One World, Two Lives

9: The Midnight Duel Part 2

"To say 'I love you' one must first know how to say the 'I'" ~ Book ~ The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand


"My what?" Ali asked, a perplexed expression passing over her face.

"Your role in your family" Fred repeated, walking over to her as she walked into the empty library, shutting the door behind her with a soft click. Madam Pince wasn't there. They were utterly alone. Ali bit her lip, a habit, Ali remembered with a pang of discomfort, that her father had been drilling her to get rid off for years as in his eyes, it was most unladylike. To him, to her mother, to their family friends, to her sisters, she was everything a Pureblood women should be. Graceful, quiet, loyal, beautiful, delicate, intelligent, slender, thin, a brilliant dancer. An absolute perfect example. Except for her tendency to be overly kind to Blood Traitors (such as the Weasleys) and Mudbloods (such as Tatiana and Matthew, even Hermione a little as she was Matthew's younger sister), her fascination with Muggles, her seeming Blood Traitor personality, and her little habits such as biting her lip. They were the 4 things she had to mend in order to obtain whatever shred of love her father supposedly had.

"I don't have a role" she lied, swallowing the lump in her throat.

"You are a terrible liar" Fred sighed, raising an eyebrow as he looked at her.

"Well I've never had to lie before! Father always seems to know what you're going to say and what's true and what's not about it before you even speak a word and Mother doesn't like us lying to her. She said lying never got Ravenclaws or Rowena anywhere" Ali defended.

"I suppose that's true. I, on the other hand, have been lying to get out of trouble nearly my entire life. Now, what is your role?"

"My role is the heir to the head of the family"

"But Miracle is older than you" Fred said confused. It was more of a question then a statement.

"Yes, by 4 minutes. Mother and Father had an agreement. The Ravenwood Family haven't got any heirs. Ashlynn was the only one to have a child. 7 daughters, 3 sons. One son was gay and killed by Father not long after I was born, one was killed by Father by trying to protect the gay brother, one committed suicide for betraying his gay brother to Father and in turn killing both his brothers, his wife committed suicide not long after through grief, despite that she was pregnant" Ali explained.

"And for the 7 daughters?" Fred asked frowning.

"All infertile. Except Mother. She was the only one to have children. So Mother, Mother's family and Father all had a deal. Father could pick which one out of me and Miracle was to be the heir to the Riddle family. The other was to be the Ravenwood heir. At this point, I hadn't seen the horrors my father could inflict and I was just like he wanted me to be. I was basically like Miracle. So he picked me, leaving Miracle to be the Ravenwood heir. By the time Father realised that I was the wrong child, that I was not worthy to be the heir, that I was different. It was too late. It had been set" Ali finished, sighing and staring at her feet.

"Hey, at least that means the Riddle Family gets a decent Head" Fred grinned at Ali, a smile Ali didn't return.

"If I haven't changed by that point" she murmured so Fred couldn't hear before nodding and managing a fake smile. Now those, she was perfectly flawless at. "You're right Fred. But that head will never be me"


At the same very moment, 4 first years were laying awake in their beds in Gryffindor Tower. Lila and Lissa in the Girl's Dorm, Lila had been moved from her dorm (A/N: Because I doubt there was only one dorm for each year. I mean come on, I doubt there's only 70 students in a house. Some may think different, but there's no proof for either argument) into Lissa's dorm so Lissa had a friend. And neither Hermione, Parvati and Lavender were willing to cross Lila to get to Lissa. She could murder them all with a single butter knife, then hide the knife, clean up the bodies and plant a scared look on her face before the teachers even arrived. At half past eleven, the 2 girls slipped out of their dorm and padded towards the First Year Boy's Dorms. They had tried at least 3 times before they found the right dorm. In the first dorm they entered, they had a short conversation with Lila's cousin Sync Black, who had been sitting awake.

Harry and Ron were already awake when the 2 girls walked in and they had to shush them so they didn't wake Seamus or Dean. Lila and Lissa waited just outside the dorm to be lookouts while Harry and Ron grabbed their wands and dressing gowns before the 4 of them crept down the spiral staircase and into the common room. Lila and Ron had both tagged along for moral support. And for Lila to kill, harm or maim Malfoy if necessary. None of them knew that Ali, though still in the library talking with Fred, was aware of their every move.

