Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Hail J.K Rowling for her amazing creations!
OCs belong to the author.
I will try to write this story according to the books, but since I have yet to read them all, I apologize for anything that may not sit right with what's in the books. *bows courteously*
Apologize for any grammatic mistakes.
Reviews are very welcome, as are critics.
Chapter 1: School Preparations
Ophidia knew better than to assume she was cared for solely out of selflessness and generosity by her guardians. Whatever affection they held towards her was superficial and ingenuine, much on the contrary of what they displayed when both in public and in private.
Quite frankly, she felt nothing towards them, neither spite nor contempt, but not love either. The Malfoys were far from the cruelest people in the world, but they were far from the truest as well. However, the concept of nice or otherwise held no meaning in her world.
They were useful, and that was all that mattered. Unless their usefulness expired, keeping them around would be the best course of action for them all. It was mutually beneficial, but it was evident that she held the upper hand in their little tie. They never dared to raise their voice towards her for any situation.
Even when she purposefully pushed their buttons in order to observe their reaction towards her, they never ceased to act like the prosperous family everyone in the outside world knew them as. They were far too afraid of her to ever act with such harsh manners towards her like they did to their son whenever he did something not-so-nice.
It was amusing to watch, but a part of Ophidia felt pity for them. She pitied them for the situation they had unknowingly placed themselves in when they decided to side with the Dark Lord the years prior to his demise at the young boy who was destined to bring his downfall. However, the fault was theirs and theirs alone. They could blame no one but themselves for their suffering.
Her impressions of the Malfoys were relatively low. Lucius Malfoy, albeit influential and to some degree useful, was a coward. Little was required for him to turn tail and run, especially when it came to her. Narcissa Malfoy was a woman of ambitious standards and of the noble Black family, but held no true value other than to support her husband. She was, in other words, useless unless aesthetic purposes were needed, which they weren't.
The only one of the Malfoys Ophidia held any sort of fondness towards was the couple's son, Draco. Being young, he had yet to understand the true world and was more or less a gullible child, as expected. However, he was more of a sufficient source of entertainment than anything. Keeping him around gave her something to do if boredom conquered the atmosphere.
Because of their actions in the past, the Malfoys were now left with one of the last pieces proving that the Dark Lord had once been very real. They were, however, unaware of the severity of this fact, as they only believed that she was valued possession he had handpicked before his demise. It was for the better that they didn't know the depth of it all.
Then again, she only knew what little Tom had decided to share with her regarding the subject of the Dark Lord's affiliation with her. Other than that, she was perhaps just as clueless as the Malfoys were.
To the present day, she knew not to assume kindness was a mandatory attribute the world had been gifted with. In fact, kindness was equivalent to foolishness, and who knew foolishness better than the ones who had allowed it to blur their judgement?
She wouldn't allow such sentiment to grow on her, not until the day she died. Kindness would be the downfall of her if she let it control her. Kindness was not required, but pretending to possess such qualities came with its perks. As long as she kept on the act, keeping others in line would not be a problem.
Unlike the Malfoys, she didn't require family. To them, family was one of the things they held closest in life. It was one of the things that granted them strength, as much as they denied it to others. The Malfoys were foolish, but their sentiment towards one-another proved itself to be rather useful on her part.
Ophidia, on the other hand, didn't need family. She didn't need friends. She didn't need anything of the kind. She stood alone in the world. She stood with Tom. He had personally taught her the gifts of manipulation, an attribute he himself had been taught through the harsh years of his life. He had taught her those characteristics, both when to use them and when to not.
But for now, it was better to keep things like they were. Things would fall to place soon enough.
All that was required was a little bit of patience.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confred. Of Wizards)
Dear Ms. Cascabel
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
She read over the written words no less than two times before she placed the letter back on her desk, a sigh escaping her. "This is it, isn't it?"
"It would appear so," Tom said, and even though she was unable to look at him, she could tell that he was smirking. "It won't be long now."
Ophidia nodded. "I suppose so. Then it's about time we start planning things."
"I will be there to help you, dear girl. Don't worry."
"Mrs. Malfoy, if you don't mind, I wish to take a look around," Ophidia asked innocently and looked up at the woman with equally innocent-looking eyes. It was best to keep things at a minimum if she wished to get away without too much attention being paid her way.
Ophidia, Draco, and Mrs. Malfoy had gone to Diagon Alley earlier that afternoon. Being the affectionate mother she was to her child(ren), she had arranged with her husband that, instead of going to Durmstrang in the middle of the Scandinavian continent so far away like what was originally intended, they would be attending Hogwarts School for Wizardry and Witchcraft the following autumn instead, which was located much closer to home.
Tom seemed content with the idea of her going to the same school he too attended in his time, so Ophidia too was satisfied when the missus proposed the idea. Of course, Durmstrang prohibited Muggleborns and taught Dark Arts, which was something Tom preferred, but it seemed like his attachments to his own school became the primary reasons for his gratification.
It was ironic.
"Huh? Where are you going, Ophidia?" Draco turned around to look at her with curiosity. "We have to get the best robes at Madam Malkin's! We have to show the other students what kind of people we are, don't we?"
Ophidia smiled. "Of course, but I'll just be gone for just a little while. Surely my lack of presence won't upset you that much, Mrs. Malfoy?" She turned back to Mrs. Malfoy with the same smile she had shown to Draco, but with a hint of persistence concealed this time which the young boy was unable to detect.
The missus, on the other hand, saw this perfectly clear, and her face grew considerably pale. However, a pleasant smile quickly resurfaced, albeit slightly strained.
"Of course, dear girl. Just don't get lost alright?"
"I will attempt my best," and like that, she turned heels and started walking in the opposite direction.
Draco looked up at his mother and noticed her seeming quite afraid of something. "Mother, are you alright?" he asked her.
The sound of her own son's voice snapped Narcissa back into focus and she looked down at him with the most convincing smile she could muster. "I'm alright, dear. Now, let's get inside. I'm sure Madam Malkin has quite the collection to show to you. I personally ordered a new set of clothes for you."
The Cascabel girl strolled through Diagon Alley with only one destination in mind. Tom didn't speak as much now like he usually did, but she didn't question his absence any more than she questioned him in general. After all, he had been the one to provide her with the name of something she knew would be of use during her first years of Hogwarts, something that no child her age would have even heard of, and if they did, they would find it quite disturbing.
