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Chapter 25

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Ministry of Magic - Saturday

Leaving the Wizengamot courtroom, Hermione had to keep a tight grip on Ren's arm to prevent her from storming back into the room and strangling Lorcan D'Eath.

"Pretentious motherfu—"

"Language, Renesmee." Hermione admonished but she too had half a mind to find the other half-vampire and skin him for implying that Renesmee asked to be prepositioned, "The case is over. We won. His reputation was already in the gutter..."

"Still pisses me off that he had the gall to wink at me." Ren hissed and allowed the older woman to lead her into the lift and then towards her office.

Hermione shook her head, "Disgusting, I know. Not an ideal way to spend Saturday morning."

Ren sighed, "At least it's over. I was getting tired of his solicitor pushing the case back."

"They were waiting for something to happen in regards to you. Skeeter's article and then disappearance gave them the distraction they needed. They weren't allowed to mention that during that session, though." Hermione said simply, while locking and warding her office for privacy.

"Of course, they'd assume vampires were responsible."

"Or you. Rumour has it that you're a very talented witch and...There's whispers about your Magical Permit, which is upsetting the DUS."

Ren huffed and dropped into one of the comfortable armchairs facing Hermione's desk, "Why would Underage Sorcery care? I don't fall under their jurisdiction."

Hermione's lips tightened in displeasure, "They believe that since you are attending Hogwarts, you should be under their control. They're also displeased that you were granted this permit without their knowledge."

"But Minister Kingsley himself granted the permit, under the request of President Stevenson. They can't take my permit, can they?" Ren asked suddenly worried. Lately things haven't been going her way and she really hoped the universe wasn't out to get her.

Hermione shook her head negatively, "No, they don't have to power. But, Renesmee, I implore you to not flaunt these privileges and tread lightly. The public is already stirring, it won't take much for them to turn on you."

"Me..." Ren mumbled.

"Yes, only you. You are the one posing the most threat. Which brings me to another issue...I heard about your exploits into the forest. I thought the elves have been providing...the necessary nourishments you need."

Ren fought back a smile at Hermione's turn of words but took notice of the woman's serious expression before putting her foot in it, "If it was Rose that told you, you'd be aware of my little issue with Jacob Black. Not to mention the Prophet and Skeeter's article tying me in a tizzy. Things with downhill to quickly for me and I had a lot of pent up frustration and anger to release. The forest was the safest place to do so. I couldn't risk endangering the other students."

Hermione nodded, Rose had mentioned the issue with Jacob Black, but she'd gotten her information about the forest from Neville. She wondered why Rose never mentioned the forest, but couldn't be angry at her daughter since she withheld things from her parents for years, all in the name of friendship and loyalty.

"Next time you need to defuse your frustrations, I suggest you go a little farther than the Forbidden Forest."

"I would. But I could only get that far on foot or broom. I had to get back to class. I'd try to get my Apparition license but I would rather wait with the rest of my class."

"Good, I'd rather not have to deal with that office as well. On another note, what are your plans in relation to Mr Black?"

An uncomfortable silence settled over the room. Ren broke it with a bitter chuckle, "I have no desire to see Jacob at the moment. I've been searching high and low for a way to break this curse. I've been in correspondence with Mr Bill Weasley. He seems to believe that the curse is anchored to the wolves and not me. Which means, that the answer to breaking it lies with them."

Hermione noted Ren's downcast eyes and the clinching of her fists, "And you don't think Jacob is all that interested in breaking it?"

Ren glanced up at the woman and shook her head, "Not in the slightest. He's said as much to my parents before he left the house."

That caused Hermione to frown. After a few seconds of silence she spoke, "I'll contact a few of our unspeakables to see if they have an insight on this. What does this bond do exactly?"

That caused Ren to glare at nothing in particular, "Nothing much. I've been able to fight most of the hormonal influences it has over imprints. What I despise most of all is the wolves ability to track their imprints anywhere in the world. I'd rather not have him pop up unannounced, especially if I'm with my friends. He won't hesitate to make a scene."

