Ch 3 Aeternus Lapideus
"Add three newts eyes once the potion turns yellow, stir counterclockwise four times and add a pinch of powdered snake fang, let simmer for ten minutes," Harry recited to Hermione. They were in Potions, their third class of the day on Monday, and they had partnered to make their slimming potion, which was turning out to be extremely complex. Snape seemed to be in a highly vindictive mood, and had already attempted to fail them twice. Luckily, he was so far unsuccessful, which was causing him to glower worse than ever. Harry kept trying to tell Hermione about the diary, but as Snape was continually breathing down their necks, he couldn't even get away with writing a note. The entire class was working in groups of threes, (Lupin had insisted Snape teach all the students N.E.W.T. level potions, regardless of O.W.L. results,) and this served to point out the act that the trio was only a duo. Hermione and Harry had come to an unspoken agreement regarding their dead friends, family members, and classmates. Quite simply, neither of them mentioned them at all. The two of them acted as if Ron had never existed, and if anyone else was foolish enough to mention him, they would become quite hostile. They didn't talk about Ron for the simple fact that neither could handle it. Hermione was racked with guilt, as she felt his death was entirely her fault.
Blaise Zabini, a quiet sixth year Slytherin, had wordlessly joined them at their table. He hadn't said one thing the entire class, but was proving to be far more helpful a partner than Harry. The three other Slytherin sixth years, Crabbe, Millicent Bulstrode, and Theodore Nott were sitting at the table in front of them, and Hermione distinctly saw them throw a few nasty looks in Blaise's direction. Snape was doing his patented bat-swoop-of-death around the room, and ordered them to fill a flask, label it, than clean up. Blaise, who Hermione was starting to suspect had been hit with a silencing charm, turned in their potion flask, and with a curt nod to Harry acknowledge Harry and Hermione's chorus of "Thanks Zabini," skulked out of the room. Hermione was about to follow her classmates up the stairs leading up from the dungeons, when Harry yanked her sideways into an empty classroom. He locked the door, placed a silencing charm, and proceeded to prowl around the room, convinced he would find spying house elves and lurking students.
"Paranoid much?" Hermione observed dryly.
"Oh, shut it," Harry snapped, as he crawled under desks in search of spies.
"Harry, I'm starving and I have two essays to start, get to a point, if you have one."
"Alright, alright. No need to get cranky. Last night when you were at the Ministry- by the way, did you get it?"
"Yes, yes, Harry, but I'll show you after supper, get on with it."
"Well I got an owl, and it had a package-"
"I don't know, will you quit interrupting? Anyway, I opened the package-"
"Harry! You opened a strange package without testing it for hexes first?"
"Yes, mum, now do you want to hear this or not? I opened the package and out fell a girl's diary-"
"How did you know it was a girl's diary?"
"Well, using my vast intellect and brilliant deductive reasoning, the pink cover and glittery unicorn and heart stickers tipped me off."
"No need to be sarcastic."
"Would you let me get a word in edgewise? Anyway, turns out it's Ginny's diary."
"Ginny? Ginny Weasley?"
"Yes, Hermione, when did you get so daft? It gets worse, though. I read it-"
"You read it?"
"Of course I read it! The point is-"
"Harry, a girl's diary is very personal, I don't think you had the right-"
Hermione stopped her righteous tirade mid-nag, her mouth hanging open. Harry proceeded to explain more thoroughly that Ginny had willingly left the Burrow to go join Voldemort, and in the diary claimed she had killed Mrs. Weasley herself, along with Angelina Johnson and Mrs. Granger. Harry was staring at Hermione expectantly, but her mind seemed frozen.
The locked door burst open unexpectedly, flying off its hinges, and admitting a panting, red-faced Hagrid.
"There ye are! What're ye two doin' down here by yerselves, nearly killed me with worry when I didn't see ye at dinner!" he attempted to both glare at them and hug them, which sent a slightly mixed message. Hermione was having difficulty breathing from Hagrid's tight grasp, and she could see Harry struggling feebly to free himself next to her, his feet dangling two feet off the ground. Hagrid finally released them before grabbing each of them by the arm, and half led, half dragged them upstairs to the Great Hall. He placed them at the Gryffindor table, (Hermione projectiled face first into a bowl of mashed potatoes, and Harry slid across the tabletop, knocking two second years onto the floor,) then clucking his tongue like a mother hen, resumed his place at the staff table.
