Trip the Darkness

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This pairing was discovered by me, so please gimme a little mention if you write them! Thanks! It is one of many of Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings, most of which you may find in the M&MWP forum. Check out and join the forum FUN! Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

"What a day

I can barely keep my eyes wide open

I don't wanna see straight

What a day

Feels like my breath is heavy again

And I'm totally faded"

Lacuna Coil, "Trip the Darkness"

Without so much as a second's passing, her arm reared back. The point of her wand looked so deadly, deadlier even than the sharpest knife as a familiar green light appeared at its apex. The ball of light grew stronger and bigger until one thought one could hear the screams of every victim the spell had ever claimed—

Hestia Carrow awoke with a scream. She covered her mouth and stopped to listen. She didn't hear anything outside. With a deep inhalation, Hestia calmed her nerves, but she couldn't go back to sleep.

Not when she had dreamt of that again.

The young witch grabbed for her schoolbag—the only thing she had taken before escaping—and rummaged through it, pulling a glass out. She filled it with water and sipped the liquid, but the glass clattered against her teeth. Her hand was shaking too much to steady it.

She hated that her body was betraying her now. But she didn't hate her body too much. Her reflexes had saved her—perhaps not in the way she had intended, but she'd lived, nevertheless. It meant not settling down and not being able to live as much of anything but a hobo, but she still had her life.

Hestia shook her dream off and stood up, walking around her living quarters. She filled a bucket with warm water and bathed. After, she looked into her bag again. She didn't have much food left. Hestia grumbled (and her stomach did the same). She'd barely had time to grab what money she could from Gringotts, but she hadn't had any time to have her currency, or at least some of it, exchanged into Muggle notes. Hestia felt trapped to have this money and be unable to use it, because she couldn't find any old witch or wizard and ask for a trade.

Aurors were looking for her. And she deserved that.

For the ninety-first day in a row, Hestia Carrow put her things away and glanced at her reflection in a small mirror. And for the ninety-first day in a row, she feared the face staring back at her.

- ^-^3

Though no one had appeared at that cardboard box, Hestia thought it safe to step out into the alley between two Muggle business buildings. She had no tent, but she had her wand, and any place could be magicked to be inhabitable. It was food that couldn't be conjured—well, it could be, but it didn't stay long. Hestia scolded herself. She had to be more careful about her rations.

She headed down the alley and exited into the city when no one was looking. As long as she stayed clean and kept her clothes looking nice, she blended in easily with the Muggles, middle- and upper-class. Sometimes men stopped to flirt with her because they liked her pretty brown hair and soft-looking charcoal eyes. But Hestia only ever smiled at them. Her life was not one meant to be shared with another…though, once upon a time, she had shared everything…

Hestia shook her head. "Don't be nostalgic," she whispered to herself. The little chant helped to clear her mind.

Good thing, too. She suddenly had the feeling of being watched.

One never got over the temptation to look when one sensed another watching, but Hestia pinched her leg painfully to keep her will strong and her gaze forward. She focused on the sound of her footsteps…one, two, one, two, one, two. It was an even pace.

Whoever was eying her was close enough to have the same pace. Well, that was alarming.

Hestia sped up by a half-beat. In a few yards, the person had matched her pace again. Hestia looked around her. If she ran, she'd cause a commotion on the street. If she ducked into one of the many stores that lined the street, she'd probably back herself into a corner. The store might have an alternate exit, though, so Hestia went for that.

She hastened into a large department store and ducked into the men's department since her dark dress and black cloak would sort of camouflage her.

But there was a set of footsteps pulling up quickly.

Hestia closed her eyes tightly, dropping her wand into her hand. In three, two, one—

She turned and nonverbally cast a Stunning spell. The person—a witch, she glimpsed—deflected it and took off after Hestia up the Muggle moving staircase. This one, unlike those of Hogwarts, stayed put, with the stairs rotating on one belt to bring people up to the next level. She skipped steps and made it to the second floor before the witch on her tail. Hestia moved towards some manikins when she saw a door that read "EMERGENCY EXIT." Great. More stairs.

Hestia dove for the door and let it close heavily behind her. She didn't wait for the witch to catch up with her. Hestia hopped over the railing to skip some of the stairs and landed hard on her heels; she had never been happier to be wearing hard-soled boots in place of something less practical.

Weaving through clothes racks for cover, Hestia shoved the front door open and was back on the street. An elderly couple gave her an odd look, but Hestia could care less. She turned and went back the way she'd come, but she went past the alley and her cardboard box. She couldn't stay here any longer.

Hestia crossed the city before slinking into the shadow of an awning and Disapparating. Where she reappeared was not her first choice, but it couldn't be helped. Hogsmeade was better than nothing, for now.

- ^-^3

Hestia had taken a large chance in going to Hogsmeade. Firstly, the little Wizarding village was still jumpy. Every shadow was eyed warily and strangers were always given lingering stares. Hestia understood why. The war had ended only four years ago.

And yet it doesn't seem as though it's ended, the brunette thought to herself as a chill crept up her spine.

She marched up High Street and saw a familiar door, that of the Three Broomsticks. She pushed it open and was glad to see that none of the patrons cared to stare at her long. Just as planned—before deciding to lodge there, Hestia had transfigured her face to make her features round and not sharp, and she'd charmed her eyes and hair black. She'd also made her clothes look grungy so that she looked like a traveler in need of rest.

Madam Rosmerta saw her and, after an initial frown, warmed up to a new customer. "Hello, dear. May I help you?"

Hestia nodded. She fumbled with her bag—she'd shoved it into her pocket—and plopped a few Galleons on the counter. "I'd like a room for one. And food. Is that enough?"

Madam Rosmerta stared at the money and then looked back at Hestia. "And you are…?"

"Heather Whitby. Please, ma'am, it's all I have," Hestia lied. "You don't make much as an adventurer."

Rosmerta finally understood and nodded. In the aftermath of the war, too many young witches and wizards took what most now called an "adventurer phase," in which they tried roughing it as Muggle-borns had during the Muggle-born Registration Commission. That was about as close as those people could get to experiencing the war without having really to fight. Rosmerta shook her head and mumbled something under her breath, implying that she thought of adventurers as a stupid bunch, but she took Hestia's money anyway and showed her up to one of the rooms.

