CHAPTER 23: Man Hunt

“He’s launching an assassination,” Pansy said to Harry, lips curving in a smirk. “You’re going to die.” There was no hesitation. She was sure of herself. Completely confident.

Harry arched a brow, refusing to lean back as she did. He saw the amalgamation in the bosom of her dress, not that he was really leering at her or anything: he knew the tip of a dagger sheath when he saw one. “Oh, really?” He asked rhetorically. “You know, Parkinson,” he said leaning forward, “As I recall, you were never good at divination.”

She raised a wicked brow in return, “That may be true, but Draco is very good at aligning the stars.”

Harry gave a laugh, as if she had told him a hilarious joke. “That’s a good one.”

Pansy’s other equally wicked eyebrow rose to match the other in amusement. “You don’t believe me?” She asked, green eyes glittering. She surveyed the Boy-Who-Would-Never-Die before her. He looked… ordinary. She noticed odd things. Like the way his hair stood on end, as if he had just gotten out of bed. How he had dark circles under his eyes, how his eyes held the world in them… And he refused to share. She had never really been this close to him, alone, before. It gave her a funny feeling, as if she was seeing something for the first time. Yet, as she was making these absurd observations, her lips stayed twisted into a blood red smirk.

“I don’t believe that Malfoy has enough charm to make all the stars in the heavens even twinkle at his command.”

Pansy leaned forward, giving him a clear view down her dress. He didn’t take it. But his eyes did zero in on her face, more on her lips. They were telling the ludicrous story.

She smirked at him. “You don’t even know the half of his charm, Potter. He doesn’t make the stars twinkle. " She said it as if Harry was crazy for even thinking that. "He doesn’t have to charm them to do that. When he charms… he makes them dance.”

Harry sighed in mock disappointment. “And here I was, thinking his gorgeous smile made them sing.”

Pansy’s eyebrows went up again, surprised. “He’s very good at what he does. You should send out your soldiers, snag him, and hang him before it’s too late.”

He looked at her for a moment, and cracked another grim smile. “He’s a snake, Parkinson. I couldn’t catch him even if I wanted to.”

“Yet, when he wants to catch you--”

“Voldemort couldn’t catch me, Parkinson. I doubt Malfoy can either.”

Wise, but a little cocky. Pansy sighed and looked away. Suddenly, Harry's senses sharpened. Something was off. Why would she tell all of him this. Draco… She used to be his flavor of the age. They were both Slytherins… His eyes narrowed on her, cutting off what she was about to say. “What’s in it for you?” Harry asked, quietly, dangerously.

Pansy just gave him a red smirk. “A girl has to have her secrets, Potter.”

“If this is for some twisted revenge against him--”

“It’s not,” Pansy replied lazily. Lying of course, but he didn’t need to know that. That wouldn’t serve her at all. “I just thought, that with the two times that he’s killed your best buddy Granger, you might have wanted to element of surprise, and snag him.”

“Malfoy’s are rarely ever surprised.” Harry leaned back in his seat, steeping his fingers, regarding Pansy over his hands, taking in her serious expression. “You’re serious,” he said, almost surprised. Malfoy was going to kill him, right under his nose. And without Pansy, he wouldn’t know anything at all. “What’s in it for you?” He asked again, “I have to know if I can trust you.”

Pansy stood up, smoothing her skirt, and walked over to her cape, which she donned. She pulled the black hood over her head, her green eyes glittering from the depths inside. “You can never trust a Slytherin.”

“How do you know he’s here? How do you know anything?”

“His blonde hair is impossible to miss,” she said softly. “He’s here, and as to how I know. I have many sources. I have eyes everywhere, Potter.” She tipped her hood back just for a second so he could see her wink. “So next time you sleep, try not to sleep talk. I don’t think you’d want the rest of the world to know about your odd obsession for magical wands, now would you?”  her sultry voice gave the words a completely different meaning.

His face flushed with heat. He had been dreaming about his wand at Ollivander’s, how they worked. His parent’s wands, and just how to channel magic. It was the oddest, yet educational series of dreams. Never put it under a Slytherin to make an innocent dream sound kinky. He saw a flash of a white crescent in the darkness of her hood; a wicked smile, and then, she was gone, leaving an echo of her almost sultry voice behind her.

Harry thought as she left, she almost seemed… nice. 

He sighed audibly, slouching into the contour of the chair. You just know when you’re thinking Slytherins are nice, the world is ending. This, for obvious reasons, wasn’t good. Perhaps a session with the royal phsychiatric ward? He snorted. That wouldn't help his sanity at all. Maybe he'd go and get a lolli-pop and sing some stupid chant and run through the hallways. It would help his sanity just as much.

He waited a few moments, and then walked out the door and through the Navigation room. He walked briskly to the soldiers quarters, and found Ron, playing chess with Seamus. “Ron, can I talk to you for a minute?”

Ron looked up from his game and read the urgency in Harry’s face. He looked at Seamus with a goofy grin. “I’ll be right back. If you move the pieces, I’ll know.”

“Oh, shove off, Weasley,” Seamus returned with a roll of his eyes. “I guess I should thank you for postponing my inevitable fate.”

