“Friends?” Lucius paused and with slight hesitation before he continued, “sure.”
“Great! Well as a friend, I’m encouraging you to do your prefect duties,” Tanya replied with a small smile.
“Right,” Lucius simply said as he awkwardly waved Tanya goodbye.
Of course, Lucius didn’t return to his duties but straight to the common room instead. Friend or not, nobody told him what to do. As he lay in his bed that night, he found himself wondering what being friends really meant. By the time his eyes shut, he still did not have the right answers.
The following morning came as fast as the end of Quidditch season. Slytherin took the Quidditch cup with Hufflepuff not too far behind. The Slytherins found no reason to rub salt into the Hufflepuffs’ wounds, so they jeered at the Gryffindors instead. Slytherin and Gryffindor were always rivals, and many being friends with each other made no difference.
Lucius who went along with the celebration still did not understand the meaning of friends. He was too proud to ask and he decided that it was best if he continued pretending not to have any. When those around him asked about Tanya, he simply said he was being nice to her for the sake of her intelligence. After all, O.W.Ls was nearing and Lucius was not the best at every subject.
As the months flew by, Lucius found himself studying more than he usually did. Tanya had encouraged him to work hard instead of cheat his way through, and he had no idea why he thought it was a good idea to do as she suggested. Clearly, after days of pouring over boring Divination Lucius realized it was a bad idea.
Jumping from the armchair near the warm fireplace, he headed to the older group of Slytherins gossiping at a corner.
“Interesting conversation,” Lucius merely said.
“Er, yes. Would you like to join us?” a male student replied.
“Then how can we help you?” a female student asked.
“Slytherin was second to Ravenclaw last year in the Owls outstanding grade. I want to know who helped,” Lucius answered.
“Helped? Well, we studied,” another male student said.
“Everyone in this group did not study. The ones that actually did are asleep now,” Lucius replied.
“We didn’t use a memory spell if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“I’m not wondering. You’re telling me,” Lucius went straight to the point.
There was a moment of hesitation, but it didn’t last long.
“We bought the papers before hand,” the same student replied in a lower voice.
There were only a few people in the common room that night and Lucius wondered why he was whispering.
“You don’t know him, but I can introduce him to you. You have a trip to Hogmeads coming up, right? I can sneak out to join you,” the student suggested.
“Sound good,” Lucius simply replied. He patted the boy on the shoulder before heading up to his room.
On the day of the Hogsmead trip, Lucius headed out with the usual boys. A lot of the students decided not to go, as they preferred staying indoors to study, but Lucius went mainly to find a way to make him breeze through a few of the subjects he was struggling with.
Surprisingly, as Lucius and his posse settled down in the Three Broomsticks, he saw Tanya entering with her friends. Tanya was behind in her studies, so she must have caught up being that she was out. As he watched her, the Slytherin boy that promised an introduction came walking in.
Lucius did not wait for him to walk over as he headed to him instead.
“Let’s make this quick,” Lucius said.
“Of course,” he replied and went straight to the stairs.
Lucius took one look at his fellow housemates and gestured for them to remain seated. Once he and the other student were on the first floor, the student pointed to a man in a suit at the table near the window.
“He knows you’re coming,” the student said.
“Good,” Lucius replied and thanked the student with a nod.
Lucius swaggered to the table and took a seat. The man acknowledged him with a fake smile and said, “So, how can I help you?”
“I need papers…owl,” Lucius said.
“One paper does not come cheap.”
“Money is not a problem, and I only need a few.”
“Oh? If you’re so clever, why don’t you just study?”
“I don’t need you to tell me what to do.”
The man chuckled and said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. I’m just trying to do business here.”
“So how much for a paper and when can you deliver?”
“20 galleons, 13 sickles, 13 knuts. And I’ll deliver tomorrow if you pay today,” he replied with a sly smile.
“Fine. If you cheat me, you will pay for it.”
“Oh, I’m not the cheater here.”
Lucius narrowed his eyes before paying the man and informing him on the papers he needed. When the deal was done, he did not stick around and headed straight for the stairs. That was when he bumped into Tanya.
“Hey,” Tanya greeted.
“Hello,” Lucius replied as he edged towards the steps.
She looked at him and then at the man in the suit. Casually, she asked, “Who is that man? What were you paying him for?”
Lucius’ head screamed at him to cook up a lie, but he had a strange urge to tell the truth, as though lying was just going to make things worst. It now came down to what he was going to say to the only friend he had.
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Lucius should lie or tell the truth!)