Hestia fought a squeal of delight to have a nice bed and a working toilet again. She faced Rosmerta. "If it's not too much, I'd love some food now."

"It won't be up fast, but… What do you want?"

"Anything but bread."

Rosmerta chuckled gently. "I can do everything but bread, so you're in luck, dear."

"And can I have one of your famous butterbeers, too?"

"Of course. You're at the Three Broomsticks, aren't you?" Rosmerta shut the door behind her, and for the first time in three months, Hestia breathed easily.

She unpacked a few books from her rucksack and got out a change of clothes. She flipped through the books—old Charms texts—several times because it helped to calm her mind. Preparation didn't set her on edge these days; it eased it.

Twenty minutes later, Rosmerta knocked. "You're food's outside your door, Miss Whitby."

"Thank you," Hestia called. She gave Rosmerta the time to return downstairs before opening the door and grabbing the food. It smelled delicious, and Hestia didn't even know what it was. It looked like porridge and tasted like beef stew, but it was the best thing Hestia had had in ages. It made her remember the dinners her mother used to make for her when she was little and her father wouldn't be home for supper, because her mother never went fancy on those nights.

The happy memory helped her to drift off. And Hestia Carrow had not "drifted off" to sleep for more than three months. As a prayer, she silently thanked Rosmerta again for her cooking.

- ^-^3

For three whole days, Hestia happily lived the life of fictitious Heather Whitby. No one bothered her. Rosmerta fed her. She got to sleep in a real bed instead of a cot she'd conjured up.

Hestia could've gotten used to living in the Three Broomsticks, truth be told.

But that was not to be. On the third night of her stay—at midnight, when day three became day four—a sound awoke Hestia. She'd learned to be a light sleeper back in her school days, the days right before Death Eaters seemed to rule the British Wizarding world. And those nightmarish lessons sprang her out of bed.

She flicked her wand, and all her belongings flew into her bag as she heard another sound. It was someone's weight making the floorboards on the staircase creak.

The next second, the door flew open. Hestia hugged her bag to her chest and spun to Disapparate. She heard a voice say, "She's going—"

Then she was downstairs, flat on her back with a pounding headache. Whoever had been upstairs hurried down and now stood over her.

"That smells like some magic around her face."

"Magic has a smell?" That was Rosmerta. She sounded skeptical.

The other voice was exasperated. "Oh, cut me some slack, Rosmerta."

"Whatever you say, Hestia."

Wait. Hestia? Surely Hestia's disguise hadn't faded in the surprise of the ambush. The next thing she knew, she was being hauled up onto her feet. Someone waved a wand, and Hestia felt her disguise disappearing.

"Well, well," the other voice said. Now that the stars had faded from Hestia's sight, she saw a witch maybe ten years older than her. She had black hair and rosy cheeks…and she had the sneaking suspicion that this was the person who had been following her earlier in the week.

Hestia swallowed the lump in her throat. "Who are you? What do you want?"

The woman nodded to Rosmerta. "Sorry about the Anti-Apparition spell. I'll take it down once we're outside so the normal people can escape."

Rosmerta nodded and showed them the door. Outside, the witch turned, waved her wand, and then turned back to Hestia with a dark grin on her face.

"Well, fancy this, me catching you."

"You're an Auror," Hestia realized with a scowl.

"Yes. My name is Hestia Jones, and you, Hestia Carrow, are under arrest for employing the Killing Curse and for suspicion of being a Death Eater."

- ^-^3

Hestia Carrow sat awhile in a tiny, empty room in the Auror Office. At first, minutes passed. But she knew she sat there at least for two hours. After that, she sighed and rested the side of her head on the table, closing her eyes. She was very tired.

No sooner had she relaxed than Auror Jones returned to the room.

"So, Miss Carrow…done much lately?"

Hestia kept her mouth shut.

Auror Jones whistled. "We found her, you know. Your twin, Flora."

Hestia flinched.

The Auror took notice. "What happened, Hestia?"

She shook her head. "Nothing."

"No one else was there when it happened. And we have witnesses that saw a woman fitting your description fleeing the scene. Since Flora Carrow's dead…that leaves you."

"Nothing happened!" Hestia yelled, slamming her hands on the table. The table moved, but Auror Jones didn't seem jostled by it.

Minutes ticked by with Hestia staring at the table and Auror Jones staring at Hestia. Finally, the Auror asked, "Do you know who the head of this office is?"

Hestia bit her bottom lip. Of course she knew who it was. Everyone in the bloody world knew who it was. Harry Potter had taken over practically right after destroying Voldemort.

"I know you know who he is."

"Why does it matter?" Hestia spat. She grimaced. Auror Jones must've been happy to get her to talk.

"Because he's not much younger than you," Auror Jones said. She leaned on the table. "And I have to wonder why someone like you would do the things of which we've accused you."

"Yeah? That Draco Malfoy—he joined when he was sixteen."

"Eh, he was misguided. Family ties do that to a kid." Auror Jones reached for Hestia's left arm and pushed up her sleeve. "You don't have your Mark yet."

Hestia snarled. "So that's one charge off the table. And unless you have someone who saw me use the Killing Curse on my own twin—" Her voice betrayed her and broke. For three months, she had done her best to get the image out of her mind. For three months, she had told herself that she'd never had a sister. For three months, she'd run while feeling that the Aurors should've just caught her and killed her in defense of themselves.

"Tell me what happened with Flora," Auror Jones stated.

"You're right. I killed her."

Auror Jones frowned. "I didn't say you killed her. I said that you were probably the last one with her. But I didn't jump ahead and say that you killed her."

Hestia lifted her gaze from the table and met Auror Jones' vivid dark blue eyes. They bored holes into her, so she looked back down at the table. "Then…then what do you want with me?"

"We do still believe you were on track to become a Death Eater," the older witch said. "And following the war, Harry Potter worked with Hermione Granger and Minister Shacklebolt to create a bit of magic—a detection spell—to alert us when an Unforgivable was used. Though they are still working on linking the spell to an individual's wand, we Aurors…have our ways of finding the individual without magic." She raised her eyebrows. "You were the only suspect in the area when it happened."

