The Winter Witch
Previous: World #4+
Theme Song: Trouble is a Friend by Lenka
Well, dealing with the new housing and spacedock was an amusing waste of a few hours. Ziggy and Fancy liked the garden, Dynamo, Zane, AJ liked the Gym. Didn’t bring RayRay or Rocky into the house, as they’re more outdoorsy. Also huge. Pippin is a bird. Still can’t talk to him, despite being able to speak to the Pokemon. Can talk to Svetlana, so don’t know what’s up with that, though she’s kinda focused and not very talkative, unlike Iorik from Golden Compass… Huh. Wonder if that’s a jump.
Still, was looking forward to something more relaxing this time, more lighthearted. Maybe I’d pissed the boss off… because I knew at once what the next jump was going to be as soon as I saw the text… hell, the moment I saw the lightning-bolt font… and the hat. “Sorting Hat, Wear Me.” I sighed, plucking the hat up and dropping it on my head.
“Hello young one!” It announced. I decided not to argue with it. I was, in theory, in my 70s… though I had close to 300 years of memories if I tapped into my Asari persona… but the hat was like 1000 at least. “You’ll be attending Hogwarts, of course. The year is 1991, it’s a nice sunny summer in Scotland, july 24th to be precise. What kind of background do you want?”
I didn’t even have to think about this one. I’d been cursing Draco Malfoy’s lack of tact since the first time I’d read the first book and cursing JK since the first time I’d read the last book. “Pure-Blood. Slytherin.” I grunted. “Someone’s got to prove that Cunning doesn’t mean evil. And someone’s going to slap some sense into Ferret Boy if it’s the last thing I do.”
The Hat laughed “Well, if you’re certain. Family Wealth?
“Rich. If I’m going to be Slytherin, they’ll need a reason to listen to me. I’m going to be the greenest blueblood they’ve ever damned seen.” I didn’t even bother to ask how much any of this was going to cost. Turns out the answer is .
Also turns out that Slytherins start with “Great Cunning” for Free and Pure Bloods start with “Clean Blooded” Free. Excellent. Great Cunning made me a natural social manipulator and gave me a finely tuned sense of danger, as well as an instinctive sense of just how far to push things before doing the bugout boogie. Clean Blooded made me immune to Disease and Illness. Those would come in handy. I scooped up Dedicated, because a) Harry is an idiot and b) damned if Hermione was going to steal my academic glory. That it would help me deal with my own ADHD wasn’t a bad thing either. I’ve always had trouble studying dry text. I also picked up Occlumency, because letting others into my head when I had quite as comprehensive a knowledge of the world as I do wasn’t a good thing at all. Those cost me another .
I considered Animagus but decided against it. If James and Sirius could figure it out, I certainly could. Also considered the other house gifts, but I’ve been through war, strife, and the pokefields. If I don’t have courage by now, no gift is going to give it to me. Also, that’s the cheaters way. I also discounted Ravenclaw’s gift. I already had that back in my real life, thank you very much. I did grab Setup Wizard.  No way was I going without technology for 10 years… and I’d need my tricks if I was going to make Slytherin shine.
For Gear I imported my OmniGear VIctoria as my wind, selecting a delicate wand of Chinese Peachwood and Dragon Heartstring… also making sure it was Chinese. I picked up a Flask of Felix Felicis for . I considered the Dark Arts Cache, but that wasn’t really my style.
My family’s wealth netted me a Pet Owl for free (not that I really cared about the owl, but appearances must be maintained), as well as a Nimbus 2000 that I imported the Mako as (yes, I had a Mako 2000, I dunno how it works either) and a Dragon-Hide Jacket that I imported my SPECTRE Armor as, that could reflect minor spells.
I was considering buying an invisibility cloak… I really was, despite how much it would cost… but then the hat said I could bring up to 8 companions for 200. I was torn… seriously torn. Did I want to bring Zane, Fancy, Rocky, AJ and RayRay to Hogwarts with me… or become the master of sneaks. I considered. Zane was great back up… but if I really needed him, I didn’t need him in school. I considered, then took the damned cloak.  Choice was damned expensive, but this thing was a clone of Harry’s. That put me fifty over and I considered dropping the Flask, but then I asked the Hat “How much to make Ziggy look like a magical ferret?”
“You said it was 200 for up to 8 companions as Hogwarts students. How much just to make a Linoone into a british ferret?”
The Hat chuckled “How much were you thinking?”
“50. Really, I don’t think it’s worth that much, but I’ve got to take a disadvantage and I’ve never seen one of those that was less than 100. So I’ve got 50 to spare.”
“Actually, there is one that’s 50.”
“Pigtail? As in hair?”
“No. As in a Pigtail… on your tailbone.”
“Mmm… no. What do you have in the 100s? Or 300s?”
“100 gets me my Invisibility Cloak and Felix Felicis. 300 gets me all that and my Companions.”
“Ah. For 300, you can have… Werewolf, Prisoner of Azkaban, and The Trace. They-”
“I can guess. Werewolf means I’ve got Lyanthropy. Prisoner of Azkaban means someone wants me dead. The Trace means I get expelled from Hogwarts if I use Magic outside of the school?”
“Got it in three.”
“I know my shit. And the 100s?”
“Prophecy, Marked, and Bully Teacher.”
“Prophecy huh? Save the day kinda stuff. Marked? That’s the Dark Mark? Well, that would be hard to explain… and draw attention to me that I don’t think I’d like. Bully Teacher… no. Don’t like Snape, but don’t need him picking on me… or Sprout. Probably Sprout. Or Binns. Yeah. Probably Binns. God, the extra homework would kill me. No thanks.”
“Well, you’re half right on Prophecy… except that people will think you’re an up and coming dark wizard.”
“They’ll think you fulfil a very famous prophecy about a dark wizard.”
“You’re very strange. The Superstitious will distrust you greatly.”
“Wow, you’re really good at the upsell.”
“I’ll take it. And, fuck it. The Prisoner too [-300]. I could use the challenge.”
“I like challenge.”
“Want to be in the Triwizard Tourney? It’s free?”
“What, in place of Cedric?”
“In place of Harry?”
“No. A third Hogwarts Champion. ”
“That’s just ridiculous. Yeah. Sure. Why the fuck not.”
“You’re mental, you are.”
“Damned straight. Anything else?”
“There are challenges on this run.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“You could try and start a family?”
“You could try and win 8 House, Quidditch or Triwzard cups during your 7 years.”
“Huh. Well, I could ace the Triwizard probably, but with Harry arround, the other two seem unlikely unless I go to Gryffindor… next”
“You could try and get Werewolves accepted, become Minister of Magic, Get the Statute of Secrecy scrapped or achieve House Elf Liberation?”
“Jeeesu Christo! What happens if I fail?”
“You could make a name for yourself, then be so evil that 90% of the Wizards of the British Isles refuse to say your name aloud.”
“Heh. Cute. Might be possible. But I don’t think I have the stomach for it. Also, I’m trying to make Slytherin shine.”
“You could try and get 10 OWLS and 5 NEWTs at Outstanding within 10 years?”
“10 and 5 out of 12… ouch. And what do I get if I do that?”
“An Aura of Academia that makes people not contest that you’re the smartest person in the room.”
“Oh, for the… you’ve got to be kidding. That’s it? Hell, I’m going to aim for that just on principle now, but you can take your reward and stuff it. I don’t need people to know I’m smarter than them… especially if I run into someone someday who I’m not smarter than. No. I want the OWLS because I earned them and for no other damned reason. Also, 5 NEWTS at Outstanding is what it takes to be an Auror… now where were we… oh yeah. I was 300 points over again. No… 350. We never agreed on the whole Ziggy thing.”
“This is true.”
“Right. So 200 to bring my crew.”
“You could buy a Goblin Made Sword, or import a melee weapon as one.”
“Yeah? How much?”
“You’re a Wealthy Pureblood… ?”
“Sold. Though I don’t have anything particularly melee-ish… shoulda picked up a Conduit Weapon… but that still leaves me 200… so my crew.”
“I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?”
“Eh. Don’t worry, they’ll behave. Promise.”
