not your typical annihilatrix (furiosity) wrote,
not your typical annihilatrix

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Fic: A Gryffindor and a Slytherin [genslash, Harry/Draco, R] - 08

Title: A Gryffindor and a Slytherin - Chapter 8 - Cardboard World
Author: furiosity
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Chapter Summary: Draco and Blaise have it out regarding Draco's discovery of just who Blaise has been spending time with. Half of the sixth-year Slytherins are called to their first Hufflepuff party, and Draco's only answer is to smirk rather bravely. With Sicilian sunsets, raised voices, petulant children, and a helplessly giggling Pansy.
Beta: cornmouse, evilsource, goneril, oddnari
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.

A Gryffindor and a Slytherin
Chapter 8 - Cardboard World

Draco told Vincent and Gregory to clear out of the dormitory an hour ago, and they'd known better than to protest. Now he sat on his bed, trying to read a book but failing to concentrate. Shouts and laughter were coming from the direction of the common room through the door, which was slightly ajar. Draco got up and walked over to close the door. Before he could reach it, it swung open and Blaise walked in.

"There you are, I've been looking for y--" he began, but Draco interrupted.

"I saw you with Smith," he accused, glaring as his arms dropped to his sides. Blaise's grin faded.

"Bollocks," he said, looking away.

"That's all you've got to say?"

"What do you want me to say?" Blaise inquired politely. "I must say it's a relief, at least I can talk to you about it now."

"Talk to me about it? Whatever gives you the idea I want to hear about it? You lied to me. I asked you who you were seeing and you said you weren't seeing anyone," Draco ground out.

"I did not lie. I merely suggested that you were mistaken in your assumption that I was seeing someone." Blaise paused. "Don't tell me you're jealous, Draco."

"Jealous? You wish! I just can't stand the fact that you've been hiding this from me for -- how long?"

"I've been seeing him since July." Blaise said, sighing and walking over to sit on his bed. Draco followed him but didn't sit, choosing to stand in front of Blaise and continue glaring.

"July? JULY?" Draco spluttered. Blaise frowned up at him.

"I ran into him at the Santa Rosalia festival in Palermo. I've told you about it before."

Draco nodded. It was an annual event held in Blaise's family's hometown to commemorate a Muggle saint who saved the city from some disease. "What the hell was Smith doing there?" he demanded.

"He was there with his parents. I was sitting outside Nonna's restaurant on the first day of the festival and saw him walking by. I was glad to see someone from Hogwarts, so I called his name, invited him to have a drink."

"And you began a torrid affair, Sicilian style," Draco said through his teeth.

Blaise shook his head, his expression suddenly wistful. "It wasn't like that. His father's a magical metalsmith, he was attending a summer course with Maestro Cellini -- he's descended from Benvenuto, don't you know. Anyway, Zacharias didn't know anyone, so I introduced him to my friends, and we just... clicked, I suppose. At nights, we'd all go out onto the docks and just sit around talking..." he trailed off, not looking at Draco.

Incensed, Draco turned his back on Blaise and studied a nearby bedpost. Blaise had told him all about Palermo, of course, and his favourite spot at the docks where you could look at the sea even when it was raining. He'd promised to take Draco there when his parents would let him visit... He whirled on Blaise, glaring furiously. "Well?" he demanded.

"Well, we grew friendly and then he told me he was gay... Things just... happened."

Draco continued glaring.

"He's a lot like you, you know," Blaise said in a strange voice.

"You're going to insult me, too? He's a bloody Hufflepuff!"

"I'm not-- Look, I'm not proud of keeping this from you, but this is exactly why I didn't want to tell you. I knew you wouldn't understand."

"Understand what?"

"You can't see past the stereotypes, Draco! You're too caught up in your world of cardboard people defined by their wealth and their bloodlines and their Hogwarts houses!" Blaise's voice was rising as he spoke and his eyes were flashing.

"My world is cardboard now? Just because I'm discerning in my friendships and a good judge of character? Slytherin is the best house! We have the best people from the best families!" Draco's voice was rising as well. He couldn't believe he was hearing this.

"His blood is as pure as yours!"

"His family are a bunch of upstart Yank expatriates!"

"Canadian," Blaise corrected, shifting on the bed.

"Whatever! I don't care! Don't you dare compare me to him!" Draco shouted, not caring who might overhear. The indignity of being compared, even in thought, to Zacharias Smith was too much to bear.

