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The Eighth Horcrux

The dinner.

Slughorn’s dinner started promptly at 7:00 and it was 6:55 when Alexandra emerged from her dormitory, entering the common room. It was unusually crowded for a Saturday evening, which probably had something to do with the dreary weather outside. It had been raining nonstop for three days.

She decided to wear a black, spaghetti strap dress that fell halfway down her thighs. She always liked the way black contrasted against her pale skin and hair. Sometimes, in the right lighting, it would make her look like she was glowing.

Fiona was supposed to have helped Alex with her hair and makeup, but after an afternoon of Quidditch tryouts, she ended up immediately falling asleep the second she sat down to remove her uniform. She didn’t even make it to the shower. This left Alex to fend for herself, resulting in minimal makeup and a French braid cascading down her back.

Just as Alex was about to exit the room, a hand gripped her waist, twirling her around. Her gaze was even with the person’s chest before lifting to meet his dark, brown eyes. Her stomach tightened.

“Blaise,” she said, hoping any unevenness in her voice wasn’t too obvious. “Hey.”

His hand was still on her waist. His grip wasn’t necessarily tight, but it wasn’t loose either. She could feel the pads of his fingers leaving their mark in her skin. He smiled down at her—except not in a happy way, but in a way that suggested he was quite pleased with himself. “I can only hope you’re on your way to Slughorn’s party?”

“I am,” she said, biting the inside of her cheek.

“Good, then I will escort you.” He held out his arm for her to take, but she merely stared at it. She didn’t want to touch him.

“What’s going on here?” Alex spun on her heel to see Malfoy standing behind her. She never would have imagined his presence would bring her such delight.

“Malfoy,” Blaise said, his expression falling flat. “We were just going to dinner, it’s invite only-”

Malfoy reached in his back pocket, revealing a piece of paper. It was the same Slug Club invitation Alex received earlier that week, but with his name written across the top. He smirked. “I was invited.”

Blaise tightened his jaw. “I suppose with Potter and Granger dropping out of school, there were a few openings this year.”

Alex glanced between them, watching as they exchanged death glares. Just another example of too much testosterone in one place. She rolled her eyes.

“We should get going. We’re already late.” Alex said, starting towards the common room exit, both boys on her heels.

Blaise walked slightly ahead, obviously displeased with the addition of the third person to their group. Alex didn’t mind, though, she had a few questions for Malfoy anyway.

He was dressed in jeans and a white button-up shirt. Which was fine, beside the fact he was sodding wet. His hair was soaked and matted to his forehead, and little droplets were forming on the ends, falling onto his face every few seconds. The thin fabric of his shirt kept sticking to his skin and was see-through in places where the water had already soaked through. He was a mess.

“Have you been standing out in the rain all day?” Alex asked, matching Malfoy’s pace.

“I had Quidditch tryouts.” He replied with a shrug.

“Those ended over an hour ago.”

He looked down at her through the corner of his eye, but she was already staring up at him, waiting for an explanation. She hated lies.

He sighed. “I was doing something for Professor Snape.” When Alex didn’t appear even slightly satisfied with his answer, he continued. “I can’t really say much. It was forbidden—if you get what I’m saying.”

“You were in the forbidden forest?” she asked, and he placed a finger to her lips, silencing her.

“Maybe,” he said, smirking.

She rolled her eyes. “It sounds like you’re up to no good.”

“Maybe I am.”

Before Alex had the chance to reply, they arrived at Slughorn’s office. Blaise was already sitting down, as was everyone else. There were two seats still available; one between Blaise and Ginny Weasley, and one between Slughorn and Cormac McLaggen. Alex preferred the seat next to Slughorn, but Malfoy quickly beat her to it. It was just dinner, she reminded herself before inhaling deeply and taking a seat.

“I think that’s everyone?” Slughorn said, rising from his chair. “I’m so glad you all could make it.”

He clapped his hands twice, causing a smorgasbord of food to appear. Alex’s stomach growled. Everything looked so good. She couldn’t wait to dig in.

“I thought we could do introductions over appetizers.” Slughorn said, tying his napkin around his neck as a bib. “Everyone in this room has a lot to offer, and it’s important we all take advantage of that.”

Alex inwardly groaned. She hated introductions. Nothing about her was overly interesting. Sure, she was clever, but not clever enough or she would have been sorted into Ravenclaw. Her father had a boring desk job at the Ministry, and no one in her family was famous or had invented anything fascinating. She was half-Veela and that was all. But apparently that was good enough.

Everyone took turns speaking. Majority of the students had been in the Slug Club last year, so there wasn’t much new information to retain. Most people just talked about their parents. Malfoy spoke about his father’s work at the Ministry, all the money his family had, and their long lineage of pure-bloodness. By the time everyone introduced themselves, an hour had passed. Slughorn clapped his hands again, causing new food platters to replace the half eaten ones. People started to talk quietly amongst themselves, with Slughorn interjecting every so often, encouraging everyone to share their talents and to network.