“So, AJ, Rocky, Fancy, Rayray, and Zane. That’s . And I want them in Slytherin. Replace Crabbe and Goyle with Rocky and RayRay if you like. And toss in Ziggy as a ferret.”
“But we didn’t-”
“You said that 200 would give them a history as a child in the British Isles, a suitable form, natural magical ability, and a place at Hogwarts. You didn’t say they had to be human children or that that place would have to be as a student.”
“Did you just say ‘Elipsis’?”
“Wow. So that’s what that sounds like. Anyway, let’s do this thing!”
It was… odd, making pokemon like choices for what would be human beings in very short order. Sure, magical and mundane abilities weren’t exactly the same as pokemon moves, and giving the monster squad human pasts and human personalities was… questionable. Only Fancy could give anything like informed consent, but they were (aside from Rayray) all fiercely loyal to me and would do whatever I asked. Rayray was… somewhere between sulkily resigned and petulantly obedient. Well, okay, Dyna was a bit off too, but part of that was because the Deoxys was fundamentally an alien, with alien thoughts and alien ideology.
AJ… or rather “Armstrong ‘AJ’ Jaeger” got Muggle Duelling, which the hat assured me would give him training in various weapons, both melee and firearms, as well as boosting his all around fighting abilities, and Non-Verbal Specialty, which was an uncanny level of skill for silent spells, which should make for an excellent ambush tactic when needed. I also got him Occlumency, though his innate psy-powers would protect him from most Legilimens. He wasn’t the best at hiding his feelings. As a Pureblood Slytherin, he got most of the same things free as I had, though he was middle class for some reason. Alas… he too got an Owl… I don’t like birds. Oh… dear lord… so many owls.
Rocky became “Petra ‘Rocky’ Rockwell”, another wealthy Slytherin Pureblood, also dedicated to his or her studies (I wasn’t sure which gender the naturally genderless Metagross would end up), though I decided to go with Legilimency for the more agressive crablike bruiser than Occlumency. Having someone with lie detection skill would come in handy, I had no doubt. Rocky was pretty darn scary when it put its minds (4 brains in a Metagross, since it was comprised of 4 Beldums) to it.
“Oh? Is Rocky fearsome?”
“Rocky’s a solid steel crab with powerful psychic powers and a big mouth for chomping on anything that gets in my way… and great big claws.”
“Ah… have you considered getting Rocky ‘The Only One He Ever Feared”?”
“Heh… does it make Rocky into Dumbledore?”
“Not precisely. It means he… or she… can appear to crackle with magical energy at will, giving the impression of great power. Great for intimidating the weak willed and foolish.”
“Does it actually enhance the user’s magical power?”
“Not as such.”
“I… sure… why not.”
“Excellent! Now, for… Francy was it?”
“Fancy… actually… Francy… Francine… that’s a good name… Francine “Fancy” Bagshot. That’s a good Pureblood name, isn’t it?”
“Good… good… give her Wandless Magic… wait… the Slytherin ability is Great Cunning… is the Ravenclaw ability something to do with intelligence or riddles?”
“Wit Beyond Measure? Naturally quick wit, good at puzzles, and insight into theoretical principles.”
“It’s a deal!”
“That leaves her with enough for a bag of Zonko’s tricks and japes.”
“Are you suggesting giving my most powerful psychic pokemon a bunch of practical jokes?”
“You’re a troublemaker.”
“Interesting times! Zane or Rayray next?”
“Err… Rayray. Just need an idea for an identity and family.”
“Not all the attendees at Hogwarts need to be of British descent.”
“What… like immigrees? Like from Pakistan or… Italy?”
“You’ve had a thought. What is it?”
“Raymond… or Rachelle… both are Ray… right? something Italian… something fast… like a.. race… Regatta… no… doesn’t sound right… Ray… Ray… Ragatti. Ray Ragatti… RayRay.”
“Hahah… snakes to the snake? Sure… how about potions as well?”
“Moste Potente Potions?”
“Indeed. That’ll work fine. Make her… him… a poor Pureblood… family moved to england after the war…”
“Want a deluminator? or some polyjuice potion? or both?
“I take it Rayray’s got a few points left but not enough for anything important?”
“Very much so.”
“How much Polyjuice?”
“About 20 doses.”
“It might come in handy… Very well, both. Though I suspect that the deluminator can be bought and the polyjuice can be made.”
“True enough, but one pays for convenience.”
“That’s true. And it’s not like there’s much else to spend those points on, if you’re telling me the truth.”
“Would I lie to you?”
“I… don’t think so. Zane next.”
“Zane… the little brother?”
“Younger twin… not little.”
“Want him to be a half giant?”
“Noooo. That would make me half-giant too!… but can you make him good with magical creatures, like Hagrid?”
“Hagrid isn’t a magical creature.”
“You know what I meant.”
“Teasing. Yes… yes I can. Occlumency for the soon to be sibling?”
“What about Dyna?”
“I… don’t know if it would fit in… it’s fairly… out there.”
“True enough. I guess you’re ready to go then.”
“I guess I am.”
And that’s how I ended up on the train to Hogwarts.
World 5, Part 2
But let’s go back a bit. My first step was to make sure that Harry Potter never ran into Draco “I can’t keep my mouth shut” Malfoy. That part was easy peezee. Mumzy was all too eager to take me shopping, and it was a breeze to arrange that we’d go the same day as the Malfoys, who were family friends of that particular kind that rich people have… i.e. our families loathed each other, but kept things polite and venomous for the sake of form. Zane in this Universe had been incarnated as my twin brother, the elder by 22 minutes and heir… almost certainly an attempt by the Hat to annoy me, but I rolled with it.
I drank 1 hour’s worth of my precious Felix Felicis, just to make sure everything went as well as it could, and had Zane distract Malfoy by dragging him into the candy shop. Thus Harry never heard him being an intolerant prick and I got to live out my girlish fantasy of hugging Hagrid and saying he had the cutest beard! Cause he does. He’s like a giant bear man, but he’s got a great heart. Sure, it was manipulative, but I actually like Hagrid and I absolutely gushed about how I’d heard of him from my dad. Which was true… though my dad back on my Earth, of course. I let him introduce me to Harry and was suitably impressed. Also amused that he looked almost nothing like Daniel Radcliffe. I left him alone, but followed after, using both my Asari Stealth Gear and my Cloak of Invisibility. I wasn’t taking any chances he’d run into Draco, who according to Zane was now suffering a bit of a tummy ache from eating way too many Every Flavor Beans, thanks to Zane challenging him to a gross off.
Next up was the Hogwarts Express. While Zane kept Crabbe and Goyle busy, I asked Harry if I could join him in the cabin he was sharing with Hermione and Ron. My purpose that day wasn’t to sway the chosen one. It was just to… open him up to the possibility of choosing Slytherin. I wasn’t going to push it. Just being friendly, mostly to Hermione, who I legitimately respect. I played a good magical born, acting fascinated (and I was, as in I’ve never been a kid in Britain, and it’s been 65 years for me since it was 1991.) about muggle experiences. Between us, Harry and I pretty much bought out the sweets trolley, namely because as it turns out my parents didn’t think it was ladylike to eat sweets, but also because I was making friends.
When the topic of houses came up, I brought up the hope that I’d be in Slytherin. Ron scoffed at the idea, as was his wont, and I just smiled and acted like a mature little lady… i stuck my tongue out at him and said “You’re just saying that because your brothers are all in Gryffindor, Ronald Weasley. Slytherins can be perfectly nice. And green is a nice color.” Of course, I didn’t mention that I’d have prefered Ravenclaw’s philosophy, colors, and tower to any of Slytherin’s stuff. This was about evening the cosmic balance to me. Slytherin needed redemption. Ravenclaw didn’t need any help… but it could use Hermione. I shifted the conversation to the other houses, mentioning that Ravenclaw was for those of a more intellectual bent, people who liked study and challenges. Again, I didn’t push it. Just… meddled.
The trip went well and we left the train as, if not friends then with the possibility thereof. My crew gathered into the boats, once more making sure Draco and Harry were separated. I did notice that I was getting some looks, pretty much on par with Harry, but while his were looks of quiet wonder, mine had a darker, more fearful cast. But how threatening can a 11 year old girl in a green sundress with stone grey eyes and silver hair be? At least in the light of day.
