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The clash of minds when Elizabeth and Marcus Beales-Armstrong’s wills met could have been disastrous for both, but instead it gave both of them valuable information.

Much to the horror of the young witch, Elizabeth knew that her father was now aware of her permanent attachment to Albus. He knew that his daughter was now wed to the son of Harry Potter and that she was bolstering her defenses against his attempts to use Legilimency against her. This was the one bright part of the unwilling exchange of information that had taken place.

As Professor McGonagall helped her to her back to her feet and the nurse from the Hospital Wing fussed over her, Elizabeth was busy erecting new barriers to replace the ones that had failed. She had allowed herself to become completely distracted and somehow the Dark Lord had known this. It was something that couldn’t happen again and she knew this as surely as she knew that he or one of his followers would make another attempt.

Marcus Beales-Armstrong was also assisted to his feet and had, once he had risen, roughly shoved aside those who had come to his aid. The girl had infuriated him once again by responding to his probe with extreme force. What made things worse was the fact that the girl had demonstrated to him that she could and would strike back without worrying about the potential damage that she could do to him. Never before had he felt such a strike and this one had come from a child, his daughter. Clearly he would need to be more cautious during the probes because this one had nearly finished him. He, like the girl, had rushed to re-erect defenses shattered by the exchange.

“My Lord, are you well?” his lieutenant asked cautiously.

“The girl is growing more powerful with each passing day. She managed to deflect my attempts while also striking back at me. She will require an organized approach to defeat.”

“But how?”

“Gather the most capable and powerful Legilimens within our ranks and bring them to me. It is time that Elizabeth finally learns the folly of resisting me.”

Nodding furiously, the cloaked wizard hurried away from his master while Marcus Beales-Armstrong watched him retreat. The ensuing months since the defeat at Hogwarts had cost him heavily, including his most trusted advisor. An Auror sweep had brought the man into custody and he had since joined the ranks of those who now populated Azkaban. Now the Dark Lord was forced to rely on a wizard that he felt inferior, and it was not uncommon for him to wish that it had been this fool taken rather than his long-time ally.

The wizard leaned over a mist filled space as he attempted to see into the happenings at Hogwarts. He cursed as he realized that the defenses of the school were working well to prevent what he wanted from happening. Finally, angered by the failed attempts, he turned and strode into a mist that had gathered in a doorway, vanishing as swiftly as the mist itself.

Elizabeth managed to smile through the headache that she now had and attempted to retake her place in front of the students that she had been teaching. The attempt, although valiant, was futile as Minerva McGonagall shunted her aside. The younger witch looked at her mentor with poorly disguised irritation until the elderly professor spoke.

“You are to go to the Hospital Wing, Elizabeth. I shall not allow you back into this classroom until I have been assured that you are sound.”

Elizabeth looked as though she was prepared to argue the point until Minerva McGonagall pointed in the direction of the still waiting nurse and then spoke again.

“You are to go now, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter! Do not force me to take points from Gryffindor because of the conduct of the Head Girl! It would not set a good example for the younger students.”

The younger witch looked at the group of second years that were watching the exchange with wide eyes and then finally nodded in defeat before walking to the witch that she would accompany. A student handed her the wand that she had dropped and she nodded with gratitude before tucking it back into her robes. She vanished with the nurse as the young girl shook her hand vigorously as if it was painful.

“Is there a problem, Miss Gyles?”

“Yes, Professor McGonagall, I don’t think that her wand liked me touching it.”

“Some wands are like that, Miss Gyles, and Elizabeth’s wand is one of the most powerful at resisting the possession of it, no matter how brief. I have experienced what you are right now and the sensation will fade soon. Now, as I was saying before she collapsed, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter has created a wonderful example of transfiguration and, although I do not expect the same of you, I would very much like you to see the results of years of practice.”

The second years followed their teacher into the neighboring classroom to fill it with oohs and aahs as they walked through the paths of the rainforest. Elizabeth sat quietly on one of the beds in the Hospital Wing while the nurse looked her over. Finally the witch stepped back and nodded with satisfaction.

“I think that you have recovered enough to go to class, Elizabeth.”

“That’s what I thought too, but you and Professor McGonagall insisted on this.”

“Elizabeth,” the nurse answered softly, “Minerva looks at you as the daughter that she never had. She is very fond of you, as I am certain that you are aware, and is not looking forward to seeing the end of this term and your departure.”

