Status: active

The Eighth Horcrux

The slugs.

Alexandra shut her eyes as she rested her head on Derek’s shoulder. It was 6 o’clock in the morning and Pansy was holding a mandatory Prefect meeting. Students from all houses were scattered along the Slytherin table in the Great Hall, waiting for Pansy to begin. She was sitting off to the side with Malfoy right beside her, massaging her shoulders. Their relationship was so ridiculous.

“Quiet down,” Pansy’s voice echoed through the room, and everyone slowly started to end their conversations. Alex kept her eyes closed; nothing Pansy had to say was worth losing sleep over. It was a miracle she was awake this early at all, and on a Saturday nonetheless.

“Okay, let’s begin.” Pansy said, her voice rising an octave. “I called this meeting today to check in and see how things are going now that we’re a month into school.” There were a few murmurings, but when no one really said anything, she continued, “From what I can tell, the mentoring system has been really beneficial for our first-year prefects. I want you to still continue working with your mentors some, but eventually, in the next few months, you will be completely on your own.”

“Merlin forbid we patrol a corridor without a babysitter,” Derek whispered; Alex lifted her head and smiled. She looked over at her own mentor who was staring at Pansy with complete interest. He was probably the only person in the room who genuinely cared what she had to say.

She leaned forward and placed her elbow on the table before resting her head in her palm. Her eyes slowly started to close again; the sooner sleep came, the sooner she could stop hearing Pansy’s squeaky voice.

It only seemed like seconds later when Derek was shaking Alex’s shoulder, willing her to wake up. Quickly she opened her eyes, forgetting for a second where she was. She was quite surprised when she noticed over a dozen pair of eyes staring at her. She turned to Derek who nodded towards Pansy; instantly her stomach dropped.

“What?” she said finally, sitting up. Pansy’s lips twisted into a tight smile.

“Professor Sprout needs about 200 slugs for her second years, and you just volunteered to search the grounds for them.”

“Wouldn’t that job be better suited for students serving detention?” Alex replied, staring Pansy straight in the eyes.

Pansy shrugged. “Perhaps, but I want you to do it.”

Alex could feel Malfoy staring at her now. She wondered what he was thinking. His girlfriend and kind-of friend going at it. He was probably amused. Alex wished she could smack the smug look off Pansy’s face. She wanted to jump across the table and tackle her to the ground, but instead she bit her tongue and pressed her lips in a tight line.


“If anyone would like to help Brooks, you may volunteer now.” Pansy waited less than three seconds for someone to raise their hand, but when no one did, she immediately started talking again. “Okay, no surprise there. Next order of business-”

“I’ll help her,” Derek said, interrupting her. Alex quickly turned to face him, offering him a look that suggested he definitely did not need to do this. No one else needed to suffer Pansy’s wrath. He merely smiled and grabbed her hand, squeezing it.

“Are you sure?” Pansy asked through gritted teeth.

“Positive.” Derek said, intertwining his fingers with Alex’s.

The meeting lasted about 20 more minutes. Pansy went over the new schedule for the month, assigning different tasks for everyone. Luckily, Alex’s schedule wasn’t too horrible. She figured it had something to do with who her mentor was. She disliked having another reason to be thankful for Malfoy.

“Catching slugs with your boyfriend? How romantic.” Malfoy said, nudging Alex’s shoulder. He’d found his way over to her once the meeting concluded. Derek was several feet away talking to Harper, seemingly about the upcoming schedule.

She rolled her eyes. “You would know. That is what you do every time you kiss your girlfriend, right?”

He shook his finger. “Don’t be so mean.”

“Once she stops being a raging bitch, I’ll consider it.” Alex said. To her surprise, Malfoy didn’t scold her. He actually didn’t appear upset at all. She spoke again, “How do you plan to spend your day since you won’t be annoying me?”

“Professor Snape asked me to do some things for him.” Malfoy said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“Again?” she asked. He shrugged. “Are you ever going to tell me what exactly you do for him every Saturday?”

“Maybe,” he said with a laugh.

“Whatever,” Alex said, hitting his shoulder. “I should get going.”

“Right,” he said, rocking back on his heels. “Come find me later when you’re done, you know, when you get tired of your boyfriend.”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” she said quickly, causing Malfoy to smirk. “And I won’t get bored. Derek is a really interesting guy.”

“I’m not the person you need to convince.” Malfoy replied before walking off.

Alex watched him. He carried himself with such arrogance it was kind of annoying. Pansy was talking to some girls in Hufflepuff; they appeared to be hanging on to her every word, and laughing at practically everything she said. Malfoy walked up to them and without saying a word, grabbed Pansy and kissed her hard on the mouth. The other girls stared in awe. But Alex didn’t see what they saw. They probably thought it was sweet—two people so in love. Alex thought he was trying to prove a point.

“Hey,” Derek said, tapping her on the shoulder. She turned on her heel.

“Hey,” she smiled up at him. “Ready to hunt for slugs?”

He nodded enthusiastically, and the pair of them exited the Great Hall, heading immediately outside. They made their way towards Hagrid’s Hut. There were multiple gardens there—the perfect breeding ground for slugs.

“Can I ask you a question?” Derek asked, peeling a slug off a nearby leaf. He tossed it in a bucket with a few dozen others.

Alex swiped a piece of hair from her face with the back of her hand. “Of course.”

“How close are you and Malfoy?”

