As quickly as her words left her lips, as quickly Lucius made up his mind. No, he was not going to fail his potion’s test. Especially when a goody-two-shoes was involved. Did Tanya really think a Malfoy would give in? Lucius could not blame her ignorance. Her morality, however, was starting to bother him.
When Professor Slughorn shook his little golden bell to start the test, Lucius turned to Tanya and smiled. He nodded his head gently and Tanya misunderstood immediately, just as how he wanted her to.
Lucius had to admit that it was rather fun playing her. He also did not feel a single pinch of guilt and wondered if he ever would. He had feelings after all, just not enough to move him.
As the test carried on, Lucius did everything he memorized from Professor Slughorn’s special instructions. He did not miss a single ingredient, and his steps were almost flawless. That would have been a dead giveaway that he cheated, but Professor Slughorn never saw past Lucius’ false gratitude.
You see, he had a habit of thanking Professor Slughorn whenever he did well. Those praises not only made Professor Slughorn blush but extremely proud. And Lucius knew his weakness all too well to use it to his advantage.
When the bell on the table rang for the second time, everyone pulled their hands away from the cauldron and waited. There was a strange smell in the air as the different coloured brews evaporated above their heads. Professor Slughorn scrunched his nose as he went from one cauldron to another. His words were simple, and those who have had him before would know exactly how he judged random tests as such.
“Fail. Fail. Not bad, ten points for Slytherin. Fail. Fail. What is this? Ah, good job, ten points for Slytherin. Terrible. Could have been better, 5 points for Slytherin. Fail,” Professor Slughorn went on.
No one found it suspicious that the only students scoring points were the Slytherins, as the common misconception that Slytherins are naturally good at potions have been around for ages. Tanya however, thought it strange and decided to bring it up.
“Professor, can I say something?” Tanya asked.
“Sure. Your potion is not too bad, but I’m afraid it’s not worthy of points,” Professor Slughorn replied.
“No, that was not what I wanted to say. I’m just wondering, why are all the Slytherins doing so well?”
Immediately, the Slytherins in the classroom turned to her and demanded an explanation for her statement. Professor Slughorn had to quiet them down by saying, “Ms. Lovegood, that is a very rude thing to say. My students always do well.”
“It is not their fault that you are not prepared,” Professor Slughorn cut her off. “Ten points from Ravenclaw. You may be clever, but that attitude of yours is unacceptable.”
Tanya was dumbstruck and Professor Slughorn left her as she was. He then headed up to Lucius and his frown immediately turned into a wide smile.
“My boy! You did it!”
“I did?” Lucius tried to sound clueless.
“Yes, you did! Twenty-five points for Slytherin!”
“Thank you, sir. You’re a good teacher,” Lucius said.
Professor Slughorn blushed as he gave Lucius a squeeze on the shoulder. Just then, Lucius caught Tanya looking at him in a look he had not expected. She didn’t look angry or shock, she looked worried. The strangeness of her reaction made Lucius rather curious, so he decided to find out after class.
It was not easy though, as Tanya left the class the quickest. Lucius had to gently excuse himself from Professor Slughorn, and when he finally managed to leave, he saw Tanya turning a corner.
“Tanya, wait up!” Lucius shouted.
Tanya did not respond, so he chased after her. When Lucius finally caught her, he asked, “Didn’t you hear me?”
“Yes, I did,” Tanya replied.
“Why didn’t you stop?”
“Is something wrong with Professor Slughorn?” Tanya asked worriedly, ignoring his question.
“What?” Lucius was honestly confused.
“He doesn’t seem right,” Tanya said thoughtfully.
Was she for real? Lucius was starting to wonder if there was something wrong with Tanya instead. Can someone be that straightforward?
“He’s alright. Don’t worry,” Lucius responded after a few minutes of hesitation.
Tanya was not convinced but she nodded her head anyways.
“Professor Slughorn is a special kind of teacher. If he likes you, he’ll help you,” Lucius added.
If Tanya could not catch what Lucius was saying, he knew she was definitely one of a kind. True enough, she was.
“I don’t… understand.”
“Do you want him to help you? Well, obviously, you need his help. O.W.Ls won’t be easy. I can help you make it right with Professor Slughorn if you like?”
No, he was not genuinely helping her. To Lucius, Tanya was a toy that just upgraded with her innocence.
“I don’t trust you, Lucius. You lied to me, you used me, and you cheated,” Tanya said.
“Hey, nobody’s perfect. I just want to make it up to you,” Lucius simply replied.
Tanya thought for a while before she asked, “What do you have in mind?”
The thought that had been lingering at the back of his head shot forward immediately. But even so, he wondered. Should he invite Tanya to Professor Slughorn’s Slug Club dinner? This was not an easy decision.
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Lucius should invite Tanya to the dinner or not!)