Hermione caught her hidden meaning when she mentioned her friends. It wouldn't be advantageous for Jacob to show up in Hogsmeade when Ren was with Albus. Hermione was certain that the two love birds could protect themselves against the shifter but she had a feeling Ren didn't want any sort of drama that early in a relationship.

"Mom said they'll keep an eye on him. But Alice can't see the wolves, so she won't be able to warn me. The most she can do is tell me when my future blurs out. That should be enough warning." Ren continued while wondering what she would do in the case of that happening.

"Seems like you have control over that issue. I understand you've made strides with your occulmency. Charlie mentioned that he tested you and you all but mentally slapped him."

Ren giggled, glad for the change of subject, "Actually, I did mentally slap him. He did it in the Great Hall when I was chatting with Al. He did get a glimpse of my thoughts though. I don't think he'll risk trying that again."

"Especially when you're with Al. How goes your work on your grimoire?" Hermione added with a chuckle.

Ren grinned then and pulled out her standard composition notebook, which held all her potion and transfiguration ideas and the spells she'd managed to create and modify. She levitated the book towards Hermione who also had a grin on her face. She too had such a book, although she had only managed to put work into it for her Seventh year, war had a way of keeping you from your desires.

"I can do all the modified spells wandlessly and wordlessly. But it's easy enough for anyone to pick up. Easier, if my research is right. Joan has already mastered the Rune circle Shield."

"Joan is first year right?" Hermione asked in surprise.

Ren nodded, "Yes. Everyone else got it on their first or third try too."

Hermione paged to the allocated pages and began reading, "This looks complex. Where did you get the idea?" the page held several drawings of Rune circles and annotated notes around it. There were basic background notes, hypothesis, discussion of each rune used, instructions to the spell and even results for spellcasting tests. Hermione smiled when she noticed the small Error paragraph which only had a single sentence, "Don't be an idiot!"

"Mundane cartoons. Anime to be precise. And it's not. Runes seem to be something Joan already loves. She doesn't have that much power so adding Runes with her spells works easily for her. She's already into the chapter twelve of the Ancient and Modern Runes text I loaned her two weeks ago."

"Have you filled out the forms for these new spells for the Department of Mysteries?" Hermione asked, glancing up to Ren.

Ren fidgeted but decided to be honest, "I didn't really see the point. I haven't told anyone outside my little circle about them and they aren't harmful...so..."

Hermione smiled beside herself, "Just take care to not push the limits. Poke at magic too much and it will poke right back."

"Professor Flitwick mentioned that. I'm careful with what I let the others try...and I know which spells I shouldn't play around with."

After a moment of reading Hermione's eyes widened, she paused and reread the paragraph. She looked up to Ren, her eyes still wide, "You modified the stunning spell."

Ren nodded nonchalantly, "Rose and Lysander helped with that one. It targets several people at once. It takes more focus and a lot of practice."

Hermione didn't reply, she simply reached into her robe and pulled out her mirror.

"Ron, clear your and Harry's schedule. I'm coming down there."

"'Mione, we're a bit busy. Rookie training today."

Hermione grinned, "Perfect. I'm bringing a friend."

Ren didn't know what to say at that short conversation, so she remained silent. Hermione pulled out a ring from a drawer in her desk and began tapping it with her wand, she unceremoniously threw it to Ren, who caught it without taking her eyes off the suddenly excited witch.

"Put it on. We have to hurry if we're going to catch the training. Oh, if you have one of those rings you gave to my children, you'll have to take it off for that ring to work."

"What is it?" Ren asked suddenly uncomfortable. History told her that accepting jewellery that was most likely charmed was stupid, especially if you didn't know what it did.

"It's a glamour ring. My dear brother-in-law George created it. I don't want anyone seeing you in the Ministry, especially in the DMLE."

