The Muggle Word
.I disclaim all assumed ownership to the HP universe. Everything belongs to Madam Rowling. Everything.
If the thought of Professor Umbridge didn't fill Draco's stomach with burning nauseous disgust, he might've married her. For the last four years, Hogwarts was a constant cycle of growing repugnance as mudblood and blood-traitors waltzed around doing whatever they pleased. Out after curfew? Twenty points to Gryffindor for bravery! Just fell off your bloody broom again? Thirty points to Gryffindor for courage! Disgusting, was what it was. And, yes, it still pissed Draco to unimaginable levels to remember how Dumbledore just gave Gryffindor the house cup his first year.
Yes, in the past Draco suffered at Hogwarts; he was forced into the Forbidden Forest (and despite what Parkinson told him about moon cycles, he knew there were werewolves out there), forced to breathe the same glittery air as that imbecile Professor Lockhart, narrowly escaped death from a winged blood lusting creature of hell, and lost a fair amount of gambled money last year during the Triwizard Tournament.
But those years were over, thanks to one ugly toad with an obsession with fluffy blue-eyed kittens that might've haunted Draco's nightmares.
The High Inquisitor was probably the best thing to ever happen to Slytherin; a fact he repeatedly wrote to his father. This was how life was supposed to go – him docking points from Hufflepuff 3rd Years for being unnaturally ugly.
"But that's not fair!" Said ugly little Hufflepuff. He was a nasty thing, pug eyes too far apart, large bat ears, hooked nose, and a burning field of acne across his face.
"It's not fair that I have to wake up in the same building as your ugly face neither, now is it?" Draco demanded in a practiced drawl and the 3rd Year whimpered.
"Malfoy leave him alone!"
Familiar footsteps approached – the sound of fake leather music to Draco's ears (the fact that Draco could recognize him simply by the sound of his gait isn't something he dwells over).
"Potter! 55 points from Gryffindor for being a stupid orphan. 30 more points for the state of your hair," Draco declared swerving to face him, fighting down the mad grin fighting to spread across his face. Potter was storming towards him, the mudblood and Weasel trying to rush after him.
"Oh Harry, leave him!" The mudblood said exasperated. Draco sent her a brief sneer for trying to spoil his fun, before turning back to Potter.
"90 more points from Gryffindor for associating yourself with mudbloods and blood-traitors Potter," he said with the smallest shake of grave disappointment. The Weasel leapt forwards, to defend his wretched family name or attempt to steal the shoes off Draco's feet to feed said wretched family through the winter. Before he got the chance, the mudblood put a warning hand on his arm.
"Look at yourself Potter, you've already lost your house 180 points and it's only 12:30, this isn't your day is it?" Draco asked with a toothy grin. Crabbe and Goyle, who had been intimidating the Hufflepuff while Draco was busy, turned around now to chuckle at his joke. Draco felt half tempted to offer them a treat, but kept his eyes locked with Potter instead.
He was extra fun this year – devouring any bait that Draco offered to lose his temper. The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Potter from the past few years who skipped down the hallways in blissful awe of the magical happy place around him was gone. Good riddance. This new, angry Potter was so much more fun. And taller. Not that Draco cared about that. Just a fact.
Draco could see Potter grinding his teeth and couldn't help the wicked smile from widening as Potter struggled to keep his hands from curling into fists.
"175, Draco," a lofty bored voice traveled up from behind Draco. He turned surprised, shouldn't have – Father would've scorned him if he saw Draco turn his back to an enemy. But Potter wouldn't hex him with his head turned, angry or not, he was too noble to take use of such an advantage.
Zabini had appeared out of thin air, along with a fair-sized crowd that materialized whenever he and Potter had a row.
"Hmm?" Draco said before turning back to Potter. God, he loved seeing those sharp emerald eyes burn. Redness was staring to creep into Potter's face. It wasn't the nasty diseased look the Weasley was already wearing, but something more – Draco wasn't quite comfortable with the word that came to mind and shoved it away.
