The holiday had been a quiet one, outwardly at least. To Olivia, it had been filled with emotion and her mind and heart couldn't stop whirling. The crisp January breeze pricked her cheeks as she leaned on the Astronomy Tower balcony, looking out at the quiet scenery.
They hadn't spoken much more, her and her father, but there were reassuring glances whenever one or the other were found looking rather solemn. She practiced much more, her determination evident. Olivia honestly wasn't sure how she would react around Harry, knowing what she did. There was no way she could show that things had changed at all, but that was easier said than done. Knowing he was her brother and not being able to reach out to him...it saddened her a little. When it's over...she promised herself.
"There you are," came a familiar voice, an arm wrapping around her from behind. She smiled, grasping his hand. "Hayden said he saw you come this way," Draco said, his breath warming her ear. "You seem different since term started. Something wrong?"
Olivia could tell that he was concerned. Turning her head slightly towards him, she gave him a small smile. "Just had some rough nights over the holiday...nightmares. I can't seem to get them out of my head."
"Me too," he said simply. He moved to put both arms around her middle as she straightened, relaxing into the warmth of him.
"You do realize we're breaking a vital school rule," she teased, smiling when he huffed a laugh into her hair. "For shame, Mr. Malfoy, a member of the Inquisitorial Squad, breaking rules...what's next?"
"When have I ever followed them?"
She winced, recovering from the hit she'd taken. Her lip was bleeding from where she'd bit it during the impact, but she couldn't stop. Instead, she just let it fuel her as she continued her casting. He certainly wasn't letting up.
Olivia could tell, however, that she was making him work, seeing more movement in his steps. The power behind a couple of her spells were seeming to push his balance. Her cutting jinxes did nothing due to the material of his robes. Fire based spells were useless. She had to rely on force and other spells that would effect his speed and ability.
She'd lost count of the bruises and tiny cuts along her arms and torso, her shirt damp with a mix of sweat and the small amount of blood the cuts produced. She was starting to grow tired, her balance wavering, but she couldn't let this go without one more hit. Just one more.
Feeling her legs weaken, she gathered every ounce of energy and put it into one final spell, letting her legs collapse, bringing her down below his spell. It connected across his chest, pushing him back against the wall. She used the chance to disarm him, signaling that she was done.
The way that he had to use his hand to bring himself back up made her smile a little. Olivia laid down, letting her muscles relax as she caught her breath. The dull pain throughout her body made her clench her eyes shut. She could taste the blood from her lip and brought a hand up to feel how bad it was.
"Here," his voice sounded beside her. Helping her to sit up, he healed her lip easily and held out a potion for her. As she drank it, he lifted her arms, healing a few cuts before lifting her shirt to heal the few that marred her stomach and sides.
"I need a coat like yours," she laughed weakly.
"The force of your spells has gotten better because I wear it. You rely on your spells to do the damage for you." She nodded in agreement. "However, you caught on quickly and changed tactics."
"Can anything penetrate that thing?"
"It isn't indestructible, but you remember it taking the majority of the damage from a werewolf. It does keep injury to a minimum." Severus helped her stand, keeping his hands on her shoulders to make sure she could stay upright. "You are improving," he said, seeing the tired, but slightly defeated look in her eyes. "It's a dramatic difference from the first time. There's something I want to show you."
He moved her back to her spot, turning her to face the wall. "What-"
"Just close your eyes. Concentrate on what's around you. I am going to cast, but not to make contact. I want you to feel when the magic enters the air, the moment I cast, and in which direction."
Olivia's eyes widened, but she took a breath and closed her eyes. As soon as she felt the familiar prick of magic in the air, she let him know, "There." Only a second later, she felt the release of it, "There." Olivia could feel the air to her left shift, "To my left?"
"Good. What I want you to be able to do next, is deflect an unexpected attack, no matter if you see the attacker draw their wand or no. You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. When you sit in a classroom, take a few seconds to just feel who is casting in which areas of the room. We feel it so much that we don't notice it unless we're paying attention."
She nodded, understanding the importance of being able to detect it and where it's coming from.
