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Disclaimer: The characters belong to J.K. Rowling. No profit is being made from the writing of this story.

Author’s Note: This story was written in exactly 28 days during the month of November 2007 for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Before you read any further, I would like to forewarn you all that this story does contain graphic scenes of violence.

This story is already completed and is 20 chapters long, so there will be regular updates.

Please remember to leave a review. I am quite proud of this story and would like some feedback from an outsider’s perspective. Constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.

On that note, I bring to you all … The M Word. Enjoy and review, please.

= = =

“Give it back; you’re going to break it!”

“Back off Mudblood, before you contaminate me with your germs.”

She struggled and thrashed her body about like a fish out of water as she attempted to pry the tiny silver hour glass like object out of my death clasp that had turned my knuckles starkly white. I made a futile attempt to jab her back with my elbow but the long thin silver chain entwined around both our necks made it nearly impossible to even keep her at arms length away. Ugh. Mudblood germs. I gave a thought to how I would have to get my robe dry cleaned as I twisted the little hour glass, round and round and round …

“No, Malfoy! That’s the wrong way!” Granger’s blood curdling shriek reverberated through my ears with a piercing intensity as she catapulted over me, capturing her prize as if it were her most cherished and precious possession. And then the world began to spin, and everything around us was one big blur of color and sound. I suddenly felt dizzy and lightheaded as the whole world spun and twisted supernaturally out of control, and for a moment I wondered if I was dreaming and Granger had knocked me unconscious.

And then she punched my arm. My eyes, which I hadn’t noticed had been squeezed tightly shut until that moment, snapped open in shock, as Granger’s bushy hair came into view in a blurred brown vision. I shook my head once, twice, three times, when finally her face contorted into focus.

“I told you! I told you, you foul prat! Now look what you’ve done!” She yanked the chain off of my neck and ran her hands through her frizzy hair, probably in order to restrain herself from choking me to death.

“What do you mean, look what I’ve done? I’ve just saved both our arses. We went back in time just enough so that we never got that potion wrong in Snape’s class, and he never gave us that detention. So now you won’t spoil your perfect reputation by getting a detention, and the Slytherin Quidditch team won’t lose their star player because of me getting another one. So you can do us both a favor and shut that disgusting hole in your face.”

She shook her head at me, glaring into me with those sad pathetic eyes. “You really have no clue what you’ve done, do you?”

I glanced around Snape’s office and laughed. Everything looked completely normal to me. Or, at least as normal as it can possibly get in Snape’s office, what with all the jars and phials of unidentified potions lined up and smoking against the walls on shelves. “Care to enlighten me?” I smirked.

Granger, always the overreacting drama queen, heaved an exasperated sigh and began, “Malfoy, you didn’t bring us fifteen minutes back in time. In fact you didn’t bring us back in time at all. We are –”

“In serious trouble if the two of you don’t tell me what you’re up to.”

Snape’s monotone icy voice sent a slight shiver up my spine that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as I spun around to face him, his greasy black hair falling in front of his beetle-like eyes in the doorway.

“Professor,” I began as I contemplated an excuse, as he seemed to have forgotten ever assigning Granger and I a detention, “We were just … erm …”

“We were wondering if you could help us,” Granger said nonchalantly.

Snape folded his arms across his chest, waiting.

“Er …” Granger began, and I narrowed my eyes at her in a threatening manner. “You see, for our History of Magic class we are supposed to compare the improvements and advancements of different potions from years ago to now.”

I raised an eye brow at her. She elbowed me in the ribs.

“Like the Essence of Dittany, for example,” said Granger, referring to a potion that could heal wounds. “How has the potion improved over the past couple of years?”

“Leave my office with your foolish questions,” said Snape, pointing toward the door.

“But Professor –”

“I said leave. Go back to your classes and don’t let me ever catch you saying such foolish things again,” then looking at me he added, “Especially you. I doubt the Headmaster would appreciate hearing his son talk of such things.”

I could feel my mouth drop open at this. Had he really said what I thought he said? But before I could force the questions swimming in my mind out of my mouth, Granger grabbed my arm and hauled me out the door, calling as we stumbled down the hall, “We’re sorry, Professor! It won’t happen again!”

“Wait!” I said, coming to a halt and wiping the sleeve of my robes clean from where she had previously been gripping me. “Didn’t you hear what he just said? My father is the Headmaster!”

