Chapter 5: Ponces and Purebloods

It had been a year since Rose had started retraining her magic.

Tom had been fairly pleased with her progress, but Rose wasn't. She still felt rage every time she reached for her magic and found such a weak small thing. At least three times Tom had punished her by retreating completely and leaving her completely blocked off from his magic. He never apologized, even when the panic attacks came and she begged him to come back. He told her to learn. To strengthen her own magic that nobody could ever take away. Not even him.

So she did. She strengthened it enough that she could control small amounts of magic if she got frustrated enough. When she was mad she could turn lights on and off and sometimes make things move. Nothing like the feats of magic she had been able to do from a small age.

'Take pride, Briar.' Tom had told her. 'Most witches and wizards don't even have that much control.'

She spent a lot of time reading the book by Tomyris Travers as well. It was the only thing from the magical world she owned, and she treated it with special reverence. She read the words of the various curses and spells that Travers wrote out and listened to Tom explain in vivid detail what they did.

The history was also fascinating. She read about the creation of the Sacred Twenty Eight at the start of the century, and how certain families used their status and others didn't.

'It was mostly a political grab.' Tom scoffed, 'It was becoming more and more acceptable to marry muggles, especially as families became too intermingled. Some families grouped together to proclaim their purity. You still needed to be a pureblood to sit on the Wizengamot and ministry positions in those days.'

"There were only twenty-eight pureblood families?" Rose asked, confused

'Oh no.' Tom chuckled darkly, 'There were only twenty-eight politically powerful families. With some exceptions. The Weasleys weren't powerful nor wealthy but they were so well known it would have been noted if they were left off. And the Gaunts were famously pureblood, and related to Slytherin, so they were also included, despite their rather….low prospects.'

"What about the Potters?"

Tom hummed, 'I'm not sure. I know they were purebloods. There was a coalition of Witches and Wizards who had wanted to aid the muggles in their Great War, so it likely had something to do with that. Many purebloods who were sympathetic to muggles were omitted from the list as a slight.'

She learned about Grindelwald and the war against him, the tension with MUSCA in America in the 50s, the reforming of the Ministry in the 60s and the rise of Pro-Muggle politics that followed. After that there was a small time of unrest with terrorist attacks committed by the faceless 'Lord Voldemort' until he finally came out in force in 1970, sparking the beginning of the first Wizarding War that only ended when Neville Longbottom supposedly destroyed him.

"There's nothing special about him." Rose would mutter, staring at the picture of Augusta Longbottom holding baby Neville. Did she know she would be tortured to insanity in two short weeks?

Tom shook his head, 'He's a pureblood. Comes from a relatively wealthy and respected family. How powerful he will be...we shall see.'

Rose didn't think he would be powerful. Or she didn't want him to be. She was the powerful one. He was just some...some...kid who took everything from her. Why did he get to be raised in the Wizarding world, surrounded by family, while she was tossed away into some muggle group home like she was nothing?!

'I do not know Briar, but we will find out.'

On the last day of Primary school Miss Farley came to the ceremony.

It was a stupid ceremony. She walked around in those graduate robes that reminded her so much of wizarding overcloaks, walking up and shaking the hand of a bored teacher, before smiling for a picture and walking on. Like they were getting degrees and not just changing schools.

But it was her last day of Muggle School, and she was thrilled.

She had been surprised to see Miss Farley in the audience, her honey coloured hair pulled to the side in clips and wearing a nice floral dress. She clapped for her and smiled when Rose turned to look at her. Rose felt something warm inside looking at the social worker that she normally only associated with Tom.

'We're not gonna hurt her.' Rose told him as Miss Farley gave her a big hug at the end and told her how proud she was of her.

Tom sighed, sounding annoyed, but he didn't argue as Rose buried her face into the woman's dress to hide her smile.

A week before her Hogwarts letter arrived, Rose turned on the lamp by herself, with her own magic. She hadn't even been angry. She had reached for her own magic, ignoring Toms and grabbed it, before looking at the lamp and commanding it on.

And it had come on.

She had been excited. Tom had felt a bit amused at her own enjoyment, but he had applauded her work.

'Now you know what it feels like.' He told her, 'Try to capture that feeling every time, with every spell. Not every spell can be cast without a wand, but you can use magic to manipulate your environment.'

Rose spent hours that night turning the lamp on and off until she could do it with ease. The next day she had slept until noon she was so tired.

