Chopped Mandrake Root as long as I could. When I did, I didn't meet his eyes.

Asmodeus hid out in my robe sleeve, occasionally making highly unsafe batting motions at my bubbling cauldron with his small gray paw. I clicked my tongue at him reprovingly, and though this really didn't seem to curtail the paw-flicking, disaster never struck. Another disaster, that is.

At last, it was lunch time, and my finished potion was at a comfortable simmer. I turned off the heat with my wand, dunked a vial into the cauldron with my dragon hide-coated hand, stoppered it, and left it for Severus's inspection on the desk.

As I headed for the door, I spotted Potter. He accidentally caught my eyes and we shared the patented Look of Horror. Abandoning all pretense of cool, I ran out into the corridor.

Jumping Jesus on a broomstick. Someone important upstairs hates me.

<<<>>>

I needed some time to think, so I headed for the Slytherin common room. About halfway up the stairs, though, I ran into one of the top ten people I really, really didn't need to see: her majesty, Damson.

I wrinkled my nose and tried to duck into an enclave, but she spotted me.

"Why hello, Draco," she simpered, and grabbed the shoulder of my robe a little too roughly to stop me from skittering away. "Now how are you this fine day?"

"I think I'm getting ill, actually," I said with equal sweetness. "Though that could just be you."

She sneered at me, but instead of saying something horrid or cursing me, she turned her gaze to Asmodeus. He hissed violently at her and did his little batting thing, now with his claws fully extended.

Without warning, she opened her mouth hugely wide and made the most hideous hissing noise I'd ever heard right in his face. Scared clean out of his fur, Asmodeus took a flying leap and shot off down the stairs like someone had Summoned him.

"Dammit!" I yelped. "Stupid cat! Son of a bitch! Come back here!"

Damson, may the Muggle deities damn her, just cackled and continued on her leisurely way.

Damnedmotheringsodhellbastardbitchwhorethingbloodytwat!

Swearing and stomping, I got back to my own cross-castle journey.

<<<>>>

Much to my dismay, the Slytherin common room was near chock full of my lunching and babbling House mates, obviously participating in some last-day ritual I'd forgotten. Pansy monopolized my chair, the horrid skinny sixth year of the cat-fight incident lurked gossiping in a corner, and Blaise was chatting up Millie by the green fire.

I plopped down on Pansy's lap, eyeing the oblivious Blaise warily from across the room. Pansy sneezed.

"You smell like cat!" she exclaimed, and surveyed me. "Where is the little bastard, anyhow?"

"Damson just chased him away," I said glumly. "I'm having shit for a day, Pansy."

"You look like it," she said brightly, and offered me a Butterbeer. "Your dad going to pick you up tomorrow?"

I popped of the top of my Butterbeer, and took a thoughtful sip. "He's on call for m'Lord," I said thoughtfully, "but I think he'll probably show. Early as all hell, as usual."

"Oh!" Pansy's eyes brightened. "I'll get up an meet him with you! Your dad is just sooo charming." She giggled.

I shook my head. "Oh no, please, don't. He doesn't know about Blaise--"

"Who you broke up with without even telling me," Pansy interjected.

"We weren't together," I said tersely, and gave her a look which clearly said We're Not Talking About This Now Or Ever. "But as I was saying, he doesn't know about Blaise and I, and he'd probably ask a lot of embarrassing questions and end up figuring it out that you and I haven't been seeing each other for oh, a year. And that would be quite...um, embarrassing."

"Oh, please," Pansy said, waving her hand dismissively. "I doubt he'd even blink an eye about Blaise. I mean, everyone knows your dad swings both ways."

My eyes did something unnatural and uncomfortable, and I all but spit out my Butterbeer. "Shut up!" I cried. "Oh come on, that's disgusting!"

"Draco, Draco, Draco," she teased. "Come on, what do you think he and Snape used to do during the seventies while they were both living up at your Manor--"

"OH GAWD!" I yelped, and tried to plug my ears. "Listen, that might be the fantasy of you and every other teenage girl in Slytherin, but it's so wrong!"

"Mmm, I bet they were so hot together...and I bet they had threesomes with your mum."

I got out of her lap rather quickly, sloshing my Butterbeer around, and charged for the stairs which would take me down to my room.

"I'm taking a nap!" I said crossly. "You're a vile succubus of Hades, Pansy.

And this has got to be the worst day of my life." With that, I was out of the room.

"The things I do to get him out of my seat," I heard her say to someone from the stairs.

Fuck her.

I went into my room and fell down on my bed. My brain hurt.

Chapter Eleven | Chapter Thirteen


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