Under her breath, Granger mumbled something that sounded very similar to the words, “We’re doomed,” but instead voiced aloud, “You’ve really fucked things up this time.”

“Language, Mudblood,” I chided, unable to believe the word that had just escaped the innocent Gryffindor princess’s lips. And with that, I turned and began to walk down the hall.

“Malfoy!” she called, “Where do you think you’re going?”

“You heard Snape; get to class.”

“But … but we don’t even know what year it is! We could be years into the future for all we know.”

I could feel the corners of my lips tugging upward into a smirk. “Guess we’ll find out, won’t we?”

She looked like she might just bust in angry bubbles of infuriation. “How can you be so calm about this?”

“Granger, my father is the Headmaster. I’d pick this over 1995 with Dumbledore any day.”

And with that, I left Granger standing alone and open mouthed in the corridor.

= = =

The giant clock outside the stone quad told me it was 10:30 a.m. Assuming this place, wherever I was and whatever year it was, ran on the same schedule as life in 1995, that would mean I should currently be in Charms with the midget Flitwick. Striding across the quad and into the castle again toward the classroom, I wondered if perhaps the Flitwick in this world had grown a few inches. Maybe his classes will finally be interesting … I pondered, even though I knew it was only wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking, indeed! For upon opening the classroom door, I found there was no Professor Flitwick at all, but one of my father’s old friends …

“ … filthier than animals –” Amycus Carrow stopped short as I entered the room, eye brows raised high, concealed under his dark, shaggy fringe. “This is not your class.”

I scanned the room before meeting his gaze. There were at least one hundred students squished into this classroom, each wearing grey sweaters with numbers sewn onto their breast pockets accompanied by a bright red ribbon, black slacks, black ties, and identical vacant expressions as two hundred eyes looked at me with the same haunted stare.

“I … oh. Erm … what class is this?”

Amycus wheezed as he laughed and said, “This is the Advanced class. You’ll be upgraded into one of us soon enough.”

The entirety of the class mimicked his lopsided grin at exactly the same time, and that was when I turned to leave. I never thought I’d resort to even the thought of it, but I knew I had to find Granger. Something wasn’t right about this place.

I stormed down the empty corridor, feeling the wheels in my head turning mechanically. What was going on? Why was Amycus Carrow teaching? And what was up with everyone in that class? The way they were looking at me … each of their stares was so … emotionless.

My feet came to an instant halt at the sound of voices around the corner.

“I found her wandering the corridors alone, Headmaster,” came a squeaky and highly obnoxious voice.

“I’m sorry; I was just on my way to class.” Granger. I’d recognize that goody-goody I-can-do-no-wrong voice anywhere.

“You know the rules, girl. Now where is your uniform? What is your number?” That was Father. I was about to intervene when Granger spoke again.

“Number? What number?”

“Do not play games with me, child! I hold your fate in my hands. Choose your words wisely.”

“I can punish her, Headmaster!” the high pitched tone of the woman sounded as if she were on the verge of begging, “Please, Headmaster. Allow me this privilege. Filch always gets to have all the fun.”

“I’ve told you, Alecto, it’s time to start training the Advanced students in the art of punishment.”

I decided this was a good time to step in. Granger would owe me big time after this.

Coming out from my hiding place around the wall, I glimpsed the scene in front of me. Alecto Carrow, Amycus’s twin sister, had Granger by the arm, and Father stood in front of them, a look of disapproval painted all over his face when he saw me.

“Twenty-seven,” he said.

I stared at him unblinkingly momentarily before asking in confusion, “What?”

“What are you doing out of class, Twenty-seven?”

“I …” speechlessness was something I was quickly becoming accustomed to, “I was looking for Granger; our professor wanted her back in class.”

“Granger?” Father asked, “Who is this Granger you speak of?”

I swallowed hard before answering. “I meant … Seventy-nine?” I didn’t mean for it to sound like a question, but at this point, confusion was an understatement.

Father gave a slight nod to Alecto, who released Granger at once. “Go change into your proper clothing. I don’t know what either of you were thinking, walking around in this filth.” He fingered the sleeve of Granger’s robe. “Burn them.”

“Yes, Father.”

“Yes … Headmaster,” said Granger, somewhat tentatively, and then pulled her arm away from his hands as we walked down the other end of the corridor, hearing the sound of Alecto’s whining as we went.