The sorting went as I’d expected. I wasn’t surprised. The trio got sorted into Gryffindor, as of course they would. Me and my gang, Draco and his to Slytherin.. But as I’d planned, I outnumbered him and his thugs two to one.
Thanks to all the double classes we had with Gryffindor, it wasn’t hard maintaining the growing friendship I had with Hermione. We even studied together every chance we could, since Ron and Harry weren’t into that kind of thing. Snape, oddly enough, seemed almost as distracted by me as by Potter, occasionally snooping on me as if to make sure I wasn’t plotting to poison anyone. I studied hard. Very hard. And spent a lot of my free time that first year either focusing on more advanced studies or working on Draco. I had 11 years of Malfoy indoctrination to overcome, but I was persistent. He was a relatively lonely child, coddled, spoiled, and bossy. But with my larger crew he couldn’t boss me around and I steadfastly refused to be pushed into a childish confrontation. Instead, I treated him nicely, helped Crabbe and Goyle when their microbrains failed to understand things, and generally tried to brighten up the gloom of the Slytherin Common Room.
I also took full advantage of my own version of the Marauder’s Map, courtesy of my stay in Mystery Dungeon Land. With cloak and gear and a high powered scope, I tracked one specific rat, night by night. I considered killing him. I really did. But I couldn’t do that to Ron. So instead I asked Madame McGonagal if there were a way to detect Animaguses. I didn’t tell her why I wanted to know. She said there was, but it wasn’t something a child could do. I nodded. Then explained that I’d seen something suspicious. That Scabbers was looking at me with too much attention for a Rat. And that Ziggy, my ferret, said he smelled funny, for a rat. She asked if I always talked to animals, and I said, sometimes. Sometimes they talked back. It was a risk revealing that much, but I proved it to her. I sounded nervous, scared. Like a little girl seeing things. But I’m good at convincing her, so she agreed to call Ron up to the head table one day about a week later with his rat. She worked her magic and, like that, Peter Pettigrew was revealed, caught, interrogated with Veritaserum and sent to Azkaban.
I didn’t think of it then, but I should have. Too much to keep track of. Sirius Black got a pardon, Peter got locked up. It was a win win, right? Well… sure. For a while. Our first year ended well enough. Taking down Quirrel was fun. Quidditch was… not as stupid as I’d thought it would be. Zane and I both made the team our first year, Zane as Beater, me as Seeker… though I admit, I was cheating. No one had ever heard of biotics, no way to know I was tugging the little winged bastard towards me. Gryffindor still won the house cup, but Slytherin snagged the Quidditch Cup.
Summer was beyond a drag. My crew was scattered and there’s only so much studying one can do. So instead, I wheedled and whined to my parents as only a 12 year old can to visit Harry. Hey, unlike Hermione, I knew his exact address thanks to the books. Of course, my parents knew where the Weasleys and Malfoys lived, and I’d swung by there more than once to play with Ginny, talking up Harry to her and chattering about muggle tech with Mr Weasley. I helped him work on the invisibility booster of his car and asked how Mr Black was doing and if it was true that he was Harry’s Godfather. He admitted that was true, but that there were complications that made Sirius adopting Harry… tricky.
But anyway, me and my family showed up on Privet Drive, much to the horror of the Dursleys. We breezed into their house, as if they’d never dare say no, and I nearly burst out laughing as they turned redder and redder at the outrage. Harry was as miserable as I’d known he would be. But I gave him a walky talky I’d magic’d and told him I’d given the other one to Ron, but he had to keep it secret. He nodded and I gave him some candy and said good bye. On the way out I fixed the Dursley’s with my most aggressive glare and told them “I know I’m only 12 and you won’t take me seriously. But you remember this. Harry Potter has friends. Those friends know magic. Those friends will know if you make his life miserable. So try and act like he’s your orphaned nephew who’s all alone in the world and not some horrible houseguest who won’t leave.” And I left. I knew it wouldn’t do much good. They were living in close proximity to a horcrux, and I’d already felt just how tainted one of those could be when I’d retrieved Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem from the room of Requirement.
Step one to destroying a horcrux. Have a Goblin Sword. Step two, expose goblin sword to the power of a Cryo-Conduit, a Hyperbeam, and… thanks to a trip to Borgin and Burkes, a couple drops of Basilisk venom. So that’s what I did over my first summer vacation.
The next year was… not easy for me. I had to balance the desire to save people I was coming to really like pain with the knowledge that they’d need the skills they learned this year to survive what was coming. I still had no idea how to stop Voldemort, and all my sneaking around was really beginning to make the more nervous among the kids suspicious of me. But my friends seemed mostly immune to the gossip and bickering. I spent more time with Hermione, more time working on Draco, trying to get him to see that hurting people to advance your own agenda was fundamentally wrong.
I also realized that I was making Snape nervous. As in… what is she up to nervous. I’d already borrowed and replaced his copy of the Half-Blood Prince Alchemy text. Back in my old life, I’d never been really great at cooking. ADHD made the patience a pain and I’d never been great with a knife. This time around I had focus, and the manual dexterity to match. I wasn’t a huge fan of potions. Charms and Transfiguration were my forte, but I was at the top of the class in Potions simply because the alternative would have been to make Hermione top of the class and Snape definitely played favorites. I didn’t try for much in the way of changes that year, just kept close to the trio and an eye on Ginny. I don’t know who was saving the day in the books, but dear lord, I had to hustle my butt off to make sure no one died from that stupid snake. I seriously considered having RayRay transform and just blasting the Basilisk but I didn’t.
Oh, and Gilderoy Lockhart was convinced I was the Dark Lord reborn. What an idiot. I made certain I was never alone with him and had Victoria constantly recording in a passive way so I’d know if someone had tampered with my memory. Three damned times he managed to get me, but only to erase my memory of catching him spying on me. Asshole. I ordered a magical camera and, giving it and my cloak to Zane, I confronted the “teacher” about his behaviour. The footage of him using a memory charm on a student got him questioned, also under Veritaserum, and also sent off to Azkaban. You can see where this is heading, can’t you? I blame lack of genre savvy on my own part.
In the end, we killed the Basilisk and saved Ginny. Again the Housecup went to Gryffindor, and again the Quidditch cup went to Slytherin. Harry and I were developing a bit of a friendly rivalry. I did convince my dad, with much pouting, to hire Dobby the newly freed House Elf. And make Draco realize just how big of an asshole his dad was.
That second summer was not great for me. It started out okay, but by the end of it, I’d come to suspect that in this version of Harry Potter, the third book is called “Silvia Jade and the Prisoners of Azkaban.” Yep. Gilderoy “I’m an attention-whore” Lockhart and Peter “I betrayed my friends” Pettigrew had escaped from Azkaban. Double break out. I’d teased the hat, and instead of one competent, murderous, and vengeful Wizards, I had two fuckups who would still very much like to kill me. I didn’t even know if they were working together or not. And the Newspapers were calling me “The Winter Witch” after finding out that my birthday in this world is December 21st, the first day of winter. Okay, there were also rumors that I was most skilled at frost magic… and that I’d accidentally frozen Peeves solid one time when he’d scared me… and I did have grey eyes and white hair. The prophecy was rearing its head. Luna Lovegood’s father ran an expose on me in which he claimed that I was a descendant of the Ice Queen of Hans Christian Anderson’s story. What am I, Elsa?” But I let it go.
Harry’s third year did not go off without a hitch. This time, however, he got caught up in my story. Or our stories intertwined. Doby is a giant pain in the bottom, and Professor Lupin was awesome, but with two escapees the fucking dementors were everywhere. Also, Boggarts shapeshifting into giant murderous space spiders? Not good. Not good at all. I… I had a hard time finding something to laugh about. The Reapers are not good and… and I still have nightmares about what they did to people. But the dementors… they were worse. You could fight the Reapers. But… I’d been hopeless before. I knew that feeling deep down in a place children should never, ever know it. And I’d learned it at an earlier age than I was now. And learned it again when my father died. Despair and I were enemies of old.