A few embers were still glowing in the fireplace, turning all the armchairs into hunched black shadows. They had almost reached the portrait hole, Lissa in front as she knew her way around the castle better, when a voice spoke from the chair nearest them: "I can't believe you're going to do this Harry, Melissa" Lila darted to the nearest lamp and flicked it on. It lit up the common room, viewing Hermione Granger wearing a pink fluffy dressing gown (which made Lila cringe and duck behind Lissa. She had an irrational fear of pink) and a frown.

"You!" Ron said furiously.

"What are you doing here?! Go back to bed!" Lila exclaimed.

"I almost told both your brothers. Yes Lila, I almost told Lodi" Hermione added in a snapping tone at the sight of Lila's face. "Lodi, he's sensible. As sensible as you could get. And Percy - he's a Prefect, they'd put a stop to this" Harry and Lissa stared in disbelief, Lissa knew interfering. That's what Miracle did to Ali's life every day, but neither eleven year old thought that someone could be THAT interfering.

"Actually, Lodi wouldn't do a damn thing! He would actually be proud of me! Because he knows that this is me normally!" Lila snapped back and smirked inwardly at Hermione's surprised face. "Yeah, you heard me right. I bet if I stabbed you right here, right now, the only thing Lodi would do in sigh exasperatedly and help me clean up the mess I would have made in killing you"

"Then Lodi is obviously irresponsible! I refuse to believe he got in Ravenclaw for that reason"

"He didn't get into Ravenclaw for responsibility idiot! He got in Ravenclaw because he's intelligent. And he is responsible, he's just given up on trying to stop my murderous mind"

"Come on Lila, I don't want to have to wake up before everyone else so I can clean up blood from the Common Room" Harry said, stepping past Lissa, who Lila was still hiding behind (now resorting to hissing like a rabid cat at the dressing gown Hermione was wearing), and pushing open the portrait of the Fat Lady and climbed through the hole, his 3 companions following straight after.

But unfortunately Hermione wasn't going to give up that easily. She followed Ron through the portrait hole, after Ron had placed himself and Lissa between Hermione and Lila when he realised she was following. Lila, having been separated from the 'Pink Monster Of Nightmares' as she called it, had stopped her rabid cat hissing now so the only hissing came from Hermione who sounded more like an angry goose then a rabid cat.

"Don't you care about Gryffindor, do you only care about yourselves, I don't want Slytherin to win the House Cup and you'll lose all the points I got from Professor McGonagall for knowing about Switching Spells"

"You mean all the points you and Lissa got for knowing about Switching Spells" Lila muttered from the front of the line, but in the silent hall it was as clear as day. Lissa blushed again and managed a small smile as Hermione narrowed her eyes at the light brown haired girl. Lissa flushed and sighed.

"Go away" she said, her voice quiet but annoyed. Harry looked at her surprised but just shrugged it off. He didn't know that this is practically suicide for Lissa, letting her Gryffindor side show but she didn't care at that moment.

"All right, but I warned you, you just remember what I said when you're on the train home tomorrow, you're so -" But what they were, they didn't find out. Hermione had turned to the portrait of the Fat Lady to get back inside and found herself facing an empty painting. The Fat Lady had gone on a night-time visit and Hermione was locked out of Gryffindor Tower. Lila suddenly slipped out of the shadows to stand next to Harry, an evil and mischievous smirk playing about her lips.

'More like she was coerced into going for a night-time visit' he thought, grinning inwardly. He glanced at Lissa, who was on the other side of Lila. Lila was whispering something in her ear, most likely what she did and Lissa hid a grin behind her hand.

"Now what am I going to do?" she asked shrilly.

"That's your problem" Lila said cheerfully with a huge smile on her face. "We've got to go, we're going to be late!" And with that she turned on her heel and started marching off down the corridor. The other three following after her, all trying to contain their laughter. They hadn't even reached the end of the corridor when Hermione caught up with them, touching Lila's shoulder in the process.