"175, you only took 175 points from Potter," he explained causally. He wasn't part of the Inquisitorial Squad, even though Umbridge had attempted everything short of flat out blackmailed him into joining. Pansy said that he had a girlfriend in Ravenclaw who would've dumped him, but Draco doubted it.
Zabini was an odd egg. He wasn't favored by any of the teachers, nor did he favor any of them. For the most part he was a loner, like Nott; he didn't have any close connections inside Slytherin but also no enemies in the other houses. In class, Draco would occasionally partner up with him, because Crabbe and Goyle were too stupid, and they usually rode in the same compartment on the Hogwarts Express.
However, since Draco knew him, Zabini carried an air of disgust for everything that surrounded him. He was scornful of both Dumbledore and Umbridge. He had a degree of vanity that rivaled Draco's. At the beginning of each year, he changed his bed sheets for his own, then hexed them so they wouldn't be washed by the school's house elves, along with all his school uniforms that were tailored in Italy.
Draco assumed that he was the closest thing Zabini even had to a friend in the whole school, and he hardly knew him. There was an immaculate flawlessness to him that his father would've found impressive, which while Slytherin in nature, left Draco antsy. Not to account that when he did mention Zabini to Father, his father was uncharacteristically tight-mouthed about the family.
Catching in his mind what Zabini's words, Draco recounted before frowning. "Hm, you're correct, well then, Potter! Five points from Gryffindor for those ugly glasses," Draco said. Potter's fist rose for a moment, and at his side Crabbe and Goyle stiffened.
But after a tense step forwards, Potter forced himself to stop and instead reached up and yanked at his hair. Draco watched the movement with perhaps a smidgen of too much zest.
Abruptly, the mutters around them started to reach Draco's ears and he realized the noise volume was rising.
They were near the kitchens and the surrounding crowd was heavy with Hufflepuffs who were staring at Draco with just as much loathe as Potter. Even if he could get them all expelled, Draco didn't feel like risking his life; Father would probably disown him if Draco was murdered by a Hufflepuff.
To make matters worse, another herd of Gryffindors appeared around the corner that Potter took and instantly drew towards Draco's crowd. Great, he thought sarcastically, exactly what was missing.
From the Hufflepuff section, a stout boar-like boy shoved his way through to the ugly Hufflepuff 3rd Year who was still sniffling.
He hardly noticed; too busy trying to think about how he was going to escape out of the corridor. At least, he was until he realized that Potter was still staring at him and had managed to gravitate closer.
"Malfoy, if I had the chance I'd seriously," his voice was drowned out by a loud cry behind Draco. They both glanced over surprised. The boar boy, who looked hazily familiar, was heatedly barking at Zabini, probably after deciding to launch his attack at the first Slytherin he found.
The Slytherin was silent, his posture adamant and perfect, hands at his sides, holding a dark book with the left. He was staring at the Hufflepuff with dry boredom that was only infuriating the boar boy more.
"What were you saying Potter?" Draco asked, nerves jumping when he noticed how close Potter had moved towards him again.
His eyes however were glued to the brewing argument between the boar boy and Zabini. "Never mind that Malfoy," he hissed and moved forwards, sliding between Crabbe, standing almost in front of Draco, towards the boar boy.
This was when the boar boy said the muggle word. Draco didn't catch it, because at the same moment, Potter's shoulder brushed against his chest and his hand bumped Draco's leg, near his hip. Draco's mouth went dry and his palms sweaty as the noise around him died.
"What did you just call me Macmillan?" Zabini asked; voice full of dry surprise, his left hand twitched and he shifted his book higher up his arm.
"I called you a dirty – " the word slips through Draco's mind and it had nothing to do with the smoky jasmine scent of Potter's hair. Nope, nothing at all.
"Oh god, he's horrid," Potter's mudblood behind them said and Draco turned surprised when he realized her eyes were on Macmillan. Ernie Macmillan, his brain finally clicked; bought a load of those Potter Sucks buttons last year.
