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I slammed my bedroom door so hard, I began to wonder if the chandelier downstairs was still attached to the ceiling. I wished it was. I was in enough trouble as it is. I turned around and almost had a heart attack to find Dobby sitting on my bed! "Merlin's beard, Dobby!" I exclaimed, "How did you get into my room?"
Since my father had accidentally freed Dobby at the end of my second year, I had unfortunately lost my only friend in the house. He came to visit, but I still missed him terribly. My family, on the other hand, had probably not even noticed that he had gone.
"Dobby was on his way to visit Miss Malfoy and used Elf Magic to get in, Miss. Dobby heard a lot of shouting, Miss. Is everything OK, Miss?" he explained.
"Oh, Dobby," I sighed as I joined him on the bed, "You don't need to worry about me. You know how Mother is sometimes. It was probably my fault anyway." We sat in quiet for a minute or two. Suddenly remembering something very important, I broke the silence, "Oh, I almost forgot!" Reaching down, I pulled a small package from under my bed and passed it to the house elf, "Happy Belated Birthday, Dobby."
He excitedly unwrapped the gift (Dobby rarely got presents.), to find a brand new pair of socks with an expertly sewn picture of him on them. Dobby squealed with excitement. "Made them myself!" I stated proudly, "Oh and," I added as I kicked off my shoes to reveal a matching pair of socks on my own feet, "I made a matching pair!"
Dobby practically threw himself at me before hurriedly putting on the socks. He started to jump and run around my room with happiness, and, for once, I didn't mind. I was just happy to see my best friend happy. It was perfect. Dobby was running with glee; I was watching him with an almost motherly expression on my face. Nothing could have ruined that moment.
Except something did. Someone knocked on the door. Dobby froze. "For the love of..." I said under my breath, "Go away!" Draco entered my room anyway. I hurled a pillow at him, narrowly missing his face but smashing a vase behind him instead. Shit. I hope Mother won't find out. "I said go away!"
"I know what you said," Draco smirked. He looked around the room. How hadn't he noticed Dobby? But then came the double take. "Aaahhh! What's he doing here?"
"I could ask you the same question!" I growled.
"But this is my house! I live here! He isn't meant to be here!"
"But this is my bedroom! I live here! You're not meant to be here!"
"My father will hear about this!"
"He's my father too!" I yelled, "Unfortunately." I added quietly.
Draco looked at me blankly. Satisfied, I shut the door in his face. "Ow, my nose!" I heard him say from the other side. I chuckled to myself, but my face fell. Dobby had gone. He must have left so I wouldn't have got into any more trouble. I said a silent thank you and goodbye to him. I wasn't sad anymore, though. Hogwarts started again soon, so I had the chance to start afresh. It was time for a new Serpentina Malfoy.

Chapter Text

I hated the Daily Prophet. It always exaggerated its stories and never heard from both sides of the argument. Despite all that, I still had an owl deliver it every day. Mainly just so I could see how stupid it is. As I sat at the table, eating my breakfast, a large, barn owl flew in through the window and dropped the newspaper next to my toast. I put a Knut into its pouch before it flew off again. I unfolded it, read the headline and I almost choked on my food. I turned to page 3 and continued to read the article.
MALFOYS DISGRACED
The rich, pure-blooded Malfoy family have been disgraced to the whole of the wizarding country. The man of the house, Lucius Malfoy, 39, who helps out with The Ministry Of Magic, has been arrested and put into Azkaban after breaking into the Department of Mysteries and attempting to steal one of its prophecies. He and his fellow comrades battled the one and only Harry Potter and his friends in June and were responsible for the death of Azkaban escapee, Sirius Black. The dramatic battle concluded with many injuries to the heroic Harry Potter and his friends. The whole group of Death Eaters, with the exception of Bellatrix LeStrange, were arrested at the scene. There have been rumours that Lucius's own daughter, Serpentina Malfoy, was part of the battle, fighting for good and against her father. There is no evidence of who fought alongside Potter. Lucius's comrades have also been put into Azkaban, some, for the second time.
I stared at the newspaper with my mouth wide open. It was true, I had been at the battle, fighting with Harry and my friends, but who had leaked it? Also, Father was in Azkaban? I didn't know how to react. I was happy that I wouldn't have to put up with him. I was laughing about how he would cope without all his little luxuries. But I was also a little sad. Did I miss him? Why would I? I chucked the newspaper at Draco, who had been sitting there quietly the whole time.
"Hey!" he shouted.
"Oh, grow up! Read it!" I groaned. He read the news story and his eyes grew wider and wider until I thought they would fall out of their sockets. He looked at me, then at the newspaper and back to me again.
"Did you...? Were you...?" he stuttered.
"Yup. I was there." I whispered, "I even disarmed Father." I smirked.
He obviously didn't believe me. "You're lying." I shook my head. He gaped at me. In his moment of doubt, I whacked him on the back of the head. "Oi!" he rubbed where he had been hit, "What was that for?"
I was getting rather frustrated now. "Oh, come on! Why would I be lying? You know that I hate Father! Why is that so hard to believe?" Draco just looked at me, putting the pieces together. I knew had scored a point. With a look of triumph on my face, I strode out of the room, leaving my stunned my brother to process what had told him.

Chapter Text

I sighed with my back to my bedroom door. I felt helpless. I had promised to Draco that I would help him get out of this mess, but I didn't have a clue of where to start. I looked around my room as if something would magically appear and would be the solution to my problem. Feather, my small, grey owl, flew in through the window and landed on the window sill. A light-bulb went off in my head. Inspired, I dug through my drawers until I found a notebook, which was full of the addresses of all the people I knew. I flicked through it page after page until I found the address of one person who might be able to help. I was relying on the fact that he knew about Draco's task, but then again, knowing Voldemort, he had probably told every single Death Eater that was still 'loyal'.

I wrote a letter, explaining Draco's situation and asking for help or advice, sealed the envelope and gave it to Feather. "Just one letter, Feather. OK, girl? Take it to Spinner's End. You know where to go." I cooed as I stroked her beak. Feather took off, flying into the distance. I hadn't noticed the letter that my owl had just delivered until it almost fell out of the window. "Woah!" I exclaimed and grabbed it just in time. I quickly ripped open the letter and recognized the handwriting. "Ron!".

Hey Serpentina,

It's Ron. I hope you're OK with the whole Azkaban thing. Harry and Hermione are coming over to stay next week until we go to Hogwarts. Me and Mum were wondering if you would like to stay as well. Owl me your reply as soon as you can.

Thanks,

Ron.

I felt genuinely touched by the offer. I've had a bit of a rocky relationship with Molly in the past, what with me being a Malfoy and everything, but she'd still considered me in something like this. I felt quite special, in a way. I grabbed another piece of parchment from the desk and wrote my reply.

Hey Ron,

It's Serpentina. I got your letter and I would really like to stay at yours next week. Just let me know what day you were thinking as soon as you can and I will see you then.

See ya,

Serpentina.

P.S. i am fine about the Azkaban thing, thanks. It's nice to have a break from Father sometimes. Besides, it's what he deserves.

After putting it into an envelope, I left it on my desk for Feather to collect when she returned. I felt a surge of warmth in my body. For the first time in a while, there were people who actually cared about me, and that was something I hadn't felt for a long time.

*With Snape*

Severus Snape wasn't really the type of person who received owl mail. He wasn't very sociable at all for that matter. So when a tiny, silver owl tapped at his window, he was very surprised. He hesitantly let the bird in and took the letter it carried. That was odd. He knew the handwriting, but couldn't remember whose it was. He opened it and began to read.

Dear Professor Snape,

I am writing to you because I need your help/advice. I don't know if you have already heard, but my brother, Draco, has recently opened up to me that the Dark Lord has given him a task to kill Professor Dumbledore. He appears to be very stressed and worried about it and, in turn, so do I. As you can see, my brother has a really big problem and we could both do with your help. Please assist Draco in his situation. If you do, it will mean the world to both of us.

Many thanks,

Serpentina Malfoy.

Snape was quite surprised that she had asked him of all people for help, and, secretly, quite touched. He always liked the students of his own house more than the others, but he still saw Serpentina as a Slytherin anyway. He was happy to help, in a Snape sort of way. He found a quill, a pot of ink and a piece of parchment and began to write his reply. He had a feeling that this was going to help more people than the Malfoy twins thought.

