Prologue
The Great Hall buzzed with excitement, as the wooden door creaked open revealing a line of nervous first-years. Prof. McGonagall showed them in, telling them to walk down the space between the four tables. A stool was place in front of them, and on the stool was an old, bettered hat with patches and rips. Some of the first-years were completely clueless, wondering what they were supposed to do. Others, having been informed by kind older siblings or parents who themselves had gone through Hogwarts, knew exactly what it was for.
The other students in the hall, from small second years, whose memories of their sorting were still fresh, to big, tall seventh-years about to enter into their final year, were shifting impatiently in their seats. The golden plates and cups glimmered tantalizingly in front of them, but they knew that they would get no food until all of the first-years had been sorted.
Despite their growling stomachs, everyone managed to sit up and pay attention when the rip at the bottom of the hat opened up. The kids knew that before each sorting the Sorting Hat made up a song about the individual houses for the first years. For everyone else the song was the only fun part.
Sure enough the hat gave the standard routine, describing how Slytherin was crafty and a little bit evil. How Gryffindor was brave, Ravenclaw smart, and Hufflepuff for everyone else.
At the end, however, the song took on a new and more dangerous note.
Students from Hogwarts, from the houses four.
Houses from legends and days of gore.
Heed my warning now, beware!
Tread cautiously and with great care.
Beware the newcomer, so innocent.
Yet surly is by evil sent.
It will come in time, it will come much too soon.
And, all of the houses may yet meet their doom.
A few people giggled nervously. Beware the newcomer? Which one? All of the first-years are new to Hogwarts, aren't they?
Prof. McGonagall glared sternly at the audience. Then she pulled out a scroll and began to read names off of it, in alphabetical order.
Standing in line, Ilenya started to worry. She knew that very soon she would have to go up and put on the hat, but she definitely did not want to go up in front of the whole school and knowing who her mom was, she definitely did want to be put in Slytherin, but it would happen anyway.
"Lestrange, Ilenya!"
Prof. McGonagall called her name and Ilenya walked up. The hat felt surprisingly light as she picked it up and placed it on her head. The hat slipped down over her eyes and her world was enveloped in a velvety darkness. She was frantically trying to figure out how not to get sorted into Slytherin.
"Let's see," It said, "Quick and strategizing. Talent, yes, but Slytherin seems to beat it. No, never mind. Let's not waste talent on Slytherin. Better be…RAVENCLAW!"
The last word was shouted out to the rest of the hall. Relieved, she stood up and stumbled over to the applauding Ravenclaw table on suddenly weak legs. She sat down then turned to look at the sorting. She caught her new found friend's eye and smiled.
Alyssa smiled back at her friend. She and Ilenya had become friends after they had sat in the same compartment on the Hogwarts Express. Now she knew that they were going to be separated, because it was almost inevitable that she would be in Slytherin.
Draco, her brother, nudged her.
"Now what?" She asked annoyed.
"I hope I'm in Slytherin, don't you?" Crabbe and Goyle already got put there, and I think it's a shame to the family honor if I'm not in Slytherin, right? I mean-"
Alyssa cut him off, "Shut up, Draco."
"Malfoy, Alyssa!"
Startled, she looked up. Realizing that it was her turn, she walked up to the stool and sat down. The last thing she saw before the hat slipped over her eyes was her brother's face.
I don't want to be in the same house as you, Draco. She thought.
"Hmm… what do we have here? A Death Eater kid?"
Alyssa nearly jumped. The hat was talking to her? And how did it know that her father was a Death Eater?!
"Slytherin makes sense you know."
Not Slytherin. She thought firmly. If you put me in Slytherin, I'll…I'll get a pair of scissors and cut you to pieces. I will!
"You're brave so it would be a shame to put in Slytherin. Your brother can go there and you can go to…GRIFFENDOR!
Alyssa stood up extremely relieved. The rest of the sorting passed in a blur as Draco got his wish and landed in Slytherin. Thank goodness Draco wasn't in her house.
Unseen and unsensed by anyone in the hall, a person, invisible, hovered over the crowd. Under her invisibility charm, the top lieutenant of the Death Eaters was looking at the students.
Very good, she amused, quite a few Death Eaters' kids. Of course most of them were not useful, like the Crabbe and Goyle kids. The Dark Lord had more than enough mindless things at his service. This left the other three…
Lucius' boy was perfect. He had been placed in Slytherin and had the right temperament. But the Malfoy girl…It was very bad that she had landed in Gryffindor, she might be unsuitable, despite her skill. And Bellatrix's girl had been put in Ravenclaw, lowering her already low list of grandparents.
Of course the girl might turn out evil. You never know…
After the Sorting Hat's warning, she decided that she had to post pone her plans. The students might not take it seriously but Dumbledore would. It would be better for everyone if she waited a few years.
Below her, the headmaster was standing up and making some announcement. She listened with only a little interest. Apparently some dorms were under repairs and Ravenclaw and Gryffindor would share a dorm for a few years.
She noticed that Malfoy's girl and Bella's were jumping up and down and hugging each other. So, they were friends. Even better…
No one in the hall even looked up to notice one of the windows creaking open, apparently of its own accord as she slipped out. She flew off into the dark night, flying back her master…
…Back to Lord Voldemort…

Chapter 1: 5 years later
Ilenya Lestrange, age 15, leaned back in her seat and looked out the window. Her black hair flowed down her back as she twirled her wand, sending out green sparks out of its tip.
Outside, the sun was shining brightly and the sky was a brilliant blue, but inside the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, it was dull and boring. In front of the class, substituting for Professor Lupin, Professor Snape was droning on about the homework that was due today. Ilenya looked over at her best friend, Alyssa Malfoy.
Alyssa was 15 as well, but one month and five days younger then Ilenya. She had very curly dark brown hair which she kept pulled back in a pony tail. Her bright green eyes were bored as she doodled aimlessly on her textbook. She yawned, then stretched and caught Ilenya's eye. She twitched her wand and tapped it on the paper.
Ilenya smiled her and Alyssa had perfected a passing notes spell, to be used in class. She put her wand tip to the paper and Alyssa's note poured out.
'What's up? U bored 2?'
'Yeah, wish Prof. Lupin was here, not old Snape.'
'Same. At least Prof. Lupin didn't favor Slytherin.'
'He's given 20 points to Slytherin, 10 from Gryffindor, and 5 from Ravenclaw.'
Just as Alyssa was about to reply, the door banged open. Snape looked up sharply about to say something, but froze.
A girl stood in the door, wearing a long, blood-red cloak and dark clothes. She had slightly frizzy dark brown hair with blonde highlights. Her deep black eyes had a cold, calculated look to them.
Everyone was waiting for Snape to tell her, whoever she was, to go away. No one knew who she was, so they assumed that had the wrong classroom. After all, it was October, so surely there weren't new classmates right?
To their surprise Snape simply gestured to a seat in the back, between Alyssa and Ilenya. The girl walked down the row of desks with an air of pride and sat down, pulling her bag off her shoulder and dropping it on the ground with a loud thump. Then not deigning to notice anyone around her, she sat looking bored and haughty at the same time.
Kind of reminds me of my mother, Ilenya thought. Just as she was about to send a note to Alyssa, the bell rang. Everyone stood up at once, talking and packing away their books. The new girl was gone in a flash out the door as soon as possible.
Alyssa and Ilenya walked down the hall together.
"What do we have next?" Ilenya asked. Alyssa consulted her schedule and groaned.
"Potions." She said, making a face.
"Great, so we get two classes in a row with Snape. Lucky us"
"Ilenya, what did you think of the new girl?"
"Kind of weird. I mean, why would we get a new kid in the class in October? Not to mention we are in our 5th year. Everyone comes in the 1st year."
"Yeah… no one even knows her name."
"Snape seemed to."
"No kidding…I wonder if she'll be in Potions."
"I hope not." Ilenya said firmly. For some reason, she had taken an almost immediate dislike in this new girl. Maybe it was the fact that she was so weird. Maybe because the new girl acted like her mother sometimes.
The two girls made their way down to the dungeon, where they had Potions with Snape. They walked into the classroom and both groaned. There, sitting in the back row like she owned the place, was the new girl.
Alyssa pointed out two seats as far away as possible from her. They sat down and pulled out their books and supplies. The other students in the class were sitting down and getting ready for class but the seats directly next to the new girl remained unfilled.
Professor Snape walked in, and as usual didn't have to call for silence. The room fell quiet at the sight of him.
"You may notice that we have a new comer to this class," He drawled, "Zorro is a transfer student from Durmstrang and will be attending Hogwarts for the remainder of her time as a student."
Whispers broke out around the room. From Durmstrang? Everyone knew that school's reputation as a school for the Dark Arts.
"Quiet!" Snape said, barely raising his voice. Everyone was suddenly attentive. Snape began his fake attendance. He had almost reached the bottom when he finally said the new girl's name, at least her first and her last name.
"Riddle, Zorro!"
"Riddle?!" Ilenya hissed to Alyssa.
"Wasn't that…didn't…" she said looking lost for words.
"Yeah…Lord Voldemort used to be called Tom Riddle." Both of the girls had no problem saying You-Know-Who's real name, although they were careful never to say it where others might hear.
The two girls seemed to the only ones who had made that connection. Of course almost nobody knew about who Voldemort used to be. In fact, most Death Eaters, except the ones who were his school friends, didn't know he even had another name.
While they were whispering about this new revelation, Ilenya noticed that Zorro was staring at them suspiciously. She nudged Alyssa and pointed to Zorro. She got the hint and stopped whispering.
All through the rest of the Potions, Ilenya had trouble concentration on the lesson. She could feel Zorro's eyes on her back, and knew that behind her, she was trying to figure out how much they know.
After dinner, Alyssa and Ilenya went straight to their dorms. They waited until the other girls in the room asleep, and then started talking.
"Lumos" Ilenya muttered, and a light appeared out the end of her wand, illumination her best friends face. She looked as worried as Ilenya felt.
"Do you think she knows?" Alyssa said without preamble.
"About the fact that we know her last and Voldemort's, too"
"Yeah…and…never mind." She looked away, as if she was hiding something.
"What?" Ilenya asked.
"Well…you know my dad…he, well…" Alyssa reluctantly said.
"He's a Death Eater." Ilenya said plainly. Alyssa looked startled.
"It's okay," She continued, "My parents are Bella and Rudolphus…Lestrange."
"Oh…" Alyssa looked surprised. There was a sudden creak on the floor.
Ilenya froze. "Did you make that sound?"
"N-no" She said. The door to the dorm closed. Neither girl had seen it open or anyone go near it. They sat still, too nervous to move.
"I'm sure it was nothing." Alyssa said reassuringly.
"Yeah…of course."
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. They froze, and Alyssa whipped out her wand. Ilenya followed suit.
The door opened, revealing Zorro.
"Professor Snape wants to see you." She said.

Chapter 2: The Office

Alyssa and Ilenya were stunned.
"What did we do wrong?" Alyssa asked.
"Oh, I don't know maybe, talking about things you shouldn't be talking about." Zorro said with a sly smile on her face.
Alyssa and Ilenya followed Zorro as she led them down to Snape's office. When they got down to the dungeons, Zorro opened the door to Snape's office without knocking. While Zorro was leading Alyssa and Ilenya down to Snape's desk, Snape looked up.
"Ah, my guests have arrived. Thank you Zorro." To Alyssa and Ilenya he said, "Have a seat."
"Is it just me or did Snape just called us guests?" Alyssa asked.
"Stop talking to one another." Zorro hissed who was standing right behind the two girls. Zorro walked over to stand next to Snape.
"Do you know why you're here?" Snape asked as he put his arm around Zorro.
"No sir." Both girls answered with raised eyebrows.
"Well, you're about to find out. Zorro please play the recordings." Snape commanded.
After shooting Snape an evil stare, Zorro took out a little box and pressed a red button labeled PLAY.
Finally, one hour later the recordings were done. Alyssa and Ilenya looked hatefully at Zorro.
"Since you were discussing things about one of my students, well girlfriend more like it, you will both have detention for one month and before I forget, 20 points from Gryffindor and Ravenclaw." Snape said. As the girls were leaving Snape's office, they saw Snape trying to hug Zorro.
When Ilenya and Alyssa got back to their dorms, they looked at each other, and then Ilenya took out her wand and muttered, "Muffliato."
"Did you hear what Snape called Zorro?" Alyssa said laughing quietly.
"Yeah, he called her his girlfriend." Ilenya said smiling.
"Tomorrow I'm going to research the name 'Riddle'." Alyssa said.
Meanwhile as the girls were getting ready for bed, in Snape's office Zorro and Snape were talking.
"Listen, Severus, did you have to mention the word girlfriend? They are going to get an idea that we're dating." Zorro asked him as she pushed Snape away.
"We were dating…three years ago." Snape answered looking hurt.
"Then we broke up." Zorro reminded him.
"Fine, I won't call you my girlfriend…at least not in public." Snape promised.
Zorro left his office and went down the hall to the Slytherin common room.
The Next Day…
While Ilenya was doing her homework that was due for Herbology, Alyssa was in the library researching. As Ilenya started on her Astronomy work, Draco came into the great Hall and asked," Have you seen Alyssa?"
"Yes, she's in the library." Ilenya answered without looking up.
Draco looked disappointed when he said, "Oh, well, she wanted me to give this Astronomy book."
"Thanks Draco." Ilenya said as she opened the book.
She smiled to herself as she saw that Alyssa had simply switched covers with another book. There was a bookmark sticking up, and Ilenya opened the book to the page. The page said:
'Zorro Riddle was the unknown sister of Tom Marvalo Riddle. They were separated at birth so no one knew for a long time that Zorro Riddle and Tom Riddle were twins. Tom Riddle later changed his name to Lord Voldemort, which is what he goes by today.'
Just as Ilenya was finishing, Alyssa cane in.
"So, their relationship is closer than I imagined." Ilenya said.
"I know," Alyssa said, "If she and Voldemort unite the world would be in jeopardy."
"So, what do we do now?" Ilenya asked.
"We have to find out more about her before we do anything at all." Alyssa answered.
"I agree." Her friend replied.
As soon as they finished talking, guess who showed up?
"Well, what do we have here, a meeting?" Zorro asked.
"What do you want?" Ilenya asked in an irritated voice.
"Prof. Snape wanted me to remind you that we have potions in five minutes."
"Yeah, we were just getting ready to go." Alyssa said.
The three girls headed toward the dungeons. Zorro happened to look down and saw that Ilenya was holding an Astronomy book.
"Uh, Miss. Lestrange, we don't have Astronomy until later tonight." Zorro told Ilenya.
"Yeah, I know, I was looking up something." Ilenya responded.
Zorro didn't look convinced but she didn't say anything. For the rest of the day Zorro watched the two girls. What was going on?

