"Hello" -Normal speech.

"Hello" -Parseltongue.

'Hello' -Thoughts/Silent telepathic twin-speech.

Hello -Writing.


Year 1

Pride Before The Fall


Dear Little Brother,

People tend to fantasize about being the hero. Whether it be a bank robbing, a mugging or a kidnapping, so long as it's high-stakes and your able to save yourself and others using only your skills and your wits. Bonus points if you get injured while saving the other victims.

Me? I was no different, although I'm a lot closer to an anti-hero than to an actual hero in real life. Be it as Olivia or Dorothy. If you pressed me, I wouldn't be able to tell you one grand, heroic thing I've done as Olivia. Save the damsels in distresses? I'd like to think so. Get back at the villains? Also-fucking-louetly.

But more often than not, I do those things by cheating, lying, using illegal and/or unhanded methods. Anything else is too minor of a favour to truly be called a sacrifice or heroic deed on my end.

As Dorothy...My time as Dorothy is even more murky, more jaded and thorny than as Olivia. I am a bitter, petty person who holds onto grudges like dragons hordes treasure. I am not selfless, not pure of heart or God forbid fucking naive. I am my first priority, and I offer no apologies about it.

Although I suppose I can tell you about the one heroic act on my part as Dorothy. It's as the stories say -my body moved on it's own, with zero time to second think or reconsider. One second I was staring, as if a train crash was happening right front of me -stunned, horrified but unable to look away- and in the next second I'm falling down, down, and down.

What they don't explain is how your mind is still reeling after the fact hours later. How adrenaline and shock -and, oh, what a fucking punch they throw- numbs you to anything else. How your hands tremble, your knees buckling from underneath you if they don't lock you into place, unable to move and unable to breathe.

The damsels in distress are always thankful in the old stories. Swooning young ladies that fall into the knight's strong, capable arms, and flutter their eyelashes as they offer unimaginable riches and frame for the brave soul that rescued them -along with a kiss, of course.

But real life is hardly ever a fairytale (that's what makes them so appealing, after all) and not every damsel shows gratitude for your noble sacrifice.

It's a real bitter pill to swallow.

Sincerely,

The Stranger You Call Sister.


October 30th, 1938.

When I sneak back into my room at four o' clock in the morning, I'm immediately faced with both Aaron and Oscar's ire.

"Where did you go?" Aaron demands, tail flicking furiously.

"We could not find you!" Oscar agrees.

I groan, not having the energy to deal with their bullshite as I crawl into bed, hugging my blankets close. I swear, the snake brothers are resembling Tom more and more lately. Acting like I was gone for days when it was only a few hours..."I told you, didn't I? I had to ask the paintings if they saw who tripped Minerva."

"You did no such thing!" One of them hisses, slithering closer to my huddled form.

I peek one eye open, frowning. 'I suppose I didn't, did I? They were still gone by the I left...' "Whatever. I was just by the staircases, okay? Don't get your dead skin in a knot."

"We are not shedding yet," Oscar, unable to take a joke, tells me. "Do not go where we can not see you again, Sister-Speaker."

By this point, I was already drifting to sleep. "Yeah, yeah, sure..."

Six hours later, my alarm goes off, and I begrudgingly get up. Feel dead on my feet, but I slipped out of bed nonetheless.

While functioning on only about six hours of sleep isn't very impressive, considering I was once able to pull all-nighters or survive on four to five hours as Olivia, as Dorothy I'm still going through my growth sprout!

In any case, bleary eyed and loathing every second of it, I force myself to not sleep until noon and instead get a head start on my to-do list. First thing, of course, is breakfast, and in order to kill two birds with one stone I head towards the kitchen.

While being seated by an Elf, I ask for a list of students Fourth Year and below that frequent the kitchen. I get it back by the time I'm finished my food, and the list is actually a lot longer than I thought it would be, about twenty-five to thirty students in total. Most of them being Hufflepuff of course.

I thank the Elf for both the list and the food, and I leave the kitchen with my handbag five pounds heavier with pudding and sweets the Elves insisted on giving me.