“I’m not looking forward to it either because I’ll miss being here and seeing people that I love, especially her.”

“I remember you when you first came to Hogwarts, Elizabeth; you were such a tiny thing. You lacked the confidence that you needed and had a reputation to overcome. But you have done both things Elizabeth and for that you should be very proud.”

“Thank you.”

Elizabeth stepped forward to hug the older woman and then hurried out of the room before the bottle of Pain-B-Gone could materialize. It was not long before she was walking back into the classroom to listen to the lecture that was being presented on the subject material that someday she would likely teach. Only Minerva McGonagall seemed aware of her presence and she listened to the very lesson that she had experienced when the rat had been transfigured into something a bit entertaining. The cages were on the desks and she watched quietly as the second years made rather interesting attempts to create what was needed. A cage containing a rat appeared before her and she looked up at the mischief filled eyes of the professor before reaching into the container to remove the specimen.

“This won’t hurt a bit,” she whispered as she reassured the animal and drew her wand in preparation for what she was about to do.

“Ferra Vaerto’!”

Instantly the rat vanished to be replaced by a crystal ink well which she held up as if in triumph.

“Very nicely done, Elizabeth,” Professor McGonagall announced, “but I believe that a quill is needed to complete that set and you may not use your own. A transfiguration is needed to make it satisfactory.”

The young witch glanced around the room and her eyes fell upon a moth which had just landed on a nearby bookshelf. Almost instantly the moth became the required quill and was being placed into the opening at the top of the well.

“Excellent work, Elizabeth. Class, while Mrs. Blackwell-Potter did not need the practice I wanted you to see that many of you are trying too hard,” the professor announced as she addressed the class. “Relax and it will work as you desire it to. Visualize what you want and it will appear as you want it.”

Elizabeth removed the quill and then tapped it gently with her wand while casting the counter. Instantly the moth reappeared and was released to flutter away. The rat was next and soon was back in its cage on the table before the teaching assistant as, one after the other, inkwells appeared before the second years.

Professor McGonagall could see the gratitude in the eyes of the girl and knew that Elizabeth had wanted desperately to relive a favorite memory from her past. The young witch had irrevocably changed over the years and the young, frightened girl was forever banished to yesterday, regardless of how much Elizabeth desired her return.

As the rats returned from their brief stint as inkwells Elizabeth rose to assist those students who had not yet been able to reverse their efforts. She was nearly to a boy from Gryffindor who had been growing increasingly angry when he picked up the inkwell next to him and slammed it downward onto the stone floor where it shattered into hundreds of pieces. Near silence resulted as professor and teaching assistant rounded on the child.

“Mister Landon, you have not only failed this lesson,” Professor McGonagall announced through lips that had gone thin with anger, “but have earned yourself a trip to Professor Leeds. You all need to remember that, despite their form, our subjects are what they are, living things. This rat,” she indicated as she pointed at the shattered remains, “is now dead. There is no magic which can reverse this and Mister Landon has shown extremely poor judgement with his actions. Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, will you tend to the class while I escort Mister Landon to the headmaster?”

“Yes, Professor McGonagall, I will do just that.”

While the boy and professor left the room, Elizabeth looked down at the devastation with tears in her eyes as she drew her wand.


The students around her watched as the wreckage vanished and then at her as she spoke while her eyes filled with tears.

“Before you do something which could harm your subject, please remember to put yourself in its place. Ask yourself if you would want that to happen to you. This is why the staff and Prefects NEVER use transfiguration as a punishment here at Hogwarts, EVER! Your class on magical law will cover this and its legal consequences more in depth. I know that Professor McGonagall has assigned you some reading, so make certain that your rat is in its cage and you may be dismissed early to read.”

“I don’t know why you are getting so upset! It was only a rat,” a girl from Ravenclaw announced.

“Place yourself in its position, Miss Sidell; if that rat had the wand and you were the subject would you want to be dashed against the floor without a choice in the matter?”

The girl shook her head and Elizabeth nodded with satisfaction, her point had gotten across.

“Be certain that your subjects are secure and then you may leave.”

Elizabeth watched as the children began to file out and then realized that the Ravenclaw girl was waiting to speak to her. The girl shyly approached the older student as Elizabeth closed on her.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter, I shouldn’t have argued with you.”

