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Elizabeth sat in her compartment on the Hogwarts Express glancing through her newly purchased book while her friends talked quietly. The book was beautiful and she wished that it wasn’t missing the page. It was full of information about the dark things of their world and the girl felt herself fortunate to have purchased it so cheaply. She glanced at a picture of a Dementor and experienced a chill that went down her spine. She swiftly closed the book and looked at Tiger who was enjoying his toy mouse as he wrestled on the floor with it.

“Good book?” Rose asked as Elizabeth put it aside.

“Yeah, it’s going to make Professor Grims’ project a snap.”

“Where did you get it?”

“That bookseller in Hogsmeade, you know, the one near the writing shop.”

“That place gives me the creeps, the guy who owns it is scary. It’s almost like he’s looking through you while he talks to you.”

Elizabeth smiled at Lily as her friend shivered as she talked about the shop. But she also agreed that she had felt a little uneasy in the shop and had felt a definite chill when she had entered the building. Still, the book that she had found was lovely and full of information that she would need once she re-entered the box to continue her work.

The box lay carefully packed in the bag that rested on the shelf above the seat and she felt confident that she could complete the majority of the task during the week that she had for break. Once that was done she would have plenty of free time to relax and work towards the end of the term.

Artemis Trane and his wife stood on Platform Nine and Three Quarters waiting for the arrival of the train which bore their youngest grandchild. They had heard the whistle of the locomotive in the distance and knew that soon the child would be in their arms as they prepared to spend the week with her. The girl and her father had announced that they intended to try to bond during that week and they hoped that Anne would come around as well. The older girl had been steadfast in her decision that Elizabeth had no place in the home of the man they called father and their mother had little more. Anne had informed them that, since Elizabeth was coming home for break, she would stay at Beauxbatons.

A few minutes later a flash of brilliant crimson announced that the train was approaching the platform and very soon the locomotive was pulling the cars up to their destination. Elizabeth smiled as she looked out through the window and saw her grandparents waiting for her. The smile broadened as she saw her parents approaching with smiles on their faces. She turned to her friends and hugged them before placing a protesting Tiger back into his cage.

“It’s only for a short time, Tiger.”

When the train came to a stop the students began rising to make their way down the companionway and then off onto the platform where they swiftly dispersed as they met with their parents. Elizabeth swiftly slid the book into her bag and then grabbed Tiger’s cage before leaving the compartment herself to make her way out of the car. Minutes later she was standing on the platform as she was embraced by her grandparents and then her mother. She stood silently as her mother released her while her father looked on, then he stepped forward and took the child in his arms as the others stood with tears in their eyes. Elizabeth felt a tear run down her own cheek as she experienced something that she had felt only very rarely, her father’s love. Then he released her before reaching down and taking her bag with one hand while keeping an arm around the girl.

They walked together out of the station and to a small, disused room where a mantle was busy sending people to their destinations. Elizabeth watched as her group approached a small silver cup that sat on a table. They all stepped up to it and each gently placed a finger on its rim before they vanished from the room. Elizabeth felt a slight lurch in her belly but it ended as they appeared in the garden outside her grandparent’s home. Her father looked down at her with mild surprise as she looked up at him with a sly grin.

“You don’t get sick when you travel by Portkey?”

“No, I don’t know why but it doesn’t affect me like apparating does.”

He smiled down at her and gently hugged her once again.

“I don’t know why I was such a fool all of those years and I hope that someday you can forgive me.”

“I do forgive you, Father. The only condition that I would ever make is that you always give me a hug like you are now.”

“I promise that I will and it’s a promise that I never intend to break.”

She hugged him again tightly before they walked into the house where Chloe already had a large feast awaiting them. Elizabeth’s eyes widened as she took in the amount of food on the table, it seemed like the tables at Hogwarts had transferred their holdings to the table in front of her. She took her place at the table after releasing Tiger, who hurried to his own full dish, and was soon enjoying the meal. The day was glorious and she could see nothing that would make it otherwise.

John sat at his own chair as he listened to the girl who was gleefully recounting her experiences at school. He had always known that the girl was very pretty, but now he was fully aware of how beautiful she actually was. Her blue eyes and golden hair combined with her fair complexion to make her a true vision of loveliness. He understood now the attraction that his younger daughter held for the Potter boy. She had an infectious giggle and an easy smile that brightened the room.

When the meal ended the group got up to walk into the sitting room where Elizabeth deposited herself in a large chair as Tiger jumped up into her lap. She sat in the chair as she took part in the conversation and ran her hand over the cat’s back and shoulders. Tiger rubbed against her with affection as he purred loudly before suddenly jumping down to chase the toy mouse that had been released into the room by her grandmother. Elizabeth laughed as her pet hurried around the room as he stalked the toy. She had never felt so happy in the presence of her father and silently prayed that the joy would never end.