After that it had been easier to do the small things she could before. Lights, locking doors, moving small objects, all came with ease. Some of the larger magic she had done in the past still escaped her. Burning down a house, causing harm, burning people.

'There's no one here you want to hurt.' Tom explained, 'Not really. The muggles you hurt in the past hurt you first and you reacted with anger. To gain control of such things may take you years.'

"I have years." Rose reminded him, still reeling from the high of having her own magic. Magic that nobody can take away.

Not even Tom.

The arrival of her Hogwarts letter came with no fanfare. Tom had told her that a teacher would come to give her her letter, since it was a muggle institute she was housed in. Dumbledore had come for him, but it was likely another would come to see her.

But no teacher had come. Instead Miss Gemma had handed her the letter wordlessly as she handed out the rest of the mail the kids had gotten that week.

Rose had blinked at it, shocked. She hadn't expected it, and she found herself looking at it open mouthed like an idiot.

Miss Briar-Rose Euphemia Potter
145 Houghtan Ave
Third Largest Bedroom
Greater London

She held the heavy letter with wide eyes.

'Take it to your room.' Tom spoke with something underneath his tone. He was annoyed,

She got up and walked towards the stairs to her bedroom on the second floor. She was still in a bit of a daze and was trying to figure out exactly what was happening. This wasn't what Tom said would happen. Tom was never wrong.

'I'm often wrong, Briar.' Tom huffed as she walked into her room.

She sat down on her bed, holding the letter. It was sealed with a beautiful piece of red wax with a coat of arms on it. She thought it was a shame to break it.

But she did anyway, wiping away the crumbling wax as she pulled out the letter. Several pieces of the strange paper used by wizards came out, each with beautiful ink writing in green. She picked up the first one, the acceptance letter, and stared at it blankly.

"Why...why didn't anyone come?" She asked, frowning at the paper.

Tom was still annoyed. They had been planning for someone to come. They had prepared, figured out just what to say and how to act. Rose was going to pretend that she knew nothing of magic and act wide eyed and innocent when the teacher showed her. Tom had admitted that how he acted around Dumbledore when he got his letter had been a major mistake and the professor had never really let it go.

'I don't know. Perhaps due to parentage last name they assumed you knew about magic already?'

That's stupid. She can't be the only child in history from magical family who grew up without knowing about magic. Tom himself was related to the Gaunts and they sent someone to him. The more she thought about it the more she thought something has to be wrong. She wondered if whoever sent the letters knew something they shouldn't. Did they know about Tom? Did they know she had already been to the Wizarding World? Maybe it was because she had access her vault?

She hands were shaking a bit as she handled her letter.

'Briar?' Tom asked, his voice confused, or maybe concerned.

She blinked rapidly, and then put it down, "Sorry I just...maybe part of me thought this day would never actually come."

Tom didn't respond. He just let her sit there and read the letter. She looked at the bottom where it was signed from Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmaster. The letter also listed Albus Dumbledore as the headmaster with a long list of titles, most of which sounded made up. Supreme Mugwump? That couldn't be a real thing.

'It's an international title.' Tom sighed, 'It's from another language.'

"Still sounds dumb." She sighed, placing the letter down. She reached beside her and picked up the equipment list, reading it over, "They've put wand on here twice."

Tom ignored her, instead focusing on the booklist, 'Interesting.'

"What is?" She asked. The titles didn't look particularly important but she itched to read them. Books about magic!

'Your book list is standard. Mostly reference books that you'll use all four years. Your potions textbook is a nice change. The stuff Slughorn required were usually written by ex-students. This is an actual textbook.'

As he read on a burst of vindictive amusement went through him.

'I don't recognize the Defense book - I'll be interested to see who is teaching this year.'

"What do you mean?" Rose asked, her eyes flickering over the bit about an owl, cat or a toad. She could have a pet?

'The position is cursed.' Tom spoke nonchalantly, 'Nobody can hold it for more than a year.'

"I'm sure you know nothing about that?" She held back a grin.

'I'm sure.' He repeated.

Rose closed up the letter, placing the papers back inside carefully and folded it back, holding it in her hand reverently. She wondered if it was normal for witches and wizards to hang onto their Hogwarts letter. She certainly would never throw it away.

"Can we go tomorrow?" She asked Tom, vibrating out of her seat. It had been more than a year since her last venture into the magical world. She had been itching to go back ever since. She had argued that they needed more information about the status of his followers. Maybe find where Pettigrew was hiding out. But Tom hadn't agreed.