Chapter Text

Brothers always had a tendency to be annoying. Twin brothers were even worse. Maybe it was in their job description? But Draco was being a little less annoying recently. He was being quieter, more reserved. At first, I thought it was because Father was in Azkaban, but then whenever he talked to me, he called me 'Tee'. He hadn't called me that since just before we started Hogwarts, just before everything went wrong. It was then when I suspected that something else was up and I was determined to find out.

He had gone to his room straight after lunch, so I decided that this was the perfect chance. I knocked on the door to his room. His pale face poked around the door, "Yes?"

I did a weird jazz hands-type thing, "Hey."

"Oh, hey Tee." he opened the door wider and I stepped inside.

I hadn't been in his room for years, and, to be honest, it hadn't changed much. The same Hogwarts-style, four-poster bed stood in the corner; the same dark oak wardrobe was opposite to it. Really, the only thing that was different was the books that were now stuffed into his shelves. I felt a wave of nostalgia as I remembered what had happened the last time I was in this room. I shivered at the memory but quickly brushed it away. I couldn't have any distractions, I needed to find out what was wrong with my twin.

"So. What's up?" I began as I sat cross-legged on the bed.

"I don't know what you're talking about." he teased, joining me on the bed. This was a start: he was annoying again. I rolled my eyes and continued.

"You do know what I'm talking. We're identical twins. I can tell when something's up with you. It's a sixth sense or something."

"Why do you want to know anyway?" he wasn't giving up that easily. Little did he know, I was prepared for this.

"Because, dear brother," I lectured, "I have known you for all of my life, all of your life and 9 months before that. I care about you and, I can't believe I'm about to say this but, I love you, Draco, and it hurts me to see you upset or worried. Mother has never been a proper mum to us, so I'm taking her place. You can tell me, Draco." He hung his head but still looked at me. I looked into his eyes. They were innocent and afraid, a trait that I had rarely ever seen in him. He also seemed quite shocked, maybe because he didn't expect me to care as much as I did. "Please tell me," I whispered.

"Do you really care?" he asked, stunned, his fake icy exterior melting away.

"Of course I do. You have no idea how much it hurts me to hear the shock in your voice!" I sighed.

Draco took a deep breath and nodded. "OK. I'll tell you. You-know-who has asked me to kill someone. No, take that back, he has told me to kill someone. And not just anyone. Dumbledore."

"Dumbledore?"I was quite taken aback.

"Dumbledore. And he threatened to kill all of us if I didn't. I don't want that to happen, but I don't think I can bring myself to be a murderer." he muttered.

"That snake!" I cursed, "How dare he force you to do something like that! You're only 16, for Merlin's sake! I don't care that he is the 'Dark Lord'! 'Dark Lord' or not, he has absolutely no right to threaten you like that, Draco. And let me tell you, it ain't gonna fly!" I was absolutely seething with anger but calmed down at the frightened look on Draco's face. "Oh, Draco. We'll find a way to get you out of this mess." I leaned forward, then hesitated, and hugged him anyway. Draco was surprised at first, but then I hugged back. He had been wrong to doubt me, I will always be his twin and I will never stop caring for him, whether he liked it or not.

I pulled away and put my hands on his shoulders. "Look, you're going to be fine. Don't stress, I'll see what I can do. OK?" He nodded. I got up and turned to leave. "Good. See ya!" I grinned and left the room. Draco smiled to himself. Despite everything he was going through, he still had one person on his side, and that suited him just fine.

Chapter Text

"Go to your room, now!" my mum shouted.
I looked up from my magazine, "What did I do this time?"
"Nothing, for a change! I have a visitor coming round in 5 minutes and I don't want you there!" she turned to Draco, "You as well, Draco, dear," she called.
"How come he gets called 'dear' and I don't?" I asked, slamming my edition of The Quibbler shut. I knew it was babyish, but it was just to annoy Mother. I don't know where this sudden courage came from for me to stand up to her like this. Maybe it was just the effect being cooped up in this house for so long had on me. Or maybe it was because Father wasn't here. Mother was never as bad as him.
"Room! Now!" she screamed.
"OK, fine. Take a chill pill, geez." I muttered under my breath as Draco and I made our way up the stairs. "Come on, if we stay here we can hear what they're saying," I whispered, crouching at the top of the stairs.
"Why? Do you know who it is?" he questioned suspiciously.
"If I'm right then it should be Snape. I called him over to help with your little 'problem'." I replied while watching the door for the visitor.
"Really?" he sounded surprised.
I turned to him, "Surprise! Now shush!" Mother re-entered the room, followed swiftly by Snape, who was as greasy-haired as ever. But I was definitely not expecting anyone else to come through the door, but someone did. None other than my aunt Bellatrix LeStrange!
I hated Bellatrix with a passion. Like, a really, deep hate. Now, I know that 'hate' is a strong word, but, I mean, come on! This is Bellatrix LeStrange we're talking about, people! She's mean and insane for that matter. I had never got on with her, and I didn't plan to. But what really confused me was how she had escaped the Ministry but the others hadn't!
"Psst, Draco!"
"What?"
"You know that Bellatrix got away? Well, the rest of the Death Eaters were caught at the scene. How come she escaped?"
"Oh, yeah! Maybe You-Know-Who was there or something?" he suggested.
"Maybe. I need to ask Harry next week!" I decided.
"Wait, you're seeing him?"
"Yes. Is that a problem?"
"Yes. He's Harry Potter! Of course, he's a problem!" Draco complained.
"Only for you! No. Please don't tell that this is about that rejected handshake in our first year!"
"Maybe."
"Seriously? Now, shut up and let's get a move on! Unless you don't want to hear what Snape has to say?"
"Fine," he mumbled. We gave each other a knowing look before quietly following the adults. We hid behind either side of the door frame leading to the dining room and tried to eavesdrop on their conversation. Unfortunately, Mother shut the doors. It was at times like these when I wished that I had bought some Extendable Ears form Fred and George when I had the chance. We tried to make out as much of the conversation as we could.
"So, how are you going to help?" Mother began.
"I suppose you got some smart idea then? You better do." Bellatrix muttered darkly.
"As a matter of fact, I do." Snape shot back, glaring at her.
"This better be good."
"Don't worry, it will be," Mother assured her sister, trying to settle the argument, "Won't it, Severus?"
"Yes. I wish to assist Draco in his mission. And I am willing to perform it if he fails." he explained.
"How do we know that we can trust you? You have been spending rather a lot of time with Dumbledore-"
Snape cut her off, "How many times do I have to explain this? I was spying for the Dark Lord! OK?"
"Cut it out! Both of you!" Mother pleaded, "How about this? We will make an unbreakable vow. Is that good enough for you, Bellatrix?"
"Fine." she said under her breath, "Well come on then, are we doing this unbreakable vow or not?"
Mother and Severus clutched each other's wrists as Bellatrix performed the spell. A string of red fire-like magic circled itself around the pair's wrists.
"Will you, Severus, watch over my son, Draco, as he attempts to fulfil the Dark Lord's wishes?" began Mother.
"I will," promised Snape. The string extended and wrapped itself around their wrists again.
"And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?" she continued.
"I will." The magic became longer yet again.
"And should it prove necessary... if it seems Draco will fail... will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?"
"I will," he concluded, the tie wrapped around three times now.
With a wave of Bellatrix's wand, the tie disappeared, leaving a mark on their hands and wrists. The pair let go quickly and the three looked ready to leave. I made a run for it and Draco followed suit, sprinting all the way up the stairs. We didn't stop until we reached his bedroom.
"That was close." Draco panted.
"And dramatic!" I exclaimed. We both flopped on his bed, still processing the new information. Draco turned to face me.
"So, what do we do now?"
"Now we wait, Draco," I also turned over, "Now we wait."

