After an hour or so of laughing in the common room, Grace bid the two males goodnight. She was tired and worn out, the day seeming to strip every bit of life out of her. Climbing into the doorway of the seventh year dorms, Grace made note of a presence on her bed.
“May I help you?” Grace sighed, dramatically loosening the green tie around her neck.
“Oh! You’re finally here! Welcome!!” squeaked the girl on the bed, she ran forward and hugged Grace tightly.
“Not-A-Problem.” The girl spoke in a preppy tone, she stepped back, allowing Grace to see her identity.
“P-Parkinson?” Grace whimpered, she remembered fully well the torture she brought her in fifth year and the accusations she made of Harry the night of the final battle.
“Call me Pansy, please. Its so dull having to say surnames, don’t you think? Oh! I’ve been waiting for someone like you to come around! You see…” she lent closer to Grace’s ear so she had the ability to whisper, “no ones pretty enough to let Daddy allow them to be near me. Daddy says that I should only associate myself with beautiful folk. He thinks if my hair was lighter I could pass as a Veela. Do you think so? Oh! We are going to be best friends!!” She finished with a high-pitched, squeal-like noise.
Grace stepped back in disgust. This girl was so vain and obnoxious. Who knew she was such a daddy’s girl behind all the insults and pug-like sneers she would give? Grace gave a small nod, too tired to respond to her many questions. The girl made another squeal in response.
Back in the common room…
Draco looked off in the direction Grace walked to, clearly captivated by something.
“I know you like her.” Blaise stated out of random, casually inspecting his fingernails.
“What?” Draco muttered, his head slowly turning to face his best friend.
“Come on mate, it’s clear you do. I’ve never seen you so easy to read.”
Draco’s attitude completely shifted. His mask was now back on and his anger was all that was visible.
“Shut it Zabini. I don’t fancy her. If there is anything a Malfoy doesn’t do, is have a heart. There is no way I would fall for someone like her.” He spat, his body possessed by some terrible spirit.
“I never said anything about falling for her or fancying her. I just said you like her.” The other boy responded with evidence.
Draco gulped; he had fallen into the trap. “Either way. There is no way I would spend my likings involving her.”
Not a good answer. Blaise went stiff. “You implying my sister isn’t worth your bloody time?!”
“No.” Draco backed down. He didn’t want to lie to his friend and he wasn’t ready to admit his feelings just yet.
“Tell me when you think my family is worth it.” Blaise firmly turned and walked towards the boys dorms.
Silence enveloped the two of them, but was then broken before Blaise could reach the door.
“Where were you?” Draco calmly said, trying to turn the conversation. He was referring to his two-month absence.
“I was getting my sister back.” Draco’s best friend spat and headed to bed.
The next day…
Grace was tired; she had spent all night trying to sleep but continuously kept getting awakened by Pansy’s yammering about beauty and fashion.
“Pansy I would like to get dressed please.” Grace pleaded, hoping the girl will give her some alone time and some much needed space.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Grace got prepared for the day. Before heading out the door, she looked into the mirror, carefully adjusting her robes to cover her now-healed scars. She examined her face, curious about the burnt indentations on her lower back, knowing she would have to research about them later. Luckily, her family was one of the few Italians that didn’t seem to have a problem with under-eye bags. The old Hermione would clearly have them after the night she just spent.
It was the first day of classes for both Grace and her brother, and she couldn’t be more excited about starting her education again. She had a lot of studying to do to catch up with her N.E.W.T.S. Blaise met with her in the common room and they both left for breakfast.
In the Great Hall…
Draco cautiously sat down at the Slytherin table, hoping Blaise wasn’t furious anymore. He had another dream last night, much worse from the last, and he wanted avoid as much confrontation as possible. Blaise was laughing uncontrollably, and he was curious to know why.
“What’s so funny?”
“Parkinson! Look at Grace’s face!” Blaise said through his smile.
Looking over, Grace was caught trying to eat her porridge while Pansy was yapping her ear off, clutching her arm. Draco couldn’t help but smile.
“Oi, Parkinson, leave the poor girl alone will ya?” Draco said teasingly.
“Drakie?! But WHYYYYY!!” she wined. Both Draco and Blaise cringed at the level of stupidity that dripped from her vocal chords.
“She needs to eat, you twat.”
With a huff, Pansy released Grace’s arm, but continued to talk her ear senseless. Blaise turned back to Draco who was still chuckling away.
“Mate, we both twisted each other’s words. Sorry about that.” Blaise explained with a much more serious tone, trying his best not to talk about the reason why they had a row.