"But you are a lot alike! He's got the same kind of attitude you've got, he's not impressed easily, but unlike you," -- Blaise's face twisted into an ugly sneer -- "he doesn't constantly bully people around to get what he wants!"

"That's why he is a Hufflepuff and I am a Slytherin." Draco forced himself to speak very quietly. "We use people to accomplish our means. You're such a hypocrite, Zabini -- you're using Smith as a substitute for me, a poor substitute, but there you have it."

At this, Blaise rose from the bed and approached Draco, hands balled into fists menacingly. "I care about him, Malfoy. And he cares about me. Which is a lot less than I can say for you," he spat, and stormed out of the room.

Draco stared after him, hands shaking slightly. Blaise had betrayed him, utterly -- he should have known something was amiss when Blaise took Potter's side during their talk in The Three Broomsticks. That Smith fellow was in the original DA, he was probably chummy with Potter. The Hufflepuff must have been poisoning Blaise's mind against him, there was no other explanation for Blaise's cheek and his appalling behaviour.

Draco changed into his pyjamas and crawled into bed, still fuming. He lay quite still, waiting for sleep to come, but his mind kept filling with visions of Blaise and Smith: sitting in the courtyard, walking along the cobblestone-paved streets of Palermo, watching the sunset from the docks. He'd heard so much about Blaise's favourite city he felt like he'd been there. He could virtually smell the salty air tinged with the scent of roasting pork and green peppers, hear the voices of the people singing in the streets... Draco drifted off into restless sleep.

He dreamt that he was in classroom eleven, with Potter sitting on the desk just as he had during the first DA meeting. Draco kept trying to hex him, but Potter was laughing as Draco's spells bounced off him. The classroom melted away around him and he was in the drawing room at Malfoy Manor, and his mother was telling him that she had divorced Father to marry Zacharias Smith. Draco tried to tell her that Smith was gay and he was with Blaise, but she just laughed and told him that it was impossible for a pureblood wizard to be gay. The drawing room turned into the Hog's Head inn, and Draco looked on in horror as Blaise and his father played a game of Exploding Snap while a plump witch (Draco somehow knew she was Blaise's grandmother) kept offering them more wine.

Draco woke abruptly and sat up, turning his head from side to side wildly. He'd neglected to close the drapes around his bed before falling asleep. It was dark, the only light coming from a framed picture on Blaise's bedside table -- it was a drawing of a bird's eye view of the Palermo beach. Blaise had got it from a friend of his, and the frame was bewitched to glow in the dark. Blaise was afraid of the dark and didn't react well to waking up in total darkness -- he always kept the drapes around his bed slightly open to let the light from the picture frame seep in. Draco's heart clenched suddenly as he remembered the previous night's events. He shook his head -- Blaise had betrayed him, and he would pay for that. He roused Vincent and Gregory and made them go down to breakfast with him.

"Why didn't you wake Blaise?" Vincent asked as they walked to the Great Hall.

Draco was saved from replying by an outburst of raucous laughter from a group of fourth-year Gryffindors and Ravenclaws walking down the marble staircase into the Entrance Hall. Draco made a disparaging comment in their direction, causing Vincent and Gregory to snigger. They followed the group into the Great Hall, where breakfast was already served. By the time they reached the Slytherin table, Vincent had forgotten all about his question.

They had Quidditch practice later that morning, and Draco took vindictive pleasure in mocking Blaise's Keeper abilities whenever the other boy messed up. He got him so riled up at one point that Blaise actually made to storm off the pitch, but Millicent chased after him and he returned, avoiding Draco's gaze. Draco smirked. After practice, Blaise was the first to leave, earning Draco quizzical looks from the other team members. Draco just shrugged, as though he had no idea what was going on.


In the evening, Draco was sprawled out on a sofa in the common room, preparing an outline for his extra-credit Defence Against the Dark Arts assignment. He'd received the instructions on Tuesday morning just as Trista said he would. He thought the whole thing a bit ironic, because his paper was to be titled Defence of the Dark Arts and he was supposed to research and write a set of arguments for the existence and use of Dark magic. Draco wondered if he'd just been lucky or if everyone got the same assignment.

Vincent and Gregory were sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, shuffling bits of parchment around. They were working on the Potions booklets Snape had assigned them and they both wore slightly puzzled looks. Draco smirked. The two of them had always been hopeless at Potions -- unfortunately, their passing grades had been out of Snape's hands in their O.W.L. year.