Chapter Text

"Do you have to go?" Draco whined for about the millionth time.
"Yes. I want to go, and besides, I already agreed." I sighed.
"But what about..." he trailed.
"You are going to be fine! I will see you in Hogwarts anyway!"
"B-but, he's going to be there!" he pointed out.
"He has a name, Draco, and that name is Harry Potter, and I'm going to see him whether you like him or not!" I shot back.
"Who's going to see Harry Potter?!" Mother butted in.
Oh, Merlin.
"Me," I mumbled.
"No you're not!" she retaliated.
"Why not?"
"Because I said so! I don't want you mixing with people like that!" she said bluntly.
"OK, two things. First, I am 16 years old now so I am not a child anymore. I can make my own decisions, thank you very much. Second, you make him sound like he's dodgy or dangerous or something," I said, rather pissed off at this point.
"That's because he is!"
"He defeated Voldemort! How does that make him dangerous?"
Draco winced at the name, but Mother was furious, "How dare you say his name! He is the Dark Lord to you and me!"
With that, she slapped me around the face and tears started forming in my eyes, "To you maybe, but not me! I'm not scared of him, unlike you!", my voice broke and I turned around before either of them could see me cry. I took a deep breath and was about to get my suitcase and leave. Except Mother had grabbed it first. And she hit my back with it. I had to bite my tongue stop myself from crying out. I spun around quickly and wrestled the suitcase out of Mother's grasp. I refused to look at her or Draco in the eye but I did see her look of disgust that I had seen many times before. I also saw the look of sympathy in Draco and I also noticed that his eyes showed that he was no stranger to this kind of behaviour when it came to me and our parents. I left as quickly as possible, I couldn't stand being in that house any longer.
I slammed the door, attempted to compose myself and pulled out my wand. I laid out most of my things in front of me, with the exception of my broom, and muttered, "Avifors.". An electric, blue light shot out of my wand, and, where my luggage had been, was now a flock of birds of all sizes, from toucans and pelicans to hummingbirds and robins. I mounted my broom and kicked off, heading straight for The Burrow, the flock flying behind me. I never liked flying but I couldn't deny that I wasn't too bad at it. Tears refused to stay in my eyes as I flew but I just let them fall. After a while, I could see The Burrow was coming into view. I started to descend until I reached the front door. I took a deep breath, and, after returning my luggage to its original state and wiping the tears away, knocked on the door.
"Tina!" exclaimed Ron as he opened the door.
"Hey!" I replied as I heaved all of my stuff inside.
"So, your mum let you come, then?" he asked.
"Hmm? Oh, yeah," I lied. I didn't want to bother him with my not-so-ideal family situation.
I looked around the room. Oh, how I loved the Burrow. It was so homely! I had been there for mere seconds before Molly Weasley came bustling out of the kitchen with a big grin on her face.
"Molly!"I shouted excitedly.
"Oh, Tina dear!" she wrapped me in a hug before yelling up the stairs, "Ginny, Hermione, Serpentina's here!"
They quickly ran down the stairs, surprisingly followed by Tonks, and we all greeted each other. "Oh no! Too many girls!" Ron groaned, "Mum, when's Harry getting here?" Honestly, he sounded half his age.
"He won't be here until later. Dumbledore's taking him somewhere first." Molly replied while helping with my luggage. At the mention of his name, I tensed up and accidentally dropped Feather, who was in her cage at the time. She screeched out of shock. "Are you alright, dear?" Molly asked, concerned.
"Yeah, you look really pale," Hermione added, concerned.
"I'm fine, honestly!" I lied, "It's probably the long flight kicking in." I felt terrible, in truth. My head was pounding, my stomach felt as though it was in a tight knot, my shoulders ached with pain. That was the longest flight I had ever done on my broomstick and the injuries from Mother probably weren't helping.
"Look, you go and rest, and I'll take your stuff up to your room, you're sharing with Ginny and Hermione." she insisted. I took her advice, but I hadn't even reached the sofa when my head started swimming, my vision became blurry. Darkness was creeping into my eyes. I blinked furiously to try and make it go away. It didn't work. Soon, I couldn't see a thing and I collapsed on the floor.
*Later*
"How long do you reckon she's been out for?"
"About 10 minutes."
"Are you sure she's alright?"
"Harry, I'm fine." I giggled, finally coming back into consciousness. I heard everyone breathe a sigh of relief. I opened my eyes to find myself laying on the sofa, with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Harry all crowding around me. Molly seemed to be making dinner in the kitchen.
"Mum, she's awake!" called Ginny.
"Oh, good! Are you feeling alright now, Tina?" Molly asked as she came out of the kitchen with two bowls of steaming onion soup, "Here you go, one for Harry and one for you dear, Tina. Now bread, anyone?"
"Thanks, Mrs Weasley." Harry and I chorused. Molly waved her wand and a loaf of bread and a knife soared through the air and landed gracefully on the coffee table.
"Off you go, dears. Let these two finish their dinner, they'll be up in a bit." she shooed the rest up the stairs before returning to the kitchen.
"So, what did I miss?" I asked.
"Well," he began, counting each thing on his fingers, " Dumbledore dropped me off here, he left, Tonks left and we've just been waiting for you since then. Anyway, do you know why you fainted? Is something up?"
"No! Everything's fine. Like I said before you arrived, it was probably just the long flight." I denied, quickly eating my soup and bread to pass the time.
"Hey, I heard about your dad. Are you OK with it all?" he asked.
"Yeah, it's fine. I'm sorry, Harry, about Sirius." I whispered. Harry looked as if that was the one thing he didn't want to talk about, so I don't know why I brought it up. I looked carefully and saw that there were tears in his eyes. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up-"
"No, it's fine." he interrupted.
"Look, if it helps, I never believed that he was guilty."
"Thanks, that means a lot." he smiled half-heartedly. We sat there, silently. Once we finished, we both made our way upstairs, he turned left for Ron's room, and I turned right to see the girls.
"Hey!" I said as I entered the room. The girls were already in their pyjamas, so I quickly grabbed my stuff to get changed. I hid behind the bed because, you know, privacy! I chucked my clothes for the day in my trunk and put on a pair of black jogging bottoms and my fluffy bunny slippers. But I couldn't find my top. I poked my head out, "Hey, Hermione, can you pass me my top?" She threw the top over, but it landed on the opposite side of the bed. I stood up to reach it but winced. I had forgotten about the pain in my shoulders. I ignored it, grabbed my top but before I could put it on, I noticed Ginny and Hermione staring at me in horror. Great. They had seen my bruised shoulders.
"Merlin's beard, Tina! What happened to your shoulders?" exclaimed Ginny, rushing over to me.
"I fell down the stairs this morning. I think I hit my head so that might be why I fainted," smooth Tina, smooth.
No one spoke for a moment, until Hermione popped up, "I'm going to check on the boys." She left the room.
"I'm going to bed now. I'm so tired." I exclaimed. I didn't want to talk about it any longer.
"OK. Well, I'll see you in the morning." Ginny said.
"Night " I climbed into bed, still wary of my shoulders, and fell asleep.

Chapter Text

I like my sleep. It's my way of resting and going on an adventure at the same time. But today, I didn't mind waking up. Maybe it was the fact that I was waking up to friends, to people who actually loved me. Or perhaps it was because I didn't have to stress about getting my brother out of an impossible situation. Well, whatever it was, I liked the feeling. The feeling of being free, even if it was only for a week or so.

I entered the Weasley kitchen to find 6 people already in there, sitting and chatting happily. I looked at them one by one, Ginny was munching on a piece of toast, Hermione was engrossed in the latest edition of The Daily Prophet, Harry was talking to Ron, who was laughing rather loudly at something Harry must have said. Molly was sipping a cup of steaming tea, leaning against the kitchen counter. Then my eyes fell on one person, someone I hadn't seen in over a year: Fleur Delacour.

"Fleur!" I screamed excitedly. I had met Fleur just under two years ago when she came to Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament. She really wanted to become friends with someone from Hogwarts, except she couldn't speak much English. Luckily, she met me in her first week, and I could speak the language fluently thanks to the private French lessons I received when I was younger. We became great friends, despite the 3 year age difference, and I remained in contact with her ever since. I consider like the big sister I never had, and I have visited her many times, and she has taken me on so many tours of Paris that I know the place like the back of my hand.

"Oh mon Dieu, Tina, je ne t'ai pas vu depuis si longtemps!" (Oh my goodness, Tina, I haven't seen you in so long!) Fleur exclaimed.

"Je suis tellement content de te voir. Comment avez-vous été" (I'm so happy to see you. How have you been?) I asked.

"Bon, toi?" (Good, you?)

"Bien. Papa a été mis à Azkaban." (Alright. Dad has been put into Azkaban.)

"Oh! Je suis désolé d'entendre ça." (Oh! I'm sorry to hear that.)

