Transfiguration was, at best, a complicated subject and at worst it was impossible to understand. And, because I had such an issue with the subject I spent most of the lesson hanging off every word spoken by Professor McGonagall. It often meant that I didn’t know when the lesson was coming to an end until the bell rang. Today was no different.
Only when McGonagall had finished speaking and clapped her hands to gain everyone’s attention, did I look up from my parchment. Satisfied, she cleared her throat.
“Before the lesson comes to an end, please get out your essays.”
There were some groans from the students that had the misfortune of forgetting that we had an assignment due today. Thankfully I wasn’t one of them. Reaching into my bag, I rifled through it until I found my Transfiguration assignment and placed it on the table. Professor McGonagall slowly made her way around the room, collecting the essays as she went.
When she reached our desk, she took our outstretched essays with a polite smile. “Thank you, Miss Davis and Miss Hyde.”
“Your welcome Professor,” we returned politely, watching as the older woman walked away from our desk and towards the other Slytherins in the class.
Once she was out of earshot, Tracey leaned in close and began to talk to me about something that she’d overheard at breakfast and I would have paid attention to her had my eyes not been drawn to Malfoy’s table at the back of the class. McGonagall reached his table and accepted Zabini’s essay before turning to Malfoy who made no move to retrieve his. My eyebrows furrowed in confusion as Malfoy stared almost defiantly up at McGonagall. Salazar, that boy was going to lose us points.
“Mr Malfoy,” McGonagall called out firmly, raising an eyebrow, “where is your essay?”
Merlin, the boy had never missed an assignment before so chances were that if he was polite about forgetting, then McGonagall would let him off. But he wasn’t being polite about it. Instead, he was being outright rude as he held the older witches gaze. I was frowning fully now. Everyone knew that one day his attitude was going to get him in trouble and it looked like that day had finally arrived.
Tracey followed my eyes and watched the scene for a few seconds before nudging me with her arm. We shared a glance before trying to catch Blaise’s eyes but he too was glancing at Malfoy with thinly veiled confusion.
“I’m disappointed Mr Malfoy,” McGonagall said finally, drawing away from his desk. “Detention tonight, where you may complete the unfinished assignment.”
She stared at him for a moment longer, trying to get a reaction out of him but he simply nodded. The older woman walked past his desk and Malfoy sneered at her back as the bell rang.
We rose to our feet, leaving the classroom to get to the great hall for lunch. As we walked through the hall, Tracey and I shared looks, wanting to talk about what we’d seen in Transfiguration but there were too many listening Slytherin ears around. Especially considering that one of those ears belonged to Draco Malfoy who hurried past us on his way to the great hall.
Entering the great hall, we headed straight to the Slytherin table and joined the rest of our dormmates who were busy talking about something that had happened during their lesson. Tracey, once the conversation quietened down, told them about what we’d seen in Transfiguration and the girls began to contemplate Malfoy’s odd behaviour. I would have done the same if my eyes hadn’t strayed down the table towards said Malfoy.
He was seated at his usual place with the rest of the Slytherin sixth year boys around him and usually, it would have seemed as if he was holding court over them as if he was their king and they were vying for his attention. But now, now he paid no heed to the conversation going on around him and instead sat barely touching his food or listening to his friends as they talked around him. It was rather strange that none of his friends seemed to notice his off behaviour or if they did notice, they kept it to themselves. Malfoy looked up from his plate, glancing slowly along the table and before he could catch me in my observations, I turned back to my friends.
The conversation had shifted once again to Daphne who was pondering over a haircut she wanted to get. She wasn’t sure how short to cut her hair and I sighed, biting my bottom lip. Was no one else concerned about Malfoy and his odd behaviour? I contemplated asking my friends for their thoughts about Malfoy but decided to keep it to myself.
For all I knew, I was the one that was overreacting.
I’d promised to meet Millie in the library to help her study for our upcoming practical test and somehow, I’d managed to forget that until the last minute and was running late. A single glance at my watch had me rushing to my feet and running to the dorm room to grab my bag before I left for the library. I exited the common room with a single apology that I had plans and began to run towards the library. I passed a strange sight on my way; Draco Malfoy was pacing back and forth in front of a wall.