Ren slipped it on quickly after removing her goblin made ring. She watched in amazement as her hair tamed and changed to shoulder length black hair and her skin became several shades darker. She didn't know it but her brown eyes had also changed a dark blue. Her features stayed somewhat the same but no one would know who she really was, unless they took the time to examine her thoroughly.

"Sweet." She proclaimed with a smile. Hermione handed her back her notebook, which she immediately stored in her bag and then followed Hermione through the floo in her office.

They appeared in Ron's office, but Ren didn't get the time to admire its messiness because Hermione quickly led her out and towards the Auror training rooms. She remembered the last time she was in this department, during the Christmas holidays, and couldn't place several of the faces that looked at her and Hermione with curiosity.

They finally found Harry and Ron in Training room XII, with a group of auror trainees. Hermione walked over to the two with an air of authority that impressed Ren significantly. She seemed to have the effect on the trainees as well, if their awestricken expressions said anything.

Hermione whispered something to Ron and Harry, which caused Ren to divert her eyes when they looked at her.

"Really?" Harry whispered a reply. Ron grinned and called Ren over with a wave of his hand.

Ron then turned to the trainees with a grin that did wonders in unsettling them, "Everyone, this is..."

"Ten..." Ren hurriedly said, "Only Ten."

Several of the trainees gain enough courage to scoff at the name.

Ron grinned, "Ten...is an auror from America. She's agreed to assist in training today."

"Why?" One of the trainees asked while openly staring at Ren/Ten.

Ron chuckled, figuring that it would be Tobias Finnegan who spoke up first, "'Cause she can put any off you on your arse in seconds and the clincher is she's only eighteen."

"This august." Ren added for effect.

"She is a part of a special auror team that works alongside Spell developers. She's here to show us a new, or rather modified spell that she and her three-man team personally developed." Harry added as he stepped up beside Ren.

Ren stared at him open-mouthed for a while. Why was he making the lie that elaborate?

"Now," Harry called in a no nonsense tone, "I need five of you to volunteer for this exercise...Good, I love your enthusiasm. Now, the rest of you stand behind the warded area that Senior Auror Weasley is placing at the other side of the room. You five, stand to the end of the room. Wands at ready. Ten..."

Ren glared distastefully at the three adults but did as Harry asked. She stood twenty feet away from the five trainees, her face void of all emotion and her stubborn sentient wand in her right hand. She could feel it buzzing for action and had to hiss for it to calm down.

The five trainees and others must have heard her because they stared in confusion.

"When you're ready." She deadpanned to no one in particular.

"Three...Two...Now!" Harry shouted.

The trainees immediately jumped into action, firing stunners, body binds and even a cutting hex at her. She easily twisted out of the path of the stunners, blocked the binds and ducked away from the hex, as she did this she was carving runes into the ground in front of her. When the trainees stared dumbfounded at her for two seconds, she discreetly activated the rune protection field in front of her.

The trainees snapped out of their funk and sent more spells to her, this time more lethal and difficult to block. Three of the spells hit the invisible forcefield, scattering it within seconds. Ren whispered and explicit and ducked out of the way from the follow up spells.

She wasn't expecting that much resistance. Her duels with her classmates clouded her vision somewhat. She underestimated these trainees and failed to realize that where they didn't have the power, they did have the experience and knew how to use the spell arsenal at its fullest potential.

Getting tired of her defensive strategy she threw a few spells towards them, which they either blocked or dodged.

With a whispered growl, she jabbed her wand forward. The deep red light flew towards the group, but before they could jump from its path, Ren flicked her wrists mid-flight causing the single beam of light to crackle violently then split five ways.

Rose had worked tirelessly on trying to split the spell and keep the caster's magical core from protesting. It was both Ly and Ren who discovered a way to lock the spell onto one's target by linking it to the target's magical signature. It would take all of the caster's focus and an ample amount of power to achieve it.

Ren was the only one capable of casting the spell five-ways. Ly and Rose managed a three-way spell, while Al and the others mustered enough strength for a two-way casting.