“Emma,” Elizabeth answered as she put her hand on the shoulder of the girl, “please do not forget the fact that we are all entitled to our opinion. Just remember also the ramifications of your actions and their permanency. What happened to that rat ended its life and nothing can change that, we need to always be careful with our choices and how they can affect others.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the girl answered.

“Now, get on to the mid-day meal.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

“I always will.”

Elizabeth watched as the younger girl walked out of the room and then glanced at the empty cage. It alone remained on the tables while the others had been sent to where they were kept. A second glance at the cage brought a feeling of mourning as she remembered the teachings that the elves had given her. The fate of the rat reinforced the feeling of reverence that the elves had for life and that she had learned. She watched as the cage vanished and then walked out of the classroom to walk to the Great Hall and the mid-day meal.

As she walked across the courtyard she thought back to the empty cage and a plan that was beginning to form in her mind. Koeppler had been dealt with using something that resembled a maze that one might place a rat in. Perhaps the next time an assault on her thoughts was made it would be time to send the attacker into the maze that the ancient wizard had found so maddening.

The hallways seemed to stretch on forever and when she finally arrived the large room was rapidly filling. She made her way to her normal seat to find Lily and Beatrice already seated and waiting for her.

“Someone took their time today,” Lily remarked with a grin.

“Yeah, I had a lot on my mind,” she answered as her bowl filled with hot stew and she placed two thick slices of bread on the plate next to the bowl.

“Is it about him again?” Lily asked.

“Yeah, it is. I thought that being preoccupied with a moldy old wizard was bad enough, but thinking about my father and what he wants to do is about to drive me batty.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m just getting ready for the next time that he tries something. I have a little surprise ready for whoever decides to pay me an uninvited visit. It won’t be much fun for them.”

“I don’t even think that I like the sound of that,” Beatrice commented after thinking about what her friend had said.

Elizabeth answered with a grim smile as she dipped a piece of bread into the stew and then savored it. She glanced around the room and her gaze fell upon Kimberlee. The small girl was still being excluded by her peers, sitting alone while she tried to eat as tears filled her eyes. Elizabeth rose and then, ignoring questions from her friends; walked to the smaller child and spoke to her.

“Kimberlee, why don’t you come down here and sit across from me? I really would like it if you did.”

The little girl nodded slowly and then walked to an empty seat across from where the Head Girl had been sitting. The girl who normally occupied the place was in the Hospital Wing and would not be joining them for the meal so Elizabeth had no qualms about inviting the child. She walked back to her own seat and then settled down as the meal of the child appeared before her.

“Are you okay, Kimberlee?”

“No one likes me.”

“I like you.”

“You’re a Teaching Assistant, you’re supposed to like everyone,” the girl responded as her defenses rose.

“I do like you and it’s not because of what I am. Is there anything that I can do to help?”

The girl shrugged as she ate.

“Would you like me to continue calling you Kimberlee or would you prefer something else?”

The girl paused and then finally spoke hesitantly.

“My mom calls me Kim.”

“Would you like me to call you that? I will if you want me to.”

The small girl nodded as she looked into the sincere eyes of the older student.

“Then Kim it is. If I goof up and call you Kimberlee don’t be afraid to remind me. It won’t make me mad.”

“Really, it won’t make you mad at me?”

“It won’t make me mad in the least.”

Elizabeth caught a hint of a smile in response and knew that she had made headway with her student.

As the pair ate and talked, Lily and Beatrice joined their friend as she worked at pulling the child out of the shell that she was in. Once the smaller girl felt confident enough to talk to the older girls a smile was more prevalent on her face.

“Where are you from?” Lily asked after introducing herself.

“Leicester, my family has always lived there. Where do you live, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter?”

“Near London, but please, here at the table or in the common room you can call me Elizabeth.”

“I’m sorry,” the little girl answered as it appeared that she was about to cry.

“Kim,” Elizabeth responded as a tear ran down the face of the girl, “I’m not angry. Please don’t cry.”

The girl nodded and then brightened as the conversation continued, sitting wide-eyed as she found out that she was sitting near the sister of Harry Potter.

“He’s really your Dad?”

“Yep,” Lily answered, “and she’s married to my brother, Albus.”

Elizabeth agreed with her friend as she noted the increasing confidence within the child.

“Kim, are the others being mean to you?”

Kim went sober immediately at the question from Elizabeth and then slowly nodded, the smile gone.

“You just stay near me when you can and I will put a stop to it.”