'Every time we go into the wizarding world we risk someone finding out about me.' He had told her. 'Besides a lot can change in a year, we should wait and re enter when we are ready.'

She had considered going anyway. It was her body, he was just hitching a ride. But she knew he could make her head hurt if he wanted, and she'd rather not have to deal with that.

'We should wait for a weekend.' Tom mused, 'It'll be busier.'

Rose huffed, standing up sharply, "Last time we went when it wasn't busy!"

'Yes, but last time we were trying to get our footing. We have a better idea of the situation now. We've studied your...rather interesting history book. We know what's been going on since my fall. Now is the time to see the people, find out who is associating with who. Which families have made enemies, and which are in favour.'

Rose thought that that was just about the most boring thing she had ever heard.

"Fine." She sat down at her desk, gritting her teeth, "We'll do it your way." For now.

Tom didn't bother responding to that.

She took the muggle bus this time, not wanting to think about the Knight Bus anytime soon. Tom had been right though and the bus stop was a bit further from the Alley than she had expected. But she refused to give him the benefit of being right. Maybe it was a small thing, but it was a tiny act of rebellion that showed him that this was still her body, her life.

Same as the first time, she got the barkeep to open the alley for her. He didn't seem to recognize her and just grinned the same as before. She made sure that she had the pattern down before leaving, after all the next time she entered the alley it would be with her open wand.

Diagon Alley looked the same as it had the last time she was here - to be fair, it probably looked the same as it had three hundred years ago. The same Tudor style buildings and cobblestone streets spattered with the occasional more modern technology like oil Lanterns and printed books. However, the alley was far busier than it had been last time. There were people on all sides and Rose had to push through the crowds, touching her on all sides. Tom was obviously annoyed by it, and was grumbling mentally. Rose was just glad she was short and was able to sneak past most everyone without notice.

'Gringotts first.' Tom suggested. Briar agreed with him and started to make her way towards the marble building. She got a few looks, some curious, others disgusted, and she figured they were probably confused by her muggle clothing. It wasn't anything special, acid washed jeans with a band shirt and a jean jacket overtop. She didn't think she'd ever seen jeans in the muggle world and assumed that it was a muggle only material.

As they passed the fifth derisive snort Rose grumbled, "I'm gonna need wizarding clothes."

'Obviously.' Tom spoke dryly, 'We'll go to Madame Malkin's. She's the best for Hogwarts uniforms. Some of the richer families say they prefer Twilfits and Tattlings, but they overcharge for the same quality of clothing - waste of money for a fancy brand name.'

Rose nodded as she climbed the marble steps of the wizarding bank, and walked into the grand entrance hall.

Tom directed her, but she remembered the way and walked up to the counter on the right side, getting into the shortest line and waiting patiently, but inwardly she was a bubbling mess of excitement. She was going to get her wand! And proper wizarding clothes, books and a cauldron! Tom hadn't let her get anything last time other than the book, knowing how difficult it would be to hide them at the group home.

"Next!" The teller called and Rose walked up to the counter.

"I need to make a withdrawal." Rose spoke evenly and politely, holding up her key and placing it on the counter.

The goblin barely looked up and grasped her key, studying it, and then signing something onto a parchment, "Of course, Miss Potter." He turned and spoke in the goblin language, before there was a spattering of feet as another goblin approach. "Kragnok will take you down."

"Thank you." Rose smiled, looking at the new Goblin. He had oily black hair slicked back between his large ears and was wearing a single monocle on his left eye, walking in the shiney leather shoes that all goblins wore and a slick suit.

He started to make his way into the bank and Rose followed diligently. They moved into the familiar carts and down the track towards her vault. When Kragnok opened it, she was still shocked by the sheer amount of gold in it. And it was just her trust.

'How much should I take?' She asked as Kragnok handed her a Gringotts issued featherlight bag.

'Take fifty.' Tom advised and she started to work to count out the little gold coins, 'It won't always be this much, you won't need new robes, trunks or cauldrons every year. The first year is the most expensive.'

Rose nodded and sealed off her featherlight bag and took the trip out of the bank. She wondered if there was an easier way of doing this, but Tom said there wasn't.

