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Thank you to all of my readers and thank you for being so patient with my updates. Also thank you to my BETA Melissa Ivory

Chapter Sixty-Two

Complicated Love

Bellatrix Black (soon to be Lestrange) sat silently on her parents back garden, her gaze drifting across the lush landscape and a light breeze swept pass her, pushing her curly hair from her eyes. When she was a child, she always found peace among the rows of flower and exotic plants that her family kept, but as adult, one that was about to marry a man she did not truly care for, it did not leave her much comfort. Rodolphus was a good enough man, he came from an old, proud Pureblood family, much like hers. They were a good match and she would carry on his family name for him. She sighed at the thought; she didn't know if she really wanted to be a mother, she thought she would most likely neglect her child and allow the house elves to raise it until it was of the age that she could reason with it. It was how many Pureblood children were raised, though she would admit her own parents had been very indulgent of her and her sisters. They were strict in many ways but they always showed her love and affection when she needed it the most.

She supposed she could put her feelings aside and just do as she was told, it was for the best after all, but her biggest dilemma was that, while she cared for Rodolphus, she loved another. The very moment she had first laid eyes on the Dark Lord she felt a strong connection to him, and not just as a servant bound loyally to their master. Her heart leapt every time she was with him. When she was in his presence she truly felt… alive. The Dark Lord often requested her company, they would sit and talk, sometimes about politics and the cause, other times about simple things, such as their favorite meal or something interesting they had read. They had occasionally even played a game or two of chess. She felt privileged for such time with her master, especially when he allowed it with so few others. It was a dream, a fantasy, to be with him on more then friendly terms, but she knew there was no point in deluding herself; she was undeserving of his affection. No one was good enough for the mighty Lord Voldemort!

XXX

Severus smiled as he folded up the letter and placed it back in its envelope. He had just gotten word from Master Flamel had finished with the second group of test subjects and with the same results as the first group, the Lycanthropy was completely gone. Just one more group needed to be tested and then they could take their results to the Ministry. He was hoping to have it all sorted by the end of the school year so he could spend the following summer working on other projects. It was only days until Christmas break and Severus was looking forward to going home for a few days. Lily and Rose would be joining them for Christmas dinner, Petunia would be spending the day with her boyfriend's family.

"Morning Sev," Lily said kissing her boyfriend on the cheek then sitting beside him at the Ravenclaw table.

"Good Morning Lily. Did you sleep well?"

A sudden blush flooded Lily's cheeks, the Gryffindor gave a hasty "I did," but then quickly ducked her head. She had certainly slept well, but she hadn't exactly had a dreamless sleep. Images of the boy she loved had filled her nightly visions, and they were far from G rated. The almost sixteen year olds subconscious was seemingly ready to do things with Severus she couldn't even bring herself to say aloud. Of course there were other girls that had gone a lot further with their boyfriends then she and Sev had, Mary McDonald for example. That girl was never shy about dishing out details. For now, however, Lily was content with the sweet kisses, soft touches, and simply being with her Sev.

XXX

Sirius took a bite of his muffin, though his eyes never left the girl sitting just a few feet away from him. Ana was quite amazing, powerful, feisty and beautiful. He had been spending as much of his free time with her as possible. Mostly they would talk or play a game of chess, but at the same time Sirius was taking his cousins advice and attempting to use his Slytherin qualities. He would place a gently hand on hers when they were talking, or give her a crooked smile, that always makes her blush. He was taking things slowly, but he was hoping that at some point and hopefully soon, he would work up his courage to ask her out. His mother had written to him earlier that week asking if he had any marital prospects in mind as of yet. After rolling his eyes and ranting to his brother how he shouldn't have to be thinking about getting married so young, he wrote a short but honest reply.

"There is a girl that I have in mind, but I am taking things slow. Yes, she is a Pureblood, but I am not aware how her family feels about arranged marriages. It would be best if I won her over before mentioning anything as serious as marriage."

It was a good reply, showing his cunning side, but also indicating to his mother that he wasn't going to steamroll some poor girl into marring him.

"Sirius," the young Slytherin smiled as the girl he fancied called his name.

"Yes, Ana."

"I'm done eating and class doesn't start for another half an hour, would you like to maybe go for a walk with me."

Sirius placed his muffin back on his plate and stood from his seat, "it would be my honor."

Ana couldn't stifle a giggle, Sirius was… well, she really didn't know how to describe him except for that when he wasn't being a total prat, she really enjoyed being around him. He could be quite the gentleman when he wanted to be, plus he was incredibly handsome. The way he had been acting around her lately she was starting to wonder if maybe his feelings were changing for her, that possibly he liked her as more than simply a friend. She would quite like it if he did, that was as long as he kept his more immature side at bay.

As they left the Great Hall and headed out into the court yard, she was caught off guard as Sirius' hand slipped into hers. She looked down at their joined hands and then up into his eyes.

"Do you mind?" He asked.

"Not at all," She said, taking in a deep calming breath. His hand felt so nice in hers, warm and…safe.

"Wonderful." Sirius gave her hand a gentle squeeze, and the two friends make their way through the courtyard and toward the surrounding grounds.

XXX

Peter felt like hexing the miserable git. He had no right to her. Emily was his or at least he wanted her to be. He had been meaning to tell her how he felt, that he had started to see her as more than just a friend, but he had been so afraid of rejection that he kept talking himself out of it. It turns out David Emery, a sixth year, had more courage than Peter and decided to asked Emily out one evening after dinner. After a clearly surprised gasp, Emily blushed and said yes.