"Wait, what happened?" The Weasel demanded and Draco hated the fact that he was just as clueless. And there was a faint lemony smell to Potter's hair as well. Actually, that wasn't entirely unpleasant.
Perhaps slightly belatedly, Draco realized that of those surrounding them, the mudbloods and an array of half-bloods – Potter included – were staring at Macmillan in utter horror.
Then, the real shocker.
"Why don't you say that again?"
Behind Draco the Gryffindor crowd was parting, fleeing out of a war path from a tall, scrawny boy.
The Gryffindor crowd parted and Dean Thomas entered the gap that encircled Macmillan and Zabini. The only reason Draco recognized him was because Goyle had been stealing his Muggle Studies homework to cheat off of for weeks.
Thomas was one of those 'gray' types of Gryffindors, the ones that fade into the masses, no real personality, no stupid scars on their foreheads. Draco was surprised that he did recognize him though, because there was nothing bland as he stepped into the circle. The boy is positively livid, putting Potter's earlier display to shame.
Macmillan does, say it again, but the word doesn't seem to want to attach itself in Draco's mind. (And at that same moment, Potter shifted his hip and shoulder occasionally brushing against Draco's own, his arm against his longer than perhaps accidental). Draco doesn't take part in the collected gasp as Thomas steps in front of Macmillan, his back turned towards Zabini.
"What in the bloody hell is he doing?" Draco demanded his voice only adding to the soft mummers around him and Potter turned his head, eyes widening in surprise behind his glasses.
"You heard what he called Zabini," he murmured, before reading the blankness in Draco's eyes. Tearing his eyes away from Potter's, Draco could see that there were two emotions coherent on everyone's faces. It was either the stunned, shocked expression Potter and his stupid mudblood girlfriend were wearing, or the blank confused expression Draco felt that he held. It was unnerving, not to understand what was happening.
Potter leaned back, face itches from Draco and he could feel the warm breath wash over him as Potter's lips moved. "Bloody figures you wouldn't know with-," he had just enough time to complain in a husky whisper (and for some inexplicable, unconnected reason for goose bumps to rise across Draco's skin) when a green flash interrupted him.
Weasley groaned and Draco blinked, recognizing the charm. Macmillan was hunched over in pain and Thomas's wand was still raised at him, the fury still thick in his dark eyes. "Slug-Vomiting Charm," Draco and Potter both said at the same time.
And, as if it was choreographed, Macmillan bent over and spewed four large banana slugs across the ground. A couple girls screamed and rushed away.
Behind Thomas, Zabini's eyes narrowed and a frown flickered on the edge of his lips.
"Furnunculus," Macmillan managed to wheeze before heaving and spit out another slug. Before Thomas could even raise his wand, Zabini had countered it, and the spell bounced, hitting the ugly 3rd Year. Draco winced, fighting the urge to go over and take more house points away from the ugly little menace.
"What's all this?" McGonagall's shrieking brought the corridor back to life and students fled to either to escape the risk of detention, or spread gossip.
Potter swerved to leave but Draco hadn't moved yet and he crashed into him. For a moment, Potter only blinked, before placing his hand against Draco's chest and pushed away. "This isn't over, between us," he growled just as a heavyset 6th year barreled by and Potter was pressed closer against Draco again.
"Okay," Draco managed to mutter, his brain buzzing. There was an odd prickling sensation on his face and his stomach felt pushed into his throat. Probably was just hungry. Potter looked taken back for a moment, but let go of Draco's arm and moved away.
Umbridge was stomping down the hallway now and in no mood to suck up to her; Draco collected Crabbe and Goyle, not noticing a pair of sharp eyes following his retreat.