I furrowed my eyebrows, coming to a stop as I watched him walk back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until a door appeared from seemingly nowhere. My mouth dropped open in shock and I pressed myself closer to the wall when Malfoy looked around the corridor to see if anyone was watching him before he walked into the room. The door disappeared behind him.
I stood still for a few moments, trying to understand what I’d just witnessed but I couldn’t think of anything. Since when did Hogwarts have disappearing doors?
Because I was a naturally curious person, I decided to wait a little longer to see if he was going to leave the room. But, I looked at my watch again and realised I was cutting it close. 5 minutes, I promised myself. Just five minutes.
And I did wait just five minutes but there was no sign of Malfoy anywhere. With a sigh, I set off towards the library with a quick run, dodging through the students who were in my way. Unfortunately, I had the bad luck of skidding into Pince as I ran into the library. I took one look at her face and winced when, sure enough, she began her long tirade about respecting the library. After she had finished her rant, Pince walked off with a huff and I scowled at her back. Adjusting my bag higher on my shoulder I made my way to the table where I knew I’d find Millie.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said, sliding into the seat across from her.
“No worries,” she assured me, looking through her textbook and briefly glancing up to give me a smile. “Let’s just get started.”
I tried to pay attention to what I was here to do but it was difficult to do. Especially when all I could think about was that secret door or rather the secret room which had emerged out of nowhere. My parents had told me all about the castle before my 11th birthday so why had they not told me about the room? Unless they didn’t know about it themselves?
“What’s got you so preoccupied?” Millie asked without even glancing up from her book. “It must be something important.”
“Not really,” I denied. Biting my bottom lip hesitantly I leaned towards her and asked quietly, “Do you know if the castle has any secret rooms?”
“Secret rooms?” she repeated, finally looking up from her textbook “There’s bound to be. I’d be surprised if this castle didn’t have any.”
“You’re right,” I murmured to myself, thinking quickly.
Pushing my chair back, I excused myself quietly before heading off in search of that book Granger was always reading. Pulling Hogwarts: A History off from the shelf, I briefly looked over the books in the same section and picked up any that I thought would be helpful.
I returned to the table with a pile of books and picked up Granger’s book first. Flicking to the index page I noted any section that seemed like it would be helpful and went through each section slowly, not wanting to miss anything. And in that manner, time continued to tick as I flicked through the books.
Nothing. There was nothing in any of these blasted books. No mention of a secret room or a door that came and went. Salazar’s soul, this was annoying.
“Hyde,” Millie called out to me as she began to pack her things, “it’s almost time for curfew; we should be heading back.”
“I might stay back for a while longer,” I explained, waving at her when she walked away from the table
Rubbing a tired hand over my face, I let out a sigh and turned to the books that I had yet to read through. There was no way I’d get through them all before curfew. Picking up the one closest to me I started the process all over again and of course, it was just as useless as the rest had been. Glancing at my watch, I rose to my feet; no matter how curious I was about this it wasn’t worth getting detention over.
Returning the books I’d read to their rightful places, I checked out the ones I hadn’t had the chance to read and hurried to the common room. In my haste to exit the library, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going and ran face-first into someone. The books went tumbling out of my hands and I let out an exasperated sigh. Before I could crouch down to pick them up, the other person did it for me. He collected the books and when he rose to his feet and held them out for me, my eyebrows rose when I saw his face.
“Sorry Hyde,” Malfoy grumbled, holding out the books for me.
“No problem,” I assured him quietly, sceptically as I took the books from him. Salazar, if he was apologising then there really was something wrong with him.
He went to walk past me in a direction that definitely didn’t lead to the common room. And I had no clue why I did it, I really didn’t, but without a thought, I reached out to hold his sleeve before he could hurry off. He stopped instantly, looking down at my hand with an arrogantly raised eyebrow. When he lifted his head to look at my eyes, I saw the silent command to remove my hand but I didn’t listen to it.
