Things went well enough after that. My family and friends stopped looking at me as if every moment was my last on earth.
They were being extra nice to me, which was incredibly creepy. Victoire would hug me out of the blue and apologize for not having spent more time with me. It was nice for all of one day. And then it was just irritating.
"Merlin, Victoire! Get off of me!" I finally shouted after one more heartfelt apology.
She giggled and tumbled to the floor. We were spending our time in the Ravenclaw common room studying for exams.
Which brought me to my next point. "Exactly what time do you think you would have had to spend with me? I have choir and performances and exams and…"
Unfazed by my outburst she grinned "And Viktor."
"Viktor is a very new thing." I reminded her.
"Oh how you lie! Viktor has been hands down the most important person in your life since he refused to stand aside and let you take the train car you wanted first year." I hated how smug she looked.
"I can't believe you even remember such an inconsequential thing." I tossed my hair over my shoulder and turned away.
"Not remember the day someone told the great Miranda Malfoy no? Are you kidding? I wrote it my diary!" Victoire teased.
"Ugggh, it is not like he even said no he just…" I refused to finish that statement.
As it turns out it was unnecessary for me to finish my train of thought. "Completely and utterly ignored you? Pretended that you did not even exist?"
I felt two hands slip around my waist and warm lips nuzzle into my shoulder. I melted back against Viktor. Sue me, he gives amazing hugs and great hugs are my biggest weakness.
"Who ignored you, love?" He whispered against my neck giving me goose bumps.
"That would be you." Victoire reached out and ruffled his hair. When had those two got so close?
"That is completely false. I have never ignored Miri." To prove it he started trailing small kisses up my neck and cheek.
"You have. And you could do with a bit more of it right now. We are trying to study." My pushing at him might have been a bit more effective if my body hadn't chosen that moment to betray me by arching back against him.
"What happened to your plan to be a disgrace to your family name and live off of the family fortune?" Leo called from the other side of the room.
"Mum nixed the idea immediately and grandfather gave me one of the patented Malfoy looks that says I have missed the entire point of being a Malfoy." I groused. "Which I probably have because so help me Merlin, I have never exactly understood the "entire point of being a Malfoy" to start with. Unless it is to keep generations of hair care suppliers employed."
At this interruption Viktor finally gave up and settled back on the couch pulling me against him. "Now, what is this about my ignoring you? I have been busy. We study, we…."
"Not NOW you jackass." I sighed. "This was before."
"Before?" He genuinely seemed confused.
Victoire tented her fingers and smiled "In first year. On the train. Miranda wanted to sit in the car you and your friends entered. You ignored her."
Viktor looked at her surprised for a moment and then laughed. He reached down and pinched my waist. "I didn't ignore you, silly goose. I didn't even see you. Until the first year I had to wear glasses. My father had just found a healer who could fix my eyes, but it made it really hard for me to see for about a week. I was just glad to make my way in to a car without tripping."
"How could you not have seen me…. Or remember this?" I was annoyed. Whether by his admission or my cousins who had interrupted what had started to turn in to a very promising snog session I wasn't certain. "It was the day you became my arch nemesis!"
OK just saying that out loud at my age sounded kind of silly.
"Your…?" Viktor was laughing so hard I thought tears were going to start rolling down his cheeks. "Mir, you really do read too many of those muggle books your grandfather likes so well."
"OK, fine," I was now laughing too. "But you have to admit you were an arrogant arse to me."
"I was the arrogant one?!" He seemed genuinely shocked. "Miranda, you were a complete brat to me. I couldn't even risk walking across the stage for fear you would trip me causing me to break my neck."
Victoire giggled. "Why would you think she would trip you on stage? Miri can be a bit extreme, but she isn't vicious."
Everyone, including me looked at her skeptically. "OK, well, you aren't vicious anymore. But that still doesn't explain why Viktor would think that."
"Errr… I might have threatened him with that a few times…" I confessed.
"Among other things." Viktor snuggled me closer to him. "It doesn't matter, I won you over in the end."
