And the Unavoidable

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 "You look miserable there, mate. You all right?"

Slowly picking his head up from a cold, wooden tabletop, Al Potter blinked hopelessly and indifferently at the different pair of eyes staring at him expectantly; like they were waiting for him to burst into tears or talk about his feelings or just combust. "Huh?" he mumbled, raising an eyebrow.

"You've been moping around for the past three days," Angelo explained, looking more curious at his fellow Slytherin than the others.

"It's true," Lana McLaggen commented, nodding carefully at the scowl that was starting to appear on Al's face. " is,” she added quickly, looking down in a slight embarrassment at his expression.

Not having an opinion or comment to share about the middle Potter's obvious depression, Scorpius narrowed his eyes uninterested on the subject as he patted his girlfriend's hand in comfort. He had seen the sudden downfall of his best friend, but asking about it would imply that Scorpius actually cared—or wanted to hear about it. And although he did care, Al knew better than to try and talk to him about anything related with feelings and all that touchy-stuff.

There was no sensitive conversations allowed in the Slytherin headquarters. There was a contract signed with blood by everyone.

"I'm...just tired," Al responded, running a hand into his untamed dark hair as Lana blinked her vision back up at him. (Best friend's girlfriend and most attractive Slytherin or not, Al wished Lana would disappear at that moment.) "They're preparing us for the final exams already, and the professors are going mental on the work.” He rubbed his eyes, stretching his arms after for display.

Angelo snorted, looking back at Lana and Scorpius with a bit of a leer stretching on his tanned face. "Is that what it is?" He tried to repress a chuckle from coming out. "I thought your mood had to do with what my girlfriend told us a couple of days ago."

Al frowned instantly, his green eyes narrowing. "First of all, Zabini, Dominique is not your girlfriend." Angelo scoffed at that comment. "Secondly, shut it."

"What did Weasley say?" And despite his lack of desire to get into the subject, Malfoy sat taller on his chair as he looked at his two oldest friends. There was a slight anger and suspicion rising inside of him as he noticed the instant vow of silence among Al and Angelo. "Potter, what did your demented cousin say?"

"Nothing," Al murmured, lowering his head back down on the tabletop. "Right, Zabini?"

Silence took over the four Slytherins as Scorpius turned his silver eyes to Zabini, giving him that look of determination and twisted emotion that makes most people at Hogwarts back down from a glaring-battle with him.

Fidgeting in his seat, Angelo pulled his goblet of Pumpkin Juice closer to him. His finger wiped off some of the drops tracing down the glass cup as Scorpius continued to stare at him. He could feel the boring holes the Fifth Year Slytherin was giving him, and Angelo was sure that was the most excruciating feeling of pressure he had ever felt. (Not even the time when Dominique had him and three other Fourth Years lined on the grass of the Quidditch pitch, a beaters bat in hand, and demanding an answer of who stole her favorite lacy knickers compared to it.)

"—How could this happen to me?!"

"—Or to me, for that matter!"

Right before Zabini could be crushed under the peering pressure and break Al's promise, he looked up to see a few familiar figures enter the shabby pub they were in. "Saved by the Weasels,” he muttered to himself, feeling his soul come back into his body. "Well, mate," he looked at Scorpius, nudging him towards the entrance door of the Three Broomsticks, “there's your answer."

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