I spent a lot of that year crying or eating chocolate. And I didn’t have Harry’s Patronus. It took me a lot longer to find my own. Longer than I would have liked. But then again, I hadn’t seen him in so very very long, and he’d been so weak the last time I saw him, so small and confused. My favorite ferret, the one I lost too soon. Little Warlock. I’d loved him so much. But he’d been valiant and true, the one being in the universe I knew was absolutely without fear. When I finally managed to summon him though… he wasn’t big… but he was so bright. Like a burning star of hope that burned away the sorrow, his tiny dark mask and nose winking in the darkness. I wanted to hold him close, but he vanished. But so did a little of the darkness inside.
The first attempt on my life came out of the blue. Someone left a bomb under my chair in potions class. If I’d been anyone else, been an iota less resilient, it would have killed me. If Zane had been on my side of the table that day, it might have killed him. But it was Petra. The bomb hurt him, that’s true, but even in human form it’s not easy to harm a Metagross with an explosion. Several others were injured in the blast, but it had been meant only to kill me. They said I was lucky to be so lightly hurt, but I could see Snape’s face and knew he knew I should have been killed. Rumors flew around the castle that I hadn’t been scratched at all… or that ice had covered me, shielding me from the blast. It might have. I’m not sure.
The second attempt was more studied. This time it was herbology. Someone put a mandrake inside my school bag. Thankfully it wasn’t full grown, but the screams knocked most of us unconscious before I could freeze the plant to a mandrakecicle. I’d been saved by the simple fact that, unknown to the others, I wore omni-gel ear buds so I could listen to music or books while in class…. Especially in my least favorite subjects, history and herbology. Like Hermione, I was taking too many classes, and sharing the time turner secret. Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Astronomy, Muggle Studies… I needed 10 OWLs to win my private bet and there were only 12 available… and no way was I going to go anywhere near Sybel Trelawny. She’d probably made the damned prophecy about me.
But the rest of the school didn’t know that, and my legend steadily grew. People started staying back from me, as it became more and more obvious I was the target. Sirius Black showed up one day to act as my unofficial bodyguard, the least he could do, he claimed, since I’d gotten him released and his name vindicated. But the attacks grew nastier and nastier. Poor Hagrid nearly had a heart attack when his Hippogriffs were unleashed upon us, but AJ managed to stun most of them without too much catastrophe. Candles set by Filch turned out to have homing fireball enchantments that he definitely didn’t remember being there. Again and again, little things were going wrong and somehow no one knew how it was being done.
Harry and I consulted our respective magical maps, and I confirmed that he still had his cloak, not that that would have blocked either of our map’s ability to track. The attacks had to be coming from beyond the walls of Hogwarts. Which meant Hogsmeade, where the Marauder’s map wouldn’t go… but my map would.
As an Infernape, I had no trouble with the Whomping Willow. Nor did I have much trouble scouting the town, spreading hundreds of Omni-Gel enhanced trackers, hardened against magic. And then I waited. And waited. And Waited. Finally Gilderoy Lockhart made his move. Sure, he’s an asshole, but with proper motivation, his Memory Spell Mastery was too dangerous to allow. He had to be stopped. And I only knew one way of accomplishing that, but since I’d… convinced my parents to let me buy Ron a new wand the previous year as a birthday present, and his wand hadn’t been broken any any crash since I was on hand to keep the idiots from doing something stupid like fly the car to Hogwarts (I already had plans for saving them from Aragog… if I could survive this)… I didn’t know how to make a wand backfire. That meant a mirror… a magical one. Now if only I knew who might have one. So I did the only thing I could think of. I asked Dumbledore.
He didn’t ask how I’d gotten his password or knew where his chambers were. He did say “I knew we’d have to talk one of these days.” I nodded “I need a mirror. A magic mirror. I don’t know when, but I do know Gilderoy is going to come for me at some point.” The old man nodded but looked suspicious, as if he was trying to read me… which he almost certainly was. Snape had tried it and bounced. Dumbledore was more subtle, but his will was fierce. Finally I sighed. “Stop trying Legilimency on me. I’m a natural Occlement… or whatever it’s called. Look, I know you think I’m the next Dark Lord or something… and I might be. But the only way I get to be that is if Voldemort isn’t around. And so far I haven’t killed anyone… (i didn’t add… in this reality, so it was kinda true. Right?). Look, Voldemort is down two of his Horcruxes. Yes two. I dunno where the others are (I lied), but Tom Riddle’s diary was one, and Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem was the other. I found it in this big room full of junk and it tried to possess me the same way Ginny was possessed by the diary. And no, I’m not going to give you that memory. It’s private. But I remembered that Harry had used Godric’s sword to kill the Basilisk and the Basilisk’s fang on the diary, so I figured a Goblin Sword with Basilisk Venom on it could destroy the Diadem. It did.”
The ancient wizard eyed me speculatively. “You know a lot for a 13 year old.” I laughed “I know a lot for a 79 year old too. But right now we both want the same thing. The crazy bastards who’re making our lives difficult back in Azkaban and the Dementors gone. We’ve got enough trouble with Voldemort coming back…. It’s coming soon.”
“You know that?”
“Yeah. By the time school starts for my fifth year, everyone will. Things will get… bad after that. And you need to find the other Horcruxes… Also, look, you’re a great guy and I’ve got all the respect in the world for you… but… you’ve got to know… you’re going to die before this is all over. You know that right?”
He nodded solemnly. “I do. Voldemort fears me too much to let me live. He won’t make that mistake again.” I nodded “Look, I’m trusting you here. I can… maybe… stop these dumbasses if I do this myself. Or I can let you use me as bait. I’m not thrilled about the idea, but they’re elusive. One of them hid for a decade, the other fooled everyone for even longer.”
“You’re a student, I couldn’t-”
“Yeah yeah… well, do it anyway. I’m not being brave here. I’m kinda terrified.” And I was, really. Nazi fuckups and Genocidal Aliens are one thing, but two wizards who want you dead are no joke. “But… if they keep doing this… they’ll hurt my friends… or worse. There’s this… stuff. I heard of… Felix Felicis? It’s a luck potion or something. Maybe… maybe you could get some and we could… try to lure them out?”
I knew I was pushing my luck. Sure, it was a case of two beings that were older than either of them had any right to be, an Occlumencer versus a Legilimencer, engaged in a sparring match, but I was deliberately opening up as much as I could, trying to be as honest as possible. Finally he nodded “We’ll try. This weekend. We’ll arrange for you to be transported to London from Hogsmeade, to speak to Rufus Scrimgeour about the ongoing threats.”
I nodded, it made sense. I’d be off Hogwarts grounds, vulnerable while in transit, and the Chief Auror was just the person I should be speaking to.
I had trouble concentrating the next couple of days, costing Slytherin a few points and, for once, ending up on the receiving end of Draco’s sympathy. The day came and the professor gave me a small flask to drink “This will last for 1 hour. It’s very dangerous, and unpredictable, but it should keep you safe.” I swallowed, then swallowed again, feeling very small and not at all like the saviour of worlds or the Winter Witch. I felt like a 13 year old girl standing naked in an open field yelling “Come and get me boys!” Only with wands instead of… you know… the other thing.
You know how things never go like you want them to? Yeah. it was like that. My friends, without telling me, had decided to come to my rescue, not realizing that this was a trap for the demented duo, and as the disaster unfolded like high noon in Hogsmeade, things descended into chaos in an moment… a moment that my time dilation awareness perceived slowed down to near bullet time. Gilderoy threw off the disguise he’d been wearing and stood there, twin wands blazing as he bellowed “Avada Ked-” but that’s as far as he got before Ron and Harry tackled him, tumbling out from under Harry’s Invisibility cloak… at the same time Zane and AJ tackled him from out from under mine. The vainglorious wizard threw them off himself, staggering slightly, sweeping them away with hissed “Repelimous!”
