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Professor Monique LeBlanc sat behind her desk in her office as she considered the two days since she had taken the post of Acting Headmistress. They had been rather eventful as the students carefully tested her resolve to have order while Professor Leeds was absent. Three hours into the time that they were under her authority two Slytherin students got into a horrible fight that had sent one to the Hospital Wing with several teeth damaged. Both boys had ended up in detention for several days with owls sent home to their parents. There had been other incidents, but none involving the friends of Elizabeth Blackwell, the girl still lay in a coma at St. Mungo’s.

None of the group seemed to have much fight in them as they went through their days in a kind of daze while their friend lay silent and still in her bed. There had been no indication that the girl was going to get much better than she was and many were wondering what had happened to the child. The rest of Gryffindor seemed to also be in a state of semi-mourning for the girl that they perceived as forever lost to them.

She rose from the desk as she looked at the letter that an owl had delivered to her only that morning. It said that a delegation from the Ministry and Aurors office would be visiting Hogwarts to investigate the attack, if that was what had happened, on Elizabeth. Professor LeBlanc wasn’t happy about the prospect of the delegation poking into the affairs of the school, but she had no choice but to comply with the demands put upon her. It was her hope that they would complete their investigation and then leave as quickly as possible.

‘Surely zey are not investigating me,’ she thought. ‘I ‘ave done nothing wrong and should not be ‘eld responsible for what ‘as ‘appened to Elizabeth. If anything ze girl is probably responsible for ‘er own condition. She believes zat she is already a powerful witch who can cast any spell zat she wishes with impunity.’

She finally laid the letter back down onto her desk and then walked out into the classroom to stare at the desk that the Blackwell girl had occupied only days before. Memories of the girl came flooding back to the professor as she recalled the first time that she had met the child.

Professor LeBlanc had already been very fond of Anne Blackwell, who had followed every direction from her teachers without question and the professor had been excited about the prospect of the younger sister of the girl attending Beauxbatons. That had been until Anne got wind of the excitement that the professors were feeling about the younger sister of a favorite student joining them. Monique LeBlanc remembered the conversation that had taken place in her classroom as Anne Blackwell stood before her with tear filled eyes.

“Professor, I’m really worried about my sister, Elizabeth, coming to school here at Beauxbatons. She’s a troubled person and really has no place here at this fine school.”

“What do you mean when you say zat she is troubled?”

“Elizabeth isn’t very smart and she tries to make up for it by just trying anything that she wants to. My parents are afraid that she is going to start our house on fire by playing with her wand. She’s also extremely cruel to people and animals, our house elves won’t go anywhere near her for fear of her harming them. She really doesn’t belong here or at any magic school.”

“What ‘ave your parents said about all of zis?”

“I think that they’re frightened of her because of our grandfather who was a Death Eater who fought alongside You-Know-Who, they’re afraid that she wants to learn the Dark Arts like he did. He was a murderer, you know, his name was Artemis Trane. The Aurors are still looking for him after all of these years. I’m afraid that my sister will kill my parents and me too. She flies into horrible rages and is quite unmanageable when she does. Does Madame Maxime really want someone like that here at Beauxbatons?”

“What else can you tell me about your sister, Anne?”

“She tries to blame the fact that she was really sick on the fact that she missed a lot of school. The fact is that she was always into trouble and the professors at the school couldn’t handle her. She was always being sent to the headmaster for punishment, but it didn’t help, she didn’t care that she was going to get punished.”

“Anne, I appreciate you coming forward about your sister, but ze decision about whether or not she comes to school ‘ere is up to Madame Maxime. But I assure you that she shall look into your concerns about your sister, we certainly do not want a person who causes trouble ‘ere at Beauxbatons."

Professor LeBlanc thought back to the first day of classes during the term that Elizabeth started classes and shuddered. She remembered the strikingly pretty girl who had walked into her classroom late without regard for the fact that she had disturbed not one, but two classes. The girl had seemed to refuse to consider the fact that she needed to attend classes when they started, not show up fifteen minutes late. She had tried to use the excuse that she had gotten lost, but the professor had countered with the fact that every other student in the room had been on time. The conversation resounded in her mind over and over again.

“Why are you late, young lady? Ze class started fifteen minutes ago and I shall not tolerate tardiness. Explain yourself, Miss Blackwell!”

“I’m sorry, Professor LeBlanc, I got lost and I had to find help to get here.”

“You got lost? ‘Ow can you get lost when all zat you ‘ad to do was follow your classmates. Zey all got here on time and I saw you down in ze dining ‘all with zem. I think zat you merely decided to wander ze halls and create disturbances.”

“But, Professor LeBlanc, I got lost when I made a wrong turn.”

“Stop lying, Elizabeth! I ‘ave ‘eard all about you and your lying from someone zat I trust completely. You shall learn discipline if it takes all term long, starting now!”

