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Hermione Noctis

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There was nothing in the frozen darkness, no light, no air, not even her own body. She wished she had arms to wrap around herself, or legs to pull up so she could curl up into a tight warm ball, even some chattering teeth might have provided a pleasant counterpoint to the constant rushing of wind and crashing of waves. But no, the was just the dark, the cold, and the feeling of near hopelessness, the feeling that most of the happiness had been sucked out of the world. Incorporeal, she floated, the waves crashing against an unseen shore as the cold sunk deeper and deeper into her.

Hermione’s eyes shot open, and she wrapped her arms around herself even as her teeth chattered. After a few moments of shivering, as she blinked the sleep out of her eyes, she picked her wand up from where it lay on her bedside table and cast two warming charms. Warming charms were one of the first spells she’d learned to cast after coming to Hogwarts. That first evening in the Library, even as she’d noted innumerable books she couldn’t wait to read, she’d passed them all by, scanning the titles until one caught her eye. Kelmiav’s Everyday Charms, had been exactly what she’d been looking for, and, before she went to be that night, she’d learned how to cast the warming charm.

In the two years since that night, she’d found the charm made a fantastic addition to her morning routine. Before she’d come to Hogwarts, she’d started every morning by slapping at her electric kettle until it came to life, then huddling up in a ball under her blankets until the whistle of steam singled it was time to emerge and enjoy a cup of hot tea and a book. That line in Hogwarts: A History about technology not working had almost made her panic, wondering how she’d make it through the mornings without her trusty kettle, but she’d comforted herself with the thought that, some witch or wizard, somewhere, must have invented a warming charm. Now her mornings started with one warming charm cast on herself, then another, charged with quite a bit more magic, cast on the mug of water sitting at her bedside. 

Sipping gently from her mug of tea, she skimmed her Ancient Runes textbooks as she planned her day. Once she’d gotten cleaned up, she’d have a quick snack before going to Ancient Runes. When that was over, she could jump back a few hours, meet the boys in the common room, then have a real breakfast before double potions. After lunch was Defense Against the Dark Arts, and that was the class that truly concerned her.

Both of the previous defense professors had tried to hurt Harry, and despite how nice the new one had seemed to be on the train, she couldn’t help being suspicious. Harry was the little brother she’d always wanted, and she was determined to keep him safe. A part of her knew she was being paranoid. That ever-analytical voice in the back of her head whispered that she was simply being overprotective because she felt guilty about not being able to get him away from his aunt and uncle over the summer. 

It had been a mistake; she’d known it the moment Professor McGonagall’s face had started to darken. She’d stayed after class to talk about the courses she wanted to take, and ask if there was a way to fit them all in. It was just after they’d finally agreed that she was responsible enough to use a time turner that everything had gone wrong.

“I hope you’ll spend at least some of your summer relaxing. While you’ll need to prepare for all your classes, you’ll have almost no time to relax once the new year starts.”

“Oh, don’t worry professor, I’ll be spending the summer in my family’s home in France. I’m planning to ask Harry to spend most of the summer with us. With him there I’ll be able to make sure he gets his summer homework done while having someone who’ll drag me away from my books every now and then.”

She’d watched as emotions played, one after another, over her head of house’s face, sorrow, guilt, anger, and something she couldn’t quite identify before it settled on resignation.

“I’m sorry Hermione, after what happened in the chamber, I talked with the headmaster about having Harry spend the summer with people he’d be able to talk to. I even offered to let him spend the summer with me and suggested that a few appointments with a mind healer might be good for him after what’s happened these last two years. Albus was very insistent that he return to his aunt and uncle for the summer.”

“But professor, those people-“

“I know Hermione, but there’s nothing we can do, Albus is his magical guardian and he’s made it clear, Harry has to spend this summer with his relatives.”

Even now, Hermione wasn’t sure if McGonagall had really been suggesting what she thought she’d been suggesting, but it didn’t matter, the seed had been planted, and she now had a plan for this coming summer. She wasn’t going to tell anyone other than her parents that Harry would be spending the summer with them, she wasn’t even planning on asking Harry until they were safely away on the Hogwarts express. Within twenty-four hours of getting of the train, they’d all be in France, and Harry would be getting to truly enjoy a summer for the first time. She knew her plan skirted, and maybe even bent the rules, but as long as she didn’t give anyone the opportunity to expressly forbid it, then it wasn’t truly break them.

