Without stopping to draw what little breath their lungs could hold the trio began racing towards North Tower. Their assumptions about Bellatrix had not been correct however, soon enough they could hear her boot clicking frantically on the ground as she chased them. But there was an extra rhythm this time, quieter, very quiet, but unmistakably there, a sort of light thudding that was much more rapid that Bellatrix's pace.
For a moment Harry thought it must be his heart before he realised McGonagall was now on their tail in her Animagus form. They would never outrun her forever. Harry dreaded to think how close McGonagall was as he could hear Bellatrix's gleeful voice echoing through the corridors.
"My mommy's going to kill you Potter! She'd going to chop you up and feed you to the werewolves. Mmmmmm, saviour- skin!"
Her cackle followed them and for the first time that evening they achieved some luck, North Tower was before them. Smiling for what felt like the first time in hours, Harry, Ron and Hermione ran up the stairs to the Divination tower just as a grey tabby with spectacle marks leapt at them from behind. She landed on the back of Ron's head but he wrenched her from him, suffering some deep scratches as he did and threw her into the air. She landed raced at them again but they had already crossed the threshold and she was repelled by and invisible wall from entering the tower. Confused they pulled the attic door firmly shut and frantically pulling a small bookshelf on top of the door, knowing rationally it would stop McGonagall and Bellatrix for all of a nanosecond.
They dashed into the classroom but found the teacher notable by her absence, although a faint spell of incense and sherry lingered in the room. Although none of them had ever been there they knew her personal quarters were connected to her teaching room, making her unique as a member of staff. Banging on the door first they gave up politeness and burst through the door to find the professor sat at a desk-side window, writing a letter.
"I heard you the first time Miss Granger."
Her ethereal tones had completely vanished, as had her scarves and Harry registered that she looked remarkably normal. He thought he must have been dreaming, all this treachery simply could not be happening. Not only had the granite-like Professor McGonagall turned out to be traitor, but the frankly useless Trelawney was completely calm about it. Surely she couldn't be against them too.
"It's McGonagall. She's a Death Eater."
This at least seemed to raise Trelawney's head from her letter, but she was yet to turn to them; Harry was not for risking this again tonight and marched forward, grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her round.
He mastered his start when he realised she was not wearing any glasses, but also she seemed completely unperturbed at being man-handled by a student who had not particularly liked her. In fact, for a moment, she seemed to have the same twinkle in her eye that Dumbledore had had, but Harry ignored this and tried to employ his amateurish Legilimency skills on the Professor but found himself blocked, not by the similar bars of Occlumency, but something entirely different.
Smiling Trelawney obliged his confusion.
"It's the Seers mind Harry. You can not see what I see because the visions do not belong to me. My mind is not truly my own."
Hermione strode forward urgently now, seeming to forget the last time she had spoken with Sybill Trelawney was over three years ago and it had not ended well.
"Professor, we need you help. McGonagall and Bellatrix Lestrange are right outside your door."
At the mention of Bellatrix Trelawney started and flew to her feet, grabbing her wand off the desk, and began pulling Ron away from the door to join the others.
"I had not anticipated her being here also. As you may have seen Minerva is not allowed to enter my rooms, Albus long ago separated these rooms from the rest of the castle; they are an entity unto themselves. And as such I may keep away intruders, even if they happen to be the Headmistress of Hogwarts."
"Or a High Inquisitor?" Ron asked suddenly, seeming to regret it seconds later. Trelawney looked impressed.
"Here was I believing nobody had noticed my continual presence in the school that year. Never mind though, Delores Umbridge, despite what my delicate condition may have suggested was nothing. This is Bellatrix Lestrange, and she may be able to enter. All of you get behind me."
Having no choice but to stand behind her for the time being they did so and Harry noticed with some guilt that the Divination Professor looked more emaciated than ever before. Since the war had began he had given her no thought – granted he had given her little before but still – and here she was trapped in the attic whilst a Death Eater McGonagall and Bellatrix hounded her door. She must have been terrified. If she had, however, she gave no sign of it now. Slowly edging towards the door to her living quarters, wand held high and protecting the trio, he couldn't help but think that Dumbledore would be proud of her.
There was a strong thud at the door to the attic outside and Hermione let out a small scream and clung to Professor Trelawney's shoulders. Harry noticed vaguely that they were the same height now and there was a certain resemblance between them. He made a mental note to tell them both later when they had escaped, he was sure they would both laugh about it. The thud grew louder and louder before a great crash announced the admittance of Bellatrix into the attic.