“Is everything alright?” I asked quietly, knowing I was pushing my luck.
He locked himself away from my prying eyes and I saw it happen across his face. All flickers of emotion were locked somewhere deep inside him and a trademark Malfoy sneer took centre stage on his face.
“Why wouldn’t I be, Hyde?” He forcefully pulled his arm away from me. “Why are you so concerned anyway?”
Malfoy stormed away from me, heading further away from the common room and I sighed, continuing on my way. Salazar, why was I so concerned about him?
The Slytherin common room was buzzing with the latest news. Daphne had stormed into the common room, spotted us seated at one of the sofas and proceeded to tell us that one of the Gryffindors had gotten herself into the hospital wing. And whilst the wasn’t unsurprising considering how often a Gryffindor wound up in the hospital wing, the shocking part was that Bell had gotten herself cursed and was to be shipped off to St. Mungo’s for further help. And because this was the Slytherin common room, there were listening ears everywhere and before long it was all anyone could talk about. Even if they had no idea who Katie Bell was.
“What’s with these Gryffindors?” I wondered aloud, leaning further back in my seat, “Is there something about their house that has them ending up in these situations?”
“Who knows,” Pansy rolled her eyes, sneering slightly as she asked, “Who cursed her then?”
“That’s the thing,” Daphne said, lowering her voice, “they don’t know. They’re trying to find out who placed the curse on her.”
“Ten galleons that the fingers get pointed at a Slytherin,” Millie declared and we all nodded. It wasn’t unknown that Slytherin students tended to get in trouble even for things we had no hand in.
Although, if a student had cursed Bell then chances were that they would be acting strangely. And there was only one Slytherin that I could think of who was acting strangely. But Draco wouldn’t – he wouldn’t go that far. Sure, the boy was a bit of a bully but he wasn’t so cruel as to curse someone. Truthfully, I wasn’t even sure that he had the ability to curse someone – not that I’d ever confessed that aloud.
“What are you talking about?” Tracey asked after she entered the common room, having emerged from our dorm.
“Bell’s wound up in the hospital wing,” Pansy informed her with a roll of her eyes. “She’s been cursed.”
“By who?” Tracey’s eyes widened in shock as she perched on the arm on the sofa, placing the books she’d brought with her on her lap.
“Aren’t those the books I checked out?” I asked, recognising the title of the book on top.
“They are.” Tracey handed the books over to me, “You’ve got the memory of a goldfish Hyde; these are due in today.”
“Merlin’s bollocks,” I swore under my breath, already rising to my feet and shifted my hold on the books. “Pince is going to kill me if these end up overdue.”
I hurried out of the common room, calling out a goodbye over my shoulder as I went. Walking through the castle, I took the shortcut to the library and mentally prepared myself for the telling off Pince was going to give me for waiting until the very last minute to return the books. And sure enough, she was already eyeing me dirtily as I approached her desk.
Once the books were returned, I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulder and made my way back to the common room. Out here in the open hallway and far away from the Slytherin common room, I allowed my thoughts to drift back to that stray thought I’d had about Draco. Just because he was acting strangely lately, didn’t mean that he’d –
I stopped short at a strange sound. Was someone … crying?
Inching forward slowly, I approached the rarely used stairwell where the sound seemed to be coming from. When I stood in the entrance of the hallways I peered hesitantly into the room and instantly wished I hadn’t. My eyes widened in shock as I took in the sight of a clearly crying Draco Malfoy. Salazar’s soul, why me?
I went to make a quick exit when one of my shoes skidded against the floor, squeaking loudly. His head snapped up instantly and I screwed my eyes shut, cursing my luck.
“Hyde?” Malfoy called out instantly and I watched as he rose to his feet, walking towards me. I was still contemplating what to do when he said roughly, “I wasn’t crying.”
“I never said you were,” I muttered, awkwardly shuffling on my feet.