Herbert jumped into Draco's lap and curled up on his parchment. He laughed and scratched behind the cat's ears. Herbert purred.

"Millicent, kindly ask your pet to pick a better lounging spot," he called.

Millicent was sitting on a sofa opposite, arguing quietly about something with Blaise. Blaise and Draco had not spoken since the Quidditch practice that morning, and that suited Draco just fine. He wasn't feeling particularly vengeful any more, not since Blaise's near-meltdown on the pitch, but he certainly didn't want to talk to him.

A soft popping sound came from between the two sofas. It startled Herbert, who jumped off Draco's parchment and dove under his sleeve. A house elf stood in the middle of the common room.

"Mr Vincent Crabbe, Mr Blaise Zabini, your presence is requested in ten minutes in classroom fifteen on the fifth floor, please!" it squeaked.

This must be their Hufflepuff party invitation, Draco realised. He looked up at Blaise, who was looking back at him. Draco started to grin, searching for a suitable remark regarding Hufflepuffs, then remembered last night's events and looked away. The elf hadn't said Draco's name, which meant that three more Slytherins from their year would be going. Laughter came from the direction of the girls' dormitories, and another house elf emerged, followed by Pansy and Queenie. A moment later, a flustered-looking Sheridan Roper came from the boys' side, also preceded by a house elf.

"Fifth floor?" Blaise called, looking at Pansy.

Pansy nodded, then made a beeline for Draco's sofa and kissed him on the nose. "You're not coming?"

"Wasn't invited," Draco said.

"Well, let's get going," Pansy said in a commanding voice, and the five Slytherins trooped out of the common room, all but Blaise looking as though they were going to serve detention. The house elves disappeared.

Draco considered the situation for a moment. Since seeing the first years' party last week, he'd been wondering about the activities planned for the older students. As a prefect, it was well within his rights to look in on the party, though he could not participate. Herbert poked his head out from under Draco's sleeve, startling him. Millicent had moved to sit beside Gregory; she was now helping him with his booklet.

Draco picked up Herbert and deposited him on the floor, getting up and brushing off his robes. He was about to tell the others he was going to look in on the party, then changed his mind. He would not go running after Blaise -- not that he would actually be running after Blaise, but the other boy was sure to think that. He sat down with a heavy sigh, picking up his outline again.

By the time he was done with the outline, had finished his Arithmancy homework, and researched the ingredients for the Fearlessness Formula in One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi, the common room had begun to empty. Draco looked at the clock above the mantelpiece: it was nearly nine o'clock. That meant bedtime for the first-years and as Pansy wasn't there, he would have to pick up her slack. Draco got up, stretching. His lower back felt a little sore from his having sat in the same position for hours.

He walked to the very end of the boys' hallway, where the first-year quarters were. The first-year students lived in a large dormitory at the end of the hall; the room could house up to fifteen students. This was supposed to let the first-years become comfortable with one another before they were allowed to share with the upper-year students. Slytherins in second year and above lived in smaller, four-person dormitories. Two hallways branched on each side of the main hall, leading to more rooms. Draco spoke the password, then opened the door into the first-years' dormitory, finding the boys huddled together on the floor.

"Get up from the floor this instant! It's freezing." Draco commanded.

The boys started to scramble to their feet, obviously startled.

"It's nearly nine o'clock," Draco drawled. "You all know what that means,"

Tiny Preston Iven spoke up. "Please, Draco, why do we have to go to bed at nine? The Gryffindors don't!"

"Neither do the Hufflepuffs!" piped up a thin black-haired boy from beside Preston.

"Nor the Ravenclaws," squeaked a pudgy first-year with red cheeks. He looked so much like Longbottom that Draco wanted to ask if they were related.

Draco raised both eyebrows. "How the other houses maintain discipline is none of your -- or my -- concern. In this house, you do what I say, not what your Gryffindor classmates say."

He was sorely tempted to chastise them for making friends with Gryffindors, but that wasn't allowed. He settled for a glare instead. The boys wandered over to their wardrobes, looking glum.

"I'll be back in ten minutes to check on you. Whoever's not in bed by then will get detention," Draco said and left, shaking his head in amusement.

