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If You've Fallen in a Forest

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Potions didn’t feel the same without Snape. While I didn’t always like his class, it was at the very least a constant reminder that I had some form of worth. I had a future. Slughorn had replaced Snape, and in all honesty I hated him. He felt incompetent. While Snape actually taught, most of what Slughorn gave was bookwork and theoretical potion making. And I didn’t have to partner up. Pansy and Blaise, already paired themselves up. I was late, naturally, and couldn’t catch one of them to be mine. I had to pick someone I didn’t know well enough. From those that had gathered, I didn’t have much of a choice, between Potter and whoever remained.
“Longbottom, have a partner?” He would be better than most here, and he was gullible. I could easily put my mask on for him and he wouldn’t suspect anything.
“Oh. Uh No I don’t have one Malfoy,”
“Good,” I set my things next to him pulling out a notebook and staring at the board for instructions. It’s awkward. I can feel people staring at me, but I don’t particularly care.
Longbottom is absolute rubbish at potions. I’ve known this since my very first class with him, and so did Snape. At least I can help undo all of his blundering. As much as I said it in previous years. Longbottom has some potential. Especially with herbology, something I’m not the best at. He could pursue that later in life if he really wanted.
“Malfoy? Should we add the powdered asphodel petals now?” He looks towards me. The potion of dreamless sleep is finicky at the best of times. I really didn’t want to have to deal with a failing grade. But, at least he got the timing right.
“Go ahead,” I turn back to my notebook, mostly filled with doodles now, and nothing productive.
Thankfully at least, despite the glares and apprehension, Longbottom wasn’t the worst partner I could have chosen. At least he was too scared to say anything. It was blissful silence. By the time class is over, I'm confident that at the very least, the potion is passable. Longbottom gathers his things, and I sling my bag over my shoulder.
“Thanks Malfoy,” He looks away before leaving his classroom with his friends.
How odd.
The rest of my classes for the day were easy, and I could at the very least fade into the background. Pansy and Blaise stood by me throughout it, and I was able to have a somewhat decent day. Come the free period, we had managed to find a relatively quiet spot to ourselves. We lay under a tree, working at the very least on homework, or attempting to.
“Draco dear, I am sorry about potions today. You were running late,”
I lay in her lap, Blaise lounging on my stomach. “It's alright Pansy,” She runs her finger through my hair, “Longbottom was at the very least tolerable.”
Pansy and I had a strange relationship. She and Blaise knew about my predicament, and my relationship with my father. She had at one point a silly crush on me, but now we had a decent relationship. One that was mutuality beneficial at the very least. I could go to her and get comfort. Same with Blaise. Though Blaise and I had gotten a little too close at one point. He and I were each other's first kiss. At least I was the first boy that he kissed. We had grown from this though, and at the very least we were still friends. Unlike Theo and I. We still had a tense relationship. One that still needed time to heal.
“Draco, Potter and his gang are approaching,” He and I immediately sit up. Being in Slytherin meant we had a certain appearance to keep. We had to seem detached and private, especially in pureblood families.
Potter walks past us with his friends. He and I lock eyes. Somehow I know that he’s thinking about what happened last night. I would need to be more careful now.