The young woman sneered, hiding her look from the Auror by turning her face and letting her hair hide it. The Auror knew nothing. Moments before, Hestia had not been the only "suspect" in the area.


The sneer faded from Hestia's face.

"Unless," Auror Jones repeated, "you were not alone. Was there anyone there with you, Hestia? Is it all right if I call you Hestia?"

"It's your name, too, isn't it?" Hestia growled.

Auror Jones had the gall to smile gently at her. "Yes. We have that in common. But I don't believe that's all we have in common. I believe we both have good in us. I believe that you're as hardheaded as I am."

"No, we aren't."

That smile widened. "You just proved that point." Auror Jones stood and walked towards Hestia. She stopped when she was beside her, and leaned back with her arms crossed in front of her chest. "And I believe you are a smart witch. A witch who knows things."

"Can you make up your mind? Am I a suspect or a victim? Because you're back to talking to me as though I'm a suspect."

"You're both for now," Auror Jones answered. "Hestia, do you know that not all of Voldemort's men were caught or killed? Some of them evaded those fates."

Hestia wanted to sigh but didn't. "Do you have a point?"

"Their names are Rowle, Travers, and Macnair. We have a theory—"

"Ooh, a theory, that's scary."

"—and some evidence that they are trying to continue their fallen master's work." Auror Jones leaned down so that her eyes were locked with Hestia's again. "They were trying to recruit you, weren't they?"

Hestia pursed her lips, but she felt so close to crumbling. She opened her mouth, closed it, and opened it again. "Flora…"


"…Flora was their fault."

The woman looked surprised, but she sat back down in her chair, and her demeanor shifted. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Hestia shook her head.

"Do you want to help us bring them in?"

The words were like some kind of imaginary door opening. It was beckoning to Hestia, enticing her forward, nearly singing to her that she could take her old life back, her normal life. So…she nodded.

Auror Jones was glad to have reached an understanding with her. "Good, then. Let's get started, partner."

- ^-^3

Hestia had never heard the word "informant" before, but she was one now. Based on some paperwork Auror Jones had drawn up, Hestia would be in her care. They were to check in with Harry Potter from time to time, but for now Hestia was supposed to reconnect with the three Death Eaters.

"Regaining their trust after running away is your task for now," Auror Jones told her as they left the Ministry.

"What do I get out of this?"

"Isn't nailing them for your twin's death enough?"

The Slytherin exhaled slowly.

"It's not as though we can put you up at come ritzy hotel." Auror Jones made sure Hestia was by her side. "We don't have the funds. So, since you're my informant, I get custody of you."

Finally, Hestia felt an emotion that wasn't anger or fright. She felt stunned. "I'm living…with you?"

Auror Jones nodded. "It'll be easier to keep an eye on you that way."

Hestia's astonishment fizzled. If only she could crash at a friend's place like this…but Aurors were not her friends. And Auror Jones would not become her friend. She was just a tool for Hestia to use to find redemption for Flora's death.

That was all Jones would be.

- ^-^3

Without so much as a second's passing, her arm reared back. The point of her wand looked so deadly, deadlier even than the sharpest knife as a familiar green light appeared at its apex. The ball of light grew stronger and bigger until one thought one could hear the screams of every victim the spell had ever claimed—

This time, Hestia was a bit more ready, and she covered her mouth before she could scream. That stupid dream wouldn't leave her alone, and she wondered if it ever would. She didn't have it every night, but it felt like it. Hestia frowned and sat up, tugging the thin sheet over her knees. She blinked a few times in the bright light pouring in through the window.

Oh. It was morning.

The last time she had woken up like this had probably been when she was still at Hogwarts. She had always slept on the side of her bed that was closer to the window because, once upon a time, she had liked waking up with the feel of the sun on her skin.

But right now? That warmth felt alien.

A knock on her bedroom door took her from her thoughts. "Hestia?" Auror Jones asked. "Are you awake?"

Her mouth felt dry, but she was able to croak out a "yes."

"Good. I've made breakfast, if dessert crepes count as breakfast."

Jones' voice sounded so cheery. Hestia didn't smile, but her empty stomach did a happy flip as she imagined what they looked like. "I'll be out in a minute."

"You can shower after breakfast. We—" Jones stopped talking as Hestia opened the door. The Auror smiled. "We've created the rumor in the Dark wizard community that you're done running away. We've got feelers out looking and listening for our three suspects, so you don't have to do anything today. You can relax."

"There's an Anti-Apparition spell on your house, isn't there?"

Jones grinned. "Yep. But that's the only one meant both for you and others. I've got other enchantments up to protect you from the bad guys."

Hestia gave her a look.

"You don't talk much, do you?"


"Right." Auror Jones led Hestia down the hall into the dining room. "Sit wherever you want."

Hestia raised a skeptical eyebrow. The room could've held a much larger table, but the impressions on the carpet underneath told her that this tiny, four-person table had been here a long time. Hestia sat opposite her handler, and Jones placed a plate of crepes down in front of her. They were smothered in chocolate syrup, covered in strawberries, and doused in cinnamon and powdered sugar. She gave Jones another look.

"What? If you're going to have crepes, you might as well go all out."

Her words, coupled with her entirely serious expression, made something bubble up in the back of Hestia's throat. Then the Slytherin realized it was a laugh. She released it, but it sounded so foreign to her.

Jones lowered her fork, concerned. "Is everything all right, Hestia?"

She nodded. "I…I think so…" She fought another laugh. Jones had a chocolate stain on the left corner of her mouth.

Jones caught on and stuck out her tongue. "Something wrong with my face?"

The tension lessened as they ate, and that was thanks to Jones' influence. They talked little, but it didn't feel awkward. It was an accepted silence that settled in the room.

When they were done, Jones took the plates and dropped them in the sink where a soapy brush began to clean them on its own. That allowed Jones to return to the table. "If you're going to shower, do you need fresh clothes?"

Hestia shook her head. "I've got all I need in my bag."

"Yeah… We checked that, you know. For everyone's safety. That's a nice Undetectable Extension Charm on it."

"If it's Undetectable—"

"We could recognize the effects, obviously." Jones took a breath. "Why are you carrying all that stuff, anyway?"