At first Peter had felt hurt at the thought of Emily seeing someone, but now, now he was just plain pissed off. After the whole poisoning most of Slytherin House catastrophe, Peter had promised he would never do anything like that again. As he watched Emery press a kiss to Emily's perfect pink lips, he was seriously considering going back on his word.

His only consolation was that in a few days they would be heading home for Christmas break and he would be spending the entire holiday with her and her family. His own parents had planned to visit family in Devon. Peter loathed most of his extended family, specifically his cousins who were constantly picking on him. Emily, knowing his older cousins were nothing but a bunch of bullies, asked her parents if he could spend the holidays with them. Her parents loved Peter and happily agreed. While Peter's parents weren't thrilled with the idea of not seeing their son for Christmas, they did understand his feelings and so they agreed to let their son spend Christmas with Emily and her family.

A wicked smile suddenly pulled to his lips, he wondered just how Emily's older, protective brothers would feel about their little sister getting snogged by a blond git!

XXX

Druella sat at the kitchen table, slowly sipping her tea. She was the only one in the house at the moment, even Kreature was out running errands with Cygnus. She had just returned from visiting her secret lover. It wasn't unusual for Sven to try and convince her to run away with him; to leave the British Wizarding World behind and to start a new life with him in Switzerland. It was, however the first time he had ever proposed. It was a monumental shock and had she been thinking clearly she probably would have said no, or so she kept telling herself. She gazed down at the beautiful golden band on her finger, a sparkling ruby in the center. It was currently on the ring finger of her right hand, but that would change, in time.

She had said yes. She had loved him for so long and every time she left him it broke her heart just a little and it only seemed to heal when she was once again in his arms. He had promised her a long and happy life, away from stereotypes and expectations.

"We can have a family, Ella," he had promised, "and they can know their father and mother. We can have what we have always wanted, if you just allow it."

She knew he was right, he had always been right. Before, she had given the excuse that she could not leave the girls. He had always told her to bring them, but she would say they were better off not knowing the truth and she still believed that. But her girls were grown now; Narcissa was the only one still in school. She had hoped Lucius would have been a good husband for her, but deep down she supposed she should have known better. She knew Cygnus would see to it that her youngest found a husband of proper breeding, from an ancient and pure family. While she may have fell in love with a half blood, she still believed that the purer the blood the better the wizard, and wanted to make sure that, while Narcissa was technically a half-blood, her children would be pure.

Bellatrix was going to marry Rodolphus that summer and Andromeda… she had gotten a letter from her middle daughter just before she left to see Sven, stating that she had eloped with that Mudblood boy and that she was pregnant. She hadn't responded to her and she had no plans to. She would admit only to herself that she missed her daughter, and while she knew she would most likely never see her again, there was the consolation that at least she was happy.

Taking a final sip of her tea, she pulled out her wand and levitated it to the sink. The standing from the table, she headed for her room. Druella would wait until the time was right and then fake her own death. It was cowardly, yes, but it would save her and her daughters reputations and make it easier to start a new life with Sven without any baggage.

XXX

James caught himself daydreaming about her again. He really wanted to hex himself for even thinking such things, but he had to admit while the girl was a bloody pain in the ass, she was incredibly beautiful, not to mention quite feisty, and he liked that in a girl. Still… she was in Slytherin and from a known Dark family. Then again, she's best friend with Lily, a Muggleborn, so she obviously doesn't have any issues with blood status. Then the question was, if he decided he wanted to persue her, how exactly would he go about it? He couldn't imagine she would be exactly easy to win over as far as he knew she hated his guts but he was always up for a good challenge.

He would have to spend the holiday thinking strategy, and then when they returned, the wooing would begin.

XXX

Minerva let out a sad sigh before closing the photo book and placing it back in her hope chest. She was always a bit nostalgic during the holidays, though in the end looking back at memories only ended up reminding her of what she lost. Her parents had passed long ago, as well as one of her younger brothers. Robert, her other brother, had moved to Australia where he married a Muggle. They never had any biological children together, but adopted several Muggle orphans. Robert still used magic from time to time, but has kept it from his wife and children. It was something they often argued about when she visited.

Minerva had loved two men in her lifetime, Dougal, a Muggle whom she was engaged to for a short time. Part of her would always love him, but at the time, she felt like she was doing the right thing by calling things off. She was married, once, for three short years to Elphinstone Urquart. They had just started talking about having a family of their own when he was bitten and died from a Tentacula bite. After his death, she decided to simply concentrate on her career. Looking back, she sometimes wondered if that was the right choice, after all, it meant her magical family line would die with her. Eyes turning to the mantel where a picture of her late husband rested, she was reminded of how much she missed him. She would sometime think on what their life would have been like had he lived, but in the end realized that it does no good to dwell on what might have been. She knew she would see him again, one day, along with Dougal, her parents, and brother. Until then, she would go on living, teaching, and working for the greater good of Wizarding humanity.

Standing from the armchair she had been sitting in, she headed toward the door of her quarters. It was just about time for dinner in the Great Hall and as Deputy Headmistress, it was her duty to attend.

XXX

A/N: Okay so I know not a lot went on here, just a little insight into the hearts of some of our characters. Now I wanted to clarify a little about Durella planning to run off with her Quidditch player. In canon, while it is believed she is dead, there is no date noted so I decided to take some liberty. Don't worry she won't be leaving just yet. There is a little foreshadowing here, if you hadn't noticed and I want to let you all know that there will be a huge change from canon coming up in the next several chapters. A simple conversation between sisters may just turn the Wizarding world on its head. I won't say more than that.