"EEEKKK! IT TOUCHED ME! THE PINK MONSTER OF NIGHTMARES TOUCHED ME! I'M GOING TO DIE!" Lila shouted. Lissa trapped Lila in her arms and slapped a hand over her mouth, hissing in Lila's ear.

"You will be if you don't shut up. You'll get us caught idiot" Lissa then moved into Lila's line of sight and looked at her sternly. "Are you going to shut up?" At Lila's nod, Lissa released the younger girl (by 3 months) before Lila resorted to hiding behind Lissa again and restarting her rabid cat hissing at Hermione, who looked at her strangely.

"She has problems. Not even therapy works. She almost killed the last one" Harry said gravely and Lila grinned.

"Anyway, I'm coming with you" Hermione said curtly, redirecting the conversation from Lila's sanity to their previous conversation.

"You are not" It was Ron this time.

"D'you think I'm going to stand out here and wait for Filch to catch me? If he finds all four of us I'll tell him the truth, that I was trying to stop you and you can back me up" Hermione replied defensively. Lissa shot her a glare.

'Or you could just tell him that your dorm mates pushed you out of the common room. That's what I had to tell him after you did that to me after all' Lissa thought.

"You've got some nerve -" Ron said loudly before being cut off by Harry.

"Shut up, both of you!" he said sharply. "I heard something" The 4 of them fell completely silent, even Lila stopped her quiet hissing. The sound was a sort of snuffling.

"Mrs Norris?" Ron's voice was a mere breath and Lila could make out that he was squinting through the dark. It wasn't Mrs Norris. It was Neville. He was curled up on the floor, fast asleep, but jerked suddenly awake as they crept nearer.

"Thank goodness you found me! I've been out here for hours. I couldn't remember the new password to get in to bed! And then I woke up to Lila shouting about some monster that touched her and I got really worried!" Lila had the decency to look sheepish.

"Sorry Neville. There isn't really a monster, just Granger's wearing a fluffy pink dressing gown and I don't really like pink. Anyway, you better keep your voice down. The password's 'Pig snout' but it won't help you now. I scared the Fat Lady off for the night so Hermione would be locked out. I had no idea you had come back from the Hospital Wing already" she said and Harry was surprised that he could detect a note of kindness in her voice. Lissa wasn't the only one who had been watching Neville and had sympathy for the boy. Lila did too. Hermione shot her a glare that Lila expertly ignored.

"How's your arm?" said Harry.

"Fine" Neville replied, showing them. "Madam Pomfrey mended it in about a minute"

"Good - well, look, Neville, we've got to be somewhere, we'll see you later -" Lila said gingerly.

"Don't leave me!" Neville cut in, scrambling to his feet. "I don't want to stay here alone, the Blood Baron's been past twice already" Ron looked at his watch and then glared at Neville and Hermione furiously.

"If either of you get us caught, I'll never rest until I've learnt that Curse of the Bogies Quirrell told us about and used it on you. And Lila, please no more shouting, that won't help. I know you think Filch is secretly a serial killer, but no" Lila grinned evilly at him.

"No promises Ronald" she said. Hermione opened her mouth, perhaps to tell Ron exactly how to use the Curse of the Bogies, but at a knowing glance from Lissa, Harry hissed at her to be quiet and him and Lissa beckoned them all forward.

"If Ron wants to know how to use the Curse of the Bogies, I know the theory to boot. It's just the practical I can't do" Lissa whispered to him.

"You just need practice Liss, practice makes perfect as us Muggles say" Harry whispered back. He had come up with the nickname Liss a couple of days after they met when Harry had found her outside the common room after Hermione, Lavender and Parvati trapped her outside. It was then that he named her Liss. And only Lissa let him call her that.

"And as we Purebloods say, if you don't get it right once, give it up. Luckily that doesn't extend to spells. Just to Pureblood etiquette, something I got on the first time" she replied, her mind drifting off to the memory of the special nickname.

"Let me in!" Lissa exclaimed, repeating the password over and over. The Fat Lady looked at her sympathetically, saying that the 4 girls who hated her had cast some kind of spell that would stop her from allowing the small Riddle to enter, but would let her let others in. The Fat Lady could only hope someone came for the small girl soon as Lissa laid her back against the wall and sunk to the floor, bringing her knees to her chest. Just as the old portrait thought that, someone hurried down the corridor towards them. Messy, unruly black hair and eyes like emeralds behind a pair of round spectacles. As he neared the portrait, breathing heavily, he turned to look at Lissa.