Ophidia Cascabel, however, was like no ordinary child.
"It's to the left and straight down a flight of stairs, then you'll arrive at Knockturn Alley," The voice in her head whispered, guiding her through the Alley. Turning to her left, Ophidia found the darkened stairs leading her to the destination she was searching for. But then she came to an abrupt stop.
There stood someone there next to the entrance. It was a man, standing tall in stance and with quite the attributes which would easily provide other children her age with nightmares for months at least. For a man, he was quite vicious-looking. In fact, hardly anything about him seemed human at all. Along with the sharpened nails, which gave off the appearance of the claws of a beast, it contributed to her reluctance to pass by him.
Tom too must have noticed to the unusual-looking wizard, because the next thing he said had Ophidia's alarm bells completely shook. "Careful. He's a werewolf, and not a particularly nice one at that. I would recommend waiting for him to leave before you enter Knockturn Alley. That might be your best option at this point."
"Who is he?" Ophidia asked, making sure to keep her eyes away from the werewolf in an effort to keep him from noticing her where he stood.
"Just stick with the fact that he's not someone you wish to encounter alone. He has a preference for infecting children especially."
Taking his word for it, Ophidia turned around and was about to walk back to Madam Malkin's shop when the raspy voice belonging to said man caused her to stop.
"Are you lost, little girl?"
At that point, Tom wished to take over and handle the ordeal himself, but Ophidia wouldn't let him. Although there weren't too many people around them to witness the situation which was about to occur, risking exposure was something neither of them wished.
Taking a deep breath, she turned around and put on the naïve-child act. Perhaps this could provide her with an opportunity to exploit later on.
"Oh no, it's quite alright, sir. I'm just looking a bit around until my aunt's finished with her shopping. I heard that Knockturn Alley was around here somewhere and I got curious." She had to admit to herself, behaving like the silly child everyone assumed her to be was a nuisance, but doing so meant that other people would lower their guard around her. Her age was perhaps one of her best advantages thus far.
The man chuckled, both hands tucked into the pockets of his abnormally-large coat, he and took a few steps towards her. Even the way he walked spoke danger.
"He's not even trying to hide it."
"Now, what would a girl like yourself want at such a scary place? You know there are a lot of frightening people there, right?" he said, his grin displaying several sharp teeth which resembled those of a true canine.
Ophidia laughed and clapped her hands together. "Really? That sounds so exciting. I love being scared."
"Do you now?"
She nodded. "Yes, just as much as I love reading about scary things too. My cousin's a baby and can't even listen to a single scary story I tell him." She pouted. "He's such a scaredy-cat."
"Oh, what kinds of scary things to you like?" The man took yet another step towards her, his shadow already towering over her, but Ophidia didn't let her act down yet.
"All different kinds of scary things," she replied. "Basilisks, Dementors, and best of all," her eyes darkened severely and her smile became much less childlike. "Werewolves."
The man's eyes grew sharp and he stopped walking, staring at her with an amalgamation of both bemusement and amusement. "My, my, aren't you a clever girl?"
She dropped the façade entirely, but the smile stayed. "It doesn't require a lot of observational skills to see people for what they really are, especially if those people already have made a name for themselves. However, I do advise you not to approach young people like that in such a public place next time. It gives people the wrong impression."
Before the werewolf could say anything, already opening his mouth and looking quite ready to grasp at her, Ophidia quickly walked around him and headed down the stairs before he was given the chance.
Once they finally arrived at Knockturn, Tom spoke up for the first time since the werewolf's first appearance.
"His name is Fenrir Greyback. I would advise you not to act so recklessly next time. He's an unpredictable one, if not more so than I could ever expect from the Death Eaters."
"Were you affiliated in the past?" she asked as she slowed down her pace and walked down the Alley without minding too many of the disturbing wizards and witches that were giving her pointed looks from every angle. Children weren't usually seen walking around in such an unsettling place such as this one, and whenever it happened, it was unavoidable for some to grow suspicious, if not a little intrigued.
"We were, but I would be lying if I said there weren't occasional... disputes."
"Not pleasant ones, I imagine?"
"Hardly. Anyway, walk just a little further and you will find a sign which says 'Borgin and Burkes'."
Ophidia did as she was told and headed further into the Alley, making sure to avoid as many of the people standing around as possible. Several eyes were looming over her, some with sinister thoughts in mind and others with hints of curiosity. The latter was most certainly preferred, but it mattered not. After all, they were nothing but low lives. Tom might've thought of at least some of them as useful, but Ophidia personally held no high thoughts of them. She held no thoughts of them.
Finally, she reached the outside of a darkened store with lights lit inside and a sign which read 'Borgin and Burkes'. This was the destination she had been searching for. "This is it?"
"Yes, this is the place. It hardly seems different from the time I spent here. Be wary of the owners, though. They will try to deceive you."
"I will." Grabbing the handle, she slowly swung the door open and entered. The sound of a bell rung out in the godforsaken-looking store and her eyes instantly fell upon several dark artifacts kept inside what appeared to be old and dusty glass-cabinets. Skulls sat on display, along with other more sinister objects such as skeletal hands, shrunken heads, ancient torture mechanisms, and tools. Any other child who came to look upon such items would've screamed their lungs out and run out of the store without a second glance back.
Then, her eyes fell on the item she had been searching for.
"Well, this is certainly a surprise," said a silky-smooth yet raspy voice from behind the counter, and on cue, Ophidia turned around to find an old and visibly revolting man with crooked teeth and oily hair which glistened in what little light was in the shop. It was evident by merely his looks that the man reeked of deception and serpentine lies.
"I'm afraid you've gone to the wrong shop if you're looking for sweets, girl," said the man with a crooked smile standing almost on an equal level with his teeth. "'Sugarplum's Sweet Shop' is quite a bit away if that's what you're-"
"No, this is the place I'm looking for," Not even bothering to keep on the innocent persona anymore, Ophidia's countenance turned into that of her genuine one; cold, stoic and all too mature for an eleven-year-old. Had she been any older than she currently was, she would have been mistaken for an adult in any case. "Unless the sign outside reads 'Borgin and Burkes' for no reason, then I suggest you change it before anyone else comes inside with wrong information on their sleeves."
It was obvious that Borgin became visibly surprised by this young girl's demeanour, if not a little frightened by the looks of things. "I-I'm sorry. This is Borgin and Burkes, Miss…?"