He walked across the common room and into the girls' hallway. He spoke the password to the portrait of a glum witch that hung just beyond the curtain that separated the common room and strode towards the end of the hall. Slytherin girls lived in larger rooms, always grouped by year. Draco wasn't sure why the arrangement was different for the girls; it didn't really interest him that much. He knocked on the first year girls' dormitory door and waited. Male prefects only had the password to the guardian portrait, never to the individual dormitories. Female prefects also had the password to the boys' guardian portrait -- a sour-faced wizard wearing a top hat -- but not to the boys' actual rooms.

Several moments later, the door opened and a small blond-haired girl peered up at him.

"Y-yes?" she said in a small voice.

"Bedtime," Draco said.

"Oh. Do we--"

"Yes, you have to, I do not want to hear about the other houses," Draco said, irritated. "You will leave the door open. I will be back to check in fifteen minutes."

She curtsied, inclining her head slightly, and Draco turned on his heel and walked back out into the common room. Millicent was reading a book with Herbert curled up next to her. Gregory must have gone to the kitchens by himself. Millicent looked up from her book and fixed Draco with a glower. He raised an eyebrow.

"What?" he asked.

"Nothing," she sneered, and went back to reading.

Draco shrugged, checking the clock. It was nine already, so he made his way over to the first years' dormitory. The boys were in their beds: they were listening intently to Preston Iven, who appeared to be telling them a story. Draco gave a sharp rap on the doorframe and they quickly dove under their blankets. Draco extinguished the lights with a spell and closed the door firmly behind him. After checking on the girls as well, he walked out into the common room, collected his things, and carried them into his dormitory.

Gregory was standing near his bed, wearing pyjamas and a single sock. The other sock lay on the floor and Gregory was scratching himself with an absent-minded look. Draco made a face at him. Gregory's eyes narrowed as they always did when he was trying to concentrate.

"Did you and Blaise have a row?" he asked.

"We had a disagreement regarding house unity," Draco answered with an air of nonchalance.

"Oh," Gregory said and went back to scratching his backside.

"Honestly, Gregory, how do you ever expect to get anywhere with any girls, behaving like that?"

Gregory stopped scratching and gave him a guilty look. "D'you think Millicent fancies me or Vincent?"

Draco suppressed the urge to laugh. "I think your chances are about equal."

The other boy nodded thoughtfully, then climbed into his bed. "Good night, Draco."

"Good night, Vincent."

Vincent pulled the drapes around his bed closed. Draco hesitated for a moment then walked back out into the common room. He would wait for Pansy in the common room -- he wanted to know about the Hufflepuff party, after all. He closed his eyes and threw his head back against the sofa cushion, thinking.

"You're dead, Potter."

"Funny. You'd think I'd have stopped walking around..."

"You're going to pay. I'm going to make you pay for what you've done to my father..."

Draco's jaw tightened at the memory. He would make him pay, too. Potter had acted so cocky that day, even talked back to Snape... that must have been after his godfather had died, Draco realised absently. How pathetic -- Potter's way of dealing with it had been cool detachment and fake bravado. Draco had accompanied Snape back to the dungeon that day, where Blaise had cornered him.

"I don't know what to do, Draco."

"About what?"

"Adrian's acting strangely."

"Look, Blaise. My father is in prison, my mother's a wreck--"

"Right. Sorry."

Blaise had walked away then, and they hadn't spoken until the night before they were to leave and Pucey had dropped Blaise. He'd tried to comfort the other boy then, but he hadn't know how to. Blaise hadn't cried -- he'd discarded the broken broomstick and collapsed onto his bed, head in his hands. Draco'd just sat beside him, hand on his back, giving him the occasional pat.

He was startled by sound coming from the common room entrance -- it was ten o'clock, he realised, and the partygoers were returning. Daphne Greengrass hurried in first and went straight for the girls' dormitories. Sheridan Roper came second; with a quick nod at Draco, he made his way to his quarters. Blaise, Pansy, and Vincent fell through the door: all three of them were laughing hysterically. Draco fixed them with a glare. Pansy ran up to him and threw herself down on the sofa beside him, giggling.

"Oh, Draco, you wouldn't believe! Potter's face!" she squealed, falling back against him. Draco hugged her around the waist and smiled. Making fun of Potter sounded like a great way to spend the evening.

"What did you lot do, spike his drink with a Beffudlement Draught?" he asked, grinning.

"Oh, no, we were playing a game, and Potter--" she collapsed into giggles again.

"Potter had to dance with Vincent," Blaise finished for Pansy, who was shaking uncontrollably against Draco. Pansy gave a little squeak and laughed even harder. Draco tried to picture the scene in his mind.