Malfoy sighed at my words, turning back to settle down on the stairs once again. I licked my bottom lip nervously; Merlin, I should just walk away from him. I knew that was the sensible thing to do, the rational thing to do and yet I did the very opposite. Walking slowly, I settled down on the step beside him and cleared my throat.
“Sometimes it helps to talk about it.”
He scoffed, “Why would I need to talk if I wasn’t crying?”
Glancing at him for a moment, I nodded slowly. “Fair enough.”
I knew he meant for me to take that as a sign to leave and yet I didn’t. I decided to wait for a few more minutes because there was something in his voice, in his eyes – something small that was asking me to stay. But as the minutes ticked by and he said nothing and did nothing, I prepared to leave.
“Well,” I said quietly, “I’m going to head back to the common room and leave you to your not crying.”
A cold hand enclosed my wrist before I could even take a step away from him. Startled at the contact, I looked down to Malfoy who still wasn’t looking at me. He remained in the same posture as before; back straight, jaw tense and staring out ahead. Except, he tugged gently on my arm once and my knees buckled gently as I sat down beside him once again.
Once I was seated I glanced questioningly at him but he didn’t meet my gaze. He continued to sit in silence, letting out long breaths and I was tempted to try and leave once again. But I didn’t. Instead, I continued to sit beside him in silence and stared at my watch to see how long this would go on for.
10 minutes ticked by. 10 minutes in which neither of us spoke.
Malfoy rose to his feet and I rose to my own, watching as he turned to meet my eyes. His own were carefully guarded and I waited to see what he would say.
“Don’t tell anyone about this,” he warned darkly before walking away from me and leaving me standing on the staircase.
My eyes followed his retreat and I reached out to grasp the banister. I wouldn’t even know what to tell anyone.
Whenever Blaise got sick of being around the sixth-year boys and their ‘perpetually prepubescent mindset’ he would join us in the common room and sit listening to our conversations. Of course, he would soon grow tired of our conversations too, claiming that all we talked about nothing of substances. Little did the man know that it was an aversion tactic we had picked up around the too intelligent Slytherin. That being said, out of the boys he was probably the one I was closest to and I had learned how to pick up on each of his micro-expressions and the meaning hidden behind them.
For unknown reasons, Blaise had taken to subjecting himself to suffering through our conversations more regularly. He was with us so often that once we were alone in our dorm, Daphne complained that she’d grown bored talking about makeup charms. Not that I could blame her.
And so the subject had shifted to Slughorn’s ultra-exclusive club in an attempt to get some information out of Blaise. I had nothing to add to the conversation – I wasn’t a member of the club – and I had more important things to think about. My mind reverted back, as it always did whenever I had a moment to spare, to thoughts of Draco and his behaviour. No matter how much I thought on the matter, there was no answer that I could think of.
Tracey, sitting beside me, nudged me roughly, bringing me from my thoughts. I started slightly, looking up to see that everyone was staring at me. They’d obviously asked me a question that I hadn’t managed to catch.
“Where’s your head lately, Hyde?” Millie asked with a sigh.
“It’s nothing,” I denied with a wave of my hand only to pause slightly. Looking at the people sitting around me, I asked hesitantly, “If someone starts behaving in a way unlike themselves; what could that mean?”
Pansy scoffed, “Apart from you?”
Daphne nodded, looking at me with concerned eyes, “You keep getting lost in your thoughts more and whenever we try to ask if something’s wrong you don’t say anything.”
“It’s not me,” I assured them, rolling my eyes slightly. “Just hear me out. Hypothetically, what if someone curls into themselves completely and start doing things they never did before? What would that mean? Hypothetically?”
My questions were met with silence and I watched my dormmates share a look as they clearly considered my sanity. Knowing I’d get nothing from then, I looked to Blaise hoping for an answer. I raised an eyebrow when I found him watching me closely, considering what I’d just said. Even as the girls turned away to discuss a party Malfoy attempted to crash, I waited for Blaise to speak like I knew he would.
He leaned in closer to me, lowering his voice and speaking firmly. “Drop it.”
“D-drop it?” I asked incredulously.
He nodded slowly, “Whatever it is that has you so interested, don’t try to get involved.”