That first day had set the tone for the remainder of the term, Elizabeth had been difficult at every chance. But the professor had considered herself fortunate to have been forewarned by the sister of the girl about her troubling tendencies. Indeed, Anne had been a constant source of information about the antics of her sister.

Madame Maxime had been frustrated by the girl who seemed to refuse to comply with the rules of Beauxbatons. Elizabeth had been seen to be impossible when it came to the very rudiments of decorum and respect for authority and, according to her sister, was responsible for many of the problems that occurred around the school. She was guilty of starting fights and then threatening the other students to keep quiet about her part in it. Anne had been a gold mine of evidence against her sister and repeatedly informed on her sister in the interests of the school and its students.

It had all come to an end when Anne rushed into the office of Professor LeBlanc in a horrible state. A fight had broken out between Elizabeth and a prefect, help was needed immediately. Of course, on the word of a respected student, the professor dropped what she was doing and rushed out into a nearby courtyard to find one of the prefects bleeding from a cut in her lip which was now swelling.

“What ‘ave you done, Elizabeth Blackwell? ‘Ave you assaulted this person and why?”

“She shoved me first, Professor LeBlanc. She says that no matter what she decides to do, she can because she’s a prefect.”

“That’s a lie, Professor LeBlanc. She was being disrespectful to me when I addressed her behavior and then she struck me. All that I wanted to do was talk to her and she hit me!”

“You’re the one who’s lying, Joelle. You’ve been pushing me around for months and hiding behind your badge. You’re a bully who enjoys punishing people who are smaller than you are.”

“You’re lucky that I’m wearing this badge, Elizabeth, otherwise I’d be giving you a true beating.”

“Professor, we saw the whole thing,” a student who had approached from a hallway said. “Elizabeth was being disrespectful to Joelle and then hit her for no reason. All that Joelle was trying to do was talk to her.”

“Is zis true?”

“Yes, Professor, I saw it too. Elizabeth hit her for no reason.”

“Very well, it is to the Office of ze ‘eadmistress with you, Elizabeth Blackwell. Zis time I think zat you ‘ave gone too far and I shall see you thrown out of Beauxbatons. Nothing, and I mean, nothing, gives any student ze right to strike another student, especially a prefect. If it were in my power I would take your wand and destroy it myself.”

“She shoved me first, and she’s been doing things to provoke me all term long.”

“Enough, you shall come with me now!”

The professor remembered the trip to the office and the ensuing argument there as the girl was brought before Madame Maxime. Elizabeth had refused to accept responsibility for her actions, instead sticking to her claim that the prefect had been bullying her the entire term.

“The professors and prefects were against me even before I started classes this term. I walked into class that first day and found that I was already hated. Obviously someone had been spreading stories about me before I set foot into this castle and they were believed by everyone.”

“Miss Blackwell, I do not believe zat anyone spread stories about you. What I believe is zat you ‘ave been out to create problems for my students and professors from the outset. Now you have struck a prefect, a prefect who tells me zat she ‘as done everything zat she can to ‘elp you settle into zis school and you ‘ave repaid ‘er with zis.”

“Joelle has done NOTHING to help me. She’s been the worst of the lot, except for my sister. Professor LeBlanc has bent over backwards to make certain that I’m miserable in class because my sister is a favorite of hers and I don’t quite measure up to Anne or the bar that she has set.”

“You, Miss Blackwell, are ze only one to blame ‘ere. Now, since you ‘ave proven zat you do not belong at Beauxbatons, I am going to grant you your wish. Elizabeth Blackwell, you are expelled from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and shall be barred from staying in your dormitory. Instead you shall stay in ze isolation room until your parents can make arrangements to collect you. You shall eat your meals in zat room away from everyone else. Now give me your wand!”

“I will not!”

“What did you say, young lady?”

“I said that I will not give you my wand!”

“You dare to refuse my directions. Stand up straight while I talk to you.”

“What are you going to do, expel me? I will not give you my wand and you cannot make me.”

“Why you insolent little….”

“Careful what you say, since Professor LeBlanc is convinced that I’m the next You-Know-Who I must just use one of the Unforgivable Curses on you.”

Professor LeBlanc remembered the girl turning on her heel and storming out of the room. Later that day, there had been a fight between Elizabeth and her sister as well as a further incident of disrespect to staff. The girl had gone so far as to hurl back insults at Madame Maxime as she left the office and had also destroyed her robes after throwing them onto the floor.

The girl had spent a few days in the isolation room before her parents came to retrieve her. The attitude of the girl had not improved and she had, in fact, been extremely cold to Madame Maxime who had come to bid her farewell. The girl had refused to speak to the Headmistress and had turned her back on the woman as the professor had attempted to give her one last chance.

Now she had the student back in her classroom and the girl, although brilliant, had proven troublesome once again. She had taken every chance to create a problem for a professor, although the professor had given her every chance to succeed. Monique LeBlanc sat down at her desk and reached down to open a drawer that she kept locked, except for her own use, then reached into it to pull out a flask. She regarded it for a moment before opening it and raising it to her lips as she took a long drink of the potent liquid. She sat it down on her desk and looked at it again as she thought about how it would make her pain ease.

