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Anastasia Selwyn lived her life inside the lines. She was soft spoken and quiet, like a good pureblood girl should be. She kept her curly hair carefully maintained at all times like her mother had always told her was the only right way. She wore shiny black shoes with straps across them and carefully pleated skirts underneath her green Slytherin robes. Her posture was always perfect, etiquette lessons since birth would do that to a girl. She knew the perfect order in which to use the forks and spoons at a proper dinner, and at those dinners, Anastasia Selwyn knew exactly what her role was. She was to smile, look pretty, act nice towards her father’s colleagues and their children. Never a toe out of line.

So when Alecto Carrow asked her to pick up the class’s essays in her office before Muggle Studies that October day, Anastasia Selwyn did exactly as she was told with a polite smile. Alecto Carrow’s office was an unexpectedly warm place, she discovered. A roaring fire was constantly lit in the hearth with two large green armchairs around it. She had a sturdy mahogany desk with a leather chair behind and two smaller grey armchairs in front. The walls were lined with books that had titles that Anastasia didn’t recognize. It was organized too. Each file in its proper spot, every glass put away in the cabinet and the bottles of mead properly lined up on the small bar cart. The essays were exactly where Professor Carrow had said they’d be – on her desk in a neat stack arranged alphabetically by surname.

Anastasia tucked the stack under her arm as she made her way back across the plush brown carpet. As she exited the room, a flash of orange caught her eye. It practically glowed with incandescent colour in the dark office. The orange belonged to the wrapping paper on a box, a gift, it looked like. Anastasia walked over to the coffee table the box sat on for a closer look. The paper was messily ripped off and the lid was open to reveal ten plush red hair bows sitting on top of purple tissue paper.

Before she could stop herself, Anastasia found herself reaching for one of the red bows. She picked it up out of the box and held it in her hand. It was pretty, she thought. She imagined how it would look in her friend Valerie’s deep black hair. It would be striking. Her mind was filled with the image of her pretty best friend, her high cheekbones, the slope of her nose. She thought about Valerie’s twinkling eyes, the smile Anastasia rarely saw these days. A deep blush ran through her cheeks as she pushed her thoughts of Valerie’s dimpled smile away from her mind.

Instead she thought of Valerie with her books that year all second hand and her ripped robes mended with a purple swath of fabric instead of new from Madam Malkins. Her family had run into hard times in the war. Anastasia couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen Valerie in colour as bright as the red bows. On impulse, thinking just of how happy Valerie would be, Anastasia pocketed the red bow and walked out of the office and back towards her Muggle Studies classroom with the essays in her arms.

She dropped them off on Professor Carrow’s desk as she slipped back inside the classroom, then slid into her seat next to Valerie Perkins in the second row, the bow still burning a hole in her pocket. Anastasia barely listened as Professor Carrow extolled the virtues of pureblood. Her mind was inside her pocket, fear rising in her throat as she wondered what on earth had compelled her to steal from Alecto Carrow. Anastasia had never stepped a toe out of line in her entire life and now she suddenly found herself guilty of theft.

As the day went on, the guilt inside Anastasia built up more and more. It threatened to eat her up inside, destroy her. The bow, moved from her pocket to deep inside her bag, still seemed to sear Anastasia’s skin through all the layers of fabric between them. It burned her, as if a penance for the crime she had committed.

“Are you alright?” Valerie asked her as the girls sat down at dinner. Anastasia picked at the food on her plate. It wasn’t much, but they all knew it was better than what anyone else had. Some of the Slytherins heartily rubbed this fact into the other houses’ faces, but more often, they ate in silence. The only sounds coming from Slytherin table where hushed whispers as if they didn’t dare call more attention towards themselves.

“I’m fine,” Anastasia mumbled.

A loud ring rang through the Great Hall and all heads turned towards the podium where Alecto Carrow stood glaring down at them. Anastasia shivered under Alecto’s piercing gaze. She did not settle her eyes on Anastasia or even anywhere near. Her hawk eyes were on Gryffindor table, scanning the ragged crowd of students there picking at stale bread and plain mash for the fourth night in a row.

“It has come to my attention that a student at this school has pilfered from my office,” Alecto said. She narrowed her eyes as she spoke, her gaze still frozen on Gryffindor table, only occasionally scanning the room to settle on a pair of seventh years at Hufflepuff. “The item in question is criminal in nature and whoever is caught to have the item will not only face punishment at this school, but the matter will be taken to the Ministry of Magic on charges of treason.”

