Bathwater

The Weasel King

"Goyle!" Draco Malfoy hissed as his body collided with the wide Slytherin in front of him, knocking the latter onto the ground. "Will you watch where you are going?" He glared at his oldest comrade and took a step away from him so he could get some space. "What are you even doing?" He raised his eyebrow at the Slytherin tossed on the floor, peeking through a gap in the wall.

Gregory Goyle fixed his robes quickly, and tried to look casual as he jumped up to his feet. "Nothing," he said in a low voice.

"He's looking for his bride—" The corridor wall parted in many sections and out came a dark-haired witch, emerging straight from the Slytherin Common Room. Her dull dark-eyes gleaming annoyingly as she positioned them at the two boys in front of her. "Goyle has taken a fancy for Padma Patil." Pansy Parkinson smirked pushing a strand of hair back. "He loves to waste his spare time gazing at the girl. It's his new hobby, you know?"

Goyle glared. "Why don't you piss off, Pans?"

Draco rolled his eyes as Pansy's widened at the comeback the dimwitted Goyle had come up with. (Never, in the years they've known each other, did Gregory Goyle respond back to any insult. Draco felt a bit of pride for his ex-crony.) "Leave the bloke alone, Pans. He just fancies the Gryffindor."

"I thought she was the twin Ravenclaw?" Pansy pushed Goyle's comment to the back of her head. "Do you even know what house she is in?" Pansy turned back to Goyle as Malfoy shrugged, indifference in his face like always.

"Does it matter?" Goyle said, shrugging along with Malfoy. "I have to worry about telling them apart. If I jump from Pavarti to Padma, there might be a huge problem once the bond is created. I can't go touching my wife's sister." He shook his head and stalked away from the corridor. Mumbling about food and how Crabbe would've understood more than them.

Malfoy would've agreed on that, but seeing as Vincent Crabbe was dead from his own thick curse, he ignored it and turned to Pansy. Automatically trying his hardest to push back the thoughts of the war from invading his head and not coming out without a fight. (…He didn't need to have flashbacks about the day he almost died and lost everything when he was about to go eat; that always spoiled his eggs.)

"Oh, sacred Salazar," the Slytherin witch shivered, sticking out her tongue and wiping it on her sleeve, "I just envisioned Goyle….touching people. It was disgusting." She shook her hair rapidly. "I'm not sleeping at night now."

"I wager your husband can help you with that." Malfoy smirked, teasing the girl.

Pansy gave a loud snort.

"How are things between you and the weasel?" The blonde Slytherin asked, leaning against the corridor wall as if he was genuinely interested.

"I wouldn't know." Pansy laced her arm through Draco's, not really caring herself that he was not in fact asking because he wanted to know. "The Gryffindor Sidekick doesn't talk much. Well, no, he doesn't really talk at all." She knitted her eyebrows in confusion, pulling Malfoy with her; both of them following the path in which Goyle left in. "I insulted him quite a lot, you know, the usual, but nothing. He doesn't even turn red in that freckly face of his. He just stares into nothing, and at times I have to check if he's breathing."

"Brain damaged, I'd say, but that's been going on for years now. Since birth, probably." Malfoy chuckled.

"I wish that was the answer, at least I'd know." Pansy rolled her eyes. "But it seems that the Weasel King has actually lost it. I've even been polite to him and that didn't even get a reaction." Her memory filled with the blank expression of the redhead; her palm swaying back and forth in front of his face.

If Pansy would've been born with a heart—or a small fragment of it—she would have been full-on worried. But seeing as she was never going to develop such emotions, and that she was aggravated that the old hat placed her with the Weasel King in the first place, she was just planning on hexing him directly on the nose if he continued it. She did not appreciated being ignored, especially not by his kind.

"You should try speaking with him," Draco suggested half-sarcastically. "What are you going to base your marriage on without any communication?"

Pansy glared, her eyes kept forward. She knew better than to frown at the Slytherin Prince, even if the penalty was a simple, infuriate glare. "I expect your marriage with the Mudblood to be a success, then," her voice dripped with cynicism.

