Title: Slytherin Pride
Author Name: Lisse
Author Email: lisse@schnoogle.com
Category: angst/darkfic
Keyword: Slytherin Nott Pansy Voldemort
Rating: PG
Spoilers: GoF
Summary: The Dark Lord has risen again. A student is dead. And the students of Slytherin find themselves forced to choose between what has always been and what must be. A sequel to "I Alone."
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
A/N: This fic takes place immediately after "I Alone."

~*~*~

This was the end of something important. I knew that the moment I stepped into my dorm with the other fourth year girls. I could feel it in the way they watched me, as if I was some rare specimen instead of the girl who had giggled with them about asking Christian Warrington to the Yule Ball and who had ranted about the unfairness of life in general and homework in particular long into the night. Nora and Tracey moved the side, sitting cross-legged on their beds like harpies, while Millicent moved in front of me and Pansy slammed the door behind me. I was to proud to insist that it remain open. Instead I stood there with my hands loose at my sides and waited for the attack.

It came in the form of Millicent's fist.

She was a big girl, almost as tall as Crabbe and built like a sack of bricks. I staggered back against the wall and caught myself, blinking spots out of my eyes. I could feel my lip swelling and a trickle of blood running down the side of my face, but I didn't back down. Pride. Stubborn, foolish Slytherin pride.

"Are you through?" I bit out.

Pansy stepped around Millicent and glared at me. "I can't believe you. You're a disgrace."

"Takes one to know one." Not the best insult in the world, but I wasn't trying for creativity. I was angry and hurt and my face ached, and that was all that mattered.

Pansy's face wrinkled up, like it always did when she was confronted with something she couldn't understand. "What's that supposed to mean?"

I balled my hands into fists and pushed myself away from the wall, standing upright. "It means none of you seemed all that upset about You-Know-Who coming back!"

That got a reaction. Millicent glowered even more, if that was even possible. Pansy's face contorted into an unreadable expression. Behind them, Tracey and Nora gaped at me as if unable to grasp why I was defying our leader. Stupid, brainless sheep. Pansy wasn't my leader. She was my equal.

I thought she was my friend.

"Listen to me," she said, and now her voice sounded different. Desperate, maybe. "I don't want you to get hurt, but that's what will happen if you keep this up. If the Dark Lord did come back, we can't fight him."

"Why not?" I asked. There was a strange hitch in my voice and something stung my eyes. I told myself it was just because I was so tired.

Pansy took a step towards me, her hand held out in entreaty. "We're Slytherins. Think about our families."

I was thinking about my family, very hard. I was thinking about my father, who spoke so glowingly of the time when most wizards and witches were afraid, and of my brothers, who complained bitterly about the Mudbloods stealing jobs that should rightfully have gone to old, established, pure families. But that wasn't what Pansy meant and I knew it.

"The Donovans and the Pritchards fought against the Death Eaters," I said quietly. I knew that, because my father hated them more than words could properly express. "They're still around, aren't they?"

"What about the O'Briens and the McKinnons?" Pansy sounded almost panicked now. "Please, Theresa. Don't make me hurt you."

I looked into her eyes, really looked, for the first time since we had set foot in our dorm. There was real concern there, but there was also that horrible light from before -- that insane, frenzied light. I had seen in in Draco's eyes too, and in my father's, when he talked about before. Now I saw it in Pansy's eyes, and it terrified me.

Light. Green light, like the Killing Curse that had killed an innocent boy. Green light that meant she stood on one side, and I on the other.

And I knew that no amount of magic could bridge the chasm that had divided us.

"Tell me why Cedric Diggory had to die," I whispered.

Her mouth opened, but I didn't give her the chance to speak.

"Tell me why the O'Briens and the McKinnons had to die." My voice was stronger now. Louder. Colder. "While we're at it, tell me why anyone has to die. We're Slytherins, not killers."

Pansy expression hardened. "Some people have to die. I thought you would understand. We're trying to purify -- "

I spat in her face.

Just like that. With no plan and no warning. Even Millicent was too shocked to attack me. It wasn't thought out and the consequences weren't considered, but so what? When did anyone in my house ever consider consequences all that carefully?

Pansy had been my friend and my equal. Not anymore. Now she was my enemy.

There was no middle ground for a Slytherin.

"That's what I think of your purity," I hissed. My shoulders were shaking, with sobs or hysterical laughter or both. "I don't want to hurt you either, but I will. I'll do whatever I have to."

I could almost feel the ground fall out from under me. Slytherin solidarity vanished. I was a dissident, untethered and adrift, condemned by my own words. That was what had ended, I realized belatedly. Between one day and the next, everything was distorted beyond recognition.

As I turned and walked out of the dormitory, I heard Nora begin to bleat for Pansy to do something. She did. She found the words the express her hurt and her hatred.

"You...you Gryffindor!"

And I laughed. I laughed and shut the door in her face. If she really thought I was a Gryffindor, she didn't know anything about that house -- or about ours. Somehow I doubted any of the brave and brainless would have acted as I had. They wouldn't have needed to.

I had planned to curl up in front of our Common Room's feeble fireplace and spend the night there, but someone else had already claimed the spot. It was the first-year Graham Pritchard, the only one from his year who had stood up with me. I wasn't surprised by his actions, not when his family had stood up to the Death Eaters and the pressure from their own housemates.

He looked up at me, and I saw his bleeding, swollen lip and his black eye. I heard him sniffle as he scrubbed tears from his cheeks.

"Malcolm said Diggory didn't matter," he choked out. "They all said he didn't matter because he wasn't one of us."

I shook my head. "They're lying."

"I know." He gave me a bleak, desperate look. "There isn't any 'us' anymore, is there?"

I reached down and enfolded him in a hug, staring at the dying fire and wondering if the same thing was happening to my house. Now that I knew to listen, I could hear the sounds of shouts and stamping feet and fighting. I waited until the other exiles came storming into the Common Room and headed toward our refuge. They sat around me, despairing and angry, and plotted as they fumed.

Later on they would decide I was their leader, although there were others older than me. Later on I would lead them against their former friends, and I would see them bleeding and dying around me as the dark days descended. Not yet. They just sat with me as I held Graham and as I bore witness to the end -- to the death of Slytherin solidarity.

And to the birth of true Slytherin pride.