This is my second entry for My Dear Professor McGonagall's Sibling Rivalry Competition at the Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenges Forum. The Carrows aren't someone I would normally choose to write about, but I hope you enjoy this.

Parting

Alecto stood on the mat in front of her father's desk, her eyes downcast and hands by her side. She had to force herself not to clench them into fists. That was the sort of thing that Father would notice.

Finally, he looked up from the book he was reading.

"Show me your wand," he instructed curtly.

Alecto fumbled under her robes and brought out her brand new wand, trying to keep her hand steady as she passed it over the desk to her father. She kept her eyes firmly on the mat as he twisted it in his hands, examining it closely.

"Look at me!" he barked eventually, making Alecto jump despite her best efforts not to. He glared at his daughter. "Keep still child," he commanded, "and look at me properly."

Alecto forced herself to meet his eyes, which were as hard and unyielding as ever.

"Elm and dragon heartstring," he said, handing her back her wand. "A good wand, but a wand is only ever as good as the wizard or witch who wields it. I expect you to do me credit, Alecto. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Father."

"I expect you to remember the family you come from. You understand that too?"

She swallowed. "Yes, Father."

"You will be Slytherin, of course," he continued. "With your – our – own kind." He looked at her fiercely. "You will not mix or fraternise with the other kind." His lip curled. "You know who I mean. Blood traitors. Mudbloods." He spat out the last word as if it were a curse.

Alecto nodded and swallowed again. "Yes, Father. Of course, Father," she murmured.

He nodded, allowing himself a small smile, which did not reach his eyes. "Very well. Good bye, daughter."

"Goodbye, Father."

As she had expected, Amycus was in her bedroom waiting for her. He had pulled one of her new books from her trunk and was flicking through it listlessly. He shut the book with a snap and looked up as his sister came in.

"Alright?" he asked, looking worried.

Alecto sat down on the bed and took the book from him.

"Alright," she confirmed. "As we expected. Do him credit. Don't let the family down. Don't mix with Mudbloods."

Her brother snorted with laughter. "As if you would."

Alecto laughed too. "Well, hardly," she agreed. "I'll miss you, Amycus."

"I'll miss you too." For a moment the younger child seemed on the verge of tears, but he controlled himself with the practised ease of one used to hiding their emotions.

"It's only a year," his sister said, trying to sound encouraging. She put her arm around his shoulders and gave him a squeeze, but he winced and pulled away from her.

"Sorry," she said, instantly contrite. "I forgot. Try and keep out of trouble, Amycus. I don't like it when he beats you."

"It's better than the broom cupboard," Amycus said softly. "I'll try, Alecto. I'll have to without you to stick up for me."

Alecto sighed and stood up, crossing the room to the open trunk and placing the book carefully in the top.

"Only a year," she repeated.

Right now, a year seemed like a lifetime to both of them.