'The goblins pride themselves on their bank - it's nigh impossible to break into as is. It's also a form of leverage. Despite wizarding dismal and disdain opinion for goblins, they don't seem to have any issues handing all their gold over. It's curious, that if another Goblin war were to break out that the majority of the wizarding world would be suddenly penniless. It wouldn't do for them to give wizards a way to access their gold from outside the bank.'

As they left Kragnok gave her a scowl and asked, "Anything else you need?"

Rose hummed, looking around the lobby and asked, "Has Lord Black died yet?"

The goblin didn't look perturbed by the question and just shook his head, "No."

"And he hasn't had his trial?"

"Not as indicated in our records."

"Then no, I'm finished here."

They went to Madame Malkin's first. Rose was dying to change into Wizard robes, if only to stop the staring. Tom also cautioned that many people would overcharge those dressed as muggles, assuming they wouldn't know better.

The shop was actually quite small, considering how popular it must be. There were several pedestals situated around the room, and the walls were covered with rolls of fabric, boxes of buttons and hundred upon hundred of fabric swatches. In the back of the store was a simple oak table with what must've been two dozen sewing mannequins with pieces of fabrics floating around them, sewing needles stitching at random and pieces of lace and buttons placing themselves onto the clothes to be finalized.

There were about four women in the shop, all in long flowing robes with aprons overtop. There seemed to be only one other customer, a boy her own age was standing on a pedestal near the window. His back was straight and there was a look on his face like he was disdainful of everything around him.

'Looks like a ponce.' Rose thought.

'Malfoy.' Tom said in her mind, his voice nearly a hiss. Rose knew he was still angry about Lucius Malfoy's lies, but over the past year he had had time to mellow. Rose hoped that Lucius Malfoy had situated himself well in the Ministry in order to alleviate the anger Lord Voldemort would feel at the betrayal.

Rose walked further into the store. One of the women made her way over to her and smiled kindly, "Hogwarts, dear?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

'Madame Malkin.' Tom supplied, 'She's aged, but it's her.'

Madame Malkin, a woman who looked to be in her 50s with greying brown hair and kind wrinkles around her eyes, pointed her to the pedestal beside the boy. Rose nodded, shedding her jean jacket and moving to stand up beside the boy.

A moment later a swirling of tape measures attacked her. She struggled her hardest not to act surprised, putting on a face of indifference to the magic, as though it was something she saw every day.

'Good job,' Tom praised.

The boy looked over at her, sneered at her muggle clothing, but seemed to deem her worthy of his attention because he gave her what she assumed he thought was a charming smile.

"Malfoy." He introduced, in the quintessential pureblood way of introducing family names first, "Draco Malfoy."

'Use your full first name,' Tom instructed, 'Purebloods have respect for uncommon, non-muggle names.'

Rose was annoyed, but complied, copying Malfoy's introduction, "Potter. Briar-Rose."

Tom was right, Malfoy lessened his tensed stance, although that may have been because of her Pureblood last name.

"Potter?" He sounded surprised, "I didn't think there were any left."

"Just me." Rose confirmed.

"Hmm." He nodded, holding out his arms as a swirl of fabrics surrounded him, deep green velvets and silky silvers. "It's my mother's birthday this weekend and I'm getting new dress robes done. I wore my last pair to two separate events, how embarrassing." He huffed.

'Ponce.' Rose repeated, and Tom chuckled.

"Oh." She said out loud, "I'm just getting my Hogwarts robes, and a new pair of casual robes."

"Well, you need it if you've had to resort to muggle clothes." Malfoy jeered.

Rose looked down. She didn't really see anything wrong with muggle clothes, they were comfortable and more sensible than the long robes wizards preferred. She hated what they associated her with, but she would likely still wear them on her days off at Hogwarts.

She shrugged, looking up, "I had to go into Muggle London." She spoke as though she lived full time in the wizarding world.

She expected Malfoy to sneer, but instead he looked mildly interested, "Really? What's it like? Father won't let me go."

Rose was surprised, "It's alright. Bit...faster, and there's way more people." She paused, "Full of muggles though." She spoke softly so that nobody but him heard the disdain in her voice.

Malfoy smirked and nodded, but he still looked interested. There was a spark of childish excitement in his eyes. Of course a pureblooded child would find muggle London a giant jungle to be explored. Of course if he ever went out no doubt he would lament and complain about the commonality of it, especially someone as rich as Malfoy appeared to be.

'The Malfoys are one of the richest families in Britain.' Tom explained to her, 'The Blacks were the only family more influential and wealthy than them, but they are considered near extinct. Depending on how much is left in the Black vault after the war, you could reasonably be as wealthy as Malfoy is.'