“You know,” I said quietly. “You know what’s going on.”
Blaise didn’t say anything else. He simply leaned back in his seat and turned to join the conversation the girls were having. I scowled at the frustrating Slytherin and turned away from him, wondering what to do now. What was I supposed to do if Blaise was the only way I found out what was going on? Of course, I could find out from Malfoy himself but I knew he’d never willingly tell me.
The girls were suddenly silent and I looked up to see what was wrong. I found the cause instantly. Standing on the edge of the group was Malfoy and because they’d been talking about Malfoy they had to clam up.
“Hyde,” he called out to me, taking me by surprise. “We need to talk.”
The girls all looked at me curiously and I shuffled a little under the combined weight of their eyes, “We do?”
He rolled his eyes, walking towards me and taking a hold of my wrist again. I looked up at him in surprise and followed the silent command to rise to my feet. Malfoy began to pull me out of the common room and I followed him without a fuss, wondering what was going on. But when we left the common and kept walking, and walking, I began to question just where we were going. Each of my questions went unanswered and Malfoy continued to lead me through the school until we eventually reached the astronomy tower.
Dropping my wrist, Malfoy sat down on the stairs and I frowned, wondering what his fascination with stairs was about. I soon followed his motion, sitting gently beside him.
“What did you need to talk about?” I probed tentatively.
“I didn’t,” he answered quietly.
Rising to my feet with a sharp exhale, I went to leave him alone again. Who did he think he was; dragging me through the school long past curfew? And what was with the whole hand-holding – wrist holding and dragging me places?
A hand grasped my robe firmly, stopping me before I could reach the bottom of the stairs. I turned back to him, planning on telling Malfoy to release me but one look in his eyes and the words died out. While the rest of his face remained as inexpressive as usual, his eyes were screaming out for help. Swallowing nervously, I went slowly back to his side and sat down.
“Malfoy,” I probed quietly.
He sighed, turning away from me again. “I’ve had so much on my mind lately.”
“Don’t bother asking what; I have no plans on telling you.” He ran both hands through his hair, tugging at it slightly before he sighed and rubbed his face. “I’ve had so many things that I have to do and for the first time in a very long time, I got a moment of peace. With you around I don’t know how but I managed to forget it all for a while and Hyde, I just need some peace of mind right now. So, will you stay for a while?”
His abrupt confession shocked me, of course, it had but it only made me more curious as to what it was that reduced him to this state. But what surprised me, even more, was that he hadn’t looked at me once as he spoke, not a single time. It was as if he couldn’t bring himself to look at me because he was scared of me finding out that he needed me around more than he admitted.
“Ok,” I answered softly.
He let out a deep breath and when he spoke again, his voice was grave. “You shouldn’t want to know what I’m doing Hyde. If you knew the truth – chances are you’d run away right now.”
Months passed in a similar manner with Draco randomly popping up whilst I was busy with my friends and practically demanding that I sit with him for however long it took for him to find some peace. He never explained what it was that was driving him insane with stress and I had learnt not to push him for information. The common room always buzzed for days each time Draco approached me and I was cornered by people asking what our relationship was. And truthfully, I didn’t know either.
Somehow none of the alarms we’d set had gone off and we’d all ended up oversleeping and had to rush to get ready for the day. That was why I was slipping into my robes as we descended into the common room. I was too busy fixing them to notice Blaise stepping into my path until it was too late and I bumped into him.
“Good morning,” I greeted with a smile which slowly faded when Blaise didn’t return the greeting or the smile. “Is something wrong?”
He sighed rolling his eyes as he muttered, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
He didn’t answer my question verbally. Reaching out to snag my wrist he told my friends to go ahead without me and pulled me through the common room towards the boys’ dorms. I would have protested had I not been busy wondering what it was with boys deciding to drag me around by my wrist. Why did it keep happening to me? Blaise continued to lead me towards the dorm, ignoring the odd looks we were getting from the male Slytherins that we passed on the way.