Chapter 3: The Detention

"Finally, she's gone." Alyssa said.
"I know." Ilenya answered.
"I can't believe that Zorro is the twin sister of Voldemort."
"Yeah, well, we'd better go to bed."
"Okay."
The next day Alyssa and Ilenya, late for class, ran in and Prof. McGonagall said, "You two are late. You both will have detention in Prof. Snape's office along with Malfoy and Potter."
"That's just great." Ilenya muttered.
"I have to take something to Prof. Snape so I can take them." Zorro volunteered.
"That's just even better." Ilenya muttered again.
"How did you get into detention, Draco?" Alyssa asked as they were walking down to the dungeons yet again.
"I was fighting with Potter." Draco answered.
"Quiet!" Zorro said, "Prof. Snape, here are both of the Malfoys, Lestrange, and Potter."
"Thank you Zorro." Snape said.
"So…now what" Ilenya asked.
"You and Miss. Malfoy will write 'I will never be late.' 300 times and Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Potter will write 'We will not fight' 100 times." Snape replied.
"I get to write less." Draco taunted.
"Shut up Draco."
"Quiet! I will not have that." Prof. Snape said.
"I'm done." Draco said a few minutes later.
"I'm done as well." Harry said.
"Only 200 more," Alyssa said.
Two hours later Ilenya and Alyssa finished.
"Zorro will take you to the library." Snape told the girls. To Zorro he said, "Keep your eyes on them."
For the rest of the day she watched he girls.
"Alyssa, we have Potions Monday, right?" Ilenya asked.
"Yes, as well as Herbology." Alyssa answered.
"Come on Alyssa, here comes Zorro!"
As the girls were running, Alyssa tripped and a book fell down. On it said 'The Riddle Family.' Alyssa picked it up and ran.
"Where did you get that?" Ilenya asked.
"It fell when I was running from Zorro."
"That is so great; we will be able to find out more about Zorro." Ilenya said.
"I know."
"Come on, we'd better go to bed," Said Alyssa.
"Yeah, you're right." Ilenya answered.
As the two girls lay down, they both heard the door slam shut. They jumped and Zorro said, "Prof. Snape wants you to see you, now!"
"Not again." Alyssa grumbled.
They got to Snape's office and he asked, "Have you seen a book that's called the 'Riddle Family'?"
"No" Ilenya answered.
"Okay, you can go back to bed." Snape answered.
As they went back Alyssa said, "We have to get rid of the book."
"No, we need it, but it is too dangerous." Her friend said.
"We will get what we need then we'll get rid it."
"Fine, but we need to be fast!"
"Okay."
The next day the girls went to the library.
"This is where it goes." Alyssa told her friend.
"Okay." Ilenya answered.
"Where did you get that?" Harry Potter asked.
"You say one word and you will wish that you were never born." Alyssa told him.
"Okay, but can I have it?" Harry asked.
"Yes." Ilenya said.
Harry left with the book and Ilenya said, "How much longer until he finds out that it is a Potions book?"
The two girls laughed.
"Come on, we have to go to Potions." Alyssa told Ilenya.
Ms. Malfoy, you have no homework." Prof. Snape said.
"I-I-I lost it." Alyssa said.
"I see, well then you will have to stay and do it at the end of class." Prof. Snape said.
"Yes sir." Alyssa mumbled.
"Sorry." Ilenya said.
"It's fine."
"I guess I'll see you later."
"Yeah, see ya."
Finally, two hours later Alyssa finished.
"I'm done professor."
"Very well, you and your friend will need to be here tonight and Zorro will take get you."
"Ilenya, we have to go see Snape yet again tonight and Zorro will take us."
"That is so dumb. I mean it's like we're babies."
"I know. Something is not right and they are up to something."
"You think or you know?"
"I know. We need help and we need someone."
"Who?"
"Draco!

blurted out, then immediately wished she hadn't.
"Detention, Ms. Lestrange." Snape said without even looking up. "And you, Miss Malfoy," He continued in a dangerously soft voice, "can join her there. Don't be late."
"I'm afraid that they can't make it." A stern voice came from the doorway. Prof. McGonagall looked over her glasses at Snape. "Both of them have to report to Dumbledore's office tonight. She turned toward Zorro. "You, too, and Draco Malfoy."
"What did I do wrong?" protested Draco.
"Absolutely nothing. Dumbledore is eating dinner with your parents, that's all, and he wishes to invite you."
"Our parents?" Ilenya said in horror. When everyone turned to her, she blushed and stammered, "I-I mean… oh, our parents. How exciting."
Alyssa shot her a concerned glance, but Ilenya didn't seem to notice. Prof. McGonagall left, and Defense Against the Dark Arts resumed its normal course.
After class, the girls hurried upstairs to their dorm. Everyone else was down in the common room, or in class, so they had the whole room to themselves. Alyssa and Ilenya sat facing each other on their own beds, one red and gold for Gryffindor and the other blue and bronze for Ravenclaw. There was a moment of awkward silence.
Alyssa cleared her throat. "Soo...What do you think about this dinner?" She asked, trying to sound casual. Ilenya laughed
"I'm not stupid, Alyssa, I know what you're really asking. I don't really hate my mother, it's just…she's a little…weird? I don't know, but it shouldn't be that bad tonight."
"Fine…you sure?"
"Yeah" Ilenya replied.
The girls hurried up the spiral staircase and into Dumbledore's office, almost colliding with Zorro. Zorro hissed in anger at them, but Ilenya's attention was on only one person.
Bellatrix Lestrange stood up from the table with a huge (and very, very fake) smile plastered on her face. The room went suddenly quiet.
"My darling daughter! Oh, you've grown so much. Ilenya Let me give you a big hug, My little baby!"
"Mom," Ilenya said embarrassed. Bellatrix swept over and hugger her, then stepped back, still holding her daughter's arms.
"Well, I haven't seen you for a year. Imagine that, a whole year!"
"Why?" Alyssa interrupted.
"She was in hiding, you know for escaping from Azkaban." Ilenya said, "Obviously."
"Oh…"
"Anyway," Bellatrix began, but at that moment Severus Snape swept into the office.
"Ah, Bellatrix, so nice to see you out of Azkaban," said Snape sarcastically.
"Severus Snape! Dumbledore's pet, I assume?"
"Obviously" Snape smirked then stepped out of the doorway. "Here's someone else who wants to see you, Bellatrix."
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy walked in. Draco sat up smiling. Alyssa laughed at him.
"Draco!" Narcissa practically ran over and swept him up into a hug. Draco blushed scarlet and struggled away embarrassed.
"Oh, hello, Bella." Added Narcissa as she sat down at the table.
Lucius sat down next to Alyssa and struck up a conversation immediately. Both of them seemed honestly happy to see each other.
Bellatrix dragged Ilenya over to the table and sat down.
"Mom, I can walk by myself you know." Ilenya said.
"So," Bellatrix said ignoring her, "How do you get along with your cousin?"
"Cousin? Oh… you mean Alyssa. That's right; I forgot that you and Narcissa were sisters."
"Yes, even if I'm much better looking, not to mention so much more faithful to the Dark Lord than she is…"
Ilenya started in alarm. "Don't say that! You're supposed to be in Azkaban, remember."
"So?"
"So, if you keep broadcasting the fact that you are still a Death Eater someone's going to notice. I think Dumbledore was crazy to invite you here especially if you're going to go all obsessive about Lord Vol-"
"Don't you dare say his name" hissed Bellatrix whipping a knife from her pocket.
"What, am I not worthy of saying his name?" Ilenya asked, deliberately provoking her mother even though she knew it was stupid and dangerous.
"Shut up!" her mother said furiously.
"Why should I?"
With the knife under the table, no one else saw Bellatrix flick her wrist and stab at Ilenya. A dark stain began to spread across her jeans. Ilenya winced in pain.
Zorro frowned, "Do I smell blood?"
"Blood?" Ilenya said sarcastically, "Really?" Zorro frowned in suspicion as Narcissa laughed.
"Put away that knife, Bella." She said, "Let's talk now. I haven't seen you since you went to Azkaban!"
Bellatrix sighed and reluctantly stood and went over to her sister. Alyssa darted over and sat down next to Ilenya.
"You okay?" she asked, pointing to the still spreading stain.
"Yeah," Ilenya said, and then muttered a few quick spells. The blood flow stopped and the dark blot on her jeans disappeared. She fiddled with the tear in her jeans from the knife, not meeting Alyssa's eyes.
"Um…your mom seems…well…" Alyssa gave up, trying not to offend her friend.
"Weird?" Ilenya laughed, "I know that's what you mean. It's okay, really."
Alyssa stared at Bellatrix. "I've heard stories about her, but she's…different, I guess. At least, different from the stories."
Ilenya sighed, "She was really great before Azkaban. I mean, maybe she was a bit obsessive about 'The Dark Lord', but she was almost normal. I even missed her when she was imprisoned. And a month ago…when she escaped…I was kind of happy. But she's changed. More cruel, maybe. Something like that?" She looked at Alyssa and blushed. "Sorry about that, I just needed to talk to somebody. I bet that was really awkward."
"No problem. But now you have to listen to my story." Alyssa said, half-joking. Ilenya smiled.
"Guess I deserve it. Yeah, go ahead."
Alyssa paused, "Where should I begin? Well, my dad's a Death Eater, but he wasn't that close to the center of power. I doubt that Voldemort even really noticed him that much until he got a job at the Ministry. Even then…but when Voldemort lost his power, and the Ministry was after former Death Eaters, it got tough. My mom started paying so much attention to Draco and ignored me and my dad was never there, so I was pretty much left alone. And when my dad started paying attention to me, a few years ago, he was different. Distant, more used to lying. Sometimes…I feel like I have no parents. At least, normal ones," She paused, "Maybe that's not true all the time in fact, most of the time. But it's been hard lately because of the escape from Azkaban and how Voldemort has to stay hidden. My dad's away all the time. But…I'm so glad that I have a friend that I can trust and that trusts me." She smiled at Ilenya.
Ilenya laughed and hugged Alyssa. "And I'm so glad that I'm friends with a girl who stays the same and you can always depend on. We've got the best friendship don't we?
"That's for sure." Alyssa said.
The two friends weren't the only ones who were having a few awkward moments. While they were talking, Snape had been slowly, and get this, edging closer to Zorro. His eyes darted around the room, then stretched, yawned… and draped his arm over Zorro's shoulders. The room went very quiet.
Zorro turned and punched Snape in the stomach. He doubled over in pain gasping. Everyone laughed. Zorro glared around the room then sank back into haughty silence. Snape straightened up with a highly disappointed expression on his face. The adults turned back to their conversation. Draco slipped out from under his mother's arm and sat down next to his sister.
"Wow, I didn't know that Prof. Snape liked Zorro," He smirked quietly.
"Yeah, like we care. It is funny to watch him get humiliated though, isn't it?" Alyssa said. Ilenya laughed.
"He should try to hug her more often. Maybe next time she'll curse him or something." Ilenya told them.
Just then they heard footsteps in the spiral stairwell.
"Here comes the Headmaster," Prof. Snape said.
The door to the office opened noiselessly and Dumbledore glided in, purple and gold robes swirling in his walk. He looked around the room, talking in everyone there, Bellatrix, Narcissa, and Lucius talking in the corner, Alyssa, Draco, and Ilenya sitting at the table, Zorro pointlessly ignoring Snape.
Dumbledore smiled, apparently unaware of the various dramas that had just been played in that very room, and said:
"Well, shall we get started?"

Chapter 5: Dinner Surprises part 2

As Dumbledore entered the room, Bellatrix, Narcissa, and Lucius stopped talking and turned their attention on to the headmaster. Snape, who had been trying to put his arm around Zorro yet again, stood quickly and in a few long strides stood in front of Dumbledore.
"Headmaster, we were just talking amongst ourselves." Snape said in a dreary voice.
Dumbledore looked at Snape and said, "I didn't ask what you were doing while I was gone Severus."
"Yes, but I didn't want you to think that I was giving detentions or taking away points from the students."
"Um, Prof. Snape, I have a question, when have you not given us detention or taken points off?" Alyssa interrupted.
"Let's sit down and eat." Dumbledore said hastily. Snape sat down next to Zorro and Dumbledore sat between Bellatrix and Ilenya.
"My Bellatrix, you look…different." Dumbledore said.
"Azkaban has that effect on people, Dumbledore." Bellatrix answered coldly.
While everyone was busy getting food on their plates, Snape pulled a box out of his robes and quietly placed in on Zorro's lap. Inside the box was a ring shaped like a snake with a diamond in the middle.
"Honestly Severus, do you plan to marry a fifteen year old?" Zorro exclaimed loudly. Everyone stopped what they were doing, stared at Snape for a second, and then burst out laughing. Snape turned a scarlet color and looked like he was going to shatter. Dumbledore was laughing so hard that he had tears in his eyes.
"I'm sorry Severus, but you can't just pop the question when you meet a lovely girl."He said while wiping and tear from his eye.
Snape opened his mouth to say something, saw the look that Zorro gave him and shut his mouth. Zorro stood up and said, "Headmaster this has been a lovely dinner but I must be going. I do have exams tomorrow."
Dumbledore stood up and shook her hand, "Perhaps we can do this again sometime."
Ilenya and Alyssa stood up as well to leave.
"Sweetheart, don't you want to stay with your mother?" Bellatrix asked Ilenya.
"Mom, I have exams as well." Ilenya replied.
She and Alyssa thanked Dumbledore then instead of going up to bed, followed Zorro. Zorro walked up several flights of stairs, turned left into an empty classroom with windows. When Alyssa and Ilenya got to the door, they found it locked. Ilenya tried Alohamora but I didn't work.
"She must have done a spell that we don't know." Alyssa said quietly.
"So…now what?" Ilenya asked.
"We find out what she is up to." Was the answer.
Inside the room, Zorro was opening up the window.
"Stupid Snape." She muttered to herself.
She looked out the window and was preparing to jump, but then she saw a cloaked figure walking around. She cast a Dissalussement charm then jumped off. She calmly walked up to the figure, after casting the counter jinx.
"You're a bit early aren't you Yaxley?"
"How did you know it was me?" Yaxley asked.
"I, like Lord Voldemort know such things."
Yaxley winced at Voldemort's name but remained silent. If Voldemort was evil he knew that his sister would be twice as evil. As they were talking, Zorro heard a noise from the behind her. She spun around and looked around but saw nothing.
"We need to get moving, Yaxley." She said.
She took Yaxley's hand and they walked into the darkness.
Ilenya and Alyssa breathed a sigh of relief when finally Zorro turned her back. Alyssa had managed to steal Harry Potter's invisibility cloak and she and Ilenya were using it now to see what Zorro and Yaxley were up to.

Chapter 6: Secrets and Lies

As the girls walked behind Zorro and Yaxley, Yaxley asked Zorro, "What is the Dark Lord's plan?"
"Not in the open, Yaxley."
And as they walked on and on Zorro heard a snap and she stopped dead. "What was that?" she asked.
"I don't know," was Yaxley's reply.
"Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?"
"Breathing. Someone is here."
"Who?"
"I don't know, you dummy."
"Let's just go back, Zorro."
"Fine, but you're acting like a little boy." They walked back quietly and slowly. As they got near to the castle, Yaxley hugged Zorro and left. Zorro went right to the Slytherin common room and Alyssa and Ilenya went to theirs.
"Now, that was weird," Alyssa said as they went to bed.
"I know... let's go to bed."
"All right."

The next day...
"What do you want to do today?" Ilenya asked as they were at breakfast.
"Um... I can't. I... have to meet Prof. McGonagall for some Quidditch stuff for captain."
"I guess I'll just go study, then." And she groaned.
"See ya Ilenya."
"Yeah."
And Alyssa walked to an empty classroom, but not Prof. McGonagall's office. And there was a boy with red hair sitting in a chair.
"Good, you're here," Alyssa said.
"So... what've you been doing? I haven't seen you in a long time," he said.
"Oh, Ron, stop being weird. I've missed you." She ran into his arms and started kissing him.
As they were kissing, Draco walked in but they did not know. Draco stopped dead and then he turned and left like a mouse
"I have to go. I'll hopefully see you soon," Alyssa said as she picked up her bag.
"Um... see you," Ron said in a dazed voice.
As she left she ran into Ilenya.
"Um... Prof. McGonagall's office is on the third floor," Ilenya said.
"I know. I... well... long story. Remember the Yule Ball? Well, I met Ron Weasley and we liked each other and we know our parents would not agree. So it's a secret. We were just meeting."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"'Cause I thought you'd tell. Sorry."
"You can tell me anything and I'm quiet."
On the way to dinner everyone was laughing at them as they walked to the Great Hall. "Why are they laughing at us?" Alyssa asked.
"I don't know," Ilenya replied.
As they entered the Great Hall, every Slytherin was there with Draco, laughing at his jokes.
"What's going on?" Ilenya asked Dean Thomas.
"You haven't heard? Alyssa Malfoy is dating Ron Weasley," he said and walked away.
Ilenya walked over to Alyssa at the Gryffindor table and said, "I know why they're laughing at you."
"What did you say?!"
"'Cause they found out that you're dating Ron."
"WHAT?"
All the House tables were looking at her. And Draco walked up and said, "Mum and Dad are going to be mad," he said, smiling.
"SHUT UP DRACO!" Alyssa shouted.
"Just saying. You should break up."
"I said shut up!"
"Fine. But you should."
"Shut up!"
And he walked away talking to himself.
"I'm going to bed," Alyssa told Ilenya.
"Okay, I'll be there soon."
Alyssa stormed away mumbling to herself. She ran into Ron and she stopped. "Um... I don't think you want to date me anymore, sorry," she said but she didn't move.
"What? Just 'cause of this you think I don't want to date you?" he said.
"Um... yeah. I do."
"Well you're not right." And he kissed her and walked away.

The next day...
"Alyssa, wake up," Ilenya said, pulling the sheet off of her.
"What... already?"
"Come on, we need to go to the library," Ilenya said as she got her bag.
"On a Sunday?" But she got up and got dressed and grabbed her bag.
"What are we going to do here?" Alyssa asked as they walked into the library.
"Um... well, we need to find out more about Zorro, right?" Ilenya said as she looked at a book.
"All right."
They looked and looked and then Alyssa found a book that was named 'The Dark Families'.
"Ilenya, come here!" Alyssa shouted.
"What is it?" she asked, running over.
"Look, I think there might be something in here," Alyssa said as they walked to the nearest table and sat down.
"Yeah! It looks like there might be something in here," Ilenya said, looking at it.
"I found Riddle!" Alyssa shouted.
"Shh! Someone might hear you!" Ilenya said in an angry tone.
"Yeah, Miss Malfoy, someone like me could hear you," Zorro said, appearing out of nowhere.
Ilenya and Alyssa got up and said at the same time, "What are you doing here?"
"To tell you that Snape needs you," she answered.
"You mean Prof. Snape," Ilenya said.
"Whatever."
"Run!" Alyssa whispered to Ilenya.
The girls ran as fast as they could and when they got past the Great Hall they ran into Snape!
"Might I ask why you are running?" he asked.
"Um... well..."
Zorro cut Alyssa off. "They were running from me, Snape," she said, running up to them.
"I see... what for, Zorro?"
"Well, I went to go tell them that you needed them and Miss Malfoy told Miss Lestrange something. I only got one word... 'Riddle'. So I walked in on their party."
"I see... Detention tomorrow morning at ten," he said.
"But I have Quidditch!" Alyssa cried.
"Well, Slytherin will beat Gryffindor, then, without a captain," Snape said with a smile.
"I'll tell my father," she said, walking away with Ilenya. "Well, I have to go to practice tonight. I'll get someone to take my place," Alyssa said.
Walking into the common room she stood on a chair and shouted: "If anyone wants to be Chaser tomorrow come to the pitch at eight tonight!"
After dinner, she and the team went to the pitch. "Listen, I can't some tomorrow so I need Harry to be captain and hopefully we find a Chaser."
Alyssa had player after player and then Ginny Weasley came and she was the one. "Okay, GInny, you're it. Thank you all for coming!"
As she was walking back up Ron came up behind her.
"Why aren't you going to be playing tomorrow?" he asked.
"One word. Snape."
"Oh... ah... that sucks."
"I know. I was so mad. I hate Zorro-"
Ron cut her off. "That weird girl in Slytherin?"
"Yes. I hate her so much."
"So... are you doing anything next Sunday? Because it's the Hogsmede trip and I wanted to know if you would go with me." Ron asked as they walked into the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw tower common room.
"Yes, I'll go. I'll feel better and you can tell me all about the game. Good night." And she went to bed.
She met Ilenya there. She asked her: "What are you doing?"
"Nothing, just reading."
"I'm going on a date with Ron at Hogsmede."
"Cool... I think we should go to bed, we have a big day tomorrow."
"All right."