"C'est bon, honnêtement. Quoi qu'il en soit, pourquoi êtes-vous ici, si cela ne vous dérange pas de me demander." (It's fine, honestly. Anyway, why are you here, if you don't mind me asking?)

"J'ai des nouvelles! Je suis engagé!" (I have news! I got engaged!)

"En aucune façon! Toutes nos félicitations! À qui?" (No way! Congratulations! To who?)

"Bill Weasley. Il est si gentil! Il a travaillé en Egypte mais est revenu en Angleterre pour moi! Je reste ici pour améliorer mon anglais lorsque nous achetons notre propre place. Il travailleà temps partiel chez Gringotts et tout!" (Bill Weasley. He is so sweet! He has been working in Egypt but came back to England for me! I am staying here to improve my English for when we buy a place of our own. He is working part-time at Gringotts and everything!)

"Il a l'air génial! Quand est le mariage?" (He sounds great! When is the wedding?")

"Nous n'avons pas encore fixé de date, mais ce sera probablement l'été prochain." (We don't have a set date yet, but it will probably be next summer.)

It was only now when we noticed everyone staring at us, silent. Honestly, you could have heard a pin drop. Then, I realised that they had no idea what we were saying. "Hi everyone," I greeted. Silence. "So, how are you all?"

Ron snickered, "You can speak fast. It sounded like gibberish, to be honest." I shot a glare at him.

Ginny looked up from her breakfast, "Oh good, you're finished." I opened my mouth to speak but she carried on, "Your OWL results came this morning." she held up the letter. I eagerly grabbed it and tore it open.

I eagerly grabbed it and tore it open.

OWL Results For Serpentina Narcissa Malfoy
Astronomy: A
Care Of Magical Creatures: O
Charms: O
Defence Against The Dark Arts: O
Divination: A
Herbology: E
History Of Magic: A
Potions: E
Transfiguration: E

I winced slightly at the name at the top of the sheet of paper. Serpentina Narcissa Malfoy. As if I was really a part of that family. As if I would want that middle name. I realised I hadn't said anything yet so I quickly did, "Yes!"

"What is it? Good? Bad?" Hermione asked eagerly, looking up from the newspaper.

"Great," I replied.

"Let me see, then!" She grabbed the letter from my hands and read in 5 seconds flat, "Oh well done! You passed them all!" she squealed excitedly. She passed it around so everyone could see.

"What did you guys get?" I gestured to Hermione, Ron, and Harry.

"An E in Defence Against The Dark Arts and an O in everything else," Hermione said proudly.

"Um, I got one O, five Es, one A, one P and a D," Harry recalled, counting them off his fingers.

"And you, Ron?" I asked.

"Six Es, an A and a couple of Ps," he answered.

I nodded in acknowledgment and finally took a seat at the table. I helped myself to some bacon and eggs. I liked breakfast with the Weasleys. They were more of a family to me then my real one had ever been. And I liked that.

Chapter Text

Diagon Alley. How do you describe Diagon Alley in one word? Interesting, perhaps? Or, unexpected? What my point is, you can't. It's simply impossible. So as we walked through the amazing place that is Diagon Alley, all of these words were racing through my mind. It wasn't until we came across one new building that my imagination ran wild.

"This is it then." I stated, "Weasley's Wizard Wheezes." I was staring at a tall building with fireworks zooming out of the windows and a statue-type-thing of Fred wearing a top hat (or was it George?) and a bunny appearing and disappearing beneath the hat at the front of the shop.

"Well, come on then!" Ginny exclaimed, pushing us inside. The store was thriving with activity, pranks, sweets and all sorts of other stuff lined the shelves. The second I stepped in, a strong scent of chocolate, peppermint and candyfloss hit me. I wandered around for a bit, taking in all the sights and sounds. I scanned the scene before me and my eyes fell on the people behind all of this: Fred and George Weasley.

I made my way over to them, who was 'supervising' the scene below them. "Ah, our favourite Malfoy!" George greeted me from the top of the staircase.

"How are you, our Ravenclaw friend?" Fred added.

"I'm good, thanks," I answered, reminding myself of my mental note I made last week, "Hey guys, I was wondering if you had any Extendable Ears in stock? Mother burnt the last of mine when she caught me using them when she was talking to my darling brother."

"What a horrible person!" Fred exclaimed, putting a hand on his heart.

"Tell me about it," I muttered.

"If you'll follow us." George jumped down from the stairs and led me to a stand decorated with pictures of ears and the words Extendable Ears written in gold ink at the top of the stand. Loads of the flesh-coloured pieces of string hung from hooks on the wall. I grabbed a handful and retrieved my purse from my white shoulder bag.

"How much?" I asked.

"Let me see, that's 4 Extendable Ears, so 16 sickles," Fred answered.

I handed him one gold galleon from my purse, "Keep the change." I said. I waved goodbye to the twins and walked over to a stand towards the front of the shop, which was covered in small vials of brightly coloured, pink liquid. I noticed Hermione and Ginny in the crowd surrounding the stand and I made my way over to them. I picked up one of the vials, "Hey, do you guys know what these are?" I asked.

"Love Potions, apparently," Hermione answered.

"But you aren't allowed any!" Fred butted in through the crowd, pointing at Ginny.

"And why ever not?" Ginny put her hands on her hips and glared at her brother in a way that made her look so much like her mother that it was quite scary.

"You're doing fine on your own!" George exclaimed, coming over to back up his brother.

"He has got a point, you know," I admitted.

"Not you too!" whined Ginny. I smirked and turned back to the boys. Harry and Ron had come over to see what all the fuss was about, Ron's arms laden with merchandise.

"Tell the truth though, are you or are you not currently dating a boy by the name of Dean Thomas?" Fred asked.

"Yes, I am, is that OK with you?" Ginny huffed and turned to the wall beside her. A large cage of tiny pink and purple balls of fluff was rolling around, "What are these?" Ginny asked, trying to change the subject.

"Pygmy Puffs," George stated proudly, "Miniature Puffskeins. Can't breed them fast enough!"

"They're really cute!"

"They're fairly cuddly, yes."

"But stop avoiding the question!" Fred moaned, "Aren't you going through boyfriends a bit fast?"

"Why does it matter to you?" she glared, "Mum, can I have a Pygmy Puff?" she went to find Molly while I turned to Harry. He was staring through the window, probably daydreaming.

"Hey, Harry," I tapped his shoulder but he didn't respond, "Earth to Harry Potter!" I waved my hand in front of his face and he finally snapped back to reality.

"What? Oh, hi Tina."

"Hello, Mr. Daydreamer!" I giggled.

"You're a fine one to talk!"

"Who, me? A daydreamer? Never!" I smirked sarcastically, "What are you looking at?"

"Nothing, just thinking. This summer's been crazy already, huh?"

"Yup." I sighed. I stood there for a second until I saw who I thought was Draco walking past the window. "Did you see that?"

"Yeah. What do you think he's doing?"

"I dread to think."

Harry pulled out his Invisibility Cloak from his bag and called Hermione and Ron over.

"What are you two doing?" Hermione asked, noticing the cloak.

"We just saw Draco coming down here, on his own," I answered.

"Well, the four of us would never fit under that." Ron pointed out, gesturing towards the cloak. We all thought for a moment for a solution.

"You three will fit--" I said.

"What about you? You have to come, he's your brother!" Harry exclaimed.

"Let me finish. You three will fit, I can walk ahead, make sure the coast is clear. If anyone sees me, they won't question why I'm in Knockturn Alley. I mean, come on, I'm a Malfoy, for goodness sake! People are going to expect me to be there! Especially if I'm following my brother!" I explained.

"Only if you're sure."

"I am, now let's go before we lose him."

Harry, Hermione, and Ron put the Invisibility Cloak over themselves, I made sure that they were mostly covered and we left the shop. Luckily, no one noticed. We soon caught up with my brother and I saw him enter Borgin and Burkes, alone.

"This can't be good," I whispered.

I hid behind a wall so I wouldn't be seen, while the others watched through the window, still under the cloak.

"Crouch down." I heard Hermione whisper to the boys.

"Why?" Ron whispered back.

"So Tina can come under and see what's going on as well. She has a right to." I heard them go down closer to the floor and I quickly slipped under the cloak and sat on the ground next to Harry.

"What is he doing?" I asked.

"No clue. Maybe he's buying something?" Ron suggested.