Alex wasn’t overly interested in talking to Blaise or Ginny. Ginny had always been annoying to Alex. Like her brother and his mates, she was always getting her nose into other people’s business. But even if she had wanted to talk to Ginny, she appeared too busy glaring daggers at Malfoy to hold a conversation. This just left Blaise, whose attention had only been on Alex since she sat down. Unfortunately, this was the last thing she wanted.

Alex offered Blaise half-smiles and one word responses to all his attempts at starting a conversation. Every so often, he would place his hand of her leg, and she would immediately remove it. His touch gave her goose-bumps, but not in a good way.

“Remember last Christmas?” he asked, his lips forming a half-grin. She didn’t crack a smile.

“Yes, I spent it at home, alone while my parents vacationed in Barcelona.”

“No, silly,” he said, reaching to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. “I meant the party. Slughorn’s party.”

Her stomach twisted into 100 tiny little knots. She couldn’t think of an answer. None of her thoughts were coherent. She suddenly began to feel very hot.

Blaise took her lack of response as reason to keep speaking, making her skin crawl. “I think about that night a lot. Obviously, I wish things went differently…”

His hand found her thigh. Slowly, he ran his fingers over her skin, slipping under the hem of her dress.

“I need to use the lavatory,” Alex said, abruptly pushing her chair back from the table. Blaise’s hand slipped from her thigh and she hurried out of the room, not caring that she’d gained the attention of almost everyone there.

Once in the corridor, she sat down on the nearest bench. Her heart was beating fast, and she could barely catch her breath. She hated that someone could have so much power over her. If she had it her way, she would curse Blaise into a million pieces that would eventually disintegrate, but that would be cause for expulsion, and no amount of revenge was worth having to return home.

“Are you okay?”

Alex jumped slightly, Malfoy’s voice surprising her. She looked up at him; his brows were slightly furrowed, making him appear concerned.

“I’m fine,” she said, starting to stand up. He placed a hand on her shoulder, forcing her to sit back down before taking a seat beside her.

“What’s going on?” he asked, obviously not taking her response seriously. She rolled her eyes. This was not something she wanted to talk to Malfoy about. She’d barely discussed it with Fiona. It embarrassed her and made her feel uncomfortable.

“Nothing,” Alex said, starting to pick at her cuticles; it was a nervous habit she’d had since childhood. She could feel Malfoy staring at her, his grey eyes analyzing her, trying to find some hidden truth. She caught his gaze for only a moment, and immediately her chest tightened. He looked so serious. Alex wasn’t sure why, but it felt like he actually cared. Which was strange considering they hardly knew each other and this was Malfoy. Malfoy only cared about himself.

“Is it Zabini?”

Alex raised an eyebrow. “What?”

“Zabini. He makes you uncomfortable. I can tell.”

“So you’re watching me now?” she asked, growing quite agitated.

He shrugged. “Maybe—some. It doesn’t really matter. I know there’s something going on between you two.”

“It’s really not a big deal,” Alex insisted, but Malfoy didn’t seem satisfied. At this point, she didn’t believe anything she said would satisfy him, besides the truth that is. She sighed and spoke again, “last year Slughorn had a Christmas party.”

Alex’s stomach churned. This was the first time she’d talked about it since that night. It was not something she discussed or allowed to be brought into conversation. She wished she could just forget it.

“I went as Zabini’s date. Everything was fine at first, but then he stumbled upon some Fire Whiskey and things got out of hand.” Malfoy watched her the entire time she spoke, his eyes never leaving hers, despite her gaze being pointed at the floor. “He pulled me into the corridor for a snog, or at least that’s what I thought. It wasn’t a big deal. It was a party and we were having fun, but we weren’t on the same page. He tried having sex with me, but I didn’t want to. I told him no a dozen times and tried to push him off of me, but I couldn’t.”

“Did he-?” Malfoy started, but Alex cut him off, shaking her head.

“No, no, actually Snape appeared out of nowhere, distracting him, and I was able to get away.”

“You didn’t tell anyone?”

“No, I mean technically nothing happened.”

Malfoy grabbed Alex’s hand, his thumb tracing over her skin. She looked up at him and bit the inside of her cheek. She was doing everything she could not to cry. Crying was for weak people and Alex was anything but.

“If he ever bothers you again, I want you to tell me.” Malfoy said, squeezing her hand.

“Stop being ridiculous-” Alex began, but Malfoy interrupted her.

“If he even looks at you wrong, I want to know.” Malfoy said, his tone completely serious. It was actually startling how angry he was. Alex never wanted to be on the opposite side of that anger. He squeezed her hand again. This time tighter. “Promise me, Alexandra.”

“I promise.” She said, giggling. He sounded like her father. Hardly anyone called her by her full name; especially in that tone.

“Good,” he said, releasing her hand. “Now, let’s get back to dinner. I heard we’re having pumpkin tarts and every flavor ice cream sundaes for dessert.”

Alex stood up and adjusted her dress. “I don’t really like sweets.”

Malfoy twisted his face obscurely. “Why would you ever say such a thing?”

She shrugged, laughing quietly. Before they returned to Slughorn’s office, Malfoy bent over, leaning to whisper in Alex’s ear. “We’re swapping seats, no objections.”

Alex merely smiled. She definitely didn’t have any complaints with that.
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