Ron just laughed and shook his head. Harry took him by the elbow and they walked away 10 paces. “You won’t believe who came to see me.”

“Ron looked at him, puzzled. “Who?”

“Pansy Parkinson.”

Ron feigned shock. The witch! How dare she pull something like this…Behind his back, no less.  “What did she say?”

Harry looked at Ron with narrowed eyes. Did Ron already know….No. A voice said in his head. Ron would have told you if he had seen her. Harry’s shoulders relaxed ever so slightly. Funny, he hadn’t even realized that they were tense in the first place. “Malfoy is plotting something. She say he’s out to get me.”

Ron sighed in relief. She hadn’t said anything about their… ’association’. He avoided Harry‘s eyes. “Well, that’s nothing new, I suppose.”

Harry looked away form his friend, eyes glancing around the room, as if Draco was standing there, grey eyes piercing, stabbing him as he stood somewhere in the shadows. Harry didn’t like this situation one bit. “Malfoy’s are sneaky as hell, Ron. We, of all people, should know that.”

Ron took a moment to think and suggested, “Well, we can send a guard out to find him. We’ll have him in no time!”

Harry shook his head. “He’ll be expecting it.”

Ron gave Harry a grin. “No if he doesn’t know that we know.”

“How can you be so sure that Parkinson isn’t in the league with him?”

Ron looked Harry squarely in the eye. “Why would she come to you about killing him at all? They obviously had a falling out. She knows she can’t beat him. He's stronger than she is. Slytherins are prideful people. Maybe she's already tried and can't. I wouldn't put it past a Slytherin to use a Gryffindor to get things done. It seems logical to me. Besides," Ron added with an afterthought, "She's a girl. She's not supposed to make sense.”

Harry sighed, not thinking of it that way. “Do you think he hurt her?”

Ron felt his nerves racing. “It’s possible,” he lied, not knowing what Pansy was up to. In fact, he planned to find out immediately after this conversation.

“Give the order, to look for Malfoy. Seamus’ll get excited, for sure,” Harry said with a wry, exhausted grin. “Then come up to my chambers. We need to get dressed for the blasted ball tonight.”

“Frivolities!” Ron said in a girly voice, jumping around. He batted his lashes at Harry. “D’ya think McGonagall will let me wear my hair down?”

Harry laughed, shaking his head. “I dare say, she’s real strict about that. I’d watch out if I were you.”

Ron’s face took on a comical horror, as he leaned in and whispered to Harry conspiratorially, “You don’t think that she…. She would beat me, do you?”

Harry let out a loud laugh and pushed his friend away, playfully. “Sure, whatever your imagination can cook up, Ronald. I’m sure you’d like it.”

Ron rolled his eyes, feeling immensely happy, then remembered something. “We got two knew people this morning, I’ve yet to find out who they are. Do you know?”

Harry shrugged. “They’re just recycled students, I’m sure.” Then a grin lit up his eyes. “Two people at the Ball that we haven’t seen in a while. That should make for loads of fun.”

Ron smiled. “Sure, whatever you say, your highness! I’m going to go and give out those orders now.”

Harry watched Ron walk off with a renewed vigor in his step. He smiled, knowing what he just put Ron to. The whole world knew that Man Hunt was a favorite Weasely game. Merlin forbid Ron lose his title to a Malfoy.

Hours later, Ron came to Harry’s room, dejected. He sat down by the desk, not saying a word: his face said it all. No Malfoy.

They picked out their masks and outfits, wary of all the shadows.

They woke up to the same news:

All night, the men searched with zeal: No sign of Malfoy.

No one really noticed the figure walking in plain sight, with a knowing smirk on his face…. Perhaps if I show myself...

A soldier walked up the figure who had just strolled to the fountain with ease and a smile on his face.  He gave the figure a description of Draco Malfoy and asked if he had seen him. The figure gave a smile with a curt shake of his head. The soldier gave a salute and walked off. 

The figure kept a smirk on his face as one thought ran through his mind.

This is just too bloody easy!
Then again, some thoughts are simply delusions.

This one most certainly was.

The morning of the ball, Hermione ran a hand through her frazzled hair, looking at the many dresses on the floor. She pulled a few more of them out of her closet with distaste. “None of these are going to work!” She muttered to herself angrily, not happy with her selection.

Nothing seductive, nothing even revealing. This was a bloody masquerade, for Merlin’s sake! Maidens could be a little daring, couldn’t they?

Apparently not, a snide voice in her mind said. Hermione pushed it away, and donned her cape over the pastel green day dress she was wearing. She walked outside her door, not caring about the dresses on the floor. She didn’t have time to clean up! She glanced through the corridor, noting that no one was in site. Yes! Another day without the maid with the funny accent! 
She stole down the corridor, hood of her cape up to cover her face. She passed Ginny’s room, trying to be quiet. It was a blessing not to run about with a corset. She then began on a run around the corner, freedom singing through her veins so loudly, that she didn’t hear the footsteps coming down the hall, and she ran right smack dab into a very hard, very warm, very male figure. 