Refocusing on the present, she pulled the last of her things together and made for the baths. Still, as she slipped through the dorm, that little, overprotective part of her whispered that, after Lockhart and Quirrel, it would be just like Dumbledore to hire a Polyjuiced Sirius Black to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts.


As she sat, quills and parchment resting on her desk, and waited for the Lupin to arrive, she wondered if she should count this as a point for or against their professor being up to something. Surely an imposter, or someone who had taken the job just to get at Harry, would try to act as professionally as possible to avoid attracting attention. Then again, based on the last two professors, maybe a professional and competent DADA teacher would actually draw more attention, and the ragged clothes she’d seen him in on the train and this tardiness were and act, designed to throw off-

Her musings were cut off as Professor Lupin finally arrived.

“Good afternoon, would you please put all your books back in your bags. Today will be a practical lesson. You will need only your wands.”

As Hermione cleared her desk and picked up her bag, her concern grew. How easy would it be for an accident to happen in a practical lesson they hadn’t been given the time to study and prepare for. She’d already read the entire textbook, of course, but having been stuck for most of the summer with his horrible relatives, she doubted Harry had had the time to do the same. Shaking her head, she stood and walked over to him, whatever was going to happen, would happen, she just needed to make sure she was close enough to her best friend that if something actually did go wrong, she’d be able to do something about it.

“Right then, if you’ll follow me.”

A few moments later Hermione blinked in surprise, of all the places they could have gone for a practical lesson, one of the staff rooms was just had not been what she was expecting.

“Inside please,”

As they filled in, she saw Snape stand up from an armchair, his customary sneer firmly in place. Just as he opened his mouth to make some, no doubt snide comment, he was interrupted by a call from the doorway.

“Severus, could I have a moment of your time?” Hermione turned at the question to see Madam Pomfrey poking her head into the room.

“Of course. I have no interest being caught up in this, disaster.”

As Snape stalked out, followed by the healer, a few of the older Witch's words drifted into the room.

“Severus, Hagrid has just been talking to me about the creatures he’ll be introducing the students to and there were a few potions I was hoping you could-"

As the voices faded, Hermione bit her lip. She knew Hagrid had a heart of gold, unfortunately he seemed to be under the impression every dangerous creature that crossed his path had one as well. She could just see him putting a pair of giant sunglasses on a Basilisk before explaining to a class how the huge snake was just misunderstood. She’d have to think about using a turn of her glass to scout out the creatures he was going to be showing them before classes.

Half the class flinched as the wardrobe Lupin had just reached started to bang against the wall.

“Nothing to worry about,” Lupin gave the class a reassuring smile. “There’s just a boggart in there. Boggarts like dark, enclosed spaces, wardrobes, the gap beneath beds, the cupboards under sinks – I once met one that had lodged itself in a grandfather clock. This one moved in yesterday afternoon, and I asked the headmaster if the staff would leave it to give my third years some practice.

“So, the first question we must ask ourselves is, what is a boggart.”

Hermione’s hand shot up as she felt the familiar small thrill of knowing the answer to one of her professors’ questions.

“It’s a shape-shifter, it can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most.”

Her eyes widened slightly as the implications of what she’d just said sunk in. Their Professor was about to have students reveal what their greatest fear was, in a group that included students from rival houses. Even if this lesson ended safely, she had no doubt it would cause problems in the coming weeks.

“Couldn’t have put it better myself. So the boggart sitting in the darkness within has yet not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the person on the other side of the door. Nobody knows what a boggart looks like when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears.

“This means that we have a huge advantage over the boggart before we begin. Have you spotted it, Harry?”

“Er-because there are so many of us, it won’t know what shape it should be?”

“Precisely. It’s always best to have company when you’re dealing with a boggart. He becomes confused. Which should he become, a headless corpse or a flesh-eating slug? I once saw that very mistake – tried to frighten two people at once and turned himself into half a slug. Not even remotely frightening.

“The charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing.

“We will practice the charm without wands first. After me, please… Riddikulus!”

Even as she chanted the spell with the rest of the students, and the professor began to explain about the intent that was needed to make the spell work, her mind was racing, cataloging fears. She hoped that, as long as it was something she truly feared, then focusing on a particular fear would allow her to decide what the boggart became. Images played through her head. The corpses of parents, lying on the floor in front of her. Harry, body mangled almost beyond recognition. Her library, flames consuming the books she’d spent her life collecting. Each thought terrified her enough she had no doubt she could get the boggart to recreate it, but she had no idea how to make any of them funny. Then another thought played through her head, along with inspiration on just how to make it amusing. Even as her plan formed, she felt a smile play across her lips, as the best part occurred to her. This fear was metaphorical enough that nobody besides her should truly understand what it was. Plan in place, she focused back on the Professors words.

