A/n: In the scene in Dumbledore's office when the DA is being exposed, Kingsley does a Memory Charm on Marietta so she won't spill the beans. We are not told exactly how much damage this charm did – certainly she forgets everything related to the DA and her involvement with it after the first gathering in the Hog's Head – but because it's left vague, I figured I could take some creative license.

Disclaimer: Characters and main story are the property of J.K. Rowling.


Marietta woke up in the hospital wing with a throbbing pain in her head. The curtains were drawn around her bed, and the soft white light emanating from them told her that it was late morning.

She wiggled her fingers and toes, trying to assess the damage to her body. But other than the headache, everything seemed fine. So why was she lying in a hospital bed – with the curtains drawn? Madam Pomfrey only ever drew the curtains to give her patients privacy, if they needed rest, or if they were grossly disfigured…

Grossly disfigured. Marietta slowly became aware of a strange throbbing on her face as her mind struggled to remember the previous night. She could feel an odd sinking in her heart, as though her brain was trying to shield her from some knowledge but knew it would fail.

Her head went throb, throb, throb.

The Headmaster's office. That's where she had been last night. Umbridge had taken her there – but what had she done? There were other people too, from the Ministry, from Hogwarts, there was the Minister, and Dawlish, and McGonagall, and Shacklebolt, and Potter…her mind seemed to react particularly strongly to that name… Someone had been asking her questions, and they had all been staring at her as she tried to answer with her robe drawn up to her nose. Why had her robe…?

Her face went throb, throb, throb.

Slowly, she tilted her head back and let her gaze slide as low as possible – which made her head hurt more – but she could just make out the dark bumps across her face. She closed her left eye, and she could see them on her nose. She closed her right eye, and she could see them on the other side of her nose.

So she had done something to her face. What had it been? Had she wrongly cast a spell, or had a spell rebounded, or was it a potion? Or had someone else done this to her? Either way, it shouldn't be a big deal. She was in the hospital wing, which meant she'd be cured soon. She was in the hospital wing…with the blinds drawn around her bed…in a hospital gown…with a headache but nothing else…except a disfigured face…did that mean Madam Pomfrey couldn't…?

And her heart went throb, throb, throb.

She tried to remember details. Dumbledore's office. She felt hot under the covers. What day was it? What month? And…why didn't she know this?

Her body grew warm as waves of panic washed over it, and her head, face and heart all throbbed.

She willed herself to calm down. Breathing slowly and deliberately, she felt her heart slow down to a near-normal pace. That's when she became aware of the voices. They were loud whispers, really. From their direction, she guessed that they were coming from the door to the hospital wing. She strained her ears.

"Is she awake yet? I really need to see her, please!"

It was Cho.

"Not yet, I'm afraid. I need her to wake up before I can assess the damage…," was Madam Pomfrey's calm reply.

"Damage?! What exactly…? Why won't anyone tell me anything properly? I've been asking around all morning and I either get murderous looks or…"

"Shhh! This is a hospital!"

"Yes, and I want to know what my friend is doing in it!"

There was a second of silence, and before Marietta could pretend to be asleep, Madam Pomfrey's head was poking through the curtains.

"Ah, you're awake. I need to examine you properly," said Madam Pomfrey, as Cho made impatient noises behind her, "but you have a rather shrill visitor, so maybe that first."

Marietta nodded. Cho would tell her what was wrong with her, she was sure. Something nudged the back of her mind again – something a lot like reluctance – to see her best friend? To see Cho? What was up with her brain today?

She arranged her features into a small smile as Cho stepped into the cubicle, but there was no way she could have been prepared for what happened.

What happened was that her best friend took one look at her face before toppling backward, clutching at the curtain for support and bringing it down on her – but not before Marietta had seen the look of horror on her face. Her heart went throb, throb, throb again.

Cho recovered quickly and straightened up, and someone somewhere waved a wand that replaced the curtain around the bed.

"Hey," said Cho, and Marietta took comfort in the fact that she was looking at her and didn't seem wobbly this time.

"Hey," she said quietly.

"How do you feel?" Something in Cho's voice told her that things were not quite right, and she didn't think that had anything to do with her face.

"Headache," she replied.

There was no mistaking it this time. Cho's face was conflicted, as if she was struggling with herself, and then she burst out, "You told on the DA! You told Umbridge! How could you, Marietta? I trusted you!"

