Chapter Four: The Midnight Duel and Hallow's Eve

Sure enough, as soon as they had left the office of their Uncle Sev, the two rather irritated young aristocrats wrote a very annoyed letter to their father, claiming the injustice of seeing one being favored by others simply because he was famous, and from the Headmaster of the school, no less! The two of them were sure that their father –– who was on the board of governors –– would get the issue resolved quickly and efficiently. He'd never failed to come through with his power and wealth before, as a little throwing around of bribes worked wonders when one was gaining a political standing.

That, and they knew that their Father enjoyed baiting wealthy muggle women under the guise of a forbidden, romantic affair, and ended up seizing all of their liquid and monetary assets and converting them into galleons at Gringotts after killing them. Arcturus Black was in his later years, now, so Harry would soon receive the Black family fortune as well.

As of the moment, though, the Malfoy family was the wealthiest family in the magical community, their Gringotts vaults tipped the scale at just over 4 billion galleons. It might have seemed like an overly luxurious and seemingly impossible amount of gold to have in their possession, but the Malfoy's had always invested wisely, and had only gained revenue after many long years of existence, never once losing a penny.

They'd even managed to trick several blood traitor families into signing over their entire fortunes and properties to them, providing the Malfoys with villas and bungalows and private islands to retreat to each summer, even though Malfoy Manor was perhaps one of the grandest buildings in the magical world at the moment, second to only the older magical schools. After finishing up the last touches of their rather passionate letter in elegant script, making sure there wasn't a single smudge on the parchment –– Father hated smudged parchment –– the two Malfoy heirs signed their names and made their way to the Great Hall for dinner.

The two of them approached the Gryffindor table, as there weren't many there, just the few dwindling, which included Granger, Weasel-bee, and Scarhead.

"You think you're so clever, Potter," spat out Draco maliciously. "Strutting about the school as if you own it, just because you got famous for something you can't even remember. It disgusts me. A blood traitor, of all people, getting special attention. But, then again, the Potters have always been blood traitors, even before your father married your filthy mudblood mother-" This got the response Draco had been waiting for, as Jamie immediately sprung up as if to clobber the blond over the head, but Ron held him down –– albeit a tad begrudgingly.

"Easy there, Scarhead," sneered Draco. "You forget your place in society. Down in the slums with the weasels, rats, and other filth." Ron's ears reddened in anger, and Jamie began to protest hotly.

"You're a lot braver when you're around others, then when you're alone," said Jamie coolly. "I wouldn't expect anything less of a Slytherin, though, always worming your way out of situations like a snake."

"Did someone mention me?" hissed Regulus as he slid out of the neck hole in Harry's robes, emerging from his slumber, as Regulus was mostly nocturnal. Both Scarhead and Weasel-bee flinched at the sight of the snake, but kept on their quote on quote 'game faces' determined to not back down.

"Alright then, we'll have a little one-on-one. Midnight duel in the trophy room. Who's your second."

"I'll be," said Ron. "And yours?"

"Me, of course," said Harry, rolling his eyes as Regulus slithered back down his arm, the large green python-esque snake grumbling about stupid rodents interrupting his sleep. "Really, Weasel-bee, lack of social status, wealth, and decorum should not automatically lead to lack of intelligence and common sense." Before the embarrassed red-head could respond, the two brothers were sauntering away.

I assume that you've managed to concoct a plan to hatch revenger? Harry projected into his brother's mind. Draco turned to face him as they walked, his eyebrow raised in an 'are you kidding me?' look.

Of course brother, I am surprise that you think so little of myself and my superb planning skills.

The back garden at the Parkinson's, when we were eight- Harry began to project back, but Draco cut him off fiercely.

That was one time! And we were eight.

Excuses, excuses, Draco. That poor, poor-

Enough! Draco snapped through the mental connection, using his 'Lord Malfoy' voice, and Harry reeled back as though he'd been struck. Draco's silver gaze softened slightly.

I'm sorry, brother… just, please, don't mention 'the incident'.

It's alright brother, I'm sorry for pushing you, Harry responded. And I forgive you… and fine, I won't mention it again. The two once more relaxed and continued at a leisurely pace back to the Slytherin common room.

