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Days later, Professor Jonas Mayre looked out across the practice field as the first years under his watch attempted to stay on their brooms in the stiff wind that was blowing. Several had fallen off and he was glad that he had specified that they be only a meter and a half off of the ground, the injuries would have been severe otherwise. As he watched, another student fell off of her broom and lay on the ground screeching out her indignity. He began making his way to Alexis Malfoy as he shook his head with frustration, the girl had little talent but acted as if she would soon be teaching the class herself.

“Miss Malfoy, you need to quit leaning to the left. That is the fourth time that you have fallen off of your broomstick and it is always from the left. I have been watching you and you need to practice your technique, because I will not allow you go any higher than you have until you have mastered this simple task!”

The small girl rose from the ground and walked towards the teacher who hovered above her before looking up and fixing him with a horrible scowl.

“If I had a proper teacher I wouldn’t be falling off of my broomstick, now would I! There is also the fact that the brooms are in horrible condition and aren’t safe for anyone to use. I have half a mind to tell my Uncle Lucius about how horrible you are at teaching, he has connections and you’ll be lucky if you aren’t out of here in an instant.”

The teacher took in a deep breath before answering the now grinning girl who stood with her hands on her hips. Around them, other students watched as the girl faced the teacher who was settling back down onto the ground before dismounting.

“Miss Malfoy, I know exactly who your uncle is and I know what his connections are. I don’t fear him or them and, unless you want trouble, you will refrain from speaking to me in that manner.”

“My father and uncle….”

“Shall do nothing,” he finished, “unless you want to be out of Hogwarts for the rest of the term for extreme disrespect to a staff member. Now get back onto your broomstick and hover or prepare to face detention with me.”

The answer from the girl was an enraged squeal as the girl stomped back to the broomstick that had settled to the ground. She soon found herself nearly twenty feet off of the ground as she pushed off too hard and it was only the quick action of an older student that saved her from a fall. The nearby Quidditch player caught her in mid-fall and took her safely back to the ground below while another captured the now errant broom. The girl stood on the ground and glared at the professor for a moment before turning on her heel and, ignoring the instructions from the professor, stalked back to the castle. She would spend the next few days talking about her near-death experience and claiming that Professor Mayre wanted her to fall and die. Only a quick visit with the Headmaster was needed to end her tirade when the threat of the loss of fifty points was made. After that she had to content herself with evil glares and whispered complaints when anyone of authority was around.

Elizabeth watched as the whole thing unfolded while she studied the creature that Hagrid was explaining to the class that surrounded him. She didn’t mind Care of Magical Creatures as much as many of her classmates did, it gave them a chance to be out of the castle and in the fresh air. She shivered in her coat as a light snow fell and it took her mind off of what had been troubling her for quite a while.

Christmas and her birthday were closing in but she didn’t feel much like celebrating this year. Her dreams had been filled with images of the arguments that she had experienced with her father and sister. The nightmares had prevented sleep on many occasions and it was beginning to show in her studies, the normally stellar work that the girl was presenting was slipping and her professors were concerned about her.

The other students were helping the girl as she began to make her return to school and classes more permanent. She found herself surrounded by friends once again and this helped her to begin to stabilize. But amid all of this was the memory of the fact that two attempts had been made on her life and she wondered if there would be another. The class came to an end and she turned with her classmates to walk back to the castle and their next class, Defense Against the Dark Arts.

She felt less trepidation about the class as Professor Grims had agreed to fill the vacant post for the remainder of the term and things were a lot less tense for the students although they wondered about Professor LeBlanc. All of them knew that she had been arrested by the Aurors, but what had happened to her since then? Rumors about the fate of the teacher were running rampant and ranged from she was rotting in Azkaban to she had been subjected to the Dementor’s Kiss. All knew that eventually they would learn what had happened to her, but for the mean time they had to content themselves with what they could imagine.

Elizabeth arrived in the classroom with her friends and sat down to prepare for class as the aging professor stood and watched them enter. At least, they were now using the third year book that they were supposed to and the offending first year books had been banished to the cabinet that they had come from. A moment later she and her friends were settling down into their seats and waiting for the stragglers to finish filtering into the room where they would face the wrath of the teacher. Elizabeth noted that Professor Grims had written the reading assignment on the board and swiftly opened her book to the page indicated so that she could begin reading.

While the class settled down to begin working Jonas Mayre was sitting in his own office as he looked at the list of students on his desk. He had been reluctant to take this post because of the implications that it held, not that he was incapable of teaching because he was a superb teacher, but because he found himself in a situation that he had never wanted to be in.