“Right, Parvati. First things first: what would you say is the thing that frightens you the most in the world?”

Parvati shook slightly as she muttered something too softly for anyone.

“Didn’t catch that, Parvati, sorry.”

“Mummies sir. When I was six, dad brought my sister and I to a recently discovered tomb in Egypt. The curse breaker who cleared it had missed something.”

Lupin winced in sympathy. “I see, mummies. Well, how about this, can you imagine the mummy’s bandages coming louse and tripping it, so it falls flat on its face?”

Parvati chuckled, a weak smile returning to her face. “Yes professor, I think that would work.”

“When the boggart bursts out of this wardrobe, Parvati, and sees you, it will assume the form of a mummy, and you will raise your wand – thus – and cry ‘Riddikulus’ – and concentrate hard on the mummy tripping on a loose bandage.

“If Parvati is successful, the boggart is likely to shift his attention to each of us in turn. I would like all of you to take a moment now to think of the thing that scares you most, and imagine how you might force it to look comical…”

Hermione moved to the side slightly, she wanted to be able to pay at least as much attention to her classmates as the boggart. If anyone seemed too interested in a particular fear, a warning or stern talking to might just be in order.

“Everyone ready? Parvati, we’re going to back away, let you have a clear field, all right? I’ll call the next person forward…. Everyone back, now, so Parvati can get a clear shot. On the count of three, Parvati. One – Two – Three – Now.

As the wardrobe doors opened and a mummy stepped out, Hermione saw Parvati shiver and shut her eyes briefly, before determinedly raising her wand and casting the spell. The sight of the mummy tripping on its own bandage caused most of the class to giggle and the boggart paused, clearly confused. As the Professor began to call up other students, one after another, she glanced only briefly at whatever shape new boggart took before scanning the faces of her classmates. Nott and Malfoy seemed to be paying more attention then she’d have liked to everybody’s fears, but at least none of the ones she’d seen so far would be easy to duplicate.

“Hermione”

At the sound of her name, she twitched, almost having forgotten that she’d have to participate too. The moment she stood before the boggart, it changed, morphing into a bookshelf, its contents being consumed by flames. For the briefest of moments, she considered doing nothing, curious what would happen to the creature if it burnt away the entirety of its substance. Shaking her head, she focused on the mental image she’d come up with.

“Riddikulus”

As her spell took effect, the fire shifted direction, returning the books to a pristine condition as it moved away from them. Then the flames spread, burning the air on either side of the bookshelf until it new books and shelves started to form. Hearing her classmates laughing, she took a step back then turned to and started back to where she had been standing. Sure, most of the laughter had probably been directed at her, but it had worked, and with any luck, nobody had noticed that all the books on the shelves were books of rules and laws.

Even before she’d made it back, an idea started to form. She’d read that boggarts had a shadow of the power of the creatures they turned into. If she was able to focus on a fear of the destruction of rare books, could she freeze and dissect the boggart, copying whatever was inside the books? She doubted a single boggart could become a complete book, but if she caught and dissected enough of them, then maybe-

The entire world seemed to shrink, focusing in as she turned around and saw the new form the boggart had just taken. Neville was standing in front of the class, a look of absolute terror on his face, but that didn’t matter. The look of horror on the professor’s face didn’t matter either, the only thing in the world that mattered was the gorgeous black-haired woman who was now standing in front of the class, crocked wand in hand and a wide grin on her face. The woman was saying something to Neville, something about finishing what she’d started, but she couldn’t focus on the words. Just seeing and being near her resonated with something deep with her. It felt like finding something she’d been missing her whole life, and like listening to the most perfect piece of music ever composed, but at the same time it didn’t, it was like the music was being played entirely by out of tune instruments. She had no idea how something could feel so right and so wrong at the same time. Suddenly the feelings vanished and she saw Professor Lupin standing in front of Neville, a glowing silver orb floating in front of him. She wasn’t able to focus on anything for the rest of the class, barely even noticing when the professor restrained Harry from facing the boggart. The only thing she was able to think of, besides what had happened when Neville’s boggart appeared, was how grateful she was that she’d already had her turn. Because she had no idea how she’d explain that her new greatest fear was seeing the nameless women dying on the floor and being unable to help.

