Zia's eyes narrowed, looking at the woman with distaste. She had never met someone that she found nothing redeemable in, but this woman was cold all the way through her eyes. Some part of her was pleased though; obviously the self-important woman didn't know enough about pure bloods to know when someone was speaking the ultimate pure blood language: parseltongue. Yet Zia's protective instinct had been switched on the moment the woman threatened Tom. This lady wouldn't be able to reach Tom, not even over Zia's dead body. He was too clever, and if she died, she knew it would buy him enough time to get out.

"You just made a mistake," Zia said coldly.

"I don't think so," the woman replied, and flashed her wand down with a whipping motion. She was clearly able to use nonverbal spells, and Zia knew this made her more deadly, but she wasn't going to give up. Zia ducked under the flash and flicked her own wand, whispering the words to the spell so quietly that it could have been nonverbal. The woman blocked it easily, but Zia had ducked into a space close enough to the lady that she didn't need to fight with just a wand. Bringing her foot up, she landed a hard kick to the woman's ribs, and heard a tiny cracking noise. The woman's face turned livid. Apparently she hadn't expected Zia to use "muggle" fighting techniques. "You filthy little—"

Before she could continue her insult, Zia slammed the heel of her palm into her chin. "I learned a bit of muggle self-defense, thought it might be a good time to practice it. How is it working?" The woman slashed her wand down but Zia blocked the spell with a shield charm, then dug her elbow into the lady's side. The woman was getting agitated, clearly frustrated with the muggle techniques being used against her, which only made Zia more focused. The less composed she was, the more likely the stranger was to make mistakes.

Regulus woke up to darkness, and pointed his wand to light the lamps in his room. He had dreamed of the girl and her family, and in the dream he was a part of it. The warmth he had seen and wanted to be a part of so badly had been his in the dream, and waking up without it made him realize that he was willing to leave his current family behind to find a family like that. He felt into the pocket of his robes for the slip of paper with the girl's address on it, but his pocket was empty. He remembered that he had been holding it when he fell asleep, and searched for it in his bed, then on the floor. Nothing. He frowned.

"Accio Zia's address!" he whispered, his wand out. Nothing again. Now he was worried, wondering where it could be. He stood and crossed the room to the door, and found it unlocked. He knew he had locked it. His insides chilled. Someone had taken the address, he could feel it. He walked out of the room and down the stairs, taking note of everybody that was in the house. Mom, dad, brother…Lycoris was missing. It made sense, she'd always liked sneaking into his room to mess with him. But the idea of her with that paper, the thought of her staunch obsession with bloodlines coming into contact with Zia and her nephew, made him sick. He knew what his sister was capable of. He shut the door to his room, and disapparated with a loud crack.

Zia was winning. The woman had managed to land a few good curses on her, but the gashes and breaks she had were nothing compared to her opponent's. The stranger was slowing down, and they both knew it. Zia had avoided hitting vital organs, she wasn't a killer, but the damage was still taking its toll on the lady. The combination of physical blows and the little spell damage she had managed to land on the woman were effective. The woman's eyes locked on Zia's, she was getting desperate. Flicking her wand, the woman pointed it at the floor instead of at Zia.

An enormous snack uncoiled itself from the wand and onto the floor, Zia guessed that it could be at least 12 feet long. She wasn't sure what kind of snake it was, but the triangular shape of the head made it plain that it was venomous. The woman looked triumphant as the snake reared its head back to strike. Zia smiled.

Hello sweetheart, she hissed to the snake. The snake paused and lowered its head out of the strike pose.

You speak my language? It hissed back. The woman's eyes were widening, and it seemed that she understood now what was going on.

I do. If you would be so kind as to not attack me…?

Certainly. The snake lowered its head in an unmistakable show of deference.

Would you kindly restrain this woman? She's in enough shock that she wouldn't have enough time to raise her wand to you if you coil fast enough.

Gladly. In seconds, the woman was wrapped tightly in the snake's coils, unable to move her hand to perform any spells.

"Parseltongue?" the woman muttered incredulously.

"Surprised a pureblood like you didn't catch it earlier," Zia said. "You know…I believe that you owe me an apology. Clearly your 'all-magic' form of combat wasn't a match for a combination of magic and muggle fighting skills. I wonder if the same holds true for bloodlines? Barging in here, insulting me, fighting me, threatening my son. Did you really think I would lose to you after that?" The woman was silent, still seething and shocked. A sudden loud crack caused both women to whip their heads around to face the direction of the noise.

Regulus stared from the woman bound up by the snake, to the girl standing over her. Zia looked furious. "You. This is your sister, isn't it?"

"Yes, indeed it is," he said eyes fixed angrily on his sister. "Hello, Lycoris. Having a good time?" His sister glowered up at him.

"Traitorous brat," she spat.

"Oh? Who got you into this position, hmm? Me?" he asked. Zia looked confused now.

"You didn't send her here?" Zia asked him.

"Send her? She got into my room and took your address from me, didn't you dearest sister," he said, addressing the last part to Lycoris. He smiled heartlessly at her, finding himself pleased to find her in this state rather than finding the opposite.

"She speaks parseltongue Regulus…you knew this didn't you…it's the only reason you would have associated with this…this muggle loving monstrosity, right?" Lycoris asked him urgently. He raised his eyebrows and looked back at Zia.

"Do you?"

"Yes, actually. So does Tom," Zia replied. His sister looked stunned and fuming, clearly not expecting him to have any other reason to associate himself with the girl.

"How interesting. I noticed the pet snake, but didn't think anything of it earlier. Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," she answered, looking slightly pale, but obviously relieved that he wasn't part of his sister's appearance at her home. His eyes took in the torn clothes, the blood, the bruises, and on one finger a little sliver of white that looked like bone poking through bloody and torn skin.

"I don't think so, and I'll attend to you and your home," he said, looking at the damage done to the small apartment he knew was hers, "after I take care of this," he gestured to his sister.

"Take care of me? Regulus, what are you—" Lycoris asked, looking at him with newfound fear.

"Did you really think I was going to help you out after you attacked this woman? I know you instigated this, that much is obvious."

"What do you plan to do?"

Regulus pointed his wand at his sister's forehead. "What, you don't like surprises?"