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The Pencil Portrait Problem: A Theodore Nott Mystery by Northumbrian

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2. The Performance of Pansy Parkinson

Pansy Parkinson strutted from the Head Boy’s Room with as much dignity as she could muster. Draco could be very hurtful sometimes. In many ways he was very immature, but he was a boy, and boys were often immature.

Nevertheless, he had dismissed her and her friends. He had belittled her in front of them. She was Pansy Parkinson; he could not treat her like that!

Draco was rich, well connected and a pure-blood. He was ideal boyfriend material, but he no longer seemed to be interested. She had successfully ensnared him in their fifth year, and everyone still knew that she was Draco’s girlfriend. However, Draco seemed to have forgotten the fact. In the middle of last year, Draco had become even more secretive and moody than usual. He was always scuttling off somewhere, always bust woth a –secret mission for the Dark Lord”. She had continued to be attentive to his needs, but had he neglected her, which was a constant source of annoyance to her. It was unacceptable. She needed to remind him of her worth. It was the Dark Mark, she was convinced of it; it had changed him somehow. Her friends expected her to know what was going on, and she didn’t.

Draco was not the best-looking boy in the school; he wasn’t even the best-looking boy in her House; that was definitely the decidedly dishy Blaise. But Draco had wealth and power; Blaise merely had wealth. Draco should listen to her, confide in her, but he didn’t. She had considered flirting with Blaise, but he’d rebuffed her early in their fifth year, making it obvious that he wasn’t interested. Her half-hearted attempts to approach him the previous weekend had been instantly dismissed.

‘I’m not stupid enough to steal something from Malfoy,’ Blaise had told her. ‘Not even something he doesn’t really want.’

She’d protested, but Blaise had waved away her objections. ‘Draco doesn’t love you, you know; he simply tolerates you. You need him more than he needs you, and he knows it.’

‘What do you know about love?’ she’d asked spitefully.

‘I love pretty girls,’ Blaise had said. ‘I love to make them laugh and smile. And I love to kiss them. Draco loves only one person, and that person is Draco. If I wanted you, I’d chase you, though frankly, Pansy, you’d be very easy to catch. But I don’t want to chase you, because like I said, I love pretty girls.’

Pansy strode angrily along the girls’ corridor and into her dormitory. She was pretty! Not gorgeous, she knew that; her jaw was square, her eyes small, and her tiny, upturned nose made the rest of her face look even larger and flatter than it was. However, she had other assets she could use. When she dressed properly, men didn’t notice her face, because their eyes never travelled that high.

‘He hadn’t told you anything, had he?’ asked Millicent. She was positively crowing in delight. ‘You were as surprised as the rest of us when he told us about that mirror and the Sketch Board. It’s a family heirloom; it must have cost a fortune, and he brought it here and didn’t tell you. Vince and Greg both knew, but you didn’t.’

‘Crabbe and Goyle didn’t know either. If they weren’t surprised it’s because they’re so thick, not because they knew anything,’ she snapped. ‘Anyway, what do you know about boys, Millicent?’

‘A lot more than you,’ Millicent crowed triumphantly. ‘Me’n Marcus are eterned!’

‘You’re what?’ Pansy asked, suddenly confused. ‘Marcus who?’

‘Marcus Flint,’ Millicent said proudly. ‘He bought me this.’ She fished a chain out from beneath her school robes. ‘It’s an eternity ring, so we’re eterned.’

Pansy groaned, but before she could make a cutting remark, Millicent spoke again.

‘What’s Draco ever bought for you, Pansy?’ she asked, jubilantly.

With as much dignity as she could muster, Pansy turned her back on Millicent, strode haughtily towards her chest and pulled out a set of fine dress robes. Slipping out of her school robes, Pansy put on the dress robes, sat in front of her mirror and began to carefully apply her make-up.

‘What are you doing?’ Daphne asked. ‘It’s already ten o’clock.’

‘I’m going to make sure that Draco notices me. I’m going to give him a present, and test this mirror thing of his at the same time,’ she announced. ‘Despite what Bulstrode thinks, Draco does tell me things. I know which tapestry he‘s going to put the mirror behind. I’m going to go up to the seventh floor—to Draco’s secret place, and pose in front of this tapestry. Then Draco will know that his mirror works, because he will have a sketch of me in my dress robes.’

Millicent Bulstrode snorted in disbelief. Pansy ignored her and continued to apply her make-up. Finally satisfied, she carefully readjusted her cleavage. Finding her lapis lazuli necklace in her jewellery box, she fastened it around her neck and positioned it for maximum effect, ensuring that the largest teardrop-shaped stone lay gleaming between her breasts.

‘If Draco likes what he sees, I may be some time,’ said Pansy. She pulled on her cloak to conceal her dress robes and swept proudly from her dormitory, her head held high.

Passing the doors to the dormitories for the girls in other years, she stepped out into the Slytherin common room. Silence fell. She glared at the few younger children who were still up, making certain that they knew who was boss.

As she stared around the common room, she glanced across to the door to the Head Boy’s Room. The sign annoyed her. There had never been a Head Boy’s Room in Hogwarts. After all, the Head Boy was no more than the most senior male prefect. There should not be a Head Boy’s Room unless there was a Head Girl’s Room, too. Perhaps she could persuade Draco to share.

She wondered if Blaise was still in the room. He should be. He was supposed to be on guard. Not for the first time, she wondered what it would be like to kiss Blaise Zabini. He would be more passionate and attentive than Draco; she had little doubt about that.

On an impulse, Pansy strode across to the door. If Blaise was there, she could show him her robes, show him what he was missing, and if he wasn’t, then she’d be able to tell Draco that she’d checked up on Zabini, and that he’d failed to do his duty. That would teach the smug and self-assured Blaise Zabini that it was unwise to mess with Pansy Parkinson.

She pulled open the door. Zabini was sitting slouched in an armchair. He was sound asleep. Smirking, Pansy quietly closed the door and tiptoed towards him. She was preparing to shout in his ear, when from the corner of her eye, she saw a sudden movement, and heard a crash.

When Pansy woke, it was to the sound of Theodore Nott gently whispering her name, and also that of Blaise Zabini. She opened her eyes to see the equally startled profile of Blaise Zabini, inches away from her face. He had just lifted his head from her chest; her arm was around his neck and she was sitting on his lap. Draco stood immediately behind Theodore Nott, who was pulling rather alarming faces at her. Nott seemed to be attempting to show some emotion, but whatever the emotion was, it was obviously a new concept for the skinny little boy, and she had no idea what he was trying to tell her. Draco was, as always, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle.

Embarrassed and annoyed, she squealed, and Zabini cursed. They disentangled themselves from each other and stood.

‘What in Merlin’s name is going on?’ Draco asked. ‘Where is the Sketch Board?’