Chapter 7: Kisses and Eavesdroppers

The sky was a blinding blue, and little white clouds chased each other across its vast expanse. The sun, mirrored in the Great Hall ceiling, shone with a diamond-like brilliance. It looked like it would be a perfect day for the Hogsmede trip.
Ignoring the whispers and pointing fingers, most of which were from the Slytherin table, Alyssa strode down the gap between the House tables, practically glowing with happiness. She plopped down in a chair next to Ilenya, who smiled at the sheer contentment radiating from her cousin's face.
"Looking forward to today, are we?" she smirked, breaking off a piece of her toast and popping it into her mouth.
"You bet..." Alyssa sighed, looking lovingly over at Ron Weasley as she pulled a plate of pancakes closer to her. "Isn't there anyone you like?"
"Well... you know Zane Williams, in Slytherin?" Ilenya colored slightly with embarrassment as she leaned back in her chair.
"Kind of..."
"He... he's hot. An..." she trailed off, glancing over at the tawny-haired boy sitting next to Goyle, "...yeah. D'you think he might like me? Should- should I ask him out?"
"Go for it!" Alyssa encouraged. "Wait, he is pureblood, right? I mean, your mom would literally kill you..."
"Yeah. Don't worry. Anyways, wish me luck!" She took a deep breath, steeling herself, the stood up and marched over to the Slytherin table.
"Hey, Zane," she said, trying to be casual.
"Hi, Ilenya." He didn't seem surprised to see her there.
"I was wondering if-" they both started to say at the same time. Ilenya broke off, stammering and blushing.
"I-I... you first," she mumbled, feeling like her face was on fire.
"Uh... will you go to Hogsmede with me?" Zane blurted out.
"I... oh, I'd love to!" she gasped, blushing even more.
As she was walking away, Zane called her back. "What were you going to ask me?"
"Oh, um, the same thing, actually," she laughed. "See you in Hogsmede!"

"Where do you want to go?" Ron asked.
"How about Honey dukes? I'm in the mood for something sweet," Alyssa replied, pointing to the candy store.
"Whatever you want, Alyssa." He bent down and gave her a tiny kiss on the cheek. She smiled and took his hand before pushing the door to the candy shop open

"Hey, Alyssa, still going out with the Weasel King?" Draco's taunting voice rang out loudly through the packed candy shop as she and Ron stood in line to pay. Cursing under her breath, Alyssa turned to face her twin brother.
"Shut up, Draco."
"Yeah, really witty comeback," he drawled sarcastically, rolling his grey eyes.
"You know what? It's none of your damn business who I go out with! Do I say anything when you're sticking your tongue down Parkinson's throat?" Alyssa yelled, so annoyed and frustrated that she felt like strangling her idiotic brother.
Draco blushed, pale skin turning a blotchy red as he snapped back, "I don't do that!"
"Yeah, whatever." Alyssa pointedly turned her back on the blonde boy and pressed herself up against Ron. Her arms reached up and encircled his neck as he brushed her brown curls out of her face and leaned down.
The kiss was like all the others: amazing. His lips were warm and firm against hers, parted slightly with pleasure. She tangled her fingers in his soft red hair as he stroked her back, pulling her in closer, holding her tighter. An intense feeling of love was burning through her heart and all she could think about was how much they belonged together.
They pulled apart, breathless, to applause. The crowd that had gathered to watch her fight with Draco dispersed, laughing and talking.
Alyssa still held onto Ron, leaning against him and resting her head against her chest. His heartbeat thudded against her ear, audible over the noise of the shop, the soft, even beats comforting her.
She wished that she could stay here in his arms together.

"Your last name is Lestrange, so... your mom is Bellatrix. Right?" Zane asked as they passed the Shrieking Shack.
"Yeah!" Ilenya looked up at Zane. "But not many people bring it up. It's kinda awkward, you know?"
Her new boyfriend turned his reddish-brown eyes on her. "Well, my dad's a Death Eater too. Avery."
"Really? But your last name..."
"Is Williams. My mom's name. We- my little sister Stephanie and I- aren't his legal children, since they never married. So he can't legally recognize us as his kids, but he's still our father... he visits and stuff."
"Cool."
"I guess..."
They walked on in silence for awhile, then Ilenya felt Zane slip his hand into hers. She smiled, surprised but pleased, squeezing his hand tightly. He smiled back, face alight with happiness.
"Want to go to the Three Broomsticks?" he offered.
"Sure. Oh!" she exclaimed, pointing. "Look! The cherry trees are blooming!"
Sure enough, little white blooms sat nestled in the dark green leaves, soft petals falling like fragrant snow. Zane bent down and picked up a fallen blossom, handing it to Ilenya.
"It's beautiful," she murmured.
"So are you," he replied, coming closer and wrapping his arms around her. As he leaned in, she thought of something ridiculous.
"I've never kissed anyone before."
"Then let's make this one to remember, eh?" He pressed his lips against hers.
A warm feeling spread through her, from her lips to every part of her body. Gasping, she pulled her boyfriend in closer, feeling his body against hers as he ran his fingers through her hair. A shiver ran down her spine as his hands brushed against her back. She let her mouth drift open ever so slightly and felt his tongue linger on her lips.
It felt so right to be here in his arms. She didn't want it to ever end, because right now, nothing else in the world mattered except for him.
He pulled away slowly. "How was that?"
It took her a few seconds to catch her breath so she could answer. "Amazing," she finally whispered.
"Want to do that again?"
Suddenly breathless with anticipation, Ilenya could only nod wordlessly.

Back in the common room, the girl sat facing each other in a quiet corner.
"So? How'd your first date go?" Alyssa asked eagerly.
"Um... It was absolutely and completely amazing. Need I say more?"
"So you and Zane are officially a couple now?"
"Definitely!" Ilenya laughed. "How about you?"
"Oh, Draco was following us and being stupid and saying typically pathetic stuff. As usual. So Ron and I just hung out and ignored him." Alyssa sighed. "Oh, well. We had fun."
"I'm glad." Ilenya yawned as she slumped against the back of her chair and glanced out the window. "I'm so tired though, and... are those lights out in the Forbidden Forest?"
Alyssa stood and came to look, curious. A glimmer of light shone through the trees below. "Huh. I don't know... hey, it's gone!" she gasped, pointing. Ilenya frowned.
"Maybe it was Zorro?"
"Maybe..." Alyssa grinned, hazel eyes sparkling with mischief. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"You bet. Where did Potter put that Invisibility Cloak...?"
-They slipped out through the front doors and onto the dark lawn. Carefully, they slipped past Hagrid's hut, crossing their fingers and praying that Fang didn't bark.
When they passed the first line of trees they saw the group and stopped dead. Alyssa gasped in shock and grabbed Ilenya's arm. "It's not Zorro..."
"...it's the Death Eaters," Ilenya finished. "How stupid are they, coming here of all places. Unless... oh. Voldemort's with them."
A bonfire burned in the middle of the clearing, surrounded on all sides by Death Eaters, some cloaked and masked, others not. Lord Voldemort leaned against a tree on the far side of the clearing, red eyes glittering snake-like in the flickering shadows cast by the fire.
"Let's see if we can get closer and hear what they're saying."
Ilenya looked at her cousin, then nodded. "But be quiet."
"-simply inexcusable, in my opinion, my Lord," a voice from the group was saying.
"That's my mom," Ilenya whispered. Alyssa nodded.
"Now that we have heard the reports," Voldemort said in his high cold voice, "it is time to reach a decision. Considering the fact that both girls could be useful, and that their parents stand among us..."
"Alyssa... I think they're talking about us," Ilenya muttered. Her cousin's eyes widened in shock.
"But both will become Death Eaters, my Lord?" Lucius Malfoy asked, blonde hair glimmering in the firelight.
"Yes, Lucius. But only one can be truly useful to us. The other will be used to manipulate and threaten, if necessary."
"My Lord?" Lucius looked confused.
"I will speak in simple words so you will understand me." Voldemort paused to let the insult to Lucius' intelligence sink in, then continued. "Both girls are friends. If the one that we deem useful refuses to cooperate, which is a possibility, then the other can be used as insurance against rebellion. Our tool will know that one misstep can cost the other... her life. Understand?"
"I- yes, my Lord." Lucius did not look happy.
"Could you not use both of them, my Lord?" Bellatrix asked.
"Of course not. As has been reported, both girls have a history of rebellion. The fact that they are in Gryffindor and Ravenclaw instead of the noble house of Slytherin proves that! no, if left together they will surely rebel. I do not, however, wish to lose both of the daughters of two of my most faithful Death Eaters. And so..." he shrugged, long white fingers idly tying with his wand.
"Thank you, my Lord," Bellatrix muttered, who had obviously only heard the 'most faithful Death Eaters' part.
"Have we reached a conclusion?"
Avery stepped forward. "Looking at the information presented, the Lestrange girl seems smarter yet less attached to the Death Eaters. The Malfoy girl, on the other hand, is braver, more useful in battle, and probably easier to manipulate."
Most of the other Death Eaters nodded in agreement. Yaxley also spoke, looking thoughtful. "Based on inside information, I would also make that judgment. The Malfoy girl, definitely. The other is... expendable."
"I must agree, my Lord," Lucius jumped in. "My daughter would be much more suitable for the job."
"Of course you'd say that, Lucius," Bellatrix snapped, rolling her eyes. "She is your daughter, after all."
"What is your opinion, Bella darling?" Voldemort asked.
"Oh, um... I don't have an opinion... my Lord," she stammered, a faint tinge of color appearing in her cheeks.
Wonder if she actually cares? Ilenya thought hopefully.
"But... if I were to order you to kill her..." A dangerous, threatening note crept into the Dark Lord's voice and Bellatrix was all too quick to reassure him of her loyalty.
"I would do so gladly, my Lord. If you will it, I will do anything. She can die for all I care."
Or... not. Oh well. Ilenya sighed.
"Very well. Our plan is to make both of them Death Eaters, then assign Alyssa Malfoy a mission, using Ilenya Lestrange as blackmail if we need to. Now-" Voldemort broke off, frowning. "Did I hear something?"
Ilenya's foot had slipped in the dead leaves, snapping a fallen twig with an audible crack. She flinched as the noise echoed across the clearing.
"Ilenya!" her cousin hissed.
"Sorry..."
Alyssa looked up and saw the Death Eaters looking around and drawing their wands. "Let's get out of here!"
"Good idea."
The girls scurried off as quietly as they could, dodging branches and trees while trying to make as little noise as possible.
"Um, Alyssa? Aren't we... under a... Invisibility Cloak?" Ilenya panted, trying to keep up with her cousin and stay under the Cloak at the same time.
"Right... so?" Alyssa ducked a branch and almost tripped over a root.
"Why don't we just hide?"
"Good idea," Alyssa replied, skidding to a halt and ducking behind a tree. The two girls held their breath, listening to the Death Eaters move around amid the trees.
"There's no one here," someone called. It sounded like Dolohov.
"You sure?" came another voice from right next to where they were hiding. Probably Rookwood, thought Ilenya, though she wasn't sure.
"Yeah. Let's go back."
The Death Eaters' footsteps faded back into the forest, and it was a while before either of the girls moved.
"Should we go back?" Alyssa asked.
"I dunno... fine. Let's go." Ilenya wasn't sure that she wanted to hear more of her mother carelessly offering to sacrifice her, but they had to know what plans Voldemort had for them.
"Let's be quiet this time," Alyssa whispered sternly as they started walking.
"Sorry!"
By the time they had noiselessly made their way back, the Death Eaters had reassembled and were once again talking.
"-and since I have managed to place and agent inside of Hogwarts, the girls can be monitored 24/7," Voldemort was saying.
"My Lord? You mean Snape?" It was Lucius again, and he sounded confused... again.
"No," Voldemort laughed. "I mean her."
A masked figure stepped out of the shadows, dark robes and cloak fluttering in a sudden, chilly breeze. Ilenya shivered, but it wasn't just from the cold. A feeling of pure evil radiated from the newcomer. For a moment it was like the moon had gone behind a cloud, casting the clearing into even deeper darkness.
"Who is she?" Alyssa gasped. The fact that the stranger was female was readily evident, but everything else about her was a complete mystery to both of the girls. Her Death Eater mask glimmered from within the shadows of her hood and her appearance seemed to cause quite a bit of confusion among the watchers. Only a few seemed to recognize her; Lucius Malfoy was among them.
The mysterious woman didn't say a word, simply bowed silently to the Dark Lord and melted back into the shadowy robes surrounding her.
"And that... will be all for tonight. You are dismissed," Voldemort said calmly, as if unaware of the stir he had caused.
"We'd better go," Ilenya muttered.
"Very good idea," Alyssa replied, watching the Death Eaters leave. "I wonder who that woman was."

Chapter 8: Mysteries

The next morning Alyssa woke up early and began thinking about the mysterious woman. She got out of bed, got dressed, and went down to the common room.
"Hey, you're up early," Ron said as he came down the stairs.
"I couldn't sleep," Alyssa replied. Ron wasn't wearing a shirt and Alyssa couldn't help thinking about how buff he looked. Ron came closer and took her hands. Alyssa looked into his eyes and smiled. He leaned down and kissed her on the lips. She kissed him back and they stayed intertwined for awhile. Finally, Alyssa pulled away.
"Ron, if you keep kissing me like that, people will expect us to get married," she laughed quietly. Ron sat down and pulled Alyssa into his lap.
"Well, maybe I wouldn't mind that," he said as he kissed her neck softly.
Ilenya woke up and saw that Alyssa wasn't in bed. She got dressed and came downstairs and what she saw made her laugh. She saw Ron and Alyssa kissing.
"Okay, major PDA!" Ilenya laughed. Ron and Alyssa broke apart.
"How long were you standing there?" Alyssa asked.
"Long enough to know that they two of you are madly in love," she replied.
"Ron and I are... um, in love," Alyssa told her.
"Alyssa, we need to go to the library," Ilenya reminded her.
"I forgot. Sorry, Ron." Alyssa stood up and followed Ilenya to the library. Before they could go in, a boy blocked their path.
"Hey Zane," Ilenya greeted him, blushing.
"Ilenya, what're you doing here?" Zane asked.
"I need to use the library," she told him.
"Okay, hey, can I come with you?"
Before Ilenya could answer Zorro came up behind Zane. "Williams, why would you want to go to the library with them? Besides, I need your help," she said.
Zane thought for a moment and then, "Alright, Zorro. I'll help you."
As they walked away, Ilenya noticed something about Zorro.
"Alyssa, Zorro walks the same way as the mysterious woman," she whispered.
"Do you think Zorro is trying to get Zane to help turn us into Death Eaters?" Alyssa asked.
"There's only one way to find out," Ilenya said.
The two girls followed Zorro, but Zane wasn't with her. Instead they saw Zorro walk up to a cloaked figure and hug him.
"I wonder if that's Snape?" Alyssa whispered.
"No, Snape's taller," Ilenya said.
They watched as Zorro pushed the hood off the man and gasped. It was Yaxley. Zorro took Yaxley's hand and they walked a little into the woods.
"Ilenya, before we follow anymore let's get Potter's cloak."
"Agreed," Ilenya responded. The girls went up to the tower and got Harry's cloak. Then they resumed their nighttime adventure. They got to the edge of the woods when they heard Fang bark.
"Fang! Be quiet, yeh mutt!" they heard Hagrid yell. They passed the half-giant's hut and noticed that he looked upset, but they didn't stop to talk. They finally found Zorro and Yaxley on a bench and they were... kissing.
"Wow! I wish Snape could see this," Alyssa muttered to Ilenya.
"Yeah, I know," Ilenya responded.