"Oh, I don't know, what do you think he'd be doing in a shop? Stopping in for a friendly chat?" Hermione snapped. Ron looked away, embarrassed. Hermione and I rolled our eyes at each other. "If only we could hear what they're saying."

Suddenly, I had a lightbulb moment and pulled one of my new Extendable Ears from my bag, "Yes we can!"

We fed the string through the door and Draco's voice was heard loud and clear, "... you know how to fix it?"

"Possibly," said Borgin, unsure, "I'll need to see it though. Why don't you bring it into the shop?"

"I can't. It's got to stay put. I just need you to tell me how to do it."

Borgin licked his lips nervously, "Well, without seeing it, I must say it will be a very difficult job, perhaps impossible. I couldn't guarantee anything."

"No?" Draco sneered, "Perhaps this will make you more confident."

He led Borgin behind a cabinet and showed him something. We shuffled over to see, but I think that I was the only one who saw my brother. He rolled up his sleeve to show something on his arm. My eyes widened in shock. It was the Dark Mark. Why didn't he tell me? My brother is a Death Eater. I couldn't believe it, I wouldn't believe it. I was breathing heavily, and the others noticed.

"Tina, are you OK?" Harry asked, concerned.

"Yeah, you look really pale," Hermione added.

"He has it...the mark," I whispered only loud enough for Harry to hear, but before he could reply, Draco started talking again.

"Tell anyone," Draco said, "and there will be retribution. You know Fenrir Greyback? He's a family friend, he'll be dropping in from time to time to make sure you're giving the problem your full attention."

"There will be no need for that--"

"I'll decide that. Well, I'd better be off. And don't forget to keep that one safe, I'll need it."

"Perhaps you'd like to take it now?"

"No, of course, I wouldn't, you stupid little man, how would I look carrying that down the street? Just don't sell it."

"Of course not...sir."

"Not a word to anyone, Borgin, and that includes my mother, understand?"

"Naturally, naturally." Borgin murmured.

Draco stalked out of the shop, leaving a slightly frightened Borgin inside.

"What was that all about, then?" Ron asked, reeling in the Extendable Ear and passing them back to me.

"I have my suspicions, I just hope I'm wrong," I whispered, remembering Draco's task.

Without thinking, I came from under the cloak and strode into the shop, taking the Extendable Ears with me, "Hello, Borgin, long time no see." I said, putting on an icy exterior so he wouldn't see through me.

Borgin turned around to see who it was, "Oh, Miss Malfoy," I nodded in greeting, "How long has it been? Must be 10 years since I last saw you." he greeted.

"Enough small talk, Borgin," I glared, "I'm looking for my brother, Draco. I saw him come down this way, so I assumed he was coming here. Have you seen him?"

"Maybe, it's not my right to say..."

"So he was in here? I'm not leaving until I know for sure."

"You don't need to be like that, but yes."

"I knew it. What was he doing?" he didn't answer, but found a sudden interest in his shoes, "If he's told you not to tell anyone, which I know he has, I am the only exception to it. I know exactly what's going on."

"Then why do you ask if you know already?"

"Don't change the subject. Don't be like that with me." I said threateningly, "Show me what he wanted to buy, now."

"Follow me," he said reluctantly, leading me to the cabinet and blocking Harry, Ron and Hermione's view, "This. A Vanishing Cabinet. He wants it repaired, apparently. Won't tell me why, though."

"Thank you, Borgin. Did you see what way he went when he left?" I asked before leaving. He pointed to the left, fortunately also where the other three were hiding. I nodded and left without another word. Once I was sure he wasn't looking, I slipped back under the cloak.

"Why did you go in?" Ron asked.

"I tried to see if he would tell me what Draco wanted," I explained.

"And?"

"No luck. He refused to tell me anything." I lied. I didn't want to risk having to explain things I was forbidden to say.

"Why didn't you leave us one of your Extendable Ears?"

"Sorry, I didn't think when I went in." I shrugged.

"We'd better head back. Before people notice we're gone." Hermione warned. I slipped out from under the cloak again and we walked rather quickly back to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.

Chapter Text

"So what are you thinking about your dress?" Fleur and I were discussing her wedding plans, at this point, we were talking about her bridal gown. Mrs Weasley, meanwhile, was growing increasingly impatient while monitoring a pile of self-peeling sprouts. Fleur showed me a couple of magazine cut-outs of different dresses.

"I was theenking about something like zis..." she gestured to an image of an ivory, halter-neck dress with a feathered skirt, "But I am very fond of zis phoenix design, no? After all, phoenixes are eternal, just like my love for Bill." she pointed to another picture with a black, lace phoenix on the skirt of it.

"Perhaps you could have two phoenixes instead of one?" I suggested, "It seems a bit more romantic to have a couple than just the one, don't you think?"

"Excellent idea, Tina! We could 'ave zem facing each other as eef zey are kissing!" we squealed with excitement at the thought of the dress.

"But, where are we going to find this dress?" I pondered.

"I suppose I will 'ave to make a trip to Madam Malkin's in Diagon Alley. I would 'ave prefered to go to a dressmaker in Paris, but I cannot go to France. And besides, I want you to be zere with me." she sighed.

"Me?" I exclaimed. "Why me?"

"Zat comes onto my next subject. Bridesmaids. I would like you to be ze maid of 'onour eef you would. Eef it wasn't for you, I would never 'ave stayed in Eengland and zerefore never 'ave met Bill. I owe a lot to you and asking you to be ze maid of 'onour will 'opefully repay some of zat."

I gaped at her. I had never even been to a wedding before, let alone been a maid of honour. But I knew I couldn't refuse and, to be honest, I really wanted to accept. "Of course I will! What about the other bridesmaids?"

"Bill and I 'ave almost decided on only two other bridesmaids, Ginny and Gabrielle will look very sweet togezzer. I am theenking of dressing all three of you in pale gold - pink would, of course, be 'orrible with Ginny's 'air -"

She was interrupted by Mrs Weasley, who hastily welcomed Harry into the room. He had just arrived from upstairs with his dirty Quidditch robes piled in his arms. "Ah, Harry!" she announced loudly, cutting Fleur off completely, "Good, I wanted to explain about the security arrangements for the journey to Hogwarts tomorrow. We've got Ministry cars again, and there will be Aurors waiting at the station -"

"Is Tonks going to be there?" asked Harry, handing over the robes.

"No, I don't think so, she's been stationed somewhere else from what Arthur said."

Fleur began looking at her reflection in a teaspoon, "She 'as let 'erself go, zat Tonks," she implored, "A big mistake if you ask -"

"Yes, thank you," Mrs Weasley hissed, her temper rising, "You'd better get on, Harry, I want the trunks ready tonight, if possible, so we don't have the usual last-minute scramble."

"OK. Tina, can I talk to you for a second?" Harry asked.

"Yeah, sure." I shrugged and turned to Fleur, "I'll be back in a few minutes." She nodded and continued to study her reflection. I followed Harry out of the room and sat down next to him on the sofa, "So? What's up?"

"I need to talk to you about what happened a few days ago in Borgin and Burke's. What exactly did you see? You know, with your brother and all that?"

I sighed - I knew he was going to bring this up, "I've already told you everything I saw. Draco was talking to Borgin, he led him to a cabinet of some sort, rolled up his sleeve and showed him the Dark Mark. I know what I saw, and, like I say, the whole thing is plausible. Father is a Death Eater, who's to say Draco won't follow in his footsteps?"

"Thank you! I keep telling Ron and Hermione but they think it's too far-fetched! But you know him better than any of us. I'm sure that he wants revenge for your dad being put in Azkaban and that he is a Death Eater. I just don't know what he's going to do about it."

"Harry, listen to me. I agree, he is probably a Death Eater, but I have to be honest, Draco really isn't the type of person who goes looking for revenge unless it has something to do with him directly." His face fell. "All I'm saying is that something is definitely going on, but I think it's more complex than we think."

He nodded, said goodbye to me and headed back upstairs. I returned to the kitchen to see that Molly's temper was getting worse.

"So, what are you thinking about for the cake?"

Chapter Text

I don't usually like waking up in the morning, especially if it's early. However, this morning, despite getting out of bed at around 8 am, I was happy to be awake. Today was the day we returned to Hogwarts after 6 long weeks. I missed my friends, the mystery of the place and just the school in general.

