A/N: And now: back to the plot, for a little while at least. Enjoy and REVIEW! (please)

Chapter 16: The Heirloom

            Alathea had been practically silent all through dinner and she hadn't eaten much either. She was too busy thinking. Finally the rest of the table noticed and asked her about it. "I was thinking about what Margery said. About the brooch. Do you know what it is Grandmum? And how I activate it?"           

            "Well, The only thing I have old enough to be what is mentioned in the prophesy is this." Minerva told her after a moments thought, handing her the silver pin she always wore with her robes. "But I don't know how it's activated."

            Alathea turned it over in her hands looking for a catch of some kind and her brother and Grandfather looked over her shoulders as well. She sighed. "I don't see any weird catches or anything."

            Harry patted her arm. "Don't worry. If there's something written somewhere, Hogwarts Library has it and we'll find it. Nobody beats out Hermione at research capabilities and with Ron and me helping, we can find out anything!"

            "That is unfortunately, very true." Severus commented dryly.

            "Now Severus, they aren't any worse then James and his friends, or you for that matter."

            Snape rolled his eyes. "We seem to remember things very differently Dad."

            Dumbledore chuckled quietly. "No doubt."

            "What were Dad and Prof…" a wicked grin came over Harry's face, "Uncle Severus like as kids?"

            Albus and Minerva took control of the conversation at that point, supplying anecdotes about their sons' years at school, with repeated interruptions of "that's not true" and "that isn't exactly what happened" from Severus. Harry listened entranced, greedily soaking up stories about his family but Alathea only partially listened. While her brother lost himself in a past he'd never known, she concerned herself with the future, knowing that if she didn't figure out how to activate the brooch, it wouldn't be much longer before she didn't have any family left.

            They made it back up to the castle long after curfew, but Ron and Hermione were hiding under the invisibility cloak at the gate. "Harry, it appears you have some company." Dumbledore told him nodding toward where they were hidden.

            Harry grinned as the cloak was thrown off and his best friends stood in front of him. "One of these days you're going to have to tell me how you do that." Harry insisted to his Grandfather. The older man simply smiled. "What are you two doing down here?"

            "Waiting for you of course." Ron told him cheekily.

            The two Gryffindors fell into the group and Hermione, Ron and Harry monopolized the conversation until they were practically to the castle itself. "Hermione." The girl looked over to Alathea when her name was called. Alathea held out her hand and showed her the pin. "I need to know how to work it." She told her, trusting that Harry had filled his best friends in and that they would know what she was talking about.

            Hermione studied the pin closely despite having seen it every day of class for the past seven years. "Right. I'll get right on that. Who knows, maybe I," she stole a glance to her two friends who were raising their eyebrows at her and blushed. "We can use what we figure out as our final project for Defense Against the Dark Arts."

            "Certainly." The Headmaster assured her.

            Hermione beamed and dragged Harry and Ron away with her already telling them what books they would need to look into. Alathea watched them go wistfully. Margery had gone home this morning, leaving Alathea all alone in the world.

            She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up into her father's understanding eyes. "Come on Thea. You should probably get some sleep."