Zorro finally dumped Zane at their common room and she walked out to the grounds to find Yaxley. She found him standing out there in the open. Her pace quickened and she approached him. Zorro gave her boyfriend a big hug and pushed his hood off. Then she smiled and took his hand and together they walked into the forest. Yaxley took out his wand and created a beautiful black bench for them. They sat down and Zorro leaned against his shoulder.
"What did you do with Williams?" Yaxley asked.
"I told him to help me with something, stunned him, and left him in our common room," Zorro answered.
"I have a question," Yaxley began, but before he asked it, Zorro was kissing him. Her kiss was warm and tender. He placed his arms around her back and held her close. He took her right hand and placed it on his chest. With the other she brushed is hair out of his face. She unbuttoned the first few buttons of his shirt and placed her hand there. After a few moments they broke apart.
"What was it you wanted to ask me?" Zorro asked as she rested her head on his chest.
"Um... it's not important., Yaxley said as he ran a hand down her back.
"Yaxley, you do know how much I love you, right?" Zorro asked him quietly as she was stroking his hair.
"Definitely more than you love Snape," he answered.
"So what was the mission that the Dark Lord gave you?" she asked.
"He said not to speak of it... but you are my girlfriend. I need to cast the Imperius curse on the Lestrange girl," Yaxley replied, leaning in closer.
Zorro was silent for a minute. "Good luck, my love." She kissed him once more. This time their kiss was long and soft.

"Okay, can we go back now?" Alyssa asked.
"Yes, I've seen too much of this," Ilenya responded. The girls walked back to the castle and into their tower.
"Billywings," Ilenya said as they got to the portrait of the Fat Lady. When they got into the common room they found a letter on the table addressed to Ilenya. She walked over and opened it. Inside was written:
Ilenya,
I wanted to let you know how much I love you. I'm going to be away for a week but will be back. I'll miss you keep in touch too!
Love,
Zane W.
"Wow, that's really emotional," a voice behind them said. The girls turned around and saw Draco but at the same time it wasn't Draco. He was smiling and his eyes were a very light shade of blue, not grey.
"Where's Draco?" demanded Alyssa.
"Sis, relax, I changed the color of my eyes in Transfiguration by accident," Draco told her.
"Really?" Alyssa asked.
"Yeah, come on, would I lie to you?"
"I don't know, would you?"
"No, and will you help me or not?" Draco answered.
"Okay, here it goes," Ilenya said as she changed his eye color back to grey.
"Thanks, you're a lifesaver," Draco told her.
After he left, Ilenya said, "How did he know the password?"

Chapter 9: Suspicions

"Ilenya, something's not right with Draco. I mean, he wasn't acting himself when he came in here. Something is really not right," Alyssa said as she got her Potions book out of her book bag.
"I know, when I changed his eyes back it was really hard to do and normally it's not," Ilenya told Alyssa.
Just then Ginny Weasley walked over to Alyssa and asked, "Um... Alyssa, can you help me with Potions?"
"Sure! ilenya, do you mind?" Alyssa said.
"Go right ahead. I'll just go do some Astronomy homework."
So Ginny and Alyssa went out of Gryffindor Tower and to the library.
They found an empty table to use and sat down.
"SO, Ginny, how's everything?" Alyssa asked awkwardly.
"Um, great, you?" Ginny replied.
"Fine. We haven't really hung out this year. We really should," Alyssa told Ginny.
"I've been really busy this year. But things are slowing down now and I was just going to ask you if you want to go to Hogsmede with me and Dean next weekend. Do you?" Ginny asked.
"Well, I would love to go but I already have a double date," Alyssa replied.
"With who?"
"Ilenya and Zane Williams."
"Then bring them with you. Who's your date?"
"Your brother, Ron."
"You're really dating him! I thought that was a lie your brother made up!"
"No, we're really together... sorry to disappoint you. And we really should start out work."
"All right.
Ginny and Alyssa worked on Potions until dinnertime. then they went to the Great Hall and when they got there, Ginny ran to sit with Dean and Alyssa with Ilenya.
"So how was your day?" Alyssa asked Ilenya.
"Fine. I've just been thinking about when Draco came into Gryffindor/Ravenclaw tower yesterday. Like, how he got in," Ilenya said.
"I know, I see him right now. I'm going to go get him."
Alyssa got up and walked right over to Draco at the Slytherin table and said, "Draco, we need to talk privately. Now."
"all right," Draco said. "but don't make it long!"
Draco and Alyssa walked over to Ilenya and sat down.
"Draco, how did you get into Gryffindor/Ravenclaw tower last night?" Alyssa asked him.
"What are you talking about? You know I can't go in there!" Draco replied

"He has a good point. Draco, you can go." Alyssa said, Draco got up, confused, and walked away.
"is it just me or does this have Zorro written all over it?" Ilenya asked.
"No, it's not just you. I think so too. And it's time to see what she's up to" Alyssa said.
The two girls got up and headed to the door. As they got in the hallway, Alyssa and Ilenya's names were called by a strangely familiar voice. Out from behind the Great Hall doors a cloaked figure stepped out. It was Zorro.
"What do you want?" Alyssa said in a sassy, angry voice.
"Just to tell you that Lupin wants you," Zorro told them.
"What for?" Ilenya asked.
"I don't know. I personally don't like Lupin. So why should I know?" Zorro said.
"Ilenya, I think we'd batter go. It's not every day Lupin asks for us," Alyssa whispered in Ilenya's ear.
"Alright. Thanks," Ilenya said.
"Whatever," Zorro said and left in a matter of two seconds.
Ilenya and Alyssa walked to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and into Lupin's office. Lupin was sitting in his chair, and when he heard them come in he stood up and said: "I need your help on something really important. Will you help me?"
"Um... why would you ask us? Why not Potter?" Ilenya asked.
"Because I know something you two don't know yet," Lupin told them.
"what do you need help with?" Alyssa asked.
"First, you can't tell anyone. I need you two to spy on Zorro. Dark brown hair, black eyes, She's in-"
Ilenya cut him off and said, "We know who she is."
"Will you do it?" Lupin asked.
"With pleasure!" Alyssa said with excitement in her eyes.
"Well, that's all. You two should be off to bed now," Lupin told the girls.
Ilenya and Alyssa left knowing they should hurry because it was after hours when they left Lupin's office. When they got to the portrait, Alyssa said, "Billywings" and the portrait opened. They found their favorite chairs next to the fire and sat down.
"I wonder why Professor Lupin needs us to spy on Zorro." Ilenya asked Alyssa as she took her Charms book out of her book bag.
"Who cares! I mean, we're spying on Zorro!" Alyssa said as she took her care of Magical Creatures book out.
"I guess. It's just odd. First the thing with Draco and now this," Ilenya said without lifting her eyes from the book.
"Yeah, I guess... Boy am I happy I'm not taking this class next year!" Alyssa said, throwing the Care of Magical Creatures book to the ground and lying back in her chair.
"I think that I'm gonna go to bed. You coming?" Ilenya asked.
"I think I'm going to study some more," Alyssa told Ilenya.
"All right. Good night!" Ilenya said as she picked up her book bag and went up to the girl's dorm.
Alyssa bent down and picked up her Divination book. She heard someone come in but didn't look behind to see who it was. Then she heard whispering and it sounded like two people going upstairs, one in the boy's dorm, one in the girls.
Someone came up to her and kissed her on the cheek. It was Ron.
"Hi Ron! I haven't seen you all day. Where have you been?" Alyssa asked Ron as she hugged him.
"I've been studying all day with Harry and Hermione," he said, kissing her on the cheek again.
Ron sat down and Alyssa sat on his lap. They started to kiss. The kiss was like it always was: warm and sweet. Alyssa felt so warm and safe in Ron's arms. She felt like she never wanted to leave.
They came apart and Alyssa said, "I told your sister that Ilenya, Zane, you and me would go with her and Dean to the Three Broomsticks next weekend. Is that okay?"
"When did you see her? And I'd rather not go with her," Ron told Alyssa.
"Today, And why won't you go?"
"Because she's my little sister and she shouldn't be dating Dean!"
"She has every right to date whoever she wants! And if you don't want to go on a double date with them I'll go by myself!" Alyssa shouted at Ron as she jumped off his lap and sat down in the other chair.
"Alyssa. No. it's just that I feel that being Ginny's older brother I need to keep her away from other boys," Ron said as he got down and knelt next to Alyssa.
"I think you're not thinking! She has six older brothers. She knows right from wrong."
"You're right. I'll go. But I need to sleep. So good night," Ron said and kissed her goodnight.
"Goodnight," Alyssa said as she got up and went up to the girl's dorm.

"Alyssa wake up! Wake up!" Ilenya shouted in Alyssa's ear as she took Alyssa's sheets off of her. "It's 8:45! Get up!" Ilenya shouted as she put her sweater on and grabbed her book bag.
Alyssa jumped out of bed, threw her clothes on, grabbed her bag, and ran out the door with Ilenya. The two girls ran into Charms class just n time for them to get their favorite seats in the back of the room.
Alyssa took her Charms book, a sheet of paper, and her quill out of her book bag.
"Ilenya, get some paper so I can tell you about what happened last night," Alyssa whispered to Ilenya,
Ilenya got paper and wrote" "What happened?"

"When you went to sleep, Ron, Hermione, and Harry came in and Ron came over to me. We started to talk and then I asked him if he wanted to go on a double date with Ginny, and Dean and you and Zane. And he got al little angry so we got into a small argument. It felt so weird to be in an argument with him! We're fine now but it was just odd," Alyssa wrote as she ignored the flying crates.
"I have no idea what that's like... So are we going to find out about what happened with Draco the other day after class?"
Before Alyssa could answer the bell rang and everyone ran out of the class.
Alyssa and Ilenya headed to the dungeon for Potions. On their way they ran into Zane.
"Zane! What are you doing here? I thought you were gone for the week. You left me a note saying so," Ilenya said, confused,
I wrote you a note saying how much I loved you but nothing about me leaving you. I gave it to Zorro to give to you because she said you guys were good friends-"
Alyssa cut him off and said: "She said that! We are the farthest thing from being her friend!"
"Really, we are. I'm sorry, Zane, but I have to go. Can we eat together at lunch?" Ilenya said to Zane and walked up to him and kissed him on the cheek.
"Sure. See you!" Zane said and ran up the stairs.
"This has Zorro's name written all over it! All of it!" Alyssa exclaimed.
"You're so right," Ilenya said.
When they walked into the Potions class everyone was working on their potions already. The girls tiptoed to their seats without Prof. Snape noticing.
Snape looked up from his book, looked at Ilenya and Alyssa, and said: "Five points from Gryffindor, five from Ravenclaw, and I will see both of you two after class." Snape went back to his book and said no more.
Alyssa started on her potion with Ilenya. They worked on it for about an hour and a half until Alyssa put her hand into the air and said, "Professor, I'm done. Would you like to see it?"
Snape stood up and walked over to Alyssa's and asked, "What is it?"
"Shrinking potion, sir," Alyssa told him.
"It's the right color and smell. But does it work?" Snape asked.
"Yes, sir. Watch." Alyssa took her dropper, filled it, and put a drop on an empty bottle. There were a few sparks and then the bottle was three times smaller than it was before.
"Very good," Snape said, and walked away.
The bell rang, everyone left, and Ilenya and Alyssa walked over to Prof. Snape.
"Once again, you two were late to class. I want to see both of you in my office after dinner. Zorro will find you. That is all. You may go."
Alyssa and Ilenya left as fast as they could.
"I'm happy it's just detention in his office this time," Alyssa said, walking into the Great Hall for lunch.
"Yeah. You don't mind if I sit with Zane, do you?" Ilenya asked.
"No, go right ahead," Alyssa replied.
"Thanks," Ilenya said, running over to where her boyfriend was sitting.
Alyssa walked over to an empty seat, sat down, and pulled a dish of strawberries over to her. Someone tapped her on her shoulder. She turned around to see who it was and it was one of her brother's friends, Crabbe.
"What do you want?" Alyssa asked.
"Will you go out with me? And you should say yes because if you don't Draco is going to tell your mum that you ran away with Weasley," Crabbe told her.
Alyssa burst into laughter. She laughed and laughed till someone ran over and knocked down Crabbe on the ground and started to fight.
Alyssa stopped laughing, got down, saw that it was Ron who knocked Crabbe to the ground. She tried to stop the fight but everyone was watching and yelling, 'fight!'
Professor Snape ran over and shouted, "Shut up!" Everyone went back to lunch but Crabbe, Alyssa and Ron. Snape took them to his office and asked, "Why did this happen? Crabbe, you first."
"I was talking to Alyssa and then Weasley ran up and started a fight," Crabbe told Snape.
"Crabbe, you can go," Snape said. "Fifteen points from Gryffindor."
"What!" Ron and Alyssa shouted at the same time.
"All over a girl. You stupid boys! I want both of you out of here!" Snape shouted.
Ron and Alyssa ran out but stopped outside the classroom.
"Why did you do that?" Alyssa asked Ron.
"I thought he was flirting with you," Ron told her.
"Well, he asked me out and the way he did was so funny. That's why I was laughing," Alyssa told Ron. She took his hand and started walking to Gryffindor/Ravenclaw tower.
"Plus you should know I'd never do anything with one of my brother's friends," Alyssa added.
On their way there they ran into Ilenya. Ron kissed Alyssa, told her he'd see her later, and left.
What happened in the Great Hall?" Ilenya asked.
"Funny story," Alyssa said.
When they got to the common room they took their favorite seats next to the fire and Alyssa told Ilenya everything that had happened in the Great Hall and by the time she was done Ilenya was laughing so hard that she could not speak.
Alyssa got up, walked over to the window, saw Zorro walking to Hagrid's cabin, grabbed her sweater and said, "You coming? Time to start a job."

Chapter 10: Dark Mark

The moon was rising over the treetops as the two girls made their way across the lawn and down to the Forbidden Forest. Luckily, it was only a half moon, so there was no need to worry about any werewolves running around the grounds on this particular night. This was the third time that week that they were following someone at night into the woods, but this time they weren't under the Invisibility Cloak. Apparently Potter had figured out that someone was sneaking into his room and 'borrowing' it on a regular basis. You'd really think that Harry Potter (the Boy Who Lived and all that) would be able to take better care of his stuff and maybe realize that someone was taking it earlier, but whatever. that was irrelevant.
"I wonder why they keep meeting in the woods?" Alyssa whispered. "I mean, it's so close to Dumbledore and the Order and all that."
"Good question. You know, I'd think that the Order would notice all the Death Eaters running around campus." Both of them managed to avoid the fact that technically they should've been the ones telling someone that Lord Voldemort and his evil minions were hanging out in the woods behind a school full of kids. But that was also irrelevant right now.
Any further conversation was cut short as the entered the Forest. To the girls' great surprise, Zorro was leaning against a tree only a few paces into the forest. Voldemort's half sister wasn't even wearing her hooded cloak, so the girls had a clear view of her face. She seemed to be waiting for something- or someone.
"What's she doing?"
As if in answer to Alyssa's question, a tall, robed figure stepped into the moonlight, emerging from deeper in the Forest. He pulled back his hood and Ilenya realized why Snape hadn't been at dinner that night- he'd been off somewhere doing something else.
Snape was joined by Yaxley within a few seconds, and Zorro stood up straighter as he entered. "We are all here, then. Good."
"You called us?" Snape asked.
"Indeed. The Dark Lord wishes to tell you to keep a very close eye on Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. Just in case."
"Zorro, d'you really think that Bellatrix is going to do anything against the Dark Lord's wishes?" Yaxley asked. "I mean, c'mon. It's Bellatrix."
"This is true. But that would be why I'm going to ask you to keep a much closer watch on Lucius."
"With all due respect, ma'am, why couldn't you have just told us by owl? Why summon us here?" Snape asked softly, looking around as if nervous that the Order of the Phoenix was going to jump out from behind a random tree.
"Good question, Severus. You can go."
Looking quite confused, the black haired man shrugged and set off for the castle.
"Was this all an elaborate plot to get me alone?" Yaxley asked, raising an eyebrow. "If so, you could've just asked me to come. I would do anything for Zorro Princess Riddle, you know that."
"Princess?" Alyssa snorted, covering her mouth. "That's her middle name?"
Ilenya suppressed the urge to giggle and turned back to the conversation in front of them. Zorro was blushing and looking around, almost as if she suspected that someone was watching her. She pulled Yaxley closer to whisper in his ear, and try as she might, Ilenya couldn't make out what they were saying...

-

"Do you really want to know why I called you here?"
Yaxley frowned. "Sure."
"Shh. I think that someone's been following me, Yaxley. And I'm fairly sure that I know who it is, too. I just had to draw them out- I knew that if they saw me leaving the castle they would follow me."
He nodded in understanding. "Do you want me to do anything?" he whispered, breath tickling her ear. She shook her head.
"I got it. But thanks." She pulled out her wand, motion obscured from the girls' line of sight by her cloak, and waved it had already figured out their general vicinity- they were nowhere near as quiet as they seemed to think they were. "Homonium revelio!"
There was a soft swoosh of sound and the outlines of two girls were instantly visible- to her eyes only, of course, but that was enough. Enough to be sure that her hunch was right.
It's those infernal brats again, the Malfoy girl and Lestrange... and I know just how to deal with them.
Insert evil laugh and dramatic music. 'Cause every super evil villain needs some of that.

