thirty-five

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"WHAT'S THE BEST way to kill someone?"

"The Killing Curse," said Draco.

"A blade," answered Theo.

"Poison, I suppose," replied Pansy.

"Arson," replied Blaise.

"Well, that wasn't really helpful," grumbled Celestia.

The group sat at the Slytherin table for breakfast that morning in different stages of disarray.

Pansy's feet were kicked up onto the table, which were repeatedly swatted at by Blaise when they edged too close to his plate. Theo sat beside him, finding different ways to complain about the both of them as he tried to eat.

Draco held open a leather bound book, reading as he ate, and responding without looking away. Celestia was sat criss-crossed on the bench, trying to come up with her next attempt she'd take on Dumbledore's life.

The Killing Curse, as suggested by Draco, would be too risky. The Ministry would be alerted because she's underage, and she would be thrown in Azkaban faster than she could blink.

Using a blade could work, but it would require getting decently close to the headmaster, and she worried she wasn't good enough. Despite training with actual swords for the past two weeks, she still needed more practice. Theo had finally sparred with her, however, and her arse was still sore from where he'd tripped her to the ground.

Poison had failed her. She had given Rosmerta a poison-laced bottle of mead the second week of January, and it had taken weeks for Slughorn to buy it. Even after purchasing it, Slughorn had forgotten about it and instead had offered it to Ron Weasley who had been staying in the Hospital Wing till last week.

Arson, albeit smart because it would burn the body and could be made look accidental, was still too messy. She didn't even want to consider using it.

She's back to square one about trying to murder Dumbledore, not even having a clue on even how she might kill him.

"Wait, why are we discussing ways to kill someone?" asked Pansy.

"Oh, I'm writing a book!"

Theo slanted her a look which told her that he knew she was a liar. It wasn't like a normal person tended to ask their friends how to murder someone.

Before anyone could reply to her lie, hundreds of owls were swooping into the Great Hall. Nyx, her owl, raced towards her, depositing a letter carefully into her hands.

Brushing a hand over Nyx's feathers, her bird pressed its beak to her head before taking off like the others did to return to the Owlery.

Breaking the wax seal that depicted the Malfoy crest, she unfolded the parchment from within the envelope.

"Oh, Dray, you should probably read this," she muttered.

His eyes didn't stray from the book, but he offered her his hand. Rolling her eyes, she placed the letter into his outstretched hand, and only then did Draco's attention divert.

Reading the letter, his eyes traced over his mothers handwriting. The carefully blank look sculpted onto his face cracked for a moment, and an assortment of emotions broke free.

Surprise, fear, confusion: all that filtered across his face before he closed it off again. Celestia thought for a moment that she'd been the only one to see it, but the assessing stare that Theo had planted on her cousin said that he saw it too.

"That's just dandy," imparted Draco. His attention returned to his book.

Theo cleared his throat, but Draco didn't look at him. Celestia snickered, and he turned her attention to her.

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