When the class eventually ended, she stayed back, watching everyone leave until it was just her, the professor, and Harry. Gesturing for Harry to go first, she took a few steps and waited, barely paying any attention to the conversation the two were having, though the fact that Harry would be learning how to defend himself from the monsters that surrounded the school did come as a relief. As Harry left, she took a deep breath and tried to focus. What was she going to say? ‘Professor, could you tell me who that woman who terrified you and Neville was, and how I can find her? Why, because while I can’t bring myself to care why the two of you are so scared of her, there’s nothing I want more than to meet her, to get to know her and to get her to smile at me.’ No, definitely not, which meant-

Professor, I was hoping to ask you about Neville’s boggart. You see, he’s my friend, and he still seemed really upset when class ended. I don’t want to make him talk about something that’s clearly very painful for him, but I thought if I understood what was wrong, I might be able to help him, and it looked like you recognized the woman as well.”

Lupin seemed to think a moment, before shaking his head. “I’m sorry Hermione, but that really is Neville’s story, and if he hasn’t shared it, then it’s not my place to do so. The only thing I will say is that you’re right, she’s connected to something very painful from his past, and if he doesn’t say anything about it after this class, then I have to ask you not to ask him about it.”

Hermione felt like screaming, like grabbing the professor by the collar of his tatty suit and demanding answers. But the same self-preservation instincts that had demanded that she start looking around corners with a mirror the moment she realized what was in the chamber of secrets were kicking in again, urging her to conceal that she had any connection to the woman until she’d figured who she was, why everyone was scared of her, and most importantly, what connected them. Forcing her need for answers down, she smiled at the Professor.

“Thanks for the warning, while I wish I could help him, the last thing I want is to hurt him anymore.” Nodding to the politely, she left the classroom.

Half an hour later, she was hidden under Harry’s Invisibility cloak, peering through the partially open door as Neville walked to the front of the class. As the boggart shifted, she let herself simply bask in the feeling the woman generated in her. The disharmony was certainly jarring, but even with it, it was the most wonderful and right thing she’d felt in her entire life. She simply stared, smiling under the cloak, until lupin stepped in front of Neville, and his strange silver ball appeared.

An hour later, she was sitting in the branches of a tree, quill in one hand, parchment in the other, looking through a window into the room where Neville was walking forward. As the woman appeared again, she forced herself to focus on taking notes. Finishing a brief description of the woman’s appearance, she scrunched her eyes shut for a moment, desperately trying to focus on what she should write next. The instant her eyes closed, the feeling vanished.

‘The feeling only happens when I can see her, is this because the boggart is a creature that relies heavily on visual input, or will it hold true when I meet her? The off tone remains constant whenever I look at her, is it the result of this merely being an illusion of the woman created by the boggart, or is it a sign that the link is both a good thing and a bad thing? If the latter, it feels like the good vastly outweighs the bad, this may be a clue to the type of link it is.’

Looking up from her hastily scrawled notes, she barely resisted the urge to swear as the woman vanished. She didn’t dare use her time turner again with three of her in such close proximity. Still, before she continued with the list of things to research when she went to the library that evening, she flipped her parchment and wrote one separate question. ‘why is professor Lupin afraid of the moon?’

 


 

Bellatrix Black lay in the corner of her cell and closed her eyes, welcoming sleep's immanent embrace. For most, the ancient dream wards that had been put up throughout the prison made sleep just one more torment, but for some reason, this had never been the case for her. While her dreams were filled with emptiness and near-complete despair, it was only near complete. Every day, she looked forward to the night when she would feel that small bit of hope, that little trickle of joy. While she didn’t understand where it came from, she wouldn’t trade it for anything short of freedom.

Blinking, she looked around. She knew she’d just been lying in the corner of her cell, waiting to fall asleep, so logically this was a dream, but it certainly wasn’t the normal dream. No, rather than the emptiness, she was sitting on a sofa in what appeared to be a giant wardrobe, looking out through a cracked open door at a room full of students and a professor, and there was a witch lying across the sofa, head resting in her lap. And instead of despair, everything felt perfect, and like everything was right with the world. She didn’t know how long she sat there, looking at the young witch and running her fingers through beautiful brunette hair, that was almost as full of energy as her own, before the dream started to fade. Just before it completely dissolved, the girl’s eyes seemed to truly focus as she spoke for the first time.