I like school, OK? Don't judge me.

Molly was right about packing yesterday. It was much calmer this morning, no one was rushing around trying to grab all their stuff in time. We travelled by Ministry cars again, much to my dismay. I tend to feel slightly ill when travelling by muggle transport. I was glad to reach King's Cross and managed to not throw up during the journey. Hurrah. Two miserable-looking Aurors escorted us to the barrier leading to Platform 9 and 3/4 the second we left the cars. Everything from then was quite hurried and before we knew it, we were face to face with the scarlet steam train.

The platform was very busy, unsurprisingly. A group of seventh-year girls swooned as a handsome Hufflepuff walked past. He winked at them and I am sure that one of the girls fainted. A bespectacled first year dropped an enormous pile of books all over the floor. I quickly helped him by offering a spare trolley to put them all on to. I rejoined the group as everyone now had come through the barrier. I was about to climb onto the train when I realised Ron and Hermione had stopped.

"We can't. Ron and I've got to go to the prefect carriage first and then patrol the corridors for a bit."

"Oh yeah, I forgot," Harry said, disheartened. While Molly ushered us onto the train, I saw Harry and Mr Weasley leave the group, no doubt to talk about what we saw outside Borgin and Burke's. I loved Harry - no, not in that way, a friend kind of way - but this was getting a little annoying. He hadn't stopped talking about this since it happened and it was getting increasingly hard to lie.

I waited by the door to the train for him, Hermione and Ron had already left for the prefect carriage. Once he returned, Molly bid us goodbye and we clambered onto the train. "What was that all about?" I asked, referring to his private conversation with Arthur.

"I told him about you know, " he replied, adding in a low voice, "your brother."

"Thought so, " I nodded.

Groups of girls kept stopping us as we trying to find a free compartment. A flash of red caught my eye, turning out to be Ginny at the end of the corridor. Harry also seemed to have noticed and called out to her, "Fancy trying to find a compartment?" I noted the way he looked at her, a mix of admiration and longing. I couldn't blame him. She was flawless. Beautiful, intelligent, brave. Sadly, she declined, having already made plans with Dean Thomas. He watched her as she left, annoyance in his eyes. We eventually found a spare compartment and sat down.

"You like her, don't you?" I said, stating the obvious.

"I do not!" he protested. I raised an eyebrow sceptically. "OK, maybe a little," he said sheepishly.

"It's a shame she's taken." I sighed.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You two would make a cute couple! Anyway, it's ironic really. All these girls running after you and you go for the one who's not phased at all." We both laughed at the humour of it all. There was a knock on the window and we turned to see Neville at the door. We gestured for him to come in and he took a seat.

"Hi, Neville! How was your summer?" Harry asked. Neville started to list off all the things he did but I just drowned him out. I could honestly fall asleep listening to him talk. It's not that I don't like him. Instead, I just hummed ABBA songs for a few minutes until Luna walked in.

Thank Merlin. Luna was a fellow Ravenclaw but in the year below me. She got bullied a lot but I remember helping her out of a sticky situation with a few Slytherins who were threatening her with various spells. We started to hang out after that and now we are friends. Not that she would ever admit it. She's quite distant in that sense.

"Luna! How are you?" I exclaimed, may or may not interrupting Neville in the process.

"Very well, thank you," she replied. She carefully placed a pile of magazines on the seat before sitting down. They were titled The Quibbler, which was the magazine that her father helped to write.

"Still going strong then?" Harry asked, eyeing the pile with a tinge of pride. That was understandable; they had been a lot of help last year with getting the truth out about Voldemort and what Harry had seen.

Luna nodded enthusiastically. Neville carried on with his summer memoirs so I tuned him out with Dancing Queen. I kind of fell asleep after that. I was wrong earlier: I still hate waking up early. I don't know how I'm going to survive school.

*********

"Tina? Wake up, please," someone was nudging me. Reluctantly, I sat up to see Harry gently shaking my shoulder while holding two small rolls of parchment tied with a violet ribbon in the other hand. Neville had an identical note, though he was already reading his. At some point, Ron and Hermione had returned from their prefect duties and were now sitting opposite me.

"Ugh, what?" I groaned, brushing my hair off of my face.

Harry quickly let go of me as if I was going to bite him or something and handed me one of the scrolls. "This came for you. Neville and I got the same message."

'Serpentina,

I would be delighted if you would join me for a bite of lunch in compartment C.

Sincerely, Professor H.E.F. Slughorn'

Slughorn. I've heard of that name. I think he was a potions professor at Hogwarts a long time ago. He's supposed to be really good. Why is he here? What does he want me for? I bet it's the whole being a Malfoy but also a Ravenclaw thing again. I hope it isn't. Why can't most people just see past that? It's not hard.

"Who's Professor Slughorn?" Neville asked, confused.

"New teacher," Harry answered, "Well, I suppose we'll have to go, won't we?"

"But why does he want me?" Neville looked as though he was expecting to get into trouble. I stifled my laughter. What could he have done? We're not even at school yet!

Harry just shrugged. His eyes suddenly lit up and he grabbed his Invisibility Cloak. He whispered to me, "We might get a good look at your brother on the way."

"We can't surely all fit under the cloak. Not with the corridors as busy as they are," I reasoned. But I did want to find Draco and see what he was up to. Especially since he hadn't bothered to write me a letter after I left home, knowing full well where I was, "Take it with you. We can have a look on the way back." He nodded and we left for compartment C.

Once we got there, we realised that we weren't the only attendees and that Slughorn seemed especially pleased to see us. Well, Harry anyway. I looked around the room to see if I recognised anyone. I noticed Blaise Zabini, one of Draco's friends. He was an arrogant idiot so I just glared at him when he looked at me. I also saw Ginny squashed in the corner, looking a bit confused. As was I.

"Harry m'boy!" Slughorn beamed. He looked a lot like a walrus with his huge fossil-colour moustache, smooth bald head and slightly protruding belly, "Good to see you! You must be Mr Longbottom!" Neville nodded, frightened. Slughorn turned to look at me, "And Miss Malfoy, I presume?"

"Nice to meet you, sir," I smiled. If he was indeed going to be a teacher this year, I wanted to make a good first impression.

"Nice to meet you too!" he gestured for us to sit down and we did so, "So, Serpentina, don't think that I called you here only because you are a Ravenclaw Malfoy-" Hallelujah, "-but I've heard that you are quite a whizz in potions, is that correct?"

"Well, I suppose so, sir. However, I can't continue with Potions this year. I only got Exceeds Expectations in my OWLs. I need an Outstanding to take it for my NEWTs." I replied, disheartened.

"Nonsense! That was only under Professor Snape's teaching! I am the new potions professor, in case you didn't know, and I will accept students who got Exceeds Expectations as well."

Yay! I always liked potions. Charms were my favourite but potions was a close second. It would be nice to return to my cauldron. But if Slughorn was teaching potions this year, what was Snape doing? I guess I'll find out at the feast tonight. The rest of the lunch went by fairly quickly, although I didn't really pay attention to most of it. Not that I wanted to admit it, Slughorn was quite, well, how do you put it? Boring? Anyway, before we knew it, it was dark outside and we were almost at Hogwarts.

"Oh goodness me! Is that the time?" Slughorn exclaimed, looking at his watch, "You should all go and get changed into your robes! Go!"

We all filed out of the compartment, quite glad to be free of the professor. I saw Harry fishing through his bag, presumably for his Invisibility Cloak. I ran up to him, "Harry, wait!"

He looked up at me, "What? Have you changed your mind about your brother?"

"No, no! It's just that I have an idea. You go under the cloak but we'll both go to see him. I'll try and talk to him and if I have no luck, you can go in and spy on him like you're James Bond or something. And follow Zabini, he'll probably be going to see him." He grinned and threw the cloak over himself. I couldn't help but smile as we walked down the corridor to Draco's compartment. "Wait here," I whispered once we were outside the door. I sincerely hoped he was there otherwise that would mean I was talking to no one and would be rather embarrassing. Although to be fair, it didn't look like I was talking to anyone anyway. I snapped out of my daydream, knocked on the door and entered the compartment.

Inside, Crabbe, Goyle and Zabini were all sitting on one side and Pansy on the other. I peered around and saw that my brother was, disgustingly, laying down with his head in Pansy's lap while she was caressing his hair. I tried very hard not to gag.

