6: Names Don't Matter
"When two people are at one in their inmost hearts, they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze" ~ Book ~ Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
As the week progressed Harry started to hate Draco Malfoy more and more. He was astounded when Lila told him they were cousins. He could see the resemblance, the blonde hair, the grey eyes. But in personality and everyday demeanour, he couldn't believe that her father and Malfoy's mother were ever cousins.
As himself, Lissa and Lila was walking to breakfast one morning, he was ranting about how Malfoy always gloated loud enough for him to hear when he left potions and Lissa and Lila had run off to the library to greet Ali and Lodi, who was Lila's brother. A third year Ravenclaw like Ali that he had yet to meet.
"I don't know how you put up with him?! He's worse than my spoilt cousin Dudley!" Harry exclaimed as he came to the end of his rant.
"Dudley Dursley" Lila mused, trying the name out on her tongue. "Dudley Dursley. You muggles have strange names" Lila raised her eyebrows.
"Like you can talk, Lilia" Lissa said, sticking her tongue out at Lila. Lila glared at her before looking at Harry.
"And I put up with him because I avoid him at all costs and I ignore everything he says" she said.
"You wouldn't happen to be talking about me would you?" a male voice spoke from behind Lila. The 3 first years whirled around to see Lodi, a slightly tall blue-black haired boy with silvery grey eyes and light skin. Ali stood behind him, pulling at his sleeve.
"Come on L" she said.
"Wait Lena" Lodi said before looking at the trio.
"Morning Lodi. And no, we weren't talking about you. We were talking about Draco" she said darkly. Lodi sighed exasperated.
"Drake isn't that bad" Ali said, biting her lip. A nervous habit of hers that Lissa told Harry about.
"You haven't heard him in Potions!" Lila retorted. Lissa nodded.
"She's right" Harry and Lissa piped up in unison.
"I'm sure you'll be able to put up with him Lila. You have for 11 years already" Lodi said before letting himself be dragged away by Ali.
"Bye Ali!" Lissa called after them. Ali waved at her before disappearing around a corner.
"So that was your brother" Harry said looking at Lila.
"Yep. Lodi Regulus Black"
"He seems nice"
Ali and Lodi walked down the corridor in comfortable silence, their hands clasped together. They loved sharing these little moments alone together. Lodi was Ali's very first friend. The first person to talk to her without hate or disgust and Ali didn't want to lose him. Ever.
They closed their eyes, Ali's dark blue and Lodi's silvery grey, and continued their way down the hall slowly. All of a sudden Ali bumped into someone and fell back, releasing Lodi's hand in the process. A different hand caught her. Whereas Lodi's hand was cool and smooth with the soft delicate fingers of a violinist, this hand was warm and slightly rougher as if years of doing his own work instead of house elves doing it for him had worn them down. Her eyes flew open and she looked up to see none over then the Weasleys. But the Weasley who caught her wasn't George. It was Fred.
He pulled her to her feet and his hand lingered, holding hers for a moment more before he pulled his hand away and stuffed it in his pocket, glaring darkly at her.
"Thank you" she said quietly staring at the floor.
"No problem. Wouldn't want you in the hospital wing would we? The Ravenclaw Quidditch Team wouldn't be happy that their star Chaser couldn't come to practice because Fred Weasley let her fall on the floor" he said bitterly. Lodi frowned.
"Alright Fred, that's enough. You've been taunting her for 3 years. Give it up already. George has decided to accept so why can't you do the same?!" he said glaring at his friend and stepping in between Fred and her. Ali stared at him in shock. Lodi had been friends with Fred and George since before he could walk and talk. He had never stood in between one of Fred and George's taunting Ali sessions. She always saw him flinching out of the corner of her eyes when they basically bullied her. She knew he wanted to help, but that would ruin his and the twins friendships. But not helping Ali would wreck theirs. Now it seems, after George had accepted her, Lodi snapped.