“Professor Grims tells me that you have a huge assignment for him,” Victoria said as she looked at her daughter.

“Yeah, we have to do research on our greatest fear and work on defenses against it.”

“I remember him talking about it when I was a student at Hogwarts,” Victoria said quietly.

“I’ve heard that he uses a Boggart to simulate whatever you are afraid of that way you’re not really in any danger,” Elizabeth responded.

“I’m not sure but remember, Elizabeth, even a Boggart can be dangerous if one isn’t careful.”

The girl looked at her mother with concern clear on her face because this was something that she hadn’t considered. The possibility that even a Boggart in the form of an Inferi could be dangerous put a new element into the project.

“When is the project due?”

Elizabeth looked at her grandfather and grinned.

“I have until a week before end of term to complete it, but I already have a large part of the research started. The new book that I bought in Hogsmeade will help a lot, it deals solely with dark creatures.”

“Where in Merlin’s Beard did you find a book like that in Hogsmeade?”

“I found it in the old store next to the writing shop.”

“You don’t mean Thaddeus Wellington’s shop, do you?’ Amanda asked abruptly.

“That’s the one,” Elizabeth answered swiftly. “Is there something wrong with it?”

“You mean that you were brave enough to go into that shop,” Victoria gasped as she shuddered. “That store and the owner always frightened me, I never went in there once the entire time I was at Hogwarts.”

“That store belongs in Knockturn Alley next to Borgin and Burkes, not in Hogsmeade,” John added as he thought about the shop that his daughter had visited. “Elizabeth, please promise me that you will stay away from that shop, it doesn’t feel right.”

“I promise, but there are so many beautiful old books there.”

“Where is this book that you are so entranced with?”

“I put it in my bag.”

Elizabeth rose from the chair that she was sitting in and hurried to the bag that had been deposited on a table at the bottom of the stairs. She opened it and pulled the ancient book out before walking back to where her parents and grandparents waited. She handed it to her father and sat back down while he opened it to examine it. John noticed the damage to the book but thought nothing of it while Artemis regarded the cover from his vantage point.

“It’s an old text from well before I attended Hogwarts,” he said as his son-in-law glanced at the book. “There may still be a copy or two hiding somewhere in the school although they probably were destroyed when the Room of Requirement burned during the battle.”

“Well, I know that there aren’t any copies in the library in the box and it looks like it’s just what I need to make the project easier.” Elizabeth said quickly.

John carefully closed the book before handing it to his daughter and Elizabeth laid it carefully on the table that stood beside her chair. Something about the book made him mildly uneasy and he felt slightly warmer when it left his possession. He sighed and then looked at his daughter before speaking.

“I hope that you don’t mean that you are going to be in that box working the entire break. I wanted a chance to see you and spend some time with you because I know that I have a lot of catching up with you to do.”

“I promise that I won’t stay hidden in there,” she said as she picked up the book and opened it to a random page. She gasped as a piece of paper fell out from between two pages and fluttered to the floor. The girl bent down to retrieve it and looked at it curiously before looking at the adults.

“I think that this is part of the page that is missing, it’s the same color and has the same design as the other one does. Maybe if all of the other pieces are there I can mend them and put it back where it belongs.”

“I’m sure that’s possible, Elizabeth,” Victoria said as she rose from her chair and bent to kiss the child on the top of her fair head before walking out of the room. Elizabeth grinned as she looked at her grandparents and father as she settled back into the chair and examined the piece of paper that she had found.

‘Why,’ she wondered, ‘would anyone tear a page out of such a beautiful old book just to tear it into small pieces?’

She finally shrugged her shoulders and opened the book to place the piece between the pages and the back cover before closing it once again. Then she curled herself up in the chair and settled down to talk with the adults and Chloe.

The diminutive elf looked at the girl as they talked and finally had to speak. She looked at the child with her large eyes wide and her large ears drooped.

“Miss Elizabeth, Chloe is wondering why you chose to study the Inferi. They are terrible creations not worthy of existence and only a truly insane witch or wizard would use that kind of magic.”

“Don’t worry, Chloe, I don’t have any intention of toying with the magic needed to create them nor do I intend to deal directly with them. Any magic that I use will be in the safety of the box and Professor Grims has made sure that no dark magic can exist inside it.”

The large ears of the elf rose slightly as the news reassured her and she looked at the girl with relief. Elizabeth smiled and took the small elf into her arms after rising from the chair that she was curled up in.

“I wasn’t worried anyhow, Chloe, I know that you’re here.”

“Chloe would never let any harm come to Miss Elizabeth or any of her family. But Chloe does wish that Miss Anne was present so that her family was complete.”