"Melissa?" he asked confused, Lissa's head snapped up and in the moonlight shimmering through the window, Harry could see the tear tracks on her eyes and she could even taste the own salt in her tears.

"Hey Harry" she said in a choked voice.

"What's wrong? What happened? It wasn't your father again was it?" he asked concernedly. Lissa shook her head, wiping away the tear tracks.

"No, it wasn't Father. I'm fine Harry"

"To hell you are" It felt good to curse.

"I was locked out" she said in a small voice. Harry sighed and turned to the portrait, after the explanation of the spell, Harry smiled smugly. He extended a hand to Lissa and smiled a kind smile at her as she took his hand and he pulled her up. He spoke the password and led her into the Common Room.

"There, now you can go to bed" he said. Lissa smiled gratefully at him and turned to walk up the stairs.

"Oh and Liss?" Lissa turned and looked at him, blushing faintly at the new nickname.

"Yes Harry?"

"If they do anything else, I'll come with you to see McGonagall. From now on, I promise I'll always be there. Count me as your first best friend" he said with a grin as he headed towards his own dorm.

"Well then, I guess the name Liss is reserved for you and you alone. Goodnight Harry" Lissa said smiling as she pushed open the door to her dorm.

"Night Liss" Harry replied as he entered his dorm and Lissa entered her own.

Harry snapped his fingers in front of Lissa's face, snapping her out of her thoughts. She looked around her, they were at the trophy room. Harry smiled and held up their joined hands.

"You sort of drifted off from us. I had to make sure you didn't walk into anything" he said with a grin. Lissa flushed and smiled at him.

"Thanks Harry" she said. Malfoy and Crabbe weren't there yet. The crystal trophy cases glimmered where the moonlight caught them. Cups, shields, plates and statues winked silver and gold in the darkness. They edged along the wall, keeping their eyes on the doors at either end of the room. Harry took out his wand in case Malfoy leapt in and started at once. The minutes crept by.

"He's late, maybe he's chickened out" Ron whispered. Lila narrowed her eyes.

"Coward" she murmured. There was a noise in the next room that made them jump. Harry had only just raised his wand when they heard someone speak - and it wasn't Malfoy.

"Sniff around, my sweet, they might be lurking in a corner" It was Filch speaking to Mrs Norris. Horror-struck, Harry waved madly at the other 5 to follow him as quickly as possible; they scurried silently towards the door away from Filch's voice. Even Lila was too shocked to think about doing something to Filch. Neville's robes and the curls at the end of Lila's hair had barely whipped round the corner when they heard Filch enter the trophy room.

"They're in here somewhere" they heard him mutter "Probably hiding"

"This way!" Lissa mouthed to the others (as she knew her way around better) and, petrified, they began to creep down a long gallery full of suits of armour. They could hear Filch getting nearer. Neville suddenly let out a frightened squeak and broke into a run - he tripped, grabbed Ron around the waist and the pair of them toppled right into a suit of armour. The clanging and crashing were enough to wake the whole castle.

"RUN!" Lila shouted and the 6 of them sprinted down the gallery, not looking back to see whether Filch was following - they swung around the doorpost and galloped down one corridor then another, Lissa in the lead without any idea where they were (despite her amazing orientation skills) or where they were going. They ripped through a tapestry and found themselves in a hidden passageway, hurtled along it and came out near their Charms classroom, which they knew was miles from the trophy room. Lissa was starting to regain her bearings now.

"I think we've lost him" Harry panted, leaning against the cold wall and wiping his forehead, Lissa nodding at his statement. Neville was bent double, wheezing and spluttering.

"I - told - you" Hermione gasped, clutching at the stitch in her chest. "I - told - you"

"We've got to get back to Gryffindor Tower" Lila said "Quickly as possible"

"Lissa, can you find our way back?" Ron asked.

"I should be able to once I get fully regain my bearings" Lissa replied in a breath.