We came to a stop outside a door which I assumed led to his dorm room. I glanced curiously between the door and Blaise, raising an eyebrow in a silent question.
“Draco’s unwell,” he said finally, steamrolling over my attempt to ask what was wrong with him. “He’s been fitful since and asked for you. He said something about needing some peace and that you’d understand what that meant.”
“What’s wrong with him?” I tried to ask again.
“Hurry inside,” Blaise said pushing the door open and physically nudging me into the room. “I’ll tell the professors that you weren’t feeling well and can’t come to lessons today.”
The moment I crossed the threshold of the room, Blaise shut the door behind me and I glanced, a little nervously, towards the only occupied bed. Walking slowly through the room, I approached Draco and made a face at how messy the room was. Honestly, why did it look like a pigsty?
“Draco?” I called out quietly, making his head peek up at the sound of my voice.
He tried to turn towards me only to wince and let out a sharp breath. Reaching into my pocket I pulled out my wand and magicked one of the stray chairs towards his bedside. Settling down into it, I watched as he gently eased himself onto his back, doing his very best not to wince.
“Shouldn’t you be in the hospital wing?” I asked in blatant concern as I sat down on the chair.
“I’d get caught if I went to the hospital wing,” he explained vaguely. Furrowing my eyebrows, I thought over what he said. Merlin, why was he always speaking in riddles?
Draco tried to sit up again, giving up halfway through the gesture as he winced in pain, a hand going to rest over his chest. I followed the movement closely before raising my eyes to his waiting ones.
“How did you get hurt?”
He scoffed, lips pulling up into a familiar sneer. “Saint Potter attacked me.”
“Potter?” I repeated, frowning even deeper. Sure, Potter was trigger happy at times, but would he ever attack someone for no reason? It seemed very unlikely. So just what was it that he was convinced Draco had done to warrant the attack?
“Are you curious?” Draco asked as if the answer wasn’t obvious.
I nodded slowly and watched as he pulled his pyjama top off. Before I could ask what he was doing, I watched as he kept his forearms hidden curiously beneath his blanket and exposed his chest to my eyes. I expected his chest to be flawless, pristine and yet it was littered with scars – fresh ones at that. My eyes flitted over his chest, trying to count them but I eventually lost count. Before I knew it my hand was reaching out to his chest as if to try and touch them. I caught myself halfway through and promptly pulled my hand back to my side. He watched me silently, trying to gauge my reaction.
“What’s happening Draco?” I asked, once again looking to his chest. Merlin, just looking at it was painful. He refused to answer me and I sighed. “Are you in any pain?” At his nod, I rose to my feet. “Wait here.”
I crossed his room quickly, walking towards the door and hurrying towards my own dorm. Once I was in the room, I kneeled beside my trunk and rifled through it to find my supply of pain potions. Finally finding it, I tucked the vial into my pocket and walked quickly back to Draco’s dorm.
But I hesitated in the doorway, seeing Snape’s unmistakable figure sitting in the chair I had occupied minutes ago. I contemplated coming back at a later time when Draco caught my eye and ushered me inside. The gesture caught Snape’s attention, making him rise to his feet and look between the pair of us.
“Well Mr Malfoy,” he drawled slowly as he exited the room, “I shall leave you in Miss Hyde’s care.”
My head of house watched me closely as he passed me to exit the room and I avoided his eyes. Walking back into the room, I went to Draco’s side and he suddenly shoved his arms back under the duvet. I frowned; I was sure there was something black on his arm?
“What made you leave so suddenly?” he asked, noticing where my eyes were.
“I went to get something to ease your pain,” I explained, pulling my eyes to his own. Forcing myself to smile, I dug into my pocket to retrieve the pain potion and held it out for him to take.
Had he gone and gotten himself a tattoo?
It was long past curfew and we were all in our dorm, trying to focus on the upcoming test we had when there was the sound of a commotion in the common room. We all shared a glance and I rose to my feet, peeking out of the dorm to see that others had emerged from their dorm too.
“I think something’s happened,” I told my dormmates who followed my lead and together we walked into the common room.