"Basilisk," whispered Draco, and the cobblestone wall rippled and moved to the side, allowing the two brothers entry into the common room. As they walked down the winding pathway to their rooms, Draco began to explain his plan

"Potter and Weasley, being the pathetic Gryffindor scum they are, won't be able to resist the idea of a fight. I've already tipped off Filch that they'll be there around midnight, and to keep an eye out for them. I told him I heard them discussing the sneaking-out earlier. Knowing Granger, she'll try to stop them, and she'll get caught up, too."

Harry nodded, easily seeing where his brother was going with this. While Harry preferred elaborate, surprising plans, Draco's schemes were always simple and to-the-point.

"Well done, brother," said Harry, commending his brother for the successful planning. "We will sleep soundly tonight."

"Yes, we will," said Draco with a smile.

The next morning, Harry and Draco made their way down to the Great Hall, and were surprised to see Potter and Weasley still sitting at the Gryffindor table, though they were glaring at the duo of Malfoys.

"It seems like they managed to worm their way out of trouble yet again," muttered Harry. "How very Slytherin of them." Draco looked repulsed.

"The gall of it all!" he exclaimed, before sitting down and beginning to load his plate with eggs and bacon. "A Gryffindor, acting like a Slytherin."

"A wolf in sheep's clothing," Harry agreed. A large screech informed them of the arrival of the owl post, which did not listen to the muggle rule of 'no post on Sundays'.

"Look, Draco," said Harry excitedly as Zeus touched down next to them. "Father wrote back."

"Good job, Zeus," said Draco, pleased.

"It was no problem, Master Draco. I will be waiting in he owlery, as always." At the scent of owl and the sound of hooting and beating wings, Regulus crept out of Harry's sleeve with a yawn.

"Stupid small animals, always disturbing my slumber." The serpent was growing rapidly, and was already as thick as Harry's arm and longer than the combined length of Harry's arms.

"You don't have a problem with Caelum," Harry pointed out, and the snake hissed in a shrug-like manner, if that made sense.

"But the feline is a hunting companion, so its alright, for now, I suppose. Though it does spend quite a lot of time fraternizing with that beast of a kneazle… what was her name? Mrs. Norris?"

Both Harry and Draco choked on the pumpkin juice they were drinking, and Draco coughed hysterically for a moment, before composing himself.

"Mrs. Norris?" he demanded, and Regulus nodded his serpentine head.

"That is what I said," Regulus repeated in a bored tone.

"Mrs. Norris…" Draco muttered to himself. "I will be giving that cat a firm talking to when I return to my room this evening."

"Father is doing his best to get the Board of Governors to forfeit Potter's right to play Quidditch, as it is bending of the rules, but they're skeptical that its a matter worth paying attention to at the moment. Father says that if we don't get Potter kicked off of the Gryffindor team, he'll buy out Marcus Flint with the newest broom models next year so the two of us get on he team."

Harry smiled wickedly.

"Could you imagine the two of us as beaters together? Though the twin terrors may have a twin bond, we have a blood bond, which would make us practically unstoppable… and we'd be able to clobber Potter and the rest of the blood traitors without getting in trouble!" said Harry gleefully. "Oh, its wonderful just thinking about it."

The two were caught in thought for a moment, blissfully thinking of the time when they would be able to compete on their House Quidditch team.

"Come on," said Harry, marching Draco up to the seventh floor at the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy.

"Dobby mentioned that this would be a good place to practice our more… particular magic, as I'm finding the coursework here rather dull." Draco smirked.

"I thought I was the only one."

"You were sorely mistaken." Harry paced back and forth in front of the portrait three times, and smirked in satisfaction when the door appeared.

"Welcome, brother, to the Room of Requirement." When they entered, there were tomes of books on Dark Magic, most of which they'd been practicing from since the tender age of seven, when their cores had been deemed stable enough to wield wands. There were also practice dummies as well as small animals, and Harry knew they'd be using the small animals as targets more often than not. He flipped open to Chapter Eighteen of 'Magicks for the Intermediate Dark Wizard'.

"Now that you have mastered both the vein rupturing and blinding curses," Harry read. "We will continue on to some of the more advanced intermediate dark magic. The blood-curdling curse has been around since the early 16th century, and was used to torture prisoners under the Dark Lord Phantom, who was the creator of the curse. The incantation is 'sanguinem obstiterit', and the wand movement is a figure eight with a sharp jap upwards and to the right once the figure eight is completed." He and Draco exchanged smirking looks, and flicked out their more illegal wands from the invisible holsters on their wrists.