I run into Minerva just as she's getting ready to leave the Hospital Wing, and after quickly popping in to give Lilith and Barbara the list I walk with Minerva up to the Gryffindor Tower.

"Okay, so, I've deduct that it's not either Rosier or Gray," I begin.

"How?"

"I checked their wands, and the tripping jinx wasn't on their history-"

"You can check someone's spell history?" Minerva's eyes grow wide.

I smile wryly. "Yeah, with Prior Incanato. Anyways, since neither of them had preformed the tripping jinx lately, I was wondering if you had anyone else in mind? Someone you've been in an argument? Or even someone that often likes to play mean jokes on others?"

Minerva frowns at the ground, thinking. "I'm not sure if I was even tripped..." she reminds me slowly.

"But you have that gut feeling, right?"

She bites her lip, agreeing reluctantly. "Besides your dormmate, I don't think I've been in a fight with anyone. Well -I guess there's Hall and his friends," she admits. "But I don't think they would trip me because of it."

"Hall? Those three upstarts from the Dueling Club, right? What did you guys fight about?"

Minerva hesitates.

"You can tell me; I won't tell anyone else," I assure her, placing a comforting hand on her arm.

She folds. "They don't think I should be friends with you, and they're really upset that you know where the common room is. They still think I told you!"

I frown, an unpleasant taste entering my mouth. This would be good evidence of guilt if any of the boys were Slytherin or Hufflepuff, since a person would first go to where they think 'safety' is after seeing Minerva take a bad fall and having an older student -a witness- nearby...And I can't see why 'safety' would be downstairs -in the same direction of Minerva and the older student, albeit in a slightly different path, unless the boy is thinking of his common room.

But neither Hall or his two friends are anything but Gryffindor, and wouldn't they be more likely to jinx me than Minerva? Unless-

An idea hits me, and I pause my walking as my jaw slacks with realization. 'Unless the older student was on the only staircase that led directly to the Gryffindor common room. If they didn't have an an easy path to "safety," then it wouldn't be out of the question that they would run downstairs. And, really, if Rosier could attend by hanging on to someone else's coattails, who's to say that they couldn't either?'

"Dorothy?" Minerva questions me, sounding uncertain.

I squeeze her shoulder a little tighter, blinking back into the present. "Hey, Minerva, did you see any of those boys at Professor Slughorn's party?"

"No...Wait, you don't think one of them tripped me, do you?"

"Well, they have motive, don't they?" I point out smartly. "Maybe they didn't mean for you to hurt yourself like you did -maybe they didn't think it through all that much, but they're pissed that you're hanging out with a 'slimy Slytherin' aren't they? Feeling betrayed that the 'enemy' knows where their dormitory is?"

"How did you even find it?" she asks me, nearly sulking. "Some of the other Gryffindors have tried to find Slytherin's common room, but I don't think any of them has."

I can't help but smile at that. Shrugging, I admit; "I just asked portraits for directions. Granted, some of them were being fucking difficult -but, well, I found it in the end, didn't I? Anyways, you didn't answer my question. Did you see any of them at the party?"

Minerva shakes her head. "No, I didn't. And I really don't think they were the ones to trip me. I didn't see them on my way back to the common room."

I click my tongue, deciding to let the matter rest for now. 'I really should get a list of the students that attended the party.' "Fine, then. Just answer me this; who was the older student that carried you to the Hospital Wing?"

Minerva's eyes widen slightly. "How did you-" she shakes her head, sighing. "Never mind. Edgecomb -one of the Prefects- saw me fall, and she helped me."

Well, the chances of the older student being the attacker just became nearly nonexistent. Damn. As I'm muttering to myself, I feel the snake brothers pop out of my shirt from the back of my collar, and they must be visible because Minerva asks:

"Do you really carry them everywhere you go?"

"It's not like they give me a choice," I grumble, shooting the snake brothers a stink eye.

Oscar, the impish little shite, licks at my cheek.

"You better enjoy it while you're still mobile size," I tell them sternly. "I'm not parading around as fat just so you can hitch a ride during class."

"We'll see," Aaron replies, in a tone of voice that suggests he thinks I'm full of shite.