Jonas Mayre kept a secret hidden from all around him, a secret that no one could ever find out because it would be the end of him. The secret had dangerous implications for the students and the staff, not to mention the people of Hogsmeade. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes as memories of the past came back to him, memories that he had tried to exile long ago.

“Jonas, do you realize the danger that you have put your family in? If anyone ever found out what you’ve been hiding they would force us out to live in the wild!”

“I’ve been extremely cautious around others, Edith, no one is going to find out about it unless someone tells them.”

“But what if one of the children finds out about their father, what if they say something to the wrong person? What do we do then?”

“As difficult as it is, we must keep this secret even from them. You have to know that I would never consciously put you or the children in any danger. I am forced to live with this, but should you decide to leave with the children I would not blame you for it.”

He opened his eyes as he thought back to that conversation with his wife and the fact that a few days after it his wife and children were gone. He had never tried to find them and hoped that they enjoying quiet and safe lives away from what he was hiding. Tears filled his eyes as he considered the probability that he had grandchildren that he would probably never meet. No doubt his former wife had hidden her family somewhere in the Muggle world where she would not have to deal with the problems of the Wizarding world and the dangers it held.

Thoughts of his children often crossed his mind as he went through the lonely existence that he now had. He could still see their faces clearly, even after all of these years and he wondered how they had fared. Cassandra, his oldest daughter, would be nearly thirty years old now and probably had children of her own. Of the three girls, she would have been the one who would have accepted her father’s secret and not judged him harshly, while Emma, his second child, would been the first to condemn him and probably turn him over to the Aurors. The baby of the group, Hannah, had been too young to understand what was going on and merely had seen him as the father who gave her unconditional love.

A sudden squeal of rage broke into his thoughts and he turned to see Alexis Malfoy rise from the ground covered with muddy slush. Two other first years stood next to the girl as they watched her with amusement as she struggled to stand up. The girl, finally upright, turned on her classmates and began screaming at them as she reached for the wand that was concealed in her robe. One of the other children, realizing what the girl was reaching for, gave her a healthy shove back into the slushy puddle that she had just escaped. Alexis, off balance already, fell face forward into the mess as the other students darted away laughing at her plight. The girl rose to her hands and knees as she screamed her rage, but the other children were far away and gaining distance. He watched the confrontation with interest and the girl noticed him, a moment later she was storming towards him with a glowering look on her face.

“Did you see that, Professor Mayre, they shoved me into the mud and then ran off laughing? I want you to take them to Professor Leeds and have them expelled for assaulting me!”

“Well, Miss Malfoy, I don’t know about expulsion, but I’m sure that he would probably take points away from their House.”

“I don’t want points taken from them, I WANT THEM EXPELLED!”

“Unfortunately, it takes a lot more than just shoving someone into the mud to get a student expelled. I also need to remind you that I saw YOU reaching for your wand, not them, and that in itself could get YOU expelled. My advice to you would be to return to the castle and change your clothing, then proceed to your next class.”

“My father and uncle shall hear about this.”

“That is certainly your prerogative but remember that they may hear about you drawing your wand during your expulsion hearing. Now do as I say and I don’t want to hear any more about this.”

The only response was an angry screech from the girl and he watched as she turned on her heel to make her way back to the castle. He forced himself restrain a smile as the thoroughly soaked girl was forced to pass several seventh years that were on their way to flying practice and he left his office to greet the still laughing group.

Elizabeth walked slowly back to the Gryffindor Common Room and the couch that she enjoyed sharing with Albus. The reading assignment that Professor Grims had given was lengthy and the writing that he had prescribed promised to take a large amount of time. Still, the class was a lot easier to bear now that he was teaching it instead of Professor LeBlanc, and she found herself enjoying the challenge that now promised sure reward if done correctly. She stopped at the portrait of the Fat Lady and watched as the frame swung aside after the password was stated, then she hurried into common room to find Tiger sleeping in front of the fire. She reached down to pet her cat then sat down to relax on the couch as Tiger, always looking for a chance, jumped up onto her lap. She ran her fingers through his fur and watched as he settled down to continue his nap as the portrait opened to admit more Gryffindors.

Albus swiftly made his way to the couch to take his place next to his girlfriend and then kissed her gently. The girl looked into his eyes and kissed him back before they parted to begin to work on their respective assignments. Lily approached Elizabeth from the other side and nudged her friend to get her attention.