"What's going on?" she asked, seeing Magnus standing among a few other Slytherins in the corridor, all whispering and staring at the entrance to Dumbledore's office.
"Draco and the others caught Potter's group in a secret room. Umbridge practically blew the whole floor up. Apparently they've been practicing defense most of the term. The Minister just went in a moment ago." He combed his fingers through his wavy brown hair. "I swear if this puts Umbridge here permanently, I'm gonna move to Bulgaria," he groaned.
She laughed, "You wouldn't be alone." Olivia looked around. "Is Draco up there?"
"No, he went back to the common room," he sighed. "I'm heading back. Want to walk with me?"
As they turned to head back down towards the dungeons, Olivia felt the energy wave, distant but heavy. She looked back towards the Headmaster's office, not expecting to see anything, but wondering what had happened.
"What is it?" Magnus asked, seeing her pause.
"Oh, nothing; thought I heard something."
Unfortunately for all of them, Umbridge was named Headmistress that very next morning. The tension could be felt in every corner of the castle. Olivia found herself studying in her father's quarters more than usual, just to avoid the ever-present eye of their new Headmistress.
She had just finished up her Arithmancy essay as he was grading some third year assignments. Packing away her parchment and quill, she closed her book. "I'm off to bed, Daddy." She walked over to his desk, not looking too closely as the essay laid in front of him that seemed to be covered in red ink. "Night," she kissed his cheek, "see you tomorrow."
When her fingers reached down to pick up her book from the table, she felt the prick of magic behind her. Olivia quickly drew her wand, ducking down as she turned to deflect the spell that was heading towards her.
The spell went overhead just before she had been able to deflect. She sighed in disappointment as she lowered her wand. He'd barely aimed, still grading away, loosely holding his wand in his left hand. His eyes lifted to hers. "Goodnight, Olivia."
"Seriously?" she asked, groaning as she stood.
"Keep practicing," he said simply as she headed towards the portrait to the Slytherin common room.
Draco was sitting on a couch in front of the fireplace when she entered, many of the students having gone to bed already. He glanced up from his book and looked around, noticing only a handful of older students across the room.
"Potions essay?" she asked, seeing the text in his lap.
"Yeah," he said, his exhaustion evident.
"Careful. Daddy's been very red ink happy this week."
"Mind reading over it when I'm done tomorrow? I can't seem to think straight lately."
"Of course. Something wrong?" Olivia asked.
"Just not sleeping much." Draco reached up to rub at his eyes.
"Did something happen? I don't think I've seen you well-rested since term started," she said quietly.
"Not really, just a feeling I've got."
She didn't ask anything more. "I'll be right back," she whispered, taking her things and heading upstairs towards her dorm. Both of her dorm mates had closed off the curtains to their beds for the night so she quietly settled her things on her bed before opening her trunk.
Olivia had taken it upon herself to grab a few calming and sleeping potions to add to her stash of Pepper-up and headache relief potions. She grabbed a couple of Dreamless Sleep and headed back downstairs.
"Here," she said, sitting back down next to him. "Since it's pretty late already, just take half of one so you won't be foggy in the morning. If you need some more, let me know, but use it sparingly."
"Thanks," he said, pocketing the vials. He sighed, looking back down at his parchment.
"Draco," she said, concern filling her voice. When he looked up at her, she reached over to take the quill from his hand. "Go to bed. If your essay isn't done tomorrow, I'll help you finish it. You need some rest." All he could do was nod in acquiesce as she helped him put his things away.
Olivia was walking through the corridor on her way to the library. She finished double potions only moments earlier. The castle was fairly quiet, the fifth year students being in their exams for most of the day. She hoped that Draco had gotten a good night's rest instead of staying up all night studying.
She rounded a corner and started up the staircase when she heard a distant popping sound that seemed to echo through the halls. Turning, she looked back down the way she'd came, looking down towards the great hall, where Umbridge was now standing outside, seeming to try to find the sorce of the sound.
Just as she thought there was nothing, two figures flew past her and down towards the great hall. The Weasley Twins. She laughed as she watched them fly into the hall, many flashes of brilliant light following. Olivia could hear the students cheering.