“Eh- used to it. Don’t make such a big deal.” Draco said, still not looking at him. With a nod of agreement, both of the boys knew they were on good terms.
Gryffindor/Slytherin Double Potions…
Ron stepped aside to let a flow of third years through. Harry had just dropped off Ginny to her Herbology class, and he was sprinting to catch up with the redhead.
“Ron! Ron! Why are you so close to the wall?” Harry asked as soon as he was in arms-reach.
“Hiding from me girlfriend.” He stated simply. Both of them knew exactly why. Lavender’s friends were furious with the mass deduction of house points, so in turn Lavender put the blame on her boyfriend. Harry stood with Ron against the wall, across from their potions classroom. Hopefully, they could enter before Lavender found them both.
Ron scanned the halls for a curly headed blonde but found something else. The new girl was walking fairly close to Malfoy, and Zabini seemed to have latched himself with the girl’s arm. Ron felt a shiver of jealousy run through him. He may have a girlfriend, but he was still determined to get the new girl to notice him. He wouldn’t let the year end without at least one snogging session with her.
Arm in arm with Blaise, Grace decided to create conversation with Draco, who seemed like a third wheel. “Thanks for attempting to get Parkinson off my tail.”
They walked in silence a little while longer.
“How do you do it?”
Draco swiveled his head towards the short girl, “What do you mean?”
“How do you stay away from Pansy?” Grace asked, remembering fairly well how the obnoxious girl would always throw herself at the ferret.
“How did you know she’s into me?” Draco asked out of curiosity, it had only been a day and she seemed like she knew quite a bit about what happened in the school.
“Er…” Grace blushed, realizing she said too much. “Pansy wouldn’t stop telling me about you. She’s very fond of you…”
Draco nodded in acceptance. He bought the lie. “I just tell her to back off and she usually does.”
“You tell your girlfriend to back off?” Grace said with slight shock, this is the kind of behavior she expected from the rude version of Draco.
“She’s not my girlfriend…” Draco said, his face becoming slightly flushed.
“Oh-” Grace responded when a sudden pull of Blaise’s arm snapped her out of her conversation. She glared at him and he gave her a small nod to the right, indicating they were at their destination.
Grace detached her arm from her brother’s and began to smooth out her skirt, failing to see the heated redhead on the other side of the wall.
Draco was extremely confused; he looked down at the girl who so casually waited for the door to open. “Grace, you do realize this is Double Potions right?”
Grace looked up at him in a worried state, “Yes. You didn’t think I was smart enough to take such a course?” She had to admit, she was a bit offended.
Noting her hurt look, he quickly explained, “No. This class is offered to seventh year students...”
Grace looked up at Blaise, telling him it was his turn to explain. Obviously Malfoy though she was younger than him.
Blaise stepped in, “Mate, Grace is my twin.”
Draco was screwed. Not only could he not control himself around her, but also she was now constantly going to be in his presence. As if fancying his best friend’s sister was bad enough, he fancied his best friend’s TWIN sister. It was like finding the female clone of his best mate attractive, which was upmost unappealing.
She was the same age as him. In fact, she was older than him. By a few months actually. ‘I guess that’s good’ he thought. He didn’t have to worry about her being too young; Draco Malfoy had standards after all. He never touched anyone fourth year or lower. But still this was Grace Zabini, the girl he thought he would never find.
Draco ran a hand through his silky blonde hair and gave out a frustrated sigh. He was screwed. ‘She doesn’t even look eighteen!’ his mind screamed. Physically, Draco observed the woman before him. Now that he thought about it, she and Blaise did look related. They had the same eyes, nose, and skin color. However, Grace was obviously more feminine and her hair seemed different. Draco couldn’t put a finger on it, but her hair just seemed different. He also noted, that her face always seemed enlightened.
‘Maybe the war made everyone look older…’ he thought. In all honesty, it had. Everyone at Hogwarts that year, since their third year, had to mature amazingly fast. He glanced back at the girl, patiently waiting for the potions door to open. She seemed to glow in the depths of the cold dungeon. Yet, when he looked very closely, he noticed her small frame shivering. He quickly muttered a warming charm on her and looked away, hoping she didn’t notice it was him. Damn. He was screwed.
Grace felt cold in the dungeons. The well-tailored robes her mother had made didn’t seem to provide the amount of warmth that generally suited such heavy fabric. Then she felt warmth all over, like someone decided to wrap a blanket around her. She quickly glanced around to see Draco look away. She smiled. ‘Thanks…again’ she said in her mind.