“I’m telling you, Headmaster, a whipping should snap those hooligans right into shape …”

Granger cast a nervous glance at me and we hurried on until they were completely out of ear shot.

Turning the corner, she shoved me hard on the chest so that my back slammed fiercely against the cold stone wall. “What the hell?” I shouted.

“Where are we?” she screamed in my face, her hands still clutched around the front of my robes. “What have you done?”

I was tempted to spit in her face as I swiped her hands away. “This is your bloody fault, you know. If you hadn’t of gotten your knickers in a twist over one fucking detention –”

“My fault!” she shrieked so loudly I feared Father and Alecto had heard, “Maybe if you’d have given me the time turner in the first place, seeing you had no clue how to work it –”

She stopped talking immediately, and I knew she was thinking exactly the same thing as me.

“The time turner!”

“Well, go on and get it then, what are you waiting for?”

She raised her hand to her neck, and noticing the silver chain was not there, dug her hands into her robe’s pockets. “Oh God.”

“Granger …”

Her searching became more frantic. “Oh God. Oh God.”

“Granger, if you bloody lost it, I swear to God …” and I watched as she continued to feel around her robes, but each time came out empty handed.

“It’s gone,” she all but whispered, “I can’t believe it’s gone … it was just here …”

I could feel my breathing becoming heavy. That bloody necklace was our only way back to our world, our only transportation, and she lost it. “Figures …”

“What was that, Malfoy?” the stern expression plastered on her face reminded me vaguely of the same expression my mother would give me whenever I mumbled something cheeky under my breath to her or Father.

“I said it figures,” I articulated each word slowly with seething vehemence. “Mudbloods shouldn’t be trusted with such things. You should have given it to me.”

“You fucking prat!” she screeched, and then huffed loudly and stormed away toward the Gryffindor tower.

“Twice in one day!” I laughed after her and watched her back retreat down the hall. She did not look back.

= = =

The Slytherin dungeons were blocked off. The door was bolted shut with locks and chains galore. So of course, being a wizard, I did the one thing that seemed the most natural. Unpocketing my wand, I pointed it at the door and said, “Alohamora.”

I don’t know if the locks on the door ever came undone, for at that exact moment an alarm went off in the corridor, red lights flashing and the obnoxious alarm setting my ears on fire. Through the loud buzzing noise, a voice announced throughout the halls:

“All Average students must report to the Great Hall immediately.”

When did Hogwarts get an intercom? was all I could think, along with what the hell an “Average” student was.

I finally found a single file line of students, all briskly marching down the hall at the same pace. Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. I joined in the end of the queue and marched with them. Right, left, right, left. I repeated the words over in my head and tried to block out the alarms and listen to the coordinated footsteps as each student’s shoe clicked on the ground, becoming accustomed to the steady rhythm myself.

Then my eyes widened as I realized who I was marching behind. “Blaise!” I shouted over the ringing alarms as I slapped my hand on his shoulder. He kept walking, never missing a step. “Blaise, what’s going on?” Nothing. I lowered my hand from his shoulder and sighed as we entered the Great Hall.

The double doors slammed shut behind me, and I gasped as I saw there was only one long table set up. Everyone in line sat directly on the floor. Were they all thick or something? Why wasn’t anyone sitting at the table? It was completely empty. I began to walk away from the single file line and toward the empty table when I felt someone grab the sleeve of my robe. Granger shook her head at me in warning.

“I’m not sitting on the floor!” I whispered somewhat stubbornly, but she pulled me down next to her anyway. Then I noticed she was wearing the same uniform as everyone else – the grey sweater complete with a number: Fifty-three.

“Where did you find those? I couldn’t even find the Slytherin –”

“I’m still not talking to you,” she interrupted, “So you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself.”

She really was impossible. The alarms stopped ringing at once as my father appeared before us, his eyes narrowed into thin slits.

After what seemed to be hours of pacing back and forth before the students lined up perfectly on the floor clad in grey and black, he spoke: “Who. Was. It.”


“Speak, you filth! Which one of you spoke an Unmentionable?”

No one spoke. No one moved. No one so much as breathed. I could feel Blaise’s arm shaking against mine.

“You have five minutes to come forward,” Father said as he swept out of the Great Hall, his long black cloak billowing behind him.

“Blaise,” I whispered again, “Talk to me! For the love of Merlin, what the bloody hell is going on?”