"Lodi what are you doing?" Ali hissed to him
"I'm bloody pissed off at them, well Fred, for taunting you, 3 years! 3 years Ali! I don't know how you haven't broken down yet" he hissed back.
"I would've broken down this year. But Lissa was coming up and then she was sorted into Gryffindor. Then George accepted me" Ali whispered. Fred cut in before Lodi could respond.
"I don't even know why you're friends with her Lodi"
"Maybe because I gave her a chance"
"I gave her a chance-"
"No. You gave Alinai a chance. You didn't give Alinai Riddle a chance. If you did, you would notice that they're the same girl just a surname has been added on. But of course you can't see that because you're a pureblooded bigot like you keep saying Ali is"
"I'm not a pureblooded bigot!"
"Really? Well then, stop acting like it. You gave Lissa a chance, why not Ali" he glared at Fred once more before taking Ali's hand and pushing past him, pulling her down the hallway.
"I'll see you in class George" he muttered as he passed. George nodded and looked at his brother. Silence hung between them for a few moments, disrupted only by the slam of the door at the end of the hall as Lodi and Ali passed through.
"Come on," George said eventually. "I'm hungry"
Ali and Lodi walked silently up the moving staircases, that were currently, much to Ali's liking, still. They always made her feel sick to her stomach when they moved. Lodi had released her hand and was brooding the whole way up to Ravenclaw Tower. Ali answered the riddle for Lodi, even though he was better at Riddles then herself, before dragging him in where he sunk into a couch by the fireplace and proceeded to immerse himself in Hogwarts: A History. Ali sat in front of the fireplace, staring at the remains from last night's fire before glancing up at him, smiling slightly. Lodi peeked over the top of the book at her before giving her a look that said 'If I could raise an eyebrow, you know I would'
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"I just remembered what you said in first year when we had to answer the knocker's riddle for the first time by ourselves" she replied. Lodi's face cracked into a smile.
"Yeah. That was a little funny"
"Mm-hmm. It was. You couldn't believe I was stuck on the riddle"
"Hey, I was 11. How was I supposed to know that just because your surname was Riddle doesn't mean you were instantly amazing at riddles?" He closed the book and looked at her "In fact you sucked at them" he muttered.
"What was that?"
"That's what I thought"
"You know, at times you can be so muggle"
"Good. It would make Muggle Studies much easier" At that Lodi laughed and Ali smiled triumphantly, successful at cheering up her friend once again.
Fred and George eat their breakfast in total silence. It wasn't till their best friend Lee Jordan and their cousin, Cadence Prewett (who was in her 5th year), walked over that they finally spoke.
"What's up with you? You look like you've just met a Dementor" Cadence said, shuddering at the thought.
"Nothing. Just that Fred is turning out to be a Pureblooded bigot like the Malfoys. Well excluding the 3 Malfoy sisters"
"I am not!"
"What do you mean George?" Lee asked frowning.
"Lodi just had a go at him because he won't give a girl we used to be friends with a chance now that he knows her surname"
"Who's the girl?" Cadence, or Caddie as Fred and George and her younger sister Andrea knew her, asked.
"Alinai Riddle" Fred said bitterly like her name itself was poison. George shot him a look. Cadence choked on air and Lee patted her back.
"You're friends with a RIDDLE?!"
"Were. Past tense"
"At least, past tense for Fred. I'm friends with her again. She's not like they say. She's extremely kind. A little scared of the students I think. Smartest girl in our year and still thinks she's got the lowest grades currently. She's just like everyone else-"
"She's a Riddle George"
"So is Lissa! Yet you were the one who gave her a hug and got me and Fred the night she was chased out of her dorm by the other girls so don't you dare use the surname excuse on me Cadence Marie Prewett" George said, glaring at her over the table. Fred looked at him as he let his mind wander to their first year.