He pointed at me again… right as Ziggy, eager to please as always, went for the nutshot. 8 pounds of magically strong Ferret scampered up Lockhart’s leg and inch long needle-teeth plunged through fabric into flesh beneath. It was… to use a meme… Super effective. But then the dementors descended. The day faded to night, and hope fled with it. There were hundreds of them, swarming in on the shrieking Gilderoy. I tried to get my wand up in time, but something bumped my hand and I dropped it. I reached for it, but my vision was blurring. I shook my head and it blurred more… Professor Dumbledore was rushing to help the others… he didn’t notice… someone’s hands were on me and I was being pulled back. Back into the Shrieking Shack, through the snow. I tried to remember why snow was important, but I couldn’t. It didn’t come to me. And then we were alone in the shack. My vision was coming back to me, slowly, as hot, fetid breath and a ratlike face loomed over me.
“W… wormtail.” I muttered, causing him to jerk back. No one should have known that name… or at least I shouldn’t. “L… little… Little rat… rat bastard. H… how mu… much… Volde… Voldemort have… have to pay you t… to s… sell out… out the P… Potters.” He hissed, a shining knife crossing my still fuzzy vision. “S…shouldn’t interfere. L… little bitch. I… I was safe there. Everyone thought I was… was dead.”
“Should be.” I groaned, tugging on my bonds. “Will be. Soon.” He chuckled “N… no… No I won’t. I… I’ll kill you and return to my… my master.” He kneeled over me, raising that bright slice of death.
“He’ll cut of… off your h…hand. B… betray you. L…let Nagini e…eat you. You’ll die… screaming.” He recoiled “W… how… you…” I laughed, putting every iota of cruelty I could into it, “I’m the Winter Witch.” I allowed the frost to coat my skin, the ropes, the bed. “I am Winter. I am the cold that gnaws at your bones. Voldemort… Tom Riddle. Is nothing. A shell of what he once was. Run back to him. Beg him for sanctuary. Tell him… tell him 3 down, 3 to go. Shame he never made number 7.” I laughed, “Run now.” And then I summoned the fire from deep within and vomited a Hyperbeam right through the space his face had been a moment before, shattering the roof of the Shrieking Shack, and punching a hole through the circling Dementors, many of whom shrieked and shriveled to dust… at least according to my recording of the incident.
Utterly drained, I sagged unconscious at that point. Woke up in the hospital wing more than a day later. Dumbledore sat next to my bed, studying me. “That was the strongest Patronus any of us have ever seen.” He commented dryly. “I’m afraid your legend will only grow. Especially since every surface in that… building… was frozen solid.”
“Pettigrew escaped.” I commented. He nodded. “He’ll be back.”
“You speak with certainty.”
“Yeah… pretty much. Can… can I have some water? My throat feels kinda raw. Where is everyone?”
“In class. It’s tuesday I’m afraid.”
I groaned “I have soo much homework to make up!”
That earned me a laugh. “Pretty much.” He patted my hand. “You’re a very scary young lady, you know that?”
“You don’t know the half of it, old man.”
“I’m not! You look great for being over a century old. I was that old once. Didn’t look half as good as you do.”
He laughed “I’m sure you were.”
The rest of the year was pretty uneventful… though Hermione and I did eventually get caught by Ron and Harry using our time turners. Apparently the both of us disappearing at all times together managed to raise enough questions in their dim little minds that they used the map and saw us duplicated. Ah well. Oh. and, in a daring midnight raid, aided and abetted by Sirius Black, new head of Hogwarts Security, we snuck into the Restricted Section and located a very interesting book on Animagi. All it took was pointing out that, if James, Peter, and Sirius had done it, it couldn’t be thaaat dangerous, right? Did have to convince Harry it was practically a Potter family tradition. He just humphed and said I wanted to turn into a Ferret. I shrugged “With my luck, I’ll end up a Monkey.” Ron added “Or a Penguin, Ice Princess.” I bounced a Jelly Bean off his head as Hermione laughed. Seriously dunno why none of them ever tried this in the books.
For once, Slytherin won the House Cup that year… but we lost the Quidditch Cup.
Going into year 4 I had three goals. Keep Cedric Alive, master the Animagus transformation, and… somehow… hit Victor Krum in the face with a pie. Three weeks in, I added a fourth goal… Destroy Rita Skeeter… or at least her career. Her gossip column was flying about a secret love affair between “The Boy Who Lived” and “The Winter Witch”. Ron and Hermione thought it was hilarious. Zane was threatening to break Harry’s legs, and I was banging my head against walls. I did not come to this world to seduce frickin Harry Potter. I like Harry and Ginny as a OTP! They make me squee… well, will make me squee… ooo, the tenses are getting tense round these parts.
I didn’t actually care about winning the Tri-Wizard competition, but the best way to save Cedric was to follow him into the maze and make sure Harry got there first. And somehow allow for the Dark Lord’s return while saving both Harry and Myself. This was a plan that could go very, very, very wrong. But I had a plan, of sorts. All I needed was a Portkey set to somewhere on the quidditch field. And that’s when I got Goal 5. Learn how to make a damned Portkey. And that meant Dumbledore, since there was no way in hell Barty Crouch was going to tell me how to make one. Or I could find Bathilda Bagshot. And that meant going to Godric’s Hollow and questioning a senile old lady. Right… Godric’s Hollow it was. Thankfully, I had a way to get there and back.
Turns out, there aren’t exactly a whole lot of magical towns in the British Isles. Not surprising considering how small the Wizarding Population is. But in this case, Godric’s Hollow was, in addition to being home to one Bathilda Bagshot… home to a girl named Francine Bagshot… aka Fancy the Alakazam. Her great, great, great, great grand niece… did I mention Bathilda was like 114 years old? Yeah. Well, Francine and I snuck out of Hogwarts (though the cellar of Honeydukes) and then teleported to see her great to the nth aunt. It was risky leaving the school while it was still light out, but we had my cloak and made it inside without issue. Getting the information on the Portus spell out of the old bag… shot (sorry could resist) wasn’t easy. She was nice enough, sweet almost in a distracted kinda way and I was sorry to realize how she’d died…. Err… would die, in just over a year if my memory served. By this point I’d studied the books til I could quote chapter and verse. I had the text on my OmniGear and the Audiobooks in both British and English… as well as German, which I don’t speak that well… don’t ask.
Anyway, she was happy to help us prepare for our NEWTS and wasn’t it nice of us to drop by and would we like some candy? We turned that down, though I did get her to autograph my copy of A History of Magic for professor Binns. After wandering around the house aimless for over an hour, being reminded many times what we were there for, she finally found the book she was looking for (and seriously, she had books everywhere). I flipped through it, verifying that it had the information I needed, then we took our leave. I thought I was in the clear. Turns out it takes more than that to get through the teleport blocking charms at Hogwarts. Well… damn.
Well, useful enough skill, but not enough to help. I was going to have to be the spare. And somehow not die. Right. Plan B then.
In the meantime, I arranged for a rumor to reach Luna Lovegood that Rita Skeeter was secretly an Animagus who could turn into a beetle, knowing she’d pass it on to her father. That was at least one Goal down, at least partly, though she denied it, people started looking out for spying bugs and she started reporting a lot more mean spirited gossip rather than insider information.
As the Hat had promised, my name came out of the hat, glued to Harry’s and Cedric’s, as if it was all a giant error. I wasn’t sure that was legal, but the Rules were the Rules. Took a lot of the heat off Harry, but only by putting half the heat on me. Or rather more than half of it, since my rep was already kinda shady. I won’t bore you with too much detail about how the challenges went. I knew what was coming in all cases, knew the solutions, and had bugger all reason to not play it up.
For the first task, I took a page from a different Harry and blasted the dragon, in my case a Ukrainian Ironbelly with a full strength “Arctis!”, a charm I was particularly good at, but to which I was adding my considerable talent at Cryokinesis. With the dragon gagging on a mouthful of ice, I rushed forward, throwing a shell of ice over the eggs as I dived in, grabbing the golden egg and booking for safety as the hunk of ice became a veritable boulder as it bounced towards me. I ducked, throwing up an angled Ice shield to deflect it and then I was clear. Without injury. The others did… less well, but I’d known they would.