What on earth was she talking about? The DA barely even existed – there had just been a bunch of people hanging out at a dirty pub and a piece of paper they'd all scribbled their names on, some more reluctantly than others, she thought bitterly.

"What do you mean I told on the DA? There's nothing to tell! We were seen at the Hog's Head! What a ridiculous place for an apparently super-secret meeting, Potter and his friends are such a bunch of blithering idiots…"

"Marietta!"

"You know I don't like him. So what's new?"

"You're always calling him crazy!"

"I didn't call him crazy, the papers did! I don't think he's crazy, but he's not a hero either."

"Don't change the subject! How could you tell on us? You could have at least talked to me…"

"I didn't tell! What are you talking about?"

"Oh, come on," snapped Cho. "Everyone knows it was you, isn't that why you were in Dumbledore's office last night? They hate you!" Her voice caught a little and she sounded like she might cry. Her eyes were fixed on Marietta's face.

"They hate me?" replied Marietta, her hand slowly wandering up to her face, "did they do this to me?" She felt them, then, beneath her fingers – coarse and bumpy and ugly and throbbing. "But why? I signed the stupid paper…"

"The paper was jinxed, and when you told Umbridge about the DA…" began Cho.

"I DIDN'T TELL! Why do you keep saying that? There's nothing to tell, they haven't done anything yet apart from drinking dusty butterbeers! Did they do this to my face? Do they think this is a joke…"

"What do you mean there's nothing to tell, what about all the meetings and spells and stuff, you never said it was bothering you, you liked learning them, what happened?" Cho's eyes swam with tears as she tried to make sense of Marietta's betrayal and denial, torn between indignation, anger and sadness at her friend's disfigured face.

"What are you talking about?" yelled Marietta. She suddenly spied her wand lying on the nightstand. "What the hell happened to my face? Accio mirror, accio mirror!" she cried, pointing it at random through the curtain.

A small mirror from goodness knew where zoomed into her hand. She raised it up to her face.

Her eyes widened in horror and the waves of panic returned as she stared at her face. There, in huge purple blobs, was the word "SNEAK" tattooed across her nose and cheeks.

What in the name of Merlin had she done to deserve this?

"How…? Why…?" was all she could say.

"That piece of paper we all signed at the first meeting…I think it was jinxed, so that if any of us told Umbridge, they'd know who did it," explained Cho.

"That Harry Potter! I hate him! This is all his fault!" cried Marietta.

"It wasn't him, it was that Granger girl!" Cho's eyes flashed.

"Well, of course it wasn't him, he'd never have the brains for it…"

"Marietta!"

"Who cares if it was him or his stupid little friends? You made me go to that thing, you knew I didn't want to, and now look at me!"

"This isn't my fault, don't try to…"

"Hang on, did you say the jinx would work on whoever told Umbridge? I don't get it…" began Marietta more quietly. She was so confused today. Maybe she had hit her head pretty hard…

Cho tried again, cautiously. "I wish you had just talked to me about it first, Marietta. You got a whole lot of people in trouble, and they know it was you, and look at you…"

"Cho."

"…what?"

"I swear I didn't tell."

"So…why? What…why were you in Dumbledore's office last night? Why did Umbridge take you there? Her stupid Inquisitorial Squad said they caught Harry because you told them where to find the DA…Marietta, you know you can't hide this. No one can find that room unless someone tells them where it is."

"It wasn't me," said Marietta. And then, "what room?"

"Marietta! The room Harry's been giving us lessons in! You…" Cho stopped and looked at her friend closely. It was so unlike her to deny something like this. Marietta's eyes held genuine confusion, and fear.

"What happened to you? What happened last night, Marietta?" asked Cho, worried.

"I've been trying to remember. It's all a bit hazy. We were in Dumbledore's office, and Umbridge was there, and Potter and McGonagall, and the Minister…"

"The Minister for Magic?!"

"Yes, who else? And a whole bunch of people who looked like they were from the Ministry. I'm not sure why they were there, or why I was there, I remember them…Umbridge…asking me questions and they were all looking at me, and I had these nasty…things…on my face, and Umbridge shook me pretty hard, and then they turned their attention to Dumbledore, and Dumbledore…" had knocked everyone out. Marietta remembered being pushed down to the floor, and Dumbledore had said something about leaving, and her memory being modified…Dumbledore had knocked the Minister out! Her mother had been right about him!