Hermione miserably picked potatoes out of her hair while Harry flopped down next to her, wincing and rubbing his lower back. Neville, Dean, and Seamus, who were sitting on their left, were making valiant efforts to control their snickering.
After wolfing down two helpings of shepherd's pie each, and Harry finished stuffing his face with treacle tarts, they dashed back to Gryffindor tower and Harry's dorm room. He showed her the diary, and the two had their usual argument about whether to turn it in to teacher or not.
"Let's see the box, anyway," Harry said, with an admirable effort to distract Hermione from her nagging.
Hermione was well aware of this tactic, but as she was extremely anxious to show him her findings, she let it slide. She pulled out the inscribed box from her heavy bag and popped it open. Again the silver light blazed out, momentarily blinding them both. Harry eagerly looked in the box. After he stared a minute in silence, he said,
"That's it? You snuck out of Hogwarts on an extremely dangerous trip to the ministry, stole a top-secret, highly valuable object from the Department of Mysteries, and it turns out to be a box full of rocks?!"
Hermione sighed wearily at Harry's ignorance, "They are not a box of rocks, Harry. They are Aeternus Lapideus."
"Aeternus Lapideus- eternal stones? The Stones of Time?"
Hermione made a noise of disgusted impatience, "Harry, do you ever read, EVER?" He looked offended. "The eternal stones are-"
"Oh wait, now I remember! Aeternus Lapideus, The Stones of Time- you can travel through time because of them!"
Hermione couldn't decide whether to point out she had just said all that, hit him, or to ignore him and move on. "Yes, Harry. You can time-travel through Aeternus Lapideus," she cleared her throat, (sounding disturbingly Umbridge-like to Harry,) and recited, encyclopedia style, "The Stones of Time can only be found by centaurs. Their origins are unknown, but their power is immense. Unlike time turners, Aeternus Lapideus can travel both back and forwards through time, and can go back a great deal further, with perfect accuracy. Each stone is imbued with a date, which is the only date it can reverse to. They may only be used five times, before they overheat and crack down the middle. A time traveler can only use a certain stone for two dates, the year carved into it, and the date in which it is used. Stones can also be distinguished by type. Stones less than a hundred years old are always Carnelians. The stones one hundred to one hundred ninety-nine years old are made of Rose Quartz. Two hundred to two hundred ninety-nine years are always Malachite, and Moonstones are always three hundred years or older. Rhodonite-"
"Hermione! Enough! I get the point," said an exasperated Harry, "no need to bore me to death. Anyway, the only ones we need to worry about are the carnations, right?"
"Yeah, whatever. So which ones are the carnelians?"
Hermione reached into the box of small stones and picked out a fiery orange gem. "This one. I think I'm going to make it into a necklace, or a ring or something, so I won't lose it," she said thoughtfully.
"Look, Harry, can I keep them in your dorm? Parvati is so nosy she will probably find it in a day."
"Sure, Harry shrugged, "just put it under there. No one goes there." He was pointing to Ron' s bed.
Hermione glanced at Harry's unreadable expression, placed the box under Ron's bed, and bid him good night. She bumped into Seamus and Dean on the way down the stairs, both of whom waggled their eyebrows suggestively at her.
"Hermione, I'm shocked! Alone with Harry in our unoccupied dorm for hours again? What will Professor Krum say?" Dean said with an expression of mock horror.
Seamus chimed in, "Yeah, he might not give you top marks anymore, because of his raging jealousy."
Hermione rolled her eyes. Ever since Viktor had joined the staff, her classmates had been teasing her mercilessly about any "extra credit" or "detention" he might assign her. She responded to Seamus's and Dean's heckling, "Yes, he is quite jealous you know, he does like to keep Harry all to himself."
Seamus and Dean gaped at her for a moment before bursting into laughter and smacking her on the back, bidding her good night. As Hermione climbed the steps to her dorm, she started undoing her hair from its plait with a yawn.
Great, kill a couple of Death Eaters, become more sarcastic, and now I'm more "one-of-the-guys" than ever.
As Hermione stripped off her clothes and changed into her pajamas, while trying not to wake her fellow sixth years, Parvati Patil, Lavender Brown, Desdemona Macnamara and Rhia Taylor, she thought of Ginny, and what had become of her. She sank into her bed, petted a purring Crookshanks, and pulled the covers up to her chin. There wouldn't be much sleep for her tonight.
