twenty-four

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"FUCK YOU, DRACO," SAID PANSY, storming into their train compartment on the Hogwarts Express.

"I've got more important things to do with my time than foolish prefect duties," responded Draco.

He'd abandoned his prefect duties the moment they has stepped on the train, abandoning Pansy to do them herself. Clearly, she was enraged by that. She slid into the sear opposite Draco and Celestia, taking the seat by the window, much to Theo's dismay.

Before Pansy could respond, Ron and Hermione passed by their door. Draco raised his hand in a vulgar gesture, and got one in return from the red-head before Hermione ushered him away.

A third year was trailing behind them, but instead of following the duo like the Slytherins expected, the girl slid open the compartment door.

"I-I'm supposed to deliver these to Blaise Zabini and Celestia B-Black," she spluttered. She was holding two scrolls of parchment tied with violet ribbon. They took the parchments from her hand, and she stumbled out of the room.

"We're not that scary, are we?" asked Celestia.

Theo scoffed. "None of you looked remotely happy to see her. She looked as if she'd walked into a tiger den."

Celestia opened her mouth to object, but Pansy was leaning forward in her seat. She was staring curiously at the parchment in her hands. "What is it?"

       Celestia,

       I would be delighted if you would join me for a bite of lunch in compartment C.

       Sincerely,
      Professor H.E.F. Slughorn

"Who the bloody hell is Slughorn?" asked Blaise.

"He used to be a Proffesor when our parents went to Hogwarts," said Draco.

Quirking an eyebrow at the information, Celestia rolled up the parchment and stood from her seat. "Best not to keep him waiting then."

Blaise obediently followed her out, uttering brief goodbyes to their friends. They pushed through the crowd of students hanging around in the hallway in anticipation for the lunch trolley. A couple people chanced a glance at her as she passed, but all wisely averted their gazes before she could catch them in the act.

"Celestia! Blaise! Welcome, welcome. Have a seat," gestured the man towards the seats.

They only just took their seats when Slughorn jumped from his seat.

"Harry, m'boy!" said Slughorn, giving him a much more warm welcome than he had them. "Good to see you, good to see you! And you must be Mr. Longbottom."

Neville nodded, looking scared. Celestia struggled to reign in her snarl at the sight of Harry Potter. He, too, seemed to struggle, sending her a lethal glare. Though, Celestia would not let her anger demolish her reputation with her new teacher. She got an E on her O.W.L.s for Defence Against the Dark Arts, and though its good, she could have done better.

She wanted Slughorns favour. Most teachers abhorred Slytherins, so she would not ruin her chances of wrecking whatever favour the Slytherins had from their new Proffesor. Blaise and her were the only Slytherins; two seventh-year boys, one Celestia knew was in Ravenclaw, the other she did not recognise; Harry and Neville; and lastly, Ginny Weasley.

"Now, do you know everyone?" Slughorn asked Harry and Neville. "Blaise Zabini is in your year, of course—"

Blaise did not make any sign of recognition or greeting, nor did Harry or Neville. Blaise's eyes narrowed slightly at the two boys, barely perceptible to anyone but Celestia.

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