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When Parvati gets sorted into Gryffindor, what Padma feels most is relief.

She doesn't tell anybody, of course, because she learned a long time ago not to say these things out loud. She learned it in Sunday school at the temple when the teacher did an entire lesson on Parvati-consort-of-Shiva and how she was the beautiful goddess of all that was womanly and wonderful, while Parvati preened as though he was talking about her; when Padma ventured that the lotus she got her name from was just as sacred a symbol, Parvati tossed her lovely hair and said, "Oh, the lotus is just something that goddesses sit on!"

Padma got her own back at teatime when she switched the sugar and salt and sent Parvati running from the room with a mouthful of horrid brackish tea, but it was always like that with them, and she could tell that it was always going to be. It confused her when she was younger, because twins were supposed to be close. All the books and television shows said so. The Bobbseys, the O'Sullivans, the Olsens -- Padma followed all their exploits and for a while when they were little it had been like that, with their parents dressing them the same and treating them the same.

But soon it became all too apparent that Parvati was going to have none of that; she demanded different clothes, different toys, ate different things and started going around with people at school who Padma hated. Padma was smart, she got the message. She went her own way too, and even if she sometimes missed being one of two, she was accustomed to not mentioning it anymore.

So here at Hogwarts, there's no reason for any of that to change, is there? They can be even more separate and distinct now, just what Parvati's always wanted. Padma sits at the Ravenclaw table and watches as Parvati sails down to the Griffyndor table like a princess and the boys look at her and the girls smile. She looks around at her own table, the clever faces that range from pretty to foxish to downright plain, and that's perfectly fine by her. The very best part of it is that none of the faces look like her own.