"What are you two talking about?" Minerva wonders curiously. "Can I hold them, please?"

I quirk a brow at the brothers. "Well? Can Minerva hold you?"

They openly scrutinize her, Minerva holding still as she waits with bated breath.

Oscar turns his head away haughtily. "We suppose," he allows with self-importance. "Just until we reach the nest."

I roll my eyes so hard they nearly pop out, but instruct Minerva to adjust her hair and how to let them rest of her narrow shoulders.

"They're heavier than they look," she comments as the snake brothers wrap their tail around her right bicep.

"They're been eating too many rats and chicken eggs," I snort as we resume walking. "The House Elves love the greedy bastards, though. Makes their job easier."

We chat for a few more minutes, until we reach the moving staircases. Minerva stops us, letting a couple other students pass as she says:

"I think we should say goodbye here. It wouldn't be good if another Gryffindor saw us..." she trails off guiltily.

Although I don't like it, I can still understand why she wouldn't want unnecessary shite from her Housemates and reinforce the rumour that she's the one to spill the Gryffindor secrets. "Alright," I allow as I take the snake brothers back. "See you later then?"

She plasters a smile on, waving as she starts heading up the stairs. "Yeah! See you in the Duelling Club!"

I wave back, a false smile of my own as I watch her ascend. I lean against the wall, out of the way of other students but still able to keep Minerva in my sights. I continue to watch her until she's reached the eighth floor, and disappears into the corridors.

Satisfied, I push off the wall and head towards my third destination after a quick check at the time. 11:04. I got plenty of time before lunch -but the question is, how am I supposed to get that list off Professor Slughorn? Would he even still have list of all the attendees, after the party is done and spoken for?

"Where are we going, Sister-Speaker?" Oscar ask idly, tasting the air as he does so.

Seeing as it's still the weekend, and I'm not actually sneaking them into any classes today, I decided that there wasn't any real reason for them to hide after Minerva gave them back. So right now they're wrapped around my shoulders in plain view. A few students walking the same corridor at me point and whisper as I pass them.

One of them -a Slytherin boy that I helped teach basic Parseltongue to last night- hisses "hello," smiling smugly.

The snake brothers snap their heads in his direction, startling him even as I don't pause my stride. "Another Speaker?" Aaron wonders, with a touch of incredulous. Next to him, Oscar cranes their long neck to keep him in their view of vision.

"No, I just taught some other Slytherin's how to say a few words. He doesn't actually understand anything you guys say."

Like a switch, they become completely disinterested in the older Slytherin boy after my explanation. "Oh, how disappointing," Arron utters, Oscar bobbing his head in agreement.

"How silly to try to speak what you don't understand. I am surprised you didn't get the foolish two-leggers to say something insulting instead, Sister-Speaker," Oscar adds.

"Oh, trust me, I did that too," I smirk mischievously.

'I can't wait until one of them mistakenly tells Tom to suck their-' The rather amusing thought comes to a screeching halt, though, when I remember that Tom and are still fighting. 'Right. That.'

Well, consider my morning officially ruined.

The rest of the walk to the Potion classroom is a long one. Once arrived, though, I notice that it's empty. I still hesitate at the doorway, because, really, what are the chances that he has a convenient list of all the students he sent invitations out to in his desk? And alternatively, what are chances that he'll simply give it to me if I were to ask directly?

Both are looking rather slim.

What could I even tell him if I can't find a list on my own? What if he walks in on me snooping? How do I explain myself then?

I side-eye the snake brothers, considering the different possibilities. "You think you could be my look out while I search inside? Invisible of course-"

"Dorothy? What are you doing here, my dear?"

I nearly jump out of my skin hearing that voice behind me, and I quickly spin on my heel to face the person responsible.

In front of me, Professor Slughorn peers down curiously, a slightly bemused half-smile curling his lips. He lingers on the snake brothers wrapped loosely around my neck.

"Professor!" I plaster a smile of my own on, hands clasped tightly behind me. "I was just looking for you!"

"Indeed. Shall we go in, then?" He gestures to the inside of his classroom/office.