"Malfoy tricked you" Hermione said to Harry, though Lila 'accidentally' overheard "You realise that, don't you? He was never going to meet you - Filch knew someone was going to be in the trophy room, Malfoy must have tipped him off"

"Yeah, and I'm going to kill him for that. And unless you want to die too, I suggest you shut up" Lila growled dangerously and Harry sent a warning look at her. Lissa and Harry were the only ones Lila would listen too. The only ones who could control her.

"Let's go. I can find our way back from here" Lissa said, turning to the others, sure of her orientation skills now. But it wasn't going to be that simple. They hadn't gone more than a dozen paces when a doorknob rattled and something came shooting out of a classroom, in front of them. It was Peeves. He caught sight of them and gave a squeal of delight.

"Shut up, Peeves - please - you'll get us thrown out" Lila pleaded, using the hated word please. Peeves just cackled in response.

"Wandering around at midnight, ickle firsties? Tut, tut, tut. Naughty, naughty, you'll get caughty"

"Not if you don't give us away, Peeves, please"

"Should tell Filch, I should" said Peeves in a saintly voice, but his eyes glittered wickedly. "It's for your own good, you know" At that Lila snapped, her eyes flashing.

"Get out of the way" she snapped, taking a swipe at Peeves just as Ron did - THAT was a big mistake.

"STUDENTS OUT OF BED!" Peeves bellowed. "STUDENTS OUT OF BED DOWN THE CHARMS CORRIDOR!"

Ducking under Peeves, they ran for their lives, right to the end of the corridor, where they slammed into a door - and it was locked. Hermione and Lila worked together, trying to push the door open. Hermione may have been smart, but she didn't even think of using a spell.

"This is it!" Ron moaned, as the two girls continued pushed helplessly at the door. "We're done for! This is the end!" Lila and Hermione stopped pushing when footsteps were heard. Filch was running as fast as he could towards Peeves' shouts.

"Oh, move over! I can't believe none of you thought about this before. I thought you were meant to be smart Hermione" Lissa snapped, Harry looking at her in surprise. She grabbed her wand from out of her pocket, tapped the lock and whispered "Alohomora!" The lock clicked and the door swung open - they piled through it, shut it quickly and pressed their ears against it, listening. Hermione shot Lissa a grateful look and surprisingly hugged the girl. It seemed she cared more about not being caught then Lissa's family name. Lissa tentatively hugged back before Filch's voice could be heard, then they joined the boys and Lila, who pulled Lissa over to her and shot a warning look at Hermione.

"Which way did they go, Peeves?" Filch was saying. "Quick, tell me"

"Say 'please'"

"Don't mess me about, Peeves, now where did they go?"

"Shan't say nothing if you don't say please" said Peeves in his annoying sing-song voice.

"All right - please"

"NOTHING! Ha haaa! Told you I wouldn't say nothing if you didn't say please! Ha ha! Haaaaaa!" And they heard the sound of Peeves whooshing away and Filch cursing in rage.

"He thinks this door is locked," Harry whispered "I think we'll be okay - get off, Neville!" For Neville had been tugging on the sleeves of both Harry and Lissa's dressing gowns for the last minute. "What?" Harry turned around - and saw, quite clearly, what. For a moment, he was sure he'd walked into a nightmare - this was too much, on top of everything that had happened so far. They weren't in a room, as he had supposed. They were in a corridor. The forbidden corridor in the third floor. And now they knew why it was forbidden. They were looking straight into the eyes of a monstrous dog, a dog which filled the whole space between ceiling and floor. It had three heads. Three pairs of rolling, mad eyes; three noses, twitching and quivering in their direction; three drooling mouths, saliva hanging in slippery ropes from yellowish fangs.

It was standing quite still, all six eyes staring at them and Harry knew that they only reason they weren't already dead was that their sudden appearance had taken it by surprise, but it was quickly getting over that, there was no mistaking what those thunderous growls meant. Harry groped for the doorknob - between Filch and death, he'd take Filch.

They fell backwards - Lila slammed the door shut, and they ran, they almost flew, back down the corridor. Filch must have hurried off to look for them somewhere else because they didn't see him anywhere, but they hardly cared - all they wanted to do was put as much space as possible between them and that monster. They didn't stop running until they reached the portrait of the Fat Last on the seventh floor.