“Elizabeth, do you have the notes from Potions, I can’t find mine and I would like to borrow yours to copy them.”

“I borrowed them from you, don’t you remember, Lily?”

“Argh! I forgot you had them, are you still copying them or do you need more time?”

“Nope,” Elizabeth said as she grinned at her friend and handed her friend the notes. “Someone hit you with a Confundus charm?”

“More like Obliviate! I can’t remember anything right now and what a time to start forgetting things, right before mid-term exams!”

“Well, unlike some people, we don’t have to worry about the N.E.W.T.s or O.W.L.s,” Elizabeth said as she threw a conspiratory glance at her boyfriend who repaid it with a quick jab to the ribs of the girl.

Lily laughed as Elizabeth swatted Albus playfully and then she hurried back to where she had been sitting to continue studying. Rose looked up from her own books and watched happily as the young pair tussled for a moment before settling back down to their studies. The hour that they spent studying passed quickly and they were soon preparing to walk to lunch, Elizabeth was glad to put the books down so that she could walk down to the Great Hall with her friends.

When they arrived in the Great Hall the group hurried to their normal places and were soon involved in a lunch that was much better than most. Elizabeth realized that she was very hungry and the food in front of her was highly enticing as she filled her plate before settling down to chat with her friends as they ate. She didn’t pay much attention to the High Table or the looks that she was receiving from Professor Leeds for if she had she would have felt reason to worry.

Tobias Leeds watched the pretty girl and wondered about the strange note that he had received via owl a few hours before. It claimed that Elizabeth was guilty of lying about her whereabouts during the time that she had been missing. It also claimed that she had fabricated the entire incident and that Professor LeBlanc had been coerced into confessing that she had attempted to kill the girl. While he didn’t put much credence in the letter, it did give him a reason to question what the girl had said and he intended to investigate further. He returned to his meal but still glanced at the child on occasion, to a casual observer she would appear to be a normal child who was enjoying time with her friends and he hoped that she was what she appeared to be.

Jonas Mayre was also watching Elizabeth from the High Table, the girl had recently returned to class and was making progress in flying but was afraid to get too far above the ground. She had actually asked to be excused from his class for that very reason and he wondered about the fear that the child had. As he watched the girl he was struck by how much she reminded him of his own daughters, she had many of the same mannerisms and resembled them somewhat. Finally he broke his gaze and went back to his meal, class would start soon and he wanted time to go over the notes that he had prepared for the students.

If the professors had assumed that Elizabeth hadn’t noticed them watching her they were wrong. The girl had been quite aware that the men were watching her and she felt slightly uncomfortable. ‘Why are they watching me,’ she wondered, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’ She tried to put it out of her mind as she resumed her conversation with her friends and soon was preparing to rise to make her way to class. As she did she encountered Scorpius Malfoy who had hurried to the Gryffindor Table and now stood facing her, his normally pale face red with anger.

“You’ve got a lot of nerve, Blackwell!”

“What are you talking about, Scorpius?”

“Alexis told me what you have been saying about her and I want you to leave her alone.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about but if I were talking about her, which I’m not, she probably would deserve it.”

All eyes were on the pair who were now nose to nose as the confrontation escalated rapidly towards a shouting match.

“Stay away from my little cousin or you’ll regret it.”

“You’re just as mental as she is, Scorpius, now back off before I forget that I’m a lady.”

“Threatening me, are you?”

“No threat implied, just a promise made and there’s no rule against making a promise.”

The argument was ended by the sudden appearance of Hagrid who stepped between the participants and sent them on their way. Elizabeth looked back over her shoulder at the boy before Albus put his arm around her and they left the Great Hall to climb the stairs to their next class. She walked along with the boy until they had to part so that she could walk to Astronomy. When she arrived she settled down into her seat and listened quietly as the professor explained the latest topic in their books. As she listened her mind wandered back to the old man that she frequently remembered and she found it hard to keep her concentration where it belonged.

Finally, the class ended and she was able to hurry out of the tower with her classmates. Instead of going back to Gryffindor Tower she found herself walking down towards the bottom of the stairs and a dimly remembered portrait of an old man. She stopped in front of the portrait and stood gazing at the snoring wizard within it as she tried to remember the password that would permit her to go through. Why she wanted to go through she had no idea, but something within her compelled her to. A moment later, words popped into her head and, as unlikely as they seemed, she decided to try.

“I miss the sunshine.”

The snoring wizard in the portrait snorted and then opened one eye to gaze at her with irritation.

