Challenge: The Very Potter Quotes Challenge. Prompt: "One time a Dementor kissed her. And. It. Died." Requirements: It must be a serious story.

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Seamus explains to Dean about the infamous Bellatrix Lestrange.

If you're wondering why Seamus was afraid of stairs, see my story The Things We Overcome.

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"The Infamous Bellatrix Lestrange"

Seamus's breath hisses out in an odd combination of a wince and a yelp as he unfurls the paper. He spreads the front page out on the table in front of him, staring at it in dread.

The headline screams at him.

Mass Breakout from Azkaban

Ministry Fears Black is 'Rallying Point' for Old Death Eaters

Seamus swears, scanning the pictures. Dolohov, Rookwood – his gaze lands on the last image, and he swears again, louder this time.

"Dean," he hisses. Dean glances up from the Defense book he's been madly reviewing – rumor has it they have a quiz today. He's used to Seamus swearing a blue streak at the morning paper, so it's the first time he looks up.

"Yes?"

Seamus shakes the paper in front of him. "Have you seen this?"

Dean blinks. "Seamus, it came all of a minute ago. How could I have possibly seen it?"

Seamus frowns. "That's irrelevant!" he declares. "Look!"

Dean glances at the page absently. "Sirius Black broke more people out of Azkaban?" he asks, only mildly concerned. "How unfortunate." He turns back to his book.

"Did you look at who it is? Bellatrix Lestrange, Dean! Bellatrix Lestrange!"

Dean shrugs. "Is that bad?"

Seamus stares at him, uncomprehending. "Bad? BAD? Bellatrix Lestrange, Dean! She's so far past bad that it isn't even funny!"

Dean is patient. "Seamus. Think about this for a second. My mum is a muggle. My dad? Yes, also a muggle. I have never even heard of Bellatrix Lestrange."

And Seamus understands. Having grown up with a witch for a mum and a wizard for a stepdad, Seamus forgets, sometimes, that there are things that are completely instinctual for him that wouldn't even occur to Dean.

"Right, sorry. Bellatrix Lestrange is one of the most infamous Death Eaters to ever live. Before Black showed his true colors, Lestrange was thought to be You-Know-Who's right hand. She's absolutely nuts, but that only makes her crueler. She's vicious and completely merciless. When You-Know-Who fell, she refused to believe that he was dead. She went to Azkaban for torturing an Auror and his wife until they lost their minds from the pain. She's evil incarnate. Rumor has it, one time, a Dementor kissed her. And. It. Died," Seamus says – and he's completely serious. "It couldn't handle the darkness of her soul – it just plain disintegrated."

Dean scoffs. "That's ridiculous, Shay."

Seamus shakes his head, eyes wide. "I'm not joking, Dean. No one messes with Bellatrix Lestrange and survives with enough mind intact to talk about it. And imagining her and Black together – they're cousins, you know – that's horrifying."

Seamus shudders, and Dean starts to take things seriously. Dean has known Seamus for years – four-and-a-half years. In that time, Dean has only ever seen Seamus afraid of one thing – staircases – and that fear they overcame in first year.

This is different. This isn't the sort of fear that comes from a specific event. It's the all invasive terror that comes from an entire lifelong atmosphere – like children who fear the boogyman, only Seamus's boogyman appears to be very real.

Dean wonders absently how he'd feel if he knew the boogyman was on the loose. It explains Seamus's reaction.

"Seamus, Hogwarts is an impenetrable stronghold. Not even You-Know-Who ever dared to attempt crossing it's borders. And, from one you said, Lestrange may be insane, but she's not stupid, and she's not suicidal. She won't come here. And Black may be crazy enough to try for Hogwarts, but clearly someone got too close, and he hasn't been back in years. Just… Relax, Shay. Breathe."

Seamus nods.

"It's just, you grow up hearing stories, you know? And maybe the stories are embellished, but that's still what you grow up hearing, what you grow up believing. And, no matter how embellished the stories are, there are some things that are definitely fact. She tortured an Auror and his wife into insanity. She refused to give up on You-Know-Who. She's brutal and half-mad. All of that, Dean, all of that is fact. And the thought of her on the loose – I can't imagine anything worse."

Dean nods absently. He knows that he can't truly ever understand how Seamus feels without having grown up hearing the stories Seamus has. Still, he understand the words "evil incarnate," and he understands the enormity of Seamus's innate fear.

He understands that Bellatrix Lestrange is not someone he wants to cross.