Status: active

The Eighth Horcrux

The first night.

Alexandra woke up in the Hospital Wing. The room was dimly lit, and she appeared to be the only patient. Her robes were no longer sodding wet, and instead were warm as if they’d just come from the laundry. She started to sit up, wondering how long she’d actually been there. She figured it couldn’t have been more than a couple hours considering it was still dark outside. Just as she was about to get out of bed, Madam Pomfrey appeared out of nowhere.

“And where do you think you’re going?”

Alex signed deeply before flopping back onto the bed. “I fell into a lake. How bad can my injuries be?”

“You practically drowned.” Madam Pomfrey said, touching Alex’s forehead. “Finally you’re warming up, and there’s some color in your cheeks. Very good signs.

“I almost died?”

“You were hypothermic. Right now I’m monitoring your body temperature. I have a potion working that should fix you right up.”

Alex raised her brows. She didn’t feel cold. Although she figured no one would be cold wearing freshly cleaned robes under five layers of blankets. She watched as Madam Pomfrey scurried away, disappearing behind one of the many room dividers. She began to wonder how she’d even ended up here in the first place. The last thing she remembered was being submerged in the water and not being able to breathe. And now, somehow, she was here.

Minutes later, Madam Pomfrey reappeared carrying a ceramic mug. She handed it to Alex. To her surprise, it smelled rather pleasing, like butter beer and cinnamon.

“Drink up, Brooks. You can leave once you’ve finished.”

Alex nodded before bringing the cup to her lips. There was a faint knock at the door that instantly drew Madam Pomfrey’s attention.

“If that is Mr. Malfoy again,” Madam Pomfrey muttered as she scurried towards the doors. Despite her best attempts, Alex was unable to hear the conversation at the door. Seconds later, Madam Pomfrey reappeared at Alex’s side, her brow slightly furrowed.

“Was it him?”

“Yes. He’s been a thorn in my side all evening. He’s been standing in the corridor since he brought you here.”

“W-why?” Alex asked, practically choking on her drink.

“I can only assume he’s concerned,” Madam Pomfrey said as she began straightening things around the room, despite everything already being in perfect order. “He’s the one that retrieved you from the water. I insisted on examining him too, but he wouldn’t have it. He just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

Alexandra narrowed her eyes. Before today, she hadn’t said more than five sentences to Malfoy. Now, for whatever reason, he was trying to get to know her and rescuing her from the Black Lake. It didn’t make sense.

Once Alex finished the potion she left the infirmary. Sure enough, Malfoy was standing against the wall right outside the doors. Alex walked past him without saying a word.

“Is that anyway to treat the bloke that saved your life?”

Alex spun on her heel. To her surprise, Malfoy was standing so close to her, she almost slammed into him. Quickly she took a step back.

“Thank you,” she said, offering him a half-smile before starting back down the corridor.

“Brooks, wait!” Malfoy called after her. Within seconds he was by her side.

“I’m not patrolling any corridors tonight, Malfoy. I just had a near death experience.”

“That’s not why I’m here.” Malfoy said, slightly taken aback. “I just wanted to see if you were okay.”

“Why?” Alex asked, looking up at him. She placed her hands on her hips. He lifted a brow in response, so she continued. “Why do you care if I’m okay? Why are you so interested in me all of a sudden?”

He shrugged. “Like I told you earlier-”

Alex rolled her eyes. “Because you want to ‘get to know me’ is not an acceptable answer. I want to know why—why now?”

“You’re just different than most girls.”

“Well if that isn’t the most generic answer ever. Try again.”

Malfoy sighed heavily before pressing his lips in a tight line. Alex stared him directly in the eyes, waiting patiently for a response. It took him a moment, but eventually he offered an answer.

“You’re different because most girls wouldn’t question why I want to know them. The fact that I’m me is enough reason for them to do pretty much whatever I say. I don’t phase you.”

Silence enveloped them. Alex didn’t know whether it was the seriousness in his eyes or the tightness in his jaw, but for whatever reason, she believed him. And the way he was looking at her right now, like her response was life or death, created a tightness in her stomach she didn’t recognize. So much for being unfazed.