I made sure that Harry took Ginny to the Ball… by asking Neville myself, but there wasn’t much I could do for poor Ron besides convincing Fleur that he wasn’t joking when he asked her. Then I had to convince him she’d actually said yes. Anything to spare the poor Patil sisters. I wanted Zane to ask one of them and AJ to ask the other, but AJ and Francine had been getting… close, and I wasn’t going to get in the middle of that. So that left Petra. Probably still better conversation than Ron, to be honest. During the Yule Ball, I teamed up with Ron to pull off Operation Krum Pie. It involved a bump, a twist, and an apparent accidental pie-ing that fooled, I’m fairly sure, no one. But it was worth the 10 points from Slytherin and Gryffindor for that. Hermione was… unpleased. But at least Harry and Ginny had a… stammery kind of night. Boys. Oy.
For the second task, I brought a SCUBA system which I’d magicked to provide rebreathing capacity. Could have used my rebreather mask, of course, but that would have been obviously not magical. I used my map to locate Zane (of course it was Zane) and made a beeline for him thanks to the SCUBA weights (iron, not lead, don’t worry), then ditched the weights and got back to the surface ASAP. There was some argument about the validity of my use of technological instead of magical means, but I explained that I’d learned about SCUBA as part of Muggle Studies and how I’d magicked up a rebreather, and that seemed to mollify the adults.
I’ve been glossing over a lot. I know. It’s that kind of year. Something that shouldn’t have been this big, something that should have been maybe a month long tops went on and on, threatening to disrupt the Quidditch schedule until I suggested we just shorten the season and play the six games all before spring. Dumbledore looked at me as if I were mental, but I just shrugged “Ravenclaw’s the only house without a Champion in the Triwizard. If Cedric and Harry are fine with it, I can hand the strain.” Seriously. It’s 12 matches but only 3 per House. In America, High School Football teams play up to 10 games and that’s over the course of August to October. Sheesh. And that’s how I saved Quidditch. Well, not really, but eh, close. I also might have challenged Viktor to a Seeker Off between all four House Seekers and him. Harry won that one, but that might have been because I was too busy teasing Krum. Boy has noooo sense of humor.
Anyway, throughout all of this, Mad Eye / Barty Crouch Jr was growing more and more suspicious of me. Which was fair, because every class I was having to restrain myself from jumping up and accusing him of being an impostor. My practice with Professor Quirrell in the first year helped, I’m sure, but I just wasn’t sure how much I could change without screwing everything up. There’s a delicate balance to things, and they involved Harry being at the right place at the right time. And Dumbledore… yeah, well. But Crouch would pay. He would. I knew what was coming for him… and had no pity.
I was working hard on my hexes and charms, as well as my Portkey in the forlorn hope I could figure out how to punch through the shields with some combination of technology. One by one, we were making progress as Animagi, working our way through the initial transformations, but the process was hard. YOu had to learn how to transform yourself without a wand… then transform back without a wand. But first we had to learn the transformations with our wands with a built in time limit… and someone else watching, waiting to undo the charm if you got stuck. It was painful, hard work, and the one time Ron asked if we shouldn’t ask Sirius, Hermione had to remind him that that would very much be crossing the line. If we could figure it out on our own, that was fair, same as the Marauders had done. We were the Propheteers. We would figure this out for ourselves. Eventually.
Finally, the day of the third task arrived, the day I’d been dreading. With minutes to go, I pocketed the second 1-hour dose of my Felix Felicis. I knew it was cheating, and I wouldn’t use it until right before I went through Portkey, but I needed the edge or I’d be dead. I might be tough, but I wasn’t resist Avada Kedavra tough. I shook my head for the fifth time in as many minutes. I was risking my life for a fictional character… and one played by Robert Pattenson. Seriously. But it didn’t feel that way. Cedric was… well… not a friend, but a person. He deserved better than the be Martin’d away just to prove what bad people the badguys were.
Everything went as planned. I was way out in the lead, all I had to do was find the cup and wait. I didn’t use my map, it was magical in nature and might be detected. Instead, I relied on my memory and logic and, okay, my hypervisor to see through the foliage. I could have followed Cedric, but that seemed less… safe. If I fell behind I’d lose him. As the minutes passed, I began to worry. I had to get there. Screw the money. Screw the fame. I wanted to steal a death from the writer’s cruel pen. I’d done it once on Virmire. I wanted to do it again for less… prurient reasons.
Finally I found the damned thing. I paused to catch my breath. Then fidgeted, looking around, waiting for the others. I popped my Felix Felicis into my mouth and shivered. Then they came, almost at the same time. I dashed forward, wand outstretched, not letting the two of them be gentlemen about this, timing it down to the hundredth of a second. Harry reached for the cup just as my fingers grazed it and with that we vanished.
“Kill the Spare.” Was the first thing that registered on my consciousness, but by that time I was already moving. I threw up an Ice Wall and shifted Full Asari, pulling my cloak out of my warehouse and vanishing as the green death blasts shattered around me. I also pulled a very realistic copy of myself that I’d transfigured out of a bust of Nearly Headless Nick back when he’d still been mostly headful. It was wearing the same thing I was and I pushed it out from the edge of my shield, falling over, stiff as a board. The entire process, which I’d practiced endlessly, took half a second, and I leapt away into the shadows as Harry cried out in anguish. I watched, transfixed, barely breathing, as the horrific scene played out as I’d known it would, so much more horrible and visceral than in the movie. I waited, and waited, and waited. I wanted to scream as Harry dueled the restored Darklord. I wanted to rise then and strike the sick fuck down, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t because there were still Horcruxes out there that had to be destroyed… even the one inside Harry.
Finally, with the ghosts of the dead distracting Voldepants, I swapped positions with my fake body, knowing that Harry had taken Cedric back so he’d probably take me back too. I grunted in pain as Harry landed atop me and Accio’d the portkey. The wrench was incredible, probably from passing through the shields around Hogwarts, but with that we were back. I groaned “Owwww. You hit me in the boobs, Potter.”
He laughed “I knew you weren’t dead!” And hugged me. I squirmed, uncomfortable to be hugged by Ginny’s future husband. “Gerrrofff. And you did not! You totally thought I was dead.”
“Noooo… Your ghost didn’t appear out of Voldemort’s Wand.”
I wisely kept my mouth shut, but I was thinking “Very good of you to notice, Potter.”
The kerfuffle was mostly the same, with Harry and I both babbling about the Dark Lord and the portkey and Harry was like “And she totally played him. It was like “Ack.. I am ded.” And he bought it! Well, okay, maybe it was mostly Pettigrew who bought it, but still!” I shrugged “They were shooting at me. I figured they’d stop if they thought I was dead.”
Both of us looked up at Cedric. “You should have this.” We said, almost as one. “The winnings rather… not the portkey… you should have been champion, not me, us… him… her… whatever.” Cedric shook his head, but we insisted. “Use if for something good then.”
Mad Eye Crouch made his move around that point, as I’d known he would and I snuck over to Dumbledore “I think Professor Moonie just abducted Harry, Professor.” We arrived at the classroom, me almost running to keep up with the old man’s long ass stride, just in time to hear Barty Crouch’s confession. And that… well… you know what she wrote. Well, except that I got 11 OWLS. Seriously, it’s like they weren’t even trying with some of those questions. “Name all of Jupiter’s Moons.” Please.
I was absolutely not looking forward to the next three years. I was beginning to really hate this place. Not the people, not the friends I was making… this twisted secret world and the horrible people it allowed to flourish like mushrooms. I was, barely, accepted into the Order of the Phoenix, mostly on the recommendation of Harry and Sirius, but Lupin’s vote helped as well. My family was firmly in the camp of those opposed to Voldemort, though for my family it was more a matter of War being bad for business, don’t you know, than anything too spectacularly moralistic. Zane was almost gungho to get to the fighting, but most of the rest of us were more worried. But, for the first time, I resolved to kill someone in this world. It was my #1 with a Bullet task. I wanted Bellatrix Lestrange dead. But I had no way of finding her. So my next task was to keep Sirius alive. Very long story short… I failed. Everything I’d done made not a scrap of difference in what happened in year five.