Umbridge came running out as she took a few steps back down, trying to see what was going on. Fiery sparks seemed to explode around her and spin, sending more sparks crashing into the wall behind her. As the sparks died out, every decree that had been nailed to the wall came crashing down. Olivia couldn't help but cover her mouth, hiding the obvious gape. If she'd never been impressed with anything, she certainly was in that moment.
Students came running out as the twins flew outside. She followed the crowd slowly, not wanting to seem too excited about what she'd seen. Inside, she was cheering just as loudly for them, especially after seeing Umbridge on the floor, hair slightly singed and wild, with a look of utter terror on her face.
Deciding it was best if she left, Olivia turned and headed back towards the library. It wasn't until she'd reached the second staircase that she heard voices coming up behind her.
"Harry, are you sure?" she heard Hermione ask fervently.
Olivia took a few steps into the corridor just off the stairwell as she listened intently.
"I saw it. It's just like with Mr. Weasley. It's the same door I've been dreaming about for months only I couldn't remember where I'd seen it before. Sirius said Voldemort was after something, something he didn't have the last time and it's in the Department of Mysteries." Olivia's mind was whirling as she listened to Potter's speech. He had dreams, too.
"Harry, please, just listen." Hermione gave him pause. "What if Voldemort meant for you to see this? What if he's only hurting Sirius because he's trying to get to you?"
"Well, what if he is? I'm supposed to just let him die? Hermione, he's the only family I've got left." Olivia wanted so badly to reveal herself, but she kept silent, waiting for them to say more or move on. She heard a quiet mutter before he spoke again. "We'll have to use the Floo Network."
"But Umbridge has the chimneys under surveillance."
"Not all of them."
After she heard their steps fade, she swept out of the corridor and back downstairs as fast as she could. If they were leaving the castle, her father needed to know. She took the shortcut to the dungeons, hoping he was still in his classroom.
She grasped the handle and pushed the door open, thankful that it wasn't locked. Olivia closed the door directly behind her and let out a breath as she saw his figure standing from behind his desk. Seeing the look on her face, he drew his wand, locked the door and cast a Muffliato.
"I think Potter's trying to leave the castle. He said something about the Dark Lord killing Black and something in the Department of Mysteries," she spouted, trying to get straight to the point.
"Idiot Potter," he seethed, rounding the desk. He took long strides towards the door. "Where are they?"
"They said something about using the Floo Network. Umbridge's office is the only one they'd be able to use."
A banging on the door startled her. Severus looked at the door, raising his finger to his mouth as he released the muffling spell. He unlocked the door, standing aside, and Filch came in a couple steps. "The Headmistress needs to see you, Professor. Potter's got himself into some nasty trouble again. She said to bring the usual."
He sighed as if annoyed at the intrusion. Turning, Filch took his leave. Severus shut the door and locked it again before muffling the room once more. "Olivia, stay here for a moment. I'll be back."
Olivia watched the door close behind him. Her shoulders fell as she put her bag on the back table. She felt slightly helpless. She hated waiting when she felt she should be doing something. Instead of doing nothing, she thought about everything that was happening.
Potter was in trouble. The Dark Lord had Black, likely killing him, or so they believe. He had dreams. Did he have a vision of what was going on? Were they alike in this way or was this different? Hermione had said something about the Dark Lord wanting him to see it. Did he have control over Harry's mind? It was terrifying to think about. Olivia suddenly remember the look in his eyes at the Order.
A chill came over her. If the Dark Lord could make Potter see visions, could it work the other way around? Could the Dark Lord see what Potter saw or know what he was thinking? She had to be careful. There was absolutely no way she could ever be known to help them. Period.
She wanted so badly to help him, though. She wanted to see all of this end. She just had to do it secretly, like she and Draco had in her first year.
A while later, the door opened. Olivia looked at him, waiting to see what she needed to do. Again, he locked the door and cast a Muffliato. "I have to leave to find Dumbledore. I don't think they'll be leaving the castle anytime soon, but I must find out for sure whether what Potter said is true." Severus continued, "I want you to discretely keep an eye on them. They are in Umbridge's office now. If you see them leave, go to the Headmaster's office and tell Headmaster Black's portrait to get a message to the Order. His office password changed to 'ice mice' after he left."
