Dinner was a sordid affair; Father came down to join us in the dining room. I sat with my napkin in my lap gazing at the untouched food on my plate. Draco sat beside me to my left, Narcissa sat across from me, with Lucius at one end of the table, and my father at the other. Draco smirked at me; he thought this little arrangement was the bees’ knees.
“Dear you must eat.” Narcissa had been watching me throughout the meal, a worry line creasing her forehead.
“I’m sorry, I’m just not hungry.” My father laid down his fork and looked at me.
“Artemis, stop pouting. You act as if I’ve ordered you to take off your leg.”
“I apologize Father, but I must say this is a little extreme. I came straight home.”
“Not the point. He was your protection and in this circumstance, your superior. You did not abide, thus you must be punished. And since you seem so resentful, you start now. I expect you to be his shadow for your last week of Holiday.”
“My Lord, the children will be starting their N.E.W.T. year, surely you have others for this mission. Isn’t their education important as well?”
“Narcissa, enough!” Lucius glared at his wife with his mouth set in a thin line. As much as Narcissa has tried to help in the past, this was the first time she had stood up to my father.
“I see your point. That is why I have decided we will go along with your earlier suggestion and be holding a ball for them in four days.” I glanced at Cissa with a smile of appreciation. “Draco, take Artemis to fill her in and start planning.”
I stood from the table and left through the arch to the sitting room. I plopped down into an armchair in front of the dark fireplace. Pillow in hand, I screamed into the fabric. Bloody, sodding hell! How did this happen? Why did this happen? It’s official, I hate him; I hate them both. Make that all three of them, Lucius for being a greedy prick, Father for going along with it, and Draco for being a git. I took a shaky breath and put the pillow back and looked up. To my displeasure, Draco was sitting in the armchair beside me, staring.
“What are you looking at you smarmy git?”
“Is that really necessary?”
“You think this is my fault?”
“Well you sure aren’t helping.”
“I haven’t even done anything Arty!”
“You said you owned me!”
“It kept Flint off of you didn’t it?”
“That’s not the point! Anytime we’re in someone other than your mother’s company I become an object. Your plaything or whatever you’re in the mood for. I’m done. I am a person, I was your friend.”
“Arty, you know it’s just talk. That if I don’t, I get the mickey taken out of me and you get groped. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“Apparently it is if I’m making a fuss. You are so selfish! Just leave me alone.” Draco looked at me for a moment and shook his head.
“We have to go shopping again tomorrow.”
“Oh for the love of Merlin,” I shouted throwing the pillow at his head as I got up to storm off to my bedroom. Great another afternoon with the Master, I bet his trained monkeys will be joining us too! As I stomped up the stairs I remembered he was supposed to have a surprise for me.
“No fuckin’ way I want it now whatever the hell it is,” I muttered to myself. I closed my bedroom door with a sigh. I was really getting tired of having to play these stupid games. If only I could sneak out, visit the twins, they at least know how to be straight forward. Unlike some people I could mention.
I started preparing for bed, knowing the next few days were gonna be crazy preparing for the ball. I flopped onto my four-poster taking deep breathes hoping for sleep to come soon.
I’m back in our house in Barcelona; Freya is holding my hand smiling getting ready to Floo us to the Malfoy Manor. The scene changes and I’m peeking through a crack because the door to my father’s study was left ajar. Freya is sitting in an armchair across from my father’s desk pale and frozen. There’s a flash of green light and she’s slumped down lifeless. I scream and run towards my room only to be caught feet from the door. Severe pain radiates through my body as my father curses me.
I wake up with a scream caught in my throat. Slowly I come to and realize that it’s three years later. I choke back a sob and run to the bathroom to vomit. Freya was the closest thing I’ve had to a mother. She was my friend and protector. Sobs racked my body as I curled into a ball on the floor. Neither of them had to die, my mother nor Freya. Postpartum depression my ass, he used her as target practice, her and Freya. Oh Freya, I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry! If I hadn’t opened my big mouth…I fell asleep there, on the cold bathroom tile.
I woke up to with my back aching and my body frozen. I tried to stretch before finally sitting up and rubbing the sleep from eyes. What a night. I stood shakily and leaned against the sink for support. Looking in the mirror didn’t do much to improve my mood, lanky brown hair, bags under blood shot green eyes. Argh! I look like a hung-over blood hound. Breathing a sigh of resignation, I splashed cool water on my face and left the desolation of my bathroom for the hopes of a cheerful breakfast.
Breakfast wasn’t as bad as it could have been, Draco stayed for only a portion of it before I was left alone with Narcissa. I chewed my eggs slowly for a moment, gathering my nerve.
“So ah three days before the party, do you need any help?”
She patted her lips and looked at me with pity in her eyes.
“No dear, I need you to eat and relax. Don’t worry about this coming year; there is no mission for Draco, other than study. Just because Severus is now headmaster does not mean he gets to be lazy. Now let’s find you a dress.”
With that she stood up from the table and excused herself to freshen up before our outing. Daddy had given her permission to take me dress shopping as long as Crabbe and Goyle Sr. accompanied us. Ack, they smelled worse than juniors.