With that, Alecto was finished and returned to her seat at the High Table. Anastasia felt her insides churn. She wanted to vomit, but no food came out as she hadn’t eaten anything. She could once again feel the red bow burning her up from inside. She thought about Professor Carrow’s words, unable to link the red bow in her bag to anything so serious to require Ministry intervention. Treason? Anastasia couldn’t fathom that the bow was that important, but who else could have stolen from her office in the same day?

“I’m going to bed,” Anastasia said quickly, pushing her plate away from her. She stood up from her seat and bolted out of the Great Hall. She could hear Valerie chasing after her, heavy footsteps across the stone floors, but Anastasia didn’t stop running.

“What’s going on?” Valerie panted as she finally caught up with Anastasia in the cozy common room. Anastasia said nothing, she only slipped up into their dormitory.

“I did something really bad,” Anastasia bit her lip as she spoke. The girls dropped onto Anastasia’s bed, drawing the curtains tightly around them even though they were alone in the dormitory. Valerie mumbled a spell and lit up their little cave with a floating ball of light.

“What happened?” she asked in a hushed tone.

Anastasia didn’t dare look Valerie in the eye. Those deep, dark eyes could any truth out of her and Anastasia couldn’t drag Valerie into the mess she had created. So instead of looking at Valerie’s concerned face, Anastasia stared down at her bed sheets. Green. She counted the stitches, mumbling to herself.

“Ana, please talk to me,” Valerie said in a soft voice. She reached across the space and touched her friend’s arm. Valerie’s touch sent shivers through Anastasia. She’d always had that effect on her. The ability to bring her to her knees. Make her weak. Make her shiver. Make her blush. Anastasia wanted to lean into Valerie’s touch. To bury herself in her best friend’s soft hair, breathe in her familiar scent and tell her the whole truth. She wanted to let Valerie take away all her guilt and fears and pain. Not just the red bow, but everything else Anastasia buried deep inside her that Valerie could never know about.

“I did something awful.”

“Ana…” Valerie reached for her best friend’s face. She lifted Anastasia’s chin and wiped the tears from her face with her thumb. Anastasia’s eyes remained shut, still not daring to look Valerie in the eyes. “Does this have something to do with what Professor Carrow was saying?”

Anastasia bit her quivering lip hard until she almost drew blood. Slowly, she reached into her bag and pulled the red bow out from the depths. She held it out in both hands towards her friend.

“Is this it?” Valerie stared at the bow, a puzzled look on her face. Anastasia looked up at her through her hair. “How could this be what Professor Carrow was talking about? This is just a hair bow.”

“I… I don’t know,” Anastasia mumbled. “But I stole it! Today. I took it from her office!”

“I’m sure this isn’t it,” Valerie shook her head. “Why’d you even take this?”

“I… I thought you’d like it,” she confessed, at last looking at Valerie. Valerie took the bow from Anastasia’s hands and held it in front of her face. Anastasia felt the burning lift off of her, the weight disappearing from her stomach. Valerie had made it all disappear, the pain was gone, like it always was when Valerie was with her.

“It is pretty,” she said. She pinned the bow into her dark, black hair and smiled at her best friend. “What do you think?”

“It’s beautiful.” Anastasia reached out and tucked a piece of hair behind Valerie’s ear, showing off the bow even more. “Everything looks wonderful on you. But you can’t wear that out. Professor Carrow will recognize it.”

“Then I’ll only wear it when you can see,” Valerie smiled. She reached over and squeezed Anastasia’s hand in hers. “Thank you Ana. Don’t stress. No one will ever know. It’ll be our secret.”

“Thanks Val.”

“Now go to sleep,” Valerie whispered. She pushed the bags onto the floor and pulled Anastasia’s school jumper off over her shoulders. She undid the straps on her Mary-Jane shoes and tucked her into bed with a kiss on her forehead. Valerie slid off Anastasia’s bed as she made the light disappear as well. They were suddenly in darkness again.

“Wait,” Anastasia called as Valerie turned. “Will you stay with me? I’m scared.”

“Of course.”