"A name is not required from a customer, is it?" she asked, not raising her voice at all but somehow still managing to instill anxiety into the man. "I'm not particularly interested in making acquaintances with anyone today I am afraid. However, I have heard from unnamed sources that you are in possession of an item that's quite rare these days, am I right?"
Mr. Borgin looked absolutely horrified, but that look of fright soon enveloped into that of incense. "We do not sell items for incomprehensive brats like you, so don't believe that I'm willing to show anything to-"
Before the man could finish his sentence, Ophidia lazily pulled her hand into the pocket of her robe and stacked several galleons onto the counter, enough to make the shady businessman pause with a greedy glimmer flashing in his eyes. "Will that be enough?" asked Ophidia and watched as the man practically prepared to throw himself at the money.
"That depends," he said and composed himself, straightening his back (as much as he was able to) and turned to look at her again. There was no longer any hostility to spot among his features, but the look of a true businessman from Knockturn Alley. Displaying the same crooked teeth as before, he nodded several times. "what you're looking for."
That was better. "I have heard that you're in the possession of the pelt of an animal, a fox if I'm being specific. Is it still for sale?"
At the mention of this, Borgin's eyes grew slightly wide. "Where have you heard it from?"
"Does it matter as long as it results in you receiving a reasonable amount in return?" asked Ophidia disinterested and pointed at the pelt in the back of the store, displayed on an old chair like where Muggle hunters would usually place their trophies after a grand hunt. "I believe that's the item I'm looking for."
Borgin shifted around and his eyes fell on the dusty animal pelt in the back. "Ah, yes, that's it." He walked over to it, his steps being both unsteady and wobbly, pulled the pelt off of the chair and shook off most of the dust that had befallen it over the years, and returned to Ophidia. He placed it down on the counter and started explaining its origins to her, much to her dismay.
"Whatever he spits out will be but a stack of lies," Said Tom with a scoff, but Ophidia kept quiet and allowed the poor man to tell his story. "He did that even when I was there."
"Years ago, a man came to us of American heritage, looking quite frantic and fearful by the looks of it. He begged us to take it away from him, even for free, as it had granted him nothing but misfortune and pain to everyone who knew him. I initially thought that it was just a worthless pelt, until the man told me that whoever wore it would be bestowed with the shape of whatever beast they desired. As such, I questioned the poor fellow of his reasons for discarding such a useful object if what he claimed was true. He said, 'I can' take it. Take it. Please. Put that godforsaken thing to use somewhere else.'. Then he disappeared before I could even decide to decline. It's been stuck here ever since, and that day was over forty years ago."
Borgin came to a halt. "W-What?"
She gestured to the pelt with a scrutinizing eye. "That pelt was not brought in here by an American. That's merely a rumour you exploit in order to give it a more mystified appearance. It was created here several years ago by a young man that used to work here, was it not? He left it when he abandoned his work, did he not?"
"I… I don't know what you're-"
"Liar," she said without pause, further rendering the man's exterior to a ghastly appearance. "However, I am hardly interested in whatever amalgamation of a story you are capable of producing. What I'm curious about is whether or not it's still functional."
"I-I don't know," the man was at a complete loss for words. "It's never been put on by anyone before its creator."
"Does it still work?" Ophidia asked.
"It's been a few years since I last wore it. I would imagine that it may be a little rusty, but no less useful."
"I'll take it, then," Ophidia said. "I do believe that the compensation is reasonable for such an old item."
Mr. Borgin was by far finished with this and cast a shaky look at the coins on the desk. He no longer held any of his crooked teeth in sight. "Y-Yes, that will due."
"Excellent. Do you have something I can carry it with?"
After the arrangements had been finished, Ophidia exited the shop with a leather bag hanging over her shoulder and a content smirk plastered on her face, but it was to no degree visible from an exterior perspective. "Though I have to wonder, why will this be of use to me at Hogwarts? What benefits will it have?"
"I created this because I was curious, but I found it easier to gain access to information within my surroundings when I took on the appearance of something small. When you wear it, you will more easily be able to detect secrets within the castle, and as far as I know, Hogwarts has plenty of it to share. Becoming an Animagus limits it to simply one creature alike and is too time-consuming, but this pelt is limitless."
"In other words, receiving information will be no problem as long as I have that?"
"Correct, dear girl,"
"That has me wonder, why a fox?"
"The woman I received the pelt from was fond of wearing them over her shoulder like scarfs. It was simply the only thing I had in my possession at the time when I decided to make it."
She started walking through the alley she had originally come from, only to notice that the number of wizards and witches luring around the area had increased severely. None of which she knew, yet apparently, they seemed to know her by the way they were staring at her. She was, after all, a child in the care of the Malfoys, who already had a reputation for supporting the Dark Lord years earlier. Keeping her head calm and avoiding looking directly at any of them, Ophidia held tightly onto the bag around her shoulder and did not mutter a single word, not even to Tom.
"Little girl, are you lost?" A witch started approaching her from the side, eyes bloodshot and dark hair in a messy bun that could easily have been mistaken for a bird's next. Ophidia said nothing and quickly dove to get away from the woman's seizing grip, successfully dodging her just in time.
"You may want to get back to Mrs. Malfoy," said Tom.
"Probably," Ophidia replied and quickly made her way through the alley until she reached the flight of stairs, abandoning the shady area and making her way back to Madam Malkin's. She opened the door and entered the shop just in time to spot Draco with his new uniform neatly on him. Draco spotted her standing there and his face lit completely up. "There you are, Ophidia! Look at these uniforms! Aren't they grand?"
On cue, Mrs. Malfoy turned around a cocked an eyebrow at the bag Ophidia was carrying over her shoulder, and a hint of curiosity dawned upon her. "What do you have there?" Her tone was meek yet audible enough to reach the Madam's ears.
"It's probably nothing to stress about, Narcissa. Let the young girl have her fun." Madam Malkin's voice was humble and kind, and she was more or less the kind of woman who allowed children to ride her back like a horse given her exterior.
Narcissa appeared to be unsure but nonetheless nodded. "Yes, I'm sure it's nothing."
Ophidia put on the act and smiled. "I just found something really interesting in one of the antique shops down the street, auntie. Sorry if I took so long."
