Tracey took a deep breath. The only thing worse than getting rejected was a life of cowardice. If she didn't do this soon someone else would and she'd lose her opportunity. Tracey wore the nicest of her three sets of school robes. She painted her nails silver and green and got Hermione to cast a curling charm on her hair for the perfect degree of waviness. Tracey knocked on the Most Ancient Door to Draco Malfoy's Most Ancient private bedroom.
Tracey closed the door behind her. "What's that?"
"This?" Draco Malfoy gestured to the textbook on his desk, "It's a Muggle physics textbook."
"Fizzix? Like the drink?" said Tracey.
"No. It's about how Muggles got to the moon," said Malfoy.
"Are there unicorns on the moon?" said Tracey.
"There isn't anything on the moon. Just a bunch of rocks," said Malfoy.
"Then why would you want to go there?" said Tracey.
"Well, the same technology is used to build nuclear missiles which can destroy cities," said Malfoy.
"What cities have Muggles destroyed with nuclear missiles?" said Tracey.
"None, but—" said Malfoy.
"Why would you want to destroy a city anyway?" said Tracey.
"Because if the enemy has nuclear missiles then they might destroy your cities first," said Malfoy.
"Why?" said Tracey.
"Because you have nuclear missiles," said Malfoy.
"You want acquire nuclear missiles so you can destroy an enemy's cities because that enemy wants to destroy your cities because you have nuclear missiles," said Tracey.
"Uh. Yes," said Malfoy.
"You sound like you have resumed talking to Harry Potter," said Tracey.
"Padma and I have been doing independent science," said Malfoy. Actually, Padma had been doing most of the work. Leverage comes from delegation.
"Is there anyone else you are doing science with?" said Tracey. She fluttered her eyelashes, "Picture this. You, me, the Three Broomsticks, a bottle of fizzix and a nuclear missile? How does that sound?"
"A date with you," drawled Malfoy, "Tracey Davis."
"I can buy you a butterbeer," said Tracey. It would cost her two months' pocket money plus two months' for her own.
"It takes more than knuts to buy a seat at the table of House Malfoy," said Draco, "If such seats were for sale. Which they are not."
"Small favors, perhaps?" said Tracey desperately.
"With all due respect, Miss Davis, the Malfoys have standards when it comes for those we associate with."
Tracey blushed, ignored dismissal and she stood her ground. She was a pureblood after all.
"What does House Malfoy value?" Tracey asked, hoping the answer would be anything but what it was.
"A noble birth," said Draco.
"Um. Okay," said Tracey with her last shred of dignity.
If Tracey wanted Draco's hand in marriage she would have to earn the title of a Noble House herself. She would have to marry Harry first to earn his title of a rising Noble House. Then she would be eligible to marry Draco.
Tracey knocked on the office door of future Dark Lord aspiring scientist Boy-Who-Lived Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres.
"Knocking on my office costs one Quirrel Point," said Harry, "As Professor Quirrel no longer teaches at this school, Quirrel Points are in short supply."
"I have Quirrel points, earned from serving in your army. I hereby spend one of them. As Professor Quirrel no longer teaches at this school, Quirrel Points have lost much of their demand," said Tracey.
Harry grudgingly opened the door.
"This had better be worth my time or I am taking another fifty," said Harry.
Tracey wondered if she even had fifty Quirrel Points. She wondered if Harry had a way to determining how many Quirrel points she had. She bet the answer was no.
"I was just wondering if you needed a blood sacrifice?" said Tracey.
"Maybe later," said Harry.
"Then how about a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks?" said Tracey.
"I'm very sorry, Lieutenant, but Hermione Granger gets first dibs," said Harry gently.
Tracey's face fell.
"I have to get back to work. If there's anything else I can do?" said Harry.
Tracey shook her head.
What did Hermione have that Tracey didn't have? Sure, Hermione was the smartest girl in school and had started SPHEW and come back from the dead to defeat You-Know-Who and had supposedly destroyed all the Dementors of Azkaban and had been supernaturally beautiful ever since she came back from the dead.
Tracey's make-up streamed down her face into her best robes. Her hair was a mess. She huddled in the corner of the second-floor girls' lavatory.
"Boys are awful, aren't they?" said Moaning Myrtle.
Tracey ignored the ghost.
"A boy made fun of my glasses once. Later that day, another boy murdered me," said Myrtle.
"That's awful," said Tracey.
"Everyone dies. I just wish I had done so with an instrument in my hand. If I had I could have joined the ghost orchestra. But I didn't. Now all I can do is sing but nobody wants to listen to Moaning Myrtle wail," said Myrtle said.
"You can play music?" said Tracey.
"Not anymore," Myrtle waved her hand through the wall of a bathroom stall. "I was very good. But I never worked up the courage to play in front of anyone else. I feared they would tease me. They teased me anyway. Now I'm dead."
"I'm here because I asked out the two most popular boys in my year," said Tracey.
"Hahahahaha. They rejected you. That's what happens when you pursue your dreams," said Myrtle.
"I just need to become popular. Then they'll be falling over each other to date me," said Tracey.
"I don't know how to be popular," said Myrtle.
"Musicians are popular. You know how to play music." said Tracey.
"Some use that is to me," said Myrtle. She waved her hand through Tracey's head. Tracey staggered back. It felt like ice water.
"It could be use to me," said Tracey.
"I have more important things to do than teach a mortal how to play music," said Myrtle.
"Oh yeah? Like what?" said Tracey.
"Teasing sad girls," said Myrtle.
"I feel better now," said Tracey.
"Zipping around the sewer system," said Myrtle.
"Look at it this way. How would you like to stick it to the popular boys of your year? I can't stick it to those boys. But I can stick it to the popular boys of this year. I need your help. I don't know how to play music," said Tracey.
"I wouldn't mind sticking it to the other ghosts. Halloween is the biggest day of the year for us. Nearly-Headless Nick's deathday is October 31st too. We'll have to start soon because it'll take at least a month for me to teach you how to play," said Myrtle.
"I…don't actually have an instrument," said Tracey.
"Then you have until September 30th to buy one," said Myrtle.
Buy an instrument. Yeah, right. Tracey couldn't even afford a musical saw.