For the rest of the day, the school was in a modest uproar; or at least, more than the norm for Draco's 5th Year. Pureblood and properly raised half-bloods were desperate to learn what Macmillan said and more importantly, what it meant. The mudbloods were antsy on the topic, for the most part only saying that 'he deserved what he had coming'. Even the Hufflepuffs weren't protecting Macmillan's actions. Actually – as the majority of Hufflepuffs were mudbloods, they had all but disowned him. So much for that infamous Hufflepuff loyalty thing.
In the Slytherin common room, everyone sat in shocked silence, as Snape made a brief appearance, stating that any students using fowl language would be sentenced to several weeks of detention doing house elf chores around the dungeons.
Zabini had washed off the questions from underclassmen Slytherins foolish enough to try and approach him. Instead he headed into the dorm room alone, returning with Floo Powder in an eccentric purple shade. Draco recognized it hazily the same type his father would use, when expecting the fireplace he was using to be tapped. Knowing that either Dumbledore or Umbridge was most likely tapping the fireplaces in the Slytherin common room made Draco angrier than he would've thought, and he threw himself into his favorite Victorian chair with more force than necessary to wait out Zabini.
Crabbe and Goyle sat on the couch across from him and Draco hoisted his feet up onto the small glass table in front of the chair, and pulled out his Potions book and parchment. Draco turned his head when he heard Pansy's screechy laughter as the common room door peeled back to let her in.
By the time she and Bulstrode meandered over to him, Zabini had already stuck his head into the fireplace. For a conversation no doubt with his mother and Draco had to force down a shiver at the thought. Before doing so Zabini had, of course, casted a silence charm and all attempts to take it down failed.
A good hour passed and Draco worked on his essay, without thinking about how Potter stupidly added mistletoe berries instead of holly berries and tomorrow his potion would be an off color and far too thick, which could be saved by a small dash of Horklump Juice. He worked in silence responding to Pansy's numerous with charismatic grunts. It wasn't until near the end of his essay that her words started to collect in his mind.
"I don't get how you don't know Draco, weren't you right next to him?" Pansy whined for the millionth time. "What's the word?" She demanded with a childlike whine and Draco resisted the urge to throw something at her.
"We were there too Pan, didn't catch it," Crabbe said struggling to figure out the latch on his bag. He and Goyle had been banished to the ground, next to Draco's chair while Pansy and Bulstrode sat on the couch.
"Stop calling me Pan, you reeking troll, you two are thicker than Devil Snare," she snapped. Draco found, he didn't even particularly care anymore about the whole ordeal. He was already planning the next attack against Potter. With his mind no long locked on the complex potion essay, it was instead tormenting him with his earlier blunder.
He had been so stupid in the corridor, just saying Okay, to Potter like some dumb simpleton. Longbottom said stuff like Okay, not a high society Malfoy. Next time, yes, next time Potter wouldn't even know what hit him.
For reasons he couldn't fully explain, Draco decided that it would be best to isolate Potter from his stupid friends beforehand. He needed someplace quiet with no distractions like last time; all the strangeness with Zabini had idled Draco's brain.
This rang like a continuous loop in his mind until Draco finished checking over his essay.
The bizarre day was nearing its end and the majority of impatient Slytherins already left the room to gossip in their dorms. Other than a few loner 7th years hunched in dark corners, they were the only ones left awake.
Millicent Bulstrode and Pansy were sitting next to each other on the couch they stole from Crabbe and Goyle, murmuring together. And while Pansy looked like Bulstrode's ragdoll, she was taking up the most space somehow.
Pansy was about to start around round of whining when Zabini pulled his head out of the fireplace. Everyone instantly shifted their attention as he dusted off his jacket of nonexistent soot.
"I talked to my mother," he announced, for some reason directing the statement towards Draco. Pansy and Bulstrode followed his eyes and Draco lifted his chin.
"Did you send her my best?" He managed to sound causal, even thought the mere thought of Mrs. Zabini sent spiders of fear down his spine.
Zabini ignored the sarcasm and continued to explain, "I inquired on her opinion of the half-blood Thomas's outburst." He explained, glancing away from Draco to study one of the skulls stuck to the mantle.