Hermione and Harry (and a hovering, suspicious Madam Pince) were to be found the next morning in the library, catching a few moments of research time between breakfast and History of Magic. Hermione was scribbling notes on Aeternus Lapideus, and Harry was engrossed in a large, musty novel entitled, Time: From Paradoxes to Ethics to Alternate Realities.
"Do you realize," he informed Hermione out of nowhere, "we could actually be living in an alternate reality as we speak?"
"Yes, and we all have an evil twin running around somewhere too," a preoccupied Hermione vaguely said.
"Is Fred or George the evil twin?" Harry asked, his lips twitching.
"Both," Hermione retorted.
At that point, a small tower of wool appeared to be walking their way.
"Dobby!" Harry said, surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"Dobby is here for Harry Potter, sir," Dobby squeaked, beaming. "Professor Lupin sir, sent me to find you, sir,"
"Moony wants me? Now?" Harry asked, bewildered.
"Yes, Harry Potter sir, right away!"
Hermione shrugged at a confused Harry, who jammed his book into an overflowing bag and followed Dobby out of the library.
Hermione was sitting in History of Magic, listening to Professor Binns drone on about The Great Muggle Obliviation of 1672, when she began to worry about Harry. Class was almost half way through, and he was nowhere to be found. Of course, as soon as she thought this, the door banged open, and a furious looking Harry stormed into the room, slamming the door behind him and stomping to his seat. He flung his bag down, and threw himself heavily into his chair, making far more noise than Hermione thought was necessary. Harry had just noticed he had attracted the entire class's attention.
"WHAT? YOU'VE NEVER SEEN ME THROW A TEMPTER TANTRUM BEFORE? I FIND THAT HARD TO BELIEVE!" he bellowed.
Binns continued on, oblivious to everything as usual.
"Um, Harry," Hermione began, speaking as one would speak to a rampaging Blast-Ended-Skrewt, "are you alright?"
"Oh yes, Hermione, I'm bloody fabulous," Harry hissed at her. "After all, why wouldn't I be ecstatic at the thought of the Dursley's at Hogwarts?"
Hermione took a moment to establish that she was neither still asleep, or going insane. "The...Dursleys? Here?" she gasped, horrified.
"Yes, apparently Lupin thinks they are at 'too much risk' from Voldemort. I don't have a clue WHY he seems to be laboring under this delusion, as Voldemort knows perfectly well how fond I am of them."
Hermione looked at Harry in alarm. He had a tic in his right eye, a vein bulging on his forehead, and he was gritting his teeth so hard she was shocked they weren't emitting sparks. She had a few more questions to ask Harry, but he looked as if he would bite her head off than use it as a Quaffle if she so much as made a single peep.
He was still grinding his teeth loudly three hours later, as they took notes in Astronomy, which Firenze had taken over teaching. Harry was writing furiously on a sheet of parchment net to her, seemingly intent on carving the words into the table. He rolled it up, glanced at Firenze, and passed it to Hermione. He then promptly put his head down and fell asleep. He had been doing that a lot lately, as he was having even more difficulty sleeping than Hermione.
Sorry I'm being such a prat (as usual) but this Dursley thing has got me all wound up. They're going to be here by tonight! Though, (thank God!) Remus said they're staying in a house in Hogsmeade. Anyway, while you were in Arithmancy, I was sleeping through an exhilarating (haha, yeah right,) lesson of Professor Trelawney's, and I had a really weird dream, and I was wanted to see what you would make of it. I was standing out by the lake, petting a Thestral for some reason, when Sirius showed up with the Weasleys and Cedric Diggory. It wasn't all the Weasleys, just Bill, Charlie, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and Ron. They told me something was coming that I had to know about, and all they could tell me is this riddle. Then they all started chanting this rhyme in a singsong:
In the Circles Nine they will lie,
Not on the bottom of the sea.
Where red is spilled, start to run,
Silent as the grave you must be.
But while you flee remember this,
To my words you must heed,
Beware the tangled webs
The Sphinx has come to weave.
At your door the wolf will come to call,
Mars must stop the fractured,
Or all will crumble and fall.
Violets will wither, the grass will turn brown,
The skeleton will be seen.
The gauge on the meter will be left at three.
Take the silver needle,
Where dwells the hearts of ash,
Greet Danaus's daughter,
When she comes to pass.
Weird, eh? I have no idea what it means, but I figured if anyone would, it's you.
Hermione folded up the note, her forehead creased in puzzlement.
