Disclaimer: I only wish the characters were mine.

A Best Forgotten Conspiracy

Chapter 1

The sky seemed to have lightened just a little, the black over head was not quite as intense, or the stars quite as bright as they had been only a moment before. Redda stretched out her legs, before trying to stand. Her knees screamed in pain and her hips did not want to co-operate with her. Letting a string of curses fly, she pulled her self up using the boulders around the lake's edge as support. She leaned against one of the pieces of grey cold stone until the worse of the pain had passed, and then she stood up uncertainly until she knew she had her balance back. She sighed, judging the distance of the walk yet ahead of her and shaking her head set off for the castle.

She was cold. She was bone weary and cold. It had been a long trip though the backcountries to get here and now that her journey had ended, all she wanted to do is have a warm soft bed and enough to eat. She looked up at the tower and saw a light sputter on, signalling the start of the Headmaster's day. Pulling her cape close, and lifting the hood to ward off the cold and damp, she trudged forward with her head lowered against the wind.

A storm was coming. She could feel it in the air.

She almost made it to the main doors, but she tired too easily now. Stopping to sit on the steps, she looked out across the grounds then back up at the sky. Purple streaks of light clouds now shone across the horizon, the stars were all gone save one.

Fitting that it should be the Dog Star, she thought to herself. Fitting, she thought, that she started this all so many years ago, by the urging of Sirius Black, and that the last thing she should see in the sky should be the appearance of this star. As if he and his Animagus form were watching over her, or laughing at her plight.

She sighed and again fought to get up, knowing that Albus waited for her. He was sure to have recognized her signature when she had broke the wards and he would be waiting for her at the top of the stairs. Giving up the idea of making it to the top of the Headmasters staircase with out resting, and thinking to take only a few more moments to recover, she slumped back down and pulled up her legs to keep her knees bent, folded her arms across them and laid down her head.

She opened her eyes to see a pair of feet in front of her, one black boot tapping impatiently. Moving her eyes up to black trousers, to the hem of black robes, she did not move her head, damning herself for slipping off to sleep and leaving herself in such a vulnerable position. She thought furiously on what to do. She had tucked her wand into her waistband at the small of her back, her knife hidden in her right boot and no weapon close and easy enough to use. She knew that movement to purchase either one would take longer than she had. Only a few meters from safety, and someone had caught her.

"Sir, I would suggest you stand up, keeping you hands out of your robes," a slow voice intoned.

She put one hand down slowly, reaching for the ground to steady herself as she prepared to rise. She rolled over to her knees and reached up to hold the wall as her free hand slid to her boot and grasped the knife.

She was shoved forward and into the wall, and then roughly brought to her feet. Again, the owner of the tapping foot pushed her into the stone wall, one hand holding her face against the cold hard surface, the other reaching down grabbing the knife from her boot before she could react to the pain that shot through her. Feeling a wand stabbing her back she knew her fight had just ended before it had started.

"Your wand." The voice sneered again.

"Back," she gasped in a raspy voice, still fighting the pain. "It's at my back."

She felt the hand holding her to the wall release her only to grab her right wrist, and twisting it painfully, pinning it against her back. His other hand reached under her cape, pushed her robes aside and removed her wand from its resting place. He then pushed her back against the wall and held her there.

"You will explain yourself," his voice was low and steady.

He released her arm and spun her around, again he slammed her in to the stone wall, brought his wand inside her hood and pressed it against her throat as he waited for her answer.

"Headmaster." Was all she could manage as her vision blurred and she felt herself slipping away.

He pulled off her hood to see who this was that dared break the wards and trespass on the school grounds. Peering at the lowered head with its dirty cropped hair, he crinkled his nose when the smell of bodily odour hit him, and rested his eyes on the grey striped fabric under her robes.

"Azkaban," he hissed. "You came from Azkaban."

He watched as the lowered head nodded once and then stilled. He was suddenly aware of his own position. His back was to the open expanse of the Hogwarts grounds while he faced the convict in front of him. He moved to the side and still with his wand at her throat, cast a glance behind him, and then back at her. Seeing no one close, no shadows out of place, and knowing that soon the sun would be full up he grabbed her hair and pulled her head up to see her face.

He had thought a wizard was standing in front of him. The clothing she wore, the cape and robes, was that of a man. The cropped hair cut short, as if a wizard too long without a wand had hacked at it. The face he looked into belonged to a witch. Her eyes locked on his, fearless and dull. He released her hair and watched her head lower back down to rest on her chest.

"What do you want here?" He stepped back and lowered his wand seeing how unfit she appeared.

"Headmaster," she said again. "He expects me."

"We shall see." He raised his wand and sent his Patronus to the Headmaster rather than take this witch into the castle.

She lifted her head, rested it against the wall, and looked at him, taking in his full measure. Her eyes were unwavering. She turned her head slightly and spat on to the ground to rid herself of blood that had welled up in her mouth. Looking back, she saw a tall lean wizard, his black hair in curtains around his face, as if to shield off inquisitive stares. He was not a good-looking wizard, but his carriage struck Redda as almost regal. It was a practiced stance he bore, one that he wore with conscience thought, like a cape, or a concealment charm meant to confuse and belie the true wizard. She smirked and looked beyond him to the grounds.

"I see you find this amusing," he said coldly.

"I find you amusing." She looked back at his near black eyes as she felt her knees giving out and slid down the wall, coming to rest of the ground.

The doors opened wide as the Headmaster strode out in a flurry of colourful robes. He scowled, seeing his Potions Professor standing in front of the fallen witch and rushed over to her, going down on one knee.

"Child," he said and watched her closely, "I sent out wizards to find you and help you back, but to no avail."

"It is fine, Headmaster," she sighed in relief. "I did not know if I was still welcomed. I came to give you the information."

"You are always welcomed here my dear." The Headmaster reached up to push her hood further back.

"Severus," he said, standing up looking down at the witch. "Help our good Miss Livingston to the infirmary."

"Yes Headmaster." Professor Snape nodded as he stepped forward.

Then passing his hand in the air over her head and merely thinking of the incantation, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry put her to sleep.

"I am sure she will be more comfortable this way until Madame Pomfrey can ease her pain." Albus said looking down at the crumbled witch with a cold stare.

"She once claimed loyalty to the cause." Albus turned to look at Severus sternly. "She has been gone too long, and too long in the company of Azkaban to trust any longer. Keep an eye on her Severus, keep a close eye on her."

A/N: I know this has been posted a while and the story is complete. However, input is still appreciated as I update and edit constantly.