I glanced around the room, frowning slightly when I saw that all the students had flooded into the shared room and were trying to find out what had happened. One of the first years, after being told what was going on, promptly burst into tears. Salazar, what was happening?
“Theo,” I called out, snagging his arm as he went to walk past me and towards the younger years. He stopped, looking back at me with a grave expression. My stomach sunk a little as I asked hesitantly, “Something’s happened, hasn’t it? What have you heard?”
“Death eaters,” he answered back quietly, not wanting the younger years to hear his words.
“What are you talking about?” I hissed, lowering my voice, “How did they even get into the castle?”
“No one knows. But Professor Dumbledore – he, he fell off the Astronomy tower. They think he was murdered.”
Theo was called away from me before he could speak another word and I took a moment to come to terms with all that I’d heard. Our headmaster – he, he was no more and with him fell the last of Hogwarts defences against the death eaters, especially since they had managed to infiltrate the castle. But how had they even gotten in?
“Hyde,” Millie called out gently as she appeared by my side, taking my arm in hers. “The prefects are having us groups ourselves into our years to make sure everyone’s accounted for. They don’t want any student out whilst the death eaters are still on a rampage.”
“They – they’re still here?”
Millie nodded grimly and we both shared a fear-filled moment. As one of the few half-bloods in the house, Millie would now become a target for those that wished to follow in their parent’s footsteps and try to eradicate anyone who was not a pureblood. I wasn’t stupid, I heard the whispered words Pansy often shared with Crabbe and Goyle about an oncoming war. But I’d never expected Hogwarts to fall. It was supposed to be a safe haven for all the students and now, it wasn’t. All it had taken was –
Someone was missing. Out of all the sixth years, someone was missing. My heart leapt into my throat as I did a quick headcount. All of the girls were here, but who –
Draco. Where was Draco?
I found myself scanning the common room looking for any signs of the platinum blond and yet he was nowhere in sight. He was going to turn up in a matter of moments, I tried to convince myself. Any moment now he was going to walk in through the door and he’d be fine, he’d be safe but most of all he wouldn’t have played a part in any of this. I prayed that was the case, that my darkest suspicions wouldn’t prove themselves true.
And yet my mind brought up an unnecessary image of the black ink I’d caught sight of on his forearm. At the time, I hadn’t known what it was and now, with sickening clarity, now I knew what it was.
“Hyde,” Blaise called gently, appearing at my side and took my arm gently. “You’ve gone really pale. Do you need to sit?”
I shook my head, turning to the taller boy. Blaise – he’d know the truth. He’d be able to tell me that I was mistaken, that Draco would never do something so stupid.
“Blaise,” I called out quietly, taking his arm and leading him through the crowd and to one of the very few unoccupied corners of the room. When we stopped, he looked down at me with patient, yet knowing eyes. Fisting his robes desperately, I pleaded, “Tell me it’s not what I think.”
He remained silent, his eyes on mine and I gasped, dropping my hands. Taking in a stuttering breath, I tried to calm my heart.
“You can’t tell me,” I murmured, a hand coming up to cover my mouth. Merlin, I was moments away from hyperventilating. I screwed my eyes shut for a moment, doing my best to steel myself and when I opened my eyes again, I begged quietly, “Just tell me that he wasn’t the one to kill –”
I cut myself off. Merlin, I couldn’t even bring myself to say it.
“I don’t know,” he said truthfully with a shake of his head. “I don’t know if he managed to go through with it. But what I do know is that it was his mission.”
And just like that my knees were crumbling under me as I hit the floor. Salazar, I forced myself to take deep breaths as the sudden overwhelming thought that I’d trusted the wrong man slammed into me.
Blaise crouched down next to me as my hand went to the chain around my neck, gripping it tight through my robes. “Are you alright?”
“No,” I whispered, clutching the ring that I’d slipped onto the chain I’d always worn.
It bore the Malfoy crest and I had only been gifted it last night. And now I knew then why he’d asked me to remain by his side, no matter what happened. Only, I didn’t know if that was possible anymore.