Olivia nodded without a word as he released the spell and opened the door to leave. Grabbing her things, she went to his desk, stashing them beneath it. She unclasped her robes and laid it across his chair, leaving only her school uniform and her wand, which was hidden in its usual spot, tucked into her left sleeve and secured with a sticking charm.
As she left the classroom, she closed and locked the door behind her. She would need to be able to see Umbridge's office in order to watch them so she started taking the stairs. When she turned into the corridor, she saw Umbridge following Potter and Granger, a wand at their backs. Olivia ignored the sight, passing right by them. She turned directly into the defense classroom and took the staircase towards her office, noticing the door was slightly ajar.
Pushing the door open, she saw Draco and a few other members of the Inquisitorial Squad holding Weasley and his sister, Lovegood, and another boy she couldn't remember. Giving off an air of irritation, "Really? Are they in trouble again?" she asked Draco directly.
"When aren't they?" he scoffed.
"Why are you here?" asked Crabbe.
"I needed to see Draco for a moment." Something else in the room caught her eye; it was a stack of colorful boxes piled into a corner. Olivia thought about how she needed to get them preoccupied. She was taking a risk by even seeming to help any of them, but she didn't have much choice. "What is all that?" she asked, pretending not to notice the "W" emblazoned on the side. "Nevermind..." She gave Draco a knowing glance. "Draco, I really need that book I let you borrow. I have to finish this essay tonight."
"Right. Crabbe, Goyle, watch them, will you? I'll be back." He walked towards her and they left the classroom quietly. Halfway down the hall, he spoke up, whispering, "What's going on?"
"Just act like you're leading me to the common room. I want you to have the excuse of not being around and you know Crabbe and Goyle will see all that candy and get distracted...or ill...either is fine by me. Where was Umbridge going with Potter?"
"Granger said something about a secret weapon in the forest."
Olivia nodded as they reached the last staircase before the shortcut into the dungeons. "Go back to your dorm. You gave me a book and I left. Don't go back to her office for a little bit."
"What are you doing?" he asked, grasping her wrist as she turned to go.
"I just have to keep an eye on them for now."
"I meant why are you helping them?"
"Honestly, Draco, I can't say." She gave him an apologetic look before taking a step closer. "I'm just going with my gut right now."
Nodding, he pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her. "Do what you have to, but be careful."
"I will." She gave him a quick kiss before taking off down the corridor.
She knew that it was too soon for the others to make an escape and, surely, Potter and Granger were still caught up with Umbridge. Standing in the nook beneath the final stairwell was probably her only way to wait without being seen. Even if she was seen, she could say she was getting some fresh air since there was a nice breeze that ran through there from all the openings into the courtyard.
As it was beginning to grow dim outside, Olivia wondered if she'd missed them, but, just as she thought of going up to check, she heard the echoing of hurried steps mixed with quiet laughter. Tucking herself further into the nook so that she wouldn't be seen if any of them looked down over the side, she hoped that Potter had somehow managed to loose Umbridge in the forest. She smiled at the thought of the witch wandering the woods at night, scared out of her wits.
"That was great, Ron, but what do we do now?" sounded a boy's voice.
"Well, we certainly can't use the Floo anymore," Weasley answered.
"We need to find Harry," came a girl's voice. Olivia assumed it was Ginny Weasley because it wasn't Lovegood's usual light tone.
When they reached the bottom, she heard their steps head towards the direction of the bridge that led to the forest. Rather than following, she took the stairs back up, heading towards the closest tower that overlooked that same area. Olivia found the window where she could see the bridge and the forest both. It wasn't long before she saw two figures emerge from the trees, running back towards the castle. She waited just a few moments more, only long enough to watch all six heading back towards the forest.
Where are they going? She didn't need to find out. They had a plan; otherwise, they wouldn't have ran in that direction. The Floo was out. They had to find another way. Olivia, on the other hand, needed to get to the Headmaster's office as quickly as possible.