Danaus's daughter? Web-spinning Sphinxes? Gee, I wonder if they could vague it up a little. I don't think it's obscure enough.
She shoved the note in her overflowing book bag, and as she did so, a scrap of parchment fell onto the floor. Hermione snatched it in her hand, and opened it discreetly under the desk.
I have to tell you something really important. Meet me behind Greenhouse four at midnight tomorrow. You can bring Potter if you don't trust me.
The bell rang to signal the end of the period. Hermione pocketed Blaise's note, astonished by the bizarre turn her day had taken and poked a comatose Harry. He gave a wild start.
"The Sphinx will come!"
"Um, Harry... you were dreaming again." Hermione gently pointed out.
"Er...right...let's go to dinner, I'm starving." an abashed Harry said.
"Yes, all that rigorous snoring you were doing must have worked up quite the appetite."
"You know, I think I liked you a lot better when you weren't so sarcastic. Even though you were always studying and nagging...wait a minute! You still study all the time and nag at me constantly!"
"I do not! I nag way less than I used to!"
"Ha! Which means you nag at me every other sentence instead of every sentence!"
"Harry James Potter, you take that back!"
"Not until you admit you are a complete nag!"
Hermione crept stealthily around the scattered belongings of her roommates in the Gryffindor sixth year girl's dormitory. She was trying her best to be silent, as she knew Lavender, Parvati, Desdemona, and Rhia were sleeping, and if they caught her sneaking out, fully clothed, at a half hour to midnight, they would surely pester her, or worse, follow her until they got answers.
Hermione dodged Rhia's open trunk, Lavender's gigantic make-up kit, and squeaked as she trod in a large pile of underwear.
Oh please, let them not be used, please let them not be used…
So intent was she on willing herself not to scream in horror at the amount of germs permeating her foot, she failed to notice Desdemona's cauldron and smacked her shin painfully on it. She hopped around on one foot, biting her lip to stifle her moans of pain. Thoroughly annoyed now, Hermione slipped on her shoes, wrenched open the door, and half walked, half hobbled, down the stairs. When she stepped into the common room, she spotted a brooding, moody Harry staring into the fire with the invisibility cloak and a scrap of old parchment she suspected to be the Marauder's Map in his lap. She stood transfixed, her eyes glued to Harry, who seemed unaware of her presence. As she stared at Harry, she felt her composure crack. She hadn't cried since Ron's funeral, and she struggled to control her need to break down and sob. Harry was sitting without his façade on. He had a look of helplessness and emptiness that Hermione empathized with, as that was the look in her eyes when she was alone. They had both dealt with the catastrophic events around them by pretending everything was as it always had been, and by becoming extremely dependent on each other.
"So, the blank staring and slouched sitting… are you practicing for our new course, Advanced Brooding?" Hermione said in a falsely cheerful voice. Harry gave her a dirty look.
"Yes, I expect to get top grades. We already know you are going to ace Nagging 101, so I have to beat you in something," he retorted.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Let's go, Harry," she pretended to be annoyed, when in actuality she was relieved that his unsettling blank look had gone.
They flung on the invisibility cloak, checked out the map for approaching teachers, ghosts, and/or prefects, and hurried out of the portrait hole.
Hermione and Harry, still hidden under the cloak, peered around the corner of Greenhouse Three at Greenhouse Four. They were running late, even though they had set out so early, because of the large amount of security placed on the castle recently.
Mrs. Norris had almost given them away when they were crouching behind a statue of Edgar the Eager on the second floor, trying to avoid the ever-prowling Filch. They had also been forced to dodge a Quaffle juggling Peeves, and a buoyant Ludo Bagman, regaling Sturgis Podmore (who had a glazed, vacant look in his eyes) about his record-breaking Wimbourne Wasp days.
"I don't see him," Hermione hissed to Harry.
"Wow, an untrustworthy Slytherin," Harry commented sarcastically, "what HAS the world come to? Next thing you know, you're going to tell me Flitwick has joined the Lollipop Guild, or that Snape uses petrol to wash his hair, or that Oliver Wood is just a little obsessed with Quidditch, or-"
"Do you EVER shut up, Potter? Considering Granger's grades are about double yours, I think she got your oh-so-subtle point ten minutes ago."
The Golden Duo simultaneously spun to their right. There stood their fellow sixth year, Slytherin Blaise Zabini. He was quite tall, although not as tall as Ron had been, but a good six feet nonetheless, had dark blue eyes, tousled black hair, and was currently sporting a smirk worthy of a Malfoy.