"What other things?" I asked frowning.
"You called him names, dogged his steps and reminded him daily he would never be good enough for you." Leo supplied helpfully.
"Well… he did have all of those girls at our practice sessions." I knew this was a lame defense. I was starting to suspect I may have been the villain here and I really didn't like how that felt.
"I only had them there to irritate you." Viktor grinned at me.
I couldn't believe it! "You… wait, you brought those girls in to what? Make me jealous? And you say you aren't an arrogant arse?"
"Did it work?" He grinned.
"No wonder Daddy likes you, I swear you were put in the wrong house you should have been Slytherin." I declared grumpily.
"If it worked, that is all that matters." He laughed and kissed me until I stopped frowning at him.
"Yeah… that is pretty much the definition of a Slytherin, Krum." I glared at him, but finally gave up and kissed him back. I told you, I am weak.
Out jokes ended after that almost uncomfortable exchange, it is never fun realizing you may have been the bad guy in your own story. Instead we got down to some serious studying. Apparently that is what passes for fun in my social group these days.
I wish everyone was as up front in their attentions as my friends and family were. I got the feeling more than once that someone was watching me.
Well, I mean, lots of someones were in fact watching me. It seems like I could hardly go to the restroom without finding a house ghost or staff member lurking outside. Once it was even the Bloody Baron! It would have been creepy except I was pretty sure Professor McGonagall had put them up to it.
This was a different someone. It felt… not exactly like the presence that watched me at St Mungos, but unsettling anyway.
I was half tempted to go to the Headmistress and ask her if Daddy had stationed a not very discrete bodyguard on me. But I was half afraid it would not be that and then she would tell Daddy or Uncle Harry and my carefree days of studying until I thought my eyeballs would bleed would be over.
On second thought…
No, I just couldn't bear that look on grandfather's face if I managed to actually fulfill my goal of being a disgrace to the name.
I never actually saw anyone. Once Aunt Mora was sneaking around the Prefect's bathroom when I got out of the bath. Victoire and Teddy would be right behind me. Teddy was on the boy's side. I hated not being able to even bathe alone. I just wanted to be normal again!
I thought about telling Aunt Mora what I was feeling. She would know how to handle this person. If there was a person that is. But She might also tell Uncle Charley who would tell grandmum and then it would be all over the family. I love my grandmother, but secrets are not really her thing.
"So, you got babysitting duty today, huh?" I asked Aunt Mora who was far too interested in the statue of Boris the Bewildered.
Aunt Mora looked guilty. "So, uh, you noticed that huh?"
I pursed my lips. "It was kind of hard not to. At least Peeves acted normal when he blew a piece of chewing gum into my hair."
"Yeah… I am pretty sure that was all Peeves, no one would ask him to keep an eye out for you." Aunt Mora laughed.
"Oh… well, that's something." We both laughed.
I never told her about my worries. Why rile the whole family up over just my weird feelings?
Viktor and I decided to go for a walk by the Black Lake. Leo and Jamie followed at a very discrete distance, but close enough, just in case someone tried something.
Viktor kept looking around and seemed a little distant. Worried even.
"Hey." I tugged his hand to draw his attention back to me. "What's wrong?"
"I… nothing I just thought… I mean I felt…" He looked around again.
"Like someone is watching us?" I asked looking around as well.
"You feel it too?" He looked back to me.
"I have felt like that a few times. I just… no one is ever there and no one has tried anything." I confessed.
"Why didn't you say something?" He did not look angry just worried.
"Say what? That I have a bad feeling sometimes? And feel like someone is looking at me? Between my friends, family and the staff, there IS someone watching." I reminded him. "I will just sound paranoid."
"I want you to go straight back to the castle with Leo and Jamie." He held up his wand and sent up red flares. "I am going to look around."
From seemingly nowhere half my Quidditch team arrived. Gavin walked me back with Jamie and Leo. I looked back at Viktor worried. "Go on," he smiled "We will be fine."