"I bet little Miss Alinai Riddle will be going to a fancy private Wizarding school for girls" Fred said as he navigated his way through the crowd, searching for Lodi, George following him.
"Think again before you bet on that" he said, pointing to their left. Over in the direction he was pointing, Fred saw a silvery white-blonde haired woman gently kiss a small thin fragile girl before an even smaller mousy brown haired girl hugged the small girl. The small girl was already dressed in her black Hogwarts robes. They bleached the colour of her hair and skin making them look like several neatly brushed silvery white curls against pale white skin. But they made her eyes darker, Fred saw, as she turned to face them. They went from a deep sapphire blue to a midnight blue. The silver flecks made them look like pieces of the sky. Even from where he stood 7 metres away, he could see the faint freckles on the bridge of her nose. Her eyes widened as she saw them and she ducked behind the woman who seemed to be her mother. The same silvery white-blonde curls, the same deep sapphire blue eyes.
"Ali" he breathed. Ali kept staring at him from behind her mother. Thankfully, at that point Lodi came and what looked like her friends joined her. 2 Malfoys and a Lestrange. Brown-blonde hair, Grey-Blue eyes, black unruly but also neat hair and haunting brown-black eyes. Ali diverted her eyes from him to her 'friends'. But Fred didn't look away until Lodi clicked his fingers in front of his face and they set off towards the train, Fred catching a glance of the small blonde girl staring at him over Aries Malfoy's shoulder as he climbed the train
Hours later came the sorting. Lodi ended up in Ravenclaw. This boy called Lee Jordan that Fred and George had sat with went to Gryffindor, another boy they sat with called Reani Lupin also went to Ravenclaw. Soon it came to the Riddle Twin Sisters.
"Riddle, Alinai" The hall fell silent as the small girl stumbled up. Fred watched as she pushed locks of silvery white-blonde curls out of her face, her bangs were very long, walking timidly up to the stool. Stumbling on occasion. Fred then glanced at Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore. He was shocked to find them looking sympathetic. Fred was at the front and he swore he heard Professor McGonagall murmur: "The poor dear, she looks exactly like Ashlynn. Even acts like it, it seems. It's painful to know how she'll be treated. I just hope she doesn't get Slytherin. She won't last" Fred felt a pang of guilt and sympathy for her. He knew, if that was what McGonagall said, that the professor was right. A girl like Ali. A girl like the one he knew last year. Wouldn't last 3 seconds in a house like that.
She sat on the stool and McGonagall placed the hat on her head. Fred heard her squeak as the hat fell past her wide innocent yet broken eyes to her tiny delicate button nose. Everything about her was small and delicate. She was like a china cup. Everything was silent for a few seconds, you could've heard a pin drop, until Fred heard her quiet soft, delicate voice, that in the silence carried across the hall, stutter:
"W-What's s-strange?" Then silence fell for a few more moments. It was so silent that Fred was startled when the hat suddenly shouted "RAVENCLAW!"
Ali had the hat pulled off and she made her way smiling to the Ravenclaw Table. Despite that they were cheering, Fred thought they weren't cheering loud enough and had the urge to curse them all. But he held himself back, confused as to where these feelings were coming from. He watched as she placed herself in front of Lodi who smiled warmly at her and shook her hand before moving to sit next to her, keeping a hold of her hand. Again, for reasons unknown, Fred wished he was in Lodi's space. But he already knew he ruined that chance.
"Riddle, Miracle" Ali's twin sister, who was considerably taller and less delicate but more graceful, glided her way up, perching on the stool. The hat had sat on her head for exactly 5 seconds before it shouted out "SLYTHERIN!" Now that, Fred had predicated. He couldn't forget what Ali said about her father loving Miracle and hating her the previous year. He sighed. What was going on?
Fred gripped the edge of his seat tightly, thankful the others could see. He stood up and walked out, ignoring George. He had already set his path to Ravenclaw Tower. If he was going to apologise to Ali and Lodi, he would do it now.