OOC: Hello again. I hope you all enjoy this chapter..its a wee bit emotional, but that's how all good fanfictions are, right?
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, JKR's amazing cause she owns like everything..
The girl's footsteps slowly echoed down the hallway as she pushed open the oaken door and peered inside.
The woman, framed so beautifully with her back to the child as the light of the rising sun streamed through the wide window. A pale and slim nightgown draped over her shoulders, her long black locks hanging limply at the side of her face.
The woman turned, and Dania looked upon the face that so many feared.
Sharp, slits for pupils, dark yellow colors. Sunken bones to give a haunted appearance, the same haunting expression resting in those horrible unnatural eyes of hers. Lips, so pale and slender it was as if they did not belong. Scales rippled over her neck, in shades of grey and white, matching her pale skin perfectly, while they also touched her hands.
Dania could not disguise the look on her face, that of loathing and open awe- curiosity and disgust.
"Nerah'd'r ...please, not today."
Dania flinched. Her mother, so worn, so weary that it hurt Dania to look upon her. The sound of her own name coming from a creature like a skeleton..it was like a nightmare, spirits and monsters whispering her name.
"Mother..I have come to say good-bye."
"I go to seek the Dark Lord."
Her eyes widened in fear. "Please...Nerah'd'r, do not leave me. Do not join this war."
Anger surged through Dania. "How dare you plead that of me? You know very well how I have longed for this-"
"This is not something you wish to join!"
"I wish it with all my heart and soul! I have always known I was different! The other children hated me and I hated them. I felt the snake inside me, coiled and ready to strike all my life! You cannot forbid me from letting it free! You did the same as a child- I will do this, Mother!"
"Nerah'd'r, do not do as I did! Please, I do not want you to be where I am!" The sunlight streamed over her raven hair, causing the scales to shimmer with a sheen. So horrifying was this snake woman, her bony body without flesh it seemed, simply skin stretched over empty body parts.
"I want to be like you! I want to do what you did!"
Her mother studied her for the longest time, breaking Dania's heart as the eyes rested on her face, seeming to see into her soul.
"You want to be like me?" she asked quietly, her eyes holding Dania's. "You want to wake every day andweep because you are still breathing? You want to look into your reflection, and fear what you see?" Her voice was steady but tears began to stream down her face. "You want to watch the sun rise each day, and wish it would never set- even though the light blinds you? You want to lay in your bed each evening, only to see the faces of people haunting you forever? You want to kill with your bare hands, and to have stains of blood upon your skin?"
"Nerah'd'r...do not fool yourself my sweet. It is a life no one would want. I am unique, as you say. I have lived where you do now. And I would give everything in the world to never have been born."
Dania closed her eyes, not willing to look at her mother any longer. "Mother..please. I must go..it is my calling."
The mother looked away to the floor. "I never wanted to see you do this Nerah'd'r."
"And you will put me through this pain still?"
"As you once said, I am not pure. I will do what I believe I should."
Her mother shook slightly, the tears still streaming from her snake-like eyes. "If you must..please, Nerah'd'r...set me free."
Dania opened her eyes to stare at her. "No. I cannot do that. You ask too much of me."
"Set your mother free. Only your love binds me to this world. And you will abandon it in these next few years. I have lived only because of you and I do not want to waste away watching you die. Please, I beg of you."
Dania blinked, sudden tears coming to her eyes. No, she would not cry. She would not show such weakness.
The words came from her mouth before Dania could speak them and an arm raised her wand mechanically. Her mother shook her head.
"No...the other way please.."
Dania blinked again, more tears sneaking down her face. Slowly, she stepped forward to embrace her mother, feeling her mother's feeble arms drape over her shoulders. "I love you mom."
"I love you too Nerah'd'r."
Dania slowly leaned forward and sank her fangs into the woman's neck.
The feeling, of the blood running through her mouth though none was swallowed, was delightful yet horrible. She could feel her mother's life ebb away..one last word leaving her lips before she fell to the ground. "Nerah...d'r.."
Dania closed her eyes. "No mother...I'm not Nerah'd'r anymore. It's Dania now. Dania Brighteyes."
Like a rose, like a thorn. I will walk your footsteps my mother, but I will take the trail you feared to take. I am stronger than you. I am Dania.
- - - - -
"What do you mean she's a Slytherin!" Ron's outraged voice echoed through the Common Room, eyes narrowed at the source of his frustration- bushy hair and schoolbooks known as Hermione Granger.
Hermione rolled her eyes and nodded. "But she's not like the others. She told me she was really unhappy to be a Slytherin- that she guessed it was in her blood. She said she wanted to be a Ravenclaw."
'So! She's still a bloody-"
"Ron! Dania is a wonderful person! She's not like the other Slytherin..besides- Aren't we supposed to be uniting?"
"Who's supposed to be uniting?"
Ron and Hermione turned their scowl and frown to Harry who entered the Common Room. "Hogwarts! I mean, honestly, the Sorting Hat said it, and Dumbledore said it!"
"She's made friends with a bloody Slytherin! A Slytherin for God's sake!"
"Hermione! Why would you do that?"
"Look, just come and meet her, please."
"Why the bloody hell would be want to meet a Slytherin?"
"Please! I don't like them just like you but she's different..I think..I think she'd be good to hang around with, especially if you're so keen on spying on Draco, Harry!"
She said the magic words. Harry studied her for a long moment then sighed. "Alright..lets go meet this mate of yours.."
"You're mental...both of you.." Ron shook his head madly as he followed them out.
The girl waited in the Great Hall, looking up at the sight of Hermione and the boys and smiling. "Hey Hermione."
Hermione smiled back. "Hi Dania- these are the people I wanted you to meet."
Dania stood up and the boys caught themselves looking her full in the face. Neither one had ever seen anyone as beautiful as her, even Ron, who had been madly attracted to the part-veela a few years back. The hair falling in long locks around her head was smooth and perfect, her skin like moonlight beams caught within it, pure. Violet eyes were studying them carefully, a soft smile curving her lips, though unlike the others who had seen these eyes, they did not trap either boy- simply allure.
"This is Ron..Ron Weasley." Dania smiled at him, holding out her hand which he took, shaking slightly.
"Ah, you're Ron then- the boy who played some pretty mean Wizards Chess in his first year. I'm glad to meet someone with your accomplishments."
Ron swelled up with pride. For once, someone wasn't saying that he was Harry's sidekick- they weren't even complimenting him on how he helped Harry. Someone was complimenting him for something he did, all by himself.
Dania turned her eyes to Harry, the amused smile disappearing. Harry nearly flinched, expecting to see her eyes flicker to his forehead, but oddly they remained on his face, his eyes in particular. Harry was amazed to see how deep those eyes of hers were.
"Ah...good to meet you Harry."
Harry was flattered. This girl wasn't automatically raving about what he did. She treated him like he was...normal.
Hermione's face was that of an amused smirk when the boys broke free from their thoughts. "See? I told you she wasn't like the other Slytherins."
Dania laughed loudly. "I hope I'm not like them! I'm certainly different from them all.." She grinned.
Hermione and she began to talk, speaking about their Ancient Ruins class, and surprising Harry. Somehow everything the girl said faded..all he could do was stare at her, into the dark eyes and then at the same time admire her beauty.
Dania smiled brightly at them again, then flicked back her hair, closing the book she had been reading. "I honestly hope you'll excuse me..I must go. I have an appointment with someone.." She smiled warmly at them. "I'll see you again, I'm sure." With a turn she disappeared out the library.
Harry and Ron both watched her go, and when they turned back to Hermione, there was a smirk on her face and that usual, 'I told you so' expression.