‘Ah, my old friend, it seems zat I need you once again. Take my pain away as you ‘ave so many times in ze past.’

She eased back into her chair and let the wine wash through her body as she felt it relax her. The room around her looked so large and empty as she gazed across the vacant seats before her. The thought of coming to Hogwarts had once been repugnant to her, but the offer of a chance to make a difference had been intoxicating. She thought about the look on Madame Maxime’s face when the woman had walked into her classroom and found her stumbling through a lesson, the smell of wine still upon her breath. The conversation in the Headmistress’ office had been short and to the point, it was not to happen again, but it had. In the end, she had been given an obdurate directive, she was to take leave for a term to sober up or not worry about coming back.

She picked up the flask again and raised it to her lips to take another drink as she remembered her glory years. Professors had come from many schools to observe her in action as she rose in prominence among the teaching staff. In the eyes of the Headmistress this bright young teacher could do no wrong, but those eyes were deceived by a lie that Professor LeBlanc held tightly onto. She had been drinking to excess for many years and the problem had not abated itself, in fact, it had gotten worse. The professor often wondered how many of her memories were entirely accurate and how many had been fogged by her love within the bottle. Within her she wondered about Elizabeth Blackwell and her memories of the child, had she really been everything that she was remembered as. Another drink slipped down her throat as she pondered her memories and soon she stopped remembering as she laid her head down on the desk and fell asleep.

Victoria Blackwell sat beside the bed of her daughter as she replayed her own memories within her mind. She looked at the child who lay silently in the bed and fondly remembered a small blond haired wonder who gleefully capered around the house. The child had been a joy to her mother, while her father doted on their older daughter and ignored Elizabeth. Elizabeth had always asked for so little, possibly because she had known that her father would deny her or because it was within her nature. She had pleaded with her father not to send her to Beauxbatons, but John had insisted and the child had been miserable to entire term until her expulsion from the school.

Victoria remembered the letters home from Elizabeth that had pled with her mother to allow her to come home. The child had known that something bad was going to happen and had wanted to avoid the issue, but her father had refused to listen to reason. She closed her eyes and remembered the conversation between her husband and younger daughter as the child begged her father not to send her to school with her older sibling.

‘You are going to Beauxbatons, young lady, and I won’t hear any more of your arguments.’

‘Please, Father, send me to some other school, anywhere but Beauxbatons. Anne doesn’t want me there and all that it will be is fight after fight. Just send me to Durmstrang or Hogwarts or some other school.’

‘Silence, Elizabeth! I will not listen to any more of your whining, you are going to Beauxbatons and that is final!’

‘Father, why do you hate me so? What have I ever done that you despise me?’

'Why, you insolent, ungrateful little brat!  Go to your room and stay there until you are told otherwise, now go!  And don't let me find you sneaking out or you shall regret it.'

The girl turned and fled from the room with tear filled eyes as her angered father watched her leave.  Victoria, infuriated by the harsh words that her husband had directed at the child, turned on her husband as she felt the fury rush forth.

'Why do you treat her the way that you do?  All that she has ever done is show you devotion and you treat her horridly!'

'Perhaps I would feel differently about her if you hadn't been as deceptive as you were when she was born.'

'How dare you!'

"I might ask you the same thing but, given your past, I doubt that I would get the truth.'

She could only watch as he stormed out of the room and then out of the house, leaving his wife to question the past and what lay in the future.

Victoria opened her eyes and looked once again at the still form of her child. Elizabeth looked so small lying in that bed, so small and helpless, yet as beautiful as a porcelain doll with her perfect features and blonde hair. Artemis Trane stepped into the room where his daughter still held vigil over her child, he wondered if there might not be something more with the child’s illness. He wondered if his past might not be revisiting them.

Elizabeth knew that her mother and grandfather were in the room with her and felt relief. Her grandmother had been in the room only a few minutes before and had gently brushed the hair of the child that she loved so much. She watched as the elderly woman reentered the room and placed her hand on the shoulder of her mother. Her mother looked up at her parents and her eyes searched their faces for any sign of hope.

“Have we heard anything from Chloe?”

“Nothing, Victoria, but the leader of the elves is not famous for helping witches or wizards. He hates us for the many elves who are servants to us.”

“But I promised Chloe her freedom if she desires it.”

“We can only hope, child.”

They sat with Elizabeth while in a dark room long forgotten within Hogwarts the shadowy figure gazed into a mirror that contained images which roiled and changed constantly.

“Soon, Artemis Trane, very soon, you shall pay for your betrayal of our cause. You thought that because the Dark Lord is gone that you are free of us, but you are very wrong indeed. Suffer now, while your granddaughter lies still as death because soon she will be dead and you shall watch her perish.”

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