Anastasia woke up with Valerie’s arms around her waist. Her best friend was spooned behind her, wrapping her up in her warm embrace. Anastasia turned around to face her. Sunlight streamed through the curtains and illuminated Valerie’s face, highlighting every curve and contour. She looked beautifully at peace in her sleep. Like nothing bad had ever happened to her. She was pure. Innocent. Anastasia could see the red bow resting on top of her raven hair, a perfect contrast.

“Good morning.” Valerie rolled over and stretched. She yawned softly and then sat up, smiling at Anastasia. “How long have you been up?”

“Not long.”

“Do you want to get breakfast?”

Anastasia shook her head and though Valerie protested, she soon left the Slytherin fifth year girls’ dormitory and headed towards the Great Hall with a promise that she’d be back soon. She had pocked the bow before the left, honouring her promise of secrecy.

Anastasia sat up in bed and curled her knees into her chest. She rested her face on her knee and rested her hand on the spot in the bed that Valerie had left warm. The other girl’s gentle morning smile lingered in Anastasia’s thoughts, filled her heart up. She knew her feelings for her best friend were beyond what they should be. Anastasia tried to deny it. She tried to be the good girl she was supposed to be, but there had never been anyone else but Valerie Perkins.

“Ana?” Valerie’s voice called. The curtain opened again and Valerie climbed onto the bed. She pulled a bit of toast out of her sleeve and offered it up to her friend. “Eat quickly,” she said. “We need to go.”

“Go where?” Anastasia asked, picking at the bread. “And don’t steal food for me. You’ll get in trouble.”

“Its fine,” Valerie waved her hand. “Come on.”

She grabbed Anastasia’s hand and pulled her out into the corridor. They hurried up the staircases and through the castle until they reached an empty spot on the third floor.

“You’re stressed. So we’re going to find out the truth,” Valerie said as she pulled Anastasia behind a statue. The girls were pressed up against the wall in the tight space. Anastasia could feel her friend’s breath on her skin.


“With my help.”

Anastasia whipped around to see where the deep, male voice had come from. She saw a vaguely familiar seventh year in a blue and bronze tie. She had seen him around before, in the Great Hall, in the corridors. Hogwarts’ population had shrunk so much in the past year, it was easy to recognize almost anyone at the school.

“Michael Corner,” the boy said, holding out his hand to shake Anastasia’s. She took it and shook weakly.

“We can trust him,” Valerie whispered into Anastasia’s ear. She squeezed her friend’s hand tightly. “He’s with the resistance.”

Anastasia turned to Valerie with her eyes wide, unsure of what to say to her. The resistance within the school was an open secret and the leading members were too. Everyone knew about the trouble Ginny, Luna, and Neville had gotten themselves into. No one had seen them in over two weeks, one of those weeks, everyone knew, they had spent in the Carrows’ dungeon after being lured out of hiding by Seamus Finnegan’s public torture. But Michael Corner was not a part of that core group that everyone knew about. Anastasia gave her friend a concerned look, as if to ask how she knew this secret resistance member.

“We need to hurry,” Michael said. He took Valerie’s hand in his and pulled her forward. Anastasia look at how softly he touched her. Almost with affection. She felt a knot grow inside her stomach, but still, Valerie’s soft hand held hers too and it felt like a little flame warming her up.

Michael took them to a blank wall. He looked around the corridors and then shut his eyes. Anastasia moved her gaze between him and the blank wall in front of her. Her jaw dropped as she saw the door appear in the bricks. The Room of Requirement. Of course, she had heard about it. Everyone had heard about the secret room that Harry Potter held those clandestine defense classes in during the Umbridge year, but Anastasia had never seen it in person. Until that moment, she wasn’t even convinced that it ever existed – just another story blown up by the rumour mill.

Michael led the girls through the door. Anastasia was stunned to see the interior. It was a small infirmary. Limited healing supplies, but still, there were a few cots and little basins of water next to them. A handful of people milled about the room taking care of two people in the cots and a third folded into herself in the corner. Anastasia recognized them as the trio. Luna Lovegood curled up in a hospital cot with a bandage wrapped around her head. Neville Longbottom slept, though he thrashed around in the throes of a nightmare. And in the corner, Anastasia could barely make her out, was Ginny Weasley. Her bright ginger hair matted with dirt, her eyes staring straight ahead, unblinking. Her blue eyes sent chills through Anastasia’s spine. She was haunting.