The remainder of the meal passed with more conversation and finally laughter from the first year, who Elizabeth found to be enchanting and witty. The seventh year soon found she was laughing at what the girl was saying and her friends were as well. The first year rose with them as the meal ended and hurried to meet the Head Girl at the end of the table near the door. Elizabeth wasn’t surprised when the younger student threw her arms around her to present a hug and the older girl reached down to return the affection.

The Head Girl glanced at the other first years as they passed and the look that she gave them transmitted the message as well as words would have. She wouldn’t tolerate further exclusion of the child and punishment was certain for anyone that continued the practice. Kim looked up into the eyes of her new friend and smiled before Elizabeth playfully ruffled her hair.

“You get on to class and I will see you at the evening meal. Don’t let anyone give you a hard time or they will deal with me, okay?”


The little girl hurried away and Elizabeth turned to her friends to find Lily looking at her with an expression on her face that the seventh year had often seen her mother wear.

“Don’t do it, Elizabeth,” Lily warned.

“Don’t do what?” Elizabeth answered although she knew exactly what her friend was saying.

“She’s not Victoria, don’t let yourself get hurt.”

“She needs someone here, Lily, just like I did when I first came to Hogwarts. I can’t turn my back on her and I won’t.”

“Just don’t let yourself get hurt.”

“I won’t,” Elizabeth said sharply.

Lily recoiled from the response and her friend saw the hurt immediately.

“I’m sorry, Lily, I shouldn’t have said it that way. I just miss Victoria so much and maybe I am using Kim to ease that hurt, but maybe she can help me like I want to help her. Are we still friends?”

“Yeah, we’re still friends,” Lily answered as they hugged, “but you can be so damn mental sometimes.”

“Look at who I hang around with,” Elizabeth responded with a grin.

Lily paused for a moment, trying to determine a response for the comment, before speaking.


The seventh years hurried to flying practice where they found their class waiting for the instructor. Feeling new found confidence with her abilities after the incident during the previous term, Elizabeth had become one of the better flyers in her class and now actually enjoyed the experience. The very expensive racing broom that she possessed now had several hours of use on it and she was more than a little reckless while on it.

She and Albus had spent many hours flying side by side on their brooms and had left more than a few jangled nerves among their observers, especially when they zoomed along at little more than ground level.

“Seventh years, as you all are very familiar with the basics and a great deal of the advanced information on flying I shall dispense with that information. What I wish for you to do today is to play a simple game of follow the leader and enjoy yourselves. Please, if you are using a school broom, do not destroy it! As it is two brooms will never fly again after the second years got finished with them. The students here are trying to dispose of the entire world supply of Nimbus Two Thousand and threes.”

The eyes of the seventh years followed the pointing arm of the wizard, who had just arrived, to see the shattered remains of the pair of brooms. Clearly they had impacted with something and the older students wondered what shape the students that had been riding them were in.

“You Gryffindors will notice that your point count is a bit depleted. The Parker twins decided to play a bit of chicken on these old brooms and found that they are nowhere near as maneuverable as the newer models. The twins are going to be alright, after a few doses of Pain-B-gone, but these old brooms are little more than firewood now.”

Elizabeth watched as the wizard walked away while a quill moved furiously on a parchment that floated alongside him. Clearly he was making a report about the incident and the damage that had resulted from it. The Ministry of Magic kept careful track of this sort of thing and she was grateful that she had yet to have to answer the questions that he was having to.

A few moments later several brooms rose into the air as seventh year students enjoyed the frivolities and more than a few death defying antics were displayed, much to the consternation of the watching instructor. He shook his head and then walked on in the circle that he was traveling while the accident report took shape on the parchment.

Class ended soon enough and they soon were making their way back to the castle to put the brooms that they had used away. Some had their own brooms, which were transported back to their dorms to wait for the next bout of flying practice. Elizabeth, her hair askew, laughed with her friends as they moved on to their next class and spoke quickly to each other as they settled into seats in Herbology. Neville Longbottom watched with admiration as young adults filed past him while he thought about the children that they had been.

“Your reading assignment is on the board. We will not be entering the greenhouses today, so you can either read that here or take it with you to read at your leisure. A one page parchment is due at the start of your next class, simply pick one of the questions at the end and answer it.”

The trio of friends rose and hurried out of the classroom to walk to the library to work on the assignment. Their minds would soon be occupied with the assignment at hand and neither of the other two girls that were with her realized that Elizabeth was busy preparing for the next assault on her thoughts.

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