Surprised by the display, the trainees missed their opportunity to block or dodge and were sent flying backwards as the stunners hit them. Their manoeuvring wouldn't help them much with the spells locked onto their magic.

Ren quickly stored her wand into its holster on her arm and stepped over to Hermione, who had a slight grin on her face.

"Well done. Could have done without the wordless magic display though." Hermione whispered to her as they watched Harry and Ron revive the stunned trainees.

Ren shrugged uncaringly, "I prefer not to shout during duels."

Harry began speaking to the trainees, who were all staring at Ren with a mixture of emotions, she couldn't help the smirk that found its way onto her face.

"That was a stunner?" one of the trainees asked Harry with wonder, "It looked painful."

"It was..." one of the five volunteer said with a glare to Ren.

"No pain no gain..." she deadpanned.

"Okay, so maybe it wasn't exactly a stunner. It's based off of it though. As soon as Ten perfects it, you should all expect it to be added to your training. Now, who wants to tell me how this spell could be useful to us?"

Ren ignored most of the lecture, seeing that she'd already determined how the spell could be used. She sent a pointed look to Hermione, who immediately ushered her out of the room as Ron and Harry carried on with their lecture.

"Don't they have anything better to do than train rookies?" Ren asked when they were back in Ron's office.

"They do. But once a month they tutor a class. Something about getting a feel of the new recruits." Hermione answered and lightly pushed her into the fireplace, "You can floo to your grandfather's office from here."

Ren nodded, ever since her cussing out the teachers, she'd been using her grandfather's floo instead of McGonagall's or Flitwick's. But, she wasn't going back to Hogwarts, not yet at least. First, she had to figure out what Seth wanted.

"Bye. Diagon Alley!"

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.oOo.

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Several seconds later, she was deposited into the Alley. With a huff she stood and vanished the ash from her clothes and stepped away. She was meeting Seth in Mundane London, which she didn't necessarily mind. She just hoped this meeting wasn't about Jacob Freaking Black.

She found the hotel Seth was apparently staying at and headed to the room he told her to meet him in.

Seth opened the door before she even knocked and pulled her in roughly, before slamming the door shut.

Ren cussed loudly when she saw the unconscious form of the famous Rita Skeeter, sprawled across the bed, "What the fuck Seth? You did this? Do you have any idea how stupid this is? How dangerous? SETH CLEARWATER I AM GOING TO SKIN YOU ALIVE!"

"SHH! Shit, Ren. Shut up and let me explain dammit." Seth whispered harshly.

Ren folded her hands and glared at him, "Explain then."

He was quiet, but soon started to fidget nervously.

"Enough with the fucking thumb twiddling Seth! Explain!"

Seth sighed and rubbed his face roughly, "Jacob was being a fucktard. Ordered all of us to not contact you...I ignored him, of course..."

"How?"

"Um...I may have been meeting with a Makah shaman to research this curse. And we may have found a way to lift a portion of it. Magic is complicated as fuck, yo!"

Ren glared at him until his words sank in, "You know how to lift an imprint curse?"

"It has nothing to do with the imprint. The wolf is the one who has to go through the process."

"FUCK!" she hated having her suspensions confirmed.

Seth grinned, "Not entirely. It's called blood magic...if you want that curse lifted, you need Jake's blood."

"That doesn't help, Seth. Blood magic is considered dark in civilised circles. And that also doesn't explain why Rita Skeeter is in your hotel room!"

Seth pouted, "She pissed me off with that article. I concur that kidnapping her was maybe too much..."

"No shit! And I suspect that's why you called me..." she grumbled and turned her attention to Skeeter.

"Yeah...I didn't think this one through." He said while scratching his head and looking sheepish.

Ren sighed and rubbed her temples, "The problem is she's a public figure. So disposing of her is out of the question. Also, I've never had to kill anyone to hide my tracks. Does she know what's going on? Did she see your face?"

"No...but she knows I'm associated with you."

"Fucking hell Seth!" Ren slapped him behind the head, "Now we only have two options. Kill her or wipe her memory! I don't want to kill her and I don't know how to erase specific memories without taking everything."