His lips quivered as if he were on the verge of speaking but couldn’t bring himself to do it. I watched him intently for a long moment. He would not meet my gaze, but only stared straight ahead, unblinkingly. “The … M … word.” He finally rasped, although his lips barely moved as he spoke.

“The M word?” I repeated, but Blaise would say no more.

An eerie silence draped like a cloak across the entire expanse of the hall, until finally the double doors swung open once more. No one turned to see who had entered, although I felt Blaise flinch beside me, almost as if he knew something bad was coming …

Alecto and Amycus Carrow paced up and down the line of the hundred of us, all squished together on our knees in a perfectly straight line.

“Unmentionables,” Amycus wheezed from his squat little body, “are forbidden. You are all aware of the consequences, I’m sure.”

“Yes, Professor Amycus,” the students chorused.

“The M word does not exist,” Amycus continued, “It is not real. It is a child’s fantasy. You are no longer children, and should therefore not believe in such fantastical rubbish. Alecto,” he flashed a sickly sweet smile that seemed to drip like honey from his lips to his sister. “Please teach them why the M word is forbidden.”

Alecto gave a deranged grin, showing a large gap between her two front teeth, as she seemed to waddle forward. She slowly pulled a silver glove from her pocket. The material clinked together as she slipped it over her hand, as if the glove were made of chain mail. Beside me, Blaise was shaking so badly he was beginning to whimper involuntarily.

“You.” Alecto walked toward me. “Are you a child?” she was speaking to Blaise, who merely shook his head, apparently too shaken up to speak. “Answer me, Two-hundred and four. Are. You. A child?”

“No … Professor … Alecto,” his voice shook as he spoke.

“Then why are you crying?”

Blaise took a deep breath beside me. “I’m not … Professor Alecto.” But there were tears there, hiding in the corners of his eyes, where only those close enough to him could see.

“Good,” Alecto said, “Because crying is for children. Wet, sniveling, disgusting children. Just like the M word. You don’t believe in the M word, do you, Two-hundred and four?” she waved her glowed hand over his head, just barely touching the stray hairs sticking on end from the static electricity the glove seemed to create.

Blaise’s face turned stark white. “No Professor Alecto.”

“Because if the M word were real,” Alecto ran her gloved hand down his arm, only leaving barely an inch between the material of the glove and his sweater, “You would be able to shield yourself from the pain. Don’t you agree, Two-hundred and four?”

Finally, Blaise’s voice broke into a sob and he could not answer Alecto’s question. Alecto wrapped her gloved hand around Blaise’s arm and dragged him forward to the front of the line. Blaise’s cries made the blood in my veins run cold. The shrieks ripping through his throat were like none I had ever heard, and the mere sound of it made me suddenly queasy.

“I thought you said you weren’t a child?” Alecto asked, tightening her unrelenting grip on his arm.

Blaise seemed to be choking on his own breath, and after what seemed like minutes he sobbed, “I’m not a child!”

“Then say it,” Alecto demanded. I didn’t know what she wanted from him. I just know I had stopped watching the scene a long time ago. Then I felt Granger’s arm jab me softly in the rib. I opened my eyes to look at her. She was slowly and very carefully unpocketing her wand.

“No!” I whispered, “Are you insane?”

“But look at him!”

“Better him than us.”

“Say it!” Alecto demanded of the writhing boy on his knees in front of her.

“The M word does not exist!” Blaise wailed, and Alecto released him at once. Blaise fell straight to the ground, slamming his head hard against the marble floor and twitching from the after effects of the pain. His shirt where the glove had been latched was now smoking and burned black, as though if it had been there a second longer it would have sent the material in flames. Granger stuck her wand back into her pocket as we sat in silence and watched Blaise where he lay on the floor, his breathing slowly but surely returning back to a somewhat steady pace.

Amycus stepped forward. “Learn from the mistakes of your classmates,” he announced, “Because of Two-hundred and four’s foolishness, no Average student shall be receiving lunch or dinner for the remainder of the day.”

My mouth fell open in protest, but no one made a sound so I quickly pursed my lips tightly together in one thin line.

“Now repeat: The M word does not exist.”

And every student in the room repeated it. Over and over and over we chanted. “The M word does not exist. The M word does not exist. The M word does not exist.” We chanted for so long that the phrase was still playing over in my mind long after we were dismissed from the Great Hall. We chanted for so long, I almost believed it myself.

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