Hestia clasped her hands together and twiddled her thumbs. "…for survival."

"You really have no place to go, do you?"

As if that laugh earlier wasn't alien enough, Hestia thought her eyes felt wet. But that was impossible.

"Well, you're here now. So don't sweat it."

Hestia said nothing for so long that Jones got up to leave. "Wait!" Hestia said. She wasn't quite ready to be left alone yet. Jones stopped and waited for her to say something else. "Um…who else is here?" The house was a good size for Auror Jones to be the only one here.

But she was. Her expression hardened, losing some of its cheeriness as she said, "No one."

- ^-^3

Hestia did nothing but laze about Jones' house for two days. On the third, Jones woke her earlier than usual and told her to dress.

"Put on your darkest clothes. We're sending you out." Jones said it as though it was an order, but she didn't sound as though she liked it very much.

The Slytherin twin jumped into her clothes. On the way out the door, Jones passed her an apple so that she had something in her stomach. But no sooner had the front door shut behind them than they Disapparated somewhere Hestia didn't recognize.

Or so she thought. She walked with the Auror for a block, and then her memory kicked in. These houses, not the people, she knew. They were near the old Carrow home, Cair Carrow. She had not been there for three months.

"I'm meeting with them, aren't I?" Hestia whispered.

"Once, we thought they wanted to set up shop in your family home," Jones said truthfully. "Now, they are using the Carrow mansion as headquarters."

The thought made Hestia queasy. "It's not…it's not a mansion."


"It's Cair Carrow." Hestia composed herself despite the panicky feeling washing over her at losing her childhood home. They were right near the walkway of one of her old neighbor's homes, and Hestia stopped. "They'll be watching for anyone coming with me."

"We figured," Jones said. "I'll be right here. Send out red sparks if you need me."

"And if I can't send out red sparks?"

Jones thought a moment. "Good point. I'll give you fifteen minutes before coming in."

Hestia was doubtful that would give her much time to do anything, but she shrugged. "Whatever. I'll be back." She knew Jones watched her turn and head up the winding path before Cair Carrow, but Hestia pushed Jones and the Auror Office and her life on the run out of her mind. She had to compartmentalize. That was the trick to beating Legilimency. No one would've guessed Rowle had it in him to learn the magic, but he had—he'd learned it from Macnair, who was not as dumb as the Aurors thought.

The double doors swung open for Hestia and she cautiously stepped inside. No one greeted her, but she felt a tug at her navel leading her towards her father's old conference room. Her feet lead the way.

In the conference room, the lights were on, and Hestia saw a blonde head she had thought she'd forgotten. But Thorfinn Rowle was unforgettable. He turned when she entered, and his blue eyes lit up upon seeing her.

"Hestia, Hestia, Hestia…it's been a while, luv," he said. He gestured for her to come sit with him and his two companions.

Hestia did as she was told, though she had always hated Rowle's attention. She had never shaken the feeling that he wanted her, and it gave her the creeps.

"Another time, Rowle," a thin, elderly man said too smoothly, too coolly. He was tall even when sitting down, though he and his gray hair blended in to the dimly lit room. He leaned forward to be better seen in the light. "But welcome back, Miss Carrow."

"Travers." She nodded, for she could not manage a pleasant "hello" to these people.

"Pleasantries aren't needed," said the last man. Like Rowle, he was muscular though not as big. His black hair and mustache always made Hestia think of pirates. "Where have you been, girl?"

Hestia folded her hands on her lap. "I've been running from you lot, Macnair."

"Funny. We determined that already."

"Aren't you ready for your mark, Hestia?" Rowle purred as he sat down beside her, much too close for comfort.

She shook her head. "I can't say that I am."

"Flora's dead," Travers reminded her. "You passed the test. You can join our ranks now." He ignored the look Macnair sent him. "We need the new blood."

She bit her tongue not to quiver. "I don't want the Mark…"

Rowle eyed her too closely.

"…on my arm. It's too visible."

Travers laughed, a sound like cold, polished glass being rubbed with an abrasive material. "That's a riot! The whole point of the Dark Mark is to wear it with pride, Hestia. Our lord wouldn't have wanted it any other way."

"Your lord is dead."

Travers' laughter died down and Macnair was shooting her looks. Even Rowle seemed unsure of her. "Our lord," Rowle corrected, "lives on in our work."

For a full sixty seconds, Hestia's life was up in the air. They could continue to talk casually, with Travers and Rowle ignoring Macnair's discomfort over her. They could tell her that she was going to join anyway, now, without any interruptions, carving the Mark into her arm if they must. Hell, they could even let Macnair tear her apart, verbally or physically; he had never believed she wanted to join them, and if Travers and Rowle gave up on her, then they might as well let Macnair do what he liked best and kill her.

"It's a shame Flora died," Macnair mused at last. "She was loyal to the cause."

"Flora isn't here. You've got me." The words tasted horrible in her mouth.

"Do we, Carrow? Alecto and Amycus were exceptional, but they were too far away on your family tree to share anything with you but a surname." Macnair stared at her as though they were the only two people in the room. "It's a shame Flora died," he repeated.

Rowle grew tired of Macnair's insinuations that Hestia wasn't like them. "We don't have to give her the Mark right now—"

"It's something we've done to every initiate after their first kill," Macnair interrupted.

"—but we'll have her tag along at the next few meetings." Travers nodded in agreement, and Macnair scowled but made no objections. "She'll join us in time. But we were thoughtless not to give her time," Rowle continued, and Hestia felt so slimy as he rubbed her shoulder in a mockery of compassion. "She lost not just her sister but her twin a few months ago, men."

Though she didn't need to be reminded of that in front of all of them, the other two eventually agreed. Hestia took an even breath to steady herself. Had fifteen minutes passed yet? She was so screwed if Jones was walking up the path right now…

"But you stay, Hestia," Rowle murmured as Travers and Macnair exited the room, arguing.

Hestia slowly faced Rowle—and barely had time to sort her thoughts before she saw his wand and knew what was coming. Though she was still working on her Occlumency, sorting her thoughts beforehand helped protect her from the invasion of Rowle's Legilimency. He poked and prodded her mind, a violation of the most private kind. But he found nothing of interest, and he released her mind.

