Crisp morning air slapped the witch in the face, calming, hay scented country air filling her nostrils. But she barely took notice, feeling chill bumps rise on her arms and a wave of disorientation rake over her body. Traveling by portkey had increased her usual feeling of morning sickness by ten fold.

She collapsed onto her knees, palms on dew slick blades of grass. A garden gnome scattered out of the area beneath her before she heaved onto the lawn. Her stomach was empty, and she was left with the sour, astringent taste of bile in her mouth. A few more minutes of dry hacking passed before she wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her robe, sitting back onto her feet.

"Well, that was a thoroughly disgusting display of disrespect."

"I give it a nine."

"No, seven at best."


Pansy's eyes moved up to find two matching red-headed figures hovering on brooms a good ten feet above her head. Everyone who had been at Hogwarts in the past decade knew the Weasleys' horde, and everyone knew the almost infamous Fred and George, the prankster twins of the family.

The witch's face twisted into a sneer as the young men shared lazy, conniving grins with one another before looking back down at the girl. While she knew that she'd have to see the Weasleys by taking advantage of the invitation, she had expected to be able to simply find the mother of the awful bunch and ask her for help. In and out before anyone took notice: a decent plan. She'd thought that no one would be up at this early hour—apparently she'd been wrong.

"Why, brother, if I'm not mistaken, that's one of the Slytherin girls from dear Ronald's year!"

"By George, I think you're right!" the other answered, with a mocking mask of haughty delight.

"Pansy-the-Almighty Parkinson, I do believe."

"What brings you to our humble abode?"

"Because you're quite welcome to. . . ."

"Remove your arse. . . ."

"From our land."

There was something to be admired about the Weasley twins. Even Pansy would admit that, if she was forced to (and not looking at the ends of their wands). The witch pulled herself up off the damp ground, refusing to notice how horrid and rumpled she must have looked. Thankfully, she had her own wand already drawn and her invitation out.

Sneer still present, she raised the card Molly Weasley had handed her. "I was invited, you stupid weasels, by your mother," Pansy drawled.

One of the boys landed gracefully, taking two brisk steps and snatching the invitation out of her hands. Giving it a quick glance, he handed to his brother.

"I knew it would happen one day," the second said. "Mum's lost her mind."

"That or she really wants to ruin ol' Flem's special day."

"Now that would be the mum I know and love—how'd you get this, Parkinson?"

Pansy had a very good retort in stow, but it never came out. She winced as a cramp made her bend forward, clasping her stomach with her free hand. The witch released a shallow breath, the color draining from her face.

"I need to speak to your mother, damn it," she all but growled.

The twins hadn't moved, though, simply staring at her.

"Parkinson, have you been eating too many sausages?"

"Or is that a bun we detect in your oven?"

"Speak of my 'oven' again and I will personally hex the two of you into oblivion," Pansy spat, her eyes blazing. "Now be of some use and fetch your mother."

But there was no need for that. When she looked past the two wizards, she saw Molly Weasley stepping out of her front door, eyes on her sons.

"Fred! George!" Molly snapped, a sever hand gesturing for them to move out of the way as she walked down into the yard. "Miss Parkinson, so glad you could make it," the woman huffed, pretending as if the girl's presence was not at all out of place. "Come in, come in—I've got a bit of breakfast on."

Pansy decided to hold her tongue and follow the woman inside, but she did glare daggers at the twins, who stood somewhat dumbfounded.

Molly motioned for Pansy to step up into the house, pausing to face her boys with her lips pulled into a stern frown. "Fred, George, you are not to mention Miss Parkinson's arrival yet, even to your siblings. Do you understand me?"

The twins nodded numbly.

"Very good, boys." Molly followed Pansy into the house. "No one's in the kitchen yet," she said softly. Nevertheless, the look she gave the young witch was not one of pity or of greeting. "We'll talk in there."

Salazar, what am I doing here? This woman will turn me in. . . .I just know it—she'll tell my parents when she finds out about the blood. But Pansy didn't turn back, instead resting her slightly swollen feet at the Weasley woman's table.

"I don't care who you think you are, young woman, but I'm going to give you the same respect I give everyone else, Miss Parkinson," Molly began, her voice curt and to the point. "Now. If you want any help from me, you're going to have to tell me the truth about things. Not everything, just what I need to know. If you don't agree to this, you might as well leave my home right now."

Pansy blinked, taken aback by the woman's tone. It was not at all what she expected. But had I been looking for coddling—well, I suppose I was. Her mouth opened, but her mind was still searching for an answer. After all, how could she know exactly what the woman was going to ask her? She'll want me to talk about Draco.

"Ask," Pansy said, somewhat solemn.

End Notes: I had trouble writing this chapter, hence the length. Sorry about that. . . . But I did make a Fred and George cameo, so perhaps that will make up for it somewhat. I should be updating in about a week. Watch for me. Oh, and review. Love ya!