I take a step inside, maneuvering to the side so that he can over take me and lead the way to his desk. This time he has a mind for his manners, and summons one of the stools at the potion stations so that I sit across from him.

"Chocolate cauldron?" he offers.

"Thank you," I respond politely as I take the treat, snapping off a piece to eat.

"How are you setting in, my dear?"

'Ah. Small talk,' I inwardly groan. "I'm doing much better, thank you, sir. I'm really enjoying DADA and Potions!" I reply with more cheer I'm currently feeling. "How have you been, Professor?"

"Good, good," he chuckles. "I must say, although your brother showed me this magnificent creature, I can't seem to recall where he said where they're native from..." he trails off meaningfully.

"Well, to be perfectly honest, sir, the snake brothers -Oscar and Aaron- found us, not the other way around. They don't know where they're native from, and said that they hatched from a cage," I clarify. 'Why did he have to bring up fucking Tom?' I'd rather go back to inane small talk!

Professor Slughorn gets a gleam in his eye. "Oh, I do believe Tom mentioned something along that. Told me they gave you quite the fright!" he chortles to himself.

I grind my teeth, wondering how long I have to sit here before I can make an escape. Would it be too rude to check the time in front of him? "Did he?" I respond dully. Not that Professor Slughorn actually needed a response from me.

"I can't help but notice that you two still seem to be on bad terms," he continues, heedless to my rapidly waning patience on the topic. "It pains me to see such close siblings like this. I understand it can be difficult to open up, but I assure you that whatever you may have done to upset Tom so severely, I only wish to help you. A genuine apology can go a long way, you know. Why, there was a time where two other students-"

As he continues to describe a time where two feuding students were able to finally patch things up due to his guidance (read; interference), I feel the last of my patience snapping.

You know what? Fuck this shite, fuck Tom, and fuck keeping my silence on the matter! I didn't want to tell an adult because I didn't want to be a damn snitch, but what the hell do I owe Tom? Shite, that's what!

I'm so fucking tired of everyone painting me to be the bad guy here.

"You know what? I would like your help, Professor," I find myself saying, my tone sweet enough that it sounds fake to even my own ears.

Professor Slughorn beams nonetheless, clapping with relief. "That's brilliant! I'm so proud of you for taking the first step, Dorothy my dear. Admitting wrong doing is always the hardest part."

It's getting harder to force the smile, so I'm thankful for the excuse to drop it. I fidget with my sleeve, gaze turning shy as I look down to my swaying shoes. "Well, the truth is, Professor..."

"Yes?" he prompts.

I take an audible breath in, reminding myself to not over sell it. I need a nice medium; anxious, shy, but not afraid or else it won't seem as genuine. Do not show you own anger. A little bit of frustration, yes, but never anger. "The truth is, your concerns about Tom and I sharing a bed helped me realize how truly unhealthy it is, and I've been trying to sleep on my own. The night before the first Quidditch match-" I make my voice hitch, here, and for my eyes to start brimming with unshed tears as I look up. "I-I stayed in my own room for the night. I told him -twice!- but-but now he won't talk to me! I don't know what to do anymore!" I bury my face in my hands, shoulders trembling as I cry softly.

(It's not as difficult as I thought it would be. They're tears of anger and frustration, more than actual sadness, but Professor Slughorn doesn't know that.)

From under my lashes and through the cracks of my fingers I spot him frowning, no longer as confident about the situation as he was earlier.

He interlocks his fingers, brows furrowing. "Tom is upset that you spent the night in your own room? And now he won't speak to you?"

I nod my head miserably.

"I...See," he hesitates.

We lapse into awkward silence, where I slowly gather myself and make a show of wiping away my tears, staring up at him imploringly-like. "Sir, do you think you could talk to Tom for me? I-I was only trying to follow your advice and-"

"Of course I will," he's quick to sooth me, placing a warm hand on my own. "You were only trying to help your brother and yourself, correct?"

I nod again, mumbling; "Yes, sir."

"Have you been sleeping in separate bedrooms since then?" he asks me kindly.

"Yeah. Lilith and Barbara have been helping me. But are you sure I didn't do anything wrong? Tom -he said- he said something really mean and..."