Mrs. Malfoy avoided direct eye-contact but nodded again. "It's alright, dear," she turned to her son. "Why don't help Ophidia with her uniform, dear? Meanwhile, I'll just head off to Ollivander's really quick and arrange a meeting with him. Afterward, we'll meet your father after he's finished purchasing your books and then we'll have something to eat. Hopefully, it won't be too much to ask of the Madam to keep an eye on them for a little while."
The madam smiled warmly. "That's alright. They can stay here until you return."
"Thank you, Madam,"
Draco, without a moment of hesitation, stepped away from the mirror he previously had been admiring himself in, ran over to Ophidia and grabbed her arm. "Come on." And before she was as much as allowed to speak against his rash actions, he pulled her with him to the Madam and like that, they began to test the clothes and the appropriate measures for all the parts of her body. The process was long and almost unbearable, seeing it as she had to position herself according to what kind of limb the Madam had to measure.
As they began to measure her waist, Madam Malkin struck a conversation whilst pinning the needles. "So, what house do you reckon you'll get sorted into? You're attending Hogwarts too, yes?"
"She's going to be sorted into Slytherin, just like I am," Draco answered in her place. "Everyone in our family's sorted in there."
"Now, why don't you allow the Miss to answer for herself, young man," Madam Malkin chided him good-heartedly.
Ophidia, however, was less than interested in keeping the conversation going. "Slytherin would be preferable."
Draco nodded at the Madam. "See? She agrees."
Sighing to herself, the Madam let the subject go. "Alright, we're almost done." She gestured for her to stretch both her arms out and Ophidia obliged. Just then, the door leading into the shop opened and a skinny boy with dark hair and glasses entered. He looked nervously around in the shop, almost as if he was uncertain about why he had come at all.
Madam Malkin noticed the boy and looked up from the fabric in her hands for a brief moment to address him. "Hogwarts, dear?"
"Uhm, yes?" answered the boy.
"Henrietta, can you help this young man with his robes?"
A second witch suddenly exited the back of the shop and went over to the boy's side. She gestured for him to stand on top of a stool and then proceeded to throw the robe's fabric over him. The boy looked like he had never been to a tailor before, much less a shop for clothing by the looks of what he was wearing.
Draco turned to the boy and suddenly seemed quite interested in striking a conversation. Having grown up with him, Ophidia recalled this as being a method for him to boast about his family and himself. He was a boy of high pride and arrogance which could easily have been mistaken for confidence. He didn't just want to talk with the boy out of curiosity, but because he wanted to see if he was someone who could exceed his expectations. To see if he was a rich boy, in other words. A boy of equal standards as himself.
He had never been in need of speaking so formally with the likes of Goyle or Crabbe, his friends, because he already knew if their affiliation with his family, but this might prove itself to be an interesting outcome.
"Hello," said Draco. "Hogwarts too?"
"Yes," answered the boy.
"My father's buying books and mother's up the street looking at wands," The boy seemed to grow uncomfortable with him but Draco didn't seem to notice and continued. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don't see why first years can't have their own. I think I'll bully father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow. Don't you think that's a good idea, Ophidia?" Draco asked her.
"I hope you do realize that sneaking something like that into the school won't go unnoticed, right?" she asked without looking at the two boys. "The teachers aren't that gullible."
"Don't be so sure about that."
"Have you got your own broom?" Draco asked the boy, completely ignoring what Ophidia had said.
"Play Quidditch at all?"
"No," the boy repeated, looking less and less comfortable by the moment.
"I do! Father says it's a crime if I'm not picked to play for my house. Know what house you'll be in?"
"No," It would appear that the boy had solely one answer to offer regardless of the question.
"Well, no one knows until they get there, do they, but I know I'll be in Slytherin, all our family have been there; mother, father, aunt Bella. Weren't your parents in Slytherin, too, Ophidia?"
The boy looked for the briefest moment up at Ophidia and she did the same. Their eyes met, light green against a darker shade of green, just for a split second. Then, she felt it. There was a cold echo lingering inside of her chest, then it changed into an ache. Her heart began to pound and it felt as if her insides were churned against each other. Her expression must have given it away, because, in a matter of those seconds, Madam Malkin asked, "Are you alright, dear?"
Ophidia snapped back into reality, and all of the pain disappeared at once like it had been nothing but an electric shock coursing through her. She met the Madam's eyes and put on the most convincing smile she could muster without giving away the indication that anything had been wrong to begin with. "I'm fine. I just thought I felt a needle pricking my skin for a second."
"Are you sure?" asked the Madam. "You looked seriously ill for a moment."
"I said I'm fine," This time, her tone was not so lenient, and the madam took notice of this and quickly looked away and attempted to find the needle the young girl had complained about.
"And to answer your question: Yes, both my parents were in Slytherin." She turned back to Draco and the boy but felt no longer any pain in her body. However, as soon as her eyes landed on him, they fell upon an odd mark on the side of his forehead, almost entirely shielded by the shades of his bangs.
"That boy," Tom whispered. "Could it be…"
"Like I said, everyone in our family's been in Slytherin. Imagine being in Hufflepuff," Draco grimaced at the thought. "I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"
"Mmmm," the boy murmured incomprehensively.
Before he could continue with the subject, Draco's eyes suddenly fell upon something rather large outside the window of the store, and he burst into laughter like he had never seen a giant before, which he hadn't. Ophidia felt tempted to reprimand the young boy for his insolence in such a public place, but instead, she did what she always did in situations like these. She kept quiet.
Tom, on the other hand, seemed to recognize him. "Rubeus Hagrid. He hasn't changed at all since the last time I saw him."
"I say, look at that man!" Draco pointed at the giant, whom she only then discovered was carrying two large ice-creams, one in each grip.
"That's Hagrid," the boy suddenly spoke up, breaking slightly out from his introverted shell. "He works at Hogwarts."
"Oh," said Draco as the information dawned on him. "I've heard of him. He's a sort of servant, isn't he?"
"He's the gamekeeper," The boy apparently took a dislike to Draco's lack of respect towards his friend.
"Yes, exactly," said Draco and took no notice of the growing one-sided antagonism between them. "I heard he's a sort of savage – lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed," there was a light chuckle at the end of the sentence, further increasing the other boy's dislike for him.
"I think he's brilliant," said the other boy, standing up against Draco's rather exaggerated claims.
"Do you?" Draco sneered a bit. "Why is he with you? Where are your parents?"
"They're dead," said the boy, but earned no sympathy whatsoever from either of the other children in the store.