"What? How?" he asked, laughing.

"We were all blindfolded and had to spin around for a while so we wouldn't know which way we were facing," Blaise said with a grin.

"Then the music started," supplied Vincent.

"We had to grab the person nearest to us and start dancing," Pansy managed between giggles.

"While blindfolded," Blaise added. Draco looked at him incredulously.

"There was a lot of stumbling around before we could actually dance," Pansy said, snuggling up to Draco.

"Then the blindfolds came off," Vincent said with a chortle.

"I ended up with Macmillan, Blaise was with Padma, Sheridan with Finnigan, Greengrass with Corner," Pansy said breathlessly.

"And Potter with Vincent," Draco finished, chuckling.

"Oh, the looks on their faces!" Pansy said with a huge smile, then winked at Vincent. "Of course, Potter looked funnier than you."

Vincent grunted something that sounded like. "I'll show you funny-looking."

"What did you do, Draco?" Pansy asked, wriggling out of his embrace and turning to face him.

"Oh, homework, putting the first-years to bed -- the usual," Draco said with a scowl.

"Bed," said Vincent suddenly. "Good night."

Draco stared as he walked away.

"I think he's been traumatised," Blaise quipped, and Pansy began to giggle again.

"I don't doubt it," Draco said irritably. Why was Blaise talking to him?

Blaise and Pansy exchanged looks, and she jumped up suddenly.

"Well, I should get some rest," she said airily and bounced away towards the girls' dormitories.

Draco opened his mouth to protest, but she was gone. Blaise sat down beside him. Draco moved away towards the edge of the sofa and studied the curtains that separated the boys' hallway.

"Would you stop acting like a petulant child?" Blaise said.

"I'm acting like a petulant child?" Draco couldn't believe the nerve of him.

"Look, I admit it wasn't right for me to keep you in the dark."

"What isn't right, Zabini, is that you, a Slytherin, are entertaining daft illusions of getting along with a Hufflepuff."

"They're not illusions," Blaise said with a smirk. "Zacharias and I do get along quite well."

"Oh, spare me." Draco snorted.

"Would you give it a rest? I already admitted I shouldn't have hidden things from you. But you can't expect me to sit around and wait."

Draco sneered. "Wait for what?"

Blaise gave him a look. "For you to change your mind about us."

"There is no "us," how many times do I have to tell you that?" Draco said in an exasperated tone.

"Exactly! That's why I'm with Zacharias, because there is no us," Blaise exploded.

"So you admit that he's just a substitute!" Draco said triumphantly.

"No, that's not what I meant! I was willing to stop seeing him at the beginning of the year, when I saw you..." Blaise trailed off.

"This is ridiculous. You know full well that I didn't want anything to do with you unless you stopped buggering everything that moved. Now you suddenly care about Smith."

"You're jealous."

"No, I'm not!" Draco fumed. "I just think it's a double standard -- you weren't willing to be exclusive with me, now you're suddenly intent on being with Smith."

"Zacharias doesn't expect me to be faithful," Blaise said with an air of finality.

Draco rolled his eyes. "You want me to believe that a Hufflepuff doesn't expect loyalty? You're barking."

Blaise smirked. "You'd be surprised, Draco."

When Draco made no reply, Blaise heaved an exasperated sigh and closed his eyes for a moment.

"Fine, you're not jealous, so what's your problem?" he asked, opening his eyes again.

Draco raised both eyebrows. "My problem is that you're prancing about with a nouveau-riche Hufflepuff, I thought I had made that clear."

"You're hardly in a position to tell me with whom to prance about," Blaise mocked.

"Well, I'm certainly in a position not to associate with you further," Draco said in a dignified tone. Blaise blanched.

"You're going to try to blackmail me into dropping Zacharias by using our friendship?"

"I'm not blackmailing you, Blaise. I simply can't afford any stains on my reputation."

"Funny, you didn't seem so worried about your reputation when you were going to meet Harry."

The silence that fell was oppressive.

"It's Harry, is it? I knew I couldn't trust you," Draco said finally, getting up from the sofa.

"Oh, for crying out--"

"Sod off, Blaise," Draco spat, and stalked off towards the dormitories.


