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“What happened in Potions today?”

Blaise slowly raised his eyes from his book and looked at Pansy. “Excuse me?”

Pansy frowned and sat down in the chair next to him. “In Potions. Today. I’ve been hearing things.”

He looked around the library but didn’t see anyone. Now that Granger was off trying to save the world with the boy hero and his redheaded sidekick, he had the library to himself most nights. When he focused his attention back on Pansy, he noticed her biting her lip and tapping her fingers on her thigh nervously.

“It would help if I knew what you were hearing,” he said finally. He had managed to avoid taking a side in this war, and he wasn’t about to let his neutrality slip because Pansy bloody Parkinson looked nervous and worried.

“Blaise.” She was whinging now, which did nothing more than ensure his silence. When she seemed to realize that it had no affect on him, she sighed. “Did Draco really help one of them?”

He knew what she was talking about, of course. Potions was a predictable class, for the most part, so there was only one incident that might have become yet another whispered rumor around the gloomy corridors of Hogwarts. He couldn’t stand Draco, but he was intrigued by the change in behavior this year. Enough that he had no intention of being honest with Pansy, at least.

“I’d suggest that you speak with Draco if you wish to know about his actions. I have more important things to do than keep tabs on your boyfriend.” He smirked slightly before he looked back down at his book.

Pansy made a frustrated noise but didn’t go anywhere. “He isn’t my boyfriend,” she snarled. “But he is my friend. If he helped one of them, he’s going to be in trouble. I just want to help.”

“You can’t help him.” Blaise glanced up and studied her face for a moment before determining that she was actually sincere. It was a surprising revelation, and he wasn’t entirely certain that he appreciated having to add a level of depth to his analysis of Pansy. Still, it was intriguing.

Her shoulders slumped, and she ran her fingers through her hair. “I’m scared,” she whispered. “Vince is going mad, Millicent wants to run away, and Theo’s going to get himself killed if he keeps talking about Potter winning. Now, Draco’s covering for one of them, and I don’t know what to do.” She looked at him, and he could see the fear in her eyes. “I don’t want to die.”

“Who does?” he asked, refusing to give in to the urge to shift uncomfortable in his chair. This was why he avoided conversations, especially with emotional women. She looked scared and nervous, and he had no intention of offering optimistic words. They were caught in the middle of a war, after all, and he was a realist, so he knew that there wasn’t much chance of ‘everything being okay’.

“Will Draco be in trouble?” she asked quietly. “Will Snape find out?”

He shrugged. “Snape finds out everything, doesn’t he?” After a moment of silence, he arched a brow. “I don’t know what whispers you’ve heard, but all Draco did was speak to the male Carrow during an interruption in class. Perhaps it caused a distraction that kept Corner from being punished, but it would be ridiculous to assume that Draco did it intentionally. If anyone were to say that and demand a reprimand, it would make people question their motives.”

“Oh.” She seemed to relax. “Good. That’s good.” She looked at him and suddenly shifted uncomfortably. “We can forget this conversation ever happened, I hope.”

“Of course.” He nodded once before he sat back in his chair and pulled his book closer.

She wiped her eyes quickly and stood up. “Right. I should go.” She hesitated a moment before she lowered her voice. “Thank you, Blaise.”

He frowned and watched her walk away. He hadn’t done anything to warrant gratitude. While he hadn’t ignored her or told her to go away, as he might have done any year prior to this one, he was curious what he had done to make her say two words that he couldn’t recall ever hearing her say before. It was a puzzle that he’d have to solve, even if it meant reevaluating his opinion of her.