"Where on earth have you all been?" she asked, looking at their dressing gowns hanging off their shoulders and their flushed sweaty faces.

"Never mind that! Pig snout, pig snout" panted Lila, who still managed a small snap at the beginning of the sentence. The portrait swung forward. They scrambled into the common room and collapsed, trembling into armchairs. It was a while before any of them said anything. Neville, indeed, looked as if he'd never speak again.

"What do they think they're doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school?" said Ron finally, Lila and Lissa nodded in agreement. "If any dog needs exercise, that one does" Hermione had got both her breath and her bad temper back again.

"You don't use your eyes, any of you, do you?" she snapped. "Didn't you see what it was standing on?"

"The floor?" Harry suggested, but Lila and Lissa were catching on to what she said, and Hermione could see that and she smiled at them. "I wasn't looking at its feet, I was too busy with its heads"

"No, not the floor" Lila said exasperated, moving to stand next to Hermione. Lissa joined her, her eyes bright.

"It was standing on a trapdoor" she was saying, "It's guarding something"

"Obviously" Hermione said, standing up glaring at Harry, Ron and Neville. Lissa did the opposite and smiled at them, Lila just looked indifferent. She couldn't care less. She then turned and glared at Lila and Lissa, who were confused as to why she was doing so, after they had just sided with her on what it was standing on. They moved back to the boys.

"I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed - or worse, expelled. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to bed" Ron stared after her, his mouth open, Lila raised an elegant eyebrow at her retreating back.

"No, we don't mind" she said, hatred lacing her voice.

"You'd think we dragged her along wouldn't you?" Ron said. But Hermione had given Harry and Lissa something else to think about as they both climbed into their beds in separate dorms. What had Hagrid told Harry that Harry had told Lissa? Gringotts was the safest please in the world for something you wanted to hide - except perhaps Hogwarts. It looked as though Harry and Lissa had found out where the grubby little package from vault seven hundred and thirteen, that Harry had also told Lissa about, was.


Malfoy couldn't believe his eyes when he saw that Harry, Ron, Lissa and Lila were still at Hogwarts the next day, looking tired by perfectly cheerful. Or as cheerful as Lila could get. Indeed, by the next morning the four students thought that meeting the three-headed dog had been an excellent adventure and they were quite keen to have another one. In the meantime, Harry filled Ron and Lila in about the package that seemed to have been moved Gringotts to Hogwarts, as well as telling Lissa more about it, and they spent a lot of time wondering what could possibly need such heavy protection.

"It's either really valuable or really dangerous" Lissa said

"Or both" Lila piped up, grinning mischievously.

"Lila, you can't use it to kill Draco so don't even try" Harry glared at her half heartedly. But Lila just nodded, actually obeying him without a protest, all they knew about the mysterious object was that it was about two inches long, they didn't have much chance of guessing what it was without further clues. Neither Neville or Hermione showed the slightest interest in what lay underneath the dog and the trapdoor. All Neville cared about was never going near the dog again. Hermione was now refusing to speak to the four of them, but she was such a bossy know-it-all that they all saw this as an added bonus. They preferred Lissa who was smart, and a know-it-all but kind and modest about her intelligence. Even though it did actually lack in the theoretical side. All they really wanted now was a way of getting back at Malfoy that didn't involve a knife and a bloody mangled body with pale blonde hair and dead grey eyes and a pointed chin, and to their great delight, just such a thing arrived with the post about a week later.

As the owls flooded into the Great Hall as usual, everyone's attention was caught at once by a long thin package carried by six large screech owls. Harry was just as interested as everyone else to see what was in this large parcel and was amazed when the owls soared down and dropped it right in front of him, knocking his bacon to the floor. They had hardly fluttered out of the way when another owl dropped a letter on top of the parcel. Lissa's eyes trained on him, watching with rapt attention as Harry ripped open the letter first, which was lucky, because it said:

DO NOT OPEN THE PARCEL AT THE TABLE.

It contains your new Nimbus Two Thousand,but I don't want everybody knowing you'vegot a broomstick or they'll all one.