“Who are you?”

 


 

Bellatrix was pacing from one side of her cell to the other, putting together the pieces of a puzzle she hadn’t even realized existed until before this morning. She’d been thinking about this new discovery almost constantly since she’d woken, with just a few breaks for arithmancy. So many things made perfect sense now, and she wanted to kick herself for not seeing it before. Almost two years before her lords discorporation, she’d felt something change. Her dreams, which in the past had almost always been filled with the thrill of fighting and killing her enemies, mixed in with the occasional nightmare about her childhood, had become shapeless things, filled with an undefined mixture of colors and feelings. As time went on, the dreams had started to take on shape, but the process hadn’t been complete before she was thrown in Azkaban.

Two other things had happened at the same time. The first had been odd, it had felt like something had changed inside her, almost like something new had wrapped itself around her, keeping her from ever feeling truly alone. If things hadn’t been so busy, and if she hadn’t been sure that the feelings wouldn’t interfere with her duty, she would have talked to her lord about it, but by the time things slowed down enough that she felt that she could take up some of his time with a non-life-threatening question, the feeling had become so much a part of her that she didn’t even think of asking about it. The other thing that had happened concerned her relationship with Alecto. The younger Death Eater had been on the team Bellatrix lead almost since the day she’d joined their lords ranks, and they had soon fallen into the habit of sharing a bed after every mission where they saw combat. They had never been in a relationship exactly, they’d never even truly put what they were to each other into words. While Bella knew she hadn’t loved the younger death eater, she certainly had, and still did, care about her. Besides the physical aspects of their relationship, they had been close in so many other ways, Alecto had been the only person, other than her sisters, she’d ever confided her hopes and fears to. When she’d stopped joining the younger witch in bed, she’d feared it would destroy what the two of them had. Luckily, while she could tell the younger woman was hurt and confused about why that part of their relationship had ended, she hadn’t pushed for an explanation and hadn’t pulled away from her in any other way. It was one of the things about the other woman she’d always appreciated, the ability to tell when she truly wasn’t ready to talk about something and to leave it alone. And after all, what would she have said, ‘I’m sorry, Alecto, but the very thought of fucking you leaves me, quite literally, feeling sick to my stomach, nothing personal you understand.’ No, it had been better to say nothing and rely on the trust the two shared.

Now, finally, it made sense, her soulmate had been born and their bond had formed the moment the newborn witch had taken her first breath. She’d known who the young witch had to be the moment she’d woken up, though figuring out how it was possible had taken slightly longer. Over time, a few very powerful families had manifested unique powers, Slytherin had Parseltongue, her own Black family had gifted the magical world with Metamorphmaguses. As a rule, such a family simply took it as a sign of their greatness and left their family traditions mostly unchanged and married other witches and wizards just as they always had, thus spreading this new recessive talent far and wide. The exception had been the Noctis family, with their ability to walk through the dreaming. They had taken extreme steps to make sure that not only did the talent stay in the family, but that every Noctis was able to use it.

The moment she’d realized it hadn’t been her dream alone the night before, she’d known the girl had to be a Noctis, but that posed its own problem, the last member of the Noctis family had been a member of her lord's inner circle and had died in those last few hectic months. The answer had come to her when she remembered a certain offhanded remark Avelin had made about having a younger brother who had died as a child. Everyone knew pureblood families never produced squibs. Of course, they did have a slightly higher mortality rate among their children than other families.

Bellatrix ground her teeth at the thought. It was such a waste. Because of blind ignorance about what squibs truly were, so much potential had been wasted. They had been one of the things she’d researched during her time as an unspeakable, but even then, the only person who’d seemed truly interested in her findings had been her lord. Yet one more instance of his vision eclipsing that of the rest of the wizarding world.

Pulling her thoughts back to the matter at hand, she resumed putting the pieces together. Her little witch’s father was a squib, but what about her mother. It was unlikely she was a witch, but it was conceivably possible. Marriages between witches and muggles were exceeding rare. After all, magic called to magic and someone with it was rarely truly comfortable with someone without. But it was this very fact that gave her hope, she’d always believed that the only way those marriages could work was if the muggles were, in fact, squibs. Another possibility, and one she found far more plausible, was that, with his ability to feel all the minds connected to the dreaming, her witch’s father had unknowingly felt and tracked down the faint traces of magic another squib had possessed.