Malfoy stopped on his tracks, shoving Pansy's arm away from his and pushing her towards a wall roughly. "What did you say?" His gray eyes pierced hers, anger swimming all around his orbs.

Pansy huffed against the hold he now had at the center of her chest; pinning her against that cold wall. "My mistake, Draco. I forgot that the word was now truly forbidden. Old costumes die hard, you know?"

"Don't ever say that word in my presence again, Parkinson," Malfoy hissed lowly.

"Care for the bookworm, do you?" Pansy raised her dark eyebrow at the blonde Slytherin. Challenging her house-mate, stepping closer to him with confidence after shoving off his hand. "I wasn't aware you two were chummy now."

"I will not," he gripped her arm tightly once more, letting a group of younger students pass by them, shaking away her nerve, "have you ruining everything, Pansy. I am going to try my bloody hardest to get the Malfoy name some respect in the Wizarding World again, even if it means lowering myself and marrying the Gryffindor. And my attempts of keeping the new peace will not be jeopardized because of one of your slips.

"If you say it, then every other thick Slytherin says it as well and we're back to the beginning." He tossed her arm, causing her to stumble back a bit. "And this time without the Dark Lord to defend us when all the others turn against us."

He stalked past her, breathing in deeply as he headed towards his next lesson. Once the new Family Consumer lesson began later on in the evening, he would begin his formulated plan while still keeping his promise to the Headmistress.

X

"Fire! Fire!" A small First Year shouted, racing out of one of the classrooms where the Golden Trio were walking past. "Help!" The little girl shouted, black smoke tainting her face.

But before either of the three passing Gryffindors could react, someone came out from behind the girl. "It's okay," Lavender Brown, cleaning her own face from the smoke, clarified with her wand at hand, "Professor McGonagall placed Seamus as a tutor for the First Years, and obviously something went wrong." She wiped her cheek on the sleeve of her robe. "Turning water into Rum has never been his specialty, you know."

Ron scoffed at his ex-girlfriend. "When has anything been Finnegan's specialty?" His expression was mocking and indifferent as Hermione and Harry scowled at him. "He's sort of like the new Neville. The troll of the Gryffindor House."

"Troll?" Lavender breathed, glaring at her ex-boyfriend in return. "You're certainly one to talk, Ronald." She took a step towards him, shooing the First Year aside. "But as I remember, you were the one they dubbed as the king. Song and all," she hissed in his face, pointing her wand at his chest.

"Lavender," Hermione called the girl's name quietly, surprised by her sudden anger and Ron's hand twitching for his wand. "Ignore him. He doesn't know what he's saying, he's just had a bad day."

"Lay off, Ron," Harry mumbled to his friend, frowning at him.

But ignoring both Harry and Hermione, tired of being silenced by them just because he was expressing his opinions, Ron continued. "You're quite pathetic you know, Lav?" Something dark glowed in his eyes as he spoke. "Being Seamus' defender and all, throwing yourself at his feet while he is cursing his existence, and yours for that matter. Dreading the day he has to bond his soul with you—"

"Ron, stop it," Harry spoke louder this time, his eyes widening behind his glasses as he pulled out his own wand. If Ron couldn't hold his tongue, Harry would have to curse his best friend. (Hopefully hexing out all the cruelty he seems to have developed over the summer.)

"I mean, I would too," Ron pretended not to hear the Boy-Who-Lived, "but then again, you always throw yourself at any bloke that catches your eye that we're all used to it by now. And just like with me, you're going to have to be satisfied being his second best."

"STUPEFY!" Lavender shouted, her eyes watering from every word Ron said.

"EXPELLIARMUS!" Ron whipped out his wand as quickly as Lavender began to wave hers in the air. He sent her wand a few feet down the corridor, glaring at the witch and pointing his wand higher. "LEVICORPUS—"

"PROTEGO!" A clear bubble appeared all around Lavender Brown, protecting her from the levitating charm the redhead was about to send her way to humiliate her with.

"Well," Pansy Parkinson kept her wand pointed at the Gryffindor girl and walked towards the Golden Trio, "aren't you two supposed to be all about friendship and all that rubbish?" She raised her dark eyebrow at Harry and Hermione. "Or did you two want to enjoy the show?"