Oliver Wood will meet you tonight on theQuidditch pitch at seven o'clock for yourfirst training session.

Professor M. McGonagall

Harry had difficulty hiding his glee as he handed the note to Ron to read

"A Nimbus Two Thousand!" Ron moaned enviously "I've never even touched one"

"This so beats Lodi's old Comet. Though I wouldn't be surprised if he got one for his birthday" Lila said, rolling her eyes and glancing at her brother at the Ravenclaw Table.

"Or Ali" Lissa said, Lila nodded. The four of them left the hall quickly, wanting to unwrap the broomstick in private before their first lesson, but halfway across the Entrance Hall they found the way upstairs barred by Crabbe and Goyle. Lila put a calm face on, seeming just as indifferent as always until Malfoy seized the package from Harry and started feeling it. She let out a feral growl and Lissa had to hold her back.

"That's a broomstick," he said, throwing it back to Harry with a mixture of jealously and spite on his face. "You'll be in for it this time Potter, first-years aren't allowed them" Ron couldn't resist it.

"It's not just any old broomstick" he said "It's a Nimbus Two Thousand"

"What did you say you've got at home, my dear cousin Draco, a Comet Two Sixty?" Lila smiled a sweet smile at Draco "Comets look flashy, but they're not in the same league as the Nimbus"

"Well my dear cousin Lila, isn't that what Lodi has?" Draco replied, rounding on her, his narrowed grey eyes boring into hers.

"Yes, but don't forget Drakey, his fourteenth birthday is in 2 weeks. November fourteenth. And what with my father being the Head of the Black Family, what do you think one of his MINOR presents is going to be?" Lila retorted, still smiling that sickly sweet smile at him. Draco opened his mouth to reply, but before he could do so Professor Flitwick appeared at his shoulder.

"Not arguing, I hope, Miss Black, Mr Malfoy?" he squeaked.

"Just fine" Lila growled under her breath through gritted teeth. Malfoy ignored her.

"Potter's been sent a broomstick, Professor," Malfoy said quickly.

"Yes, yes, that's right" Flitwick replied, beaming at Harry. "Professor McGonagall told me all about the special circumstances, Potter. And what model is it?"

"A Nimbus Two Thousand sir" Harry replied, fighting not to laugh at the look of horror on Malfoy's face. Lila was doing the same.

"And it's really thanks to little Drakey here that he's got it" she added. Flitwick turned to her and his eyes brightened.

"Oh hello Miss Black! I was so disappointed to see you end up in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw. I was so hoping for a miniature feminine Lodi" Flitwick said, directing his high squeaky voice to her.

"I think Lodi was as well" Lila bit her lip, managing a small smile.

"Hm. Well, I just hope you'll prove me and Mr. Black proud by keeping up your studies and your grades. Hate to see you falling behind with such a bright mind"

"Yes sir, that would be quite a shame. My father is counting on me keeping my grades up as well. Cameron doesn't seem to be doing so well" Lila replied with a sigh. She seemed genuinely worried that Cameron wasn't going to get good grades in his fifth year.

"Isn't he your second year brother in Hufflepuff?" the tiny professor asked. Lila nodded.

"Yes sir"

"Well he seems to be doing quite well in Charms and he has three years before his O.W.L year so he has more than enough time to pick up his grades. Now I suppose you're in a hurry to get to the common room to unwrap that little gift, so I shall be leaving you alone now" he replied before walking off.

"My mother was a favourite student of his. Just behind Ashlynn Ravenwood" she smirked slightly at Lissa, who smirked back.

"I'll see you in Potions, Drakey" Lila said sweetly to Malfoy as the 4 of them ran up the stairs.

"It is true though, that Draco got you the broom" Lila said

"You have a point, if he hadn't stolen Neville's Remembrall I wouldn't be on the team…"

"So I suppose you think that's a reward for breaking the rules?" came an angry voice from just behind them. Hermione was stomping up the stairs looking disapprovingly at the package in Harry's hand.

"I thought you weren't speaking to us?" Lila asked with a glare.

"Yes don't stop now" Ron added "It's doing us so much good" Hermione turned around and marched away with her nose in the air.

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