-

Ilenya was packing up her books after Charms class when she felt someone tap her shoulder. She turned and frowned when she saw Zorro standing behind her. "Yes? What do you want?"
"I will speak with you here. Once everyone's gone."
Alyssa turned. "And why do you want to speak to her alone?"
"It's fine, Alyssa," Ilenya said quickly, putting a hand on her cousin's arm to keep her from protesting. To Zorro, she said, "Sure. Whatever."
"Ilenya..."
"I told you I'd be fine, 'Lyssa. I can handle her, you know."
Still looking unconvinced, Alyssa swung her bag over her shoulder. "See you at dinner, then." She stepped into the hallway, the last one out of the classroom.
Ah, she's so protective... Ilenya smiled slightly and turned back to Zorro. "So what did you want?"
While her back had been turned, Zorro had pulled out her wand, which made her slightly nervous. "Close the door, Lestrange."
"Why should I?"
"Is this really worth fighting over? Close. The door. Now."
Ilenya did so. The heavy wooden door clicked shut and the sounds drifting in from the hallway were suddenly muffled. Zorro twitched her wand and there was an audible clunk as the lock turned.
Why am I getting a bad feeling about this?
"Lestrange."
"You can just call me Ilenya, you know."
"Whatever. Do you think I'm stupid?"
Seeing as Zorro had a wand pointed in her general direction, Ilenya decided that giving an honest answer to that question would not be wise. Instead, she shrugged and said, "What do you mean?"
"Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about," she snarled, stepping closer so their faces were inches apart. "You and your cousin have been following me, haven't you?"
She knows. How does she... aw, crap. I can't let her find out that Lupin told us to spy on her... "What do you mean?" she said aloud, hoping her inner panic didn't show on her face. "Why on earth would we waste our time following an idiot like you?"
"Why indeed? I haven't got time for your futile protests. Tell me. How much have you seen?"
Ilenya found herself wishing that her cousin was here- Alyssa was much better at coming up with witty, sassy remarks. "Well, if you mean how often we've seen you making out with Yaxley, the answer is too often."
"Shut up."
"Are you two in love? When you get married, will you change your name to Zorro Princess Yaxley?" She knew full well that she was going too far, but something about this situation was freaking her out, and all she wanted to do was get out of there as fast as possible...
"Shut up!" Zorro roared, shoving Ilenya. The younger girl fell back onto a desk, knocking it over. She fell to the floor, hard, bruising her bottom and legs. Glaring up at Zorro, she scrambled to her feet, deciding that now would be a good time to draw her wand.
"You and your cousin think you're so smart, don't you? You think you're going to get to go on adventures and save the world from evil and all that crap. Well, guess what. The Dark Lord is going to win this time, with or without you. For some unfathomable reason, he wants you on his side. But I don't think you belong there." These last words were forced out from between clenched teeth as Zorro grabbed Ilenya by the collar of her shirt and dragged her closer, dark eyes bright with fury. "And if I ever catch you following me ever again, I will make sure that you regret it to the day you die."
Yep. Knew I should've stayed in bed this morning. Ilenya sighed. "Well, what ya going to do about it? Kill me? Somehow I doubt that Voldemort would take to kindly to your slaughtering a potential Death Eater. And despite what she might say, my mother would probably be at least a bit pissed."
"You're starting to annoy me, Lestrange."
"Ilenya."
"Aw, does it bother you to be called by your last name? Maybe 'cause your mom is so infamous? Then again, if you were real Death Eater material, you wouldn't mind that infamy, would you?"
Ilenya refused to respond to that. "Look, I get that you don't want us to follow you anymore. Can I go now? Alyssa's probably getting worried." When Zorro didn't respond, she rolled her eyes and walked over to the door anyways, thinking, Why should I hafta ask her for permission, huh?
The door was still locked.
She pulled out her wand and tapped the handle, knowing that it probably wouldn't work. She was right.
"Let me out."
"Why should I?" Zorro flicked her wand again and Ilenya's wand flew out of her hand. "Maybe I ought to teach you a lesson, huh?"
I'm getting a really bad feeling about this. "I'm fairly sure that the castle has some kinda spell that'll alert someone if you do anything illegal, Zorro."
"And I'm fairly sure that I would've thought to deactivate those spells, just in case. Right?"
Zorro was now standing close enough to her that she could feel her breath on her face. Ilenya felt the other's wand press against the base of her throat, making it harder for her to breathe. A feeling of fear was spreading across her body, making her stomach heavy with dread. This scene was all too familiar...
"Crucio!"
A white-hot wave of agony hit her, overloading her senses. Some distant part of her realized that she had fallen to her knees, that she was on the ground, but the only thing she could feel was pain, throbbing through her body, making it spasm and twitch involuntarily. Her vision had gone red and her heartbeat was roaring in her ears, drowning out any and all thoughts except one:
I'm not going to scream. I won't give her that. That's what she wants.
Suddenly it stopped. Panting, Ilenya looked up into Zorro's merciless black eyes.
"You deserved that, Lestrange."
"Really?" She pushed herself up into a standing position, surprised but gratified that she managed to do so without faltering. There was a dull ache all over her body, and her legs felt awfully wobbly- but she hadn't screamed. Not once.
"You can go now."
Ilenya picked up her bag from where it had fallen by the door. Just before leaving, she turned back. "Zorro?"
"What?"
"You're nowhere near as good with that curse as my mother." She slammed the door on her way out.

-

Ilenya paused on the steps up to the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw tower, glancing behind to make sure that Zorro wasn't following her or anything. Saying that her mother was better at the Cruciatus Curse had been a good exiting line and nothing more. It was a lie, too- she had no doubt that Zorro was a far better witch than anyone in Voldemort's army. Maybe even a better one than the Dark Lord himself.
"Ilenya!"
She jumped about a foot in the air, heart pounding. "Zane!"
"What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost," her boyfriend said, eyes gleaming teasingly. "Hey, I missed you at dinner tonight."
"Yeah... I, um, had to study." She winced at how bad she was at lying, but hoped he would fall for it.
"Is something wrong?" He came closer and put an arm around her. "You look... tired."
"Yeah. Ow!" She pulled back as he squeezed her, accidentally pressing against the spot on her side that she had banged against the desk.
"Ilenya?"
"Look, Zane, I have to go, okay?" she said, extricating herself from his arms. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Hey, wait up!" He grabbed her arm as she turned to leave, a confused look on his face. "Ilenya, what's wrong?"
"Nothing!"
"Come on, you can tell me."
No, I can't. You wouldn't understand it, okay? "It's just... you don't need to worry about it, okay?"
"Ilenya, I want to help you!"
Suddenly annoyed, she slapped his hand away. "We've been dating for what, a few weeks? What makes you think you have the right to know every single little thing I do? Do I get all clingy when you hang out with your friends? Do I start asking you invasive questions when you look tired?"
Zane looked slightly hurt by that. "I'm not clingy." He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. "I just want to protect you, Ilenya. When you look like you're in pain... when you seem like you need help... I want to be there for you. I don't want to think that you need someone and I'm not there for you."
Since when have I needed a knight in shining armor to come save me? I can take care of myself! she wanted to scream. You wouldn't understand me! You don't know what it's like to get hurt by someone you love... someone you thought loved you... someone you want to love you. You've never had to feel like you're some kind of monster for being related to someone like Bellatrix Lestrange.
But she didn't say that. Instead she pulled him in for a kiss, letting her tongue dart into his mouth, feeling his body against hers. And nothing else. No love, no passion.
What's happening to me? I still love him... don't I?

-

"You weren't at dinner tonight. I was worried," Alyssa said, jumping up and running over to Ilenya the instant the latter entered the girls dorm room. "Where were you?"
"I wasn't hungry. I went to the library."
"Zane was asking about you."
"Was he?" Ilenya replied absently. She pulled off her robes and slipped into her pajamas, then sat down on her bed. "I'm tired."
"So am I..."
As if on cue, there was a scratching noise at the window. The girls exchanged glances, then drew their wands and advanced on the window. Alyssa pulled back the curtains and relaxed. "It's just my dad's owl. Wonder what he's writing to me about at this time of night?" She unlatched the shutters and untied the letter attached to the owl's leg. "Thanks, buddy," she muttered, ruffling the bird's head feathers.
Ilenya glanced around the dorm room. There were a few others there, and no one was paying attention to her or Alyssa, but she still figured that caution was highly advisable. "Bring it over here."
Alyssa ripped the envelope open and skimmed the letter, then tossed it to Ilenya. "Huh. What d'you make of that?"
Alyssa-
First of all, destroy this letter upon reading it. You and your cousin need to come to our house by midnight tonight- the Dark Lord wishes to speak to you. Do not tell anyone where you are going, least of all one of the teachers. Do not tell Draco.
I love you, sweetest.
-DAD
"I'm assuming that by 'your cousin' he means me?" Ilenya asked, looking up from the letter and frowning.
"Yeah, I doubt he means, say, Tonks. Wonder why Vol- er, my dad's boss needs to talk to us," her cousin muttered, throwing a glance at the nearest girl, Lavender Brown and lowering her voice.
"Are we going to go?"
"Of course!" Alyssa replied, as if there had never been any question about that. "All we have to do is figure out how to get out of here..."

-

In the end, that was actually the easiest part. They did their usual Disillusionment charm and Alyssa bribed Peeves to provide a distraction- by letting him use the Shrinking Solution she had made in Potions.
"I shudder to think how he's gonna use that," Ilenya muttered as they crossed the lawn.
"Ah, whatever. Probably pour it on someone's homework. You sure you know how to Apparate?"
"...reasonably sure?"
"That's not a good thing to hear," Alyssa muttered as they neared the gate. "Oh well. Broomsticks would take too long- plus you have issues with those."
Ilenya winced. "Hey, it's not my fault that every time I get on a broomstick I somehow manage to fall off..." They had reached the gate by now, and she took a deep breath. Alyssa grabbed her arm and she spun, feeling herself slip into suffocating darkness. The trip seemed to take forever, prompting a slight worry that she'd messed up somehow, but then they were standing on the lawn in front of Malfoy Manor.
"Phew..."
"You did it, Ilenya!" Alyssa cheered, letting go. She approached the gate, knocking on it twice. "Hey, Dad, I'm here!"
The solid iron of the gate dissolved, letting Alyssa and Ilenya walk through. Ilenya had been to her cousin's house before, of course, but walking through the grounds in almost total darkness lent a completely different feeling to it. She felt like something was about to jump out at her from behind eery bush, every elegant fountain. Alyssa, of course, was unaffected by any of the creepy shapes or odd sounds issuing from the darkness.
They reached the front doors, which swung open silently.
"Welcome."
Lord Voldemort's voice carried through the still night air as he stepped into view, pale skin and red eyes clear through the blackness. Around him stood ranks of Death Eaters, clad in long robes and their masks. Ilenya was fairly sure that she recognized her mother, off to the right of Voldemort.
"We are gathered tonight to bestow our highest honor on two children of my most faithful followers. Alyssa Malfoy and Ilenya Lestrange, are you prepared to join our ranks and purify this world, reestablishing the superiority of our pure blood?"
Well, we can hardly say no, under these circumstances. Ilenya nodded wordlessly, feeling her cousin do the same beside her. She also wondered if she was the only one that noticed the irony of a half-blood calling for the 'reestablishment of pure blood' or whatever.
"Extend your left arm."
Is this really happening? Ilenya found herself desperately wishing that she was dreaming, that she would wake up right now in her bed, safe. She wasn't ready to be a Death Eater. She wasn't sure she even wanted to be one. And she knew that Alyssa felt the same way.
Voldemort approached Alyssa first, wand out. He pressed it to her skin and Ilenya saw her cousin bite her lip in pain as he traced the design into her flesh, searing it black. In the din light, it looked like he was pouring liquid night onto her skin, staining it with darkness. He let go of her and moved to Ilenya.
His red eyes met hers for a second before she felt his cold hand gripping her upper arm, holding it still. The first touch of his wand burned like fire, making her wince. Over his shoulder, she saw her mother's eyes flash with approval from behind her mask. She forced herself to watch as the Mark appeared on her arm, marking her for life as a follower of the Dark Lord.
"There." He let go and moved back to the front of the Death Eater crowd.
"Haha, Draco's gonna be so jealous," Alyssa whispered.
"You are now Death Eaters. Congratulations. I would recommend that you never betray us, as we have... creative ways of getting revenge." Was it Ilenya's imagination, or did his eyes flick towards Bellatrix as he said that? "This meeting is adjourned."
Lucius Malfoy hurried over, wrapping Alyssa up in a hug. "Good job, Alyssa."
"You'll be expected to come to most of the meetings, of course," Bellatrix said, coming up behind him and smiling at Ilenya. "But since you're still in school you can probably skip some. Congrats, 'Lena." Her face shone with approval as she threw an arm around her daughter.
The only time she's ever been proud of me and it's for... this.
"You'd better head back," Lucius said, letting go of Alyssa. "Don't want you getting in trouble. And, um, remember to wear long sleeves, right?"
"Okay!" Alyssa hugged him one more time, then grabbed Ilenya's hand. "He's right. Let's go."
As they left, Ilenya glanced behind to make sure no one was listening in. "That was... unexpected."
"Yeah. But we're Death Eaters. It's not like we didn't see it coming, right? They were talking about it in the Forest, remember?"
"But I didn't expect it so soon."
"True." Alyssa shrugged. "But we'll live. Maybe someday it won't matter anymore if we're Death Eaters or not."
Ilenya didn't think that likely, but decided it wasn't worth discussing further. She held out her hand "Ready?"
"Ready."
As they spun into the darkness that would return them to Hogwarts, Ilenya felt her Mark tingle slightly.
I have no idea what's going to happen next. All I know it... everything's changed.

Chapter 11: Disasters

When the girls got back to Hogwarts grounds, they heard Hagrid playing a soft tune on the flute. They ran over to him and saw that he was crying.

"Hagrid, what's the matter?" Alyssa asked.

"She said d'at if I told yeh, She'd curse me to bits an' pieces." Hagrid replied.

Ilenya looked at Alyssa and said, "He means Zorro."

"D'ats the one but don' trust her She's no' a student." Hagrid said calming down a bit.

"She's in all of our classes though and she gets graded like the rest of us." Alyssa told him.

"I 'no bu' I was eavesdropp'n on her and Snape. She's really Snape's age not fifteen." Hagrid told them.

"Thanks Hagrid." Ilenya said, "We'll try to help you out." The girls ran back to the castle happy that Hagrid hadn't asked why they were out during the night. As they were coming up the stairs they ran straight into…Dumbledore.

"Hello girls, what brings you up at this time of night?" He asked. The girls pulled down their sweater sleeves a bit more before answering.

"We were visiting Hagrid because he was upset." Ilenya told him.

"Ah, I see, yes he has been a bit weepy lately though no one knows why. Do you girls know?" Dumbledore asked leading them to his office.

"He said it was something about …um…about a student…" Alyssa told him looking at Ilenya for help.

"Which student?" Dumbledore questioned the girls with a confused look on his face.

"He said…Zorro Riddle." Ilenya finally confessed. Dumbledore looked even more confused and sat down in his chair gesturing the girls to do the same.

"That is most interesting, thanks girls. Before you go to bed, Professor Lupin would like to speak to you." He said with a twinkle in his eyes. The girls stood and walked out to Lupin's office confused but also happy that they could help. When they got to Lupin's office, they knocked and waited. Lupin opened the door looking shabbier than normal.

"This is not a good time Zorro." He said.

"Professor, it's Ilenya and Alyssa." Ilenya told him.

"Well, in that case come it." Lupin said. The girls came in seeing a cauldron of Wolfsbane potion on his desk.

"That time is it?" Alyssa asked.

"Yes, I'm afraid so though that's not the potion Snape made, Zorro made it for me but to be honest I don't trust her." Lupin said.

"Professor, maybe I can help, I'm good at figuring out if something is poisoned or not." Ilenya told him.

"Very well, but don't taste it, it's revolting." He agreed sitting down. While Ilenya was doing tests on the potion, Alyssa made Lupin a new batch of Wolfsbane in front of him.

"Well, this potion is poisoned alright. See it turned a deep red shade." Ilenya told Lupin.

"Thank you for identifying it but why does she want to poison me?" Lupin pondered.

"Hagrid told us that she would curse him if he told us anything but we did find out that she isn't fifteen but is actually around Snape's age." Ilenya told him.

"That would explain a lot." Lupin said. Before any of them could say a word however, a knock came from the door. Lupin cast a Dissalussiment Charm over the girls and stood up to answer it. In front of him stood Snape and a few other people ready to defend themselves.

"Snape, what is this about?" Lupin asked.

"We know that you have the girls in there and we wish to speak to them about an important matter." Snape answered. Lupin stepped aside and let them come it.