As she stood to go, worried that Jones really was about to blast the doors open at any second, Rowle caught her arm and gave her his smarmy smile. "You know, Hestia, you can't hurt my feelings. I know someday that you'll see I'm not as creepy as you think I am."

She wrenched her arm free from his grip and forced a weak smile to her lips. "Goodbye, Rowle."

She fled Cair Carrow without time to spare. Right after the doors closed, she saw Jones round the corner. Her heart jumped into her throat and she stared the woman down, praying to the founders that the Auror could take a hint. Luck was with her, though, and Jones walked on as if she was just passing through the neighborhood. Hestia went in the opposite direction.

Shortly after, Jones met her at the edge of the neighborhood, where they'd first arrived. Hestia released a breath she didn't know she'd been holding.

"Are you all right?" Auror Jones asked.

Hestia wanted to nod. But she was shaking. She stopped in her tracks to collect herself, but the more still she remained, the more she felt she'd break to pieces.

Jones respectfully looked the other way. "Hey…you're okay. You're not in there anymore. You're safe."

But she only felt safe when Jones kindly held her in her arms.

- ^-^3

Hestia told Jones the bare minimum of what had transpired. The Auror Office could now confirm that three of their ten most-wanted were still alive and on the loose. Hestia had permission to continue meeting them for now, and she was told to stay in their good graces using almost any means necessary.

"I wish Potter had said I could kill one of them," Hestia stated offhandedly as she turned over a knickknack in her hands. It was a marble unicorn; Jones had a small cabinet of figurines in the living room. She kept them clean but acted as though they weren't worth a lot of money because she handled them all the time. Hestia had started handling them, too, because she found the action calmed her nerves and soothed her mind. Not to mention she liked the unicorn the best.

"No, you don't," Jones said, shining her dragon-hide boots manually; magic couldn't work on them, so they had to be taken care of by hand.

"I do," Hestia asserted. "I'd love for Thorfinn Rowle to disappear forever."

Jones looked at her and frowned. "Did he hurt you? Why didn't you tell me?"

Hestia shook her head. "He didn't. But…it's as though he wants to own me." She pulled a face.

"No wizard can own a witch," Jones said. She blew some hair out of her face before tying it up. "Nobody can own anyone."

"Tell that to him."

"You aren't betrothed to him, are you?"



Hestia watched the older woman, admiring her strength. Had Hestia Carrow been born Hestia Jones, the Slytherin was sure her life would've been much easier. Alas, that had not happened, and even though she was still haunted by her dream, Hestia knew she loved having a twin sister too much to be born as anyone else.

Hestia was best playing herself, too. The next few meetings with the three men passed without much trouble besides Macnair's bitching and Rowle's leering, but Hestia was beginning to feel that she could handle them. It helped to know that she always had a home to return to after dealing with the Death Eaters, and—to an extent—it was nice knowing it was Auror Jones' home she was sharing. Jones was a half-blood like her, so she found the same Muggle things funny as she did. Jones also showed her a few martial arts moves in the event that Rowle ever stole Hestia's wand from her when she needed it.

The few weeks staying with Jones as her informant turned into a month and a half, and Hestia wondered if it was possible to wear out her welcome. She had come to regard Jones as a friend, but even friends had their limits. Jones' only limit seemed to involve talk of housemates or the locked room upstairs above Hestia's room.

"Some things are better left unknown," Jones would say with a tight expression. But then she'd ease into her bubbly smile and change the subject.

Hestia willed herself not to be bothered by Jones' attitude. The only way to do so was to think of the future, of what would happen when Rowle, Travers, and Macnair and their cronies were either dead or in custody. Hestia would be dead or in Azkaban, too, not here at Jones' home. Even though Jones said "Let's head home" after every one of Hestia's meetings with the Death Eaters, Hestia knew it wasn't her home. She'd lost her home a long time ago and she wouldn't be getting it back.

- ^-^3

Two months of surveillance and undercover work paid off. It was a Sunday evening when Travers announced their short-term plan:

"We'll break out our comrades from Azkaban."

Hestia stammered. "W-what?"

Rowle grinned. "Isn't it brilliant? We've taken extra measures to ensure they're hidden after—"

"Rowle!" Macnair hissed. Apparently he didn't want everyone to know the innermost details of the plan.

Travers eyed them all. "A fortnight from now, when the Aurors least expect it, we'll arrive at Azkaban. Some of the lower ranks will be 'under arrest,' and we'll move…well, we'll tell you on that night."

"How are we to get past all the Aurors? That's only one thing we know is there," Hestia said. "Shacklebolt said they did away with the Dementors, but we don't know if that's true, if they got them all out, or if something replaced them."

"We'll take care of it," Travers replied, his patience wearing thin.

"Anyone we're breaking out in particular?" the witch braved.

"Jugson, Rookwood, and the Carrows," Rowle said. "Amongst others."

She fought down a shiver. Those were some of the cruelest personalities in Azkaban. Not to mention they were heavy hitters. If they alone escaped, the new Ministry of Magic would have a difficult time indeed trying to contain the kind of havoc they could wreak.

"Dress warmly," Travers said to Hestia. He smiled, reminiscent of a happy gargoyle, and excused himself from the conference room. Macnair turned his attention to a pair of recruits whom Hestia hadn't met, and Rowle turned his attention to her.


"Yes?" She cleared her mind, preparing for the Legilimency.

Instead, he frowned. "Obliviate!"

When Hestia opened her eyes, she was standing at the foot of the walk leading to Cair Carrow. There was a dull throbbing sensation in her head, and she rubbed her temples to clear it.

Footsteps approached. Auror Jones came into view and, seeing Hestia, she jogged to close the distance. "Hestia! Are you—"

"I'm fine. I think." She walked, Jones falling into step beside her. "My head, though…"

"Hold on, let me see." Jones caught Hestia's wrists gently in her hands and tugged them down. The Auror's fingertips were warm on the sides of her face. "Oh, crap… I think one of them selectively erased most of your memory of tonight's meeting."

Hestia nodded, but then decided that wasn't a good idea. Her head wobbled and made her feel sick. "You're probably right…" She took a deep breath and concentrated. "I only remember two things—someone saying 'dress warmly' and…and the word 'fortnight.'"