"Well, what did she say?" Pansy cried, impatient that no one but her seemed interested. Blaise didn't answer right away, allowing a moment of dramatic pause.
"She explained that the muggle word is a revolting one, the equitant of calling a mudblood, mudblood – but in a worse way." There were a few confused looks around the room. He turned away from the mantle and leaned against it, the fire behind him creating an artistic dark silhouette.
"She recommended that I hex Macmillan the next chance I get and to refer to the Thomas half-blood as 'brother' once to his face," Zabini wrinkled his nose here. But before even Pansy had the time to gasp he continued, "she assured me that I shared no dirty blood with him, but that he would find the expression reassuring," he added and soft confusion briefly crossed his face.
"Why would she want you to call him brother then?" Bulstrode demanded and he gave her a half-shrug.
"I'm not certain. She found the idea amusing," he said before adding, "I of course, had no desire to do anything of the nature."
"Well, what on earth was the word Blaise? If it's so bad that got that Gryffindor in such a frenzy, I definitely want to use it against Granger," Pansy said and Bulstrode grunted in agreement. A thin, unpleasant smile crossed Zabini's face.
"It's not so reusable Parkinson, it's a word used against – " here Zabini paused, struggling to shape the phrase as his mother had. "Blacks," he said finally and Draco stiffened. His mother was a Black, if that stupid boar-boy said anything bad about his mother, he would be puking more than just slugs.
"But Draco's mum's a Black and he doesn't know the word either," Pansy complained and Zabini rolled his eyes.
"It must be terribly agonizing to be so unintelligent Parkinson," he snapped and before she could register the insult, he continued. "Not Black, in the family name, black as in color," he said motioning to his face. More blank looks. "Skin color," he added and received a few flickers of recognition.
"The name is used when expressing prejudice against people with black skin. Like me and the half-blood Thomas," he explained.
Pansy's mouth fell into a small 'o' but she was majority unimpressed. "Why would something like that matter? It's only blood that matters," she said with a small huff, tapping at the pure veins on her wrist absent-mindedly.
"Muggles are stupid," Crabbe said while gnawing on the leather strap of his bag, still unable to work the latch.
"The Pavil twins are black-ish, we could use it against them," Bulstrode pointed out to Pansy and she brightened. Darkness washed in Zabini's eyes and he coughed, calling back their attention.
"My mother also advised me to use a Babbling Curse on anyone feeling the need to repeat it, she explained its background to me and I attend to follow her advice." The seriousness in his expression was set in his jaw and he tipped his chin up at them, urging for them to test him.
Both girls shaded pale.
"Well, um, we'll spread the word for you Blaise – that anyone who uses the muggle word is in for a bad way," Pansy said quickly and both girls stumbled to get up. "It's awfully late, isn't it Mill?" She said and the other girl nodded swiftly.
Draco glanced at a grandfather clock far behind the couch and realized that Pansy was right – it was almost 12. "We better get going too – god Crabbe someone obviously bewitched your stupid latch; Alohomora there, now let's go."
Zabini sat down on the edge of the couch and waited until Draco ushered Crabbe and Goyle halfway to the dorm entrance before calling back, "Draco? If I could have a word?" Crabbe and Goyle stopped turning to Draco wearing identical frowns.
"Go ahead you two, Goyle put this on my desk and don't let your dirty paws smudge it up," he ordered and reluctantly Goyle took the essay and the two headed towards the dorms. Draco waited until they were out of sight before swerving around back to the chairs. He dropped himself back into his chair noticing with dry amusement that the section Bulstrode sat on the couch was still indented.
"Even though the half-blood Thomas was not injured, he's received several harsh punishments, including detention with Umbridge. He also risks suspension or being expelled," Zabini explained causally and there was a slight echo in his voice. Draco's skin prickled, realizing that Zabini must've cast another silencing spell, this time with Draco inside.