Speaking of her mother, could one of the loud voices she could now hear in the corridor belong to her?

"You stay away from my daughter, Dolores! I mean it!"

Yes, it was her. Yelling at Umbridge, no less. Marietta didn't think her mother would ever yell at anyone so close to the Minister…but then, Marietta had never thought her mother would actually take her side, for anything. She had barely processed what was happening when her mother was tearing open the curtains around her bed, her face livid.

"I hope you appreciate what a mess you've made, and how this is going to affect my career," she snarled at her daughter. "Running around learning spells banned by the Ministry? Really, Marietta! With that Potter boy, no less! What could you possibly have been thinking?"

"Mrs. Edgecombe," began Cho, but Marietta's mother cut her off.

"And I would choose friends more wisely, if I were you," she spat at Marietta, throwing Cho a look of disdain before turning on her heel and marching out of the hospital wing, past Madam Pomfrey, who wore the expression of someone who knows things have gotten out of control but isn't sure how to fix them.

Well, that was that. Not a word about her face, or the fact that she was lying on a hospital bed. Of course her mother would never be on her side. Marietta would have felt rather foolish to have thought so, if she wasn't so busy feeling confused.

She turned to Cho, and spoke rather calmly. "Cho, I think I'm missing something here. Learning spells? I don't remember learning any spells. And I'm not sure why I'm being treated like a criminal, but I'm starting to think that people think I've done things that I have no memory of doing. You want to fill me in?"

Cho took a deep breath, her eyes sad and worried, and began to talk.


Two days later, Marietta had cried her eyes out. Fear, panic, confusion and anger took turns in coursing through her veins; but her head no longer hurt. Her face remained unchanged and disfigured, and since Madam Pomfrey had tried everything she knew to no avail, she had told Marietta she was free to go, if she wanted.

So she found herself wandering around Hogwarts, a thick scarf wrapped around her neck and most of her face. She wasn't sure where she was going until she saw the sign on the door to her right.

Dolores Umbridge

HEADMISTRESS

On any other day, she would have thought about knocking on that door and asking Umbridge's advice, but the memory of her shaking her like a rattle was fresh in Marietta's mind. She walked on.

Then she inexplicably tripped on level ground and fell down hard, her scarf slipping from her face. Reflex caused her to look back, and there, framed in the doorway she had just passed, stood Umbridge, with her wand raised and a nasty look on her toad-like face. The door shut with a bang.

"What the hell is her problem?" muttered Marietta, as she got back to her feet. Her hands reached for her scarf, but not quickly enough. She heard a delighted laugh, and saw a gaggle of Slytherins pass into the classroom next to her, a blond head shining among them. Draco Malfoy.

Oh well. She hadn't expected it to remain a secret for too long.


Summer. A beautiful time of the year, warm…too warm to have your face smothered in a balaclava. At least she'd be able to escape all that at home, thought Marietta wistfully. She was sitting by the window in the Hogwarts Express, with Cho in the seat opposite her. She looked at Cho carefully. Her friend looked worn, and rather miserable. It had been a hard year for her. For them both. She was glad to have had a friend like Cho to stand by her, despite their differences. A friend who bought her balaclavas and makeup and talked about inner beauty. She knew she was lucky. She supposed that she was a good friend to Cho, too, and had helped her get through some of the stuff she had been dealing with at the beginning of the term; but she couldn't remember most of that. She could remember Cho being miserable about Cedric and being confused about Harry. She couldn't for the life of her remember (or understand) when that confusion had actually turned Harry into her boyfriend.

Marietta thought about them passing his compartment earlier, as she and Cho made their way to theirs. He had turned his head awkwardly as he realised who it was, and Marietta had felt a pang of pain at the look on Cho's face. Harry's green eyes had focused on Marietta for just a second, and she thought she saw him smirk slightly.

She couldn't understand why he and Draco Malfoy loathed each other. Probably because they were so similar.

"Maybe you were right about him," Cho had said in a small voice as they sat down.

Their compartment was full of other Ravenclaws, who chattered excitedly about summer plans.

Cho and Marietta watched the hills outside roll by, lost in their thoughts, both staring at the same landscape through the same window.