“Why is it that you persist in disturbing my sleep?”

“But, I don’t remember bothering you before. Have I done so?”

“You have.”

“I’m sorry to be such a bother, kind sir, but when have I troubled you before?”

“It seems like just an hour ago but, as I have been asleep, it may have been longer.”

“Have I said the correct password?”

“You have.”

“May I go through?”

“Very well, but please try to limit your usage of this portrait it is most tiring work for me.”

“I will, kind sir.”

A moment later the portrait swung open and the girl was able to step through to enter the corridor that she remembered, but didn’t understand how.

‘Have I been here before? It all looks so familiar and yet I know that I have never been in this part of the castle before. And why did the wizard in the portrait say that I have bothered him before because I’ve never even looked at that portrait before today,’ she thought to herself as she walked down the suddenly lit passage. “How did I know the password to open the portrait? Did someone tell me and I don’t remember?’

She abruptly came to a closed door, reached forward to open it and then stepped into a very large, well-lit room which was dominated by a huge pool. A large table stood in the center of the room and several books lay upon it, one of them open to the reversal of curses. She looked at the book and had read several pages when she was startled out of thought by a loud splashing noise. Elizabeth looked up to see a huge creature climbing out of the water and moving towards her. The girl backed away from the table and drew her wand as the monster approached her although she wondered if she could stop it. Her mind raced as it moved closer to her and her heart pounded insanely as it rose to its full height until it towered over her. She knew that she could not hope to stop it and resigned herself to her fate as it reached forward to touch her. She closed her eyes and prepared for her life to end as she hoped that it would be painless. Her heart nearly stopped when she heard a voice speak to her and she opened her eyesto see an old man standing in front of her, an old man who was strangely familiar.

“You have returned.”

“Do I know you?”

“I found you in the lake after those above cast you into the water and left you to die. I brought you here and nursed you back to health while those above forgot about you. You were making such progress in your studies with me and then you abandoned them to return to the castle. Now I wonder why you have returned after I warned you not to go.”

“I felt compelled to come here although I do not know why, you seem familiar but I don’t really remember you.”

“You seem to have forgotten all that we talked about and you learned from me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I knew that you might return and, while I was angry with you for a short time, I am ready to help you resume your studies with me.”

“But I go to school in the castle.”

“Ah, yes, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I know it well although the Hogwarts that I remember and the one that you attend are very different.”

“How is it different?”

“I left Hogwarts many years ago and refuse to return.”

Elizabeth considered what the wizard was saying before speaking again.

“You’re the monster of the lake?”

“Yes, young Star, I am the monster that dwells within the lake. It keeps my affairs private and snoopers away.  Before you there had not been anyone in that passage for a very long time.”

“Star? My name is Elizabeth.”

Sebastian looked at the girl before him as he shook his head, the girl had forgotten everything that he had taught her. Elizabeth, noticing the sadness in his ancient eyes, was suddenly very sad although she didn’t know why. Had she upset him in some way that she didn’t remember?

“Elizabeth, do you remember anything that I taught you?”

“No, sir,” she said as she hung her head as she noticed his fidgeting as he looked towards the pool. “Are you ill, sir?”

“No, child, I am not ill, but my condition requires that I return to the water frequently.”

“And you need to return to the water now?”

“Yes, my child, I must return to the water now. I merely wanted to speak with you and left it prematurely, but I shall be fine.”

“Do you want me to leave your home?”

“Only if you desire to but, if you do, please tell no one what you have seen here.”

“I won’t tell anyone and I do need to get back to the castle before I am missed by my friends.”

He leaned forward and kissed her gently on the forehead before turning back to the water to transform. As she started to leave he turned back to her and called her name.

“Elizabeth, take this,” he said as he handed her a small gold key. “This will allow you to go through the portrait without waking him, he can be most irritating when disturbed.”

“I actually find him rather funny when he is angry. Tell me sir, what is your name?”

“Sebastian.”

“Is that all, just Sebastian?”

“It will do.”

She smiled at him and then gave him a hug before turning and walking back to the door that led to the corridor. The splashing sound behind her told her that he had transfigured and entered the lake. Elizabeth hurried down the corridor and was soon at the portrait where, after examining the frame she found the hole for the key that she had been given. An instant later the key was in the hole and she was opening the door to reenter the castle. She looked around and saw no one as she closed the door and then scurried away safe with her little secret.

If she had looked up she would have seen Professor Tobias Leeds watching her from the stairs above and he wasn’t happy with her at all.
 

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