I was utterly incapable of keeping quiet around Professor Umbridge, that horrible horrible woman. I managed to earn even more punishments than Harry, which I only grudgingly yielded to to keep myself from being expelled. While Harry formed Dumbledore’s Army, I formed the White Cloaks. We, mostly Slytherins and Hufflepuffs and a few Ravenclaws, cast off our house colours and shifted to pure white robes with only a Hogwarts Crest and a tie that was all 8 house colors. We were showing unity, saying we wouldn’t be divided. But, apparently, that wasn’t to Umbridge’s plan and she began to threaten and harass us all. And we weren’t that Unified. I was a Slytherin Prefect, but so was Malfoy, and… feeling pressure from those psychopaths who were his parents, he didn’t have the strength to stand up to them… or Umbridge. And at this point I’m pretty sure Snape began to seriously consider murdering me.
I tried to stop Harry from going to the Ministry to save Sirius. “It’s a trap. You know it is!” but he wouldn’t listen. I didn’t have the right words. I’d already talked to Sirius, tried to get him to take some Felix Felicis. He didn’t ask how I’d gotten it. But he wouldn’t take it. The entire time as we raided the ministry, I was trying to figure out how to save Sirius. I even got a timeturner as we passed them. I… did you know they can burn out if you try and go back to the same time too many times. That number is 5. Five of me, sobbing, unable to do anything to save that poor man. It was the first time I used Avada Kedavra… but I missed, killing some other Death Eater, but She escaped. It’s funny. Really. Helena Bonham Carter is one of my favorite Actresses… was… I dunno if I’ll ever be able to look at her the same way again… not that she and Bellatrix look all that much alike. Bellatrix is way scarier.
So I failed. Failed again as Dumbledore and Voldemort duelled in the atrium. I was too busying ducking to find the bitch. That put the next to save on my list as the world. There’s this thing, in psychology, called a Saviour Complex. I think around this time I was developing one. I was coming into my own in power, growing more skilled, more vicious, more aggressive with every passing month. This time I wasn’t going to throw a fleet at a bunch of Space-Nazis, I was going to throw myself and five very angry, very powerful PokemonWizards at them. I spent every free minute trying to save Draco, to talk him around. I even… I even slept with him. Power of love and all that. He hadn’t done anything evil yet, maybe dickish, and I’m not into badboys, but I wanted to save his soul, as insane as that sounds.
But regardless of my dating life, and thank god that Harry & Ginny, Ron & Hermione had finally paired up, I wasn’t fooling around. By this time we’d all mastered our Animagus forms (I won’t tell you what theirs was, but mine was a Polar Bear, in honor of Svetlana, and because I’ve read Golden Compass… like 50 times now. Zane was a Rottweiler. AJ a Toucan. No sure why. Petra was Tortoise… making him easily the world’s fastest tortoise. Francine was a Sloth… because she thought they were cute… and serene… which also made her the world’s fastest sloth. And Rayray… was a Basilisk… because of course he was. I don’t even know how I could have doubted that. No, just kidding. He was a hawk. A peregrine to be precise. Something about enjoying the speed. Course, Victoria (my VI) claimed she had us all beat, because she could turn into anything, but since she’s a semi-solid light hologram, that doesn’t really count.
Anyway, with Dumbledore reinstated, things went fairly calmly through year six. Sure, it was the calm before the storm. I haunted Dumbledore, making myself his shadow whenever Harry was being a dick to Snape, talking way into the night, trying to learn everything I could from the old man. He often tried to get me to go away, but I wouldn’t. Finally, he escaped me, going to fetch that blasted ring and injuring himself in the process.
“I… I can… damn it. I can save you.” I finally blurted out after a week of watching him try and conceal the wound. “I… I can take you away from this. To… to entire other worlds. To places beyond imagination. I… I have a-” He just shook his head “I’m old, Sylvia. Too old. And tired. This will play out… as it has to. I have… faith.” I left his office in tears. Draco saw me running down the hallway, tried to stop me, to find out what was wrong, but I couldn’t cope with it all. Not with teenage hormones and the fate of thousands and a sweet old man I couldn’t save. I stormed into Snape’s apartment and told Harry to get out. Harry gulped, but being a wise man, he fled.
“You… You are such an asshole!” I screamed.
“How dare you speak-”
“Oh just shut up. I know it all. Everything. Every god damned thing. I know all about you and Lily and James. All of it. I know you care about Harry. Care as if he was your own son, even though you’re too much of a dick to look past how much of an ass James was to you. Can’t you see that you’ve become every inch the bully he was? Can’t you see that you’re even worse because you have authority over Harry while for all practical purposes you and James were equals? Don’t you have it in that shriveled black heart of yours to forgive someone who’s been dead for 15 years?”
Snape just looked at me as if he’d been slapped. “I’m a retrocognitive. I know the past. I know it as if I’d seen it on a screen or read it in a book… but I know it. And I know you think I’m the next Dark Lord in the works…. Well professor Half-Blood Prince, you’d know. I won’t argue with you. I have plans, big plans. But first and foremost, my plan for the next couple of years is to kill every last Death Eater… except you and Draco. So here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to help my coward boyfriend murder Dumbledore like you promised to… because he asked you to, the old fool… and… and.” I sat down, and started crying.
I couldn’t help it. The frustration was all too much. “I… I…” i just hiccuped as I tried to speak, cringing a bit as Professor Snape patted my shoulder in the most pathetic attempt at calming a hysterical teenager ever.
“You’re overcome young lady.”
“I’m older than you are, dipshit.”
“Be that as it may… and I’m neither going to confirm or deny-”
“The Darklord is going to have Nagini Bite you. After you’ve killed the Professor. So that he can claim the Elder Wand as his own. And… And you have to let him, because that’s the only way Harry can defeat him. He has to be using Dumbledore’s wand. And Dumbledore… I don’t know how he knows all this… but he’s got the Deathstone. And Harry will have that too. Harry has to be Master of Death. And I… I spent all this time trying how to figure out how to save everyone else… and I failed with Sirius… and I failed with Dumbledore… and… and I never even thought about how to save you. I killed a Death Eater at the ministry. I used the Killing Curse. I… I was aiming at Bellatrix… but I killed someone else instead. I don’t even know his name.”
I coughed. “He… Bellatrix… “ I started laughing, a mixture of hysterical trauma and pure blinkard amazement at the way fate can be.
“Yes. Her husband.”
“Good. I hope she loved him.” I said, my voice falling into the arctic.
“It was a life.”
“I’ve taken others. In other lifetimes. Not in this one. But… I have never hated anyone like I hate her… well, okay her and Umbridge… and don’t tell me to call her Professor.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
“War’s coming. Lots of good people are going to die. I… I wish it were otherwise.”
“As do I.”
“I… I’m sorry.”
“I very much fear it was entirely warranted. I do not think I would trade places with you. You’re a remarkable… and frankly quite terrifying young lady.”
“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said about me in… years.”
“Any more of the past or future you want to share with me?”
“Actually… yeah. If this all plays out the way it should… Harry will name his second son Albus Severus. If it’s any… consolation.”
For the second time Snape looked like I’d slapped him. “Dear lord… why?”
“Because, underneath it all… you’re a good… and brave man… though you really should do something about your hair… you’re the potions master for god’s sake.” I tried to chuckle, but the tears were flowing non-stop.
“And that, child, is the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
“Yeah, well. Don’t let it go to your head.”
“My boyfriend’s an idiot. And his parents are monsters.”
“They are, indeed.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Not that I can see.”
I nodded “Then this will have to play out as it must. Take care of him. If you can.”
I left the room, not looking back.
Later that night, my idiot boyfriend helped Professor Snape… well… you know.
I arrived moments later, the first to arrive at Dumbledore’s body. I erected a wall around it to keep the others from seeing, waiting until Professor McGonagall arrived. That night, I packed my bags and me and my friends walked out of our home for most of the last decade. I also took with my the great seal of House Slytherin, leaving behind a note saying “The Honor of Slytherin House has been tainted. Those of you who remain are unworthy under its banner are unworthy to wear its colors. Me and my friends and followers quietly escorted all those who would not join us out of the Dungeon, making sure they had their stuff… and then I sealed the dungeon door with Ice, enchanted, unbreakable, unmeltable, meters thick and gleaming white. I took the seal and gave it to McGonagall.