Blaise made no attempts to approach Draco again. This suited Draco just fine. He spent his free time with Pansy, Vincent, and Gregory -- all of whom were inordinately curious about Blaise's conspicuous absence. Vincent and Gregory were told to mind their own business. Pansy, however, wouldn't hear of being headed off that easily. She kept pestering him to go talk to Blaise, and Draco finally lost his temper one afternoon. They had a blazing row in the courtyard and Pansy didn't talk to him for three days afterwards. Draco passed the time by terrorising younger Slytherins in the common room until they were afraid to come out if he was around.

Blaise had taken to spending his free time with Zacharias Smith and Terry Boot. The three of them were in the same Ravenclaw study group, along with Potter. Potter was still skulking about with Weasley, Granger, and Longbottom -- who was a new addition to the team of fearless idiots this year. Draco took care to keep away from Potter as he tried to come up with a new plan -- trouble was, he needed Blaise. For his part, Blaise seemed perfectly content with things as they were, and Draco couldn't understand how the other boy was allowing their friendship of five years to simply end.

He was especially demanding of Blaise at every Quidditch practice, but it didn't seem to unsettle Blaise as it had the first time he'd done it. Draco started to wonder if perhaps there was some potion both Potter and Blaise were taking that made them impervious to Draco's cutting remarks and witty repartee. Potter paid him no more attention than Blaise -- though Draco supposed that Potter did not usually start confrontations, unless the situation involved the Dark Lord or his Death Eaters.

October whizzed past and soon Halloween and the Quidditch season were upon them. Blaise's essay was read among the first five during the Halloween Feast. Hufflepuffs got it right, and Draco was sure he saw Smith turn and look at Blaise, who had the audacity to blush.

Draco Malfoy's diary, October 31
I'm just about ready to hex Blaise into next year -- the only thing that's keeping him alive and whole is that the Quidditch season is here and I haven't got time to train a new Keeper. Why did he have to write that nonsense about sunsets, anyway? I don't think he went and told Smith what was in his essay, but honestly -- the sunsets were a dead giveaway. Isn't he at all interested in Slytherin gaining house points? The other essays were equally uninspired, though I suppose the two seventh-years whose essays were read are much closer with their counterparts from the other houses, it being their N.E.W.T. year and all. As for the third-year and the first-year, I have a pretty good idea how they guessed about them. Why, just last week Susan Bones asked me what my favourite colour was during our study session. They've actually been asking the Slytherins questions. If anything, they've made an effort to learn something about us; that in itself is astonishing.
Well, I expect that at least the Gryffindors won't have any desire whatsoever to learn about anything come Sunday. We play Gryffindor on Saturday, and we're going to pound them into the ground. On that happy note, it's time for bed.

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Chapter Notes:
1. Nonna -- Italian for grandmother.
2. The Santa Rosalia festival of Palermo is a real event, held in that city from July 15-17 every year. Legend has it that when the bubonic plague hit the city in the seventeenth century, a young man had a vision in which Santa Rosalia told him how to rid the city of it. She instructed him to find her bones and carry them to the four corners of the city -- he did so, and the epidemic ended. Santa Rosalia was the daughter of wealthy parents who'd retired to live as a hermit in cavern on Monte Pellegrino (the mountain overlooking Palermo).
3. Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was a goldsmith and sculptor who lived in Florence. I recommend Alexandre Dumas' absolutely stunning Ascanio for a fictional account of a period in his life and work. Ascanio was based on Cellini's autobiography.
4. Blaise's character, complete with family background and the framed picture on his bedside table are drawn directly from the Slytherin Wars RPG (slytherinwarsrp). Blaise is the character I play; the picture was given to him by an OFC named Thea, played by honest_illusion.
5. I'm aware wizards can't Apparate inside Hogwarts. House elves have got their own (potent) brand of magic, however, I'm taking artistic license and saying that they can use their own Apparition technique inside the castle. It would only make sense, after all. My rationale is that it would not make any sense to protect Hogwarts from house-elf magic within, because house-elves are bound not to do anything against their master. Dobby was an obvious exception, but he was unhappy at the Malfoys' -- it doesn't sound like any of the Hogwarts house elves are unhappy with their master.
6. In the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione recites that Hogwarts: A History says that the founders thought boys were less trustworthy than girls. The inability of Slytherin girls to enter the boys' dormitories does not contradict this; there's nothing in canon that indicates all the houses have a similar arrangement to Gryffindor. My shtick is that Slytherin is all about balance, and so in Slytherin the boys and girls are treated equally.
7. The first three quotes in Draco's memory are from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38, p. 750 (Bloomsbury, UK edition)
Tags: fic:hp:a gryffindor and a slytherin
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