"Oh, sorry, but they were our kind, weren't they?" And it was now that Draco was finally allowing his pureblood supremacy to slip by. Personally, Ophidia had never been one to take into consideration how important blood-purity was, but seeing it as she was constantly surrounded by people who thought otherwise, she had allowed herself to adapt and kept to herself how trivial she believed it to be. As long as people were useful and easily exploited, regardless of blood-status, that was what mattered the most.
The other boy looked like he was going to snap at any moment, but his endurance was admirable, especially when it came to the likes of someone like Draco. Even she had had her fair share of occasions where she had felt the need to jinx him for his inability to keep his mouth shut, but had always proven herself able to resist the temptation. This boy was obviously used to dealing with such people as he, and for that, she respected him to some degree. "They were a witch and wizard, if that's what you mean."
"I really don't think they should let the other sort in, do you? They're just not the same. They've never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter. Imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What's your surname anyway?"
Before the boy could answer, Madam Malkin pulled the final needle out of the fabric and patted Ophidia on the hip. "There. All done." With a wave of her hand, Ophidia got changed back into her usual clothes and the new robes were neatly placed inside a bag for her to carry.
She smiled. "Thank you very much, Madam Malkin,"
"You're very welcome, dear girl," replied the old woman.
Ophidia turned back to Draco and gestured for him to accompany her outside. "We better get going," she said and was already on her way to the exit. "I imagine Mrs. Malfoy is waiting for us at Ollivander's already." At the mention of this, Draco quickly walked away from the boy and scurried behind his cousin. However, before they left, he glanced back one last time and said,
"Well, we'll see you at Hogwarts, I guess."
The boy didn't answer.
Ophidia waited patiently outside of Ollivander's shop as Draco and his mother were inside and attempted to find the wand that would suit him the most. Being the arrogant child that he sometimes was, ('sometimes' being an understatement), she could practically hear him complaining at the old wandmaker from outside the shop, and she rolled her eyes.
"Quite a persistent boy, that one," said Tom somewhat agitated.
Ophidia looked through one of the schoolbooks Mr. Malfoy had brought them and was fascinated by the arts of potion making. All of the ingredients were quite simple even for first years, so she decided that she would go through with it sometime before they departed to Hogwarts.
Mr. Malfoy, on the other hand, had decided to leave his wife and son to go through the Alley one last time in order to double-check if they had forgotten anything. Being a man of organization and order was sometimes both a blessing and a curse, the latter being his constant need of checking to see if he had gotten everything he required for each event he was exposed to. Still, she had to admit that she found his need for order to be amusing to witness, especially when it came to his need for organizing every object at the manor. Everything had to be tidy, and there were occasions where she would purposefully put things into discord simply so that she could witness his reaction with her own eyes.
The entertainment she received was always worth the trouble.
Suddenly, the door leading into the shop opened and Ophidia expected to see either Mrs. Malfoy or Draco exiting. However, instead, her eyes met those of a girl her age, with odd coloured eyes almost in a purple shade and hair the same illuminating colour of fire. One would've mistaken it for being ablaze had they not been any more observant. The girl's cheeks were equally red and she was obviously angered by the way both of her eyes were crunched together to the point where two lines could be seen between them.
"The nerves of that prat!" she scowled and crossed both her arms over her chest. For just a second, it appeared as if her eyes changed from the vibrant purple colour they initially possessed to that of a deeper shade of crimson. "How dare he speak to grandfather with such a rude tone?" The girl was practically reeking of fury, and both the eyes and the hair changed according to her current mood.
Ophidia blinked. A metamorphmagus? It was uncommon for them to show themselves changing their appearances in such a public place, seeing as some viewed them with disgust because of this uncanny ability. The girl then snapped her head to her side and, upon acknowledging the fact that she was not alone like she had originally thought, the colour of her eyes and her hair morphed into meeker, more natural-looking colours than before but with a hint of reddish-pink lingering at the tips of her locks.
"What are you looking at?" the girl asked sharply.
Instead of displaying what little irritation was slowly building itself up within her due to the girl's attitude, Ophidia smiled warmly and concealed the annoyance she already harboured towards the girl. "Excuse me, but is there something troubling you?" she asked without a hint of cruelty hidden in-between her words. That would be the easiest method for gaining someone's trust was asking them about their well-being.
The girl seemed to calm down at took a deep breath, but still held her arms tightly crossed over her chest. "There's a boy inside who speaks really rudely to my grandfather. He says he's not happy with the wand that has chosen him."
Grandfather? Now, this could be quite interesting. "Is Ollivander your grandfather?" Ophidia asked, faking genuine curiosity just for the conversation's sake. If she could somehow gain access to one of the most qualified wandmakers in the world to date, she could receive information that could be used in the future. That being said, all she would have to do was play nice and let the girl believe that she was on the good side of things.
"What's it to you?" the girl asked cynically.
"I'm just curious." Replied Ophidia.
"No, you're not," The girl accused, looking at Ophidia with a scrutinizing eye. At that point, both of her eyes changed from a deep purple to a bright red in seconds. "My grandfather is a highly respected man, and I do not want people like you thinking that he's just an old man who knows nothing about his work! The idiot in there already thinks that. Says he's nothing but an old fool who's incapable of distinguishing a powerful wand from a useless one."
Ophidia didn't let the act down in spite of being slightly more exasperated with the girl's brashness. "I can assure you, I respect Mr. Ollivander and I do not doubt his competence for a moment. And, I sincerely apologize for my cousin's lack of manners. He's been spoiled quite severely by his subservient parents, as you may have noticed. Criticism simply bounces off his shoulders."
The unnamed girl's eyes spent several seconds observing Ophidia before changing back to their natural purple colours, the same being said for her hair. Her expressions eased up and Ophidia could easily tell that her words were having the anticipated effect on the girl. That was exactly what she wanted, and this girl was just another example of how behaving like a good child had sufficient results. "Well, you better treat my grandfather nicely," the girl said and turned around as she spotted a well-dressed woman in the crowd, presumably the girl's mother.
"I have to go," she said and was about to head off. But before she did, she turned back to Ophidia and asked, "Are you attending Hogwarts too?"
"That I am," Ophidia replied.
"Maybe we'll see each other again, then?"
"Perhaps," Ophidia said with a velvety smile. "Nice to meet you, miss…."
"Diana!" the mother's voice stood out amongst the numerous other voices in the crowd of people.