As they entered the room though, the four students taking care of Ginny, Neville, and Luna all turned towards them. Suddenly, wands were drawn and they were met with fierce expressions. Michael threw his arms in front of Valerie, calming his friends.

“Woah guys, they’re with me,” he said.

“They’re Slytherin,” Lavender growled. She had an ugly snarl on her face, but she lowered her wand and crossed her arms over her chest. “And she’s a Selwyn.”

Lavender spit out Anastasia’s surname. Anastasia dropped her gaze, not daring to look at Lavender Brown for fear that her piercing stare would kill her on the spot.

“You want to see what they have,” Michael said. “Trust me. Come on, show them.”

He nudged Valerie’s side and Anastasia noticed again how close to her he was. His hand touched her lightly, encouraging her to show them what she had in her pocket. He looked at her with concern in his eyes, his hand still tightly grasped around his wand as if he were ready to throw a spell in her defense at any moment.

Valerie reached into her pocket and pulled out the red bow that Anastasia had given her. Anastasia’s stomach twisted into tight knots as she saw the bow again. She had loved it against Valerie’s hair, but there, in the harsh infirmary lights, it was ugly and too bold. A reminder of what she had done wrong, how she had dragged Valerie in with her.

“What is that?” Seamus raised his eyebrow at the bow.

“They found it in Alecto’s office. Ten of them, wrapped up in a box. This is it.”

“Alecto’s message today.” Seamus’s mouth fell open a little as he turned towards the two Slytherin girls. “If you’re found with this, you’ll be tried for treason at the Ministry of Magic.”

“I didn’t know,” Anastasia mumbled.

Seamus stepped forward and waved his wand over the red bow. Anastasia couldn’t make out his mumbled spell, but as soon as he said it, the bow changed colours, they glowed blue and began to morph. She watched it transform before her eyes in a glossy edition of a magazine. The Quibbler.

“Now you know,” he said, looking at her again. “Are you going to tell anyone?”

Anastasia shook her head.

“How do I know that I can trust you?” he asked. Seamus lifted Anastasia’s chin so that she looked him the eye. She wanted to turn away, to run back to the safety of her own bed, but she couldn’t. She was firmly planted there in the Room of Requirement with the Hogwarts resistance. So instead, Anastasia looked past Seamus. She averted her eyes and found herself staring at the only thing behind him – Ginny Weasley’s empty, empty blue eyes. Anastasia found herself lost in them. They were just a vast nothingness, her expression blank, her face completely blank. Ginny Weasley looked like a corpse.

“Is she okay?” Anastasia found herself saying before she could stop herself. Seamus looked behind his shoulder to see who Anastasia was looking at.

“No,” another voice said. Another seventh year Gryffindor walked up from Neville’s bed. His nightmare seemed to have subsided and he was sleeping peacefully again. “And she won’t be. Not unless you can work a miracle and get us some calming draught.”

Parvati Patil looked at Anastasia with a bored expression as she spoke. She was thin, too thin. She barely looked big enough to support the weight of her own bones. But still she stood among these soldiers and Anastasia could feel the strength radiating off of her.

“Maybe I can,” she said softly.

“What?” They all turned to look at her. Anastasia glanced sideways at Valerie. Her best friend looked at her in disbelief. She had a panicked expression on her face, as if begging Anastasia to stop talking. To just give them the bow and pretend it never happened at all. Go back to their cushy lives in Slytherin and pretend they never saw the secret room.

“Are you saying you can get a calming draught?” Parvati raised her eyebrow at the Slytherin girl. Anastasia could feel all eyes on her, burning into her skin. She tried to stand up straight, speak clearly like she was always told to.

“I’m a Selwyn,” Anastasia shrugged, concealing her anxiety beneath. “That means something here.”  

A/N: Hello readers! I am back. Sorry for the wait. There were a few details I needed to hammer out in this chapter before posting it. I hope you like it! Also, big thank you to everyone who voted for me and nominated this story for the Diadems! You guys are all the greatest and I love you so much. xoxoxo. 

The title of this chapter, Republikflucht, means desertion of the republic in German. It is an East German term for those who left the country for a life in the west. I thought it fit as Anastasia is deserting her pureblood world it seems. What do you think of these new characters? 

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