Seth's eyes widened a bit, "This is more complicated than I thought. Don't you know anyone that could help?"

"No! Now shut up. I'm trying to remembering what I read about Obliviate."

"Eh?"

"Shut it!" Ren began to pace, tapping her forehead occasionally. After a minute and fifteen seconds she stopped in front of Skeeter with a nervous look. She grabbed the woman's arm and pulling her into a sitting position before pressing her wand to Skeeter's temples.

"Don't make a sound Seth. I need to focus...I really hope this works...and I don't go to jail if anyone finds out..." She added as an afterthought.

Legimens!

She sucked in a breath when her own mind began to fill with several memories. From what she noticed, they were Skeeter's most recent. Thinking hard, she pulled forward the memories of Seth, when he's abducted her and when he'd knocked her out the second time she awoke.

Obliviate!

Easier than she'd expected the memories shattered in Skeeter's mind. Mastering Occulmency and Legimency had just moved up on her schedule. She was almost there, but with no one there to really test her skills, she wasn't sure where she stood. Her grandfather wasn't as good at it as she'd hoped.

Keeping her wand on the woman's temples, Ren fabricated a memory of Skeeter going into Mundane London and visiting a bar, with her thoughts on the lawsuit she had just been slapped with. The memory then faded a bit, to make it appear that Skeeter had drunk her sorrows in alcohol and then showed an inebriated Skeeter stumbling into this very hotel and passing out. The memory would show that she continued this ritual for the entire week and until someone found her or she sobered up, she's believe the memory until her death.

Ren's expression tightened and she let Skeeter fall back unto the bed and she turned to Seth, "Who saw you bring her in here?"

"No one. I hid her in my suitcase. By the way. What's with the disguise?"

Ren looked down to find she was still in her 'Ten' getup, she shrugged, "Not important right now. First, we need to erase all signs of you and me being here. Including my magic. We have to set it up like Skeeter came here after drinking her weight in rum, which means, we need rum and we need to get your name off the hotel records and hers on."

Seth grinned, "I already did that the last one. Emmett thought me a lot on hacking you know."

Ren didn't smile in return, she just stared at him with no emotion, "I'll get the rum then. In the mean time, make this place look like she's been here a while. Make her look like she's drunk. I have some memories to plant."

She disillusioned herself before leaving the room, all while trying to forget that what she was doing was glaringly illegal and morally wrong.

Fucking Seth!

An hour later, several hotel employees had memories on Skeeter at the bar and checking in, Skeeter's room was filled with empty bottles and she herself smelled like a brewery. Ren had to cast a tricky little spell to make Skeeter appear hungover, with the vomiting effect and all. Sometimes, she really loved her eidetic memory.

Before leaving she wiped the room of her and Seth's presence and her own magic. She left Skeeter's wand between the bed sheets. Since she couldn't cast a spell with Skeeter's wand she couldn't take the cover up as far as making it appear that Skeeter used magic on the mundanes in the hotel.

They left the hotel, disillusioned and silent. Ren hadn't said a word to Seth since the clean-up which only made him all the more nervous.

When they'd made it to a nearby park, he finally spoke, "I fucked up, I know. I'm sorry."

Ignoring his apology, she jumped on the subject that interested her the most, "Tell me about the curse lifting."

Seth breathed deeply, happy that she was speaking to him, "Like I said, it's something called Blood Magic. Shaman Stormeagle says it was done through a ritual from father to son. Not getting into the full story, but essentially, some jackass shaman of an ancestor hated that many of the commoners could walk in the astral world. To prevent them from doing so, he bound them to the mortal realm by binding their magic to shifting. The imprint was made as a way to prolong the curse. The thing is, no one is born an imprint. It takes a lot of magic to pin the curse to someone. As you well know, not all of the wolves see it as a curse and they aren't interested in breaking it if it means they lose their imprints. I've thought a while on this. Sam imprinted on Emily, because she was the closet female relative to Leah who had the magic in her blood. He couldn't imprint on another wolf. My theory is his magic latched onto Emily because of that. Something draws the wolves to potential imprints...I don't know what. But something does."