Jones' eyes widened. "Come again?"

"Fortnight—you know, fourteen days?"

Jones shook her head but said nothing more on the matter. "Come on. Let's get you home."

Back at Jones' house, the Auror cooked and ate early. She went to sleep early, as well, and Hestia stayed up, thinking about the many moods of her handler and toying with the unicorn figurine again. Jones was a certifiable rainbow of emotion, being at times cheery, other times sarcastic, and sometimes even bothered to the point of being angry. She was strong, though, and that was one of many things Hestia admired about her. She wished she had Jones' strength.

But as she dwelled on the thought of the woman's strength, Hestia grew curious once more about the locked room and the fact that Jones lived alone in this house. Had she locked away something painful? Was Hestia Jones actually not strong enough to handle something?

Curiosity got to Hestia Carrow, however, and she eyed the hallway. The house was so quiet, Hestia could hear Jones' breathing as she slept. Seizing the chance, Hestia whisked herself upstairs, careful not to step on any squeaky stairs. The locked room and a second bathroom were the only things on the second floor, so it made Hestia all the more interested in finding out what was in the room.

The door felt manually locked, so Hestia did a spell. The lock firstly resisted the magic, but Hestia tried again. A sliding click echoed in the empty house. Then the door opened.

Hestia was…expecting something stellar, or at least something Dark. What she discovered was another bedroom, one that had not been used in years. It was clean enough, as though Jones visited it on a regular basis. But it felt as though a ghost lived in it, with all the personal items and decorations adorning the room without that person being there.

Hestia padded over to a nightstand beside the bed, which was covered in boxes. There was a beaded necklace on the nightstand along with a lamp and something else. She turned on the light and saw a picture frame. A young Auror Jones stared back at her, but this Jones was smiling without a care in the world. She had her arms wrapped around a younger girl maybe a little younger than Hestia, and she had purple-black tresses and Jones' same vivid blue eyes.

Whoever she was, she meant a lot to Jones, otherwise this room would've long ago fallen apart. Hestia felt a pang in her chest for Jones then, and she exited the room. On her way out, she saw wooden letters hanging on a wire from the wall. They spelled out the name "Megan."

When Hestia slept that night, she had that same nightmare that had been tormenting her for ages. She had finally gotten used to seeing it so that she no longer screamed, but she still broke out in a cold sweat from it.

It was morning again soon enough, and Auror Jones knocked on her door. "You up yet?"

Hestia got up and opened the door. Jones stood there, sipping a glass of gillywater.

"A 'yes' would've been fine."

Hestia followed the sour Jones into the living room…and she knew what had ruined her mood. The picture frame Hestia had seen hours ago was sitting on the coffee table.

"It's rude to go through someone else's stuff."

"I know." Hestia sat on the other end of the couch. "For what it's worth, I only went inside. I didn't go through her stuff."

"Good." Jones finished her drink and stared at the picture. "Good."

Hestia hated the quiet. "Who was she?"

"My baby sister."

She hadn't expected a response, but it made sense now why Jones hated talking about who lived in the house and what the room was.

"She died in the Battle of Hogwarts. She fought because her friends fought and because she thought I'd be proud of her." Jones smiled darkly. "She wasn't my reason to become an Auror. I was an Auror a long time before that. But…"


"But I was her reason to fight." She leaned her chin on her hand. "I don't know how she died. She was hit with the Killing Curse, though. So I plan on putting away any and all Death Eaters, no matter what."

Hestia wished she had a good a story about Flora. But she didn't. Because, in reality, Flora had turned out… Hestia put her own troubles aside and moved a little closer to Jones.

"She called me 'Tia' because she always said I doted on her like an aunt instead of like a sister." Jones explained, "It's Spanish for 'aunt.' She hated studying, but she loved languages. The Latin and Greek we use for spells were about the only things that kept her interested in school."

"I never thought there could be a nickname for our name," Hestia said.

Jones ignored her remark. "So, now you know my secret." She slid her eyes Hestia's way. "Care to tell me yours?"

Hestia said nothing, and Jones didn't prod. Some things…were better left alone.

- ^-^3

Jones' attitude at Hestia bettered after a few days. Instead of being angry, Jones was worried. But, hey, at least it showed that she cared.

"We're going somewhere tonight," the Auror announced. She motioned for Hestia to change into dark clothes and grab her cloak.

"Where are we going?" Hestia asked. She barely had time to catch her breath before Jones took her arm and Disapparated.

When they Apparated to London, Hestia could only think they were going to the Ministry, but she didn't understand why. They hustled to the Auror Office, where a large group had gathered. At the front of the group was Harry Potter, his glasses and scar giving him away. On one side of him was a redhead—his best mate, Ron Weasley, Hestia presumed. On the other side was a dark-haired man their age.

Hestia kept her mouth shut. She had no idea why she had to be in the presence of so many Aurors.

"Everyone here?" Jones asked Potter.

He nodded and gestured to the dark-haired man. "Neville sent out word. Turns out no one else was sleeping tonight."

"How could we?" Neville commented.

Jones nodded her approval. "You were right to be quick, Longbottom. Shall we?"

Hestia didn't understand, but she now knew who that other man was. He was Neville Longbottom, the son of former Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom. Tonight, whatever they were doing, would probably be done in their honor, Hestia felt.

The lot of them flew for a long time, but they all flew fast. Hestia had never seen or felt brooms go so fast, so she kept an iron grip around Jones' waist. They flew through clouds and headed into a storm. Hestia heard the crash of waves and dared to open an eye. A triangular building grew in size as they got closer, and a tingle of fright played up her spine.

They were going to Azkaban. But wasn't it too early? It wasn't two weeks later yet!

Her arms instinctively squeezed tighter. Jones yelled over her shoulder, "Don't worry! You're not staying here, not tonight!"

The squadron alighted atop the prison, and Potter exchanged words with a guard who ran off. Potter faced the rest of them. "All right. Hestia will take Carrow inside and drop her off. The rest of us will fan out. We are pretending to be the shift changes, got it?"

There was a general agreement, and then Weasley took a number of the Aurors with him. Longbottom did the same, and Potter took the rest. They moved out and Jones walked Hestia inside. With a door blocking them from the normal weather in this part of the world, Jones faced Hestia and patted her cheek.