"As you can see, nothing is in here except me and my things." Lupin said. Zorro came out from the back of the group and glanced around. "It's a Dissalussiment Charm." She said as she muttered something in Bulgarian. Instantly, the spell wore off and standing before them all were Ilenya Lestrange and Alyssa Malfoy.

"Ah, so they were here and why might I ask?" said Snape looking at Lupin.

"Dumbledore asked us to help Professor Lupin with his potion." Alyssa improvised.

Snape smiled and looked at her, "I see, congratulations, you have managed to make Wolfsbane potion." Lupin escorted everyone outside but took the girls aside. "Why was Severus smiling at you?" he asked.

"Beats me but it was weird." Ilenya answered even though she had an idea about why Snape was smiling. After they left Lupin's office, he thought it would be best if they went to bed, Ilenya told Alyssa why she thought Snape was smiling.

"Remember the poisoned potion? Well, I think Snape thought we were getting him to drink it." Ilenya told her cousin.

"Oh my gosh! That makes perfect sense!" Alyssa responded forgetting to keep her voice down. Just then they heard footsteps. Behind them, Snape came out from behind the shadows."Well, did Lupin drink the potion?" Alyssa and Ilenya turned around and faced him. "Well, he drank a potion but we don't know which one considering the fact that there were two of them." Ilenya told him. Snape pushed the girls gently into an empty classroom.

"Listen, Zorro poisoned the potion and if Lupin drinks it he will die." Snape told them.

"Professor, why did you tell us that? I mean I thought you and Zorro were… you know…friends?" Alyssa asked.

"I am no friend of Zorro Riddle, She has a crush on me and I don't like her." Snape responded quickly. The girls knew better than to pester him about the relationship.

"So…what do we need to do now?" Ilenya asked. Snape looked at her then said casually, "Save Remus." Snape walked away leaving the girls pondering about what they should do. They started walking back to their room but when they got there they found someone standing in their way.

"What did Severus want?" The voice asked. Ilenya took out her wand and quietly said, "Lumos." Alyssa looked at her cousin and responded, "Homework stuff." Ilenya made the wand light travel up to the person's face and they found themselves looking at Yaxely. Yaxely looked at the girls then gave them a note and said, "Give this to Zorro for me." The girls were confused but told him they said that they would. Finally, when the girls got to their room they opened up the note it said,

Zorro,

I'm sorry to tell you this but I can no longer be your boyfriend. The strain that was put on me was way too much and personally, you are too evil and I know that you'll want to kill me after you read this but I talked to the Dark Lord and he told me it was for the best.

Yaxely

The girls read the note then folded it up and prepared for the next morning when they would have to face Zorro.

The next morning Alyssa woke up early and woke up Ilenya. The girls got dressed and went downstairs. Alyssa was so focused on what she would say to Zorro (the two of them decided that it would be best if Alyssa gave her the note instead of Ilenya.) that she didn't even notice Ron wave at her in the hallway. When they got down to the Great Hall, they found it deserted except for Zorro. Alyssa walked up to her and said, "I was told to give you this." Zorro looked at Alyssa in such a weird way before taking the note and walking out of the Great Hall.

"We should see how Hagrid is doing." Ilenya said.

"Yeah, you're right." Alyssa responded.

The girls went down to Hagrid's hut and found that it was on fire but it wasn't any fire but Fiend Fire, which is to say cursed fire. The girls started running and both of pulled out their wands but before they could cast the counter jinx, Dumbledore held them back.

"Does one of you know how this happened?" He asked them.

"No sir but can we please put out the fire, we both know the counter jinx." Alyssa pleaded.

"Of course!" Dumbledore said as he stepped aside. The girls looked at each other then at the same time said the counter jinx. The fire was slowly put out and then all of teachers (except Hagrid) and the girls rebuilt Hagrid's hut. Ilenya even went as far as to put protective spells around it. Just as they finished up they saw Zorro running down the hill looking madder than ever, a piece of paper clutched in her right hand. She stopped in front of Dumbledore and said, "Ilenya and Alyssa are Death Eaters."

Dumbledore looked at her and said, "Ms. Riddle, I highly doubt that and for trying to get your friends expelled you may serve detention with Prof. Lupin."

Zorro shot the girls a nasty look before walking with Lupin to his office. Just then Snape walked up to them and said, "Come to my office, I need to talk to you both about that essay."

The girls followed Snape to his office. When they got there, he said, "Seems that Yaxely broke up with his girlfriend and Zorro is upset about it. I can tell that she'll come to me considering what I said the other night."

"Prof. why would Zorro be upset I mean it's not like she is dating him right?" Alyssa asked.

"Definitely not! She's just sensitive." Snape said quickly.

"Best we don't speak about this I suppose." Ilenya said looking past Snape to a necklace and ring framed in glass.

"Yes, and don't speak about the burning hut." Snape responded.

After her detention with Lupin, Zorro ran down to the dungeons to see Snape.

"Severus, I need to speak to you." She called through his locked door.

"Severus is not in his office Zorro." A voice said behind her.

Zorro spun around and found herself looking at Dumbledore.

"Professor, I need to talk to Snape." She said urgently.

"Very well, he will be back soon." Dumbledore walked away but not before he flicked his wand and Zorro's left sleeve came clear off. The dark mark was clearly visible but Dumbledore didn't seem to notice. Zorro knew something was going on but what? She found Snape down at the Quidditch pitch. She told him about her break up with Yaxley and begged him to help her.

"Zorro, I can't do anything." Snape responded.

Zorro quickly got closer to Snape and whispered in his ear, "I know how you feel about me and I make your dreams come true."

Snape pulled away from her and said, "Zorro, I no longer have feelings for you, no one does."

Zorro glared hard at Snape then said, "At least my brother still relies on me."

Voldemort appeared and said, "Zorro, your work here is done, go back to Bulgaria, the two new Death Eaters can handle the task that I'm going to give them."

Zorro walked up to her brother and hugged him briefly before dissaperating. Snape and Voldemort glanced at each other and walked away separately. Zorro had not gone back to Bulgaria because Voldemort told her to but because she was planning something big and she needed an army. When she got to Durmstrang, Viktor Krum was there waiting for her.

"Hello, sweet heart." Victor said to her.

Zorro ran into his arms and embraced him. They looked into each other eyes and Viktor bent down to kiss her. Zorro stopped him and said, "Not in public Viktor."

The two of them walked to Zorro's dorm then Viktor locked the door.

"Vot news from Hogwarts?" He asked pouring himself a glass of wine.

"Nothing new since last time." Zorro said as she pulled of her cloak and threw it on a chair. Viktor walked over to her and began kissing her. Zorro realized that kissing Viktor was nothing that she had ever experienced before. She felt so safe in his arms and kissed him back.

Chapter 12

Back at Hogwarts Ilenya and Alyssa were sitting in the library.

"I wonder what happened to Zorro? I mean she just left." Ilenya said.

"I know right." Alyssa said not even taking her eyes off her potion book."Well, I gotta get down to the Quidditch pitch for practice for the big game tomorrow." Alyssa said and threw her book in her bag and left.
When Alyssa got down to the Quidditch pitch she was greeted by Fred and George with bad news.
"Harry got sick and won't be able to play tomorrow." Fred told me.
"Oh crap this is just great... Get everyone out her I need to figure out how I am going to play everyone tomorrow." Alyssa said running into the changing room so she could get into practice clothes and ran back out with her broom.
Everyone was waiting for Alyssa when she came back out to here who is going to play seeker.
"Okay listen I decided to have Ginny play seeker and have someone fill in her spot." Alyssa said looking around the room to for someone that would be good enough to play for Ginny. when she looked at Ron who was jumping up and down wanting to get Ginnys spot.
"Oh crap Ron...He can't play he isn't one of our good players...but he is my boyfriend and he would be so pissed if he didn't get it."Alyssa thought to herself.
"And Ron you're filling in Ginny's spot." She said trying to sound serieuse.
"YES" Ron shouted.
"Alright everyone out on the pitch and lets win this game tomorrow!" Alyssa shouted as everyone yelled back.

~*~
Ilenya was walking back to Gryffindor/Ravenclaw tower when she turned a corner and someone took her arm and pulled her into a tight hug then kissed her passionately. When he let her go Ilenya realized it was Zane and smiled before he pecked her on the lips before saying: " Do you wanna go out Sunday for our hogsmade meeting?"
"Of course!"Ilenya said. Before Zane could kiss her again Draco walked by and saw them.
"Um... Awkward. Ilenya, Alyssa is looking everywhere for you."Draco said and left.
"Sorry Zane I have to go but I'll find you later." Ilenya said.
Ilenya was walking back to the dorm and ran right into Alyssa in front of the fat lady.
"Oh there you are! I have been looking everywhere for you!" Alyssa said.
"Yeah Draco told me." Ilenya said.
Before the fat lady could even say 'password' Alyssa said:" Billywings" and the two of them walked right into the common room and took their seats next to the fire.
"So what did you need my for?"Ilenya asked Alyssa as she pulled her charms book out of her bag.
"So I just finished talking to Snape and he said we have to go to my house Sunday. He said its something really important and everyone is going to be there." Alyssa told her friend has she turned a page in her."Oh, and he said that Zorro went back to Bulgaria."
"Well there goes my date... I was going to go on a date with Zane." Ilenya said.
"That sucks..." Alyssa said." Blast these damn robs! Sorry Ilenya but I have to go get these off before I die."
Alyssa ran up to the girls room threw on a pair of light colored skinny jeans, a big old hoodie and her high tops and ran back down to the common room to find Ilenya with her head inside a book.
"Hey, do you wanna go and eat? I'm starving!" Alyssa said.
"Yeah sure." Ilenya said putting her books away and getting up out of the chair.
The girls walked down to the great hall to find it full and everyone enjoying their meal. Alyssa ran over to two extra seats. She quickly sat down and covered her plate with mashed potatoes diving into them like she never ate before.
"Someone's hungry." Ilenya said as she put a little bit of everything on her plate.
"I never made it down here for lunch." Alyssa said has she covered her plate in chicken this time.
Ilenya was just looking around the hall when someone caught her eye at the professor's table. It was Zorro sitting in Lupins seat!
Ilenya eyes widened in shock and turned to Alyssa and said:" Alyssa look at Professor Lupin's seet."
Alyssa looked at Ilenya with one eyebrow raised wondering why she had to look at Lupin's seat but she did so anyway.
After Alyssa looked at the seat she turned back to Ilenya with her mouth wide open wondering what the hell was Zorro doing here. And most of all why was she sitting at the professor's table.
"What the hell is she doing here? I thought she went back to Bulgaria?"Alyssa said which made her spit out half the food that was in her mouth.
"I really would just love to know what she is up too...Snape said she was back in Bulgaria." Ilenya said."Come on Alyssa, lets go see what's up."
"But I'm still eat-" Before Alyssa could finish Ilenya got up and dragged Alyssa out of the Great Hall.
They went straight to Professor Lupins Office and knocked on the door. Nobody answered. Alyssa knocked again and still nobody answered.
"I'm gonna open the door." Alyssa said as she opened it up with a big CRACK as it opened.
"Hello?" Ilenya said walking into the dark room.
"I wonder where the hell He is? He wasn't in the Great Hall tonight. And I still am itching to find out why the shit Zorro was in his seat." Alyssa said.
Just then the door slammed shut and everything went dizzy all of a sudden. Instead of the room being just black the way Lupin's office was with no lights on it started to change into a lit up living room very familiar to the girls with a fire lit in the middle of the room and one chair right in front of it.
"Why are we in my living room?" Alyssa whispered to Ilenya.
But before Ilenya could answer a man got up from the chair and said:" I've been waiting for you two."

CHAPTER 13: Decisions

Ilenya froze, fear and shock coursing through her at the sight of that all-too-familiar face. Beside her, she felt her cousin stiffen as well.

"My... my Lord!" Alyssa stammered, and Ilenya silently thanked her for being so quick to respond. God knew she was too terrified to say much of anything at the moment.

"Do you know why I have called you here?" Lord Voldemort stood, pale face wraith-like in the flickering light of the candle. Ilenya felt her heartbeat accelerate and she focused on the window behind the Dark Lord, where the three of them were only visible as faint reflections. Like none of this mattered.

Philosophical thoughts like that tended to calm her down.

"Why have you called us here, my lord?" she heard herself asking, and she marveled at the fact that there was no quaver of fear there.

"I have a mission for you."

"Do you, now." Alyssa quirked an eyebrow at the greatest Dark Wizard of all time, a small smile on her face, as though this was some family dinner and he had just made a witty comment. Ilenya winced, expecting her to get cursed into oblivion- this was hardly the time for immature posturing- but for some reason Voldemort looked almost...amused.

"Perhaps only for you, Miss Malfoy. Seems to me like you have a touch more, ah... spirit than your cousin. And spirit is something I appreciate in my followers."

Knowing Voldemort, Ilenya wasn't quite sure that that was a compliment.

"Oh yeah? What kinda mission?"

"I want you to kill the Weasley family."

If this hadn't been such a dramatically charged moment, Ilenya would have groaned. That wasn't the kind of thing anyone- even the Dark Lord- just came out and said so casually. Especially if the person you were saying it to happened to be dating one of the proposed victims. Plus there had been no kind of dramatic tension there.

"Kill...?" For once, Ilenya's loquacious cousin was at a loss for words. Ilenya jumped in, covering for her friend.

"My Lord, the Weasley family? Are they truly worthy of such attention?" After months and months listening to her mother talk to him, she knew that one could manipulate Voldemort, get him to listen to what you had to say...

Unfortunately, she obviously didn't have that kind of skill.

"Shut up." Without even looking at her, his hand lashed out. She found herself flying through the air, crashing into the mahogany-paneled wall behind them. Wincing, she stared up at the ceiling, trying to catch her breath.

Ouch. That... hurt.

"Throwing my cousin across the room is hardly going to get me to agree to this." There was a trace of the old defiance in Alyssa's voice.

"I don't need to convince you. As a loyal Death Eater, you follow my orders without question. And you are loyal... right?" Voldemort's voice seemed to fill the room though his voice was soft, curling through the darkness like some malevolent spirit. Ilenya shuddered.

"I am." The words seemed torn from Alyssa's mouth against her will. Ilenya saw her cousin's hazel eyes flicker towards her as if beseeching her for help, but Ilenya was just as helpless here as she was.

"You are what?"

"I am loyal... my lord." It actually seemed to cost Alyssa some physical effort to spit the words out.

"Then get out of my sight." And he turned away, dark cloak swirling in his wake. Ilenya staggered to her feet and approached her cousin cautiously. Alyssa stood as though struck to stone, staring at Voldemort's pale, blurred reflection in the window glass.

"Let's go." Ilenya's hand fastened around Alyssa's wrist and she dragged her friend out the door. Reaching the garden, she looked into Alyssa's eyes once before spinning into the crushing black.

What she saw there scared her more than a little bit.

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"What do I do, Ilenya?" Alyssa paced back and forth, hands laced behind her back, a worried expression on her face. "I can't do it! I can't kill them!" She whirled, tears bright in her eyes. "I can't!"

The two of them were alone in the common room, a very convenient place to have a midnight conversation. The dying fire cast flickering shadows over the faces of the two girls and across the floor, wreathing them in wavering shadow. Ilenya's sleeve was rolled up and she was staring at the Dark Mark there, tracing it with her eyes rather than meet Alyssa's desperate gaze.

"Look at me, dang it!" Alyssa grabbed Ilenya's shoulders and forced the dark-haired girl to look up. Ilenya's grey eyes skittered away, avoiding eye contact.

"I can't help you, Alyssa," she whispered helplessly. "I really can't."

"You aren't allowed to give up! It's not as though you've just been asked to- to kill your boyfriend's family!"

Ilenya winced. "That's right. He asked you. So you're the only one that can make this decision, because if I make it for you you'll regret it forever. Either way you're betraying someone you love."

Because it was either Ron or her father. That was the unspoken truth that hung between them. And that wasn't a choice that Alyssa should ever have been asked to make.

"What would you do?" Alyssa fell back into an armchair, a defeated look on her face.

"I... I would do it. It would be too much of a risk to defy him- can't you see that?"

"I don't see anything of the sort. Killing a whole family, on the other hand... that's a risk. And it's wrong, besides."

"Once you're in his service, the Dark Lord will never let you go!" And she would know. "If you resist him, you're pretty much writing your own death sentence."

Alyssa shot to her feet, eyes blazing. "So you'd just go along with it, no matter how evil it is. How completely wrong it is. Don't you see what you're doing?"

"Alyssa..."

But there was no stopping the shorter girl. "You'd blindly follow him. You're just like your mother."

"Don't say that!" Ilenya's hand twitched towards her wand before she could stop it. "I'll never be like her!"

"Oh, really?" There was clear scorn in her cousin's voice now. "You'd do what he said if it was you. Don't you dare deny it."

Ilenya's mouth opened and closed soundlessly. It wasn't as if she could say she wouldn't. Because if she was asked to kill someone, even if she knew it was wrong... she'd never have the bravery to stand up to someone like Voldemort.

