People taunt me about having a pug-like face. People tell me I'm cruel and merciless. But those people don't know the real me. Nobody here does. That's because they don't understand what it means to be a Slytherin.

There is more to being a Slytherin than just disregarding all the rules put out in front of you. There's cleverness, bravery, respecting those who respect you, and getting even with those who don't. I have none of those qualities. Draco Malfoy has all of those, which is why I like him so much, and why I have hidden my true self from everybody for the past six years.

I have kept who I really am hidden out of fear. Fear that Draco would reject me if I was not exactly how he wanted me to be. So right after I met him, and right before we got to know each other well, I transformed myself into the ideal Slytherin. A Slytherin just like Draco. My plan worked, too. We became friends, and for the longest time, he never suspected anything. But, like most plans, it eventually began to unravel.

At first, it was thrilling, almost overwhelming. But it quickly became overwhelming in a different way. It is exhausting to remember exactly how I am supposed to act, what I am supposed to say, and how I am supposed to laugh. That is the worst. Every time I hear that laugh, I am ashamed. I no longer want to laugh about anything. Instead, I want to hide. Hide from that hyenic shriek, that shrill sound that bounces off every wall and hits your ear a horrid, deafening sound.

Despite the laugh and the mask I am wearing every day and never taking off, my relationship with Draco steadily grew stronger. Eventually my infatuation became genuine love. And Draco loves me, too. But he loves the girl I've disguised myself as, and not the girl I really am. I've tricked the person I care about most. And now I feel something that a true Slytherin wouldn't -guilt.

I don't even know how I got into Slytherin. The Sorting Hat must have seen a quality in me that even I don't know I have. But I want to find out what it is.

I walk into the Common Room, where Draco is sitting at the small table, writing in quick, untidy handwriting on a piece of parchment. He sees me and pushes the quill and parchment aside.

"Hello, Pansy," he says. I lean back on the large sofa, and the sly smile on his face fades. He is nervous about something, I can tell. "I was thinking…maybe, if you aren't busy, we could…go to Hogsmeade this weekend, just us two? I want to get to know you better, you know?"

"Yes," I whisper harshly, "I do."

Draco doesn't hear me, so continues, "You're really… I don't know how to describe it. But I have a feeling that you're hiding something from me, and I want to know what it is-"

"I agree," I mutter without thinking.

"So tomor-what? What do you agree to?"

"Never mind. I'll see you tomorrow."

I storm up the staircase. I reach the door of the girl's dormitories, but I don't go in. Instead, I lean against the wall, then slide down until I am seated on the ground. I am confused. Everything was going so well until now. How can Draco expect me to just give myself away all I one minute? He knows I'm not like that…But he also knows I'm in love.

I climb into bed and realize how sick I am of pretending to be someone I'm not. I am no longer confused. I am afraid again. Draco is the one I am hiding from, and now he's supposed to be the first one I reveal myself to. I know I should; Draco loves me, and should know. But if he does know, I don't know if he'd still love me.

Suddenly everything is blurry. I can't see where I'm going. I'm afraid I will walk into one of the blurry figures, so I sit down, until slowly, things come back into focus. I stand up, but I feel shorter. Much shorter. I look down. Horrified, I lift up a brown, furry paw to the soft hues of purple and blue of the sunset. I inspect it, but frightened by the tapping on the ground, I quickly snap it back down.

My head is hung low; I do not want to know what made the tapping noise on the ground. But he is unafraid of me. He is approaching me. I see a paw, just like mine, and look up. I don't know what I look like right now, but I have a feeling I look just like the creature in front of me. Suddenly, he runs off, and a few minutes later, returns with a dead, limp creature. He drops it in front of us, and lets out an earsplitting cry of joy. I do the same. Once I close my eyes and cry out, I feel like myself again. I would be relieved. I should be, but something just seems out of place.

I open my eyes, and can only catch a glimpse of the creature's tail before he bolts into the thick brush.

My eyes snap open, and it takes me a minute to realize where I really am. I am reassured by the familiar surroundings of my dormitory. I turn onto my side and think about my dream. And that's what I think about; it's just a dream.

Of course it doesn't mean anything. I am being ridiculous. And for some reason, I start laughing. I laugh at all my irrational fears. And it isn't my usual shriek, either. It is a laugh that is truly mine: light and graceful.

For the first time in six years, I am glad Draco isn't with me.

I awake drowsy from the night's events. I push the blankets aside and slowly climb out of bed. My roommate and closet friend, Monica, is long awake, excited about the trip to Hogsmeade.

"Hey," she chirps, "ready to go?"

"It's that late?"

"Yeah. Ready?"

"I can't go with you today. I'm going with Draco."

I have never told her that Draco and I had any kind of relationship together, much less that we are in love. So instead of squealing about how happy she was for me, she just flatly replies, "Oh."

Breakfast has already ended, so we go with the rest of the group to Hogsmeade. I plan to stay with Monica, just until I see Draco. Travis is waiting for us at the entry of Hogsmeade, because he missed us at breakfast. We have developed a routine these past few years. Travis would meet us at breakfast and lower his voice to say, "What a pity. A foul, dirty-blooded creature in Slytherin." At first this offended Monica who is a half-blood, but now she only pretends to be. I, also pretending to be agitated, respond, "Give it a rest, Travis. Everyone knows you're a half-blood, too. And at least she's smart enough not to tease everyone else about it." Then we simply walk away, and he leaves us alone for a few more days.

I find Draco waiting for me at a table at The Three Broomsticks. He hands me a bottle of butterbeer as I sit at a chair across from him. The first few moments are awkward, but Draco finally speaks.

"That was really cool, how you defended Monica and all." I blush, deciding not to tell him that it is routine. "That was so like something a Slytherin would do. You know, defend the people you care about?"

Then it clicks. That is what I've been wanting to hear. What I've needed to find out. What Draco needs to find out. And that's when I realize that Draco needs to know more about the real me. He deserves it.

"Monica's not bad, actually, for a half-blood. Better than that Mudblood Granger, eh?"

I can tell by the smirk that has just made its way across Draco's face that he wants me to laugh at this. I bite on my lower lip, unsure of what to do. I study his face carefully. He knows that I am hiding something. He has told me. And he's desperate to know more. Even more than what he has just told me. So carefully, I open my mouth and let out a light, graceful laugh. My laugh.