"Let's dry you off, then." With a few flicks of her wand, Jones made so that Hestia looked as though she had managed to fly a shorter distance. Her clothes weren't as damp and weighing her down anymore, either.

"Any advice?" Hestia said, hating that her voice sounded so weak.

Jones pursed her lips and moved her eyes all over Hestia's face, as if trying to memorize her. "Don't kill and don't get killed."

"That makes sense." Hestia hesitated before briefly hugging Jones. "I know the Auror Office is just using me…and I'm just using you…but thank you."

"For what?"

"For being an unlikely friend."

Hestia ducked her head and hurried down the corridor before Jones could say anything. She took any turn she saw and went down any stairs and ladders she came across. By the time she had reached the seventh level, she heard a familiar voice call out to her.


She turned and saw Rowle. He was dressed as a guard while Travers and Macnair played themselves ahead of him. They had a few prisoners with them. Hestia tried to smile. For some reason, the breakout was happening tonight. She had no idea how the Aurors had known.

The fury in Macnair threw her off, however. He yelled, more terrifying than she had ever seen him. "I TOLD YOU, TRAVERS! SHE'S A RAT!"

Her smile fell as Macnair pushed past Rowle and came flying at her. Hestia ran backwards, scrambling for the nearest ladder. He threw a spell at her, which blasted a fiery hole through her cloak.

"Macnair, no!" Rowle shouted. He forgot his task and rushed after Macnair. But Travers picked up the slack. The prisoners followed him down another flight of stairs and disappeared. Above them, Hestia could hear the sounds of other fights and explosions. The Aurors had their hands full with other Death Eaters.

Macnair threw a spell at Rowle and sent him hurtling back down the hall. Then Macnair faced her.

"I told Travers you were a little snitch. I told him. But he wouldn't listen! He wouldn't listen because you've got Rowle wrapped around your finger. Well, not me." Macnair threw another spell at her and knocked her from the top of the ladder. She landed on her back, and he bent over her. "You should've died, you little bitch. Flora should've been the one with us. She was right in the head, unlike you." He pointed his wand at her, and it was like reliving her terrible nightmare—

"I don't think so!" Jones snarled, throwing some hex at the wizard. She dropped down the ladder beside Hestia and helped her up. She squeezed her hand which Hestia squeezed back, and she nodded. She was glad Hestia was all right.

Macnair struggled to his feet, but Jones was quicker with another spell aimed right at him. He groaned and dropped to his knees before sinking to the ground. He didn't get up.

"Where did the others go?"

Hestia pointed. "Rowle's at the other end. Travers went down at least another level. I don't know where they're going."

Jones cursed. "I wish they hadn't altered your memories."

They went down the hall and checked on Rowle, who was definitely out cold. "But if my memories were altered, how did you know—"

"Those two clues made sense," the Auror answered. She motioned for Hestia to stick close as they descended. When it was obvious Travers had left for another level, Jones elaborated. "'Dress warmly'—they weren't going to Siberia, and it's only fall. The only other place we could think of was here, Azkaban."

Hestia ignored the deranged hoots and hollers from the other animals in their cells. "But the other thing, the fortnight—"

"Code word. The Death Eaters began using it after the war. It means not fourteen days but the fourth night on. When they told you they'd do whatever they were planning in a fortnight, they meant they'd do it on the fourth night from then."

Hestia was surprised by the Aurors' knowledge network. She hadn't known a thing about that. She hadn't even known the Death Eaters used code words like that, especially not following the war.

Two more flights down, they caught up with Travers. The prisoners he had with them turned out not to be prisoners, however. They were recruits, and they dueled with Jones and Hestia while Travers searched the cells.

"What's he looking for?" Hestia asked Jones.

"He's—oh, bloody hell!" Jones paused and concentrated. In the next second, she sent a powerful Reducto the recruits' way, and they were hurled away from the two witches. Jones ran after Travers and dueled him on her own, their powers too evenly matched.

Hestia ran forward and added her power to Auror Jones', and Travers let out a mottled yelp before sailing into the bars of one of the cells. He dented a few, but he wasn't just out cold. He'd cracked his head open on one of the bars. He bled out before the witches could even catch their breaths.

"They," Jones said, gesturing to two cells side-by-side, "were what he wanted."

Hestia glanced in and quickly looked away. In either cell sat Alecto and Amycus Carrow, so close but separated by a magically-reinforced stone wall. Hestia shivered. To think, that these people were distantly related to her… She shivered again.

Jones eyed her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Let's go help the others," she mumbled, taking Hestia by the hand.

"When did I become the good guy?" Hestia asked.

"When you stopped being both the victim and the suspect," Jones answered.

Climbing up, they could still hear the sounds of other fights being fought. Thankfully, Rowle was still out. Macnair was, too, and Weasley and Potter had heaved him up. Potter jerked his head to a nearby cell. "I think we can put him and his friends in right away for safety's sake, don't you think?"

Jones shook her head. "Not Travers."

Potter and Weasley exchanged a look. "Not our loss," Weasley said darkly.

Hestia sat down, her mind still reeling. Jones knelt beside her and brushed her dark hair out of her eyes. "How are you feeling?"

"As though I never want to be a Death Eater or an Auror," Hestia replied.

Jones grinned. "Good. Because I don't want you to be either of those things, either." She paused and then leaned her forehead against Hestia's. "You, uh, you had me worried, you know, when you were Obliviated…"


"I thought you'd forgotten everything. Then I thought it might be good if you forgot what happened to your sister, but…" Jones bit her lip.

Hestia observed her. "You were afraid of something, finally."

"I'm not a scaredy-cat."

"You thought I'd forgotten you when I walked out of Cair Carrow, didn't you?"

Jones' expression was all the answer Hestia needed. It brought a small smile to her face. She felt around on the dirty floor for Jones' hand, and she gripped it in hers.

"I would've been scared, too, to forget you."

Jones rocked back on her heels and turned her face. Hestia thought Jones would kiss her when a shadow fell over them. It was Rowle. The witches were up in a flash.