"That's pathetic." Alyssa turned, making her way across the shadowy common room to the door. Ilenya stood and trailed after her, trying to keep her friend's attention, trying to make her see reason.

"Where are you going?"

"To Dumbledore." Alyssa paused at the portrait hole, eyes blazing. "Go or stay, it's your choice."

Ilenya watched her cousin disappear through the doorway, brown hair whipping through just as it snapped shut. Then she sighed, bit her lip, and wrenched the portrait hole open.

I could never let you go alone, Alyssa.

"Wait!"

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Alyssa stormed up the stairs without even glancing back at Ilenya. Her cousin trailed behind, moving much more slowly and with a certain trepidation in her step.

The Gryffindor ripped the door to Dumbledore's office open without even bothering to knock. "I need to talk to you."

"Seems to me that there are two of you here," Dumbledore noted gently, not seeming very surprised by the fact that a random teenager had just burst into his office at one in the morning. Ilenya wondered briefly why Dumbledore always seemed to be in his office. Did he ever sleep? And if so, where?

That was all pretty off-topic, of course, but Ilenya had a way of getting distracted at stressful moments like this.

Alyssa glanced back scornfully at Ilenya. "Well. I don't know why she's here, but there's something you need to know." And without further preamble she ripped up her left sleeve, revealing the lurid Mark there.

Ilenya winced but didn't say anything. This was Alyssa's choice.

"The Dark Mark," the Headmaster mused, adjusting his glasses and peering down at it. "So Ms. Riddle was telling the truth. Why have you shown me this?"

"Voldemort wants me to... to do something really bad." Alyssa hesitated, obviously unwilling to reveal exactly what that mission was, at least at the moment. "And I don't think I can do it. So I'm coming to you for help."

Ilenya had to give her cousin this: she wasn't too proud to ask for help. Something to be admired, no doubt.

"You have already been keeping an eye on Zorro on Lupin's orders, no?" When Alyssa nodded, Dumbledore seemed satisfied. "Then if you wish, you may seek the Order's protection."

"What?" Ilenya stepped forward, speaking for the first time. "Alyssa, don't listen to him! If you go over to the Order, he'll actually literally kill you. Don't you-"

"Shut up." Alyssa turned on her for a split second, betrayal and anger clear on her face. "I don't want to hear the words of a coward like you. At least I'm resisting him. Unlike you."

"It isn't exactly an offer to join the Order... yet. But if you serve us well, you might rise in our ranks. And you would never have to do anything you thought utterly wrong. It is more than you could expect from Voldemort." Dumbledore regarded Alyssa solemnly over his half-moon spectacles.

Oh, Alyssa. I'm so scared. Ilenya bit her lip, staring out the window behind Dumbledore, where the starry sky was visible. Please don't do anything stupid.

"I'll have to think about it," her cousin finally mumbled, looking at her feet. "But thank you." Without another word she swept out, not even waiting for Ilenya like she normally would have. It was clear that something in their friendship had been broken, even if it was only temporarily.

Ilenya glanced back at Dumbledore one last time before following Alyssa out. His light blue eyes were keen and clear, as though he could see straight into her soul. It was a very disconcerting feeling. She wasn't sure she wanted anyone in that deep.

~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/

Chapter 14: Friends?

Alyssa walked back to the common room, picked up a notebook and began writing. Ilenya followed her cousin slowly and picked up a book. Why can't Alyssa see that obeying Voldemort is the right thing in our situation and that following the Order is not the right thing to do? Ilenya asked herself. She glanced at her cousin, caught Alyssa staring at her then looked away. Finally, after a few moments, Alyssa stood up and walked over to the door leading to the Great Hall. Ilenya sat upstairs feeling alone. It's not that bad. I mean, I've been alone before. Ilenya thought for a little bit then decided to get some of her homework done. Just before Ilenya could move to get her books, the door burst open and Hermione, Viktor and a new girl walked into the common room.

"Viktor, you should have told me you were coming, I mean, I'm very happy but surprised that you came, you did tell me that school was keeping you busy and so I thought you weren't coming and I would have gone to visit you but I don't really know the precise location of Durmstrang and-"

"Hermione, you talk too much." Viktor cut her off. Hermione blushed and walked over to one of the tables. She saw Ilenya sitting alone and asked, "Where's your friend?"

"What friend?" Ilenya responded standing up and walked away. Hermione was shocked but continued searching until she found the book she was looking for. she turned around to find the girl that was with Viktor looking around while speaking with Viktor in Bulgarian.

"Viktor, who is your friend?" Hermione asked, hoping that it wasn't his girlfriend.

"She is my bodyguard from Bulgaria, don't worry." Viktor responded noticing the look on Hermione's face.

"You need a bodyguard?" Hermione asked surprised.

"Yes, I do. Who knows, someone may vish to attack me." Viktor responded smiling as he did so. Hermione smiled back and walked out the door with Viktor and his bodyguard.

...

Alyssa walked to the common room after her discussion with Dumbledore. She could feel Ilenya walking behind her but didn't pay her any mind. When she got to the common room, Alyssa picked her notebook and began writing out her possibilities. Ilenya waked in a picked up a book and began to read. Doesn't Ilenya realize that I can't just destroy an entire family, let alone my boyfriend's family? Plus, if I can get protection from the Order I could be a double agent. She is right though, I would be betraying someone I love, my boyfriend or my dad. Alyssa looked up and glanced at Ilenya, wishing that her cousin could understand how she felt. Ilenya looked at Alyssa, saw that she was watching her and looked away. After a few moments, Alyssa stood up and walked to the Great Hall, hoping maybe she could talk to Lupin, or Snape, considering that they both were in the Order. When Alyssa got to the Great Hall, she saw Lupin sitting alone at a table. She walked over and sat down.

"Can I ask you something?" She asked him.

"Of course, what can do for you?" Lupin responded.

"If someone told you to kill and entire family, but you were extremely close to someone in that family, would you kill that family?" She asked looking away from Lupin's calm face.

"Well, depending on who was asking, if it was Voldemort I would seek protection from the Order and tell them what the situation was." Lupin answered.

"Of course, well, have you seen Prof. Snape?" She asked quickly changing the topic.

"He was talking to Dumbledore when I last checked." Lupin answered standing up and stretching.

"Thanks!" Alyssa said as she walked away, but as she did Lupin muttered a spell and he could see that Alyssa had something on her left arm. Alyssa felt something brush her arm and quickly pulled her jacket on. She walked up the stairs to Dumbledore's office. She paused outside his door and sighed. What have I turned into? She asked herself. Just as she raised her hand to knock, Harry walked out. Alyssa smiled at him and walked into Dumbledore's office.

"Have you thought about my offer?" Dumbledore asked her as he was standing by his Pensive.

"Actually, I was looking for Prof. Snape." Alyssa responded as she watched Fawks from across the room.

"He has left on a mission for your master." Dumbledore said as he turned around to face Alyssa.

Alyssa stood in the office for a moment then said, "I have made my choice, I will seek the Order's protection but they must do something for me, they must keep a certain family safe as well."

"Very well, but I need to know who the family is in order to protect them." Dumbledore said.

"Well, it's the Weasely family, Ron is my boyfriend so I want him and his family to be safe."

"I see, I will my bests, meanwhile why don't you tell me what's bothering you beside the order that your master gave you."

"Homework and I missed a few classes but I don't know how I can explain why I missed the classes to the teachers without giving away the fact that I'm a... one of Them." Alyssa said as she sat down in one of he chairs. Dumbledore sat down behind his desk and looked at Alyssa over his glasses.

"Well, I'm sure that we could think of something if we worked together. Perhaps, you were talking to me about some problems and had to speak with Prof. Lupin?" Dumbledore responded finally, a smile playing at his lips.

"Very well, but how can convince them that it was urgent?" Alyssa argued.

"I will speak to the teachers, don't worry." Dumbledore said as he stood up, Alyssa's sign that it was time to go.

"Thanks Prof." Alyssa said as she walked out the door and down the stairs. Dumbledore watched Alyssa walk out of his office then turned around to face a portrait.

"What do I do now?" He asked the portrait.

"Well, you need to inform the Order then proceed with your plan." The portrait of Godric Gryffindor replied.

"Yes I know, but how can ask this of Alyssa, she has already been through much."

"Albus, you need to look at the overall picture, there is more to the puzzle then we think."

"Well, what should I do? Continue with the plan or change it?"

"It doesn't matter what I think, I'm just a painting."

Before Dumbledore could respond, Hagrid burst into the office.

"Prof. Studen's are runn'g aroun' goin' crazy 'bout somt'ing!" Hagrid said, out of breath.

"Hagrid calm down, have a brandy, sit down and I shall handle this." Dumbledore said as he walked over to a cabinet a pulled out a very large bottle of brandy. Dumbledore handed it over to Hagrid. Hagrid nodded his thanks, opened the bottle, and gulped some down.

"Now, I will be back in a few moments then we can talk." Just as Dumbledore was about to walk down the stairs, Ilenya ran into him.

"Sorry Prof. Have you seen Hagrid?" She asked also out of breath.

"Yes, he is in my office relaxing a little bit, now what is going on outside?" He asked her.

"Well, there was a fight between, Ron and Viktor and it started out with just a fight but then wands were pulled out and curses were being fired. Viktor cast a curse and a dragon appeared which got everyone spooked." She told him.

"Viktor Krum and Ronald Weasely?" Dumbledore asked.

"Yes, Viktor came to see Hermione and I don't know who started the fight but I have to talk to Hagrid prof." Ilenya stammered.

"Very well, the password to my office is 'Chocolate Frogs'" He informed her.

"Thank you prof." Ilenya said as she walked into Dumbledore's office. She faced Hagrid and pulled out her wand.

"What you saw was just a dream, there are no Death Eaters at Hogwarts." She said this she nonverbally said, "Obliviate!" Hagrid's expression became calm once more, he stood up and walked out of Dumbledore's office.

It was needful to do that to Hagrid, he knew too much and he's fine now, so no harm done.

Chapter 15

As Alyssa was walking back to Gryffindor/Ravenclaw tower she walked past the great hall where all this commotion was going on so she decided to see what everyone was going crazy about. She walked over to find that a big fight with Viktor Krum and Ron Weasley. They both had their wands out throwing spells after spells at each other and everyone was freaking out about the dragon that Viktor had from his spell that was attacking Ron.
Alyssa ran over to Ginny who was standing there in shock wondering how this all started and asked:" What the heck is going on?!"
"I-I have no idea I just got here." Ginny said." Dean said something about Viktor picking a fight."
Alyssa ran over to the other side where most of the Slytherin cheering on Viktor and pulled Draco aside.
"What the heck is going on here?!" Alyssa spat in her brothers face.
"Hey! Don't act like I made this happen! I just came down here for lunch and then they started fight. At first it was Viktors bodyguard that tripped Weasley and then he got pissed but before Weasley could say something Viktor punched him and then this happened." Draco said.
"Wait, what bodyguard?" Alyssa asked sternly.
"Her." Draco said pointing out a tall black haired woman that looked like she was nineteen or older.
Alyssa ran over to her where she was in the front row of Slytherin shouting Krum over and over again.
"What the heck do you think you are doing!?" Alyssa yelled so loud everyone in the hall seemed to have heard her because all eyes were on her now.
"Having fun." She said with an evil grin on her face as she took a sip from her flask.
What a minute...Viktor Krum is from Bulgaria and Zorro went back there or at least she was told to...
Before anything else happened Alyssa pulled her wand out and held it to the woman's throat.
"Zorro, right?" Alyssa said.
"But how-" Zorro started to say but Alyssa cut her off and said:" I'm not dumb like you think I am."
"Where is your little side kick? Did her Mummy finally realize it was better to just kill her?" Zorro said.
"Shut up or I'll kill you!" Alyssa said.
"Why don't you? You don't have the gut to kill anyone."
Alyssa tightened her grip on her wand and pushed it closer to Zorro's throat.
"You're too much like your Father. And you know what he is? A cowered!" Zorro shouted at Alyssa's face.
"Just shut up!" Alyssa shouted.
"Look at him. Poor and helpless just like the rest of his family." Zorro said has she looked towered Ron.
"Avada-" But before she could finish the spell the headmaster came in and with a flick of his wand the fighting between Ron and Viktor stopped and Zorro snapped her fingers and disappeared with Viktor.
Alyssa ran over to Ron where he was on the ground breathing heavily but still awake and alive.
"Ron, are you alright?" Alyssa asked nervously as she took his sweaty hand into her hand.
"Yeah, just a bit dazed." Ron said as he stood up from the ground.
"You better have madam Pomfrey have a look at you." The headmaster said." Alyssa, would you be a dear and take him down to the infirmary?"
"Yes of course." Alyssa said as she took ron by the hand and lead him to the Infirmary.
/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/

Ilenya was walking by the infirmary trying to cope with what she had just done to Hagrid when she saw Ron and Alyssa walking into it talking about what had happened in the great hall. Ilenya quickly hide behind a tapestry to listen to what they were talking about.
"You're saying that he just came up and cursed you?" Alyssa asked ron.
"Yeah, No lie. I didn't even know he was here. Plus why would I want to pick a fight with Viktor Krum?" Ron said.
"I really need to find out what those two are up too." Alyssa said.
"two?" Ron asked.
"Nevermind just go see Madam Pomfrey. I'll see you later." Alyssa said giving Ron a kiss on the cheek.
Alyssa ran into Ilenya on her way back to the common room.
" Hey..." Ilenya said.
Alyssa ignored her and just kept walking.
"Oh great I should know better. Alyssa is stuck up she'll never talk to me unless I actually do what she wants" Ilenya thought to herself.
Ilenya shock that thought out of her mind and just kept walking.

Alyssa met Ginny in the common room sitting at the table in the corner of the room.
"Hey, is Ron alright?" Ginny asked.
"Yeah he's fine. Mind if I study with you?" Alyssa asked.
"Yeah sure. What happened to Ilenya and you?"
"Eh, long story.."
"oh... Do we have practice tonight?" Ginny asked.
"Oh shout! I totally forgot with all that is going on!" Alyssa said. " Be right back."
Alyssa got up from her seat and walked over to Fred and George.
"Hey guys." Alyssa said.
"Well hello, havin' problems with my brother?" Fred asked.
"No... I just wanted you guys to let everyone know that we will not be having practice tonight it's gonna be bright and early tomorrow instead."
"Will do miss!" George said to Alyssa.
Alyssa walked back over to where Ginny was and sat back down.
"We have practice in the morning now. Bright and early." Alyssa said.
"Alright. Well I told Dean I'd meet him later so I have to go." Ginny said and got up and left.
Alyssa took a deep breath and placed her head on her open Astronomy book sighed and started to think about the whole 'Zorro being here'.
Why is Zorro here to begin with? I thought the dark lord himself told her to leave. what is she up to this time around? I don't understand what's going on anymore everything is falling apart...
"What's wrong?" Ron asked Alyssa as he rubbed her back.
"Oh, nothing. Just a bit sleep thats all." Alyssa answered him and sat up properly.
" You sure?" Ron asked has he took a seat next to her.
"Yeah, really." Alyssa said. "Did Madam Pomfrey give you anything?"
"No. She said I was fine just a bruise or a scratch or two." Ron said.
"Thats good..." Alyssa said with a big yawn.
"Why are you and your cousin not talking anymore? you guys used to never leave each other." Ron asked.
"Its a long story." Alyssa said.
Just then Alyssa grabbed at her arm with her dark mark that started burning.
"I um, gotta go I have something to ask professor McGonagall." Alyssa said and ran out of the common room as fast as she could.
As she ran it burned more and more. Alyssa didn't know where to go so she ran to the dungeon when she ran right into Snape.
"What are you doing down here?" He asked.
"I um, My mark started burning terribly. I didn't know where to go or what to do."
"I was wondering if you would come. But I thought your cousin, Ilenya, would be here as well." Snape said as he walked to his office with Alyssa right behind him.
"We aren't really talking to each other anymore." Alyssa told Snape.
Snape just started pulling things off the shelf without looking at Alyssa.
"Do you know why our marks are burning?" Alyssa asked.
"He is calling us." Snape said. "We will have to leave as soon as you drink this." He said throwing a little bottle of some sort of potion at Alyssa.
"But why?" Alyssa said as she took a quick look at the bottle and drank it.
"No time to ask anymore questions. We have to leave immediately."
Before they could apparate Ilenya ran into the room.
" Do we have to leave now?" Ilenya asked.
" Yes." Snape said.
"I'm not going anywhere with her." Alyssa said.
"I'd rather not go anywhere with you also but this isn't the time to fight we have to leave now matter what we want to do." Ilenya said.
Alyssa didn't like the idea of going with Ilenya but she did realize if she didn't go she would probably end up dead.
Snape took the girls hands and disappeared.
When they finally arrived at the Malfoy manor both Alyssa and Ilenya felt sick and dizzy but they had now time to even catch their breath when Snape grabbed their hands and pulled them into the manor and into the dining room where every death eater sat around with the slithery snake like man, Voldemort sat at the front of the table with his pet snake in his lap.
Alyssa went and sat next to her father on the right side of the table sitting right across from Yaxley. Ilenya went and sat next to her mother on the far left side of the table sitting right across from Snape.
"Well, Know that everyone is here let us begin." Voldemort said." There has been a lot going on at Hogwarts just in the past three days and most of it is a good thing thanks to Ilenya Lestrange and Alyssa Malfoy."
Alyssa shifted in her seat feeling very uncomfortable. She stole a glance at Ilenya who looked quite uncomfortable as well.
"I have given Miss Malfoy a very important task. And if she does not fulfill it I wish to have Miss Lestrange carey it out. And for Miss Malfoy, if it is not done there will be severe consequences for you and your family." Voldemort said looking right into Alyssa's eyes.
Alyssa shuddered and closed her eyes tight trying to fight the pain in her heart.
Ilenya stared at her cousin in concern.
Honestly I wish Alyssa knew that I would never wish for something like this too happen. But she has to realize if she doesn't do this she will put her whole family in danger. Ilenya thought to herself.
"My Lord, if you don't mind me asking what is this task Alyssa holds?" Bellatrix asked Voldemort.
"This task is to get rid of the Weasley family once and for all. Without them I will be able to get closer to Potter." Voldemort said.
Everyone stopped and looked at Alyssa. Her parents looked at her with wide eyes wondering if she was going to do or say anything but Alyssa just sat there staring into space.
"Alyssa do you accept this task?" Voldemort asked her even though she had already talked about this with him he just wanted to test her loyalty even more.
Alyssa didn't answer or even move a muscle.
"Do you?" Voldemort asked once more.
Alyssa still didn't move or speak.
"Alyssa, please." Her mother, Narcissa whispered to her.
Alyssa turn toward her mother but didn't say anything. then she looked right into Voldemort's eyes and said:" Yes, I do."
Voldemort smiled his evil slithery smile and said:"Good.. Now that is all I must be on my way."
And just like that he was gone.
Alyssa took a deep breath and stood up from her seat. But before she could make her way back to Snape standing in the corner waiting for Alyssa with Ilenya already by his side Lucius stopped her.
" I know this is hard for you sweetheart but its-" Alyssa cut her father off.
"No, its not the right thing to do and I'm not going to do it. I'm sorry father but I can't. I just can't do something like this. I'm going to figure this out." Alyssa said and walked away from her father.
When they finally made it back to Snapes office Alyssa stormed out of the room and Ilenya ran after her.
" Look Alyssa, I know this is hard and I'm-" Alyssa cut Ilenya off and turned right around to face her.
"No you don't know! You don't know anything! If you did you'd have a right mind to know that this is not the right thing to do!" Alyssa yelled in Ilenya's face.
"I'm doing the right thing and trying to stay alive!" Ilenya yelled back.
"If I die let it be! I don't care I'd rather know that the people I love and care about are alive and well!" Alyssa yelled but her voice seemed a bit quieter.
"Look Alyssa-" Ilenya started to say but was cut off again by Alyssa.
"No, you look, Ilenya, look closely and find out if what you think is right is truly right," Alyssa said and walked away before her cousin could respond.
Urgh! Why must she be so stubborn? But... maybe she's right. Maybe I do need to look closer... No Ilenya, you're doing the right thing. Alyssa is wrong, Ilenya thought to herself and walked on.