"There through here mummy, with the Seer."
"Good girl Bella, bring them all out to me…"
"Can't I kill one!"
"NO! I have scores with all of them. You hear me don't you Sybill! I'm coming to get you!"
The maniacal laughter pierced the silence and nobody was sure whether it came from Bellatrix or McGonagall. It was very likely that it was both of them. Without warning Trelawney spun around and for a brief second Harry's stomach dropped and he thought she had betrayed them too, but she began pushing them towards the fire. She threw some Floo powder into the flames, pushed Hermione and Ron in whilst muttering clearly "Ministry of Magic".
They vanished before they could open their mouths to protest and she turned to Harry with a look of finality on her face.
"Go Potter. Bring the Aurors."
With that she pushed him in and he felt himself vanish. When he arrived at the Ministry it was to find himself on the floor with the green fire still burning, immediately he put his head into the flames and went back to Trelawney's tower to get her through.
Bellatrix was through the door and battling with Trelawney and it was plain to see that while the teacher was no novice with a wand she had never had need to fight battles like this before. He had to get her out of there. However it was Bellatrix who noticed him first.
"Ha ha! Little Potter's come back to save you Seer!"
A more experienced dueller would have ignored Bellatrix's taunts but in the brief second Trelawney took to turn her head the Death Eater sent her final curse. Harry saw the green light first.
"Sybill for Merlin's sake wake up!"
Sybill Trelawney opened her eyes not to see the cold, dead ones of Bellatrix Lestrange but the faintly amused, twinkling blue ones of Albus Dumbledore and a quick glance across the room showed her Minerva McGonagall, looking as staunch as ever. If ever a person were not a Death Eater it was she.
Sybill couldn't quite believe it. She had dreamt all that – but with such clarity, it had happened.
"I had the oddest dream."
"I expect we were both there were we." McGonagall's usual brisk, faintly sarcastic voice made wonder where her sub-conscious had conjured the voice which had threaten her and cackled with Bellatrix.
"No, you were. Albus you were…well dead."
She noted vaguely that Dumbledore didn't seem half as started by this news as McGonagall did.
"Yes, something to do with the Malfoy boy…"
"Hmmm, Draco Malfoy. Interesting. I must speak with Severus. If you excuse me ladies."
He had been absent for all of three seconds before…
"What utter rubbish! The Malfoy boy indeed! His father was only yesterday put in Azkaban somehow I do not think he needs you balderdash prediction over his head also."
Sybill began to get irate. She had not claimed it was a prophetic dream, but every attempt at friendliness she attempted in the staff room was met with coolness and ridicule these days. Now Umbridge was leaving she felt happy again and McGonagall was not going to ruin her day.
"Would you care to know the specifics of my dream Minerva? There was some highly informative images of yourself…and your daughter."
Sybill would be the first to admit her own eyesight was not the best but no powers on the earth would convince her what she had just seen in McGonagall's eyes had not been fear. It was gone quickly but it had been there and was now replaced with the usual stony indifference.
"I have no idea what you are talking about Sybill."
There was silence for several seconds during which Sybill wondered briefly whether McGonagall was about to kill her. To alleviate her fears the staff room door came bursting open and Madame Hooch practically skipped inside.
"Afternoon you two. Absolutely bloody glorious weather isn't it? And we've finally got rid of the old toad. I think this a good day to give young Potter his Broomstick back and maybe I'll get the teams together later for a friendly end of term game? What'd reckon Minerva? Think they'd go for it, after the news and all?"
Whilst she had been speaking Sybill had backed slowly into her seat, allowing the Quidditch Mistress to take away Minerva's notice. Unfortunately for both of them Hooch could be notoriously clumsy and sent a mug toppling straight towards Minerva who tried to shield her face and soaked her left sleeve through. she grabbed it as though it were on fire. Her shrieks were piercing.
"Madame Hooch! I would very much appreciate it if you could watch what you're bloody well doing next time! Clumsy fool, you've scolded through my skin!"
With that Minerva left and thoroughly scared Divination Professor and an utterly confused Flying Instructor. Hooch fell into the seat next to Sybill and in a perplexed voice spoke.
"It's funny, I could have sworn that water was cold."