“Headmistress. House Slytherin has failed this school. We await your judgement.” Yeah.. it was melodramatic. And yeah, Dumbledore wasn’t even in the ground yet. But some things can’t wait. Someone had to step forward and take the blame Our Head of House had just murdered the most beloved Headmaster in the School’s thousand year history. Attention had to be paid.
It’s a big castle, and there’s lots of space. We slept in the main hall those of us who sided with me. The others… I don’t know nor do I care where they slept. The Funeral was a few days hence, enough time for some parents to start yanking their children out of the school, most of them muggleborn or Slytherin Purebloods and Halfbloods from both factions who didn’t want their youngsters getting caught up in all this. I didn’t blame them. Harry tried to break up with Ginny, I called him an idiot. He yelled at me about Draco, I yelled back… it wasn’t a good time. Harry, Ron, and Hermione stayed just long enough for the funeral, then they were gone. I’d considered following them, but… I decided someone needed to stay to protect the others who stayed.
Year 7 was… hmmm… how to put this… gently. Bad. Very very bad. Snape was, at least publicly, not pleased with what I’d done to Slytherin house, but I steadfastly refused to reveal the secret of my enchantment. I was, for obvious reasons, fairly certain I was the foremost Cryomancer on the world at that point, and I’d built my wall to last… Also, it had an Omni-Gel Cryoblock sitting deep within it, cooling the surrounding matter to within a few degrees of absolute zero. Yeah, I was cheating, but so what. Temporary housing was created for us, and the rift between Draco’s Sons of Slytherin and my House with no Name, were growing.
I worried about the trio, even though I knew they would probably be fine. They needed this time to come into their own and I wasn’t going to interfere with it. Instead, I helped Neville and Luna keep the peace, helped them practice as they reformed Dumbledore’s army, and very very publicly feuded with Snape. After hours it was another matter. I spoke with him at length, telling him what I knew would happen and what I hoped could be avoided. We made plans, deep, intricate, and twisty as hell.
The Ministry fell as it always does, things got worse, the Death Eaters were everywhere, and Snape was appointed Headmaster, as I’d told him would happen. I visited Draco often, trying to talk him around. We fought, a lot. I cried, he cried. Then finally, just around Easter, the Battle at Malfoy Manor happened. I’d had to hold myself back from interfering, knowing what was likely to happen. The transfer of wands was key. Draco and I had another vicious fight that night, me arguing for compassion, him arguing that he couldn’t turn against his parents.
The Battle of Hogwarts began right on schedule and I moved into high gear. I had lives to save that day. Long again, when I’d taken the diadem, I’d replaced it with a duplicate… omnigel… a billion and one uses. Do you know how hard it is to move through a battle unseen, even with stealth gear and an invisibility cloak? Damned hard. Do you know how hard it is to kill a werewolf with a particle cannon? Not at all hard, actually. Fenrir Grayback found that out as he tried to kill Lavender Brown. She wasn’t on my list, but she didn’t deserve to die just because I’d forgotten about her. I vaporized every Dementor I could see, but I’m sure some of them escaped. Fred Weasley was under the watchful eye of Petra, Remus Lupin got Zane, Tonks got Francine and AJ, and Colin Creevy got RayRay. Severus Snape… got me.
Fred got snatched up and ported in within two seconds of being caught in that explosion. Colin got snatched out of the way of a falling wall. Antonin Dolohov, in the middle of a duel with Remus Lupin, learned that it’s very hard to breathe without your lungs as a Krogan Battlemaster briefly appeared behind him and, using a very large knife, removed those organs. Nymphadora was… evacuated from the battlefield, whether she wanted to go or not. And I… I was waiting
Waiting, invisible near the Shrieking Shack, waiting for Nagini to strike, waiting until the last possible second, after Snape gave up his memories to Harry, and then I dropped the only apparently dead professor through a portal into my Medbay. Phoenix tears on standby for the poison. I’d been promised anything with a heartbeat.
There were still others who died that day, others I managed to save. But ultimately, Harry Potter went into the woods alone to face Voldemort and that’s a special kind of courage. I thought about following, but couldn’t bring myself to intrude. Instead, I prepared for the final attack. At this point, I was a spectator, my only goal to make sure as few Dementors and Death Eaters survived the day as possible. Things were, unpleasant, but No, I didn’t kill Nagini. I didn’t kill Voldemort. I didn’t even kill Bellatrix. I left those to those who’d earned those victories the hard way. But in this world. My Harry Potter… when Voldemort faced Harry… he did so utterly, completely, and starkly alone. I watched, I had to. I had to see him gone. A reminder to myself not to become like him, at least in part, my soul scattered across so many worlds and lives.
I went out into the castle in the light of day, looking for Draco. I found him clutched in his mother’s arms. I looked up at them “You, Lucius Malfoy, are a toad.” I pointed my wand at him. “You tried to kill an 11 year old girl with a cursed diary. I’ll never forgive you for that. And you and your bitch of a wife have done everything in your power to make Draco as much a hateful, bigoted, self-absorbed jerk as you two are. Your idiocy cost you practically everything and got you nothing. The name of Malfoy will be poison on everyone’s lips for decades. And it’s your son who’ll pay the price.” I turned to Draco, pity and compassion in my voice, lowering my wand. “Draco… you’ve got the potential to be a great man, Draco. But family isn’t everything. Compassion. Decency. They matter a damned sight more. Remember that. Harry Potter saved your life. You can stand there, thinking you did nothing wrong, knowing your friends died because you led them into this… or you can help us rebuild. I… still care for you. I do. But… I can’t be with you if you don’t understand that what happened here today was a tragedy… and what almost happened here today would have been infinitely worse.” I left them standing there, nothing more to say.
We rebuilt. None of those I’d rescued could explain what had happened… thanks to memory charms. But everyone was happy to see them… Except Severus. I considered asking him to come along, but… as much as I respected the man, I didn’t exactly like him. Instead, I helped him disappear. He’d paid his debt and then some, and deserved to find what happiness he could.
A few weeks later, Draco came to me after his parents were acquitted since Lucius had defected and Narcissa had never actually been a Death Eater. Lucius agreed to help the Aurors hunt down those Death Eaters who’d escaped in exchange for clemency for his wife and son.
What can I say about the three years that followed. They were… fun? Not really, but I did get 7 OWLS, because I am awesome and Hermione and I had a little bet about which one of us was the bigger nerd. Strictly speaking I won that one, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. They tried to make me Head of Slytherin. The nerve… The gall. I turned them down. I may have gotten slightly… mmmm… pregnant during that time. I didn’t tell Draco. He would have wanted to give the kid a truly atrocious name. I tracked down Snape and handed the boy off to him. “His name is Jason. It’s a good name. Strong. I… wouldn’t be a good mother and honestly, this is his place. Try and do right by him. Teach him to be… a… you don’t know Yiddish… but a Mensch. A stand up kinda guy. If he asks who his parents were… tell him the truth. You’re not really sure. But they were good people.”
Oh… and in case you’re wondering, Yes… I did fulfill the prophecy that The Winter Witch would come… You know that whole pesky global warming thing? Yeah… kinda fixed it… well, the melting poles, rising seas part at least… may have gone a little far. Don’t think anyone’s going to be able to explain why there’s now an ice mountain in the arctic taller than Mount Everest any time soon. May have also accidentally caused a small ice age… just a few days long… honest mistake. Just covered the British Islands in 56 inches of snow… during the middle of summer. Probably best not to tell anyone about that.
I dunno if I made a huge difference on that world. But I’d invested myself deeper, harder, more completely than I’d done before. It was very tempting to stay… but if I did, I’d become the Winter Witch in truth. I knew it. Felt it deep down. The rage at humanity’s idiocy, the hatred of ignorance and prejudice. I’d bring the walls between magical and non-magical society crashing down, then rule like a dark Galadriel from a citadel of ice and shadows. Better to leave that temptation behind. I found my old beach in Svalbard, bidding goodbye to Svetlana in this… slightly improved world I’d found for her. And to Pippin too. They’d amused me, but I didn’t know when I’d be back on Earth again and, honestly, I didn’t think they’d be happy with me long term. I was sitting, alone, on the edge of the world, when the pillars came for me this time. It had been a good life.
Next: World #6