“Whatever you’re planning, Weasley, I want in.”
Forge started, his fingers barely keeping hold of his wand. Damn it, Jordan, you’re supposed to be keeping watch! Gathering his composure, Forge turned to see a young posh-looking boy with a green and silver tie. Slytherin. “What makes you think I’m planning anything?”
The boy’s dark eyes glittered like diamonds, beautiful yet hard. “Please don’t insult my intelligence. I’ve heard all about you, George Weasley. You and your brother.”
A lucky guess. That had to be a lucky guess. Not even their mother could tell him and Gred apart. It was their greatest prank power. But he couldn’t focus on that now, he had bigger worries: like his and Gred’s carefully crafted prank going up in smoke. “Oh? What have you heard?” He stealthily tried to shift his wand so he was ready to attack.
But the boy just raised an elegantly sculpted eyebrow. “Does it matter?”
“Yes.” He needed to know if this whole operation was in jeopardy.
“Fine.” The boy’s sigh was long suffering. He met Forge’s eyes and Forge felt a connection that he’d never felt before zing through him. Who was this boy? “I’ve heard that you and you brother are by far the best pranksters to be seen in Hogwarts’s halls since the days of the Marauders. That your pranks are about fun and levity, not maliciousness and cruelty.”
“Unless it’s warranted,” Forge pointed out.
“Fair point. I haven’t had a fair spot of mischief since I left home. I’ve missed it.” The boy’s shoulders stiffened, straightened. “I want in.”
Forge raised an eyebrow, his eyes flicking to the green and silver tie. “But you’re a Slytherin.”
“I see that your eyes have not deceived you.”
“You know I’m a Gryffindor.”
The boy rolled his eyes so hard he could give Ginny lessons. “I believe the entire school knows that.”
“Is this a trick?”
“Yes, but not on you.”
“Fine,” Forge said, appreciating the honesty. The boy was going to wear him down eventually. He might as well give in gracefully. “You can keep watch while I finish my work here.”
“And… just what is that work?”
Forge pointed with the tip of his wand to various piles of snowballs secreted through Hogwarts’s halls. “See those?”
“We’re gonna enchant ‘em to attack the evilest staff member in Hogwarts.”
“I hope you know I can’t condone you attacking my head of house.”
“Who said anything about Snape? Snape’s brilliant. A slimy git, but brilliant.” And he was. The potions master was probably his and Gred’s favorite teacher after Flitwick. The subject he taught was so fascinating. It didn’t matter that he was violently anti-prank and anti-Gryffindor, Forge had no intention of harming that bastion of knowledge. “We’re after Filch. Possibly Mrs. Norris.”
“Ah.” A smirk spread across the boy’s face. “A worthy subject.” He nodded at Forge then moved down the hall, finding a semi-concealed spot by one of the large tapestries facing the main staircase.
He might actually make a decent lookout. Forge worked in silence, wondering what Lee Jordan and his brother were doing. He hoped Lee was being a better lookout for Gred than he’d been for him.
A low whistle alerted Forge to take cover, and he managed to duck behind a very rotund suit of armor just in time to avoid being spotted by Madam Pomfrey. “Thanks, mate,” he hissed when the coast was clear.
“How much longer?” the boy asked.
“Not long. In fact…” He waved his wand a few more times, casting a no-melt charm on the snowballs. “I’m done.”
“Excellent. So in exchange for my aid, I request--”
“Ah, here it is,” Forge said without waiting for the boy to finish.
“--you assist me in pranking one of my roommates.”
Forge froze. That wasn’t what he’d been expecting. “Which roommate?”
That was a surprise. According to Ronniekins, Draco Malfoy was the prince of the Slytherins. “And the prank?”
“Something suitable.” The boy fixed him with a glare. “And completely not traceable to me.”
Well, this was a suitable trade. And it wasn’t like he had any qualms about pranking Malfoy. Forge rummaged around in his pockets and pulled out a small vial. “Slip this into something of his. Shampoo would be best, but anything he puts on his body will do.”
“Will it kill him?”
“Not permanently.” Forge smiled. “You ever heard of Rapunzel?”
The eyebrow went up again. “Isn’t that some sort of Muggle fairytale?”
“Exactly. Put it this way: until he finds a pair of specially enchanted scissors, he’s going to be able to use his own hair to climb down from the astronomy tower.”
The boy smirked. “Excellent. You know, George -- you don’t mind if I call you George?”
“I do. What makes you think I’m George?”
The boy pointed to Forge’s wand. “Spruce, isn’t it? Ten and a half inches?”
“What of it?”
“Fred Weasley has a spruce wand that’s nine and three quarters inches.”
“We could've swapped.”
“But you didn’t.”
How had the boy managed to notice that? And kept track, no less? “Who are you?”
The boy held his hand out. “Blaise Zabini.” He stood there, hand out, until Forge finally shook it. “Do call on me the next time you are looking for an accomplice for one of your pranks. Oh, and--” he pulled a ball of paper out and tossed it at Forge.
“What’s this?” He un-crumpled it to reveal a list in Snape’s handwriting. If this was what he thought it was… well, it appeared to be the year’s worth of passwords to the Slytherin common room. The paper was worth its weight in dragon’s blood.
“I grabbed that from Snape’s office. Please make sure it’s put to good use.”
Forge grinned, absurdly happy. “You know, I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”
Blaise nodded at him warmth seeping into those diamond eyes of his. “Yes. Yes it most definitely is.”