Though this was very advanced magic for children their age, they had been learning for a long time, so it was expected that they could master things quickly. After all, they had so much to learn and so little time to learn it all in before the Dark Lord rose to power once more. Thus was the standard of the devoted pureblooded follower. Harry knew personally that the Notts had been training Theodore, and Mrs. Zabini had already begun Blaise's training.

Harry and Draco practiced the wand movement several times, as well as the correct pronunciation of the spell: "San-guee-nem obs-tite-rayt" before finally unlocking the cage containing two small rabbits. Draco tried first.

"Sanguinem obstiterit!" he said firmly, but as he practiced the wand movement, his uppercut was a bit shaky and instead of the blood curdling in the rabbit, the rabbit's skin began to peel itself off of the rabbit's body. It was a gruesome sight, but Harry and Draco had seen worse. Their father had had to teach them how to properly dispose of muggles at an early age.

"Sanguinem obstiterit!" tried Harry. His spell was more successful than Draco's, but still did not have the desired effect, as the blood exploded out of the rabbit, and it was only a quick shield on Draco's part that prevented them from being splattered in the dark crimson liquid.

Draco and Harry exchanged a disgusted look before they began laughing rather hysterically and having the Room clean itself up. They practiced for three more hours, gaining progress every time, but had not yet managed to curdle the blood like spoilt milk. Boiling, yes. Curdling, no.

Finally, the two boys caved to exhaustion and vowed that they would be back the next weekend to continue their studies, which was much more than Potter had ever done in his entire life, as the pompous ass had always had everything handed to him on a golden platter.

They quickly made their way to the Slytherin Common room and found themselves the first to bed –– not that it mattered, their homework was always completed straight away so they had time for further independent study.

The next morning, the two of them prepared for a day of Herbology with the Hufflepuffs and Charms with the Gryffindors.

"Good morning, class," said Professor Sprout brightly as she bustled through the greenhouse with her usual kindly attitude. "Today, we will be going over Devil's Snare, though we will not be interacting with it as it is a rather dangerous species of plant should you not know how to deal with it! Thankfully, I will prepare you for such an occurrence today-"

The lesson drolled on, and Harry took notes diligently, even though he'd already gone over this with his Father when they were at the Bulgarian villa. Draco, as it seemed, was doodling aimlessly on his piece of parchment, and Harry clucked his tongue fondly.

Slacking, Draco? My, my, what would Father think? Harry projected, and Draco gave a little hop, looking up at Harry guiltily.

I know, it's just going over things I already know is so boring, Father said the only reason he didn't have us moved up a couple of years is because the Dark Lord will want a reliable source on Potter when he comes back.

It's fine, you can copy my notes later.

"Mr. Malfoy –– Harrison, I mean –– would you mind telling me one way of fending off Devil's Snare?"

"Conjuring up a flame, such as the incantation 'incendio'," Harry recited without a second thought, and mentally kicked himself for how much like the mudblood he sounded. Sprout, however, smiled at him.

"Very good, Mr. Malfoy. Take five points for Slytherin." And so the lesson continued on in a rather droll manner, Harry taking notes and Draco doodling. After Draco had finished a rather lovely stick figure portrayal of Scarhead getting struck by lightning, he performed a rather advanced animation charm on the picture, causing it to come to life.

Harry could tell that Draco was pleased, it practically radiated off of his brother in droves, and Harry shook his head fondly.

When the bell rang, Harry and Draco were among the first out of the room, having already had their satchels packed up and ready to go when Sprout dismissed them, heading over to double charms with the Gryffindors, where they would spend the day practicing the levitation charm.

As soon as they entered, the class began, Flitwick muttering happily at the progress of the students. Draco and Harry had paused to listen to the mudblood and the weasel bicker.

"You're saying it wrong," said Hermione pompously. "It's levi-oh-sah, not levio-sah."

"You do it then, if you're so clever!" grumbled Weasley, and Hermione seemed to take that as a personal challenge.

"Wingardium leviosa!" she said, and with a neat swish and flick of her wand, her feather raised high into the air.