"Innate or active magic. With the wolves it's all about blood. But with the imprints, it's about magic." Ren whispered, "Somewhere done the line, all the imprints have magic in them. It could explain why Jacob was so obsessed with mom and then he imprinted on me the second he saw me. My magic. If you and Leah have magic, somewhere down the line so does Emily and Claire...so does Kim. It isn't strong enough to make them witches, but it is strong enough to draw a wolf to you. What did you mean by slowly lifting the curse?"

"Because it's so engrained in us. It's going to take time to lift the binds. You'd think that it dilutes with every generation, but it doesn't. It only affects certain generations though and I don't think vampires have anything to do with it. The more magic in the land, the more likely it is that kids will start shifting."

Ren shook her head in disagreement, "It does have to do with vampires. They have magic, not like witches and wizards, but they have it. They are the ones filtering magic into the lands and no one knew that. Why is blood needed in the rituals?"

Seth shrugged, "No idea really. All I know is after every ritual, it gets harder for me to phase and I've been noticing little incidents that tell me my magic is unbinding. Jake's last dick move cemented my belief that it's working. The moment he issued the alpha order I snapped at him and phased human. Then I went after that bitch..." He added sheepishly.

"You were here all this time? How are you able to visit the Makah shaman?"

"International portals. I've only been here for a few weeks though. When Jake told us that you've been avoiding his calls, I came over."

"Why?" she couldn't help the hiss that escaped her lips.

Seth rolled his eyes, "'Cause I knew sooner or later, Jake would do something stupid. Like go up to Scotland or something."

"Have you been back to the manor since...the newspaper incident?"

Seth chuckled, "Nah, been busy kidnapping people and shit."

"Too soon..." she deadpanned and checked her watch, "I have to head back to Hogwarts."

Seth's expression brightened, "Can I come? I wanna see mom."

Ren shrugged uncaringly, "Whatev."

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.oOo.

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Ren bid her grandparents and Seth a simple good bye before leaving. She wanted to stay but realised that most of their conversations would be centred on subjects she either already knew about or didn't want to discuss, like Jacob.

She made her way to Hagrid's hut, knowing that at least Al planned to spend the afternoon there with the long time family friend.

Hagrid was spending the day outside, like most days. However, what stopped Ren short was the fact that he was reading. She didn't see any of her friends but decided to carry on nonetheless.

"Hey Hagrid, what ya doing?" She singsonged as she plopped down on the large brown blanket he was sitting on.

He started for a second before offering her a shy smile, "Studying. For my Charm's OWL."

Ren couldn't help but noticed how clearer his pronunciations were and also, how cleaner and well trimmed his hair was kept. He seemed to be dressing less roguishly as well, which made Ren sad. Somehow, the rough woodsman look suited the large man.

"Nice. What some help?"

Hagrid quickly accepted her offer and spent several minutes reviewing until Ren had an epiphany.

"Hagrid...how would you like to be a part of an experiment. It won't hurt. But, it might help you with your studies..."

He looked down at her in question but nodded even though he was a bit uncertain.

Ren smiled and stood. With no hesitation she pushed her hands on the large man's temples and instructed him to close his eyes. Slowly, she began showing him her memories/thoughts of several charms, starting with first year and moving up to second year.

Not wanting to overwhelm him she pulled away and asked if it was helping him remember the simple charms. He took a minute to get used to the new images in his head but nodded with a smile when he realised he did indeed recall all off the charms she'd shown him.

She continued with the third and fourth year spells and paused again, to see if he remembered any. This time he claimed that most he recalled but was having a hard time keeping track of all the new information. He didn't say it in those exact words, but Ren also noticed he was pinching his nose and blinking rapidly.

"Okay. Maybe it's too much too fast. But it is helping you. How about we try again tomorrow after lunch? We'll go over first year, then I'll work my magic and then go over them again."