"Zabini!" Harry hissed, annoyed, "where have you been?"
"Well, I've been waiting behind Greenhouse Four, contemplating the meaning of life, and what exactly, is it that makes Skiving Snackboxes taste so good? Then, I passed out from boredom waiting for you two, and I awoke upon hearing childish bickering, and spotting a pair of feet apparently without legs." Blaise pointed to the ground, where it became clear Harry's and Hermione's feet were sticking out from underneath the invisibility cloak.
Hermione flung the cloak off of them with an impatient noise. "Look, Zabini, enough with the sarcasm, why did you ask me to meet you here?"
Harry added, "and don't bother asking about the cloak or this," he waved the Marauder's Map around, which Blaise had been eyeing with interest, "I know how you Slytherins work! All a bunch of two-timing – "
"Actually," Blaise interrupted, "I was just thinking how much this explains," he said, while inspecting the invisibility cloak. "But never mind, Potter, I believe you were in the middle of a rant about how evil I am. Continue."
Harry's hackles were raised, and Hermione had to grab hold of his tie to stop him for lunging at Zabini.
"Alright," Hermione snapped, ignoring a choking, hacking Harry, "this is how it's going to work. Zabini, you will kindly explain why you dragged me out here when I could be sleeping, and Harry, you will control yourself," she paused. "Perhaps you shouldn't talk at all, Harry. The first time one of you makes me mad, I will hex you both into oblivion. Now, get to it," she said to Zabini, while folding her arms resolutely.
Zabini, who looked rather taken aback said, "Well… alright then," he fumbled about, searching the pockets of his robes, and pulled out a rolled up parchment. It had been sealed with a black wax emblem, which Hermione recognized as the Dark Mark. Blaise held it out in their direction.
"Go on and read it, then," he said seriously. His earlier sarcastic demeanor had evaporated, and he now looked extremely nervous.
Harry snatched it from Blaise and unrolled it, Hermione looking over his shoulder to read with him.
Vincent Crabbe II,
Your presence is required this October the 24th at 3:00 A.M., at Malfoy Manor. The Dark Lord is interested in you, and is eager to make your acquaintance. Bring one of your friends. Vincent, do not fail me.
Vincent Crabbe Sr.
"You know what day the 24th is, don't you?" Zabini suddenly asked.
Harry looked up, his face pale. "The day the Slytherins were killed." Zabini nodded. "What are you doing with this, Zabini?" Harry asked slowly.
"Did you steal it?" Hermione asked.
"Of course," Zabini retorted, annoyed. "Do you think I walked over to Crabbe and said, 'Hey Vince, can I borrow that letter you showed me, you know, the one where it proves your father's a Death Eater?'"
"He showed it to you?" Hermione demanded.
Zabini gave her an unreadable expression. "Yes. He showed it to me, and warned me to leave the dormitory that night. He said to stay away from Draco, and from Greg."
"What? Why?" Harry questioned.
"Potter, I know you and Granger know why they were killed, so drop the act."
"We know a little," Hermione admitted, "but not much, Zabini. Care to explain it to us?"
Blaise had a calculating look on his face. He stared at Harry and Hermione for a moment, measuring them up, then came to a decision. "The Death Eaters conducted an ancient dark magic ritual, to grow more powerful. All of them were ordered to contact their first-born, and instruct them to travel to Malfoy Manor with a companion. The parents were to make it seem to their children that they were going to be inducted as Death Eaters. Obviously, they weren't, they were slaughtered as a sacrifice to the underworld," he paused, "that's all I know. I don't know how they died."
"Zabini," Hermione said, puzzled, "why didn't Crabbe go? And Nott, and you, and Millicent Bulstrode?"
Blaise glared at her. "Just because I am in Slytherin, Granger, doesn't mean my family is a bunch of Death Eaters. I wasn't invited."
"Did you want to be?" Hermione blurted before she could stop herself.
"Yes, Granger, I snuck out in the middle of the night to meet with the Wonder Twins, because I had to tell someone how incredibly depressed I am about not being ritually murdered."
"Yes, well… I apologize, Zabini," she said stiffly, "but you still haven't answered my question."
"Is she always this difficult Potter?" Zabini asked Harry.
"No," Harry replied, "she's usually a lot worse."