"Coming, mum!" the girl shouted back and started walking. "Goodbye." And like that, the mother and daughter disappeared into the crowd and soon vanished out of sight, blending in with all the other people.
"It seems like things get better and better by the minute," said Tom with a satisfied chuckle.
"I agree," Ophidia nodded and tugged on the straps of the bag she had received from Borgin and Burkes containing the fox pelt. "I just hope that befriending that girl will be worth the trouble."
"I guess we'll see."
Only moments later, Draco exited the shop with a box in his hands, looking quite content with what it contained. His mother followed close behind, a hand placed comfortingly on his shoulder. There was a genuine smile on her face, a smile which Ophidia seldom witnessed, but as soon as Mrs. Malfoy spotted her standing there, the smile vanished entirely as if it had never existed to begin with.
"Check it out, Ophidia! My own wand," Like the child that he was, Draco hurried over to his cousin and opened the box before her eyes. True to his words, there it was, a ten-inches-long wand made from Hawthorn and with the core of a Unicorn's hair. Even Ophidia had to marvel at the sight of it. Such a beautiful object in such a cruel world.
"Ophidia," Mrs. Malfoy spoke up but didn't look straight at her. "It's your turn now. Do you wish for me to… accompany you?" It was plain that the missus did not wish for her to answer with a yes, and Ophidia obliged just for the sake of courtesy.
"I will be fine, Mrs. Malfoy. I'll be back soon." She passed by the missus, not even sparing her a second glance, and opened the door which led into the wandmaker's shop. Her eyes lit up at the sight of hundreds, perhaps thousands of boxes positioned over one-another in numerous of cabinets and shelves, making it seem as if the entire place was composed of nothing but the magic the wands contained. It was truly a marvelous sight.
"Ah, Miss Cascabel. I felt it was only a matter of time before I would see you." There behind the table stood Garrick Ollivander himself, silvery eyes positioned straight at her from where he stood. "I must say, mistaking you for your father wouldn't be easy. However, I see that you have inherited more from your mother than anyone else." The old man said with a hollow tone. "Eleven inches, Hornbeam, Dragon Heartstring. Quite suitable for the girl I sold it to so many years ago, but it would seem that its owner's behaviour became skewed later on. Most unfortunate."
Ophidia had no interest in speaking of her own parents, whom she held no admiration towards whatsoever. The past was not allowed to determine the present.
"Your father, on the other hand, was granted an eleven and a quarter inches wand, Blackthorn, Phoenix Feather. He was a skilled one, much like vigorous young Malfoy."
"I apologize for his behaviour," Ophidia said, expressing sympathy as well as she was able to.
Mr. Ollivander waved his hand dismissively, appearing quite nonchalant about the rude boy he had encountered earlier. "There have been boys far more forceful than young Malfoy here, and trust me, I mean it." The old man then proceeded to pull out a long tape measure with a silver lining out of his pocket. He seemed thoughtful for a second before he said anything. "Now, Miss Cascabel, which is your wand arm?"
"The right one, Sir," she answered and stretched out her right arm, allowing the man to measure it from her shoulder to the tips of her finger, then from the elbow to the wrist, her shoulder to the ground, then from her knee to her armpit and to all around her head, similar to what Madam Malkin had done earlier. She wasn't aware that a wand required that much measuring, but then again, a wand was not supposed to be underestimated. She knew that most of them tended to be picky about their owners. After all, it was the wand that chose the wizard or witch, not the other way around. Draco must have forgotten that.
"If I remember correctly from the books I've read about wand-making," she said as the man continued to measure. "Each wand differs entirely, and none are identical to another."
"That's correct," answered Ollivander without looking up. "An Ollivander wand has a core from a powerful magical substance. Here we primarily use Phoenix tail feathers, Dragon Heartstring and Unicorn hair. No substance is quite the same as the other, which in return makes each separate wand unique." He then stood up from the floor and turned around to pick a box from one of the shelves closest to him, and the measuring tape began to measure the distance between her nostrils, much to Ophidia's dismay. She swore she could hear Tom snickering at this.
"My granddaughter came here as soon as summer began, you see," said Ollivander as his hands scurried through the numerous of boxes within his range. "She was so excited when she received her letter to Hogwarts that she couldn't wait to get her own wand."
"Yes, I met her outside. Diana, was it?" Ophidia asked as the measuring tape returned back to its original place in Ollivander's pocket.
"She's my daughter's daughter, yet has somehow been able to earn her grandmother's persistence. I told her she could wait a few more days but she wouldn't hear of it. I sometimes even doubt she's my granddaughter because it doesn't seem like she has earned any of her parents' stoic personalities. She's a unique one, that girl, just like each wand I sell." By the change of tone Ollivander suddenly had, there lied no doubt that he cared deeply for his granddaughter. Sentiment.
"It sounds we've found ourselves a potential ally," said Tom deviously.
"I think she seems like a nice girl," Ophidia agreed and smiled. "What sort of wand did she receive?"
"It took us some time to find one, three hours to be precise, but we ended up with one that I believe will suit her perfectly. Ten inches, Hawthorn, Phoenix feather."
"How exciting," Ophidia feigned enthusiasm on the matter regarding the wand. She was more interested about whether or not the girl would prove herself to be useful in the future.
"Yes, she is," Ollivander agreed thoughtfully. "Though I'm uncertain about what house she will be sorted into. She seems to have qualities which fits all of the hour houses. She's brave as a Gryffindor, kind and forgiving as a Hufflepuff, most certainly as intelligent as a Ravenclaw, but there are those sarcastic and cunning traits she earned from her grandmother, who also was a Slytherin. I, myself, was placed in Ravenclaw. However, I believe that Diana will fit Gryffindor quite nicely."
"House for the impulsive and the emotionally dependent," Tom scowled. "She might be a difficult one to befriend if your houses are rivals."
"That's unfortunate." Ophidia agreed. "But we'll see, won't we?"
"Ah! Here I believe we have something that will suit you, Miss Cascabel!" Ollivander, whose hands were now occupied by the same box, turned back to her and presented her with it. Without reluctance, Ophidia opened the box and picked up the wand. It was light in her hands, but something about her didn't fit right for some reason.
"Eight inches, Ash wood, Unicorn Hair. Try waving it in the air, if you please."