The question caught her off guard. It was something she hadn’t really thought about. It was such a strange thing because she wouldn’t consider her and Malfoy close at all, but, at the same time, he knew things about her no one knew. There wasn’t really a word for what their relationship was.

“I mean we’re friends, I guess.” That was a sentence she never thought she’d say, not about Malfoy anyway.

“Just friends?” he asked, not meeting her gaze.

“Just friends,” she replied immediately. This brought a smile to his face.


They didn’t say much the rest of the morning, eventually splitting up so they could cover more ground. It took about four hours to catch all the slugs. By the time they were done, Alex’s nails were packed with dirt and she was covered in all sorts of disgusting grime from the garden. She felt like crap and was in serious need of a soak in the Prefect bathroom.

“Thanks for your help.” Alex said on their way back to the castle. “You really didn’t have to do that.”

“I wanted to.” He replied simply. “My mum always says we should help the people we care about most.”

“That’s nice.” Alex said, replaying his words in her head.

“That I care about you?” he asked, grabbing her hand.

“Well, yes, but I meant the part about having a mum.” He peered down at her, a little unsure of how to reply. Alex was surprised she even said anything. She wasn’t searching for sympathy. It just slipped out. It was a reoccurring thought she had whenever anyone mention their mother. She couldn’t really help it.

“Your mum—haven’t I seen her, at King’s Cross?”

Alex shook her head. She kind of wanted to laugh. She was sure he wasn’t the only one who thought Shelia was her mum. After all, she had been there her first time on the Hogwarts express. She’d been there since Alex was two, actually, but that didn’t make Shelia her mother. Someone who saw her as merely an inconvenience could never be her mum.

“My mum died when I was born,” Alex said, without a hint of emotion in her voice. “Shelia, the lady you see at King’s Cross, is my dad’s wife.”

Again, Derek really didn’t know how to take this. The obscurity of her family was something most people didn’t understand, especially people like Derek. He was like Malfoy in that sense. His family was a perfect, cookie-cutter, pure blood family. His mum sent him sweets and care packages at least once a week, and his dad looked generally pleased to see him whenever he went home for the holidays and summer. Alex was generally lucky if her dad sent her a letter, and even then it was usually just to tell her of whatever vacation he and Shelia were going on, and somehow all their vacations fell on holidays and summers, and never included Alex.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Derek said finally, squeezing her hand.

“Don’t be,” Alex insisted, forcing a smile. They weren’t far from the castle now; she could practically smell the lavender soaps and rose shampoos waiting for her in the bathroom.

“Can I ask you a question?” Derek asked. Alex arched her brow. He was quite the curious guy today. After his earlier question, she didn’t really know what to expect.

“Go ahead,” she said with a laugh, halting her step. He did the same, and turned to face her, releasing her hand.

“Would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend?”

Alex could tell he was nervous. He was trying to be charming, and he was smiling all-perfect, but his voice was a little shaky, and if his hands hadn’t been shoved in his pockets, Alex was sure they’d be covered in sweat.

“Yeah,” Alex said with a slight shrug. She found him attractive, nice, funny, and besides it was the least she could do, after his help today.

His smiled widened. “I would hug you but-” he gestured towards his clothes.

“I completely understand. I cannot wait to take a bath.”

“I’ll let you go then,” Derek said.

“Okay. See you tomorrow.” Alex said, walking away. After taking a couple steps she looked over her shoulder, “Thanks again, for everything.”

He waved. “No problem.”

Alex headed straight for the fifth floor. She hated feeling sweaty and grimy. She always threw a fit whenever Fiona forced her to play Keeper so she could practice trick shots. In Alex’s opinion, the Prefect bathroom was the only perk to becoming a Prefect. It was so much better than the standard bathrooms she shared with the hundreds of other Slytherin girls.

To her pleasure, the door was unlocked, meaning no one else was in there. She slipped inside, eager to get out of her clothes. Just as she was about to remove her shirt, she heard someone cough behind her. Startled, she spun on her heel to see Malfoy wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.

“Wh-what are you doing?” She asked, completely taken off guard. She was surprised she was even able to form a sentence.

He smirked. “I was taking a bath.”

At first, Alex had been avoiding looking at him straight on, but now she didn’t really have a choice. He was soaking wet, and his hair was matted to his forehead. He looked relatively smug, which annoyed her.

“Then why was the door unlocked?”

He lifted a fistful of clothes. “I left my stuff. I caught the door on your way in.”

“Well that was rude. I could’ve been undressed.” Alex crossed her arms. He merely appeared more pleased with himself. If that was even possible.

“I wouldn’t have minded.” He replied, not once taking his eyes off her.

She tried her best not to blush, but she could literally feel the redness in her cheeks. “I bet Pansy would.”

His expression fell. “I’ll let you get to your bath.”

“Good idea,” Alex said, turning around. She waited until she heard the door close before taking off her clothes. In a matter of minutes she was sitting in a warm bubble bath, trying to think about anything other than Malfoy. He was probably the most frustrating person she had ever met. Always forcing himself into her life. And now, he was kind of her friend—whatever that meant. She just wanted to think about next weekend and her date with Derek. But somehow, no matter how hard she tried, Malfoy in a towel continued to find his way into her thoughts.
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Sorry for the wait! I've been very busy with school. Also sorry if this chapter is unexciting. ): Thanks to anyone that commented and please let me know what you think!