"What's that got to do with me?" Draco asked causally, even though he instantly assumed the general direction where Zabini was headed. He was a Slytherin after all.
"I need your assistance in repaying him. I do not enjoy the prospect of being indebted to a half-blood. I need you to speak with the Umbridge woman and insure that he doesn't get physically punished nor expelled on my expense."
Draco snorted raising his eyebrows.
"And why on earth would I do that?" He demanded.
Zabini momentarily paused and scratched behind his ear, a strange tell for someone usually so particular with his every moment. "I spoke with my mother on the subject of other unscrupulous muggle words and she brought up another," Draco shifted uncomfortably under the intensity in Zabini's eyes.
A cruel smirk was hovering on the corner of Zabini's lips and he didn't seem to be blinking.
"I shared some particular curiosities I've noticed and unfortunately she explained another muggle word of prejudice," he said tracing the embroidery on the couch's arm. His dark brown eyes absorbed the motion as if he was imprinting the pattern into his memory.
"Towards blacks?" Draco said, even though he was certain that wasn't it. There was a distressing emotion growing in his stomach that whatever Zabini said, it wasn't going to be good for Draco. His father's disproving frown flashed in his mind and Draco forced himself to sit up straighter, to not lose his grace.
"No, towards, well, men and woman like youself," he said and Draco raised his eyebrow collecting his hands together in his lap, forcing an aura of calm.
"Is it inbred? Because I know that one," he said and Zabini shook his head.
"No, it's got nothing to do with your heritage, it's," he said the muggle word and while Draco couldn't remember the exact word Macmillan said to Zabini, he recognized the sharp piercing sensation of a cuss word.
It sat between them in the air and it seemed familiar, dreadfully so.
"From your expression, you have no idea what it means – it's a crude word for homosexuality," he barely said it, speaking in a quick rush wearing an expression of mild disguest.
Of course, the first thing that settles in Draco's mind is of Potter's hip bumping against his own, Potter's long, strong fingers yanking at his hair while he stared at Draco with passionate burning green eyes.
"I-I don't know what you're talking about," Draco stuttered and winced. Good one, he mentally kicked himself straight in the ass. So much for Malfoy grace.
"Of course you don't. That's why I'm not blackmailing you, but instead asking a friend for assistance," Zabini said and Draco momentarily considered hexing Zabini on the spot. But that would only insure Zabini's point.
He really was a Slytherin, with enough cold logic to be the next Dark Lord, Draco thought. Malfoys could tell stuff like that, being kingmakers and such. He sighed and crossed his arms.
"And, as a friend, I furiously agree to do all in my power to insure Thomas doesn't get in trouble with Umbridge," Draco said sourly and Zabini nodded. "Anything else?" he demanded and after a moment of mock pondering, Zabini shook his head.
"No, you may leave," he said and Draco sneered, hating that Zabini thought that he could just dismiss Draco like some unneeded house elf.
He stood up stiffly, spinning hundreds of unrealistic ways he could get his revenge against Zabini, who'd Draco would never mistake as a stoic half-friend again. Draco was halfway to the dorm entrance when he heard Zabini clear his throat.
Draco's heart sunk, here it was – Zabini's real list of demands.
"You know, there's nothing wrong with my skin color," Zabini stated not glancing to see Draco's expression. He frowned in confusion, not gathering why Zabini felt like sharing that. "And muggle prejudices don't affect my character," he added.
Draco stumbled, his mind weaving between the lines, and Zabini stood up briskly passing Draco at the dorm entrance. He gave Draco the slightest nod, before heading into their dorm.
Zabini, Draco decided, wouldn't make a bad Dark Lord.
Not gonna lie, I think I'm in love with Blaise.
I posted this under another username, but I'm far too emotionally attached to dropDead-Dreamer, and decided to just quit that foolishness. I'm currently looking for a beta reader to help me with a bigger project, so if you're interested, please - pretty please PM me.
Reviews are vastly appreciated!