Ophidia obliged and slowly began to wave the wand from left to right before her eyes. Then, the flower vase next to Ollivander's desk suddenly smashed into bits. Porcelain fell onto the floor and missed each of their bodies by mere inches, and Ollivander seemed to be quite shocked by this. Quickly, he grabbed the wand from her grip and placed it back to the box and onto the shelves where it originally was.
"Maybe not," he said, surprisingly calmly, and proceeded to inspect another box before handing it to her. "What about this one? Ten inches, Pinewood, dragon heartstring,"
Ophidia grabbed the box and opened it. "Its appearance is quite captivating, I have to admit," she admitted and picked it up. Like before, she swung it from left to right and when nothing happened, she began to believe that this was the one which suited her the most. However, at the last flick, a bright red colour erupted from the tip of the wood and got sent straight into one of the shelves, knocking several boxes down onto the floor.
It continued in similar manners until several boxes of used wands laid scattered across Ollivander's desk. It was evident that Tom was beginning to grow impatient, as was she, but she was better at handling it externally than he was, not that he could show it even if he wanted to. Even Ollivander himself was growing tired, but appeared to be no less enthusiastic about presenting the ideal wand to his customer. "It's strange somehow. We've tried wands that both dislike and favour your demeanor, Miss Cascabel, and no result is equivalent to the other, even if they are much of the same in behaviour. It's like they are judging more than just one person this time."
Ophidia shook her head. "I wouldn't imagine so, but I'm unable to determine the wand's perception of myself. Perhaps they see something I'm unable to myself?"
"Yes, perhaps," Ollivander said slowly and nodded as he continued to search for another wand to suit her. "Wands are, much like the sorting hat at Hogwarts, capable of distinguishing traits from potential owners that they themselves are, more than often, unable to detect. That's what makes them so peculiar and beautiful at the same time."
She kept that thought in mind. "The ability to see people for what they truly are, in other words."
"Precisely," Ollivander confirmed and proceeded to pull out yet another box from another shelf. There was a more contented look in his eyes this time, one that she had not observed for as long as she had stayed there.
"Try this one," He handed her the box. "Ten inches, Hazelwood, Dragon heartstring,"
Despite feeling quite exasperated about the chances put in front of her, Ophidia took the box and opened it. Inside was a dark wand with silver linings. Compared to the others, this one was by far the straightest she had been in the temporary possession on. On the contrary of the other wands, the feeling she experienced when she held it was… Surprisingly satisfying. It felt like the final piece in a puzzle had been put to place.
She held it up and began to wave it from right to left again, but no disaster occurred. Nothing broke, nothing was smashed to pieces, nothing was destroyed. Instead, cyan-coloured sparks erupted from the wand, dancing around the room like harmonious will-o-wisps were united for one grand dance.
The lights reflected themselves into Ollivander's eyes. "Yes, yes, very good, in fact, quite good."
"What is?" asked Tom.
Ophidia turned to look at Ollivander with the same skeptical eyebrow she could imagine Tom with. "What's very good, if I may ask?"
Ollivander gleamed, but there was a hint of uncertainty amongst his features. Even the vaguest trait of what appeared to be… Distress. "I always experience something akin to euphoria whenever a young wizard or witch finds their suitable wands. This, however, is quite strange. Hazel usually chooses a wizard that's in need of emotional composure in order to function properly. Then again, I'm just an ordinary wizard. Let us just assume that the wand finds your equanimity admirable enough to consider you its new owner."
"Let's just leave. He doesn't need to pry anymore." Tom persisted.
Ophidia looked sharply at the old wand-maker before glancing back at her new wand. As long as it suited her, nothing else mattered at the moment. "It's well-made, Mr. Ollivander. I admire your hard work to its fullest. Thank you." She placed the wand back into the box and pulled out eight galleons from the pocket of her robe. "Here, extra for your work."
Ollivander accepted her payment and nodded. "Thank you, Miss Cascabel. May you have seven wonderful years at Hogwarts.
Tom snickered. "They will be."
After they had been around Diagon Alley and bought everything that was necessary, Draco forced both of his parents to visit the broom shop so that he could attempt to persuade them into buying him one to take with him to Hogwarts, even though first years were prohibited from bringing their own brooms with them to the school. Ophidia was disinterested in Quidditch and hardly bothered to pay attention as her cousin consistently babbled about how much he wanted a broom.
Instead, her eyes were drawn to the Magical Menagerie a little further down the street. They had yet to buy any pets to take with them to the school, and the thought tempted Ophidia. If Draco and his parents intended on staying here for the majority of the time without any progress, she could just leave without any fuss. After all, neither of the Malfoys would dare to say no to her.
She tugged at Mr. Malfoy's robe. "Mr. Malfoy, could I be excused to the Magical Menagerie? I wish to take a look at all of the animals."
Mr. Malfoy looked down at her with an indescribable countenance of both subservience and defeat, if not a hint of nervousness. Though usually a man of high authority and strict demeanour, those traits seemed to abandon him at that moment like a passing wind. "Of course, Ophidia. We'll arrive there shortly."
Content, Ophidia nodded and exited the broom shop before heading down the street to where the Menagerie was located. Once there, she opened the door and the sounds of numerous of animals and birds reached her ears.
"What do you reckon you would want?" asked Tom curiously as she began to observe all of the caged animals in the store, from all the cats, to the toads, to the ravens. Even the kneazles caught her attention for a moment.
"I don't know yet," said Ophidia and closed in on one kneazle in particular. This one, however, possessed attributes to ordinary cats as well. A halfling, perhaps? Its fur was thin and in a golden colour, making it seem as if the creature had been starved for some time without reason, but its ears were sharp and the tail had fur on the tip only like a lion.
"She's beautiful," breathed a voice from beside her.
Ophidia quickly retreated a few steps and her eyes fell on the same brown-haired girl she had encountered earlier outside of Ollivander's. The girl didn't look at her, as her purple-coloured eyes were solely fixed on the half-kneazle. "I think I will take that one with me to Hogwarts."
Ophidia composed herself before speaking. "It's you again."
The girl straightened her back and finally looked at Ophidia, her eyes were painted with mischievousness. "Did you get a wand from grandfather?"
Ophidia nods. "Yes, and I was quite satisfied with what I received. Your grandfather exceeded my expectations. You could hardly find finer wands from anywhere else."
"Your friend seemed to think otherwise." Said the girl with a scowl.