"Why, look here!" said Professor Flitwick eagerly. "Miss Granger's done it!" Harry, not one to be surpassed by a mudblood, pointed his wand at himself.

"Wingardium leviosa!"

"Oi! Professor! Look at what Malfoy's doing!" said Scarhead, pointing at the levitating Harry, smiling to himself, as if he was somehow getting Harry into trouble.

"I'll say, Mr. Malfoy!" came Flitwick's excited cry once more. "Self-levitation! How clever of you! Take ten points to Slytherin!" Harry beamed. With all of the points Uncle Sev deducted from other Houses and gave to Slytherin, as well as the other points Harry and Draco had won for diligent work in classes, Slytherin was a shoe-in for the House Cup this year.

Hermione huffed at Harry's display and spent the rest of the class period trying to one-up him, though she failed miserably, as she hadn't been practicing magic long enough to have the same control over her magical core that Harry and Draco had over theirs.

"It's levi-ohhh-sa, not levio-saaah," Weasel-bee was mimicking Hermione to the crowd that consisted of Scarhead, Finnigan, and mudblood Thomas. "Honestly, she's a nightmare. It's no wonder she hasn't got any friends." Harry and Draco sniggered as they saw the mudblood push past the boys, wiping a few tears from her eyes.

"I think she heard you…" said Scarhead uneasily to Ron, who shrugged nervously.

"Well she's got to have noticed she hasn't got any friends," Ron continued snidely, and Draco piped in.

"She has as many friends as the amount of gold in your Gringotts vault," he crowed, and Harry pulled him away.

"Draco," he hissed. "Stop antagonizing them. I know we could easily beat him in a fight, but we don't need to draw unwanted attention to ourselves. If Dumbledore begins watching us, who knows what could happen?"

They had no homework for the day, so they returned to the Room of Requirement, continuing to practice the blood curdling curse until dinner, and by then they'd made no progress, so they made their way down to the Halloween feast.

There had been merriment all around the Slytherin table as they exchanged scary stories in a rare show of light-heartedness, but the mood was ruined when Professor Quirrell came bursting into the Great Hall, caterwauling like a banshee.

"TROLL! TROOOLLLL! IN THE DUNGEONS." He paused. "Thought you 'ought to know." And upon those words, Quirrell promptly fainted.

Chaos ensued around the Great Hall until Dumbledore cast a sonorous charm on his throat.

"QUIET!" he boomed, and the Hall stilled. "Prefects, take the students to their common rooms while the teachers take care of the troll."

"OI! PROFESSOR DUMBLEDORE!" cried one of the Slytherin seventh years. "YOU SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THE SLYTHERIN COMMON ROOM ARE IN THE DUNGEONS!" Dumbledore paused.

"Slytherin students may remain in the Great Hall." It took a while to calm everyone down, including the Slytherins, who were left to their own devices in the Great Hall, and they slowly but surely began to finish their meal, waiting for the Professors to come and fetch them.

Professor Snape came in a moment later with a limp, muttering about Potter and Weasley stopping the troll, and Harry found himself briefly stunned. Potter, the idiot who had little more power than a squib had taken on a fully grown mountain troll and survived?

As he asked the question, five more ruby red gems fell into the Gryffindor hourglass, signalling Potter had received five points for his bravery. A smirk once more found its way onto Harry's face seamlessly, as he made more points than that daily for good work.

"Slytherins, you may return to your dormitories, the troll has been taken care of," said Uncle Sev, and they all nodded, some still in slight shock from the events that had transpired that evening.

"Do you think it was a move by You-Know-Who?" asked Harry.

"Maybe, Father mentioned in an earlier letter that Dumbledore was guarding something at the school, something that the Dark Lord wanted to return to full power and glory… but, its better we don't get involved unless we need to. As you said earlier, we don't need any more suspicion on our shoulders… even though the suspicion that is already there is due to the fact that we are Malfoys."

Harry smirked.

"They were right to fear us, though."

"Right you are, brother," said Draco, before slinking off to his room. Harry stumbled into his own and found Regulus already curled up on one of the pillows, having come back from a day's long hunting expedition that would keep him satisfied for the rest of the week.

Harry's dreams were filled with ruby stones and a strange glittering mirror, along with three-headed dogs and swarms of angry bird-like creatures, but would remember none of it by the time he woke up the next morning.