Then again, it didn’t truly matter that much, even if the mother turned out to be a muggle. She’d enjoy tearing apart anyone who dared to insult or slight her witch. But at the same time, she feared how many such hurtful things the girl would have to hear before she managed to get the message across. That was for the future though, what mattered now was helping her witch to master her powers. It was clear she was unconsciously using their bound as a guide for her Dreamwalking. And she’ll hate me because of that, I’ve forced her to experience countless nights of-

She shook her head violently and glared out between the bars of her door at the dementor that had just stopped it’s gliding patrol in front of her cell.

“Merlin cursed fucking emotivores.”

 She hissed the words as viciously as she could, before throwing her entire focus into an arithmetic problem shed spent the last few days working on. There were no emotions involved in arithmancy, simply logic. An indefinable amount of time later, after she’d reached a point she was sure she could remember and pick back up from later, she looked up and saw the hall in front of her empty. Good.

The trick of focusing completely on something emotionless whenever a dementor neared was one her lord’s followers had learned during the war, when some of them had suffered brief imprisonments. It didn’t work long term, she’d been told, because the hopeless that came at night eventually broke the will to fight during the day. Of course, her wonderful little witch had saved her from that, letting her stay sane.

She paused as a mental image of her little sister, one eyebrow raised, intruded in her thoughts. ‘ok Cissy, it’s letting me stay as sane as I was when I was thrown in here.’

She almost managed to smile as she imagined the playful smirk that her little sister would have worn. Still, this wasn’t the time to think about such things. However her little witch had managed to break through the wards, it clearly hadn’t been deliberate, and she couldn’t count on it lasting for long. She’d have to tell her exactly what she needed to do tonight; in case it was the last night they have together before the young Noctis mastered her family’s power. Which meant, she needed a plan before she went to sleep. The basics were obvious, have the young witch meet Cissy, and convince her of who and what she was. After that, she had no doubt her little sister would protect her and take her to Starwatch so she could learn her family's magic. After that, she’d have no trouble breaking through Azkaban’s dream wards, and then they’d be able to talk freely.

The first thing she’d need to do was to get the two together. Luckily, she was almost certain the blond boy she’d seen was her nephew, so it should be easy for her little witch to recognize and follow him the next time he went home for the holidays. With how much her sister valued family, there was no way she wouldn’t be waiting on the platform to greet her son. Yes, it should work, the only thing that worried her was that her nephew wasn’t the only person she’d recognized, she was almost certain the professor had been her cousin’s pet wolf. She didn’t want to believe it, no sane person would risk a school full of children by putting a werewolf in their midst, but still.

Wincing, she shook her head. No, she could just see that senile bastard hiring him as part of one plot or another, the only question was, what was he plotting. It could be as simple as the fact that the wolf was loyal to him, and he wanted one of his followers to be the DADA teacher for some reason, but it could also be that he’d decided that werewolves were a threat and needed to be exterminated for the greater good. She could just see him sacrificing one of his followers and a group of children to set an anti-werewolf crusade into motion, telling himself all the while that their sacrifice would save a greater number of children from werewolf attacks in the future, so it was perfectly alright.

She gritted her teeth; it was just one more thing she’d have to warn her little witch about. Her grimace suddenly turned to a small smile. Actually, if her second idea truly was what that manipulative bastard was planning, it could work in their favor. Anyone bitten by a werewolf would suddenly have to choose between living in the shadows, hiding from a ministry that wanted them dead, or joining her lord and helping to change the world. So long as she could convince her witch to stay somewhere safe during the full moon and keep a werewolf bite potion on hand, she almost hoped that truly was his plan, not only would it be a boon to recruitment, it would be one more crime drag him down with when the time came.

But that too was for the future, right now she needed to figure out how to convince Cissy her little witch truly was who she would claim to be. She spent the rest of the evening going over childhood memories, with the occasional break for arithmancy, hunting for stories and anecdotes only she and her youngest sister would understand, things Cissy would know could only have been shared by her. That night she went to sleep feeling more hopeful then she had since being thrown in Azkaban, she had a plan to share, a warning to give, and knew exactly what to have her little witch say to her sister to convince her of her identity, it would even have the added benefit of leaving Cissy horribly embarrassed. As sleep claimed her, she entered a world filled with emptiness and near-total despair.