"I think they were more shocked than anything." Appearing after the Slytherin witch came Draco Malfoy, looking at the group in a bored fashion. "I doubt they ever expected the Weasel to raise his wand at another Gryffindor."

"But I'll be expected to curse you in an instant, Malfoy." Ron waved his wand towards the Slytherin. "I suggest you leave."

"You're unbelievable, Ronald," Hermione huffed, stepping forward and slapping Ron's wand down. "You better hope the Headmistress doesn't find out about your stunt today." She pointed a finger at the retreating First Year. "How dare you speak to Lavender that way?"

"I do what I please, Hermione," Ron hissed. "I don't need scolding from you, that's why I have a mother for. And if I recall, you used to think Lavender was as pathetic as a skrewt. No need to pretend to be the good friend now." He glared at her and then spun on his shoes.

"Weasley really is our king," Pansy said casually, looking at Ron's back as he walked away. "Something is terribly off with that bloke," she clucked her tongue as she turned to the others, "and I have to marry that." She now looked between Lavender and Hermione only. "You two are lucky you got out of it before he became this."

"…He's never like that," Hermione mumbled sadly, sending a worried glance at Harry. "At least, not that we were aware of."

Harry sighed, stuffing his wand back into his robes. "Ron better hope to Merlin that McGonagall doesn't find out about this. She has a very low tolerance for all this rubbish, and she won't put up with it because it's Ron."

"I think he'll be fortunate enough that his mother doesn't find out," Hermione corrected.

"Pans, you should go find your fiancée." Draco cleared his throat, feeling irritated of the way the Gryffindors were speaking. It made him realize that in a near future—and a very near one at that—he would have to endure all these conversations against his will. "Our next lesson is in a few minutes, and I'm sure you need him for it."

"Fine," she sighed, spinning her wand between her fingers. "But if I don't come back, know that the Weasel hexed me to my death." She patted Lavender's arm in what was pity rather than sympathy, and strutted down the corridor.

"Come, Lavender." Harry looked between Hermione and his childhood nemesis, and felt a strange tension between the two and decided to get away. "I'll go take you back to Seamus."

"To hell with Seamus." Lavender shoved Harry's helping hands away. "Ron makes a bloody point. And when I find him, before I murder him, that is, I'll make sure to thank him for opening my eyes."

Harry ran a hand down his hair, feeling uncomfortable. "Don't - Don't talk that way, Lavender."

"Give me your pity, Potter, and you'll be joining your best friend as worm food!" She growled at him, and burst back into the classroom, wiping away her tears before anyone else could see her.

Harry followed uneasily behind her. How he hated that Ginny needed her witch-time and was off somewhere with Luna.

"Are they always like this?"

"Who?" Hermione replied to Malfoy's question, cursing mentally that Harry left her alone with her fiancée.

"You Gryffindors. You seem to be far more enraging than I thought," Malfoy said in a tone that sounded appraising. "I expect some of your lot should've been in Slytherin."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Did you need something, Malfoy?"

The blonde Slytherin shook his head, letting his hair fan over his eyes. "Nothing really, Granger, but seeing as yesterday we did make a deal of keeping it civil, I decided that it would be polite of me if I walked you to our lesson." He watched as the witch raised her eyebrow and he said quickly, "seeing as we have it together."

Hermione looked at the wizard perceptively, she had been wondering all night what drove Malfoy to his sudden cooperation. She knew that the conversation he'd with the Headmistress had something to do with it, because Draco Malfoy would never marry a Muggle-Born willingly, but what was it exactly?

"That is shockingly nice of you, Malfoy."

"I can be at times, Granger." He leered at her hesitance and confusion, and extended his arm out a bit. "You'll come to see that from time to time."

"What?" She scoffed, lacing her arm with his just as politely as she could muster. "Every five years I'll get a 'pass the salt, thank you' from you?"

Malfoy chuckled roughly. "As if you were that fortunate, Granger. No one ever said we are going to be in speaking terms."

"Charming," she huffed as they walked down the corridor.

Disgust written on both their faces as they walked, their arms rubbing with one another as they made the simplest of small talk.

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