Soon the fabrics vanished from Malfoy and Madame Malkin appeared back, "All done Mr. Malfoy. Your robes will be finished by this evening."

Malfoy stood up straight and wrinkled his nose, "We'll be back in the morning to collect them." He turned to look at Rose and smiled again, "See you at Hogwarts."

And then he left.

Rose wasn't sure what to think of the pureblooded boy. He was a bit snobby, and definitely spoiled, but he'd been alright. Maybe he had the makings of a friend, or as close to one as she could have.

'He'd be a good friend to have.' Tom spoke reluctantly, 'Very influential family in my days. It seems that his father's arrest hasn't hampered that.'

Rose nodded, but then Madame Malkin came over and started asking questions.

She ended up getting several pairs of the Hogwarts uniform, a nice warm cloak with silver linings, gloves, hats and a pair of thick dragonhide gloves for potions. She also got two casual robes, one in deep blue with metal thread that made it twinkle like stars, and a dark purple set with fabric so soft it felt like water. She'd changed into the velvet robes, but had only slipped it on over her muggle clothes. Tom said that most wizards wore trousers and a shirt underneath, as with her Hogwarts uniform which, under the black robes, looked like a normal muggle uniform.

The next stop was to buy a trunk. They ended up at a store near the entrance to the Alley called Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment. As they walked in Rose noted that there were all sorts of bits and bites in here. Magical objects of all sorts crowded the walls, some making sounds, some moving, other just sitting silently but sparkling.

Tom directed her to the back of the store, where there was a counter surrounded by all sorts of trunks in different shapes and sizes. Her eyes filtered towards a few underneath a label that read 'Hogwarts Students'.

'Not those.' Tom whispered, 'Ask him about multi-compartment trunks. If you get a good one now you won't have to buy another one later.'

Rose nodded and walked up to the counter, where a bored looking older man was sitting, reading a newspaper as he sipped at some drink she didn't recognize. As she approached he quickly ushered his paper away and turned to beam at her.

"Hogwarts?" He smiled.

Rose nodded, "Yes. I'm looking for multi-compartment trunks."

The shopkeeper looked her up and down, his eyes falling on her nice expensive robes, before he nodded, "Of course! What are you looking for? We range from two compartment trunks, best for tricking muggle security systems, all the way to full apartments."

"Er..." Rose blinked, a little overwhelmed.

'Ask for something with a book organizing system and a stabilized potions compartment with a stasis charm.'

Rose did, and the man nodded, "Of course, we have several models. Our four compartment model, which also comes with another stasis compartment great for transporting food. Our six compartment comes with everything above along with an extra storage compartment and a small animal habitat for small animals, such as cats, rats, snakes, owls, and even small dogs.

Rose blinked at that. She'd seen the part on her letter about getting an animal, Owl, Cat, Rat, or Toad it said. She hadn't really thought she'd get one, because none of those sounded great, but a snake could be interesting, especially since she could talk to it.

'You'd have to feed it.' Tom sounded amused.

'What does it ear?'

'Rats, mice. Preferably fresh.'

Rose fought to keep the disgust off her face. Maybe not.

'An owl would be best - they take care of themselves mostly and are useful for letter delivery. And with an animal habitat you wouldn't need a cage.'

Rose nodded and bought the six compartment.

"Free featherlight charm." The shopkeeper beamed at her as she handed over the galleons, "It'll help carry those heavy books."

Rose sighed in relief, unsure of how she was planning to get the large trunk back to the group home.

"And there's the manner of personalization." The shopkeeper grabbed a parchment and a quill, "Any ideas on colours?"

'Green and silver lining.' Tom suggested in her mind, 'With your initials on the end.'

Rose rolled her eyes inwardly, instead saying, "Navy blue, with silver lining with a subtle imperial trellis. Initials are B.R.E.P. "

The shopkeeper nodded and in her mind Tom was amused at her tiny act of rebellion.

'Imperial trellis?'

'What?' Rose scoffed, 'I saw it in a book once, and I liked it.'

The shopkeeper waved his wand and with a burst a scroll of parchment appeared, "Your receipt Miss. Your order will be finished by four o'clock."

They went to the Apothecary next, grabbed a year one basic potions set as well as anything else Tom told her to grab. She assumed he knew what he was talking about when he pointed to different cauldrons, telling her exactly which one to get.