"What did he say?"

"He said that Lilith wasn't actually my friend, that she's only being nice!"

Professor Slughorn's frown deepens, and he shifts in his seat. "That...Doesn't sound like Tom. Are you certain? Perhaps he only meant-"

"I'm certain," I interrupt him, sounding more cold than I originally meant to.

"Of course," he repeats, clearing his throat. "Eat some more chocolate, it'll make you feel better."

Professor Slughorn has me in his company for a bit more, asking a few more questions, urging me to eat more sweets and to "not worry," until he finally dismisses me, parting ways with a last reassurance that he'll talk to Tom for me.

Bitter satisfaction curls in my chest as I leave the classroom. 'Let's see how he likes it when the others are riding his arse. Fucker.'

"Where are we going now?" Oscar asks me.

"Now I'm gonna smear Malfoy's ugly mug all over the grass." I check the time, and curse filthily when it shows 12:42pm.

Fuck me.

I start running.


"How kind of you to finally arrive, Riddle," Malfoy comments with thick, heavy sarcasm. "I almost thought you wouldn't show."

"Professor Slughorn was feeling chatty," I grumble sourly, and bite my tongue for once when he scoffs in disbelief. I am, after all, nearly an hour and a half late.

My only real defence is that I had to get a broom from the Quidditch supplies shed and cover myself up beforehand, which is a shitty excuse to begin with.

I meet Malfoy in the semi-middle of the field, the one Spademan and I usually frequent. Seeing as the Quidditch field is rarely ever free during the weekend between the four Houses, this day included.

Malfoy, holding his polished broom, eyes my head gear with clear judgement. "What even is that?" he asks rudely. "You wore it during our race as well. It looks like a weird mushroom cap."

"It's safety gear to protect my head in case I fall," I explain shortly, instinctively touching it with my free hand as I do. The memory and sound of shattered glass flashes through my mind, Tom's words haunting it.

-"That would have been your skull if you didn't have me."-

I shiver despite myself.

Admittedly, even after my eleven years as Dorothy, I still find the design of bike helmets in the 1900s strange. This one in particular has simple flowers decorating it, the surface smooth as a baby's bottom with only four small holes at the crown. It does, indeed, resemble a mushroom.

"So little faith in your flying abilities, Riddle?" Malfoy responds snidely. "And here I thought you were going to make the Team next year."

"Say whatever shite you want, but it won't be my skull cracked open in the playing field. No sport is without accidents, and you're a dead man walking if you think you're invincible or some shite," I retort flatly. "Now, are we going to keep yapping, or actually get this dick measuring contest on with already?"

Malfoy flushes bright red for my crude language -still!- but doesn't make a comment on it other than mumbling about waiting for my lazy arse to show up. (Not with those exact words of course, but the sentiment remains.) Probably realized by now that it'll only make my already filthy mouth fucking worse.

It makes me smile.

Malfoy humphs, promptly swinging his right leg over and kicking off the ground. Still, he's unable to resist one last dig on the matter. "With that pathetic attitude of yours, I'm surprised that you haven't attempted to get that pet snake of yours to try to scare the ground itself!"

"Big words for a boy that almost shites himself whenever he sees them staring in his direction," I mutter under my breath as I follow Malfoy into the air. I would fucking love to see his reaction if he new that the snake brothers are usually hiding under my clothes, and come with me to all my classes! But if he did there's no way he wouldn't tattle to the Professors...That all being said, I spare one of the exits from the main-building behind me a glance.

I left the snake brothers by one of the arches before meeting with Malfoy, and I don't think he saw me with them today, considering he would be throwing a fit if he did.

Malfoy proceeds to show me this "starfish and stick," a technique where -primarily the Keeper- hangs onto the airborne broomstick with only one of their hands and corresponding foot/ankle hooked around it, their other two limbs spread wide to block a flying quaffle.

I can admit to myself that it's somewhat impressive, more so the courage and strength it takes to hang on and not slip. I can only imagine what it would be like to try to pull it off in the middle of a high-pressure game, but- "It looks like you're just asking to get your arm snapped in two by a flying buldger or quaffle," I tell him bluntly.

