Lea Malfoy examined her reflection in one of the bathroom mirrors in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She'd been sorted into Slytherin, just like her family had wanted her to be. But something was nagging her deep in her stomach... Did she really want to be in the Slytherin house? The house where people were cunning and evil. The house where her brother, Draco Malfoy, belonged. Where many generations in her family had belonged. No. She didn't.
"Hello." A soft voice came from behind Lea and she turned around to see a small girl sitting in the armchair next to her.
The girl had long, black hair and bright green eyes which pierced deep into Lea's. Lea, on the otherhand, had light blonde hair and silvery grey eyes, which had a steely aura around them.
"Hi." Lea nodded slightly at the girl before turning back to her reading.
"I'm Marnie. I'm a first year too." The girl continued to talk in her airy voice.
"Marnie? I'm Lea. Lea Malfoy." Lea giggled at the name.
"Malfoy? My family are great friends with your family, you know. And your brother is Draco. He's a prefect, isn't he?"
"Yeah. How do you know so much about my brother?"
"Well, he's not exactly unknown, is he? You have heard about the task he's been given to do... Haven't you?"
"Um, no. What task?"
"The task! You don't know? The task which has been set by the Dark Lord! Whether your brother goes through with it ot not, I have no idea."
"Actually, I had no idea he'd been set a task... Where did you hear this from anyway? Probably a load of rubbish."
Marnie stared at Lea, examining her with her dancing eyes. There was movement behind them and suddenly Draco was standing there, lips pursed tightly and flushed all over.
"Draco!" Lea beamed up at her brother, glancing in disgust at Marnie when she thought she wasn't looking.
Draco sat down on the arm of Lea's armchair and threw the same look in Marnie's direction. Obviously he had overheard what she had been saying and had not been too pleased about it. Draco looked very much like Lea, the exact eyes, hair, pointed face and pale skin. Just taller. Much taller.
"How are you settling in?" He asked, facing his little sister.
"Oh, fine. All my things are up in my dorm and it's all ready... And this is Marnie." Lea raised her eyebrows in Marnie's direction.
"Yeah, I thought I recognized her." Draco muttered under his breath.
"What?" Lea was captivated by how everyone seemed to know each other and she was the odd one out.
"Don't worry. Anyway, any questions, you come to me. Got it? I'll show you to lessons and everything... " Draco stood up and departed them, leaving them at the crackling fire.
Lea snapped her book shut and looked into the flames, the orange fire dancing in the reflection of her eyes. Marnie swung her legs, picking at the hem of her jumper. They sat not saying a word, not daring to look at each other. The common room was emptying bit by bit. And finally, they were the only ones left sitting there, on their first night, past midnight.
"We really should be going to bed, you know." Marnie suggested, standing up and brushing her skirt down.
"Yeah." Lea nodded in an absent-minded state and stood up too, trudging over to the door leading to the girls dormitories.
She wondered what it was like in other dormitories. More friendly, cozy, approachable? In the Slytherin common room it was all stone and darkness. The dormitories were no better. Marnie entered first, her long hair swishing around her waist. Lea looked into the corner where her four poster bed sat, emerald green curtains drawn around it. There were five beds in total, and three different snores were coming from the already occupied beds. Lea still hadn't met all of her roommates for the rest of her time here at Hogwarts, apart from nosy Marnie who seemed to know everything and everyone. Exhausted and nervous for her first day of lessons, Lea climbed into bed.
"Herbology... In the greenhouses? Where are they?" Marnie examined her timetable, a confused expression upon her face.
"Uh, here's a hint: Outside, maybe?" Lea giggled at the dumbness from Marnie and lead the way down the stone steps into the school grounds.
A gaggle of first years were trudging along, their new school uniforms too big for them. Slytherins had Herbology with the Gryffindors first thing that Monday. It seemed that the two houses had a rivalry, Lea had been warned about it many times by various members of her family.
"I can't wait for lessons to start... I can't wait to do Defence Against The Dark Arts! Sounds fun!" Marnie was jogging behind in an attempt to keep up with Lea's long strides.
"Yeah... Draco says Potions is great. I suppose it's because of Professor Snape being our Head of House, isn't it?" Lea looked back but made no actions to slow her pace down.
"Professor Snape isn't the Potions teacher! He's the Dark Arts teacher! We have someone new for Potions... Horace Slughorn, or something like that."
"I bet Professor Slughorn will be just as good though. No need to worry. Will you please slow down?"
"We'll be late to lessons if I slow down. Will you please hurry up?"
Marnie appeared beside Lea, clutching at a stitch on her side. She was flustered and panting, her hair messy and sticking to her forehead.
"I'd be surprised if you'd be any good at flying! You're a mess!" Lea sniggered and went to stand with the group of first years by the Herbology greenhouses, waiting for Professor Sprout.
"I'm excellent at flying, for your information. I play as Chaser usually when I play with my brothers. I have seven brothers, so one of us sometimes has to be refree if we all want to play." Marnie started to explain about her life outside of Hogwarts.
"Seven brothers? I have one. One brother, no sisters. You don't have any sisters, do you?" Lea gaped.
"Two sisters! That makes ten of us. But my sisters are both older... They're both married with kids and living somewhere else. Don't keep in touch much. But I now have three nieces and two nephews."
"Wow... I'd like more brothers and sisters. Me and Draco hardly talk as it is."
"Trust me, you don't want as much as me. It's so hard to get attention! Plus, you don't always get what you want. It's a surprise we're all purebloods. The only reason the money is good is because father has a secure job at the Ministry."
"My father has a secure job."
"Well, yeah, he works with my father! My mother doesn't have a job. Stays at home caring for my younger brothers. Twins, Oscar and Aaron, who are both 9 and then little Sam who's 7."
"Are your other brothers in Hogwarts?"
"Yeah. All in various years. Another set of twins in their last year..."
"Cool. Do you have a really big house then? I suppose you'd have to have quite a big house, wouldn't you? My house is called Malfoy Manor... My parents sometimes hold meetings there... I don't know who with though."
An awkward silence fell between the girls and Marnie shifted where she was standing, a vacant expression on her face.
"What? Did I say something wrong?" Lea demanded.
"No! No, not at all!" Marnie objected, but she didn't continue the conversation.
Lea raised her eyebrows as Professor Sprout appeared.
"Everyone put on their dragonskin gloves, please!" The professor called out, a friendly plump face greeting them all.
Lea pulled on the gloves and listened to the work they were being set. They'd be learning about baby Mandrakes, having to take them out of their pots and put them in a new pot and bury them in soil. They made an awful sound though, which could kill you, so they all had to wear earmuffs. Lea slipped on a pair of earmuffs and paired up with Marnie to do the work. They deposited the Mandrake quickly and watched everyone else bursting into fits of giggles, wrestling the Mandrakes and wincing if they caught the slightest noise from the creatures.
"Why did you stop talking earlier?" Lea whispered, pretending to be patting down the soil with a garden fork.
"Professor Sprout had arrived, that's why." Marnie did not hesitate to answer, it was almost as if she had prepared the speech beforehand.
"She hadn't... And anyway, everyone else was still talking if she had arrived. I said something, that's what." Lea didn't drop the point.