Elizabeth hugged the elf once again before releasing Chloe. She kissed the elf on top of the head before Chloe vanished with a loud POP as she disapparated. Although no longer bound by servitude, the elf possessed a strong sense of duty and had vowed to never leave the family unless ordered to. The family knew that they could never give the elf that order for they realized that Chloe would likely die of a broken heart if rejected by them.

Artemis rose from his chair and gathered his granddaughter into a hug before picking up the book to examine it. He also noticed that the book seemed unnaturally cold to the touch and he shuddered slightly as he looked at it. Finally, he placed it back onto the table and instantly felt warm once again. He looked at the book where it lay with a sense of unease, but put it out of his mind as he listened to the happy chatter of the girl. She was busy recounting all that had happened since she had last seen them and was enjoying their company.

Finally, Elizabeth rose and picked the book up before walking back into the room to pull the box that Professor Grims had given her out of her bag. She placed it carefully on the table and then opened the door that would allow her to enter it. A moment later she slipped the book into the box and then withdrew her arm after laying it on the floor of the room that waited for it. Then she withdrew her arm and closed the door to seal the box.

Deep within Hogwarts he stared into the mirror that had suddenly gone blank. It worried him because this meant that something within the house was blanketing the effects of the book, something that he had no power to overcome. This meant that many of his hopes and plans would come to naught unless something happened to aid his cause. He also considered the other part of his plan, the part that involved Harry Potter, the part that would also fail if things continued as they were.

‘Damn it all, what has that girl done? Without the book we cannot hope to see our plans succeed. The elf prevents us from apparating into the home, even onto the property. The Dark Lord will be angry beyond reason should we be prevented from striking. What have you done, Elizabeth Blackwell?’

Harry sat at his desk as he looked over the file concerning the attempts on Elizabeth and her grandparents. There was no doubt in his mind that the incidents were connected, but there was the question of who was involved. True, they had a Death Eater in custody, but he couldn’t have been acting alone. There was also the attack on LeBlanc, which had shaken his department to the core. He glanced up as a young Auror stepped into the room with a sheaf of papers in his hand.

“Harry, the Minister wanted you to look at these,” he said as he laid them down onto his superior’s desk.

“Thanks, Ian.”

The young Auror turned and left the office as Harry removed his glasses to rub his eyes. He was exhausted and the Minister wanted efforts doubled as it became increasingly obvious that the Ministry had been infiltrated once again by dark forces. That the Office of the Aurors had been compromised and a prisoner attacked was even more troubling. He put his glasses back on and glanced at the stack of papers on his desk before picking the top sheet from the list. He didn’t notice the envelope that lay hidden between the sheets of parchment.

While Harry worked at his task Elizabeth was enjoying the first day at the home of her grandparents with both of her parents present. The girl was happier than she had ever been in her life and hoped that things would never go back to the way that they had been. She wondered if things would have been this way had the truth of her beginnings been revealed earlier than it was. Finally she wandered into the living room after stopping to pick up the box and her bag.

She looked at the box for a moment before opening the door and stepping into the compartment. The book was where she had left it and she knelt to retrieve it from the floor before proceeding into the library. A moment later she was sitting at the table and quickly flipping through the pages. The girl was overjoyed to find several pieces of paper that matched the one that had fallen out earlier and she wasn’t surprised when they fit together. Obviously they had once been joined, but she was disappointed to find that one was nowhere to be found. She gathered the pieces that she had and hurried out of the box to a place where her wand could be used. Elizabeth laid the pieces out together and pointed her wand at them.

“Reparo!”

Instantly the page was healed save the spot where the missing piece should have been. Elizabeth picked up the still wounded page and examined it. She could make out very faint writing that she didn’t understand. The girl shook her head and then walked back into the box to place the page back into the book, but not before looking at the words once again.

Et nunc…

‘What does this say?’ she wondered as she closed the book once again before gathering it into her arms and walking out of the room.

She stepped out of the box and back into her grandparent’s living room at the same instant that Harry found the envelope. He opened it and was surprised when a small piece of torn paper fell out to flutter to his desk. Harry picked it up to see a single word written on it and his brow furrowed as he read it.

Incipiat

He had no time to react before he was whisked out of his office and found himself standing in front of Elizabeth and her family. Artemis looked up in surprise as the Head of the Aurors appeared in the middle of his living room and Harry was dumbfounded by the sudden transport.

“Mr. Potter, how did you apparate in? Chloe cast a charm that prevents apparation into this house.”

“I picked up this piece of paper and now I’m here,” said the still confused Auror.

Elizabeth looked at the fragment of paper that the Auror held and realized that it was the missing piece of the page from her book. She rose from the chair that she was in and stepped forward with the page just as Artemis realized what was happening and how Harry was standing before them. He rose from his chair and leapt towards his grandchild as the warning issued from his lips as she reached for the fragment.

“Elizabeth, no!”
 

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