Hagrid seemed excited by the idea but wondered out loud if it was cheating.

Ren grinned and shook her head, stating that it couldn't be cheating since what she was doing was never prohibited.

"What are you doing?" Hagrid asked finally, just before she left.

"Finding a good use to my little vampire ability. I'm just sharing my own thoughts and memories." With that she bid him goodbye and hurried back to the castle.

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.oOo.

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Walking into the Ravenclaw common room, Ren spotted her friends by their usual spot, by one of the fireplaces in the room. She slowly made her way over while absently glancing at the other claws in the room.

Nikki was the first to spot her. She grinned broadly, "Hey, wanna go swimming? You can tell us about your excursion then."

"In the lake?"

"No...RoR." Nikki said in a whisper.

Lorcan sighed in exasperation before pleading, "Please say no. We had Quidditch practice and I'm sore all over."

Nikki glared at him and was about to punch him in one of his sore regions but Ren saved him.

"Sure...and since Lorcan doesn't feel up to it, we'll make it a girls only expedition. You can even wear that lovely Brazilian bikini you've been hiding in your trunk." Ren said with a sly grin to Nikki.

Nikki giggled, catching on to her friend and noticing the widening eyes of her boyfriend. She hopped up from the sofa, "You're right. I'll go get it."

"Get mine too. The black one...thanks." Ren added with a wink to her friend, who laughed at the mournful look she was getting from the twins.

Ren turned to Ly seconds later with an excited grin, "Expect a owl from the head auror in a day or two about our modified stunner..."

Ly, knowing she went to the ministry and guessed where she was going with that statement, still asked the obvious question, "Why?"

"I might have gotten an opportunity to show it to him. Not in the way I would have preferred but he saw it nonetheless."

"Did you tell Rose yet?" He asked with a grin matching hers.

She shook her head and all but bounced in place, "Not yet. I'll get her on our way to —"

Suddenly, she was cut of mid sentence by a scream. Several people looked up towards the girl's dorm area with worry. Ren immediately dashed towards the scream and paled when she realised it was coming from her own dorm room.

She was almost run over, in the hall leading to their room, by a crying Nikki who saw her and immediately fell into her arms.

"Nikki...shh...stay here, let me see what's going on..."

Nikki's eyes widened and gripped Ren's arms tightly, "NO! Don't go in there Ren. DON'T!"

Ren looked into the panicked eyes of Nikki and wondered what could have caused such fright. She noticed the head girl standing behind them and motioned her forward.

"Keep her calm while I see what's wrong." Crystal instructed while she passed the two girls.

Ren nodded but kept her eyes on Crystal. The head girl pushed open the door and gasped before stepping back hastily.

"Someone go get Professor Flitwick!" She shouted, but her voice cracked. The fifth year prefect pushed through the assembled crowd of girls in the hallway and immediately ran off.

Ren didn't like the looks Crystal was giving her, or the smell permitting from the room. She stunned Nikki, who was better hyperventilating and wailing, and moved to the room.

Crystal didn't make a move to stop her but cast an uncomfortable look at her and mumbled, "I'm sorry."

The sight that greeted her made Ren understand what had caused Nikki to almost pass out. Sprawled on her bed, with its insides hanging out, was what looked like one of the school owls. Its head was missing, but it didn't take long for her to find it—impaled on Nikki's bed post.

Whoever did this had great pleasure in spraying most of the room with the owl's blood. It appeared to her that more than one of the school owls would show up missing if anyone checked.

A squeak in the doorway made her turn to find her Head of House and the Deputy Headmistress stepping into the room.

Flitwick immediately moved over to her and patted her arm. McGonagall wrapped an arm around Ren's shoulders and attempted to lead her out the room.

Ren stayed put though and turned to her Head of house, she hissed "McLaggen did this. Her stink is all over the room!"

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-oOo-

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I had half a mind to make the owl in that last scene Pico...I just couldn't...

Thanks for reading. Hope you review!