“If you say so,” Alex said, finally, starting towards the dungeons. She wasn’t surprised when Malfoy reappeared at her side seconds later, quickly matching her pace. “I don’t need an escort.”

“We’re both going to the same place.” Malfoy said, shrugging his shoulders. Alex didn’t respond, there was no arguing that.

The pair walked in silence the entire way to the common room. Alexandra wasn’t sure what to think of Malfoy. Most of the things she knew about him were from Astoria who had been obsessed with him for as long as Alex could remember. Somehow his brand of cologne and favorite Quidditch player didn’t really give Alex a good idea about the type of person he was. Whether or not she even wanted to know him on a personal level was still up to debate. For now, she planned to just go with the flow.

“Venomous,” Malfoy said, causing the common room door to appear. He pulled it open and stepped aside, allowing Alex to enter first.

She wasn’t sure why, but she didn’t head straight for the girl’s dormitories. Instead she lingered in the common room, waiting for Malfoy.

“Thanks for walking with me.” He said with a slight smirk.

She rolled her eyes. “No problem.”

He reached to hug her and she wrapped her arms around him, her head resting against his chest. She could feel his strength in how tightly he held her. She felt so small next to him, her arms barely reaching fully around him. The hug lasted only a couple seconds before the pair separated and started towards their assigned dormitory.

Alexandra hoped her roommates would all be asleep. She wasn’t sure how late is was, but by the vacancy in the common room, she knew it had to be pretty late. Immediately upon opening the door a pair of arms wrapped around her, practically dragging her to the floor.

“You’re not dead!” It was Fiona Mitchell, Alex’s best—and really only—friend.

“How unfortunate,” Astoria said from across the room. She was lying in bed and her two mates—Tracey Davis and Gemma Nott—were perched on the edge; Alex imagined they’d just finished brushing her hair. “How daft do you have to be to fall in the Black Lake anyway?”

By now Fiona had released her and Alex had retreated to her own bed where she began searching through her trunk for her sleepwear. Astoria was practically a carbon copy of Pansy Parkinson. They were both under the absurd assumption they controlled most of the Hogwarts population purely because they were rude and bossy, and overall horrible human beings.

“Daft enough to get prefect I guess.” Alex said with a tight smile. Fiona laughed as she plopped herself on top of her bed, but Astoria didn’t appear to be as amused.

“I wouldn’t brag too much Alexandra,” Astoria said through gritted teeth. “It’s not a secret you use Veela-voodoo to get what you want. I’m sure you did something to Snape so he would make you prefect.”

“You better watch your tongue, Astoria.” Fiona warned, but Alex shook her head. That was all Astoria wanted, a reaction.

“Yes, it must have been my Veela-voodoo that lured Draco Malfoy into the water after me, saving my life.”

Astoria’s face instantly turned a dark shade of red. Fiona was whooping and hollering as she jumped up and down on the bed while Tracey and Gemma quietly reassured Astoria, hoping to prevent a fit of outrage that could result in the five of them making a trip to Slughorn’s office.

Alex turned to Fiona. “It was quite romantic really, his big arms wrapped around me. He even gave me mouth to mouth-”

“You’re lying!” Astoria yelled, by now Tracey and Gemma were practically pinning her to the bed.

“Ask him,” Alex dared, but Astoria didn’t say another word.

She remained quite visibly angry for some time; it must have been hours before Tracey and Gemma returned to their own beds and went to sleep. Alex hadn’t planned on telling anyone besides Fiona about Malfoy, but she couldn’t miss the opportunity to rub Astoria’s face in it. When Alex thought about it, it really could’ve been anyone that Malfoy ended up saving from the Black Lake. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She wondered if Malfoy would have waited for anyone else to get out of the Hospital Wing, or just how many girls he took the time to get to know. The more she thought about it, the more she wanted to pinch herself for spending her last few minutes before sleep thinking about Draco Malfoy of all people. She wasn’t Astoria. She was different, and Malfoy wasn’t worth a second thought.
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