"What do you want?" Draco said, a little more aggressively than I expected.

"I was just wondering how you were. I haven't seen you in about two weeks in case you forgot."

"I'll just talk to you later, OK?" he glared at me and went back to talking with his friends. Hurt, I walked out of the compartment, holding the door open for Harry. I hope I didn't shut it too early and trap his foot or something. No one seemed to notice him enter so everything should be fine.

**********

We had finally arrived at Hogsmeade station but Harry still wasn't back. I had changed into my robes and I was getting worried. While everyone was getting off the train, I dodged the crowds in an effort to find him. I ran into Luna who seemed to be wandering around while wearing her spectrespecs as if following a trail, "Hey, Luna, have you seen Harry?"

"No, sorry, but I can help you look. Are you sure he hasn't left the train?"

"Yes, he promised me he would see me first."

"OK. Where did you see him last?" she suggested.

"A compartment at the other end of the train. I checked in there but it was empty." I said, disappointed.

"Well, let's go and have another look in case he went back looking for you!" I smiled at her optimism and showed her where it was. "Hmm. I think I can see some Wrackspurts." I looked around, nothing was in the compartment so I have no idea she was looking at. "Finite! Aha!" she flicked her wand, resulting in Harry being uncovered.

He started to sit up and he looked dreadful. His nose was broken and bleeding and there were grazes on his knuckles. He was paler than usual and a mix of fear and anger was in his eyes. I kneeled down beside him, "Oh, my gosh, are you OK?" I hugged him tightly but then suddenly pulled away and lowered my voice, "It was my brother, wasn't it?"

"I'm OK. My nose hurts a bit. And yes, it was. Just don't do anything rash, please?"

I was seething with rage and before he knew it, I was off the train and on the platform. I saw Draco walking off, trying to catch up with the carriages. I screamed at him, "DRACO LUCIUS MALFOY! YOU COME HERE RIGHT NOW AND TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT COMPARTMENT YOU LITTLE SHIT!" He turned around, surprised at the anger in my voice. He slowly walked towards me, as if approaching a lion. "Explain. Now." I snapped.

"He was eavesdropping on my conversation. I thought I should teach him a lesson," he smirked, "Reckon I did a pretty good job."

"I can't believe you. How can you be so petty? Wipe that smirk off of your face, you're not a child. I don't want to talk to you right now." he looked crestfallen but I didn't care, "You're 16 years old, Draco. Start acting like one. If not, kindly remove yourself from my life." I walked right past him and up towards the castle.

************

The sorting was over and people were already eating by the time I got to the Great Hall but I didn't really mind. I was hungry anyway and couldn't wait to eat. I caught Hermione's eye and she looked really worried. Harry wasn't back yet. I walked over to her table and replied to her unasked question, "He's on his way, don't panic." She breathed a sigh of relief and I walked over to the Ravenclaw table. I looked over to see Hermione hitting Ron with a book. I laughed at his pain. I'm evil like that.

"Tina!" I heard a yell from the Ravenclaw table. I turned to see Brooklyn beaming at me along with Padma, Fiadh and Dawn. I was glad to see them all, it would be nice to just be a teenager for the first time in weeks. I took a seat between Padma and Dawn and began to fill my plate with delicious food.

"How is everyone?" I asked before biting into a chicken wing.

Brooklyn piped up first, "I got some new accessories for my wheelchair over the summer! Look!" She reversed out of her space at the table to show them off. There were now cute little lights and pin badges of her favourite magical singers and Quidditch players all over her wheelchair. It really suited her style.

Brooklyn used to play as a seeker in Quidditch. She joined the team in the middle of her first year at Hogwarts and some said she was even better than Harry. I had to admit, she had an amazing talent. But one game in our third year, she had a nasty fall after coming into a swarm of dementors. She somehow fell into the Forbidden Forest and in the middle of a centaur stampede. When we found her, she was immediately taken to St Mungo's and came back in a wheelchair. Apparently, she was lucky to escape with her life. She has no feeling in her legs from it and hasn't been able to play Quidditch because of it. Now she is trying to find a way to let people with wheelchairs play the sport like the inventive Ravenclaw she is. It must be tough but she is coping and I'm proud of her for it.

"Tina! Hello?" Fiadh clicked her fingers in front of my face to wake me from my daydream.

"Oh, yeah, sorry, what were you saying?" I stuttered.

She rolled her eyes and carried on, "As I was sayin', someone sent me a love letter over the summer."

"Seriously? Who from?" I said excitedly. This is weird because Fiadh is not exactly the most romantic of people.

"I don't know, some creep who lives on me road probably," now there's the Fiadh I know and have mixed feelings about, "I just ignored it, but now I think about it, I should have sent a reply with a curse on it or somethin'." she frowned.

I finished my fourth chicken wing and earned a stare from Padma. "What? I'm hungry!" I defended myself.

"In case you haven't noticed, we're all done and in fact, waiting for you. Almost everyone else here has left." I looked around to see that we were some of the last people left. I grabbed a cookie and got up to leave. The others did so and Dawn pushed Brooklyn round the table.

We walked to the common room, reminiscing about our summer on the way. Once we got to the foot of the staircase of Ravenclaw Tower, we instead entered a secret passageway that just transported us up to the common room. Brooklyn's wheelchair does have its benefits and missing the huge staircase is one of them. I couldn't help but smile to myself about the fact we could cheat the stairs like this. We got to our dormitory and got ready for bed. Everyone was in bed and I'm sure Padma was already asleep. I sat in the window instead and stared at the stars. I was at Hogwarts, I was home. And that was a great feeling. For now, anyway.