Malfoy scowls and he struggles to sit back on his broom properly -yet another point against the technique. Without a strong core and the ability to lift your own body weight with ease, it takes much too long to get back from.

"That's why players wear arm braces," he snaps back. "But I wouldn't expect you to understand the advantages of this move, considering your poor background. Do muggles even have the capability to create something like this?"

The question is spoken rhetorically, and I find his words all the more laughably contrary for it. "Are you taking about the arm braces or the starfish and stick? Because if it's the gear, I'd say so! Considering my helmet is muggle-made! So what is it?" I continue scathingly, "Am I a dumbarse for bothering to protect my skull -one of the most important body parts- or are wizards dumarses for attempting such a dangerous move without gear of their own?"

Because if its the latter, it's absolutely fucking dumb that there's braces and gear to protect a Quidditch player's torso and limbs, but I've seen zero players with a fucking helmet.

Malfoy scoffs at me. "You're a fool for bothering with muggle products in the first place! What can it even do against magic?"

Oh, how it's my time to shine. "Want to find out?" I leer, a mischievous grin curling my lips.

Malfoy eyes me warily for it.

And that's how Malfoy and I find ourselves back on the ground, with my helmet laying on the grass as he lets loose every aggressive spell that he can think of. Many times he send it flying this way and that way, but after each time we run to collect it it's always still in perfect shape.

As I grow smugger with every failed attempt, Malfoy becomes increasingly more agitated.

It's a fucking treat to watch.

(I do not tell him that Tom and I pooled our abilities together to make it near indestructible, with some minor help from Spademan to make sure it can survive more powerful spells.)

Finally, after some time, Malfoy snarls and stomps his foot, nearly throwing his wand against the ground as he spins to face me. "You enchanted it, didn't you?! There's no way something a filthy muggle made could withstand magic!"

I twitch. "You're just fucking pissed that I'm proving you wrong," I lie boldly, crossing my arms.

"No! I refuse to believe it! You enchanted it! Admit it already!" Malfoy spits angrily, looking and sounding like the spoiled prat he is.

I can't help but grin. "Are you saying that I'm magically more stronger than you, then?" I ask him delightedly.

He seems gobsmacked by that; doing a fine job of resembling a fish as he opens and closes his mouth several times, struggling to find the words to argue mine without admitting that he was wrong about muggles.

I relish in it.

Finally, Malfoy manages a weak "No. I-I'm sure you had help! Probably from Spademan, o-or even from one of the Professors!"

I hum, taking a step closer as I lean in, grin growing wider as I tilt my head. "So you think I -with or without help- enchanted the helmet against magic, correct?"

"Yes!"

"Then how about we test it against gravity? Let's fly up higher than a tower of your choosing, and drop it all the way to the ground. Even the shield charm will shatter from a high enough fall, after all," I offer slyly. "I'll even let you do the honours."

"Fine, but when it breaks you have to admit that I'm better than you! And that you bewitched it!" he fires back. Still, he can't help the faltering glance he spares the helmet down at our feet.

I grab his hand for a short but firm handshake before he can reconsider. "Done, but when I win you have to admit that you were wrong. During supper, in front of everyone," I add wickedly.

"Deal," Malfoy sneers, grip tightening before dropping mine.

Malfoy snatches up the helmet before taking off, and I take moment to adjust my hat and scarf before chasing after him. He picks the highest tower, naturally, which also happens to be the closest; the Astronomy Tower. When we're both hovering above the tippy-top a little ways to the side, Malfoy and I look at which other before I nod, and he lets it slip through his fingers.

'This should be about the same as the moving staircases...' Merlin, I fucking hope it doesn't break. That would be mortifying!

We watch it rapidly descend, up until we see it hit the ground hard, bouncing once before rolling away.

"I hope you're ready to-" I don't even get to finish my taunt, as Malfoy zooms down to the helmet.

'Well, aren't you eager?' Not that I'm much different, really.

He's still furiously checking the helmet over by the time I land, brows kitted together with clear displeasure and frustration twisting his expression.

"Can't find anything wrong with it?" I say smugly.

