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Later that week, Evelyn met Harry in the common room and, together, they walked to the seventh floor. She followed him to a part of the castle she wasn’t sure she had seen before, and stared at a tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy while Harry marched up and down the hall. 

She was on the verge of asking him what he was doing when she noticed a door that hadn’t been there before. Her eyebrows rose slightly, and her mouth hung open as she tried to find the right words. She was sure she didn’t look particularly flattering with her mouth gaping like that, but Harry’s smirk made up for it. 

“The Room of Requirement,” he offered without being asked, “It makes itself available to anyone who is in great need.” 

“And you’re in great need of dueling lessons from some witch trained in America that you've just met?” 

“You have no idea.” 

Evelyn quickly realized that Harry was very good at dueling. His stance was good, and his instincts were good. He applied the vigorous endurance he had developed from Quidditch to combat. He knew when to cast a shield and when to counter with a more aggressive spell. He seemed to favor disarming spells, which she thought was kind of him. After volleying back and forth for a while, she noted that his movements seemed to naturally mix the Victorian style with a more contemporary, athletic style. He asked her what that meant, but she just shrugged. 

“Nothing good, nothing bad. From what I noticed in class the other day, I would say that this is the style of most of the students here—but you’ve got great instincts and endurance. You're better on your feet than most, so I think that puts you a bit ahead of the pack.” 

Harry nodded, but his jaw was set. “That won’t do.” He said after a few minutes, reflective. “I need you to teach me how to fight like you do, like your sister does.” 

“What do you mean? It won’t do?” Evelyn stood across from him in the room he had required. It was a large space, perhaps too large for them, and there seemed to be a library of sorts with a variety of texts all related to spell casting. 

“I need to be able to fight Voldemort,” Harry paused, watching her face closely, “And win.” 

The October nights were increasingly cold and, as the fire began to die down in the common room, Elizabeth felt compelled to move to her bed. Though she knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep, she wanted to feel warm. The heavy quilts on her bed were appealing. Perhaps, she thought to herself, Hera is still awake. 

Hera, who shared the two-person dormer with her, had recently taken an interest in Elizabeth and had attempted to strike up conversations with her over meals or in their room if Elizabeth returned before she was asleep. Elizabeth wasn’t certain how she felt about this new acquaintance, but she recognized a need for allies. Thus far, she had spent much of her time alone, and there was a gnawing feeling in her gut that this was unsustainable.

“Headed to bed?” The drawl reached out to her across the common room, and though she was surprised that she hadn’t noticed she wasn’t alone she did not convey that outwardly. 

The person the voice came from didn’t necessarily surprise her. This wasn’t the first time he’d done this. 

“It is almost one.” She emphasized coldly.

“Early for you,” He replied, moving towards her as she began to pack her bag. She rolled up her essay, placing it carefully on top of her textbook. He picked up her quill before she could, rolling it between his long fingers. 

“Can I help you with something, Malfoy?” Early on, she had noticed that people called Draco Malfoy by his last name only when they were trying to express distaste, irritation, or general hatred. Gryffindors always used his last name. She had tried Draco during their early interactions, but since their conversation a few weeks ago, their relationship had slowly trended towards Malfoy. He had irritated her, and she wasn’t quick to forgive. 

“I’ve been waiting to talk to you.” 

“How long have you been sitting there?” She scoffed, irritated again. He’d been like this since her correspondence with his aunt had begun, and it annoyed her. Plus, she was increasingly cold and he had inserted himself between her and her quilts. 

He didn’t answer her question. Instead, he continued on as if she hadn't spoken (which only served to further increase her irritation), “He’s restless, they all are. He wants your allegiance.” Draco swallowed, holding out the quill for her to take. “His followers have proposed that the rest of your family meets a similar end if you aren’t marked soon, and He seems somewhat inclined to do so.” 

A cracking pain shot through her temple, and her eyes flashed. Even in the darkness, the way his words seemed to race across her face startled him. She was usually so composed, quiet, even downcast. She quickly pulled herself back together, rolling her shoulders down her back and setting her mouth back  into its familiar straight line. 

“Tell him that I am more than willing to let him rid me of my family, but that I won’t promise him anything until I feel swayed to do so.” She snatched the quill from his palm and dropped it into her bag, a new smattering of ink dashing across her essay. “Just because some patchwork hat placed me in this ruddy house doesn’t mean I fall right into his ranks.” 

She moved away from the couch, striding confidently towards the stairs. She could hear him groaning, and she called over her shoulder, “Or don't deliver the news. I’ll owl Bellatrix tomorrow. He can have it from me.” 

Draco watched her retreat. She was stunning, intriguing. He liked the way that her biting remarks countered her sweet features. But, in the back of his mind, he couldn’t help but ask himself, why did the Dark Lord want her so badly?



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