Chapter Text

I was sadly awoken this morning courtesy of Fiadh throwing a pillow at my face. I sat up in my bed, my hair an utter mess, and glared at her, "What was that for?"
"Nothing. I just wanted to hit something," she shrugged.
I rolled my eyes and flopped back onto my pillow, "I can't wait for you to start Quidditch again. Finally, you'll be able to hit bludgers instead of me."
Dawn piped up from the other side of the room, "Speaking of Quidditch when are the trials?"
"I don't know, probably next week at some point," Fiadh yawned as she walked into our bathroom to tie up her hair. All of a sudden I heard a scream followed by Fiadh yelling, "Oh come off it!" Dawn and I shared worried looks but stayed quiet to find out what was happening.
"I'm in the shower!" I heard Padma shout as Fiadh stormed out, annoyed.
"You pulled the shower curtain closed!" she groaned back.
"I'm still naked!"
I tried hard not to laugh as Fiadh caught my eye. Trying to relieve the tension, I changed the subject, "Err, where's Brooklyn?"
"Oh, she went to breakfast early, as per usual," Dawn said, grinning. Typical Brooklyn.
"Cool," I said, getting out of bed quickly getting changed, "Look, I'm going to go see Isabel and Dessa. I'll see you guys at breakfast!" I said tying my tie as I ran out of the dormitory, out of the common room and down the staircase all the way to the Hufflepuff common room. I knocked on the right barrel and strolled inside. Too easy to get in, if you ask me. I wonder if that was Helga's original intention, to allow anyone in.
Among the slowly decreasing crowd of Hufflepuffs, I saw Isabel sitting there, flicking through the latest copy of Witch Weekly on the sofa. She hadn't seen me so I just cleared my throat a bit over-dramatically and she finally looked up.
"Tina! Oh my goodness, cariño! How are you?" she exclaimed with a heavy Spanish accent. She put her magazine down and I took a seat next to her on the sofa.
"Not too bad, you?" I shrugged.
"I'm good," she said. Suddenly, she noticed my hair. I forgot to brush it before I left. Oops. Isabel just stared at me in mock horror, "Tina, Tina, Tina," she muttered, "Honestamente, ¿dónde me equivoqué?"
I had absolutely no idea what the hell she was saying but I had learnt from experience that it was better not to ask. She sprinted up to her dormitory suddenly, leaving me in a common room that was not my own, alone. To say it was awkward would be an understatement. I assumed she needed to get some things to deal with my hair as being the resident hairdresser was her thing, so to speak. Luckily, she returned as quickly as she left, this time with a hairbrush and some bobbles. The equipment confirmed my suspicions so when she sat down facing me, I turned my back to her so she could style my hair as she pleased. Just as she was beginning to comb through my silver blonde locks, I noticed a small, dark-haired girl make her way towards us, rubbing her eyes sleepily.
"Dessa! You took your time!" Isabel scolded, only briefly looking up from her 'work'.
"Sorry, I was tired!" she squeaked back, her tiny voice making my heart melt on the spot.
"Hi Dessa," I greeted warmly, looking at her as best as I could while being forced to not face her.
She beamed at me, "Hello Tina, how was your summer?"
I know she only meant well by this supposedly harmless question and it wasn't like she, or anyone else for that matter, knew about my home situation, but still, the very mention of my summer made my breath hitch. I quickly coughed to cover it up, making sure my head didn't move too much so as to not disturb Isabel, "It was good thanks, you?"
She nodded enthusiastically, "I got to spend almost the entire time in the Philippines so I saw a lot of my family!"
I smiled sweetly at her as she babbled on about her summer, still a bit shaken from the question despite it having no malicious intent. I had no idea why the question always through me for a loop. It's not like I have anything to hide. I guess it's just that I don't want people to know that I'm overreacting about Mother and Father. It was my fault, after all, that I tried to leave the house without telling them and that I didn't just do as I was told, no questions asked. Besides, everyone gets in trouble with their parents every now and again, don't they? And I wouldn't know what it was like for each of my friends because someone wouldn't yell at their child when someone else is present so as to not give off a bad impression. That was certainly the case with my parents. Most of the time anyway. I had never witnessed any of my friends getting shouted at by their parents so there is no way of me knowing what goes on behind closed doors. I know I was being overly dramatic, something that Father had kindly pointed out to me on numerous occasions. I didn't want to bother my friends with things that really didn't matter. They're not therapists, that's not their job. I just needed to get over myself and focus on not constantly dampen the mood of whatever conversation we were having.
I dragged myself out of my internal monologue to concentrate on Dessa, who now seemed to be talking about a new muggle song she had heard. Fortunately, Isabel had finished my hair at that point. It's not that I didn't want to be there anymore, I just really wanted to go to breakfast and I was gradually getting more conscious of how much time I had until my first lesson, whatever that would turn out to be.
"Ta da!" Isabel handed me a mirror and sat back to admire her work, "What do you think?" It appeared as though she had done two Dutch braids but they were so neat you would think she was a professional.
I grinned and turned back to her, "It's amazing, thank you!"
She beamed back at me and, after I bid farewell to the girls, I made my way to the Great Hall for breakfast. Just as I was about to sit down with the girls, I felt someone hug me from behind. I instantly tensed up and silently winced at the pain in my back. The hit from my suitcase still affected me and the hug didn't exactly help that.
"Hey, babe," a familiar voice came from the person embracing me. I groaned internally when I remembered who the voice belonged to. My boyfriend, Terry. Great. I rolled my eyes before turning around with a fake smile plastered on my face.
"Hi! You alright?" I asked, sounding so over-enthusiastic I wondered how he thought I was being genuine.
"I'm good! How've you been? I haven't heard from you all summer!"
I didn't feel a single ounce of guilt about not writing to him. I just didn't want to talk to him 24/7 like he did. I knew it was wrong but when it came to Terry, I could not care less. God, I'm a terrible girlfriend. Oh well.
"I've been good thanks. Listen, I'll talk to you later, OK? Otherwise, I won't have enough time to eat my breakfast," I said, much to his disappointment.
"Oh. OK. Yeah, I'll see you later then," he walked away deflated and I finally sat down, sighing.
"If you clearly don't like him anymore then why don't you just break up with him?" Brooklyn said, pointing out the obvious. That was a fair point and one I had considered many a time. But could I actually bring myself to go through with it? Absolutely not.
"Because he hasn't actually done anything wrong! He can just be a tad over-excited at times, that's all." I said, piling food onto my plate and wolfing it down as quickly as I could see as I only had 10 minutes left until lesson.
"Why are you rushing so much?" Dawn looked at me like I had just grown another head.
"Because we have lesson soon?" it came out as more of a question than an answer but I felt like Dawn was about to contradict me.
"No we have free period first, look," she handed me my timetable that she must have received on my behalf while I was in the Hufflepuff common room. And it was true, I had a free lesson now, after break and after lunch. Though my gut told me I was going to need them for studying. At least I could enjoy them now. It would be nice to relax for a bit on my first day.
Suddenly I felt a small hand tap my shoulder and I turned around to see a tiny dark-haired Gryffindor holding a letter. I, along with the other girls, was a bit confused when the girl said nothing and just looked at me expectantly. I broke the awkward silence that had fallen over the table, "Can I help you?" I was assuming she was just a first-year who needed help finding her first class or something. It turned out that I was wrong.
"Err, are you Serpentina Malfoy?" she asked timidly. Oh Merlin, here we go.
"Yes," I grimaced, not exactly enjoying the acknowledgement of my surname.
"I have a note for you from Professor Dumbledore," she passed the letter to me and I took it curiously. I barely had time to thank her before she had run off back to her giggling group of friends who had been observing the scene from afar.
"Is it me or are the first years getting shorter every year?" I wondered aloud. It was true. They seemed to get smaller and more annoying each year.
"How do you know we aren't just getting taller?" Padma pointed out, always having to be the voice of reason in our weird group.
Fiadh just looked at her calmly and said, "Padma, I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me that Brooklyn is getting taller."
Everyone laughed at this statement apart from Padma who merely pouted and avoided Fiadh's gaze.
Brooklyn only just managed to gasp out, "I would be offended it that wasn't true!" This only made us erupt into more giggles, including Padma who was now done sulking, "You're right though, Tina, they are getting smaller."
I grinned at the confirmation and I finally decided to look at the note from Dumbledore.
Serpentina,
Please come to my office this lesson. I wish to speak with you.
Professor Dumbledore.
Typical Dumbledore. He always was as vague as fuck. So much for a chance to relax. I quickly explained to the girls, said goodbye and speed-walked to his office. Merlin knows what this was about. It didn't take me long to get there but I found myself stalling outside the entrance. My knowledge of Draco's order to murder the man who was only on the other side of the door was suddenly flooding my mind. I doubted Dumbledore even knew about the plot and having to lie in front of him was slightly terrifying. But then again, what if he already knew about it and that was why he had asked to see me? Would I be expelled? Arrested? Worse? Merely associating with the Death Eaters nowadays meant people would either hate you or respect you, there was no in-between. Me being involved in one of Voldemort's plan would shock a lot of people and could get me into a lot of trouble. I decided to just take a deep breath and enter the office. I would have to take it as it comes.
I walked into the room to see only Dumbledore, who had poked his head up from whatever he was doing at my entrance. He gestured to the empty seat in front of him which I took cautiously, still unsure of the reasons for me being here in the first place. Hopefully, it wouldn't take too long for that question to be answered.
Dumbledore cleared his throat and started talking, "Good morning Serpentina, I trust you are well?"
I sighed internally at the fact that we had to go through all of the small talk, which I despised, before getting straight to the point. He wouldn't just summon me here to have a friendly chat but then it is Dumbledore so I shouldn't get my hopes up.
"I am good, thank you, yourself?" I replied just to be polite.
"Very well, thank you. Anyway, I won't dawdle as I have some other business to attend to soon." Well, that was a pleasant surprise, "I am assuming you know about the whole situation with your father, correct?"
I nodded slowly, not quite sure where he was going with this.
"I'm afraid I have to ask you if you have heard anything linked to Lord Voldemort that could help us bring him down."
Silence.
Well, of course, that was true but Dumbledore couldn't know about that for obvious reasons. There wasn't anything else and even if there was, I wouldn't tell him anyway. I could not risk the consequences of snitching on my parents. Even the mere thought of what would happen made my stomach churn. I swallowed thickly, "Sorry, Professor, I haven't heard anything."
"Really?" he sounded disappointed, almost. I felt kind of guilty for having to hide things that would otherwise be a massive help with the Order of the Phoenix and whatever else he had going on. But I had to, for Draco's sake if not my own.
"I really am sorry but the Death Eaters don't trust me," I said, which was probably the first truthful thing I had said so far.
"Oh, well that is a shame. Well, I won't keep you from whatever you were doing before. You are free to go," he said, gesturing to the door. I nodded solemnly and walked out of the office as quickly as I could without it looking suspicious. I needed to get out of there. Being in the same room as someone I was assisting in the murder of was too much for me. That is, however, if Draco could not find an alternative.