He throws it at me angrily, which I catch. "You cheated! I-I don't know how you did, but you did!" he snarls at me.

I cock my hip to the side as I move the helmet under my arm, using my other hand to cup my ear. "Oh, I'm sorry? What was that? You were right, Dorothy, and I was wrong?"

"NO! You cheated! I'm not wrong!" he screams brattishly, stomping his foot again.

As Malfoy continue to throw a fit, so does my patience and amusement wane. Finally, when he takes another dig at my 'impure' background, I stalk right up to him and brandish my wand from under my cuffed sleeves to tilt his chin up.

Malfoy stills, staring down at me and the threatening wand jabbing his throat with wide, shocked eyes. "You're only making a fool out of yourself at this point, so kindly shut the fuck up. Accept that I was right, and that you were wrong. Or should I go around and tell everyone about our scandalous get-away after curfew last night? Hmm? I wonder how people will react when they find out -touch your wand and I'll fucking curse you hundred and one ways to hell- that the pure, proper Malfoy Heir was found in the broom closet with a girl?" I finish sickeningly sweet.

He pales, hand freezing from his attempt to reach into his pockets. "You wouldn't!" he chokes out. "That would tarnish your reputation much more than it would mine-"

"Oh, you're absolutely correct," I purr, digging my wand tip just a bit more, making Malfoy wince. "But when have I ever given you the impression that I give one fuck about my reputation? Plus, I'm sure your parents wouldn't be pleased to hear about it."

The last bit was more of a shot in the dark, really, but luckily it seems like it's hit the nail on the head.

Malfoy wrenches himself away, shaky but furious all the same. "Fine," he grounds out. "You-You were right about the ridiculous, ugly helmet. But I'm not saying it in front of everyone! And there's no way you can do the starfish and stick!"

I scoff, tucking my wand back under my jacket and white sleeves. "Like hell I can't!" I retort, taking the change of subject for what it is. An escape -a way out, a desperate chance for Malfoy to regain a small part of his pride.

I will take great pleasure squishing it underfoot.

For the rest of the afternoon Malfoy and I find ourselves attempting new, and increasingly more dangerous maneuvers in order to outdo the other. At some point -I can't recall how- it turns into a contest of 'chicken.' That is, a contest to see who can fly the highest, and then free fall the furthest before pulling up at the last second as much as we dare.

That's about when a concerned, frazzled Prefect comes running outside, shouting at us to stop being crazy and "get down already."

Malfoy and I share a singular look, and without words we both agree that's just not happening.

We zoom off away from that side of the castle, towards the south end where the edge of the Forbidden Forest is much closer to the walls than anywhere else.

When Malfoy starts showing sings of being nervous about this fact, I can't help to resist the opportunity. "Scared, Malfoy?" I mock.

His face reddens. "N-No!" he protests venomously. And as if to prove his point, he flies further away from the castle and clear grounds to hover high directly above the forest.

We needle and challenge each other some more, Malfoy daring me to swoop down and touch a treetop, and bring back a leaf to him as proof. I do so easily, meeting him again several feet above with a single leaf clutched in in my hand proudly.

"Now you try," I tell him.

He isn't nearly as eager as me, but does it all the same. He's a lot quicker to fly back up than he is down.

At some point I notice the sun beginning to set. Or, at least that it's lower in the sky than it had been earlier. I adjust my grip on my broom in order to reach my wand, intending to check the time.

Before I can, though, a short, choked out scream reaches my ears, and I whip around. For a second I think I imagined it -it was so short-lived- but what I see next guts me.

Malfoy is falling -rapidly, limps flying sporadically- and it takes me a moment to realize that he doesn't have his broom.

I'm chasing after him before my mind can fully comprehend it.


If you'd like to review, please answer these questions:

1. What do you think of will be Dorothy's next move concerning Minerva's "accident"?

2. What do you think of Dorothy's little chat with Slughorn?

3. What do you think of Dorothy and Malfoy's time together, and what will happen to the both of them next chapter?

4. What was your favourite part?

5. What was your least favourite part?

6. Did you see any mistakes, and if so, where?

7. Do you have any questions?