"Draco tends to be impulsive with his words. That's just in his nature." Ophidia said and turned back to the half-kneazle again. "So, you intend on buying it?"
"It's a female. They always have a much more collected nature than the males. It helps them adapt to situations without panicking." The girl turned back to Ophidia, her eyes glowering with unusual colours this time. "What about you? What could you imagine purchasing?"
Ophidia thought for a moment before answering. "Something uncommon. I'm not one for ordinary creatures, as simple-minded as it seems."
"I'm not certain yet,"
The girl shrugged indifferently. "You will probably figure it out before the end of the day,"
Without sparing a single moment, the girl pulled out several galleons from her pocket and handed it to the witch behind the counter before grabbing the cage where the half-kneazle was contained, looking at it affectionately before proceeding to exit the shop with now yellow strands sprouting from her head.
Ophidia's eyes lingered at the door for a few more moments before she turned back to the other animals and started searching for one she believed would suit her the most. There were plenty of options for her to choose between, but none were satisfactory. They all seemed so… Mundane.
"I didn't take you for being picky," Tom commented. "Is there anything in particular you are-"
"Ssssso ssssssmall," whispered a voice in the room, causing Ophidia to raise her head. "Too sssssmall."
"Did you hear that?" asked Tom. "That sounded like…"
"It wasn't a human, that's for certain," said Ophidia and started looking around the room for the source of the small voice. Her eyes then fell on a glass cage by the counter, and the small creature residing within it was nothing but a snake; A common adder. She glanced up at the witch behind the desk and asked ever-so-innocently, "Excuse me, but why is there a snake in here? You don't usually sell snakes, do you?"
The woman shrugged, indicating no care whatsoever. "This guy's been here for a while now, but no one's interested in buying him. Charles Weasley came here a few weeks ago saying that he found it in the dragon resort in Romania. Asked if we could find it a home."
"At the dragon resort in Romania?" Ophidia said thoughtfully.
"Don't tell me that you're considering-"
"Serpents aren't prohibited on school grounds, are they?"
"Not to an extent, but students and teachers alike are afraid of them due to their association with Salazar Slytherin."
"Is that so?" She glanced back at the witch again. "How much for the adder?"
The witch must've believed that she had heard wrong. "Excuse me?"
"How much for the snake?" repeated Ophidia and gestured to the glass box containing the serpent. "I'm interested in purchasing it."
"Who are you, girl?" Asked the small serpent as they exited the Magical Menagerie.
"My name is Ophidia Cascabel, and from here on, you will follow my orders." She whispered without looking at the box in the bag in her hands. "I will attend Hogwarts School the following autumn, and as such, I am in need of an animal companion."
The snake hissed with contempt. "You speak well, girl, but what makes me think that I will listen to anything you have to say?"
"If you want, I can just return you to the Menagerie and allow you to spend the rest of your life being looked at by other children, if that's what you prefer instead."
At the mention of this, the snake became visibly distressed. "Please, no! I will do as you say, mistress!"
Ophidia smirked contented. "Good decision. Now, what is your name?"
"I have no such thing. You may call me whatever you please, mistress."
"Fine," she thought for a moment before she came with an answer. "You will be Ourboros."
The snake didn't complain. "Very well."
The rest of the summer was spent making sure that they had gathered everything that they would require during their first year at Hogwarts, whether it was actually mandatory or not. Draco had spent the majority of the time trying to convince his parents to buy him a broom and let him bring it with him to the school, but neither of them had allowed him to do so, which resulted in him being sour for the rest of the month.
Ophidia, on the other hand, had spent her time producing several notes that Tom claimed would be of use during her first year. That involved advanced spells, potions, and the likes. Both Draco and Ophidia were already far more intelligent than any other children their age, such as Goyle or Crabbe, but Draco only used this in order to gain popularity, Ophidia used it because it would grant her opportunities within the castle that no one else would even think about in her year. Children were gullible like that.
The night before they would leave for the Hogwarts Express, Ophidia had finished packing, had written all of her notes and was sure that she had remembered every essential piece of equipment she would need. Afterward, she placed her suitcases next to the closet and cast a look at the animal pelt that was hanging neatly over the closet door. Over the course of the summer, she had attempted various things in order to see whether or not it was still functioning properly. She dared not take it on, as Tom had warned her that wearing it could have devastating results on her appearance afterward if it did not work.
"So, what should I do with it until I know for certain that it's working?"
"Until further, let it stay here at the Manor. Make sure that the Malfoys don't poke around. The snake can be your information-feeder until further, and try to read some Transfiguration spells in the library at Hogwarts. They provide books with much useful information there, more than you can expect to find in the Manor." Answered Tom.
She leaned back in her seat, the quill tightly held between her fingers as she glanced down at the parchment in front of her, as well as a map that had several locations noted down and marked with red ink. Most of the marks were around England, some were in Europe and others were more widespread. Ophidia hummed to herself and bit her thumb, contemplating on how it would be easy for her to track them down. Apparition was a skill not even she could master yet, despite with Tom's assistance, and though some of the locations were just outside the door, seeking them out now would be too risk filled.
"I guess I'll have to figure it out later," she said and let out a weak yawn, prompting her to extinguish the lantern and tuck in for the evening.
When she was about to go to sleep, already dressed in her nightgown, there came a knock at the door. For a brief moment, she wondered if it could be Mrs. Malfoy, but then she recalled that she hardly made her presence known, so it had to be someone less subservient than the missus.
Opening the door, Ophidia met none other than Draco himself, already dressed in his own pajamas. "Hey, Ophidia," he said groggily and rubbed his eyes. "I just wanted to ask you if you were looking forward to tomorrow?"
Ophidia said nothing at first, but then she decided to tell him about what she genuinely felt. "I'm not certain. It will be the start of seven long years, and who knows what those years will bring?" It was not often she decided to elaborate her thoughts with anyone else. The only person she trusted was Tom, because he knew what was going on. Others didn't, because if they did, they wouldn't understand her situation. She was alone in the world, and other people were excluded. That was what it had always been, and that was what it would always be like.
However, Draco didn't seem to notice the distress in-between her words, and simply shook it off and started walking back to his room at the opposite side of the hallway a little further down. "G'night, then." And then Draco was no more in sight.
Ophidia sighed as she watched her cousin disappear behind a door which quickly shut behind him. "If childhood consists of being carefree like that, then it might be best to keep it to a minimum."