'Pewter only.' Tom assured her, 'It won't react with any potions, other metals can be very volatile and only competent potions masters should attempt to brew with them. Of course certain potions require specific metals, but we won't be attempting any of those anytime soon.'

Parchment and quills came next. She grabbed what seemed a reasonable amount as well as a brochure for owl order. She grabbed several colours of ink including a deep red one that looked like blood.

The parchment was interesting. She'd nearly dropped it when Tom told her it was dried sheep skin. She'd flushed and picked it up, ignoring the looks from around the shop.

'That roll wasn't anywhere near a sheep,' Tom explained, 'Simple duplication charms. You can create a few hundred copies of the original rolls before they start to lose durability. Muggles switched to paper because it was easier to mass manufacture. Wizards have never had that problem.'

They ran into a few more people her age in the Alley, and families that interested Tom. The Patils, an old pureblood family from India, Tom explained. He had heard of them but hadn't realized they'd migrated to England. The Notts, very old purebloods, and some of Tom's original followers. And the Bones, not a pureblood family, but a very politically powerful one.

The last stop they made was to get textbooks. Flourish and Blotts was just as busy as the last time they had been there, but instead of workers, it was full of customers.

'Grab the first three years of the Standard Book of Spells.' Tom urged, 'They're useful to have. The spells are sorted based on age of the user and the amount of strengthening that will have occurred to the core. You won't be able to do many of the spells in Year Seven for a while, but you still have a head start.'

Rose did that, also grabbing an interesting book on hexes and jinxes for enemies that Tom obviously thought was childish, but didn't say anything.

She got the standard books for the rest of her classes, which she flipped through only momentarily. They all looked interesting. Much better than her science and maths books in primary. She wanted to buy more books but was hesitant. She didn't know which subjects she would like.

'Judging by your love of that Travers book, you'll be a fan of Defense.' Tom mused.

She had liked the spells in that book. Tom had explained them to her, and he even let her access his magic to try one of them on a spider she had found in her room.

"Oh Merlin, it's him. Can you see him!"

Rose huffed in annoyance at the noise, turning to glare at the woman who was pointing out the dusty windows in excitement.

'Grab an updated copy of Hogwarts: A History as well. Also Pureblood customs for the newly initiated. It's outdated and half the customs aren't in use anymore but it will lay a good groundwork on how to weasel your way into the right circles.'

Rose wrinkled her nose. She supposed that was the difference between the two of them. He was a social being, a born leader who could charm and manipulate anybody into anything. She was the opposite. She couldn't care less for people and their customs. Eventually they would be doing things their way anyway.

But Tom knew what he was doing. He almost took over the entire wizarding world after all.

"He's so cute!"

"Look, the Prophet's there - maybe Rita Skeeter will do the interview!"

What on earth was everyone freaking out about? Rose frowned as she slowly walked over to one of the windows, peering out through the display. She could see a small crowd gathered around a pudgy boy about her age, with a short balding man standing beside him, with one arm on his shoulder like he was showing in off to the rest of the world.

"Who is that?" Rose asked Tom, not realizing she spoke out loud

"Muggleborn, dearie?" The woman who'd been exclaiming loudly asked, "That's Neville Longbottom! He's the Boy-Who-Lived! He defeated You-Know-Who!"

Rose froze, her eyes wide and blinking as she looked out the window, gapping as she watched the dark hair boy beam and wave at the crowd as they cheered for him. She felt her rage building in her mind as she glared at him.

Tom was silent as they both watched him. The man next to him seemed more excited by the press and was waving them over and posing Longbottom in certain ways. Neville himself looked happy, if not a bit uncertain, constantly looking up at the man for instruction.

Rose just clenched her jaw, glaring, 'I should be that.'

'What?' Tom scoffed, 'Chubby and useless, only good for waving at the photographers?'

She thought he might have been trying to cheer her up in his own way. But what did he know? They didn't know Neville Longbottom. He could be powerful, probably trained from a young age. He grew up in the wizarding world, had family, people who loved him. He didn't have the soul of the man who tried to kill him in his head...

For the first time, Rose resented Tom a little bit.

A/N: Thank you all so much for your kind words last chapter. I really appreciate the comments :) I can't promise I'll always have such consistent chapters, but I've had a lot of free time and motivation over the holidays. Things might slow down as the next school semester starts. Feel free to review and comment with all comments, questions and concerns!