I think of that now. I'm starting to understand how he felt, because now people are afraid of me.
I even have to thank Potter a little. When the school suspected him, they didn't suspect me. Then Granger was attacked, forcing people to face the hole in their theory, and they formed a new one. I think most of the students now believe the Slytherins are involved in a housewide conspiracy.
Yesterday when one teacher led us past one group of students, I head the whispering. "Her mother's a Zabini...Dark Arts family."
Do they automatically assume that just because an old family ends up in Slytherin a lot, they're connected with the Dark Arts? The Zabinis aren't even always in Slytherin, and my father was a Gryffindor, for goodness sake! My sister's in Ravenclaw. She at least gets her friends to think straight, and to leave me alone, even if they don't leave my housemates alone.
The Zabinis, further, were never involved with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. One of us was involved with Grindelwald, but that can mean nothing for a family when it happened so long ago. One of Grindelwald's most feared supporters was a Weasley, for crying out loud! I heard the Weasley twins whispering about me once, when I was passing their table in the Great Hall. It's all I can do not to slap them.
But if I did that, their older brother would be on me in a second. It's said that there isn't much love lost between Percy Weasley and his younger brothers, but that doesn't stop them from working together against a Slytherin. Of course he would insist it would have nothing to do with my house. He's aiming for Head Boy; he can't be seen to be biased. Though everyone would know better, and they wouldn't care.
Now I follow the teacher keeping close to Millicent Bulstrode. I don't like her much, but she does provide security. Pansy Parkinson's with us too. I like her even less, but not so little that I'm about to begrudge her the safety Millicent provides both of us. There is noone who walks within a five foot radius of us three.
We cannot even merely endure whispers. We round a corner and one girl screams. Sally-Anne Perks, a Ravenclaw. Ravenclaws are supposed to be smart, but not many of them seem so now. And Sally-Anne would make a good companion for Pansy, I sometimes think, since they both like giggling about other people's business. But now people have stopped giggling, and have started screaming.
The girl next to her, Lisa Turpin, tries to calm her down, all the while glaring at us, as if it were our fault. None of us dare respond.
Blaise actually responded once. He had been walking across the Great Hall in the company of Draco, Vincent, and Gregory, for the same reason I'm in the company of Millicent now, because while he gets along with them better than I do with my dormmates, he doesn't like them much more than I like mine. In truth, though I hate the people who whisper and scream, I hate Draco Malfoy even more, for his smirking while the rest of us suffer.
They were just passing the Hufflepuff table when Ernie McMillan made a comment of Draco having collected another minion. Draco just ignored him; he saves his comments for when the only authority figure around is Snape, who he knows won't punish him for them, but Blaise angrily denied it. He didn't say anything threatening at all, but both Ernie and a Hufflepuff fifth-year that was sitting next to them yanked their wands out, and said something about a threat to a Muggle-born first-year who happened to be sitting next to Ernie. The fifth-year was a Prefect, and she warned Blaise that if he ever spoke like that again, she'd see to it that he got a detention.
Blaise took it fairly well. After all, they even left his mother alone, and I admit they could say some harsh things about her that would be true. He's quite certain that once everyone in the Hospital Wing is revived, people will slowly start to forget about all this. I don't know; I would rather the Heir be caught. And he or she not be from Slytherin after all.
I wish I could believe it was Hagrid. There's enough evidence against him, I've no reason to like him much, plus from what I hear he was a Gryffindor before he was expelled. But I can't. It just doesn't work. Except for that idiot Lockhart, the only people who can believe in Hagrid's guilt are the ones who have never exchanged a word with him ever. I don't think even Draco believes it, and he hates Hagrid. But then, he supports the Heir.
He and his two minions are the only ones who do now. I've never cared much about Muggle-borns in the first place, really, the rest of us have ceased to care at all in favour in caring about how everyone treats us. And, in truth, I sometimes wonder about Vincent or Gregory, if they're really that dumb, or if they just pretend.
It's hard when three-fourths of the school wants you dead. And there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it.