7: The Midnight Duel Part 1
"You alone, you can take away the pain, yeah, you have shown, you can find a way to change" ~ Song ~ Glass House by Red
The next evening at dinner, Ali sat, resting her head against the Ravenclaw Table. She had stayed up all night, sitting back to back with Fred, talking. Talking about the friends she had made without them, which happened to be none, things about Lissa that Fred would need to know when he had to look after her because Ali couldn't, how she was doing in classes, her grades, how she basically tutored Lodi and that she tutored first and second years. On top of her tiredness from staying up all night, she had Double Potions that day and Arithmancy with Ancient Runes straight after and Divination after that. So now she was bone weary (as the muggles said). She felt someone slip into the seats either side of her before a cool, smooth hand touched her left shoulder and a warm, rough hand touched her right. She looked up to see George sitting in front of her, Fred on her right and Lodi on her left. Fred grinned at her.
"Sorry about keeping you up all night Ali. Lodi told me you had a busy day" he said. Ali yawned.
"It's fine Fred. My notes from Divination, Arithmancy and Ancient Runes are a little muddled and missing a few things, but I can revise tomorrow and Sari said she'll let me copy down whatever I'm missing from her notes before I can neaten them. Aries said she'll do the same with Divination. And Snape likes me enough that he just let my ruined potion slide. You didn't do anything really" she replied as she yawned again. Fred nodded.
"Good, come on. You can join us at the Gryffindor Table. Meet your new competition" Fred told her, taking her hand and pulled her up. George grinned this time when she looked at them cautiously,
"What do you mean?"
"You're joking." Lila stared at Harry over the table with wide grey eyes. Harry had just finished telling Ron, Lila and Lissa what had happened when he'd left the grounds with Professor McGonagall. Ron had a piece of steak-and-kidney pie halfway to his mouth, but he'd forgotten all about it. Lila had nearly choked on her pumpkin juice. Even Lissa was shocked. And hardly anything to do with the Wizarding World shocked her.
"Seeker?" she said "But first-years never - you must be the youngest house player in about -"
"- a century," Harry said, shovelling pie into his mouth. He felt particularly hungry after the excitement of the afternoon. "Wood told me" His 3 friends were so amazed, so impressed, they just sat there and gaped at him.
"I start training next week," he added "Only don't tell anyone, Wood wants to keep it a secret."
Fred and George then came over, Ali following cautiously behind, as if suspicious that this was a trick.
"Well done" George said lowly "Wood told us. We're on the team too - Beaters"
"I tell you, we're going to win that Quidditch Cup for sure this year" Fred added onto his brother "We haven't won since Charlie left, but this year's team is going to be brilliant. You must be good, Harry, Wood was almost skipping when he told us"
Ali, who only hard part of what Fred said, spoke up "Who says you'll win the Quidditch Cup this year. Ravenclaw just might beat you, like we almost did last year. We have some promising second-years already in line for Seeker" Lissa and Harry turned to look at her, as did Ron, Fred and George. Lila ignored her and stood up to give Lodi a hug, not that Ali cared.
"Because Gryffindor have better chances this year. We also have promising Seeker choices lined up" George said and Lodi laughed, not very humorously, but not without humour either.
"Yeah right" he scoffed. Fred turned to look back at Harry.
"Harry, I trust you know Ali. You can't know Lissa without knowing Ali and you can't know Ali without eventually knowing Lissa"
"Yeah I know her. I reached many classes on time because of her"
"You're welcome" Ali said with a smile.
"This is why you'll be prefect in 2 years. Anyway Harry, Ali here, is the Chaser for Ravenclaw. And Lodi is as well. Aries Malfoy, you'll meet her soon, is the current Seeker, but her father is making her leave the team to pick up her grades"
"Something she complains to me about all the time" Lodi muttered.
"Wait, did you say Malfoy?"
"Don't worry Harry, I know Aries. Her, her twin Sari and their little sister Melody are all like Ali. In fact Melody is in Hufflepuff and they're kind, loyal and patient. They don't like cheating and hate Slytherin"
"Anyway, Lee found a new secret passageway, so we'll be off" Fred said. Lodi, who was now free from Lila's hug, followed them.
"I'mma coming with you" Ali, on the other hand, sat herself down next to Lissa. Just as she did, Draco Malfoy walked over, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle.
"Having a last meal, Potter? When are you getting the train back to the Muggles?" Ali shot a confused look at Lissa who just mouthed: "I'll tell you later"
"You're a lot braver now you're back on the ground and you've got your little friends with you," Harry said coolly. There was of course nothing little about Crabbe and Goyle, but as the high table was full of teachers, neither of them could do more than crack their knuckles and scowl.
"I'd take you on any time on my own" Malfoy replied " Tonight, if you want. Wizard's duel. Wands only - no contact. What's the matter? Never heard of a wizard's duel before, I suppose?" Lila and Ron were about to speak up then, but Lissa beat them to it.
"Of course he has" she said determinedly, standing up. She was surprisingly the same height as Draco. Ali thought she must have had a growth spurt. "I'm his second, who's yours?" Malfoy looked at Crabbe and Goyle, sizing them up.
"Crabbe" he said "Midnight all right? We'll meet you in the trophy room, that's always unlocked."
When Malfoy had gone, Lissa sat down and Ali frowned at her.
"What were you thinking?!"
"I had to do something! I wasn't going to let Draco get to him!"
"You'll be breaking the rules Melissa!"
"I know that. But it's worth it, for Harry" Said boy looked at them.
"What is a wizard's duel? And what do you mean, you're my second?"
"A Wizard's duel is simply a duel but with spells. The duel I had with the sixth-year last year, was a Wizard's duel."
"A second is usually there to take over if you die" Lila added casually. Catching the look on Harry's face, she quickly added "But people only die in proper duels, you know, with real wizards or witches"
"Harry, don't worry. The most you and Malfoy'll be able to do is send sparks at each other. Neither of you know enough magic to do any real damage" Ali assured "Besides, he was probably expecting you to refuse"
"Who was your second in your duel last year, Ali?" Ron asked.
"Lodi. I am the smartest student in my year yes, but you should of seen some of his jinxes, shields and curses"
"Well what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?" Harry pointed out. Lila shrugged.
"Just throw it to the side, Lissa will catch it, she's got Chaser blood. Then, punch him in the nose, I would. Or just allow me to punch him in the nose. Or stab him" she said simply as if she was talking about the weather.
"Life lesson 1: Never trust Lila with a sharp knife. She would murder half of England" Lissa said. Lila grinned.
"See? This girl knows her stuff" she said pointing to Lissa.
The 5 of them, well 4 now as Ali had slipped out to find the twins, Lee and Lodi, looked up. It was Hermione Granger.
"Lissa, get me a knife"
"No. I'm not going to let you commit murder. Not in such a public place as the Great Hall at least"
"Damn you" Hermione shot Lissa a dark glare which made Harry wanted to hex her for, but he didn't know any hexes.
"Can't a person eat in peace?" Ron asked. Hermione ignored him and turned to Harry and Lissa.
"I couldn't help overhearing what you and Malfoy were saying -"
"Bet you couldn't" Ron and Lila muttered.
"- and your sister is right Melissa. You'll be breaking one or two school rules at a minimum. You mustn't go wandering around the school at night, think of the points you'll lose for Gryffindor if you're caught, and you're bound to be. It's really selfish of you. And cold" Hermione said, directing the last part to Lissa. Harry glared.
"And it's really none of your business" he snapped.
"Goodbye" Ron and Lila said in unison again.