CHAPTER 16: A Midnight Conversation

The next few days passed mostly without incident, which was a great relief to Ilenya. After the events of the past week or so, it was nice to just... get back into the rhythm of things. Of course, there was the not-so-small matter of Alyssa's refusal to speak to her in or out of class (which led to some major awkwardness when they were paired up in Transfiguration- Alyssa had ignored her for the entire hour, apparently preferring to sit in icy silence, tapping her wand on the side of the desk). And there was also the looming issue of what exactly Alyssa planned to do about the whole orders-to-kill-the-Weasleys thing.

If Alyssa had decided to tell her anything at all about what she was planning, Ilenya could have offered to help. But since her cousin was still stubbornly distant, she had no choice but to continue her silence as well. It bothered her, more than she cared to admit- she'd always been able to help, in the past, hadn't she? Why should this time be any different?

She was doing the right thing. She was right and Alyssa was wrong. It was that simple.

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, something in her whispered.

Sighing, Ilenya rubbed her eyes. It was well past midnight- there was no one else in the common room at this hour, and even the fire was dimming, falling to embers. In the absence of a friend to talk to, she'd thrown herself into her studies with abnormal enthusiasm. It wasn't as though she had much else to do besides read large texts on the history of the Goblin wars and the properties of wolfsbane. Alyssa had Ginny and Ron and the other Quidditch team members to talk to. She had only had her cousin- and Zane, for awhile. With both ignoring her at the moment, she was quite alone.

Not that she truly minded that. It was actually rather nice, not having to worry about interacting with other humans. She'd always been better off alone.

Or is it just that you always were alone, and so you pretend you like it?

"Oh, shut up," she muttered aloud before she could help herself, then glanced up to make sure there really was no one else in the room. The others already looked askance at her for her last name- it wouldn't do to have them thinking she was insane to boot.

There was the soft sound of a creaking board from upstairs and she tensed. When no further noise followed, she set aside one large textbook and reached for another. Probably just someone getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom or something. They'd be back in bed by now, safe and warm under the covers, while she was still awake and alone with her parchment and quill and books-

"You're up awfully late, Ms. Lestrange."

Ilenya let out a soft shriek and knocked over a bottle of ink. The thick black liquid spread across her book as she scrambled to her feet, fumbling for her wand.

"Oh, there won't be any need for that." A figure stepped from the shadows, the light from the fire falling across her thin face, illuminating the wry smile there.

"Zorro." Ilenya's fingers clenched around her wand and she took a step back, putting the armchair between her and the newcomer. The fading bruises on her legs twinged, reminding her of what happened the last time she was alone in a room with this girl.

There are dozens of people just upstairs, she reminded herself. One shout and they'll all come running to see what's wrong- Zorro wouldn't dare do anything to me here.

Right?

"Would you believe me if I told you I only wanted to speak with you?" Zorro spread her hands, indicating that they were empty, apparently harmless. "Come, Ms. Lestrange, let's be civilized here."

"I don't trust you," Ilenya replied, feeling her hand tremble as she pointed her wand directly at Zorro's face.

Zorro shrugged expansively, still smiling that unsettling smile that never quite touched her cold black eyes. "You must give me something to work with, my friend. How can I earn that trust of yours?"

"I'm not your friend," she snapped automatically, trying to hide the rising tide of panic (and just a bit of terror, maybe) within her. "Take out your wand and put it on the table." She didn't doubt that Zorro could work just as much harm without a wand as with one- had witnessed it with her own eyes, in fact- but she'd still feel a lot safer if the physical representation of that threat were removed.

One dark eyebrow twitched upwards, an amused expression crossing Zorro's face. "As you wish." Her hand moved under her cloak with tantalizing slowness, withdrawing the short, dark wand. For a moment she seemed to pause, twirling it in her fingers, and Ilenya clutched her own wand tighter, preparing to loose a spell. Then Zorro set it down on the table with a soft clack, lifting her hand from the smooth wood.

"Step away."

Zorro did so. "Will you listen to me now, or do you want to pat me down to search for hidden weapons, too?" she drawled sarcastically.

"That won't be necessary." Ilenya lowered her wand. "Fine. You're here. Now talk."

"I have an offer for you."

"Do you, now." She tried to project a careless indifference and wondered how successful she was. "Why would I want to hear an offer from someone who is so clearly not on my side?"

"What side are you on, Ms. Lestrange?" Zorro crossed her arms, dark eyes ice-cold and sharper than steel. "I do wonder about that, sometimes."

"I'm glad that you think my personal life worthy of perusal, but I'm not putting my Transfiguration essay on hold to hear you talk about me. Make your offer or leave." She hoped her words sounded at least a bit more courageous than she felt- wandless or not, Zorro had a rather menacing air.

Zorro's lips curved. "My offer is rather simple. Your cousin- who, incidentally, does not seem to be as loyal as she would have us think- is balking at the thought of killing her boyfriend's family. I'm sure I can't imagine why. She's nowhere near as good of an actor as she seems to think she is, and it's clear that she's going to stall and prevaricate for as long as she can. What on earth do you think she could be planning?"

Ilenya frowned. "Even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you."

"Always so loyal to your friends. Always wanting only the best for them. And yet..." Zorro tilted her head to one side, musing, "You do have the oddest sense of morals, Ms. Lestrange."

"You're doing it again," Ilenya muttered, lifting her wand again, pushing down a flash of annoyance- and more than a bit of disquiet. Zorro and her character analysis wasn't something she was quite comfortable with. "Stop talking about me and make your goddamn offer already."

"No need to be so impatient. In light of your cousin's reluctance, the Dark Lord begins to worry about, ah... possible betrayals. Surely you understand this?" She paused, as if expecting a reply. When Ilenya remained quiet, she added, "What do you think of betrayal, Ms. Lestrange?"

Betrayal. Either way, Alyssa's betraying someone, but it's clear why way is the safer way for her- and her safety is all that matters, if people die either way.

"Betrayal is always wrong." The word left an odd taste in her mouth- sharp and metallic, like blood. It was the taste of a lie, because she didn't believe that, not truly. Betrayal for the greater good...

But betrayal of whom? If she's done what I think she's done- turned double agent, that's something she'd be stupid and brave enough to do- she'll be betraying someone no matter what.

"I'm glad you agree." Zorro uncrossed her arms, took a step forward. Ilenya's grip on her wand tightened. "So I'm sure you'll be willing to do everything in your power to prevent such a betrayal."

It took a few seconds for Ilenya to figure that one out. "What?" she finally said. "Y-you mean..." She couldn't get all the words out, as sheer disbelief choked her off. Did Zorro seriously think she would ever do anything to hurt her cousin- her best and only friend?

"All I'm saying is, it would be a terrible thing if dear Ms. Malfoy were to do something rash." Zorro flashed a smirk at Ilenya. "Don't you think so?"

"I support whatever she chooses to do," Ilenya spat, suddenly knowing the words to be true. Alyssa's choice might be wrong- it was wrong, of course it was- but it was her decision. And that meant that Ilenya's job was to stand by her and protect her from the consequences of that decision. It was a truth she supposed she'd known all along, even if she hadn't admitted it even to herself.

"Even if that choice is in direct violation of the Dark Lord's orders?" Zorro shook her head. "I expected better of you, Ms. Lestrange."

"Did you, now?" Ilenya took a step forward, feeling the heat from the fireplace on her arm as she lifted her wand, placing the tip against the pale skin of Zorro's neck. "Get out."

"You haven't heard my entire offer," she replied, not seeming at all disturbed by the wand at her throat.

"I don't care. I've heard enough." She pressed the wand down, watching the vein underneath pulse dark blue through white, and wondered at how easy it would be to end Zorro's life right here, right now.

"Stay loyal to us." There was still not a trace of fear in Zorro's voice as she gazed up at Ilenya, dark eyes filled with cold fire. "Work with your mother and her master."

"Work with you, you mean."

"I'm on your side, Ilenya," Zorro whispered, and it did not escape Ilenya's notice that she used her first name this time- as though that small concession would win her over. "Your cousin, regrettably, can no longer say the same. Work with us, and we can put a stop to this treachery."

"What do you want from me?"

"Only this." Zorro's hands moved with blinding speed as she knocked Ilenya's wand aside and propelled the taller girl backwards, into the wall. Ilenya gasped as she slammed into the bookcase, the breath driven out of her by the blow. Zorro's eyes were suddenly inches from her own, and the razor sharpness in them was terrifying.

All this time, she was letting me pretend I had any kind of power over her, when the whole time- she could've killed me whenever she wanted to-

"Work with me, Ilenya." Zorro's eyes were pools of blackness, smooth and expressionless and cold as ice. "I know of Alyssa's treachery. She plans to join the Order, if she hasn't already."

"You knew-"

"Of course I knew. And make no mistake- if I know, my brother surely knows as well. I am his, in everything."

Ilenya shifted, the books behind her digging into her back, and Zorro's palm was suddenly at her throat, pressing down, setting her head spinning and sending colored sparks across her vision as she fought for breath.

"Tomorrow, you will approach your cousin," Zorro said, and the conversational tone of voice she had as she choked Ilenya was scarier than if she had screamed the words. "You will tell her you've been thinking a lot about this whole thing, and reached the conclusion that she might be right." She paused. "Perhaps... perhaps you should even beg her for forgiveness. The more earnest she thinks you are, the more she'll trust you."

Alyssa trusts me anyways, dammit, she doesn't need me to grovel for her, Ilenya wanted to hiss, but she was finding more than a little hard to find the breath necessary to vocalize such a comeback.

"And of course, the natural course of action to follow after that is for you to join the Order, too!" Zorro laughed. and Ilenya shivered. "And won't that just be so happy, Ilenya? You and your cousin, doing the right thing, going behind your parents backs to fight for the greater good?" Her eyes flashed and she leaned in closer, mouth inches from Ilenya's ear, breath gusting on her neck as she whispered, "But you and I both know the truth, don't we?"

The pressure on her neck eased up enough for Ilenya to suck in a breath and gasp, "And what might that truth be?"

"Simply this." Quick as lightning, Zorro's hand fastened around Ilenya's collar, hurling her across the room. She crashed into the wall beside the fireplace, knocking a bottle of ink off a nearby tabletop. A thick black stain spread across the red and gold carpet as Zorro took several deliberate steps towards her.

"You will attend every Order meeting you can. You will smile and joke with Dumbledore's pets, you will kiss Avery's bastard boy whenever he wants you to, you will be best of friends with your cousin once more and be privy to her every secret and heartfelt desire. And every single thing you hear, however unimportant, however trivial- everything will be reported to the Dark Lord and I."

Had Ilenya been a stronger person, a better person, she would have scoffed and thrown Zorro aside, rejecting her and her offer. If she hadn't been so scared (and alone), she might have at least tried to resist.

But she'd never been that strong.

"Well?" Zorro had picked up her wand, and now leveled it at the seated girl. Ilenya looked up, suddenly incredibly tired. This shouldn't be happening- she shouldn't be here, talking to Voldemort's half-sister in the middle of the night, getting thrown into walls and threatened. She'd give anything to be in Alyssa's place- asleep, safe in the knowledge that she was making the morally right choice (the only choice, as she saw it, and the only path that she could bear to walk down). This wasn't fair- but when had she ever expected her life to be fair?

There wasn't really a choice. Not for her, not for anyone.

"Okay," she said, voice hoarse.

"Okay what?" There was a teasing spark of cruelty in Zorro's face as she twirled her wand, spitting red sparks across the carpet and leaving tiny singe marks.

"I agree to your deal." She'd meant for it to come out angry, as if she could still pretend she was resisting, but it just sounded again, they were both pretending, in a way- Zorro in that she had expected anything else when she appeared in the common room, Ilenya in thinking she had any kind of say in her eventual fate.

"Good." Zorro pocketed her wand and began to walk away.

A thought struck her as she watched Zorro start to fade into the shadows around the portrait hole, and she let it slip from her lips before she could think better of it. "You lied to me, you know."

"Oh?" Zorro turned, quirking an eyebrow questioningly. "How so?"

"You said everything you knew, Voldemort knew." She'd half-expected Zorro to react angrily to the blatant use of the Dark Lord's name, but there was no visible sign that she had even registered it. Faintly annoyed, she plunged on. "You said you were his in everything. That's not true, is it? You'll hold back whatever you need to so you can stay on top- because you've got your eyes set on his spot." Something in the other's face made her pause. "No... you've got your eyes set beyond him. You want to surpass him. Defeat him and rule in his stead."

"Perhaps." Zorro looked truly amused as she slid the portrait aside. "And maybe one day there will be no Dark Lord, but a Dark Lady. One never knows. Remember our deal, Ilenya. It would not go well for you if it were to... slip your mind."

There was a click, and she was alone again. The windows facing east showed the faintest pink blush on the horizon- it would be dawn soon. The ceiling creaked as someone rose and walked to the bathroom. Ilenya remained where Zorro had left her, back against the cold stone beside the fireplace filled with sullenly glowing embers and piles of grey ash.

You'd be proud of me now, mother. The thought was sudden and bitter. I'll be just like you one day, and won't you finally love me then?

~end chapter~

(The idea behind her going back to dating Zane is that he's pretty clearly on the Order's side - or, at least, he isn't exactly on Voldemort's side. Having a boyfriend like that solidifies Ilenya's rebellious front. So she and Zane are gonna get back together, I guess.

I still haven't decided if I want her to actually go completely over to Voldemort's side! I mean, she'll definitely be giving him info 'cause obvious reasons, but is she giving him everything? And could she maybe give him false info? Or... is she actually on his side? This is stuff I have to figure out, so in your chapters you could just... avoid the issue. Alyssa wouldn't be suspicious - at least, not very - and Zorro would be getting info from her and continuing to threaten her, etc.

And I'm SO SUPER SORRY it took me so long to write this chapter, I just... got super busy. I hope you enjoyed it, anyways?)