"If you care so much, then I'll gladly make you forget her," Rowle growled. He had a lump on the side of his head, but he had his wand. He aimed it at Hestia but then turned to Auror Jones. And Hestia had a flash in her mind, a glimpse—she saw Rowle casting Obliviate on her before.

But his wand was not poised to obliterate memories. It was ready to obliterate Jones.

Hestia stepped between them, her wand moving on its own as a bolt of green light shot out and knocked Rowle square in his chest. There wasn't even a gurgling sound as he hit the floor with an almost peaceful thud.

That was when Hestia realized the severity of her situation.

She looked at Jones' blanched face. Past her, Potter and Weasley stood, having jailed Macnair. But they were looking at her. Hestia thought it better to look at Jones instead. "I'm sorry," she said, thinking they'd be her final words before they arrested her, too.

Jones shook herself, and relief flooded her being. She touched Hestia's hand. "Don't be." Jones turned to Potter and Weasley. "I didn't see anything, did you?"

Weasley shook his head, but Potter cleared his throat. "I saw an act of self-defense, as well as defense of a third party—of an Auror, no less."

"So no crime was committed?"

"Absolutely not."

Hestia remained still beside Jones as the wizards passed them and went downstairs to retrieve Travers' body. Jones looked her up and down. "Let's head home," she said, tugging Hestia close to her.

For once, Hestia believed that meant it was her home, too.

- ^-^3

Without so much as a second's passing, her arm reared back. The point of her wand looked so deadly, deadlier even than the sharpest knife as a familiar green light appeared at its apex. The ball of light grew stronger and bigger until one thought one could hear the screams of every victim the spell had ever claimed—

Hestia woke up. The nightmare didn't scare her anymore. It only made her sad to think about what really had happened.

She turned and faced the window in her room. Hmm. It wouldn't be her room much longer, would it? Just because Jones felt something for Hestia and she did, as well…their work had been done. Hestia had no idea what came next.

A knock came next, it turned out. Jones didn't wait for her to answer, though. She opened it and stood by the doorway. "Well, the paperwork's been terminated."

"What paperwork?"

"Making you an informant. Our…agent," Jones said.


"Oh, he's cursing you until the end of time, but he's sealed away with his pals."

Hestia sucked in her lower lip. "Me?" she breathed.

"You're a free woman, Hestia Carrow." Jones smiled. "And my hero."

Hestia gave a weak chuckle. "Don't you mean 'heroine'?"

Jones entered the room and sat on the edge of the bed. She had the marble unicorn in her hands, but it wasn't a unicorn anymore. It had lost its horn. "Dropped it the other morning, the morning after…" She trailed off, not mentioning Rowle's death.

"That's a shame. It was pretty."

"It still is pretty," Jones corrected, setting it on the nightstand beside Hestia's bed. "It can still be a unicorn. It just…looks a bit funny, is all."

Hestia gave her a look. "Kind of like how I could be a suspect, a victim, and a hero all at once?"

Jones winked. "Maybe." She patted Hestia's legs. "Every loose end's tied up, you know—all but one." She locked eyes with the other witch. "What really happened to Flora?"

Hestia took a deep breath and exhaled. "I did kill her. I wasn't lying." She waited for the shock to come to Jones, but the Auror wasn't surprised. "Rowle had been recruiting almost right after the war. He was like a commander to Travers and Macnair. Flora thought like them, wanted to be like them. She wanted to join them. I couldn't do anything but tag along. Our parents were gone—killed by Death Eaters, no doubt—and I was all Flora had left. She was all I had left. But the Flora I knew disintegrated in their presence. I went along with their charades for a while until it came time to get the Dark Mark. They want a kill for that, you know."

"I know," Jones whispered.

Hestia stared at the bed sheet. "They pitted us against each other. They wanted one of us to come out alive. I know Macnair was hoping Flora would kill me. I don't think I really fooled them for a second that I wanted to join. I think that's why showing up after three months of silence stunned them and didn't help your case at first. But…they fled Cair Carrow before we started exchanging spells. And Flora, she had this manic look in her eye and I had never seen her want something so bad. So she pointed her wand at me, and I froze. That green light grew and grew until I thought it would engulf me—but I reacted. Fight or flight, they say." Hestia gripped the sheet in her hand. "I killed her before she could kill me. And then I ran."

Jones watched her for a long while, saying nothing. She cupped Hestia's cheek in her palm and looked at her. If she was expecting tears, she didn't get them. But maybe she wasn't, because she smiled knowingly. Maybe she understood that Hestia had finally let go of her remorse, even if it pained her to do so. Maybe she understood that Hestia had fought the Dark magic in her and won, even though sometimes Hestia didn't exactly feel that way.

"I'm a free woman now," Hestia reminded her.

"That you are," Jones said, touching their foreheads again.

"I want to do one thing right now."


"I want to stay home today."

"Of course." This time, Jones didn't wait for a Dark wizard to threaten their lives before kissing her.

- ^-^3

Wow. At times, this story felt as though it was The Story That Would Never End. Siriusly. I've never written a murder mystery before…but I have to say, it was FREAKING SWEET! 8D I thought it would be shorter, but these two minor characters just wanted to be fleshed out so badly that I had to let them finish their story themselves. So I close with a few notes: Hestia Jones was a young witch who was part of the Advance Guard in OotP; I always had a feeling that she was about Tonks' age. Hestia and Flora Carrow were characters from the 6th movie, and we only ever really saw them; they could've been a bit older or a bit younger than Harry and co. Megan Jones may have been related to Hestia Jones, but for this fic's purposes, I made her Hestia Jones' little sis. As for the aforementioned Death Eaters: It was unknown if they survived or survived imprisonment after the war; now, thanks to the Hestias, Rowle and Travers sure as hell won't be doing anything Dark ever again. The title comes from the Lacuna Coil song of the same name, hence the introductory lyrics—great song, so give it a listen! Lastly, I leave you with a literary tidbit: There's an allusion to the play, "The Glass Menagerie," by Tennessee Williams, a favorite play of mine. Can you find it? ;]

Thanks to Jess (lunalestrange4) for the prompts of "midnight," "lesson," "remember," "singing," "staircase," and "stellar." They helped to jog my brain. :D

Thank you so very much for reading! And please don't favorite this without reviewing!

-mew-tsubaki :]