They both proceeded with the hysterical giggles, while Hermione scowled and contemplated what would be the most painful and embarrassing hex to inflict on them. When the two sniggering idiots calmed down, Blaise finally answered her.
"Why do you think they didn't go, Granger? They don't want to be Death Eaters!"
"So, you're telling me everyone murdered wanted to be a Death Eater?" she snapped, her eyes in slits, as she thought of sweet little Walter Sims. Blaise sighed loudly, rolling his eyes.
"Granger, didn't I just tell you that I don't know who is evil or not? Some of them went because they were too scared to refuse; I know that's why Draco went. Some of them were persuaded to go. Didn't you read this part about 'bring a friend?' A lot of them were tricked into going. Why do you think Irene McDonough went? She's not a Death Eater; she's not even a pureblood. Patrice, or Adel, or Pansy must have taken her. That's why Vince told me to hide; I was a prime target. Irene and I are the only Slytherin sixth years without ties to the Dark Lord. Vince and Millie and Nott knew they weren't going to go, but they pretended to the others that they were. Then when they went to Malfoy Manor-"
"They Apparated from the dorms?" Hermione interrupted.
Blaise waved his hand impatiently. "Don't be stupid, of course not, you can't Apparate out of Hogwarts. Haven't you ever read Hogwarts, a History?"
Harry loudly snorted. He hastily pretended to cough when Hermione glared at him.
"There's a secret passage out of the dungeons that leads out of the grounds. They took portkeys from there. Anyway, all those summoned took someone with them and left, and Vince, Mille, and Nott just didn't follow them, that's all."
"Why are you telling us this?" Hermione asked suspiciously.
"Well, you are the Golden Duo, aren't you? Always saving the day when something bad happens? I thought you should know. I would've stopped it- " and here Zabini gulped, his eyes teary, "but I didn't know. I didn't know. Vince only told me the details the next morning. By then… he was so worried. We were all worried. Then the bodies showed up… you have to believe me!" Blaise exclaimed, suddenly frantic. "I wouldn't have let them go! I wouldn't-"
"Zabini, calm down!" Harry said, alarmed, "we believe you!"
Hermione said, "Yeah, Zabini, we know you wouldn't want that to happen," while putting her hand on his arm.
Zabini looked at her. "Thanks Granger, Potter. It gets old, you know? Everyone thinking you're this evil git just cause you're in Slytherin?" Harry looked sympathetic, while Hermione patted Zabini's arm again. "Anyway, here I am whinging away, when that's not even the point. There's something… something's wrong. Something bad is going to happen at Hogwarts, really soon. I heard… I heard Nott talking to someone in the common room fire. I think-" Zabini looked grimly determined, "I think he's a Death Eater. And I think there are more here at Hogwarts."
Hermione gasped loudly, as a light bulb went off in her head. "Harry, I've just thought of something. Quick, recite that riddle you heard in your dream!" Zabini looked at them as if they had suggested playing a quick game of croquet with Voldemort and his minions, as Harry nodded and started reciting. Hermione stopped him after the second verse.
"That's it! Harry, Zabini, that's it! 'Beware the tangled webs the sphinx has come to weave!' What do you call something that's tangled?" she demanded.
"Er… a knot?" Harry guessed. Zabini looked sick.
"Yes!" Hermione yelled, "a knot! As in Theodore Nott! Beware Nott!"
"The sphinx is Voldemort," Zabini said abruptly.
"What?" Harry questioned, "How do you figure that?"
"Sphinxes tell riddles, right? Well, Vince told me Voldemort used to be called Tom Riddle."
"You're right, Zabini," Harry agreed.
"Say the rest of it, Potter," Blaise demanded urgently. Harry complied, as Zabini stared at him intently.
"Twins," he muttered.
"What?" Harry and Hermione chorused.
"Twins," Zabini repeated, annoyed, glaring at them as if they were being deliberately slow. "'At your door the wolf will come to call, Mars must stop the fractured or all will crumble and fall,'" he recited rapidly. "Mars is the father of twins, Romulus and Remus, who were raised by wolves. Romulus killed Remus! This has something to do with twins!" he yelled, his voice rising drastically. "What twins do we know?" he demanded.
"Well, there's Fred and George…" Harry began.
"No, it's not them," Blaise snapped. "Wait… there's two second years in my house, Barry and Leonard Van de Houser…"
"Plus, Nott's there!" Hermione yelped.
All three of them stared at each other, motionless for a moment. Then without a word, simultaneously wheeled around and pelted towards the castle.