She began falling, but a pair of strong, fair skinned arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her into his chest. Her hood fell away from her face. “My first day as a noble, and I daresay, the women are falling at my feet already.” The voice rumbled through her entire body, sending her every nerve on a tingling edge. She could feel the every contour of his body pressed up against her.

His voice was so familiar, yet Hermione couldn’t place it. It was so charming, so very pleasant. Hermione refused the urge to stay tangled in this strangers arms and  disentangled herself and took a step back, blushing at her clumsiness. Her body ached to be held again. It was so odd. She took her gaze from her fingers to look at the face of her savior. “Thank you, you’re so--” 

Her voice stopped. --Amazingly gorgeous? Her golden eyes met piercing blue ones. The rest of the words died in her mouth. Before her stood the most gorgeous person she’d ever seen in her life. His hair was a light, chocolate brown, falling into his sky colored eyes. For a moment, she was thrown aback by the fierce hatred in his eyes… And then, it disappeared, as if it were never there. Perhaps he thought she had been someone else. They filled with a warmness that made her heart stutter to a stop, and then burst back into life, galloping as fast as it could. He gave her a disarming grin. My, but she was going to swoon.

“And you are?” He asked, eyes dancing.

“Hermione Granger,” she managed to say. She wrapped her wits together. She couldn’t act like all the rest of the girls. “Who are you?” she asked, eyes narrowing slightly. She’d never seen him before. Was he an extra? Merlin, if he was… She had to get rid of him fast. Falling in like with an extra was a bad idea. He’d just disappear when she was done with the game. That would lead to unnecessary heart break, tears, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

“Hermione Granger…” She watched as his eyes seemed to go back to some memories. “Ah!” His eyes lit up. “You used to go out with Victor Krum!”

Hermione’s eyes narrowed as her heart did a little leap. Not an extra, obviously. “You didn’t answer my question,” she said, with a brow raised.

“Dommanic Aymes Lafroy, at your service,” he said with a low bow and a wicked smile that did things to her insides. He took her hand and regarded her. “I’m an exchange student for Durmstrang. My parents decided that Hogwarts would be a better place for me to finish my education. I guess I should thank them.” He gave her a wink, and touched his lips to her gloved hand. Suddenly, the ring on her finger began burning lightly. She shook it off. It did that every now and then. Inconvenient is all.

He held her hand for a moment longer than protocol, then released it. “What color?” he asked.

Hermione’s brain stopped functioning. “What color....?”  Her voice trailed off in confused question.

He grinned, sending a rush of heat through her body. “What color are you wearing tonight?”

“Oh!” Hermione mentally hit herself. She was acting like a silly girl, for Merlin’s sake. Like she was besotted or something… Hermione’s cheekbones went slightly pink, as she contemplated. “Black.” She blurted unsophisticatedly. Then her cheeks turned even pinker. She lifted her chin up with dignity… Well, with the shred of dignity she had left. “I’ll be wearing black tonight.”

He gave her a grin. “Then, I’ll dress to match, Lady Granger.”

Hermione blushed again, not knowing what to say or do. She had never felt like a besotted little twit before. She wasn't sure she liked it. Her voice became firmer. “You know, you don’t have to call me that.”

“What, Lady Granger isn’t to your suiting?“ He raised a perfect brow. “I thought you were the one who followed the rules all the time.”

Hermione went cold, stone cold. Something in the way he said it was so familiar. So familiar that she could have sworn--

He smiled at her again, messing with her senses and screwing up her thoughts. “But I suppose there’s a bit of a rebel in every one of us.” He picked up her hand from her side, and give it another kiss, his lips lingering on her knuckles; her ring burned again. “Save a dance for me,” he said  hotly with his wicked grin.

His long fingers supporting her palm moved to her bare wrist and caressed it lightly. Hermione gasped. It took a moment for her to regain her thoughts as he gave her a devilish smile and swept by her. She put her hands on her hips. She wouldn’t let a man get the best of her. “If I have an extra. Otherwise, I'm afraid you'll have to find someone else to amuse.”

He turned around slowly, and gave her a wink. “Or, maybe I’ll get lucky.”

And he turned the corner, leaving a very, very flustered Hermione behind. Maybe I'll get lucky. He had said. Oh, that could be taken so many ways, a sultry voice inside of her said provocatively.

So this is what it's like to be lusted after. Her thought almost shocked her. She stayed standing there, looking at that corner for a whole minute, and then snapped back to her senses. She couldn’t waste any time! I have to find a dress that looks better than everyone elses so that I can seduce Domman-- I mean, Harry, and then I have to... Stop thinking about Dommanic!

Oh, my. She had just met him and already he was under her skin.

Merlin. Hermione ran a hand through her messy hair as she quickly resumed her journey. 

This was about to get very complicated. 

A/N: I know it’s short, but the next chapter will be longer: the ball and such. For those of you who asked about my wrist: It’s getting better, but I’m still pecking, thus the shortness. Thank you for asking!!! So, how do you like my Dommanic? Hmmm…..? Any suspicions? haha. Please review : )

Track This Story:    Feed


Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.

Register Today!